Thursday, May 25, 2017

Snowflake an insult?

I know my co-bloggers are from snow country and I've lived in areas where winter weather can be harsh.  My experience tells me that anyone who wants to call someone a snowflake isn't very familiar with snow and its effects.
I haven't been called a snowflake, but snow is nothing to be discounted if you don't know how to deal with it.

Look at how snow can paralyse areas.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roger Moore quote

“I regret that sadly heroes in general are depicted with guns in their hands, and to tell the truth I have always hated guns and what they represent.” 
Roger Moore

More Seth Rich

I mentioned the unsolved murder case of Seth Rich in the Heeeyyyy, MITCH! post and this is a follow up.

Seth Rich is the DNC staffer who is alleged to have leaked the Hillary emails to Wikileaks.

It seems that Fox News and Sean Hannity in particular have dropped this as news:
Both Fox and Hannity invited a torrent of criticism for a report on 16 May that Rich, a 27-year-old staffer at the DNC, had been in contact with the website WikiLeaks prior to his fatal shooting in Washington in July of 2016. The unsubstantiated report was published and promoted on both Fox News, most heavily on Hannity’s primetime show, and the network’s local Washington affiliate, WTTG-TV.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Fox News said the article in question “was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting”.
“Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed,” the statement read. “We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.”
Sean Hannity wasn't totally giving up, but said this about his dropping the story:
“Out of respect for the [Rich] family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time,” Hannity said.
Even so, the characteristically bombastic anchor blamed what he dubbed as “liberal fascism” amid a campaign targeting Hannity’s advertisers in the wake of his promotion of the false report.
“I promise you I am not going to stop doing my job,” Hannity said. “I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”
I've got to admit this sounds a bit fishy to me, but maybe Fox is going to change with the passing of Roger Ailes.

Quotes here come from Fox drops Seth Rich murder story as Sean Hannity attacks 'liberal fascism'

Monday, May 22, 2017

US elections are ranked worst among Western democracies

I found it interesting that Posner's article I mentioned in the piece on the electoral college was written to support the Obama presidency, which means that the right can be sore losers: even when they truly lose.

My dislike for the electoral college isn't just because someone lost even though they had the larger share of the popular vote: it is because it is one of many anti-democratic aspects in US politics.  None of these have been questioned in the US.  One of the many reasons I made the Demexit was that the Democrats were far from democratic, or they would be screaming about the electoral college costing the election.

Anyway, the University of Sydney's (Australia) Electoral Integrity Project has duly noted the systemic problems in US elections.

Again, Left and Right should be upset.

But I don't think popular elections are truly popular in the states.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Heeeyyyy, MITCH!

Yep, I am calling Penigma's fav right wing blogger to pass on some what isn't news to us on the far left, but is for pretty much everybody else.

There is a class action lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee, which I have known about early on when I signed on as a member of the class.  Let's toss in that this is the material that was published in Wikileaks about how the DNC violated its charter about neutrality in the primary, among other things, in pushing Clinton as the Candidate.
In July 2016, Matt Taibbi wrote in Rolling Stone that, “primary season was very far from a fair fight. The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn’t neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management.”
I know you righties like conspiracy, and the DNC mess includes the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.  Rich is pretty much been shown to be the source of most of the material published by Wikileaks (look at Assange's twitter feed...).  That's been the buzz since the news of his murder came out.

The DNC Class action lawsuit is conspicuously absent (even on Fox News), which makes me wonder how much the powers that be have been jerking around the right.

We may find out if people like Mitch don't start doing their research (of course, that presupposes they CAN research...) since they can have a field day with how undemocratic the democratic party happens to be.

The real fun is finding the documentation of dissent from the Sanders camp and its repression by the DNC at the Philly Convention.  Try Craig's List...

Have fun!

Recommended reading:
Election Justice USA, “Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries,” ElectionJusticeUSA, July 25, 2016, http://www.election-justice-usa.org/Democracy_Lost_Update1_EJUSA.pdf.
Is MSM distracting from class action lawsuits against DNC?
DNC lawsuit: DNC won’t answer court’s basic question about state primary deals — Part 2 of 3 | The Florida Squeeze

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Abolish the Electoral College

I am amazed that this institution has not gone away long ago, or at least been reformed. This past election has demonstrated that most of the reasons for its existence are fatuous. lets start with:

It prevents foreign interference in US elections

This reason comes from The Federalist Papers, No 68:
Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?
This seems to make any allegation of foreign interference (read Russia) absurd if the reasoning behind this institution is sound. I am surprised this hasn't been brought up as a reason that any investigation into this is just silly.

It prevents an incompetent from becoming president

The 2016 US election was one of duelling idiots. While one may defend Hillary Clinton as Threat not chicebeing well educated, she certainly lacked the knowse to deal with the election process (I refer you to Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign for documentation of her lack of political savvy, but that was pretty obvious to anyone watching the campaign). [1]

On the other hand, the US has been saddled by someone who appears to believe he wouldn't have won. I could get into Trump's candidacy, but this is a really bad one if this is one of the reasons for having the electoral college. I'd toss in the 2000 election as another example of the wrong person becoming president.

More reasons

I found Richard Posner's Slate article defending this anachronism. In defence of Posner, his article was written in 2012 before this past election fiasco. Posner gives the following reasons to keep this: Certainty of Outcome, Everyone’s President, Swing States, Big States, and Avoiding Run-Off Elections. I have to admit that the learned judge seems to be offering confused reasons.

Certainty of Outcome is a bad one for the learned judge to begin with since Gore won the popular vote by over 500,000 votes in 2000 and Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes (2,868,691). I found it hard to find a graph which gave the popular vote in the 2016 election, as opposed to graphics that showed the electoral vote, since this number is so disparate it makes this argument risable. [2] It would seem more certain in a truly democratic society, or at least one that likes to pretend to the rest of the world how great its democracy is.

Or is that pretence a relic of the cold war? Now that democracy is no longer an issue the US can get rid of its pretending its democracy is somehow better than the rest of the world.[3]

Everyone's president is a truly laughable assertion under Trump. How many people DIDN'T vote in the last election? Then there are people like me who voted for third parties.

The reality of the "everyone's president" argument made by Posner is silly is that he then goes on to "Swing States" and "Big States". Posner is trying to use the founder's belief that somehow the Electoral college prevents regionalism. Then he goes into the glaring examples of regionalism. It was Clinton's failures in swing states that cost her the election!

Bottom line on those three arguments: you can't claim that somehow the electoral college prevents regionalism when regionalism is what ended up costing the election of someone who won the popular vote by 48.5% (as opposed to the electoral college winner who won by 46.4% of the popular vote).

Reading Posner's article, the 2016 election points out the flaws in his arguments: the electoral college serves no point other than to be anti-democratic, which gets into "run off elections".

Those would be small prices to pay if they would be the cost of having the democracy the US has presented to the rest if the world through the last part of the 20th Century and the beginning of this one.

The problem is the electoral college is an anti-democratic institution which is an extreme danger to the electoral process. The sad part is that the travesty caused the electoral college is again being ignored. I noticed that the democrats were blaming everything except this fossil for their loss. Now, the silliness of foreign influence in US elections overlooks a reason given for this artefact.

The 2016 Presidential election has demonstrated that this institution needs to be abolished, or drastically reformed. Its existence has led to a constitutional crisis (not that the US hasn't been on the verge of one since its inception). But this one is one of proportions that can no longer be ignored.

The real bottom line here is that the US system of elections is in drastic need of an overhaul: does it take a Constitutional crisis to force this to happen?

notes:
[1] disclaimer: I voted for Jill Stein for many reasons other than just the "democratic" party running Clinton, but her choice was one of many sickeners the party gave me. The entire US election process makes me sick, but the duopoly really disgusts me.
[2] I knew Clinton was going to lose when the election results focused on the electoral votes as opposed to the popular votes.
[3] there is little difference between a republic and a democracy in modern political science. Besides, the French Revolution pretty much put paid to most of the anti-democratic v republican beliefs of the founders.
 [4] Here is my wish list of changes to the US system of elections. Only Jill Stein and the Greens seems to be willing to mention them:
open debates run by an impartial body like the League of Women Voters, shorter election cycles, open primaries, ranked choice voting, return of the fairness doctrine and equal time rule (Trump used the lack of it to get shitloads of free publicity), campaign finance reform--if not publicly funded campaigns, easier access to the ballot for parties, reform or abolish the electoral college, end gerrymandering, handcounted paper ballots or receipts, and I am sure that is only the beginning.