Sunday, January 13, 2019

No, the Green Party, or any other third party, did not cost Clinton the election

The Fact is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 65,853,516 (48.5% votes) to Trump's 62,984,825 (46.4% votes), but lost in the electoral college by receiving 232 (43.1%) of the electoral votes to Trump's 306 (56.8%) votes.

But some people don't want to admit that the Electoral College is pretty much what put Trump in place. Probably because most people have not idea what the fuck the Electoral College does.

Quite simply it invalidates the popular vote.

Anyway, somebody was trying to tell me that Clinton would have won if Green voters in  Michigan and Pennsylvania had voted for her. That argument is obviously fallacious, but It’s easy to see why people point the finger at third-party votes. In Michigan, where the election was so close that the Associated Press still hadn’t called the result until some time after the election. Trump was ahead by about 12,000 votes at that time. That was significantly less than the 242,867 votes that went to third-party candidates in Michigan

On the other hand, Clinton would have still lost even if she had managed to win the popular vote in either Michigan or Pennsylvania.

That's because of how the Electoral College works. Clinton would have won 248 Electoral College votes if the 232 Votes had been supplemented only with Michigan's Electoral votes. She would have had 252 Electoral votes if she have won only Pennsylvania's Electoral College votes.  Even with winning Michigan's and Pennsylvania's Electoral College votes, she would have fallen short of the 270 electoral College votes by 2 votes (268). Trump still wins in any of those three possible outcomes.

Clinton needed to win all three states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, to get the 270 Electoral Votes needed to win.

There's a reason why the Interactive Electoral College map site is called https://www.270towin.com/. As they point out:
Since electoral votes are generally allocated on an "all or none" basis by state, the election of a U.S President is about winning the popular vote in enough states to achieve 270 electoral votes, a majority of the 538 that are available. Receiving the most votes nationwide is irrelevant, as we have seen in two of the most recent five presidential elections where the electoral vote winner and the popular vote winner were different.
There are a lot of other problems with trying to blame the Third Parties for Clinton's loss (especially since Gary Johnson received a larger percentage of the vote than Jill Stein).

One of the major reasons I left the Democratic Party, and the duopoly, is that Election Reform is a really big issue in US politics. Only the Third parties were discussing this.

The 2016 Election also demonstrated that voting was pretty much meaningless. The primaries are a sham and rigged to eliminate candidates from running (cost). And the Presidential Election is really a sham with the Electoral College in Place.

The Electoral College is one of the glaring flaws in US politics, but people want to blame everything but the flawed system for the problems we see.


See Also

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Twelve Days of Christmas or Happy Holidays!

This may seem late for those who aren't familiar with the liturgical calendar,  the old celebration of Christmas, or what exactly the Twelve Days of Christmas happen to be.
 The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings' Day). The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.
The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and are a time of celebration. 

So, my comment about taking the whole month of December off isn't too outrageous if we add the four weeks prior to 25th December to the time to Ephiphany (6 January). Christmas day is only beginning,  yet few families choose to mark the 12-day period by observing the feast days of various saints (including St. Stephen on December 26) and planning daily Christmas-related activities. Things go back to business as usual after December 25 for most people.

For those who are into the liturgical 12 days, each traditionally celebrate a feast day for a saint and/or have different celebrations:
  • Day 1 (25th December): Christmas Day - celebrating the Birth of Jesus
  • Day 2 (26th December also known as Boxing Day): St Stephen’s Day. He was the first Christian martyr (someone who dies for their faith). It's also the day when the Christmas Carol 'Good King Wenceslas' takes place.
  • Day 3 (27th December): St John the Apostle (One of Jesus's Disciples and friends)
  • Day 4 (28th December): The Feast of the Holy Innocents - when people remember the baby boys which King Herod killed when he was trying to find and kill the Baby Jesus.
  • Day 5 (29th December): St Thomas Becket. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was murdered on 29th December 1170 for challenging the King’s authority over the Church.
  • Day 6 (30th December): St Egwin of Worcester.
  • Day 7 (31st December): New Year's Eve (known as Hogmanay in Scotland). Pope Sylvester I is traditionally celebrated on this day. He was one of the earliest popes (in the 4th Century). In many central and eastern European countries (including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Slovenia) New Year's Eve is still sometimes called 'Silvester'. In the UK, New Year's Eve was a traditional day for ‘games’ and sporting competitions. Archery was a very popular sport and during the middle ages it was the law that it had to be practised by all men between ages 17-60 on Sunday after Church! This was so the King had lots of very good archers ready in case he need to go to war!
  • Day 8 (1st January): 1st January - Mary, the Mother of Jesus
  • Day 9 (2nd January): St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, two important 4th century Christians.
  • Day 10 (3rd January): Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This remembers when Jesus was officially 'named' in the Jewish Temple. It's celebrated by different churches on a wide number of different dates!
  • Day 11 (4th January): St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the past it also celebrated the feast of Saint Simon Stylites (who lives on a small platform on the top of a pillar for 37 years!).
  • Day 12 (5th January also known as Epiphany Eve): St. John Neumann who was the first Bishop in American. He lived in the 19th century.
Even if you are like me and are more pagan/Tudor about it all and just want to celebrate the season, you have Boxing Day, New Year's Eve (Hogmanay), New Years Day, and Twelfth Night.

Let's toss in that the Puritans pretty much wiped out the extended Christmas celebration. After all, it's not too far out to start preparing in November if your Christmas begins four weeks before the 25th of December.

But the bottom line is that the Solstice/Christmas Celebration tend to be long because it is intended to "drive the cold winter away". It is something to keep seasonal affective disorder at bay and seems really weird when celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere where the days are long.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Voting Green

Yes, I voted for Jill Stein and the Green Party in the 2016 election.

This is one of the many reasons I am skeptical about "Russian Influence". The other one was that Trump won in the Electoral College, not the popular vote. 

Of course, you won't hear from the likes of me in the Media. And I won't even let off supposedly unbiased sources like the Guardian or the BBC in this rant. Neither of these news sources has paid attention to the US third parties. This is sad since any truly unbiased new source should be interviewing people like me.

Instead, I see bullshit like this trying to point out how Green voters were duped. Toss in the attempt to make third party voters somehow responsible for the Electoral College fiasco.

Anyway, Jill Stein didn't need any social media help for her campaign. Most of the people who voted for her were so disenchanted by the two party system that we were ready to vote for the Greens, Libertarians, or Roque de la Fuentes. I've said it before, the only way I would have considered voting for Hillary Clinton would be if ranked choice voting existed. In that case, I would have cast my vote something like this:

Jill Stein
Gary Johnson or Roque de la Fuentes for Second or Third
A Write in for Bozo the Clown for fourth
And then I would have voted for Hillary Clinton.

So, the "Russian influence" horseshit tends to neglect that Hillary Clinton was one of the most unpopular candidates to ever run. But, never mind that the DNC and establishment democrats chose her over Bernie Sanders. There is another aspect to all of this which I have covered before and won't bother here about my disenchantment with the two party system.

So, any accusation of "Russian Influence" needs to examine how the two party system works since the bottom line of the whole argument seems to be that the Russians used it against itself.

So, any "Russian support" was pretty much negligible. I think Paul Jay of the Real News Network also does a great analysis of the Russian Influence issue.  As a lawyer, the standard for criminal convictions is "beyond a reasonable doubt" and no one has persuaded me beyond that that their assertion of "Russian Influence" outweighs any of the other issues (such as the Electoral College) for Trump being president.

Remember, persuasion require the person to be somewhat inclined to whatever you are trying to persuade them to do. I wouldn't have voted Green if the Dems had addressed: Climate change, election reform, and all the things Bernie was on record as being for. As Stein pointed out, You will love her if you liked Bernie.Toss in I am disgusted with the Democratic Party and its sham primary elections.

As for social media, pretty much everyone who supported the Green Party did so for the same reasons I did: disgust with the two party system (notice how the Media fail to talk about that Green talking point). The Green Party wasn't on the ballot in every state, which meant that a lot of people voting Green were doing so in the hope of gaining ballot access by getting 5% of the vote.

I'll toss in another reason I voted Green was that Hillary was supposed to win in a landslide, which she did if the popular vote actually mattered.

But the popular vote doesn't matter.

US elections are a sham.

And who better to make the baddie if the US wants to pretend it is the "Great Democracy" (or republic for that matter) than an actual "dictatorship".

In other words, distract the people as the world falls apart.

Sorry, I am one of the many people who isn't buying into the "Russian Influence" thing. And you can read all my posts to see why, but the bottom line is that nothing the Russians, or any other foreign power, have done tops the mess that is US politics.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Hey, Right Wingers, Got a tatttoo?

I am going straight to the source since I don't want to be accused of spreading fake news. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is running something called Tatt-C. Here's the link.

https://www.nist.gov/programs-projects/tattoo-recognition-technology-challenge-tatt-c

This is a call for development for a pattern recognition program to detect and track people by their tattoos.

NIST's Summary of it is:
The Tattoo Recognition Technology – Challenge (Tatt-C) is being conducted to challenge the commercial and academic community in advancing research and development into automated image-based tattoo matching technology.
Some background on this from the NIST page:
Tattoos have been used for many years to assist law enforcement in the identification of criminals and victims and for investigative research purposes.* Historically, law enforcement agencies have followed the ANSI-NIST-ITL 1-2011 standard to collect and assign keyword labels to tattoos. This keyword labeling approach comes with drawbacks, which include the limitation of ANSI-NIST standard class labels to describe the increasing variety of new tattoo designs, the need for multiple keywords to sufficiently describe some tattoos, and subjectivity in human annotation as the same tattoo can be labeled differently between examiners. As such, the shortcomings of keyword-based tattoo image retrieval have driven the need for automated image-based tattoo recognition capabilities.
IOW, You is out of luck if you've got tatts since the guvment may soon be able to track your movements.

Friday, September 28, 2018

How Kavanaugh (and the legal community) flubbed the Sexual Assault Accusations.

Note: this was written close to when the first post was, but posted later for a few reasons.

Let's start with the facts as stated by the accuser, which I will take as being true ad argumentum:
According to the Post, Ford described how Kavanaugh and a friend – both “stumbling drunk” – corralled her into a bedroom at a house in Montgomery county, Maryland.
The Post reported: “While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.”
Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California, told the Post: “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”
She added: “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Aside from the fact that Kavanaugh was under the age of majority, which leads to questions about criminal responsibility in this matter. Various issues regarding juvenile justice had there been an adjudication of delinquency and its ability to be used in this matter. There wasn't any sort of formal process in this matter, which is another problem.

Next, Maryland changed its laws regarding rape in 2017, this incident occurred in the early 1980s. Should Maryland apply the law in effect when this incident occurred or would that make Maryland's current rape statute an ex post facto law, and unconstitutional? Toss in Maryland rape laws require actual penetration, which there wasn't according to the above statement. This might be a fourth degree Sexual Offense (MD code 3-308), but I am not sure there would be proof if I were trying to prosecute the case. It would definitely be some kind of assault (unlawful touching). I would make an offer for assault if I were a prosecutor in this case.

Unlawful sexual contact is one of the most commonly charged sex crimes in Maryland. There are two basic elements to this crime — sexual contact and lack of consent. Under Maryland law, sexual contact includes touching the genitals or some other intimate area, which is often interpreted to include the buttocks and the female breasts. If an individual’s hand, body part or extension of a hand touches a person in any of these areas, that may be classified as sexual contact.

The law is unclear whether the contact needs to be direct to those parts or whether one could make sexual contact with a clothed person. I am of the opinion that the statute requires direct contact. This would be a question of law. But the rape sections of Maryland law require actual penetration.

Saying this is assault is more serious due to the fear of harm or actual harm being inflicted on the victim even if this is not a sexual offence in my opinion. But I do not see any of the specific penetration or other element that would cause this to rise to the level of being specifically a sex crime.

The statute of limitations applies in this case since it wasn't any form of rape because there was no penetration. There is a one year statute of limitations for fourth degree sexual offences (Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-106; In re Anthony R., 362 Md. 51, 73, 763 A.2d 136, 148 [2000]) if one wants to continue with an allegation of criminal sexual conduct that might stick.

Maryland does not have a statute of limitation on assault according to Lawrence Tribe (however Maryland lawyers say it is one year. Remember we need to use the law that was in effect when the crime was committed), but the next question if there is no liimit to prosecution would be which court would have jurisdiction: juvenile or adult? Again, even if one wants to say that there is no statute of limitation on this case, then does this issue of criminal responsibility based upon age come into the play. After all, the alleged incident happened when Kavanaugh was a juvenile according to the law.

Sorry Prof. Tribe, but Maryland's juvenile act would have been the proper standard to have been used at this time: not adult law. Something about ex post facto laws being an issue, which is a mistake that a noted Constitutional law prof should not be making. Especially since competence to stand trial is a constitutional issue.

That means there would be a statute of limitation based on Maryland's Juvenile Act due to this? The real issue isn't as much a statute of limitations as it is that this incident occurred when Kavanaugh was a juvenile. Juvenile court can retain jurisdiction over youth until age 21, provided that the offense alleged to have been committed occurred before the youth turned 18. (Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-8A-01(d) and Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. §§ 3-8A-07(a), (b))

One of reason for statutes of limitation is the fairness of the prosecution in regard to finding evidence, witnesses, and so on. That is important given this would be and 35+ year old allegation. Can she offer proof which would go beyond a reasonable doubt?

Mark Judge, the alleged partner to this, does not remember the event ever happening. So, we have evidentiary problems.

Also, this is one incident. I would be hesitant to use an isolated incident this old as an indicator of Kavanaugh's personality. I would be less hesitant if there were incidents which were more recent to show he has not changed.

Bottom line, there are Constitutional due process issues a plenty here which make this line of attack highly problematic for me. I would have hoped that a judge with a staff would have enumerated them, but he has failed to address this highly important issue.

I feel sorry for the accuser, but legally this shouldn't see the light of day given the length of time from the incident to any public accusation. She wouldn't get a day in court based upon the facts, yet this has shown up in the political arena for whatever reason.

I doubt there is a person who hasn't committed a crime whether intentionally or unintentionally which may or may not have been prosecuted. Likewise, there are defences and mitigations to crimes which must be taken into account. Not to mention constitutionality of this. These matters need to be considered by Kavanaugh's accusers.

Even more importantly, I see the facts of this case being twisted into partisan fodder to try and thwart the confirmation of someone who doesn't have the legal acumen of a first year law student. The lack of legal knowledge to provide a defence to this, especially from a judge with a staff, is troubling to me.

As I said before, this accusation demonstrates that Brett Kavanaugh is not worthy of a seat on the highest court because he lacks a basic knowledge of the law, of which this an exposition. I could probably come up with far more constitutional and criminal defences to this accusation, but that would be more nails in the coffin to his lack of basic legal knowledge.

Sources:

See also: