Beyond the Cusp

November 7, 2016

Finally It is Your Turn to Speak, So Speak Loud and Clear

 

After over a year of he said, she said, they said, the time is here for the only opinion that matters. It is the time that you the voters will say and then it should be settled and the world will hear your answer; or will they? There are those Liberals who in their holier than thou selective memories claim that Donald Trump is the only candidate to claim that the election system can be gamed. Apparently the cries of “Selected, not elected,” over the 2000 election of George W. Bush and the Florida hanging chads recounts where there were so many challenges and recounts that all the holes ended up pushed through on some ballots making them void. The same cries were heard four years later over Ohio and Barack Obama claimed before Election Day that should he not win it could only be through voter fraud, so that should be all for claiming that Donald Trump is entering new areas of calling into question the validity of the system. Hillary Clinton has claimed that the Russians are going to steal the election for Trump because Putin is convinced that Trump would be the easier pushover and more willing to work with Russia than Hillary would be. Actually the only commentary attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin which has any shred of validity was his fears that Hillary Clinton being elected threatened starting next world war. It matters little tomorrow on this important but relatively ignored subject as the first order of business is to get past the initial casting of ballots and their initial counting.

 

Hillary Clinton – Vladimir Putin – Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton – Vladimir Putin – Donald Trump

 

That reported initial registration of election results may actually decide the victor and do so completely overwhelmingly that there would be no viable means of challenging the results. Either way, this would be a result which would best serve the American people and ultimately the world. A smooth, court free, uncontested election will always bring the smoothest of transitions. That would be the most preferable means to transfer power especially in this election whose process and integrity has proven so acrimonious and has produced challenges to the system even before the Election Day voting has begun. There has been complaints of an uneven playing field in the media from both camps while there have been claims of Russian interference favoring one side, the election of Trump; while raising claims the entire Wikileaks e-mail stories have been a Russian ruse and those claimed e-mails were never sent nor crossed that server nor had Ms. Clinton broken any law or committed any questionable actions which might have compromised the national security. This claim has gone well beyond the claim that Hillary Clinton was cleared from suspicions to the entire e-mail investigation was chasing after a Russian fabricated ploy to assist electing their pawn, their Manchurian Candidate who would do Putin’s bidding, Donald Trump. One can only wonder what comes next.

 

Then there are the polling numbers. This election has witnessed swings in the polling which often appeared to precede certain critical events and news stories throughout the campaign. The most recent came the last week of the election where the Clinton lead all but disappeared bringing Trump within striking distance and this slide arrived a full four days before FBI Director Comey reporting his reopening the e-mail investigation as New York investigators looking into child sexual misconduct revealed the existence of thousands of backed-up copies for the communications coming in and out of the office of close Clinton aide and confidant (if anyone can be considered to be that close and intimate with Hillary) Huma Abedin. These records were found on Huma Abedin’s estranged (and downright strange) husband, disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner’s laptop computer which was seized as part of the New York police investigation of his sexting an underage girl. This will get very messy.

 

Here are some rumors which have surfaced as a result of this investigation and how it will affect the e-mail scandal investigation. These back-ups will definitively prove that Hillary Clinton, along with top aide Huma Abedin, acted loose and careless with Top Secret and other highly classified and sensitive information, e-mails, documents, files and reports. There will be overwhelming evidence that such compromised information had been shared or allowed access by people without the proper clearances, Anthony Weiner for one and Clinton Philippine housekeeper Marina Santos for another who was indicated to have printed out such intelligence and information while working at Clinton’s house in Washington, D.C. Then there appear to be references to actions and fetishes in which others outside the Clinton camp, though they may not be spared once the onion has been completely unraveled, who may have committed and continue such acts which would warrant ethics investigations at the very least and criminal investigations in the worst case scenarios. The full extent will not be known nor revealed for quite some time though some people may fall well before the investigation reaches its final conclusion. Some of this information has been verified by trusted people.

 

The one item in all of this we would love to see brought into the light is the uranium deal where it resulted in Russia gaining the mineral rights to one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. One of the crucial signings of approval came from the State Department which was under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at that time. Russia gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013 and each step of the way there did result in a flow of cash to the Clinton Foundation. Further, a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin paid former President Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech in Moscow. This was the bank which was promoting Uranium One stock and stood to make sizeable profits in the process. It was Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining financier, who orchestrated his first big uranium deal which initiated these transactions and which was completed with Mr. Clinton at his side. The two men had traveled to the meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan in Mr. Giustra’s private jet. This deal was a major victory for UrAsia, Mr. Giustra’s then company which soon saw its future brighten significantly when it merged with Uranium One, a South African company with assets in Africa and Australia. Uranium One was controlled by UrAsia investors which included Ian Telfer, a Canadian who later became chairman and Mr. Giustra, whose personal stake in the deal was estimated at about $45 million. Mr. Giustra donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation in or around the months following the Kazakhstan mining deal. It also turns out that Ian Telfer made a $2.35 million contribution to the Clinton Foundation. More detailed information can be read showing deep involvement of both Bill and Hillary Clinton in the entire train of events and includes State Department approvals and one could say accommodations all in a New York Times article. A full disclosure of how twenty percent of United States mined uranium is sold to Russia by a Canadian friend of the Clintons receiving every necessary accommodation and authorization while Hillary was Secretary of State and known to be able to pressure other Cabinet Secretaries to follow her lead in providing permissions and licenses all while the involved Canadians are contributing millions upon millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Something here just does not figure and we would bet there are even higher and bigger fish to catch in this little pond, really big fish.

 

Meanwhile, tomorrow the American people will speak. We can expect, if this is at all even close, for the losing campaign to kick off the challenges followed soon behind by the winning party just to assure they are not excluded from the efforts to gain electoral votes. There may even be a challenge to the integrity and manner in which the Electoral College is arranged such that it can oppose the winner of the popular vote. We could hear that tired complaint about how Wyoming voters are way over-represented when compared to California or New York thus making those residing in such populous states being denied equal representation. This complaint has been answered ad-nausea pointing out that this was the actual design and is functioning such that, at least for the Presidency the smaller states get privileged representation as a barrier against pure democracy mob rule. This is a result of the equality the states enjoy in the Senate, so live with it. Of course if the losing side did not carry lonely and most sparsely populated Wyoming, then this argument makes perfect sense to those on that end of the Electoral College. Further claims will be filed in every state where the margin of the loss was under 5%, even 10% with both contesting as many as possible in order to topple the initially announced winner or to retain said position. Who knows what court challenges and other lawsuits will be filed but the process for validation will likely take the United States well into Thursday before the candidate at the wrong end of the vote starts to run out of options, but they have lawyers to address this until the Supreme Court ends the misery, which with a four-four split with one open position left by the passing of Justice Anthony Scalia this past February, the court may not be of much assistance.

 

We will see what the American people desire and the level of their interest by the percentage of eligible voters who actually vote. This is something we have always been troubled about. The President who should represent all the people is often only receiving one-third of the potential votes which could have voted and less when including potential to be registered voters. The math is sickeningly easy to do but a touch more difficult to explain. First we need to start with the adult population over eighteen which numbers at approximately 236,000,000 out of the approximately 309,000,000; or around two-thirds. This is the entirety of Americans legally eligible to vote give or take a million. Of these only 70% on average are registered to vote and a mere 60% actually vote. These results in only 42% of eligible voters actually vote in an election. We can safely claim that no more than 45% of voters actually do vote and it is considered that taking 55% of the vote represents winning in a landslide thus a big winner receives a mere 24¾% of the total number of people who meet the requirements for voting (representative graph by age group below). It is true, candidates need only persuade one-fourth of people eligible to vote in order to win, providing it is the right one-fourth.

 

Graph by Age Representing Voter Registration and Activity and Apathy

Graph by Age Representing
Voter Registration and
Activity and Apathy

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 14, 2016

One Shot Out of Four is All We’ve Got

 

Europe appears to be hell-bent on committing suicide and not exactly taking the slow road about it. The introduction was all Angela Merkel with her promise to have room to absorb 800,000 Syrian refugees a year for the foreseeable future. The invitation appeared to reach a few more than the planned 800,000 and apparently somewhere towards three or four times as her presumed limit. The response was so monumental that every European country could have been a new home to their own half a million and some received that gratis before they could act to close their borders. A few countries saw sanity and kept their borders closed except for those on a train passing straight through without even stopping for a break and a brew. Now Europe in many parts is experiencing the pleasures of refugees running wild, and it is not a reality show title but the reality running loose on their streets. New Year’s Eve celebrations had some extra and unwanted gusto especially for any native women venturing out anywhere, especially the central train stations in any city, sizeable or quaintly small. There are many looking to the United States hoping that the electorate will realize the threats now straining the bounds of civility poised to dissolve all sanity along with all the Western World’s graciousness. The threat is impolite, boorish and horrifically violent. But the American public appears to be enamored with electing a high school senior class president than a leader of the democratic, free, liberal Western World.

 

There were seventeen Republican candidates and four Democrat candidates well into the campaign and we are now down to four apparent survivors and three of the four would be just as Americentric as President Obama has been with a similar isolationist policy outlook. Their presidential outlook would stop at the border and would only differ in their treatment of the southern border with Mexico where one promises to build a wall while the others would install an easy access walkthrough with neon lights claiming open for business. The only one who understands the threats facing our world and the distinct possibility of a new dark ages shrouding any further scientific advancement ending the hopes for a bright future with promise of medical miracles and exploration reaching out and taking the first baby steps into the cosmos all hanging by a thin thread which requires our constant vigilance and protection, our constant mending and reinforcement; otherwise it breaks and we plunge back into the darkness of suspicions and loss of curiosity. That begs the question of what are the possibilities that civilization which prizes curiosity and ventures into the unknown always striving to find the next challenge and then meeting it with inventiveness and spirit constantly striving to know more, to understand why, how and sometimes even what might be the next discovery, the next level to strive and reach beyond what the last generation accomplished. That is what hangs threatened and with it the hope for cures for diseases, crop yields and fresh water derived from land now unusable and water unpotable, new energy generation which is green, plentiful and affordable. The world of machines with artificial intelligence and automation replacing tedious jobs freeing mankind to chase dreams and pursue that which was beyond belief just a few decades back. What is at stake is whether we will continue to strive for new technical heights and progress matching or exceeding that which took us from Kitty Hawk and a flight of 12 seconds and 120 feet to the moon in 66 years. Where will man be when the next sixty-six years has passed and it is 2035? Will we be reaching Mars and have built a space station with space dock for building the next generation of space travel built in space purely for space and have a moon base with monitoring telescopes of every variation taking advantage of the lack of interfering atmosphere? Will we be chasing a thousand dreams or will we be locked in an eternal conflict pitting one against his brother where no one wins and society and advancement are the biggest losers? Where do we wish to go with the future? That is the only question which should be on the minds of every voter in the United States, Europe and the entirety of the advanced industrial and information world as there truly are clouds on the horizon and that horizon is falling closer and closer and in some places it seems to have arrived bringing the threat of an eternal darkness. We have choices. They neither are not necessarily pleasant choices nor are they easy choices. Nobody enjoys even discussing the choices but we have been here before and we had better not make the same mistakes again as the consequences are far more dire this time around the merry-go-round.

 

 

One in Four Knows the Score For if Wrong you Choose Your Freedom You Lose

One in Four
Knows the Score
For if Wrong you Choose
Your Freedom You Lose

 

 

Every election which comes will be the choice and we need to choose studiously and with great caution. The last time we faced such a threat it was from amongst our own house and we almost threw away our last hope. We cannot afford to make such a mistake again as the weapons of war have changed and even an intelligent high school science whiz-kid is capable of building an atomic bomb for his science fair project. Such a bomb would be clumsy, large, and require a cement truck to carry it making it undeliverable, but such could still be driven in said cement truck to its target. We played games and pretended that it is beyond the scientific and industrial ability for North Korea to produce a deliverable weapon and we now realize how wrong we were as they are capable of placing a device on a medium range ballistic missile and striking anywhere in Japan, South Korea, China, Hawaii, Australia or anyplace within that radius and within a few years that missile will be an ICBM capable of reaching anywhere on the planet with a thermonuclear warhead. We are pretending currently that Iran is thus limited and that is a pipe dream which could be turned into a nightmare at any time. The reality is that these countries have scientists just as capable as any in the free world as they attended the same universities often at our expense as a matter of if we allow them scientific advancement they would be less likely to wage war. What if we were sorely mistaken? After all, we allowed North Korea to advance and produce such weapons and the means to deliver them very soon to anyplace on the planet, likely they already are capable of such. While we are listing nations in some of the trouble prone areas known to have nuclear weapons we can add Israel, Pakistan and India to the list. These are in addition to the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and with the technical knowledge we can add Japan, Canada, Taiwan and likely quite a few more if they felt a pressing need. All in all the world is armed to the brink of turning much of the planet into a smelting pot of smoking ruins incapable of supporting much if any life, let alone human life. The world has never been closer to the theme of the movie On the Beach as it is today and the one guarantee is each day places that alternative that much closer. Where nuclear disarmament is a wonderful idea and would be a great stride towards a safer world, until there is a surefire method of assuring complete compliance worldwide it is just that, a nice dream.

 

The time is approaching where we begin to be on the wrong side of the warning given by Winston Churchill when he explained the choice fast approaching his England and the free world of the 1930s, the same world which relegated him to obscurity as they called him an old fool and a war monger and then turned to him to save them when they realized almost too late the monster they had allowed the time needed to become all but unstoppable. We should heed that warning as well as Winston Churchill stated to his peers saying,

 

Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.

 

My driving question is where is and who can be our Winston Churchill as we need to find that individual before it is too late. Reviewing the leaders of our carious nations and there are a few candidates but none who possess the full range of guts, intellect, eloquence, command of language and that spark necessary to lead into the teeth of adversity with steadfastness and audacity all while bringing forth the nest from others elevating all in their midst. The combination required comes around only once a century and I pray it is not so soon that Winston Churchill was that person for our time as well. One need remember that he warned of Hitler when none cared to listen, he warned of communism and coined the phrase Iron Curtain which he said had fallen over half of Europe and opposed FDR and the virtual surrender to Stalin but bowed to necessity of a second front and he warned of another dehumanizing catharsis which took on the disguise of a religion. Perhaps he was the man for our season as well and we will have to take his guidance and fight for his memory and allow his words to steel our nerves for the storm that approaches. There is a storm brewing on the horizon and we can only hope there will be sunlight when we reach the other side.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 19, 2015

Washington Wants to Rope the Internet

 

There is a urging in Washington D.C. to place the Internet under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) jurisdiction so that the federal government will be permitted to regulate the speeds, bandwidth and allocation of resources. Part of the ground items to be placed under regulation has virtually nothing to do with the average private person using the Internet except that their rates would rise very likely exponentially, not merely linearly. The crux of the argument is who should have to pay for their use of bandwidth, especially when it comes to commercial rates. The fight is between the bandwidth providers, your Internet provider company, or the user, such as Netflix, Amazon, EBay and other retailers whose need for additional bandwidth in order to provide their services to the public. Needless to point out, the Internet providers are demanding that retailers and web services pay for their greater need for bandwidth while the retailers and web services feel that the Internet providers should have to provide access not by bandwidth but at one price as if all users are created equal regardless of bandwidth demands. Should the Internet come under federal regulation then we can all expect whichever side can influence the most numbers of Congress-critters to rule the day. The real problem is that each side just might have sufficient influence that some grand bargain will be found, and grand bargains seldom work out to the advantage of those who have minimal lobbying influence, the average private citizen who uses the Internet for any purpose.

 

The idea of free website services such as the one this blog is carried on would be a thing of the past really fast. Free e-mail, forget about it! Other free services currently offered will all by necessity carry a price-tag sufficiently high that the providers would no longer offer such goodies. Everything would have to come with a price because the Internet providers would be forced to become very stingy with their bandwidth usage as those large bandwidth users whose use of bandwidth so outweighs any average private user would also be capable of lobbying Congress and thus they would at the very least force that every customer pay for bandwidth in preset allocations where there would be a significant entry level and additional bandwidth use would be charged according to the use of additional set blocks which the Internet providers would charge according to regulations setting the sizes. Perhaps an example might help.

 

Bandwidth is measured by bits per second of usage. When an individual is using the Internet their bandwidth varies by activity. To read articles their bandwidth usage is virtually zero, to read your e-mail is also negligible, to download pictures it is a little higher and potentially speed will be sacrificed if one is to use a lower bandwidth, to watch a YouTube video it is considerably larger and to watch a hi-definition movie the bandwidth usage would be at the highest end of the scale as it is passing data in real time and the service is not going to burden their customers demanding they allow for buffering interrupting the movie at different stages when the bandwidth is exceeded by the requirement to transfer the necessary data. Now imagine the bandwidth requirement for a music provider where they download music to their customers in the millions twenty-four hours a day. Their bandwidth requirement dwarfs that of the average user and even the bandwidth required by any single user of their service. Add in video for the music or a movie averaging two to three hours straight of hi-definition video and surround sound which is likely the highest bandwidth and individual user could demand. The providers of each of these services from the news article or encyclopedia site downloading mostly text and the occasional JPEG to thousands or even millions of users simultaneously would exceed that of any individual user of their service which is obvious. The same ratio or even a higher ratio is required by the providers of each of the other services, downloading music, add in video with the music and make all of that hi-definition with surround sound for hours at a time to millions on a busy Saturday night during a blizzard and you can barely imagine the required bandwidth for the on-line movies provider. If these high end demand for bandwidth providers get their way they will place a fairly significant share of their bandwidth payment down to the users and away from themselves. The easiest way for them to achieve this is to set a high basic bandwidth amount as the minimal bandwidth package that can be offered. They might even go so far as to set the price of this basic bandwidth package around three times what it might cost currently despite the fact that very few, actually probably none, of private users ever even approached that level of usage even at their highest usage times. They would then have additional packets of bandwidth which many of the high demand services require but those would be at a minimal profit for the service providers as an exchange for the additional cash inflow provided by the upgrade of the basic package to a point beyond the average person’s imagination, let alone use.

 

They might make the basic bandwidth package be equal to approximately one-half-of-one percent of the price for running a T-3 connection, a connection which currently provides the average private household’s internet demand as high as one-third of a million users. So by making the basic package priced higher and providing data rates well beyond private demands they will be laying off a fair share of their usage off on private users by which they can make their purchase of their required excess usage rates of bandwidth more affordable for them and thus they will be able to provide their services at a lesser rate. In exchange the service providers will now be required to sell a far higher service level than anybody could ever use to their base users. The end result will be the introduction of lower rate service providers in local areas who will purchase a set of base lines and use that bandwidth to sell to people locally which will require their laying cable or using phone connections by also purchasing a bank of phone lines as under a business usage service. This will mean a step backwards for people who use these services until they find the best balance of internet access and ability to provide access leaving the higher priced providers who are under federal regulations as the other choice. But there is another side that could change the entire package and service. Just in case nobody has noticed, the internet is an international network and thus the providers could simply move their servers outside the United States and run distributive services through a branch office within the United States which is tied to their actual servers outside of the United States thus beyond federal regulations. Granted, such would require an initial investment to relocate their servers but after that they would be free from the heavy hand of the federal government. The guarantee in the case of the implementation of net neutrality is a double sided sword. The first blade will make internet access multiples of the current rates followed, as rapidly as the providers are capable of making the transference, the moving of all internet servers and hubs to nations who provide a more business friendly attitude and the setting up of a network connection system so as to provide their services within the United States from locations over the borders or the setting up of new secondary companies which are subsets of the current providers who will offer more friendly priced Internet access and accounts with a slightly longer delay or lag in connections which will be imperceptible except possibly in some of the most intense and graphically heavy, such as a game using hi-definition rendering or other high-speed graphic requirements. In the end all that federal regulation of the Internet will accomplish is a renaming of the current private user accounts and a minimal increased lag playing World of Warcraft and other such games. This will be similar to when the federal government set price controls on many foods back in the early 1970s where they set the price of apples and within a few weeks you could not buy an apple, you had to buy a Red Delicious, a Golden Delicious, a Red Granny Smith, a Yellow Granny Smith but you could no longer buy just a plain old apple as no such produce existed any longer, the same happened to virtually every item which was placed under price controls and is why there are so many choices in produce in the supermarket today. It even affected beef as now you had ground chuck, ground round, ground sirloin and lean ground beef. Isn’t the federal government just so wonderful as their attempts to place their heavy hand on our food resulted in our having such a wide variety of foods which were not included in the federal government price controls, just wonderful. No wonder shopping has become so confusing for the average man and just one more reason that women rule, they can actually tell the difference between a Golden Delicious and a Yellow Granny Smith.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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