Beyond the Cusp

February 23, 2013

Republicans and the Empty Promise Syndrome

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First off we need to define the Empty Promise Syndrome, sometimes called the Wimpy argument quoting the Popeye cartoon character who was always offering to “Pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Those cartoons must have had many Republican politicians earning money on the side as extras on the set as Wimpy never seemed to have any shortage of hamburgers to gulp down. To trace the beginning of the Empty Promise Syndrome infecting Republican politicians we need to go all the way back to 1986 of the Reagan Presidency and the Immigration Reform Bill which legalized at a minimum the three-million illegal aliens residing throughout the United States while promising to address and provide for a system of border enforcement which would make the borders of the United States virtually impenetrable. Currently there exist an estimated eleven- million to possibly over eighteen-million illegal aliens, the euphemistically denoted undocumented workers, citizens without papers, undocumented aliens, and any other of a half dozen terms which dance around but would never use such a harsh and loaded term as illegal. Somehow the agreement to grant citizenship today and impose enforcement tomorrow never quite delivered when tomorrow rolled around, a lot like Wimpy who can never be found on Tuesdays. But there are so many other examples that we had best stick to the two latest in the series.

 

If we were to remember back to just before Thanksgiving and on close to Christmas and then New Years the news reports were all buzzing about some looming doomsday threat called the Fiscal Cliff. The Republicans demanded spending cuts which would be at least equal to any tax increases. They would have preferred, or so they claimed, to have far more of the deficit cut by spending cuts than relying on tax increases. President Obama was insistent that the deficit reduction be levied completely by increased taxes on the rich as they had to be made to pay their fair share. With what were defined in perfect threats from on high was this sequester which would cut spending severely without any concerns for what was necessity and what was less vital and would destroy uncountable programs for the poor, the elderly, the children, the ecology, the Earth, the whatever you cared about and especially the military while ending the great recovery we have been experiencing (though many myself included are loathe to see any solid signs of this recovery unless that is what higher grocery prices are now called). In the end, President Wimpy offered spending cuts by March 1 for taxes on the rich today and the Republicans gave Obama everything he requested and set a new sequester date to force spending cuts as promised.

 

Well, here we are fast approaching March 1 and President Obama is demanding changes in the code resulting in more tax revenue and attempting to reduce spending cuts in any programs or departments with possible exceptions of certain areas the President finds unnecessary such as the Military. It is likely that President Obama would gladly put off any spending cuts forever and simply rearrange the tax codes and eliminate deductable items or at least reduce them or cap them all in order to cut the deficit without cutting spending. Actually, the President has even proposed that his adjustments to tax deductions and the tax codes will produce so much deficit reduction that he will even be able to propose additional spending with the extra funds his accounting has predicted. If the Republicans allow the President to fiddle with the tax code and tax deductions in lieu of the spending cuts promised at the end of last year’s Fiscal Cliff negotiations, they will have forfeited the collateral supposedly granted them of tax increases on the wealthy then for spending cuts and only spending cuts now. This simply means that if the President insists on increasing tax revenues instead of more spending cuts the Republicans should stand loudly upon the promise by the President that this would be the time for spending cuts and only spending cuts. Force the argument to be either the President reaches an agreement on spending cuts or President Obama will be responsible for the sequestration cuts when they occur. Force the choice on President Obama and the Democrats by passing a spending cuts bill which delivers what was promised and announce that the House of Representatives has met their responsibility and produced legislation for rational and safe spending cuts to reduce the deficit and that it is now left to the Democrat controlled Senate and the President to meet their obligations and keep their promises. After all, it is not like the across the board cuts required by the sequestration alternative would actually be anywhere near as debilitating as has been expressed by the fear mongering going on in some of the media and the White House.

 

Then there is another repeat performance being played out in Congress and that is once again immigration reform. This is forming up to be a complete and exact repeat of what occurred during the second half of President Reagan’s time in the White House and many of the exact same players are simply dusting off their old scripts and adjusting a few numbers and going through the same motions using the same terms and offering the same old lies as promises. As the old adage says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” There is absolutely no reason for the Republicans, and any Democrats who actually care about the rule of law and the safety of the United States, allowing any form of amnesty or forgiveness and allowances to remain inside the borders, let alone working, for the approximately eleven million illegal aliens until there exist in place solid and uncompromising enforcement procedures that include security controls, observation abilities, formidable border barrier systems, and every possible technique applied and utilized to prevent any further illegal infiltrations. There can be no allowance of we will secure the border next Tuesday for total amnesty, or whatever sly and misleading name it be given, today. That was the basic promise which was never intended to be kept in 1986 and will likely be the offer given once again with every single amount of deceit included today.

 

There is one large and very unfortunate problem with the above. The truth be told there are many Republican who desire the lie of enforcement later for allowance and a path to citizenship today as that way they can unfurl the banner of supporting a closed border while not actually getting a closed border. Both sides, the Democrats in order to gather more voters for their candidates and the Republicans to provide less expensive labor for certain industries and businesses, honestly work together to guarantee that those they allowed into the United States are rewarded every so many years with citizenship and at the same time keep the border porous letting in the next wave of voters and workers enter the United States illegally to the benefit of both sides coffers and votes for reelection. One should not be too surprised then when once again we will witness a deceitful front played by those for whom taking a strong stand against illegal immigration and its effects upon the United States once again feign disgust when their votes allowing for immediate forgiveness in any form for the illegal immigrants currently in the country allowing them to remain, keep their jobs, and eventually gain an easy path to full citizenship while enforcement of our laws and control of the border are put aside to be addressed later. Of course later never comes as it is always now and later is, well, later. Do not expect this round to result in anything which falls far from the indecency pulled over on the American people in 1986 when Reagan allowed amnesty on the promise of future enforcement. We are still waiting for that later enforcement and who knows which later will arrive first; the last one or the one we can expect in the near future when the grand immigration compromise is announced with great fanfare and applause all around. My bet is neither enforcement will materialize before the Congress and some future President assure us that these thirty-some-million undocumented citizens will be the last and by allowing them legalization and documentation it will facilitate their soon enforcing our laws and border, and then there will be three soon to come promises.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 10, 2011

How Israel Should Answer Panetta Demand

Twice this past week Secretary of Defense Panetta demanded that Israel needed to take risks in order to get the Palestinians join them at the negotiating table. Since Israel has granted concession after concession over the past forty years in order to continue to be rebuffed by the Palestinians then met by even steeper demands in order to fail to reach solutions, perhaps Israel should try a different set of risk. Israel has granted so much that the Palestinian demands for resumed negotiations have gotten to the point that meeting them would remove any need for negotiations. What is left to negotiate should Israel grant that borders be defined as the 1949 Armistice Lines that existed until the 1967 Six Day War, the “Right of Return” for all Palestinian refugees, stopping all construction beyond the Green Line, and removal of all Jews in order to allow the Palestinian state be Jew free? Should anything else need to be addressed at negotiations, I feel sure that it would be added onto the list of preconditions before negotiations would be resumed. So, why not take a new tack.

Israel gave the Palestinians full autonomy over their core areas and shared authority in areas where both Jews and Palestinians resided with Israel retaining full control over a remaining section of the West Bank. In return for this the Palestinian leadership showed their appreciation by launching the intifada in 2000 that murdered over one thousand Israelis in the resultant terror violence. Israel removed their troops from southern Lebanon which resulted in the Second Lebanon War. Israel destroyed all the Jewish neighborhoods in Gaza and gave the Palestinians full autonomy in an experiment with the intent and hopes that the Palestinian leadership could rule themselves and prove their ability to live side by side with Israel in peace. In return they got Hamas whose desired aim is to murder every Jew on planet Earth launching thousands upon thousands of rockets into civilian areas, attempted kidnapping of citizens and soldiers with one successful abduction who was held in unknown conditions for over five years. And there were also Palestinian claims that the return of Gaza was insufficient and that many of the neighborhoods and kibbutzim closest to Gaza were built over destroyed Arab villages and rightfully belonged to the Palestinians and that Gaza should be enlarged to include these areas. In all too many cases, history has shown that every time the Israelis gave in on concessions the Palestinians responded with violence, death and destruction. By now, it should be obvious to many observers that giving concessions not only does not work, it is a very bad idea.

So, what should Israel try that would take the situation between them and the Palestinians in a different direction. There is one poll question which produces a result which many find surprising, that when asked whether they would rather live under Palestinian rule or Israeli rule, the majority of the Arab population of East Jerusalem chooses to remain under Israeli jurisdiction and reject Palestinian rule as shown and discussed here, and http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/05/05/Poll-says-East-Jerusalemites-prefer-Israel/UPI-41761304608417/ target=blank>here and even here.. This gives Israel an opportunity to grant the residents of East Jerusalem their desires and stated preference with annexation of East Jerusalem and attached close-in suburbs and neighborhoods placing them permanently under Israeli rule. Leave the possibility that the intent is to follow this annexation with others where and when similar polls call for similar actions. Place the option before the residents of the West Bank that they have the opportunity to choose Israel and are not trapped with the inevitability of being forced under Palestinian rule. And for those who are yelling red faced in rage at their computer screen about such a move being against international laws and the Geneva Convention, think again. Israel gained the West Bank directly from a defensive conflict. Even if you believe that Israel initiated the 1967 War when they preempted the Egyptian and Syrian attack which was imminent and obvious with the massing of troops on both borders with Israel, Jordan was pleaded with by the Israeli leadership not to join the war and ignored such pleas and attacked Israel who then diverted troops heading south through the Negev to head east and northeast in order to intercept the Jordanian assault. As far as the war with Egypt and Syria, once Egypt had blocked Israeli shipping from passing through the Red Sea, they had committed a casus belli for war. By any and all international law and Geneva Convention, Israel is within her rights to retain all the lands they had gained in 1967 and defended against a second attack in 1973.

It is time to try a completely different track and instead of taking a timid and apologetic approach, try a new and bolder approach and take the initiative. The time has definitely arrived for Israel to implement an option that has been available to them but ignored since the end of the six Day War, simply annex the areas which the Israeli leadership believes is necessary to assure defensible borders, exactly what is called for in United Nations Resolution 242. Just because Israel has attempted to work with the adversarial nations and forces against her does not mean that Israel is obliged to continue down this track as it has become detrimental to Israeli existence. By taking a more assertive stance and no longer attempting to mollify the un-mollifiable, Israel might discover by being assertive and showing the ability to be self-serving and departing from the subservient position that the Palestinian leadership might also change their demanding and immutable attitudes and honestly attempt to reach an accord leading to a permanent peace agreement. Even if the Palestinians continue in their deceitful wagering of a war of attrition and refusal while playing the world’s propensity to take the side opposing everything Jewish which is borne out by the historic record, Israel could simply continue to annex land until she reaches a point where desirable and defensible borders have been established and then simply ignore any and all demands for further communications. That may leave some land mostly around Nablus for the Palestinians to have their own state and continue to demand to their heart’s desire and who knows, somebody might actually bother to continue to listen to them, probably in the western parts of Europe or parts of the Middle East. Eventually their cries will fall on deaf ears as eventually everybody will tire of their lamentable pleadings. What is it that some would claim, that the entire world would turn against Israel? Please explain how that would differ wildly from the current situation. Popularity and Israel will never be long-term companions just as Jews and acceptance in the lands of others has always worked so well over time. Perhaps time has come to give Israel one last request and then simply leave her alone and reap the rewards of her discoveries which Israel has always shared generously and expecting so little in return. To expect more would have been sheer lunacy and it is always better to expect that which is likely and perhaps be surprised rather than to expect much and be discontent when receiving so much less. So, surprise Israel and give her a real chance at survival, after all, that is what is being negotiated, not borders, but simply Israel’s survival.

Beyond the Cusp

March 31, 2011

Why Israel won’t Attack Gaza

Many people who love Israel, and a few who don’t, have been asking if and when Israel will respond to the increased bombardments and terror of the last few weeks. There have been claims that such an operation is imminent while others predict action by this fall, but the current political situation prohibits an immediate response. My best bet is that Israel will not move in a major operation on either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip until after January 21, 2013. It makes no difference if President Obama is reelected or if he is replaced by the Republican or Democrat of your choice. The reason for waiting is the hope of a friendlier President towards Israel in the White House. The reason for not waiting much beyond that date comes down to Israel can only absorb so much punishment before being forced to act. The third possibility is that Hamas, Fatah, and their fellow travelers can make the situation for Israel so dire that the Israelis will demand action from their leaders who will have no real option than to take action or face an election.

Currently, the opposition parties in the Knesset all know that Prime Minister Netanyahu is between a rock and the deep bluish Mediterranean, to mix my metaphors. The catch is, forcing election only promises to place the next government in the exact same unenviable position, and no one is in any hurry to take this bull by the horns. A good amount of this is directly tied to President Obama placing the United States military at the pleasure of the United Nations to call upon for any mission deemed necessary. The further problem has been the ratification of Right to Protect (R2P) making any defense of a civilian population from the affects of any military action being found to be unacceptable to any major world organization and actions sanctioned by the UN. With the current “No Fly Zone” in Libya as the precedent and noting that this “No Fly Zone” also allows for the firing on tanks, tents, military vehicles, military buildings, troops, and anything else considered usable against the “rebels” whether it can fly or not or even if it is below ground, all force thus far has been given the UN’s blessings. An Israeli offensive into either Gaza or the West Bank would immediately be condemned and a similar if not harsher No Fly Zone would be immediately demanded by the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic States, virtually every NGO, numerous countries including most of Europe and much of South America, and all of the Middle East (yes, Saudi Arabia and Iran would become hard and fast friends for the time being) forcing the UN to act in an even harsher way than against Kaddafi and Libya. This is seen properly by the Israeli leaders and people as a definite problem while not having any guaranteed friend to veto such a resolution in the Security Council.

For those people always seeking signs of the end times, such an action from the United Nations would definitely create a situation where the whole world would be aligned against Israel. I, for one, hope such events never come to pass. The next question would be, “What would the reaction of the American people be to such a situation?” I would like to believe that there would be an outcry from coast to coast and beyond. I fear the reaction might not be that noble. Once Israeli troops were forced to fire upon American troops and engage and try to shoot down American pilots, I truly fear the reaction to such a reality. Once upon a time, around 1925 or there about, the German Jews believed that they had finally found acceptance and a place where they could live in peace. They thought, or even stated, “We live in the most progressive, liberal, cultured country in the world that is full of many of the leading minds of the day. We have been accepted as equals in the society and hold positions in all areas of society. We are judges, in politics, teachers, doctors, lawyers, scientists and just about every other occupation. We own land, houses, run stores and enjoy all the freedoms the same as every other German citizen. We have finally found a place where Jews will be safe and seen the same as everybody else. Finally, we can stop running.” As history teaches us, maybe those Jews would have been better served to have, like their grandparents for generation past, kept a packed suitcase to be grabbed at a moment’s notice while getting out of town while leaving was permitted. Today, too many American Jews are saying those exact same words, and a majority of American agrees with them. Their dream in Germany died when the economy turned sour and the Government was printing more money like there was no tomorrow to bail out their failing banks and businesses. All of a sudden the blame was put on the Jew Bankers, the Jew Stock Brokers, the Jew Merchants, and the rest is history.

I am not saying that such will happen in the United States, the most advanced. liberated society in history; but can you guarantee that it will not happen? The Nazis initially were a small minority that leveraged and bullied their way into power. It does not take a majority, or even a plurality, to take things over the edge into madness. This is something all people need to remember to prevent a repeat. Germany was not the first time this had occurred in history. Before Germany the same was felt about Mother Russia, we know how that went, from pogroms to communism. Before that in history the Jews found what they thought was a safe home in Spain, until the Inquisition. Jews were thrown out of England, twice. I think the idea has been conveyed, history has proven that when things get turned upside down or go sideways, time for the Jews to pack an emergency suitcase. I know many will call me nuts, an alarmist, or simply insane. A few will point out that G-d said he would gather in the Jews from the far corners of the Earth into their land, Israel. They will point to the Russian Jews exodus, the taking in of Ethiopia’s Jews, the current bringing home of the Jews in India, and ask why would America’s Jews be left out. To them I say, they will not be left out, but I wish they would realize the inevitability without having to suffer first. For now, I will simply pray for answers and for the sight of the prophets or at least a few answers.

Beyond the Cusp

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