Monday, January 15, 2018

Guest Post: Israel's Accomplishments and Contributions to the World

Contributed by Carrie

A bit of research points out that Israel is the best ally we have had since WWII! Whether you know it or not, many of the triumphs listed below have benefited you in one way or another.
Israel is driven to help others around the world. This tiny nation’s accomplishments have been shared world-wide to benefit humanity, no matter the politics. Just look at the sample list of highlights of this amazing nation’s achievements.

1. The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.  Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds per year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

2. Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:
     a. The cell phone was developed in Israel by working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
     b. Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft - Israel.
     c. The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium - 4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel. The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.
     d.  Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
     e.  Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.
     f.  The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

3. Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia, and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16's. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the United States.

4. Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.

5. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

6. According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

7. Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

8. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people - as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

9. In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute numbers, Israel has the largest number of start-up companies compared to every other country in the world, except the U.S.! (3,500 companies mostly in high-tech).  With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of high-tech companies in the world, apart from the Silicon Valley, U.S.

10. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.
Outside of the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies.

11. Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

12. On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

13. Twenty-four per cent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland.  Further, 12 percent hold advanced degrees.

14. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

15. In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon and Moses) at Risk in Ethiopia to safety in Israel.

16. When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.

17. When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day and consequently saved three victims from the rubble.

18. Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship, and the highest rate among women and among people over 55, in the world.

19. Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.  (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union)

20. Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."

21. Israel has the world's second highest per capita number of new books.

22. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert!

23. Israel has more museums per capita than any other country in the world.

24. Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

25. Regarding the medical field, an Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment.  Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

26. Israel’s Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. It is used to view the small intestine from the inside to spot cancer and digestive disorders.

27. Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera and helps doctors diagnose a heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.

28. Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions, Israel places first in this category as well.

29. A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct, all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

30. An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant in southern California's Mojave Desert.

31. Israel has proven itself as a world leader in desalination after decades of research and entrepreneurship. Despite the criticism that it is expensive, (Israel is working on this issue too) desalination is being used globally as a major solution to water shortages. As a world-leader in water technologies, Israel’s experts are helping communities around the globe to harvest water from the ocean.


All of the above have been accomplished while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth.

Thanks to Carrie for contributing this post!

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Destructiveness of Identity Politics

In 1998 a brilliant engineer friend of mine called me and enticed me to come to work for him in starting up a new wireless network engineering consulting firm based out of the San Francisco area.  I was intrigued, so I jumped into my pickup and left Dallas, and gladly sped out to this most paradoxically amazing city.  It was a beautiful place with many interesting people.  It was also a mess and its intrinsic progressivism was not helping to make it better.  That said, the company got off to a good start in spite of this as we had signed several big contracts with large national wireless carriers in the region for our engineering and tower construction services despite the local governmental red tape.

One particular day, my friend and I met with a perspective new client that had agreed in principle to retain our services.  We were sitting together at a business lunch as my friend provided the resumes and profiles of several of the engineers we were offering for the project.  First were the two brothers from South Korea who were smart and knew how to get things done.  Next was the gentleman who was born in Nigeria and educated in the United States.  Then there was the young girl who was a recent college graduate, and then a white gentleman who was originally from the upper mid-west.

The client looked at the profiles, which included pictures, and then commented that he was impressed by the diversity of our engineering staff we had offered and thought very highly of this.  My friend and I looked at each other with a slightly confounded look on each of our faces.  It never occurred to either of us that we were presenting Asians, African-Americans, women, and a token white guy as a matter of filling some diversity quota, but rather these were the people that interviewed with us whom were best qualified for the job.  While obviously being aware of identity politics, it was the first time that it really came clearly into my conscious focus; it was my first real first-hand experience demonstrating that many of our leftist brothers and sisters do indeed look at people first through the prism of race and gender.

Identity politics has continuously crept into American society and has indeed been an integral part of most college curriculums and cultures for decades now as the militant Left in academia have taken the reigns of control over most of our universities and colleges.

Author Bruce Bawer in The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Politics and the Closing of the Liberal Mind regarding this leftist infestation in our institutions of higher learning, wrote the following, 
“The point [became] simply to ‘prove’ – repetitively, endlessly – certain facile, reductive, and invariably left-wing points about the nature of power and oppression.  In this new version of the humanities, all of Western civilization is not analyzed through the use of reason or judged according to aesthetic standards that have been developed over the centuries; rather, it is viewed through prisms of race, class, and gender, and is hailed or condemned in accordance with certain political checklists.”  
But why?  What was the reason and supposed necessity for the Leftist ascendancy of identity politics?

Matthew Continetti, the editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon gave a speech last October that provides some insight as to why he thinks this came to be:
“The beginnings of identity politics can be traced to 1973, the year the first volume of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago – a book that demolished any pretense of communism’s moral authority – was published in the West.  The ideological challenge of socialism was fading, its fighting spirit dwindling.  This presented a challenge for the Left: how to carry on the fight against capitalism when its major ideological alternative was no longer viable?
The Left found its answer in an identity politics that grew out of anti-colonialism.  Marx’s class struggle was reformulated into an ethno-racial struggle – a ceaseless competition between colonizer and colonized, victimizer and victim, oppressor and oppressed.  Instead of presenting collectivism and central planning as the gateway to the realization of genuine freedom, the new multiculturalist Left turned to unmasking the supposed power relations that subordinated minorities and exploited third world nations.” 
And so the Left began indoctrinating our impressionable college students during the genesis of this nefarious ideology.  English classes became the study of texts to uncover power relations hidden within them.  History courses became “people’s history and their oppression”.  And of course we saw the rise and development at nearly every university of African-American Studies, Women’s studies, Chicano Studies, Queer Studies, and so forth, as we further tried to balkanize our national populace into disparate sub-groups of Americans. 

Of course anyone having the temerity to point this out was met with being labeled a racist, just as this practice of playing the race card has persisted among our sisters and brothers on the far Left today.

This pernicious ideology of dividing Americans through identity politics has become increasingly pervasive in our national culture.  Indeed on May 5, 2010, Live Oak High School south of San Jose in the Bay area banned “white students” from wearing shirts and clothing with the American flag on it as being provocative to Hispanic students on the Mexican national holiday of Cinco de Mayo.  Never mind that the Hispanic students roamed the campus with a Mexican Flag in celebrating a day that is not an official holiday of their current home nation.  Instead of the principal using this as a teaching moment between Americans of different ancestry, he simply forbid the wearing or displaying of the American flag by students on May 5th. 

While I do find fault with any students attempting to be intentionally provocative and belligerent to their fellow students of Hispanic ancestry, the principal basically curtailed their free speech as Americans.  The case went to court, and the hyper-leftist 9th Circuit of course upheld the principal’s actions.  The Supreme Court later refused to hear the case.

If we continue down this mine-laden path of identity politics and thus continue to divide our citizens into myriads of hyphenated-American subgroups, how can we expect to continue this great American experiment?  How can we keep this melting pot of many various and diverse citizens all coming together as Americans and not as a conglomeration of balkanized sub-groups whom are wary, suspicious, and antagonistic towards other sub-groups?

Last year, Columbia humanities professor Mark Lilla, who is himself a liberal, wrote,
“Identity politics on the left was at first about large classes of people… seeking to redress major historical wrongs by mobilizing and then working through our political institutions to secure their rights.  But by the 1980’s, it had given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow, and exclusionary self-definition that is now cultivated in our colleges and universities.  The main result has been to turn people back onto themselves, rather than turning them outward towards the wider world they share with others.  It has left them unprepared to think about the common good in non-identity terms and what must be done practically to secure it – especially the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join a common effort.”
Of course Professor Lilla’s comments were condemned by others on the Left as racist.

The continuing ascendancy of identity politics on the Left has proceeded unabated, especially on the national stage.  In 2012 during the Democrat National Convention, the inclusion of God in their Democrat platform was booed, while issues such as transgender rights to use the restroom of their choice, forcing nuns to purchase health insurance that necessarily included abortifacients, and fining Christian Bakers who refused to use their artistic abilities to furnish a cake for a gay marriage all became pertinent and immediate issues to the Left.

When Hillary Clinton ran for the presidency in 2016, one could find on her campaign website any number of tabs for various ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, but not a single one about a shared vision of American unity.

It was a far cry from then-Senator Obama’s 2004 DNC keynote speech at John Kerry’s official nomination for president, “There’s not a black America and a white America and a Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”

It is ironic that such a grand and unifying theme was later abandoned during his own presidency as President Obama seemingly intentionally pitted black and white Americans against each other.  Rather than bringing us together as the United States of America, he proceeded to stoke the flames of race and turned us more into splintered and suspicious groups more akin to the former Yugoslavia.

The Left’s often dismissive, insulting, and self-righteous stance on the issue of identity politics will only continue to further fracture our increasingly-divided nation.  We must return to a love of our history and founding principles as expressed by our founding documents that we are ALL created equal.  We are united by freedom and equality and we should strive to ensure that all of our American brothers and sisters are treated as such, regardless of race, faith, gender, or whatever other potentially dividing characteristic that can be exploited. 

Unlike my client decades ago who reviewed the profiles of perspective engineers to work on his project and saw only their skin color and outward physical characteristics, we should strive to see each other as Americans first and foremost always - as fellow brothers and sisters created in the likeness of God.

Our motto as an American nation is “E pluribus unum” – or “Out of many, one”.  That is the ideal we should strive once again to achieve in this American melting pot, and throw away the divisive and destructive ideology of identity politics into the ash heap of history where it rightly belongs.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Israel's Capital, the Palestinian Authority's Rejection of it, and the Forthcoming Taylor Force Act

I mentioned in a previous post how President Trump recently acknowledged Israel’s capital of Jerusalem as such and stated that the United States would start working to move our embassy there accordingly. 

President Trump did not unilaterally make this decision, but actually responded to a law passed during the Clinton administration that has been delayed in its implementation on a semi-annual basis since the time it was passed.  President Trump finally stopped the proverbial kicking-of-the-can-down-the-road and decided to not defer action when the most recent six month review came up yet again.

Of course the response from most of the Muslim world and other hateful anti-Semitic nations was immediate and vociferous.  U. N. representatives of the 57 mostly Muslim-majority members slammed Trump's decision and called on all countries to respond by recognizing east Jerusalem as the “capital of the State of Palestine.”

The corrupt and anti-Israel United Nations drafted a resolution that, without explicitly naming the U.S. or President Trump, expressed "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem" and said such decisions "have no legal effect, are null and void, and must be rescinded."

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley's lone vote against the resolution scuttled the measure which gained support from all 14 other current Security Council members.  Ambassador Haley called the resolution an "insult" and said it "won't be forgotten."  Haley further characterized the failed resolution as "one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Haley then went on and pointed out the fact that the U.S. has given more than $5 billion in aid to the Palestinians since 1994, which is significantly more than the combined contributions from all other nations on the Security Council.  Despite this fact, the Palestinian Authority enriches itself while many of its people live in poverty, all the while they denounce Israel and America.

Regardless, the resolution came on the heels of an emergency summit of Muslim nations two weeks ago in Turkey. There, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared, "Jerusalem has been, and will remain forever, the capital of the State of Palestine."  He further proclaimed that this “ancient Palestinian capital” of Jerusalem was not of the Jews, as history and archaeology attest, but of the Palestinian people. "We have been there in this location for thousands of years," Abbas claimed, linking Palestinians, who are Arabs, to the ancient Canaanites.  That's a claim for which there is no evidence.

But Abbas was just getting started, as he further declared, 
"[Jerusalem] is a Palestinian Arab Muslim Christian city, the eternal capital of the state of Palestine. There can be no Palestinian state without the city of Jerusalem as its capital and there will be no peace in the region and in the world without it."
In a full vote of U.N. members of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions (including Canada and Mexico) the U.N. passed a resolution that declared President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "null and void" accordingly.  Of course this has no impact on Israel’s choice of its capital or the United States of America as recognizing it as such.  It is simply another meaningless resolution by an impotent and corrupt organization that desperately needs to be reformatted, if not totally scrapped.
President Trump and Ambassador Haley said they were taking note of which friends and allies voted against the U.S. with its declaration and intimated that future U.S. foreign aid might be impacted accordingly. 

As for the U.S. taxpayer funding of the Palestinian Authority, I have long been of the opinion that not a single dime should be spent to that end until they fully renounce and work to end terrorism against Israel.  Finally, the United States is one step closer to actually doing so, as on December 5, the House of Representatives finally passed the Taylor Force Act.  It is a bill that calls for defunding the Palestinian Authority until they end their “pay to slay” policy. 

The bill, which has also been passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, now awaits the full Senate to take up the bill for a vote.  The Taylor Force Act will compel the Palestinian Authority to face the consequences of its violence or end this abhorrent practice immediately. If the bill is enacted, they will have to revoke any law, decree, or document authorizing a compensation scheme for prisoners "that uses the sentence or period of incarceration to determine the level of compensation paid."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has steadfastly rejected all calls to stop funding terror,
"I don't intend to cease payment for families of prisoner martyrs, even if it costs me my seat," he vowed. "I will continue to pay them until my last day."
Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), the bill's sponsor, issued this statement following the previous vote out of the House committee:
"I am very encouraged that my bill, the Taylor Force Act, has passed with bipartisan support in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This is an important first step in stopping U.S. tax dollars from funding Palestinian Terrorism. The Palestinian Authority must be held accountable for glorifying terrorism by paying terrorists and naming streets in Ramallah after Palestinians who murder Jews.
The Palestinian Authority devotes almost half of its foreign ‘aid’ to rewarding acts of terror against Israelis and innocent bystanders, including American war hero Taylor Force. It is outrageous that our government would, for so long, turn a blind eye to actions that violate international law and fan the flames of hatred, terrorism, and murder.”
With the United States officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, we have been warned that this will incite further violence.  It is ironic that some Leftists and indeed Muslim factions in the Middle East have acknowledged that they will resort to violence as a tactic when they do not get their way on issues when it comes to the Israel/Palestinian debate.  “Do as we demand, or we will act with further terrorism” seems to be the standard operating procedure for the Palestinian Authority.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority does not truly want peace, but rather a full and complete capitulation and dismantling of the state of Israel suggests to me that there was no reason for the U.S. to not move forward in acknowledgement of the truth of Israel’s capital.  Further, as the PA has refused to negotiate in good faith towards peace, we should remove all further funding from them accordingly, and I suspect we will start to do so shortly with the upcoming passage of the Taylor Force Act.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 95th anniversary of the League of Nations mandate, both of which established legal title of the land to the Jewish people.  Even more  importantly, the status of Jerusalem has been determined by God, and his decree is not subject to human opinion.