Beyond the Cusp

March 4, 2015

Reaction to Prime Minister Netanyahu Address to Congress

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The reactions to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday to the combined houses of Congress minus those who decided to hold their own BDS style boycott of the speech for purely political theater. The entire obsessive demonization of both Speaker of the House Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the reputed breaking with a protocol which was invented by some administration personnel in an emergency meeting called to come up with a message which could be utilized to change the subject from Iran getting nuclear weapons due to the reluctance of President Obama to simply reapply sanctions until Iran agrees to end all enrichment and disassemble their centrifuges to something which made President Obama into the victim of some nefarious plot. The real problem in the Iranian negotiations is President Obama has managed what was considered impossible; he has made it such that now Iran has the upper hand and they are fully aware of this as President Obama has erred and made it evident that he desires a deal no matter what it takes as long as President Obama has a signed deal with the Iranians for his posterity and if he can also get to reopen the United States Embassy he will be able to claim that just as Nixon and Kissinger brought China out from the darkness and into the light and acceptance of the world, President Obama wants to be the President who brought Iran out of the shadows and into the light and also to make them an ally and through them form an alliance with Iran as the hegemonic entity in the Middle East. President managed to take the situation where Iran was truly under unbearable pressures from the sanctions that they willingly came to the negotiation and were ready to make a deal until they realized when President Obama reacted to their entreats to relieve some of the sanctions by releasing the most egregious and onerous sanctions in exchange for nothing more than they allow President Obama to reach a deal and a guarantee of peace for a decade which grants President Obama with sufficient time to use such to establish his legacy as the great peacemaker who had saved the world. This overt willingness by President Obama to release the Iranian sanctions beyond even their wildest expectations was all they needed to realize that President Obama was so driven to get a treaty that they would not need to surrender anything and simply refuse to back off on any of their demands and the Americans were instructed to accede any contested item and simply move on. Since this realization the Iranians have stood their ground while Secretary of State Kerry simply folded acquiescing in point after point as the Iranians suspected so they are now steadfast in their position that they possess the stronger position and are making the best of it.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu started his speech as we had hoped, by praising President Obama and thanking the Administration for their assistance pointing out the assistances such as finances to help Israel produce additional Iron Dome batteries while not pointing out that such aid was predicated on Israel giving the software and schematics such that the United States would also be capable of producing the system for their use. He pointed to the thanks Israel owed American Presidents “from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.” The Prime Minister stated that the President had given Israel cover in the United Nations and had supported Israel in numerous areas which could not be named including sharing intelligence and other functions. Prime Minister Netanyahu also gave praise to Secretary of State Kerry and lavished praise on the Congress. The Prime Minister then stated that he never intended for his speech to cause such an uproar nor did he mean for it to become a partisan issue as Israel should retain its bipartisan support which it has always been. There was no reason for a thank you left out as he expressed gratitude for the assistance received when the Carmel fire as well as other emergencies plagued Israel.

 

When Prime Minister Netanyahu completed his charm offensive he wasted little time and explained the reason for the invitation and left no doubt about what he thought of the agreement in its current form. The Prime Minister used the coming Jewish celebration of Purim explaining that the Jewish People have a long history and that throughout that history they have had numerous evil acts and persecutions including one from Persia, the same lands which are today called Iran. He explained how two-thousand-five-hundred years ago the Jewish people faced a threat to murder every Jew in the Persian Empire which would have wiped out the Jewish People. He told that two people in particular prevented that catastrophe, Esther and Mordechai. He equated the similarity between his speaking out about the threat Iran poses today to the actions of Queen Esther speaking out when it was not appropriate to prevent a catastrophe from being enacted against the Jews and going against protocols and other protocols of politeness in order to sound the alarm and save the Jews from extinction. He gave the truth that Iran is the largest nation sponsoring terrorism and their tasking the IRGC with spreading their form of Islam in the world. Prime Minister Netanyahu described how Iran is spreading their sphere of influence and could soon control two choke points of the oil trade. These were the ones we had described more fully in our articles here and here. Netanyahu made a convincing argument of the threat Iran poses and explained the reasons Iran was assisting with the fighting against ISIS, that there is little difference between ISIS and Iran. He explained that both ISIS and Iran aimed to spread their version of Islam and conquer the world through Jihad, the only actual difference being Iran wants to make Shia Islam the only faith on all of Earth and ISIS desires to place Sunni Islam as the only faith on all of Earth.

 

With preliminary information stated and explained, Prime Minister Netanyahu put to the light of truth the lie that he was making the case for war with Iran. He calmly placed the choice as being between forcing Iran through diplomatic and economic routes to agree to give up refining uranium and dismantling every last centrifuge or simply carry on refining just at a slightly slower speed. He explained that if Iran continues to refuse to comply then the Western world and whoever can be persuaded to help return to the same sanctions which brought Iran to the negotiating table to begin with. The Prime Minister pointed to the fact that there was no pressure to force a solution immediately and that sanctions and patience were the tools to use. Instead of expressing the immediacy of an agreement we were to show resolve to reach the agreement under the terms of no enrichment whatsoever, Iran would in time return to the negotiations and comply. The reason why there was seemingly a rush to get an agreement was omitted from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech was simple, he came to praise Obama (Caesar), not to bury or insult him. We do not need to be so polite. The reason for the immediacy for an agreement is so President Obama and possibly Secretary of State Kerry will be recognized and receive their well-earned Nobel Peace Prizes.

 

There will be an immediacy to follow getting an agreement with Iran, and that will be to force a solution on Israel to make a peace with the Arab Palestinians. The problem that will derail those efforts will not be because Israel does not wish to make peace but because Abbas can only accept the complete surrender and destruction of the State of Israel and replacing it with another Arab state. Since even President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry would not even try to go that far and demand the complete surrender from Israel, I could see their attempting to propose and back a one-state-solution where the Arab Palestinians would be in a fully-autonomous region and the Jews would be in what would amount to another fully-autonomous region using the Green Line as the line between the two regions. There is no manner or way that the Jews will surrender their independence and their homelands just to make the rest of the world happy. The reason for going here was to bring into the discussion the example of the urgency and its related insanities which best describes the two to three trips each week by Secretary of State Kerry and others from his peace at any cost group, including especially Martin Indyk, all of whom were pressing peace at any cost. When that initiative finally became obviously untenable and ran into a situation of impossibility, it marked another point which is equal to the point where Iranian negotiations took off and landed somewhere in crazyland where agreements come out of the thin air at President Obama’s demand, though usually they arrive somewhere short of what would be acceptable by any sane mind.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu took a page from the Obama playbook and made a shout-out to Holocaust survivor and world renowned Eli Wiesel followed by telling of an unspoken agreement which binds the Jews that Never Again will we be persecuted and face potential genocide. That is why both allies, Israel and America must be found to be together “Standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is.” The Prime Minister made a solemn promise that Israel will do what Israel must do and stand-alone against Iran if that is the choice given us, but stand we will. The main theme was patience will pay-off providing that we make the sanctions strict and solid enough and we have patience. Unlike President Obama’s demand for immediacy which gives Iran the upper hand, a patient application of pressure will bring the desired result even if President Obama’s and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successors are the leaders or even their successors if that is how long it takes, though it was expressed that simply showing the resolve to reapply sanctions and potentially making them even more stringent was waiting in the wings would produce a deal where Iran no longer held the stronger hand, but to do so requires a real leader who does what is right over what aggrandizes their own image. The closing argument was more of a plea than a threat but the obvious final option, if it comes to that, is any agreement reached does not include Israel and as such, Israel is free to do what Israel needs to do. If it requires Israel standing alone to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power with an arsenal of potentially hundreds upon hundreds of nuclear weapons, then Israel will stand alone and protect themselves and by pure coincidence, protect the entirety of Western civilization. Israel has done so before and will do so whenever world situations require Israel do so. The warning was for President Obama not to believe that Israel will not stand and do what is necessary, simply because such a bet is a losing bet and shows a lack of understanding Israel. Below is the actual speech which might be seen to differ somewhat from our descriptions but, so what, we’ve been known to suffer from massive hallucinatory outbreaks before, so we advise watching the speech again with our little observations in mind, we guarantee it will alter what you see or think you saw originally, we know it did for us.

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 31, 2012

The Looming Fiscal Cliff and Related Catastrophes Predicted by the Doomsayers

One has to ask the questions and check to make sure that all are properly strapped in and have assumed the proper crash position as the entire United States goes over the Fiscal Cliff and crashes to the bottom just beyond about the time you are singing Auld Lang Syne and the clock strikes midnight. Just like the end of the movie, Thelma and Louise, the citizens are all in a convertible and heading at great speed towards the Fiscal Cliff and accelerating with one exception, unlike the movie there are no smiles for those going over this cliff. But before you put on a forlorn face, let me give you some good news and helpful advice, both of which have been in short supply of late. Firstly, do not allow any fears or other worries over the looming crashing over the Fiscal Cliff dampen your New Year’s Eve this evening, tomorrow is going to bring whatever no matter your mood, so enjoy the party tonight and tomorrow you can deal with reality once again.

Now for some fun facts about this overly hyped Fiscal Cliff. It is not so much a cliff as it is a Fiscal Curb, and even then it is a small curb of merely three maybe four inches. Any of those dread predictions will eventually be erased and will quickly fade from memory as soon as the politicians are not being watched breathlessly and can do their jobs without anybody noticing. Having watched politics for quite some time, I have found that politicians are a peculiar breed; unlike normal people who will work more diligently when being observed, politicians tend to just make grandiose gestures and pontificate in a wild manner and not actually accomplish their jobs very well when being observed. Part of the reason for this I have found is that when watched politicians actually become rather timid and will go to great lengths to not make any wrong moves. This fear of being observed making a wrong move tends to prevent them from any real actions in fear of having to explain their reasons. Politicians rarely know what they are doing so explaining why they did something is the worst challenge one can face without first having research done to tell them how to explain what they had done in an acceptable manner. So, once we stop watching their every move regarding the Fiscal Cliff they can begin to address the problems and come up with a solution.

Then there is that big issue, who to blame for the United States going over the Fiscal Cliff. Well, actually everybody and nobody. Who you blame depends on which side you favor or voted for in the November elections. For those few who actually prefer to discern exactly who is attempting to apply principles to their votes and actions and who is simply playing politics, the Fiscal Cliff is a perfect storm to explain the different sides and exactly what caused such inaction which resulted in going over the Fiscal Cliff. The first item that must be understood is that going over the Fiscal Cliff was a result of both sides refusing to compromise on certain principles. President Obama refused to compromise and to allow for all of the Bush tax cuts to remain and instead insisted that the upper tax brackets have their taxes return to the rates from before the Bush tax cuts were enacted. Many of the so-called Tea Party Republicans who were elected during the 2010 Congressional elections refused to allow any taxes to be increased as this was one of their central promises they made when campaigning and when Speaker Boehner was unable to get spending cuts included in exchange for allowing the higher taxes on the upper brackets, they refused en masse refusing to allow Plan B. The Democrats in congress held the line as President Obama had insisted while Speaker Boehner was unable to coerce sufficient Republicans to vote for any manner of tax increase and break their promises. The fears many of the Republicans are suffering are legitimate and have been proven countless times in the past fifty plus years. Numerous times the Democrats have made promises to make spending cuts in the next year’s budget if the Republicans will allow their proposed tax increases, often on the higher brackets, to pass immediately and surprisingly the spending cuts simply never ever materialize. Many Republicans have taken the view of fool me once, shame on me but fool me twice and shame on me again but eventually I will awaken to these games and learn and then you will no longer play me for a fool. I had honestly thought that it might have been possible that thanks to Speaker Boehner and his compromise Plan B that the Republicans would cave and it would have been fool me for the umpteenth time. So, actual and honest blame is of sufficient amounts that it can be spread around to almost everybody but the most should go to those who gave the Fiscal Cliff overt hyperventilating that was passed off as reporting. The only thing the vast majority of us will need to do is sit back and simply wait for all this Fiscal Cliff insanity to pass and be rendered inconsequential when the Congress and the President finally stop grandstanding, as nobody will be watching any longer, and get down to doing their actual jobs and stop screaming while all standing in a circle and pointing back and forth needlessly.

Beyond the Cusp

December 29, 2012

What Actually Predicated the Fiscal Cliff?

The media, talking heads, politicians and presumed experts have been feeding the public the story that the Fiscal Cliff was made possible, if not inevitable, by the Congress and the President put on hold addressing the deficit spending and debt ceiling difficulties and all the rest of the economic woes by passing a resolution setting this New Year as the deadline where the Bush Tax Cuts would automatically be rescinded and sequestration would cut spending across the board with a significantly larger cut being imposed on the Military parts of the budget. Unfortunately, this simplistic view leaves untold the reason that we are running more than a trillion dollar per year deficit spending. The rush to blame the other party or the other branch or house of government has obscured the springboard that launched the budget into this predicament. The truth is there is more than enough discrediting blame to go around and cover both the Democrat and Republican Parties. The originating start that placed us on the path to eventually hit a wall where spending would outstrip any possibility of taxes and fees being able to cover the spending by the Federal Government once allowed to spend outside of the Constitutional limits began almost from the inception of the constitution replacing the Articles of Confederation. This diversion from the strict limitations placed by the Constitution began very early in the history of the United States but the egregious disregard for Constitutional limitations began with the legislations and Presidential executive orders implemented to address the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The three signature programs that got their start as part of the New Deal under the economic policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were Social Security, Unemployment Insurance and the Minimum Wage. The next major damage done by the politicians in Washington were enacted as parts of the Great Society proposed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson with much of it touted as instrumental in the War on Poverty. After these two initial significant increases in the social spending by the Federal Government and the companion spending which was required or adopted by the individual States we have simply added additional coverage under these laws and programs with the occasional new program but as these existing programs had such an enormous cost that each addition seemed minor in comparison. Of course there were some programs which did add significant cost or set up situations which would eventually explode and destroying the societal economic wellbeing. One such program was the Community Reinvestment Act which was passed into law and signed by President Jimmy Carter. This law was used to intimidate banks and other mortgage lenders to make loans to marginally qualified buyers. Under President Clinton the CRA was expanded which set the housing market on the fast-track to forming a bubble which would crash in 2008. Under President George W. Bush we were given the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act which added excessively to the costs of Medicare. The latest major spending program is still being implemented and is the signature program put forth by President Barack Obama, called the Affordable Care Act. The full impact of this legislation will not be felt until later in this decade when it becomes fully implemented and all of its institutions and coverage have been instituted. These were just some of the most costly of the many new programs that have been instituted by the Federal government almost nonstop since the 1930s with the purpose of eradicating poverty in the United States or providing the social and financial safety net for all.

All of the above and the other items instituted over the years have had their individual and collective effect in pushing spending by the Federal Government beyond the ability of the economy to cover no matter what the tax rate. There is one last action which has to be discussed and is very likely the single most important contribution in causing the Fiscal Cliff yet has been overlooked by the majority of pundits, journalists and the rest of the coverage of the presumed coming disaster. This event was more of a procedure which was executed over the first eighteen months of President Barack Obama’s first term in office. It all is a part of the disregard for the financial, fiscal, and budgetary requirements of the Constitution by President Obama, his administration and the totally controlled Democrat Congress as they did not pass an actual budget during his first term. Instead of meeting this requirement the Congress in cooperation with President Obama passed individual spending bills which made allotments by department or program without forming an all-encompassing budget which covered and identified a budget for each department, program and other expenditures. This allowed for President Obama to stipulate a series of spending increases for those departments of the Federal Government which he favored large spending increases. Through this subterfuge that the President committed with the willing cooperation of a rubber-stamp Congress enabled for an increase of as much as thirty percent increase in the baseline budget of virtually every social program and their overseeing agencies. This forever increased spending in these selected departments and programs without ever needing to actually propose additional spending as the initial increase was used as the new baseline spending onto which the COLA annual increases would be applied as well as whatever the standard increase was applied to the entire budget if and when the Federal Government returns to actually passing budgets as required by the United States Constitution.

These slyly placed spending increases are a major portion of the items which have pushed spending causing the United States Federal Government to be running over a trillion dollar per year deficit which also resulted in constantly crashing into the debt ceiling. The main reason that the taxation and spending consequences were put off in such a way that the time would eventually arrive where the Democrats would get everything they dreamed of and the blame would be placed on the Republicans, what could be better? What is interesting is if one inspects the previous times when similar fiscal difficulties have struck the Federal Government and where the blames have been placed. When there was a budgetary war fought between the Democrat Congress and Republican President Ronald Reagan the media laid the blame for the impasse on President Reagan and allowed the Democrat Congress to get a pass. The next conflict over a budget came as a disagreement between Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and President Clinton. The entire fault was reportedly due to the intransigence of Republican Speaker of the House Gingrich and no blame fell upon Democrat President Clinton. Now we are facing the dreaded Fiscal Cliff and once again it is the Republicans in the House of Representatives who are to blame while Democrat President Obama along with a Democrat majority Senate are given a pass. There does appear to be a pattern here.

Meanwhile, back to the perfect situation the media is giving the Democrats and President Obama by placing all the blame for the lack of an agreement on the Republican House as if the President would approve any budget and solution the Republicans would send to him. In some manner that is a true statement but solely because even if Speaker of the House Boehner managed to marshal the votes to pass a budget, it would never even get heard in the Senate as per the promise of the Democrat Majority Leader of the Senate Harry Reid. Between the protective shield provided by Senator Reid and the Senate and the media and their favorable reporting gladly placing all blame for anything fiscal at any time squarely on the Republicans, the President can afford to take a vacation and grandstand claiming to return early to get serious when the only seriousness the President will demonstrate is rolling up his proverbial sleeves. Otherwise, the only actions that President Obama has taken has been to demand that he get everything he demands and anything in the way of a compromise is out of the question.

Looking at the situation which directly caused the Fiscal Cliff we get a far different picture than the media has laid out for us to consume. The initial steps on the path which has gotten us to the precipice of a cliff were made a long time ago. This extra-Constitutional spending by the Federal government started long ago even before President Theodore Roosevelt began purchasing lands placing them under Federal Government ownership as Federal Parks denying the sovereign States of their right to utilize the lands within their borders as they saw fit. The huge steps taken which was the base-work in establishing the concept of social spending being under the purview of the Federal Government were done under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and subsequently by President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The problem has been further expanded and exasperated by virtually every President and Congress since LBJ. The Community Reinvestment Act was instrumental in setting up specific criteria which would be expanded eventually leading to massive failures to pay on loans leading to a run of foreclosures which resulted in a crash of the real estate market causing bank and other financial institutions to fail as they held what had become toxic mortgages where the properties were worth a mere percentage of the loan value. This difficulty was handled in what may prove to have been the worst possible manner by initiating a Federal Bailout which was the brainchild of President George W. Bush. Doubling down on this troublesome solution was reapplied to cover even larger sectors of the economy of the United States was initiated by President Obama. At the same time, President Obama used the existence of a super majority in the Congress which precluded any possible meaningful opposition by the Republican minorities in his plan to vastly increase social spending. President Obama managed to repeal all the reforms placed on welfare, food stamps and other Federally mandated social programs that had been passed in compromises between a Republican Congress largely led by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and President Clinton during his second term. President Obama then directed that these programs begin a special enlistment project to maximize their coverage rolls. This push became most noticeable in the increase in Food Stamp recipients. President Obama also pushed to increase spending in every program he favors and tasked others to perform some forms of social functions replacing their previous primary functions with these new priorities. The special additional investments in social programs led to an unusually large increase in the spending on these programs and subsequently on their parent departments. This set a new inflated base spending in these areas which has now led to the problem in balancing the new baseline budgets with the available funding. Procrastination was used to set a trap that is now about to be triggered. When facing this fiscal nightmare the Congress along with the President decided that it might be easier to address the new budget slowly and with greater care and thought and so the trap was set. The trap agreed to was that if the Congress and the President were unable to find a compromise by the end of the year, then the Bush tax cuts would be allowed to expire, a Democrat dream objective ever since these lower tax rates were passed, and sequestration cuts would be made across the board in every department with an extra measure to be taken from the Pentagon and military budgets. Now we are facing the consequence of this agreement and time is growing short. What to expect?

Either we will go over the Fiscal Cliff, a meaningless consequence that has been pumped up and made into a huge and scary monster, or the Republicans will compromise and be censured by the media for not giving in sooner and their constituents for compromising their principles. The question people need to remember the answer to is why would the Democrats compromise when what they really desire is for huge cuts to the military, NASA and other nonsocial budgets with minimal cuts to welfare, food stamps, and other social spending along with tax increases on everybody. The Democrats get their wildest dreams coming true simply by doing nothing but refusing to cooperate and they can count on a media which will absolve them of any blame while thoroughly scorning and condemning the Republicans as solely responsible for the refusal of a compromise being attained. After this pretend emergency has passed, just like the pretend disasters previously when shutting down the government because of lack of agreement on a budget was supposed to bring on the apocalypse, life will continue and the consequences of the miserable handling of the economy and spending will still not yet be evident. All the hoopla and grandstanding about the Fiscal Cliff is much ado about nothing and the consequences that led to this situation will continue unmentioned by the media because they are adverse to reporting the shortcomings and shenanigans committed by their hero, President Obama.

Eventually the consequences of the fiscal extravagances that have been the main fare of the Federal Government for much of the last century will come crashing down upon our heads and thin out our wallets. Thus far we have been spared by another group whose irresponsible actions have facilitated the extravagant overspending by the Federal Government simply by keeping the interest rates deceptively at their current low level. This charade cannot be kept up forever and eventually the rates will need to rise to their natural level. The only reason the Federal Reserve has escaped harm from their deceptive ploy keeping interest rates so low is because the Federal government has adjusted how inflation is measured in order to obscure their real levels. Why else did the measurement of inflation be adjusted in such a way that food, energy, and petroleum prices were not considered as essential elements of our lives and thus not included? I know I eat and use energy and have to feed my vehicle, but apparently the Government does not believe I have any need to purchase such things. This sin of forcing the interest rates to remain low is not only the fault of the United States as Europe and much of the rest of the world gladly goes along with the charade as they also get to enjoy cheap money due to low rates on their loans. When the future point is passed and the interest rates must rise or inflation will destroy every economy and there is no longer any choice, then everybody will pay for their sins. Whenever this event comes to fruition it will be best if you have absolutely no outstanding loans, especially credit cards. Long term loans such as car loans and mortgages which have fixed rates will be safe but any adjustable rate debt will become unaffordable as interest rates are very likely to become prohibitively high, possibly reaching or exceeding twenty percent. Let this be a wise warning that the day will soon arrive when adjustable debt will become an anchor that drags your finances into the deep and they will drown you. The governments of the world will pay for their excesses but there is no reason that we as individuals must be as irresponsible as our governments have been.

Beyond the Cusp

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