Alternate Scandals, Nunes, GOP, Government Help

  • This week’s note in Trumpian ‘Alternative Facts’ comes from vox where, in a single week, the Nunes memo exposed the anti-Trump conspiracy, previously secret FBI emails showed that Obama engineered a cover up of the Clinton email scandal, and Mark Warner met secretly with Steele to conspire on the dossier. Turns out that each story was debunked, but vox explains that truth no longer matters in Trump world.
  • driftglass doesn’t much care for Kevin Nunes, and he makes me laugh explaining why.
  • At The Moderate Voice has accurately summarized the philosophical underpinnings of today’s Republican Party.
  • Ted McLaughlin at jobsanger has discovered polling data on whether government does enough to help Americans.
  • M. Bouffant at Web of Evil links to efforts by religious leaders, this time Mormons, to cover up a domestic violence scandal. And a prediction that feminism will undo 10,000 years of recorded history. Which might be pretty good except, as he points out, recorded history doesn’t go back that far. I dunno. Do we count cave graphics?
  • Maybe market forces work? Jon Perr at PERRspectives documents corporate efforts to drive down health care costs while improving care for their employees. Health industry stocks went down at the news.
  • Once more into the breech. Libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara at Principled Perspectives tries again to defend the corrupt electoral college system of selecting Presidents. This time it’s that the founders realized that the passions of the majority need to be tamed. Actually, that was an argument for the Bill of Rights. The main argument for the electoral college was the need to preserve slavery.
    Choosing by electors makes about as much sense as choosing a mayor by counting how each street voted. Whoever wins on the the most streets becomes mayor. Did we ever get a more dispassionate result when the electoral college chose differently than the voters? Was Benjamin Harrison a taming of passion? George W? D-D-D-Donald Trump?
  • In The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser, Bruce pretty much rejects friendship with those with whom he has nothing in common and who he suspects have only evangelistic motives. Well, yeah. It can be kind of drag to be around those who see you as a target.
  • North Carolina pastor John Pavlovitz suggests that Jesus of Nazareth has been banished from conservative evangelical Christianity, but offers hope that progressive Christians are saving Jesus from extinction.
  • Our favorite Earth-Bound Misfit provides a most entertaining video of a frustrated car thief. Poor guy gets his due. Narration is great. Oh puhLeeeze watch this.
  • I kind of like science fiction, but I get irritiated when some important answer is suddenly provided by technological magic. I would, at least, like a story to present a premise, then build on it. Infidel753 takes a look at a common theme, outer space aliens who visit earth. He examines several possible reasons anyone from a distant world would bother with ours, and rejects each one. What would aliens want here?
  • John Scalzi at Whatever buys a new guitar, gets ticked at someone’s reaction, and provides a lesson in common courtesy. His advice? Don’t be a dick.

1 thought on “Alternate Scandals, Nunes, GOP, Government Help”

  1. LaFerrara and his kind are quick to appeal to the founders’ intentions and offer up problems with “rule by majority” (which is not really at stake here), but utterly unwilling to confront (1) the problems with systems like the electoral college, (2) whether or not the electoral college truly does what they claim it is intended to do, and (3) whether or not the electoral college functions as intended by the founders.

    Here are some simple truths that utterly refute arguments like these:

    *Even if the presidency were decided by a simple majority of voters, we would not end up with “mob rule.” Our system of government features a legislature that already gives small states disproportionate power in the Senate and favors the party that controls greater land area in the House. Nevertheless, conservatives insist on having not just a couple of advantages, but *every* advantage. Then they have the nerve to pretend that they would feel the same way if Democrats had these advantages, that they would not appeal to so-called American values of equality and fairness in opposition to a system that keeps them down. But we must remember that we are talking about people who don’t care all that much that Democratic congressional candidates in Pennsylvania can receive 51% of the vote but only 28% of the power.

    *”Passions” are not limited to the majority. A minority can be just as or more passionate and can take action against the majority. Therefore, it makes little sense to suggest that a system that disregards the majority’s will somehow protects against “passions.” Similarly, just because a minority’s interests or the interests of large areas of land are respected does not mean that a *plurality* of interests is respected. This is really simple stuff.

    *Our electoral college does *not* function as intended. It is my understanding that the original intention was for people to vote for their electors, who, being more informed and discerning than the general populace, would then cast votes for the president. Hamilton and Madison even protested when they saw the states do otherwise. Indeed, if the electoral college is all about “checking passions,” such a system makes more sense than the one we have today. Furthermore, it was not intended that states adopt the winner-take-all method of awarding electors, which itself disregards the various interests within states in favor of majorities. This is just another case of conservatives (1) saying one thing and doing another and (2) appealing to the founders when it suits them and disregarding them when it doesn’t.

    The true test of the public’s opinion of the electoral college would come from a Democrat winning the electoral vote and losing the popular vote, but that’s unlikely to happen. Until then, we are stuck with the system because one of our two major parties is unable to be honest with itself or others about its own desires and arguments and cares about one thing above all: power.

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