Abolishing The Electoral College

I want to share with you an email exchange I engaged in with one of my Republican state representatives, who I will keep anonymous. I had forwarded a petition from National Popular Vote (nationalpopularvote.com) asking for this person’s support in urging Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College. The proposed amendment would mandate that the president and vice-president by elected by direct national popular vote—the concept of one person, one vote finally realized. I’ll start off with my rep’s reply, and my response. Notice how I start off with a bit of schmoozing before going in for the kill.

Rep’s response: ” Rick..please really investigate this further, as it is far more difficult and dangerous to our republic then you would might think.”

My response:

“First, I greatly appreciate how quickly you respond to petitions and emails from your constituents.

I’m very well read on the issues, and I strongly disagree with you on this.  The Electoral College was created in a bygone era where the average voter was condescendingly looked upon with suspicion by what I think were an elitist and wealthy subgroup of the founding fathers, led by Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton, being from the mercantile set, didn’t trust country bumpkins, including landowners and farmers, to make intelligent, informed votes for president, so he championed designating representatives to cast votes to elect a president for them.  In fact, here’s a quote supporting the E.C. by Alexander Hamilton in 1788: “It was … desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the … A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

Thomas Jefferson didn’t agree with him back then, and I and the majority of Americans don’t agree with him now. This is an archaic system which must be abolished. Along with it would go the whole concept of “swing states” in which a small group of states is more politically powerful than others, with other states having no real political power at all.

Yes, getting rid of the E.C. will be difficult, but I don’t understand your contention that getting rid it would be “dangerous”.  Not to be offensive, but that philosophy is typically voiced by the more politically conservative who also have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Remember that a delegate to the Electoral College is not legally committed to vote for the candidate who won their state. Obama could win Pennsylvania but the electoral college delegates could still vote for Romney if they wished to, and vice versa. So why would I support a system where my vote may not count for anything and is subject to the whims of anonymous persons meeting in Washington, D.C. over a month after the presidential election has been decided? Didn’t the 2000 election demonstrate the folly of the whole electoral college system? I know you’re a Republican, but Al Gore won the popular national vote in that election–that’s fact, that’s history.  It was through the machinations of the Supreme Court and the Electoral College that Bush was appointed President. You can argue that point too, but again, that’s fact, that’s history.

As Operation Wall Street as demonstrated, the majority of Americans say that the time for ‘business as usual’ is past; most Americans also support abolishing the Electoral College.  You can oppose progress but you do so at the risk of being swept aside by it.”

The time may not have come for the end of the Electoral College, but by the responses from our elected representatives to this issue, we can see who’s time has gone and vote in the next election accordingly.


Mitt Romney’s Past Is The Bain Of His Existence

Willard Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is a testament to his monumental tone deafness to how the average American (read the 99%) feel about corporate raiders wrecking the American economy and throwing 15 million out of work and tens of millions out of their homes in order to enrich themselves.

There’s a now-famous picture of Romney with his Bain Capital partners with cash in their hands, clothing, and mouths. It was apparently a staged shot for an HBO series that didn’t happen but the imagery of the picture—staged or otherwise—has come back to haunt Romney big time. Perhaps at that moment in history he had no political aspirations, or maybe they were kept hidden while churning deep inside. Like George W. Bush, who carried the burden of a father of a father disgraced by Iraq in Desert Storm, Romney carried the burden of his presidential candidate father George disgraced by the press for claiming he had been brainwashed by the military over the Vietnam War. Bush Sr. was defeated by Bill Clinton in the next election and George Romney had to drop out of the presidential race. So, like Bush Jr., Romney’s presidential bid is just a loyal son’s attempt to re-capture his father’s lost honor.  That’s my analysis and I’m sticking to it.

But if the past is prologue, Romney’s Bain past may be his campaign’s epilogue. Staged as that HBO picture may have been, the image resonates with American voters of both political party affiliations as one of a man who put (Bain) capital before people.  Romney’s way to sidestep that negative image was to claim “Corporations are people too, my friend” as a way to show us that his heart was in the right place when it came to people—super rich, very powerful multinational people.

But when it comes to caring about middle class working people—well, not so much. That’s why he refuses to accept credit for the Massachusetts healthcare plan he signed which helped the poor and middle class and which Obama used as a model for his healthcare plan. With Republicans, Willard had to make a choice between being a champion for the average Joe and the super rich Joseph if big money SuperPacs were going to line up behind him.

So, it’s his Bain Capital background that his given him the largest campaign treasure chest around but has prevented him from netting more than 27% or so of Republican support since last year. The only reason his presidential bid still exists is because all of his Republican opponents—perhaps with the exception of Jon Huntsman—are people who wouldn’t trust with the key to your front door, let alone the economy and the military might of the United States.

Willard Mitt’s past is the Bain of his existence, which means he still acts like he’s making the big money deals. But instead of gauging at what price he can sell a corporate component on the open market and adjusting as needed, he’s gauging what policy statements will match the “strike price” of the American voter for his presidential bid. His early pro-abortion stand was too high a price for the evangelical voter to pay so he instituted an anti-abortion price reduction in the hope that will hit the purchasing sweet spot for that sect. Same thing with him turning against Romneycare.

As this post goes to price, President Obama held a press conference today and in effect stated he plans to out-Romney Willard Mitt Romney. But that’s another blog post.



A Piss Poor Way For The U.S. Marines Brass To Handle The Situation

OK,  I get the p.r. hit to the U.S. with the symbolism of American Marines urinating on dead Afghan fighters. But please explain this: why is it perfectly OK for the military to blow living people to pieces with drone bombers but it’s a court martial offense to piss on a dead person’s corpse? To me, all of this outrage is artificial and self-serving because our only fear is of terrorist retribution because we “pissed” them off..
And before we heap all the blame on those four Marines, let’s examine the situation realistically to see where the blame should lie. Yeah, those four guys didn’t show common sense–especially in allowing themselves to be recorded on video. But who recruited these guys into the Marines in the first place? They had to make it through basic training and testing before they could be anointed Marines and deployed to Afghanistan. There was no indication to their commanding officers that these young men–perhaps kids barely out of their teens–lacked sufficient judgment to be left on their own in a combat zone?  For all the outward bravado displayed by U.S. Marines, they are probably more in fear of dying in combat than their Muslim enemies. Sacrificial death seems to be more ingrained in the Islamic faith than in the Christian one, despite its genesis in a sacrificial death. The act of urinating on the bodies of your enemy is a way for young fear-filled minds to confirm that they are ones still alive.
And lastly, do the Marines or any branch of the military offer mandated educational classes for all recruits that instruct them in the sensibilities and the sensitivities of the Muslim mind? As always, the military will scapegoat these four by court martialing them and ruining their lives all for the sale of one thoughtless act which certainly didn’t hurt or affect the bodies that were pissed on. It’s just another instance of military brass face saving by buck passing. Until they act pre-emptively to head off these thoughtless actions, they will be repeated. After all, kids will be kids.

George Morris Blames The Victim And Her Husband For His Wife’s Death

77-year-old George Morris lost his wife on January 8, 2011 in front of the Safeway in Tucson, AZ.  But even though Jared Lee Loughner fired the gun that took the life of his wife of 54 years, Dorothy, he blames Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ husband for his 76-year-old wife’s death.

The Arizona Republic interviewed Morris and describes him as an ex-Marine. This guy gives ex-Marines a bad name. Even the murder of his wife can’t shake his neanderthal ideology. He’s a hard-right Republican who had taken his wife to Giffords’ town hall meeting in front of the Safeway supermarket so he could confront the Congresswoman over her maddening support for “liberal causes”–such a “Obamacare”–by continually voting for them. Morris was quoted as saying “I’d like to debate our dear captain astronaut (referring to Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut) why he didn’t have security. My wife would still be alive.” Ah, the power of the right wing propaganda machine. Like those in Arizona who support “guns rights” Republicans and oppose Giffords, he’s got it reversed and is scapegoating the innocent while letting the guilty walk. The political beliefs of this deluded bastard led to his wife’s death and left him with bullet wounds in his back and legs.

In MY America, a Congresswoman wouldn’t need security in front of the Safeway because the average nutjob wouldn’t be able to freely buy a semi-automatic Glock with a 30-bullet magazine. In MY America, no one walks up to a Congresswoman’s town-hall meeting in front of a supermarket and starts firing shots at everyone in sight, including a 9-year-old girl and a 76-year-old woman. But in Morris’ America, everyone has the right to carry a concealed weapon so everyone has to provide their own armed security force in addition to packing hidden heat.  In Morris’ America, his wife is the victim of Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly. Morris is again quoted as saying, “Every time I see them on TV, it makes me want to vomit.  I think they are both worthless”

How can you even begin to establish a dialog with such moronic thinking? You can’t. You leave George Morris trapped in his America and in his grief and you work to bring as many as you can into an America where Gabrielle Giffords is a hero for fighting her way back from a would-be assassin’s bullet to the brain, and “liberal causes” again enjoy widespread, mainstream support.

The irony is that Dorothy Morris wasn’t interested in politics. “If my wife had a fault, it was she was too concerned about how other people would feel,” Morris said. One can only imagine how she would be feeling about her husband’s misplaced anger. Hatred is what killed her, hatred for “liberal” politicians that was shared with him by Jared Lee Loughner.

“I LIke Being Able To Fire People” – Mitt Romney

Agreed, MItt Romney’s quote was taken out of context but the entire quote and his explanation of what he meant tells volumes about what Romney thinks and believes. He damn well enjoys firing people because he did a lot of it at Bain Capital. And as Charlie Pierce pointed out on the Stephanie Miller Show this morning, who talks about firing one’s health insurance company? The average person talks about switching companies, not firing one and hiring another. The Romney quote, in and out of context, accurately depicts his corporate mindset. The man can’t relate to people other than as potential profit or loss centers.

Southern Fried Romney

“Corporations are people too, my friend.” – Mitt Romney. Does this mean that when Romney dismembers a corporation to spin off its parts for resale he can be arrested and convicted of first degree homicide with special circumstances? That means Death Row, baby! The court trial venue would have to be moved from Massachusetts of course to an impartial venue like say…Texas. Betcha Rick Perry already has Romney’s prison cell waiting for him with the death penalty sentence appeal denials already written. I hear he’s bringing in the electric chair for this special occasion. Romney gets the volts and Perry gets the votes

The Rick Santorum Hype

Let’s be honest here.  Rick Santorum is just the latest right wing Republican Evangelical nutjob to rise to temporary prominence in what can be laughingly called the Republican presidential race.  And like the four before him he will surely sink like a stone within two weeks, if not sooner.  Willard Mitt Romney has the Republican machine behind him. All of these paper opponents thrown at him are just for the media’s sake. After all who will tune into the political radio and TV shows or watch the “debates” and their commercials if the race is already over?

But even more insidious than this is the reason behind why the entities who control Republican politics are allowing these Evangelical upstarts to stand on their tippy-toes against Romney.  They know there is white-hot hate for Romney within this religious sect who do turn out en masse to vote at every election. If they stay home in November, President Obama wins in a walk. So, they have no choice but to allow these “Christian” candidates to briefly grab the spotlight only to be brought down by scandal or lack of votes.  This way, the Evangelical voters are somewhat-willingly herded towards Romney as the only viable candidate left who has a chance to beat Obama.  But those entities know Romney hasn’t a chance in hell of defeating Obama in a fair and square election, hence the proliferation of voter suppression laws nationwide in the swing states. Smart, huh?

The Iowa caucus means absolutely nothing, as did the Iowa Straw Poll before it. Iowa means nothing other than just another marketing tool for the media and fundraising and income-generating tool for failed Republican politicians. Just shy of 122,000 votes were cast in Iowa last Tuesday.  Out of those 122,000 ballots, just 30,000 had Santorum’s name on them. Every political pundit from Fox to NPR to MSNBC to CNN to Current TV making a big deal out of this is acting out of self-interest for the reasons I explained above.

Bottom line: just like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry before him, Santorum is too crazy to be elected President–and like them we’re talking dangerous crazy here.  From thinkprogress.org here are his Top 10 Most Outrageous Campaign Statements:

1) ANNUL ALL SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: Arguing that gay relationships “destabilize” society, Santorum wouldn’t offer any legal protections to gay relationships and has pledged to annul all same-sex marriages if elected president. During his 99-country tour of Iowa, Santorum frequently compared same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs, beer, and paper towels and even tried to blame the economic crisis on gay people. As Santorum explained back in August, religious people have a constitutional right to discriminate against gays: “We have a right the Constitution of religious liberty but now the courts have created a super-right that’s above a right that’s actually in the Constitution, and that’s of sexual liberty. And I think that’s a wrong, that’s a destructive element.”

2) ‘I’M FOR INCOME INEQUALITY’: “They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality,” Santorum said during an event in Pella, Iowa in December. “I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.”

3) CONTRACEPTION IS ‘A LICENSE TO DO THINGS’: Santorum has pledged to repeal all federal funding for contraception and allow the states to outlaw birth control, insisting that “it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

4) GAY SOLDIERS ‘CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN CLOSE QUARTERS’: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in October, Santorum defended his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by arguing that gay soldiers would disrupt the military because “they’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.” He also suggested that “there are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore.”

5) OBAMA SHOULD OPPOSE ABORTION BECAUSE HE’S BLACK: During an appearance on Christian television in January, Santorum said he was surprised that President Obama didn’t know when life began — given his skin color. “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people,” he explained.

6) WE DON’T NEED FOOD STAMPS BECAUSE OBESITY RATES ARE SO HIGH: Speaking in Le Mars, Iowa in December, Santorum promised to significantly reduce federal funding for food stamps, arguing that the nation’s increasing obesity rates render the program unnecessary.

7) ABORTION EXCEPTIONS TO PROTECT WOMEN’S HEALTH ARE ‘PHONY’: While discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban in June, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony.” “They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective,” he said.

8) HEALTH REFORM WILL KILL MY CHILD: Santorum, who claims that Obamacare motivated him to run for president, told reporters in April that his daughter Bella — who was born with a genetic abnormality — wouldn’t survive in a country with “socialized medicine.” “Children like Bella are not given the treatment that other children are given.”

9) UNINSURED AMERICANS SHOULD SPEND LESS ON CELL-PHONE BILLS: During a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in August, Santorum said that people who can’t afford health care should stop whining about the high costs of medical treatments and medications and spend less on non essentials. Answering a question about the uninsured, Santorum explained that health care, like a car, is a luxury resource that is rationed by society and recalled the story of a woman who said she was spending $200 a month on life-saving prescriptions. Santorum told her to stop complaining and instead lower her cable and cell phone bills.

10) INSURERS SHOULD DISCRIMINATE AGAINST PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: Santorum sounded like a representative from the health insurance industry when he addressed a small group of high school students in Merrimack, New Hampshire in December. The former Pennsylvania senator not only defended insurers for denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, he also argued that individuals who are sick should pay higher premiums because they cost more money to insure.

Plus: watch the following video clip: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/01/03/396428/santorums-racist-welfare-rant/

Santorum clearly DID say “black people” despite his attempted spin claiming he actually slurred the word since he was trying to change the word in mid-pronunciation. Oh really? If you were, Rick, what word were you attempting to change “black” into to hide your overt racism?

Rick Santorum is unelectable even as a Vice President nominee and the powers behind the Republican Party know this. They know that while Santorum rants against abortion it will be brought out that his wife Karen had a midterm abortion in 1996. But being a typical hypocritical Republican, abortion is fine for his wife but not for anyone else. Apparently she is an example of an un-phony abortion exception.

After Santorum fades it will finally be Ron Paul’s turn in the artificial sun.  Jon Huntsman will remain left out in the cold. He’s Mormon anyway and Romney has already taken that slot.

Just to unmask the Santorum media hype, in New Hampshire, reporters covering his campaign stops still outnumber voters coming to check him out. What does that tell you?