Beyond the Cusp

July 7, 2017

Where has Compromise Gone?

 

Obamacare passed completely on the weight of Democrat supermajorities. From all appearances, should there come a Trumpcare bill, it too will pass simply from a supermajority of Republicans. That is where the problem comes in as far as any new healthcare legislation. The Republicans are in deep discussion and even some argument over the particulars and thus taking far longer than many would prefer. But there is one wall in reality and another described in the media. The media are screaming that the Republicans are completely inept and unable to pass a simple piece of legislation that President Trump claimed would be his first and primary consideration. The media keeps pressing how the Republicans are failing but they are missing one simple truth, it is not all Republicans who are making things impossible. The House of Representatives sent a bill to the Senate where everything got jammed up both in committee and on the Senate floor. The Republicans have twice introduced legislation for debate and when calling for a vote, there came the problem, there were those demanding more debate. These debates were nothing to do with the legislation but were intended to block any vote by demanding cloture, something that just the mere mention has led to a new reality in the Senate that in order to call for any vote those desiring a call for a vote must have sixty votes of guaranteed support. This means that every piece of legislation must have cloture because the essential reality is that all legislation is considered to be being filibustered by those who oppose the bill. There no longer is any requirement for legislation to actually be opposed with a real filibuster, it is simply assumed that if one person opposes legislation, then they would be capable of filibustering the legislation indefinitely without recourse for food, sleep or other nourishment or relaxation. Anyone who has seen the film, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (see entire film video below), realize that no individual person would be capable of carrying on a filibuster alone and even two would be hard pressed. There was a reason that the Senate believed that forty Senators would be sufficient opposition for a principled stand and no less would suffice. No longer, as now one must have the support, public support if pressed, of sixty Senators. We are not sure when such a decision was reached and became tradition, but it sure makes progress far more difficult and cumbersome as getting Senators to commit could be compared with herding cats.

 

 

The United States Senate was once referred to as the most dignified and austere deliberative chamber in the history of the world. The House of Representatives was to represent the fury of democracy filled with bluster, crude and terse yelling producing responses to the insanities and demands of the populace often flinging reason to the wind. The Senate was to be the barricade which imposed reason on such madness. But politics in the United States has reached a crucial and, as one might say, desperate point. The partisanship has boiled over and is simply waiting to explode. Debate is no longer permitted as the space for debate has slowly closed down. Now, one enters into the debate either armed with the skin of a rhinoceros or prepared to lose friends as taking a side other than those approved by your peers is akin to treason. Even relatives finding themselves on opposite sides have refused to speak to one another and even a few marriages have broken up simply because the partners voted for opposing candidates in the Presidential elections. Now the demand on both sides is to prevent the other side from ever managing to pass any legislation and nowhere is this battle more obvious than the healthcare debates. The left is fiercely set to defending Obamacare and simply pressing that the only reason that Obamacare is failing is because that imbecile in the White House demands that it fail as his entire esteem rides upon its failure. They claim if only President Trump would allow minor, Democrat-approved adjustments and put in the proper financial investment, then Obamacare would produce everything as promised. The Republicans insist that nothing will be able to save Obamacare and some even press that it was designed to fail so as to allow for the enactment of the Democrat dream of a Single-Payer Healthcare System. The response from many on the left demand to know what would be so terrible in adopting the identical healthcare system which has bankrupted many a European nation who do not have anywhere near the populations nor a military budget anywhere near to comparable to those of the United States. The sides on this debate find no middle ground nor do they seek any. Both demand absolute victory and this comes to a head in the United States Senate. The House of Representatives currently have a majority of Republicans which leads to the Republicans being able to pass whatever legislation they desire, and have done so on healthcare and other legislative time bombs.

 

The time bombs which pass the House of Representatives with much noise but ineffectual opposition run smack into the polite deference found in the Senate where every piece of legislation had come to require a filibuster proof vote to simply pass. There is no longer the requirement to actually filibuster; one just has to oppose legislation and the filibuster is considered to be in force and cloture required. Additionally, the Democrats have come together in such a manner that they will act like a single entity and oppose everything the Trump administration favors. There is no concept even remotely resembling doing the nation’s business because as far as the politicians and their parties are concerned, there is no single nation but instead two warring camps between which no bridges can be built and no compromise can be permitted. With compromise out, then business is done because without even the slightest opening for compromise and doing what is best for the country, the two parties remain in gridlock with both sides controlling over forty votes in the Senate and thus neither being capable of reaching the magic number of sixty votes. This is a new development which has not been faced previously. And no, this was not the case during the Obama administration. The only legislation which was passed with total Republican opposition, to the best of our knowledge, was Obamacare where the Democrats had the supermajority of sixty votes in the Senate. Factually, the Democrats had to rush that passage as when Ted Kennedy died, the replacement elected in the November elections in Massachusetts was a Republican as he promised to vote against Obamacare, the Democrat promised to vote for Obamacare, and that was the deciding factor many voters gave for voting for a Republican for the first time in decades. That gave the Democrats in the Senate until the following January, so when they returned after the election they rushed a vote through and passed basically the legislation as the House of Representatives sent it without reading it, debating it or amending it. Some have pointed to this as the reason that Obamacare is failing, that it was incomplete when passed. Trust, it was complete and has done exactly what it was designed to do, bankrupt medical insurance industry and force the United States to adopt a single payer plan medical insurance and be just like Europe. Many are unsure if the United States would work well if it became more like the European Union than the United States. One might say that the leftists are trying to turn the United States into Europe one vote at a time. The Republicans are trying to avoid this and retain capitalistic principles at all costs. And that is a large part of the debate, capitalism versus socialism, and democratic republic versus single party unopposed rule, also known as fascism.

 

The United States of Europe Turning the United States into Europe One Vote at a Time

The United States of Europe
Turning the United States into Europe One Vote at a Time

 

I can hear the screeching, gut-wrenching, blood curdling, nails across the blackboard yelling already, what do you mean leftists are fascists, its Trump who’s the fascist. Well, as much as we love controversy, and we do, let’s hash this out looking back at history. Be calm, I know, Hitler was on the right, therefore fascism is from the right and the Republicans are on the right, game, set, match. Well, not exactly as the truth is that NAZI stood for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National-Socialist German Workers’ Party; NSDAP). That is not exactly a group which stood for a Democratic Republic which is what their government replaced, which was known as the Weimar Republic. The government under Adolph Hitler came to power only after the leaders of the Weimar Republic approved some critical changes to their constitution granting the Chancellorship additional, unprecedented and near total and quite unopposable power. Then after taking the position, Adolph Hitler then assumed additional powers leading to his being a fascist dictator. The methods he utilized to take power were textbook examples of how to take total power and control of a government. You cause a situation where the government is stymied and unable to accomplish or even address the needs of the nation, add unrest and increasing violence, invent a critical point where the people will feel their nation threatened, demand the problem you are orchestrating be immediately resolved, offer on a wave of public demands that you be granted the power to end the strife, take power and demolish the people at the bottom who were instigated into violence at the critical point and then claim unlimited power because you accomplished the impossible. This was Hitler’s plan, Lennon’s plan, Chavez’s plan and far too many others for such methods to be considered ridiculous. The simple plan is create a national problem such as the collapse of the healthcare system, propose to solve the problem if given the tools, use the tools and the popularity gained in solving the problem to change the remainder of any constitution and make your party the only political entity and you its unrivaled leader, instant fascist governance.

 

The fearful condition in the United States currently has been the inoperability of the federal government which is locked due to the Senate being the dam obstructing business being accomplished. The media is fully backing the story that President Trump is a buffoon and an idiot who has no concept of how Washington works or how to accomplish things. Granted, much of the President Tweeting has backed this portrait. Despite his less than intelligent Tweets, the President cannot be blamed for the lack of legislation ever reaching his desk, the problem being faced by the United States government. But this will not prevent the near constant media blame President Trump first, second, last and always. There are those who have cast the President as attempting to take dictatorial steps to shut down debate on his agenda. This claim is given credence by those so opposed to President Trump as he committed the most horrific crime which may be cast as the crime of the century; he defeated the anointed one, Hillary Clinton. This is the crime for which President Trump will never be allowed to live down and for which many are infuriated to the point that they are still spending much of their free time posting to social media every remote piece of media coverage which can be found even to the point of having established chains where people post such a vindictive piece of editorial media and it goes around as they send it each on to the next in a great circle such that it returns to the fist poster who posts it as if it were new again weeks later. There are numerous such rings, all secretive and never to be admitted, and these will see to it that President Trump’s detractors will have a never ending and always increasing amount of material. Oh, and if you desire to be blasted into a different time zone, decry the unfairness or inaccuracies of these posts at your own risk of hearing loss as some responses you will receive will be in all caps, possibly bolded and even italicized in red if at all possible. Of course, should you be so struck, then you obviously deserved such treatment.

 

Where will all of this lead? That depends very heavily on the 2018 election and whether the Republicans can attain sixty Senate seats while retaining control of the House of Representatives. That is a tall order as very often in midterm elections the party of the sitting President lose seats in both houses of Congress, especially the House of Representatives. But these are different and new times and nobody can predict things political in this new era. The fact that Trump even lasted until the first primary was strange, that he did so well was astonishing, that he became the Republican candidate was unbelievable. This was the end of politics as had previously been known in the United States. The near come from behind win by Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primaries was a further established proof of the changing political scene. Will politics return to the old normal? It very probably could but then again, there have been such drastic changes before when things came to a head, but the United States does not need to have a new party rise and one fall to the side and disappear as happened when the Republicans became a major party. Those days eventually led to the Civil War and that is most definitely not something needed by any nation. Further, as much as it has been claimed that the election of President Trump could lead to the end of the Republican Party, that is probably just as unlikely if not more so than the Democrat Party disappearing. The only potential threat the main two political parties have in the United States will be if they continue to refuse to see any means of working together. Such refusal to be capable of seeing things as the needs of the nation rather than the unacceptable policies of the “other” could lead to one of the third parties to become a real third party. The existence of an actual third party which could gain sufficient support that they would hold the swing votes required by the other two parties to achieve their agendas, that party would become quite powerful and determine the direction of legislation and the nation. It might also lead to a fourth and fifth and soon, the United States would look like European nations with a party for every taste instead of coalitions forming two parties. Who is to say whether or not such would be a good thing or such fracturing of political power would make for some politicking so strange than nobody could ever establish anything resembling an actual solid policy. The future of the United States is at a crucial point in her history challenged only be the era around the Civil War and perhaps the divisions are just as deep and unresolvable. The next decade or two will be determinable for the future of the United States and whether she will remain the leader of the free world and a superpower unrivaled in the world. Nothing short of her place in the world is at stake but asking for the two sides to tread softly will fall upon deaf ears as they are all screaming far too loud to listen.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 3, 2013

They Surrendered to President Obama and Passed on Promises

Well, as everybody who has functioning senses probably knows by now, the Congress has given President Obama a good measure of everything he desired without extracting even a single sacrifice from the White House. Alright, so they pared the salary up from $200,000.00 for singles and $250,000.00 for couples and families all the way to $400,000.00 for singles and $450,000.00 for couples and families to be punished for their success with higher taxes. The good news about this is now it will be only those making closing in on half a billion dollars who will now move the vast percentage of their investments overseas where they will be safe from the increased penalties from increasing taxes instead of those making around a quarter of a billion dollars. Even so, with estate taxes being raised significantly and capital gains taxes also being raised measurably, these will force the investor class to place their monies in safe havens and pass them on to their descendants in measured ways which work around the estate taxes. By increasing the capital gains and estate taxes the government will likely cause the opposite of what they have been peddling to the public and the government will actually receive less in revenues from these taxes than had they left them at the lower rate where it was not cost effective to play the avoidance games. They extended unemployment insurance for an additional year without bothering to figure out how to pay for it leaving it to be simply added to the deficit. It will not be that much money so it will hardly be noticed. But all of this is the least of the disappointments.

The depression many fiscal conservatives are feeling today has to do with the lack of spending cuts, not exactly lack as complete dearth of spending cuts or even reductions of increases. The vote to pass this legislation, which has laughably been referred to as a compromise, had one defining item, the kicking of budget cuts down the road, even the presumed ones that were to take effect as part of the fiscal cliff, making for another crisis now scheduled for around March 1, 2013. This is more serious than it will be reported as it will lead to another round of panic, screaming and insanity which will allow President Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress along with a compliant media to again assail the Republicans with charges of obstructionism. In the end there will be yet another compromise which will give mere lip service to spending cuts while gaining concessions from the Republicans which will bring them that much closer to their goals of tax increases back to the Clinton administration levels for those earning $200,000.00 to $250,000.00 annual incomes. The likelihood that even come March the compromise will once again kick the spending cuts can down the road is far too high. One has to realize that we are expecting a Congress in which the Senate is still under the direction of Harry Reid who has refused to even allow a budget to reach committee, let alone come to the floor for a vote, in over three years. Does anyone honestly believe that anything will change during the second term of President Obama? The President and his facilitators in the Congress have realized that by not passing a budget and instead voting for continuing resolutions to keep the government running they are able to increase spending in whatever department they feel favorably towards simply by giving it an increase every few months when it comes up for its turn for a continuing resolution. By this method they can actually increase spending beyond inflation and have done so already with the largest increases coming in the first eighteen months of President Obama’s first term when the Democrats had unopposable majorities in both Houses of Congress. This fiscal cliff so-called compromise is simply another of those continuing resolutions under a different name and the next few will all be called fiscal cliff compromises but a continuing resolution by any other name is just as damning to those Republicans who allow such to pass in the House of Representatives. This little fact leads me to what I find the most distressing of the maneuverings and sleight of hand going on in the Halls of Power.

There exists one thing which those who are still voting for responsible governance and honestly wish to gain control over spending and actually address deficit spending and the national debt can still do that will make those willing to go along rather than take a principled stand have to pay a price. Every time when the House of Representatives reach the critical vote on one of these boondoggles, we need to insist that the news sources publish lists in order to tie every Representative to their vote so when they stand for reelection in the next elections they have to explain their vote. This may not have much of an effect on the final vote taken now, but it has the potential to give the voters in the home district know if their Representative was voting as they had hoped they would. This opens up the possibility for candidates to be proffered to their constituents who is willing to take the hard principled stand and better represent the desires of the people. Making each member of the House of Representatives answer to their name with a Yes or Nay vote which can be recorded and played during the next campaign may be the best medicine to wake up some of the wayward Representatives and bring them back to walking the line. And if such does not convince some to vote to uphold their election promises, then so be it and may we find a brave and solid candidate to replace them. That is the way to make progress, make every member vote on the record and note where each stands when the chips are down and their backs are against the wall.

Beyond the Cusp

March 26, 2012

Supreme Court Declares They Rule Israel

The recent events and controversy around the community of Migron has revealed some extremely frightening realities. First some background to set the stage. Migron is a fairly large community which has stood outside Jerusalem east of the Green Line for many years. Peace Now, an NGO with an extremely leftist view brought a suit against parts of the community of Migron in the Supreme Court claiming their usual claim, namely it was built upon land owned by some Palestinian Arabs. They found a couple of Palestinians to claim before the court that they actually owned the lands in question, a procedure they have plied numerous times with a fair amount of success before. When they were pressed for a deed or other proof of ownership, the Palestinians relented confessing they had no proof and they had fabricated the whole claim with the assistance of Peace Now activists, also a common occurrence in many of these cases. The Supreme Court proceeded with the hearings even without any Palestinian claim to the land but solely on Peace Now’s contesting the ownership. The citizens of Migron produced the bill of sale from their purchase of the land but the Supreme Court refused to allow it admitted into evidence ruling that they were not the proper court for determining ownership, they only could rule on whether or not Migron should be destroyed. The Supreme Court ended up ruling, as was easily predicted, that Migron was not a legal community and that the area in question and the homes built upon the land were to be torn down by the end of March 2012.

Here is where everything really gets interesting. The Knesset and the Prime Minister’s office worked out a compromise with the residents of Migron that would have allowed them to remain in their homes until new homes had been built upon lands which were not under question by the Supreme Court. This process was painstakingly difficult and where it was not the best of worlds, it was one everybody was willing to live with. Well, everybody except Peace Now. Peace Now challenged the agreement between the Government and the community of Migron back in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the government had overstepped their bounds in making a contract to move the questionable parts of the community and the Court ruling must be carried out. Due to this being decided at such a late date, the Supreme Court set the date of August 1, 2012 as the infamous date for the destruction. Now the Knesset has been called back into session to consider whether they will challenge the Supreme Court’s legal standing to decide such cases by passing an actual piece of legislation setting forth a mechanism for the government to decide the legality of the different communities which may come into question in the future. Should such legislation be passed and signed into law we can be fairly sure that Peace Now will march back to the Supreme Court demanding they overturn the new law. It is simply beyond the ability of the overly righteous Peace Now activists to allow any Jew to live beyond the Green Line. They are insistent that all lands east of the Green Line be made into the Palestinian state and be free of any Jewish presence, just as Mahmoud Abbas has claimed it must be. This would include half of Jerusalem and all of the Temple Mount and Old City.

One fact that galls many who oppose Peace Now is the fact that the NGO is mostly funded by monies coming from European Governments and contributors from outside of Israel. Many in Israel are also becoming greatly aggravated with the Supreme Court usurping power and challenging the Knesset, Prime Minister and the electorate placing themselves as the final arbiter of all things even those performed by the elected government. Since the Supreme Court also has a fairly large influence over the appointment process for new justices who will sit on the Supreme Court, they have over the years become a core group who mostly all support the same policies and have grown further and further away from the elected government and the people.

The Supreme Court could be classified as very liberal, anti-religious, overly secular, and excessively anti-Zionist, thus against anything and everything concerning the settlement movement. The Supreme Court has also taken upon itself to determine which legislation passed by the Knesset and signed into law by the Prime Minister will stand by declaring any law that does not meet with their leftist standards to be unconstitutional. What makes this so interesting is the small fact that Israel does not have a Constitution as Americans would understand the term. Israel has what they refer to as the Basic Laws which loosely acts as the closest thing Israel has to a constitution. Since the committee which was assembled to draft a constitution was unable to reach an agreement, what a surprise, the first Knesset passed what are known as the Basic Laws. Interestingly, not every of the Basic Laws are held as superior to the rest of the legislation passed into law unless actually noted as such. For an overview of the ideas that influenced the passing of the Basic Laws look here and for full texts here for links to the actual texts.

Should this seeming overstepping by the Supreme Court continue and they decide that the Supreme Court shall be obeyed regardless of the will of the Knesset, Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and the will of the people, I dread to think what might follow. This situation is steadily getting more and more dangerous as the chips pile up and the pressure builds, eventually something is going to have to give. Eventually this will become a direct confrontation between the Knesset and the Supreme Court as to which body has the rightful power to rule Israel. The obvious solution would be to form a constitution committee and to fashion a framework for a constitution and then allow the Knesset to coordinate with those chosen for the committee and resolve the minutia and set an actual framework before the people who should be allowed to vote on its acceptance or rejection. Anything else will simply continue the challenges and build up the bad blood between the two branches of government until something breaks which may be a tragic event. The current situation cannot continue unchecked as it will be the people who suffer the most from this contest for control over the State of Israel.

Beyond the Cusp

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