On November 12, 2014, a small mechanical box landed on a comet 317 million miles from Earth.
Launched over ten years ago by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Rosetta mission took along a small probe named Philae, which dropped onto the surface of comet 67P. The mission was to analyze the compounds on the comet to essentially look back into the early history of the universe.
Almost ten years earlier, on January 14, 2005, the Huygens probe landed on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Launched by a joint mission of the ESA, NASA and the Italian Space Agency ASI, the Cassini spacecraft which took Huygens to Saturn still takes remarkable pictures of the outer planet, while Huygens short mission 720 million miles away ended a long time ago.
Mankind never set down so far away.
We have, however, travelled farther. In August 2012, Voyager 1 became the first human-made object to enter interstellar space. It is now 11.7 billion miles from Earth, continuing its lonely journey through space.
Also in August 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars. It continues to explore the Gale Crater with its many exposed layers of rock. The exposed layers enable the rover to more easily analyze different strata to examine whether water ever existed on Mars and consider how the surface of the planet changed through the millennia.
Scientists hope that the various missions to far flung places will deepen the understanding of our own planet.
Liberal political pundits are making broad declarations about the 2014 US elections. They refer to a country that is “more divided than ever before” and that the Republicans won simply by being negative about the state of the country without offering solutions. The liberal commentators talk about “white racism” that voted predominantly for white men without any rationale other than the candidates being white (as if that statement in itself isn’t racist).
The reality is that the country has been split for some time. In the 2012 presidential election, single people and minorities voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. Married people and whites voted for Mitt Romney. As minorities and single people tend to live in cities, the country looked overwhelmingly red (Republican) with dots of blue (Democratic).
Singles and minorities showed up in much lighter numbers in 2012 than they did in 2008, and they barely showed up for the non-presidential election in 2014. So the map continued to inch redder.
To the charge of “white racism” and that minorities will someday overtake whites in the US which would lead to the republican downfall, that is a red herring (no pun intended). The democratic issue is not whites, but married people. Whites correlate to married people overall in the US: Whites (60%); Minorities (40%); Married (59%); Singles (41%).
In the 2014 election, 63% of voters were married and they voted for Republicans by 58% to 41%. According to Forbes, “Not married voters (these can be never married, widowed, or divorced) looked like mirror opposites.” Married minorities were wealthier and also much more likely to vote for republicans than democrats. Is the democratic strategy to fight marriage to boost their election chances?
To the charge of white racism, Whites voted more balanced than minorities.
2012 Obama/Romney Breakdown:
Blacks (93%/6%). In 2014, voted 90% Democratic
Hispanics (71%/27%). In 2014, voted 60% Democratic
The USA has many allies in the world. Many are natural due to common language or culture between the countries (such as United Kingdom and Canada). These allies have deep relationships that extend beyond military ties between the governments. The connections extend to the populations where there are natural flows of business and tourism. The relationships extend to the founding of the countries.
Other American allies developed over time for a number of reasons. A country may have discovered valuable natural resources (such as oil) or the geographical location of the country may have grown in significance because of evolving military dynamics. Other than such practical (sometimes temporary) reasons, the countries may share little in common. Saudi Arabia is such an example.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has one of the most repressive governments in the world. Minorities have virtually no rights and women have few freedoms. Still, the US government chooses to ignore Saudi policies and distrust between the populations, and focuses narrowly on Saudi oil and military cooperation between the countries. US President Obama underscored the point again on September 10, 2014, with an announcement of strategic military cooperation.
On the 13th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11/01, it is worth remembering that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Countries with few common values will always remain tenuous friends.
As the 2014 Operation Protective Edge (hopefully) draws to a close, one can expect the same histrionics that have become well-known and well-worn to emanate from the Arab world. The video below of Queen Rania of Jordan, is of her appeal to the United Nations five years ago, which can serve as the outline for the Arab textbook on UNRWA. In summation, we are pathetic and we want to ask the world for money again.
(As further background/amusement, Queen Rania of JORDAN was born in KUWAIT and considers herself Palestinian, when convenient).
“Life half-lived” – Palestinian Quality of Life. The Arabs will bemoan their treatment by Israel and ignore their treatment by their Arab brethren.
Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria are denied citizenship by their host countries. They are denied the ability to own property and obtain white color jobs. The Jordanians gave Palestinians citizenship in 1954, only to revoke it in 1988. Egypt has totally shut down Hamas which runs Gaza, as it is a part of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The reason why Palestinians have a bad quality of life (beyond the discrimination from their Arab “brothers”) is because of UNRWA. UNRWA has given millions of second and third generation Arabs a life “half-lived” because of a promise that they will get to go to a house that no longer exists, in a country that their grandparents sought to destroy at its infancy. The Arabs in Israel have twice the life of Palestinians in Arab countries.
Regardless, all protests about quality of life will be directed at Israel, and not at UNRWA, Lebanon, Syria or Egypt.
“Hours wasted at checkpoints” – Border control. The Palestinians will complain about the restrictions of movement out of Gaza and the West Bank. The fact that those territories have amassed over 10,000 rockets, have a charter calling for the death of Jews and destruction of Israel, have fired over 10,000 rockets at Israeli towns over the past 13 years, and killed hundreds of Israeli civilians does not seem to factor into their concern about Israel’s need for border controls.
Regardless, Arab nations will press Israel to alleviate travel restrictions.
“UNRWA has delivered sanctuary.”– Charge of War Crimes. The vast majority of UNRWA employees are Palestinians. These employees were caught not only storing missiles in their schools, but handing them over to Hamas to launch against Israel. Those same members of Hamas launched missiles in and around the UNRWA schools. UNRWA teachers have been caught building rockets for Hamas.
Regardless, the histrionics of Israel firing at the missile launching sites will continue.
“Reconstruction”.– Appeal for Money to Gaza. The historic blame for the limited re-building homes and schools in Gaza was laid squarely on Israel’s restriction on allowing building materials into Gaza. As Operation Protective Edge made clear, the fault was not the lack of cement in Gaza, but which projects the Palestinians sought to develop. Hamas used the materials to build terror tunnels instead of schools and roads above ground.
Regardless, the Arabs will argue for the ease of more materials into Gaza without oversight.
“School provides a comforting routine.” The schools in Gaza may fly an UNRWA flag, but the curricula are determined by the ruling authority – Hamas. The Hamas education is complete with demonization of Jews and Holocaust denial.
Regardless, Palestinians will demand a rebuilding of schools under the Hamas watch.
“Hell on Earth”. Queen Rania described Gaza as “Hell on Earth” for many years. She used this statement even though people in Gaza had: longer life expectancy; better immunization rates and higher literacy rates than Jordanians.
“If we let UNRWA collapse… we risk destabilizing the entire region.” Queen Rania should hand back her prophesy credentials. The Arab and Muslim world is in total chaos in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and other places, with no connection to Israel or UNRWA. UNRWA itself is a destabilizing force to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in its current configuration.
Regardless, the Arabs will shout that the organization should not be overhauled.
“All of us depend on UNRWA.” The appeal that the world needs UNRWA will continue even though it is blatantly false. It is a cheap attempt to get the world to continue to fund salaries for 30,000 Palestinians.
The amazing hypocrisy, is that the Arab world funds only 10% of the UNRWA budget, while they are the ones who claim it is necessary.
Regardless, Palestinians will once again have their hands out asking the world for more money.
The streets of Europe are once again filled with mobs yelling to expel the Jews. Mankind has not advanced far over the last 1000 years.
For 1000 years Jews were persecuted and evicted from their homes as a vulnerable minority in countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. The justifications for the expulsions ranged from: Jews serving as scapegoats for mysterious deaths; a convenient method of cancelling debts and stealing property; and a distorted view of Christianity and Islam requiring that Jews suffer for believing in an unpopular religion.
Ironically, now that Jews have a country of their own, they are the ones evicting Jews in the hopes of appeasing their neighbors.
The United States has always been a country of immigrants. During the late 1800s through the market crash of 1929, ten percent of the country moved to the country every decade. After the Great Depression, immigration slowed to a trickle. It has grown to about 3.5% of the population per decade today.
Consider that the US grants more citizenship each decade than the entire populations of most countries.
The main changes to the immigrant population have been the source countries (now Asia and Latin America rather than Europe and Russia) and the greater number of illegal immigrants that are also coming to the US. Over 80% of today’s illegal immigrants come from Mexico and Latin America.
The recent fatal shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels may increase the probability of more Jews leaving Belgium. Belgium is already one of the countries with the highest rates of aliyah to Israel.
In 1948, there were 34 countries with over 25,000 Jews. Today, there are HALF -17 countries. Belgium (30,400) and Italy (28,000) are the next countries that are likely to see their Jewish populations drop below 25,000.
Over 82% of the Jews in the world are concentrated in only two countries – Israel and the US – the greatest concentration of Jews in 2000 years.