Beyond the Cusp

December 18, 2016

Imagine the Return to a Revolutionary Ideal

 

Once upon a time there was the Black Robe Regiment which was the name given by the British to the Colonial Preachers who supported American independence. Not only did they preach independence, they very often were officers in the militias against the Red Coats. The British did all they could to murder these preachers and many gave their lives for the Revolution but the danger did not curtail the Black Robe Regiment preachers who refused to be cowed and were one of the main inspirations of the American revolution. Their sermons inspired and often their brash and brave actions kept the Revolution alive and brought a number of victories against the odds with their bravery and words motivating their fellow congregants often at the most crucial of moments. The United States owes much of the founding in the fighting and the religious basis of the Founding Fathers and the state legislators whose input and approvals were required in the formation of both the federation of America and then the Constitution which was the foundation for the United States of America. There is a possibility that the Revolution could have failed without the local inspiration and organization which was often centered around the churches and their Black Robe Regiment preachers.

 

Black Robe Regiment

Black Robe Regiment

 

All that changed in 1954 at the behest of Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson’s proposed legislation to amend the tax codes affecting houses of worship such as churches, synagogues, mosques, or temples and other nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exemptions. The amended tax code limited the freedom of speech by members of organizations and entities who had tax exempt status under 501(c)(3) regulations making any political speech such as supporting a candidate, party or other specified political speech. The amendment to the tax codes was named for its presenter and is called the Johnson Amendment. Particularly prohibited was conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office or other sermonizing which may be perceived as backing a candidate or party. The language was vague and unspecific enough that many clergy were silenced from mentioning even certain Bible passages near election times as they might be construed as taking sides on a campaign issue and by doing so backing a particular candidate or party. Such brought to an end political preaching from the pulpit, at least in theory as some such still exists but as long as the parishioners are singing the same tune, nobody complains and such activity continues. This was specifically used to target and silence clergy from endorsing candidates. Over time this embargo on political speech became partisan in nature in too many locations as a ban against conservative politicking while backing leftist causes or progressive Democrat candidates. Still, care was taken to never mention any names and instead to often mimic campaign slogans working them into sermons or choosing verses carefully for recitation which would appear to back one candidate’s positions or damn the opposing candidate. Still, clergy still need be far more reserved and careful and a far cry from the history of clergy, especially when one remembers the Black Robe Regiment.

 

Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson

Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson

 

Should Donald Trump as president keep his word and successfully repeal the Johnson Amendment thus freeing certain tax exempt institutions and their personnel from conducting any political activities, especially campaigning or endorsing candidates, imagine the consequences. We would witness the liberation of the clergy and the resultant rebirth potentially of a new Black Robe regiment preaching and supporting political positions more aligned with their religious beliefs. There need be no great fears from secularists as they won’t be in houses of worship forced to hear any sermonizing, especially political sermonizing. Rescinding this regulation, expunging it from the tax code, would be a strike for freedom of speech. Placing a political muzzle on the clergy and threatening their tax exempt status was a bad idea from the start, one might even say criminal. But then Lyndon Baines Johnson was not exactly known for tact or freedom of expression for anybody disagreeing with his views. He was better known for strong-arming political rivals by any and all means at his disposal. This was most evident during his time as President which also served to allow his passing every piece of legislation which became the backbone of his “Great Society” and a remaking of the social safety net and the start of an increased welfare system. Some have blamed this for many societal problems being faced by American society currently. Just maybe a little moralizing before Election Day voting would serve as a positive influence. Just Maybe.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 17, 2016

The Hillary Clinton Harrowed Conundrum

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There has been near constant accusations and bloviating all about Donald Trump’s presumed short fuse. These attacks have come furious and provokingly and these are being used as chum in the water for the mainstream media to feast on; and believe us they have been coordinating and laying aside above the fold for every leading news-story; or should we say political editorial. These salacious assaults on Donald Trump would be far more convincing and less conniving if they were to include even a hint on Hillary Clinton’s short fuse and ill-tempered side which were a driving force behind much of what has displayed her being ill-fit to be the President of the most powerful nation on the planet. When Donald Trump has an emotional outburst, his response is verbal and short-lived. Hillary Clinton is known to carry forth for the remainder of life, hers or her newly acquired target. When Bill Clinton lost his reelection election she famously called the Christian Campaign Manager a “F—-g Jew B——d.” She became the wounded warrior and claimed that a “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” was behind the accusations of sexual misconduct of her husband. Beyond that, Hillary took charge of the intimidation, belittling, slandering, character assassination, media control, story massaging and sundry miscellaneous attacks targeting any and all allegations and accusations against Bill Clinton thus assuring that no more women, or bimbos as the White House labeled those coming forward, would be coming up with any additional accusations or verifications against the President. This was a well-coordinated assault just as well planned and executed as was the campaign to get out the vote except this was a suppress the evidence effort.

 

Hillary Clinton on the Prowl for Voters

Hillary Clinton on the Prowl for Voters

 

If this was the extent of Hillary Clinton perfidy, there would be little evidence of her unsuitability for the office of President of the United States. Hillary claims how she has always been so transparent in all her actions that the public can trust that all her actions will be entirely open and able to be monitored by all who are interested. Apparently Hillary Clinton has completely forgotten her efforts at designing her own version of a healthcare system. Her committee contained some of the best minds in the progressive movement plus the fly in the ointment, Hillary Clinton. The public was left in the dark. Congress was left in the dark. The media, including the leftist media, was left guessing, being fed tempting morsels but actually only gristle and no red meat. The universe was led on the merry path of flowers and unicorns with all the wonderful reports of total free coverage with almost no additional costs. Perhaps the promises of everything for nothing proved to be the straw that broke the healthcare back. When Hillary Clinton and companies’ plan was presented to Congress, even the democrat faithful headed for the hills escaping as fast as they could. Her produced healthcare plan was such a monstrous and unwieldly conglomeration of regulations, legal demands, meticulous record keeping and required filings with the Federal Government that all who read the plan were flabbergasted. Commentary from numerous sources inside and outside, but close to the manners in which the plan was hatched, told of Hillary Clinton riding roughshod over all contrary opinions doing exactly as she thought best. This kind of leadership, totalitarian leadership, had actually driven a number of leading surgeons and physicians from participating or even signing the plan sent to Congress. They told of fiery outbreaks replete with profanity at some of the mildest of suggestions or alternative proposals where Hillary Clinton appeared to have lost all sense of reason.

 

Finally, there were numerous reports and even complaints filed against Hillary Clinton for abusive language, abusive treatment, violent outbursts and some workers fearing for their safety. These complaints and requests for transfer or alternate position from people who had nearly a lifetime of service climbing to reach a White House assignment and to then risk never making it back to their former privileged position was an acceptable sacrifice to be rid of Hillary Clinton. All of these point to Hillary Clinton not only having an explosive temper but also a short fuse with a vengefully long memory. Such was a temperament of throwing items, oft of value, for periods as long lasting as an entire day and even lasting through the next day or beyond as well. Some who have been found to get on the wrong side of Hillary Clinton have related that despite attempts to settle their differences or even apologize have failed dashed on the craggy cliffs which make up the beach at shoreline Clinton. Hillary Clinton has proven herself to be a person with a malleable core where beliefs come to die especially after receiving poor poll ratings. Taking the sum of these parts produces a picture of an unbalanced individual whose coworkers fear working anywhere near her spheres of influence.

 

Many have spoken similarly of Donald Trump, but from most appearances his tantrums have been largely bluster with little threat of physical violence, at least before the October Surprise of crass claims of sexual violence. Given the claims of violent actions, we would feel safer with a Donald Trump Presidency than a Hillary Clinton Presidency. Unfortunately, elections remain out by three weeks and it is still anybody’s election to win or lose. Donald Trump will be facing sexual harassment charges most of which are likely people coming forth for their moment of fame. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is facing a truly deep character fault which will have a direct effect on her Presidency. As to which one is most likely to get the United States embroiled into a war, it would be Hillary Clinton with her establishment of a “No Fly Zone” probably on Aleppo could escalate with the downing of a Russian fighter jet leading to a direct confrontation. That is but a single potential point of contention where a single miscalculation could lead to great problems soon thereafter. That alone is food for thought.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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

 

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