Beyond the Cusp

December 11, 2014

Vote Your Conscience and Ignore the Polls and Potential Coalition Possibilities

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As elections approach there will be party primaries followed later by the general elections. How we vote in each level of the election cycle may surprisingly be a parallel to Psalm 26:2 and the different translations from the original to the modern day. The modern translation states something along the lines, while retained the flavor to the original and having the essential difference, “Lord, try me and test me; look closely into my heart and mind.” The original translation stated, “Lord, try me and test me; look closely into my heart and kidneys.” How this relates to voting in primaries and general elections and which goes with which, well read on.

 

There is always the temptation to vote with our hearts which very few are capable of avoiding without, according to most modern thinking, the discipline of our minds. Ancient Jewish teaching may teach a different lesson which might also have its place in our modern world. But first how can we differentiate how to choose our votes between primary elections and our votes in general election. Let us first assume that we are choosing a righteous manner for our votes and not some cynical use where we attempt to damage a party we would never give even a thought of supporting in the general election, as none amongst us would ever choose such a deceitful path. There is a basic difference between primary elections and general elections. A primary election is where as a voter we are free to vote for anybody we desire as it is supposedly a measure of our most honest desire, especially in a parliamentary election where our choices will determine the order of the party card which it will present listing its representatives for office and if those you choose make it high enough on the list, then you get your own little piece of representation in the government. In the general elections you are not really voting for a person as much the party which you feel will serve you and the nation the best. Of course if you are fortunate to have any of the people you voted for in the primary elections head the Party ticket, then if your party is tapped to form a ruling coalition and they succeed, then your primary choice will likely be the Prime Minister and you get to feel vindicated, otherwise we must simply feel satisfied if we are able to get any of those we voted for in the primary elections seated in the government after the elections.

 

The primary elections is the place for voting purity where you listen to your heart and then refine your choices with the filter which is the kidneys which remove the impurities and assures that the blood carries sufficient red blood cells transporting oxygen to the body, assures that chemical and mineral concentrations are within the proper limits and are the organ which receives approximately twenty percent of the blood pumped by the heart from each beat. Thus using the heart and the kidneys we take our desires and refine them such that they perform the best in producing results which reflect the honest desires of the combination of everyone’s individual preferences in composing the tickets presented before the general electorate. Further, in most primary elections in a parliamentary system many parties allow for each ballot to contain more than one selection to be tallied and each party has their own manner for tallying the ballots cast. In some you receive a ballot with a set of positions for each member of the party to place the names of their preferred candidates’ names. Then the votes are counted and, where appropriate given weight depending on position if appropriate, and the tallies then decide the position on the party’s slate each candidate will be placed. If their party receives as many or more mandates than their position on the slate, then they will be placed in the government and if their position is beyond the number of positions, then they go home instead.

 

There are those parties where they have an established slate of members which stand and their primaries are scheduled independently from any election cycle but are held at set intervals. These parties thus do not hold primaries simply because a government has been dissolved but simply hold elections periodically and this can lead to them placing the same slate before the voters with the same leader at the head of the ticket thus allowing for the exact same presentation on the party’s slate to stand for more than a single election if the elections are held prematurely before the end of their scheduled term such as the elections currently being faced in Israel. Parties can also decide on new slates for each election having them chosen by a select committee which could be decided by ballot, decided by executive selecting committee or by any system which the elites of the party might choose as long as the rank and file members agreed to such a method for choosing the ballot and the steering committee no matter how unfair such systems may appear to outsiders. When the elections approach all parties slates are revealed to the public and then the elections are held and the people vote.

 

During the general elections we have only a single vote which we will most likely give to the Party we prefer or to the party whose person heading the party slate we most desire to be the Prime Minister. Whichever party is amongst the top vote recipients and with the greatest probability of forming a viable coalition, that party and candidate for Prime Minister is tapped to try and form a ruling coalition and if they succeed, then a government is formed, and if they fail then the next most likely candidate for Prime Minister and their party are given their opportunity. Should nobody be capable of forming a coalition, then new elections will be forced to be held and the entire cycle is repeated. When we vote in the general election, we are still given an initial impetus to vote in a particular manner by our hearts which is tempered by the logic and other mindful considerations from our minds, which places the deciding voices of the public before the separate parties of combined tickets such as the one be being formed by the Labor Party and Tzipi Livni and her party. What makes this a heart driven decision is that Labor stands to gain the equivalent of possibly as many as four seats but if predictions are accurate the presence of Tzipi Livni and her party will only produce at best three and most likely two additional seats. The Labor Party is likely to grant Ms. Livni as many as four or potentially five seats depending on the total number of mandates received by the combined blocks. This will mean that Labor will likely receive less additional seats than the number of slots they will be giving to Tzipi Livni and those in the leadership of her party. This will probably prove to be a great deal for Livni and not so much for Minister Hertzog and the Labor Party. Since there may be other parties reaching agreements where they combine tickets or agree to either both be included in any government or neither be included such as was done in the last election with Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett making an agreement that either both parties or neither party would enter the government forcing Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to include both parties in order to reach a coalition and may have been part of why the coalition failed prematurely. The different potential combinations and the fact that our usually favored party might decide to team up with another party with which we have a high degree of revulsion would make our support for our usual party problematic. This is why our vote in the general election requires more than just the heart, but the kidneys purifying the decisions of the heart is not likely to be helpful in choosing when the parties make agreements with those we refuse to give our vote to under any normative situations, thus instead of the purifying kidneys we substitute our minds to massage and shape the feelings of our hearts. By using our minds to shape and adjust the dictations of our hearts we might find we are capable of voting for our usual preferred party despite their compromising their purity and positions combining with some we do not honestly desire to prefer and reward with our votes. Thus in the general election we still initially choose with our hearts but use our minds to determine if our party will remain sufficiently pure no matter those they share power with in order to maximize their representation in the government after the elections. Thus we temper our hearts with the logic and power of our minds in the general election contrasting the purifying our primary selections of our hearts by filtering all with our kidneys and that is the major difference between the primary voting and our general election casting of ballots. So, which translation of Psalm 26:2 do you believe best represents your own election thinking for the primaries and the general elections and for what reasons?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 28, 2014

Obama to Bushwhack Netanyahu Over Impending Kerry Failure

In case you have been visiting the outer reaches of the solar system vacationing allow us to bring you up to date on what you may have missed; Secretary of State Kerry has been befuddled over his thwarting at every turn in his pursuit of forcing an agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. Surprising as it may be, the fault is not entirely due to Secretary of State Kerry not exactly being the world’s greatest salesperson though I am sure that his ponderous manner of speaking and his condescending tone have not been as forceful as he may have intended and still managed to infuriate all parties. Secretary Kerry recently met with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas while both were in Paris. Despite Paris being a magical city which reputedly can make any pairing of people react more favorably, Chairman Abbas took such exception at the offers and alternatives offered by Secretary Kerry that Abbas threatened to terminate the peace negotiations and return to his previous hardline positions. I’m not quite sure how much more intransient and hardline Chairman Abbas could be as his basic position for as long as he has been one of the Palestinian leaders, stemming from 1964 when he was among the core founders of the PLO which declared their main purpose as the destruction of Israel, has been to accept nothing less than the complete destruction of Israel. The incriminatory fact of Secretary of State Kerry’s efforts over the Palestinian Authority and Israeli peace process is that he has also managed to infuriate a significant number of the Ministers in the Israeli Knesset with the majority of those being members of the ruling coalition. Still, the Israelis have continued throughout the entirety of these newest efforts to meet and attempt to work for a solution which they hope both sides will be able to accept and still retain sufficient points in order to meet some level of security in order to provide safety for the Israeli people.

 

What will be telling is a pair of meetings between United States President Obama and both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas that are upcoming in the next couple of weeks. The first meeting will be between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and there are already numerous reports discussing the intent of the President to pressure the Israeli leader in an attempt to force him to accept whatever resultant framework that Kerry will present presumably before the end of April. Within the next couple of weeks after that meeting, President Obama is scheduled to talk with Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas. If history is any indication, this meeting should be as cordial and respectful with both men working to mince out how much they believe can be forced from Israel. If Chairman Abbas is appreciative of the great and favorable assistance that President Obama has provided over the past five years in supporting and even advancing the Palestinian cause and being critical with Israel pressing them for concessions and keeping up the pressure. Chairman Abbas owes President Obama grateful recognition for providing Chairman Abbas with the ideas for many items which are currently purported by Chairman Abbas as red-lines that he insists that Israel accept.

 

If we remember back to one of the very first acts concerning the Israel-Palestinian peace process within the first few months of the first term of President Obama we find that the very first imposition of a building freeze being instituted on Israel forbidding continued construction of housing for Jews in the communities in Judea, Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem for ten months in order to, presumably, give Chairman Abbas a chance to negotiate without facing the pressures of Israeli construction. This worked so well that after one meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas where they posed shaking hands for the cameras, smiled, and both commented how they hoped for peace and afterwards Chairman Abbas simply made additional demands for almost nine of the ten months before finally agreeing to meet the Israelis where the Palestinian negotiator demanded the building freeze Israel had imposed be made permanent or they would refuse to continue negotiations. Subsequently, President Obama proposed for more demands on the Israel-Palestinian peace process when he stated that the final borders should be the 1967 lines which existed before the Six Day War in 1967 and were the result of the armistice of 1949 which demarked the front lines at the end of hostilities in a war where over a half dozen Arab armies invaded Israel the first day of its existence intending to drive the Jews from the lands and failed. Then President Obama added insult to injury by stating that East Jerusalem was the legitimate capital city for any Palestinian State. When one adds the insults which President Obama has heaped upon Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu including but not limited to numerous meetings at the White House insisting that Netanyahu enter and depart through a back entrance and not the main front entrance, refusing to hold joint press address with Netanyahu for much the first term of President Obama, declining to meet Netanyahu when both men were at the United Nations in New York claiming no free time yet President Obama had time to visit the set during broadcast of the television show “The View”  and, among others, schooled Prime Minister Netanyahu and his advisors midway in a meeting informing them that he was going to leave them and have dinner with his family and that they should work on their positions during the time granted them and if they came around and saw the light they should then inform the staff to inform the President and simply walked out.

 

These meetings over the next month and the remainder of the scheduled peace negotiation should be very telling as to exactly where President Obama is placing American efforts in this area. There have been a distressing number of press briefings during the events and shuttling between the Middle East and the United States by Secretary of State Kerry as well as leaks of statements that Secretary Kerry has made during meetings with Israeli leadership which contained veiled and outright threats. Secretary Kerry has warned so blatantly and with seeming effrontery that should the peace process fail that Israel could expect a third intifada, complete isolation in the community of nations, and trade embargos, boycotts and divestments which could easily economically cripple Israel permanently. Secretary of State Kerry has repeated the threat of the trade embargos and political isolation. Secretary Kerry warned menacingly that Israel could expect to face extreme chaos should the peace talks fail to produce a Palestinian state. What has been even more alarming and ominous has been these threats have been leveled solely targeting Israel with no such ramifications mentioned or implied for the Palestinian Authority if the peace negotiations fail. The side effect of these supposed friendly warnings and guidance from Secretary of State Kerry being passed only upon Israel has been Chairman Abbas and the Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erekat have taken the most extreme stands and insist that they are immovable and fully expect Israel to fold before them aided by Secretary Kerry and European threats and it is a definite possibility that these tendencies are probably going to be only amplified by President Obama in these upcoming meetings. Will this unified front force Israel to compromise making concessions that will place her people and future in jeopardy? Unfortunately that is one definite possibility which would only result in a terrible and horrific war which could easily further ignite the Middle East tinderbox in an even greater infernal conflagration. If there are friends of Israel anywhere throughout the world, now is the time to make the greatest noise letting the rest of the world know that you stand with Israel as your support just might be contagious. The only way Israel’s friends can make a difference is if they stand tall, and if I may butcher a well-known Shakespeare quote, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 24, 2013

A Question for Netanyahu

The election results were a ray of hope and promise for many in the Zionist communities. But there is a question which must be asked of Netanyahu because if there is any chance that his intended direction has been indicated by bringing Livni into the coalition while also acquiescing to her every demand; then the Zionist should stop any celebrations and begin to worry that another Likud Prime Minister is headed to the dark side. What would be the indications that Netanyahu intends to fall before the pressures from the Europeans, United States President Obama backed by his recent appointees to be CIA Chief and Secretaries of State and Defense, the numerous leftist NGOs and the rest of the world support groups backing the Palestinian ploy by the Arab and Muslim world to destroy Israel?

It truly was a shocking revelation to read that Prime Minister Netanyahu has accepted Tzipi Livni into the coalition and agreed to grant her the Justice Ministry which was the expressed position sought by Yair Lapid and also granted her request to be the lead in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as her position supporting surrendering most if not all of Judea and Samaria along with half of Jerusalem including all of the Old City as well as the Kotel which would make it next to impossible for Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home to also enter such a coalition. The first question that comes to mind is how Netanyahu could form a coalition without compromising his promises to Livni. The first sign of the unthinkable may have been occurring right before our eyes as Netanyahu appears to be spending great amounts of time wooing Shelly Yachimovich and the Labor Party to join his coalition. Should Netanyahu succeed in his wooing of Yachimovich and the Labor Party he would be well on his way to forming that both sides of center coalition which has been the center of much chatter since the election. This would also fit in with the rumors that Netanyahu will go to whatever length is necessary to keep Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett out of the coalition. I know, how could Netanyahu fill out the rest of the needed Knesset seats to reach the minimum of sixty-one seats as even with Kadima along with Labor Party, Hatnuah and Likud-Beiteinu only gives him fifty-four?

That is where the unusual leadership by triumvirate of Shas comes into play. Despite the story fed to the media and membership of Shas that the three members of the triumvirate, Eli Yishai, Ariel Atias and Aryeh Deri, were equal and were working together there will always be the suspicion that not all members are truly equal. The truth is that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as the spiritual guiding light is the true and undisputed true leader of Shas and he was the one who decided upon the triumvirate form of leadership in order to soften the inclusion of Aryeh Deri back into a leadership position immediately after he returned to politics after his conviction. This would likely mean that anything which Aryeh Deri decides for Shas will be supported by Rabbi Yosef and thus nobody would ever think to counter his decisions. Deri was well known to prefer Labor over Likud though he would ally with whichever was necessary to gain considerations for the Hasidic heart of Shas. It is this flexibility; some might say pragmatism, which has made Shas the coalition builder in Israeli history. Should Shas also join the above parties in a coalition, then Netanyahu would have his broad based coalition with sixty-five seats. The guarantor that this is Netanyahu’s desired outcome would be some generous deal made with Shelly Yachimovich in order to bring Labor into the coalition over her original denial of any possibility of her being in a coalition with Netanyahu.

 
Should this actually come to pass, then there are some additional questions which would soon surface. One of the foremost among them is what will Netanyahu do to keep such a coalition together with a number of his fellow Likud members probably having misgivings about their fellow coalition members? With Moshe Feiglin and Tzipi Hotovely and other Zionist and nationalist members within the Likud faction, how does Prime Minister Netanyahu expect to hold his coalition together and avoid losing a sure to follow vote of no confidence. Such would most certainly come attached to some piece of legislation made to satisfy either Tzipi Livni or Shelly Yachimovich or members of their parties by one of the parties not within the coalition, especially should such legislation either be detrimental to the Israelis residing in Judea and Samaria or other controversial subjects. Would Prime Minister Netanyahu purposely hold the members of the coalition to vote for anything which was brought before the Knesset by any coalition member? On the other hand, would Prime Minister Netanyahu deny members of the coalition bringing any motion which might challenge the coalition? And if either were the case, how would such a move be enforced? Would the coalition survive if Prime Minister Netanyahu challenged one of the other party leaders to hold their members to vote with the coalition or be removed from the Knesset and replaced with another minister appointed in order to enforce compliant voting? Would Prime Minister Netanyahu replace members of his own Likud Party in order to sustain his coalition? What would be the result from either of these actions? Such a coalition even if formed would appear on face value unsustainable. This may be conjecture but the possibility that Prime Minister Netanyahu may be headed in this direction is possible. This becomes even more likely if Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid hold to their agreement not to enter the coalition without the other, an agreement I believe both will truly honor despite what some, including Netanyahu, may think or even be counting on.

Beyond the Cusp

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