Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Why doesn't US MSM publish things like this.

Al-Jazeera on Trump being Putin's puppet:
Trump does not behave as Putin's puppet. He behaves as a person who sees himself as a great deal-maker, who is able to negotiate with anyone - from Putin to Kim Jong-un - to get a good deal.

The US president is a businessman who started his career in the real estate sector. In this type of business, one does not care who buys the penthouse as long as it is swiftly paid for. A number of apartments in the Trump Tower, for example, were bought by people of questionable or criminal background (including Russian citizens).

In this sense, it is not a surprise that Trump is dealing with anyone and everyone in the pursuit of the most lucrative deal.

Of course, whether this strategy is indeed effective or not can be debated. Many experts think it isn't, but this does not mean that Trump's policies are dictated by Putin; they are dictated by his own views, however wrong they may be.

This is not necessarily good for Putin. Despite all the niceties exchanged and footballs passed at the summit, there is still no development on the major issues of concern for the Kremlin: sanctions and Ukraine. If this is how Trump will do business for the next two years and if reelected, the another four afterwards, the Russian president might start thinking that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails might not have been such a good idea after all.
One of the major issues during the campaign was that Trump was a rogue actor. Some people were hoping he would bring down the Republican Party. The Al-Jazeera article makes a really good case that the US MSM spin on Trump and Putin's meeting may not be correct.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Maybe I shouldn't write off Fox News...

I have to agree that I don't think these indictments will go anywhere since there is way too much refutation to this case to provide reasonable doubt. Toss in that there are no specific instances of "Russian meddling" that couldn't be shown to possibly be domestically produced. This segment from Fox news sounds plausible to me as a former lawyer who practised criminal law.And the hack is open to debate.

Not sure where this will go if the Republicans win the "mid-term" elections. Also not sure why the powers that be would have let Trump run, unless it is true about the DNC wanting a pied piper candidate, which is why I think the meddling is domestic and not Russian. And it came from the DNC.

As I said, no one is denying that the leaked e-mails are genuine, which is dangerous since any defence attorney worth their pay has their defence mapped out for them in the e-mails. After all what's the point of having strict rules over elections and referendums if there are no consequences for them being broken? And how is "Russian interference" germane if the DNC can break its own rules and run a rigged primary. As I said before, nothing in the Wikileaks leaked documents came as a revelation to people in the Sanders campaign.

I think this shit is a distraction to keep people from demanding campaign reform.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Internal Misconduct is far more of a concern than "foreign interference".

As I said before, if the goal of  the alleged "Russian interference" in US elections is to destroy confidence in the process, then they don't have too much work to do other than rub the US public's nose in the shit that the electoral process happens to be. Whatever "Russian interference" that may have existed pales in comparison to all the shenanigans that are considered SOP in US elections. The level of damage caused by "Russians" is unquantifiable.

On the other hand, the institutions and institutional practises that led to Clinton "losing" the election tend to be mostly home grown, which is what the "hacked e-mails" demonstrated. Although, it is questionable as to whether the e-mails were really hacked, or leaked by someone disgusted with DNC violations of its own rules. Additionally, Clinton only "lost" in the electoral college, an institution which is intended on thwarting democracy and democratic process. That is the obvious cause for her "defeat" while having one of the largest margins of the popular vote.

In fact, that is the main problem with the "Russian Interference" allegations: Clinton didn't lose by the standards of most democratic systems. Instead, Clinton lost because of an anachronistic, anti-democratic institution created by the US Constitution. It is an institution that most people don't understand.

The letter that former FBI Director James Comey sent to Congress on Oct. 28, 2016, and the subsequent media firestorm over it was an event that could also have contributed to Clinton's "loss". The impact is relatively easy to measure because it was the biggest news event in the final two weeks of the campaign, and we can compare polls conducted just before the Comey letter to the ones conducted just after it.

Is James Comey under indictment?

As I understand it, Russian attempts at influencing the US election consist of the hacking incident, which the Democrats assured us was not an issue: until they lost the election. They also consist of trying to show Clinton as being dishonest and otherwise discredit her. That's another one of those things which is amazingly easy to defend against! Just play one of the many tapes of Clinton contradicting herself.

Anyway, there are a lot of other explanations for why Trump is president which are far more credible and substantial than Russian interference. Any defence attorney worth their pay can blow this one out the stadium with little effort.

You also have to remember that the standard for burden of proof in a criminal conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt", or "that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty."

I have yet to see that non-US actions caused Clinton's loss or that any "foreign interference" went beyond that standard.

I think US resources would be far better spent on addressing the internal problems than trying to place fault on things which probably didn't effect the outcome at all.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Wanna see a Liberal's head explode.

I could see this one coming. I mean it had to come didn't it.

Now, watch the pundits try to dodge accusations of anti-semitism if they decide to go down this path.

Russian influence or was Hillary just a bad candidate?

Nate Silver points out that:
How did Trump win? Or more to the point, how did Trump win given that he only had a 38 percent favorability rating among people who voted on Election Day? The answer is partly the Electoral College, of course. But it’s also that Clinton was really, really unpopular herself — almost as unpopular as Trump — with a favorability rating of just 43 percent among Election Day voters. Also, the substantial number of voters who disliked both Clinton and Trump went to Trump by a 17-point margin. Voters really weren’t willing to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt.
That’s largely because Clinton was viewed as dishonest and untrustworthy, exactly the sort of message that the Russian campaign (which used hashtags such as #Hillary4Prison) was trying to cultivate. Trump, of course, was trying to cultivate this message too. Media coverage often struck the same themes. And voters sometimes heard variations on this theme from Sanders and his supporters in the more contentious moments of the Democratic primaries. Was some of this Clinton’s fault? Yep, of course. Would Clinton still have been “Crooked Hillary” even without the Russians? Almost certainly. But the Russians were at least adding fuel to the right fire — the one that wound up consuming Clinton’s campaign.
It's hard to tell what was "Russian influence" or Hillary's own faults the way I read that since a lot of people were talking about "Hillary for Prison" without having the Russians involved. Toss in her reputation for not being trustworthy was due to her own actions and position flipping. There was a 2008 Obama ad that "She'll Say Anything And Change Nothing".

Toss in the bottom line that you were taken by Russian influence if you voted for Trump, Sanders, or Jill Stein. I can honestly say that the DNC is rife with Russian Operatives if that is the basis for saying Russian operatives fixed the election. The DNC's actions pretty much were why I left the Democratic Party.

We can also get into Media complicity in giving Trump free air time which increased his profile.

You also have to remember that the standard for burden of proof in a criminal conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt", or "that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty."

Anyway, I am 100% certain any "Russian influence" was insignificant compared to internal US actions. Any investigation worth the money needs to look into the US institutional problems which led to the 2016 election disaster.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The People who persuaded me it would be OK to vote Green.

Hey, Mueller, you gonna indict these people too???

Because they were so sure she was going to win, Hillary Clinton couldn’t have really lost.

All too ironically, they turned for solace to the line Donald Trump was feeding to his followers to embrace in anticipation of defeat ahead of the November election: The election must have been rigged! So on and on the Democratic Party and its supporters in the media have gone about Russian interference in the 2016 election, an interpretation that it now appears will never abate for the fiercest of Democratic partisans (And, suprisingly, even some Republicans).

Admitting the DNC rigged the election against itself by ignoring independent voters and aggressively quelling the nearly successful primary challenge by an independent candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is out of the question.

Let's toss in that Clinton DID WIN by the standard used by most democracies: the  popular vote. She only "lost" in the electoral college, yet that is another thing which people can't get their heads around because few people understand what the fuck the electoral college actually does.

See also:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hillary Clinton's Margin of the Popular Vote


That is the number of popular votes that Hillary Clinton had over Donald Trump. It was a number that was 2.1% more of the popular vote than Donald Trump won.

That is a number which is larger than the population of 16 States and District of Columbia (Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana Delaware, South Dakota,    Alaska, North Dakota, District of Columbia, Vermont, and Wyoming). It is slightly less than the populations of 4 States: Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, and Utah). It is slightly more than the combined populations of Alaska, North Dakota, District of Columbia, Vermont, and Wyoming (2578472).

It's also a number which is larger than most of the 100 largest US Cities (Only NYC and LA have a larger population).

It's not an insignificant number, yet somehow Clinton lost with one of the highest margins of the popular vote because of the Electoral College and how it distorts the vote.

Monday, July 16, 2018

You don't need Russians to interfere or meddle or whatever.

The threat is real. There is unanimity of opinion in the intelligence community that hackers working on behalf of the Russian government undertook a coordinated effort to destabilize our election system. As the witnesses from the intelligence and law enforcement community testified, one of their primary objectives was to undermine Americans confidence and trust in their election system. We now live in a world where foreign governments wage war on our country not with guns and bombs, but by attempting to diminish Americans’ faith in our democratic institutions.
Source: The Hill: The truth about Russia, 'hacking' and the 2016 election

As I have been saying any serious investigation requires scrutinising US institutions. You have the Electoral College which is designed to be anti-democratic and the 2016 demonstrated how much it can deviate from the popular vote. But don't think I am being a "snowflake" since FairVote decided to look at the 2008 election for a “worst case scenario” of just how few popular votes Barack Obama really needed to earn a majority of the vote in the Electoral College.  They didn’t change John McCain’s votes, but eliminated all the “unnecessary” votes earned by Obama – meaning all of his votes in states he didn’t’ need to win and any “surplus” votes earned in states he wins (meaning any votes beyond one more than McCain).
 President Obama could have defeated Sen. John McCain in the Electoral College with as few as 24,781,169 popular votes despite McCain earning 59,479,469 votes. In other words, he could have won even while losing the popular vote by 69% to 29% (with 2% for other).

Looking only at states that he actually won, Obama could have carried enough states to earn 270 electoral votes with just 26,721,494 votes – meaning with a popular vote defeat by 68% to 30%.

The leaked DNC emails were no real revelation to be quite honest since most people suspected what was in them. They were a confirmation of people's distrust. It was the icing on the DNC's pushing of Hillary Clinton and disdain for people who weren't "true democrats".  As I said, it was shit like that that made me leave the democratic party.

Even more important is the money in US politics. The primary system is long and drawn out to keep people who don't have big bucks backing them. On the other hand, someone like Donald Trump was able to game the system to get anywhere from $2 to $5 Billion in free, "earned" media attention. Which was also given to him by anyone who showed outrage at Trump's antics (figure includes social media). I remember in 1980 when US Stations couldn't show "Bedtime for Bonzo" because it would have given Reagan free coverage.

No Russian help needed to get people disgusted with US politics: the duopoly does a wonderful job on its own.

Ultimately, it is the electoral college, closed primaries, gerrymandering, uncontested elections, big money, and pretty much the whole election circus that causes the results that people want to attribute to the Russians.

So I find that the real culprits are home grown. And that is where all the energy should be directed, not de minimis "foreign meddling".  Simply stated, if the "Russian Objective" is to destroy confidence in "US democratic institutions", then I see any "Russian activities" as being de minimis compared to those of the DNC, Cambridge Analytica/Robert Mercer, and US media, who spent far more money than the Russians are alleged to have spent for destroying confidence in US Democracy.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

An open letter to Robert Mueller regarding the 2016 Presidential Election Investigation

OK, let's begin this with the stipulation that the DNC e-mails in question are authentic. It was revealed by WikiLeaks emails from the DNC hack that under the guidance of the now scandal-ridden former chairperson of the DNC, Deborah Wasserman Schultz, the party leadership had shown high levels of favourability towards Hillary Clinton and that they quashed the campaign of Bernie Sanders to make sure she won the nomination.

Sometimes a criminal investigation finds more criminal activity than what was originally alleged. In this case, the e-mails show democratic party collusion to promote Hillary Clinton as well as sabotage Bernie Sanders' campaign. There was a class action suit about this which went nowhere, despite all the misconduct of the DNC being a given.

I believe there have been allegations of vote suppression, which I believe is an offence. Some of the e-mails in question show the DNC staff in damage control over allegations from the Sanders campaign, when a report—corroborated by a Politico—revealed the DNC’s joint fundraising committee with the Clinton campaign was laundering money to the Clinton campaign instead of fundraising for down-ticket Democrats. Regardless of the fundraising tactics, because both major campaigns didn’t agree to use the joint fundraising committee super-PAC with the DNC, the DNC should have recused itself from participating with just the Clinton campaign.

The Associated Press called the Democratic primary races in six states for Hillary Clinton on Monday night, based on its survey of superdelegates. CNN confirmed the count a few hours after that, based on the network's criteria, then declared that it had broken the story. This is one of the things that threw the election.

Even more concerning is that an email released by WikiLeaks shows how the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party bear direct responsibility for making Trump the Republican candidate. The email describes using a "pied piper" strategy, the Clinton campaign proposed intentionally cultivating extreme right-wing presidential candidates, hoping to turn them into the new "mainstream of the Republican Party" in order to try to increase Clinton's chances of winning.The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee called for using far-right candidates "as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right." Clinton's camp insisted that Trump and other extremists should be "elevated" to "leaders of the pack" and media outlets should be told to "take them seriousl

You need to broaden the scope of your investigation to include the DNC misconduct shown in these e-mails if you want to avoid any allegations that your investigation is a political witch hunt. Failure to do so leaves this investigation wide open to those charges.

As someone who voted for Bernie Sanders and then abandoned the Democratic Party to go back to being independent, I can say that the actions of the Democratic Party were far more damaging to it than any purported "Russian Influence".

I know there are a lot of people who buy into the "Russians did it", probably the way they swallowed that the Iraqis had WMD. I didn't . Likewise I do not believe for one second that any Russian activity would rise to the level of misconduct demonstrated by the DNC. And it was the DNC misconduct which cost the election.

And it was Clinton's piss poor campaign and the Electoral College that cost her the election, not the Russians. Address that or your investigation is crap.

See also:

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Oh, no, not more Russians and E-mails

OK, the first question everybody should be asking is "are these authentic, DNC internal messages?" I think it's pretty much taken as given that these are. That means Russian interference is pretty meaningless. That's because these e-mails kill the democratic party by showing that it was biased against Sanders which went against party bylaws.

On the other hand, nothing in these e-mails comes as a revelation if you happened to be a Sanders supporter. Glenn Greenwald pretty much sums up the situation:
“When Trump becomes the starting point and ending point for how we talk about American politics, [we] don’t end up talking about the fundamental ways the American political and economic and cultural system are completely fucked for huge numbers of Americans who voted for Trump for that reason,” he says. “We don’t talk about all the ways the Democratic Party is a complete fucking disaster and a corrupt, sleazy sewer, and not an adequate alternative to this far-right movement that’s taking over American politics.”
The issue is that both parties stink and that Hillary basically was her own worst enemy. That was pretty much what the leaked e-mails confirmed. It wasn't anything that most people didn't already know.

And I am going with it was an internal DNC leak since it seems the evidence pointing to it being a Russian is that there is evidence a Russian VPN was used.

Seriously? People use VPNs to HIDE their location, not broadcast it. Toss in any legit VPN host will give the actual location if there is criminal investigation. Give me the actual location, not a VPN IP address.

But let's get into who the messenger is: Robert Mueller. A dude to claimed that Iraq had WMD!

Gimme a break. I call BS then and I'm calling BS now.

Unless Mueller is also investigating the DNC and what the leaked e-mails revealed, then this investigation is partisan bullshit.

After all, no one is denying the e-mails were actual DNC internal communications.

And it was DNC misconduct that made me realise that I was wasting my vote by supporting a duopoly candidate.

Unless this investigation starts looking at the internal US causes of why Trump became president, this is a waste of time. The obvious cause was the electoral college, yet I am hearing squat about addressing that issue.

See also:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Death of Originalism

I have to comment about Brett Kavanaugh and his judicial philosophy, which he calls "originalist" I understand this approach is to interpret the Constitution's meaning as stable from the time of enactment, which can be changed only by the steps set out in Article Five.  That means altering the Constitution requires an amendment or amendments and subsequent ratification.

Well, if he really wants to be an originalist and follow the US Constitution AS WRITTEN, then he can't rule on the constitutionality of legislation: as that is not an enumerated role for the Supreme Court.

Instead, that comes from the case of Marbury v Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803). Marbury also says that no clause in the Constitution is without meaning, which means that Heller and McDonald are BS since they ignore a clause in the Second Amendment. I would add for good measure that the previous SCOTUS Second Amendment cases (Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, and US v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174) Made it clear that the Second Amendment applied to the Militia, or current National Guard.

Miller contradicts the findings of the Heller and McDonald decisions saying:

"With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view."  

Justice William O Douglas, who was on the court when Miller was decided, gave a summary of that case in his dissent to Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972):

The leading case is United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, upholding a federal law making criminal the shipment in interstate commerce of a sawed-off shotgun. The law was upheld, there being no evidence that a sawed-off shotgun had "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia." Id. at 307 U. S. 178. The Second Amendment, it was held, "must be interpreted and applied" with the view of maintaining a "militia."

According how the originalists claim their method of interpreting the constitution, a change from the Second Amendment applying to the Militia to allow for personal possession of firearms in the home would require and amendment: not occur through judicial fiat.

I would also add that the Constitution makes clear that it deals with matters of the common defence in the preamble and is silent on self-defence. Any first year law student knows that when a legal document is silent on an issue that that issue is not covered. There are a few other accepted rules of statutory interpretation which pretty much rule out that self-defence is addressed in the US Constitution and that the Second Amendment should be extended to allow for deadly weapons to be used for that purpose.

This adds in that the concept of self-defence in traditional common law is a mitigation, not an excuse. The black letter common law for this is:
Self-defence is a legal doctrine which says that a person may use reasonable force in the defence of themself or another.

Reasonable force is not in the mind of the person claiming self-defence, but in the finder of fact's (jury or judge) opinion. But the rule is pretty much that deadly force is NOT allowed unless there are extreme circumstances.

This might be the time to push this issue. No matter what, I would like an answer on the matter of how an "originalist" can somehow rule on constitutionality since that is not found in the text of the Constitution.

Even more importantly, an Originalist should not go against precedent and the Constitution as written. I am not sure how one would handle overturning a law for unconstitutionality since that is not a role given to the Supreme Court in the Constitution. Instead, it is found in custom.

On the other hand, now might be the time to find out how exactly a justice would handle this dilemma if they claim that they obey the constitution as written and any real change requires an amendment.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

I am amazed at the Ignorance of the US public

In this case, the fact that everything EXCEPT the Electoral College is responsible for Clinton's loss.

Of course, that means the standard "you must be a Russian agent" if you disagree with me crap which I thought went out with Joe McCarthy.

A couple of thing have me going: one is someone who should know better using that argument. Then doing some research into how the Clinton Campaign totally underestimated the Midwest/rust belt: in particular Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin .

OK, Given that Hillary won the popular vote by around 3 million votes. Toss in that she had one of the largest margins of the popular vote since the current system began in the 1820s. Yet she lost in an institution which is unique to the United States and was designed to frustrate the popular vote: the electoral college.

How does a vote really count in that sort of system?

I am now going to get really specific since it is well documented that the Electoral College distorts the vote. It already cost Gore the presidency in 2000. Yet its antidemocratic (or even antirepublican since a republic requires free and fair elections) nature is not being addressed.

Let's say I voted for Hillary Clinton, which would have increased he popular vote victory. But unless she got one more vote than Trump, she still would have lost my jurisdiction. That's because the electoral college is winner take all in a state. Toss in she would have had to have done the same in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to have had a chance of winning. Yes, she needed the electoral votes in all three of those states to have won.

You can call me whatever the fuck you want, but the system is in dire need of repair especially if you are vaguely familiar with what the Electoral College is supposed to do (hint--Trump shouldn't be president and you can't make claims of foreign influence, see Federalist Paper 68).

But it doesn't.

Let's toss in that Wisconsin was ignored by the Clinton Campaign. Likewise her campaign neglected Michigan. I saw an extreme overconfidence in the Clinton campaign that she "couldn't lose". Which she didn't if the popular vote actually meant something.

BTW, I wasn't voting against anything. I was voting for a candidate I saw actually discussing issues and not running on a platform that she wasn't Trump and was a woman. It's campaigning that wins elections: not trying to scare the piss out of people.

Likewise, we need to work on campaign and election reform: not use insults.
You lost the argument when you started attacking people based on them somehow being Russian spies.

See also:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Why militias sound good in theory, but don't work in fact.

One of my ancestors was a member of the Pennsylvania Militia during the War for American Independence. He was in it from the start and was at Valley Forge and Morristown. But he's not on the records for Valley Forge.


Probably because as the youngest son he went AWOL to tend the farm back in Lancaster County (Older Brother is on the NPS records at Valley Forge. We've been trying to get Younger bro on the NPS records).

The Militia system means that most males between 18-50 were supposed to serve. But it's hard to do for a few reasons. Somebody has to tend the farm in an agrarian economy (or keep shop). Toss in people want exemptions, and can get, from service. The rich would buy their way out of serving, which led to Conscription Riots during the US Civil War.

Anyway, It's significant that my ancestor was part of the Pennsylvania Militia There is a lot of mythology in the minds of most Americans that surrounds the Revolutionary War. One of These is the myth that Continental soldiers underwent unspeakable hardship for want of clothing and provisions, but persevered only to win the war against all odds. It wasn't exactly like they were grinning and bearing it.

As early as 1777, General Anthony Wayne, commanding the Pennsylvania Line, exhorted his superiors to address the lack of supply for his men. In a letter to Washington in December, 1777, he refers to the “Distressed and Naked Situation of your Troops.” While the Pennsylvanians faced the cold of Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778, Washington constantly wrote the Continental Congress pleading for an amelioration of the army’s condition. The following is an excerpt from a letter dated 23 December, 1777 from Valley Forge:
I am now convinced beyond a doubt, that, unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place in that line, this army must inevitably be reduced to one or other of these three things; starve, dissolve, or disperse in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner they can. …Since the month of July we have had no assistance from the quartermaster-general…
Whatever shortages were created by a fledgling wartime economy were compounded by government corruption and ineptitude. In writing Congress, Washington accused the quartermaster-general of corruption and sought his removal. Anthony Wayne made similar accusations in letters to the Pennsylvania executive council. In January, 1778, Wayne wrote that, after buying cloth at his own expense, the government stalled his efforts to have uniforms produce.

There is a reason Article I, Section 8, clause 16 of the Constitution requires that the feds "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia". The Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation wasn't doing a great job of running the War (there is an aside here that the war was an idiotic idea to begin with since the British Taxes were imposed to pay in part for the French and Indian War, which was started by Washington).

Anyway back to the Story, the discontent of the Pennsylvania Militia really began to show in November, 1780, when the Continental Army went into winter quarters in camps that were dispersed in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.  The Pennsylvania Line was living in the log huts that had been used by the Connecticut Line the previous winter. Major-General Arthur St. Clair, the senior officer of the line, was nice, warm and comfy in Philadelphia, a practice not uncommon for senior officers. On the other hand. the 2,473 Pennsylvania officers and men at Mount Kemble made up eleven regiments of infantry and one of artillery. The winter was mild and the huts were about as comfortable as log huts can be, but clothes, food, and pay were in short supply.

In mid-December, Brigadier-General Wayne wrote to Joseph Reed, President of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council:
we are reduced to dry bread and beef for our food, and to cold water for our drink. . . . Our soldiery are not devoid of reasoning faculties, . . . they have now served their country with fidelity for near five years, poorly clothed, badly fed, and worse paid; of the last article, trifling as it is, they have not seen a paper dollar in the way of pay for near twelve months.
A year.  I challenge anyone to work any job, let alone endure the harsh life of a Continental soldier that long without pay and not want to revolt. But not being paid was only part of the complaints.

Another major issue arose because the Executive Council planned to consolidate several regiments of Pennsylvania Line effective 1 January 1781.  Many soldiers had enlisted in 1777 under the somewhat confusing terms of “for three years or the duration of the war.” Focusing on the first clause, “for three years,” some soldiers believed that the reorganization would conclude their enlistments.  But the regimental officers focused on the second clause, “or the duration of the war,” and denied the soldiers’ requests for discharge.

Think of my ancestor going AWOL to tend the family farm during the Valley Forge winter.

Anyway, the shit hit the fan on the First of January 1981 with one of the largest revolts the Continental Army had faced (it would face many mutinies due to an inability to properly supply and pay the troops).  But unlike the previous mutinies, the size of this one presented more than disciplinary problems.  The Continental Army could ill afford to have so many soldiers exit the ranks.  Worse, for all the American commanders knew, the mutinous group could “turn Arnold” and join the British forces that were only about 20 miles away near New York City. British General Clinton sent emissaries to see if the Pennsylvania Troops could be turned against the Continental cause.
Wayne sent two officers speeding to Philadelphia to alert Congress and the Executive Committee and dispatched an aide-de-camp to inform General Washington, who was at the army camp at New Windsor, New York.  In his return letter, Washington approved of Wayne’s actions and directed him to identify the mutineers’ grievances for Congress to address.  Washington was also concerned that the mutiny could spread to other units and stayed put to keep a lid on things at New Windsor.

On January 8th, Reed and the Board reached an agreement; a committee would review the enlistment of each soldier and discharge those eligible.  Also, the men would receive proper uniforms as well as warrants for their back-pay that Pennsylvania would honour as soon as it could raise the money (note: these were IOUs, not real payment, something that would cause more problems later on).  The next day, the mutineers marched to Trenton to begin executing the settlement’s provisions.  The mutiny was over, but not fully resolved by a long shot. There would be another one by the Pennsylvania Militia that May as well as many, many more which culminated in Shays' Rebellion and the adoption of the US Constitution.

The mutiny was a wake-up-call to the Pennsylvania Line on its lack of professionalism, but the offenders were the officers, not the enlisted soldiers.  Except for the violence on the First of January, the mutineers conducted themselves with an impressive level of discipline.  They kept a strict military camp at Princeton and gained the support of the local population.  The soldiers also promised to fight under Wayne in the event of an enemy attack.  And as soon as the negotiations ended the sergeants handed British General Clinton’s emissaries, Mason and Ogden, over to the Congressional committee, an act that Gen. Washington called, “an unequivocal and decided mark of attachment to our cause.”

Even with the problems shown by the militia during the War for Independence and other conflicts, the distrust of standing armies led to the system being given constitutional imprimatur in the Second Amendment. However the system was one which was disliked as the passage which is often misquoted points out. Here is the George Mason’s quote as recorded in the transcripts of the Virginia Ratifying Convention:
“I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor; but they may be confined to the lower and middle classes of the people, granting exclusion to the higher classes of the people.”
Unfortunately, the exclusion was common in Mason's time, as my ancestor, a poor, Pennsylvania farm kid would attest. Dislike for the Militia was pretty much what killed it off, as this passage from Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§§ 1890 (1833) points out:
And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.
Like so many things that sound good in theory, but are unworkable. The militia system and the Second Amendment it was intended to protect, are not relevant to modern society with a large, professional military.

Which is not the poor, conscripted militia member that was the reality of the militia system. The founders militia never existed and they were fools to try and keep it as a constitutional entity.

BTW, kudos to Michael Schellhammer whose "Mutiny on the Pennsylvania Line" was a source for a lot of this. I think he understands what my ancestor was thinking when they did this.

See also:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Clinton was a loser and a bad choice Part II

OK, to recap. The electoral college only requires that the winner get the most votes in a state to receive ALL the electoral votes. So, if the results look like:

Clinton: 51
Trump: 49


Clinton 34
Trump  33
Bozo     33

Get the idea? Clinton wins all the electoral votes. So, a candidate doesn't need to get a majority of votes, or even the most votes, to win in the Electoral College, which is what happened.

But that is a digression since we are going to be talking about a State Clinton won: New Jersey. It shouldn't be a surprise she won since Trump basically trashed Atlantic City, which had an effect on the entire state economy (no cite since it is pretty much common knowledge and a prime example of Trump's being a shit business person).  I mean how the fuck can you go broke running a casino if the house has the advantage?

Here are the results of the 2016 Presidential election for NJ. You would think that the "landslide victory" Clintonistas predicted would show up here.

But they didn't. Clinton's margin is pretty much what they were like in most places she won. Toss in that there were a fair amount of people voting third party.

Yet she managed to win this state.

On the other hand, Trump received a fairly significant share of the vote: even in Atlantic County.

Atlantic County is home to Atlantic City.

OK, totally unscientific, but it does make me wonder about her popularity if she didn't totally leave Trump in the dust in a place where he has a bad reputation.  Seriously, a lot of people got screwed by Trump in NJ, but he made a pretty strong show despite that.

Draw your own conclusion, but I think it demonstrates that Clinton wasn't that popular.

Monday, June 18, 2018

No helping some people understand.

OK, if the fact that Hillary Clinton had one of the highest margins of the popular vote EVER, yet still lost in the electoral college.

And the fact that the campaign neglected Wisconsin.

And a lot of people wouldn't have voted if there hadn't been alternatives. I'm not sure what I would have done, but the only way I would have even considered voting for Hillary Clinton would have been if ranked choice voting existed. And then I would have voted for her somewhere AFTER Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Roque de La Fuentes, and a write in for Bozo the Clown (not necessarily in that order).

And you still want to find blame in everything except Clinton being a lousy candidate (still more on that one to come, but look at the results of the NJ presidential election for a clue) and the electoral college.

There isn't too much I can do to help you understand that it wasn't the voters, it was the shitty, duopoly system that gave you Trump.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Maine Passes Ranked Choice Voting

One of the many reforms I would like to see in the US system of elections is Ranked Choice Voting. Maine just passed a referendum to make this the method for choosing candidates. I hope other jurisdictions adopt this system.

How does Ranked Choice Voting work? 
(from the Committed for Ranked Choice Voting)

RANKING YOUR CHOICES: Rank as many or as few candidates as you like from your favorite to your least favorite.

DECLARING A WINNER: Ballots are counted in rounds where the last-place candidates lose until one candidate reaches a majority and wins. If your first choice can’t win, your vote automatically counts for your second choice, so you never feel like your vote is wasted.

With Ranked Choice Voting, you have the freedom to vote for the candidate you like the best without worrying that you will help the candidate you like the least.
June 12, 2018 Sample Ballot for the Maine Gubernatorial Primaries
A video on how Ranked Choice Voting works:

This is just one of Many changes that need to be made to the system, but it's an important one.

As I said before: The only way I would have even considered voting for Hillary Clinton would have been if ranked choice voting existed. And then I would have voted for her somewhere AFTER Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Roque de La Fuentes, and a write in for Bozo the Clown (not necessarily in that order).

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bill Clinton is full of shit

Not that it is news. The dude was impeached for lying before congress, which pretty much means he has been convicted for a crime of falsehood.

So, why the fuck should I pay attention to anything him or his scummy wife has to say?
A couple of times by the General election.

It's because I am pissed off he has the balls to try and hint that the Green Party has something to do with a Russian Conspiracy. This ties into my last post. Ajamu Baraka discusses this shit here.

Hey, Bubba, the only way I would have even considered voting for your wife would have been if ranked choice voting existed. And then I would have voted for her somewhere AFTER Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Roque de La Fuentes, and a write in for Bozo the Clown (not necessarily in that order).

Sorry, but Jill Stein actually challenged the election results and I supported her doing that. Did you wife even think about that?

No, she lost Wisconsin to Bernie Sanders in the primary and neglected the state in the General.

Who needs the Russians with a coke addled fuckwit like you running around, Bubba? Your wife's campaign lost the election which you would know if your brain still worked.

My vote was my vote, it doesn't belong to any party and it sure as fuck didn't belong to Hillary Clinton.
A second opinion. She wasn't popular.

I know you have a problem understanding that  "no means no", Bubba, but I said "no" twice to voting for your wife being president.  The third time wasn't going to be different.  I'm sick of voting for evil: lesser or otherwise.

Let's toss in that this election has shown that the process of voting for President is a sham. So, I am going to vote for the candidate of my choice from now on.

Now, why don't you, your wife, and the rest of your family piss off.

See also:

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Clinton was a loser and a bad choice

This explains what happened--and the Russians weren't responsible

I was curious since the popular vote doesn't really matter in Presidential Elections (after all Clinton won that with one of the largest percentages in a US election). The Electoral College is the real decider with only 270 electoral votes needed to win. So, I went to 270toWin to play with their interactive Electoral Vote map.

First off, there are 2,250,000,000,000,000 possible outcomes with the Electoral College system! (Long explanation on that), but it didn't take too many states to flip for Trump to have won. That means it was a real gamble to run a candidate as unpopular as Clinton since there were no guarantees that New Hampshire, Nevada or Virginia wouldn't have voted for Trump. Or that Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin would vote for Clinton.

There were four states, New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which were all decided by less than 1% in 2016, with Michigan the closest. That state was won by about .23% - that’s only 2,300 votes per one million votes cast. Donald Trump won three of these four states, none of which had been won by a Republican in a generation. Those 46 electoral votes put him across the 270 he needed to win. Interestingly, despite a fairly competitive election, only four states were decided by 5% or less in 2012; that number grew to 11 in 2016

The thing is that winning any of one of those four states would mean Trump would be President. Or that Trump's electoral college win could have been much higher!  Remember the popular vote has no relation to the Electoral College numbers. All one needs is to get the largest number of votes to get ALL the Electoral College votes in most states.

There would still be a possibility that Trump could have been president even if all four of those states have voted for Clinton (and Delaware and Nevada had voted for Trump). That is because the Electoral College result would have been a tie (269-269). That means the election would be sent to the House of Representatives with each state delegation getting one vote (a similar activity takes place on the Senate side to pick the Vice-President). In the case of a tie, the election for President is decided in the House of Representatives, with each state delegation having one vote. A majority of states (26) is needed to win. Senators would elect the Vice-President, with each Senator having a vote. A majority of Senators (51) is needed to win.

It would have been highly likely in the case of a tie that the election would remain undecided after the Electors voted. That means Congress would meet in joint session on the first day in January to count the electoral votes (this count happens whether the election is close or not). If no candidate has reached 270 Electoral Votes, then the House and Senate take over and elect the President and Vice-President, respectively.

It seems likely Trump would have been president given the current US legislature is solidly Republican had there been a tie.

Toss in it is possible to win the Electoral College with only 11 States (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey). However, nobody has been elected President since 1900 by winning fewer than 23 states. (Take the quiz at 270towin to see where I got these figures)

Anyway, While the democratic party is responsible for picking a loser like Clinton, it seems to be more that the anti-democratic nature of the US elections needs to be addressed.  After all, the only way the Russians could have influenced the US presidential election would be to have somehow created the Electoral College since that is what really put Trump in office.

See also:
Why Trump Had an Edge in the Electoral College
Five myths about the electoral college

Stop talking Russians--Start listening to the dissatisfied voting public

I am not a fan of Libertarian Politics, but I find myself siding with Gary Johnson in seeing a need to change the current us political landscape.

Maybe the debates aren't the best place to start, but the radical overhaul of the US system of elections has to start some place. Getting other voices back into the debates is needed.

Climate change was hardly mentioned in the 2016 presidential debates. which is something that needs to be addressed.

Anyway, please watch these if you are dissatisfied with the result 2016 election and start looking at the independent voter groups to change the system.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Ta-Nehisi Coates once again shows his ignorance

It would be "whitesplainin'" if I went too harsh on Ta-Nehisi Coates: especially since there are people like Darryl Pinckney, Cornell West, and Adolph Reed who do the job much better than I can.  I am not sure how Coates would explain how someone like me with a JD from University of Maryland and an LLM from the University of Exeter ended up with the shitty law career I had.

Seriously, I applied for a job that was advertised in the ABA journal for someone with pretty much all my credentials, yet I never had so much as an interview. I found out later that a large law firm had placed the ad. It was something called a job cert ad to try and prove there were no US citizens who had the qualifications the firm's candidate had for an H1B visa.

I threw a spanner in the works of that process.

That is a digression into immigration law though, but the point is that there are more than enough jobs which aren't filled for a lot of reasons. That is despite what one person pointed out: that he, as a US Citizen, taught the people who received the H1B visas. His point was that there was likely to be someone in the US who had the qualifications to do the jobs that the H1Bs were being issued for.

The real issue is that Coates frames everything in terms of race, but that should make him even more aware of the fact the Electoral College was created to preserve slavery: why else would smaller states be afraid of larger states having too much power?

But what has me going is We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. Coates neglects two events which could have clued him in to the possibility of a Trump presidency. The first being the 2000 election, where the popular vote loser became president. This was with more shenanigans than happened in 2016 as the disputed Florida election ended up being decided by the US Supreme Court.

Obama's reign was another bellwether event. How could he miss that there was some sort of deal between Obama and Clinton which would result in Clinton being the 2016 Democratic Party nominee? It was obvious that the democrats preferred to lose with Clinton than win with Sanders.  And Obama somehow "defeating" Clinton should have gotten Coates' racial radar tingling.

But it wasn't really that Clinton was unpopular since she won the popular vote by one heck of a margin. She lost in the racist Electoral College. But that is something everybody is ignoring: especially Coates. So, while white people are upset about Russians, Coates is hyper-aware of the "racial divide".  But do either really exist? Is there another explanation which isn't Russians or race?

One the other hand, Clinton lost to a black man and would have lost to a Jew had the system not been rigged in 2016. If that wasn't a big warning sign that Trump stood a chance: I don't know what would be!

I am not sure what part my ancestors played in Bacon's Rebellion, but I know there were some who were in Virginia at the time. That was the real watershed event where the powers that be learned that using race was good for keeping the people down. Sort of like using fear of immigration to stir up the masses (I would wager the person who got the job I mentioned earlier was a white, European).

Anyway, the divide has always been class in the US, but it was easier to keep the classes down when they looked on another  group as somehow inferior.

Anyway, the warning signs were out there, Mr. Coates, you were too busy being distracted by race to see it coming.

See also:
The Afro-Pessimist Temptation

"Gun rights"--you are being had to the point you are dying from it.

Did you realise that the entire concept of "gun rights" is bullshit meant to get you to vote against your self interests? We already know that the facts are on the side of gun regulation which is why there has been a ban on research on this topic.

Now the WaPo has come out with a study that shows "One of the biggest paradoxes — or, at least, potential paradoxes — about gun violence in America is that more gun violence occurs in Republican areas than Democratic areas."

Simply put, gun nuts are literally killing themselves off because red state gun violence usually tends to be suicide. And we know how unsympathetic gun nuts are to suicides.

Let's toss this in with the report that caused the federal "gun violence" research freeze was one that showed that guns in the home were more of a danger to the homeowners and their families than a potential criminal.  Not to mention the ones which show that Lott and Kleck are a pile of horseshit.

Are you people feeling like chumps yet?

No, you're buying more guns because you are gullible.

I sort of feel sorry that your gullibility is killing you, but it's hard when you people are having so much trouble understanding what is happening.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Yes, the Electoral College is a Constitutional Creation, but the Constitution has been amended.

I think the real issue isn't can the Electoral College be changed or abolished, but WHY hasn't it been abolished.  It has already been changed by the 12th Amendment, which means that change is indeed possible.
In case you need to have proof for how this really happened.

The process of states appointing senators was replaced by direct election by the 17th Amendment.

On the other hand, there is more talk about spurious "Russian influence" leading to Trump being president than actual discussion of the electoral college and how it distorts the results of the vote.

On the other hand, the reason the 17th Amendment was adopted was that there was media outcry about the corruption surrounding the appointment of Senators, especially after William A. Clark's bribing of the Montana State legislature came to light.

On the other hand, any discussion of the failures of the electoral college seem to be arcane or on blogs like this one. It is not the stuff the media feeds upon.

It is better to portray the US populace as being fools who would have elected Trump than to point out his victory was not from the democratic process. Instead it came from an arcane institution which few people understand.

The real issue isn't can it be changed, since it has been changed in the past. No, the real issue is can popular opinion be swayed in such a way that the system IS changed.

See Also:

Monday, May 14, 2018

What exactly IS a wasted vote

If someone loses with nearly 3 million more popular votes than her opponent, would one more vote really have made a difference?

Despite what the mass, mainstream media would like to have people believe: my decision to vote for Jill Stein was not totally based on Hillary Clinton being the "Democratic party" nominee.

First off, Bernie Sanders' running in the primary showed that process to be a sham. Not that I couldn't have guessed since the primaries were pretty much settled by the time I could vote in them. My critique of that system would be another post in and of itself.

There are other issues in the system of US elections which show it is neither a democracy or a republic. And threatening to overthrow the government shows one doesn't believe in either system. Again, a whole different post.

Now I see people like Chuck Schumer and Joe Liberman applauding Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem: Can I support the Democratic party if it wants to prop up the REAL rogue Middle Eastern State?

I support the Palestinian right of return, which is sanctioned by international law. Yet, the two US parties have failed to do anything about this issue.

Voting for Clinton based solely on the fact that she was a woman and not Trump would have been a protest vote. Instead, I saw the possibility of Clinton having a landslide victory against Trump as a reason to vote for a party I truly supported.

And she won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, which is not an insignificant number. The fact that was the case, but is buried behind "Russian interference" in the US election makes me sad. That is the only drawback to having voted the way I did.

The two party system has a lock on the US political climate to the point that those of us with alternative opinions are shut out of the debate.

No, my one vote was not wasted, but I believe it would have really been wasted had I voted for one of the duopoly candidates.

See Also

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Direct Election of U.S. Senators, The Electoral College, and republicanism.

For those of you who still keep harping on "republic, not a democracy" despite both systems having the characteristic of choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.

 The Constitution not only provided for what would become the electoral college; it also made it so that senators were elected by state legislatures, not popularly elected. Getting rid of that provision was unlike the electoral college in that it went away quickly with the 17th Amendment, which brought about the direct election of senators.

Maybe that was because the appointment system was much more obvious in its abuse.

William A. Clark was an American politician and entrepreneur, involved with mining, banking, and railroads. Although one could argue that calling him a politician was a bit of a stretch. That's because Clark's long-standing dream of becoming a United States Senator resulted in scandal in 1899 when it was revealed that he bribed members of the Montana State Legislature in return for their votes.

Clark handed out envelopes with anywhere from $1,000-$3,000 dollars to the state legislators during the legislative session where he was appointed senator. According to the US Senate report on the investigation into this matter:
On April 23, 1900, after hearing extensive testimony from ninety-six witnesses, the committee returned a report unanimously concluding that William Clark was not entitled to his seat. The testimony detailed a dazzling list of bribes ranging from $240 to $100,000. In a high-pressure, well-organized scheme coordinated by Clark's son, Clark's agents had paid mortgages, purchased ranches, paid debts, financed banks, and blatantly presented envelopes of cash to legislators.
Clark's response in regard to his bribery of the Montana legislature is supposed to have been, "I never bought a man who wasn't for sale."

Bottom line was that there was a sense that senatorial elections were "bought and sold", changing hands for favours and sums of money rather than because of the competence of the candidate. Between 1857 and 1900, the Senate investigated three elections over corruption, a number that included the investigation of Clark.

The Electoral college is much more problematic in that most people don't understand it and how it distorts the electoral process. Distortion of the elections from being free and fair means that one can't really argue that  the electoral college is somehow a "republican institution". If anything, republicanism would require its abolition.

And it can be done since senators are no longer appointed by the states. The Seventeenth Amendment (Amendment XVII) to the United States Constitution changed that and established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states. The amendment supersedes Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures. It also alters the procedure for filling vacancies in the Senate, allowing for state legislatures to permit their governors to make temporary appointments until a special election can be held.

The Constitution can be amended and changed to go with the times. It's time the electoral college went the way of legislators choosing senators.

See Also

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The right to vote in the US

It would seem odd that a country which is so proud of its democratic process and wants to impose that on "dictatorial" nations that it has no affirmative right to vote. I want to remind you of the characteristics of both a republic and a democracy before you start on the "republic not a democracy" bullshit:
  1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections;
  2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life;
  3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens, and
  4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
There is NO difference between the two in modern political thought: well short of republics not having aristocracy.

Anyway, there is no affirmative right to vote. There are amendments to the U.S. Constitution that prohibit discrimination based on race (15th), sex (19th) and age (26th), but that's kind of meaningless if everybody is excluded.

On the other hand, a right to vote is a cornerstone in international law, Significant international treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and regional agreements such as the American Convention on Human Rights, enshrine citizens' claim to universal and equal suffrage. The most important of these documents is The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. It recognises the integral role that transparent and open elections play in ensuring the fundamental right to participatory government. Article 21 states that:
Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his/her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures.
The problem here is that US law hasn't caught up with the rest of the world, despite the US having been signatory to some of these agreements, which means they would be constitutional law under Article VI.

Perhaps the situation would be different in the US if there was recognition for this right.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

You think when you vote, you get to pick your leaders… right?

There is also the Gerrymander to thwart election choice.

Stop with the "republic not a democracy" shit since that is pretty much meaningless.

Especially when some elections don't have ANY candidate choice. That is the elections have no candidates from parties that can't win.

A recap for people who want to parrot the "republic not a democracy" bullshit. There is NO difference between the two in modern political thought: well short of republics not having aristocracy. Here are the characteristics of both systems.
  1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections;
  2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life;
  3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens, and
  4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
The French Revolution pretty much proved the founders WRONG about the benefits of a republic over a democracy.

Can you say "the Terror"?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Why I cited "Hillary Clinton's popular vote margin is meaningless in every way (except pithy tweets)"

There are a bunch of good reasons to have mentioned that in my last post.

First off, it doesn't really contradict any of my argument. In fact, it pretty much makes my point: the electoral college is undemocratic. Toss in that Hillary Clinton ran a campaign that was better for first past the post than one where the result will be determined by an undemocratic institution unique to US politics.

The folks who want to tell me I somehow wasted my vote by voting for Jill Stein don't understand the plethora of reasons WHY I voted the way I did. One of the major factors was that the US system of elections needs to change.

I would have been far more pissed off had I voted for Clinton to have her lost in the manner she lost to Trump. Adding to her large margin of the popular vote only to see her lose would have been a wasted vote. Instead I voted for someone I believed in.

And, no, I probably wouldn't have held my nose and voted for another Clinton.

Too many things need to change in the US system of elections and blaming everybody and everything except for the real issues that led to Clinton losing only turns me off the discussion.

Unfortunately, the person who wrote the post doesn't really understand how the electoral college skews the vote so that a minority of states actually determine who will be president.[1]  That is true to the extent that it is theoretically possible for 11 States to determine who will be president. Take this quiz for an eye opener on how undemocratic the electoral college happens to be.

So much for the big states not being able to overrule the smaller ones.  That is one of the most bullshit reasons to keep the electoral college. Seriously, anyone who makes that argument needs to take the quiz to see how wrong they are. The only thing the electoral college does is distort the results of the presidential election.

In the all-or-none Electoral College system, the importance of each individual vote is magnified in closely-contended states. That's why, as the election approaches, some states get far more attention from the candidates, both in terms of visits and local advertising dollars spent. If we had a popular vote election, the candidates would likely spend most of their time and energy in the most populous states, supplemented by national advertising. We'll leave it to others - and there is no shortage of opinions - to debate which system is best.

So, no, the electoral college does not result in a "national" election. If anything, it results in states being totally neglected for the states that are considered "battlegrounds". Clinton took Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin for granted to the point that she totally ignored Wisconsin. I heard anecdotally that Democratic Get out the Vote volunteers in Pennsylvania actually made calls to Trump supporters!

“It’s is nothing short of malpractice that her campaign didn’t look at the electoral college and put substantial resources in states like Michigan and Wisconsin,” says Democratic pollster Paul Maslin. Naw, they preferred to blame the people who voted green for their fuck ups.

Oh, and the blog where the post about Clinton's margin being insignificant (and how great the electoral college is) was made is called "excess of democracy". I personally do not see a difference of nearly three million popular votes to be insignificant.

But the learned professor seems to ignore that the electoral college has been modified in the past to try and fix it. I would also add that it is unique to the United States, which makes one question its utility. It has demonstrated it does none of the things its proponents claim it does. In fact it pretty much places the election of the president in the votes a few states, increases the regionalism, and has led to deeply polarized electorate.

Bottom line, the US system of elections needs a serious overhaul: not finger pointing and trying to find blame.

  1. John F. Kennedy won the 1960 election, despite winning the popular vote (and thus the electoral votes) of only 23 of the 50 states. Jimmy Carter won 23 states in 1976, but he also won DC, which by then was participating with 3 electoral votes. George W. Bush won 30 states in 2000, despite the closeness of the electoral vote. 

See Also

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Trump was not popularly elected.

I get really annoyed when I see people saying that Donald trump "won" the US election and try to make it sound as if he won the popular vote.

He didn't win the popular vote: he won in the electoral college.

The popular vote is the small print in the picture above. It's also the small print in the debate about Trump being US President.

The people are distracted to nebulous "Russian interference" Instead of addressing the glaring problems in US "democracy", which this is a glaring example. Yet no one seems to be willing to address the fact that the electoral college distorts the vote even when it isn't creating a mess like this one.

Elite media outlets do not, for the most part, have an interest in vote counts and what they mean. Coverage of the 2016 election campaign confirmed the extent to which major media are more interested in personalities than facts on the ground. The television networks like to declare a “winner” and then get focused on the palace intrigues surrounding a transition of power. Those intrigues are worth covering. But perspective on the will of the people get lost. Election-night numbers get locked in, and that’s that.

On the other hand, Clinton's margin  of victory in the popular vote was larger than John Kennedy's and Richard Nixon's, I've seen a statistic that her popular vote margin was the third largest in US elections!

Multiple candidates in American history have been elected president with far smaller margins than Clinton's in the popular vote. According to figures from the Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections—and as alluded to by one Atlantic reader—they include:
James Garfield in 1880: 0.09 percentage points
John F. Kennedy in 1960: 0.17 percentage points
Grover Cleveland in 1884: 0.57 percentage points
Richard Nixon in 1968: 0.7 percentage points
James Polk in 1844: 1.45 percentage points
Since the final vote count did, indeed, put her well above 2 percentage points ahead of Trump, her margin went beyond those of winning presidential nominees Jimmy Carter in 1976 (2.07 percentage points) and George W. Bush in 2004 (2.47 percentage points). And all this is not to mention the presidents who’ve been elected without winning the popular vote at all. That’s a list that includes Bush in 2000, and Trump.

Yet she lost. Trump lost the popular vote by more than any successfully elected president ever. And Clinton lost the election with a pretty hefty amount of popular votes.

So, no Hillary's margin of the popular vote is highly important since it demonstrates how fucked US "democracy" happens to be. There is a reason that the elections take forever: it's that it raises the cost of running for office. Again, the get the money out of politics crowd isn't talking about that aspect of the issue.

I agree with Donald Trump, who in 2012 described the Electoral College a “disaster for democracy.” Trump told CBS’s 60 Minutes after the 2016 election was over that he still agrees with himself—even if he is not prepared to defer to the will of the people in this instance. “I would rather see it where you went with simple votes,” Trump explained. “You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win.”

Stop trying to pin the 2016 election on the Russians since the problems are 100% home grown.

See Also