Beyond the Cusp

October 27, 2014

Israel Defense Force Commander Criticized Over Religious Reference

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Commander Ofer Winter from the Givati Brigade of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has raised the ire of the secular media, NGOs and other general busybodies over his using a reference to G0d when addressing his troops right before they entered Gaza and potential life-threatening situations in combating Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist entities during Operation Protective Edge. Commander Winter received generous compliments from the founder of the brigade, Brigadier General (res.) Yehuda Duvdevani at an event honoring the Givati soldiers held Tuesday at Nahshonit Park east of Tel Aviv where he, remarked “I hope that in the future we will have more commanders that will walk in his (Winter’s) path.” The Southern Commander of the IDF Major General Sami Turgeman when making an address at the same ceremony lauded Commander Winter saying, “the brigade, under the command of Ofer and the battalion commanders, came wherever it was needed and through creativity, planning and determination defeated the enemy every time.”

 

As part of the calls denouncing Commander Winter for his religious reference and invoking G0d, when he cited the Shema prayer in his last address to troops before entering combat, came from the Israel Democracy Institute which took a novel if not incorrect approach claiming that religious soldiers might decide that G0d’s Will runs contra to specific orders. They were obviously unaware that Halacha mandates obeying commanders’ orders when defending the Jewish People. Further, there is likely no more appropriate prayer than the Shema prayer when the task at hand is potentially life threatening and where death can come over one with a suddenness that would preclude the individual soldier from reciting the Shema before expiring. What this entire tempest in a teapot is all about is the secularists in Israel knowing their numbers barely mount to ten percent of the population, if that high, feel they must scream, shout and attempt to intimidate the religious Jews from the public square or else face religious references resulting in what they would view as an Israel that would be too Jewish.

 

The truth be known, the answer to many, if not all, of the Western world’s problems could be resolved by a returning to G0d and religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Shinto, Hindu, Taoism, Islam or any religion where man is placed under a more moral structure and especially those which provide either a more perfect role model or G0d above the normal human such that each individual must work towards a more moral and perfect life and live with the realization that they are not the highest form of being defining what is correct individually and measuring their lives by their own defined and usually lacking standards. Such a return to a life spent thriving for a perfection defined traditionally which places the societal goodness and the dedication to the continuation and aiming to provide a better future than the present day instead of living entirely in the moment and almost exclusively for oneself placing the self at the pinnacle of creation and foremost in the plans and seeking of desires controlling each and every action would even solve the problems of the death of the civilization through birth rates below replacement levels. It has been the loss of faith which has also brought on the loss of community; loss of the sense of belonging; the collapse of the family, including as an enduring relationship, as the path to the future, the creation of that future through children and as the nurturing development of children; and the cause of an emptiness inside and in our lives which we forever seek to fill often at the cost of fulfilling others around us.

 

The loss of faith and decline of religion can be measured simply by taking measure of the extent which government has enlarged itself and how it has succeeded in replacing religion in the societal roles such as assisting the needy, sheltering the homeless, clothing those in need of clothes and every other societal function previously seen as the calling of the religious entities most often through the community’s house of worship be it a Synagogue, Church, Temple, Mosque, or other such group. This societal problem of the death of religion is only the initial stage, a stage that Europe and the United States, if not all of Western society, has already passed and would take an enormous effort and years of taking apart the government behemoth returning to religious entities those roles for supporting the needy and providing a guidance which has been replaced with cold regulations and laws. The next measure is to what extent the government has replaced the family and also broken the family function making it more of an empty, cold, hollowed out existence of two people who are often too drawn-up in their work relations to actively support and nurture each other, let alone children. Government provided meals at school even to the point of forbidding parent prepared lunches from home insisting on the student consuming the government provided and carefully planned and measured correct caloric count and meeting nutritional guidelines, before and after school activities making government the nanny caring for the children, and final stage is government provided and licensed day care for even the newborn. Many in the West have surrendered their responsibilities to the government allowing the government to actually nurture their children, assuming they even bothered to have children and did not resort to birth control or even resorting to abortive actions waiting for that perfect right time to have children, a time which never comes. We in much of the Western world have replaced religion with regulations and government programs and now spend our lives in supplication to the State even to the point of tithing of fifty percent of our gross salaries or more to support that State. Even our healthcare and the critical decisions over life and death are surrendered to a government panel as part of our healthcare. Is there much left we can surrender to government, will we actually move into government provided cubbyholes called our environmental residences and allow constant monitoring of our every move with warnings not to act in ways which may cause harm and cost the government revenue which could be better used?

 

The current growing and seemingly unresolvable conflict is between Western society and its government as religion system against Islamists who want a religiously controlled government where religion has replaced government. Some of the accusations made by the Jihadists against Western nations have lost their souls and engage in a lifestyle that represents what they define as debaucherous desires and actions and a society consisting of people whose only concern is their own pleasure and who have no piety or belief in Allah, or even G0d or other guiding enlightened archetypical standard. Their accusation is that, especially in Europe and the United States, lives are wasted and only strive for sexual pleasures while abstaining from religion completely. What would be amusing, if was not so much a threat, is that the best weapon the West could have to successfully resist the Islamist extremist would be their Judeo-Christian roots and a return to a living religiously guided lives, returned to our houses of worship and reestablished our sense of community intertwined with our religious observance. This would provide the glue which could unite us and give that unity a bonding agent which would be unbreakable and further provide the citizens in the Western world a sense of belonging which was worth defending. Without a return to the basics which gave Western society a strong and moral base, the conflict with Islam will only grow and eventually result in the end of Western culture and with that the Judeo-Christian ethic which resulted in the advancement and pursuit of truths which our science provided and the benefits from those discoveries. Should the extremist Islamists win in what they perceive as their primary source for Jihad, then further advancement of science will be stymied for the foreseeable future and this would be catastrophic.

 

The future of mankind is currently resting on a single decision which history will make over the next decade or two and we reach the conclusion of this culture war which we have entered into whether we chose to accept that or not. The medical and biologic discoveries alone that the next half a century could produce are beyond belief and would have astounding application in extending life expectancy, prolonged or even restored youthfulness, replacement of organs using one’s own cells and so much more. The advancements in physics, chemistry, computer sciences and engineering will be almost as impressive and produce items and opportunities some of which are beyond our comprehension or ability to even imagine. But lose the Western based culture and enter into a religious straightjacket which insists that study of the Quran is the end-all of necessary knowledge and study beyond the Quran and the Hadiths is forbidden unless it is for advancement of the conquest and conversion of the entire world as Allah commands will result in a new Dark Age. Should the Jihadists succeed the losses for society and mankind will be immeasurable. We should have no problem with Muslims who accept a plurality of religions and a separation between religious influences and government and the basic freedoms spelled out in the United States Bill of Rights and the acceptance of common law in its historic and modern interpretations. Militant Islam which believes in Jihad as the spread of Islam over the entirety of the world and the forced conversion or death to all inhabitants within must be terminated and if that means a reinterpretation or even rewriting of the Quran and the Hadiths, so be it. Judaism and Christianity have experienced reformations which adapted them for a harmonious world where all enjoy equal rights under the law and within the society. These beliefs do exist in the Quran and were the entirety of the Quranic writings when Muhammad joined with a scribe to inscribe the revelations for the Quran in Mecca. Those writings were all about harmony, peace, coexistence and the recognition of the rights and continued existence of other religions. This earliest rendition of the Quran provided for the conversion of the willing and those accepting its teachings but did not provide for the violent conversion or the sword approach currently being put on vivid and horrific display by ISIS. Either path for Islam and its adherents matters less than the return to religion and restoring the place for the houses of worship returning to them those powers and responsibilities taken from them by force of law by the government, more often than not, the Federal Government of the State. That restoration is of the utmost importance despite the seeming lack of ability for Western society to perceive this imbalance and their respective losses.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 16, 2014

Realities and Deceptions of the Living Wage

There have been demonstrations and protests spanning the United States often by workers of fast food restaurants demanding that governments, either local, state or Federal, enact laws setting the minimum wages at fifteen dollars an hour. They carry signs calling their demands for either a minimum wage or a living wage, both calling for wages to be set at fifteen dollars, the one consistency of these obviously organized demonstrations. The coordinators behind these protests have remained obscure though the best bet is that the labor unions are in the background somewhere pulling the strings for their own benefits as often union wages are keyed to the minimum wage thus a sizeable increase in the minimum wage would also push union wages skyward as well. But what are the ramifications should such minimum wage or livable wage demands be met? Would it be the panacea providing the workers with the cornucopia they appear to believe their demands would produce or would there be catastrophic and unexpected ramifications should their demand be realized? Perhaps some news from futurists and leading edge robotics news might shine some light on the potential future should these demands come to fruition.

 

Recent robotics news predicts that many fast food restaurants will soon be completely or predominantly automated needing few if any human workers as all of the cooking and cleaning would be performed by robotics. They even predicted with the advances being realized in artificial intelligence (AI) that there will soon be robots operating the checkout and cash registers in many retail outlets replacing humans in supermarkets as well as fast food restaurants. Any serious rise in workers’ salaries will only drive these changes to automation and robotic workers that much faster. You want an example of higher wages driving automation one need look no further than the automotive big three and the other car manufacturers. The worker salaries continued to climb and their benefit packages also rose considerably in the middle of the twentieth century and this spawned the demand and implementation of robotic assemblers, welders, painters and virtually every other position on the assembly line even to the point of robotic carts delivering the parts as needed from the storage warehouse using just in time delivery. These parts in the warehouse are also placed in their respective storage bins by robotic carts who take the components often from robotic assemblers, welders and fabricators. Some of the most advanced car factories use five to ten workers on the assembly lines and in parts production and line parts supply where the entire operations used to require fifty people or more on each line. The impetus for automating the production of automobiles owed some of the urgency to the rising cost not only of workers who were necessary to produce the products but also the rising retirement packages making every employee now a life-long financial demand which was rapidly driving the auto industry to bankruptcy, and for some manufacturers it still is. There are some who define General Motors as a retirement and healthcare provider which happens to occasionally produce and sell vehicles to the public. The real question is when the AI programs will reach the point where robots will be capable of replacing salespeople, especially those on commission who are actually incentivized to provide the customer with polite and helpful assistance. Some prediction is such a day will come before many of us think, who knows.

 

Back on January 24, 2009, we posted an article titled <a href=http://wp.me/pIou8-7f> Socialism; Right Idea, Wrong Time</a> which predicted that the future would eventually reach the point where employers would be forced, or decide prudently on their own, to replace as many if not all workers with robotic and AI systems as they would prove to be less expensive and more productive. Some friends took that article rather poorly and sent e-mails and other more personal communications stating so, though none cared to leave their notes to be used as comments. Many of our closest friends decided after some time not to question predictions as that would mean making a counter prediction of their own. Either way, the reasons behind the Google data tracking which records every search wording and the web locations chosen by each search in order to attempt to fashion an AI program that closely matches the functions of a human brain is due to the plans, predictions and guidance of futurist Ray Kurzweil, likely one of the most famous and accurate futurist and genius on the face of the Earth.

 

The sole complaint I have regarding Mr. Ray Kurzweil is that he sees only the good and positive side of the potentials of advanced AI programs and futurist programs that he is the driving force and visionary directing the direction of the extensive efforts by Google to gather data on everything people do and the data they produce. Google is far from alone in these efforts and they have teamed with Microsoft and also have arrangements with many sources of data permitting them to gather all kinds of data produced in numerous ways which are sourced such as credit cards, power consumptions, driving habits, travel habits, vacation preferences and other data they receive either through contracts or through providing services which also gather the data the futurist cooperative of computer and internet companies have formed. Also partnered in these efforts includes General Electric, Yahoo, Cisco, HP and Motorola among others not to mention the numerous start-ups and established companies that have been swallowed up by Google and Microsoft. The one item which makes this futurist project cooperation, especially when the data available to the partners in these ventures is coordinated and compiled, is these futurist in the conglomerate effort have a silent partner which provides them with data beyond most companies’ wildest dreams is the Federal Government of the United States. The future is rushing towards us mostly unseen and unknown to the average Joe, but rushing forward at light speed it is. These demonstrators are simply giving more companies the impetus and a financial reason to join with those who are producing tomorrow today to quicken the pace even more. Where I am unsure as to whether these groups should be trusted as it makes little difference as the conglomeration of futurist companies are moving full speed into the future, and they are not using a Delorean or any flux capacitors, though they might invent one if such a capacitor could exist and have whatever the properties they were presumed to have in the movie (which was not actually well defined). Perhaps this is why I tried to avoid using Google search, but then they went and bought or gained access to virtually every search engine which actually produces usable results. If anybody knows of a Google free search engine, please enlighten us. Thanks in advance.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 1, 2013

What the Coming Republican Wars Doth Wrought

For those confused about this title, let’s first describe the coming conflict which could split the Republican Party wide open and possibly cause a disaster at the midterm elections. What some people refer to as the Old Guard or the Establishment Leadership Republicans are blaming the Party’s election woes on what they refer to as the Tea Party extremists and Constitutional purists. Meanwhile the more conservative Republicans and independents are accusing many of the longstanding Republicans such as Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and others as having slowly drifted away from their original conservative principles more towards the mainstream progressive big government middle which they claim they will no longer support demanding that their concerns be addressed and candidates more willing to back small Constitutional government be offered. Both sides claim that the only path to gain majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as any chance to win the White House in 2016 goes through the center of their constituencies. Obviously both cannot be correct and only one side will ultimately prove victorious in getting those they back onto the ballots where the elections will prove or disprove their contention to have the best chance to win in the election booths. The initial battle will come during the primary elections and the final determination of which extreme of the Republican Party is better able to get their people elected. In a perfect world there would be an equal number of Republicans of both stripe on the ballots so that a definitive result will be produced after the elections and to the victors should go the future of the Republican Party.

 

Needless to say, but should the Tea Party, conservatives, and Constitutionalists succeed in gaining a fair number of candidates after the primaries and they prove to be far more successful than the reputed establishment candidates the Old Guard will not yield and will likely claim that these candidates were only able to win in the reddest of red states and have no possibility of being elected in battleground states which are necessary in Presidential elections. This will be their argument which they will defend their right to retain control over the mechanisms and various committees within the Republican Party and attempt to minimize the numbers of Tea Party and fellow travelers from gaining much of a foothold. The people who are part of the establishment always resist change as change is the greatest threat to their hold onto power and control over who their party places on ballots and supports with funding and other forms of assistance. This is one area where the truism of, “Old habits die hard,” proves to be very true. The fight over the heart of the Republican Party will prove to be very interesting as it is our opinion that one side has all the mechanisms of power, financing and established structure including established mailing lists while the other has the excitement of new leadership, a waking support base, and a bigger and better message that will gain strength even beyond just the Republican Party and be attractive to many independents, libertarians, classical liberals and even some of the older established Democrats who are finding that the new Democrat Party has left them and no longer supports the same issues and views they did when they joined the party.

 

Going forward there is a possibility of a third party becoming established provided the Tea Party can enlist those others who also support their core issues which include but are not limited to smaller government, Constitutional government, more power and control at the State and local governments, government out of our lives, more liberty and a return to the principles on which the United States was originally founded. In many ways these people are purists who have one problem in that they are unable to compromise and tend to be rigid idealists. For those who agree with their general views and positions will see no problem in their intransigence but that also creates other problems. The one failing which strident conservatives are often guilty of is that they demand complete compliance with their every position before they will support any candidate. An example would be a fiscal conservative who is pro second amendment but will allow for stem cell biological experimentation and research using the existing supply of stem cells will run afoul of the most strident anti-abortion wing and they will never be able to garner the votes from that wing and that can cost them the election. This in turn creates an interesting dilemma where an establishment Republican candidate would be unable to win an election without garnering the Tea Party, conservative and Constitutionalist voters while Tea Party and related conservative voters face the problem of splintering their base voters as they all fall in separate camps around their core issues and principles which include such issues as gun rights, abortion, medical research practices, fiscal prudence, individual liberties, limited government, and societal morality. I guess the moral of the story is that no matter which political stripe a candidate identifies with there are a million reasons that people will find to pick them apart and any one of these would be reason enough to withhold their support. The candidate’s challenge is to find the message that offends the least number of voters and then sticking to the principles which they ran with when elected. Honesty in politics is more often rewarded than punished and that may be because in many ways it is so rare.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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