Beyond the Cusp

April 7, 2016

Hugs is All We Need to Save the World


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come to our rescue with a solution worthy of a Facebook new like where one can love, laugh, wow, sad, angry and still can just like. My question is why no hug in this great new Facebook features. After all, was it not Mr. Zuckerberg who recently after the Paris bombings, Brussels bombing and Pakistan bombings stated, “This morning we activated Safety Check in Pakistan after a bomb targeted children and their families in a park in Lahore. Over the last two months, we have activated Safety Check several times for acts of terror – including in Turkey and Belgium – so people in the area can let their friends and loved ones know they’re safe. Each of these attacks was different, but all had a common thread: they were carried out with a goal to spread fear and distrust, and turn members of a community against each other. I believe the only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate, and where every single person in every country feels connected and cared for and loved. That’s the world we can and must build together.”


Further, Mr. Zuckerberg has discovered that all three of these attacks as well as many other terrorist bombings are all designed to spread far and wide “fear and distrust.” Then he has the gall to claim that “understanding and empathy” are the sole means for treating such attacks and not bullets, tanks, aircraft and boots on the ground. He has obviously become too entangled in his creation of Facebook where people can find safe refuge from daily horrors exchanging thoughts and emotions, often through emoticons which stand in the place of actual emotions just as Facebook stands as a substitute for reality. It is this replacement of reality by a caricature on a computerized community where one gains friends through cute kitten videos and virtual roller-coaster rides shared with acquaintances from the four corners of the globe who we know only by the title and profile they present. For all we are aware these people could just as easily be United States soldiers as they could be some African Prince from Zambia who needs help getting their ten million dollars out of some bank in Switzerland. That is the problem with these virtual people with virtual persona and virtual backgrounds. Everybody is as real as their Sims character and just as reliable and trustworthy as few million pixels are capable of being. The problem is this is the world Mark Zuckerberg made as real as the actual physical world thus it is no surprise that his world-view seems just as fitting as a Facebook personae or whatever can be created with a set number of keystrokes. And if you are not happy with the real you one can always simply build a new virtual you where you have everything your little heart desires as long as you have a Yahoo mail or G-mail account and a charge card to complete the deal, that is the reality of our virtual world. This is the new reality which Mark Zuckerberg helped to create which comes complete with proxies et al.


For all we know, Mark Zuckerberg not only made his millions of dollars with this Facebook world but it is his reality as well. He may have sunk a little deeper into the Facebook realms than is healthy but when one has the credentials and monies which Mr. Zuckerberg possesses then one can retreat into their little pixilated world and never need surface and see that which is real. For a perfect example of one person going round the bend and relying heavily on a wall of lawyers along with that veil concealing their lives keeping them from creditors or even reality, one need only read the life history about Howard Hughes. His grasp on reality fluctuated from lucid detailed hold on reality to paranoid schizophrenia. Whatever disease has captured the mind of Mark Zuckerberg we may never become privileged to know as when one is as wealthy and well connected it becomes very traumatic dealing with their situation as one will never know whether they are knocked down and playing possum and simply biding their time to make their escape. It is entirely possible and even probable that in the world in which Mark Zuckerberg pictures himself, a big and wonderful hug actually does solve all problems; but in the real world where Paris gets shot full of holes and Brussels explodes with Jihadi violence, there is no Facebook hug that can solve such a situation. Not even a hug which has 64K of a description would bring Islamic State from the darkness and into the light of enlightened society. Claiming that love, or a BIG Facebook HUG would satisfy much of what the Islamic State demands of the world makes as much sense as reelecting Obama again would make. A hug can never replace running the world and no amount of promises or affection would deter the Islamic State from that goal, period.


There are going to be those out in the world who will demand to know how I could ever claim that a hug would not end the threat of the Islamic State. Allow me to settle such a demand with some well-known and understandable facts. President Obama has already tried the hug approach and that failed and failed miserably. He has also tried flattery with equal results. Even President Obama ended up using bombs assassinating a number of Islamic State’s high commanders. Truth be told, there has been one group which has dealt with the Islamic State and addressed the necessary steps to not only minimize their efforts but to also press that advantage in order to take back mile after mile of formerly ISIS occupied lands of Northern Syria and Iraq and retain them for quite some time. The world owes the Kurdish Militias, the Peshmerga, a huge debt as they accomplished so much with little assistance and even with little assistance from outside their own ranks. The Islamic State has started another push against the Kurds since the beginning of the month and the success of their push has yet to be determined. Should the Kurds need better supplies it would be in the interest of anyone who opposes the Islamic State despite any misgivings they may have with any singular group. The Kurds have been carrying the majority of the fight against the Islamic State sometimes against the odds. It was Kurdish forces which aided and rescued the Yazidis when their plight was critical and many were stranded largely on a single mountain and things looked desperate. It was unfortunate that the Kurds could not have succeeded at rescuing far more Yazidis but even for such a noble effort there was not to be any sizeable assistance from Europe or the United States. It has been just such actions which have pushed the question as to whether or not the Western World, particularly the United States, honestly were leaving the Kurds out to dry and were never going to truly offer the Peshmerga the assistance to allow them to mount a credible front.


We hope that the Western World is not going to simply give the Peshmerga a big hug and wish them well. Rather than a really big hug, the Kurds truly require heavy weapons and air support. At this crucial junction it would be prudent to provide air cover and save the hugs for when the fighting is over and the Islamic State has been ground down and shown to be truly weak. This is what is needed and not hugs or likes on their pictures. There are not many groups which have been consistently and almost exclusively fighting and pushing back the forces of the Islamic State. The Kurds have accomplished much of their success receiving hugs and kudos and little else. For the first years they received likes on Facebook and basically had to do with those hugs to bolster their morale. More bullets and grenades would have been preferred to the hugs on Facebook. Perhaps these were the hugs Mark Zuckerberg was referring though it is doubtful.



Autobots Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime



Back to Mark Zuckerberg, the man with a plan. His concept that ‘love’ will conquer all, or at least hugs can defeat the Islamic State, ISIS, ISL or Daesh is as preposterous as claiming that President Obama has an integrated plan for the Middle East which will persuade Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, ICBMs and deliver a package to the United States approximately three miles over Kansas City, and no it does not matter over which side of the river as the electrical grid will be toast seconds after the strike. What makes such an attack so horrific is it will hug tens of millions and even hundreds of millions of Americans in a slow death. The electrical grid will die by having its main transformers, the ones which take the high tension wires’ from approximately sixty-six-thousand volts down to two-hundred-twenty volts for delivery to your homes. These transformers are more powerful than the Autobots even including Optimus Prime. These transformers are built only in Germany and Japan and Germany may be an Islamic country all that uninterested if the United States, Canada and parts of Mexico are blacked-out without refrigeration and the vast majority of eighteen wheelers with their sensitive electronics fried and unable to move. Sickness, starvations and marauding gangs will be the rule of the day. Many military units will band together and take over a small fiefdom and rule like overlords until the Islamic forces arrive in number to complete the takeover, and they will not desire more than a mere five or six percent of the population to survive, if that. So, Mark, be ready to lose some weight before you get to hug your Jihadist and when you do let me know how well received a guy on guy hug worked out for you. In the meantime, it would behoove the American voters to find some form of reason and a military veteran or supporter to be President and preferably one with more sense than most of the candidates for President have shown in foreign policy as without a solid, hug free, foreign policy much of the free world will not make it to 2025 and even with a near perfect choice for President this time around does not guarantee American survival.


Beyond the Cusp


December 27, 2014

Is Erdogan Talking as for Turkey or More for Self?


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked to the media reacting to European expressed concerns about the future of a free press in Turkey siting the raid on media outlets close to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who resides in the United States, earlier this month. Erdogan accused Fethullah Gulen of forming a ‘shadow government which he kept in order to undermine the rule of President Erdogan while also orchestrating the graft scandal which has been targeting the inner circle of the Erdogan run government. President Erdogan and many of his closest advisors as well as potentially one son have been embroiled in an investigation of bribery, graft and other malfeasances over the past couple of years and this is just the latest version by Erdogan to place blame off of his front door and inside his inner circle to any outside group in order to catch a break. Back in June of 2013, Erdogan threatened to shut off Turkey from Facebook and Twitter as he blamed social media for his and his closest advisor’s social media difficulties stating, “There is now a menace which is called Twitter. The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.” Expressing his anger at the European moralizing and accusatory comments Erdogan scolded, “We are not Europe’s scapegoat. We are definitely not a country that Europe can point its finger at and scold. Instead of criticizing us, Europe should find a solution to increasing racism and Islamophobia.” Having President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan go off on a defamatory rant at something, anything, and preferably making that thing an entity which is incapable of defending itself or answering back with an official statement, such as blaming social media, has been somewhat predictable event as it is often timed to coincide with some investigatory pronouncement of findings, court dates for the very closest of Erdogan’s advisors or some pressing and notable media article giving backing from high places into the rumored misdeeds of people close to the Turkish President. This time it was the European Union but previously it has been the United States and sometimes he has blamed Israel or the Jewish backed institutions, these last two having been used often in speeches to large crowds of required cheering supporters as Israel and the evil Jewish institutions, which are rumored to be powerful and legendary though Erdogan has been loathed to name one such institution, because they both draw the loudest and most desired approvals cheering Erdogan for bravely weathering the storm from the Israel-Jewish-Zionist masters who are suspect of all crimes against leaders in the Middle East, including Turkey despite their efforts to align militarily with Europe through the European Union and the west through NATO of which Turkey is still included and accepted as an ally despite actions proving to counter such claims.


No matter how deep the graft and embezzlement is discovered to have permeated the Erdogan administration and no matter how much can be linked directly to Erdogan or his son or other family members, these criminal acts are inconsequential when compared to the damage Erdogan has intentionally wreaked upon the nation and peoples of Turkey. One visiting Ankara or Constantinople (sorry, I just am unable to refer to it as Istanbul) would mostly miss the changes brought about by Erdogan since he first took office as Prime Minister in 2002 and now as the President, a new political office which is no longer merely a ceremonial office but one vested with almost every power which previously were vested in the Prime Minister, but some extraordinary and unopposable powers vested in the Presidency by Erdogan over the past eighteen months becoming official coinciding with this election to the office of President. What a coincidence. How can one man be so fortunate as to be in one office, Prime Minister, when it was the virtually all-powerful political office in the Turkish government and just as the powers are stripped away and vested into a formerly ceremonial office with even more exclusive powers making the holder of said office even more invulnerable to outside influences or challenges of authorities just as Erdogan won election to be President. It boggles the mind to even try and conceive of such happening simply by happenstance, there must have been a guiding hand that arranged everything so perfectly for Erdogan to continue as the sole arbiter of power and molder of the future of Turkey. President Erdogan has been using his powers and the support of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to fairly rapidly undo the changes which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk instituted after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire when he left his military post and plucked up a sleeping nation and put Turkey on the road to industrialization, modernization, and most important, secularization moving Turkey closer to Europe and away from the binding restriction and innate refusal to Western values shown from the nations around the Middle East and North Africa, the area which had been the remnants of the Ottoman Empire before World War I and also been stuck, lodged in the fifteenth century, the first beginnings of the rise of the Ottoman Turks to the status of Empire and the last Caliphate making it into modern times before falling in World War I. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk viewed the two sides in World War I and saw the advancement held by the Western powers which were far ahead of anything the average Muslim army could muster to field to a modern battlefield. Seeing the choice before him, Ataturk made the fateful choice and threw off the binding dictates which had become attached to Islam and separated Mosque and state allowing for a competitive Turkey in the years after World War I. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has almost completely erased those changes and returned much of Turkey outside the main cities back to their tribal origins, though forcing the religious restriction on the women in the major cities who have tasted the respect and freedoms the secular state removed from the influences of Islam has allowed them.


Yes, some Turkish women welcomed the return to Sharia but mostly the urbanites have retained much of their modern lives even if only in the privacy of their home and in the workplace if such is acceptable. These reforms by Erdogan will eventually have Turkey simply sinking to the same level as the rest of the Arab world but with a modern equipped military. The difficulties could not be any greater for those wishing to impose Quranic compliance in major metropolises which have already reached and lived in late twentieth century settings and force them to accept the stringent definition of Sharia, especially the restrictions against social interactions, such will not be popular with much of the young adults. Still, Erdogan has had a severely retrograde effect as he has stripped Turkey of all the safeguards put in place by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk with his directly challenging the military early in his time as Prime Minister and with the assistance of then United States President George W. Bush and the leadership of the European Union demanding that the Turkish military stand down as democratic governments must not be overturned by militaries as that leads to dictatorial leadership by the military. This mistaken pressure was gleefully accepted by Erdogan as it removed any worry of the military preventing the plans to return Turkey to being ruled under Sharia and strict Islamic codes. After using misguided pressures from the United states and Europe, Erdogan proceeded with purging the military of any opposition either through forced early retirement or through charges and incarceration after a show trial where the rules of jurisprudence were not strictly observed and these military tribunals were simply window dressing for the purging of the military removing any threat or possible opposition to Erdogan ruling Turkey and transforming the nation from western advanced industrial society to Islamic compliant Sharia rule with Erdogan as the ruling modern day sultan using the more acceptable title of President, we will need to watch to see if Erdogan will become President for life. Meanwhile, Turkey will continue her inexorable slide from the late twentieth century to the fifteenth century while the world whistles simply ignoring the evidence before them. We can expect emigration from Turkey will only increase as the nation becomes more and more unfriendly to modernity as Sharia cuts Turkey off from the rest of the urbanized and secular worlds, the inevitable result of this trend. Alas my friends, peering at the smoldering remains of a once technically advanced civilization now unable to repair its own electrical infrastructure and other devices, Turkey, I knew them once when, but we dare not speak of such times in her presence, she can no longer couch such ideas as to do so is heretical. It can be so sad.


Beyond the Cusp


May 14, 2014

Israeli Politicians and Leaders Do Us a Favor Please

Sometimes it really does appear that Israeli politicians are either stone-cold-deaf or have a tin-ear incapable of recognizing when they hear others repeating the same criticisms they so loudly pronounced to every press and social media venue available to them. One might think they would have noticed when United States Secretary of State Kerry used the excuse that current Israeli political leaders and former Prime Ministers have said what I said as the reason he should not have been criticized for his initial comments they might have taken notice. Secretary Kerry’s actual words were, “(I)f I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution. In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve. That’s what I said, and it’s also what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.” Where I feel assured that Secretary Kerry would very probably have still used the unfortunate Apartheid slur even without any Israeli present or former politician having also used the phrase in a similar manner, the fact he could throw the, well you all said it first, excuse back in our faces makes Israel appear petty for being upset over the Apartheid slur. It sure makes it next to impossible to justify indignance and to take insult when some foreign leader or politician or some NGO issues a press release which quotes our own politicians or former IDF, Security or Intelligence Officers making the same accusations. For that reason alone Israeli politicians and other spokespeople should choose their phraseology and wording very carefully and refrain from making reckless, inflammatory, derogatory or provocative statements which will most assuredly be providing ammunition for the unending throngs of detractors to utilize in their attacks upon Israel. Certainly requesting that those who are supposed to be representing our little nation to be respectful with their choice of language when speaking about Israel, especially in forums where those who live to denigrate Israel and Israelis, cannot be such a monumental task that it is beyond reason.


Then there is the little problem that exists throughout the Knesset, both between the parties in the opposition and also between the parties within the coalition. First off, being in the opposition does not mean that one needs to make derogatory and inflammatory remarks to every statement made by any of the leadership within the coalition. Yes, we know that Labor Leader Isaac Herzog and Meretz Leader Zahava Gal-On are opposed to virtually anything which Prime Minister Netanyahu says, stands for or supports. We also realize that you are not too fond of Jewish Home Leader Naftali Bennett and his support for any Jewish presence beyond the Green Line. Would it be ridiculous to suggest that you allow your voting record speak for you at least once in a while instead of running to every outlet and screaming insults about every single item they say even when it is said solely in the Knesset? And what is this backbiting between Tzipi Livni and Naftali Bennett or Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Netanyahu and any number of other intra-coalition sniping which appear regularly in the media. Could we not simply keep some of the inflammatory interpersonal taunts and ridicule more private? Every last piece of dirty laundry does not need to be paraded in full view for the world to see. And on another note to those in the ruling coalition but who believe that they would make a better Prime Minister than Bibi Netanyahu; your party did not get the mandate and thus you are supposed to be in a supportive role, not a combative role. Sure, we know you believe that it was simply a travesty of justice that you were not chosen to lead the government and that you are sure as you are that the sun rises over the Judean Hills every morning that should there be an election tomorrow that you would be chosen to be Prime Minister, please wait for the election and should you get your chance, then we will know for certain what kind of Prime Minister you would make. Just because you are the leader of one of the parties within the coalition does not mean that you are an equal partner to the Prime Minister, he actually does get to lead and make some of the big decisions and you are presumably to work with him. If you have a disagreement or a better idea, try talking to him in private or at least in the setting of a committee hearing and not on the evening news, Facebook, Twitter or the front page of every newspaper. Oddly enough, despite the fact that as Israelis many of us believe we also would make a better Prime Minister, when we argue the points it is not transmitted throughout the world to be heard by every person with animosity in their hearts towards our little country of Israel. Think of what damage your tirades and all too public arguments and disagreements will have on Israel and remember that Israel comes before your pride and ego.


There is one last item that brings many of us great sadness. This is to our beloved Rabbis who we respect and look to for moral guidance and exemplary leadership. It really pains many Israelis when we read that one of the supposed pillars of our society and those who we look to for examples of piety and guidance in living by the Torah and in a righteousness manner are found to have taken bribes or acted in other manner of deceit or shame. It is bad enough when politicians disgrace themselves but when one of our Rabbis does so it causes us to feel some amount of disgrace as well. We try to live well and in a manner which any Rabbi would comment there is a righteous person but how are we to act with restraint, respect and in a righteous manner if those whose lives are supposed to define righteousness and honor act shamefully. Granted the numbers of such scandalous events are few, but even a few is more than we should need to be burdened by. Just like our political leadership, the religious leadership provided by our Rabbis reflects on the name of Israel before the world as well as it reflects on all that is Jewish. When one of our Rabbis sins in such a manner it tarnishes each of us a small amount. As bad as that is, it is incomparable to the pain we feel when we read of a Rabbi who has acted shamefully transgressing our trust and setting a poor example. Please, for the sake of those who take inspiration from your deeds, for those impressionable who are easily influenced, for those whose trust you sustain, for all who seek betterment from your actions and for the sake of Torah which you represent, act with all this and more in mind as all the great goodness performed by the many is tarnished and shamed by the thoughtless and corrupt actions of any one from amongst you. For all of us act always in a manner reflecting the best and representative of Torah and then you and we can expect the same from those you influence by your acts. Be a blessing amongst the people of Israel and Israel too will be blessed by you and by those you touch.


Beyond the Cusp


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