Thursday, March 23, 2017
The "majority of the popular vote" myth
And a proposal for Federal legislation
That Hillary won a majority of the individual votes cast in the last presidential election has been a huge talking point for the Donks. They use it to justify their Fascist attacks on free speech and attacks on Trump generally. But it is basically a fraudulent claim. Donks use it to claim that Hillary had more support than Trump among the voters at large. But it does not indicate that at all.
The key is that "votes cast" is only part of the story. What about the non-voters? Non-voters could be non-voters out of indifference but there is another large reason for non-voting. Take California. California gives ALL its electoral college votes to the candidate who won the majority of the popular vote in that State. Other states send electors to the electoral college in proportion to the popular votes gained. So if a candidate got 55% of the popular vote, only 55% of the electoral college votes from that State would go to that candidate.
So what would a rational GOP supporter do in California on election day? Stay home. California is a solid Democrat state so there is no point in the GOP voter troubling himself on election day. ALL the electoral college votes from CA will without fail go to the Donk candidate.
In most other states, however, there is a BIG reason for a GOP voter to go out and vote. The number of GOP voters who turn out will influence the makeup of the electoral college. Even if a majority of the State's voters support the Donks, GOP voters in that State can still send a lot of GOP votes to the electoral college.
So nobody in fact knows how many people supported Hillary versus Trump.
But the imbalance between the popular vote and the electoral college vote certainly looks anti-democratic and that is deplorable. So can anything be done to fix that situation? It can. Pass over-riding Federal legislation to wipe out the California practice. Oblige the States to give their electoral college votes in proportion to the poplar vote. Had that been done in the recent election, Trump might well have gained a majority in the national popular vote. There could have been a LOT of "discouraged" GOP voters in CA.
Footnote: There is a distinction between the number of votes counted and the number of votes cast. States don’t count their absentee ballots unless the number of outstanding absentee ballots is larger than the state margin of difference. If there is a margin of 1,000 votes counted and there are 1,300 absentee ballots outstanding, then the state tabulates those. If the number of outstanding absentee ballots wouldn’t influence the election results, then the absentee ballots aren’t counted -- JR.
Trump Budget Drains the Swamp
Everyone in Washington hates Donald Trump’s new budget. So it must have something going for it. This is a budget plan that will surgically remove trillions of dollars of wasteful spending from the obese $3.9 trillion federal budget. Many agencies will have to live with cuts of 5, 10 and 30 percent, while other outdated, duplicative or unproductive programs will go to the graveyard.
It’s a gutsy document that takes on the hoards of special-interest groups that populate Washington, DC. The Washington metropolitan workforce will shrink, and so the town is in cardiac arrest. The Washington Post quoted an unnamed “official” who said that his fellow workers at the Department of Housing and Urban Development were feeling “demoralized.” Boohoo. Then the anonymous bureaucrat added: “This is just a tough, tough time. HUD is no different than any other domestic agency in just feeling as though these cuts are all very arbitrary and unnecessary.”
Well, maybe the workers at HUD now know how “demoralized” Americans feel about the way their agency misspends tax dollars.
No surprise here that Trump, who promised to drain the swamp, is getting resistance from the people who live in the swamp. The rest of America, outside the Washington Beltway, couldn’t be more pleased.
The deep cutbacks in the State Department, foreign service and foreign aid have been met with particular scorn by liberals. But why? Americans have been saying for decades that they believe foreign aid is a waste of money. They’re right. Some $50 billion of aid money has gone to sub-Saharan Africa and surrounding regions over the last 40 years and it has bought nothing.
The welfare industry is complaining about cuts to housing, energy, and community-development programs. They claim that the safety net for the working poor is being slashed. But the working poor don’t want more community-development block grants, job training programs, legal aid and so on. They don’t want handouts; they want jobs that bring real economic development. The Trump tax cuts and the regulatory relief that will bring back industries such as coal will have a much more positive impact on their lives than billions of dollars of federal assistance.
Welfare programs will be forced to become more efficient and less wasteful. The government’s auditors at the Government Accountability Office recently found more than $110 billion annually in fraudulent and erroneous payments to claimants. No one has ever taken a serious stab at reducing fraud and cheating in Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, earned income tax credits and so on. Trump will.
Trump’s budget, in short, is holding liberalism accountable for the trillions of dollars spent that have delivered pitiful results. The region of Appalachia has been showered with tens of billions of dollars in federal aid over the last 50 years, and inner cities have received hundreds of billions. Where are the jobs? Where is the development? Where are the good schools, the safe streets? Where is the community renewal? Why haven’t minorities — blacks and Hispanics, whose incomes still lag so far behind those of whites — been lifted up?
When the welfare state was created, Lyndon Johnson said that the “days of the dole in this country are numbered.” Fifteen thousand days and $10 trillion in welfare later, Americans don’t like what all this has bought.
Trump wants to move our fiscal policies in a new direction that ends waste, demands accountability and more personal responsibility, funding only what has a proven track record of working. He wants to unplug government programs from their perpetual life machine. Government must become lean and efficient and customer friendly. It must begin to pay its bills.
Liberals believe this is radical and cruel. The rest of us think it is common sense.
Justices on 9th Circuit feuding over travel ban ruling
A feud is reportedly playing out among judges on the federal appeals court that upheld a block on President Trump's original travel ban.
Politico reported Saturday that five judges on the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week publicly recorded their disagreement with last month's ruling made by three of their colleagues.
Days later, on Friday, another filing from the court's conservative justices argued that most people affected by the original travel ban are not entitled to Constitutional protections, because they have not yet entered the U.S.
"The vast majority of foreigners covered by the executive order have no Due Process rights," Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in the filing, joined by four other conservative justices.
"Nevertheless, the district court enjoined the order’s travel provisions in their entirety, even as applied to the millions of aliens who have no constitutional rights whatsoever because they have never set foot on American soil."
The court's liberal justices fired back, saying that the conservative judges were trying to influence ongoing legal dispute over Trump's revised travel ban issued last week. That case, two of the justices argued, was not current before their court, and the conservatives' filing was an unwarranted expression of their personal views.
"Judges are empowered to decide issues properly before them, not to express their personal views on legal questions no one has asked them," Judge Marsha Berzon wrote, according to Politico. "There is no appeal currently before us, and so no stay motion pending that appeal currently before us either."
"We will have this discussion, or one like it," she added. "But not now."
Trump issued his first travel ban executive order on Jan. 27 barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia – from entering the U.S. That measure was blocked by a federal judge in Seattle, whose ruling was later upheld by the three-judge Ninth Circuit panel.
That prompted Trump to issue a revised ban on March 6, which exempts Iraqis from its list of banned foreign nationals and carves out exceptions for visa and green card holders. Still, the measure has drawn backlash and federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland have blocked it.
Trump reacted furiously to the Hawaii judge's injunction at a rally in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, vowing to appeal the ruling up to the Supreme Court if necessary.
"This ruling makes us look weak, which, by the way, we no longer are," he said. "Believe me."
"We're going to fight this terrible ruling. We're going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court."
Leftmedia Attempts Hit Piece on Gorsuch
The New York Times decided to help out its Democrat buddies by running a story clearly designed to be used as a hit piece against Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The Times article, entitled "Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire," attempted to paint Gorsuch as a puppet of the wealthy conservative business man Philip Anschutz, due to the fact that Gorsuch had previously worked for the man years ago when he was a lawyer. The story submits no compelling evidence supporting its insinuation of corruption and offers little anecdotal evidence besides. It'd be laughable if it weren't so outrageous. The best they could come up with is that Gorsuch and some executives at Anschutz's companies decided to go in together on buying a vacation house. Shocking, no?
This story contains about as much news as Rachel Maddow's silly reveal of Trump's 2005 tax return. There's no there, there. Gorsuch had already disclosed all his prior business ties, including his having worked for Anschutz. He has also recused himself from hearing any cases involving his former clients. The fact that Gorsuch is friends with former clients is only natural. Besides, it's not as if Anschutz is some nefarious fellow. His business assets are well known and are all above board.
The problem for the Leftmedia and Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is their belief that a judge should base his rulings primarily upon social activists' concerns, not upon the Constitution and the letter of the law. Gorsuch has a sound and proven track record of ruling appropriately, even if he thinks that a given statute may need changes. In his rulings, he has repeatedly recognized and emphasized that a judge is bound and limited by the law, and that it's the role of legislators, not judges, to create laws. That's why Gorsuch presents such a threat to leftists and their disregard for the Rule of Law.
With activist justices such as Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg already on the bench, it's indeed refreshing to hear a judge speak so clearly about the limits set upon the judicial branch by the Constitution. The more Democrats and the Leftmedia attempt to smear Gorsuch, the more he's proving to be an excellent choice for the Supreme Court.
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Posted by JR at 1:31 AM