Beyond the Cusp

September 21, 2017

A Tale of Two Speeches

 

There were two very marked changes in the speeches given before the United Nations General Assembly at the annual opening ceremonies. The speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was quieter and less bellicose. He gave recognition and thanks to the numerous leaders of the nations who visited Israel, many marking the first visit by their country’s leaders to the Jewish State. He also gave thanks to those nations he had visited on six continents, also many for the first time for an Israeli Prime Minister including to South America. Prime Minister Netanyahu also commended the United Nations for taking a more balanced view and positions on Israel and to the President of the General Assembly for their parts in this new enlightened set of views. The Prime Minister still had some harsher comments for the Iranian leadership and a not so veiled threat for the Grand Ayatollah concerning their nuclear, missile technologies, and their interferences on the Israeli border along with their sponsorship of terrorism. There were the specific acts of United Nations agencies such as UNESCO who received special note for ludicrous ignorance of history with their naming of Jewish Biblical sites as not belonging to the Jews but instead to the Palestinian entity and added that perhaps people might look to and read a best selling book on Amazon, the Bible. Still, all-in-all, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a more upbeat speech where probably the most meaningful comment was his praise for the speech given by President Trump quoted below.


“Thanks to President Trump’s unequivocal support for Israel in this body, that positive change is gathering force. So, thank you, President Trump. Thank you for supporting Israel at the UN. And thank you for your support, Ambassador Nikki Haley. Thank you for speaking the truth about Israel.
But, ladies and gentlemen, here at the UN, we must also speak the truth about Iran, as President Trump did so powerfully this morning. Now, you know I’ve been ambassador to the UN and I’m a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today.
President Trump rightly called the nuclear deal with Iran, he called it an embarrassment. Well, I couldn’t agree with him more. And here’s why: Iran vows to destroy my country every day, including by its chief of staff the other day. Iran is conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East and Iran is developing ballistic missiles to threaten the entire world.”

 

 

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

 

The other speech, which was a marked change from those of the past decade, was the speech given by United States President Trump. The President spoke long and large about the pro-active approach the United States could entertain should the problem spots in the world continue to grow in the threats they posed. These were not so much threats to the United States, though that was also mentioned, but threats to the wellbeing of the people these governments were tasked with providing and protecting. President Trump summarily denounced socialism and communism as failed policies stating, “wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.” President Trump will be called out and has already been denounced for ignoring the sovereignty of other nations. Some from the leadership of these nations will surely have pointed and vicious responses to the comments made by the President. In particular, President Trump called out the Cuban government, the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, and Kim Jong-un in North Korea of whom the President cautioned was facing, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” The President went on to warn and congratulate in his conclusion on North Korea stating, “It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved.”
The President denounced Iran with a strong warning as well with the below statement.


“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people.
Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors. This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran’s people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.
We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. (Applause.) The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.
It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors, and imprison political reformers.”

 

The main thing left, other than waiting for all the caterwauling by their opposing media critics for both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, is their, as their critics will claim, unmitigated, awful and dangerously threatening speeches, which were cowardly and overflowing with unrestrained flattery and threats to depose sovereign national governments. We are aware that the above statement has mutually irreconcilable contradictions but so will the media depending on which critique one reads and about which speech. All of these and more will be levelled as criticisms of both leaders who will have, of course, embarrassed themselves and their respective nations. There will be call to impeach the President and dissolve the coalition in the Knesset respectively. Personally, we loved both speeches and if we were to be critical, we might suggest that Prime Minister Netanyahu was too forgiving and spoke too softly but then he was attempting not to steal any thunder from President Trump’s earlier words. President Trump, on the other hand, was strong enough and direct enough and definitively announcing the era of a new sheriff in the free world willing and able to take out the trash. We might have asked that he have come up with other nicknames for the other leaders to add to the calling of Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man” so the media would have had a larger target upon which to concentrate and sound all the more unhinged. We will also join those waiting for Elton John to demand that President Trump cease using his song title in such a mean-spirited manner and insist on an apology. About Elton John should he desire an apology, we advise he not hold his breath on that one.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 11, 2017

Nobody Expects the Iconoclast Inquisition

 

The final showdown is coming and it has been a long time building. The United States citizenry can be divided along any number of lines, men and women, children and adults, wealthy and economically challenged, dog owners and cat owners, Democrats and Republicans and almost countless other means. None of the divisions is more marked than religious and irreligious. There are a large number of Americans who are somewhat religious with some more so than others. But we are speaking about the extremes. Those who love their religion, attend their house of worship, have strong feelings, live by their religious dictates and believe in a higher influence be it a deity or simply a place or destinations for the truly enlightened as in some Eastern religions. The United States believes in the need and acceptance of religion so strongly that the First Amendment provides for freedom of religion with no interference from government. Here is the First Amendment in its entirety.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The text we are concerned with particularly is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This short phrase has been misinterpreted into the concept of building a wall between Church and State. We have discussed these phrases and ideas in detail in previous articles. We covered the structure of the First Amendment and that these concepts are divided into two components, the first being the “Establishment Clause” and the other being the “Exercise Clause” in Absolute Truth on the Wall Separating Church and State. We addressed the letter from which the phrase, “Separation of Church and State,” from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in “Separation of Church and State and the Jefferson Letter”. We will attempt to avoid rehashing these more than necessary. The main thing is that the First Amendment places a semipermeable membrane between government and religion. This membrane does not permit the government from influencing, restricting, requiring or otherwise attempting to influence or use religious tests in any manner as religion is to be free from any and all government meddling or influences. This membrane, on the other hand, permits religion to influence government and the enacting of laws and any or all other influences only restricted by the limitations placed on government. A religion cannot have the government give them any preference over other religions but can attempt to legislate moralities which agree with their concepts of morality. As an example, people of the Islamic faith may attempt to have laws enacted preventing alcohol consumption or to close the movie theaters. These same followers of Islam cannot have Sharia made the law of the land as it restricts the actions of other religions and the people who believe in them. Christians can attempt to pass laws restricting or forbidding abortions but they cannot pass a law requiring people attend services on Sunday, as not all faiths require service attendance on Sunday and there are those who do not even believe in any religion whatsoever.

 

First Amendment

First Amendment

 

The one thing that is stated in the First Amendment is that the government may not require that a person follow any particular religion to be appointed to a position nor can they deny a position because somebody may follow any religion. When it comes to religious belief or the lack thereof, the government must remain blind. That is for all positions within the government. That means that should there be a Quaker who is on the list to be eligible to be promoted to General, his religion and its aversion to war cannot be considered a disqualifying criteria for his promotion. Granted that is a condition which would be unlikely, but it makes the point. But we can present a recent case where the point is easily observed.

 

Notre Dame Law School Professor Amy Coney Barrett was recently nominated for a federal appeals court position. During her consideration and questioning, Senator Dick Durbin inquired of her, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? That was cleared up by Senator Dianne Feinstein who added to the conversation this gem, “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Ah, so one who is dogmatically Catholic is incapable of judging cases according to the law as the law is interpreted to be applied by the Congress and Supreme Court, is that the idea? I did not realize that Catholic doctrines forbade free thought. But wait, even if you are an ardent supporter of a woman’s right to control over her own body, a euphemism for pro-abortion, and believe that Catholics are your most vicious enemies and must be withheld from position in the judiciary unless the world will fall into a chasm of darkness, we have another example from a while back.

 

Russell Vought was once merely a nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Now, allow us to be informative about the position. This is a division of the government, which has to do with accounting, adding, subtracting and on occasion multiplying, dividing, percentages but at no point advanced calculus or rocket science. There may be estimates within budgetary and economic formulations, which are well established. So, during the hearings for Russell Vought, Senator Bernie Sanders pressed on an article written by Russell Vought decrying the supposition that everyone worships the same God. He claimed that this all too often used criteria was incorrect as the only means for salvations and having one’s soul be allowed to ascend to heaven was through the savior, Jesus Christ. This, according to Senator Sanders, was indicative of Islamophobia, an obvious thought crime. This led Senator Bernie Sanders, this irreligious Jew who has no great love of Israel, to the next obvious question, “What about Jews? Do they stand condemned, too?” So this man for his religious beliefs is now an Islamophobe and an anti-Semite according to our most irreverent Senator Sanders and thus he must be incapable of doing math and using the tools of economics and accounting.

 

So, now we all must realize that Catholics cannot interpret laws fairly and they are incapable of the simple mathematics used in accounting and are incapable of applying economic theories. One can only wonder what are some of the other religious limitations of the numerous religions. Wait; perhaps the problem is following any religion, that must be the problem. We need remember Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was queried by Senator Patrick Leahy, “Would the president have the authority to ban all Jews from America? Or all people that come from Israel? Would that be an easy question?” Senator Orin Hatch asked Neil Gorsuch, “Is it fair to say that the court’s decision in Hobby Lobby and your concurring opinion upheld this purpose and, in doing so, actually defended the unpopular and promoted religious tolerance?” Gorsuch was eventually confirmed so he must have handled the questions well enough, as they were not as far astray as the initial examples, especially for appointment to the OMB.

 

The law written as the First Amendment was questioned during ratification hearings in a number of states where their immediate problem with the law was it gave equal religious rights to such as Jews, Muslims and even heathens or barbarians who had stranger religions even than do the Jews and Muslims. These concerns were eventually quelled with the explanation that all religions had to qualify if the law was to hold any true meaning, even those that some may not particularly find as acceptable as they view their own as there probably are those who would question their religious rights believing their religion to be heretic. The absoluteness of the first Amendment is for the removal of government from having any restrictions on religion of any sort. On the other hand, it does restrict any religion from using the power of the government to gain position or advantage over any other religion or to degrade the universal rights of all religions to be practiced to the point that they would impinge on other religions. These are the absolutes of the First Amendment. The more or less defined and fuzzy areas are how far any religion can go in regard to influence on the government. As far as any position, religion cannot be used to prevent a person from serving as long as they do not misuse their power. If, let us say a person from some little known religion, we will call it Ipsolen, were appointed to a Federal Court. Their religious beliefs from their Ipsolen faith could not be used to keep them from serving. But let us sat that under the beliefs of Ipsolen other faiths were forbidden from permitting a member of the Ipsolen faith from taking things they needed without asking. Should this person as a judge apply this concept and thus find a fellow Ipsolen follower not guilty of theft on grounds that to do so would be to deny them their right to follow their religion, he could likely be brought up on charges for impeachment, though that would be a bit harsh. The use of his religious belief to supercede the law would be an impeachable offense and might get him disbarred. Fortunately, such problems will more often be revealed long before somebody is nominated to any of our higher courts and if a rare case comes up, there is always impeachment.

 

On impeachment, one item we need to understand, anyone can be impeached for any reason because the reason does not actually matter. In the case of President Trump, let us argue he was brought up for impeachment before the House of Representatives with the charge being incompetent and mental health issues. The House of Representatives voted with a simple majority to impeach President Trump on exactly those charges of being incompetent and mental health issues. That is sufficient to send it over to the Senate where appointed members from the House of Representatives present the case. After all has been said and done, the Senate votes and if a two-thirds majority votes to convict, that is it, the President is impeached. The charges are irrelevant as what it actually takes is a majority in the House of Representatives and a two-thirds vote of the Senate and that would impeach the President or anyone on any position brought up on charges and put through the system. If one side can get a majority of the Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate behind an impeachment, then nothing could prevent that exact result and they could claim he was chewing gum during some presumed important event and still impeach. This is the one thing that is not understood by many arguing whether this or that or the other is a justifiable case for impeachment, anything can be the justifiable case for impeachment. That is the reality, so anti-Trumpers, your work is cut out for you.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 29, 2017

The War Against Conservatism Begins

 

The war against Conservatism and all things right of center, and possibly even left of center, has begun but where will it end? Recently the August 16, 2017 “MTP Daily” show and the August 20, 2017 “Meet the Press” program, author Mark Bray, who wrote a book about Antifa was featured. Bray argues that, “Nazism and fascism was not stopped by polite dialogue and reasonable debate. It had to be stopped by force.” This led to the conclusion of the discussions to plead that violence is necessary. Apparently, if there exist people whose views do not correlate within the prescribed norms as defined by our masters in the media, academia, entertainment and the rest of the left leaning establishment to the extreme leftists, then they may be dismissed and are of little concern according to many of our political leaders. In all honesty, this struggle has been ongoing for much longer than many of us realize. Believe it or not, this did not begin with the election of President Trump, nor with President Obama, nor George W. Bush, nor William Jefferson Clinton, nor on an on for elected leadership back before even President John F. Kennedy, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and on and on back before President George Washington. This fight between the right and left goes back to Aristotle and possibly to King David and possibly even earlier than that. This struggle between the liberal left and the conservative right has been one of the basic contentions of humankind.

 

This argument was fought when the Israelites threw off slavery in Mitzraim (Egypt). The argument was seriously debated by the Greeks and in Rome it took the life of Caesar and led to numerous wars throughout the ages. The modern history of this struggle became to a pinnacle point on June 15, 1215, when King John of England signed the Magna Carta Libertatum (Medieval Latin for “Great Charter of the Liberties”), at Runnymede, granting limited shared power between the King and the major land owners of Britain. The struggle continued on through the American Revolution followed by the French Revolution, the second having less than stellar results. The next point of armed struggle in the United States was the Civil War and the resulting freeing of the slaves. There was some backsliding with the laws which resulted in returning many slaves to second-class status and this continued until the next great struggle of the Civil Rights movement. This was incorporated into the entire sixties peace movement and its related alternative lifestyles. Things appeared to come to a boil in the sixties as there were violent protests with the media, academia, entertainment and the right leaning establishment to the radical right conservatives who desired to take things back to the “good old days,” a term which was very loosely defined if defined at all. Over the next forty to fifty years, there has been a changing of the guard and a shift in positions on many subjects. In the sixties, the left were the Libertarian leaning side who supported limited government and individuality while the right believed that society needed regulations and laws in order to prevent chaos, crime and immorality. That was then, but what about now?

 

Today the sides have changed in many ways. Instead of the establishment being right leaning, today the establishment leans left. The media, academia, entertainment today are all left leaning or even reaching into the far left. The right is in favor of less government and individualism while the left believes that government must take charge and clear all of the societal ills. Simply put, the sides and power have shifted and as the power used to be with the right, it now lies with the left. Things were nice and quiet and running smoothly whenever the left, the Democrats, were in the White House and thus holding ultimate power over the government as the President can prevent anything the left considers backsliding from their agenda. While President Clinton was in office, the fight was fairly civil. While George W. Bush was in the White House, things were less civil but still could be considered civilized though there was much consternation over the initial results against Al Gore and the debacle in Florida. Then came President Obama and things were reported as being the most unbelievably wonderful of all administrations. The economy was reported to be in constant and steady, if slow, recovery. Problems were minimal and the problems with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would be worked out and it would be the most successful healthcare innovation since the invention of penicillin.

 

Then came the election for the successor to President Obama and the campaign was running smoothly and with precise and perfect precision according to all mainstream media reports. Hillary Clinton was the presupposed and inevitable winner and was to be coronated President after the election. As the election came closer, the numbers began to close together, something which always happens, so nobody took any real note, as Hillary could not lose to the ignorant and offensive Donald Trump. Every newspaper from the large cities touted their polls of their readership and they showed Hillary with double-digit leads. Every major city around the nation, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Washington D.C. all ran headlines right up to a day or two before Election Day giving Hillary Clinton a comfortable lead. The night before the election the lead narrowed to a point where some began to doubt the polling and some even claimed that Donald Trump could actually win. Well, they were correct and we now have President Trump and the left who believed with every fiber of their being that Hillary Clinton could not lose went completely off the deep end. Since the election of President Trump there has been a concerted effort to destroy him and open warfare has been declared by the leftists. We see it regularly and where it will lead cannot be predicted, but we know what they demand, the return of power to the left and its protectors as they feel the left are the only people who have the right to lead.

 

Blame Game Starring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Blame Game Starring
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

 

The open conflict between the left and the right was coming to a boil long before Charlottesville and making it appear as that was the start was simply another deception. The left uses the media to define everything to their means and way of thinking. They insist that only the left has any answers to the challenges which the nation faces. They claim that the right is full of racists and people angry and filled with hatred and thus are unfit for leadership. The left claim to be all about compassion but apparently they feel that only those who agree with their programs and principles are worthy of receiving that compassion. There are many on the left who are wonderful people and they are willing to compromise and work with those on the right who also will compromise. Then there are those on the far left which are most often labeled as leftists who take a position that should their compatriots on the left not be in power then violence is the answer. They would riot and take offense at any and every perceived offence and were the ones who came ready to fight with the alt-right in Charlottesville. Since Election Night, there have been continuous streams of points which have been called pivotal focal points which they have blamed the right, or the alt-right, for taking things to a new level and; in each of these, the levels of the conflict have been escalated. Friendships have been destroyed, marriages have broken up, families torn asunder and business partners broken apart as the escalations have grown to the point that civil society is now close to being threatened. Where this will lead is becoming painfully apparent, as there will be no peace for as long as the Republicans hold the White House. Actually, that is not entirely honest as there are rumors of a plan being put in motion which would permit a Republican in the White House with certain concessions being made.

 

Everyone has seen that the Republican core old guard all are pretty much against President Trump almost as much as are the Democrats. Their leader has been Senator John McCain. But there are rumors this core of Republicans has decided to join with the Democrats and rid the United States of this upstart and irresponsible person sitting in the White House. There are rumors that some have been promised leadership in the new government while others have been promised campaign funding or other monetary enticements. The one rumor which is the most disheartening has been the one which places Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan siding with the Democrats to form a new union. This has all the beautiful aroma of the coming of some Republicans switching parties or forming a dual party coalition to rule as a new consensus party of left-leaning and leftist Democrats and Republicans who will run claiming to be mainstream members of their respective parties but would legislate and control the Congress and White House all while attempting to keep their agreement from the people. They would act out their arguments while voting as to their agreed mission. The worst of the rumors claim that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has joined an effort which will result in his becoming President. The idea is preposterous, but according to the rumors, the intent is to impeach President Trump. One may inquire as to under what pretense and charges. Well, the charges do not matter, any pretense which results in a majority of the Representatives on the House bringing a charge and two thirds of the Senate finding for guilt and the President is impeached. The charge could be mentally unsuited for office, the current thread being pursued replacing the Russian conspiracy and alt-right ties. Anybody with any knowledge of American governance will point out the small inconvenience, that once President Trump would be impeached, then Vice President Pence would take office, not the Speaker of the House. This is where many call this rumored concept of convincing Speaker of the House Ryan that he would be placed in the Presidency would fall apart, but wait, the conspiracy theorists have this covered as well. They agree that Vice President Pence would take over and be President, temporarily. They have already come up with an idea for the next step, impeachment of President Pence. They claim that they can get him on his inability to separate religion from his office and as we “all know,” there is this “wall separating Church and State.” Well, actually, there is only a wall separating State from Church but none separating the Church from State as religious beliefs are perfectly permitted in politics. But as we pointed out previously, the charges do not matter, it is the votes which count. But would not Pence on becoming President get to appoint a new Vice President? Then that person would become President next even if Pence were impeached. Hold on there cowpoke, the new President gets to nominate a new Vice President upon taking office and they are not granted the office until the Senate approves their nomination. If the Congress can refuse to approve any nominee for Vice President and impeach President Pence before such nominee has been approved, then the third in succession becomes President, Speaker of the House Ryan.

 

As long as we are going down the rabbit hole, we see another outcome where these Republicans would be left out completely and it is really simple. All the Democrats need do is take their time on the impeachment of President Trump, continue once that has been accomplished to prevent any new Vice President being approved and have charges be leveled against President Pence and then wait for the 2018 elections. Then if they take the House of Representatives they can appoint their own Speaker of the House, and if Hillary Clinton would run for a House Seat in a solidly bluer than blue district and thus become a member of the House of Representatives, they could make Hillary Speaker and then convict Pence thus impeaching him and placing Hillary Clinton into the chair they claim was stolen from her. As long as we are talking craziness, why not go completely down the rabbit hole.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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