Tag Archives: Politics

Caliexit Dreaming

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This is a bit silly, but I thought I’d comment on it anyway.   California is mad.    Why?   because the rest of the country is not like them.   Without California (and really a few counties in California) Hillary Clinton does not win the popular vote.   And while we know that this doesn’t actually matter with respect to the Electoral College, it matters to some people.

As an aside, I saw some headline today of some article that said something along the lines of how the rest of the country is being held hostage by flyover country.    This couldn’t be a more asinine view of things.   When there are 3,141 total counties in the U.S. and one candidate wins 3,084 of them, it is not the people in the 3,084 counties that are holding the other 57 counties hostage.   That defies all logic.   No, if the Electoral College were discarded altogether, it would be a few large counties holding the rest of the country hostage.    And this is why the Electoral College makes sense.

Anyway, back to the wonderful folks in California.    There is a movement afoot to secede from the Union.   Now, this is probably never going to happen, because it’s not like a state can just decide on its own to pick up and leave.   Once part of the Union, you’re part of the Union.   To dissolve that, the state needs to initiate it, then the people of that state need to agree it’s a good idea, and then they can only leave if Congress grants them permission to do so and then the states ratify it.

None of that will happen, but as a non-Californian, I’m openly going to question whether or not we should stand in their way.   California claims to pay more into revenues than it receives.    That may or may not be true, and there’d be a mess trying to figure out how to transfer any future payment obligations to citizens in a seceded state.   My guess is we could get that all figured out, if not simply, at least in a manageable way that may span over a couple decades.

Personally, I’m not the least bit convinced that this would be a net loss in the fiscal sense.   Even if the math points in that direction today, I think in the future California will be a larger and larger drain.   They openly encourage a welfare state, sanctuary for illegal immigrants, etc.    Imagine what they’d do as their own country.    You want to see a grand socialist experiment?   I say, let ’em give it a shot.

For the rest of us, I think we would agree that the values of the West Coast are simply not aligned with the majority of the rest of the country.    So, take Oregon and Washington with you.   In terms of the future of politics, that is 73 Electoral votes for all three states (55 for California alone) that are for the foreseeable future going to go blue.   So, for those of us who want a more conservative bent, this only helps.    Further, I suspect there may be some self-selection happen between the Socialist Republic of the American West Coast and the rest of the country as well.    Some liberals in otherwise “purple” states may flock there to bask in the joy of their utopian dream, while the few remaining conservatives will emigrate to Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, helping those states turn or stay red.

It’s all a pipe dream, I know.   Pointless musing.    I know I am not supposed to root for this kind of secession or division, but then again I don’t really want them influencing my life either.   So, see ya.

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Electoral Meanderings

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As a Catholic, I have a lot of thoughts about the Electoral College vs. Popular vote, etc.

OK, so being Catholic has little or nothing to do with that, but since this is called Catholic Diatribes I figured I’d remind everyone that I’m Catholic.

In no particular order of points, here we go:

  • The debate about whether or not the Popular Vote should be the determining factor in deciding the winner of the Presidential Election is understandable if viewed from a high-level perspective without a lot of deeper thought. Sure, it’s simple enough to think in terms of the democratic process – one person, one vote, most votes win.    But actually, this is not at all how our country is constructed.    And to view it in this way completely dismantles the way our citizens are represented, and the way our country actually operates.   We are not simply one country as a singular unit.   We never have been.    We are a country formed of fifty states plus the District of Columbia, joined together to form a country, but with each of those units having a say.   As I discuss some of the other points, this is the underlying issue that must be considered.    We are not, never have been, and barring a rewrite of the Constitution never will be a pure democracy.   We are a Republic.    Each unit in that Republic engages in a democratic process, but only to elect those who will then represent us.    We don’t vote on every law or regulation or issue – we elect someone who will on our behalf.   So we are not a pure democracy.
  • Making the argument that the Electoral College is unfair because it doesn’t amount to perfectly proportional weight of each individual’s vote can be extended to representation. Right now, every state, no matter how big or small, gets equal representation in the Senate.    Because of this, the folks who live in the least populous state actually have the largest voice in Congress on a per capita basis.    And even though the House of Representatives is proportional representation, there is still a minimum of 1 representative for the smallest states.    So, even in the House, the smallest state has the weightiest representation per person.   Our entire system is designed to make sure that the most populous states have a lower overall weight so that a small area of the country that has a high population density is less able to dictate policy to the rest of the country, potentially extending to large geographical regions.
  • Making the argument that the Electoral College is unfair is arguing that the states do not matter, and that – for this exercise, anyway – the country is a singular entity. This is simply not how we operate on anything.    Yes, there are federal laws and regulations, but those layer on top of state laws and regulation.    In this case, we are saying that we need to replace state elections with a federal one.    Maybe this is reasonable, maybe it isn’t, but it is a very fundamental difference from how we operate today.
  • There are some fun facts around the latest results that help demonstrate the wisdom of the Electoral College. Probably the most amazing statistic is this:   There are 3,151 counties in the United States.   Donald Trump won 3,084 of those counties.    And yet, Hillary Clinton is going to win the official Popular Vote.     That is actually really amazing.    And while I can sort of understand this whole “popular vote” argument, I simply cannot fathom how someone can’t see the wisdom in having a system that allows for the case where the candidate that wins 97.9% of the counties really deserves to be the President, even if he/she loses the total popular vote.
  • Another thing that needs to be considered as well is whether or not the actual results of the Popular Vote would have been the actual result if the winner was determined by Popular Vote. People are suggesting – either correctly or incorrectly – that the results of the election would be the same regardless of how the winner is determined.    This is far from certain.    Think about the fact that Donald Trump spent ALL of his time campaigning in the swing states.   California?   New York?    Almost no time at all, even though they have the highest two populations.    Illinois?    Since that state is driven by the results of Chicago, very little time was spent there.     The reason is simple strategy and resources.    Donald Trump may well have been able to get an extra million votes or two had he needed to spend money and time in those popular areas.    But he didn’t.   Why?    Because it made no sense with the Electoral College.    Losing California by 100 votes is no different than losing California by 3 million votes.     While this may not seem fair, because it means the candidates don’t go to fight for votes in those states, that’s just the flip side of what would happen if elections were driven by popular vote.    In that case, it wouldn’t just be a particular state getting ignored, it would be most of the United States.    The vast majority of campaigning would be in all the most populous areas.   Not necessarily the states, but just those zip codes or counties.    There are 45 counties in the United States that have 1.0 million or more people living in them.    Those 45 counties represent about 25% of the total population of the US.    County #100 has over 600,000 residents.    The top 100 counties represent just over 3% of total counties in the US, but you can bet that the majority of campaigning would be in those counties.    If ALL campaigning was centered on urban areas, the President would end up being even more out of touch with ordinary Americans than they already are.
  • Another fun map to look at is a red/blue map of who won which counties and overlay that with a red/blue map of highest crime rates. Just sayin’.
  • If you still need to be convinced about this, suppose we don’t talk about counties but we talk about a single state that has 51% of the population and all other states having an equal 1% share of the remaining population (for this exercise ignore Washington DC). Theoretically speaking, that one state could dictate who the President would be for the remaining 49 states.    While it may be a stretch to think that everyone in that state would vote similarly, it certainly isn’t a stretch that the difference in popular vote could be gigantic – all one need to do is look at the fact that 4 counties in NYC contributed over a 1.5 million vote advantage for Hillary Clinton – nearly 75% of the total popular vote gap.    California alone is going to have a 3 million vote difference.
  • The reason the Electoral College works is because it is a balance of Popular Vote and equal representation of the states in selecting the President of the entire U.S. – not just a few counties. The Electoral College count is 538, which is the total of Representatives and Senators (plus 3 for Washington DC, which in my opinion was unnecessarily overstated – I’m not sure why they felt it was necessary to treat that like a full state – but whatever).  The House generally represents the states in proportion to population, while the Senate does not.   So, the Electoral College lands in between the two – balancing geography and population.    Quite frankly, it’s genius.

 

All Hail the Wisconsin Recount

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Diatribe time.

This Wisconsin Presidential recount is the most stupid, pointless, time-wasting, money-wasting, asinine, desperate,politically irrelevant and inane thing I’ve seen in some time.

I live in Wisconsin.   The recount started today.   Even here, it’s not really news.    Nobody expects anything to change, and everyone is rolling their their eyes.   It’s remarkably idiotic.

Anyone who got scammed out of any money by contributing to this epic fail deserves to have had that money scammed.    Thank you for sending your funds to Wisconsin.   We appreciate it.   All the vote-counters will have a little extra money to spend on Christmas presents.   Maybe pro-Trump items will fly off the shelves after he wins here a second time.   Everyone loves a winner.

Jill Stein is probably going to clear a million by the time she’s done.   You guys who sent her money are morons.

 

Post-Election Thoughts

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OK, I won’t overdo this.   There are literally millions of articles on the election, and I doubt anything I have to say is a unique insight.   So I’ll just do some quick hits on the things about this that most interest me.

  • During the Primaries, it became clear to me that the media gave Donald Trump all sorts of air time to, in a roundabout way, promote him to the top of the ticket on the Republican side.   The reason for this was to be able to give Hillary the best chance of winning – a near certainty in their minds – and to tie all other Republicans to Trump by association.   The goal was not just to help effect a Hillary win, but to tip the Senate – and even possibly the House – to the Democrats.   It is entirely sweet irony that this backfired entirely.  Trump wins, and the GOP holds both the House and Senate in a year where the GOP had to defend a lot of seats.   The left is apoplectic now that the GOP controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time since 1928.
  • The left will want to make this all about bigotry, racism, and misogyny.    This election had little or nothing to do with that.   If anything, Trump could have done even better had he held his tongue in a number of instances.    But this was about a relative of that.    The overzealous approach of the left to silence all opinion and criticism of anyone on anything not white or not Christian was pure bullying.   Trump brought the disease of political correctness to the forefront and emboldened people to call BS on the PC left.    Instead of tiptoeing and apologizing for every little bit of harshness and claims of hurt feelings, he basically told us we need to grow up and toughen up, and that this is killing us.    Now, he may have gone too far in some cases – he will still be the President – but people were willing to get behind a guy who stands up against the PC culture even if at times we all recognized that there is still a balance.
  • All the people claiming that they have the moral high ground and that it’s now “love” against all of us mean Trump-voters..   you’re simply wrong.    Just because your sense of morality differs from mine does not by default give you the moral high ground.   And your consistent claims of the moral high ground is one of the very reasons why we tire of you and the policies you support and the cultural and moral change you support.
  • Ultimately, despite how anyone else wants to paint this, Trump proved to us that there are rich folks who are entirely out of touch with every day Americans (political and leftist elites, celebrities) and that there are rich people who are in tune with every day Americans (Trump, in this case).    The demonization of the rich has to stop.   The demonization of corruption and crony capitalism is appropriate.

Under Chastisement (Part 2 of a YUUUGE series)

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Forget the title.   I couldn’t help myself.   This isn’t really a series, this is more of a follow-up from my previous post on considering what the nature of chastisement is.

Basically, the prior post says that, yeah, we’re being chastised, and lays out Romans 1 to indicate why.

I won’t rehash that all here, since you can move that thing on your desk called a mouse, click on the previous post, and read it.

For this post, I just want to muse a bit about the general nature of chastisement and the current indicators that this is, in fact, what is happening.   While I believe there are things happening all around the globe that indicates this is a global in scale, I’ll focus on The U.S. because that’s where I am and it’s my immediate perspective.   Others can fill in from around the globe.

I think most everyone thinks of Chastisement as fire and brimstone, wars, plagues, death, destruction…   you know, all the stuff that makes Hi-tech movies with mundane plots otherwise entertaining.   And sure, ultimately the pinnacle of chastisement probably does play out that way when it’s one of the “biggies.”    But even then, it’s usually us giving it to ourselves…   maybe not in the plague area, but certainly in the war area.

Anyway, whatever you might believe about what constitutes a divinely guided day of wrath as opposed to the natural consequence of our own stupidity in a world that has pushed God aside while pursuing a utopia engineered by human brains, the one thing that seems to be clear is that when God decides to pull away, all sorts of weird stuff happens.   Sexual immorality, homosexuality, greed, hate, lack of respect for family and parents, and so on.

I think one can see that we’ve checked most, if not all, the boxes on the list in Romans 1.   What Romans doesn’t talk about is an election cycle that leads to division, confusion, and despair.

Let’s face it – this whole Presidential election is embarrassing.   The stuff released on Donald Trump is unsettling, crude, and unpresidential.   The stuff dropped regarding Hillary is infuriating, criminal, and corrupt.   And with every passing day, more and more and more is released and another shoe drops.

Our political system is broken and corrupt.   It is my belief that this election cycle is a chastisement of sorts.   Layering on top of the cycle is all the division it is causing.   This is not simply differences of opinion between friends – there are very raw beliefs and emotions in play.   This election is driving divisions between family and friends.   One only wonders what will happen after the election in this country, regardless of who wins.

 

This also happens as gang violence soars in certain cities, as high-profile police shootings in turn led to violence against police, concerns about increasing drug use and angst over terrorism threats continues.

 

We don’t need a comet or an asteroid.   We’re doing fine all by ourselves.

The Fall of Elites and Persecution

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One of the things that has been evident throughout the year 2016, if one follows current events, is what seems like a sudden backlash against globalization.    The anti-elite/anti-globalist position is not new, but the sentiment has largely continued to be contained.   Those coming forth with an anti-globalism message have always been treated as something of a fringe group of extremists.

This isn’t entirely unfounded, to be perfectly honest.   The most ardent anti-globalists are found on both ends of the left/right spectrum.   The reasons are often completely different, so it’s not that both sides are envisioning the same utopian solution to the problem, but there is an alignment on sentiment.

For 60 years or so, the progressive elites managed to plod consistently along in their efforts to open borders, open trade, and incorporate a migration of progressive social norms and beliefs across regions of the world.    Many promises were made on all fronts about how wonderful it all would be.   Wars would cease, there would be a chicken in every pot, but no one person would have more than a few, and no one person would be without.  We could all have everything.

But eventually, the mask on these things falls away.   Underlying the very tenets of all of this was an anti-capitalism masked as a new kind of better capitalism.   Unknown to many was the subtle fascism that was taking place.    I don’t mean jack-booted thug reactionary fascism (which is more an eventual result of trying to maintain the status quo than an actual element of fascism itself) but the coordination and even co-ownership of government and corporations.    This includes more and more governmental aspects of the business world, over-regulation, over-taxation, partnership between government and the private sector and all that comes with it.    When this becomes predominant, the government can control and dictate all aspects of economic life, and in many ways our daily life.    Even when not directly controlling ownership interests, the quid pro quo aspect of allowing company mergers to create monopolies while relentlessly punishing independent small businesses has staggering implications.

The promise of free trade has strong capitalistic sentiments around it, but this too comes with major issues.    It requires all actors to cooperate on an equivalent level.  It also requires our government to not foolishly export the dollar and risk an inflationary backlash.   This care has not taken place, as the country’s debt skyrockets and the trade deficit looms.   We continue to export the dollar, hoping and praying it doesn’t suddenly get sent back to us in droves.

At the same time, progressives escalated all sorts of changes to social norms.  If the elites are not openly anti-Catholic or anti-Christian, they consider those who hold fast to certain beliefs as unworthy of any serious consideration.    The escalation in normalization of abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism comes with it the establishment of human rights tribunals that are now openly challenging traditional moral beliefs as thought crimes or hate crimes.   The message has been that such beliefs are hateful and not to be tolerated.   It’s OK to think those things to yourself in the privacy of your bathtub, but leave it there or face prosecution.

It seemed that until 2015 people were either ignorant, apathetic, or too frightened to push back on these continued developments.    During 2016, we have seen an amazing upheaval of the emboldened who have had enough.    More surprisingly is that this upheaval now counts among its ranks not just the marginally disaffected or the extremist wings of left and right, but an ever-growing element of the population that realizes that they are not extreme and are now being labeled as such because they don’t want to just continually move along with the ever-changing lines of what is considered appropriate decorum.   They have had it with political correctness.   They are sick of being labeled as racist or hateful because they have some sense of standard or principle.   They are tired of a good capitalistic system being completely perverted, and then the failings of the perversions being blamed on capitalism itself.   They are tired of government/corporate partnerships gaining monopolistic power and shutting down competition (crony capitalism).   People are tired of failed promises around free trade while there is no attempt to secure national borders.   People are tired of elitist, immoral, self-righteous, philosophical thinkers who have never worked a day in their lives telling us how to live, what to think, and what to say.

And so, Brexit happened.   And in many places in Europe there is discontent.   And populism arises.   And Donald Trump happens.

Don’t misunderstand me – not all of these developments are necessarily good.    Some may be good, some may be dangerous.    We are in a time where people have had enough and are now reacting.  Mini-political revolutions could eventually lead to real revolutions.   Nobody wants violence and bloodshed.   Nobody wants dicatatorships.   All these things are possible.

But why is it possible?   Because the elitists thought they had it all figured out and they pushed, and they pushed, and they pushed.   In many cases, they waited until they shaped the opinions of the majority so that they could maneuver with the tide.    But progressives are never happy, and they are not good at being patient.   When things don’t go their way, they do not always take it real well.   That’s because they know what’s good for us.   They are also emboldened by some success, which can lead to overreaching their mandate.

An overreach beyond where the public is at, along with evidence of actual failures now impacting the daily lives of the people, is what has happened in the last decade or so.   And now, people are pushing back.

And the elites don’t like that one bit.

Whenever someone starts to lose the grip of power, they seldom just let it happen.   There are scapegoats, they will lie, they will double-down, and they will fight.    We are in a perilous time.    The elites are coordinated, they are in all the highest levels of numerous governments, they control the central banks and the courts (I am not speaking of “control” in the conspiratorial sense, just in the sense of the reality of who is in what positions around the globe – these are almost all globalists and proudly and publicly so).

So, who is their scapegoat?

Perhaps there will be a number of scapegoats, but it really is quite simple.   Barack Obama considers those clinging to God and guns to be an enemy of progressivism.   This is a glib and simple summary of who can be expected to be the targets of elitist ire.

The unrest is out of the bag.   It will not be quelled naturally.   Not just in the United States, but globally, drastic measures will need to be taken by the elites or they will risk losing all they have worked to accomplish.   God only knows what those drastic measures will be.   But if you are not falling in line with their Credos because you actually have a moral base, and if you believe in your First and Second Amendment rights, then it’s highly likely that you will be a target.

It remains to be seen how that will happen, and how dramatically.   But keep your eyes open.

Infiltrating the Church – Democrats Steal a Page – or 80 – From the Communists

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In the sepope-hillaryemingly endless dump of Wikileaks documents – many that should give any voter great pause about what kind of person they are supporting in Hillary Clinton even in the absence of continued additional revelations – is the nugget that we heard about for a short time and got a few Catholics riled up until the next e-mail dump distracted us.

It is indicative of our AD&D age that we can’t seem to focus on a horrid thing that has been uncovered for more than a day.   I mean, seriously, if Watergate happened today it wouldn’t even be a lead story in today’s news cycle.   There would be somebody who brings it up, the partisans would argue that this is just politics, a few people would yell at each other on TV, and within two days we’d be on to the next thing.    The numbers of scandals that have occurred since the Bill Clinton years and have continued to this day make the Watergate scandal look like a bouncy house on the White House lawn.    That analogy probably makes no sense.   This makes it perfectly apt in today’s political environment, because that makes no sense either.

Let me provide a link for your memory.

“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church,” Sandy Newman, president and founder of the progressive nonprofit Voices for Progress, writes to Podesta in an email titled “opening for a Catholic Spring? just musing.”

In response, Podesta assures Newman to rest easy for he and his progressive pals have already created organizations explicitly designed to infiltrate the Catholic Church with progressive ideology, though he cautions that the time may not be right for full revolution — just yet.

“We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up,” Podesta writes.

A scholar at the Left-wing Center for American Progress emailed Podesta in 2011 bashing then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for his Catholic Faith.

“It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith,” John Halpin wrote to Podesta, and Jennifer Palmieri, now the communications director of the Clinton campaign. “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

Palmieri, agreed.

“I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” she wrote. “Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”

 

To the non-religious among us, this may not seem like a major issue.   But this is a huge issue.   It’s actually quite unbelievable, while unfortunately being entirely believable.

Everyone wants to focus on the bigotry and insults – that people are Catholic or not based not on beliefs, but to impress their friends, be socially acceptable, and for political reasons.   That’s insulting, sure.   And to call the devout Catholics backwards and in the same sentence berate evangelicals is head-shaking as well.

But the most incredible admission here is that two faux Catholic groups have actually been started for the explicit purpose of influencing the moral teachings of the Church for entirely secular and political reasons.   I cannot overstate how diabolical this is.   This should be utterly disqualifying to any person of any religion.   We cannot reward leaders who view our Nation, founded upon Judeo-Christian values, with this kind of disdain.

I know this was in the news, but I want to challenge all the Christians to not forget this.   Over the next three weeks we will see continued mudslinging and Wikileaks drops and debates.   But this is not and should not be a dead issue in our minds even if the news cycle treats us like we have the attention spans of gnats.

Any political system or Party that actively works to undermine the Church is by definition an antichrist.  (Not THE Antichrist – but an antichrist).   Sounds harsh, I know, but we need to call a spade a spade.   It is well known that Communists actually sent men to be seminarians for the express intent of infiltrating the Church.   (e.g. See this book and this wiki page).

We have long accepted that this is self-evident evil.    If we do not come to grips with the fact that today’s progressive Democrats are in the same bed as the Communists, then we simply don’t want to see what is self-evident evil in our own American political class.   The tactics may differ (or who knows – maybe not.   It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we someday find that some seminarians have been encouraged to enter the Priesthood in order to further political liberalism) but the intent is the same.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – Pray for us.