Beyond the Cusp

July 28, 2013

Of Likud and Republican; A Problem Shared

They say that misery loves company and should that be true then members of America’s Republican Party and Israel’s Likud Party have plenty of company. Both of these political parties have had a split from in their membership and both sides blame the other for any election misgivings and shortfalls. What makes things even closer between the two is in both cases the split pits political purists who hold tightly to high political standard that might be best described as the pure essence of their party in theory while the other faction claims to be practical realists who hold that high political morality is great in theory but practice demands that the party must be more open to a wider group and that compromise is paramount. In both parties the purists claim that they have been ignored and that they have not had a candidate who holds fast to their strict definitions of belief while the realists blame the purists for forcing the party too far from the center and costing them the so-called swing voters which are necessary in national elections.

In the United States the Republican Party has had a group from which has been defined as the Tea Party Republicans but might be best defined as Constitutionalists and Libertarians. These Constitutional purists hold strongly to individual freedoms as defined by the Founding Fathers in their letters, writings and the founding documents of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Their claim is that there are a multitude of voters who believe the same way as they do and that many of these voters are even more stridently defined and are willing to stay home on Election Day rather than vote for a candidate they feel is too compromised on their issues. The realists claim that the dogmatic purity is too restrictive and denies the party the support of middle of the political spectrum voters. The realists claim that the Republican Party needs to position their candidates just slightly more conservative than the Democrat’s candidate as this will position their candidate to pick up the centrist voters as well as the strident conservatives of all stripes as who else would such people vote for, the Democrat or some third party candidate? They claim to run a stridently conservative candidate would leave the party with high political morals but no vote totals and they doubt that third party candidates actually take that many votes away due to their reference to put forward a compromise candidate. The biggest disagreement between these two groups in the Republican camp is where their recent candidates for the Presidency stood on the issues, especially in the last two elections where they lost to the Democrat Party candidate, Barrack Obama. In both cases the purists claimed that both John McCain and Mitt Romney were members of the realist camp while the realists claimed that due to catering to the purists these two candidates appeared too far to the conservative and libertarian end of the political spectrum. Both sides claim that the candidates were chosen and ran as if they were the epitome of the other side’s idea of the perfect candidate. Obviously both sides cannot be correct.

In Israel, the Likud Party has had an even rougher time despite currently being the party in power. All one has to do to see the convulsions which have wrought through the Likud body politic is to review some of the up and coming and established Likud Party leaders over the last decade or so. It was from the Likud Party that Kadima was born when the realists’ extremes of the party felt they could no longer accomplish their desired policies and remain within the Likud Party. It was a Likud elected Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who divided the Likud Party by taking a fair number of the leadership and merging them with other opportunists from Labor and other parties to form a new party they named Kadima. Those who split and joined Likud claimed that their moderate views were not welcomed in Likud and that they really had little choice. Some of those who left Likud with Ariel Sharon, among others, were Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Shaul Mofaz, Meir Sheetrit, Gideon Ezra, Avraham Hirschson, Ruhama Avraham, Majalli Wahabi, Roni Bar-On and Omri Sharon. The main reasons for the divide was over whether Israel should carry out the disengagement plan and simply remove all Israeli presence from the Gaza Strip and turn the entire area over to the Palestinian Authority as a test case to give the Palestinians an opportunity to govern and prove their capabilities. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon carried out the disengagement and a short while later Hamas took control over the Gaza Strip in a violent coup which led directly to the rain of rockets and other terrorist attacks emanating from the areas Israel had vacated.

Despite the obvious failure of the disengagement as far as Israel is concerned and, oddly enough, as far as the Palestinian Authority was concerned, there is still a strong worldwide push to force another disengagement from Judea and Samaria turning the entire area over to the Palestinian Authority assuming that this time will work out better. What makes the push for finding a peace in which much if not almost all of the areas of Judea and Samaria, also known to the Arabs as the West Bank, is turned over to the Palestinian Authority is once again the issue that is splitting Likud onto two camps, one is the Zionist Camp which purports that Israel should simply annex the entirety of Judea and Samaria and set a method by which the Palestinians could apply and qualify as citizens in Israel while the other camp are the so-called realists who hold that the Palestinians cannot be granted citizenship in Israel for any number of reasons among which include the “demographic bomb which states that in thirty to fifty years the Palestinians will outnumber the Jews in Israel simply through natural reproductive growth, or the idea that Israel will find themselves in even a worse position where the rest of the world will impose a solution on Israel where they will lose everything and therefore a compromise must be found. Currently, the Likud led coalition is headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu who is working towards finding a path to making a treaty with the Palestinians where, according to rumors, Israel would retain the major Jewish settlement blocks which amounts to around fifteen percent of the lands of Judea and Samaria and the Palestinians would be allowed to form their state in the remaining eighty-five percent. This would entail the Israelis absorbing between sixty and eighty thousand Jewish Settlement refugees from the towns and farms that would be ceded to the Palestinians. As the lands of Judea and Samaria are a large portion of the traditional ancient Jewish-Israelite-Hebrews historic and biblical homeland, there are many who feel that relenting on these areas to be sinful and sacrilegious, tantamount to treason against the true faith of Judaism. One should be able to see that giving up lands whose name is Judea might be a serious compromise for a people and religion denoted by the name of Judaism.

So, what does the future likely hold for these two parties and their respective nations? First off, in the Likud the future is relatively clear in that the younger members of the party such as Danny Danon and Moshe Feiglin who are strident Zionists and favor Israel retaining all of Judea and Samaria and offering the Palestinians who wish to remain and become Israeli citizens a methodology and plan to do so and for those Palestinians who would prefer to leave and live in the Arab world be given fair compensation for all of their properties and an additional payment to facilitate making their transition easier. This shifting towards a stronger nationalistic outlook also matches one of the trends within the Israeli population along with trending towards the populations as a whole becoming more religious. There is a real, visceral, tangible revitalization of Judaism taking place within Israel that is growing healthily in accord with nationalism. The window that we hear being bandied about as a limited time remaining in which forming a Palestinian state being possible is very probably an accurate assessment but for reason different than those stated. The problem is not that the two sides are growing more strident in their positions and thus reaching a compromise will soon become impossible as it is that a growing number of Israelis are beginning to realize that the Palestinians will never live peaceably even should they be granted their own state but will continue to use terror and pleadings to the world, especially Europe, to return all of the lands to them and remove Israel from the map. It really should not be a huge surprise as this has been the message shouted loud and clear from Palestinian society and the Arab World at large since before Israel was founded and it has never changed. The Israelis hear it constantly on Palestinian radio and television broadcasts, read it in Palestinian newspapers, journals, magazines, and their children’s textbooks, and it is evident on their maps which show all of the land as Palestine with no mention of Israel whatsoever. Likud will eventually become an almost purely Zionist Party as will other Israeli political parties and that will not be a contended position in elections. Likud also supports capitalism, free trade with other nations, smaller government, privatization of government run services and companies, and less regulations and restriction on business in general. Their main competitors in the political realm are all socialists of different stripes.

The Republican Party’s future is not quite as easily determined as there is not the generational split anywhere near as obvious as it is for Israel’s Likud Party. The Tea Party segments of the Republican Party are a growing sector which is still flushing out its organizational structure and thus will gain some more voice and strength in the immediate future. The challenge for the Tea Party members will be maintaining their higher than average level of involvement which is often found when a movement is in its early stages and still growing. There have been signs in some elections where the Tea Party has surprised the establishment and pollsters by winning what were termed upsets such as Bridenstine against Sullivan in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Ted Cruz in Texas, among others. The problem with predicting the future of political parties in the United States over doing so in Israel is an obvious one, size matters and the United States has size over Israel in every manner you care to measure with the exception as both nations have a similar number of Jewish citizens, for now. When one speaks of the Republican Party, there is a huge difference as you look at different locations. An example which makes this point is that if one compares a Democrat elected to the United States House of Representatives from Texas or Wyoming to a Republican elected to the same august body from Maryland or Massachusetts, one would likely find that the Democrat would be considered the more conservative of the two. That is why it is impossible to form an exact definitive description for a member of any political party in the United States and especially for the two main parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. Politics in the United States is a lot like real estate, what matters a lot is location, location, location. Still, the Republican Party will likely face a reformation of sorts over the next decade or two and a good prediction would safely contend that Republican candidates will become more aligned with the founding declarations of individualism, freedom, and less reliance on government. They will push for reforms that lessen the reach and purview of the federal government and push for empowerment of the individual states and even to local city and county governments. Any contributions from the Federal Government will be in the form of block grants and there will be less stringent restrictions on their use. Whether this resonates with the public remains to be seen but there is a high likelihood that should some of the over-bloated Federal Government programs, even some of the newest among them, become financially untenable that rather than allow for Federal taxes to rise close to if not over fifty percent, the people of both parties will demand somebody take a carving knife to the Federal budget and the programs it supports. This will be the result more of necessity than anything else but it is surprising how frugal people can become when their ability to survive is on the line. But, as we have said before, time will tell.

Beyond the Cusp

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May 21, 2013

For a Healthy, Well Regulated Society Where Every Action is Regulated, Illegal or Mandatory

We live in the era of rule by bureaucracy. The path to this impossibility was a quick slide down a slippery slope of lazy politicians. At some point in time, the early 1960s is my best guess, our elected officials found an easier way to make laws while not needing to understand or research the particulars for the application and implementation of said laws. Their new operational model was they simply passed new legislation that gave a somewhat malleable and vague definition of the target ideas and ideals the legislation was targeted to produce and then assigned to different cabinet departments, cabinet Secretaries, select committees, or even in extreme cases some NGO to make the necessary regulations in order to fulfill the requirements stated and set in the legislation. Never in the wildest imagination of any conspiracy theory was there a more powerful way to slide down the slippery slope to a society where any and every act is either illegal or required or, in the best of cases, both. The epitome and perfection of this procedure will be taking effect throughout the rest of the year and is scheduled to be complete and workable by January 2014; but trust when we tell you that there will be more regulations spawned by this legislation in every year going forward for as far as one can envision. This strangling legislation is the Affordable Care Act which is better known as Obama Care. Most of us probably thought that everything would have been fully fleshed out and completely defined and everything that could possibly be required described in full and complete detail somewhere in the many hundreds of pages of the bill. After all, were we not told by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that we had to pass the bill in order to see what was in the bill? Well, that probably meant something quite different than was understood by most of us.

 

The reality is that within the legislation were hundreds of pages enacting or setting in place the requirement for many items which had absolutely nothing to do with healthcare while also not defining definitively much of anything and simply left amorphous definitions of intent of coverage and systems and left much of the filling in of details and regulations up to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. What is even more worrisome is that when these laws are passed such as Obama Care there is no date which prevents new regulations from being added past that point. This was a peculiarity which President Obama decided provided an unintended plethora of new regulations. In order to mine this gold mine that never stops giving technically, President Obama made a position named Regulations Czar Cass Sunstein with the given job description of reviewing government regulations in order to delete those regulations which are no longer deemed to be fulfilling any necessary purpose. The actual work being performed by Mr. Sunstein is to review all legislation passed into law over the entire history of the United States mining them for potential application of new regulations which serve the intents and ends of the Administration’s legislative and policy aims. Since any new regulations, or any regulations, which are written in order to fulfill the required implementation of passed legislation does not require debate or even the knowledge of Congress and can be completely enacted and implemented by the Administrative branch of the government. Simply put, if the President can produce justification for any regulation within any piece of existing law, then the regulation can be written, implemented, and enforced without the knowledge or action from any other branch of government. If this worries you, welcome to the scariest of secrets with which the Federal government is being grown beyond the wildest dreams of the most ardent fascist or other big government advocate.

 

Now for the really worrisome part of this story, Obama Care. Just imagine what a policy wonk given unlimited power to write regulations with the intent of controlling all actions over such areas as diet, exercise, habits, risky behavior, participation in dangerous sports, accident avoidance, and virtually anything one can imagine a person either participating or avoiding in their lives as long as these regulations can be tied in any manner to healthcare costs. We have seen a small example of such in New York City with Mayor Bloomberg and his smoking ban, trans fat ban, salt limiting, and attempted soda size limitation. When addressing all things which can be considered as potential health risks, where risk is defined as requiring healthcare expenditures, and you quickly realize that everything in life is now legally defined as something that government may choose to regulate. With government health care where the government decides what care you as a patient are entitled to receive, just imagine what requirements can be placed on one so that they can qualify for the best possible care allowed. Your diet can be controlled by requiring a scientifically specified diet with excessively restrictive meal plan. You might also be required to perform specified physical exercise routine. Should your weight deviate from the governmental norms for BMI you could be placed on an even more restricted diet to address your potential health risk. You like trail biking, sky diving, scuba diving, or any other potentially dangerous or injury prone activity? Not if you want healthcare to cover sprains, broken bones or other injuries which could result even if one does not participate in any injury risk behavior. Or perhaps in order to enjoy such activities one would be required to be licensed after taking required instruction which is required for your own good and would presumably teach you the safest manner to participate in your selected activity. Of course the fee for the licenses would be directly proportional to the risks involved in the particular activity. In all honesty, nothing in life is beyond being controlled in order to assure you remain in tip-top healthy shape in order to minimize the likelihood for you to require other than normative healthcare treatments. There is already a system which will likely be the eventuality of Obama Care which is known as the Complete Lives System. This system sets up formulae which are to be used to determine whether or not it would prove to be cost effective for government to provide healthcare services depending on the cost of the care required, the prognosis for success, the age of the patient, and numerous other cold, hard facts which then make the determination whether or not you will be treated. This system almost guarantees that there will be nothing beyond the most basic care provided to the elderly and high cost procedures would also not be approved for youth, especially if the problem will require continued care. This is as impersonal a system and arbiter for the dispensing healthcare as one could ever imagine, but then government has never been accused of being emotional or particularly caring. The future under universal government healthcare, which is inevitable under Obama Care, will result in a tangled web of regulatory requirements and restrictions which will ensnare every life and strangle from them any deviance from whatever is determined to be governmental norm. The other unavoidable result will be the absolute and complete end to personal privacy as in order to assure your life meets all health requirements, your life will necessarily have to be totally monitored. The amount of privacy that remains today, as restrictive as it may seem, will seem like unbelievable freedom in a decade or two when the government has reached the point where it must regulate all activities, diets, exercise, and all else in order to assure the healthiest of populations under its care. After all, it will be for your own good, honest.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 2, 2013

Can the Republican Party be Saved?

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Recently the Republican hierarchy released their report detailing the problems the party is facing and attempting to detail the deficiencies and propose solutions. There were numerous voting blocs where they also found problems. One prime example was their losing the under thirty vote by at least a ratio of three to one. Other such blocs included single women, the less well off, almost the entirety of minority voters, and so forth. From what I saw it was possibly debatable if they even won a majority of the registered Republicans. Ok, I made that up but it was really almost that bad. They also found that they managed to receive fewer votes in every voting group over the results from four years earlier. Somehow the Republicans with candidate Romney were unable to even hold on to the McCain voters as they received fewer votes across the board in this last election. As horrible as this news was it was not as unsettling as the solutions the report provided. The main gist of the offered solution was to move the candidates and campaigns to align them closer to the Democrat message.

My bet is should they pursue this path it will lead to the death of the Republican Party. When the base voters who are the lifeblood of your political party are not getting to the polls your problem is not that you are too far removed from the other party, it is that you are not offering them anything distinctly different from the other party. The solution is not to attempt to be perceived as the Democrat Lite Party but to be the heart and soul Republican Party. Show a difference and celebrate that difference. The Republican Party has not given the feeling that they are proud, confident, or even that they believe in their party. They sound almost apologetic whenever they sound all that different from what the Democrats stand for. If you want a near perfect example of the real problem is that is cursing the Republicans all you need to do is listen to the “old guard” of the GOP during the debates on virtually any legislation where immigration reform is one of the most glaring examples. Another problem is the seeming lack of unity and cooperation between the different factions that make up the Republican Party. Sometimes it appears as if as a whole the Republicans do not stand unified for anything and are without honest and driving principles. We had a perfect example after Rand Paul’s efforts to make a serious protest over the evasiveness and apparent policy which would allow the use of drone strikes on American civilians inside the country’s borders in place of arrests and a trial if the President so deemed necessary with his thirteen hour filibuster and a number of the senior Republican Senators demeaned his efforts on the floor of the Senate. Such disagreements should never be fought out in the public square but should be discussed and resolved within the party. When was the last time you heard one Democrat Senator demean another Democrat on the floor of the Senate? Such would never happen as the Democrats have party discipline and would not stand for parading the party laundry in public.

Another problem the Republican Party needs to work on is simply getting their message out and being heard. Since the mainstream press is actually a willing partner in any Democrat candidate’s campaign, the Republicans have to find a delivery for their message which does not rely on the mainstream press. They definitely need to work on their Internet usage and make more and better use of U-tube, Twitter, Facebook, and all other forms of social media as well as blogs and the new media. There are a good number of conservative bloggers who would be anxious to support getting the republican message out if they only would be included in the campaign planning and get some assistance in coordinating with the candidate. They could offer releases to these bloggers once they had compiled an extensive list. But the most important challenge facing the Republican Party hierarchy and planners is a message around which the membership can rally and be excited over. The current state of the Republican can be summed up in two words, disjointed disarray. Until they can establish something that can be advertised as the Republican core beliefs around which every party candidate tailors their message, the Republican Party will continue to wander leaderless in the political wastelands.

Beyond the Cusp

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