Beyond the Cusp

January 19, 2017

One Single Change Would Wipe Out 90% Congressional Corruption

 

If you spend any time on social media you can only come to one conclusion, graft is everywhere except with the less that powerful. The wealthy get away with everything up to and even including murder, though murder is the toughest one to escape. Congress has far too many members who spend three terms, or even two, and if one is astute, one term and walk away as multimillionaires. Many people ask as to how this can be. Many understand and know why this can be and often is. Senators and Representatives are covered by laws which exempt them from insider trading. So if there is a defense bill coming to a vote and the members of Congress know that in six weeks it will pass, it will easily give company XYZ a multi-billion dollar contract which is hundreds of times more than their budget for the previous five years combined. XYZ stock is selling at $1.23 a share six weeks out, so many, but not all as they take turns according to seniority, buy a thousand shares. The bill passes and Wall Street lights up and within two days that stock now sells for $327.77 a share. The Congress members sell their stock at this point making over $325,000.00 for a six week and two day investment in a stock because they cannot be charged with insider trading. This simple trick goes for much more than defense legislation and at every level of government. In the little township, county, city or borough where you live they repair roads, bridges and build parking garages and hire companies to manage all kinds of government projects. Going into such contracts these are often small family businesses with under twenty-five employees and just initially making stock options. That places their stock initially on the volatile IPO (Initial Public Offering) market which is usually the home for high risk, high reward investors and not for the faint of heart. But when you know that a small operation is about to receive a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract that market becomes far less risky and investing becomes a sure bet. This is the sleight of hand, crooked investing which can be found throughout government at all levels. Often those who would prosecute such criminal acts are also clued in on investments when the opportunity is great enough to allow a broad group to make huge benefits without actually raising too much attention. This is why you find so much money going into governmental elections and influencing because the returns are far beyond the pittance invested. Giving a number of city electors a hundred thousand dollars into their election funding and then after they defeat their opponent who received one fifth the amount they will receive multi-million dollar contracts and the city electors investing wisely become millionaires within a few years and move to Tahiti if they are smart, or buy their own newly charted island and refuse extradition to the United States.

 

This is nothing new as it has been how the Senators in Rome maintained their wealth and how the Caesars ruled over these Senators distributing government monies to those who supported them and not the others. The first Caesar, Julius Caesar made a single mistake, he kept the money with the people and refused to feed the graft machine which was the Senate and the commanders of the legions. This resulted in his big day on the Senate steps where he was made into a pincushion using tens of knives as the pins with the final pin, some claim the fifty-first knife, plunged into Caesar’s back by Brutus, “Et tu Brutus?” Wars were fought throughout antiquity to steal the wealth and enrich the King and their closest advisors and generals who commanded the troops protecting the King and winning their wars. Eventually rulers figured out they could simply tax their subjects and by taking a small to modest amount from each subject reap great wealth. Some rulers made the fatal mistake of figuring that if a modest amount granted great wealth, then doubling the tax would double their wealth. That failed as once you cross a critical point draining from the economy the economy becomes unstable and the gravy train dries up and the people revolt. So many greedy kings found their people to be revolting right before they met the guillotine, the sword or other form of execution, some far less noble at the hands of the rabble. Governmental systems have changed, governing has not. Governing is still how to provide the people with sufficient services and comfort while stealing as much as the market will bear enriching the governing. Can this poisoning of government be rooted out and extinguished? Probably not for as Campaign Finance Reform should have taught the people of the United States is that no matter how you rig the game and what you do to take the money from the hands and supporting structures of the elected public servants, they will simply invent some way around the laws, appear not to actually control what they are forbidden, have an indirect but close knot control of these funds and will make away with the wealth in the end. What is more diabolical and evil are those high government employees who are just below the appointed position who are civil servants, thus presumably untouchable by those in power, gaining wealth through careful investing and manipulation of portfolios to take advantage of information which comes across their desks as part of enacting the particulars of legislations. This has gotten far more prevalent as the legislation leaves the entirety of the building and enacting the structures to fulfill the demands of vague legislations thus allowing much of the distribution of contracts and such to these civil servants. There is little chance that these civil servants are all so clean as to not make investments or find other means of enriching themselves. There are far too many very wealthy government employees whose salaries are less than twenty-five thousand dollars a year, how did they become wealthy? Little problem in figuring that out, is there.

 

Shine a Light on Corruption

Shine a Light on Corruption

 

Money is the grease which oils the wheels of government. That remains true to this day and will likely remain true far into the future. The opportunities to become wealthy from being in the right place to hear the next outlay of millions of dollars by government cannot be eliminated until the government is trusted to machines, and then the question will be who monitors and runs the machines. All we can do is alter where the weakest links are placed and thus who gains from inside information. The history of mankind has in part been the history of seeking perfect governance and the failure at virtually every juncture. There was once a governance which was as close to that perfection people seek but is unwieldy as the people must have the faith to trust their safety and protection from other nations and their invasions or other entreaties to an entity they cannot know and claim daily their inability to understand their ruling entity trusting the messengers who claim to be the sole recipients of that wisdom. This was the ruling by Hashem over the initial Israelite Tribes through the prophets and judges. There was not government largess to benefit from its wealth and how it was distributed as all was in the hands of Hashem and there were no government programs. Roads were made by people traveling between locations using the same route which eventually packs the ground making a clear and obvious path, not what you would desire to drive your brand new Lexus across but perfectly fine for your donkey. Even the advances far, far back around 1100 BCE forced the Israelites to demand to have a King like the neighboring nations to lead their army and protect them from the threats emerging around them and Torah records that Hashem told the Judges and Prophets that should the Israelites demand some form of governance to provide them security, then they should be permitted such governance. This resulted in their taking a king asking the leading prophet to anoint their king leading to King Saul. Saul was not the worst of kings or the best, but his reign led directly through some odd circumstance to King David and then King Solomon which was the shining period where the tribes of Israel were united into a singular nation which conquered lands up to the Euphrates River (see maps below showing Twelve Tribes, King David and Solomon conquest and the promised lands for Israel according to treaties from World War I). Following Kings were less successful with the eventual downfall which coincided with a king who was an idolater and placed idols inside Solomon’s Temple, a low point for the Tribes of Israel. Over the next centuries the Israelites managed to throw off tyrants or be granted autonomy under the sovereignty of a greater power. The Israelites were even permitted to build the Second Temple which included Herod building what is today the Western Wall, built over six hundred years before the founding of Islam and about a century before the birth of Jesus. Herod made himself great amounts of wealth, sufficient to build himself a mountain with a castle and burial crypt in the Northern Negev and live a lavish life of opulence simply by giving the people what they demanded, the Temple Complex, and collect taxes in order to provide the people their desires while fulfilling his own. This has been the formula of effective governance for centuries both before and since, especially since. Many of the iconic public works projects, if investigated and audited meticulously would reveal that many within the government and closely tied to people in the governance and especially with the planning of public works gained great wealth. Be the works be a huge clock in the middle of London, a great dock providing thousands of new jobs in Amsterdam or almost any public work one could mention.

 

Left side map depicts the division of the Promised Land amongst the tribes and right side map compares the modern promised land from the Jordan west to the Mediterranean Sea compared to the maximum of area during King David’s and King Solomon’s reigns.

 

So, how can the vast majority of this corruption, this theft of the public treasure be prevented? The quickest would be to subject politicians and public servants (government workers) to the same laws as the public and demand an accounting of their incomes and investments as well as careful auditing of all contracts. Make all government bids by law be the final price charged with no cost overruns, no additional surprises, and no adjustments or new demands during production that allow for fudging numbers and hiding payouts. Adding that whatever the estimated date of delivery be set such that any time overrun resulting in a percentage of the initial payments budgeted being returned to government as a means of compensating the public for these delays. This would force defense contractors to make realistic and exacting bids instead of making a lowball bid knowing they can increase the cost through delays and cost overrun demands after the initial bid is accepted. The F-35 JSF is a prime example with it coming to delivery a good part of a decade late with cost overruns and technical problems resulting in the price of each fighter costing a good deal closer to double the expected and quoted price. Had these costs been included in the initial bid it is quite possible that the bid might have gone to a competitor. The current development and bidding system used by government contractors, especially in the defense industry, is to guess at what it might cost and to make a bid at three-quarters of that estimate completely confident that the remainder and more sufficient to make the profit desired as well as cover any difficulties along the way. This is a legalized form for guaranteeing theft. If, on the other hand, contractors were made to provide what they promised for the price they bid, and not a plug nickel over, then the bids would be far more realistic and shades higher to cover the expected of the unexpected, or should we simply call it the unplanned snags and other complications. This would allow the government and the voting public, should they be interested, to understand, and know ahead of time, exactly what projects will cost. Currently the public knows that the quoted bids are a ruse and perhaps if they were guaranteed these bids would be the exact delivery price the public might take a real interest. As things are, why bother with the bidding when one really need wait as long as a decade to find out the actual delivery price because there is little or no actual oversight.

 

Government needs to become a business, not a joke, a poke in the dark where truth is a rare commodity and concealed misappropriation the rule of thumb. If a butcher ran his store as governments are run his scale would be off by 10% and he would often have his thumb on the scale as well. Nothing would be as it appears and the rule of buyer be wary would be most necessary. Governments, when designed in democratic based nations, are presumed to be open and to be overseen by the people who by being informed can make solid and reasoned votes for their representatives. Oh, if only this were true. The reality is we elect our candidates or parties, pending on whether we have a representative democracy or a parliamentary system, according to elaborate shows designed to thrill and titillate the public with elaborate deceptions designed to sell the product making it appear more responsible than the governance’s results. The entire production is very Hollywood and just as much a fantasy. This all results in a governance just as deceptive as are the campaigns and the people depicted therein. There is an easy way which we can attest from our experience in running a campaign for the United States House of Representatives where we spent at most $10,000 and received more voted per dollar than either of our high priced opponents despite not quite garnering 3% of the vote (still the record for third party candidates where we ran). Now we feel it is important to point out that this was a campaign for a job which pays $174,000 per year (current salary) for two years for a total of $348,000 total before having to run again. Our two opponents each spent very close to the same amount on their campaigns which was estimated to have been that one spent $1,200,000 and the other spent $2,200,000. These figures for our opponents do not include PAC and Party funds and advertising. Please explain how that explains spending for a job paying $348,000 which only one of us had even a dream of showing a profit unless something else was going on. And Americans complain they cannot figure out what is wrong with their governance. Of course this is not something peculiar to the United States but exists in every government across the world. Democratic nations probably suffer the least from such deception as they do kind of have to answer to the people and when the people get upset, that distress trumps all else. In dictatorial regimes the difference is far more marked as the ruling elite get the best of what is available, that is when there is a best of available to be had. In those places suffering the worst governances imaginable, such as North Korea and Venezuela, eating and having even the necessities can be considered an extravagance. Until we return to Hashem ruling the people or machines keeping humans as their pets, there will be those people using the government for self-enrichment. Always has been and always will be, or so it appears.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 4, 2016

Foundations of Pay to Play

 

The Clinton Foundation, or should we call it the Clinton’s Fundnation, where donations of varying sizes were deposited often in direct correlation to the length of time they were granted with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Well, not all the visits with Secretary of State Clinton were linked to contributions to the Clinton Foundation; some were linked to very impressive payments for speeches by one former President William Jefferson Clinton. Of course we are told that there is no smoking gun or definitive proof or actual links, well, provable links. It is remarkable the degree to which far too many highly placed law enforcement agencies and individuals voluntarily develop tunnel vision. It is a miracle they can drive a car safely with such obstructed eyesight. Yet the news has been filled with reports about the horrors and downright dastardly practices and unconscionable business relations which apparently have plagued Donald Trump over the years. We can only assume that previously law enforcement and business oversight and enforcement departments have suffered an equal measure of tunnel vision when it came to policing the business deals of Donald Trump. Of course the surprising item is the lack of law suits brought against Donald Trump if so many of his business dealings were actually as fraudulent as we have been led to believe. There was one business venture though which truly could have qualified as fraudulent had it actually made the guarantees or promises claimed by the media, and that was Trump University. Fortunately for Donald Trump the only actual guarantees given by Trump University were that one might be able to benefit and enrich themselves with the lessons and they would receive a diploma and a picture of them with the facsimile of Donald Trump. The picture with the cardboard Mr. Trump was only worth slightly less than the wisdom one might have gleaned from the lessons. So, there has seemingly been loads of the blind leading the blind in law enforcement around both Presidential candidates if the media reporting on one and the claims of ignoring direct evidence on the other are to be believed. This leads to one big question, which one is the least crooked and least seriously soaked in criminal behavior and thus the lesser choice to be President.

 

I know what you’re thinking, where am I going with this and that I sure started with some twisted and tortured lack of logic. Well, why should editorial commentary here be any less confusing and in the dark than the rest of the media? If you answer is because you have come to expect better, then thank you for your confidence and read on, it will hopefully be worth your time. The problem is that far too many of the politicians are crooked as a broken and twisted ancient oak tree with the varieties of corruption, insider trading (which is actually legal for members of Congress and the members of the Administration of the President), bought and paid for political hacks, politician turned lobbyist and other crimes of unimaginable complexity and criminal behavior obvious even to the most casual of observers which reach out from the rotting central core of the political tree in the ever outward reaching branches seeking new and more imaginable ways to deceive and steal. Are there some politicians who are clean, respectable and trusted to work for their electorate? Astonishingly, yes. Unfortunately they are also the politicians shunned by the opposition party and their own party and unfortunately cannot seem to get together on issues due to their different beliefs and political orientations. If only there were some means of getting the true representatives of the people to work to clean up the rest of the political quagmire, that would be simply grand. Unfortunately most of the truly honest representatives of the people fall into one of a few categories, socialists even bordering on communist, religious conservatives often referred to as the religious right, and the true believers of causes which are as varied as often separate be the narrowest of degrees yet still chasing mutually exclusive dreams as one can paint. There are likely more than a dozen of causes which come under the ecological umbrella from save the whales or the seal cubs to save the rain forests as well as stop acid rain who sometimes protest with the save the oceans and even save the polar bears who have been taking care of themselves quite well. Then there are those who want electric cars, hydrogen cell cars, universal transports which take everyone to their destinations, public transport such as busses, light rail or subways and those who want to ban all vehicles which run on petroleum even including aircraft and the rigs without which we would soon have less choices of food and other goods, but that is not their concern. There are some who desire making the United States a Christian based nation where Christianity would become the recognized religion of their state or even the nation. And then there are our favorites, the constitutionalists who simply desire to have the United States return to the limitations intended by the Founding Fathers.

 

Founding Fathers of the United States

Founding Fathers of the United States

 

Those chasing causes, dreams some call them, are probably the least harmful as they are easily predictable and can be clearly understood. The less than honest politicians are also predictable once their motivations and those who own their pocketbook are understood. There are those who have so many positing bribes, sorry, contributions and charitable donations, which work their way back to the politicians through nefarious and twisted paths making them not so obvious. Let us say that a politician or group of politicians receive contributions to their campaigns and to supportive political action committees (PACs) as well as donations to charities or other groups who also contribute to the election campaigns where all this cash finds its way back to the politicians and they simply promote a bill which provides funding for some aid package helping the poor or the sick in impoverished nations which in turn buy drugs or food using much of the aid from the United States from those who initially arranged the funding from the varied sources for their campaigns. The twisted paths and the indirect funding leads to crossing the eyes of any investigations such as there is nothing directly untoward making these actions prosecutable. There are thousands of scams which have been operating for more years than any care to admit. Ask historians or political studies professors and one can learn that these problems assisted in the fall of empires past and have predated writing. There are theories about what is the oldest profession and it very well may turn out it was politician and the first politician was the individual who convinced the leader of their clan that they needed a religion and they should be the priest or medicine man or any position which did not require brawn as much as brains. That politicians got to eat without having to hunt as hunting was dangerous and too often the hunting parties came back minus one or more members while priests or medicine men stayed at the camp near the fires and out of the rain.

 

We have come a far way since then and now we have entire echelons of politicians in layers upon layers doing all sorts of functions. But in modern society the politician is not the greatest menace, just the most efficient ones where the greatest concentration of money can be found. The menace are those faceless individuals who sit in offices and cubicles making up rules and regulations and even law in some instances when directed to flesh out legislation which is all too often loosely written and paints broad swipes leaving room for interpretations and that leads to mischief. There was a temporary position a number of years back which was referred to as the Regulations Czar whose lead individual was Cass Sunstein known officially as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. The position was directed to review laws and legislation from the last fifty years or so and define or formulate new regulations which could be enacted with a special emphasis to use these reviews to enact and formulate regulations supporting policies the Administration was having difficulty passing through Congress. How many thousands of additional regulations were discovered hiding in laws recent or ancient we probably will never discern. Things have gotten to a choking point with the numbers of regulations, requirements and other rules holding an equivalence of laws that the average citizen cannot be expected to even have knowledge of the extents and depth of what is considered illegal and can place one on the wrong side of the law in court. The sad truth is difficult to put one’s arms around but be it the United Statesor be it Briton or any nation in Europe or potentially the entire world, the reality is we all break laws as part of our normal everyday lives and the criminality of living increases by thousands of new laws and regulations annually. This is the real criminal output of politicians who are paid to pass laws which outright or through inferred regulations give those who can pay an advantage over the rest of the population. This is the crooked legacy which is almost as criminal as the money stolen from our pockets through taxes, fees or higher prices so that others can benefit from corrupt politicians. This is why elections matter and primary elections this year proved to be the surprising ones which mattered. In the United States the choice is between two political forces either of which will provide the media, and especially us if we choose, more to cover than they will know what to do with. One will have half the media screaming about the illegalities with the other half excusing it while the other will have half most of the media claiming they are completely lost as to what are the motivations of the actions from the White House and others will play the game of guess what’s up next. Either way we will have plenty of news we just as soon would rather tune out, but it will affect our lives and the effects will be anywhere from minor inconveniences to drastic enough to threaten the entire planet. The real problem is none of the candidates, including third party, have even an inkling about the state of the world and what needs be done to repair the most egregious of the difficulties or threats, and it will be some of the threat which will offer the greatest danger if not mitigated and mitigated right out of the gate. Many will claim that will simply cause more difficulty but indifference to the world of problems has worked so well that we’ll gladly risk actually addressing threats and problems over leading from so far behind you may as well not be there at all, which too often was the case, Benghazi anyone? Please America, choose well.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 21, 2016

Candidate Videos We Will All See in the Fall Election

 

Come this fall there will be only three or four candidates for President on many ballots. There will be the Green Party and the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party and we will likely see absolutely nothing from these candidates unless they make the most astounding stupid or ludicrous remarks. The media uses them as comic relief but why should these outlier parties get all the humorous spots.

 

 

Election Headlines

Election Headlines

 

 

I figured we may as well start with the one guaranteed video we will see ad nauseum should, as expected, Hillary Clinton be the Democrat candidate for President. This will be the main driving video from every Super Pac backing the Republicans guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

Then there is the great video that Ted Cruz has left the Democrats which actually might soften his image and make him somewhat more attractive to many voters. You know which kind, the ones who will vote for somebody because nobody can be that insane but just in case Ted Cruz is that far beyond the cusp they will have to elect him hoping to get more of the same as in this video.

 

 

 

 

OK, those were ridiculous but they are exactly what is deserved in the coming elections as from all indications these elections appear to be more like electing a senior class president and not the leader of the greatest (presumably) nation on the planet. Still, we will actually, and hopefully, need to use actual positions of the candidates and we may as well begin early. First let us take a gander at Bernie “Feel the Bern” Sanders in an interview with Charlie Rose where he is asked about taxes and redistribution of wealth. The only warning we can give as commentary is that should Bernie actually be elected and try this, the United States would face the greatest movement of wealth beyond the borders ever even imagined in the worst case scenario as that is what this would pose.

 

 

 

 

Then there is “The Donald” Trump who has been evasive and his web site is only marginally more informative. The worst explanation of a position was his claim that he was the Grand Marshal of the New York Israel Day Parade. So, Donald Trump donated the most funding one year and got to ride in a convertible wearing a really nice velvet sash with an attractive young woman on either side as a reward for his contributing the most funds. So, what was Donald Trump’s answer to a direct question about the Arab-Israeli or Palestinian-Israel peace problem which has stymied every President since Truman in 1948 through President Obama currently. What words of wisdom or evasion did we get? Let’s look and listen.

 

 

 

 

Ted Cruz claims that he separates his politics from his religion and vice-versa. That was not exactly his position stated when speaking to what he considered a friendly audience. Whether the United States is a Christian or Judeo-Christian nation is debatable. There are those in Islam who claim that their religion was the basis for the United States founding principles and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Ted Cruz laments in this interview that the Christian vote should in greater percentage than the approximately half registered but remaining home on Election Day. This, he claims, would alter the face and nature of the United States in this interview which follows.

 

 

 

 

Then there is Hillary Clinton whose hope is you will ignore all her negatives and concentrate on her positives. This may prove to be a hard sell but such would not be something beyond her audacity or deceptions which she would be sure to use. There would be Bill Clinton aiding any deception necessary as should she lose it, still Hillary will need a better answer on why she should be trusted beyond any FBI investigation. This clip gives straightforward examples of the real Hillary and campaign Hillary and never the twain shall meet.

 

 

 

 

There is a treasure-trove of videos available on line and all one need do is type the subject in at You Tube or any search engine and a virtual cornucopia under each candidate and covering a plethora of interesting items mixed in with even more trivia all of which show off the candidates in any form and forum desired. We hope everyone enjoyed our sampler package. Perhaps we can share some more videos once we are down to the wire with just the few candidates left standing for election as the President of the United States.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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