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

 

April 28, 2016

It’s Final and It’s Clinton and Trump

 

Sure it is still possible for Cruz/Kasich or Bernie Sanders to steal the limelight with the teaming up of Cruz/Kasich to temporarily stop Trump or for Bernie to turn the world on its head and win the nomination outright, but pigs have a better chance of flying. So we may as well face it that the United States election will place a criminal against an egotistical buffoon. Such a choice will likely produce the smallest turnout for a Presidential election in American history with over half the eligible voters blowing off the election out of sheer disinterest. The election will be won by whichever of the two candidates sickens their base less than the other. Call it the election where large portions will be voting for the one that makes them less ill. The question must seriously be looked at as to what each Presidency would look like and what the world can expect.

 

Hillary will quite likely be the more predictable of the two as she will be a true leftist performing exactly as advertised. She will continue to spend on social issues taking it from the military. She will cut the NASA budget and we will hear repeatedly about the billions of dollars going to NASA and how such expenditures cannot be justified when the social issues are so dire. She will raise taxes even further on businesses forcing even more companies to flee from what will be an even more oppressive atmosphere. Amnesty for illegal immigrants will be a given and will include a number of millions additional from the troubled Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The flood gates will open for Syrian, Afghani, Iraqi, Libyan, and who knows where else from the failing MENA nations and will be brought in as Europe refuses to accept millions of these immigrants and their nations of origin will disavow them leaving them as people without a country until Hillary rides to their rescue. All financing will be returned to Planned Parenthood. All this and more will result if Hillary has a democratic Congress, especially if they remake the rules preventing filibusters in the Senate by requiring a mere majority vote for cloture as was enacted early in President Obama’s first term.

 

Clinton vs Trump

Clinton vs Trump

 

There will also be a push towards raising the minimum wage above $12.00 and eventually up to $15.00 an hour. This will speed up the automation of fast food service centers, calling such a restaurant would be a stretch. The first company amongst the burger giants to come out with a completely automated service and retrieval and cleaning using robotic servers and cleaning robotic units, especially if they appear humanoid but still obviously robotic to avoid that gulch where they are too humanlike but just enough off to be spooky. We believe the term for such robots are they are in the Uncanny Valley where they freak people out and make them uncomfortable. Unemployment will skyrocket along with the minimum wage hike as more and more jobs simply disappear either through automation of certain sectors of industry or simply fleeing to Asia and other places of lower production costs.

 

There will be pressure by the green movement to tighten pollution standards and a strong push to tax gasoline internal combustion engine vehicles to higher prices making electric vehicles more attractive. Expect a European style carburetor tax or even cylinder tax with a tax based on number of cylinders where production of a car has such a tax pushing the prices skyward. Gasoline taxes will also push gas to European levels or higher. Expect a mileage tax to be levied with GPS mileage tracking systems required on all cars including retrofitting older vehicles. If such a requirement makes keeping your old vehicle on the road too expensive to install the GPS mileage tracking system, enjoy walking or the bus. Automated trucking with self-driving vehicles will become more common. This too might also be another item built into the GPS mileage tracking where every vehicle signals its GPS location, direction and speed which can be read by the automated vehicles to assist them in driving decisions. Such systems could also automate speeding tickets as your speed would be recorded at all times and exceeding the speed limit could result in an automated system sending you a ticket for each violation. Who needs speed cameras when the vehicle itself can turn itself in for speed violations? Cities might even enact car free zones where vehicles are forbidden forcing people to use mass transit. All this and more could be a result of a Hillary Clinton Presidency.

 

Donald Trump will be far more difficult to predict as it will depend largely on whom he appoints as his Cabinet and advisors. The biggest danger of a Trump Presidency would be if his policies become unpredictable, especially in economic programs. Should he start one set of economic programs and after five or six months not have the results he desired so he changes the game and again every four to six months then investors will sit on their money as such a game would become too risky and they would turn into risk adverse investors placing their investments in predictable sectors or overseas. Trump might react to pressures from ecology lobbies and make some concessions and it would depend on which as to the effect. CAFÉ standards might be increased demanding higher MPG ratings for vehicles. Taxes on businesses would likely be lowered which would be a positive; and minimum wage, where it may be raised, would not approach $15.00 which would permit for lower unemployment numbers.

 

Certain advances are going to be unavoidable. The driverless automated trucks are coming and there is no preventing that short of making them illegal, not going to happen. Mileage taxes will be levied by the individual states even if not done by the Federal Government. Requiring GPS reporting mileage and possibly constant recording and reporting trip data to the government is coming and will be used to try and force driverless vehicles to replace human drivers even before the technology is perfected, though it is very close, which is why it will be unavoidable. Trump might actually listen to the car manufacturers and allow for hydrogen powered vehicles as an alternative to electric cars. What the ecology lobby does not want people to know is that electric cars do little to lessen pollution and just change the location of the pollution as charging the electric cars requires greater output by power plants most of which burn fossil fuels with extra demand making up for the pollution presumably not produced by driving gasoline powered vehicles. The hydrogen powered vehicles exhaust is water vapor and its main pollution is thermal as the exhaust is in the form of steam predominantly. Perhaps some system could be installed which would permit some degree of condensation before release into the atmosphere, but the efficiency of such a system would need to be proven before any great claims could be made.

 

The area where either a Trump or a Clinton Presidency would be most in doubt would be foreign policy. Hillary might be more willing to intervene militarily and then leave too quickly after declaring job accomplished which may or may not be a better policy providing the parties understand that intervention remains an option if things are not improved after any regime change. Another Libyan style disaster would serve nobody. Trump, on the other hand, is a complete unknown and the sole plus is that as a complete unknown and with his reputation as being somewhat unstable and capable of flying off the handle, other nations might be tempered in their desires to test a President Trump. There will always be at least one foreign country which will test any new President and how they react to such a test can set the mood for the remainder of their term. After the Bay of Pigs disaster Khrushchev tested President Kennedy by shipping nuclear capable missiles into Cuba sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis and the rest is history. Needless to say there were no more tests after President Kennedy literally blockaded Cuba and prevented any additional missile deliveries and demanded the removal of those already in place. Things got a good deal quieter after that faceoff.

 

What will be the test for the incoming President? We predict it would likely come via the situation in what used to be Syria and potentially Iraq and could be either from Russia or Islamic State. There is the already existing threat in the South China Sea with the Chinese literally building and arming islands right in the heart of the existing sea lanes forcing shipping to detour adding hundreds of miles to the routes between Japan and Asia as they need to circumnavigate around these Chinese newly-fashioned and militarized islands. These also could be utilized to prevent any reinforcement in a timely manner of Taiwan should China finally attempt to make good on their standing threat to restore their province which they claim Taiwan actually should be. Then there is the challenge which is sure to be presented by Iran as they continue to flaunt their disregard for any limitations presumably set by the Iran deal which likely was simply an agreement that Iran not announce or test a nuclear weapon until after President Obama has set off for golfing and placing his Presidential Library between the ninth hole and tenth tee next to the clubhouse on his Presidential Golf Course. Foreign challenges are always an area where second guessing is commonplace as nobody can predict everything accurately as there is always that surprise awaiting around every corner. The one predictable item is foreign powers are less likely to challenge Trump than they are Clinton. That might be a very seriously bad mistake, period. Hillary Clinton could be their worst nightmare if she was having a bad hair day when they pushed her; she could be far more vicious and unpredictable than Trump could ever be. Trump, though potentially unpredictable, would at least be relatively logical even if that logic might be unfathomable to some. Hillary Clinton would be simply terrifying should she feel threatened or being made a fool of or made to appear hesitant and weak as she would be more likely to overreact to any situation and press it to unnecessary levels or even use overwhelming force where a strong show of force without pulling the trigger was all that was necessary to end the threat peacefully. We have far more trepidation when it comes to Hillary over Donald when it comes to foreign threats despite both being unpredictable. No matter which wins there will be no telling the results until either has settled in and the initial actions and reactions have been initiated.

 

The final item is Israel. Trump will depend on who his advisors are on foreign policy, but we believe he will be more even handed and accommodating regarding Israel once he is made fully appreciative of the situation. Trump will need to weigh what the Pentagon and Defense Department give him and what the State Department tells him. With such conflicting information, he will necessarily have to choose and hopefully will have visited Israel and talked to both sides and gotten his measure of the land. Hillary Clinton will likely make President Obama appear to have been a supporter of Israel and best of friends with Prime Minister Netanyahu. We already are fully aware of the lack of good relations between Bibi and Hillary and the special hate she holds for Israel. Expect the chill between Israel and the United States to become an ice age under Hillary with no possible thaw and open threats to become commonplace from the White House to Jerusalem. There will be nobody to answer the calls from Hillary as her animosity is well known in Israel and she will manage to even alienate the Israeli left within the first year of her screeching demands for Israel to surrender completely to Abbas. Any dealing with Hillary by Israel would be suicidal. Trump may initially be an unknown but would at least not enter the situation convinced of their preconceived notions as Hillary would be, and she would be completely anti-Israel no matter what lies she told AIPAC.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 4, 2014

Border Incursion End Game

With all the conflicts burning down the Middle East, if you are not an American or one of the tens of thousands of parents who shipped your child off to a potentially horrific experienced which you hoped would at least result to their having a better life in the United States, then perhaps you have missed the crisis on the border, as many have referred to it. A quick rehash of the story is that on the belief that once any child manages to get north of the United States southern border they are home free and will automatically be granted citizenship in the United States. There is only one small problem with this; it is not actually true. There are no laws on the books which would lead to these children being permitted to remain in the United States. The truth be told, should the law actually be applied, always a questionable result when it comes to illegal immigration and the United States, then these children have a return flight to their nation of origin in their immediate future. Rounding out the picture, as we try to bring it all into focus, the future of these children are still up in the air as in Washington they have become pawns in yet the latest rendition of how porous is our border where the Democrats argue for an inclusive approach where all are welcomed provided they will likely make solid supporters of the Democrat Party and the Republicans are for allowing the majority to stay as long as they can receive some guarantees to secure the border on which they can place their claims to a victory. So, other than the children, who have already lost all sense of an ordinary life and many have been molested and mistreated during their journey north adding to their traumas, which of the many sides are going to gain the upper hand, the Democrats whom simply desire to keep the border porous, the conservative citizens groups protesting for closing and securing the border and thereby reinstating a national identity which they feel is under assault, or the Republican leadership whose only worry is how they can return home and tell their constituents how they have secured the border and that there will be a new fence with all the technological sensors and other systems closing the border. Some of the more mature voters will have a strong feeling of déjà vu.

One has to question how many times the Congress can play this same game and still have the American public believe a word they say. Those who claim that the legislation they approved while providing those who qualify a path to citizenship, deporting those who fail to meet the reputed stringent qualifications, then the border security will be fortified with some hundreds of miles of new double fencing which will be independently inspected assuring its completion as specified within the next year or eighteen month timeframe. If this sounds at all familiar, it is because it pretty much is. This was similar to the solution where amnesty for a limited number of illegal immigrants who met qualifications was granted and a border fence and additional Border Patrol Officers were to be deployed in the near future which President Reagan agreed to sign actually believing that the postdated future security requirements would be built and manned as proposed. Somehow the security provisions were initially postponed and later were amended and amended until they because toothless and all but useless. This scenario has been repeated at least twice since then and the sole border security which has proven functional and effective has been the double fence deterrence built on the southern border adjacent to San Diego which was built almost despite Federal Government assistance. So, what is the likely end scenario for the current children’s southern invasion?

Unfortunately for those who are expecting some form of actual border enforcement, that result is unlikely. Sure, there will be promises and guarantees written into whatever legislation, assuming any legislation is enacted, or actions taken unilaterally by the President and the Administration which will make for great sound bites but will produce nothing which will lessen the revolving door on the United States southern border. There might actually be a debate in Congress concerning what to do about the influx of tens of thousands of illegal aliens of which the majority are children, though some potential alarmists are pointing to the presence of gang members amongst the children being currently held in numerous camps. One of the tips of what is the preferred end result of the Administration is the policy where anybody who can claim relation to any of these illegal children and that the child claims to recognize, no paperwork, no muss, no fuss, they are given custody of the child and an immigration court appearance date and the new-made family is off to their next adventure. There have been rumors that the Immigrations and Naturalization Service (INS) has been instructed to turn over responsibility for the children held in camps to the Department of Health and Human Services, in particular the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), or more specifically the Unaccompanied Children’s Services (UCS), all of which are concerned with finding placement for the children in permanent homes just in case they might somehow not end up being deported back to their home country to be rejoined with their family. None of these events in and of themselves are a final determination that the children are to remain in the United States though it may be strong indicator. There are still numerous laws pertaining to immigration which still apply to these children and they should leave an easily followed paper trail, or at least a computerized trail on the separate agencies as they are passed from one to another or even after being placed, after all, nothing in the government gets accomplished until the paperwork is filled out in triplicate. What’s that you are screaming, Lois who? Lerner? OK, so the hard drives are not all that reliable as we have found out from the IRS scandal, but that excuse would not work again, or even be attempted as an excuse again, would it?

Still, there is another way that these children could remain in the United States completely legally. They can receive immunity from immigration law, amnesty from having broken immigration laws, or by some legalistic tricks and maneuvers be found guilty and ordered to be deported and receive a pardon intervening thus barring their punishment and allowing their being granted citizenship in the United States. There likely exist more legal shenanigans through which these children could largely be permitted to remain and become United States citizens and those who might oppose such would readily be castigated as cruel and hard hearted meanies. The real question now is not if these children will be allowed to stay, but who will be taking the credit for having the required empathy and kind heartedness to take the initiative and arrange a better life for these innocent little darlings. You can bet that a number of the younger and most photogenic of these children have already been selected for the television and print and internet news media reports which will be used to sell the program once it has been created. The most likely culprits are Congress followed by President Obama and the maze of Federal Departmental Agencies as the last resort. The battle which needs to be prepared for is what comes after these children have been given approval to remain and gifted with United States citizenship in the finest of American kindness and traditions. That battle will be to prevent in a few months after the events described above have become settled and accepted with all the protestations grown silent and the protesters returned to their normal lives and the campaign begins demanding the reunification of these children with their natural parents who need to be granted a path to citizenship to facilitate the reunification of the child with their biological parents. Trust that this is the final target that is being aimed at and for which this entire disaster is being perpetrated. Such a move will turn thirty thousand children into sixty thousand parents and fifty thousand children into one hundred thousand parents. These are the voters that are the potential pot of gold at the end of this twisted rainbow. These children will not be of voting age to benefit those currently in power and the one thing Congresspersons are not is patient. They do not care what the voting patterns these children potentially represent as such is way too far into the future. They are concerned with the next election or the one beyond that at the furthest in their futures. These children are the bait by which they can bring twice the number of otherwise illegal immigrants with virtually no chance of ever gaining citizenship a free entrance with all the bells, whistles and citizenship with voting rights anybody could ever dream of. That is the end game of the child invasion of the southern border of the United States.

Beyond the Cusp

 

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