Beyond the Cusp

October 28, 2016

How the United States Got These Candidates

 

With all the brouhaha over how negatively both major party candidates are received with Democrat Party Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton somewhere over 55% negative rating and Republican Party Presidential Candidate Donald Trump often reaching beyond 65% negative rating, it would appear an impossible situation; yet here we all are. One of the two it is obvious why they were chosen, they were promised as their 2008 consolation prize the next open candidacy for President after President Obama, thus the Democrats were to be stuck with Hillary Clinton. What is absolutely stunning, and is one reason she easily could lose, she had to resort to dirty political tricks and slanting the playing field in order to beat out a non-Democrat card carrying socialist who started his campaign on a shoestring of financing and at 3% in polling. By the time we reached an almost photo-finish, Bernie Sanders had nearly closed the gap and passed Hillary Clinton sending the inevitable one home with no crown. Imagine this, a former First Lady and Senator of New York lost to a relative newcomer with one strong speech nationally in 2008 and all but lost to what can only be described as that crazy uncle who lives the life of a hermit and is the quintessential loner who nobody has ever taken seriously in 2016. This is the candidate the Democrat Party elites plus the Democrat candidate support including her campaign teams and the mainstream media, but I am all but actually repeating myself, are claiming is the greatest Presidential candidate since the invention of the wheel? I want some of what they’ve been smoking. The Democrats could not have intentionally have designed and built from the plans a weaker and less appealing candidate, which makes it a good thing they already had one. Hillary Clinton could not have beaten almost any Republican no matter how unknown at the start. So why is Hillary Clinton up in every poll?

 

The reason is the Republican Party appears to have been set from the start to give the American people a worse and even less attractive candidate to run against Hillary Clinton cinching her getting the golden ring and all the honors she can steal and leaving the United States to look forward to four years of some of the most memorably intolerable speeches possible. We have had some question our professing that the powers that be controlling the Republican Party were seeking a candidate who would lose and lose big to Hillary Clinton. Hear us out and after that we will go one step further on the conspiracy train. Going into the first Republican debate, who was the knighted candidate in shining armor gilded and his accounts loaded with the stuff campaigns survive upon, cash? Thinking back the big story was we were about to witness Clinton-Bush, the rematch. The race for the White House was going to be Jeb Bush slugging and scratching and eye-gouging with Hillary Clinton. This was going to be the faceoff of the two biggest families in modern American politics. The seats for the debates with these two anointed ones promised to be high value and cherished items. Jeb ran into some traction problems and the Republican rank and file was not hungering for anything more from the Bush family. So old Jeb struck out and left the game rather early on.

 

Blame Game Starring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Blame Game Starring
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

 

This is where the fifth estate took center stage. The Republican elite were in a quandary as to who would now be their candidate. They basically splintered and flittered from one candidate to another never congealing in one place. This left the playing field kind of open and the media knew immediately that there were only two candidates who could give Hillary Clinton a strong run for losing the election. That’s right, we said fight to lose, not win, the election. These were Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New York loud-mouth Donald Trump. The media took to Donald Trump hard and fast over Ted Cruz simply because they knew he would produce the largest and voluminous gaffs and misspeaks over anybody. So the media became the Donald Trump for Republican candidate for President campaign central. The news cycle on television, radio, print, online, on Twitter, Facebook with any and everywhere one looked it was all Trump all the time. Donald Trump was allowed to trample over the debates being granted nearly 50%, possibly over, of the air time while the rest scratched over the remaining morsels. The media chose Donald Trump with Ted Cruz coming in a poor second sort of the reserve option, the relief pitcher should Donald Trump manage to be thrown from the game or some other means of becoming ineligible. They gave Donald Trump, as some estimates have stated, up to if not more than a billion dollars of campaign coverage. Sure everybody was patting Donald Trump on the back for his masterly use of the media in support of his campaign. It was all smoke and mirrors concealing the media’s gross miscarriage of practice by completely discarding their supposed equal time rules and replacing them with Donald Trump 24/7. About the only thing they did not do was adopt the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America great again,” as their sign on and off phrase of the moment. They may as well have as it really would not have made their fawning over Donald Trump any less or more obvious.

 

The media got their man in Donald Trump who they could find a path for Hillary Clinton to be ensconced in the Oval Office the end of January. Here is where the near perfect certainty of the plan, the plot thickens, so to speak. The media believes that they built Donald Trump up into being the Republican Party candidate for President so they should easily be capable of tearing him down. Trump has bigger negatives than Hillary but there is a problem here. Hillary has high negatives even with many presumed and so-called supporters while Trump’s negatives lie largely with people who would never have voted for him anyways. This makes whatever base is supporting Trump solid and unwavering while large sectors of Hillary’s base is somewhat soft and squishy leaving her to shore these voters up instead of cultivating new votes from the undecideds as Trump is attempting to do. Even the most feeble of attempts is superior to no attempt at all. This is part of the plan with the barrage of disheartening polls where every hour Trump is being cast as an ever bigger loser to Hillary. This is aimed at Trump’s base attempting to have them feel it is useless, so why bother voting if they can pal around with their friends, especially if their friends are Trump supporters and engaging in such activities breaks the back, the will of Trump support.

 

The media has brought forward some ordinarily devastating quotes, leaks, accusations, improprieties and other disparaging trash against Trump. Any normal Republican politician would have walked away in shame begging the world’s forgiveness as they checked into a psychiatric home to receive therapy for all their shortcomings. The Republican Party itself would strike their name from every roll and committee and that candidate would be ruined. Not Donald Trump as he takes hit after hit right in the chops and bellows, “Is that all you’ve got,” in that native New York in your face, never back down wisecracker. Trump is not a shrinking violet who would allow a few paltry accusations of what was at the edge of indiscretion thirty or forty years ago be applied and judged by the prissy modern politically correct judgmentalism which demands that if you are a white, male, Christian then you had best know your place and get down on your knees and confess, it is good for your soul. Of course, since Trump has refused to do so the media is exclaiming that they knew it, Donald Trump has no soul. Trump is a soulless zombie that preys on women and weaker souls who are ill prepared to face such a monster, a beast who sends the delicate and wonderful ones shrieking in horror running for their safe zone. Donald Trump written in chalk on a college campus or so has proven the evil that is Donald Trump. Thusfar the media is failing to destroy Trump and his support and this frightens them all the way to their boardrooms. A horrible creature they believed they created now refuses to heel and obey. Next you know they will come for Trump in the night with pitchforks, tar, oil and torches and burn everything down as this creation must be stopped before it is too late. November 8 is their deadline, after that either they will sigh relieved Hillary Clinton prevailed and won or many media and Hollywood thespians will need be placed on suicide watch.

 

We will need such no matter which one wins, or if the only thing worse, proof of malfeasance or trickery performed on the voter rolls or votes or counting thereof is proven beyond any doubt. Any dishonest, underhanded or low-down misappropriations of votes which renders the process to be unreliable and broken in order to present false counts or even change who won fairly, the United States falling to such mischief is all but unthinkable. If in America the vote is not sacrosanct, then where can an honest election be found. Such disappointment would cause every democratic, parliamentary and republican form of government and even the laws themselves would all fall into doubt. That, above all else, is why this coming American Presidential Election is so vital to the Western World and all held precious. If we cannot trust the vote, we do not have fair and trustworthy governance, period.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 8, 2016

Why I Accept Most Inequality

 

Inequality is part of existence and no matter how hard those who believe all inequality must be eradicated, inequality is a part of the human existence. Accepting inequality does not mean that you accept all inequality as there are certain areas where inequality must not be tolerated. The foremost of these is justice and treatment under the law and in access to services and other areas where inequality is an anathema. We must have equal application of the law, equal access to legal defense when charged with a crime and equality in all applications of the powers of government. But even in this there are limits which we must address and decide whether these areas of unequal treatment are acceptable. We can easily give an example where even the most adamant proselyte of equality likely will confess to their acceptance of an inequality. The tax code and such support programs such as food stamps, unemployment insurance payments and welfare payments are all areas where society has agreed to not only allow inequality but to strictly enforce and apply these inequalities in perpetuity. There will be candidates running for office in the United States this fall who will base much of their campaign on the application of inequalities in how the government treats members of the American public. They will favor supportive programs which apply largely to their electorate and against any supportive programs which are not applicable to their electorate. An obvious example would be any candidate running for office in the areas around Washington D.C. will support increased wages for Federal Government employees while somebody running for office in central Nebraska or central Montana would call for limiting or even freezing government workers’ salaries. Somebody running in an area where there are a majority of union employees would favor pro-union legislation and programs and probably also the raising of the minimum wage to $15.00/hr. as many union salary scales are figured using the minimum wage as a scaling point.

 

Inequality is a fact of life and the sooner people understand that, equality in all things can never be accomplished. What one should not accept is inequality which is unnatural or selective in manners other than those inequalities which are a result of natural abilities or differing efforts or difficulties of task. Obviously the greeters at the neighborhood box store and a brain surgeon will not receive equal income. Though the greeter interacts with and potentially can make a positive influence on more people; if you or a friend or relative needed brain surgery, the greeter would not likely have the necessary expertise. The brain surgeon invested a large part of their life and developed a specific and vital skill which may only have an effect on a smaller number of lives. The inequality of skill levels and number of people mastering the skills of the brain surgeon is a much smaller and more elite group of people. Of course there will always be the equality in all things who will make the claim that had the greeter had similar opportunities and training they too could have become the brain surgeon. Where that could be accurate, there would be no means of discerning the reality because, believe it or not, life itself is not equal; but if we are lucky, it is fair.

 

Scales of Life in the Balance

Scales of Life in the Balance

 

Equality is one of the important qualities we should use as the basis in how we treat one another. We should not accept biased treatment in our societies, from our judicial system, by law enforcement, in service in public areas such as restaurants, in residential opportunities and numerous places all of which have some relation to interpersonal interactions or opportunities. Even when a society achieves equality in all of these areas, there will still be inequalities for which any solution would require the force of government and would in and of themselves be a form of unequal treatment. Where equal pay for equal work can be a sticky area, equal pay for all people is not actually equality, it’s communism. The problem with full equality for all incomes is that many people will choose the easiest work rather than work harder at a more difficult profession and not receive greater remuneration. What would be the reason to work at some taxing job requiring great exertion of physical energy or years of training and constant continuing education to learn the most recent developments or techniques rather than seek easier employment such as the greeter’s job we spoke of earlier? Granted there are those driven few who seek the challenge but there would be far too many capable people who would not work to their fullest if there were to be no opportunity for additional remuneration. Enforcing universal equal pay would result in losing one of the main incentives which drives many to achieve greater achievement. Without inequality in pay scales there would be little incentive to attempt to advance or perform at a higher level than your fellow employees. Across the board equal pay no matter the level, difficulty or dedication of an employee in their choice and enthusiasm and commitment is the quickest path to across the board disinterested and lazy employees who have little drive or will to exceed or even succeed.

 

Most of the inequality we find in our day to day world has a direct relation to effort, level of education, difficulty of vocation or physical requirements. The one inequality we most often hear people complain over are the huge salaries paid to professional athletes. Every time the same point needs to be driven home. The discussion usually starts off asking if the top salespeople working on commission making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year selling top products such as real estate, high end jewelry or other high end items deserve what they earn. The answer is always a definitive affirmative. Then we ask about the top medical physicians who perform the most difficult procedures such as heart surgery deserve their high paychecks? Again we hear the answer stating of course. We then mention CEOs and the other heads of industry. Then we point out that all these people have one thing in common, they are in the top five to ten percent in what they do and so are professional athletes. People at the top of their professions, and especially in the top of high money making professions such as sports, make the large salaries in proportion to the money flowing in their line of work. Are ticket prices ridiculous, yes but on the other side the average person can have a better than front row seat with slow motion replay and professional commentary watching the same game or event on television. Pay for view being one of the most expensive television viewing protocols still is often no greater than one hundred dollars and if you have a party with nine friends then it costs only ten dollars each and you get a front seat and reasonably priced refreshments with a wider range of foods from which to choose, and you’re watching it with your closest friends, what could be better.

 

Equality is something which is a target which we aim to satisfy as best as we are able. Will we ever attain complete equality in those areas where it serves society? Very likely not but that allows for improvement which gives us a reason to try that much harder. We need to fall short from time to time such that we have reason to improve and find new and better means to achieve equality. The one caution we need to remember is that equality in all things should never be the goal. Equality in measure to difficulty, level of performance, importance to society and other considerations will always provide inequality in payments to individuals who satisfy the most demanding needs of the society. Sometimes the inequalities may not be apparent to all people but as long as there is a segment of society willing to put out the money, there will be those who will find the means to satisfy those demands. The good side is that as long as there are these opportunities which offer unequal pay scales, there are opportunities for anybody to find such a niche and make some of those higher paychecks for yourself. Most of us will not take the high risk route and settle for a more equal salary which is guaranteed steady and less risky, which is our choice to make. Sometimes we can make inequality work for us but the one thing we need watch is that we deal with greater equality with the people whose paths we cross. As long as we deal with care and equality we can expect similar treatment ourselves and if we have quality friends and business associates, then we can consider ourselves fortunate and thank Hashem for such goodness in our lives. As a last note, we are all equal before Hashem and Hashem alone judges our goodness.

 

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

 

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