Beyond the Cusp

July 22, 2016

The Lens that Clears the Vision, Thomas Sowell

 

Whenever one sees an article written by Thomas Sowell one can safely believe it will be entertaining, instructive and likely to clarify to its crystalline essence whatever subject or conjecture on which he is writing. Thus was his recent article on his favorite subject, as he is a renowned economics professor, income inequality and why everything in life is not fair or evenly distributed. He writes on this from varying angles always providing examples which even the lesser and uneducated in economics will fully grasp. His example this time was precious as it showed two examples in one lesson, something he likely intended. Apparently somebody seeking high and low for inequality recently attached onto a new cause célèbre which is as silly as it is laughable, the uneven distribution against women at the highest levels of chess. To use another of Prof. Sowell’s examples, this is like asking why midgets are so underrepresented in the NBA or the NFL, as one would have to conclude there has to be some position they would excel at making them desirable. As Prof. Sowell makes as his main point, not that many women, especially young women in high school or college desire playing chess, not even the most nerdy (my observation), and you find largely male membership in Chess Clubs and competitions. My observation was the under-representation of females on the Math Team in my high school of over three-thousand students where there were two out of twenty plus members on the math team, including one reluctant me (long story includes threats of failing grades from my math teacher and faculty advisor to the math team), and we elected one as the team leader. Still, even representation would have required eighteen additional female students or cutting the team down to two boys and girls and being disqualified as each team must have eight members to compete. If memory serves me correctly, there were no girls, young women, in the chess club or on the team and, knowing the fellow nerds who populated these groups, these boys would have killed to have a young woman, or any woman, join their club and team and such a person would have been treated as a goddess or something close.

 

Professor Thomas Sowell

Professor Thomas Sowell

 

Anyway, back on subject. As Prof. Sowell makes clear, the top positions in chess are computed by games won and lost and against whom. I had an uncle by marriage who was a rated chess master with competition points and he never was able to rise higher than competing in local area and sometimes had qualified for state wide competition but never higher. We played a game of chess; he destroyed me eventually, where he commented that I had a head for the game and played a very disorganized but effective game. He wanted me to start entering tournaments and studying the game seriously. Anyone who knows me knows I take very few things seriously, even politics, and find amusement wherever I can find some. Yes, this presidential race in the United States should provide me entertainment galore, or will it be entertainment of gore? I expect it will be a mud-slinging contest with blood drawn on both sides and whoever wins will emerge a walking wounded with wounds the press will allow to heal or continue shooting at depending who wins. End tangent. Chess positions do not care what gender you are, what race you are, what religion you worship or even if you have a religion at all, they care about your proven record and nothing else. One gains points for every win even if it is minuscule as one would gain beating me in a first round match of the Northwest Israel Chess Tournament, if there is one. I am unranked and likely would need to find a more local tournament, say one from my apartment complex, all two buildings of it, or slightly larger (being in Israel I suspect there is a high density of chess players with any serious players). Should you be ranked and placed against a past champion and lose there might still be points, I am not sure how their ranking points are gained, and should you win there would be a larger number of points than beating little old me. So, if a woman, and my guess is there are many ranked women players even if few if any are in the top ten, were to amass serious points and rise in the ranking then she would rate entering the top level tournaments. This is where things get sticky as one might point out that since men hold the top spots, a woman might be on edge and off her game facing all male competition in a tournament. So what are the tournament managers to do, give her a tranquilizer to calm her, which would definitely be an egregious interference and led to investigations that they were attempting to keep her from winning. Believe it or not, they do not simply give women one-thousand competition points for showing up and men two-hundred-fifty-thousand competition points for showing up. They give points for winning games and only for winning games at the beginning and on throughout competition the big points go to winners and others, well, it’s tough when you lose.

 

As Prof. Sowell points out, life is full of examples of inequities. Jobs, wealth, careers, sports, and any other category one can measure even including numbers of the population and numbers of registered voters, both of which women have the slight advantage of fifty-one or two percent against men being forty-eight or nine percent. Women could elect nearly an all women Congress with at least three-hundred out of four-hundred-thirty-five Representatives and easily sixty-five Senators against thirty-five men. President would equally be a woman should only women support their candidacy. This is an important statistical fact which will be very important in the coming Presidential Election as if for any reason Hillary Clinton does not win the Presidency, it will not be because she was a woman and men did not support her as she would win if women and only women voted for her in high nineties percent so Hillary loses only if she does not win the votes of all women. And do not for a minute think her advisors do not know this as it is partly what is behind the “First woman President” sloganeering which is aimed at the whole of the population but is even more targeting women as with the women’s vote Hillary could win with almost no male votes. Hillary is counting heavily that she can win and force a high turnout of minorities, women high amongst them, and swing as many married women to vote for her despite their husband voting for Trump or third party candidates as splitting the household votes by gender Hillary can win hands down as she knows she likely has the singles vote in her favor. The Presidency is Hillary’s for the taking and if she loses, it will be solely because she was unable to convince sufficient women to vote for her and Trump somehow wooing these women voters. With the accusations against Trump and his public history of divorce and other alleged and some proven activities, he should have some degree of difficulty winning the women’s vote. His one saving grace has been that his hosting of women’s pageants and reality television without even the suspicion of improprieties, there is little proof of him acting in any manner other than respectfully over the years of such involvements. Any such accusations which may appear now seemingly out of the blue, they should be considered to be opportunists or politically motivated attempts to take advantage of his candidacy and probable desire to end such intimidations with minimal publicity. The problem, as we see it, is that even if advised to fold before such challenges as quickly and quietly as possible, Trump will be more likely to take these challenges on directly and very publically when he feels assured of no actual wrong-doing. As far as Trump is concerned, if he can win the suit, he can also play this as campaign advertising of his being above board and forthright in his dealings. This is something we will have to observe as the campaign quickens this fall.

 

There is another front that will be brought to the fore, the companies in which Donald Trump has invested and went bankrupt, some almost immediately. One need know about finances at the level that Donald Trump lives in as they sometimes are purchased companies which have assets or other qualities which are required by other assets. In such instances a failing company can be restructured and made profitable providing it can be purchased or merged with other assets or with a structured payment schedule to meet obligations and thus bankruptcy is a means of saving as much of an investment as is economically sound. These bankruptcies are an intricate and necessary part of investing and making the needed adjustment to gain a return on your investment. It is the same as when one buys a new car and trades their older vehicle as the down-payment. When would you trade in your thirty year old baseline truck which barely functions and has not been driven in ten years, in a regular trade-in or when the dealer offers that if you can drive it in they will give you $5,000.00 in trade-in? The answer is obvious and investments are exactly the same, you do what maximizes your return or, in a bad situation, what minimizes your losses.

 

It would be wise to remember that business is business and politics is not. Politics is all about painting your opponents as the greatest evil the world has ever witnessed. This can be accomplished easily with anyone whose life took place outside of politics as the political world is completely opposite of the business world. In politics it is all about looking at inequalities and promising the masses at the bottom you will give them monies from those at the top. This is due to the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of those at the bottom for everyone to ten at the top. A truth which no politician will tell you is that somebody earning two-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars a year is in the top ten percent and those earning over seventy-five-thousand dollars a year are the top twenty-five percent. If minimum wage is pushed to fifteen dollars an hour, that is slightly more than thirty-thousand dollars a year for a forty hour week, that currently in comfortably in the top fifty percent. As it is not possible to have even minimum wage earners be in the top fifty percent, what does one think will be the result? The result is that employers will invest in the construction of robotics to perform these minimum wage jobs just as Wendy’s has already done by replacing cashiers and delivery people from their burger operations and made it an automated system. Similar but less polished systems existed in the 1950’s and were called automat food stores and were big because it was in these years that the minimum wage was increased above the median salary for workers. When this is what happens and those positions which used to be below median salary are forced by minimum wages to be above median, then they will be minimized or erased from the job market as they become unsupportable. When politicians tell you that a company is making undue profit, they are spinning an evil tale that making profit, the driving impetus of all businesses, is an evil when in reality if a business comes close to breaking even and producing no profit, the seeming desire of politicians, then the entire operation comes under inspection and the weaker links are optimized, automated, or cost-lotted out to another company and the people in that department stand for some or all to lose their jobs. Business is in business to make profits and profits tend towards the top but all gain when the company gains as then there are more funds for salaries. All business models have a set percentage they denote as for salaries and the management is tasked with seeing that salaries remain within those guidelines. Often management is granted a bonus for keeping salaries in check and not exceeding their budgeted amount. Anything below budget will then be shared with a set percentage, usually under five percent, is given to the manager for keeping salaries below target. That is simply how business functions at all levels as the vice-president of a company gets a bonuses for keeping costs, including salaries, below target for expenditures, thus giving management limits and limiting managements’ salaries under their control.

 

On another side, when a candidate claims they can control government spending, especially a presidential candidate who is from the business world, they are ignoring an important reality, they answer to Congress as equal branches and not as president to underlings. Congress can adopt an agenda and has the power to overrule a Presidential veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses. Should Trump win the Presidency he will not even have the total support of the Republicans in the Congress and probably none of the Democrats so he will be facing an adversarial Congress and will have only one means of defeating an objectivist Congress, the will of the people. This was what President Reagan used and made possible with his common sense appeals to the people he made during numerous policy speeches he gave in prime time. We expect a President Trump would need to do likewise as his appeal will be dependent on the support of the public. The one thing Trump would have in his favor is that many people who may not have supported his candidacy and voted for Hillary Clinton or one of the third party candidates (leftist liberals all including the Libertarian Party and of course the Green Party) might support some even if not all of his policy positions and thus legislation towards those ends. Where I find Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan to be somewhat a slur, I would change it to “Make America’s Greatness Known (Evident) Again” as a better and more accurate representation as America is still the world’s leading nation despite the efforts of the past eight years. As far as Prof. Sowell might say, we need a President to bring all America into the best and most competitive edge over the rest of the world so America can shine bright again. The secret for doing this is actually simple; America needs to make everything using smarter and more accurate precision and the highest possible quality and dependability and that will place America at the forefront again. America needs to be amongst if not the best over the rest making America worth the extra cost because the product is worth the extra cost. This is why the majority of the world buys American military equipment and how Israel, Britain, Russia, China, Czech Republic, Germany and a select group of others manage to sell their military equipment. Israel triumphs in avionics and command and control systems for military uses while the Czech Republic makes some of the finest accuracy rifles and dependable assault grade weapons and Germany has a high quality main battle tank every bit as good as the American Abrams and the Israeli Merkava and Russia has the best fighter jets per ruble using less technology dependent systems thus easier maintenance. These are simply proof that when you make the best for a certain price range then you will own that market and America needs to reclaim some markets which though not languishing have been inhibited from moving to the next level by regulations and tax policies which do not reward such improvements. That is it plain and simple and do not sweat that somebody makes more money than you, work harder and deserve that money and you will find you too will advance. Sometimes you might even be required to take a different position in your or in another company for a little less or the same but that is just another opportunity to prove oneself and take off from there. After all, you only make master point in chess by beating somebody who already earned their own masters points and the better chess players you can best, the higher the points you will earn and it is all about amassed points and nothing else.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 12, 2016

The Hard Truth in Action

 

We need to establish a small matter for defining what makes a civilized human being. Does a civil human being assist people in distress? How about if it is a group of women? A group of women in their eighties out for a stroll when they are assaulted and two or three are hurt, even bleeding? Do you agree with me that any normal human being with an ounce of human emotions and compassions would jump in and at the very least call for an ambulance if not apply basic first aid? I would hope we are in agreement on at least this much as a true test of humanity and moral humanity. Now we can proceed with the article. We can examine a morning in Jerusalem and a string of events which scream a reality which, until the world wraps their arms around this, are faced in Israel almost daily.

 

The news I read the other day in this article about a group of five octogenarians, grandmothers or potentially great-grandmothers, but that is simply some additional information which makes these ladies potentially even more deserving of civility, was shocking in its inhumanity. Unfortunately that was quite the case this past week as they set out as they had many times before for their stroll around the Promenade near their assisted care residence. These lively ladies, well, lively for octogenarians of either gender and may we be capable of such a stroll when we reach that fine age, faced a horror purely shocking in its remifications. There was something these ladies had not prepared for, as how does one prepare to be violated walking right next to their residence. That was when they heard one of their company scream out, not in pain but in warning. Marina Fuchs, 86, shouted to her friends: “Girls, run, run!” Further information on this cowardly attack can be read here. The attack was as horrific as it was disgusting, completely disgusting and carried out by some really depraved excuses for human beings as no normal human would ever commit such an assault against women for starters and octogenarian women at that.

 

So we have an assault of five octogenarian women by a pair of bold, brave, stout, masked terrorists and also unbelievably vicious risk adverse terrorists who had been obviously seeking the easiest prey they could find and who have more to be ashamed over than they have to their credit for drawing blood from a couple of eighty year old plus women. Such boldness should never go unpunished, even by their fellow jihadists. These women who ended up as the targets for these brave soldiers of Allah were walking by the Haas Promenade as has been their habit. Perhaps having their promenade on the promenade take place around the same time day after day made them targets. Who chooses a group of eighty plus year old ladies as their target, we do not care how regular and dependable these ladies walking the promenade happened to be. Eighty year old ladies are far from appropriate targets unless the aim is to murder every last Israeli. That may not be all that far from their target, but that we will reach later. The immediate problem is entirely separate for now. These assailants, terrorists, set upon two of the women, eighty year old women, stabbing them multiple times, one stabbed from behind, and then fled before the remaining three actually knew what had struck their friends. As noted above, one of the stabbed victims shouted out her warning, not necessarily that concerned for her own welfare but thinking of the welfare of her friends. She immediately warned the others with her yelling of, “Girls, run, run!” The rest were taken aback by their friend’s scream but turned and saw their friends fallen onto the pavement with one obviously bleeding from her chest. The attackers had run off probably scared defenseless that the remaining three eighty year old women might turn on them and disarm them beating them senseless with their purses. These two brave attackers had seen how vicious old women with purses are capable of becoming when seeing Monty Python.

 

Seriously, the other women did not flee but instead returned to assist their friends as best as they were able. This was where the story became really sickening. They turned to some construction workers who were taking a break near to the scene for assistance. They did not expect these men to be physicians; they simply requested that they call for an ambulance. The workmen refused to assist initially pretending not to understand Hebrew and then feigning to be having important discussions on their phones making them unable to disconnect and phone for help, or possibly place their all-important call on hold pausing it to call for help. Marina Fuchs revealed that Arab laborers at the scene of the attack refused to help the Jewish victims, even as they bled from their stab wounds. She reported that, “We walked and next to the bathrooms stood Arabs who were cleaning there. We asked them to call an ambulance. They wouldn’t agree to do so, and acted as if they were talking on the phone.” The assailants were an evil enough representation but this was even a worse representation of the depth of the Arab hatred for the Jews residing amongst them as they desire the Jews not just gone but dead, and that was what this refusal indicates and is what everyone in the world needs to understand. There are far too many who would instead of criticizing the Arabs would claim that if this is so bothersome, then maybe the Jews should heed this hatred and simply leave and return from whence they came. The question then has to be where does the half of the Israeli population, Jewish population, who were spat out by their former Arab nations go? These Jews had never resided in Europe or elsewhere and their families had resided in their Arab homes through thick and thin for, in many cases, over a thousand years. Where do these Jews go, suggestions?

 

Eventually help was called and the Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics treated the victims and evacuated them to Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital. The MDA senior paramedic spokesperson Shlomi Tedgi reported, “We saw two elderly women, about 80 years old, lying on the dust by the promenade. They were fully conscious and suffered from stab wounds, one in her limbs and her upper body and the other in her upper body. They talked and interacted with us. We gave them field medical treatment an evacuated them to the hospital. They were in moderate but stable condition.” Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital reported that the elderly ladies they treated are both in moderate condition with wounds to their backs and limbs.

 

Octogenarian Women Haas Promenade Terror Scene

Octogenarian Women Haas Promenade Terror Scene

 

Were this refusal be the Arab worker an isolated instance, then perhaps the argument could be made that it was an outlier, an isolated incident and dismissed as a boorish response to fellow human beings in distress. Unfortunately it is simply reminiscent of a more tragic incident just this past October in the Old City sections of Jerusalem. This incident was in many ways even worse scenario as in this attack Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, age forty-one, and Aharon Banita Bennett, age twenty-one, lost their lives while Bennett’s wife was seriously wounded and his two-year-old son was lightly wounded. The deadly attack took place on Hagai Street immediately adjacent to a medical clinic. This Arab health clinic was open and fully staffed at the time of the incident yet not a single staff member went to the aid of the injured and dying despite pleadings for assistance. This was not the end of the disgusting behavior as the residents of this Arab neighborhood mocked and laughed at Bennett’s wounded wife as she tried to escape the attacker and was seeking assistance, any assistance. This has not always been the response and to be fair there have been Arab families who have taken in Jews in distress hiding them from mobs which would have easily murdered them. These instances are instructive as the Arab families who decide to take such bold actions are often at the behest of the head of household who pleads to never be identified as they fear their governing Palestinian Authority, if not their neighbors, would murder them. Assisting a Jew is almost always punished as it is seen as supporting the Zionist enemy. The unfortunate thing is those willing to risk everything and act humanely are in the minority and often pay the price for their heroic deeds. Still, when physicians refuse to give aid, what may have been life-saving aid, that is a whole new area which can only leave one to wonder how any peace can be reached when the population holds such animosity.

 

This hatred has been cultivated through the Palestinian Authority and related media, schools, entertainment industry and enforced through laws making interactions such as selling an apartment or land to a Jew or Jewish institution punishable by death. The indoctrination has been instituted for over two generations and has taken such a poisonous affect that even if peace were reached tomorrow it would take numerous generations to undo the damages already inflicted. It is the deep-seated animosity and visceral hatreds which now prevent any peace from being initiated as Mahmoud Abbas, even if he desired peace, which his actions prove he does not, he would be murdered in the most horrific of manners imaginable by his own people for making such an agreement. It would not matter how he would plead that he had tricked the Jews, just the picture of him in a signing ceremony with an Israeli would be sufficient cause for his lynching. The reason Abbas demands ever more ludicrous concessions from the Israelis just to simply meet once, shake hands, and never meet again and end all even motions of negotiating a peace can be traced to the absolute poisoning of the waters separating the Arab Palestinian society from the Jews. The proof of which way the animosity and hatreds flow is easily represented as the above is indicative of Arab refusal to even call an ambulance for an eighty year old woman victim of a terrorist stabbing and the refusal by medical “professionals” to treat Jews stabbed right outside their clinic while the examples of Israeli hospitals treating Arab Palestinians are long and documented well. Here are just a few stand-out examples of Arabs treated by Israeli hospitals, Ismail Haniyeh’s daughter’s week-long admission to a hospital in Tel Aviv, Mahmoud Abbas’s wife treated in Israel, mother-in-law of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Gazan child with severe burns is being treated in an Israeli hospital after a devastating house fire in Gaza and we could continue this for hours as this search in Google proves but one would be beyond hard-pressed to find a single case of an Israeli, Arab, Jew or other, being treated in a Palestinian Hospital. This does not mean to overshadow this terror attack against these elderly women and the refusal to even lift a finger and call an ambulance by nearby Arab workers which itself speaks volumes.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 27, 2013

Women in Combat, the United States Joins the World

Secretary of Defense Panetta told the press and the world that the United States ban on women in combat was to be terminated and now all military positions and MOS are now available to all regardless of gender. There were the expected gasps and exclamations predicting the end of the military as we have known it. Others congratulated the United States for finally joining the modern world and recognizing that women are equal to men and should be allowed entrance into all fields, especially those provincially thought to be the providence of men. We would like to make a bold prediction. There will be very few women lining up to enter into combat arms and of those who take that route the majority will decide it is not worth the effort demanded. There will not be an end to the world or the military as we know them and everything will continue on with barely a ripple. Oh, sure there will be a great din from the extremes still fighting the same battle over the wisdom of allowing women into combat arms, except the sides will have changed. Now it will be those who once argued against the status quo defending it and vice-versa. The only question left to answer is what will happen should the United States become involved in a war with women on the front lines?

The answer to that question has actually already been answered. Does anybody remember Jessica Lynch? Not how her story turned tragic, but the initial shock and reaction to her being taken captive in Iraq. Suddenly Jessica Lynch became the most important captive in the entire Iraq War. The rescue of Private Lynch became the highest priority for the military, the press and pretty much the entire country if not the world, or at least much of it. Special Forces went into high gear with planning and executing a plan without taking six months to do practice runs, or even six days. We heard all about the valiant Private Lynch who fought off as long as she could finally going down with serious injuries to which she finally succumbed allowing her capture. It was the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. There was even a movie made based on the theme of her resistance and capture. Then something really terrible happened, the truth. The truth sparked outrage and hearings in Congress where Private Lynch explained she never fired her weapon or put up any resistance or even knew any of the events. It turn out she was knocked unconscious when her truck wrecked and woke up captured. The whole house of cards collapsed and the brave woman fighting as bravely just like a man or even better was borne out as the lie it was. The arguments that Private Lynch’s heroic stance was proof that women could stand in combat just as strong and steady as any man also fell apart with the rest of the myth that was sold to the public.

The United States nearly fell apart over one woman caught by the freak instance, something which could become more prevalent with women in combat roles, so what happens when such is reported regularly on the nightly news. My question is what would happen should a battle go poorly and a fair number, say four or five, women be captured. Then what will happen when the press reports this incident? The truth about women being placed on the front lines is not the real question which ever needed to be answered. The real question is how will the United States public react when women are captured or worse, come home in numbers in caskets? Are the people of the United States ready when such occurrences become a common part of future conflicts? Whether or not women can perform in a combat role has never been the question. Even what affect women fighting and possibly dying or being captured will have on their male comrades was not the question. The training and daily rigors of being in a combat unit will weed out any women not physically strong or mentally capable of thriving or even barely surviving in a combat role. Thirty mile forced marches and the other physical and mental requirements which are a part of every year’s training along with the daily runs, calisthenics, weapons training, weapons maintenance and the rest of the rigors involved with being in a front line unit will weed out those who find such to be beyond what they are willing to do.

There are reasonable questions about unit cohesion and the possibilities of relation between soldiers within units are another angle which will produce problems which will need to be addressed. Such problems will not be as difficult as those faced since the change of the policy regarding homosexuals allowing them to serve openly. Any problem that has been predicted to result from women in a combat unit are not as critical as they have been made out to be and likely already there are procedures on how to handle them which can be adopted from other units which have had women and men serving together, even in the field, for as long as we have had a standing military. The military is not where the problem will lie as the one thing the military is adept at it is solving problems and taking care of those who do not follow the rules. The military has procedures, rules, regulations, and all that any organization could ever need to cover any situation which might crop up. It’s the civilians that are the largest potential for problems as we are not under any strict regimentation and stringent codes of conduct, nor are we used to the kind of environment which the military is at its most efficient. We need not concern ourselves with how the military will operate and adjust to women serving in combat units and on the front lines as the military will take it all in stride, write a few more rules, establish some new customs, and then march off to take care of business because that is what the military does. As long as we, the civilians, can give them our support or at least stay out of their way, then the military will take care and adjust to women within their combat ranks just as they have handled every other change societies have been placing upon their shoulders since before Thermopylae. So, hopefully we can have people stop claiming that the military will have big problems when what we really mean is that many in the public will have big problems adjusting and accepting women serving in front line combat units.

Beyond the Cusp

« Previous Page

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: