Beyond the Cusp

March 5, 2017

Republican Distress Self-Inflicted

 

The Republicans appear to be in disarray and acting as if they are completely unaware of the fact that they control both houses of Congress and the White House and are in the catbird seat exactly as the Democrats were the first two years of President Obama’s two terms. They are capable of setting the rules in the Senate such that they would have sufficient votes to ensure cloture by requiring a mere fifty-two votes ending any filibuster. The Democrat use of the so-called nuclear option set the precedent for adjusting cloture to fit your needs when you have the majority in the Senate. Yes, doing so would allow for the Democrats to do similarly when they gain fifty-one seats in the Senate and who does not believe they would do exactly as such anyway. The Republicans instead are fighting with the White House declaring the President’s budget dead on arrival. This is a party in need of better leadership as currently they are wasting their first and possibly only opportunity to prove they are the better option by acting as a whole to enact their vision for the United States.

 

I hear people demanding what we would propose if we think we have the answer. Well, perhaps they could actually get everybody on the same page instead of having a different set of priorities for every twenty or thirty Republicans. They need to have the Senate choose ten Senators and the House of Representatives choose twenty-five or thirty Representatives and have these people meet with the President and each Cabinet member in a series of meetings taking a week out of their schedules. Initially the President on the first day along with his preferred advisors should meet with the delegations and set a general structure for the ensuing week or even two and have the President and everyone else at the meeting express their preferences and ideas and have them discussed in a general sense setting up a framework. Then they should have meetings with cabinet members and the President each morning and then return and meet with the Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate each with their own chosen delegates such that everybody has some input and in the end they reach a consensus which is acceptable to the President and his Cabinet and advisors. Once this framework has been set, then the House of Representatives and the Senate can begin to work on the enactment of these ideas putting them into action. These agreed upon initiatives should be enacted through the House of Representatives and the Senate in quick order and signed by the President getting a basic set of accomplishments enacted and presented to the public as actual accomplishments in the next election cycle. If their ideas actually capture the minds and match the ideas of the population in the majority of the nation, then the Republicans can reap the rewards and press forward with even more action and accomplish what they promised in the first place.

 

President Trump National Security Advisor McMaster Speaker of the House of Representatives Ryan President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Hatch

President Trump National Security Advisor McMaster
Speaker of the House of Representatives Ryan
President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Hatch

 

The first thing they need do is revamp healthcare. An idea we would like to suggest is to keep the choice parts of the current system adjusted to make them include competition between the many insurance companies. Much of healthcare need be taken from the employers and returned to the people such that their demand for the most and best options and the insurance companies need meet their hopes at an acceptable price, this will bring healthcare costs back down within reason. Further, the government need remove most of the regulations, reporting requirements and other unnecessary paperwork which has completely destroyed the concept of a single doctor working from their home in the neighborhood where their patients reside as had been the case before the government needlessly intervened and destroyed affordable healthcare. The government should only require that insurance policies cover major medical allowing people to decide to pay for any minor care out of their own pockets. The one idea which the government should make illegal would be controversial but in the long run would produce lower medical costs, and that is to make group policies illegal such that companies, unions, and other groups such as retirement groups or social groups from offering insurance to their workers or members. Make individual policies the sole type of health insurance allowed and only require minimal coverages. We suggest only what used to be considered major medical which would include emergency rooms treatment with a deductible, surgical procedures, any hospital or clinical procedures again with a deductible, and hospital stays with a deductible. The deductibles would depend on the cost of the coverage with the less expensive coverage having a higher deductible while there could be specialty additional coverages which would cover these deductibles but this should be banned from health insurers offering. Such a system would produce insurance affordable at any level such that younger and healthier people could take the risk of higher deductibles and with people paying for most of their own healthcare we would see prices become lower for most standard healthcare needs. The main way to cut healthcare costs would be to put a cap on rewards for malpractice suits and make one vital change, the lawyers losing any malpractice suit would be responsible for both sides’ court costs and lawyers’ fees within set limits. This would lead to fewer malpractice suits as lawyers would be very careful to only take such cases which they felt quite sure of their case and winning the case, period.

 

There are probably many other means for lowering court costs which we have not included which the Congress could enact. Removing regulations and paperwork would be one of the greatest means to relieve the burden on physicians who have had to form groups to defray the clerical costs imposed by both government and insurance companies who often are demanding additional paperwork simply because the government demands they file paperwork. Government is once again the greatest contributor to the costs of a commodity which they also demand everybody purchase. This is simply something the people’s need should have to accommodate and not employers or government as that is the current system which the people declared broken and becoming overly expensive with far too many forms. The government should never have the power to add costs beyond reason to an industry and then require the people purchase said product. As happened with car insurance, whenever the government demands people to purchase a commodity the price of such commodity will naturally skyrocket reaching the limit of what the people are capable to pay, not the actual required cost of the commodity. Simply ask yourself what would you charge for widgets if the government required every person to purchase one widget every month? You would price them set the highest price the market would bear rather than a competitive price because every other widget salesperson would be doing the same. The highest probability is all widget salespersons would agree to set an inflated price where all would become wealthy beyond what any normal competition would prevail had the government not required people to purchase your product. That is simple reality of life and not rocket science, or advanced economics. The proof of this theory has been the cost of health insurance since Obamacare hit the market. This is why competition must be returned to the health insurance markets and as much government involvement must be removed back to bare bones or less. No government involvement would be the most preferred state of healthcare. But first the Republicans need to unify and find some leadership which can work well with President Trump, both by leading when necessary and following when Trump is leading constructively. We can only hope.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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February 26, 2017

Senator McCain, the Media Moderate Republican Leader?

 

That is the favorite phrase we seem to read whenever the media is about to attack some Republican for some treachery or perceived misdeed. They have been appearing repeatedly in articles when there is a need for a quote of a Republican questioning, disagreeing, criticizing, decrying, denouncing or in some other way disgracing President Trump or those in his administration. Often the article will then point out how President Donald Trump is not a normative Republican or has often contributed to Democrat candidates or some other action which apparently should disqualify him from support by the entirety of the Republican Party. Such articles often then explain that obviously President Trump running for President as a Republican, a false Republican, but a Republican just the same, must be opposed by the Democrats and their final conclusion is always that President Trump must be opposed by everybody because he has forsaken both parties and is a disruptive influence on American politics. What these articles appear to have missed is that the recent political season has been a revolt against politics as usual. The first, and until Trump, the biggest and most obvious sign was the Brexit vote. The European Union was campaigning against any move by the British to leave their ranks and Prime Minister Cameron even went so far as to threaten to resign should the BREXIT vote remove Britain from the European Union. Well, the people were, according to almost every poll, predicted to vote to remain by a small margin and the result was more definitive than predicted but was in favor of leaving. The British are taking a long and winding approach to leaving presumably in order to allow time for reconsideration which is not likely coming. The good news is that Cameron did resign as threatened, or promised depending on your viewpoint, and the British have a Prime Minister who presumably has their confidence as she is in favor of withdrawing from the European Union even if slowly. Then there were rumors of the European right wing parties gaining strength, especially the nationalist parties, and that it was expected that the German elections would replace Chancellor Angela Merkel who was likely to lose and then that French President François Hollande announced he would not seek reelection. Donald Trump winning as President of the United States was just the crowning exclamation point on the dearth of the liberal west which just a few years earlier with the reelection of President Obama was looking as if they would rule for the foreseeable future.

 

Then the media was all over the prediction by Senator Chuck Schumer, the great spokesperson of the Democrat left, where he prognosticated the divorce between the Republican Party, or at least those Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and President Trump. His claim was that in four months there would be a splitting between true Republicans and Trump because of his ignoring protocols and not giving them adequate measure in his appointments and his populace stances which they cannot agree with and would rub roughly making them chafe and itch so badly that they would have to disassociate from Trump to remain pure. You have to understand that the media will quote anybody claiming that Donald Trump is making enemies anywhere and with anyone, any group, any political faction or any people holding purist views. They seek anger from any quarter and will attack any crack with crowbars of skepticism trying desperately to turn the slightest crack into a chasm if there is even the remotest of possibilities it will alienate Trump from voters. You see, Donald Trump must be brought low for he is a scoundrel who has bested the media in the game of words. They are used to having all the words coming from them and that their words win in the end and that there be no way around their words. Then there came Trump and the Twitterverse where Tweets are louder than all that the media’s words can carry. His reaching the public directly and telling them exactly what he means and what they should believe about him in 140 characters or less. The media cannot fight Donald Trump even in the Twitterverse because they have never mastered brevity as their trade is wordiness and Trump has mastered cutting to the chase and directly to the chase. The media attacks with lengthy diatribes and Trump replies with 140 characters or less and they have no answer for these tweets. The people get the essence of Trump and the media is powerless to dilute his wisdom, his tweets.

 

Politics has changed and Trump along with the Internet has changed it and never again will campaigns be won by cumbersome political machines and large campaigns. Brevity has become the new watchword and that 140 characters or less limit is the initial cause with short attention spans being the final touch. Campaigns will be held just as much on YouTube as every in person appearance can also be shared with the world in real time and then returned to be viewed again and again. Donald Trump has taken politics out of the hands of the political machines and eventually this revolution could bring down the large political parties. This was the idea of a candidate back during the 2000 elections whose campaign literature and all was on the Web, the Internet, where his supporters had hoped it might catch and go viral, a phrase not even born at that time, or in its infancy. This campaign did benefit from these postings as it gained the campaign the support of a group which was already Internet savvy, the gun rights groups which found his pro-gun stance to their liking and came out solidly behind him. Unfortunately that proved not to quite be sufficient in a rather liberal area but it did give hope that perhaps there would be a future where the Internet would trump, pardon the pun, the regular media and the rest of the structured political monopolies. That day has arrived and this genie will not be put back in its box. This new paradigm scares the likes of Senator McCain, Senator Schumer, the media and the leadership of both parties. Their regular power structure has been toppled by a campaign which utilized the media as their public awareness source having the media carry their water and do their advertising for them while straightening any wrongful reporting or damaging news reports and editorials by going directly to their base online and stating that their positions and responses to accusations and rumors would be made on Twitter, YouTube or their web address. People got used to seeking information refuting news stories, or at least clarifying them, by following Donald Trump on Twitter or finding his actual campaign appearances recorded on YouTube or, as a last resort, going to his web site to find answers.

 

Fake News Galore NYT

Fake News Galore

 

Where will the media go without political campaigns every four years depending on them carrying their water when there is a firehose called Twitter and a garden hose for a slower and more detailed watering of the public on YouTube and other locations on the Internet? That is a good question and with the way they are currently acting, that question becomes all the more pressing. The torrents of “Fake News” stories are not doing the media any favors. When the people now trust the President more than the media covering him and the President remains trending on Twitter, then this will only trend worse and worse for the media. With every story told about President Trump which he denies and then gives his version in one, two, three or so 140 characters Tweets basically asking, “Who are you going to believe, Donald Trump or the lying media?” Unfortunately for the media the majority of the citizenry, according to a poll, believe Donald Trump over the White House Press Corps, which kind of answers the previous question. The media, if it knows what is good for them and their future, should start speaking straightly and honestly even if the news is not to their liking. With every story which results in the media being shown to have told another set of lies, their credibility sinks lower and further from any ability for redemption. When people have direct access to the seats of power, the actual leaders and their real statements, the media faces a real problem. They no longer filter the information the people receive as the leaders and politicians and the people have direct access to the real stories in the words with which they were spoken. They have little actual choice but to give the truth or face obsolescence as they spiral into irrelevance. Imagine a world with no New York Times, no Wall Street Journal, no Washington Post, no CNN, no Fox News and the remainders of the mainstream media have collapsed into a pool of lies of their own making. In some way it is really a shame that it had to be Donald Trump who brought about this change and gave the media their comeuppance. But then it was always going to take somebody famous, flamboyant and somewhat irregular to bring about such change, so, in a way it needed to be somebody exactly like Donald Trump.

 

We have to face it that there are very few people in this world anything like Donald Trump. He brags like few others. Where he may not be as wealthy as he claims, he sure can play the part even if he has his doubters. He has the brashness to face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Now he is deconstructing the myth of the inviolate media whose words are as pure unvarnished truth as he proves they are more often than not painted tapestries telling fanciful tales and yarns of myth and magic. He has challenged the evening anchors to a war of words and abbreviations and proving that his 140 characters or less are greater than their hour of comic coverage. This will be a battle of the ages and it will be amusing to witness. There is one warning we would like to impart to President Donald Trump. Whatever you do remember that it was the people who made you and should you believe too highly in yourself, they will remind you that you are very little without them and that the last thing they will accept from you is anything short of the truth. Do not for a moment believe that you are smarter or more wise than the people as their collective wisdom and ability to smell a yarn is far greater than any single person’s ability to get away with misleading them or concealing the truth from them. The people will always find out the liar in the end and they will more oft than not do it before the liar gets out of town. Tell them the truth and they will forgive the mistake and even the slightest of misconceptions, but lie and they will roast you like you can never know. Recovery from their anger is impossible and once deceived they will not be won back to your side for they are a mean mistress whose scorn will destroy the strongest of leaders. Keep the people at your side and nothing can stand against you, not even political parties because all political power arises from the people, or at least that is the theory. Trust the people if you ever hope for them to trust you. And if you could, be nicer to the media, please. OK, just kidding.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 10, 2016

Trump Trumps Clinton Now What? (Electoral College 279 to 259)

 

The total as of this writing was Trump with 279 Electoral votes from approximately 59,441,968 (47.5%) popular vote while Clinton held 259 Electoral votes from approximately 59,649,606 (47.7%) popular votes. Once again the election goes opposite the popular vote, something often criticized as are the men who designed the Electoral College such that the big state numbers have their advantage but face it being slightly marginalized by the setup of the Electoral system. First let us indulge in a quick review on how the Electoral College works and the reasoning for it being used by the United States. The system is easily broken down. Every state and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. all get two electors for what is their Senatorial representation (Washington D.C, is treated as if it were a small state with representation of a single delegate in the House of Representatives and two Senators). After this each state receives an elector for each Representative they hold in the House of Representatives. California receives fifty-three Electors for their fifty-three Representatives plus two more for their Senators for a total of fifty-five Electors. Wyoming receives a single Elector for their sole Representatives plus two for their Senators for a total of three Electors. This allots greater representation per person for Wyoming over California by a ratio over five-to-one and it is this type of disparity which causes many to loathe the system. The reason the Founding Fathers went with this seemingly convoluted system was identical to the reason for a bicameral Congress with one side, the House of Representatives, set by population thus favoring the larger states and the other side, the Senate, with two per state providing the states themselves with equal representation regardless of population size or land mass. The Founding Fathers realized that should they have permitted straight democracy that this would have produced mass rule, followed soon by mob rule and then collapse as had every democracy throughout history, and they desired building a nation which would be more stable. The main difference came about when the House of Representatives ceased being based on one Representative per set number of people to a set cap of four-hundred-thirty-five Representatives and the States receiving a minimum of one Representative and the remainder allotted proportionally. This also capped the Electors in the Electoral College at five-hundred-thirty-eight once Washington D.C. was allotted three Electors despite not having any actual representation in the Congress.

 

NBC News Final Electoral College Election 2016 Map

NBC News Final Electoral College Election 2016 Map

 

Next we need talk about the polling data being so skewed throughout the campaign and only closing in the final thirty-six hours though the lead did narrow slowly before the rush to even the night before Election Day. There are numerous claims as to why the polls consistently favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. One claim was that their intent was to press the idea that Trump could not win, period. This would, in theory, berate Trump supporters with so much bad news wearing them down such that they would give up and not bother to vote. The problem with this tactic is the vast number of Trump voters fell into two main categories, those who believed that a President Trump was the answer to America’s woes and those who were voting to emphasize their view that America was failing them and its Constitution. The first group was true believers with many voting for their first time despite having been registered for years. This was evidenced by the record number of voters in Republican primary elections. These people would have walked over burning embers to have voted Trump just as Hillary Clinton’s true believers were voting for her no matter what. The second group was making their voice heard loud and clear as they had a message for America and thus were determined to vote. A majority of Trump voters were with him at the start when he was one amongst seventeen and stayed the course. The third group of Trump supporters was the “stop the Hildabeast” and would stop at almost nothing to prevent the catastrophic consequences of Hillary Clinton being coronated President. Trump was not their choice, he was their life raft and these people were highly motivated to vote but were also motivated not to tell pollsters the truth about their vote choice. There was a minimum number of people who were pulling the Trump lever in the voting booth who were not firmly entrenched in the ranks of Trump supporters though for many a varied and different reason but were all there for the whole four quarters and would have remained just as committed should the race have gone into sudden-death overtime, which it came close to doing.

 

Then there is the fact that the media is skewed to the left end of the political spectrum. When one considers that Fox News is touted, even victimized cast as a reactionary, right-wing, extremist, conservative to the point of reactionary news station where every anchor and host must prove their ultra-conservative bonafides in order to get in the door, then it becomes obvious that the remainder of the news is far more liberal and even leftist by comparison. What then pushes the rest of the news syndicates even further left is this definition of every and any-body of note at Fox News is, by definition, ultra-pure reactionary-conservative which presumably includes, wait, wait, wait for it, Chris Wallace (see image below). As per the link, Chris Wallace worked at ABC News for 14 years where he served as the senior correspondent for Primetime Thursday and a substitute host for Nightline. Before that Chris Wallace served a NBC’s Chief White House correspondent from 1982-1989. Chris Wallace moderated Meet the Press from 1987-1988. Chris Wallace also anchored the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News from 1982-1984 and 1986-1987. Chris Wallace began his career with NBC at WNBC-TV (NBC 4) in New York in 1975. Chris Wallace is, at the most extreme of his leaning right, a moderate of impeccable discernment. Fox News is considered to be so far to the right because the rest of the news groups live with the academics in unassailable Ivory Towers found only in the extreme leftward climes. Fox News is to the right of almost all news services with the exception of CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) and a few select others and many on-line commentators most of whom have their following and limited audiences. Like in all things political, it is all relative to where you yourself choose to stand. Us, well, we stand so far off to the outside that we fall Beyond the Cusp.

 

Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace

 

Meanwhile, let’s get back to the election. Donald Trump did win, so stop pinching yourself. Hillary Clinton gave an honest and worthy concession speech in which she expressed her hopes that though she was not fated to break that glass ceiling, that perhaps one of her many supporters, possibly one in the hall listening as she spoke, would be the woman to break through shattering that glass ceiling once and for all. Trump was gracious as well in his victory comment where he praised Hillary Clinton for her determined and high pressure campaign which had pushed him to strive and become a better person in response. Trump thanked and congratulated the Republican candidates and politicians who backed him for their support. He thanked Dr. Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, his family including parents, brother, his other brother who has passed on, his wife, children and so on and thanked a number of workers he noted in the crowd. He was the real Donald Trump, the Donald who stops and talks with the guys digging the ditches at a construction site and the carpenters, brick layers, crane operators all before, after and even during holding higher level talks with the foremen, supervisor and engineers. This is one trait which makes the Donald who he is and why so many speak so highly of him, he actually takes the time to recognize everyone and give all a piece of the praise and credit. We will need to wait and see how this translates to the insular nature of the Presidency and life in a bubble, a very nice bubble, but a big white mansion style bubble called, remarkably, the White House. One thing for sure, being President is far more challenging than running for President and we are about to watch a capable man try and meet the biggest challenge of his life and starting out with two outs, man on second base, a three balls two strike count down five runs in the top of the third inning. It will be vital to equip himself with a top notch team as he cannot, nor would we here at Beyond the Cusp wish, run the effort almost singlehandedly. His pick for running mate showed good judgement and was wise but it will have to wait for more trust, let alone praise, to be lauded upon Donald Trump. He will have an excellent chance to prove his metal right out of the box filling the huge gaping hole left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court bench. This selection will act as an initial window to Trump’s soul, an entity which was called into suspect early on by some stalwarts of the Republican Party. Should this choice not fully measure, up these suspicions are very likely to reappear and do so very quickly.

 

The main Cabinet appointments will come at the State Department, Secretary of Defense, Education Secretary and United Nations Ambassador. For this last office returning John Bolton, should he decide to be available, would be a strong start. Rudy Giuliani would be a strong choice for any high profile position but might be best used to either lead the deconstruction of the Department of Education returning virtually all power down as locally as possible and keep almost nothing in Washington D.C. which could save many a school system as they would be liberated to spend all their time on teaching and none on meeting testing requirements, indoctrinations ordered from Washington and meeting near endless paperwork requiring additional staff who are not in any manner connected to teaching. They simply document compliances and send the forms to their school district, county, city, state, Washington D.C. and file copies with the office, every vice Principle, the Principle(s), Advisors, required teachers, required parents and whomever and whatever else is demanded. Some of these forms are actually daily reports and that is what many school systems have become, report generators which produce endless streams of paperwork and uneducated graduates whose school years are documented thus presumed productive. Donald Trump’s choice on who leads the Veterans Administration will be carefully watched as will any changes which are implemented. Here is another place where paperwork takes precedent over actual work. Hopefully Donald Trump will be able to bring a fair number of real administrators and managers from the real world into government positions where they can do some real good for the government and its ability to serve the people. Needless to go further than to simply say his appointments will speak very loudly and hopefully be armed with Teddy Roosevelt style big sticks. Tell the truth, not only do the people of the United States await Donald Trump’s important appointments’ names, but many around the world are also waiting to see who he is able and desires for top spots, especially his inner circle which includes but may not be limited to the Foreign Affairs Advisor, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Security Advisor, Joint Chiefs of Staff amongst others. What will be another indicator is who a President Trump calls to the White House from the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as who, if any, he invites from the Democrat side of Congress. These choices could prove to be greatly tactical as it may establish who a President Trump feels will best work with him on his agenda.

 

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

 

In conclusion, it will be educational once we start to see the choices Donald Trump makes officially sending to the Senate for their review and vote and those he keeps close under his vest and does not seek the Senate’s approval. Will a President Trump continue the underhanded and unethical practice of having “Czars” who actually perform an identical function as the Secretary over a department who the Senate passed review such that the President had two advisors for all too many departments and the actual Secretary was often left out of the loop and the Czar would actually run the show dictating policy and decisions to the actual Secretary serving the Cabinet. This was simply the means President Obama appointed some controversial people granting them the power equal or higher than the Cabinet Secretary while avoiding Senatorial oversite as per the Constitution. Ending this practice and setting up even a Constitutional Amendment which would define people with certain powers and responsibilities regardless of their title requiring Congressional oversight and be vetted and approved by the Senate as does any other appointee with such powers. Such a move might not prevent a future President from acting in a similar manner but it will empower Congress to then act having the Constitutional leverage to do so. Remember that the first hundred days often set the tone between a President and the Congress, people, national leaders and the world in general. Trump’s initial steps in the Middle East and North Africa will reveal his true foreign policy outlook. The man will be walking into the middle of a forest surrounded by swampland with an angry beehive just over his shoulder and a bear coming for the honeycomb sure to disturb the hive. It will likely be a dark and threatening sky with a hard rain approaching and tornado sirens blaring in all directions. Welcome to happy old Washington D.C. where this is the standard start of a day with a bright outlook and do not ask how a bad day starts, just hope you never find out but as a hint, it usually follows a night where you did not sleep and will be making a speech to the nation the coming night to explain that which you are not totally sure you understand, but make that speech and speak of the solution and whatever you do, do not let them see you sweat and make sure you are dressed appropriate to the news and pray that you get to sleep more than three hours the next night. Mr. President; President Trump, welcome to the world where real people play the game of risk with real wars full of intrigue and always an unknown factor lurks just beyond the cusp out of view arising only at the worst possible time, and we have not even spoken about the media. Media has a single rule you must always remember, they are not your friend, your buddy or somebody you should ever trust because you are the biggest story they have even if they need make up two thirds, they will do so thus be ever vigilant when speaking and they are visible as that places them within hearing that one-third out of which they can manufacture a scandal, and they get paid to do just that. Good Luck and may Heaven assist and guide you throughout your Presidency.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

 

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