Beyond the Cusp

November 5, 2016

Republican Disarray After Trump, Only if They Blow It

 

There have been numerous articles attempting to discern exactly what the Republican Party will be like after its foray with the Donald. They try to figure what effects he is going to have on the candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as State races for legislatures and governorships. There are all different levels of panic to excitement. Some are excited thinking that the increased voters may mean a stronger voter turnout which will raise all candidates as these voters are most likely to vote for the party ticket rather than only voting for Donald Trump as that is the easiest path and these are lower information voters who are more likely to just pull the single lever for the Trump party rather than voting for each office individually, an occurrence the Democrat Party is more familiar with than are the Republicans. This is a new and untested ground for the Republican Party and more so than most will ever know. Has anybody actually bothered to ask the Donald if he is really willing to surrender control of all his companies and real estate interests for four or possibly eight years placing them in a trust where he will not be managing his holdings? I mean seriously now folks, can anybody see Donald Trump walking away from his wheeling dealing which is really what he lives for. Does he in the end really want to be President, or are we watching the dog caught the car by the rear wheel and now is stuck driving the car? He will be the center of attention between now and the end of his term should he actually prevail, something looking more certain as the clock ticks down to Tuesday. There is where the drama will peak and Trump will do the unthinkable and still hold the future of the Republican Party in his hands and he will play it for maximum exposure of the Donald before he makes the final fateful step which will astound most of the pundits, the media and the entirety of the Republican Party, win the day carrying the House of Representatives comfortably and give the Republicans a minimum of fifty-seven and possibly as high as 62 in the Senate. Yes, Donald Trump could be sitting in the catbird seat with a filibuster-proof Congress if the Republicans can find their way to work with him. Not to worry, they won’t.

 

Of course all this is pure conjecture but in one manner it would be wonderful to see a true and total Republican Congress with the same theoretical license to do whatever they can agree upon just as was the case for the Democrats for the initial two years under President Obama. Thankfully the wheels came off of that cart fairly quickly and before the world ended and the destructiveness was mostly repairable with Obamacare needing the largest repair, removal and replaced with a completely open system countrywide for all insurers with take and carry benefit for all plans. There could be options for tax breaks for companies paying percentages of employee chosen plans giving everybody total control. Returning to major medical plans with a basic plan required for any insurance that would cover Emergency Room, Trauma Center and major surgeries with rate of coverage set by a board of major hospital directors chosen every five years by the top five-hundred hospitals by some pre-set formula which would include their accepting Medicare and Medicaid pricing as set by the board and approved by Health and Human Services and the Senate also voting as if this were an actual treaty requiring a super-majority. This would guarantee bipartisan agreement. This base pricing could be used for a national defined plan which all insurers could use as their guideline for a general basic coverage plan.

 

The one part of such unilateral Republican control is there would no longer be the excuse by the Republican leadership of, we did not have the complete control of the House, the Senate, power to end filibusters or, their favorite, we did not have the White House. No more excuses and just let the Congress show the world what plan the Republicans really got! Turn them loose and let the legislation fly. Not to worry folks, they will hit a log jam within weeks, more likely days and even within hours or minutes. They would, in a word, choke. The main problem the Republicans suffer is the one thing Trump offers to teach them, bravado. The Republicans are afraid to lead, timid and only comfortable pointing out what is broken in their opinion and then lamenting their inability to do anything about the problems. Given total control they would continue to shuffle their feet, looking at the ground, mumbling senselessly, wandering around lost in the wilderness of their own making. They have no dynamic leadership. They did once under Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America, a plan. Imagine that, an actual plan laid out, defined and actually almost followed. Eventually the Republicans did what they do best and shot down their leader because the media picked him apart while they watched on playing the helpless damsel in distress sobbing over her miseries as their presumed White Knight was pounded into the mud by professional muckrakers. What leadership has the Republican leadership or the rank and file shown with their control of Congress as they have handed President Obama victory after victory with budgets including every item with every dollar as requested? One would have at the very least thought they might have, at the very least, demanded more money spent investing in improved care through privatization of the Veterans’ Administration’s healthcare system changing it to an insurance plan open to any and all insurers with guaranteed rates equal to Medicare system rates. This would have freed the veterans to receive care locally, virtually anywhere other than living in a log cabin in Nowhere, Montana. They might have fought to end the downward spiral in defense spending when compared with all the increases in Welfare, Food Stamps and Unemployment costs or demanded that $15.00/hr. minimum wage for military personnel and their pay scale to be based on a forty hour week plus ten hours overtime pay (trust this infantry veteran, most soldiers, especially the privates, work at least an average of well over fifty hour weeks with extra duties such as guard duty, going to the field, weapon training plus yearly qualifying, physical training plus annual testing and a myriad other additional often busy work). These would have been easy initiatives and would have placed a spotlight on some actual problem situations and not on men who claim to be women using any bathroom that fits their life-choices.

 

A complete Republican victory with Donald Trump as President would not necessarily be the disaster the media has painted. Remember, this is a media which has gone step-for-step with every single idea the Democrats have suggested and even initially carried the water for Obamacare and are now backing the Democrat plan of government run healthcare exactly the same that the following countries found to be impossible to afford; Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Russia and any other where the tax rate is under 80% of income with allowances for food, housing, clothing and transportation. When the government allows refunds for food, housing, clothing and transportation; they are dictating how you live and all but defining what you are permitted to spend on food, housing, clothing and transportation. Does such a system sound good to any regular-work-hard American? That is the European Plan that President Obama and a President Hillary Clinton are targeting for America and with a European level military unable to afford ammunition to train with. When we read articles reporting that NATO national military personnel are required to run around in training exercises yelling, “Bang, I shot you, you’re dead,” and that passes for training, we worry what is wrong with these countries. What is wrong is they are not responsible for their defense, the United States is responsible because as NATO defines itself it goes something like this; from each nation as they can provide, from the United States whatever is required to complete the task any NATO nation leaves hanging in the wind. Force the United States to train yelling, “bang bang, you’re dead,” will leave the Western World vulnerable to conquest using swords as swords are a superior weapon to a rifle without bullets, and any invader will have real rifles with real bullets and will not react by claiming, “you got me,” after a NATO soldier screams, “bang bang, you’re dead.” Trust us on this one, really.

 

The choice comes Tuesday, the counting will take the rest of the week unless the victory is definitive, the lawsuits another month or two and the appeals even longer. There is a possibility that the inauguration just might take place on the perfect Saturday, April 1, 2017, April Fool’s Day, and it will be the biggest joke, bet nobody will be laughing, they will be too darned sick and tired. Sick and tired of the wasted time, money and credibility. Sick and tired as the American Representative Constitutional Republic will have been assassinated and lying next to death’s door in desperate need of some serious reckoning. So sick and tired that it is doubtful she will receive the necessary attentions and restoration of faith in the system, the leaders, the nation any time soon. That is the saddest thing about this fiasco disguised as an election. The disgust may be made more palpable by the apparent lack of decency, competence, qualifications and general revulsion one or both candidates elicit from each member of the electorate, but they are not the source of the revulsion, just one more product of the end of America.

 

This was not the original target for the end of this piece, but we rarely end where we started. The disarray coming after this election will encompass both parties. They have each been laid bare for all to see the rotted core filled with the diseases of hatred for the other, distrust of all, the required demand for the lowest expectations, the lowest denominator as the norm and the lack of desire, nay, even ability to repair that which has been left to fall into disrepair. People will ask how things got here and the answer is an easy one. Just open your eyes and look around you and for all that is holy take off the rose colored glasses, the beer goggles, the fractured lensed party glasses and put down the weed, booze, drugs, sexting, or whatever consumes you that is in that little box you so feverishly share everything that amounts to the nothing that is your current life. Too many of us are lost and are too busy becoming even further lost to notice. We started down this road when our materialism surpassed our reason and replaced our faith, well, became our religion. Hashem, The Big Guy who made all of it, or so we used to believe, was put aside for just a short while as we worked harder for that new car. After the car we moved for a bigger house, then that little vacation cottage, those new computers, stood all night in the rain for that next must have gadget, the newest i-Phone, and on and on endlessly until we forgot completely about Hashem.

 

I was right there with many and got lost in living for the now and for the me. Sure, we all peeked up every so often, glanced around, did the traditionally right thing and then dove back in. We lost religion because we had science and a new religion, human rights, animal rights, right to anything and everything while forbidding others from deviating from our chosen things because we, our group knew better than any other group. We pressed for laws which made our cause the right, moral and now legally enforceable right. There were a few hiccups as differing views clashed. The big issues were such as but not limited to abortion, guns, marijuana, free healthcare, free college, minimum wage, military size, military weapons systems, war and peace. The eventuality due to high demand lives and higher taxes both parents worked and in some families one parent worked two jobs, had to keep up the old image, you know. Flat screen television, fifty-two inch display, 3-D, 7.1 surround sound, build on a theater room for the next party, it was never going to end and then we wondered why we had a coronary.

 

Meanwhile, who had time to assist with homework, providing we ever made time for having a family? Time and interest in the children’s schooling also fell by the wayside and the PTA became the teacher’s union more so than a shared parent-teacher relationship. The schools gave us what we wanted, good grades though often so inflated as to be meaningless. They left real schooling somewhere back a ways and replaced it with social programming of our youth who now knew of the evils of capitalism but were unable to define it, global climate change, racial inequality, gender inequality, LGBT life choices, and the new relativity, not Einstein’s but moral, gender and ethnic amongst others. Multiculturalism became the watchword where no single culture was preferable to any other and that included the tribes of cannibals and headhunters, communists and socialists, anything but that one dreadful, awful, despicable culture, Judeo-Christian culture, the old ways that built Western Civilization. No, we had to move beyond our little corner and our petty ways and go and try those other cultures which were all equal while all were preferable to the old way, that demanded far too much civility and culture need not be civil in order to have a civilization.

 

The Narrow Path

The Narrow Path

 

The new multicultural civilization would embrace everything different than our past, that civilization was built on faith and decency, or so it claimed. Faith was long dead; humiliated from the town square and who was it that got to define decency. Assuredly we could each define decency for ourselves, provided it was not defined in the morality based on that old book we had presumably discarded long ago. The children were prepared to forge that new world whose foundation was firmly planted in shifting sands which were so undefined and meaningless that everything was near collapse. We were approaching the cusp and beyond the cusp was a great and bottomless void. The edge had watched many a great civilization fall beyond the cusp to fall into the darkness never to return. This was how greatness of civilizations died, not from withering attacks but from withering within. They first hollowed out the principles upon which they were built and then with the inner structure destroyed, they simply collapsed from their own weight. They all died from their internal injuries, one after the other marching straight into the abyss awaiting their eventual arrival as they passed beyond the cusp. They all had lost their way and strayed from the narrow path turning right or left, it matters not as the cliffs of ruin line both sides and one can pass beyond the cusp going either way, right with dictatorial systems controlled by a single lunatic or left where a horde of self-proclaimed wise men act just as need of an asylum as the single loon and who rush beyond the cusp into the void with equal abandon. The path is as pictured above, narrow and perilous for any who lose their compass and stray from the good path, the narrow way.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 27, 2016

Nation State or International Integration

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The election this fall is not about Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Taliban, or other security. It will not be about most of the items the media is talking about. What it is about is the economy, jobs, employment, wages, and everything about the economy but not in the obvious ways being discussed. Where will this next Presidency balance? The main item is which way does it benefit the United States most, continuing internationalism or returning to nationalism.

 

The media and most politicians are pushing this global economy, global integration, global cooperation, global solutions while hiding a dirty little secret, they are selling global as the solution while having the United States and the advanced nations pay for everything while equalizing the global playing field, whatever that means. We had a debate last night and we heard more of the same. Clinton claimed more globalism and taxes on the rich and Trump tried and may have meant to sound like Reagan. What they were not telling the people is that Clinton was using the same internationalism where the world matters more than the United States so in order to equalize the world the United States and the advanced world has to bleed to allow the rest of the world to catch up and then all will be well and how wonderful the world can be. Trump is actually claiming that every nation take their own and put them first and attempt to allow the nations who are leading the world to continue to be the leaders and then assist other nations in making gains and follow and give them access to advances as they are able to implement these advances. So, which way will work best. That depends on which nations one decides should be permitted to advance their own interests than to share with the world.

 

Internationalism is wonderful if your country is on the receiving end and not so wonderful if you are being bled to bring the other nations up to their level. The problem with that are many of these nations that are presumably being given advances in order to raise them to the same level are led by dictators who are enriching themselves and not making their nations any closer to the advanced world as that does not directly benefit them. What these dictators are not being intelligent about is that had they advanced their nation they would have enriched themselves in the process. They are not even thinking nationally rather than internationally. Internationally is a recipe for disaster as it inhibits the leaders from leading and demands that the least efficient be granted the largess while the leaders are placed in financial straight-jackets. Internationalists place a stop sign where all nations must park their own business and park their nation by the side of the highway and wait for the rest of the world to reach an equal position. The problem is that many of these nations, which they are waiting for to reach the same point, are themselves broken and not gaining and will never catch up as they are not even making any effort to reach the next level. Internationalism believes that making all nations equal will solve the world’s problems and inequalities, despite it not ever bringing the rest of the nations to first world status.

 

 

World Map with Borders Deemphasized

World Map with Borders Deemphasized

 

Nationalism is the opposite view which allows each nation to advance at their own rate and still demands that the first world assist the developing nation but does not demand they try to make equal those nations so dysfunctional that they are the closest thing to an economic black hole as can be found. Nationalism rewards each nation for their efforts and allows each nation to gain at their own speed. Allowing the leaders to lead gives other nations a target and proven path they can emulate but without national gain by the wealthiest nations to blaze the trail for the others to follow. The basis for nationalism is it allows each nation to set their own monetary policies and is against unifying monetary policies as such a system is flawed and destroys the lesser productive nations which has been proven by the European Union Euro which has benefited Germany while leaving Greece behind. Nationalism allows each country to do the best for their own people and society. That does not mean that nations which are developing should not be aided and it is in the interest of the most advanced nations to assist those nations who are developing and making the right choices and allowing them to benefit from the experiences of those nations who have traveled those roads before them. But those nations which are completely dysfunctional cannot be assisted as long as their governance is broken and until the nation decides to change their dysfunctions there is no reason to throw good money after bad.

 

Internationalism is a wonderful, feel-good policy filled of kind words and low on actual results. Internationalism demands that all nations be made to give according to their ability and the funds are granted to countries according to their needs. Internationalism demands open borders allowing free immigration with no limits or criminal and other background checks or other limits or restrictions. The policies sound as if they will allow all nations equal opportunities in word while defining this policy as bringing all nations up to the same level and making things fair for all nations. The truth is that this is accomplished by tearing down the greater nations while benefitting some of the least deserving nations who are corrupt criminal enterprises more than they are actual functional nations. Rewarding the worst while impeding the best prevents progress and will constantly restrict progress and the discoveries of new technologies and new systems which would result in assisting those nations seeking a better future to implement the proven methods. To get an idea on the difficulties caused by internationalism there is a perfect example which we can observe, the European Union. How has that equal currency been working for over half of Europe who are not Germany or Britain but are Greece, Spain, Italy and even France and many of the former Warsaw Nations. The common currency has taken the small differences of economic production where the agrarian economies which work on a different production level having to survive with the same policies of the industrial and other highly developed nations.

 

World Map and Relative Wealth of Nations

World Map and Relative Wealth of Nations

 

Permitting each nation to perform at their highest level and to their full potential will set target paths for other nation to follow along the proven road set by the highest performing nations. Progress is the fuel that raises all nations in turn. Progress provides the test paths and allows developing nations to benefit from their more advanced nations but only when they decide to advance. No nation could be forced to grow their economy and advance their national infrastructure and when a nation refuses to advance itself then forcing the rest of the world to wait for such a nation to reach an equative level is ridiculous and counterproductive. Internationalism is wonderful idea if it could function as promised. Nationalism is the dirty sounding word which is accused of being selfish because it benefits the wealthy nations and prevents developing nations from ever reaching the top level. The obvious fault is that accusation is completely false. If nationalism prevented up and coming nations from ever becoming the top nations were true then China would have ruled the world, Spain would be a leading nation, Greece would be the top nation in Europe, Egypt would be the most advanced nation in construction and engineering, Persia would still control East-West trade routes, Portugal would be a great power with colonies throughout the world, and the Hittites would be the great power in the norther worlds of Europe through to Turkey. Top nations change and have changed throughout the history of the world while nationalism was the rule of the world. Internationalism has caused massive stagnation as the world as a whole is not permitted to advance because the leading nations are held back presumably for the benefit of the lesser nations. This will always be a supported philosophy as there will always be more developing and undeveloped nations than leading nations as only a few nations will be in the top ten percent, which is why it is referred to as the top ten percent. Internationalism has been working so well over the past twenty to thirty years since 1979 while the rest of history was pathetic and without economic advancement advances by all nations and we are still using salt as a currency, aren’t we? The progress from salt as money to salt as something on almost every dinner table was a result from nationalism, not internationalism.

 

Compare the two with eyes open and the preferable form, open competition or controlled advancement, the choice could provide opportunity or a slow decadence and eventual decimation. Internationalism is welfare on an international scale much in the form of the Soviet Union and the initial Plymouth Rock Colony which would have starved if not for the Native Americans who grew and hunted for surplus for the winter and had sufficient to teach and feed the Pilgrims. After that experience of all get all they need, while most gave nothing in effort, they introduced a new program where each family kept a percentage of what they grew and the remainder was shared, the amounts of food skyrocketed. That is the balance which nationalism can produce, the most advanced achieve at their highest level and those developing nations learn from those leaders and in time some will replace them as they eventually falter. That is the secret of effort based economies, the people or nations at the top changes with time when another makes decisions which make them even more profitable as the other sinks under likely bureaucratic waste. You decide.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 16, 2016

Should the Haredi be an Israeli Priesthood?

 

There are a number of schools of thought on whether or not the Haredi should be permitted to study Torah and allow that to be their contribution generally to Israeli society. Some are demanding that the Haredi face mandatory enlistment into the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) exactly the same as the rest of Jewish youths. Some are in favor of just young men while permitting the women not need to be enlisted with some claiming they be encouraged or made to serve in alternate public service. Then there are those who desire to allow the entirety of Haredi population simply lead pious lives dedicated to learning Torah with the referencing the numerous Haredi who spend as much as twelve hours every day except Sabbath either in services or learning Torah. Some less observant Israelis have pointed out the appearance of Haredi young men apparently strolling parks or in other non-study activities as proof that such a deferment for Torah study has been abused by some Haredi with which they broad brush the entirety of Haredi. There are few who desire to force the true and studious Torah scholars to not be permitted their honest scholarly pursuits as thus too is an important service whether all understand or even believe such dedication actually serve the State. Any serious answer to this situation, this challenge to the leadership of both the State of Israel and the Haredi society must find a reasonable and sensible solution which also takes into account some obvious demographic realities of the situation.

 

The one problem is that the Haredi community is a growing sector which would eventually reach a critical percentage where they would exceed the ability of the nation to support their complete absence from the societal productive engines. Simply stated, at some point in the not far distant future the Haredi community will be required to become productive if only to offset any costs their entire segment of society places on the State. The claim that the Haredi cover their own costs may be accurate to a point but at some point just producing sufficient food and clothing would exceed the potential of the state to produce and/or import even if the Haredi pay for their consumption as should they become over half, if not merely a lesser percentage, the production of the remainder of the population could not produce sufficient without employing the entirety of the remainder at a pace to support twice their population. At some point the Haredi will be made to make a judgement of which of their population show a particular promise or special talent lending them capable of receiving support to dedicate themselves to Torah study and such deferment should also be provided for any Israeli judged and desiring such dedication. There should be similar requirements as exist for professors at universities and colleges or teaching at Yeshivas. Also the Yeshivas should also be teaching at the least a basic education in addition to Torah study and perhaps a Torah curriculum for the public schools could be taught by religious scholars not just at Yeshivas. Such dispensations could and should be pursued with a plan to utilize those best suited in Torah scholarship to pursue such ends while it will soon be imperative for parts of the Haredi community to join the workforce and also serve in the IDF in special units which would allow for their observant lifestyle and restrictions not be challenged either intentionally, as has been the appearance in some instances, or through misunderstanding. These units will also likely require that a percentage, if not majority, of the officers and command chain be Haredi such that the sensitivities of these units will be better accommodated and understood by their commanders. If Israel is going to be serious about incorporating the Haredi into the society as a whole and especially into the IDF then some accommodations will be required and some give and take will be necessary on both sides. This will even include some arrangements with employers which will benefit all religious Jews and give some additional freedom to secular Jews and Israelis who are not particularly or even slightly Jewish. These accommodations will necessarily include scheduling such that the Sabbath is a say free of work with the obvious exception should rotation require a Haredi combat or mission necessary unit be scheduled for a rotation which counters Sabbath as defense of the nation is an exception recognized under Torah and universally.

 

 

Haredi Soldiers Taking Time for Morning Prayers in the Field During Training

Haredi Soldiers Taking Time
for Morning Prayers in the
Field During Training

 

The accommodations in the workplace would be no different than the accommodations granted Islamic religious members of the workplace who require prayer five times each day with the times set fairly rigidly. There should also be a liberalized attire universally applied for any group which had certain requirements for their appearance and attire. As stated, such accommodations should be universal and inclusive such that every group is comfortable and not unnecessarily required to break with traditional attire whenever possible. Needless to point out, should the required attire of a workplace stand counter to one’s religious requirements they should not seek employ in such locations such as nightclubs, clothing stores with secular progressive clothing requirements, and any place equally obvious which would be stated up front such that those who objected to the requirements would know not to seek employment in such places. There has to be certain rights both respecting the employer as well as the employees. An upscale and modern liberal clothing store would not be a place where Haredi or Islamic attire would be an accepted uniform, of sorts, attire which would necessarily show off such attire as part of being a salesperson. Some things should be obvious even to the most casual of observers, and the law should recognize the right of an employer to have appropriate attire and acceptance of the cliental and activities. A disco might not be an acceptable place for a strictly religious person of many faiths to choose work and such a place could have expectations which would exclude such employees in the first place. Such things should be obvious, period.

 

Military uniforms and other specific requirements for position are also understandable. An elite force which is designed to deploy places where the requirement might include wearing of a gas mask that people with full beards would have difficulties with such a mask and thus might not desire such an assignment or must be willing to remove their facial hair. As far as working in close proximity with women offending some stridently observant individuals, there should be accommodations and allowances whenever and wherever imaginable with a very liberal interpretation if such is possible. The scheduling women singing before a Haredi unit should never even cross the minds of commanders and if such were to be scheduled, then those wishing to excuse themselves should be granted alternate assignments and not just necessarily set free of any work related requirements. They might perhaps be assigned other duties such as cleaning communal areas or guard duty or other duty as seen fit in place of the setting they find objectionable. There is always something that requires doing in a military setting or they could be assigned policing the area of the performance after its completion. Such assignments would be at the discretion of the commanders of each unit.

 

The Haredi community should be granted generous liberties to define who amongst their community show and should be granted liberal special rights classifying them as a Torah sage or an astute and capable educator capable of inspiring students in the ways of Torah and the Written and Oral Laws. Whether or not a quota or percentile of the Haredi population will be permitted special observance privileges to spend their lives studying Torah or teaching Torah and the commandments and traditions in an inspiring fashion will largely depend on the responsible response and classification of their population between dedicated Torah scholars and teachers and those who will serve in the IDF or social services will, in the best possible of worlds, be left to the Haredi for as long as they perform these functions responsibly. Such a compromise needs to be reached such that both the Haredi and the general population are served through a mutual agreement and not through actual legislation, laws, court cases and general animosity. The reality is both the general Israeli public and especially the Haredi are majority Jewish populations and it would be nice to believe they could reach some accord which satisfies both communities. One can only hope that such an agreement is possible and can be attained with minimal if any acrimony as we are both majority Jewish, right?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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