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.