Beyond the Cusp

January 31, 2018

Who’s Really to Blame for Government Shutdown?

 

Next time the government, meaning Congress, cannot find some compromise on Immigration and the Budget and the government is shuttered again, who will be to blame? That appears to be one of the big questions in the minds of the media. They have an obvious answer, an objective for making this the pinnacle of political prognostication. They know they have three paltry weeks to turn this entire mess around in the minds of the people. They will have plenty of assistants on social media and across the Internet to repeat the mantra that all government shutdowns throughout history have been the fault of the Republicans. Back in the 1980’s the government shutdowns, and there were more than one, were all the result of Ronald Reagan refusing to sign a very proper and reasonable budget bill. Reagan received so much bad media that he finally caved and it was over budget and immigration where he gave in on amnesty in exchange for border enforcement to be discussed in the new Congress. Somewhere on the way to the next Congress that promise fell through the cracks and enforcement never happened. Then in the 1990’s it was about the budget and Newt Gingrich battled with President Clinton and in the end it was Gingrich, the Republican Speaker of the House who refused to play ball and shut down the government. So this last shutdown was placed on Chuckie Schumer so we have circled from the President to the House and the Senate so reason would say the next shutdown should start the cycle over and be the President, it is only fair, right? Well, that will be the story, it is the Republican refusal to be reasonable and accept that we cannot afford to build Trump’s wall. These shutdowns should be called the Great Wall of Trump shutdowns. That should sell, the Great Wall of Trump shutdowns.

 

The facts do not matter and the reasonable offer by the Republicans to grant the DACA young adults et al a reprieve as has been offered as a way of addressing their individual cases and allowing those who meet certain expectations to stay and those who have criminal records and other problems and do not speak English being deported was not sufficient. The fact that President Trump insists that his wall be at the very least initiated as the prototypes were impenetrable by special forces who were used to test their effectiveness. We know, totally unreasonable as obviously they could always just blow the wall up or tunnel deep and go under them as they are only going down six feet or thereabouts under the ground. Anyway, walls do not work, history has proven that. Just let us go through some of the great walls built from past to a few present day walls and we will see they failed, and more importantly, how they failed. The most famous of all walls, the Great Wall of China, was build to keep the Mongol tribes from invading from the north. The Great Wall kept the border so peaceful that the Chinese society grew exceedingly wealthy from a century plus of no wars. The Chinese people became soft and refused to have their children taken to guard the wall so the Chinese hired Mongols to guard the gates and that also worked for a few more decades until finally one Mongol warlord forced his tribe’s guards to open one of the gates and raiding parties poured in. Other Mongols saw this and the wall failed. The Roman Empire built walls to keep the Germanic tribes from raiding the norther edge of their empire. Eventually, they ran out of slaves and hired Germanic tribesmen to guard their wall and repair the wall. For some reason this led to the wall failing. Romans also built Hadrian’s Wall to keep the Celts out and it remained a working barrier even after they put British tribal members from the south guarding the wall. Rome stopped paying these guards as they retreated from the British Isles finding them too expensive and not worth retaining and the wall failed.

 

Border Wall Prototypes

Border Wall Prototypes

 

But what about more modern walls? More modern was the Berlin Wall which was torn down after twenty-eight quite effective years being built overnight on August 12, 1961 and fell on November 9, 1989 and thus the wall failed. Even the Israel Terror Wall, sometimes misrepresented as an Apartheid Wall, has made suicide bombing a rarity but it is still extremely porous as walls go. Hundreds upon hundreds, possibly over one thousand, of Palestinians with proper identification each day pass through to go to work and the occasional terrorist does make it past the border wall officers who check identity cards so it has not been perfect. Should Hamas ever take over the Palestinian authority areas the wall will become relatively worthless, as Hamas prefers rockets to having people carry the explosives. Hamas has made the real wall, the Gaza Wall compromised with who knows how many tunnels and they regularly cross the wall simply by firing rockets over it. India and China have a wall on their border as well as India and Pakistan; and in these cases it is the fact that both nations have military guarding these walls that makes them work. The same goes for the DMZ Wall between North and South Korea where workers are permitted to cross and should North Korea ever fire the artillery and rockets they have poised just on their side of the wall, that wall too would prove worthless. So, we have seen that walls work great until they don’t work and then they fail catastrophically often just being torn down, breached or the gateways left open. What a surprise, walls need to be guarded by the people who built them or those with common fears; and if you allow your potential enemies to guard your wall, no matter how much you pay them, they will betray you and your wall will fail, we are simply stunned.

 

There are less than twenty days before the continuing resolution runs out and the government faces another shutdown. It is time to assess who is really to blame? On one side, we have President Trump who is insistent that his wall begin to be financed and built, period. The President is refusing to budge. The Democrats in the Senate are demanding that the DACA illegal immigrants be granted total amnesty, all of them with one blanket amnesty with no restrictions. The Republicans want a system by which these illegal immigrants must meet some minimal qualification which includes speaking English and a clean record of no criminal activity since breaking the law being smuggled into the United States. This would include drug possession and any felonies being disqualifying them from receiving amnesty and each case be reviewed independently. The Democrats also want extended amnesty for all illegals in the country now for a decade until they can be fairly assessed for citizenship. They do not want even those with criminal records or multiple deportations already to be excluded, blanket that all illegals remain in the country completely free from government harassment in any way. The President insists that any illegal found guilty of a felony being deported permanently, no exceptions.

 

And the final sticking point is the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (H.R. 2580), also known as the Hart–Celler Act. This law completely revamped the National Origins Formula for having quotas based on needs and compatibility with American culture which had been in place since the Emergency Quota Act of 1921. Representative Emanuel Celler of New York proposed the bill, Senator Philip Hart of Michigan co-sponsored it, and Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts helped to promote it and thus the quota system was abolished and replaced with a lottery system where people from nations less represented were granted entry. This law has some of what you might call unintended consequences though many believe these were more accurately to be called intended consequences. This might have also been called the future will belong to the Democrat Party as these unassimilated people living off the government will be loyal Democrat voters. This was the program which gave start to the lottery visa program which would bring in immigrants by lottery from largely third world countries and this was how Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbeki national entered the United States. ‘The Diversity Visa Lottery Program is a Chuck Schumer program resulting from The Immigration Act of 1990. This modified the Hart–Celler Act so as to make the system even more fair balancing the entry into the United States from its former unfair Eurocentric systems. Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbeki national who entered under these programs would become the Bicycle Terrorist who plowed a rented pickup truck into a crowd of pedestrians and cyclists in lower Manhattan on Oct. 31, 2017. President Trump wants this program killed until it can include a more strict vetting of the applicants as currently vetting is minimal. Chuckie Schumer is fighting for this wonderful idea he promoted and refuses to have someone as ignorant as Donald Trump to alter his hard work.

 

Those are the sticking points over which the war of words is over though the media will spend all their time covering the personal attacks and ignore the actual reasons that the government may again face a shutdown. But is a shutdown really all that horrible? It is if you reside in Washington D.C. area as that is the economy as the government and servicing the government is almost all that area does. That even includes the stores, restaurants and everything else you might imagine even to bowling alleys. The Federal Government employees will collect unemployment while they are otherwise on vacation and when they come back, they will be given a nice large payment to cover the time they were “out of work.” They are not required to return the unemployment so they make out fairly well, all things included. Some miss the overtime they used to get but the unemployment should cover that nicely. The Democrats always threaten to shut down the payment of welfare, food stamps, Social Security and other such but President Trump can order these be paid as they are a function of the Administration and he can claim them as vital interests. Many such payments are actually done by State government employees such as unemployment. Most of our readers are probably too young to remember the heady days when President Willian Jefferson Clinton and Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich were at war over the budget and from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996, they shut down the government completely for a total of 27 days. The world actually managed to continue to spin, the United States was not invaded as the military were considered essential personnel, crime waves did not develop as the Federal Agents were also considered essential and the Post Office is a supposedly independent agency and not directly run by government so the mail continued, and the nations did not grind to a halt. Other than the hyperventilating media, the entire three weeks and six days passed and nobody died as a result, not even a single hyperventilating media type, as they are practiced at that art. President Trump should challenge Chuckie Schumer and allow the government to be shuttered for as long as Senator Schumer can take the heat. We would bet that providing President Trump can still Tweet to his little heart’s content (not to imply he had a little heart as he is rumored to be a generous individual) then he will be able to continue and hopefully be persuaded to watch the goings on with an unattached glee and amused viewing port. The media will of course cast such blame predicting the end of the world, as we know it. If he can manage to allow the government to remain shut down with just the essential personnel and all government checks to the citizens continuing on schedule but with over three-quarters of the government on extended vacation, as that will be what it will be in the end, then he can easily make a speech during ‘prime time’ to the American people to apologize for the extended government shutdown and then propose that each department of the government be required to freeze hiring until further notice with the administration setting up a panel which will mediate any hiring needs during the period in order to make limited exceptions if a position is truly essential, which they will advise that the agency usually fill it from within. If President Trump can keep such a freeze in place his entire presidency and be reelected, perhaps government might finally be parsed to a more manageable size. Just a closing crazy idea.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 24, 2018

Congress Allows Government Funding, for Now

 

Congress reached an agreement to fund the government, as most people have heard. Their idea of funding the government is a three-week stop-gap measure and not an actual budget. Reports told that DACA amnesty supporters were furious that the Democrats permitted funding without any guarantee of amnesty. In reality, it should be those supporters of the wall who should be disappointed with this so-called compromise. The DACA amnesty is not the main bone of contention when compared to building protection on the borders. We were wondering if anybody out there has kept count as to how many times the wall has been promised and then pushed off and never considered after gaining the promised prize of amnesty again. Does anybody remember when President Ronald Reagan exchanged amnesty for border security and a wall across the majority of feasible regions to be financed the next session of Congress? We fully expect at some point the Democrat leadership to offer holding a vote next year for funding building the border wall. This is the ruse used by before and even getting to the point of voting for funding initially but when the time was imminent for building, the funding was mysteriously diverted elsewhere. The Democrats have supported a border fence as stated by President Barack Obama in his speech in El Paso, Texas on May 10, 2011. Allow us to first quote the President and then show a picture of his completed fence for discussion. President Barack Obama stated fence along the border with Mexico is “now basically complete.” But he continued on to describe the whining he expected from Republicans over his wall stating,

“We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time.”
“They’ll want want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That’s politics.”

Jim DeMint wrote the response to President Obama stating, “Five years ago, legislation was passed to build a 700-mile double-layer border fence along the southwest border…This is a promise that has not been kept. Today, according to staff at the Department of Homeland Security, just 5 percent of the double-layer fencing is complete, only 36.3 miles.” So, was the fence completed as stated by President Obama or do the Republicans have an argument that the fence was not built as promised. Below is a picture of the fence near San Miguel, Arizona, part of the seven-hundred-mile fence described above.

 

Picture of the Fence near San Miguel, Arizona

Picture of the Fence near San Miguel, Arizona

 

The promised double fence, does this really appear to be what was promised? Granted, there are two different sized posts but does that make it a double fence? Then we are told that this fence is designed to stop vehicles from crossing the border. We are willing to bet that most of us were under the impression that the entire idea behind a double fence was to prevent people crossing, with or without a vehicle not to mention it is doubtful that most people crossing at this location are coming across on vehicles from dune buggies to recreational vehicles but rather they would probably be walking. We seriously doubt anybody thinks that this fence would prevent people walking across the border or matches the concept of a double fence by any rational concept of a double border fence designed and built to secure the border. Surprisingly, we actually believe a double fence requires two distinct and separate fences in relative close proximity equally difficult to traverse with an enforcement dirt track between them providing an area for ease of enforcement personnel patrolling in vehicles and responding to sensors and other alarms (see image below).

 

This is What We Believe a Border Fence Looks Like

This is What We Believe a Border Fence Looks Like

 

Now we have cleared up the definition of a double fence, which is why we advise the members of Congress desiring a real double fence include pictures, diagrams and other necessities so there will be no confusion as to what they mean by a double fence. The coming debate over the fence and the DACA refugees who are, and never forget this part, illegal immigrants who face deportation for crossing the border illegally, granted not of their own choosing as their parents brought them when they crossed the border illegally. The pivotal word is illegally. All the claims to the DACA having Constitutional rights are a bogus argument meant to allow these illegal immigrants to get around enforcement by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents. Constitutional rights are for United States citizens which illegal immigrants are not. If the government was to dispatch ICE agents to one of the rallies supporting the DACA individuals and they were to arrest those announcing their being a, “proud child of an illegal immigrant whose parents brought them across the border,” to hold for a hearing and potential deporting, they would be well within legal rights to do so. Such has not been done nor have the ICE agents been ordered to even monitor these events. We guess that perhaps those enforcing the immigration laws are not the heartless beasts described in the media.

 

The DACA illegal immigrants should be treated with dignity and understanding with always in the background the fact that they are illegal perched over the proceedings. Those who were too young to have some say in their being smuggled into the United States should have that taken into account. If a DACA individual has no other criminal record should be permitted to stay once they have shown proficiency in English, United States Laws, the Constitution, and American Customs. But those with further felony convictions or several misdemeanor convictions, those should be deported. It will not be up to us to decide their fate, but they should be given a brief and defined period of time to come and apply for asylum, thus having a hearing on whether they deserve asylum or deportation. Those who do not voluntarily apply for a hearing should be deported as soon as possible after the grace period has passed. Providing hope and a fair and reasoned approach with the promise of fairness is what should be offered but making the grace period’s beginning dependent upon completion of the border fence would also be fair. Exchange of a period of a few weeks or months while requiring the completion of the border wall is only a fair and true offer which if refused would reveal whether or not the Democrats are being honest about the wall and remove their ability to later pull the funding by placing the grace period after the wall being completed. The grace for the DACA “children,” as most of them have grown into adulthood, must be placed as secondary to building the wall so as to finally guarantee the wall being constructed this time around. Time will tell.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 1, 2017

So You Didn’t Think We Were Serious?

 

Back about a year ago, the Republican base went to the primaries and chose what had to be the most vulnerable, most crazy, most eccentric whack-job out of the entire list of seventeen candidates. Then the Republican base turned out in numbers sufficient to elect that very Whack-job President of the United States. Still, the establishment did not believe that perhaps the base finally was not going to take it any longer. Then, until yesterday, this same group of Republicans elected every single person that President Trump backed until the choice of Roy Moore instead of Luther Strange, and Roy Moore was the outsider in that race. The one time Trump sided with the Republican leadership and backed their candidate, he lost and the outlier, the more unusual candidate wins. Perhaps there were two messages in the Alabama election, one to President Trump demanding he stay with the story that won him the election and go for everything he promised because they have his back and the other was to the Republican leadership demanding they get with the program and start with repeal and replace Obamacare, complete Tax Reform, no easy path for DACA or any other illegal immigrants and all judges had best continue to be like Gorsuch, true conservatives who will not wilt with time. The Republican base, their mainstream, regular Joe and Jill are demanding that they be listened to and that they demand changes from business as usual. Number one is that the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare be kept. Second is complete and total Tax Reform like President Trump promised on the campaign. Lastly, no amnesty for illegal immigrants as promised, none. No more Mr. and Mrs. Nice voters, that is their promise.

 

The Republican Party has not had a real majority since Newt Gingrich and the contract with America. The Republican base is now believing that the promises made by President Trump and the claims made by Republicans over the past several years are the new contract with America and are expecting action, not infighting and main players in the Republican Party deciding that their ego means that they cannot allow Trump to succeed. The professional politicians may have decided that Trump must fail in order to teach the electorate a lesson about sending a non-political professional to Washington and expect them to accomplish what they promised. These professional lifetime political hacks are insisting on teaching the public a lesson about how the political structure works and how only those who have paid their dues and served lower offices and worked their way up the ranks are to be permitted to run for the Senate, for President. But they have miscalculated in thinking that they are going to teach the public a lesson.

 

The people know who these people are though after a few important lessons they decided to play things closer to their vests. During the first vote to repeal Obamacare there were seven Republicans who voted against the three plans including Lamar Alexander, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman and a selection of others which voted against at least one of the three plans. Since then there have been two who have submarined any hopes for repealing and replacing Obamacare, John McCain and either Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski. The last two are very liberal Republicans who come from states which will reelect them so they are safe and John McCain is doing this largely because of his principles. He was against Trump from the start, in the closing of the primaries and probably secretly desired his loss in the general election and was a “Never Trump” leader through and through. He has decided to make it his life’s purpose to see to it that President Trump becomes an embarrassment in order to make sure that no outsider ever again tries to enter politics without paying their dues and working within the system. For Senator McCain it is all about the system, the system which has kept him and his cohorts on both sides of the aisle in power safely spending other people’s money until the national debt of the United States has cleared twenty-trillion dollars and is a threat to every man, woman and child in the United States.

 

The people have had enough, well, at least many Republicans. These are not the elites within the society, they are the regular people who have worked in a factory, a mill, a coal mine, or some other job which where it may not have been the most satisfying occupation, it paid the bills, put food on the table and kept a roof over that table. They have watched as the coastal elites and their corrupt functionaries from both parties have taken a once functional country and changed the face of the nation through bribery to gain votes and turning neighbor against neighbor and breaking the nation into bands of special interest groups each one pitted against the rest and used to keep the same people who caused the problems in office promising ever more government in order to fix those exact problems their last great idea caused.

 

Let us take healthcare as our example. Way back when the entire insanity started, they came up with Medicare for the elderly to be taken care of against rising healthcare prices. Why were the prices rising? Well, it might have had something to do with increasing regulations, restrictions, and paperwork which slowly forced the neighborhood doctor to need to hire an assistant to handle the paperwork and then another to file even more paperwork and then they made it all but illegal through regulations for a doctor to operate from their home. The doctors then would join and have a clinic which brought more regulations and paperwork. Then they went after the insurance companies forcing increases in rates and that influenced healthcare costs. The huge lawsuit monetary rewards forced hospitals and insurance companies to settle without going to court even if they were not at fault, as they could not afford to risk a trial. Then along came Medicaid and medical costs jumped even higher. During President Clinton’s first term, they attempted to pass Hillarycare but public protests prevented that from passing. President Obama got a very similar plan passed by using the Democrat supermajorities in Congress all without a single Republican vote. Everyone has seen how well that has worked out but still there are parts of that disaster which people are demanding be kept because they give something for nothing. Now, in order to repair the damage done by Obamacare they want to have the government take over healthcare completely because that has worked so well absolutely nowhere. Every nation with such plans has virtually no military and is totally dependent on the United States for their protection. What they do have is long wait lines, rationed care, and a crumbling healthcare system with moribund of any advances in medical care and treatments. Total government healthcare has been an unmitigated disaster and will drive the United States to complete and utter financial ruin where there will be no funds left for infrastructure, no military funding, almost nothing but healthcare which will still be underfunded and taxes will need to double or more. And all that the people have to do is sacrifice one of, if not the best, healthcare system in the world. It is currently mortally wounded and if Obamacare is not repealed and healthcare returned to the public realm, then that will bring the end of the United States in more ways than just healthcare.

 

The system is broken and it is going to take drastic measures to roll back the Federal Government and put the genie back into the bottle. The promises of something for nothing sound wonderful and if you are on the receiving end and in the bottom forty-five percent of the tax bracket and pay no taxes, then it really is something for nothing. If, on the other hand, you are in the top twenty-five percent of earners, you know, the super-wealthy, those making over $75,000 a year, then it is not something for nothing as you get to pay for yours and two other peoples something for nothing and often you do not even get to have your something. The sad thing is even if the people wise up and come to their senses and realize that they are being had because if only they would pay their own way, then prices would fall, taxes would fall and eventually the debt would start to be paid. The first step is to minimize the ever-increasing deficit spending which adds more than half a trillion dollars to the debt each year. Once the deficit spending has been curtailed which will require sacrificing programs, often popular programs, then work can begin on the actual debt. One of the first realizations which the people must reach is that the government cannot raise children better than parents, cannot help the needy better than charities and religious institutions, and that private will always be an improvement over public programs. Finally, the best means of addressing any problem is locally, even down to each individual neighborhood. The entire idea of the United States Constitution was for each state to be more powerful than the Federal Government with the Federal Government addressing things with restrictions placed upon it by the Constitution as stated in the Tenth Amendment which states,

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Tenth Amendment

 

The simplest explanation of the concept put forward by the Tenth Amendment is that primarily each person is most responsible for his or her own business. Next up is the family which is supposed to assist the individual especially with things they are not able to handle alone. Next would be the neighbors, the community, your religious institutions, the city government, county government and finally the state government would each handle those things beyond the lesser level. The system is presumed to work best which is closest to the people and the problem. The final step of having the Federal Government handle a problem is the system of last resort. The Founding Fathers believed that if each locality tried to take care of the every day activities and problems there would be literally hundreds of differing systems and the ones which worked the best would be copied and used until somebody tried and found something better but that things would be kept at the lowest governmental level such that the people could keep a close watchful eye on their governance. That went away with the onset of the progressives and their egalitarian movements which put forth that the level of government which could affect the widest good should be tasked with doing so. That turned the Tenth Amendment on its head and basically started the idea that everything was to be handled by Washington D.C. and that the States, Counties and Cities would only be required to do those items which the Federal Government would task them to do and otherwise behave and wait for the big boys to handle their problems. That led to one size fits all solutions which were not tailored to localities in any manner and often resulted in waste and the more local governments having to fix things which they should have done themselves and thus would not have been anywhere near as broken. But why mess with such a perfect way of making even more of a mess.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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