Beyond the Cusp

November 10, 2016

Trump Trumps Clinton Now What? (Electoral College 279 to 259)

 

The total as of this writing was Trump with 279 Electoral votes from approximately 59,441,968 (47.5%) popular vote while Clinton held 259 Electoral votes from approximately 59,649,606 (47.7%) popular votes. Once again the election goes opposite the popular vote, something often criticized as are the men who designed the Electoral College such that the big state numbers have their advantage but face it being slightly marginalized by the setup of the Electoral system. First let us indulge in a quick review on how the Electoral College works and the reasoning for it being used by the United States. The system is easily broken down. Every state and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. all get two electors for what is their Senatorial representation (Washington D.C, is treated as if it were a small state with representation of a single delegate in the House of Representatives and two Senators). After this each state receives an elector for each Representative they hold in the House of Representatives. California receives fifty-three Electors for their fifty-three Representatives plus two more for their Senators for a total of fifty-five Electors. Wyoming receives a single Elector for their sole Representatives plus two for their Senators for a total of three Electors. This allots greater representation per person for Wyoming over California by a ratio over five-to-one and it is this type of disparity which causes many to loathe the system. The reason the Founding Fathers went with this seemingly convoluted system was identical to the reason for a bicameral Congress with one side, the House of Representatives, set by population thus favoring the larger states and the other side, the Senate, with two per state providing the states themselves with equal representation regardless of population size or land mass. The Founding Fathers realized that should they have permitted straight democracy that this would have produced mass rule, followed soon by mob rule and then collapse as had every democracy throughout history, and they desired building a nation which would be more stable. The main difference came about when the House of Representatives ceased being based on one Representative per set number of people to a set cap of four-hundred-thirty-five Representatives and the States receiving a minimum of one Representative and the remainder allotted proportionally. This also capped the Electors in the Electoral College at five-hundred-thirty-eight once Washington D.C. was allotted three Electors despite not having any actual representation in the Congress.

 

NBC News Final Electoral College Election 2016 Map

NBC News Final Electoral College Election 2016 Map

 

Next we need talk about the polling data being so skewed throughout the campaign and only closing in the final thirty-six hours though the lead did narrow slowly before the rush to even the night before Election Day. There are numerous claims as to why the polls consistently favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. One claim was that their intent was to press the idea that Trump could not win, period. This would, in theory, berate Trump supporters with so much bad news wearing them down such that they would give up and not bother to vote. The problem with this tactic is the vast number of Trump voters fell into two main categories, those who believed that a President Trump was the answer to America’s woes and those who were voting to emphasize their view that America was failing them and its Constitution. The first group was true believers with many voting for their first time despite having been registered for years. This was evidenced by the record number of voters in Republican primary elections. These people would have walked over burning embers to have voted Trump just as Hillary Clinton’s true believers were voting for her no matter what. The second group was making their voice heard loud and clear as they had a message for America and thus were determined to vote. A majority of Trump voters were with him at the start when he was one amongst seventeen and stayed the course. The third group of Trump supporters was the “stop the Hildabeast” and would stop at almost nothing to prevent the catastrophic consequences of Hillary Clinton being coronated President. Trump was not their choice, he was their life raft and these people were highly motivated to vote but were also motivated not to tell pollsters the truth about their vote choice. There was a minimum number of people who were pulling the Trump lever in the voting booth who were not firmly entrenched in the ranks of Trump supporters though for many a varied and different reason but were all there for the whole four quarters and would have remained just as committed should the race have gone into sudden-death overtime, which it came close to doing.

 

Then there is the fact that the media is skewed to the left end of the political spectrum. When one considers that Fox News is touted, even victimized cast as a reactionary, right-wing, extremist, conservative to the point of reactionary news station where every anchor and host must prove their ultra-conservative bonafides in order to get in the door, then it becomes obvious that the remainder of the news is far more liberal and even leftist by comparison. What then pushes the rest of the news syndicates even further left is this definition of every and any-body of note at Fox News is, by definition, ultra-pure reactionary-conservative which presumably includes, wait, wait, wait for it, Chris Wallace (see image below). As per the link, Chris Wallace worked at ABC News for 14 years where he served as the senior correspondent for Primetime Thursday and a substitute host for Nightline. Before that Chris Wallace served a NBC’s Chief White House correspondent from 1982-1989. Chris Wallace moderated Meet the Press from 1987-1988. Chris Wallace also anchored the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News from 1982-1984 and 1986-1987. Chris Wallace began his career with NBC at WNBC-TV (NBC 4) in New York in 1975. Chris Wallace is, at the most extreme of his leaning right, a moderate of impeccable discernment. Fox News is considered to be so far to the right because the rest of the news groups live with the academics in unassailable Ivory Towers found only in the extreme leftward climes. Fox News is to the right of almost all news services with the exception of CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) and a few select others and many on-line commentators most of whom have their following and limited audiences. Like in all things political, it is all relative to where you yourself choose to stand. Us, well, we stand so far off to the outside that we fall Beyond the Cusp.

 

Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace

 

Meanwhile, let’s get back to the election. Donald Trump did win, so stop pinching yourself. Hillary Clinton gave an honest and worthy concession speech in which she expressed her hopes that though she was not fated to break that glass ceiling, that perhaps one of her many supporters, possibly one in the hall listening as she spoke, would be the woman to break through shattering that glass ceiling once and for all. Trump was gracious as well in his victory comment where he praised Hillary Clinton for her determined and high pressure campaign which had pushed him to strive and become a better person in response. Trump thanked and congratulated the Republican candidates and politicians who backed him for their support. He thanked Dr. Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, his family including parents, brother, his other brother who has passed on, his wife, children and so on and thanked a number of workers he noted in the crowd. He was the real Donald Trump, the Donald who stops and talks with the guys digging the ditches at a construction site and the carpenters, brick layers, crane operators all before, after and even during holding higher level talks with the foremen, supervisor and engineers. This is one trait which makes the Donald who he is and why so many speak so highly of him, he actually takes the time to recognize everyone and give all a piece of the praise and credit. We will need to wait and see how this translates to the insular nature of the Presidency and life in a bubble, a very nice bubble, but a big white mansion style bubble called, remarkably, the White House. One thing for sure, being President is far more challenging than running for President and we are about to watch a capable man try and meet the biggest challenge of his life and starting out with two outs, man on second base, a three balls two strike count down five runs in the top of the third inning. It will be vital to equip himself with a top notch team as he cannot, nor would we here at Beyond the Cusp wish, run the effort almost singlehandedly. His pick for running mate showed good judgement and was wise but it will have to wait for more trust, let alone praise, to be lauded upon Donald Trump. He will have an excellent chance to prove his metal right out of the box filling the huge gaping hole left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court bench. This selection will act as an initial window to Trump’s soul, an entity which was called into suspect early on by some stalwarts of the Republican Party. Should this choice not fully measure, up these suspicions are very likely to reappear and do so very quickly.

 

The main Cabinet appointments will come at the State Department, Secretary of Defense, Education Secretary and United Nations Ambassador. For this last office returning John Bolton, should he decide to be available, would be a strong start. Rudy Giuliani would be a strong choice for any high profile position but might be best used to either lead the deconstruction of the Department of Education returning virtually all power down as locally as possible and keep almost nothing in Washington D.C. which could save many a school system as they would be liberated to spend all their time on teaching and none on meeting testing requirements, indoctrinations ordered from Washington and meeting near endless paperwork requiring additional staff who are not in any manner connected to teaching. They simply document compliances and send the forms to their school district, county, city, state, Washington D.C. and file copies with the office, every vice Principle, the Principle(s), Advisors, required teachers, required parents and whomever and whatever else is demanded. Some of these forms are actually daily reports and that is what many school systems have become, report generators which produce endless streams of paperwork and uneducated graduates whose school years are documented thus presumed productive. Donald Trump’s choice on who leads the Veterans Administration will be carefully watched as will any changes which are implemented. Here is another place where paperwork takes precedent over actual work. Hopefully Donald Trump will be able to bring a fair number of real administrators and managers from the real world into government positions where they can do some real good for the government and its ability to serve the people. Needless to go further than to simply say his appointments will speak very loudly and hopefully be armed with Teddy Roosevelt style big sticks. Tell the truth, not only do the people of the United States await Donald Trump’s important appointments’ names, but many around the world are also waiting to see who he is able and desires for top spots, especially his inner circle which includes but may not be limited to the Foreign Affairs Advisor, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Security Advisor, Joint Chiefs of Staff amongst others. What will be another indicator is who a President Trump calls to the White House from the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as who, if any, he invites from the Democrat side of Congress. These choices could prove to be greatly tactical as it may establish who a President Trump feels will best work with him on his agenda.

 

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

 

In conclusion, it will be educational once we start to see the choices Donald Trump makes officially sending to the Senate for their review and vote and those he keeps close under his vest and does not seek the Senate’s approval. Will a President Trump continue the underhanded and unethical practice of having “Czars” who actually perform an identical function as the Secretary over a department who the Senate passed review such that the President had two advisors for all too many departments and the actual Secretary was often left out of the loop and the Czar would actually run the show dictating policy and decisions to the actual Secretary serving the Cabinet. This was simply the means President Obama appointed some controversial people granting them the power equal or higher than the Cabinet Secretary while avoiding Senatorial oversite as per the Constitution. Ending this practice and setting up even a Constitutional Amendment which would define people with certain powers and responsibilities regardless of their title requiring Congressional oversight and be vetted and approved by the Senate as does any other appointee with such powers. Such a move might not prevent a future President from acting in a similar manner but it will empower Congress to then act having the Constitutional leverage to do so. Remember that the first hundred days often set the tone between a President and the Congress, people, national leaders and the world in general. Trump’s initial steps in the Middle East and North Africa will reveal his true foreign policy outlook. The man will be walking into the middle of a forest surrounded by swampland with an angry beehive just over his shoulder and a bear coming for the honeycomb sure to disturb the hive. It will likely be a dark and threatening sky with a hard rain approaching and tornado sirens blaring in all directions. Welcome to happy old Washington D.C. where this is the standard start of a day with a bright outlook and do not ask how a bad day starts, just hope you never find out but as a hint, it usually follows a night where you did not sleep and will be making a speech to the nation the coming night to explain that which you are not totally sure you understand, but make that speech and speak of the solution and whatever you do, do not let them see you sweat and make sure you are dressed appropriate to the news and pray that you get to sleep more than three hours the next night. Mr. President; President Trump, welcome to the world where real people play the game of risk with real wars full of intrigue and always an unknown factor lurks just beyond the cusp out of view arising only at the worst possible time, and we have not even spoken about the media. Media has a single rule you must always remember, they are not your friend, your buddy or somebody you should ever trust because you are the biggest story they have even if they need make up two thirds, they will do so thus be ever vigilant when speaking and they are visible as that places them within hearing that one-third out of which they can manufacture a scandal, and they get paid to do just that. Good Luck and may Heaven assist and guide you throughout your Presidency.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

 

October 26, 2013

Transforming America

One of the mantras used by President Obama during his first Hope and Change campaign was that he would basically transform America. He claimed that he would make the United States Constitution into a promise of positive liberties instead of a document of negative liberties which tied the hands of government instead of forcing government to act. President Obama did not likely realize this at the time but he was simply following in the footsteps of the majority of former Presidents, he was just more vocal and moved the ball across the field of play faster and further than most. There was a reason why the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in such a manner as to strictly define those powers allowed to the Federal Government and then adding in Amendment IX that the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. In addition the Founding Fathers went even further in the next with Amendment X restraining the Federal Government exclaiming that 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. One trait of governance that the Founding Fathers knew all too well was the inclination for government to desire to grow in scope, size, power, and control. Having government do more is an easy task, just don’t oppose it and government will acquire new powers and simply continue to gather more power to itself hoarding everything it takes in and never relenting on powers assumed. My bet is President Obama knew this and was counting on there being no resistance allowing him to grow government through including goodies in the form of giveaways spread to varied and different groups such that everybody would feel like they were getting something for nothing. That is where President Obama may have gone too far as he awakened within an otherwise normally quiet group the spark of preserving that which they vaguely, some more so than others, the warnings from the Founding Fathers and other notable Constitutionalists from throughout American history. Probably one of the most pessimistic predictions came from the same pen that wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson who has been quoted, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

 

Another statement from President Obama was noting that people from every nation believes their home country to be exceptional and that American exceptionalism is no different than British or French or any other nation’s exceptionalism. There is much truth in that statement from President Obama as his actions in remaking the United States such that should he complete what he envisions for the United States, the United States would be indistinguishable from any European nation and would fit perfectly within the European Union and could just as readily adopt the Euro and drop the dollar. This would very probably be seen as a great stride forward by President Obama though there are a fair number of Americans who would recoil in horror from just the thought of such. Already the United States has approached the European national average for unemployment, is currently installing what will eventually become a single payer government run healthcare system, expect it to be sooner rather than later, and there are record numbers of people collecting a wide variety of Federal Government monetary payouts from numerous programs and the workforce has dropped to one of the lowest percentages of eligible workers in modern history. In foreign policy President Obama has gone to great lengths to make the United States as unremarkable as possible. He has almost completely lost any influence or other gains that may have been the result from the Afghan and Iraq wars by completely mishandling the peace efforts resulting in Iraq becoming just another arm under Iranian control and being used by Iran as a friendly skies and highways for funneling weapons and IRGC troops to Bashir al-Assad in Syria. Meanwhile the Taliban has become resurgent in Afghanistan while al-Qaeda has turned much of Iraq into a bomb range setting off car and truck bombs as well as suicide bombers detonating themselves often in police stations or at checkpoints making the position of Iraqi policeman an extremely dangerous position. The violence has risen to levels not seen since before the surge, which should have resulted in victory had the peace been handled more competently. The coup de grâce to the United States reputation of being the turn to nation and the exceptional friend in times of need came in two parts, the first in Benghazi and the second over the Red Line and Syria. In both cases the inability of the United States to either back their own and rescue men fighting valiantly for hours and still not receiving any relief or reinforcement despite numerous assets within close proximity was a disgrace that reflected badly on American armed forces despite that the real collapse was from somewhere much higher and the American servicemen and servicewomen were prevented from responding despite their readiness and willingness. Whomever originated the stand-down order should be shamed as well as tried for crimes against the nation and those who died valiantly trying to protect others as well as themselves and the American honor. The debacle that was the lack of response, direction, clarity, or any definition would be the response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. In what should have been a ready response already been assigned to special forces units who would have then planned, practiced, and trained for every conceivable contingency just needing the go order to response as President Obama had threatened instead turned into the Keystone Cops meet the Three Stooges except nowhere near as amusing. The inaction, dithering, lack of leadership, and apparent vacuum of leadership from the very top was an embarrassment especially when Russian President Putin of all people had to ride to President Obama’s rescue. There was sufficient egg on Uncle Sam’s face to feed an entire battalion breakfast. The entire affair was a complete embarrassment period.

 

There is some good news that I saved to end. Much of what has dragged the United States down off her pedestal, a place she has earned numerous times by aiding and rescuing others and then giving them a helping hand in rebuilding or rescue or whatever the need without asking for anything in return has been the responsibility of the lack of honest leadership in the White House. When the United States elects a President who has it as their main effort to restore the reputation of the United States, then she will once again climb back on that pedestal. It is as the Carlie Daniels Band says it in their song, “In America”, “This lady may have stumbled but she ain’t never fell.” There have been times in American history when isolationism has been the policy and politics of the day but when the world needed a savior the United States always has awakened and saved the free world. The one hope is that the United States has recovered before the world comes calling to be saved another time. There is little doubt that the American people will be ready even if that day comes tomorrow and even if the leaders of the nation would prefer to sleep through and not respond, the people will make the final choice. What many do not realize is the greatness of the United States does not lie with the day-to-day leadership but rather it lies in the leadership, philosophies, and radical ideals upon which she was founded. Never before or since in the history of man has a more enlightened, knowledgeable, wise, and able group of people come together to form a nation based on the guarantee of human and individual rights, the noble nature and creation of the human being, freedoms, liberties and faith that there is a higher source which defines goodness and provides guidance for behaviors which allow for the betterment of the human condition. The Founding Fathers wrote the documents upon which America was built and that foundation was strong and can still be resurrected and applied today. The magic is that they wrote the entirety of these documents in what was plain language of the day and is easily understood still in modern times. They used a great efficiency of words, something our current politicians should learn to emulate and have no more multiple thousands of pages legislation written in legalese codes. Perhaps we can limit all future legislation to being in total less words than used in the Declarations of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights combined. I wonder if the long winded fools currently in Congress could manage such a task, and I know there are a select few who do not fit that description, but it is unfortunately a select few and not the majority. That is the electorates’ fault and something that would require an educated and involved electorate which I have no idea how such can be brought forth. But there is always hope, but always ask what the change is when somebody links hopes to change.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 13, 2013

President Obama and the United States Constitution

President Obama has made his disdain for the United States Constitution well known. He complained before his first term as United States President in an interview on Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ FM in 2001 that the United States “Constitution is a charter of negative liberties” and not of positive liberties. He further explained that the Constitution “says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.” Keep in mind that this interpretation comes from a man who as a Professor taught courses in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, so he presumably knew what he was talking about and understood the reasons the Constitution was crafted in the manner of limiting government. Apparently Professor Obama, and we can assume President Obama, vehemently disagree with the founding fathers and their vision of limited government allowing for maximum freedoms and liberties for the people. So, perhaps we should look into the consequences of President Obama’s view of positive liberties against the founder’s ideals of negative liberties, or more accurately compare President Obama’s view of empowering government against the founder’s ideas of empowering the people.

First we will summarize the philosophies behind the founding fathers Constitutional limitations on government and how that impacts the people. The founders were strong believers in the ability of man’s capability for self-rule without having to rely on having to be ruled by their supposed betters. They were also mostly strongly religious and this enhanced their view as mankind as a noble being different from the animals and having a divine spark, a divine spirit. They believed that the Creator gave man life and with life certain rights which could not be denied by government or other men if society was to be free and have maximum liberty. As such they placed mankind above government and judged government as being a necessary evil which was best when kept as powerless as possible. Government was to only be permitted to wield those powers requested and permitted by the people. Even then, the layers of government were to have limited power by making each layer removed from the people dependent on the next closer level for its powers. Thus the people requested and allowed a set of powers to be transferred to government at the most local level which then assumed these powers and would also be tasked with adjudicating differences between contesting individuals. This local level of government would in turn permit some of these powers which were beyond their capabilities to be granted to the next level of government along with the adjudication of differences between any competing local governments. This level of the government then passed along those powers beyond their scope to the next level which also adjudicated any contentions of the lower governments. This continued until the least amount of power would be vested in the Federal Government which also adjudicated between the State Governments. Any adjudication could potentially have a judgment appealed to the next higher authority until reaching the final level of adjudications, the Supreme Court. The founders believed that all power comes from the Creator and the most powerful entity was the individual. This also implied that the individual along with the most freedoms and liberties also carried the most responsibilities. Thus, the higher up the government tree one climbs, the lesser powers relegated to each governmental level until reaching the Federal Government which would have the least power and the greatest restrictions on its powers and responsibilities of adjudication. Thus, under the United States Constitution the people are to be vested with maximum powers being permitted all responsibilities, abilities, powers and decisions with the minimal exception as listed within the Constitution. The best description was probably framed within the Bill of Rights, more specifically the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment reads:
“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.”

President Obama does not believe that the government should be limited in its powers but instead believes that the government should dole out limited powers, responsibilities and options to the people while retaining maximum control at the highest levels. President Obama believes that the Constitution should empower government and dictate what it is that the government is required to perform for the people. This results in the government deciding what rights it is willing to remit to the people and what privileges it will grant to the people. As a result, the people only receive the privileges which the government determines they may be allowed and any power thus vested with the people may also be taken back by the government at their slightest whim. In President Obama’s world, the people are only granted the rights and responsibilities which the government determines or believes they are capable of while the remainder of power is retained by the government. Furthermore, the Federal Government also determines what responsibilities and powers the States are permitted who in turn decide the same for local government with the final determination of what the people are allowed granted at the local level. Since government passes down the powers, rights, responsibilities and all functions in life with strict limitations retaining the bulk of available oversights and control with itself at every level, the people are basically power starved.

The difference between the United States Constitution and President Obama’s ideas of governance are stark and somewhat counter-intuitive. When President Obama speaks about his disdain for the limitations of the constitution, he speaks that he believes that people would have more power if instead of limiting government the constitution should insist that government perform expressed function for the people. Despite intuition might have one believing that if government is commanded to provide enumerated functions for the people that the people will have more privileges and rights, the United States Constitution actually grants the people far greater flexibility, rights, powers, liberties, and responsibilities. Where President Obama’s idea of government permitting certain services to the people as demanded does allow for the people not to have to assume many, if any, responsibilities as that remains with the government as they are granting items while retaining the real control. With the Constitution written by the founding fathers begins by leaving all responsibilities with the people and as such also gives all powers, freedoms, liberties, and abilities also with the people and the people decide that which they will permit the government to possess. So, if you desire to be responsible for your own actions and taking care of your own needs and expressing yourself however you please while standing by your words, then the United States Constitution was designed for such as you. But if you wish to have all decisions and consequences taken care of by a greater power that gives you that which it decides is in your best interest and requires minimal responsibilities or efforts from you, then you would love President Obama’s world of unlimited government granting you, the people, what is best for you, well, actually granting you what is best for government.

Beyond the Cusp

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