Beyond the Cusp

February 6, 2016

Iowa Results and Insights

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The biggest lesson we learned was that the media placed far too much emphasis on the caucuses. What we learned was that in cases where there was no definitive winner, then the entire choice would come down to a coin toss, how perfectly random. In the six instances where these rules were applied it was apparent that team Hillary got to call the coin-toss and call them they did. Apparently Bernie Sanders was perfectly happy to allow her team to call it, “Heads we win and Tails you lose.” And in six caucuses that appears to have been the call as Hillary either won each or Bernie lost, either way, Hillary went forth and declared a great victory while Bernie, being Bernie, claimed he and his supporters gave it a good fight and promised to continue the “Revolution” on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and beyond. When one looks beyond the primary delegates to the “Super Delegates” which are more or less decided by the Democrat Central Committee, one sees the reality of the delegate race as Hillary has 357, Bernie has 14 and O’Malley has 2 all going towards garnering the 2382 delegates needed to win.

 

We learned that Hillary can place way too much emphasis on her phantasmal ability or luck by her precinct chairs abilities to call coin tosses. Her grand claims of victory soon turned to sand in her mouth and she probably sputtered and spurted still insisting she had a mandate. Perhaps she was looking at the super delegate count which is made up of party hacks and people of whom Hillary had their FBI files on another server which was not used for State department e-mails but whose contents would be just as interesting to the voting public but has zero chance of ever seeing the light of day as it would be burned as soon as it was taken in as evidence. There are far too many people the files held there could damage and who have the power to destroy evidence just as well as Bill and Hill have proven capable. We also learned that Bernie has excited and tapped into an interesting voter group, the young and first time voters. Some of these first time voters have been of sufficient age to vote before but have now found their candidate. This is a large part of the voters eight years ago which propelled Obama into the White House and are just as likely to spoil Hillary’s last chance saloon and give her a really bad case of déja vu hiccups as she watches another upstart, this time a seventy-four year old hippie socialist who never let go of the dream from his college days, or is it daze? Should Bernie Sanders pull this off he will have proven that Hillary is fated to never grasp the golden ring in politics and Bill will never hear the end of how it was supposed to be hers but that Obama beat her and then Bernie the crazed lunatic stole it and it just was not fair. I guess nobody ever had the nerve or the suicidal tendencies to tell Hillary that life quite often is not fair. We learned also that Bernie had a solid and faithful following and that his challenge to the chosen one is real and very possible no matter how many delegates Bill can line up on Hillary’s side as in this day and age of the voters, as a collective intelligence, choose the candidates and the final elevations of a President. We also have seen the inside of the “Feel the Bern” generations and they are coming on strong and this might make Bernie Sanders the more electable Democrat and the real candidate the Republicans should fear facing.

 

The Republicans gave us a different message. The evangelicals, the Christian Right, was supposed to decide the Iowa vote and put one of two candidates on the short list for failure; they did not come through that way but have written the last swan song for Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz needed to corral, he is from Texas you know, the Evangelicals but he somehow lost about half the herd which left him limping into first place by a small margin, though it was a landslide by Hillary standards. Ted Cruz did do well as many had predicted claiming that the majority of the polling numbers for ‘The Donald’ (Donald Trump from here on) were mostly fictitious and when the time came to actually support a candidate, these polling numbers would prove to be a phantasm and disappear. Well, they actually did but not as far as predicted and Donald Trump has proven he is for real and will become a viable and potential winner should he start to actually express serious steps and reasons for his bombastic statements and clarify them into a reasonable platform people can stand behind. Ted Cruz, as wonderful as his supporters claim, will very likely fall flat in New Hampshire and rebound in South Carolina and Florida though it will remain to be seen if that is sufficient for him to remain in the race. After the caucuses in Nevada and Colorado it will be definitively decided who is the acceptable alternative to the establishment choice which appears currently to have fallen from Jeb Bush to Chris Christie to John Kasich and now on the Marco Rubio. Other than Cruz, Trump and Rubio who finished in close proximity to one-another, the rest should start taking stock of how much is this worth pursuing and what actually are your actual chances of emerging from the background in a positive manner. The media will ignore you until you make a mistake, and then they will crucify you until you fall on your sword; trust me, I’ve been there. For a good number, probably larger than those willing to vote for him, Ben Carson leaving will be heart-wrenching. We want so much to just once have the nice guy who refused to go negative and was an exemplary person whose life reads like a storybook where underprivileged youth from the worst part of town rise to prominence and was not only a success but also a solid positive force and contribution to society become Mr. Smith Goes to Washington except with a much happier result as he rises above the political machinery and does great and wonderful things lifting the nation by his inspirations. That would have been Ben Carson but perhaps this is better as the media have not torn him to shreds which would have come next had he shown he might succeed. The media will praise you to the hills and as soon as you start to succeed, partially due to their building you up, they will tear into you until you let out a personal secret, say that one time you lost your temper, we all have at least one such moment, and then that will become your defining moment as if nothing else you ever accomplished really made up for the momentary weakness when you were eight years old.

 

 

Mr. Carson Goes to Washington

Mr. Carson Goes to Washington

 

 

So the result in Iowa placed Ted Cruz momentarily in the cat bird seat with Donald Trump close behind and Marco Rubio in tightly behind Donald Trump. There being merely 8,500 votes between the three out of close to 175,000 they finished in a photo finish which their margins only looked large compared to the difference, or lack thereof, between the top Democrat candidates who basically resulted in a dead heat. The reality hopefully will become obvious to the three that for the race to be determined honestly then one of the non-establishment candidates will need to bow out if the other will have even a chance of taking the nomination. Should all three remain in the race and the contest continue to have similar results then there will be the definite possibility that at the Republican Convention there will be no definitive winner and as long as the three remain holding their delegates to their vote then there will be an arranged result which is basically a fixed convention where a candidate is chosen in some back room with some establishment and insiders making a choice and then bringing their golden boy forward and sweeping the convention as the party machinery steamrolls any opposition and presto, Jeb Bush is brought forward as the great hope of the party and we end up with the potentially lowest turnout election percentage in American history as we end up with that dreaded Clinton-Bush family rerun of the 1992 election without the drama or concern as the people show their disgust by staying home. Should this scenario become reality, then there need be a slight Constitutional Amendment making every Federal elected office have an additional choice at the bottom such that the people can demand better choices than the party line who has scratched the most backs and it is decided to reward them by making it their turn for the House of Representatives and then later the Senate and finally, for the real party hardliners, the Presidency by voting for “None of the Above” and if “None of the Above” receives the greatest plurality then the parties must find new candidates and a reelection will take place six weeks later, so they better choose well and somebody the people would rally to or they could face embarrassment after embarrassment and perhaps allow a primary if it is a Senate or House of Representatives for unaligned people to attempt to gain ballot access and allow the highest independent vote getter to also be on the ballot as it is doubtful such a person could do any worse in the performance than some of those currently in office. We really need to get better quality candidates and until the parties are forced to consider that they have to win over the people or face challenges from what are usually referred to as Joe-six-pack meaning it as a pejorative label when actually that may be a person who would do a far better job of representing the people with their being from amongst them. Still, there are the gems amongst a sea of party functionaries and the quality, or lack thereof, of the candidates on the average ballot simply proves George Washington correct when he claimed, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” Enough said.

 

We regret that nowhere in the conglomerate of offerings is there a single candidate with military service in their background. Some of the candidates I doubt could reduce their self-worth to a sufficient level to survive basic training nor would they know when to stand on principle and when to stand down as that is also something they test in basic training and for the select few who respond accordingly they offer them to attend OCS which is the one way that an enlisted man can become an officer, and maybe a gentleman. The world stage being what it is, we believe would be best served by somebody who has served and our first choice would be Lt. Col. Alan West.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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July 29, 2012

But It Can’t Happen Here in America

I was raised during the hay day for Reform Judaism in America. Everybody in the congregation were Democrats and the talk of the day was usually about the last rally or protest march the Rabbi had participated in and which other Civil Rights luminaries were also there. There was never any talk about anything of an uncomfortable nature as everybody basically agreed. The one issue which was universal was that in the modern world anti-Semitism was dead and buried, never to return and rear its ugly head. Unfortunately for me, I had heard disparaging words from some in my public junior high and high school who held great hatred for Jews and had been asked if I agreed with them. You see, I do not exactly look Jewish, whatever that means. But having blue eyes, blonde hair, well, back then it was, and a broad German nose, I was mistaken by some as likely to be from the fatherland and thus suspect of having “normal” proclivities including no fondness for Jews. In a way, I still see this as an advantage I have had as it allows me to see the world from a different perspective than most other Jews. Still, the principle I was raised under was that anti-Semitism died with the realization of the death camps and the horrors of the Holocaust, the Shoah, and were never to rise again. The world, we were told, had learned the lesson and would never repeat such horrors again. My other predisposition which made me out of sorts is that I held a lesser view of humankind than my altruistic optimists and knew deep down that history repeats itself and the history of the Jews taught that the one thing mankind had never learned was to accept the Jewish people. I believed the part in the Haggadah used for the Passover Seder where it says, “In every generation there are those who rise up against us.” I saw no reason that would change this little morsel of ancient wisdom and the world today bears this out.

There can be little doubt about the animosity and hatred seething within much of the Muslim world towards Israel and the Jews. All one needs do is peruse the translated news reports and speeches made throughout the Middle East and North African nations on MEMRI to find ample evidence proving the existence of anti-Semitism, some of it of the worst kind equal to that of the Nazis. But still there are a majority of Jews who live among populations where the Jews are a plurality or significant part of their communities and this has produced a false sense of safety and security for many Jews. This is particularly true of the assimilated Jews who feel they are an accepted and respected part of society. Maybe in the sectors of society where they live and circulate such is true, but not universally. Whenever you relate to these Jews who live in gilded Jewish ghettoes a case where pure unadulterated hatred and anti-Semitism has been revealed such as the placing of graffiti including swastikas, derogatory statements such as “Jews go home”, Hitler was Right”, “Judenfrei” or “Judenrein” on a synagogue or in a near uniformly Jewish neighborhood they will immediately deny the threat and dismiss it with it was the pranks of some hoodlum kids who did not know what they were even writing, it’s not to worry. I, unfortunately, have experienced different and have usually lived in neighborhoods where I am likely the only Jew living within miles. I have way too often in my life met people who upon hearing that I am Jewish are amazed and confess that I am the first Jew they have ever met, an experience most Jews will never have as they travel in carefully crafted sectors in society. So they continue blissfully unaware that trouble and hatreds are returning and this time they are possibly even a greater threat. But I am still assured in Synagogue that “It can never happen here, not in America.”

Another reason that most of my fellow Jews never hear of the anti-Semitism which is growing throughout the world is due to the sources of their news. Mostly they listen to NPR and read newspapers which veer way to the left and as such never discuss such things. They would never read any conservative news, even Jewish or Israeli conservative news sources such as Arutz Sheva. If they did, they might have read about the increase in the number and severity of graffiti attacks upon the Hareidim living in their communities in New York City. In the past six weeks there have been a consistent spate of such attacks with numerous swastikas being found two or three times a week spread in all sections of their neighborhoods. They would have read of some recent attacks upon these same religious Jews in their neighborhoods. They have heard of some of the worst and most violent attacks such as the one recently which murdered a Rabbi and three precious children gunned down in front of a Yeshiva in Toulouse, France or the suicide murder bombing of Israeli vacationers boarding their bus in Burgas, Bulgaria. Even these incidents of anti-Semitism they reduce to the actions of small and insignificant groups of militant Muslims who pose no real threat. The saddest part of the blind eyes so many of my fellow Jews turn towards this growing animosity and threat is how almost perfectly it follows the same exact statements, refutations, dismissals, and excuses which I have read were part and parcel of Jewish reactions to the changing political scene in Weimar Republic Germany. The Jews who were assimilated into what they saw as the most progressive society with high levels of education and apparently total acceptance of Jews in the circles in which they traveled who said things such as, “It can never happen here in Germany” and “We are accepted as a vital part in German society and are University professors, judges, and in every professional pursuits and we have never been more secure in a society in Jewish history.” That fell apart as the economy failed and we all know what came next. I am pained but can see it happening again, maybe not in the United States, not at first, but in Europe and the Middle East it is rushing forward like a runaway train and will not end well.

As far as the United States, let me retell two articles from this past week and supply you with a link to each in an Israeli news source. Needless to say, these stories were not widely covered in the liberal press my fellow Jews read so they likely missed these items. The first report tells of a seventy-five year old Jewish woman who lives in an apartment in Charleston, South Carolina. The article is titled, <a href= target=blank > “Jewish Woman Finds Swastikas Scrawled on Apartment.”</a> Estelle Whitney was born during WWII and remembers, as she told a local news station, “In order to go to preschool I had to wear a Jewish star pinned to my dress. I would say to my mom, I don’t want to wear this, even asking what is it. You don’t know what it is when you are three years old.” She was returning home from a brunch to find five swastikas scrawled on the walls of her apartment. They were obviously intended for her and drove her to wonder, as she pointed out, “Give me a reason you know, why do you hate me, what did I do to you?” She recalled that, “I was shaking like a leaf. I saw them from the corner of my eye right away. The swastika. I couldn’t believe it. My parents were Holocaust survivors, it really means a lot to me, this terrible thing.” Estelle Whitney was born in Paris, France where she saw more than her share of anti-Semitic hatreds and has lived in Charleston for over a decade without encountering such vile hatreds. She is shocked and worried and will likely not rest the same until those who committed this heinous act are caught and she is given some answers and assurances that such will not be repeated.

The second story is, believe it or not, even worse. It takes place in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania in Wayne County. The article is titled, ” Five Charged with Terrorizing Jewish Camp.” I will likely not do this story anywhere near the justice in supplying a complete description here, so please go and read the entire story, it is horrifying. These five human monsters perpetrated a multiple event over multiple days that instilled terror and life-threatening horror on a camp for children. Their initial harassment simply consisted of driving in circles at high speed in order to damage several sports fields on the grounds of Camp Bonim. In the next assault they targeted campers by firing a paint gun while at least one was heard to have shouted obscene racial slurs and told the Jewish campers, “I’m going to kill you, you (expletive) Jews” and “Go back where you came from.” The next attack occurred in the middle of the night including an attempt to run over a camper with their truck only missing by a few feet from potentially killing the child. The next day one of the perpetrators targeted a counselor from the camp who was in town outside a local store where he rammed him with his vehicle and broke his leg. All five have been caught and have confessed to at least some of the charges and will be held for trial. But, remember, it can’t happen here in America.

Beyond the Cusp

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