Beyond the Cusp

November 21, 2014

A First Step to Immigration Reform Obama Did Not Propose

 

Last night President Obama decided that the new Congress which will be sworn in come late in January of next year had been dragging their heels and not addressing legislation proposing solutions of comprehensive immigration reform. Since he will be giving his speech after my deadline for submitting my article, I will just assume, always somewhat dangerous but I feel confident my assumptions will prove safe and valid, it is distinctly possible that President Obama might give everyone a surprise, potentially a pleasant surprise, and actually suggest or even, drum roll please, promise to take his pen and enact any of my proposals. The first thing which must be resisted is the urge to take grand sweeping steps aimed at solving everything all with as few steps as possible starting with any form of blanket amnesty, especially a general amnesty with only the smallest of punitive requirements or inconveniences such as fines or complex forms. Unfortunately, President Obama has given indications that he will at least propose rigidly stringent guidelines he will expect, even demand, Congress meet within a relatively short deadline and put legislation on his desk meeting every last iota of his expectations or expect his veto followed by him using his pen and phone to enact exactly what he desires without Congressional input. We can expect some form of amnesty for the large number of those labeled ‘youths’ which were part of the huge tens of thousands of illegal children and young adults all unaccompanied by adults who entered the southern border to much media coverage, almost fanfare, this past spring and early summer. How much further President Obama may decide to go will be revealed before this article gets posted, but why guess when it will only serve to be anticlimactic, so on to what we believe is not to be expected but would have been a better course to have followed.

 

The first step to begin to solve the immigration problem has to separate those who are in the United States and are seeking to work within the legal system since their arrival, are gainfully employed, are paying taxes and simply desire to make a better life for their family from those who are here in pursuit of illegal activities, are chronic lawbreakers or are here to take advantage of government support programs designed to assist the needy and disabled such as welfare, food stamps, disability programs and other similar programs. Basically, one need differentiate between those here to gain from the system from those here who are working and contributing to the system. The American people are usually a forgiving people but not if they feel somebody has betrayed their trust and is out to game things and taking advantage of the Americans’ generous nature. Where the American people might be persuaded to accept somebody who may have entered the nation illegally in order to make a better life for his family and has worked steadily and even paid taxes, paid their rent, utilities and other daily bills, provided health insurance and were not causing any undue strain on the society, such a person would be more acceptable than anyone who had not shown such respect for the society and abused the systems instead of being fellow contributors to that system. This brings into consideration reports that the Justice Department gave its blessings, some even claim facilitated, the release of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who were incarcerated on felony charges across the nation. It was rumored that these illegal immigrants were released in a preparatory move in order for making them legal in some expected subsequent amnesty, an amnesty which, in all fairness, has yet to have occurred. There is an initial step which could be used to separate out those who are working within the system and being a contributive member of American society from those who are taking advantage of the various support safety net systems within that society. This would be to require that everyone who applies for government assistance give proof and be required to pass a citizenship check before being given any support. This would remove those on such programs who were unable to pass such a background check and might be sufficient incentive for many illegals realizing they would likely be dropped from any forms of government support to return to their nation of origin or perhaps become contributing members of society seeking out gainful employment. Either result would be a positive result which most American might find acceptable and possibly even advantageous.

 

The next phase would require formulating what is referred to as a path to citizenship for those illegal immigrants who would be capable of providing sufficient evidence and desire to become documented and even take on additional requirements as further proof of their honest desire to mitigate for their initial illegal entry. They might be required to also take and pass a one year comprehensive American history course on a college or community college level designed by judges and professors specifically to provide a general knowledge of the important points in American history as well as stressing legal codes and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the important themes and origins of the triumvirate of America’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and their effects on the government and the legal code. They should be subjected to a full background check and also have to take the full citizenship courses and pass the test for citizenship all before being considered for final citizenship. The path should be more strenuous than the normal track to citizenship to make them have to pay a price as proof that they are aware that they have been granted a privilege which their effrontery of knowingly breaking United States immigration laws by entering the nation by illegal means. There have been discussions that those illegal immigrants permitted to seek citizenship should also be made to pay a fine as well as make good for any back taxes they may owe. The fine should be determined to some extent on a case by case basis on some established sliding scale which would take into consideration whether the illegal immigrant had paid taxes or avoided paying taxes amongst other criteria. Whatever the cost demanded from an illegal immigrant in order for them to achieve citizenship, that price will prove astonishingly low as it grants their family a prize others have applied for and waited what must seem to be a lifetime to achieve legally, a wait made that much longer by the numbers of illegal immigrants who reduce the numbers of legal immigrants accepted each year, they owe those people a debt which is impossible to repay or even determine a sufficient price. Whatever the United States government decides about what the price and path if any should be demanded from those who entered their country illegally, the people would very likely have demanded a much higher price if they would allow any price other than expulsion back to their nation of origin made to begin the legal immigration path from square zero. Whatever would be decided by the Congress, any such decision would better represent the people than whatever edicts fell from President Obama’s lips last night, but then President Obama has been showing a steadily growing lack of concern for the American voters which will only grow as his time left shortens. No matter what immigration policies the President will have introduced the world to last night; such ignominies will only pale when compared with what he has in store over the last two years in office. After all, did not President Obama claim that he will be listening to the two-thirds of voters who failed to vote in the midterm elections and would he not be able to claim that his intimate familiarity possessed with these silent voters is far more accurate than even they might know as he has already channeled their desires, he said so.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 21, 2014

Upcoming Midterm United States Elections, a Slightly Different Look

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Who is ahead in the different races depends on the state and even on the political leanings of the news or talk shows one follows. If you go to polling it gets even more confusing. Not only are the polls often slanted depending on who ordered the polling but it also depends on what the subject the poll is covering. Here are a few examples from some polls. A CBS poll recently showed that fifty percent of those responding said the Democrats are the party that “cares more about the needs and problems of people” while only 34 percent chose the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Republicans have a nine point lead concerning the economy, an eleven point lead on foreign policy and a twenty-one point lead on addressing terrorism in an October CBS poll. So, who wins; the party of the people or the party which appears to be more competent? These numbers are nothing new as often the Democrats have polled well on sympathy and feeling the people’s pains while the Republicans historically win on foreign policy and confronting threats from the outside world. The fact the Republicans are polling slightly ahead of Democrats on the economy is not nationally definitive enough to be applied to every race. The probability is that in the traditionally Democrat leaning states the Democrats will probably poll even or ahead of the Republicans while in traditionally Republican states the Republicans will poll ahead. The place where that mere nine point lead for the Republicans becomes evident will be in what is often referred to as the ‘purple’ states where the parties have split the wins between them would thus likely give the Republicans a slight lead on the economy. Unfortunately that may not transfer to votes as there is also the personality of the candidates as well as the effectiveness of their campaigns and whether there are third party or independent candidates on the ballot and from which side they will draw away votes. Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates tend to take more votes from Republicans while Green and sometimes Libertarian Party take more votes from the Democrats. But other than their campaign, their affability or their campaign commercials and use of media and social networks, the most important determining item will simply be which party gets the voters to the polls, period.

With this year not being a Presidential election year, the national party machines are operating but there are far fewer volunteers and fewer funds for them to make a large determining difference. This means that it will be up to the State and even more local party machines and the candidate supporting campaign staff which will make up a significant part of the get out the vote efforts. States with Gubernatorial elections this election will have more party influence than those without. What makes these midterms so difficult to make predictions is because there is no real enthusiasm evident in the electorate and it is very possible that both of the major parties will suffer from miserable voter turnout and thus calling the elections near impossible. There will be some states where polling data is so skewed to one candidate that there is almost no challenge to picking the likely winner short of an unseen stumble where the leading candidate is caught in a criminal act or other compromising situation. They do not even need to actually be guilty as that will depend on a court of law, but such accusations can sway the court of public opinion and that is exactly what elections are, the court of public opinion choosing those they feel are less guilty of potentially bad leadership. That has been the truth in all too many elections in the United States in recent times where people are literally trying to choose which evil is less harmful. Some have gotten to the point that they have finally refused to vote for the lesser from two evils and they refuse to ever again vote for evil no matter how slight. These voters are demanding the parties to put forth candidates who are capable of leading and representing the people with integrity and virtue. This might even lead to making a third party or independent candidate to have a real possibility to take elections and possibly change the American political landscape once again. Perhaps it is time for a new political movement as the last great movement was the Abolition Movement which birthed the Republican Party and the Whig Party was laid to rest. The more likely bet is that the two major parties have so slanted and poisoned the election laws throughout the United States that it has become next to impossible for any third party or independent candidate to make the ballot, let alone have any funds remaining should they manage to make ballot, and trust I know from where I speak. This is really a sad problem as this may prevent a new direction to be proposed and placed before the American electorate and instead continue forcing them to choose between two toxins, progressive Democrats who want to double the size of government every decade, or the progressive Republican who wishes to slow government growth so that it doubles only four or five times each century. Since both the major parties are in favor of growing government and the sole difference is exactly the rate of growth the American people can rest assured that over time the Republicans will seem like the Democrats of a few decades back while the Democrats will be breaking new ground which the Republican will fall in love with a few decades hence. Should this trend not be reversed soon the United States will continue in decline and only accelerate with time.

Beyond the Cusp

October 9, 2014

Why the United States Cannot Return to Greatness

You will hear how the United States will make a comeback and return to sane governance just as it did after President Jimmy Carter brought the nation to the brink of economic meltdown and had much of the public pessimistic to the point that the ‘Misery Index’ which had been used as a guide for politicians became a household word and was updated on many daily newscasts. Part of the reason that the United States recovered after President Carter was because they elected Ronald Reagan rather than trust President Carter a second term. President Obama was given a second term but there were some mitigating circumstances such as weak opposition by the Republican Party, the media almost taking a supportive position in backing the campaign of President Obama and foreign policy lapses had yet to prove disastrous and devolving to the threatening level it had with President Carter who faced a hostage crisis where Iran had held Fifty-two Embassy diplomats and citizens for 444 days, until President Reagan’s Inauguration Day. Had the foreign policy missteps by President Obama and his administration been made more evident before the election for his reelection, then he might have had a far more difficult time. Some may remember that the one area which Candidate Romney performed well was on foreign policy where President Obama made his best retort claiming when Romney answered that Russia was the United States number one adversary that, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for twenty years.” The clincher came not from President Obama but from the moderator Candy Crowley countered when Romney claimed that President Obama had not called the assault on the Consulate in Benghazi a terror attack and when Romney repeated his claim after President Obama challenged him to read the transcript and Crowley exclaimed with great authority and emphasis, “He did in fact call it an ‘act of terror.” That ended any challenge Romney might further make over Benghazi as he had been deflated and his argument flattened giving President Obama the impetus he needed to win that debate and escape any further claims on Benghazi, the subject had been poisoned.

Still, if anyone thinks that President Obama would not have received a far better bid for reelection than had Jimmy Carter no matter how the debates went or who he was running against obviously has no idea how almost completely President Reagan won that election, it was a virtually unanimous electoral vote except for the District of Columbia and Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Rhode Island, Hawaii and West Virginia. The electorate of the United States has witnessed a sea of change in the past ten years as certain critical demographics have changed with much of that change coming during President Obama’s time in office. Do not get this wrong, President George W. Bush made some huge influences which gave the changes an initial impetus which would have forced much of the change even without any additional shoves which they have received since. We need to remember that the prescription drug assistance granted to those who received government aided medical insurance such as Medicare and Medicaid very soon became the largest single government giveaway program. Sometime during the years when President Bush was in office the percentage of American citizens who were dependent on government at some level surpassed the fifty-percent fulcrum point where it had been theorized that their votes for increased government contributions to their pockets. This was predicted longer ago than many people are probably aware as it was said by Alexis de Tocqueville explaining the breaking point which would inevitable come and destroy the nation he saw as the most exemplary governance in existence when he stated, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

There was one Founding Father who foresaw and gave the resolution that would treat this eventuality when Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter upon receiving his copy of the Constitution in which Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” And earlier in the letter he commented on the frequency such watering the tree of liberty would require, he mentioned his view of the purity of purpose of the American Revolution and the necessity of the purifying fire of refreshment where he wrote, “And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of its motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.” Yes, that is what Thomas Jefferson predicted, that the government of men would so far run adrift from the founding principles that every twenty years the nation would require the reset of another revolution and the reinstatement of the Constitution anew. Well, perhaps Thomas Jefferson was wrong though a serious inspection of the governance of the United States over the years there have been the historians who have made a convincing argument that the twenty year measure may not have been as ridiculous as we might think. Even if the measure of twenty years may appear too drastic, would one offer the same argument should one suggest that perhaps a two century timeframe were the measure in place of twenty years?

Whatever the measure one might place, it matters not. The fulcrum point has been surpassed and the preponderance of weight of votes are now likely to be cast in favor of retaining the programs and expanding the payments and the loosening the requirements as the first grants greater funds into their pockets and the latter brings more people into the program thus guaranteeing its continuation and potentials for increased funding. Once we see evidence that the balance has gone to the side of those who receive more from the government than they pay in taxes of all varieties plus those who are dependent on government, state, federal, county, or other elected body for their salaries compared to those whose tax payments are greater than payments received from government programs, then as long as the former vote at an equal or greater percentage than the latter the government will continue to grant greater payments while increasing taxes as those paying the taxes will have been silenced at the ballot box. The predictions that this point was surpassed during the Presidency of George W. Bush may have been correct but when the line was crossed is not as important as whether it was crossed. The numbers of Americans who were collecting the majority of their funds from government; be they welfare, disability, salary or other forms of receipt of government payments; passed the tipping point by a sufficient margin that there may be no turning back. The demographics of the next Presidential election in the United States may prove just as important as who actually wins the election. Once the demographics are studied and become known we may be seeing numerous articles signaling the death of the America which so impressed Alexis de Tocqueville causing him to state as well as to give an ominous warning in the same quote with, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” What would Mr. Tocqueville conclude visiting America’s churches and listening to the preaching within today? Would he surmise that the greatness persists or would he fear the empty pews and the generally milquetoast sermons and preaching just as empty as the pews signify the demise of American greatness?

Beyond the Cusp

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