Beyond the Cusp

February 17, 2019

Has the Time Come for Women as Rabbis?

 

We understand that the obvious answer is, ‘No,’ and that there really is nothing to debate, but when has that stopped us. There are the numerous arguments put forth by the Open Orthodoxy or New Orthodoxy, Modern Orthodoxy, Neo-Orthodoxy or the more realistic, Reform Judaism with a few additional Commandments. The crux of the problem is, as almost anybody who has read anything about this tempest in a teapot, the ordination of women as Rabbi. The easy answer is to stand with the nearly unanimous decision by virtually every Poskim, the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and declare from the rooftops while standing next to a scarecrow of a man playing his violin and scream, “Tradition!” But that is taking the short road to an answer which leaves out all the intricacies and ignores the pressures and times of modernity. Women’s rights will need to be addressed at some point, but that point has not yet arrived. Far too many of those in positions to accept this challenge are mired in the rules and morals of early in the past century. Then women took care of the home and the men took care of the world just as the Bible and Torah instruct are the responsibilities of each gender. The world had gone through a period of rocketing change with gender roles being blurred and the responsibilities often being turned on their heads. But Judaism has not survived by being reckless and rushing to accept every change which has come down the halls of time. Tradition has been the watchful eye which kept the boat upright and it is not about to allow for the boat tipping too far left just as it kept it from tipping too far right as the political pendulum has swung back and forth.

 

 

The best approach might be to take small steps and see how they work and if they place too much of a burden or cause things to become difficult or produce side-effects which are arduous, then the small steps can be retraced and a return to normalcy. It is not as if Judaism has not gone through some tumultuous traumas. When we left Egypt we found that the generation which had been in Egypt were not fully capable of change and this resulted in forty-years of wandering almost aimlessly in the dessert until a new generation could be born and reach age. Then, with a fresh population unencumbered with the ravages of slavery and dependence filled with self-confidence was capable of the task of winning a homeland. Then Joshua, one of the two spies who came back with a report of a land ready to be taken, the other was Caleb. The fight was probably far more difficult than it would have been for the Israelites when they first perched on the borders of what is today Israel. But in time the lands were conquered and became the initial state of Israel (see map below). That was how nations were built and how many an empire would start out, taking a small regions for their own and then embarking on greater conquests often incorporating the conquered people initially into their empire as full citizens. This was the name of the game and the Jews started with no king or queen but lived only with the guidance of Judges and Prophets. Prophets continued into their period with Kings which turned sour all too quickly. Then there came the years of conquest by foreign empires with short stints of self-rule. Eventually the Jews, as they had come to be known as most were Judeans by birth, as they were from the Tribe of Judah, were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire, with some even thrown into slavery in further lands, and there appeared to be no way for this small group surviving such treatment. The Jews remained dispersed throughout the world and only in the past century and a half have really begun to return to the ancient homelands reestablishing the nation of Israel. So, yes, we have seen dire times and persecutions and even the Holocaust, a persecution unparalleled in, at the least, modernity. We survived and remained a people through one factor; we remained steadfastly true to our holy books and based it all on Torah. The Torah became our homeland, portable and able to be applied in any region, setting, situation and so forth. This is partly why the leaders of the Jewish Faith, not necessarily the Jewish Nations but the faith, remain resistant to change, without foresight to see what is over the horizon, one remains reluctant to change, especially change that appears to be drastic, that which has guided and kept your people as one through the harrowing threats of history.

 

Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Original Borders for Israel

Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Original Borders for Israel

 

So, perhaps, in the not too distant future, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel might venture into permitting equal seating for men and women in a section of the main hall, not necessarily the entirety. They could permit those synagogues which were inclined to set aside an area where husband and wife, of course with children, to be seated together but leave sufficient space for those opposed to such a liberal concept to sit where this area is not bothersome. Yes, we know some people will find it bothersome that a synagogue in the next town allows such seating and they will claim it unnerves them. Change is not easy, ask the Vatican, as we Jews have been about traditions and the literal applications of the rules for far longer than the Christians have. Perhaps there might be some other half-step we have not considered, but change will need to come in small doses as we Jews are a stiff-necked and stubborn people, or so our Torah tells us. Still, we have changed and kept pace with the world as when we reestablished our homelands, we did not return to a monarchy as it last was nor did we try to rely on prophets and judges as even earlier times, nope, we went with a parliamentary democracy and one far more convoluted than even the European versions. Even the Jews who returned home making Aliyah often comment on how Israel has made a parliamentary system of government even more contentious than their home countries could have imagined. For further proof, simply start to read and follow the machinations and other finagling which are sure to play out along the way to the April 9, 2019 Israeli elections and see for yourself.

 

We have somehow gone from Exodus Chapter fifteen verse twenty and twenty-one where it says, “Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel (tambourine) in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam called out to them, Sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He; a horse and its rider He cast into the sea.” This was then and today there are numerous groups within Judaism where men are forbidden to see women dance or perform or even hear them sing as it became considered immodest. There is proof that we can change, and not always in a more progressive direction despite the uncomforting fact that many times the Jews were at the forefront of revolutionary change. Too often these very same revolutions turned against the Jews and persecuted them claiming they were the enemies of the state they assisted in forming. Such was the case in the Soviet Union and in other cases before that and since. These such outcomes went quite some distance in imprinting caution in the Jews who survived, escaped or were fortunate enough to read of these events from a distance into a dread for change. We have held to our traditions which for centuries slowly drifted to being more and more conservative as this is the result of persecution. The Jewish People are barely a full generation beyond what was a cataclysmic conflagration to our people who lived on the European continent as the Germans and the Russians took their turns persecuting and executing Jews. This did not endear that generation or the following ones to favor radical change, well, except in the United States where much of the radical changes politically and culturally have manifested. They may have found their start in America or in Europe, but if it did not play in America, it likely did not play for very long.

 

Change in Judaism has mostly run at a slow pace making sure that the ground was solid before taking that next step. Wild and reckless are not exactly words which have described the religious Jewish communities. Insular, reactionary, conservative, traditional, stoic, intractable and other similar adjectives have all been used, even by Jews themselves, in defining the Jewish communities, as there are in the United States and Europe as well. Still today in Israel, there are religious communities which all live in a closed community which one need apply and be interviewed, fact-checked, virtually investigated and their religious credentials checked and rechecked before they are permitted to reside within the community. These are some of the communities where the most influential leaders of the Jewish community reside. Asking these individuals to change something so central to Judaism is something which is simply not going to play well. The fact that there are congregations, mostly, if not solely, in the United States and Canada trying to introduce such changes to the Orthodox community, as it has been initially only in Reform and Reconstructionist and later spread to Conservative, is potentially the initial steps. For Jews, though, simply playing well in America is not sufficient for it to become accepted, it must play in Israel. Were the RCA to accept such a change, an alteration in what has been tens of century’s worth of tradition, then perhaps it might be considered by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, though the RCA does not tend to make such moves without working with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The two operate very much in tandem with much and often deep communication and coordination. This is due to their being the two organizations which preside over the two largest Orthodox communities in the world, one all of Europe does not match. The first sign that there might be a crack in the bricks through which changes will eventually pour through would probably be the permitting, even only on special occasions, for married couples to sit together. Currently, the men sit in one area and the women in a separate area simply because having the women sitting with the men is considered a potential distraction. What some Rabbis might notice is having the wives sit separate from their husbands also provides distraction as they may wish to see how the other is doing or even suddenly realize something which urgently need be communicated, but that is what cell phones are for, right? Kidding aside, the experimentation with women being ordained as Rabbis will very likely have to wait until it starts to make cracks into Israeli society, and that might be closer than we think. No matter the number of Open Orthodox (by whatever name they decide to use this week) Synagogues who have women as assistant Rabbis or Rabbinical interns or outright Rabbis, they will remain shunned, rejected and refused continued sanction by the RCA as they remain lockstep and in sync with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. No matter how many influential American Rabbis join a bandwagon calling for the liberation of Orthodox Judaism, that change will not be leaving the station any time soon. Wait for coed seating to be accepted universally, and then, just maybe there will start to be the inkling of a discussion on going further. First coed seating will need a full period of testing, say about a century or two, then we can talk. Should things go faster than this, it will be a surprise and a sign that the Jews have begun to feel safe and beyond threat in Israel. Currently, we have bigger fish to fry then even coed seating, let alone women as Rabbis.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 15, 2017

Israel Palestinian Conundrum Follow-up

 

For initial article, click here.

 

With so much confusion in the last few days, predicting what may result might be risky, but when has that stopped us. In all the action, the world will appear to latch on to what will be played as the only event that mattered, the reconciliation. The Arab League will quietly push once again the Saudi Initiative with a twist; the return of the Palestinian refugees will become something to be decided subsequently. This will remove the Israeli protestation that these five to eight million refugees, some will be Syria, Afghan, Sudanese and any other Arab refugee in the world, be returned into Israel thus erasing the Jewish State. Despite this being the desire all along, to sell the idea of Israel as the United States style multicultural nation in the Middle East, a leftist paradise, they will settle for a restart of the basic borders from before the Six Day War. The Arab League will have their European contacts all set buzzing about the opportunity here now that Gaza has been remarried to Judea and Samaria; they will use the terminology of “West Bank” which was started by Jordan to erase any Jewish connection from history. They are constantly trying to erase that embarrassing little fact, history. Now the Palestinian State has been reunited with the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas, now is the time to force Israel to accept this fact. The Saudi Royal Family will contact their longtime friend and business partner, the former CEO of ExxonMobil and now Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and sell him this marvelous plan which he has to brief President Trump that this is that magic moment where he can press the big deal. Then it all pivots on whether President Trump can make the deal sound plausible to Prime Minister Netanyahu who also desires his Nobel Prize and the acclaim of making that big deal. What both men will also know is they are walking into another Oslo styled trap, but the question is can either of them resist when the temptation and potential rewards are so great?

 

The deal of a lifetime will end up that Israel will be permitted to retain selected cities and towns from Area C and the Palestinian Arabs will get their Capital located in East Jerusalem but only that small area will actually be theirs along with a corridor leading to their compound. There will be no checkpoints along the safe corridor, as it will be acting like a diplomatic corridor which must remain unhindered. Other than this, the Palestinians will turn over weapons and in return receive the pre-Six Day War borders with some minor alterations in the form of one-for-one land swaps. The main selling point will be that Saudi Arabia and Egypt will guarantee that the Palestinian entity will behave itself and they will provide the enforcement oversite which will prevent any terrorism. There will also be the recognition of Israel by the Saudis and their Gulf Cooperation Council members, the GCC Gulf States. This recognition will be granted over the next year as the plans are finalized. The catch is step one has to be initiated immediately before the moment is lost, and that is where the European Union and United Nations General Assembly come into the picture.

 

Both the European Union and the United Nations General Assembly will put forth their recognition of the new Arab State of Palestine accepting the new formula for its borders. The General Assembly recognition will be passed on to the Security Council where everybody will be buzzing with excitement about finally solving the unsolvable. This will add to the pressure on President Trump to simply agree and present this as an accomplished fact to Prime Minister Netanyahu requesting that he just give peace a chance. President Trump will tell Prime Minister Netanyahu how he realizes the risks and that the United States will stand by Israel and insist on placing peacekeeping troops along the border and inside the new state of Palestine to enforce the disarmament. Israel will refuse the peacekeepers along the border preferring to protect their own border but will be tempted to have the United States assisting the Saudis and Egyptians in the weapons collection and disarmament. Iran, meanwhile, will remain remarkably silent about the entire effort hoping not to spoil anything and if they do react, it will be to criticize the Saudis for overstepping their authority and working so closely with the Great Satan and giving the Little Satan too much. This rejecting of the deal will actually be intended to sell the deal, as the more it upsets Iran, the more it will appeal to President Trump. The American Jews will love the plan, at least J-Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Israel Fund and numerous other leftist Jewish NGO’s, many which receive funding from institutions funneling George Soros’s millions. The one big voice supporting the deal will be pretty much unexpected, the Center for Jewish History with their new CEO, David N. Myers.

 

The main reason that Mr. Meyers may have been placed in this position was this reconciliation and the ensuing peace initiative may have been in the works for a while now and the push required an unimpeachable backer which could not be said to be anti-Israel. Mr. Meyers has a history which can be traced and has been revealed by Ronn Torossian which he spelled out in three main articles from the recent past since he was appointed CEO of Center for Jewish History demanding his removal. These articles were titled, “Center For Jewish History new CEO holds radical left viewpoints,” “The Center for Jewish History CEO and Jewish Voices for Peace” and “Center for Jewish History Hosting Jewish Voices for Peace Events” with a follow-up article titled “The Center for Jewish History saga: Good, but not good enough.” These spell and repeat the implications that Mr. Meyers choice for the new CEO of Center for Jewish History was a political plant placed there to allow using the good and reputable name of the institution for reasons of undermining Israel. That it may have all been another piece to the reconciliation plot to force pre-Six Day War styled borders on Israel for some future replay of the Six Day War which the Arab forces still have not accepted their loss. Please allow us to once again post the basics of the odds of the Six Day War and why it was considered to be impossible for Israel to be the victor in the image below.

 

1967 Six Day War Initial Odds in Military Forces

 

The only reason Israel stood any hope was once the Straight of Tiran were closed off by Egypt, that was the casus belli placing Egypt in a declared state of war against Israel with Egypt as the aggressing nation. That allowed Israel to make the next move which they used to destroy the vast majority of the Egyptian Air Force on the ground in a sweeping initial strike. The Israelis had sufficiently good intelligence that they largely left the decoy aircraft on the tarmac unhindered and simple took aim at the actual aircraft. Israel soon removed the remainder of Egyptian airpower from the air allowing them to sweep across the Sinai Peninsula. The sweep across the Sinai Peninsula was the identical plan to the one used in the 1956 Suez Crisis War (Battle Plan Pictured Below) where Israel took the Sinai Peninsula but as soon as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser relented before the French or British also moved on Egypt, the United Nations backed by strong arm tactics by both the Soviet Union and United States with assists from Israeli presumed allies of Britain and France, insisted Israel return the hard won lands. The reason that Israel was permitted her attack in 1956 was identical to 1967, the closure of the Straights of Tiran. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) struck to open the Straights of Tiran with a rather daring amphibious assault destroying the Egyptian emplacements and the artillery and small number of ships they were using to implement their blockade. The IDF also used simultaneous assaults crossing the border using four main routes and six main thrusts. One used the northern route which cut off Gaza which was easily picked up subsequently, one swept from the south and headed westward then north while four swept across the center branching to take the Egyptian fortified positions at crucial passes in the central mountainous regions. All the units met with the amphibious assault along the Suez Canal taking control of the eastern side of the canal. The IDF also encircled the entirety of the Egyptian groups with many forced to surrender. By the end of the thrusts to the Suez Canal, the Israelis found they had more prisoners than they had plans to accommodate so they retained the officers and ranking NCOs ordering the remainder to cross the Suez Canal back to the Egyptian side.

 

Six Day War Battle Assault Advances of Israelis in Sinai Peninsula

Six Day War Battle Assault Advances of Israelis in Sinai Peninsula

 

The border with Egypt was returned to before the Six Day War with Egypt except for the illegally occupied Gaza which Egypt surrendered to the Israelis along with any and all problems it would incur upon them. With huge pressures from United States President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon surrendered all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in August of 2005. The PA subsequently lost Gaza to Hamas aided by Islamic Jihad in a June 2007 coup basically making Gaza a Hamas controlled terror enclave which also gave refuge to Islamic Jihad and numerous smaller groups some aligned with al-Qaeda and others with Islamic State as well as several criminal groups. This is the Gaza which has presumably reconciled with Fatah. This should be almost self-explanatory as to why this reconciliation should be raising doubts and suspicions but instead will be used to try and give the Arabs a reset virtually back to the pre-Six Day War borders, the 1949 Armistice Line, and what Abba Eban referred to as the “Auschwitz borders.” The one thing which President Trump will be permitted is a reprieve as the Arabs will do everything in their power to prevent as much violence as they are able while permitting sufficient terror attacks to keep Israel at a war standing, something Israel has lived with for the past hundred years going back to before there was a nation of Israel. One need only look up on the Internet about the 1929 Arab Pogrom, the 1933 and 1939 Arab Riots and other attacks all before there was even a state of Israel and long before there was any “occupied territories” so the occupation is not an honest cause of the violence, the refusal to accept the Jews presence is the underlying cause. But the Arabs will want to bring the Syria uprising to an end with Bashir al-Assad in power over a basic police state where much of the nation will be members of the Assad military. Assad will retain Russian military presence at the harbor towns where they berth the Russian Atlantic Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Even once Syria has been reconquered, potentially without their Kurdish areas which may request to be included as part of Kurdistan should the world allow such a nation. Just for the record and one more time, we here at BTC totally support the Kurdish needs for their own independent nations with its borders to include the Kurdish areas of Syria and Iraq at a minimum and additionally the Kurdish People living in Turkey and Iran must be permitted to relocate to the Kurdish State if they so choose. We would favor the Kurdish area of Iran most definitely to be added to Kurdistan and some measure of Turkish Kurdish lands be remitted to Kurdistan. The Kurds had been promised by the British their own lands, but due to oil concerns and the promises to the Hashemites, the Kurds were cheated of their homelands and as a consequence, they were divided into minority communities in four nations, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They deserve their own homeland and the Hashemites being granted the majority of their lands which made the remainder impossibly divided sounds so close to the deal that almost prevented Israel from becoming a nation as well.

 

With Syria back in the game, the Arabs still will not move on Israel until the United States has finally turned on Israel and is refusing to aid them in any meaningful way. We hear people screaming that this will never happen. We remember President Obama and know that a President Hillary Clinton would have signaled the end of the United States-Israeli alliance. We remember the vote taken at the Democrat National Convention in 2012 (video below) when they booed G0d and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Arab world will wait for the Democrats to be in control of the White House and at least one-half of the Congress is not the entirety of Congress. They may not appreciate the complete control President Obama had initially with sixty Senators preventing the Republicans from blocking anything in the Senate and a large enough majority in the House of Representatives to shove any legislation through. These were the majorities which gave the United States Obamacare without a single Republican voting for the measures as legislation thus making them a purely Democrat law. The Arabs will wait impatiently until the conditions are perfect which will come with a sign.

 

 

That sign will cone from Washington D.C. when the Congress approves their new Foreign Aid package and there are no military funding for Israel and no general supporting funds voted for Israel or a minimal amount which will prove inconsequential. The Arab League will get assurances through silent back channels that the United States will not support Israel at the United Nations, specifically in the Security Council. Then they will amass troops on the borders and close the Straights of Tiran. Some plans never change; after all, if it failed so well last time, why alter it in any way? There will be one large change; the Egyptian Air Force will have been restationed for war games in Libya or western Sudan placing them at a far longer distance for the Israeli Air Force to need to strike. The heart of the Egyptian Air Force, their most modern aircraft will be stowed away safe in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis will initially remain out of the fight though they will have provided much hardware such as planes and tanks for those nations involved, the Saudis would prefer not to lose troops and face anger at home. Syria will very probably request Russian air cover to protect their Air Force and troop positions along the Golan Heights, the first major target for the Syrian Army likely reinforced with IRGC and Hezballah, as Iran will most definitely desire to be a part of the end of the Zionist entity, the Little Satan. Turkey will also join this time around, as there is nothing which will prevent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from taking part in what the Arab world will honestly believe is their manifest destiny in defeating and destroying Israel.

 

We have painted a picture where Israel, it would appear, has absolutely no chance. These forces from Iraq, Iran and beyond will be assisting with war games in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank while Egypt and other North African nations will be entertained in Gaza thus expanding the front lines reinforcing every position as well as possible. The question is from where will Israeli survivability arrive? Well, we have already ruled out the United States and this time even the American Jews will mostly not invest their money in saving Israel. Many American Jews will sadly not even notice the war in Israel except should they have relatives living in Israel, and even then it is questionable. There will be little cash flowing from the United States to Israel and far less from Europe. There is a possibility that in Europe the Jews will be rounded up and given the choice of Israel or conversion. The United States will be worse as American Jews will have their wealth stripped and they will potentially be deported to Israel unless they renounce their religion. This will be how the conservative religious Orthodoxy will be treated with many opting to join the approved “Open Orthodoxy,” which is not actually all that completely Orthodox. The New Judaism in the United States will, over time, become more of an odd marriage of Protestantism and Reform-Conservative Judaism. Reform Judaism is all but in this sort of category already. Many Reform Jews and far too many Conservative and Open (Modern) Orthodox have intermarried with Christians and are raising their children in both religions forming a kind of dual existence for these children. They light Hanukah lights and place them on a table near the Christmas tree and both holidays resultantly have between eight and twelve days with the first eight including gift giving. It matters little if Hanukah and Christmas actually overlap on the calendar, as the entirety from Thanksgiving to New Years has become one long escape from reality anyways. Easter and Passover, which are inextricably linked even in story and especially history to a great extent, as the Last Supper was actually a Seder Service and meal. This will become the point where Judaism will be decidedly to have died in the United States and much of the remainder of the world. Any Jews who at all identified with Israel will have been forced to decide and make Aliyah.

 

So other than an increase in populations, Jewish population, there may also be another exodus by Arab Israelis fearing the worst. The question is where will Israel find the aid necessary to survive? Will they be able and be received well by China? Will they turn to India, which may be the world’s most populous nation by then. Perhaps South America or a combination which will include the many smaller nations which Israeli IDF specialist troops, medical, engineering, healthcare, search-rescue and other logistical support troops arrived and went to work assisting recovery efforts after an earthquake, hurricane, typhoon, volcano, tsunami or any other natural or man-made disaster. The nations Israel has assisted with medical aid or agricultural programs as well as fresh water electrical power, communications and a plethora of other specialties; could combine and make for an alliance unlike any preceding it in history. And then there is the final place Israel has always turned when her back was against the wall and things looked hopeless, Hashem, and then the miracles come. There was the Six Day War, Yom Kippur War and the 1948-9 War of Independence, which should have been named War for Survival, all of which resulted in some form of victory or, at the least, not total defeat. All the efforts and financial support for terrorism, propaganda, denunciations, BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), acts in the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) attempts to write Israel out of existence refuting historical evidence over Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Ma’arat HaMachpelah) in Hevron, and so many other organizations even to include too many Jewish organizations (listed above in this article) which have as their aim the destruction of Israel. Israel’s entire existence has been and remains a miracle from Hashem. The blessings of Heaven and from Hashem will give Israel and her people the necessary fortitude to survive. The result of the great wars to be brought against this final return of the Jewish People to their homelands was prophesized over a thousand years starting over three thousand years ago. Why the people of so many nations insist on testing the desires of Hashem will never cease to amaze the people who believe in the words of the Prophets and the will of their Divine Master, Hashem.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 19, 2017

One Single Change Would Wipe Out 90% Congressional Corruption

 

If you spend any time on social media you can only come to one conclusion, graft is everywhere except with the less that powerful. The wealthy get away with everything up to and even including murder, though murder is the toughest one to escape. Congress has far too many members who spend three terms, or even two, and if one is astute, one term and walk away as multimillionaires. Many people ask as to how this can be. Many understand and know why this can be and often is. Senators and Representatives are covered by laws which exempt them from insider trading. So if there is a defense bill coming to a vote and the members of Congress know that in six weeks it will pass, it will easily give company XYZ a multi-billion dollar contract which is hundreds of times more than their budget for the previous five years combined. XYZ stock is selling at $1.23 a share six weeks out, so many, but not all as they take turns according to seniority, buy a thousand shares. The bill passes and Wall Street lights up and within two days that stock now sells for $327.77 a share. The Congress members sell their stock at this point making over $325,000.00 for a six week and two day investment in a stock because they cannot be charged with insider trading. This simple trick goes for much more than defense legislation and at every level of government. In the little township, county, city or borough where you live they repair roads, bridges and build parking garages and hire companies to manage all kinds of government projects. Going into such contracts these are often small family businesses with under twenty-five employees and just initially making stock options. That places their stock initially on the volatile IPO (Initial Public Offering) market which is usually the home for high risk, high reward investors and not for the faint of heart. But when you know that a small operation is about to receive a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract that market becomes far less risky and investing becomes a sure bet. This is the sleight of hand, crooked investing which can be found throughout government at all levels. Often those who would prosecute such criminal acts are also clued in on investments when the opportunity is great enough to allow a broad group to make huge benefits without actually raising too much attention. This is why you find so much money going into governmental elections and influencing because the returns are far beyond the pittance invested. Giving a number of city electors a hundred thousand dollars into their election funding and then after they defeat their opponent who received one fifth the amount they will receive multi-million dollar contracts and the city electors investing wisely become millionaires within a few years and move to Tahiti if they are smart, or buy their own newly charted island and refuse extradition to the United States.

 

This is nothing new as it has been how the Senators in Rome maintained their wealth and how the Caesars ruled over these Senators distributing government monies to those who supported them and not the others. The first Caesar, Julius Caesar made a single mistake, he kept the money with the people and refused to feed the graft machine which was the Senate and the commanders of the legions. This resulted in his big day on the Senate steps where he was made into a pincushion using tens of knives as the pins with the final pin, some claim the fifty-first knife, plunged into Caesar’s back by Brutus, “Et tu Brutus?” Wars were fought throughout antiquity to steal the wealth and enrich the King and their closest advisors and generals who commanded the troops protecting the King and winning their wars. Eventually rulers figured out they could simply tax their subjects and by taking a small to modest amount from each subject reap great wealth. Some rulers made the fatal mistake of figuring that if a modest amount granted great wealth, then doubling the tax would double their wealth. That failed as once you cross a critical point draining from the economy the economy becomes unstable and the gravy train dries up and the people revolt. So many greedy kings found their people to be revolting right before they met the guillotine, the sword or other form of execution, some far less noble at the hands of the rabble. Governmental systems have changed, governing has not. Governing is still how to provide the people with sufficient services and comfort while stealing as much as the market will bear enriching the governing. Can this poisoning of government be rooted out and extinguished? Probably not for as Campaign Finance Reform should have taught the people of the United States is that no matter how you rig the game and what you do to take the money from the hands and supporting structures of the elected public servants, they will simply invent some way around the laws, appear not to actually control what they are forbidden, have an indirect but close knot control of these funds and will make away with the wealth in the end. What is more diabolical and evil are those high government employees who are just below the appointed position who are civil servants, thus presumably untouchable by those in power, gaining wealth through careful investing and manipulation of portfolios to take advantage of information which comes across their desks as part of enacting the particulars of legislations. This has gotten far more prevalent as the legislation leaves the entirety of the building and enacting the structures to fulfill the demands of vague legislations thus allowing much of the distribution of contracts and such to these civil servants. There is little chance that these civil servants are all so clean as to not make investments or find other means of enriching themselves. There are far too many very wealthy government employees whose salaries are less than twenty-five thousand dollars a year, how did they become wealthy? Little problem in figuring that out, is there.

 

Shine a Light on Corruption

Shine a Light on Corruption

 

Money is the grease which oils the wheels of government. That remains true to this day and will likely remain true far into the future. The opportunities to become wealthy from being in the right place to hear the next outlay of millions of dollars by government cannot be eliminated until the government is trusted to machines, and then the question will be who monitors and runs the machines. All we can do is alter where the weakest links are placed and thus who gains from inside information. The history of mankind has in part been the history of seeking perfect governance and the failure at virtually every juncture. There was once a governance which was as close to that perfection people seek but is unwieldy as the people must have the faith to trust their safety and protection from other nations and their invasions or other entreaties to an entity they cannot know and claim daily their inability to understand their ruling entity trusting the messengers who claim to be the sole recipients of that wisdom. This was the ruling by Hashem over the initial Israelite Tribes through the prophets and judges. There was not government largess to benefit from its wealth and how it was distributed as all was in the hands of Hashem and there were no government programs. Roads were made by people traveling between locations using the same route which eventually packs the ground making a clear and obvious path, not what you would desire to drive your brand new Lexus across but perfectly fine for your donkey. Even the advances far, far back around 1100 BCE forced the Israelites to demand to have a King like the neighboring nations to lead their army and protect them from the threats emerging around them and Torah records that Hashem told the Judges and Prophets that should the Israelites demand some form of governance to provide them security, then they should be permitted such governance. This resulted in their taking a king asking the leading prophet to anoint their king leading to King Saul. Saul was not the worst of kings or the best, but his reign led directly through some odd circumstance to King David and then King Solomon which was the shining period where the tribes of Israel were united into a singular nation which conquered lands up to the Euphrates River (see maps below showing Twelve Tribes, King David and Solomon conquest and the promised lands for Israel according to treaties from World War I). Following Kings were less successful with the eventual downfall which coincided with a king who was an idolater and placed idols inside Solomon’s Temple, a low point for the Tribes of Israel. Over the next centuries the Israelites managed to throw off tyrants or be granted autonomy under the sovereignty of a greater power. The Israelites were even permitted to build the Second Temple which included Herod building what is today the Western Wall, built over six hundred years before the founding of Islam and about a century before the birth of Jesus. Herod made himself great amounts of wealth, sufficient to build himself a mountain with a castle and burial crypt in the Northern Negev and live a lavish life of opulence simply by giving the people what they demanded, the Temple Complex, and collect taxes in order to provide the people their desires while fulfilling his own. This has been the formula of effective governance for centuries both before and since, especially since. Many of the iconic public works projects, if investigated and audited meticulously would reveal that many within the government and closely tied to people in the governance and especially with the planning of public works gained great wealth. Be the works be a huge clock in the middle of London, a great dock providing thousands of new jobs in Amsterdam or almost any public work one could mention.

 

Left side map depicts the division of the Promised Land amongst the tribes and right side map compares the modern promised land from the Jordan west to the Mediterranean Sea compared to the maximum of area during King David’s and King Solomon’s reigns.

 

So, how can the vast majority of this corruption, this theft of the public treasure be prevented? The quickest would be to subject politicians and public servants (government workers) to the same laws as the public and demand an accounting of their incomes and investments as well as careful auditing of all contracts. Make all government bids by law be the final price charged with no cost overruns, no additional surprises, and no adjustments or new demands during production that allow for fudging numbers and hiding payouts. Adding that whatever the estimated date of delivery be set such that any time overrun resulting in a percentage of the initial payments budgeted being returned to government as a means of compensating the public for these delays. This would force defense contractors to make realistic and exacting bids instead of making a lowball bid knowing they can increase the cost through delays and cost overrun demands after the initial bid is accepted. The F-35 JSF is a prime example with it coming to delivery a good part of a decade late with cost overruns and technical problems resulting in the price of each fighter costing a good deal closer to double the expected and quoted price. Had these costs been included in the initial bid it is quite possible that the bid might have gone to a competitor. The current development and bidding system used by government contractors, especially in the defense industry, is to guess at what it might cost and to make a bid at three-quarters of that estimate completely confident that the remainder and more sufficient to make the profit desired as well as cover any difficulties along the way. This is a legalized form for guaranteeing theft. If, on the other hand, contractors were made to provide what they promised for the price they bid, and not a plug nickel over, then the bids would be far more realistic and shades higher to cover the expected of the unexpected, or should we simply call it the unplanned snags and other complications. This would allow the government and the voting public, should they be interested, to understand, and know ahead of time, exactly what projects will cost. Currently the public knows that the quoted bids are a ruse and perhaps if they were guaranteed these bids would be the exact delivery price the public might take a real interest. As things are, why bother with the bidding when one really need wait as long as a decade to find out the actual delivery price because there is little or no actual oversight.

 

Government needs to become a business, not a joke, a poke in the dark where truth is a rare commodity and concealed misappropriation the rule of thumb. If a butcher ran his store as governments are run his scale would be off by 10% and he would often have his thumb on the scale as well. Nothing would be as it appears and the rule of buyer be wary would be most necessary. Governments, when designed in democratic based nations, are presumed to be open and to be overseen by the people who by being informed can make solid and reasoned votes for their representatives. Oh, if only this were true. The reality is we elect our candidates or parties, pending on whether we have a representative democracy or a parliamentary system, according to elaborate shows designed to thrill and titillate the public with elaborate deceptions designed to sell the product making it appear more responsible than the governance’s results. The entire production is very Hollywood and just as much a fantasy. This all results in a governance just as deceptive as are the campaigns and the people depicted therein. There is an easy way which we can attest from our experience in running a campaign for the United States House of Representatives where we spent at most $10,000 and received more voted per dollar than either of our high priced opponents despite not quite garnering 3% of the vote (still the record for third party candidates where we ran). Now we feel it is important to point out that this was a campaign for a job which pays $174,000 per year (current salary) for two years for a total of $348,000 total before having to run again. Our two opponents each spent very close to the same amount on their campaigns which was estimated to have been that one spent $1,200,000 and the other spent $2,200,000. These figures for our opponents do not include PAC and Party funds and advertising. Please explain how that explains spending for a job paying $348,000 which only one of us had even a dream of showing a profit unless something else was going on. And Americans complain they cannot figure out what is wrong with their governance. Of course this is not something peculiar to the United States but exists in every government across the world. Democratic nations probably suffer the least from such deception as they do kind of have to answer to the people and when the people get upset, that distress trumps all else. In dictatorial regimes the difference is far more marked as the ruling elite get the best of what is available, that is when there is a best of available to be had. In those places suffering the worst governances imaginable, such as North Korea and Venezuela, eating and having even the necessities can be considered an extravagance. Until we return to Hashem ruling the people or machines keeping humans as their pets, there will be those people using the government for self-enrichment. Always has been and always will be, or so it appears.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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