Beyond the Cusp

August 18, 2015

Parliament and Assembly of Experts

 

Nobody is asking President Obama or Secretary of State Kerry what the United States is going to do once Russia, China, European Union, United Nation and the rest of the world have all already dropped their sanctions and are ready to deal and Iran rejects the deal, what is next? Surely the Iranians know that it is business as usual as soon as a signing date has been suggested for officially lifting all sanctions making Iran officially open for business. There will not be any manner or way the P5+1, United Nations or other entity will be capable of putting the cork back in the bottle and keeping the Djinni trapped inside; it will have been free and its bargain time opening Iran for business. All Iran need do is coast with all signs being that their Parliament and Assembly of Experts all approving the deal with each level having a smaller and smaller majority where at the second highest level of governance, the Assembly of Experts, a group of Imams and Mullahs who are tasked with the most important of tasks, appointing Supreme Leaders when necessitated and advising the current Supreme Leader. With the public image of Iran all reportedly approving the Nuclear Deal and even the United States straggling in after the political theater has run its course, the only individual who will have held decisive commentary will be the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

 

Whereas the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had commented being not that thrilled with the deal and potentially disapproving the deal, he still will have not given his final word. The morning of the signing is at hand and it is scheduled to be the pinnacle event at the opening of the General Assembly opening ceremonies. This event is so big that it has totally eclipsed the Palestinian annual demand for statehood, even the nuclear deal has its bonuses, and the Presidents and Prime Minister from all six nations which made up the P5+1 negotiations. This includes Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron, Premier of China Li Keqiang, President of France François Hollande, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, President of the United States Barack Obama, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani are all gathered for the events in New York City at the United Nations building at Turtle Bay and it is just minutes away from the final signing of the deal. The speeches have been given and the leaders all are ready to sign the official treaty. One by one they sign the document each attempting to look and appear regal while signing the treaty placed approximately at hip level while standing before the wide podium holding the treaty. Only two signatures remain, President Barack Obama’s and President Hassan Rouhani’s. President Obama steps up and signs the treaty then makes his way to the speaker’s podium and gives a brief few words about the momentous occasion and the promising future this document promises, unusual for the President, and finishes his speech signaling to his Iranian counterpart and states, ‘With the signature of this treaty Iran will reenter the community of nations with the promise of cooperation, moderation and an outlook which will fill the world with hope, President Rouhani.’

 

President Obama entices the Iranian leader to approach and sign the treaty with a grand sweeping motion extending his arm with an open hand. Iranian President Rouhani steps up next to the President who steps back one step allowing the Iranian leader the microphone. President Rouhani’s speech is even more to the point and brief, ‘I am here today representing the people of Iran and the determined desires of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,’ President Rouhani then steps two steps to his left and deliberately bends and snatches the parchment from the signing podium and tears it in halves, then halves again and again and one last time in halves throwing the sixteen squared tears out onto the floor before a room filled with horrified leaders all at a loss for what just occurred. The tension is felt throughout the room, the fears felt around the world as they watch live on televisions and jaws drop as the Iranian President stalks from the room leaving a silence so deafening it would swallow any sound made anyway. Slowly the room of world leaders, diplomats and select media gather their wits. Cameramen turn their lenses to the anchor reporter assigned to cover this historic event and the anchors are still gathering their wits. Only Jon Stewart reacts spontaneously and immediately covering the event for the Comedy Channel who immediately blurts out, ‘Well, there goes Obama’s legacy, imagine that, his entire legacy lying on the floor in sixteen torn shreds of parchment that he fought Congress over as if it would matter, never mind!’

 

The reality is this is this situation is quite likely if one feels the pulse coming from Iran. There are demonstrations against the deal and many in the Parliament and other positions which merit coverage claiming that the deal is insulting and damages the Iranian image and that going through with the deal will simply humiliate Iran, something almost every Iranian would agree is not something at all desirable, though there might be as many reasons that could be seen as bad as there exist political outlooks, still all want their country seen as strong and reliable. The troubling signs in Iran is the higher one looks for clues across the numerous power structures. The vision as one climbs higher gets increasingly negative towards the Nuclear deal. Many in Iran view any limitations on their nuclear program as an insult and the demands for snap, invasive and unannounced inspections as mistrust and equates their leaders as being untrustworthy and calling everybody in Iran to be deceivers. There exists rejection for the nuclear deal in Iran coming largely from the most hardline politically and many of the university students who are of similar political ire being the leaders in the drive to reject the nuclear treaty. These divisions in Iranian society and the fact that the hardline politician and the most radicalized students are the ones being permitted to give voice to their feelings should be found to be quite revealing and perhaps as a portend of coming events.

 

There is another signal that all may not be going well with the political environment in Iran. Leading in these suspicions that we have been feeling here, goes beyond the rising angst as one climbs the power structures in Iran, is the recent announcement that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is claiming he will run again for the Presidency of Iran, or we wish we could call his political career, Achmed the Dead Terrorist for President. Simply make the required thought changes to the video below replacing Achmed or Achmed the Dead Terrorist with Ahmadinejad or Ahmadinejad for President, you get the idea. Perhaps Ahmadinejad could use some variant of Achmed the Dead Terrorist in a televised campaign ad, but then he might run afoul of the strictness police who would object to such humor.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, news reports are all focused like a laser on Washington D.C. and the debate as to whether the House or Representatives, a given by all accounts, and the Senate will pass a piece of legislation in an attempt to void the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Many are curious why this ‘agreement’ requires legislation to kill it and not a supermajority support in only the Senate to ratify it as the treaty it actually represents. Apparently the Constitution has been tossed aside for the remainder of President Obama’s time in office and may have been considered void by the Administration for some time now. Nobody is focused much on Iran despite the fact that they too are in the middle of an affirmation which actually depends on a single person and his general health both physical and mental on the morning set for the signing, which we have predicted for the opening ceremonies for the General Assembly and its 70th session which starts on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 and lasts until closing on Tuesday, October 6 2015. Since the United States Senate has until September 17, 2015 to decide on the legislation, assuming they pass the legislation negating the agreement, as expected, and the President in turn vetoes and sends it back, then we can bet that the United States very well may not have ended the discussions and votes before the signing ceremony, thus making two nations unannounced about their signing the Nuclear Agreement. Never mind what the United States Congress decides, President Obama will claim he is simply signing the agreement passed by the United Nations Security Council, which is the exact same agreement, and will be seen to be signing for the United States quite possibly despite the subsequent override of his veto if for no other reason than his presumptuous signing despite Congress still having to vote on their override. Such disrespect by the White House might be exactly what the opposition to the Iran Deal might need to use such insult and disregard to garner the likely five votes they will be short of override when passing the legislation in the Senate. It appears to be assumed that the House of Representatives will have sufficient votes to override any veto leaving only the Senate in question.

 

What will the United States Senate and the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei both do, approve or veto the Iran Nuclear Weapons Agreement? This may be all the proof that President Obama might need to equate those Senators and Representatives who vote to override his veto with the most hardline individual in Iran, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as both decided to reject the treaty for polar opposite reasons, but why would common sense and the motivation get in the way of a good lynching of President Obama’s opponents in the leftist and mainstream, but I repeat myself, media. One would have to wonder at this point, does the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei actually agree with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the agreement being a poor deal or is it possible for polar opposites to both refuse the same offering but for grandly different reasons?

 

 

Netanyahu and Khamenei face off while both mat end up being the two who opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal so precious and treasured by United States President Obama whose legacy depends on the success. What will follow should Iran refuse to ratify the deal and just walk away and likely soon thereafter quit the NPT, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

Netanyahu and Khamenei face off while both mat end up being the two who opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal so precious and treasured by United States President Obama whose legacy depends on the success. What will follow should Iran refuse to ratify the deal and just walk away and likely soon thereafter quit the NPT, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty?

 

 

What will follow should Iran refuse to ratify the deal and just walk away and likely soon thereafter quit the NPT, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty? Who could have ever believed that the two standout opponents of the Iran deal could be the two men pictured above? The world keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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February 1, 2015

Political Styles of Fancy, Function, Fantasy, and Far Futures

 

In case you just awoke with a ringing headache and returned from the woods to find your sleepy little town had grown exponentially and your house replaced by a strip mall and everyone when you told them your name queries where have you been, you were reported missing years ago and your tail includes dwarves bowling in the woodlands, the Republican money machine just won the midterm elections again. If such news is distressing, simply remember back to the last Presidential elections when it was rumored that the Democrat machine and money bought another Presidency for Barack Obama. Simply put, whichever side wins the election was the one which was bought by their big money contributors and political machinery. Have you ever bothered to stop and wonder what happened to the other side’s machine and money when they lost the latest round of elections? Do you really think that one side spent all the money one election cycle and in return allowed the other side to spend in the next election, something that an alien watching elections news coverage might be honestly trying to figure out. The truth is that they both spend about the same every election and the sore losers have to find some small factoid on which to blame their loss; as anybody who is, thinks, in the know, or however one defined reasoned and rational, which makes their political views the sole and superior choice, would most certainly have voted for their candidate allowing them to have won except for the illegal money spent by the other side, thanks to some loophole which must be closed immediately, and paid them to vote against their better knowledge or whatever. What is remarkable is that this line of thought is universal wherever people are fortunate enough to actually have governments chosen through proper elections where one’s votes are capable of affecting change in the government through legal elections; so be glad if after every election cycle there are those complaining that the other side bought the elections.

 

But what do we really mean when we claim the elections were bought? The phrase originates in times when buying an election actually meant buying an election by paying people to vote for a particular candidate. This was not a regular occurrence and was only feasible before there was the existence of a freestanding media which was not dependent upon the whims of the local governments. This slowly became the reality as the media started merging and coverages reached beyond a single city or borough thus beyond being owned by an interesting party or collection who were capable of owning the media in the same manner as they owned the politics as represented in old westerns where the people finally found an honest sheriff or entity who ended the evil cattle baron and his ranch hands who were all second rate gunslingers, most of which ended up dead by the end of the movie or left town after the Lone Ranger and Tonto road into town. There are stories whose validity is often questionable of elections where political bosses, whatever or whoever those amorphous entities might be, would give people a hundred dollars to vote for their candidate. There may even be people claiming such in elections today though such would be even more difficult to believe as even the most politically driven media would expose such. The truth is that even if you believe that FOX or SKY news is biased or that CNN or BBC are biased in the opposite direction, both sides are held to task and kept honest as whichever side which employed such boorish tactics would be revealed by the other side’s media thus the free press has ended any possibility of money for votes frauds. Despite this there are still claims that elections are bought, be it by the Koch brothers, George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. How is it possible for such claims to still exist?

 

Elections are bought the same exact way that everyday products sell their wares, an attractive advertising campaign. Basically the golden nugget in any campaign, political or otherwise, is a catchy phrase or concept which captivates the attentions of the public. In the 1950s the golden political nugget in Presidential campaigns was a catchy little slogan of “I Like Ike.” Call it the “Where’s the Beef” or the “Pause that Refreshes” of the political era. Of course it did also help that Eisenhower was also the man who defeated Hitler. Still, had General Douglas MacArthur run for political office, something feared by those thinking he might run on the other party’s ticket, there would have been a need for a different slogan though it would have fell to minds more inventive than mine to concoct such a slogan. Basically politics is the ability to influence people to support your candidate by making them appear to be the person of the hour or the solution to all society’s ills. In the United States the slogan of “Hope and Change” titillated the minds of the American public, especially the younger voters who turned out like never before. This was despite the fact that very few actually understood what the Hope was and what Changes it would incur. The secret was that “Hope and Change” allowed each individual to substitute whatever they desired for hope and thus define what the hope would change. If many of candidate Obama’s speeches are analyzed his definitions for hopes and changes were often amorphous and undefined allowing for those listening to still be able to define these terms to fit their desired outcome. Eventually such undefined terms become defined, and when they are defined through the actions and policies enacted by the politician who gets elected by such terminology, that becomes history which makes them rather difficult to alter going forward, something President Obama’s opposition is finding out as time passes in the United States.

 

Sometimes the election revolves around the personality where the candidate becomes the definition of the campaign and thus causing a cult of personality. This situation often results in a warping of the electoral processes and even an end to the electoral processes altogether. One example of such would have been Hitler who once he became Chancellor of Germany proceeded to consolidate all political power and became a dictatorial ruler ending the necessity for future elections. Another example of a cult of personality has been Russian leader Putin who has been Prime Minister or President of Russia where the real power of governance followed him from one office to the other and back again without anybody challenging his absorbing the right to rule no matter the office he held. With Russia hitting some difficult periods economically his future holding of power may hit a crucial test. It will remain to be seen how long Putin will remain in power and exactly how far he might be willing to go to retain power no matter the consequences.

 

Then there are the different forms of elected governments, the forms of democratic governance. There are Presidential systems where the President is chosen directly and the parliament or congress is elected separately. There are Parliamentary systems where the parliament is directly elected by voting for parties which present lists of candidates in lists to fill the slots depending on the numbers of positions they are awarded as their percentage of votes received and then the parliament has some system by which the Prime Minister is chosen to lead the coalition. There are also different forms of the elected house or houses of power. The United States has the House of Representatives and the Senate where the House of Representatives are elected with each state given their share of the four-hundred-thirty-five seats according to their population and the Senate is comprised of two positions per state. Then there is the parliament in many nations where the entire nation elects representation by voting for parties or there may be parliamentarian seats assigned to districts where individuals are elected. Parliaments can be unicameral, bicameral or possibility of any numbers of entities. Some parliamentary systems have two houses, one elected by individuals and the other by party lists. As for which form of democratic representation is superior is probably still being determined. The only thing we have established is a truth best put into words by Winston Churchill, a somewhat common situation here, where Winnie said, “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Who can argue with that?

 

Actually, that is where mankind has shown the prerogative to constantly believe that their new idea has to be better than the previous as it comes reflecting on all the errors and difficulties previous attempts by man had failed with their efforts. But the latest is not always the greatest and the old tried and true may prove to have been false in all manners except that as the old and true it was what had become comforting as it was known and accepted. The British once thought they had attained the ultimate in governance with the enacting of the Magna Carta as now the King’s power was no longer absolute and deigned as coming from G0d but to be bent by the advisings by the other men of position and stature, the barons from whence the power of the military was formed when the crown required defending against foreign foe. The United States believes they have struck the perfect balance between popularist governance and select governance of a wise body of the chosen; and they may have been correct but that will never be known as they perverted their governance with the passing of the Seventeenth Amendment (Amendment XVII) to the United States Constitution and established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. This removed the representation of the States themselves who had previously chosen their Senators through appointment by their elected bodies, some appointed by the governor and approved by the legislators while others were elected by the legislators. What was unnecessary about the Seventeenth Amendment was that the states were already empowered to choose their Senators by whatever means they saw as preferable which did not rule out their using direct elections had they believed such was to their advantage. But instead the Federal Government instigated the new requirement for Senators to be elected in a similar method as were the Representatives in the House. Some historians have posited that the Seventeenth Amendment was not properly ratified by sufficient numbers of states but was rushed and enacted despite this small problem as eventually sufficient states did ratify the amendment, just not within the time period set forth in the Constitution. Whatever the best form of governance, perhaps someday it will be found and when it is, my bet is the United Nations will be left to be wanting and hopefully dissolved and replaced with a body noble enough to realize its power should be wielded only responding to lengthy and tempered debate which has exhausted all avenues of investigation of alternatives and ramifications and then allowed for adjustments inspired by admissions of former inadequate thought which had seemed prudent at the initial time.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 30, 2012

In Israel the Idea of Early Elections is in the Air

With the first hint of a major disagreement breaking out between the two main party heads in the coalition over how to amend and replace the Tal Law and becoming public, it signals the beginning of egomaniac season with a parade of candidates all claiming to be the only leaders who can defeat Netanyahu, turn Israel back from the brink, reestablish sanity, all while healing the divisions and knowing the secret formula that will lead the Middle East into a new age of peace and cooperation which is inclusive of Israel as an accepted and equal partner. This always is an interesting period as we get to hear claims which range from simple statements promising only slight but necessary changes in direction that will, and the next few word are actually some of my favorites, establish a more equitable society closing the gap between the haves and the have nots while establishing a just and permanent peace with the Palestinians pulling Israel back from the brink of war and ending the vitriolic rhetoric of the present government. It never seems to matter that these were the exact same promises given by so many previous governments which were often replaced by the next government which also ran making these identical promises. At least this time the existing coalition which joined Netanyahu’s Likud and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party with a collection of smaller religious and nationalist parties had not made these promises in the last election cycle, so this time it actually is an offer of an honest and real alternative. The rallying cry in the last election was simply a choice of more of the same or a radical turn and move in an almost completely opposite political and philosophical direction. The choices were more hesitant and tentative governance with Tzipi Livni and Kadima or take the chance on strong governance based on action and nationalistic inspired outlook with little compromise. This may also be the actual choice again this time, but what are the alternatives to Netanyahu which will be offered by his opponents?

The new leader who replaced Tzipi Livni at the helm of Kadima, Shaul Mofaz has announced his intentions with the simple summation of the choices stating, “All the other parties, even Yisrael Beiteinu and Labor, do not have candidates for prime minister.” He gave the promise that, “We will rally all the forces in Kadima. The Israeli public will have to decide between an alternative government under my leadership and the option that Netanyahu will be prime minister for another four years without providing an answer to Israel’s urgent problems.” Now there is a solid statement full of sound and fury while saying absolutely nothing, a purely political statement made to sound strong without any commitment which might require one to actually deliver something.

Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich also announced her intentions to run to be the next Prime Minister with the promise that stated, “…after three years of Netanyahu’s government, Israel has reached unprecedented gaps between poverty and wealth.” She added that the current government gave Israel “…galloping erosion in the situation of the middle class…” along with “…an international record for employment of contract workers.”  It’s good to know that the Labor Party remains one of the unchanging stalwarts of the Israeli political landscape.

On the sidelines anticipating a coming election cycle we had a verbal confrontation break out at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York this past Sunday between Environment Minister Gilad Erdan and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan. The exchange came over Environment Minister Gilad Erdan comments condemning former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin who had said that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak are “messianic” and “unfit to hold the reins of power, and giving the public a false picture on the Iranian situation. The one item in the ensuing exchange I completely agreed with and believe is the best solution to this otherwise useless arguing, that they should all just join the list of those running to be Prime Minister and put all their abrasive and accessorial rhetoric to good use and settle this before the voting public.

Well, this is just the introductory period as we do not yet know if the Tal Law discussion will rip the ruling coalition apart. This would be the perfect subject as it potentially could place many of the nationalists who favor universal service in either the IDF or something in national service areas without any exceptions for Torah studying religious Jews nor for Arabs and Bedouins; total and complete universal service inclusive of every citizen. Of course the Arab and Religious parties are not so enthusiastic of this idea. I may as well go out on a limb and express my feelings. There could be a simple addition to the new service law to replace the Tal Law which makes one provision for those who desire to be exempt from any service to their country, to Israel. Anybody should be allowed to refuse service as long as they are also willing to surrender some of the other benefits of citizenship, in particular they would be denied working in any position which requires a security clearance, also forfeit the right to vote or hold public office, and be restricted to treatment at the level of a resident alien though they would not be required to have any special papers such as Visa or Passport to remain in Israel. Citizenship should have a price as well as the obvious privileges.

Beyond the Cusp

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