Beyond the Cusp

January 21, 2017

Hating From the Word Go!

 

Right from the start let us set the record straight, the Republicans who refused publically to attend the Inauguration of Barack Obama were wrong to make it public, especially if they made a big show of such in the mainstream media, social media, alternative media and elsewhere. The current identical actions by those boycotting the Inauguration of Donald Trump are equally wrong. The big difference is the mainstream media and their joyous celebration of the boycotts being performed as a grand show now and the critical coverage they gave such in 2008. I will grant everybody a miniscule but infinitely important morsel of credit; at least nobody tried to make a mockery of the President elect and Vice President elect laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, well, except the most petty. Such mockery would have been so below the belt and uncouth beyond measure and as unacceptable as anything possible. Do not get me wrong, I respect these people’s right to do exactly what they are committing to do. My admonition goes to those from his party, the Republicans, the “Never Trump” Republicans, the Republicans who used every piece of rumor, dirt, suspicion of evil deeds and anything found against Trump even to repeating charges made by the Democrats amplifying their voices, the Republicans who used everything in the Republican National Committee computers such that the Russians found nothing new there to throw at Trump as they found with Hillary Clinton. News to everybody, News Flash, important news; Donald Trump is President and the United States is really in crisis with a government far too huge and cumbersome which is the exact swamp which needs draining. The problem which Trump will run up against first is that he cannot under the law just tell people in government, “You’re Fired,” and make it stick because the rules forbid exactly that. That is the reality, the swamp is protected by law and Trump and his administration will need to find some way of removing the dead wood sitting smug and comfortable pretending nothing can touch them. Well, there are other means of forcing one to depart the government such as making their working conditions too demanding and uncomforting. Force them to perform acts under their definition of office which are against their very principles and finally simply transfer them somewhere that does not permit family to also be allowed and repeat transfers until they decide it really is not worth the aggravation just to oppose the President. Should the President require somebody with experience and knowledge on how to make a workplace support only that which is the President’s promises, we are available.

 

One ideal example is Columbia Professor of Modern Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi who fears that these people supporting Israel, “And unfortunately, these people infest the Trump transition team, these people are going to infest our government as of January 20.” Professor Khalidi is an Islamic Arab who believes that all of Israel is occupied and that Jews are not entitled to any “Arab lands” and the Zionists are colonizers. Needless to understand is that Professor Khalidi is an atypical Arab spokesperson, American born, pro-Palestinian, reputed but denied being a PLO spokesperson in Beirut in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when Israel and the US considered the group a terrorist organization (see photo below). Obviously Professor Khalidi is among those who are less than exuberant about the new day with President Trump in the White House. Professor Khalidi was welcome at the White House during President Obama’s administration. He was hopeful that President Obama would hinder and possibly lead to the destruction of the Jewish State. The end of Israel and the imposition of Islam on the world making the world safe for the Arab people throughout all the continents, well, possibly except Antarctica as it might be just slightly too chilly during the winter that close to the South Pole. If one has surveyed the lands which were conquered by the Arabs between 620 and 750 and the indigenous peoples in these areas which remain under Arab rule, they would notice they have become an almost unnoticeable minority. The area of Egypt had a large population of Coptic Christians and a very active Jewish society before 625 and by the year 1700 the Jewish population was disappearing and the Christians were relegated to small enclaves and today there is no Jewish community and the Coptic Christians are a threatened group who, if we had lists of endangered human societies, the Coptic Christians would be amongst those on the list.

 

Columbia Professor of Modern Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi

Columbia Professor of Modern Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi

 

Let us return back to the new American President, Donald Trump. If one were to simply search here at BTC entering with quotes “Trump” “failure” one would find this has been a repeated subject as it is rampant and amplified by the mainstream media making it appear to be a pandemic when actually it is only three to four times the size from the people equally infuriated with President Obama being elected and being also equally boisterous. One of our favorites and we think almost amusing was It’s In, Trump’s Failed Presidency. Now that the inauguration is history and we are officially in the start of what will be those fateful first one-hundred days of the Trump Presidency, it is going to be interesting to see what the mainstream media makes of his successes and failures. It can be bet that what they term as a disaster or really terrible for the nation and the world will be the exact items where President Trump delivers upon his campaign promises. One item which will be interesting to read will be how as President Trump, providing the Republican congress actually work with him and not join those opposing everything he does, actually delivers on lowering taxes for the majority of people, deregulates businesses following through on what small businesses and others have noted are worthless busywork regulations and other things which would be approved by many people providing they were presented with these actions as theoretical and not attached to any political party or special interests. What many people do not understand and something I found out about as my Mother ended up working at home filling in forms and checking everything at least twice as errors on these forms were criminally punishable by long prison terms. Imagine having dozens of regulations each month with each averaging two pages of forms all requiring a grasp of basic math, some accounting, understanding poorly and distressfully worded instructions with vague meanings (yes, potentially double meanings) and deadlines for filing and this was way back in ancient history, the 1960’s to the 1980’s just to keep my Father’s tailor shop which employed himself, assistance from my mother and more often than not one tailor as an employee. Now imagine a plumber who has a small one city plumbing service and contracting company with twenty or thirty plumbers and fifteen trucks. Such a small company would require at least one person if not more to handle the required paperwork spawned by regulations. Ever wonder what happened to the neighborhood doctor’s office? When I was a kid, yes, I know I still act like one, we had a lady doctor who we could get treatment and she would assist in cover stories on how we injured ourselves, even when she saw you break your arm car surfing. She closed up the office in her house and joined three other doctors in a clinic which had a receptionist and two people who handled billing and regulation forms and they were considering hiring another. Take a look at the local school and remember back to your school days and there is little comparison if you are over thirty. There are three times the councilors, more than one principal, numerous vice principles (my high school of almost 4500 students had two), and an EEOC advisor (at least one), and a near uncountable number of secretaries spread around the various offices, and positions we never even heard of back in the day all because there are numerous requirements that the schools must fulfill, many having to do with sex education, equal opportunity for students, special education programs, physical education requirements and more and more federally imposed programs which the schools must document that every last one of these additional educational requirements are provided for the students or covered by teachers even to the point of students having to document receiving some required courses. None of these courses have anything to do with reading, writing, arithmetic, math, history, civics or any other educational subject but are usually more along the line of indoctrination.

 

So as Trump gets rid of regulations we will hear how Trump is releasing the polluters to destroy the air and water, killing endangered animals, allowing for price gouging, releasing restraints on bad things, vague bad things which will be left undefined other than they were bad things being loosed on the people. Imagine the productivity that could be increased if the numbers of regulations and required documentations by businesses. What could be wrong with that? Well, it will allow the people who own these businesses to enjoy larger profits, you know, allowing the rich to get richer. Further, the screams of his making certain jobs no longer necessary are simply outlandish. I doubt Donald Trump could ever get rid of so many regulations and other demands from government to cause widespread unemployment. Honestly, if President Trump can force the revocation of sufficient regulations and required documentation which would require also reducing state regulatory agencies which were initially brought into being by the Federal Government and many even financed initially by the Federal Government and later were just unloaded onto the states. Such a present to the American people would be unprecedented and unbelievably liberating freeing businesses and beyond but the media and special interests would howl and declare foul because they depend on these regulations to enforce their will on the hapless public. So what might result in the most voluminous in quantity and levels of sound could also be the greatest favor President Trump could give the people, regulation depletion allowing people to act with less tethers and restrictions or unnecessary paperwork all because the simple presumed fact that if Trump does something, then it must necessarily be an evil thing and must be denounced. I can hardly wait to hear the squealing from the mainstream media at every turn as President Trump and his administration move forward. The first circus we are already witnessing, the Senate hearings and approval of his Cabinet and other appointments requiring Senate affirmation. Allow us to give you a simple and different way of viewing Trump’s appointments, the Cabinet appointees are not supposed to necessarily be experts in whatever field of their administration, they are to be managers who know how to listen to experts, have an ability to understand even complicated explanations, manage people and use their skills, know how to balance those who work with them and setting up the administrative structure to best advantage to produce the most efficient results. Imagine an efficient government department, any one of them, just imagine. The problem is it would be difficult because doing so would make so many government employees superfluous and imagine how the media would howl if, by fiat, the government let one third of their employees go and have to find real jobs. The screaming would be that President Trump was causing massive unemployment because where would these government employees find work with their skills? We would be led to believe that government employees are unacceptable as employees in the real world, imagine that. Could that be true or is that simply fear mongering, but then again, we are talking about people screaming whose deepest skill is warning of catastrophic disasters should their warnings not be heeded. Oh, by the way, they are, more often than not, simply wrong. So, let the games begin.

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

February 1, 2013

Is Hagel a Danger to Only Israel?

Nobody can honestly claim that former Senator Chuck Hagel has a history which proves he does not display animosity towards Israel. His comments such as the Jewish state is keeping the “Palestinians caged up like animals,” and Israel has kept the Palestinian people “chained down for many, many years,” along with his consistent refusal to sign any of the pro-Israel letters, resolutions and other declarations originating in the Congress are a testament to a consistent view of Israel that is disparaging and unsupportive. Hagel’s excuse that the record of his votes on all issues concerning Israel reveals that not a single one of his votes ever harmed Israel. Many have challenged this statement but I believe he is speaking the truth, though his truth is extremely misleading. If we look at legislation concerning aiding or providing assistance to Israel and the bill passed and was signed into law and enacted despite Hagel voting against the legislation, then his vote did not harm Israel. His statement is very likely a reference to the end result and not his singular actions thus he claims that despite his votes against supporting Israel, these legislation were still enacted and thus despite his efforts, Israel received the support anyways. One must parse these statements and translate them from politic-speak to common language, something my youth of having been raised just outside Washington DC provided me with an ability to often strip away the falsehoods implied and see the hidden truth within.

But the fact that former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel does not support Israel should not be the singular reason for not approving his appointment to serve as Secretary of Defense as he is being presented to be the Secretary of Defense of the United States and not a position in the Israeli government. Every individual Senator shall need to weigh how much Hagel’s previous animosities towards Israel should hold and if that along with everything else should disqualify him of holding that office. So, what are some of the other views from Senator Hagel’s past that might cast a dark shadow over his appointment? The ones we will concentrate our opinions on are his seemingly timorous views on Iran and their pursuit of nuclear weapons, his declarations of significant amounts of excess in the Defense Department budget, his reluctance to call groups guilty of perpetrating of terror as terrorist organizations, and his views on universal or unilateral nuclear disarmament. All of these individually could be sufficient for voting down a person holding them seeking to become Secretary of Defense, all of them together in one candidate for this position is an overwhelming tsunami of evidence of his unsuitability for being approved as Secretary of Defense.

In the past Senator Hagel has displayed reluctance for imposing strong sanctions on Iran to persuade them to end their nuclear program which has shown many indications to be seeking to produce nuclear weapons. He has displayed even stronger opposition to the use of force no matter how close Iran may appear to be to attaining nuclear weapons capability. Senator Hagel’s reasoning against the use of sanctions is that you will only serve to radicalize and anger the Iranians by imposing sanctions and rather than isolating Iran the sanctions would only serve to isolate the United States. Hagel claimed that any moves or sanctions against Iran had to go through the United Nations and any moves which were not approved by the members of, at a minimum, the Security Council should not be unilaterally imposed even with the support of some nations. He even expressed reservations over NATO imposed sanctions as they did not include sufficient support necessary to be effective and they ignored much of Iranian trade such as their business with Russia, China, Asia, Africa, South America and even some of Europe. Placing such a high level of expected support for sanctions would have proven only to weaken the sanctions making them as ineffective as Mr. Hagel claimed they would turn out being.

One has to wonder what his opinion might have been concerning the sanctions that were placed on Iran independent of the United Nations, the United States, and most of the world by independent European nations and European Union. But the questions about former Senator Hagel’s positions concerning Iran go beyond sanctions and on to a military option where they continue to be troubling. He has spoken against the use of military force not only to prevent the Iranian nuclear program but against entering Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein as well as against the surge tactics to break the stalemate. Hagel not only opposed the surge plan and claim it would not only fail to change the situation but would also exacerbate the situation and prove disastrous for the United States. Even after almost everybody had acknowledged the success of the surge in completely changing the situation in Iraq, Hagel continued to describe it as a complete failure which only served to worsen a very bad situation. One can only assume that Senator Hagel would resist any use of force in order to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear capable and instead propose containment equating Iran erroneously with the Soviet Union and China during the cold War. Chuck Hagel, from everything I have seen and read, does not believe there exists any difference between the Islamist threat and the threat we faced with the Communist Powers during the Cold War. His refusal to broaden his view from its myopic limits makes his views on situations limited far too much such that he would be unable to present a variety of options to the President which is an essential requirement any candidate for Secretary of Defense should possess.

Then there are the views which Chuck Hagel has expressed on the Defense Department budget and the many and various programs and weapon development systems which are financed by that budget. Senator Hagel has taken the position that the Defense Department budget has much excess and could be pared fairly substantially. Where this position might not normally be an indication of a dangerous situation resulting, with the pressure to impose serious cuts to Federal Government spending, the temptation to lie much of the pressures to cut spending could be placed upon the Defense Department. The precedent for this was predicted with the options that were proposed by the sequestration cuts that were presented as a solution for the Fiscal Cliff. These cuts have not been put to rest but were simply kicked down the road and will come due again at the end of February or beginning of March. I expect that most of the cuts will continue to be booted on into the future but should Hagel be approved as Secretary of Defense, it would be very possible that he would offer up cuts in the Pentagon and Defense Department budgets at each juncture in order to rescue entitlement spending and have the military take the brunt of the spending cuts. By repeatedly kicking all other cuts down the road a few months every time the debate comes due and also making what appear to be reasonable cuts to the Defense Budget at each point of crisis being imposed with little opposition and a guilty silence. Such a process would be accumulative and could impose serious cuts in military capabilities simply by imposing reasonable cuts repeatedly over time. It would be the death by a thousand cuts scenario.

Former Senator Hagel also appears to have a problem identifying terrorist organizations and their sponsors. Chuck Hagel failed to sign a letter calling on the European Union to list Hezballah as a terrorist organization. He voted against the resolution which named the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. But Hagel did add his signature to a 2009 letter which urged President Barack Obama to begin peace talks with Hamas ignoring the fact that they are designated as a terrorist entity by the Department of State. Senator Hagel supported the cause of direct negotiation with the Iranians disregarding their record for supporting terror operations through the IRGC as well as other channels financing and arming such groups as Hezballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror entities. He also had to ignore the part played by Iran in financing and supplying al-Qaeda and the mujahidin in both Iraq and Afghanistan where many of the IRDs were found to contain Iranian produced weapons parts and explosives. One could describe Chuck Hagel’s views on Iran and most of the countries and forces which support international terrorism as “See no terror, hear no terror, name no terror and find no terror.

The final problem subject concerns nuclear disarmament where former Senator Hagel appears to hold positions very close to those of President Obama. The last thing the United States needs in the disarmament debate is another supporter of unilateral disarmament of all nuclear stockpiles by the United States in order to lead by example and thus have the moral high-ground in the nuclear disarmament debate. Having the moral high-ground is not very promising if by getting there the United States has made themselves completely vulnerable to a nuclear first strike. While believing that if the United States were to disarm itself of nuclear weapons that the rest of the world would happily follow suit and rush to join the United States in this purely altruistic effort, the truth is drastically different and such a symbolic move would be a final move which would quickly make the United States cease to exist. One can only conclude that Senator Hagel was speaking of a hopeful and imaginary future as we live in a world that is seriously flawed.

Another flaw would be the approval of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as the next United States Secretary of Defense. The approval earlier this week of John Kerry as United States Secretary of State was not so much a surprise as an affront to many Americans who remembered peace and anti-Viet Nam War activist Kerry who testified in the United States Senate stating about his fellow soldiers, “… they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads … cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war …” At least Senator Hagel has never challenged the honor of the men and women with which he served. Unlike the new Secretary of State, the prospective Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel never threw somebody else’s medals over the White House fence claiming they were his own and as a propaganda stunt against the government of the United States. That is where the differences between these two end. Like Kerry, Hagel has opposed many items which any staunch supporter of the United States military would have supported and has acted favorably towards any actions which are consistent of appeasement for the enemies of the United States. No, former Senator Chuck Hagel is not simply a bad choice for Secretary of Defense of the United States as far as Israel is concerned, but also concerning the United States and possibly many of the United States’ allies and friends. It is for a broad range of troublesome facts for which one may oppose Hagel’s appointment. There will be those who will claim that Mr. Hagel has changed his positions pointing to statements and written answers in response to questions and queries posed by numerous Senators and others concerned or interested in his appointment. The problem here is that Mr. Hagel’s long record demonstrates positions which are diametrically opposed to the positions he has stated solely since coming under consideration for the position of United States Secretary of State. It is easier to believe a decade’s long record of positions and actions, many of which executed as a Senator in the United States Congress than to believe positions that have mere days evidence of existence. Should Mr. Hagel’s recent 180o turnabout prove sufficient to remove all of his past records and he be approved as the next United States Secretary of State, where do we sign up so we can redefine and rewrite much of our history to make a new persona clean of any problematic statements, decisions, stances, votes, and actions? It would be nice to be allowed to redefine oneself so easily and have the media and the world required to accept your word that the change is legitimate and unchallengeable. It would be so nice!

Beyond the Cusp

January 7, 2013

Hagel Appointment Not Just a Problem for Israel

The appointment of former Senator Chuck Hagel as United States Secretary of Defense is far more than just an Israeli problem, it will present a problem for the United States and especially the United States Military as well as the balance, security and safety for everywhere that the influence of the United States will no longer be a factor as the United States foreign policy turns inward. Hagel is on record opposing sanctions on Iran and is a firm believer that only through direct negotiations that recognizes and grants Iran the respect and deference they demand can the Iranian nuclear program be prevented from reaching its weapons goals. Hagel refused to sign a Congressional Petition supporting Israel and has insisted that Hamas be recognized as a legitimate and responsible entity and brought into any negotiations concerning Israel and the Palestinians. He has proven credentials to be a member of a group of politicians who have taken the title of realists which, if intents and actions mean anything, would be better described as Arabists whose first and often sole concern is what will favor the oil producing nations, especially those in the Saudi Peninsula. With so much of the world’s attention, tensions, and potential problems currently fomenting in the Middle East and North Africa, especially the most critical threat of Iran becoming a nuclear power, a Hagel appointment as Secretary of Defense would pose more problems than it could solve.

Nobody should be overly surprised at President Obama choosing Chuck Hagel as he presents almost the perfect stealth candidate who shares the vast majority of the President’s views on foreign affairs and paring back the defense department. With the fact that Hagel is a Republican, President Obama can present the Hagel appointment as a bipartisan move making the Republicans in the Senate vote against a fellow Republican which will be used as a bludgeon painting those Republicans who oppose Hagel’s appointment as simply impossible to satisfy and acting in a purely partisan manner even to the point of refusing a Republican appointment. Add that should the Democrats manage to hold discipline on the vote they have enough votes to approve the appointment which would force the republicans to use the filibuster. If some Republicans are willing to vote with the Democrats, a likely possibility, then they would likely have the votes for cloture. A successful cloture vote would be a guarantee of Hagel being confirmed as the next United States Secretary of Defense. This may prove out in the long run to be a very cunning and tactful appointment forcing Republicans with either voting against one from among their own ranks or giving President Obama an able ally at the head of the Department of Defense which will already be facing difficulties with draconian budget cuts.

There are some in Israel who have pointed to John Kerry being the likely candidate for Secretary of State as a possible mitigating factor and a possible balance against Chuck Hagel in any discussions and policy decisions on the Middle East and particularly Israel and the Palestinians. Unfortunately, Kerry would be overpowered as of the three, Kerry, Hagel and President Obama; Kerry has a comparatively passive personality and would easily be bullied and overwhelmed by the President and Hagel. Betting on Kerry as Secretary of State to stand up for Israel is a fool’s gambit which is why the Israelis have one of the most important elections in their short history later this month but that is for an article coming later this week.

In the meantime, the pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC will have a most ticklish situation on their hands; should they lobby long and hard against Hagel or keep a low profile and make their preferences known quietly keeping behind the scenes. It is likely that if AIPAC is seen to be presenting too high a profile on the Hagel appointment and ratification, it might be used by some as a reason for confirming the Hagel appointment. On the other hand, their taking too passive an approach might backfire, especially if J Street, the PAC falsely claiming to be pro-Israel, should come out strongly in favor of Hagel. Any supporters of Israel are going to need to walk a knife’s edge if they hope to be effective and not end up being counterproductive. Politics is rarely simple and never straightforward and the Hagel appointment should be excellent proof of such.

Beyond the Cusp

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