Why the Electoral College? Because State and Regional Diversity Matters.

Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton

One of my very favorite blogs, Grassroots in Nebraska (GIN), has undertaken to explain, pretty much after every election why the electoral college, especially as implemented in Nebraska and Maine, is by far the most fair and equitable method of electing the president. A few highlights.

Where you live, your day-to-day experiences gained through interacting with your physical environment, influence your political viewpoint. The Founders realized this. When the Electoral College was born through compromise in 1787, each former-colony-turned-state had a unique history and perspective giving rise to significant political differences between it and its neighbors. The Founders had to resolve these interstate differences in order to form a more perfect Union. The Electoral College was an important part of the Founders’ efforts to ensure our election process gave voice to these regionally diverse viewpoints.

What critics of the Electoral College fail to realize is the strong influence state and regional diversity continues to exert today. In fact, differences of opinion concerning most hotly contested political issues, past and present, can be traced to the influence of state and regional diversity. Neutering the Electoral College, as 48 states have done with their winner-take-all systems, deadens the impact of intrastate diversity on election outcomes.  Ridding us of the Electoral College entirely, either by amending the Constitution or by the states conspiring to do an end-run around the Constitutional provision by awarding all of their respective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, would render our election process deaf, dumb, and blind to both state and regional diversity.  I contend either change makes our electoral process more prone to something the Founders referred to as “the tyranny of the majority” or “mob rule.”

Still skeptical? Some examples are in order: […]

Linda also quoted a non-favorite Nebraskan of mine William Jennings Bryan, in his “Cross of gold” speech, and this I do agree with wholeheartedly.

“But we stand here representing people who are the equals before the law of the largest cities in the state of Massachusetts. When you come before us and tell us that we shall disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your action. We say to you that you have made too limited in its application the definition of a businessman. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer. The attorney in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads store is as much a businessman as the merchant of New York. The farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day, begins in the spring and toils all summer, and by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of this country creates wealth, is as much a businessman as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain. The miners who go 1,000 feet into the earth or climb 2,000 feet upon the cliffs and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured in the channels of trade are as much businessmen as the few financial magnates who, in a backroom, corner the money of the world.

“We come to speak for this broader class of businessmen. Ah. my friends, we say not one word against those who live upon the Atlantic Coast; but those hardy pioneers who braved all the dangers of the wilderness, who have made the desert to blossom as the rose —those pioneers away out there, rearing their children near to nature’s heart, where they can mingle their voices with the voices of the birds — out there where they have erected schoolhouses for the education of their children and churches where they praise their Creator, and the cemeteries where sleep the ashes of their dead — are as deserving of the consideration of this party as any people in this country.
. . . . .
“You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

True when the Founders were writing the Constitution, true in 1896 when Bryan said it, and yes, it’s still true today. The folks that he was speaking of are those who feed our families, fight our wars, and do all things that have made the United States what it is, the dream of the rest of the world. I’ve been proud all my life to be amongst and one of them. If you would know us, you would be well advised to listen to the lyrics here.

This, this is who we are. If you would know why Donald Trump won, think about those lyrics, and what has happened in the last few years.

via Why the Electoral College? Because State and Regional Diversity Matters. | Grassroots in Nebraska. Do read it and by all means follow the links in her article and in the article linked in them. This is one of the greatest civics lessons you will ever get, and it will come to you painlessly.

Hurricane Hysteria [Updated] | Power Line

This cartoon, from Watts Up With That, sums it up:

This cartoon, from Watts Up With That, sums it up:

From Powerline, with no comment,  because none is required.

The much-hyped Hurricane Matthew still hasn’t made landfall. It has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane as it makes its way up the Southeastern coast. It may yet do great damage here, as it already has in Haiti, but the disappointment in some quarters is palpable. Matthew had been hyped as the poster child for global warming, striking just in time to give Hillary Clinton a boost in Sunday’s debate. That plan likely will have to be shelved.

For the record, the U.S. is in the midst of the longest stretch in recorded history without being struck by a Category 3 or higher hurricane–more than ten years. Many expected that streak to be broken by Matthew, but it didn’t happen. There has been no increase in hurricanes either in the U.S., or throughout the North Atlantic, since 1880.

Still, there is no doubt that if Matthew had struck the U.S. as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, we would have heard about nothing for days except global warming. […]

Global warming hysteria stopped having anything to do with science a long time ago. It is now 100% politics.

UPDATE: Roger Pielke has updated his chart to show how the current hurricane drought shatters all previous records, going back to 1900. The rising trend line means more days between Category 3+ hurricanes:

via Hurricane Hysteria [Updated] | Power Line

The Politics of Energy

I try pretty hard not to write about politics overmuch, it angers and tires me, and I suspect it does the same to you, especially this year, when the noise level decidedly indicates hearing protection, much like an unmuffled chainsaw. Still, it matters, so let’s let Bill Whittle tell us why.

King Coal and Freezing in the Dark

michaelbaume_specaus-08-october_postWe talked about the South Australia blackout the other day, but I want to say a bit more. The Spectator AU tells us this:

State governments are sheltered workshops for mediocre politicians rarely good enough to make it in the Canberra big league. They have just one basic task in the Australian federation: to maintain basic public infrastructure that keeps communities going. Roads, rail, schools, hospitals, police, fire, emergency services. And electricity networks.

Last week, the South Australian Labor government of Jay Weatherill delivered an unenviable energy efficiency target: a 100 per cent reduction in the state’s electricity supply. The catastrophic failure of his state’s power grid forced Crow-Eater Mr Weatherill to eat a huge helping of crow.

To be sure, South Australia was hit by a huge weather event. Extremely high winds twisted steel electricity towers like flimsy tinfoil, bringing down key power lines interconnecting the South Australian grid with the Victorian network supplying the majority of its power, especially when demand surges.

True enough, but Andrew Bolt tells us the winds never exceeded 100 km/hr (about 62 mph for Americans). A distribution line that fails to stand up to sixty mph winds is defective, either in design, execution, or maintenance. I note that I once helped replace about 10 miles of heavy distribution after an ice storm because one clamp either wasn’t tightened properly or had vibrated loose. Details matter, and so does competence and honesty. Crony built infrastructure lacks both of the latter.

But South Australia’s internal power generation capacity failed to take the strain for one simple reason: its utter dependence on renewable energy. The irony of wind power is those landscape-dominating wind turbines have to be shut down for safety in high winds. And when there’s no sun and insufficient storage of solar energy, rooftop solar panels and newfangled solar farms are as useful as a tit on a bull.

Bizarrely, just this May the Weatherill government proudly shut down (and blew up) South Australia’s last coal-fired power station, making the state’s dependence on wind and solar for its home-grown energy almost absolute. Adelaide’s basket-weavers deliriously welcomed a new Green Age of progressive power generation and the banishment of Old King Coal.

Oops!

via Stormy Weatherill | The Spectator

The Spectator also tells us that the Australian coal industry has a pretty good future, mostly in exporting to China and India, if the greenies don’t kill it, and several million Asians along the way.

I believe in progress devoutly, but I also believe in reality. And carbon-free energy is a drug induced dream. It can happen if government forces it, but it will force us back at least a century, more likely to the age before electricity, and if we can’t burn wood or coal, well, there always one option. Freezing in the dark.


I hear many of you saying, “So what, that’s Australia, nothing to do with us.” But it does, we’re the people that have bankrolled any number of pie-in-the-sky ideas without a hope in hell of them working, except, of course, to put taxpayers money into the the scammer’s pocket. Anybody remember Solyndra? I have no problem with renewable energy, as long as it is developed by private capital, and can compete on a level field with coal, and gas. It can’t, and I doubt it ever will.

Then there is this from The Weekly Standard:

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The Clean Power Plan, as it is called, is central to President Barack Obama’s overall Climate Action Plan. West Virginia and Texas are leading the 27 states and state agencies now in opposition to the CPP regulations, and some 120 companies and organizations have filed in support of the coalition’s complaint.

CPP is designed to bring about what the EPA calls an “aggressive transformation” of electricity generation throughout the country. It would do this by systematically “decarboniz[ing]” power generation and ushering in a new “clean energy” economy less reliant on carbon. CPP requires that, by 2030, power-plant carbon emissions be reduced by a third from what they were in 2005.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the plan would drive up electricity costs for businesses, consumers, and families, impose tens of billions of dollars in annual compliance costs, and reduce America’s global competitiveness—without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

But whatever you might think of the rule as energy policy, the biggest problem with it is this: The rule is illegal, indeed unconstitutional.

Under the Constitution, Congress makes law, and the executive enforces it. Unfortunately, over the past 80 years Congress has delegated to executive agencies the power to regulate in many areas. But that is not a blank check to the executive: If Congress has not made a specific delegation, then regulations in that area created by the executive branch are not valid. And that is what has happened here.

As Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent in City of Arlington v. FCC (2013), “Agencies are creatures of Congress.” He then quoted what the Court said in an earlier case, Louisiana Public Service Commission v. FCC (1986): “an agency literally has no power to act .  .  . unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”

True enough, and hopefully The Court will recognize that it is so. But my read of it as energy policy is that it will put the United States in exactly the same place as South Australia visited last week. Given the other things that so-called environmentalists support (and oppose) these days, I’m not too sure that is not the goal.

TSA: Terrorists Seeking Access

This illustration is an older report, from a Congressional Committee. But its title never goes out of style.

This illustration is an older report, from a Congressional Committee. But its title never goes out of style.

You know, I could just about, maybe, kind of, sort of, understand the unwarranted, and unwarrantable intrusions into our persons and possessions of the TSA, if they had any record at all of reducing terrorism. The thing is, they don’t. It’s pure theater of the absurd, the only purpose of which is evident, is to cow the people into submission. I first saw this at the Powerline Blog, which had something to do with bringing it to light. But I like this write up better, I’m becoming weary of calm civilized tones on this.

Remember when the bozos in DC redefined the mission of NASA as “Moslem outreach?” That was pretty weird — they’re alien, but notthat kind. But if you were wondering whether an agency ever could top that for Mecca-facing featherbrained imbecility, wonder no more. And you know what agency did it.

No one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

The latest outrage that these no-good, indecent, dishonest, incompetent, immoral, unethical and unintelligent payroll patriots have inflicted on us, actually took place in 2014 and 2015 and has been previously reported: special guided tours of security areas and procedures, exclusively for… Somali Moslems. It’s back in the news because Judicial Watch finally pried the documents loose with a FOIA request, and they’re pretty bad.JW summarizes:

On at least two occasions—December 18, 2014 and February 18, 2015—federal authorities granted the unprecedented excursions of the facility’s sterile and secure areas, according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) records obtained by Judicial Watch. The DHS agency that conducted the expeditions, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), provided the Muslim participants with “an in-depth, on-site tour and discussion of CBP’s airport, including both inbound and outbound passenger processing,” the TSA files state. Besides multiple roundtable meetings between CBP and Somali community leaders including imams, the records show that a luncheon and “cultural exchange and educational brief” also took place between December 2014 and February 2015 so that attendees could ask about the agency’s “specific practices” at the airport.

The roundtable events and airport tours were organized by Abdirizak Farah, who is identified in the records as a policy advisor in the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). Farah joined DHS in 2010 with an annual salary of $89,033 and by 2015 his yearly pay increased to $130,453, according to a government database. The TSA’s “Somali liaison officer” in Minneapolis, Andrew Rhoades, told Judicial Watch that the special airport tours were organized for Somali Muslims after they complained to Johnson that they felt “harassed and profiled” by CBP at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The DHS secretary had “a sympathetic ear to that,” Rhoades said, adding that no other group has been granted such airport access by DHS. “Now, I will say we’ve never done that, or we don’t do that, to let’s say the Hmong community living here in Minneapolis, uh, the Christian community, the Catholic community, the Irish… whatever you want to call it. This has been the only one,” Rhoades said.

Read the whole thing™ here: TSA: Terrorists Seeking Access | WeaponsMan

Spin Cycle

As always, a heaping helping of truth.

 

This is the truth, whatever one thinks about Donald Trump.

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