Beyond the Cusp

October 23, 2013

Final Look at Lessons from the Government Shutdown

The shutdown of the Federal Government has passed and things have presumably returned to normal, whatever normal is. The government workers who were furloughed will be receiving their regular pay so they will not be losing money and basically had a short paid vacation without using any of their paid days off. That has appeared to be a dangerous statement to make as those who are of the opinion that the shutdown of the Federal Government was the most dangerous and near catastrophic and reckless act in modern history have catatonic fits screaming something about the government workers had to wait an extra week from their normal pay cycle to receive their salary and don’t we realize that the grossly underpaid government workers all live hand to mouth and paycheck to paycheck and could go hungry, be evicted from their apartment or their house be foreclosed and countless other financial disasters befall them as a result. Never mind that I can assure you that there were no such catastrophes as if one government worker had faced such a personal tragedy the mainstream media would have had them in studios being interviewed 24/7. So, what were the lessons that we should have garnered from the government shutdown?

 

One of the first is that there exist far too many people whose specialty is hyperventilating while screaming about how the sky is falling as they run about with an acorn on their heads. OK, I exaggerated as they did not actually need the acorn. The predictions that the government shutdown was going to destroy the recovery and place the economy into a possible meltdown were pure fantasy and the reports that the government shutdown resulted in over two billion dollars of lost economic activity is simply further proof that way too much of the national economy and the GDP are tied to the government. One story was how West Virginia farmers lost their entire year’s worth of crops because the Department of Agriculture was mostly furloughed and that resulted in their crops not being sprayed with fertilizer and pesticides. If this is a true story then there is a serious problem existing behind the scenes and my bet is that the farmers are not covered by the Federal Insurance Policy unless their every action concerning their crops is first approved by some government overseer. This person is probably a relative to some higher official or some Congress person’s friend who simply stamps every request to take actions in taking care of the crops and might actually not even be able to care for an air fern themselves and knows even less about farm crops. Just about every horror story that was trotted out was also very likely a story that at any other time would have been a report on the obscene intervention of the Federal Government in people’s and business’s everyday life and activities. But there was far more to learn other than the government has grown well past its supposed Constitutional limitations and has permeated far too much of our lives and businesses.

 

Another lesson we learned was that in reality we have three political parties and two of them are working hand in hand against the American people and are simply in office to get reelected and to enrich themselves and their fellow politicians and big donor friends. The two main parties are the Democrat Party and the Progressive Elitist Wing of the Republican Party which also accounts for almost the entire Republican leadership in the Congress. That leaves the smallest party which are those few politicians who are honest in their desire to serve the public which elected them and are willing to go out on a limb and fight for what their supporters want no matter the cost. Where currently most of these public servants are from within the Republican Party, there are some from both the Democrat Party and one Independent that I can think of. I will likely get nailed for this but Bernie Sanders is one of these public servants who campaigns on the exact items and positions he takes while in office. Senator Joseph Lieberman was another such and that cost him the support of his own Democrat Party at the end of his career despite his getting the last laugh as he turned around and won reelection as an independent for his final term in the Senate. The lesson which Joseph Lieberman learned during his final run for the Senate is the same lesson that Senator Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz and Senator Michael Shumway “Mike” Lee along with a number of Representatives from the House who are referred to as the Tea Party Conservatives, whether they are so affiliated or not does not appear to matter as it is a label that the powers that be are attempting to make into a slur and a criticism, are all learning as the leadership and the Progressives from their own Republican Party are reading them the riot act and will likely do everything in their power to unseat them even if it results in a Democrat being elected as they would prefer a Progressive and party be damned. The cannibalistic nature and disrespect shown by these progressives is very revealing and clearly displays their lack of tolerance for anyone who they see as in opposition to their progressive big government programs.

 

One of the most viscous and unseemly of these has been Senator John McCain with the most dangerous one being a man who works his dastardly deeds in the dark recesses behind the scenes named Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. There is one more gentleman in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives whom I feel must be mentioned as they not only are one of my Senators but also my Representative in the House and both men who have proven honorable during this last budget battle, Senator Jim Inhofe and Representative Jim Bridenstine. Senator Inhofe was one of the few established long serving people who took part as a substitute assisting in Senator Cruz’s twenty-four-hour filibuster and Representative Bridenstine has been a reliable Constitutionalist after winning election against the sitting Republican whom everybody had predicted would easily win reelection. Surprise! What we have learned is there is a political movement building that honors the Constitution and is behind a drive to reestablish Constitutional checks and balances, small government, renewed State rights, and an end to the bloated and wasteful over-spending that the bill which ended the shutdown was a perfect example of the problem. There was a set-aside of over one-hundred-fifty-million dollars for the widow of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg, a multi-millionaire at the time of his death. They also budgeted an additional two-plus billion dollars for a dam project for the preservation of the downstream lands. While the entire project concerns both Ohio and Illinois as well as Kentucky, the vast majority of these funds will go to Kentucky which just happens to be Senate Minority Leader McConnell. The most interesting item about this project additional subsidy is that it was proposed by California Senator Barbara Boxer in a not so subtle attempt to allow Senator McConnell to claim that he had nothing to do with the proposed funding as a leading California Democrat Senator Boxer proposed it and he had nothing to do with the idea. The truth is that this was simply a perfect example of one progressive giving a helping hand to a fellow progressive. The Democrat and Republican labels are no longer as important as is their view be it either Progressive big government or Constitutional limited government. There may be a new alignment coming with either a reclaimed Republican Party or possibly the Tea Party label might become a real political party and as soon as it has it will need to be watched and scrutinized from the very outset in order to hold them to their principles, something that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats follow their principles from the middle of the last century, the twentieth century. If spending is not brought under rational control soon then the United States will fail and go the way not of Rome, but of the Weimar Republic. That would be a very sorry state that would rock the entire world and put many national economies in dangerous and precarious states. What will you say when you grandchild asks you what you were doing when the Congress and the Federal Government took the United States over the cliff and into a financial abyss of oblivion?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 23, 2013

Aid Seeking Oklahoma Republican Reps Denied Hurricane Sandy Aid

There will be factual but misleading commentary and quotations in the coming week condemning the elected Congressional representatives from Oklahoma for accepting Federal assistance in the recovery from the EF-5 tornado that utterly destroyed much of the small Oklahoma town of Moore. These statements will claim that those Oklahoma politicians who had voted down the initial $50 Billion aid package to assist the Hurricane Sandy victims in New York and the Northeast when it was before Congress are now being simply greedy in expecting funds for the recovery from the tornado. The main targets will be these conservative Republicans; Senator Tom Coburn, Senator James M. Inhofe, Representative Jim Bridenstine, Representative Markwayne Mullin, and Representative James Lankford. Both Representative Frank Lucas and Representative Tom Cole will be free from blame as they supported this legislation, well, they may receive a pass now but come the next election this vote may be used against them for supporting such massive unnecessary pork included in this legislation. And it is the included pork spending which makes the blame game unprincipled and purely a political witch hunt in an attempt to gain political points by disregarding the actual truth.

The legislation which allocated generous funding to assist and enable full recovery from much of the damages incurred during Hurricane Sandy still did not utilize even half of the $50 Billion. The greater part of these funds went to numerous projects or to supplement existing programs which had absolutely nothing to do with hurricane Sandy. Many of the expenditures went to numerous states and locations untouched by Hurricane Sandy and even to some which have never been touched by any hurricane in recorded history. These were the expenditures which the Oklahomans in the House of Representatives and the Senate voted against and they had made their positions very clear back in Oklahoma. Furthermore, there is not going to even be a vote on relief aid for the tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma as FEMA has a surplus of funds at this point and all outlays will fall well within already allocated emergency funds set aside for just such emergencies. The difference for Hurricane Sandy was in order to fund the repairs after that disaster had to come from spending above and beyond allocated spending thus the discussion was to allocate supplemental spending. This is a normal situation which has happened before and will happen again in the future simply because some years storm and other emergency disaster recovery allocations are less than budgeted and other years it will exceed allocated spending. The evil which is hidden in the example of Hurricane Sandy was the practice of attaching additional spending for pet items, most often funding items within a Senator or Representatives State or District, often to reward major financial supporters of their campaigns, to legislation which is obviously necessary such as emergency spending, defense budgets, and other pressing or popular legislations thus guaranteed to pass. This is a convenient and efficient way of hiding what is in reality unnecessary expenditures from discussion, debate, or media coverage while guaranteeing passage and allocation of these somewhat nefarious spending items which would suffer defeat and embarrassment if their sponsors were to submit legislation solely for the approval of such expenditures.

The hiding of pork and pet project spending within unrelated legislation is an old trick of the political class but has, like so many other underhanded and circuitous measures, exploded over the last fifty years. There is another legislative misdirection used by politicians by which they pass legislation for items which they are fully aware that should they support it straight out they would be pounded come the next election as their constituents would hold their feet to the fire for supporting something the voters would find undesirable, odious even. What is done is there are three versions of the legislation presented for consideration, each one worded just sufficiently different to make each one appear to be different. This can be accomplished by changing technical terms or making less direct references within the bill such that it is a difference without a difference. Then our Representatives and Senators can vote against at least one variation while they agree on which one will be passed, maybe all three will be passed and still allow any who need to have cover for opposing the legislation is also met. Another misdirection used was a favorite of retired Texas Representative Ron Paul who would add copious amounts of pork to guaranteed to pass comfortably legislation and then he would make a grand pontification denouncing all the pork in said piece of legislation and, after demanding a roll call vote, proudly vote against the legislation into which he had placed the pork for his district. When his reelection campaign was hitting the home stretch he could wave his vote against a bill containing pork for his own district as dyed in the wool anti-pork purist despite knowing full well that the pork would safely pass and his district receive the largess he intended for them. Representative Ron Paul was one of the most successful practitioners of this method of deceit.

These are simply a pair of ways our Senators and Representatives mislead and outright lie to us and still manage to do every dirty little trick necessary in order to build government and spend all of the citizens’ tax monies to buy the votes to keep them in their cushy jobs in Washington or each state capital. There is one method which will never see the light of day unless “We the People” demand that such be made into law, or better yet, made into a constitutional Amendment. What is necessary to end these practices is single item legislation requirement where each piece of legislation must state exactly the measure or condition it will address and then every article, addendum, and amendment must be justified as to how it addresses the defined subject of the legislation. Such constricting rules will never be imposed by our elected representatives because such would end much of their little games and secrets through which they enrich their big money supporters and even often find channels that put more cash directly into their own wallets. Single item legislative requirement would not be the end and cure-all but it would be a solid step towards curbing runaway spending which we currently suffer from in almost immeasurable amounts. Once we have corralled the spendaholics in our government, perhaps then things will become easier to observe, then further steps towards honest and forthright political service can be demanded and excesses finally be rendered to the past. Everybody is allowed to dream and sometimes that first step, the dream, can lead to actual achievements. Truth be told, if you never dream it, you will never achieve it, so let’s get the dreams started and the necessary changes introduced into the discussion.

Beyond the Cusp

February 27, 2013

Republican Lack of Discipline Exposed by Hagel Confirmation

Filed under: 1949 Armistice Line,1967 Borders,2012 Elections,Administration,Afghanistan,Ahmadinejad,Anti-Israel,Anti-Zionist,Appointment,Arabs,Ayatollah Khamenei,Borders,Boycott,Building Freeze,Cabinet,Checkpoints,Checks and Balances,Chuck Hagel,CIA Chief,Cloture,Coalition,Condemning Israel,Congress,Consequences,Conservatives,Constitutional Government,Constitutionalist,Debate,Democracy,Democracy,Democrat,Disengagement,Divestment,Economic Sanctions,Europe,Extreme Leftist,Extreme Right,Fatah,Fatah Charter,Fayyad,FBI,Federal Government,Filibuster,Foreign Policy,Gaza,Gaza Blockade,Golan Heights,Government,Green Line,Hamas,Hamas Charter,Hezballah,History,Ineffective Sanctions,Intifada,Iran,Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps,Iraq,Islam,Islamic Jihad,Israel,Israeli Capital City,James Inhofe,Jerusalem,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,Jihad,Judea,Judean Hills,Kotel,Land for Peace,Mahmoud Abbas,Middle East,Missile Research,Muslim Brotherhood,Muslims,Neglection of Duty,Netanyahu,Nuclear Program,Nuclear Research,Nuclear Sites,Nuclear Weapons,Obama,Oklahoma,Old City,Oslo Accords,P5+1,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Legislative Committee,Palestinian Security Force,Parchin,Parliamentary Government,Partition Plan,Peace Process,PLO,PLO Charter,Politics,Pre-Conditions,President,President Obama,Prisoner Release,Prisoners,Protect Citizenry,Protests,Qom,Rafah Crossing,Recognize Israel,Refugee Camp,Refugees,Response to Terrorism,Right of Return,Rock Throwing,Rocket Attacks,Samaria,Sanctions,Secretary of Defense,Secretary of State,Senate,Senate Armed Services Committee,Senate Majority Leader,Separation Barrier,Settlements,Smuggling Tunnels,Submission,Suicide Bomber,Syria,Temple Mount,Terror,Tom Coburn,Two State Solution,United States,United States Constitution,Uranium Enrichment,Uranium Enrichment,Vote,Warhead Development,West Bank,Western Wall,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 2:11 PM
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There is a theory throughout the free world that on certain votes party discipline is expected. Such examples abound in the Parliaments in Europe, Israel, Japan, Australia, Canada and any we may have omitted. It has often been on display within the United States Congress, but almost exclusively by the Democrat legislators and almost never, actually might be never, from the Republican side of the aisle. The nomination by President Obama of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense was problematic even before his dreadful performance at his confirmation hearings. As positions go in a President’s Cabinet, Secretary of State, CIA Chief, Chief of the FBI are the few of the positions which rival Secretary of Defense in their importance. This makes the ability to answer questions competently and without overly long hesitations very crucial. Mr. Hagel’s performance left loads to be desired. He not only stumbled on answering questions but also had to correct answers he had given after conferring with handlers sent to aid him in his responses. The United States does not need or desire a Secretary of Defense who is less prepared to answer vital questions than the average Senator would be. Even if this had been the only problem with the Hagel appointment it still would have been worthy of greater objection than was displayed.

But there were already other questions and difficulties posed by Senator Hagel’s previous statements concerning the United States staunchest Middle East ally Israel and his lack of resolve shown towards the Iranian nuclear program as well as his soft approach to such terrorist groups denoted as such by the State Department as Hamas and Hezballah. When one additionally inspects Senator Hagel’s voting record his appointment becomes all the more troublesome. Add in his flippant disregard for many such votes and his snide remark that there was no evidence that any of his votes ever did any damage to Israel which though technically true, it is not for want of trying on Hagel’s behalf and solely due to the fact that Hagel’s vote was among the minority and the vast majority of his fellow Senators supported the United State’s ally Israel. The final nail in the coffin for the Hagel appointment should have come when at least one Republican Senator decided to filibuster the nomination and requested his fellow Republicans support his efforts. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma even wrote a letter asking as much and despite being given the support of a number of fellow Republican Senators; the party supported his efforts only through one cloture vote stalling the confirmation over one little weekend.

After supporting the Senator Inhofe intent to filibuster on a Friday vote, Senator Reid, the Majority Leader of the Senate, was assured by numerous Republicans that they would no longer support any further Republican efforts to filibuster and delay a confirmation vote. What makes the whole cloture vote fold by Republican Senators so disheartening is when the actual vote came to confirm the Hagel appointment as Secretary of Defense, the final vote was insufficient to have overcome the filibuster by a fair margin of 58-41, two votes short of cloture if the Senators had voted their up or down vote during the cloture vote. Despite the four Senators from the Republican side of the aisle who voted to approve the Hagel nomination, the cloture vote of 71-27 reveals that an additional thirteen Republican Senators voted to end the filibuster by their own party than eventually supported the nomination. The question which those whose Senators voted for cloture despite opposing the nomination must be asked is why, knowing that a vote for cloture guaranteed the nomination, did they ignore the sole path to resist this atrocious appointment and fold to the demands of President Obama, Senator Reid and the Democrats? Are they that afraid to stand strong for their beliefs and only vote their conscience when it will not make a difference and when their vote matters simply fold under even the slightest of pressures from the Democrats? What are they afraid of, missing out on some brie and red wine luncheons in the Capital Building or some other social affairs? If they are unable of standing when their votes matter, perhaps they should be replaced. If your Senator was among the four that voted for Hagel, well, at least they were consistent and voted their minds. But if your Senator is among the thirteen who voted for cloture thus guaranteeing a confirmation which they then voted against, you may wish to replace the worms you currently have as the next choice could not be worse. Maybe you can find a real Republican Senatorial candidate to run against the worm in the next primary and send a real conservative Constitutionalist Senator to Washington. Would that be too much to ask? My Senator, he was the one who first stated intent to filibuster and the other supported him and is known as Senator No. I am glad you asked.

Beyond the Cusp

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