Beyond the Cusp

March 18, 2017

Freedom is a Wonderful Thing to Have and a Horrible Waste When Lost

 

Let us start our discussion today with some information directly from another article titled The Pelosi Principle by Terry Jeffrey written for Townhall. The article was about the Republican replacement for Obamacare which while not being everything many of us would want, was still a better deal for much of America. This quote though tells a lot about what has gone terribly wrong with American society and paints a dim view that this can ever change as both sides of the aisle agree that the old way must die and government prevail. The article states, “Both Republicans and Democrats have rejected the principle of subsidiarity that once governed American health care: Individuals who could not pay for their own care were covered by private, particularly religious, charities and local governments.” Despite everything else, at the base of the opposition to Obamacare was the opposition to the Nanny State and its insistence on being all things to all people. Forced government insurance was just the latest outrage where government demanded they be given the responsibility for our care and as usual their ideas left much to be desired.

 

This problem has been a long time coming and is not about to wane any time in the future without a near revolution by the American public. Not a real, grab the gun off the mantle, revolution but one where the American people take the power back from the government by selecting a whole new type of political representation, regular, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (or watch at end of article) representation. This would have to be an all-encompassing movement which will only arise when things reach an intolerable level and when failure means the end of the democratic process because the government has even assumed making the choices as to who will lead and who is subjugated. One can only hope that such a time is not quite yet upon us, though with some of what has occurred there have been claims and fears from both sides that the other is attempting to take control of the governing processes and end any true freedom of choice. History has proven that one side’s claims are merely an excuse for them to enact just such fascist governance and the other side’s claims are actually valid fears. But this article is to tell the story of how we reached this point.

 

This all started with something everybody would know from history if such was still taught in the public and private school systems. Not all schools are delinquent of such but far too many are which has made ask the average person in the street history and civics questions something which makes for great laughs while others of us just shake our heads and fear for the future. We know that a people who do not know from whence they arrived at this day will have no idea where they will be going as the tomorrows pass. The beginning of our story is the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, especially the Bill of Rights. One should read the Declaration of Independence as it is a litany of things in a governance which should be feared and the people should ever be watchful against their reoccurrence. There is a political theory which describes the cycle of governance from bondage to freedom and back to bondage called the Tytler Cycle of Power in Governance (see below). There have been many debates in universities back in our day and hopefully these debates continue as they raise awareness and strengthen societal awareness in the upcoming generation. The debate in my day over where in the circle we stood was over which it might be; Selfishness, Complacency, Apathy or Dependence. Nobody ever claimed Abundance and a few would claim we were on the verge of Bondage and the others were completely beyond consideration. One can only wonder where the debate would go today.

 

Tytler Cycle of Power in Governance

Tytler Cycle of Power in Governance

 

We got to wherever in the cycle we actually stand from a time when faith was high and courage was felt by a strong and steady leadership and their following and from that they struck forth and gained liberty. The American Revolution was led in many communities by their religious leaders who were men of sword and musket as well as the Bible. These men made up the Black Robe Regiments and were why the British often burned churches and would hang clergy on sight if they were at all suspect of preaching about freedom from bondage and King. The Revolutionary War was fought by people of faith and courage who gained freedom and a new nation. There were few large cities and nothing even approaching a modern city with London being amongst the largest in that day and Boston, New York and Philadelphia being amongst the largest cities but still the denizens were largely self-reliant. This was the way of life in early America and this was how it remained until sometime into the mid-1800’s. The problems began in the largest of cities which would be found on the eastern seaboard, west coast and along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Within the largest cities people began to depend on certain public services. There was the water systems replacing the need to draw one’s own water, sewage replacing digging your own outbuilding, trash pick-up, and public transportation which was often bartered out to a private service whose owner often became quite wealthy as did the private purveyor of any other service which the cities licensed.

 

The services provided through public/private contract or by the government directly such as police forces, judicial systems, street maintenance, street lighting, gas lines, fire departments and as time went more and more provided by the cities. Then there were the specialty services which cared for services which many of the people either found distasteful or were simply incapable of doing for themselves. Some of these services had always required a professional but many had also been performed by the average person before the advent of large cities with a professional core of providers whose prices were controlled by demand and number of people providing such services. Examples include the obvious such as shoeing horses, blacksmithing, locksmith and others and then ones we have forgotten in our modern world such as chimneysweeps, milkman, ice deliveries and other such services. Some still exist in smaller towns or rural areas or as specialty service in cities. What these specialty and general services started was the first stages of dependence which as long as it is kept to essential services is fine, but it did not remain this way. There used to be a safety net which provided for those people who were down on their luck or simply had fallen from the normal routines of the society and were dependent on the good graces of others for their sustenance and other needs. These people were served by religious groups, the churches, synagogues and other religious congregations and charitable organizations. This was the way of things for over a century until the onset of the initial takeover by the government which began with unemployment insurance which was not any form of insurance as much as it was a tax and spend means for government to reduce the power of people and increase the power of the government. This was followed by Social Security and soon thereafter adoption services were slowly subsumed by the government.

 

This continued with the government granting college scholarships first through grants for veterans through the G I Bill and then loans and Pell Grants. The largest expansion of the government came under Lyndon Baines Johnson and his Great Society which enlarged or created such programs as Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, National Endowments for Arts and Humanities, Public Broadcasting, Cultural Centers, Homeless Shelters and a plethora of other programs all based on a simple principle, the government was going to save people from being preached to just to receive help as the religious institutions were forcing people to suffer. They were saving the world from religion. In time the governments also provided the cities with transportation funds to assist public transportation in an attempt to replace the personal vehicle, environmental assistance and codes, consumer protection because people were incapable of not buying substandard goods, public housing so those on welfare could live without shame in any neighborhood where section eight housing was declared which was anywhere except the most exclusive neighborhoods, labor regulations and it continued into every realm of life even eventually to include the water permitted to be flushed by a toilet.

 

The government did not stop there and they are currently working on the next and near final stage of their plans to completely control all of society, the replacement of the children from parenting by amateurs. That is the theory behind the plan proposed by Hillary Clinton with her claim that “it takes a village to raise a child.” She made an entire book from the idea, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us in which she gave examples of such as African villages and spent most of the book encouraging new programs and government controls over ever more of people’s lives. Some of the programs and ideas coming out from her writings include Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, Community Policing, the Brady Bill, Amber Alerts, immunizations, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, financial regulation, expanded Child Tax Credits, Minimum Wage increases, and the one making so much of the news of late, Universal health care. Government appears targeting even more of our lives and taking from us every choice as to how we live our lives, what we teach our children, what we are allowed to drive, where we are allowed to drive and how we can raise our children. Some schools have told their students that their parents do not have the power to deny them use of a telephone, forbid them access to a computer, refuse them their rights to watch what they want on television or other means of punishment including spanking, grounding or forcing them to eat foods they dislike and told students as early as first grade that they can report any violations of these rights by their parents to the school and then the school will report their parents to the government and the problem will be taken care of and they will have their rights respected. That is true, the child has inalienable rights which a parent may not infringe and amongst these rights is anything they desire. Of course once the parent has been duly punished for ignoring these rules, the child will just love the foster home and the parenting they will receive there.

 

One can only wonder where this will end and many will tell you it will not end, or at least not end well. There is actually no limit any longer as to how far into your life government can impose. Already the wild stories that the government can turn on the camera attached to your computers, the camera attached to your phone (always keep them camera facing the table), turn on the microphone to your computers or phones, and have microphones and cameras spread all over your town or city and can also monitor any cameras which are electronically monitored despite what you have been told by the security company, every keystroke made on your computer and a log of every web location you have visited, and darn near anything else with soon coming to any electronic device bought new will also be able to report the amounts of electricity used as well as your electric, water, gas or other meters reporting your use and any notable changes such as a guest visiting (additional use especially during times you are not usually home) but all this only if you reside in the United States or are under suspicions by the NSA, CIA, FBI or any other intelligence agency including allies of the United States as the intelligence services of the Western World are capable of collecting every electronic piece of information on virtually every person within the United States, its protectorates, any ten nations the United States chooses with the exceptions of India and China (really way too many people) all with some abilities to spare. The problem is calling up the data on any one person unless specified in advance is a bit tiresome but then there are numerous government employees whose tiresome job it is to extract exactly just such data on demand, lucky them, or on their own whim if they can cover their tracks. The claims by President Trump that his phones were being listened to are true but then so were probably mine and yours and your best friend, worst enemy, and the past five-thousand people you have passed on the street because everybody has had their information gathered because it is far more simple to gather all the information than to choose whose you actually need. With the NSA’s new data center in Nevada outside Reno (pictured below) that is a simple deed and they can store all of it to be retrieved as required at any time. It simply requires the personnel to do so and that they also have.

 

National Security Agency NSA Utah Data Center

National Security Agency NSA Utah Data Center

That is where freedom now stands in the United States and much of the world today and that is the real problem we all face. But do not worry; most of us are of little concern so as long as we behave as expected we are safe. We hope that reading Beyond the Cusp is not a triggering exercise for which your data would be pulled up, but why worry as too many things likely will do the trick anyways.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

 

 

 

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March 30, 2016

Not as Simple as America Safe Europe Not

 

There has been much discussion over the lapses in security follow-through by Belgium Security Forces which may have contributed to both the Paris attack and the more recent Brussels bombing as Molenbeek neighborhood produced both terror cells and much of the planning for both attacks were carried out there. Additionally, the leader of the Paris attacks was captured by Police in that same area. We have heard that Turkey had deported a number of Belgians who had been arrested attempting to enter Syria presumably to join the Islamic State and that the Belgian authorities did little if any follow-through and allowed these people to slip from view of enforcement personnel. There was told that the United States and Israel had both warned Brussels of the coming attack with some information pointing to Molenbeek and bombing of the airport and main subway station, the exact targets. Still, the Belgians did little if anything.

 

From this one might think that the situation in Belgium in general and in Brussels particularly was excessively lax considering the warnings received. What many may not have caught is that much of Europe and the world are similarly not well protected from terrorism. Egypt had a Russian jet loaded with a bomb explode over the Sinai and just this week had another aircraft hijacked by a disturbed individual. Though the hijacking was not technically terrorism, the people suffered through an ordeal which for all intents and purposes was an act of terror. The number of attacks across Europe since 9/11 has far outstripped that of the United States, a fact that almost every news coverage stressed, especially those based in the United States. This begs a few questions as to what are the differences between Europe and the United States which might account for this difference.

 

Could it be as simple as availability as most terrorists can walk to Europe from the Middle East or Northern Africa (MENA) where the United States would take a deal of swimming. That makes entry into the United States more regulated despite its presumed porous southern border with Mexico. One fact many are not aware of is that the southern border of Mexico is heavily guarded and short of bribery one does not cross without proper authorizations which in a strange manner makes that porous southern border of the United States a little safer. But there is a greater difference and it has to do with dividing the authority and assignment for responsibility to prevent terrorist strikes. The fact that the United States has an overriding security apparatus which operates nationally while each state operates locally makes all the difference. When one police force in Europe gets any evidence of a terrorist cell operating within their area, they would hopefully monitor them. But what if their plans are being sent cryptically to a cell the other end of Europe, what would the interaction appear as. Would it be as the Turkish, Israeli and American security warned the Belgians. Even with warnings, would there be in existence the infrastructure in their police to handle such intelligence. Very likely not and this needs to be made evident to those in the United States of their good fortune for being a republic binding the fifty states together in cooperation with set rules and assignments and this is their security which is lacking in Europe.

 

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine the United States never did become one nation and instead became fifty nations just as Europe has different nations. There would be different languages spoken in some of the nations due to the primary immigrants and no universal English preferred as was the case for over two centuries. How well would the individual nation states be at handling security? Would they have in place a unified method of securing their airports? Would they have the funding for expensive scanners and detectors for every air terminal? What would they do with individual bits of information from the many varied individual nation states to figure out a grand scale the targets for terror strikes? Remember that the United States had the CIA, the FBI, Military Intelligences, all the individual state, county, city and rural police. All together they might have been able to piece together the 9/11 attacks and prevented them. They had all the pieces and even the computer of one of the conspirators along with all their levels of security and they missed it! Europe has no overriding law enforcement which can operate freely and without any interference from local authorities. Don’t even try to claim INTERPOL which puts out its Ten Most Wanted lists and attempts to coordinate two hands clapping patty-cake from two people across the room from each other, it does not mesh well.

 

 

INTERPOL shield

 

 

That is the problem in Europe, no coordinating body which can gather all the information and coordinate efforts. Even if INTERPOL had the smoking gun they would still require local police and security personnel to act to prevent any catastrophe. There was one article which got the solution correct, but it will require the nations of Europe to make a decision. Will the nations of Europe actually make an effort to cooperate if an overseeing agency is activated and placed responsible for tracking all things terror related and to whom these individual police and security agencies would necessarily need to report all leads and respond to any inquiries. Without their agreement in advance there is no reason for going through the actions as full coordination and cooperation is the key to success, just as it works, mostly, in the United States. What would rankle the nerves of the Europeans the most is that the overriding group would be NATO and would necessarily coordinate with Israeli security services in order to gain the whole picture. There would also be coordination with Egypt, Jordan and any other government willing to share solid and good information and intelligence. We all know that the European will do almost anything not to appear to react as Israel acts. They view the Israelis as paranoid lunatics who howl at the full moon and other imaginary threats. The Europeans are convinced that through respect and deference they can avoid terrorism like has been levelled against Israel, justifiably by most European thinking. Well, that same snake which the Europeans have been financing for decades has finally come home to roost and is killing Europeans and not just Jews. The time has passed where Europe needed to awaken to the threat levels they are facing and it is not too late, but it is imperative that action start and start soon to fight this rising menace. Either Europe will learn from the United States for coordinating across state lines and from the Israelis on how to implement smart security.

 

A final note on air safety. We have done our share of international flying in the past five years and have seen differing levels of security in the United States and elsewhere. We also have had more than sufficient relations with others including one friend whose plane landed in Brussels minutes after the terror attack, their ordeal was harrowing at best and maybe, just maybe, their luggage will find them again some day in the not too distant future. United, American, Southwest and whatever airlines you care to mention with one exception rely on whatever security the airport at which they fly from provides. That is pure insanity as that does not guarantee a level of expertise or efficiency that provides a safe environment for their passengers and employees. Many of these airlines met with Israeli representatives who described the means by which very few El Al aircraft has ever been successfully hijacked. The solution explained by El Al have always been regarded as the best methods for protecting passengers and aircrews but also too expensive and man-hour intensive to be utilized by these other major carriers. They claim passengers would refuse to pay the extra required for such screening while El Al does the multi-layered screening of passengers and background test their crews leading to the safest flying experience possible. Even further, the El Al aircraft are fit with Elbit Systems C-MUSIC anti-missile Protection systems, and that alone is worth the price of the fare.

 

 

 

 

The people at El Al take these incidents very personally. One of the most daring and astonishing stories is well worth reading titled How to thwart a gunman at 29,000 feet, by the only pilot who ever did. Please take the time and read this true story of one pilot who asked the right questions and used every bit of resources he had to foil an armed hijacking using guile, skill and a large dose of chutzpah. Meanwhile, if Europe is going to get a handle on the terror threat they prefer to pretend is not real, they are going to have to accept facts and deal intelligently with the threat and find a means for a coordinated effort by whatever means. NATO is simply the best suited with its current configuration and technical abilities and was designed to protect Europe from threats, that may as well include current terror threats, and let us all realize that maybe the Israelis actually know what they are dealing with and one might learn a thing or two.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 24, 2013

Rethinking Pollard Case in Light of US Spying Revelations

There has been a cascade of accusations over the release of sensitive information which revealed the broad and expansive spying including taping of every phone call of leaders of presumed friendly governments including but not limited to France, Germany, Mexico, and others as more information is leaked by Snowden from within the protected safety of Russia. The depth and amount of trivial and needless snooping that included private conversations by the leading politicians of numerous nations casts a dim light on any justification which could be offered. The usual everybody does this will not likely cover these episodes since they included snooping far beyond the norm that might be seen as necessary for national security. Nothing will excuse the taping of private calls and simply taping everything in a massive sweep without limits that resulted in thousands of conversations being intercepted. Sometimes just because something is possible and you have the capability it does not then equal that doing so is a good idea. With this embarrassment there is one last country that it would be interesting to have revealed as being subjected to such interception of communications, phone conversations, e-mails and other electronic communications would be Israel. Do I suspect that Israel was likely singled out for even deeper penetration and interception quite possibly of everybody in the Knesset and at all related to the government or in a position of influence. This would likely have been the first nation which President Obama would have given explicit instructions to intercept everything possible.

 

If the Israeli intelligence agencies have proof of spying by the United States, instead of making a public scene and crying over spilled milk they should instead propose to President Obama and the other people who would need to be persuaded that Israel will keep this evidence on the quiet provided that the spying ceases immediately and that Johnathan Pollard be immediately released and allowed to return to Israel. In order to make this easier for the United States the Israelis could promise not to make any huge deal and to simply make note of Johnathan Pollard’s release in their news reports and not hold celebrations or other such events which may be uncomfortable for the United States. After all the main objective is the release of Johnathan Pollard so he can spend the rest of what is left of his life with friends and family and among those he knows instead of continuing to hold him in solitary confinement.

 

There should be no reason to go through the truths that have evolved since Pollard’s trial where the State Department convinced the Judge to throw out the agreement which had been reached under which a guilty plea was entered due to false information that many who knew of the entire affair have come out and verified the entire hate-filled affair. Evidence that was used to vilify Pollard included his presumably giving information to foreign nations that he did not have a sufficiently high security clearance to even have access to any of these names and assignments. There was no way as a map and satellite inspector who mostly read maps and sought out details such as rocket positions both in place and mobile and other military information for the Navy Department had absolutely no access to State Department or CIA records which he was accused by both departments of having stolen for enemies despite the reality that he gave information to Israel on Iraqi developments including their nuclear program which was presumably to be given them by treaty but that too was blocked by the State Department, Defense Department and the CIA. When it is revealed that the United States has been spying on Israeli politicians, that information should only be released after giving President Obama the opportunity to keep it understood but quietly ignored in exchange for the release of Johnathan Pollard.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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