Beyond the Cusp

January 9, 2015

We Have Awakened but for How Long This Time?

 

This latest insult to the sensitivities of Western culture with the unconscionable slaughter by Islamic murderers in Paris, France of the editors, writers and cartoonists at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with a total toll of twelve murdered including two Parisian police officers and injuring ten with a number in serious condition has awakened the public of the free world. This severe cost in lives of these at the edge of the media who died for the freedom of thought, freedom of the press, freedom period is far from the first such spilling of innocents for thought by Islamist murderers. There was the murder of Theo Van Gough on 2 November 2004 at about 9 o’clock in the morning on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat in Amsterdam, Holland also stirred the ire of Western society but for only a brief period before all returned to their slumbers. Even the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 where almost three thousand were murdered, many burning to death while others launched themselves from the top floors to avoid such an end drove a public resolute to never forget and to fight the evils which drove this horrific act. Within a few years those who were tasked with providing the defensive actions to fight those evils lost the support as political points and winning elections and following the winds of the ever fickle and forgetful public soon sapped all the promise and impetus to fight for Western freedoms against a determined assault. Then in Madrid, Spain the slaughters came in the form of the attacks on the trains during the morning commute of 11 March 2004 where the bombs killed 191 people and wounded 1,800 more in what was the worst terror attack in the Western world outside the World Trade Center terror attacks once more waking the slumbering Western determination to defend the freedoms they enjoy and hold dear. The silence was broken next in the London, England tube terror attacks on 7 July 2005 also awakened the drive to stand up for the right of the innocent to ride the subways and busses, walk the streets and live free from the fears and horrors from Islamist terrorist onslaughts on their lives and safety but soon the daily slog dulled the sensitivities and awareness and the promises once again fell silent. Then there was Mumbai, India terror assaults of Wednesday, 26 November lasting until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308 across a wide area and venues of assaults including tourist hotels district, the Jewish Assistance Chabad House and a major train station whose preplanned and well executed military styled assault temporarily caught the attention of the world which soon, with eyes glazed over, went back to sleep. We could continue this list with the Trolley Square terror attack of 12 February 2007, the Ft. Hood terror attack of November 5, 2009 where Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered fellow soldiers, the Boston Marathon assault of 15 April 2013 and the Beslan school hostage crisis and massacre in Russia from 1 September 2004 until its tragic result on 4 September 2004 where too many of the injured and murdered were young children plus too many other terror attacks robbing people of their lives and livelihoods all through the world that it is unfathomable that somehow the world finds a path every time and everyone seems to simply return to their routine and daily lives no longer giving even a second thought to horrors which gripped them so dramatically and horrified them just a few days earlier. The cycle of the world public waking to this threat and then returning to their peaceful slumber until the next wake-up call only to fall asleep once again, is almost beyond reason.

 

There is one society which also appears to return to their routines after each Islamist terror attack as to not do so would mean there could be no routine, no normal life, no even getting from one day to the next, so finding a way to continue to return to a routine is a necessity. The difference is that in this society they do not forget even for a second that there exist terrorists who would be assaulting and murdering in terror attacks not just daily but every moment of every day thus they do not have that relative comfort to simply forget if they are to survive. The public I refer to are the Israelis, or at least the majority of Israelis realize that terrorists are attempting to murder as many as they are able and also know that their security personnel are also aware and doing that which is required to keep the people as safe as they are able. That place is, of course, Israel. Where the numbers of attacks in the Western world are on the rise, the threats of such assaults are minimal by comparison but will eventually rise to the same level frequency thus of similar importance if this awakening and the horrors being experienced from this assault do not jolt the people of the West and the world to demand that their government finally take whatever steps are necessary to protect the people and address the roots of terror. By roots of terror I do not mean that the West must forfeit their rights and freedoms and that the Western world must adopt the ways these terrorists demand we apply to and by which we must transform our societies. We must insist and protect those freedoms and liberties while fighting against those who desire to transform the Western societies into simply reflections of the oppressive realities of many of the lands from where they originate while compassionately returning those who refuse to adjust to the ways of the Western world to whence they came. It is time for the people to awaken, which most are after this terrorist slaughter of cartoonists, editors and two brave public servants, Paris gendarmes, may their memories be extolled.

 

The truth is that each and every one of us has the important responsibility to remain alert, remain awake, remain cognizant, remain the reminders to others every day in every way. We need to be living, speaking, all-alert and stalwarts as the conscience of our little corners of the world. Yes, the average person will not appreciate such efforts as they wish to remain asleep until the next Islamic terrorist assault when they will immediately become the loudest and most ardent fighter demanding actions for almost three or ten days and they return to their slumber. The daily water cooler talk will soon sound so similar to snoring once you join the alert few and your own conversations take on an urgency that standing for things truly important, life-changing and potentially societal-changing as their main topics. You will find ways with time to raise the awareness of those around you even if initially for just moments at first; continue the new task of gadfly constantly urging awareness. With time your becoming educated will grant you stories and other effective manners and subjects which imparted in an enticing and acceptable way will begin to awaken even one, as then they might awaken one and then eventually you will be surprised how contagious being part of a solution can be in spreading the cause of protecting our homes, workplaces, shopping centers and the places throughout our lives which we hold dear and protect something even more important, our ways of life and their freedoms and liberties. The other choice is to surrender to Islam. I was once threatened that I would one day surrender before Allah and accept Islam into my life. What my answer lacked in politeness it made up for in the excessive and threatening voice and mannerisms which shocked my Islamic coworker. Fortunately, when he complained to his immediate supervisor, he said he would address the situation and the result was for both of us to avoid speaking to each other. This was observed though I rarely missed a smirk when within eyeshot of this coworker. The confrontation would never have occurred had my friend whose devotion to friends overshadowed his mere five-foot and five or six-inch frame who this coworker had caused great discomfort and a feeling of a direct threat. That too ceased, remarkable. Sometimes remembering that there may be those who believe it is their urging to press their beliefs on others is another part of fighting the good fight includes and the immediate results are greatly empowering. I welcome those who share the high levels of awareness and live the life informed and informing, a sometimes lonely life but those who join you will be some of the closest and most supportive friends you will ever find.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 10, 2014

Obamacare has not yet Begun to Strike

We seem to hear of a new calamity attributed to the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, every week if not every few days. One of the latest is from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) which predicted that there will be two-million fewer full-time workers by 2017 and 2-million-five-hundred-thousand fewer full-time workers by 2024. What has been even more disturbing than the CBO’s reported bad news has been the attempts to soften the impact of the report by the Obama administration and Democrat Party leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The main underlying explanation that this large number of full-time job loss is that it will free people to pursue their other interests since they will no longer be required to hold a job in order to have healthcare. Also on the jobs front, a report from the retail sector found that the average hours worked weekly fell dramatically more and faster than had been expected. This report also predicted that the average retail position will be a twenty-eight hour a week job in order for retail employers to avoid the requirement to provide health insurance for their employees. This is expected to be an epidemic problem most prevalent at the lowest end of scale of hourly workers such as in retail, food service, hospitality industry and other positions which normally pay the minimum wage or slightly above the minimum wage as these employers feel they will be unable to afford to provide health insurance while making a profit without needing to drastically raise prices as higher prices would make their enterprise no longer competitive.

 

The known big lie which President Obama claimed almost incessantly when selling the public his healthcare plan was, “If you like your doctor/health insurance, then you can keep your doctor/health insurance, period.” Less stressed was the other big lie repeated almost as frequently when President Obama exclaimed first made during a State of the Union speech when referring to his healthcare initiatives he stated, “Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.” President Obama was actually correct but not in any manner that could be framed as a good thing as Obamacare was predicted by the GAO (Government Accounting Office), a nonpartisan agency tasked to be the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress, to cause a six-trillion-two-hundred-billion dollar addition to the national deficit. That is definitively not a single dime; it is over sixty-trillion dimes. Then there was President Obama’s promise that insurance premiums would be decreased by his healthcare initiative by two-thousand-five-hundred dollars per family per year. The unfortunate truth has been estimated that the average family healthcare premiums have increased by at least three-thousand dollars. When both the Obama prediction and the reality are combined, the result is that healthcare premiums missed the President’s predictions by a mere five-thousand dollars per family per year, a full two-hundred percent under actual cost error for the President. No matter which way one looks at the costs of Obamacare it has been nothing short of a disaster which promises to make the initial problems appear insignificant when the entirety of the law has been allowed to be implemented.

 

That brings us to another problem, implementation of the legislation which was approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President and then it has been selectively applied with some of the most damning requirements and implementations being put on hold or even repealed due to the financial consequences of allowing them to go into effect as demanded by the law. President Obama has deferred the application of some aspects of the Affordable Care Act such as the employers’ mandate, passed out exemptions to unions and certain other groups who have special access to the President including Congressional staffers if their Representative or Senator saw fit to exempt them, or outright cancelled such as the section which pertained to extended care coverage which proved to be so fiscally demanding that it had to be dropped using a clause injected in the bill by some republicans that demanded that the extended or long time care insurance had to be proven to be deficit neutral or it had to be eliminated from the legislation. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius tried every which way she could find and was unable to make this provision come even close to deficit neutral thus it was quashed. It really is a shame that such a clause was not placed in the Obamacare legislation covering the entirety being rescinded if it proved not to be deficit neutral.

 

There is another time bomb ticking away in Obamacare that is also being spun as the opposite of what will inevitably be the result of the clause. Insurance companies supported Obamacare for one very good reason; it provides them with a win-win situation. There is a reimbursement clause which sets up a situation where the insurance providers make an estimate within certain relatively liberal criteria of their expected payout each year. Should their actual payouts exceed their estimates by a certain percentage, then the government will compensate the insurance company for eighty percent of these losses. The clause also has stipulations that should the insurance companies have payouts sufficiently below their estimation, then the government applies an excess profits tax and this is intended to mitigate the payouts. The extended predictions through 2024 show that the government will pay out eight-billion dollars while over the same period the government will take in sixteen-billion dollars which results in an eight-billion dollar profit for the treasury. Excuse my serious reservations but I always get suspect of figures that fit so nicely together that they balance so perfectly and results show multiples of one-hundred percent as this prediction does. Also, does anybody really believe that the insurance companies have accountants, some of the most meticulous and exacting people in the universe, who would produce estimates of expenditures to insured parties knowing that their company will receive an eighty percent reimbursement for any payouts over their estimate and a penalty should payouts fall short of their estimate set their estimate at the higher? Of course not; they would low ball their estimates by as close to ninety-nine and ninety-nine-one-hundredths percent towards the low end. For an example, if the range under the guidelines provided in the Obamacare legislation calculated that their annual payouts could be estimated to be between a low end of five-hundred-billion dollars and a high end of ten-trillion dollars, where would you as an accountant for the insurance company place your estimate, at nine-trillion dollars risking an overestimate and penalty or closer to five-hundred-fifty-billion dollars and most probably receive a bailout reimbursement for excess payments to insured account holders. My suspicions is that there will be very few if any insurance company financial predictions of expected payouts that will be an overestimation rather than an underestimation. Expect the Federal Government to be reimbursing health insurance companies by very significant amounts year after year without ever bothering to investigate how such a situation could have come into being. They set this in the legislation knowing full well what the end results were going to be and honestly expected to use this as exactly what it is, a bribe to get the insurance companies on board. We can also expect at some point the government to withdraw this safety net leading to numerous health insurance companies either going out of business or nearly doubling already higher premiums in order to assure they do not go broke any faster than avoidable. That is not to claim their health is expected to be good enough for them to survive in the long run as the real aim of Obamacare is to destroy sufficient amounts of the healthcare industries as to make a government run, single-payer healthcare system appear desirable to the majority of the American population.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 27, 2013

Women in Combat, the United States Joins the World

Secretary of Defense Panetta told the press and the world that the United States ban on women in combat was to be terminated and now all military positions and MOS are now available to all regardless of gender. There were the expected gasps and exclamations predicting the end of the military as we have known it. Others congratulated the United States for finally joining the modern world and recognizing that women are equal to men and should be allowed entrance into all fields, especially those provincially thought to be the providence of men. We would like to make a bold prediction. There will be very few women lining up to enter into combat arms and of those who take that route the majority will decide it is not worth the effort demanded. There will not be an end to the world or the military as we know them and everything will continue on with barely a ripple. Oh, sure there will be a great din from the extremes still fighting the same battle over the wisdom of allowing women into combat arms, except the sides will have changed. Now it will be those who once argued against the status quo defending it and vice-versa. The only question left to answer is what will happen should the United States become involved in a war with women on the front lines?

The answer to that question has actually already been answered. Does anybody remember Jessica Lynch? Not how her story turned tragic, but the initial shock and reaction to her being taken captive in Iraq. Suddenly Jessica Lynch became the most important captive in the entire Iraq War. The rescue of Private Lynch became the highest priority for the military, the press and pretty much the entire country if not the world, or at least much of it. Special Forces went into high gear with planning and executing a plan without taking six months to do practice runs, or even six days. We heard all about the valiant Private Lynch who fought off as long as she could finally going down with serious injuries to which she finally succumbed allowing her capture. It was the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. There was even a movie made based on the theme of her resistance and capture. Then something really terrible happened, the truth. The truth sparked outrage and hearings in Congress where Private Lynch explained she never fired her weapon or put up any resistance or even knew any of the events. It turn out she was knocked unconscious when her truck wrecked and woke up captured. The whole house of cards collapsed and the brave woman fighting as bravely just like a man or even better was borne out as the lie it was. The arguments that Private Lynch’s heroic stance was proof that women could stand in combat just as strong and steady as any man also fell apart with the rest of the myth that was sold to the public.

The United States nearly fell apart over one woman caught by the freak instance, something which could become more prevalent with women in combat roles, so what happens when such is reported regularly on the nightly news. My question is what would happen should a battle go poorly and a fair number, say four or five, women be captured. Then what will happen when the press reports this incident? The truth about women being placed on the front lines is not the real question which ever needed to be answered. The real question is how will the United States public react when women are captured or worse, come home in numbers in caskets? Are the people of the United States ready when such occurrences become a common part of future conflicts? Whether or not women can perform in a combat role has never been the question. Even what affect women fighting and possibly dying or being captured will have on their male comrades was not the question. The training and daily rigors of being in a combat unit will weed out any women not physically strong or mentally capable of thriving or even barely surviving in a combat role. Thirty mile forced marches and the other physical and mental requirements which are a part of every year’s training along with the daily runs, calisthenics, weapons training, weapons maintenance and the rest of the rigors involved with being in a front line unit will weed out those who find such to be beyond what they are willing to do.

There are reasonable questions about unit cohesion and the possibilities of relation between soldiers within units are another angle which will produce problems which will need to be addressed. Such problems will not be as difficult as those faced since the change of the policy regarding homosexuals allowing them to serve openly. Any problem that has been predicted to result from women in a combat unit are not as critical as they have been made out to be and likely already there are procedures on how to handle them which can be adopted from other units which have had women and men serving together, even in the field, for as long as we have had a standing military. The military is not where the problem will lie as the one thing the military is adept at it is solving problems and taking care of those who do not follow the rules. The military has procedures, rules, regulations, and all that any organization could ever need to cover any situation which might crop up. It’s the civilians that are the largest potential for problems as we are not under any strict regimentation and stringent codes of conduct, nor are we used to the kind of environment which the military is at its most efficient. We need not concern ourselves with how the military will operate and adjust to women serving in combat units and on the front lines as the military will take it all in stride, write a few more rules, establish some new customs, and then march off to take care of business because that is what the military does. As long as we, the civilians, can give them our support or at least stay out of their way, then the military will take care and adjust to women within their combat ranks just as they have handled every other change societies have been placing upon their shoulders since before Thermopylae. So, hopefully we can have people stop claiming that the military will have big problems when what we really mean is that many in the public will have big problems adjusting and accepting women serving in front line combat units.

Beyond the Cusp

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