Beyond the Cusp

November 10, 2014

What the New Republican Majority Congress Must Not Do

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I have seen near countless articles and editorials, is there a difference between the news and editorials any more, making every sort of suggestions for what the Republicans must do to make their majority count for something and be successful. What was a constant for virtually every suggestion of what they must do was how almost none of it would get passed the White House Obama veto. As President Obama once warned that he has a pen and a phone could also imply that he could veto legislation passed by the Republican Congress and then phone them to come pick up their worthless pieces of paper. So, with the veto pen and the insulting phone call in mind I thought suggesting what the Republicans should avoid if they desire to be successful in the ensuing Congress over the remaining two years of the Obama Presidency. Where they should pass certain principled legislation initially which defines their principles but not waste months doing so, they should also repeat this procedure in the summer leading up to the 2016 elections to augment a candidate for President that hopefully can excite the Republican voters across their spectrum and can express the core conservative and constitutional principles in a manner similar to President Reagan but also able to use social media to good advantage.

The Republicans must not fall for the media mantra that what voters demanded from the new Congress was for them to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats and President Obama as a great number of their voters wanted no such thing, something I learned about through personal and close up observation and a listening tour in Oklahoma which ended about one year ago. They should not make attempts to modify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obama Care, and also should not spend great amounts of time repealing it as having President Obama veto one single protest legislation repealing Obama Care should suffice. The electorate did not send their representatives and Senators to Washington to waste time playing political games; they sent them to relay a message, no further damage to their nation and the future in which their children and grandchildren will live. The one message the Republican voters want delivered is no automatic and immediate amnesty by Presidential edict even if it requires cutting funding for the entirety of the Immigrations and Naturalizations Department. The people want the budget to be carefully crafted and the wasteful spending reduced as much as can be accomplished. This means no omnibus spending bills or full budget bills which leave discretional spending by the administration. If that requires passing tens or hundreds of individual pieces of legislation funding each department and even each program individually even if it takes the vast majority of their efforts in order to prevent monies from being diverted to places and programs they were not intended to finance. The people want the spending trimmed down by any means necessary. Do not worry about what the media accuses you of being as their name calling will not affect your voters if you treat their desires with respect and do their bidding.

The people who sent many of you to Congress do not want any compromise immigration reform, especially if it includes amnesty. They do not want another immigration legislation which grants a path to citizenship in the immediate and a future sealing of the border and completing the double fence as such legislation in the past never did build the fence or seal the border. Immigration reform means sealing the border and building the fence the entire length of the borders, northern and southern as either border can be used by those who desire to harm us just as easily as the other. The Democrats will be doing everything in their power to force the amnesty to come first but that must be resisted. Now that you are controlling both houses you can refuse to permit adding riders and amendments to legislation which are unassociated with the subject of the legislation or simply add little treats for the home districts as the people you presumably serve do not benefit or desire these little favors which have become part of business as usual and waste billions upon billions of dollars every year. Whatever you decide to do, do not pass any legislation which is more than two or three pages unless entirely unavoidable due to the complexity of the subject such as a manned mission to Mars or a moon base. Your constituents will be very unforgiving of any legislation which is hundreds of pages, let alone thousands of pages in length and are, as Nancy Pelosi once stated, that we have to pass it to see what is in it. Know that there are many amongst your supporters who will read every last page and then write notes, articles, comments and convers on social media and across many places on the internet and you will hear their disgust loudly when they replace you at their earliest convenience. Ask those Republicans who lost primaries and thus never got to seek reelection, they understand.

The voters who elected you are sick of deficit spending and expect that you will not spend more than the government takes in from taxes and other various fees, licenses, fines and whatever. Even if this means that there must be some cuts in services or programs, then so be it. They want jobs, economic growth and fewer regulations which strangle economic growth. Many may not understand the mechanics of the interactions between the government actions and economic matters but they do understand unemployment, low growth and the other effects such things have on their lives and that they can detect whenever they balance their checkbook account. They really do not want excuses for why you had to enact certain legislation in order to make compromises with the Democrats and get other items passed with Democratic help. They remember how the Democrats acted completely unilaterally and passed Obama Care without a single Republican vote and see no reason for compromise now that the Republicans control Congress. Do not repeal the nuclear option that Harry Reid put in place so that any Presidential appointment could be ratified by simply majority in order to freeze out any Republican dissent, turnabout is fair play. You were not sent to Washington to be invited to all the Georgetown parties and other social functions, nor were you sent to get along with the other side, you were sent to Washington to ruin President Obama’s last two years and ending his reign of terror over the United States as well as its people and allies. You were sent to Washington to send a message and prove that the Republicans have finally learned from their past mistakes and are prepared to return to their roots and basics and are able to resist any influences and pressures from the Democrats, the media or the lobbyists and NGOs who are paid to persuade you to forfeit the trust of your constituents and instead serve their moneyed interests. Feel free to also not do any of these things and ignore all the warnings if you choose and enjoy your one term for as long as it lasts. The new face of the most active elements of the Republican Party are done with business as usual or go along to get along politicking and will continue to seek new faces until they get the representation they desire. The choices are yours to make for now but eventually the final decision over whether you are returned to Washington is that of your constituents and the one disadvantage you have is as a Republican you must win the minds more so than the hearts of your constituency and that constituency are high information voters, a phrase used by talk radio personalities to describe their listeners and these are also your voters. If your get nothing more from this article than those who sent you to Washington are awake, politically savvy and watching your every vote and will hold you to account for every vote should you betray their trust and cross their red lines, and they will use the nuclear option on your candidacy should you cross their red lines as they are not like the President, they mean what they say and vote what they believe. You have been warned and if you are aware, then it should be easy for you to understand the situation and act accordingly or else it has been nice knowing you and hope you enjoy your next day job.

Beyond the Cusp

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March 22, 2014

Can We Trust the Government Alphabet Agencies?

It seems every other week we read of yet another breach in security or illegal program spying on individuals, companies, foreign leaders of both friendly and not so friendly nations, and even agencies monitoring other agencies or even Congress. Then there have been the reports of the Administration using the IRS, OSHA, EPA and NSA among other agencies to spy on, impede operations of, obstruct functions in, intervene in daily operations or investigate personnel, personal, intimate and other sensitive information on organizations, businesses and people who they suspected might oppose or otherwise threaten the aims and objectives of their programs or even interfere with campaigning and electioneering that might oppose the President. The breadth, width and depth of these invasive policies have definitively proven that even if you have done nothing wrong or illegal you still might have much to fear and worry about from a government which appears to stop at nothing to compromise personal privacy of those they suspect of any opposition or even simply disagreeing with policies and intended programs. This past week we learned that the NSA not only has the capability to monitor and record every phone call and electronic communication of an entire nation and store the information for review for as long as a full month. Of course this revelation refused to identify the nation the Administration has chosen for such special consideration and inspection though I have a pretty good idea which nation has such a level of interest for such a deep and total level of spying and penetration into even the daily lives of every citizen and it is not the Russians, Chinese or any of the other nations which many American citizens would consider to be adversaries.

 

One of the most threatening and freedom chilling revelations was the level of inspection and extraneous required paperwork, reports, queries and intensive inspection that were utilized by the Administration through challenging the tax status or approval to applications for tax exempt status of agencies, organizations and other political entities which the administration had singled out as possibly having intentions to work against the reelection of President Obama. When it became obvious that many of the particular groups had identifying information or names containing phrases which included Tea Party, Constitution, Freedom, Conservative, Liberty and other identifiers the Administration suspected would indicate largely conservative, libertarian and constitutionalist groups which they considered to be political adversaries. There have been claims by some conservative and Republican sources claiming that these attacks were largely responsible for the apparent disappearance in the last election of Tea Party groups and have even blamed these reputedly illegal actions for Mitt Romney’s loss in the Presidential election. Of course whether those claims are truly valid is something we can argue forever as nobody will ever be able to prove anything one way or the other. The one thing I hope we could all agree on is such abuse of powers and using the brute force of the government for politicized gains is something that must not be condoned no matter who is committing such actions. What makes these accusations even more frightening is that apparently fellow citizens who work presumably for the public good performed these actions without objection or complaint. But then again, the Administration under President Obama has prosecuted both a higher percentage and larger number of whistle-blowers than any previous Presidential Administration in American history. They have also garnered one of the top spots for resistance and outright refusal to release information when responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In many ways President Obama has operated in one of the most secretive and least transparent Administration ever while also having unheard of levels of malfeasance by government agencies and the worst records on protection and respect of privacy rights of individuals.

 

If none of the above worries you, then perhaps a few other bits of information might place things in a different light. The United States government is working in conjunction with a number of internet companies, technology companies, university researchers and the military on artificial intelligence research with an emphasis on algorithms and programs which can be used to predict both general behavior of the society and to find ways of predicting individual behavior through methods of simple observational data which can be gleamed using current surveillance and other related information. Another threat comes thanks to the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which will place all of people’s medical records and information in the hands of the most invasive department who already hold massive amounts of your personal financial information, as the IRS will now be tasked to handle your taxes and healthcare. Add to this the NSA and their abilities to record and analyze amounts of electronic data virtually beyond imagination and their working often at the behest of the FBI or the CIA through requests handled by Homeland Security Agency and couple these abilities and place them in the hands of an oppressive government and you are looking at the worst case combination of the most terrible predictions from the heart of political science fiction such as Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, and throw in the idea of Carousel from Logan’s Run as the end treatment resulting from the use by Obamacare of a plan named the “complete lives system” for the allocation of very scarce resources, such as kidneys, vaccines, dialysis machines, intensive care beds, and others, as proposed and written by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, health adviser to President Barack Obama. The future which is approaching faster than many of us can realize will either be a place of unbelievable progress and freedom or the most oppressive government which is intrusive to the point where personal liberties and freedoms will be but a fleeting memory and we will fear even exhibiting the slightest unaccepted action and our every emotional reaction will be picked up and recorded for analysis by biometric surveillance possibly provoking government interventions for the slightest hints of thought crimes.

 

Where I have enormous hopes for the future, I also temper that with a healthy level of suspicion and respect for the potentials for misuse of coming technologies. When I worked as a production repair and test technician as well as an R&D technician with the engineers of a company which manufactured leading edge EEG and computer automated seizure detection systems using mathematical algorithms to detect and aid in diagnosing patients and which were used for sleep studies and treating and analyzing epilepsy and other disorders of the brain, I got a glimpse into how much we were able to determine about medical conditions and other systems simply through mathematical analysis of medical data. This was close to thirty years ago and the company had units which not only recorded up to sixty four channels of EEG but also did seizure detection and analysis in real time even with processors as slow and primitive as were available back them. I also had the pleasure and honor of working with the most intelligent person I have ever had the privilege to know, a gentleman who designed circuits and had an understanding of electronics as well as higher math that was astonishing. I was honored when he chose for me to work on any project and realized the full potential of monitoring and predictive analysis which was available at that time and cannot even begin to imagine where those areas of science, medicine and electronic monitoring have progressed to and attained. That is part of why I have a deep respect for the potentials for government to use technology in intrusive and subversive ways which can be turned against the people in order to control the population under the guise of working for the betterment of mankind. For one frightening example of such simply do some research and read about the “complete lives system” and take a few deep breaths and try to relax with that knowledge and knowing it is at the heart of the government’s healthcare plans for the United States.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 23, 2013

The Debate is Cloture and Not the Filibuster

The main reason that the mainstream media is talking about the Senate changing the rules on the practice of filibuster is due to their being too lazy to explain what the Senate really did and actually educate the people who might not be as up on their United States Constitution as used to be the norm earlier in American history. The Senate changed the rules on cloture which is the means by which a filibuster is ended, not prevented or even stopped dead but ended with a possibility of allowing limited debate time to each Senator if the rules so permit. So, let us take a short trip back through history, and I promise to try to be brief. When the Constitution was ratified and became the founding document for the governance of the United States in 1789 there were no rules limiting debate in any manner. Senators could talk on any legislation pending before that august body until the cows came home and beyond. That was the beauty of the Constitution and the original interpretation of the idea that the House of Representatives was a rough and tumble and coarser body while the Senate was proper and deliberative with cordial rules and mutual respect, a far cry from what we have today and even originally. Do not for one second believe that American politicking has become raucous and vile only in the recent past as it actually has become more sensitive and polite. Nobody is referring to the other candidate for President of being a hermaphrodite or of being the son of a half-breed Indian squaw. To quote the two gentlemen in question behind those remarks, and they are to this day considered gentlemen though I doubt the shorter of the two would have agreed with such a description when he was alive; the Jefferson campaign described President Adams as a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman,” and Adams in return defined Vice President Jefferson as “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” Yes, believe it or not these were the President and Vice President of the United States at that time as originally the candidate with the most votes became President and the candidate who came in second became the Vice President but we obviously changed that as it became a tad unworkable and obviously so. The Twelfth Amendment in 1804 put this problem to rest allowing for separate ballots for President and Vice President but did not dictate that the two office holders be from the same party, it is still possible though unlikely that the President and Vice President could come from different parties.

Back to the “nuclear option” voted on by the Senate this past week. The Senate rules call for a simple majority vote with limited debate for any motion to alter, add or deduct from the rules under which the Senate operates thus making any chance for a filibuster basically mute. Because of that the Democrats with their four seat advantage won the passage of the new rules by a 52-48 vote. President Obama took the opportunity to continue his war against the minority Republicans in the Senate in a short speech after which he delegated a person to answer any questions in what has become a normal routine of never allowing the President to be questioned by the press directly or be allowed to ever go off of the carefully scripted words on his teleprompter. Sometimes I think that it would be both revealing and educational allowing for the truthful revelation of the character and inner feelings of a President if it were required that he take a session answering press questions at least once each month and could be required when asked to appear before either branch of Congress to answer questions on any legislation brought to the floor by request of the White House or any member of the President’ own party. Any additional information that is revealed concerning a President’s inner feelings, ability to think quickly and respond to unexpected queries and situations as well as anything that fills the people with additional truths about the person supposedly running the nation and being the face of the American people and the nation on the world’s stage should be encouraged, even mandated. The Senate changing the rules such that a cloture vote which restricts virtually ending debate on appointment for judgeships and other posts to a simple majority has basically changed the process into simply the Senate being a rubber stamp for all but the absolute worst nominations, and even then it might be questionable if the Democrats would not simply bow before the President’s will. This may prove to be catastrophic or it may simply end up as a tempest in a teapot, it all depends on which appointments now gain affirmation who might have been prevented by a Republican or a single Democrat deciding to filibuster the nomination. This I just one more time will tell and I have found that time usually tells long after anybody is paying attention. A perfect example, except that people are paying attention, is Kathleen Sebelius and the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare. Had that gone relatively smoothly with only minor glitches we would have never known how vacuous that woman is and how Health and Human Services is being directed by an incompetent who appears incapable of managing a major project any better than a junior project manager in training.

 

There will be some commentators and political talking heads who will go off the deep end and erroneously relate that this move by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was unconstitutional and that the Constitution enumerates the right and procedures known as the filibuster and cloture vote. They are mistaken at best and intentionally misleading at worst. The truth is that the Constitution says absolutely nothing about either process by name. Under the Constitution the original Senate had absolutely no limit on the length of the debate thus allowing every Senator and thus every State to have ample time to discuss and debate the merits of legislation and even return home to get their marching orders from the State Legislatures which chose the Senators. The Senate under Article I, Section 5, Clause 3 was empowered to write its own rules concerning debate and the procedures which govern the same. The Senate adopted its first anti-filibuster rule in 1917 calling such a procedure cloture. Traditionally the cloture vote has taken some form of supermajority in order to shut down debate. The rules of the Senate, according to the writings of the Founders, was to be a more deliberative body which fully debated legislation thus allowing the Senate to reject any legislations which was passed under emotional or other reaction to momentary events and to represent the individual States within the Federal Government such that the States would be protected from the rapacious appetite for power and dominion by any Congress or President. It is interesting that the initial limitation to debate came in 1917, four years after the ratification of one of the most destructive laws to ever make its way onto the books, let alone the Constitution, the Amendment XVII which forever changed the Congress and permitted the unrestrained expansion of the powers, reach, and oppressive abilities of the Federal Government. Under this amendment the States no longer appointed their own Senators in any manner they saw fit, be it appointed by the Governor, appointed by the Governor and ratified by some branch of the State Legislature, appointed directly by the State Legislature or even directly elected by the people which any State could have enacted as their method had they so chosen. This was a direct assault on the rights of the States and took place under a wave of humanist excitement where it was believed that the people, if allowed to voice their combined will, would reach a more reasoned and duly proper decision than any that could be reached by the corrupt and despicable State Governances. The members of the Federal Government even back then looked upon the State Governments, from which many of them had originally served, with contempt and disdain. They saw them as incapable of reasoned thought or honest debate. Looking at the Congress of today one might come to the conclusion that a monarchy might be preferable, but surely I jest. It is likely certain that had the Senate remained as intended a product of the individual State Governments deciding their selection process that the vast majority of States would have decided to allow for the direct election of their Senators in the Federal Government anyways, so there is probably little difference today that if the Amendment XVII were never passed or ratified. One note on history, both the Amendment XVII and the Amendment XVI, which enacted the income tax, have both had claims made that they were not truly ratified by the necessary States within the time limited by the Constitution and are therefore not enforceable. Thus far nobody has won a court case challenging either Amendment. Given my personal choice, I would prefer ridding the United States of the Amendment XVII as returning a greater amount of limiting force by the individual States would do more to limit and turn back the growth of the Federal Government than anything else I have ever heard promoted. The one item that would cease to exist immediately would be the imposition of unfunded mandates on the individual States by Federal legislation as that has become a nasty and not all that uncommon way that the Federal Government passes legislation while forcing the States to finance the implementation and continue maintenance of the legislation and not burdening the Federal budget with such costs. Imagine a Federal Government which was forced to pay for every consequence of their legislative agendas. They would soon go on a legislative diet which the press would label gridlock and the Representatives and Senators would label sticker shock from seeing the financial consequences of all of their actions and being unable to pass the costs off on the States. That was an imagine that Mr. John Lennon missed in his song, but being British I guess he should be forgiven.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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