Beyond the Cusp

September 4, 2016

Foundations of Pay to Play

 

The Clinton Foundation, or should we call it the Clinton’s Fundnation, where donations of varying sizes were deposited often in direct correlation to the length of time they were granted with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Well, not all the visits with Secretary of State Clinton were linked to contributions to the Clinton Foundation; some were linked to very impressive payments for speeches by one former President William Jefferson Clinton. Of course we are told that there is no smoking gun or definitive proof or actual links, well, provable links. It is remarkable the degree to which far too many highly placed law enforcement agencies and individuals voluntarily develop tunnel vision. It is a miracle they can drive a car safely with such obstructed eyesight. Yet the news has been filled with reports about the horrors and downright dastardly practices and unconscionable business relations which apparently have plagued Donald Trump over the years. We can only assume that previously law enforcement and business oversight and enforcement departments have suffered an equal measure of tunnel vision when it came to policing the business deals of Donald Trump. Of course the surprising item is the lack of law suits brought against Donald Trump if so many of his business dealings were actually as fraudulent as we have been led to believe. There was one business venture though which truly could have qualified as fraudulent had it actually made the guarantees or promises claimed by the media, and that was Trump University. Fortunately for Donald Trump the only actual guarantees given by Trump University were that one might be able to benefit and enrich themselves with the lessons and they would receive a diploma and a picture of them with the facsimile of Donald Trump. The picture with the cardboard Mr. Trump was only worth slightly less than the wisdom one might have gleaned from the lessons. So, there has seemingly been loads of the blind leading the blind in law enforcement around both Presidential candidates if the media reporting on one and the claims of ignoring direct evidence on the other are to be believed. This leads to one big question, which one is the least crooked and least seriously soaked in criminal behavior and thus the lesser choice to be President.

 

I know what you’re thinking, where am I going with this and that I sure started with some twisted and tortured lack of logic. Well, why should editorial commentary here be any less confusing and in the dark than the rest of the media? If you answer is because you have come to expect better, then thank you for your confidence and read on, it will hopefully be worth your time. The problem is that far too many of the politicians are crooked as a broken and twisted ancient oak tree with the varieties of corruption, insider trading (which is actually legal for members of Congress and the members of the Administration of the President), bought and paid for political hacks, politician turned lobbyist and other crimes of unimaginable complexity and criminal behavior obvious even to the most casual of observers which reach out from the rotting central core of the political tree in the ever outward reaching branches seeking new and more imaginable ways to deceive and steal. Are there some politicians who are clean, respectable and trusted to work for their electorate? Astonishingly, yes. Unfortunately they are also the politicians shunned by the opposition party and their own party and unfortunately cannot seem to get together on issues due to their different beliefs and political orientations. If only there were some means of getting the true representatives of the people to work to clean up the rest of the political quagmire, that would be simply grand. Unfortunately most of the truly honest representatives of the people fall into one of a few categories, socialists even bordering on communist, religious conservatives often referred to as the religious right, and the true believers of causes which are as varied as often separate be the narrowest of degrees yet still chasing mutually exclusive dreams as one can paint. There are likely more than a dozen of causes which come under the ecological umbrella from save the whales or the seal cubs to save the rain forests as well as stop acid rain who sometimes protest with the save the oceans and even save the polar bears who have been taking care of themselves quite well. Then there are those who want electric cars, hydrogen cell cars, universal transports which take everyone to their destinations, public transport such as busses, light rail or subways and those who want to ban all vehicles which run on petroleum even including aircraft and the rigs without which we would soon have less choices of food and other goods, but that is not their concern. There are some who desire making the United States a Christian based nation where Christianity would become the recognized religion of their state or even the nation. And then there are our favorites, the constitutionalists who simply desire to have the United States return to the limitations intended by the Founding Fathers.

 

Founding Fathers of the United States

Founding Fathers of the United States

 

Those chasing causes, dreams some call them, are probably the least harmful as they are easily predictable and can be clearly understood. The less than honest politicians are also predictable once their motivations and those who own their pocketbook are understood. There are those who have so many positing bribes, sorry, contributions and charitable donations, which work their way back to the politicians through nefarious and twisted paths making them not so obvious. Let us say that a politician or group of politicians receive contributions to their campaigns and to supportive political action committees (PACs) as well as donations to charities or other groups who also contribute to the election campaigns where all this cash finds its way back to the politicians and they simply promote a bill which provides funding for some aid package helping the poor or the sick in impoverished nations which in turn buy drugs or food using much of the aid from the United States from those who initially arranged the funding from the varied sources for their campaigns. The twisted paths and the indirect funding leads to crossing the eyes of any investigations such as there is nothing directly untoward making these actions prosecutable. There are thousands of scams which have been operating for more years than any care to admit. Ask historians or political studies professors and one can learn that these problems assisted in the fall of empires past and have predated writing. There are theories about what is the oldest profession and it very well may turn out it was politician and the first politician was the individual who convinced the leader of their clan that they needed a religion and they should be the priest or medicine man or any position which did not require brawn as much as brains. That politicians got to eat without having to hunt as hunting was dangerous and too often the hunting parties came back minus one or more members while priests or medicine men stayed at the camp near the fires and out of the rain.

 

We have come a far way since then and now we have entire echelons of politicians in layers upon layers doing all sorts of functions. But in modern society the politician is not the greatest menace, just the most efficient ones where the greatest concentration of money can be found. The menace are those faceless individuals who sit in offices and cubicles making up rules and regulations and even law in some instances when directed to flesh out legislation which is all too often loosely written and paints broad swipes leaving room for interpretations and that leads to mischief. There was a temporary position a number of years back which was referred to as the Regulations Czar whose lead individual was Cass Sunstein known officially as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. The position was directed to review laws and legislation from the last fifty years or so and define or formulate new regulations which could be enacted with a special emphasis to use these reviews to enact and formulate regulations supporting policies the Administration was having difficulty passing through Congress. How many thousands of additional regulations were discovered hiding in laws recent or ancient we probably will never discern. Things have gotten to a choking point with the numbers of regulations, requirements and other rules holding an equivalence of laws that the average citizen cannot be expected to even have knowledge of the extents and depth of what is considered illegal and can place one on the wrong side of the law in court. The sad truth is difficult to put one’s arms around but be it the United Statesor be it Briton or any nation in Europe or potentially the entire world, the reality is we all break laws as part of our normal everyday lives and the criminality of living increases by thousands of new laws and regulations annually. This is the real criminal output of politicians who are paid to pass laws which outright or through inferred regulations give those who can pay an advantage over the rest of the population. This is the crooked legacy which is almost as criminal as the money stolen from our pockets through taxes, fees or higher prices so that others can benefit from corrupt politicians. This is why elections matter and primary elections this year proved to be the surprising ones which mattered. In the United States the choice is between two political forces either of which will provide the media, and especially us if we choose, more to cover than they will know what to do with. One will have half the media screaming about the illegalities with the other half excusing it while the other will have half most of the media claiming they are completely lost as to what are the motivations of the actions from the White House and others will play the game of guess what’s up next. Either way we will have plenty of news we just as soon would rather tune out, but it will affect our lives and the effects will be anywhere from minor inconveniences to drastic enough to threaten the entire planet. The real problem is none of the candidates, including third party, have even an inkling about the state of the world and what needs be done to repair the most egregious of the difficulties or threats, and it will be some of the threat which will offer the greatest danger if not mitigated and mitigated right out of the gate. Many will claim that will simply cause more difficulty but indifference to the world of problems has worked so well that we’ll gladly risk actually addressing threats and problems over leading from so far behind you may as well not be there at all, which too often was the case, Benghazi anyone? Please America, choose well.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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May 14, 2016

How Democracy Dies in Israel

 

Though we had discussed thoughts of this nature we could only obliquely refer to our suspicions but thanks to Caroline B. Glick for her article which is the meat of our commentary and worth reading as her manner and ability to cut to the bone and serve the meat on any subject is particularly poignant and we would feel as if we had deprived our readers of every morsel and fact within her article The Fruits of Subversion which we read in Jewish World Review which is one of many places where Carolyn Glick can be found. The discussion we will attempt will be to delve into some of the ramifications; both the potential, and the other simply dread and hopefully never come to pass. Needless to point out, adding to a Caroline B. Glick article is not a task for the queasy and in this endeavor failure is not only an option but even a probability. I guess by now we can simply assume that Caroline B. Glick is a reporter and editorialist extraordinaire whom we hold in high esteem. Now let us proceed and try and tackle this not so simple task and hope for the best.

 

There has been a shadow government operating in concert with the administration of a foreign power, that of President Barack Obama and the United States Department of State. This government has taken upon itself the pursuit of an agenda which is completely the opposite of that of the elected government. These individuals have taken upon themselves to assist the aims of President Barack Obama and report to the State department, administration appointees and even the Secretary of State or the Director of Central Intelligence Agency any deviations from the presumptive and United States approved policy potentially taken or in the plans of the government in Israel. Examples from the article included reporting the plans for a strike on the Iranian nuclear sites and we might discern that other such treasonous revelations granted the United States and Obama Administration would include any objections or arguments which Prime Minister Netanyahu might have regarding any peace and concessions and any resistance to of President Obama’s carefully laid out agenda which he and his tools in Israel believed to be superior and a better path for Israel going into the future and against the will of the voters and their elected governance. The problem is that this infection had spread throughout much of the highest ranks including the general staff as well as the intelligence community. Caroline Glick mentioned some names but we suspect, as does she more than likely, that the disease is rotting through many institutions who see their job description to include preserving the democracy their politics support, the people be damned, as what do the people know about the realities of the world and the best of paths for the state of Israel. Another place where this rot had held sway since the beginning of the state of Israel and through the same process of self-appointing replacements and choosing those of identical political philosophies while punishing those who hold contrary opinions even to the point of demotions or forced retirement from serving the country is the Supreme Court and likely the entire legal and judicial system.

 

Perhaps this might be a good time to confess that we did not vote for Likud and much of the reasoning was a dislike and distrust of Prime Minister Netanyahu and wished that there was some way of either limiting the number of total years or terms a Prime Minister is permitted to serve and after that set period of time they would need to set aside their leadership of the nation and allow another to be the representative of their party as Prime Minister even if they continued to lead the party. Such an example might be that Prime Minister Netanyahu after serving, say, a decade holding the office of Prime Minister he would need appoint another from the party, or better yet, have the party choose the new Prime Minister designate to represent that position for example it might be Gilad Erdan, Yuli Edelstein, Yerael Kats or any other Likud member in good standing. Perhaps with such a limitation allowing for fresh leadership even if the same party remains as leading the government year after year after year which might prevent the self-appointed demi-gods from perverting the elective process and the choices of the people and destroying the democracy in order, in their minds, to preserve the democracy.

 

Part of the problem, as we estimate the situation, is that due to sclerotic and often paralytic political power structure which retains a small group of leadership holding all of the positions including Prime Minister and his Cabinet that stresses the top positions in the military, courts, intelligence and other political and security positions which are not elected directly or indirectly by the people into using their privileged positions and access to the decisions, plans and other intelligence including both external, internal and even secretive plans which only the very highest military position and heads of intelligence have privilege to acquire and who are trusted by the people not to overstep their boundaries and serve the people and its government. What is even more disturbing is the seeming support these paragons of perfect knowledge, or at least self-perceived as such, have abused their positions and forfeited the trust of the people and the government they are presumably serving have been celebrated and even granted privileged acceptance and praises from their political allies who are leaning on these people of rank to allow for their political goals and views to be implemented through abuse of force and forfeiting the votes of millions of their nation’s citizenry. The actions of the previous Director of the Mossad, Maj. Gen. Meir Dagan, and commanders such as Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Gola, compared Israeli society to the Nazis on Holocaust Remembrance Day; the General Staff’s vilification of Sgt. Elor Azaria, for killing a wounded terrorist in Hebron; and the drumming from his position as a commander of an Infantry Company of Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner for striking a European leftist instigator who had earlier broken a number of Eisner’s fingers and caused other equally painful injuries which required medical treatment.

 

Ya'alon and General Staff

Ya’alon and General Staff

 

The general policy being empowered by these paragons of democracy, well, at least in their own minds, and that of the extreme leftists, the defeatists, the leftist media which is to say the majority of the mainstream media, the European Union, United Nations, European government and media, and worst of all the anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli Administration of President Barack Obama is one duly leftist in its approach to all policies and completely placating and forgiving empowering the Arab Palestinians and the terror infrastructure and support systems all in the name of peace at any price even to include the complete compromise of the freedom and identity of Israel as the Jewish State. The obvious question is why these generals are not simply forced from service and replaced with other senior officers who hold more reasonable understandings of the power and responsibility of the military to serve the governance elected by the people. One reason is that it is very likely that the Supreme Court would intervene and return these general staff officers and likely find some choice names of officers who are approaching senior positions and blame them for attempting to overthrow the general staff and they themselves would find themselves drummed from service and potentially incarcerated, thus is the established leftist shadow governance. As far as removing such generals from the IDF, such a move would necessarily require the support of the Defense Minister and MK Ya’alon leans left himself and would likely defend these generals and may be partly the reason that Ya’alon was chosen for the position such as to have a person who could work with the generals the IDF offered and not one to shake things up and rock the boat. The entirety of the system of unelected policy experts who are pursuing their own agenda is an echo chamber which amplifies the problem which will take a brave and ready to fall on their political swords for the nation and its people.

 

The final item we will attempt to cover is why it may be time to find a new Prime Minister to replace Netanyahu, from Likud if necessary. The nation needs a bold leader who is willing to take whatever steps are required to enforce the will of the people. Such a person would be, by necessity, somebody with an almost careless outlook and one who does not prefer the limelight and instead simply desires sacrificing to serve the nation and its people. Unfortunately such a person is unlikely as a parliamentary system is not usually capable of taking dire steps even when many see it as necessary. A Parliamentary system most often places a party functionary who has the right pedigree often the result of years of steady service to the party as a dedicated soldier. This is how Ya’alon became Defense Minister as did the rest of the Prime Minister’s inner cabinet. One of the complaints we have often heard was that there was such a seeming dearth of politicians who would be worthy of being the next Prime Minister. Even when other parties are added to the discussion with their presumed additional candidates there are still very few if any additional candidates who might excite the people, or at least none of us here. We did have one we would have hoped would offer themselves as a challenger for the office of Prime Minister as the lead of their party but they made a couple of defeatist comments, one in particular which displayed a serious deficiency which displayed they were not ready for prime time, let alone Prime Minister. If anyone has any ideas on a viable challenger, please encourage them as Israel cannot long survive these closed systems and their ruinous effect acting against the will of the people. The leaders in the legal systems, military, intelligence and law enforcement systems are presumed and designed to serve the people and the government and to implement the desires and policies of same, not take it upon themselves to be gods and rule taking power upon themselves simply because they see themselves as superior to the elected governance. Such is a closed system free of outside forces for change thus not reflecting the will of the people as they serve and should not be placing themselves above the people and their welfare, which is also against Torah.

 

Thank you all,

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 16, 2016

Should the Haredi be an Israeli Priesthood?

 

There are a number of schools of thought on whether or not the Haredi should be permitted to study Torah and allow that to be their contribution generally to Israeli society. Some are demanding that the Haredi face mandatory enlistment into the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) exactly the same as the rest of Jewish youths. Some are in favor of just young men while permitting the women not need to be enlisted with some claiming they be encouraged or made to serve in alternate public service. Then there are those who desire to allow the entirety of Haredi population simply lead pious lives dedicated to learning Torah with the referencing the numerous Haredi who spend as much as twelve hours every day except Sabbath either in services or learning Torah. Some less observant Israelis have pointed out the appearance of Haredi young men apparently strolling parks or in other non-study activities as proof that such a deferment for Torah study has been abused by some Haredi with which they broad brush the entirety of Haredi. There are few who desire to force the true and studious Torah scholars to not be permitted their honest scholarly pursuits as thus too is an important service whether all understand or even believe such dedication actually serve the State. Any serious answer to this situation, this challenge to the leadership of both the State of Israel and the Haredi society must find a reasonable and sensible solution which also takes into account some obvious demographic realities of the situation.

 

The one problem is that the Haredi community is a growing sector which would eventually reach a critical percentage where they would exceed the ability of the nation to support their complete absence from the societal productive engines. Simply stated, at some point in the not far distant future the Haredi community will be required to become productive if only to offset any costs their entire segment of society places on the State. The claim that the Haredi cover their own costs may be accurate to a point but at some point just producing sufficient food and clothing would exceed the potential of the state to produce and/or import even if the Haredi pay for their consumption as should they become over half, if not merely a lesser percentage, the production of the remainder of the population could not produce sufficient without employing the entirety of the remainder at a pace to support twice their population. At some point the Haredi will be made to make a judgement of which of their population show a particular promise or special talent lending them capable of receiving support to dedicate themselves to Torah study and such deferment should also be provided for any Israeli judged and desiring such dedication. There should be similar requirements as exist for professors at universities and colleges or teaching at Yeshivas. Also the Yeshivas should also be teaching at the least a basic education in addition to Torah study and perhaps a Torah curriculum for the public schools could be taught by religious scholars not just at Yeshivas. Such dispensations could and should be pursued with a plan to utilize those best suited in Torah scholarship to pursue such ends while it will soon be imperative for parts of the Haredi community to join the workforce and also serve in the IDF in special units which would allow for their observant lifestyle and restrictions not be challenged either intentionally, as has been the appearance in some instances, or through misunderstanding. These units will also likely require that a percentage, if not majority, of the officers and command chain be Haredi such that the sensitivities of these units will be better accommodated and understood by their commanders. If Israel is going to be serious about incorporating the Haredi into the society as a whole and especially into the IDF then some accommodations will be required and some give and take will be necessary on both sides. This will even include some arrangements with employers which will benefit all religious Jews and give some additional freedom to secular Jews and Israelis who are not particularly or even slightly Jewish. These accommodations will necessarily include scheduling such that the Sabbath is a say free of work with the obvious exception should rotation require a Haredi combat or mission necessary unit be scheduled for a rotation which counters Sabbath as defense of the nation is an exception recognized under Torah and universally.

 

 

Haredi Soldiers Taking Time for Morning Prayers in the Field During Training

Haredi Soldiers Taking Time
for Morning Prayers in the
Field During Training

 

The accommodations in the workplace would be no different than the accommodations granted Islamic religious members of the workplace who require prayer five times each day with the times set fairly rigidly. There should also be a liberalized attire universally applied for any group which had certain requirements for their appearance and attire. As stated, such accommodations should be universal and inclusive such that every group is comfortable and not unnecessarily required to break with traditional attire whenever possible. Needless to point out, should the required attire of a workplace stand counter to one’s religious requirements they should not seek employ in such locations such as nightclubs, clothing stores with secular progressive clothing requirements, and any place equally obvious which would be stated up front such that those who objected to the requirements would know not to seek employment in such places. There has to be certain rights both respecting the employer as well as the employees. An upscale and modern liberal clothing store would not be a place where Haredi or Islamic attire would be an accepted uniform, of sorts, attire which would necessarily show off such attire as part of being a salesperson. Some things should be obvious even to the most casual of observers, and the law should recognize the right of an employer to have appropriate attire and acceptance of the cliental and activities. A disco might not be an acceptable place for a strictly religious person of many faiths to choose work and such a place could have expectations which would exclude such employees in the first place. Such things should be obvious, period.

 

Military uniforms and other specific requirements for position are also understandable. An elite force which is designed to deploy places where the requirement might include wearing of a gas mask that people with full beards would have difficulties with such a mask and thus might not desire such an assignment or must be willing to remove their facial hair. As far as working in close proximity with women offending some stridently observant individuals, there should be accommodations and allowances whenever and wherever imaginable with a very liberal interpretation if such is possible. The scheduling women singing before a Haredi unit should never even cross the minds of commanders and if such were to be scheduled, then those wishing to excuse themselves should be granted alternate assignments and not just necessarily set free of any work related requirements. They might perhaps be assigned other duties such as cleaning communal areas or guard duty or other duty as seen fit in place of the setting they find objectionable. There is always something that requires doing in a military setting or they could be assigned policing the area of the performance after its completion. Such assignments would be at the discretion of the commanders of each unit.

 

The Haredi community should be granted generous liberties to define who amongst their community show and should be granted liberal special rights classifying them as a Torah sage or an astute and capable educator capable of inspiring students in the ways of Torah and the Written and Oral Laws. Whether or not a quota or percentile of the Haredi population will be permitted special observance privileges to spend their lives studying Torah or teaching Torah and the commandments and traditions in an inspiring fashion will largely depend on the responsible response and classification of their population between dedicated Torah scholars and teachers and those who will serve in the IDF or social services will, in the best possible of worlds, be left to the Haredi for as long as they perform these functions responsibly. Such a compromise needs to be reached such that both the Haredi and the general population are served through a mutual agreement and not through actual legislation, laws, court cases and general animosity. The reality is both the general Israeli public and especially the Haredi are majority Jewish populations and it would be nice to believe they could reach some accord which satisfies both communities. One can only hope that such an agreement is possible and can be attained with minimal if any acrimony as we are both majority Jewish, right?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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