Beyond the Cusp

September 22, 2016

Israel Iron Dome Can be Their Asian Diplomat

 

China is spreading their wings blanketing much of Asia in the shadow staring up the claws and talons of the Chinese dragons armed with missiles covering every corner of her neighbors. South Korea, Japan and the Philippines face the combined threat of an expansive reach, possibly overreach from China and the growing ballistic and nuclear potential from North Korea and all from shorter ranged ballistic missiles, just the ones the Iron Dome is so proficient at intercepting. Israel has good relations with much of the Asian nations such as India and also China and could always use a few more friends. The recent test by North Korea of a nuclear device which had the highest yield of any device thus far tested by the secluded and often surly in their relations with the neighboring nations, especially South Korea and Japan , has led to a troubled area with furrowed brows. Israel has the perfect solution for addressing potential threats from North Korea and their rockets, missiles, mortars and even artillery rounds with a highly successful interception rate in the neighborhood of ninety percent. The Iron Dome systems have proven their effectiveness against actual war time footing in the last Gaza conflict. Israel could offer the Iron Dome to these nations in a very affordable and mutually beneficial exchange where for every so many units purchased the nations also finance the production of an additional Iron Dome system for Israeli use. Such an arrangement would be of obvious benefit to all the nations involved in such an arrangement. The United States who had been assisting with the production of the Iron Dome in exchange for access to some of the research and operational data of the system and the production of some of the system’s units by the American company Raytheon has already taken their pound of flesh. Such an arrangement would benefit all involved and would provide Raytheon business in the production of their section of the systems thus also benefitting the United States.

 

Why would Israel seek to offer their most proficient indirect weapons fire interception system to foreign Asian nations when there are presumably agreements with the United States for further production of additional units? The recently signed defense agreement signed between Israel and the United States set into motion a steady reduction in monies reserved for Israeli defense industries. This may reflect on further financing the Iron Dome systems in Israel independent of influences in Washington D.C. Whether Israel will continue to have a friend in Washington D.C. will be heavily dependent upon the results of the coming elections for President as well as for Congress. Israel needs to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. These last eight years have placed relation between the White House and Jerusalem in the most parched regions of the driest and hottest desert known to man and depending on the election the next four years could just as easily be more of the same. Neither candidate for the Presidency has made foreign policy the main theme of their campaigns which is understandable with the American public more focused on the economy and jobs caring little about the rest of the world beyond reducing legal and ending illegal immigration until the economy warrants the need for foreign workers. Both candidates will necessarily concentrate on the economy first and foremost and foreign relations will be a back burner issue unless events cause the American public to sit up and take notice and keep their attentions. The American public has a remarkable ability to look up and see beyond their borders only if the noise is loud enough but even when they do look up, they return to their daily concerns with unfathomable speed continuing as if their attention had never been diverted. The resilience of their ability to focus on everyday life and only passing attention beyond their drive to and from work, their job or finding one, and their family, disregarding the remainder of the world as if it was a bothersome mosquito whose droning wings are but an aggravation is their best coping method and the world’s bane.

 

 

This may be to the detriment of Israel as well as other nations who may depend on the United States government and particularly the White House actually looking beyond their borders when the most pressing problems echoed by the media is jobs, jobs, jobs and the economy and in an extreme situation, immigration. Terrorism, well, only if there are a series of devastating attacks within the United States itself with potential for momentary interruption if there is striking news from abroad, but such news passes from the news and the attention span of the busy Americans is brief for anything not immediately on their view screens. The news networks in the United States spend more time on the weather and even more on sports with little room for international news which they run through as quickly as possible avoiding it altogether when possible as their advertisers know the public and the public cares more about the cat rescued for the little girl from a tree or some viral video than they want hard news. It is no wonder why the United States Congress and the White House are hard pressed to tune into the international front when they are rewarded almost uniquely for taking care of the home front leaving the world to do as it will. The American citizens believe that the two great oceans protect the United States just as much if not more effectively than the military. One would think that the terrorist strikes they have suffered would have disabused them of this notion, but like any normal person, the average American prefers to believe that they are safe and comfortable within their little cocoons with the remainder of the world locked out. Granted the United States is the size of a continent and reach from ocean to ocean and are bordered largely by Canada and by Mexico for a far shorter southern border which most Americans simply would love to see it closed but unless pressed mostly do not place that concern at the top of their to worry list.

 

What does this have to do with Israel? Well, their future has been tied to the United States in the defense area since they terminated the Lavi fighter project and went with American aircraft and have remained dependent on the United States for their aircraft ever since. The future of this relationship has been harshly affected for the worse under President Obama and the fear is should Hillary Clinton be elected in November that relations will not improve under her leadership. As far as Donald Trump is concerned, many claim relations would be improved under a Trump Presidency but still there are many unanswered question as Donald Trump is still largely an unknown. The current aircraft Israel is expected to receive from the United States is the F-35 JSF which has been experiencing serious delays and problems. There has been serious concern that the F-35 JSF will not be truly combat ready until sometime in the early to mid-2020’s with 2025 not an unreliable prediction. Israel’s main enemies are able to purchase superior Russian aircraft which are combat ready today such as the SU-35 or any of the newest Chinese aircraft which are also combat ready. This could be a detrimental situation which Israel can ill afford as she is extremely dependent on air superiority. Iran is currently sitting with the ability to purchase entire fleets of these aircraft with the monies they received from the United States from the Iran Deal and the loosening of sanctions, the payments for the release of hostages or repayment for nondelivered arms after the Shah was overthrown in 1979. There have been rumored further cash payments to Iran for undetermined reasons by the Obama administration. How much additional payment Iran has or may receive is unknown and probably the full amounts granted to Iran may never be fully understood. This has created further concerns for Israel as has the recent delivery by Russia of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile and tracking systems to Iran which have seriously upgraded the Iranian air defenses around their nuclear sites.

 

Sukhoi Su-35

Sukhoi Su-35

 

Israel could seriously upgrade their defenses against rockets fired from their neighboring threats such as Gaza and Hamas and Lebanon and Hezballah who between them have easily over one-hundred-fifty-thousand rockets and missiles. Such numbers are the very serious reason why Israel would be very pressed to increase the numbers of Iron Dome systems and further develop their other systems and deploy them in order to be capable of defending against any missiles fired from Iran or potentially other enemies. This means the manufacture of David’s Sling and the Arrow II systems and further developing of these systems to improve them seeking the impossible, perfection of interception of all range of missiles and other armaments fired at her people, that is what Israel could gain from such deals. Further, Israel could strengthen her relations and perhaps develop closer relations with new nations. Israel recently made inroads sharing a visit with Japan and has good relations with the Philippines after assisting them with their recovery after the horrific typhoon which struck that nation. Israel could also seek to have improved relations with South Korea and with the troubling developments and concerns over North Korean sabre rattling and their close relations with Iran with the two nations sharing scientific and military research developments Israel has more in common with these nations than many might see at first glance. Israel could develop these relations using military trade as an inroad and develop further trade relations as time and relations develop. One can never have too many or too varied friends and with systems such as the Iron Dome Israel has a very enticing calling card.

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

May 28, 2016

Brexit, Obama, Cameron and the EU Elites

 

What do Brexit’s opposition, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron and the European Union Elite have in common along with the British Treasury, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development? They all are using hyperbolic, exaggerated paranoid economic forecasts of doom and gloom pitched with great arm waving and volume. Those supporting the British Isles leaving the European Union are equally voluminous and strident. There are entire lists of arguments favoring each side as well as dire predictions of horrific disasters with which to attack each side. So, where is the reality which a sane and measured approach of scientific study would support? The sad truth is that no such rational and unemotional report has actually been released and for good reason, leaving the European Union is a completely unprecedented occurrence. The best thing we can do in approaching Brexit is to simply add another opinion which in reality is not that different from every other opinion out there, the best we can reason out and then we will wait and see what happens should the vote go the way we would advise, but we so not expect to influence too many Brits as the other thing that has been polled is that the populace is divided mostly by age and everybody has chosen and are unlikely to compromise on their assumptions. The older generations, possibly because they remember the pre-European Union Britain, favor Brexit while those who have lived entirely as members of the European Union do not support rocking the boat. Perhaps it does break down to whether you lived in a period when Britain was not just another national entity lost within the folds and bureaucracy known as the European Union.

 

The one thing which the British have done which would facilitate their leaving the European Union much more easily than most other European Union nations is the British kept the Pound Sterling as well as accepted the Euro. This may prove to be one of the smartest decisions the British have ever made as eventually, whether it is next month or not all that far into the future of humankind when the European Union finally tears itself apart as the economic strains of retaining Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Poland and Germany as a single economic union while continuing to allow each of the aforementioned nations to rule themselves and make their own economic decisions within some unenforced presumed limitations which would have made minimal difference anyway. So, there will come a time when Britain will be leaving the European Union or the European Union will be leaving Britain along with every other member nation as it melts down from economic hemorrhage. The one thing which is easy to predict is what will happen if Brexit is voted down next month, nothing, absolutely nothing as the entire world will continue with possibly a slight amount of sighs in Brussels and a few perplexed looks from some of the financial wizards across Europe and in the United States as all their studies and predictions of the perils that Brexit will entail.

 

Pound Sterling

Pound Sterling

 

The question which needs examination is what will happen should Brexit pass. The only honest answer is that we have no idea, none at all. President Obama has predicted that should Brexit pass that Britain will lose out in every manner especially in trade with other nations. President Obama threatened that Brexit passing will necessarily place the British at the back of the line in trade with the United States. The President did not explain why this condition would come to pass; he just claimed that would be the result. Perhaps somebody should inform President Obama that first he cannot place anybody at the back of a line which does not exist and unless he was going to place trade sanctions on the British, there was nothing preventing their trade continuing with the United States without suffering any change as membership with the European Union has little effect on United States trade with Britain. The trade between the two nations would simply revert to the same manner as before Britain joined the European Union. Sure there would likely be some legislation passing through the Congress and being sent to the President reverting some of the trade regulations clarifying trade relations but even that would likely be more a reassurance than any drastic alteration such as what President Obama threatened. Even should President Obama veto such legislation, it could be readdressed come January 21 immediately after the new President is sworn in and it is doubtful that whomever should be in the White House would make any difference as such legislation is fairly innocuous and there would be little reason outside obstinacy for a veto.

 

That will not prevent us from offering our point of view. The immediate advantage the British would gain is they would no longer be constrained by the monetary policies of the European Union and the Euro. The British have had the advantage in setting some form of monetary policy free of European Union regulations as they did maintain their old currency, the Pound (we love the old term of Pound Sterling as it sounds so provincial and proud). The British also have their natural relations with the Anglosphere nations of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States and a few other more minor English speaking nations. Such a natural set of trading partners being made simpler by a common language grants Britain an easier transition should Brexit pass and they be free to trade under their own desires free of European Union constraints. Further, the British economy would no longer be having some of their resources diverted to support those nations which are in financial meltdown which is causing an ever more serious crisis one after another. Despite the economic restructuring and presumed limitations placed on spending pressed upon those nations suffering economic difficulties ranging from slow economic growth after the 2008 worldwide financial meltdown which began with market collapse in real estate and mortgage collapse due to lax lending standards which were dependent upon rising real estate prices to complete financial freefall such as the collapse in Greece, these nations often ignored these limitations regarding them as impinging on their national pride and being so draconian that they prevent their addressing the economic needs to climb out of their difficulties. Whatever the reasoning, the strain these failing economies place on the productive nations is slowly strangling their monetary gains, threatening to drag them down the same drain with the financially crippled nations. This could be the main reason for the appeal to many British and the reason that establishment supporters of the European Union desire to persuade the defeat of Brexit as they fear an even faster decline of the European Union should the British economy be removed from the sum total of the European Union economy.

 

What those who have as their desire the continued existence of the European Union fear most is Brexit passing as they are completely aware that Brexit would be the first and far from the last nation to exit the European Union. The reality is well known, once Britain leaves the European Union the writing is on the walls in Brussels, the end is nigh. How much longer would France or Germany remain should the British economy become positive and surging forward with a bright future becoming apparent? The answer is not long, weeks, months, but definitely not years. As the European Union is seen as the best stalwart against another ruinous European war and the only manner where the continent of Europe can fairly compete with the United States, China, Brazil, India and any other up and coming economic powers; the European Union core believers are of the mind that only as a unit does the European nations have any hope of competing with any form of equality with the far larger economies and simply larger nations which have the advantage that size brings. The European Union members see their union as the enabler of trade advantages and refuse to see that they are simply another layer of regulatory strangulation and further taxation depriving the nations and some companies from greater profits. They claim that without the European Union such companies as Airbus could never have been created and survived as it was the European Union which allowed the separate nations to work as if a single unit. The reality is that the nations would cooperate as doing so increases their financial strength and in this world of information technology the old differences and impediments which often strangled trade with tariffs and protectionism would not return as the new reality so obviously rewards cooperation between nations and so many of the corporations are now international in nature that nations no longer benefit from such measures. That is the reality and the British remember the freedom of pre-European Union Britain and with any luck, they will be able to reason and influence those without such experience and Brexit will pass and strike a mortal blow to the European Union.

 

Counter to what numerous economists claim, and luckily this is not a universal opinion, the European Union is not the answer to the problems faced by the troubled economies such as Greece, Italy and Spain but rather the result of the Economic Union and its common currency, the Euro. Whether Brexit passes inflicting a mortal wound to the European Union or if we need wait for the European Union to reach its inevitable implosion, the individual nations reverting to their natural independent currencies will initially cause some difficulties but will soon be able to alter their currencies in relation to one another and thus permit the struggling nations to have a devalued currency permitting them to have economic advantages of lower manufacturing costs and thus an economic advantage that accompanies such. That will bring a new vitality which is impossible when they must share an equal cost rate against Germany as the two nations are as different as night and day. Greece and the other struggling nations are closer to an agrarian or light industrial base while Germany is a heavily industrialized and entered the information age and has robotic manufacturing in many industries making a similar currency preposterous in the max. Brexit may just be the key to freeing Europe from Brussels and the self-appointed crowned aristocracy which has placed themselves over a continent for far too long and have reached well past the point where they have gone from a unifying and strengthening of the continent to a detractor which now regulates Europe slowly into a stagnation which was unavoidable as the simple fact that the European Union was an unelected oligarchy which thought itself above the people and not for or of the people and saw the people and individual governments and the nations as merely pawns in their social and economic games and misadventures. There may never be a study done which will find exactly when the European Union went from a path for greater economic growth and strength to a drag upon the continent and a guarantee of a slow but inevitable decline as the bureaucracy grew to the point that it became a ponderous beached whale no longer capable of reacting to financial needs and instead squelching any vibrancy making responding to changing economic forecasts next to impossible. The European Union has gone from a force for European economic cooperation to a farce siphoning off an ever increasing price dampening economic activity.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 6, 2016

Iowa Results and Insights

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The biggest lesson we learned was that the media placed far too much emphasis on the caucuses. What we learned was that in cases where there was no definitive winner, then the entire choice would come down to a coin toss, how perfectly random. In the six instances where these rules were applied it was apparent that team Hillary got to call the coin-toss and call them they did. Apparently Bernie Sanders was perfectly happy to allow her team to call it, “Heads we win and Tails you lose.” And in six caucuses that appears to have been the call as Hillary either won each or Bernie lost, either way, Hillary went forth and declared a great victory while Bernie, being Bernie, claimed he and his supporters gave it a good fight and promised to continue the “Revolution” on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and beyond. When one looks beyond the primary delegates to the “Super Delegates” which are more or less decided by the Democrat Central Committee, one sees the reality of the delegate race as Hillary has 357, Bernie has 14 and O’Malley has 2 all going towards garnering the 2382 delegates needed to win.

 

We learned that Hillary can place way too much emphasis on her phantasmal ability or luck by her precinct chairs abilities to call coin tosses. Her grand claims of victory soon turned to sand in her mouth and she probably sputtered and spurted still insisting she had a mandate. Perhaps she was looking at the super delegate count which is made up of party hacks and people of whom Hillary had their FBI files on another server which was not used for State department e-mails but whose contents would be just as interesting to the voting public but has zero chance of ever seeing the light of day as it would be burned as soon as it was taken in as evidence. There are far too many people the files held there could damage and who have the power to destroy evidence just as well as Bill and Hill have proven capable. We also learned that Bernie has excited and tapped into an interesting voter group, the young and first time voters. Some of these first time voters have been of sufficient age to vote before but have now found their candidate. This is a large part of the voters eight years ago which propelled Obama into the White House and are just as likely to spoil Hillary’s last chance saloon and give her a really bad case of déja vu hiccups as she watches another upstart, this time a seventy-four year old hippie socialist who never let go of the dream from his college days, or is it daze? Should Bernie Sanders pull this off he will have proven that Hillary is fated to never grasp the golden ring in politics and Bill will never hear the end of how it was supposed to be hers but that Obama beat her and then Bernie the crazed lunatic stole it and it just was not fair. I guess nobody ever had the nerve or the suicidal tendencies to tell Hillary that life quite often is not fair. We learned also that Bernie had a solid and faithful following and that his challenge to the chosen one is real and very possible no matter how many delegates Bill can line up on Hillary’s side as in this day and age of the voters, as a collective intelligence, choose the candidates and the final elevations of a President. We also have seen the inside of the “Feel the Bern” generations and they are coming on strong and this might make Bernie Sanders the more electable Democrat and the real candidate the Republicans should fear facing.

 

The Republicans gave us a different message. The evangelicals, the Christian Right, was supposed to decide the Iowa vote and put one of two candidates on the short list for failure; they did not come through that way but have written the last swan song for Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz needed to corral, he is from Texas you know, the Evangelicals but he somehow lost about half the herd which left him limping into first place by a small margin, though it was a landslide by Hillary standards. Ted Cruz did do well as many had predicted claiming that the majority of the polling numbers for ‘The Donald’ (Donald Trump from here on) were mostly fictitious and when the time came to actually support a candidate, these polling numbers would prove to be a phantasm and disappear. Well, they actually did but not as far as predicted and Donald Trump has proven he is for real and will become a viable and potential winner should he start to actually express serious steps and reasons for his bombastic statements and clarify them into a reasonable platform people can stand behind. Ted Cruz, as wonderful as his supporters claim, will very likely fall flat in New Hampshire and rebound in South Carolina and Florida though it will remain to be seen if that is sufficient for him to remain in the race. After the caucuses in Nevada and Colorado it will be definitively decided who is the acceptable alternative to the establishment choice which appears currently to have fallen from Jeb Bush to Chris Christie to John Kasich and now on the Marco Rubio. Other than Cruz, Trump and Rubio who finished in close proximity to one-another, the rest should start taking stock of how much is this worth pursuing and what actually are your actual chances of emerging from the background in a positive manner. The media will ignore you until you make a mistake, and then they will crucify you until you fall on your sword; trust me, I’ve been there. For a good number, probably larger than those willing to vote for him, Ben Carson leaving will be heart-wrenching. We want so much to just once have the nice guy who refused to go negative and was an exemplary person whose life reads like a storybook where underprivileged youth from the worst part of town rise to prominence and was not only a success but also a solid positive force and contribution to society become Mr. Smith Goes to Washington except with a much happier result as he rises above the political machinery and does great and wonderful things lifting the nation by his inspirations. That would have been Ben Carson but perhaps this is better as the media have not torn him to shreds which would have come next had he shown he might succeed. The media will praise you to the hills and as soon as you start to succeed, partially due to their building you up, they will tear into you until you let out a personal secret, say that one time you lost your temper, we all have at least one such moment, and then that will become your defining moment as if nothing else you ever accomplished really made up for the momentary weakness when you were eight years old.

 

 

Mr. Carson Goes to Washington

Mr. Carson Goes to Washington

 

 

So the result in Iowa placed Ted Cruz momentarily in the cat bird seat with Donald Trump close behind and Marco Rubio in tightly behind Donald Trump. There being merely 8,500 votes between the three out of close to 175,000 they finished in a photo finish which their margins only looked large compared to the difference, or lack thereof, between the top Democrat candidates who basically resulted in a dead heat. The reality hopefully will become obvious to the three that for the race to be determined honestly then one of the non-establishment candidates will need to bow out if the other will have even a chance of taking the nomination. Should all three remain in the race and the contest continue to have similar results then there will be the definite possibility that at the Republican Convention there will be no definitive winner and as long as the three remain holding their delegates to their vote then there will be an arranged result which is basically a fixed convention where a candidate is chosen in some back room with some establishment and insiders making a choice and then bringing their golden boy forward and sweeping the convention as the party machinery steamrolls any opposition and presto, Jeb Bush is brought forward as the great hope of the party and we end up with the potentially lowest turnout election percentage in American history as we end up with that dreaded Clinton-Bush family rerun of the 1992 election without the drama or concern as the people show their disgust by staying home. Should this scenario become reality, then there need be a slight Constitutional Amendment making every Federal elected office have an additional choice at the bottom such that the people can demand better choices than the party line who has scratched the most backs and it is decided to reward them by making it their turn for the House of Representatives and then later the Senate and finally, for the real party hardliners, the Presidency by voting for “None of the Above” and if “None of the Above” receives the greatest plurality then the parties must find new candidates and a reelection will take place six weeks later, so they better choose well and somebody the people would rally to or they could face embarrassment after embarrassment and perhaps allow a primary if it is a Senate or House of Representatives for unaligned people to attempt to gain ballot access and allow the highest independent vote getter to also be on the ballot as it is doubtful such a person could do any worse in the performance than some of those currently in office. We really need to get better quality candidates and until the parties are forced to consider that they have to win over the people or face challenges from what are usually referred to as Joe-six-pack meaning it as a pejorative label when actually that may be a person who would do a far better job of representing the people with their being from amongst them. Still, there are the gems amongst a sea of party functionaries and the quality, or lack thereof, of the candidates on the average ballot simply proves George Washington correct when he claimed, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” Enough said.

 

We regret that nowhere in the conglomerate of offerings is there a single candidate with military service in their background. Some of the candidates I doubt could reduce their self-worth to a sufficient level to survive basic training nor would they know when to stand on principle and when to stand down as that is also something they test in basic training and for the select few who respond accordingly they offer them to attend OCS which is the one way that an enlisted man can become an officer, and maybe a gentleman. The world stage being what it is, we believe would be best served by somebody who has served and our first choice would be Lt. Col. Alan West.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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