Sunday, November 27, 2016

Where Are The Recounts In New Hampshire, Colorado And Nevada (and Minnesota)?

I pointed out on my main blog last night the utter hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton jumping on the "recount" bandwagon started by lefty loon Jill Stein. She seems to think that even though she conceded, everyone in the world accepted the results (however reluctantly) and the transition has begun, there is some completely rational reason to think that she can overturn the results and still become President. I sort of get why she is doing this, her entire life has been consumed with becoming President and now that will never, ever happen. Our first female President will not be her but instead a, hopefully, at least reasonably decent person.

So I got to wondering, and I am sure others have as well but this is my pondering and my data gathering, why are there recounts being called for in just three states that Hillary Clinton lost? There are three states that she won that were awfully close, Colorado (9 electoral college votes), Nevada (4) and New Hampshire (3). See below for the vote differences in the three states she wants a recount (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan) and compare them to the three I mentioned (see also addendum below re: Minnesota):

I got my numbers from the Fox News website this morning and verified them against Politico, and in the case of Colorado where the numbers were different I used Politicos numbers. If I am doing the math correctly, the total difference in the three recount states is 107,105 votes. The total difference in the three states she won and is not calling for a recount is 100,907. As an aside I managed to get a B.A. without taking (or at least passing) a single math or statistics course so please feel free to verify these numbers on your own.

Now maybe I am just being suspicious but it seems to me that if Jill Stein is so worried about "Election Integrity™", shouldn't she be calling for a recount in states like Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire where the total margin was slightly less than the three she is raising funds to recount? Especially in New Hampshire where the difference was less than 3,000 votes?

Sure, I get that in the three states she won the total votes were mostly much lower so the margin percentage is much smaller but remember that we are worried about "election integrity" here. If 27,257 votes in Wisconsin made the difference and we should recount them, shouldn't 26,434 votes in Colorado be recounted as well? It is almost like Jill Stein is doing this whole recount thing for partisan reasons instead of because "Election Integrity™", a concept that only seems to matter to Jill when she wants to recount states her preferred candidate lost instead of when it comes to making sure people who are casting ballots are, ya know, actually legally voting in the first place.

Once she is made aware of the razor thin margins that Hilary won those three states by, I am sure Jill will immediately start to solicit funds from her Starbucks barista and community organizer fan base to have those states recounted as well. After all, she is the self-anointed champion of "Election Integrity™".


Someone pointed out that Minnesota with 10 electoral college votes was actually even closer. I didn't catch it because I initially looked at the list of battleground states and usually reliably Left Minnesota (home of Mondale after all) wasn't supposed to be contested. Here is Minnesota added in:

By my count that means that Hillary might have 26 Electoral College votes in error. Someone alert Jill Stein to this new threat to "Election Integrity™"!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The United States of America Is A Republic, Not A Democracy, And I Am Thankful For That

National Review has a post up that a friend referred me to, Unity Through Federalism, and it is pretty good all around but is specifically has two of the best paragraphs on the actual system of government we operate under in America.

The Constitution specifically enshrined a federalist system that limited the power of the federal government and allowed the people to govern themselves through the various states. This federalist approach was the result of our founders’ reasoned and deliberative effort to reform the Articles of Confederation, under which power was insufficiently centralized to allow us to function effectively together as one nation. Now, we have the opposite problem: Power in America is centralized to the point where every national election seems life-or-death.

Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to care quite so deeply about who controlled the White House? Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t have to care who might be appointed to the Supreme Court beyond knowing he or she was qualified to wisely answer questions of law? Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to care who the bureaucrats were because their duties weren’t so consequential?


It seems so novel. People in Indiana probably know what they want and what is better for Hoosiers than some government flunky in D.C. that has no idea where Indiana is.

It is so frustrating to see people spouting off about the popular vote or how unfair it is that votes in less populated states matter on social media and it is a clear sign of a failure (intentional or not) in teaching basic civics to kids. Having even a rudimentary understanding of our government is enough to quell the complaints about the electoral college. Unfortunately asking for a rudimentary understanding of pretty much any topic and the ability to engage in the most basic of critical thinking are in short supply.

We don't live in America. We live in the United States of America. Our system of government is a federalist one that specifically and intentionally limits the Federal government. Ours was not intended as a top down system with all of the power concentrated in the hands of a few people in Washington, D.C. and the states serving only as quaint points of interest for us to mark the time as we drive cross-country. We are a nation of states that formed a Federal government to handle only those things that were not practical for the individual states (i.e national defense). As a reminder, the Tenth Amendment, the most ignored of all the Amendments, reads as follows:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Constitution very specifically reserves a few powers to the Federal government, a very limited and very specific list, and then states very clearly that everything else is to be handled at the state or local level. While politicians have sought to dismantle this Federal system for most of the last 100 years, it doesn't change the form of government we live under. The Bill of Rights is set up very intentionally and the Amendment show up where they do for a reason. The First Amendment is our most important, the Second Amendment protects the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment comes last to wrap up and specify that the Federal government is very limited in scope.

As many have noted, a lot of people thought executive orders and executive overreach were great when Obama was doing it but now are terrified because Trump is inheriting the precedent of Obama. I agree with others who say that a lot of liberals are going to develop a sudden new appreciation for the concept of limited government.

If you are scared of Trump, and you might have good reason to be but probably not for the reasons you see on social media, then the solution is not to overturn the electoral college or to undo the Federal system of government but instead to return to a proper reflection of our Constitutional form of government so that it isn't a life or death crisis when someone you don't like is elected President. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sanctuary Amid Slaughter

I mentioned earlier that it was ironic that Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago declared Chicago a sanctuary city that was safe for illegal aliens while at the same time his city is one of the most dangerous places in America for black men. Yesterday a news story came out that showed once again how true this is and how the response to the murder crisis in Chicago is so politicized that even a grieving grandfather cannot see past it. The headline tells the story: Chicago police say charges are expected in death of congressman's grandson

Officials in Chicago said charges could be announced soon in the shooting death of an Illinois congressman's grandson following an argument over a pair of basketball shoes.

Officials say two juveniles are in custody and are being considered suspects in the murder of Javon Wilson, after he was shot in the head in his Chicago home on Friday.

"The detectives are continuing their interrogations and charges are expected," Officer Michelle Tannehill said on Saturday night.

Police announced earlier that the shooting occurred after a dispute over basketball shoes.

Wilson allegedly knew his attackers, but the juveniles in custody have not been identified.

The 15-year-old boy is the grandson of longtime U.S. Rep. Danny Davis.

Davis said he was told that a 15-year-old boy had traded slacks for shoes with Wilson's 14-year-old brother, but thought better of the trade and went to Wilson's house with a 17-year-old girl. He said the pair forced their way in the house and argued with Wilson before the boy pulled a gun and fired.

As is all too often the case, the blame is on the "prevalence" of guns. Representative Davis said in the aftermath:

Davis also said that his grandson was a victim of a world where gun violence has become commonplace.

"It's almost, just the way it is. People think nothing of it," Davis said. "Youngsters invariably say, 'I know a lot of guys who've got guns. I know a lot of girls who've got guns.”

Davis added, "It becomes a part of the culture of an environment that has got to change."

Davis has been a member of the Democratic party for nearly 20 years. He was re-elected this month to his 11th term in the 7th Congressional District.

"The question becomes where does a 15-year-old obtain a gun? Who let the 15-year-old have a gun and under what circumstances?" Davis asked. "There's no answer for that except that the availability of guns is so prevalent in America to the point where you almost can't tell who has a gun" anymore.

The thing is, guns have always been prevalent in America. I grew up with ready access to firearms my entire life. I was on occasion angry with other people as a kid and teen but it never, ever occurred to me that it would be a sensible to get one of my dad's guns and shoot someone over a squabble or slight. My kids live in a home with guns and never would even consider shooting someone. Millions of people grew up like I did, in homes where guns were present but where guns were also taught to be something you didn't play around with. So something else must be at play here. 

The answer might have something to do with a culture that deems a slight or insult, no matter whether real or perceived, is something that is properly responded to with violence and deadly violence at that. There must be some reason why millions of Americans with ready access to guns never point a gun at someone else and so many others pull the trigger. 

I cannot imagine the anguish of Representative Davis in losing a grandchild and I grieve for he and his family but with all sincerity he and others need to ask the harder questions instead of casting blame on firearms. Restrictive gun laws have done nothing to curb violence in places like Chicago and Baltimore so it is high time that people entrusted with the public safety figure out what is wrong, even if those questions and answers don't serve a political purpose. 

While You Are Crying and Gnashing Your Teeth We Can't Have Real And Necessary Conversations

The feverish denouncement and semi-professional protests continue unabated as the impotent rage of American liberals washes over social media. The cast of the musical Hamilton took the time to stand on stage and scold/lecture the incoming Vice-President of the United States, accusing him of failing to "protect them", whatever that means, and demanding he uphold "their" American values which apparently are different from American values in places like Indiana, signalling that their particular brand of entertainment comes with a heavy ideological price tag. It was a classless, clumsy and juvenile move but it was simultaneously declared breathlessly by liberals to be one step above the Declaration of Independence and at the same time condemned by conservatives who, like me, have never seen and have no interest in seeing this musical. It is pretty clear that for the foreseeable future we are not going to get a moment of rest from the denunciations of a man who, for better or likely for worse, was lawfully and fairly elected to be the next President of the United States.

Meanwhile as the Sturm und Drang continues to rain liberal tears all over America, there are some actual important things happening that are getting little attention. Instead of being focused on places where Trump is an actual danger, the sort of places political conservatives/libertarians warned about during the primary season and led many to declare themselves #NeverTrump, we instead get stories about an overwrought speech from a Broadway actor who couldn't find Indiana on a map with both hands and Lena Dunham seeking wisdom and solace by communing with rocks.

For example. A number of mayors across the country have declared that the cities they run are now and forever more "Sanctuary Cities" where people who are breaking the law simply by being here, i.e. illegal aliens, are safe from the jackbooted forces of the INS. Never mind that these same people have been cheerleaders for the unlimited increase of the Federal Goliath into every aspect of our lives. Also pay no attention to the very real fact that Rahm Emmanuel's Chicago is supposed to be a safe place for people who are in this country illegally but is at the same time one of the most dangerous places in America for black people who are American citizens. What I found troubling is that Trump is already threatening these "sanctuary cities". One of the points of Trump's first 100 days in office plan is:

* THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities

For those on the Left this is of course terrible. For those on the Right this causes giggling with glee. I understand why. These pompous boobs who think that some criminal behavior ought to be protected are getting a taste of their own medicine as Trump threatens to use the Obama "Withhold Federal education funding if you don't let boys into girl's restroom and locker room facilities" tactics. What is missed ought to be obvious. Why are there "Federal funds" for cities in the first place? Why do we allow D.C. to take money out of our cities and states and then dictate to us under what terms we are allowed to have our own money back? Taking money away from the people and then extorting them with their own money is the ultimate statist move. News flash: Donald Trump is not a conservative of any stripe.

Another example. In an about-face that was dizzying, many of the neo-con establishment Republicans who not-so-secretly lit candles hoping for a Hillary Clinton win have managed to position themselves for prominent posts in the Trump administration, posing as "experts" that Trump will need to run foreign policy. As the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity reports there is a struggle going on between Neo-Cons and Libertarians over who will craft the Trump administration's foreign policy: War Breaks Out Between Neo-Cons And Libertarians Over Trump's Foreign Policy.

It is very possible and perhaps very likely that the interventionist class will come to dominate the Trump administration after doing all they could to keep him out of the White House. Those of us on both sides of the political spectrum who want to see a less interventionist foreign policy had better start to pay attention and make our voices heard.

This is all before Trump has even been sworn in but by all means let's pay attention to the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the participation ribbon generation instead of watching what is really happening. Ironically the people who are making the most noise think they are "standing up" to Trump when in reality they are creating a very effective smokescreen that is obscuring what is really going on. Good job, now go over-pay for a juvenile, historically inaccurate up-jumped high school play so you can feel better about yourself.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thoughts on the "abolish the Electoral College!" nonsense

This is a safety pin, also known as
a diaper pin. Think about that for
a second....
I have been really, really trying to not get too snarky about the election. After all, the guy I reluctantly voted for (Gary Johnson) did pretty well for a third-party candidate but didn't even get 5% of the vote. To be honest, if we lived in Ohio, what was thought to be a battleground state, instead of a sure thing for Trump like Indiana where we actually live, I would have been a lot more tempted to vote for Trump just to deny the White House to another member of the Clinton Crime Syndicate. 

Even still I have to say that while I expected people to be upset, the sheer hysteria and criminal behavior exhibited days later is incredible. The temper tantrum on display from people who clearly think that only they have the right to decide the direction of this country is ugly and unbecoming but not really surprising when you stop and think about it. Thanks to a combination of telling people in this country that they are entitled to whatever they want and the general historic ignorance in this country it is little wonder that people now are acting like the Electoral College is some nefarious plot created a century ago to deny Hillary Clinton that White House that we need to do away with.

We live in the United States of America. We are governed by a document called the Constitution. This document provides a very specific, very well thought out and very intentional method for electing a President. That method is the electoral college. It was created as a specific way to choose a President that protects the rights of people living in smaller states. It is helpful to remember that we don't live in "America". We live in "The United States Of America". Ours is a nation made up of individual, sovereign states that are joined together for a common purpose under a Republic. We don't live in a democracy. You don't vote on defense appropriations or to go to war. The representatives you elect vote on your behalf. The same is true for the election of the President, the only elected representative of the entire nation. We vote as a state to pick electors to represent our state at the Electoral College. That is what it is supposed to do and the teams for Trump and Clinton (and Stein and Johnson and etc.) all know this and plan (or should plan) accordingly. 

Complaining after the fact that your candidate "won" the popular vote but lost the electoral college is like saying this:

In a football game lots of stats are kept. One of those is total yards. It makes some sense, you have to typically gain yards to advance down the field in order to either cross the goal line or be in position for a field goal. So gaining yards is a critical component of a winning strategy in football. No one who is a successful coach plans on gaining fewer yards than the other team in their game plan. But gaining more yards is not the ultimate goal. That is because what counts is not total yards or time of possession or quarterback rating. What counts are points on the board via touchdowns and field goals (and safeties but those are rare). In fact it is not uncommon for a team to gain more total yards and still lose because of poor field position or turnovers or any number of factors. So in your game plan you focus on scoring points for your team and denying points to the other team. That is how you win and you plan your strategy accordingly.

The same is true in our Presidential elections. It was not a surprise to anyone that the way to win the Presidency is to get the majority of electoral college votes, at least 270 to win. There is a reason that Hillary Clinton spent lots of time in Ohio leading up to the election. Ohio has a population of around 11.5 million people. California which is a very liberal state has over 39 million people or more than three and a half times the population. So why didn't Hillary spend more time in California and less in Ohio? Because California's 55 electoral college votes were in the bag for Clinton like Indiana's were for Trump. She won over 60% of the popular vote there and that was probably the least she could get and she did so without even trying very hard. That was smart. Even if she had won 95% of the vote in California she couldn't get more than 55 electoral college votes. That is why she spent so much time in Ohio, which turned out to have been a poor decision because Trump won Ohio 52% to 43.5% which wasn't even close and therefore gets all 18 of Ohio's electoral college votes, but at the time she and her staff thought it made sense to contest Ohio because she needed those 18 electoral college votes and more to the point she needed to deny them to Trump. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your political persuasion she didn't spend as much time as she needed to in places she thought she would win like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and that cost her the election. I am not sure being in those states more would have helped given how unpopular she is but not showing up at all in Wisconsin was probably an error.

Again, this was not a secret process. So if Hillary's team said don't worry about Wisconsin, it is a sure thing and they were wrong (which they were) and she ended losing Wisconsin and their 10 electoral college votes by around 25,000 total Cheesehead votes, that is on her.

It is not a flaw in the system, which worked exactly as designed. It was an error in judgment on the part of her campaign team and that is on her and on her advisers (and I wouldn't want to be the guy/gal in charge of Wisconsin, their job prospects in D.C. are probably pretty dim right now...). 

Future Presidential candidates are planning strategies already for 2020 and they are not planning on getting a majority of the meaningless "popular vote". That is a means to an end but the end goal is to get to 270 in the electoral college. It works like it should and that is a good thing for people who don't live in New York and California. So stop whining about the electoral college and maybe instead pick a candidate who is not quite so unlikable and so obviously corrupt and dishonest.

As an aside, as of right now I show that Trump got 60,072,551 total votes and Hillary got 60,467,601 for a difference of 395,050. That sounds like a lot but it is less than 4/10 of 1% if the total votes cast so functionally the results in the popular vote were a tie. The cold, hard fact of 2016 is that two immensely unpopular candidates basically got exactly half of the votes each and Trump won based on a better result in the electoral college. The election is over, the GOP now controls the Presidency, the Senate and the House so the question now is what they will do with that power. If they screw it up, there is a mid-term election in less than 2 years and another Presidential election in less than 4. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

They were just emails, what is the big deal?

When President Clinton was impeached back in the 90's, the left and their lapdogs in the media very quickly managed to change the narrative. Pretty soon it was "it is just sex, what is the big deal?'. What this conveniently ignored is that President Clinton was not impeached because he had sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky. In the oval office. Ugh. Anyway, the reason he was impeached is that he was questioned under oath about a sexual harassment case in front of a grand jury and that question came up and he lied about it. We call that perjury. While he was impeached in the House, the Senate failed to do so and he remained in office although he had his law license suspended because of his illegal behavior. The media did such a good job of changing the narrative that I would bet if you could find a younger person (or even a lot of older people) that actually know Bill Clinton used to be President and even more unlikely know he was impeached, the vast majority of them would think he was impeached because of his sexual escapades with a White House intern, not for lying under oath, committing perjury and obstructing justice. A sitting President lies under oath and gets away with it and no one seems to remember. 

The same thing is happening now. The narrative has changed from Hillary Clinton storing and sending classified emails from a private, apparently ramshackle email server, exposing state secrets to hackers which apparently actually did happen and then misleading and outright lying about it later to the new, improved narrative that "They were just emails, what is the big deal?". The big deal is that she did something someone with an 8th grade education should have known was unsecure which violated the implicit trust someone who is one of the top officials in  the Federal government is assumed to have , she lied about it repeatedly, somehow those emails ended up on Anthony Weiner's laptop along with pictures of his fella parts he was sending to a 15 year old girl and her apparent inability to recall even a single detail about it. If you can't be responsible with sending emails, how can you be responsible to negotiate with foreign powers and have access to the nuclear launch codes?

As pertinent as her mishandling of classified information ought to be for voters (Does "C" stand for classified? I thought it stood for cookie and that's good enough for me.), what is really reflected by Mrs. Clinton's blatant disregard for national security is the ongoing, decades long pattern she and her husband have exhibited of seeing themselves as above the law. They have lied, cheated and prostituted themselves to the highest bidder for decades and become filthy rich in doing so. I have no issue with someone becoming rich, but I do have an issue with someone using their political influence to become rich selling access to foreign governments. 

Donald Trump is a pig and a boor and has said outrageous, indefensible stuff. Hillary Clinton has done far worse and is the co-head of what can only be described as a criminal syndicate. I can understand not voting for Trump but to vote for someone as repulsive as Hillary Clinton is morally indefensible.