Beyond the Cusp

November 7, 2012

President Obama Reelected

All night long Americans were laser focused on Ohio waiting for the decision to basically announce the eventual winner of the Presidential elections. There will be plenty of blame to pass around though none of the finger-pointing will serve any purpose beyond allowing venting of pent up frustrations. Now all that is left is to make the predictions of what President Obama being reelected means for the United States and the world. Who are the big winners and who will be the big losers will be bandied back and forth. I can safely claim that my vote made absolutely no actual difference as I do not live in one of the states where there was any doubt as to who would win the state’s Electoral College votes. So, what predictions can we foresee resulting from President Obama’s victorious reelection bid?

 

The most obvious result is that the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) will be enacted and everybody will finally fully realize exactly what is in the bill as was promised by then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would only happen once the bill was passed. We can expect the House of Representatives to be castigated by the President, Vice President, Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate, and much of the mainstream media for being obstructionist and confrontational when the Republican majority there does not pass legislation and other parts of the President’s agenda. With the Democrats retaining their majority in the Senate we can expect there to be the same budget standoff as has existed for the past three years and there will likely not be an actual budget passed until after the midterm elections at the earliest if at all for the rest of President Obama’s time in office. The emergency forced budget cuts will very likely be allowed to take effect as there will be no agreement in time to avoid what will prove to be a catastrophic result. These cuts will have critical and possibly devastating effect on the United States military preparedness and abilities. The Supreme Court will be transformed from its current perceived conservative leaning into a much more strongly liberal as President Obama will very likely get to appoint three and possibly four Supreme Court Justices with at least two of the Justices replaced will be from the conservative end of the Court. There is a group of conservatives who will actually gain fiscally despite their steady delivery of doom and gloom, the conservative talk show broadcasters. The economy will likely continue to slowly make meager gains and will be touted as a steady, controlled building under the intelligent and steady leadership and stewardship of President Obama. We can expect a few months of liberal “told you so” bragging from some of the more liberal elites. But what about the expectations abroad?

 

There is a distinct possibility that there will be an attempt to sign on to a treaty which will heavily curtail firearms sales if not also ownership either with the United Nations or with a foreign country likely Mexico which had been the likely intent behind the Fast and Furious fiasco. There is a much higher chance that when the Palestinians seek a declaration recognizing them as a country with the 1949 Armistice Lines (the Green Line also known as the 1967 Lines) as the recognized border through the United Nations that the United States will not apply their veto and instead simply abstain allowing it to pass the Security Council. Should this come to pass, then it can be expected that within the next year or two that the Palestinian Authority will be admitted into the United Nations with full membership as the nation of Palestine. Expect for direct negotiations to be announced with Iran and the United States over the Iranian nuclear program. These negotiations will likely result in an agreement which will allow for Iran to continue to produce fuel for their nuclear reactors and research in exchange for their guarantee that they will not produce any working nuclear weapons and submit to regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This will lead to an arms race with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and possibly other Middle East and North African nations and even a distinct probability of other developing nations all pursuing nuclear weapons due to their suspicions that Iran will still work to develop their own and because there will be no honest impediments to prevent the demise of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). Israel will face a unified international front opposing any thoughts of attempting to destroy or otherwise impede the Iranian nuclear program and they would have an arms embargo applied should they ignore these warnings and attack Iranian nuclear sites.

 

The Arab Spring, I mean Arab Winter, will expand in the near future with the monarchies being the next targets for replacement with “elected” governments which will simply be the venue utilized to put Islamist governments in place after the governments fall. Turkey will accelerate their slide to fall under Sharia as will Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and any new nations which will fall under Islamic influence. Some of the nations facing such a threat include but are not limited to Kenya, Nigeria, and Mali. Much of Afghanistan will return to Taliban control and Pakistan will come under control of Islamist extremists. Even if Bashir Assad falls, Syria will then come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. Lebanon very well may return to the violence of a civil war once Bashir Assad falls as Hezballah will not give up their control without a fight. Europe will continue to have a growing Muslim influence as their Muslim populations continue to increase. This will be further aggravated by financial difficulties for much of the European Union members which will eventually begin to drag down the nations who will be expected to carry the financial burdens of the entire EU. We could see the EU be dissolved as the financially stable countries refuse to continue to bail out the financially troubled nations, especially as the troubled countries elect governments which refuse to continue austerity measures, especially if riots and lawlessness continues to grow. This might be able to be avoided briefly should President Obama manage to find a method for the United States to assist Germany, France and whomever else are attempting to hold the European Union together. This would lead to another round of Quantitative Easing if the United States has not considerably increased the rate of their economic recovery. What will remain to be seen is whether or not the United States will be able to find a controlled way of siphoning off the large amounts of dollars that have been invented electronically to fund the Quantitative Easing which was used to bail out the different financial difficulties and attempt to soften the downturn of the economy. Failing to find such an avenue will spur steadily increasing inflation which will run a risk of becoming a runaway problem. This will require either raising interest rates, possibly considerably, or raising taxes or some combination of the two. Both of these actions will dampen the recovery which will then put pressure on the government to retreat from these measures. Any way one looks at this it presents a very difficult problem and some amount of fiscal pain will have to be suffered before everything will once again equal out and balance.

 

None of this is to say that reelecting President Obama was a mistake by the American electorate as it was nowhere near guaranteed that Mitt Romney would have presented a necessarily better alternative. A Romney Presidency would have taken a different approach more than likely but until we actually witness how the coming Obama Presidency handles and deals with these vexing problems we cannot definitively answer that question. One thing we can be assured is that there will be endless second guessing over these election results going forward. All the second guessing and what ifs will amount to nothing more than noise. No matter how many times going forward some will say if only or we should have it will not change what actually is and is a waste of time, effort and breath. Instead, those who spend time second guessing would serve everybody far better by attempting to work with what is and forget about what will not be. The choice has been made, the dye cast, the ballots counted (and likely some recounted) and the time for thinking of what else could have been done is passed. Now Americans need to work together with what is and make it be for the best and seek changes should they be your desire at the next election. Working to have President Obama fail hurts the country and should not be something anybody should desire. The course is set and we need to do what we can to guide the Ship of State through what is very likely going to be difficult waters full of jagged rocks, icebergs, and dangerous obstacles that would have menaced whoever won. It was President Obama and he cannot rule alone and will need to compromise and bend at least some amount if he is to reach agreements with the whole of the country. We can only hope for the best and pray we avoid the worst and be prepared to face whichever the future will hold.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 5, 2012

Final Comments on the American Elections

Well, the end is finally in sight. Tomorrow we vote and the horrific political ads cease, oh the relief. No more name calling and breathless gasping commentator asking if you trust so and so to be dog catcher of Smallberg after how his dog of over a decade met its final demise? Yes, that’s right, the candidate for dog catcher allowed his own dog to just die. They never mention that the dog was eighteen and had a long, healthy and happy life because that does not add to their alarmist name-calling. Sometimes I almost wish there were a law requiring all political ads to be positive and about the candidate you are supporting in order to make the candidates and their campaign inform the public on what their candidate offers instead of making wild accusations and distortions about the other candidates. My favorite story referring to negative campaigning was an ad which pointed out that the other candidate’s wife, who had belonged to the drama club and appeared in high school plays, was a thespian during her youth. This was claimed to have been in a campaign for sheriff and this ad was sufficient to get the candidate elected and defamed the opponent.

 

But on to the elections tomorrow. For the vast majority of American voters, tomorrow they will cast votes which, in the great scheme of things, will appear to have little effect. Unless one lives in what are referred to as the battle ground states where the results will be too close to predict the winner, your vote for President and Vice President will likely be either an affirmation of what was already a given or a plaintiff cry against the mainstream of your community. This, for example, applies to Wyoming where Mitt Romney is virtually guaranteed a win or to Oregon where President Obama is assured of victory. Also, in such areas where one party has a significant to enormous majority of registered voters in their camp, then the votes for the United States House of Representatives and Senate will likewise be a foregone conclusion and most votes will simply be a bellwether of possible changes that may emerge in the future and little else. The elections where each individual’s vote will be the most significant will be for state, county, city, school board, and local offices. These are actually some of the most important votes people will ever cast and they are often unfortunately cast simply by party all too often. These local people who get elected to their first public office may well be the same people in a number of years running for higher and higher office and may even eventually run for national office, the Presidency even. So, choose these people with care otherwise they may come back to haunt us all later down the road. My one piece of advice is when it comes to electing judges and other board and council members where you are simply required to vote whether or not to allow some person you likely know little if anything about may continue to hold a position, first try to find out ahead of time about their performance. If they have been anything short of laudable, then simply vote no and by doing so perchance cause a new person to be chosen to fill that position. My feelings is that if people are not giving an outstanding performance in their position that general word of mouth applauds their actions, then it is time to try somebody new. If this becomes the norm instead of the current near automatic reelection of all judges and other such appointees who are required to receive affirmation of the voters each election, then whomever hold such a position will try very hard to earn the general respect and become known for their performance instead of having people who simply avoid disasters in order to be allowed to anonymously continue to occupy space receiving your tax dollars. The citizens deserve only the best in every office.

 

Now, for those who are still undecided or willing to listen to some advice, here are some tips one more time. Many people are concerned about tax rates, abortion rights, same sex marriages, and other such hot button issues. Where they go wrong is they often decide on whom to choose for President on these issues. The President has but the slightest of influence on these issues and definitively does not have the first or last word on them. Every single domestic issue is first decided upon and formed into policies by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Until legislation is fashioned and passed by both sides of the Congress, the President can only express his opinion, just like everybody else. Even if after the Congress produces and passes a final legislative act and sends it to the President, his decision to ratify or veto the legislation is not the end of the trail necessarily. If the President passes the legislation, then it becomes law; but all too often the Congress and the President design legislation that delegates the enactment of regulations fleshing out the implications of the law to the bureaucracy and they fashion the particulars. This is why we need to impress upon our Representatives and Senators that it is our demand that they write complete legislation that states everything up front and not leave the interpretation and implementation to the unelected functionaries. When you vote to decide domestic issues, those votes should be made on the level of the Representatives and Senators that will make up the Congress as that is where such actions are stipulated and formulated.

 

So, what should be a determining factor in choosing the President? Where his domestic and economic overview is applicable, that is not the areas where the President has ultimate powers. Where the President has near unlimited power to sway and direct the country is in foreign policies. The President not only sets the tone and represents the United States to the world, he decides initially where and when our armed forces will be deployed and for what purpose. Even with the limitations of the War Powers Act that limits the Presidential power to deploy troops in harm’s way before the President must receive the consent of Congress, most Presidents are aware that they can likely push such limits with little fear of consequences. Impeachment is purposely extremely difficult to both indict and convict. The President is without equal on the international scene. The President appoints ambassadors to nations and the United Nations; emissaries; consulate chiefs; makes treaties even though they require Senatorial approval that is most often a formality; and virtually any other action between the United States and other nations and world bodies. The President sets the tone and disposition of the foreign policies and the intensity with which such points are enforced and/or pursued. Simply put, the President is the United States when it comes to foreign policy and is unrivaled in their influence abroad. To choose a President for their domestic promises and not place their foreign policy proclivities foremost is pure folly. So, cast your vote for the candidate for President that you wish to be the face of the United States and the one who stands to gain the scorn, respect, fear, or affections of the rest of the world and choose Congress for everything else.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 3, 2012

My Crucial Difference of the Presidential Elective Choice

I have listened to all sorts of opinions, supposed critical points, and all sorts of angles on the Presidential choice the country will make next Tuesday and have yet to hear my concerns addressed. Perhaps I am that different or my main apprehension is that absurd or perhaps I am that far ahead of the curve and foretelling something most others have either overlooked or is simply beyond their perception. My problem was triggered by a vision, a promise, well, let’s call it what I perceived it to be, a threat made by President Obama at a campaign speech. President Obama was touting the stellar performance of General Motors and Chrysler as they have made their unprecedented comeback after they were saved by his bailout. OK, that is all water over the dam and money thrown good after bad. The next comment I have to include as it has such great humor potential. He then pointed out how General Motors, which he had saved from going out of business, had returned to be the leading car manufacturer and was even beating out Toyota. This speech was given approximately six weeks after the earthquake and tsunami had devastated Japan and completely shut down Toyota which would not reopen its production for about another month or so. Then came a proposition, actually more like a promise, that when reelected President Obama was looking forward to having government build similar relationships of semi-control over more companies and partner government and business for the benefit of both. That was likely one of the scariest things I have ever heard come out of an American politician’s mouth. There is a name for such a relationship between government and business when it becomes a generally applied model, it is called fascism.

 

Fascism is very close to communism with the difference that the government does not take ownership of all property, it allows the wealthy to retain their holdings as long as they follow the directives of the government. In a fascist system the government sets production quotas, decides what will be made and when it will be made. They presume to predict what the needs are of the people and they then prove that they were correct as the public actually does buy the items produced. Like one has a choice. If your refrigerator or car breaks, you need to replace it. If the government decides that all refrigerators will have an ice dispenser, a water dispenser, and two other dispenser for cold liquids, then that is the refrigerator that you will purchase. It is not that this is exactly what you wanted; it is simply that government decided what would be made available and you made the choice out of the limited available options provided by the manufacturer who makes what the government allows. With cars the limitations would be far worse, may I say Chevy Volt? The other limitation under a fascist system is that there is no room for innovations or invention. With the government controlling manufacturing, then there is no advantage to be innovative or inventive as there is no reward for doing such. These become a function of the government and that is another way of saying there will be no real advances or progress. The driving force for innovation and invention in a fascist system is absolutely no different than it would be under communism, and we all likely remember the innovative cars produced by the Soviet Union.

 

Even if President Obama had been near to exemplary in his first term and had performed above and beyond any expectations I would have for a successful President, this idea would put sufficient fight in my mind as to make supporting him impossible. I probably cannot communicate to anyone who does not see the harm in government and business being in such a partnership exactly how foreboding this idea really is. I honestly fear that Mitt Romney might also hold that a partnering of government with business, particularly manufacturing, would not be an anathema. Should he take any moves towards initiating such coordination of government and industry or business in general and I will be writing articles denouncing such actions just as fervently as I am able. Thus far, from what I have heard, Mr. Romney has not proposed any government business partnerships and will hopefully go in an opposite direction and remove government from meddling in business in any manner. I would even gladly support the removal of all taxation on businesses and would view such as a tax break for each and every one of the people. The real truth is that if the manufacturer pays a fifty cents tax on an item, the real cost to them is likely closer to fifty-five cents if not more. That extra nickel of tax will cost the purchaser of the item, after all the markups along the way, closer to a dollar than it is to that original nickel. All this aside, just the idea that President Obama sees the partnering of business with government and allowing government to guide and have any real control over businesses, especially manufacturing, is about as frightening as anything in politics gets.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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