Beyond the Cusp

October 18, 2016

America We Need You Now

 

The world has not managed well with the United States in retreat on all fronts. OK, we’re sorry we kept protesting you at every turn. We really did not mean it when we were chanting, “Yankee Go Home” by the thousands in some of our most foolish times. We never expected that you would take it personally and actually leave us to the whims and machinations of those who rose in your absence. America, we admit, we need you now and, if we are lucky, you will return before it is too late. We look at your coming election and are confused as you seem taken by slights and insults as well as tales of peccadillos of trivialities from sexual advances made in a time of your self-proclaimed “free love” where anything goes. How can such blind you to the real sex crimes happening throughout much of the world around you where civility is a word which has no place and no meaning. How can you be so preoccupied that sex-slave trading across much of the Middle East where ISIS sells victims of their reign of horror, there reign of terror where a woman is but an item to use, abuse and then sell and repeat and in the end sell for the tools of war. You were once the tower of honor which tamed those things that have exploded in your absence and we the people of the world suffer your absence, the sense of order and morality your soldiers bring. Have there been the random and rare acts by the few for which the jealous media and tin pot dictators rejoice in their ability to equate your soldiers with their terror spreading forces who often and regularly provide for similar and worse acts themselves. The United Nations also points their own blood soaked finger at any imperfection, any tarnish on your usually spotless shining armor. What they fail to understand is by your airing your own dirty laundry; you gain the right to judge the world with the honor you gain from your own righteous policing of your own as well. You judge yourself and the world with the same yardstick (meter stick if in European based systems as it helps to also be adaptable).

 

steppenwolf live

 

We could laud your greatness and the times you have defended the helpless asking for no reward. You have liberated oil rich nations such as Kuwait yet you demanded none of their wealth in payment. Your ingenious oil rig firefighters came and extinguished the great field fires and still you took only the treasure equal to the services provided and at a reduced rate as no travel time was necessary beyond the one-time trip to Kuwait and home to Texas and Oklahoma and a few other states we regret of which we were unaware. Then there are the disaster relief, search and rescue, and aid programs to places struck by the many ravages of nature be it volcano, earthquake, flooding, drought or fierce storms all whose survivors understand your generosity and concern for your fellow man where your acts show the truth that yours is a society which treasures our similarities and minimizes our differences. Only the Israelis can be equally counted on when assistance is required due to these cataclysms in any sense of equal dependability and often even quantity. You are often the salvation from the darkness. You were the savior in the War to End All Wars and still in that century you came again assisting in ending the greatest War of all Wars. After the great World Wars, it was you who kept Europe safe from the aggressive hopes of the Soviet Union until they finally collapsed through financial implosion as they attempted to keep up with the Reagan rebuilding the military and starting new programs with scope such as Star Wars (SDI).

 

We need America as she has kept herself in hiding far too long. She was never made to lead from behind and necessarily never completely invisible from the scenes which cried out for her tenderness which had been there before but vanished nearly eight years ago when the Perfect One climbed into the Oval Office set on relieving the world of American misdeeds. This much lauded leader sold the design that America had brought evil on itself through acting harmfully throughout the world and especially in the Middle East. The American absence forced with little planning or cares for tactical necessities and in the vacuum there grew a great and diseased festering cancer which contaminates even beyond their areas of control spreading their diseased poison which has even infected some within your shores. Awaken America as your oceans no longer make you invulnerable as the world has changed. Do not let the sirens’ song lull you to sleep as your Ship of State is as vulnerable as all the rest. Britain realized the threat despite the media and political theater broadcasting the gloom and doom of departing the Brussels autocracy yet the people by a narrow margin chose freedom, independence and, most importantly, control over their borders. That is something every nation should heed, borders and the security over their availability for immigration. America, we need you now and, oddly enough, you need us too. America, we need you now, time to return and care for your sons and daughters as well as ours as we had gotten so accustomed to we took you for granted. America, we’re sorry now and apologize if you like, just find your way home as the world can no longer play without you very much longer.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 22, 2016

The Lens that Clears the Vision, Thomas Sowell

 

Whenever one sees an article written by Thomas Sowell one can safely believe it will be entertaining, instructive and likely to clarify to its crystalline essence whatever subject or conjecture on which he is writing. Thus was his recent article on his favorite subject, as he is a renowned economics professor, income inequality and why everything in life is not fair or evenly distributed. He writes on this from varying angles always providing examples which even the lesser and uneducated in economics will fully grasp. His example this time was precious as it showed two examples in one lesson, something he likely intended. Apparently somebody seeking high and low for inequality recently attached onto a new cause célèbre which is as silly as it is laughable, the uneven distribution against women at the highest levels of chess. To use another of Prof. Sowell’s examples, this is like asking why midgets are so underrepresented in the NBA or the NFL, as one would have to conclude there has to be some position they would excel at making them desirable. As Prof. Sowell makes as his main point, not that many women, especially young women in high school or college desire playing chess, not even the most nerdy (my observation), and you find largely male membership in Chess Clubs and competitions. My observation was the under-representation of females on the Math Team in my high school of over three-thousand students where there were two out of twenty plus members on the math team, including one reluctant me (long story includes threats of failing grades from my math teacher and faculty advisor to the math team), and we elected one as the team leader. Still, even representation would have required eighteen additional female students or cutting the team down to two boys and girls and being disqualified as each team must have eight members to compete. If memory serves me correctly, there were no girls, young women, in the chess club or on the team and, knowing the fellow nerds who populated these groups, these boys would have killed to have a young woman, or any woman, join their club and team and such a person would have been treated as a goddess or something close.

 

Professor Thomas Sowell

Professor Thomas Sowell

 

Anyway, back on subject. As Prof. Sowell makes clear, the top positions in chess are computed by games won and lost and against whom. I had an uncle by marriage who was a rated chess master with competition points and he never was able to rise higher than competing in local area and sometimes had qualified for state wide competition but never higher. We played a game of chess; he destroyed me eventually, where he commented that I had a head for the game and played a very disorganized but effective game. He wanted me to start entering tournaments and studying the game seriously. Anyone who knows me knows I take very few things seriously, even politics, and find amusement wherever I can find some. Yes, this presidential race in the United States should provide me entertainment galore, or will it be entertainment of gore? I expect it will be a mud-slinging contest with blood drawn on both sides and whoever wins will emerge a walking wounded with wounds the press will allow to heal or continue shooting at depending who wins. End tangent. Chess positions do not care what gender you are, what race you are, what religion you worship or even if you have a religion at all, they care about your proven record and nothing else. One gains points for every win even if it is minuscule as one would gain beating me in a first round match of the Northwest Israel Chess Tournament, if there is one. I am unranked and likely would need to find a more local tournament, say one from my apartment complex, all two buildings of it, or slightly larger (being in Israel I suspect there is a high density of chess players with any serious players). Should you be ranked and placed against a past champion and lose there might still be points, I am not sure how their ranking points are gained, and should you win there would be a larger number of points than beating little old me. So, if a woman, and my guess is there are many ranked women players even if few if any are in the top ten, were to amass serious points and rise in the ranking then she would rate entering the top level tournaments. This is where things get sticky as one might point out that since men hold the top spots, a woman might be on edge and off her game facing all male competition in a tournament. So what are the tournament managers to do, give her a tranquilizer to calm her, which would definitely be an egregious interference and led to investigations that they were attempting to keep her from winning. Believe it or not, they do not simply give women one-thousand competition points for showing up and men two-hundred-fifty-thousand competition points for showing up. They give points for winning games and only for winning games at the beginning and on throughout competition the big points go to winners and others, well, it’s tough when you lose.

 

As Prof. Sowell points out, life is full of examples of inequities. Jobs, wealth, careers, sports, and any other category one can measure even including numbers of the population and numbers of registered voters, both of which women have the slight advantage of fifty-one or two percent against men being forty-eight or nine percent. Women could elect nearly an all women Congress with at least three-hundred out of four-hundred-thirty-five Representatives and easily sixty-five Senators against thirty-five men. President would equally be a woman should only women support their candidacy. This is an important statistical fact which will be very important in the coming Presidential Election as if for any reason Hillary Clinton does not win the Presidency, it will not be because she was a woman and men did not support her as she would win if women and only women voted for her in high nineties percent so Hillary loses only if she does not win the votes of all women. And do not for a minute think her advisors do not know this as it is partly what is behind the “First woman President” sloganeering which is aimed at the whole of the population but is even more targeting women as with the women’s vote Hillary could win with almost no male votes. Hillary is counting heavily that she can win and force a high turnout of minorities, women high amongst them, and swing as many married women to vote for her despite their husband voting for Trump or third party candidates as splitting the household votes by gender Hillary can win hands down as she knows she likely has the singles vote in her favor. The Presidency is Hillary’s for the taking and if she loses, it will be solely because she was unable to convince sufficient women to vote for her and Trump somehow wooing these women voters. With the accusations against Trump and his public history of divorce and other alleged and some proven activities, he should have some degree of difficulty winning the women’s vote. His one saving grace has been that his hosting of women’s pageants and reality television without even the suspicion of improprieties, there is little proof of him acting in any manner other than respectfully over the years of such involvements. Any such accusations which may appear now seemingly out of the blue, they should be considered to be opportunists or politically motivated attempts to take advantage of his candidacy and probable desire to end such intimidations with minimal publicity. The problem, as we see it, is that even if advised to fold before such challenges as quickly and quietly as possible, Trump will be more likely to take these challenges on directly and very publically when he feels assured of no actual wrong-doing. As far as Trump is concerned, if he can win the suit, he can also play this as campaign advertising of his being above board and forthright in his dealings. This is something we will have to observe as the campaign quickens this fall.

 

There is another front that will be brought to the fore, the companies in which Donald Trump has invested and went bankrupt, some almost immediately. One need know about finances at the level that Donald Trump lives in as they sometimes are purchased companies which have assets or other qualities which are required by other assets. In such instances a failing company can be restructured and made profitable providing it can be purchased or merged with other assets or with a structured payment schedule to meet obligations and thus bankruptcy is a means of saving as much of an investment as is economically sound. These bankruptcies are an intricate and necessary part of investing and making the needed adjustment to gain a return on your investment. It is the same as when one buys a new car and trades their older vehicle as the down-payment. When would you trade in your thirty year old baseline truck which barely functions and has not been driven in ten years, in a regular trade-in or when the dealer offers that if you can drive it in they will give you $5,000.00 in trade-in? The answer is obvious and investments are exactly the same, you do what maximizes your return or, in a bad situation, what minimizes your losses.

 

It would be wise to remember that business is business and politics is not. Politics is all about painting your opponents as the greatest evil the world has ever witnessed. This can be accomplished easily with anyone whose life took place outside of politics as the political world is completely opposite of the business world. In politics it is all about looking at inequalities and promising the masses at the bottom you will give them monies from those at the top. This is due to the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of those at the bottom for everyone to ten at the top. A truth which no politician will tell you is that somebody earning two-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars a year is in the top ten percent and those earning over seventy-five-thousand dollars a year are the top twenty-five percent. If minimum wage is pushed to fifteen dollars an hour, that is slightly more than thirty-thousand dollars a year for a forty hour week, that currently in comfortably in the top fifty percent. As it is not possible to have even minimum wage earners be in the top fifty percent, what does one think will be the result? The result is that employers will invest in the construction of robotics to perform these minimum wage jobs just as Wendy’s has already done by replacing cashiers and delivery people from their burger operations and made it an automated system. Similar but less polished systems existed in the 1950’s and were called automat food stores and were big because it was in these years that the minimum wage was increased above the median salary for workers. When this is what happens and those positions which used to be below median salary are forced by minimum wages to be above median, then they will be minimized or erased from the job market as they become unsupportable. When politicians tell you that a company is making undue profit, they are spinning an evil tale that making profit, the driving impetus of all businesses, is an evil when in reality if a business comes close to breaking even and producing no profit, the seeming desire of politicians, then the entire operation comes under inspection and the weaker links are optimized, automated, or cost-lotted out to another company and the people in that department stand for some or all to lose their jobs. Business is in business to make profits and profits tend towards the top but all gain when the company gains as then there are more funds for salaries. All business models have a set percentage they denote as for salaries and the management is tasked with seeing that salaries remain within those guidelines. Often management is granted a bonus for keeping salaries in check and not exceeding their budgeted amount. Anything below budget will then be shared with a set percentage, usually under five percent, is given to the manager for keeping salaries below target. That is simply how business functions at all levels as the vice-president of a company gets a bonuses for keeping costs, including salaries, below target for expenditures, thus giving management limits and limiting managements’ salaries under their control.

 

On another side, when a candidate claims they can control government spending, especially a presidential candidate who is from the business world, they are ignoring an important reality, they answer to Congress as equal branches and not as president to underlings. Congress can adopt an agenda and has the power to overrule a Presidential veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses. Should Trump win the Presidency he will not even have the total support of the Republicans in the Congress and probably none of the Democrats so he will be facing an adversarial Congress and will have only one means of defeating an objectivist Congress, the will of the people. This was what President Reagan used and made possible with his common sense appeals to the people he made during numerous policy speeches he gave in prime time. We expect a President Trump would need to do likewise as his appeal will be dependent on the support of the public. The one thing Trump would have in his favor is that many people who may not have supported his candidacy and voted for Hillary Clinton or one of the third party candidates (leftist liberals all including the Libertarian Party and of course the Green Party) might support some even if not all of his policy positions and thus legislation towards those ends. Where I find Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan to be somewhat a slur, I would change it to “Make America’s Greatness Known (Evident) Again” as a better and more accurate representation as America is still the world’s leading nation despite the efforts of the past eight years. As far as Prof. Sowell might say, we need a President to bring all America into the best and most competitive edge over the rest of the world so America can shine bright again. The secret for doing this is actually simple; America needs to make everything using smarter and more accurate precision and the highest possible quality and dependability and that will place America at the forefront again. America needs to be amongst if not the best over the rest making America worth the extra cost because the product is worth the extra cost. This is why the majority of the world buys American military equipment and how Israel, Britain, Russia, China, Czech Republic, Germany and a select group of others manage to sell their military equipment. Israel triumphs in avionics and command and control systems for military uses while the Czech Republic makes some of the finest accuracy rifles and dependable assault grade weapons and Germany has a high quality main battle tank every bit as good as the American Abrams and the Israeli Merkava and Russia has the best fighter jets per ruble using less technology dependent systems thus easier maintenance. These are simply proof that when you make the best for a certain price range then you will own that market and America needs to reclaim some markets which though not languishing have been inhibited from moving to the next level by regulations and tax policies which do not reward such improvements. That is it plain and simple and do not sweat that somebody makes more money than you, work harder and deserve that money and you will find you too will advance. Sometimes you might even be required to take a different position in your or in another company for a little less or the same but that is just another opportunity to prove oneself and take off from there. After all, you only make master point in chess by beating somebody who already earned their own masters points and the better chess players you can best, the higher the points you will earn and it is all about amassed points and nothing else.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 23, 2015

Never Seen the Problem so Plainly Stated

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Often we hear about how people are surprised when an obviously conservative candidate wins an election where nobody has ever remembered reading a pro-conservative editorialist or especially a news columnist. Nobody knows of any conservatives where they work, at their country club or social club, nor are there any in their union, bowling league, classic car club etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I found the problem which stands behind this situation described by Rabbi Professor Dov Fischer titled Conservative “Marranos” and the Absurd Charge of Racism. Below is the last part of the first paragraph which left me in shock and feeling a sharp pinch of sadness and emptiness as one might hope that such a respected Rabbi could hold conservative positions, especially on many social issues where Torah and the laws of Judaism would give him the backing and freedom to at least express such views with impunity and free from the affects others of us have suffered when speaking our minds similarly.

Throughout the West, we conservatives must be careful when we speak, toe political lines that are drawn for us, hide our true political beliefs and voting preferences, and basically live the life of political Marranos or Conversos. We must join unions that we do not wish to join, must advocate programs and leisure activities that we do not wish to advocate, and we must hide furtively until, once every two or four years, we can vote in secrecy.

 

Once my initial shock and sadness passed, I was left with a sense of anger as, oddly enough, I have always had the exact opposite reaction when presented with false boundaries and leftist expectations that, under peer pressures, all will wilt and obey the societal bounds and act as those self-labelled all-compassionate expect and enforce, lest one transgresses at risk of ostracization. I decided to read the remainder of Rabbi Fischer’s article where he described the reactions in the United States and especially in the great White House and around the world where Israel has become the great apartheid state replacing South Africa who having defeated the real apartheid now leads the anointing of Israel as the new enforcer of apartheid politics, after all did not the Bibi again win against the great reformers who accept the European credo and would blindly obey and follow their betters down the path to oblivion. The meat of the article went to explain how politics is a different animal in Israel than it is in the United States, Europe and other citadels of freedom of the Western world. There is the explanation that in Israel we allow a political party whose defined aim in their declarations of principles is to dissolve the Jewishness of Israel and expel or subjugate the Jews and put in place the very Palestinian Arab state which is at its very core not far distant from the same madness that engulfed the continent of Europe and almost the world in the last great conflagration. When at the end of a brilliant description explaining that the phrase Bibi utilized to rally any last vestiges of support from the Zionist, nationalist and right wing voting blocks to get out and vote as a measured grass roots effort financed and manned by leaders from outside of Israel were attempting to hijack the elections and seize power and influence in order to command Israeli obedience to their desires which would in short time mean the end of Israel as the one and only Jewish state, the last refuge the Jewish people have for a safe place, a refuge and blessed haven to which they will be able to escape as the world once again turns mad with red shot eyes and an inner rage for Jewish blood and from there who knows the next victim of the coming madness, perhaps religious Christians who remain dedicated to ancient and outdated parchments and even still believe that the Constitution and the Bible were written in stone and not living, breathing documents whose interpretations depend on the end desire to redefine all norms to fit their unholy societal demands. The article explains that there is a force in the darkness which does desire to squelch all opposition and extinguish the flames of freedom and compassion in the world and install in the place of liberating doctrines a religiously enforced straightjacket which will break the will and end the dreams of the millions who lead the assaults on the battlements of Israeli society as that is the identified instigator that has unsettled an old, dormant, expellent force which seeks dominance over all societal norms and the final implementation of their holy order, though which form is still being debated, by force of arms. The point was made that none of these paragons of all that is fare and knowledgeable were to expound their doctrines in any of the societies such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran or many others of similar ilk that they would soon be meted out their just rewards for thinking beyond their canonical precepts meant to place all societies under its order. Then he relates how after expressing our honest desires we will again have returned to our basements and reassumed our placid facades we use in our daily excursions in the public eye.

 

It has always been my experience that it is best to exhibit those exact traits which best and most deeply depict standing on what is defined as the right wing, conservative or sometimes even Neanderthal behavior and risk the immediate recoil as if close proximity might cause them to be infected as if your political and societal beliefs are akin to a disease which one must quarantine for the health of their society. Does such an initial reaction make existence somewhat difficult initially, of course it does and must be expected. Once you have exhibited that you are quite comfortable existing within their space though an orbital radius is placed around you into which none initially and eventually only the brave dare be seen entering, let alone such trivialities as conversing or even sharing a joke or relating an anecdotal experience from the weekend as such interactions risk contamination. This cannot last indefinitely and slowly but inexorably your societal peers will find that you are not a monster and will not cause them contamination or other afflictions but that you actually share many of the beliefs they themselves accept as we are all raised in the same society which has rules which are universal, it is just that such rules are mostly about conduct and politeness which makes society possible. With extended exposure your fellow travelers will inevitably realize that what you consider right and just is very similar to those things they once believed but have since slid down that slippery slope which you have often warned about and upon realizing this some may even attempt to climb back from their proximity further down the slippery slope which actually will eventually be the death of their society as at the bottom of that slope nothing is worth defending and complete surrender to the great call of empty nothingness where every act no matter how perverse, iniquitous or reprehensible can be condemned lest you be condemned for the bottom of the slope is a society with no standards and nothing is enforced as being beyond acceptance. No society so defined can continue to exist as it becomes a society completely enthralled with self-indulgence to such an extent that even the idea of sacrifice of the self to raise the next generation becomes too burdensome that the idea that it takes a society to raise a child finally becomes simply the society must raise the child and children are given over to specially trained teams who know the best manner for raising the child and every child is molded or forced to obey the rules of inclusiveness and to abhor those who claim that some actions are beyond acceptable behavior as the self-indulgent new define morals and conduct such that nothing is too much or against acceptance except maybe having expectations that all have self-respect and a code of conduct which does limit behavior and set standards, real standards and not an anything goes unbounded limitless standards-free society. Those who are right wing are simply the morals which are necessary to restrain society from swinging so far from center that any hope of a return to those basic beliefs which once produced a society which was productive and functional believing in itself and the ideals which were worth extending to the next generation and knowing that it was the greatest of all accomplishments to raise children instilled with values which guided them to exceed the accomplishments you attained and built a better and more compassionate society which had structure worthy and even beyond what you might have hoped for. There is nothing more honorable than raising a child who exceeds your accomplishments and is making a better parent than you were when raising your child as they took those things that were right and true and took a different path avoiding many of the errors you committed and you realize they are in fact committed to doing what you had strove to do, be a better parent than your own parents and by producing a greater grandchild that they too can be proud and feel they too contributed to that wondrous hope for the future. Does such a society go off the rails, of course that is a possibility which is why as parents we never stop teaching and hopefully we never stop learning for learning is the first step to teaching.

 

The truth of being a right wing, religious and attempting to lead a righteous life is something which it is never too late to start. Many of us who are on the right were leaders of the charge down that slippery slope but had an epiphany and realized that the bottom of that slope was a waiting disaster and where we should be headed is back to the top of the hill. Of course we who have taken this path realize that the top of that hill awaits the fact that it is but a foothill and beyond is another slightly higher foothill and in the distance is a mountain that so very few of us ever even reach the bottom of its craggy and high cliffs which are seemingly impossible to scale. I am hopeful but unfortunately uncertain that there are those still alive today who are somewhere upon those stratospheric heights holding fast to those principles which all too many of us have little knowledge or understanding of such thoughts. The truth we do know is that to have such thoughts must be wondrous and fulfilling. It is that knowledge which guides those who hold conservative standards and believe in that higher truth which we have realized is atop the hill and not at the bottom of that grassy, wet, slippery slope no matter what the promises of ecstasy and unlimited freedom for even freedom must be limited by boundaries, even if the only boundary one recognizes is that their freedom stops at the next person’s nose. One can punch the air, punch the heavy bag, punch the light bag, but one may not punch the person next to them as that infringes on their freedom. Thomas Jefferson once stated about a neighbor’s religious beliefs but can be more generally applied very simple truism, “If it doesn’t break my arm or pick my pocket I don’t care which religion a person pursues.” If only everyone today could apply that to political beliefs instead of initially treating any conservative as a leper, a societal pariah, as for the most part it is all we would ask or expect as decent behavior of a group of people who pride themselves with their so-called acceptance of others with different beliefs for is that not exactly what a conservative is, a person who believes differently, or is it that we arise in you a twinge of conscience, a pang of guilt of something dear that is now misplaced or a hunger to be able to return to your lost values; whatever it may be, listen to that call and find a direction which leads more efficiently to that fulfilling satisfaction that you have a craving but have become lost in the direction to best for which to find it.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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