Sunday, June 16, 2019

Striving for a real democracy.

 The Electoral College

Just like we do every four years, America’s getting ready for another Presidential election. But did you know your vote doesn’t go straight to your favorite candidate? That’s because the United States has something called an Electoral College… it’s not a university… but a group of people who do the electing for us. 538 of them to be exact.
If it’s been a long time since your last civics class, here’s a refresher course. When our founding fathers were writing the Constitution, they decided they didn’t want an ill-informed public to directly elect the President and Vice President, nor did they want to leave it up to Congress. Plus, they wanted every state to have a role in national elections.
So the Founding Fathers came up with a system of “electors” – or pre-selected people from each state who ultimately elect the President and Vice President. The 538 “electors” are divided among the states according to each state’s representation in Congress: two Senators per state plus the number of Representatives in each state. For example, Florida has 29 electors, while North Carolina has 15, and Utah has six. The candidate who wins the popular vote in a given state gets all of that state’s electoral votes.
Back to our Florida example. The Presidential Ticket that wins the most popular votes in Florida wins all 29 electors – no matter if the candidates win by 5 votes, five thousand or even five million. This happens in all the other states, except in Nebraska and Maine where it’s not winner-take-all for electors. Get a majority of those votes – that’s 270 – to win.

 Currently, there is a total of 538 electors, there being 435 representatives and 100 senators, plus the three electors allocated to Washington, D.C. The six states with the most electors are California (55), Texas (38), New York (29), Florida (29), Illinois (20), and Pennsylvania (20).


When Americans vote for a President and Vice President, they are actually voting for presidential electors, known collectively as the electoral college. It is these electors, chosen by the people, who elect the chief executive. The Constitution assigns each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of the state’s Senate and House of Representatives delegations; at present, the number of electors per state ranges from three to 54, for a total of 538.
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Aside from Members of Congress, and persons holding offices of “Trust or Profit” under the Constitution, anyone may serve as an elector.In each presidential election year, a group of candidates for elector is nominated by political parties and other groupings in each state, usually at a state party convention, or by the party state committee. It is these elector-candidates, rather than the presidential and vice presidential nominees, for whom the people vote in the November election, which is held on Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In most states, voters cast a single vote for the slate of electors pledged to the party presidential and vice presidential candidates of their choice. The slate winning the most popular votes is elected; this is known as the winner-take-all, or general ticket, system.
Electors assemble in their respective states on Monday after the second Wednesday in December. They are pledged and expected, but not required, to vote for the candidates they represent. Separate ballots are cast for President and Vice President, after which the electoral college ceases to exist for another four years. The electoral vote results are counted and certified by a joint session of Congress, held on January 6 of the year succeeding the election. A majority of electoral votes (currently 270 of 538) is required to win. If no candidate receives a majority, then the President is elected by the House of Representatives, and the Vice President is elected by the Senate, a process known as contingent electio

Constitutional Origins
The Constitutional Convention of 1787 considered several methods of electing the President, including selection by Congress, by the governors of the states, by the state legislatures, by a special group of Members of Congress chosen by lot, and by direct popular election. Late in the convention, the matter was referred to the Committee of Eleven on Postponed Matters, which devised the electoral college system in its original form. This plan, which met with widespread approval by the delegates, was incorporated into the final document with only minor changes. It sought to reconcile differing state and federal interests, provide a degree of popular participation in the election, give the less populous states some additional leverage in the process by providing “senatorial” electors, preserve the presidency as independent of Congress, and generally insulate the election process from political manipulation.
The Constitution gave each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of its membership in the Senate (two to each state, the “senatorial” electors) and its delegation in the House of Representatives (currently ranging from one to 52 Members). The electors are chosen by the states “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct “(U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 1).
Qualifications for the office are broad: the only persons prohibited from serving as electors are Senators, Representatives, and persons “holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States.”

In order to forestall partisan intrigue and manipulation, the electors assemble in their respective states and cast their ballots as state units, rather than meet at a central location. At least one of the candidates for whom the electors vote must be an inhabitant of another state. A majority of electoral votes is necessary to elect, a requirement intended to insure broad acceptance of a winning candidate, while election by the House was provided as a default method in the event of electoral college deadlock. Finally, Congress was empowered to set nationwide dates for choice and meeting of electors.
All the foregoing structural elements of the electoral college system remain in effect currently. The original method of electing the President and Vice President, however, proved unworkable, and was replaced by the 12th Amendment, ratified in 1804. Under the original system, each elector cast two votes for President (for different candidates), and no vote for Vice President. The votes were counted; the candidate receiving the most, provided it was a majority of the number of electors, was elected President, and the runner-up became Vice President. The 12th Amendment replaced this system with separate ballots for President and Vice President, with electors casting a single vote for each office.

The Electoral College Today

Notwithstanding the founders’ efforts, the electoral college system almost never functioned as they intended, but, as with so many constitutional provisions, the document prescribed only the system’s basic elements, leaving ample room for development. As the republic evolved, so did the electoral college system, and, by the late 19 century, the th following range of constitutional, federal and state legal, and political elements of the contemporary system were in place.
Allocation of Electors and Electoral Votes
The Constitution gives each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate membership (two for each state) and House of Representatives delegation (currently ranging from one to 52, depending on population). The 23rd Amendment provides an additional three electors to the District of Columbia. The number of electoral votes per state thus currently ranges from three (for seven states and D.C.) to 54 for California, the most populous state.
The total number of electors each state gets are adjusted following each decennial census in a process called reapportionment, which reallocates the number of Members of the House of Representatives to reflect changing rates of population growth (or decline) among the states. Thus, a state may gain or lose electors following reapportionment, but it always retains its two “senatorial” electors, and at least one more reflecting its House delegation.Popular Election of Electors
Today, all presidential electors are chosen by the voters, but, in the early republic, more than half the states chose electors in their legislatures, thus eliminating any direct involvement by the voting public in the election. This practice changed rapidly after the turn of the nineteenth century, however, as the right to vote was extended to an ever-wider segment of the population. As the electorate continued to expand, so did the number of persons able to vote for presidential electors, to its present limit of all eligible citizens age 18 or older. The tradition that the voters choose the presidential electors thus became an early and permanent feature of the electoral college system, and, while it should be noted that states still theoretically retain the constitutional right to choose some other method, this is extremely unlikely. The existence of the presidential electors and the duties of the electoral college are so little noted in contemporary society that most American voters believe that they are voting directly for a President and Vice President on election day. Although candidates for elector may be well known persons, such as governors, state legislators, or other state and local officials, they generally do not receive public recognition as electors. In fact, in most states, the names of individual electors do not appear anywhere on the ballot; instead only those of the various candidates for President and Vice President appear, usually prefaced by the words “electors for.” Moreover, electoral votes are commonly referred to as having “been awarded” to the winning candidate, as if no human beings were involved in the process.

The Electors: Ratifying the Voter’s Choice
Presidential electors in contemporary elections are expected, and, in many cases pledged, to vote for the candidates of the party that nominated them. While there is evidence that the founders assumed the electors would be independent actors, weighing the merits of competing presidential candidates, they have been regarded as agents of the public will since the first decade under the Constitution. They are expected to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the party that nominated them. Notwithstanding this expectation, individual electors have sometimes not honored their commitment, voting for a different candidate or candidates than the ones to whom they were pledged; they are known as “faithless” or “unfaithful” electors. In fact, the balance of opinion by constitutional scholars is that, once electors have been chosen, they remain constitutionally free agents, able to vote for any candidate who meets the requirements for President and Vice President. Faithless electors have, however, been few in number (in the 20 century, one each in 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1988, and 2000), and have never influenced the outcome of a presidential election.
Nominating Elector-Candidates: Diverse State Procedures
Nomination of elector-candidates is another of the many aspects of this system left to state and political party preferences. Most states prescribe one of two methods: 34 states require that candidates for the office of presidential elector be nominated by state party conventions, while a further ten mandate nomination by the state party’s central committee. The remaining states use a variety of methods, including nomination by the governor (on recommendation of party committees), by primary election, and by the party’s presidential nominee.
Joint Tickets: One Vote for President and Vice President
General election ballots, which are regulated by state election laws and authorities, offer voters joint candidacies for President and Vice President for each political party or other group. Thus, voters cast a single vote for electors pledged to the joint ticket of the party they represent. They cannot effectively vote for a President from one party and a Vice President from another, unless their state provides for write-in votes.
General Election Day
Elections for all federal elected officials are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years presidential elections are held in every year divisible by four. Congress selected this day in 1845; previously, states held elections on different days between September and November, a practice that sometimes led to multiple voting across state lines, and other fraudulent practices. By tradition, November was chosen because the harvest was in, and farmers were able to take the time needed to vote. Tuesday was selected because it gave a full day’s travel between Sunday, which was widely observed as a strict day of rest, and election day. Travel was also easier throughout the north during November, before winter had set in.

The Electors Convene
The 12th Amendment requires electors to meet “in their respective states …” This provision was intended to deter manipulation of the election by having the state electoral colleges meet simultaneously, but keeping them separate. Congress sets the date on which the electors meet, currently the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The electors almost always meet in the state capital, usually in the capitol building or state house itself. They vote “by ballot” separately for President and Vice President (at least one of the candidates must be from another state). The results are then endorsed, and copies are sent to the Vice President (in his capacity as President of the Senate); the secretary of state of their state; the Archivist of the United States; and the judge of the federal district court of the district in which the electors met. Having performed their constitutional duty, the electors adjourn, and the electoral college ceases to exist until the next presidential election.
Congress Counts and Certifies the Vote
The final step in the presidential election process (aside from the presidential inaugural on January 20) is the counting and certification of the electoral votes by Congress. The House of Representatives and Senate meet in joint session in the House chamber on January 6 of the year following the presidential election, at 1:00 pm. The Vice President, who presides in his capacity as President of the Senate, opens the electoral vote certificates from each state, in alphabetical order. He then passes the certificates to four tellers (vote counters), two appointed by each house, who announce the results. The votes are then counted, and the results are announced by the Vice President. The candidates receiving a majority of electoral votes (currently 270 of 538) are declared the winners by the Vice President, an action that constitutes “a sufficient declaration of the persons, if any, elected President and Vice President of the States.”

Both parties are the same in my opinion.......

It is the 16th of June 2019 and Nancy Pelosi will not move to impeach the president altho there is plenty of proof that he has done lots of illegal, immoral and unethical things over the past few years and especially since he was elected.  The DNC is useless, headed by a man who has as much personal appeal as a toilet seat and as little talent and brains as a toad.  Sorry.  The Democratic Party is fucked and it is because the leadership is fucked.   We need new leaders with integrity, morals and ethics devoted to helping people instead of boosting corporate bottom lines.  That is not what is happening the with the present bucn of assholes leading the party now.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Here are Lichtman's 13 criteria

Here are Lichtman's 13 criteria -- via his book "Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016" and as summarized by WaPo's Peter Stevenson:
1. Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the US House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.
2 Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.
4. Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.
5. Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
6. Long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
10. Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
11. Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
12. Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
13. Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Joe Biden? Really?


Joe Biden? Really?

   Okay.  They (the media) all want Joe to be the nominee for the Democratic Party because they think that they can milk the most eyes and clicks and dollars they can out of our efforts to manage our environment and country.  That's all folks!  It is about how much they can put on their bottom line.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Washington News Choral: Narrative Management

Washington News Choral: Narrative Management

(Part 1.)The media is a big part of our political problem.

       "Here they go again" as Reagan was fond of saying.  I call them a mainstream media choral group all singing the same lame ass songs they all know by heart as if written from the same pen.  Lets call it the  "Washington News Choral."
     The other day I was watching the TeeVee on MSNBC and a self-serving ad for the network came on with a voice-over by Willie Geiss proclaiming concern that Democrats are going too far toward "Socialism!" OMG!  The bowl of shit Willie and MSNBC is serving up is from the same kitchen of shit they served (and the reason I no longer watch Morning Joe) when Joe Scarbourough gave Trump access to millions of dollars of publicity and let him broadcast his dreck manuahi ("free") enabling to a great extent his election. After the election Trump thanked Joe publicly.  No-matter what else he is Trump is smart enough to recognize Morning Joe's invaluable assistance

      Same ol' lame ass shit the media has used for decades to hype viewership and boost ad sales.  The real problem is that some of the strategies that the media uses are designed to elicit and encourage rancor and aggression while contributing little instead adding to our cultural stress and misunderstanding.  It is a real problem that our media, digital and electronic especially contribute to toward a disintegration of rational and reasonable discourse.  It is for profits that these networks decide what news gets broadcast and amplified.
Information is an inherently valuable public commodity and should be regulated in keeping with its inherent value. How can we solve this problem?  Easy. Get rid of Citizen's United, regulate and define information as a commodity just the way we did in the past when we had a "fairness doctrine" and the McCain Feingold Bill.  That was a step in the right direction. What happened? 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hump Day Round-up

Hump Day Round-up

1.)  This is an important issue.  It represents the efficacy of our system(s).  Because of the problems with fake news, profiteering and corruption the taint of lies and self-interest has spread places in our society perhaps where it is doing damage to us all.  MEASLES VACCINE.

2.)  This is an ongoing topic about our global health and welfare.  HIV CURE?

3.)  Testimony from ant-vacine advocate son who got MEASLES FROM VACCINE IGNORANCE?

4,)  ANOTHER PRIEST BITES THE DUST...Another Catholic priest gets the axe because 
      he had sex where he shouldn't have.  Does water run downhill?

5.) 20 states have passed anti-vaccination bills. ANTI-VAC

6.)  Yeah, yea, there is always a but.  (Vaaccine Derived?) Science is a strange thing. 


5.)  Southwest Flights?  HARD TO FIND!

6.) Climate Change in Hawaii? More than two dozen climate-related bills are still alive and continue to move forward in the Legislature this session.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A blast from 2017: Da Disgusting Media

Da Disgusting Media

Citizen's United: The monetization of our political discourse is destroying America.

In  January 2010, the huge infusion of billions of media dollars into the American elections after the Citizen's United decision  has dealt a serious blow to the efficacy of the of election process itself.  When the Roberts court gave fiscal "personhood" and hence "free speech" to corporations SCOTUS loosed upon the land destructive forces that severely compromise and divide the media and the population.  The democratic process is broken.
The electoral process has become malignant and it has nurtured huge profit centers within the balance sheets of corporate mass media vendors and producers.  The court decision created a more powerful and a toxic American political media industry,  a political player power that shapes and directs the discourse to maximize "eyes on the screen" hence profits on the books. 

Why has the 4th estate failed our Representative Republic? It is because the Citizens United decision has made it possible to virtually purchase the media without any of the liabilities of ownership.  And I suspect that is why Mr. Trump characterizes media organizations as being "corrupt" and hypocritical.  The forces of political objectives and money shape and direct the narrative both consciously and unconsciously to favor the cheap and easy production of profits.  Stonewalling and blatantly lying to the American people and the media regularly should be rewarded with a diminishment of coverage, not with increased interest.  Obvious dishonesty and smarmy and coquettish narratives are not helpful to the citizenry despite the fact they honor the bottom line of media vendors.

Especially since the Citizen's United Debacle the tendency for the media to pursue ratings for income often substantially diminishes the good done by the press and particularly the electronic media.  "Fake News" is an especially toxic byproduct and symptom of the this presently broken system.  This phenomena also diminishes and negates the credibility of product.  Mix in Social Media another profit center, and you have a perfect storm where money corrupts the media and distracts the people.  This rising tide of corruption raises all media ships, including the digital media.  Within this context one only has to pause to look and to see that in this case the democratic process is broken.