Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Perhaps this is a Time for Optimism and Hope

   As Donald Trump names Steve Mnuchin his nominee for Treasury secretary, I find myself being a little excited for the times. Could they rewrite the tax code? Indeed, it seems they might. While I do not look forward to the tax plan Trump outlined during his campaign -- that plan could plunge us $11 trillion deeper in debt -- perhaps they will go a different direction.
  I only know I see this as an opportunity to completely re-haul the tax code. We could do it right, or we could do it wrong. Here's hoping they rewrite it with one goal being to reduce the national debt, and another goal being to make it much simpler.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

May the Recounts be Honest and Thorough

   I worry, when I hear Wisconsin officials are going to allow a recount, but not a hand recount. Why, if a recount is paid for to the tune of $3.5 million deep, why not do it right? Are you suggesting it will only be an electronic recount? Is an electronic recount a real recount, or simply flashing all the same numbers and all the same results back on the screen? Why not be fair, and do a real, thorough, honest recount? Why are they not allowing this?
    I worry when I hear Pennsylvania's top election official taints his impartiality by saying a recount will not change anything. "When everything is said and done, you're going to see that the results are accurate," Secretary of State Pedro Cortes said. I would rather see impartiality in my election judges, rather than being in position to prove themselves right.
   Pennsylvania's ballots lack a paper trail. So, as with Wisconsin's, I wonder if it will be able to be a true accurate recount, or just flushing the same material on the screen again. I suppose there must be some way to undercover false votes, otherwise those calling for a recount wouldn't be doing so. I understand, the malware that could cyberattack the voting system can be erased upon completion of the voteing. Perhaps it is, then, that when an electronic recount is done without the malware being present, the vote would change.
   Bless the recounts, wherever they are done, that they will be honestly done, and thorough.

Perfection lies in the Admission of Imperfections

  The perfect person isn't the one who is perfect in everything, but the one who corrects his imperfections. So, when you find a person who never admits to faults, know you have an imperfect person.

Monday, November 28, 2016

We've Entered an Age When Voter Fraud has New Frontiers

   We are living in an age like none other, in regard to the danger of election fraud. One need only look at the number of U.S. companies suffering cyber attacks to suppose that it is possible someone could attack electronic and online election sites.
   Why, then, the reluctance for recounts? When paper printouts exist, go back and tally them. If electronic and online fraud occurred, counting the paper printouts might likely to catch them.
  We live in a day when such audits might well become mandatory. Just as a businesses audit their books, so we should audit our elections. Given the changed nature of balloting, surely we should see how necessary this is.
   The dangers go beyond the places where electronic and online voting are done. There is danger like we've never seen it simply because of mail-in voting. Ballots can be intercepted at the mailbox, they can be delivered to addresses where people have moved out, leaving them in the hands of new residents. They can be delivered to those who have passed away. They can be delivered to the right place, but then left on the table until a friend or family member says, "Well, if you aren't going to use it, can I?"
   The dangers of fraud in our election system have never been so high. We are beyond the day when our elections can be considered beyond reproach. We have entered an era when dangers exist that never previously had to be dealt with.
   Voter beware. America beware.
   There is nothing wrong with checks and safeguards. Those who suggest we should not be recounting and taking measures to ensure an honest election, leave us prey to those who would capitalize on the fresh weaknesses in our voting system.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

In the Court of Public Opinion, making Mistakes Often isn't Tolerated

   "You have the right to be wrong," the officer said as he arrested me. "You have the right to make mistakes, to err in judgement, and even to . . ." He paused before continuing. "Well, I was going to say you have the right treat others wrongly, but I hesitate on that one. You do and you don't. Its better that you don't, but sometimes the only reason we treat others badly is because we don't realize what we are doing. We don't mean them harm, we just do it because we aren't thinking. Anyway, now I've read you your rights, you're under arrest."
   "Excuse me, officer," I asked. "but what are you arresting me for?"
   "Well," he came back, "the people down at the office have been reading your blogs, some of the old ones. Here's this one. Let me show you. You say in it that one of the ways we could inject competition into the health care system would be to offer more than one choice of companieswhen buying insurance through the workplace."
   "Well, that's right, isn't it?" I asked.
   "Nope. Not at all. You're not too smart, are you? See, there's this thing called volume buying. Walmart does it all the time. You buy in large amounts, and it reduces the cost. Did you catch that? It reduces the costs. Now, competition is not lost, because the company selects among the various insurance companies. You aren't doing the shopping, but someone is. It does the shopping among the competition, but competition is not left out."
   "Hmm," I said, reflecting. "I think you are right. I hadn't considered that."
   "Anyway," he said. "You're under arrest. I'm going to have to take you in. You've pretty much confessed here, anyway."
   "Wait," I said, "What about the rights you just read me?"
   "We have to do that," he said. "We have to read you your rights. But, just because we read them to you, doesn't mean you have them." He pulled out his badge. "See right here on this badge, it says I'm from the court of public opinion. The court of public opinion doesn't say a thing about you having any rights. Some do-gooder suggested you have those rights, and got it so we have to read them to you."
   He waited for me to respond, but I was too flabbergasted.
   "Besides, if it weren't for this blog you messed up on, it would be for something else. There's a lot of things I should be arresting you for."
   "Like?" I asked.
   "How about the time you asked a renter to move out, because you thought he was stealing from you?"
   "Yeah," I replied. "I came later to think it was another roommate who snitched the money from me. I've always regretted kicking him out."
   "Then," the officer went on, "there was the roommate missing a few mental bearings, who spoke of killing on the behalf of God, as a real-life avenger, and who believed Mormons were of the devil. You moved him out because you're a Mormon and you feared for your life."
   "Maybe I was wrong on that one, too," I said. "Maybe I shouldn't have taken all his talk so seriously. I'd now guess that he probably never would have done me any harm."
   "I could go on and on," the officer said. "You've been wrong a million times. What you've done has hurt people. In the court of public opinion, you aren't allowed to be wrong so much as once. So, what am I going to do, let you go scot-free and keep on causing all of this damage?"
   "Hey, I'm just a human," I said. "But, I like to think I try to set things right when I mess up. I don't pretend to be without fault -- at least I hope not. I'm not perfect, obviously. But, at least I try to be perfect by trying to overcome my faults."
   "That ain't good enough for me," the officer said, "nor for the court. Come along. I'm taking you in. Nobody's perfect, but, boy do you mess up. You mess up way too much, and its gotta stop, and so we'll just put a stop to it right here and now."
   "And, just what is my punishment? What are you going to do with me?" I asked.
   "I'm taking you away. The public is no longer going to respect you, nor listen to you, nor give you any credence," he said. "You're outta here."
   I thought on it. Often that is our punishment for making mistakes. I couldn't say it was altogether wrong. Sometimes, we have to pay for our mistakes this way. I will only repeat what I told the officer. I'm human. Whoever that person who suggested we have rights, I only pray the court of public opinion would listen to him.

Every American Should be Concerned if Russia Succeeded

   Back up, if you would, to the story about Russia influencing the election with fake news. Shouldn't a story like that be a little more alarming, a little more maddening? Shouldn't it cause a little more angst, anger, and anguish?
   Shouldn't it be the lead story in every paper, its headline screamed across the top of every front page?
   The Russians, you say? Our old Cold War foe? They tried to corrupt our election? They took our most basic of institutions, the one on which we hinge our freedom (democracy), and tried to make a mockery of it?
   And, did they succeed? Their stories plugged for Trump and Trump was elected.
   Well, much of the response to this news has been, "Get over it, you liberals. Trump won. Crying and whining won't do you any good."
   I don't think that a decent response. Every American should be concerned if Russia successfully compromised our election.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html

http://warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy/

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Castro Weighed Down to His Death

   News breaks of Colin Kaepernick discussing Fidel Castro and the very next day, Castro dies. I think of how the story came out of Miami, and how it noted that of the refugees there do not like Castro.
   Such things may well have reached Castro's ears. I would guess they probably did. Are we to think Castro did not care for what others thought of him? Surely he did. Yes, given the timing of the story -- given that it broke on Thursday and Castro died on Friday -- I wonder. If Castro did see the story, then, perhaps what was being said about him did contribute to his death.
  What others think of us is huge in whether we choose to keep on living. I don't know that the media is making anything of Castro's losing his will to live as a result of the bad publicity reaching his ears. I don't know that we, as a society, even study the will to live and how it is impacted by what others think and say about us. But, it should be studied. It should be noted. We could learn perhaps as much about prolonging life from this as we could from anything.

Friday, November 25, 2016

How Might We Respond? Perhaps by Trying to Correct the Flaws

   I will stand, hand to my heart, when the national anthem is performed. I love my country, and pledge to support it. Colin Kaepernick? I don't know how patriotic he is, but suggest it might not be mine to judge.
   The 49ers quarterback is again in the news, after an exchange between him and a Miami reporter revealed some of his views. Back in August, about the same time the Kaepernick thing on the national anthem was coming forth, he wore a shirt with pictures showing Fidel Castro and Malcolm X meeting. Now, the reporter wanted to discuss Castro being on the shirt. Kaepernick pointed out that Malcolm X was also on the shirt, and that the meeting with Castro showed the civil rights leader was open-minded. The reporter pressed for comment on Castro. "I'm not talking about Fidel Castro and his oppression. I'm talking bout Malcolm X and what he's done for people," Kaepernick responded.
   So, before we paint Kaepernick into too tight of a fit with Castro, we should note the quarterback does believe Castro oppressed Cubans.
   As the discussion continued, Kaepernick spoke of Castro investing money in education, instead of prisons, and indicated America might learn something from that. He also spoke of America incarcerating too many people, and of slavery, and of the genocide of Native Americans.
   Kaepernick believes blacks still face bigotry. I'm not sure I disagree. He believes we incarcerate too many. I might concede the point and wonder if there are other ways to handle criminals. Kaepernick doesn't like it that there was slavery in America. Neither do I. He feels the Native Americans suffered in a genocide. I'm not sure but what he isn't right.
  I can see what is wrong with America, but I believe what is right outweighs it. I love this country, despite its flaws. If I were to add to the flaws Kaepernick has pointed out, I would lament that we are a country that protects abortion, which leads to millions of lives being cut off even before the children are even born. To me, this is one of the greatest injustices in America.
   I compare my views to those of Kaepernick, because I want to make clear where I stand. If Kaepernick wants to not stand during the anthem, if he and other athletes choose to protest by not putting their hands over their hearts, so be it. I don't know that I want to judge them, nor condemn them. Some of these might be just saying they see injustices and would like to see them corrected. Do some of them truly oppose our country? I don't know. I only know they are calling out flaws most of us might be willing to admit to. I say, let us wave the flag, be patriotic and love this country. But, when we see criticisms that are justified, let us acknowledge them and work shoulder-to-shoulder with those who bring them up in trying to correct them.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Perhaps an Investigation should already have been Launched

  You won't remember, or maybe didn't hear about it, but in August, hackers stole information from voter data bases in Illinois and Arizona.
  Federal officials blamed it on the Russians. And, Utah Rep. Chris Stewart said we knew this was going to happen.
   Oh, did we? If so, did we also know the election, itself, might be compromised? Because, if we did, we surely should be investigating. I'm not talking just a formal recount of votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. No, if you have any inclination that a foreign government was going to compromise your election, you investigate it. You don't say the law only allows for a recount if an opposing candidate requests one and pays for it, you put the CIA or FBI on it and do it, regardless whether a candidate asks for it.
   Clinton led in the polls in all three states (Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania) and all three had voted for the democrat at least going back as far as 1996. All three states were decided by 1 percent or less, which means if those states' elections were influenced, recounts could reverse the outcomes.
   Well, I don't know why, back in August and earlier, the federal authorities were concerned about Russia hacking our election. But, if there was concern then, we shouldn't drop the ball now. If there truly was reason for concern back then, then an investigation by the CIA or FBI should already have been launched. Recounts would be but part of that investigation.

The Strangeness of the Election Might Yet get Stranger

  A cloud of uncertainty swept across our just-completed election today, as certain experts called for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
  After all the drama that swirled through the campaign, is the biggest drama yet do come? Could the Russians have hacked our election and handed it to Donald Trump? Probably not, say even those who are calling for the recounts.
  But, at least until the recounts are made, the possibility looms. Strange reality can  be more striking than fiction. So, we wait to see if this is reality, if the Russians really did accomplish such a heist. Trump once a star on reality TV? What with threat of Russian cyber attacks on election night, now it might be said he stars in a reality international espionage thriller.
  Oh, even those calling for recounts are suggesting the election probably wasn't stolen. But, don't let it go unnoticed that they want to make sure. Yes, there is no evidence the Russians hacked us. But, it is also suggested the hacking could have been accomplished without there being any evidence.
  Just three states. That's all they are asking for. Three recounts is all they want. But, I find myself wondering if -- supposing the results in just one of those states is found incorrect -- if other states might decide to double-check their results. Oh, it would be too late for those recounts to officially change the election -- there are time limits on when you can request a recount -- but it is never too late to investigate a crime. If the outcome in just one of the three states is found wrong, I would not be surprised at all if a few states decided to recount their own votes.
   Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, democratic states, all. Wisconsin had voted for a democrat in each election since 1988, Michigan every time since 1996 and Pennsylvania since 1992. Clinton led in the polls in all three states. Yet, by slim margins, each went to Trump. Wisconsin?  47.9 percent to 46.9. Michigan? 47.6 percent to 47.3. Pennsylvania? 48.8 percent to 47.6. Together, they represent 46 Electoral College votes: 10 in Wisconsin, 16 in Michigan and 20 in Pennsylvania. With Trump having won 279 to 228 in the electoral vote, if just two of these states swing from Trump, Clinton wins.
   Yes, we go back to the thought that the current votes will stand up in a recount. That is what is expected. But, as it is said, truth can be more astounding than fiction. So, let us wait for the recounts.
   I think I should end this blog noting that in August, Utah Rep. Chris Stewart warned that Russian hackers could disrupt this election. Before the month was out, news broke that the registration information in Arizona and Illinois had been hacked and stolen -- and the Russians were suspect. "It's hardly a prophecy," Stewart told the Deseret News. "It was just common sense. We just knew they were going to do this. There is no opportunity they won't take."
   We knew the they were going to do it? There is no opportunity they would not take? Does this suggest, then, that we knew the Russians were going to hack the election, itself? I'm waiting to hear what Stewart will say now.

(Note: With most of the composing of this blog having been done after midnight, and with some editing and additions made throughout the next day, this post was really written Thanksgiving Day.)
 
https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-was-hacked-look-at-the-ballots-c61a6113b0ba#.cmvhlbk78

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

       that an election recount  being called for in Wisconsin, Pennyslvania and Michigan Let's hear from Rep. Chris Stewart

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It Would be Good if We Were More Civil in Our Protests

   I wrote praise about protesting, did I not? And, I meant to follow it up the next day with a post about a negative result that often comes with protests.
   I do not like it that we, as a nation, are so divided. I do not like it that we pick at each other, find fault with each other. The disputes escalate as the protesting continues. The Black Lives Matter people condemn those who suggest all lives matter. Those who do not believe blacks are discriminated against try to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement. Soon, there are two sides and neither thinks well of the other.
  In the Colin Kaepernick dispute, he protests and draws the response that he is wrong to do so. Soon, two sides are thinking ill of each other, one side thinking the other is not patriotic, and the other side thinking people part of pattern of corruption for justifying police killings.
   Protesting can be good. But, it would be good if we could do it without all the division. It would be good if we accepted each other's protests, even though we do not agree with them. "So you feel blacks are discriminated against?" could be our response. "You feel blacks are often targeted by police." And, when the BLM people are told all lives matter, they could agree. All lives do matter. Black lives matter. White lives matter. Blue lives matter.
   And, the Colin Kaepernick situation? Why not just let him protest? He is going down on one knee. That is a show of respect. Why suppose he is akin to flag-burners?
   Protesting brings contention. It would be good if we were more civil in our protests, if we were more accepting of the other side, if it didn't spiral and escalate and become infused with hatred of each other.
   Let the other person have an opinion without thinking he or she is the devil in the flesh. Why judge each other so harshly?
   And, could protesters be more civil? Sometimes they use four-letter words, make false accusations, and just spew hatred. It might seem much to suggest protesters be respectful of those they are protesting against, but, yes, I wish they were.
 

Here's to Supporting Trump While not Closing Our Eyes

   I swung somewhat on board with Donald Trump that fateful Nov. 9 day I opened the morning paper to discover he had been elected.
   I say, somewhat.
   He is my president, my commander in chief. As I gave some support to President Obama, so I hope to give some to Trump. Who knows but what he might achieve much. If he succeeds, America succeeds.
   Oh, the road has already had some rocks. There was Megyn Kelly saying he offered gifts to her and to other journalists.
   And, there was the Trump University thing, where he paid $25 million to settle. It was said that with his needing to concentrate on getting his administration underway, he didn't have time for the court case. I'm not so sure. He has lawyers. Let them carry the case in court. Besides, I remember during the debates how it came up that he settled another case, a discriminatory practises case, with a financial settlement.
   This Trump University thing was a lawsuit. If it was fraud, have criminal charges been considered?
   And, there was the news that he had someone accompany him to a security briefing, and legal experts suggested that was against the law.
   And, we were reminded he never did disclose his taxes. It was pointed out that if he is under audit, that becomes interesting since he appoints the head of the IRS.
   I do not believe you have to quit questioning what he is doing in order to support him. To support Donald J. Trump, to a large extent, means to hope he succeeds. It means hoping he can improve America. It also means being civil toward him, and respectful. But it does not mean you must be blind to things negative.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What if We Opened our Power System to a Free Market?

   It would certainly be an interesting experiment in economics, if we did away with one-provider electricity service.
   What if we let every who wanted to sell, sell? Oh, we could hardly let them each create their own distribution lines. We have enough power lines, already.
   So, let them all use the same grid. Now, power lines can only bear so much power, so you would have to limit each company to placing on line no more power than what it sold. But, that certainly should be doable.
   So, the electricity would be the very same electricity regardless who you bought it from. Almost the only difference would be the rate. You could pay Rocky Mountain Power one rate, or Pete's Power a different rate.
   That would make for an interesting market. With people flocking to the lowest price, would the pressure to collude and price fix be at a maximum? Would something need to be done about that? I suppose, though, this is not too different than what we already face in the gasoline industry. When we buy from one gas station, the gas is little different than what we buy from the one around the corner. The big difference between the gasoline industry and this new electricity industry is that when we buy gas, the location of the service station is a factor. The electricity market would not have that.
   Oh, there would be at least one other difference between the companies. While it would be the very same electricity, regardless who you purchased from, some of the suppliers would provide wind-generated electricity, and others would be dominated by electricity produced by coal-powered plants. Some customers would be influenced by this.
   This would be an interesting experiment. As with any system, the kinks would have to be worked out. But, I'm not so sure but what a workable open-market system could not be developed.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Why Charge Solar Owners for being Solar Owners?

  What of the practice of charging solar owners for using the electric grid?
  For starters, I wonder if we should find a way to do away with monopolies. Just one electricity provider in Utah (Rocky Mountain Power)? I wonder if we should investigate how rich the top executives at Rocky Mountain Power are? Who makes the money and how much are they making?
   Secondly, as if it is not bad enough that Rocky Mountain has a monopoly, now they are seeking to squeeze out solar owners, which will diminish the state's move from fossil fuels to green energy. In an age in which we have come to realize the need for clean energy, this is appalling.
  Thirdly, I do not agree with charging the home owners a connection fee.  Since they continue to be power users as the solar panels do not meet all their needs, they are already connected to the grid. They just do not use as much. Do we charge other small users a connection fee? Why is it fair to charge one small user but not the next? Treat them equal. Be fair to the solar owners. Many just want to be good citizens by going green, and for that they are treated this way?

If it Looks Like Paris Agreement is not to be Met, We Should Rehuddle

   An Associated Press story out of Germany says there is growing evidence that power plants, buildings, cars, truck, ships and planes are likely to emit so much CO2 that the targets of the Paris Agreement are not going to be met.
   I find myself wondering on other greenhouse emissions. Isn't agriculture suppose to account for a third of all greenhouse emissions? Aren't termites now considered a major contributor? And, volcanos? If such things as these are bigger contributors to greenhouse emissions, why are we just targeting power plants and cars and such?
   But, the same, I am lost as to why we -- as a world -- are not doing more to curb the use of fossil fuels. If it just be fossil fuels that we are so concerned about, replace them. From all that I know, they are replaceable. Take the automobile: It is not as if the electric car has not been developed. Why not replace -- largely -- the gasoline car with the electric one?
   Are we too shy with what we are doing? Should we not be considering bans (at least limited bans) on gasoline cars and coal power plants?
   Or, are we letting our fear of jobs override our concern of greenhouse emissions? Yes, jobs are important, but are we cutting off our nose to spite our face? Are we so overly concerned with jobs that we are failing to act on greenhouse emissions even though it is a must?
   This is not good news, that we are not going to meet the Paris Agreement targets. My thought is, the Paris Agreement targets are not aggresive enough, to begin with. If the news is that we aren't meeting these goals, we should rehuddle and come up with more aggresive measures to battle greenhouse gases.




Friday, November 18, 2016

Stand With the Founders in Bringing to Pass the Electoral College

  "Notwithstanding the founders' efforts, the electoral college system almost never functioned as they intended." So it says at history.com.
   Reading through two history pieces on the Electoral College, it increases my respect for what the founders did. I see how they weighed the possibilities, considerate of what might take place under different scenarios. I think of how the Constitution is said to have been inspired, and wonder if the creation of the Electoral College wasn't one of the inspired features, judging from how much thought they put into the system.
   So, I say this: Why not do it as it was intended? Why not follow the pattern given us by the Founding Fathers? Why not make it work? If the system set forth by the Founding Fathers almost never functioned as they envisioned, why not give it the breath that it has almost never had? This is an opportunity to function as a government in a way that has hardly been tried, yet which holds great promise, and which may have been very inspired.
   Why not stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Founding Fathers, being partners with them in bringing to pass that which they envisioned?

http://www.history.com/topics/electoral-college

http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_history.php

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Right to Protest is not Lost When a Person Chooses not to Vote

   Protesting is a form of expression, a manner of free speech, a way of displaying opinion. All of those things suggest protesting is wonderful, but if you leave it there, you sell protesting short.
   It is more.
   I think of how is has been said, we should wear out our lives bringing hidden things of darkness into the light. Those who see something wrong, who seek to remove social injustice, often turn to protest as their way of fighting against the wrongs.
   This is not to say they are always right. The cause they pursue can be misguided. Still, it is good that they wear themselves out fighting against what they perceive to be wrong. It is a greater virtue to stand up for what you think is right, even though it might actually be wrong, than to stay sitting down and say nothing when the cause is actually right.
   I think of all the protesting going on in America. I think of the Trump rallies. This is not a moment I choose to protest Trump. Though I protested before he was elected, I am rather inclined, at this time now that he has been elected, to give him a measure of support and have at least some attitude of, Let's wait and see. But, I do not fault those who protest. I hail them for expressing their opinion.
   Some suggest that some of them did not even vote, and if they didn't vote, they have no right to be protesting. What is the expression? If you don't vote, you have no right to complain.
   I disagree. You always have the right to express your opinion, That is not taken away just because you choose not to vote. The right to vote implies you also have a right not to vote. Freedom is freedom. Don't force a person to vote.
   And, in a way, protesting is a form of voting. It is a way of standing up and being counted on an issue. It is a vote without a ballot, but with a placard instead.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Electors Should do the Picking, not Vice Versa

   I would suggest the way we elect a president turns the process upside down from what is set forth in the Constitution. Instead of the electors picking which candidate will be president, the candidates pick which people will be electors.
   If you are bound by state law or by your political party to vote for a certain candidate, you are not free to pick a candidate. To the contrary, if whatever elector is elected has to vote for a certain candidate, it is the same as if the candidate were selecting the elector, for the only people who can be picked are those who are committed to vote for him (or her). If whomever is picked has to vote for him (or her), what more could the candidate ask for in deciding who to pick?
   I wonder but what this ought not be. I wonder but what we make a mockery of the process.

Monday, November 14, 2016

We Might Sidestep so Much Animosity if We Elected the President Right

 Thinking about it, there is one very negative affect elections have on America. Every four years, we are at our most hateful best, being more condemning and intolerant of each other than ever. 
   Every four years this happens. Of course, it also happens in our other elections, but the presidential election might be when we put on our ugly faces the most.
   So, did you ever notice how the Constitution doesn't even call for a popular vote for president? I find it interesting, we are suppose to be electing electors, and they are suppose to deliberate on who should be president, and they are suppose to make that decision. Notice this, and notice it well: If we did it the way the Constitution outlined, we might avoid a lot of the division and hatred and lying and demeaning.
  Maybe the founding fathers' way of doing it is wiser than what we realize. I don't at all suppose they envisioned the Electoral College as a way of sidestepping animosity, but I suggest it is a big bonus, the same.
   So, I suggest we go back to electing a president the way the Constitution would have us do it.

Perhaps They Were Looking Out for the Smaller States

  Perhaps a little partial repenting of what I said the other day, as I wondered whether the Founding Fathers wanted to give the smaller states more power in the presidential election. I might still wonder if they simply were looking for a way to proportion the membership of the Electoral College, and giving each state votes equal to its congressional delegation was simply what they opted to do, with no particular thought for helping the small states.
  But, my brother points out that they set up the Senate as a way to give small states more equal representation. It makes sense, then, that they might still have been thinking in those terms when they set up the Electoral College.
   Getting home from work just an hour ago, and being due for bed, I have not had time to study the topic, and probably won't get around to it in the near future. So, I might not get around to learning more.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Rest of the Story and Leonard Cohen

   Leonard Cohen: the Bob Dylan who will be forgotten. Cohen passed away just less than a week ago. His lyrics were written with the same flair as those of Dylan. His singing had a rough edge, same as Dylan's. There was a greatness in him, in his songs, but one wonders if his legacy will fall short of that of Dylan. He didn't cut as large a swath in life, and comparatively speaking, he will be forgotten.
   I posted on Cohen not much more than a month ago, wondering if he was repentant of the original "Hallelujah" lyrics. "Hallelujah" was his signature song, a monster song, played and repeatedly played again.
   Ah, but does the song mock Christianity?
   Then, I found a performance in which Cohen changes the words (as he often did). Let me share a few lines.
   "And though it all went wrong" (I wonder if he refers to his song being seen as negative to Christianity.)
   "I'll stand right here before the Lord of song
   "With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah" (I wonder if he is saying he will stand now before the Lord with nothing more to say than, "Hallelujah.")
   I should also share with you a line just before the ones I've just quoted. If we were making a list of great Leonard Cohen quotes, this one would be included.  "I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch." So often, perhaps, we are not satisfied with just having a feeling that the gospel is true. We want more. We want good, hard evidence -- something we can touch. I do not know that I fault Cohen for that. If you need evidence, make it evidence. When all is said and done, you won't be convinced of the truth of Christianity without some feelings having been involved. You may require evidence, but faith will still have its part.
   I wonder if that is what happened to Cohen. I do not know. I am neither his judge, nor in position to know what was going on. I don't so much as know for certain that the glimpse into his life that I refer to above is correct.
   But, I wonder. And, I wonder that he has passed away. Cancer took him, if I am told correctly. I wonder on the stress that can take people's lives. I wonder if we sometimes choose death after being worn out by the pressures of life, and if the pressures that resulted from his biggest hit didn't end up being the hit that took his life, at least in part.
   Did someone tell me Cohen had spoken of being ready to die? Perhaps death is more of a choice than we sometimes suppose.
    At any rate, I am sorry to hear of Leonard Cohen's passing away. I was growing close to him, emotionally, and rooting for him as a performer.
   I ran into a newer song of his, it says:
Show me the place, where you want your slave to go
Show me the place, I've forgotten I don't know
Show me the place where my head is bent and low
Show me the place, where you want your slave to go
Show me the place, help me roll away the stone
Show me the place, I can't move this thing alone
Show me the place where the word became a man
Show me the place where the suffering began
The troubles came, I saved what I could save
A shred of light, a particle away
But there were chains so I hastened to the hay
There were chains, so I loved you
Like a spade
   I wish we had Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" to tell us more about what was going on with Cohen when he died. Perhaps this post plays that role a little. But, I speak only from the glimpse that I have, and wonder if there is more.




Saturday, November 12, 2016

Did the Founding Fathers Want to Even Things Up for Smaller States?

Why an Electoral College? I wonder if the theory on giving more influence to the smaller states is an invention that came years after the Constitution was written. I don't know that, but I wonder. I wonder if the founding fathers simply wanted to create a way for determining how many electors there would be, and proportioning them to the number of members of Congress was what they decided on, with little thought that it meant evening things up for the smaller states. At any rate, it seems the founding fathers clearly wanted the electors to be free agents, not bound to vote for anyone. If this is true, then the theory that the founding fathers wanted to soften the influence of public voters in large states is questionable. As designed, there is no popular vote for president, So, if the founding fathers wanted to even things up, it wasn't to even up the popular vote. I understand, in fact, the state legislators elected the electors until 1828. A popular vote for president wasn't even tallied till then. Doesn't that show that we did, indeed, abandon doing it the way the founding fathers envisioned?

Friday, November 11, 2016

If We Must Indulge Ourselves, Let's Go With the Popular Vote

   If we are not going to use the Electoral College the way it was designed, we might as well go to a purely popular vote. When we vote, we vote for the presidential candidate, not for the Electoral College representative, as it seems the Constitution intended us to do. Our vote is then translated to the name of an unknown Electoral College candidate. We don't even know the name of that Electoral College person who ends up receiving our vote. We don't know his or her name and we don't see it in the newspaper the next day. And, when the Electoral College members meet, it is hardly to deliberate who will make the best president. They simply rubber stamp the person they were sent to vote for.
   I'm not sure why this all isn't considered a mockery of the way it was set up. And, I wonder how it is we speak so much of supporting the Constitution, yet we never so much as give this part of the Constitution our thought, much less speak up for it.
   It seems to me, we've set aside the Founding Fathers' intention that we elect people so they can use their wisdom to decide who will make the best president. I think it would be neat if the Electoral College were fully functional. I think it would be wonderful if the members of the Electoral College were not bound to vote for anyone in particular. It seems that is what the Founding Fathers had in mind. A fully functioning Electoral College, what would be wrong with that? Let us, the populace, step aside and let the Electoral College do its thing. Our vote should not be to elect a president, but to elect the Electoral College. And, when the Electoral College meets, it should not rubber stamp its votes, but deliberate and consider who should be named president.
   Talk about revolutionizing the way we elect a president, if we were just to follow the Constitution, that would revolutionize it.
  But, if we don't like the way it was set up -- if we would rather set it aside and vote directly for president -- then let's do away with the Electoral College and go to a purely popular vote, not one that is skewed.
   I don't know that the current system achieves any more than creating a chance that the person who doesn't win the popular vote still has a chance to win the election, as happened this year.
   If we don't like what the Founding Fathers set up, if we can't resist but to vote for the presidential candidates ourselves, let's cut to the chase and cut the charade and go with a purely popular vote, for it is enjoyable to vote directly for president. If we insist on that indulgence, then let's do it right.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I do not Fault Kaepernick for the Way He Chooses to Protest

   In America, and thankfully, in many places in the world, you are free to protest against your government without being tossed in jail. Nor, are you told how to protest. It is your protest, so you choose how you will go about protesting. Protesting, by its nature, doesn't have to be in a proscribed manner.
   Freedom at its core is the right to be a dissident, to disagree with society. It is the right to oppose, and criticize your government, and to call for reform. On the flip side, a society that is not free is one that requires everyone to conform.
   If you haven't guessed what topic I'm speaking of, its Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem. I do not fault him. I do not suppose to tell him he is wrong for having his opinion, or for expressing it in a way I wouldn't. Instead, bless him for caring enough, for working to change things that, to him, need to be changed.
   I do not see him trashing the principles America was founded on. Nor do I see him denigrating those who have died in combat for the freedoms we have, as some people suggest he is doing. I see him kneeling on one knee during the national anthem, and if that is his way of showing respect for the flag, so be it. It is good enough by me.
   If America isn't about the right to disagree, and the right to choose your own way of showing your displeasure, what is it? If we must all conform to thinking the same, and, if we don't, if we must protest in a proscribed manner, what are we?
   I guess I'm saying, let Kaepernick choose his own way of protesting. Why try to paint him as un-American, when he is as American as you or I. Let him be himself. America is not (or shouldn't be) about putting people down for disagreeing with the way society does things, nor is it about telling them how to go about expressing themselves. Let them speak what, how, and where they may. Freedom of speech -- one of our most basic of freedoms -- is the right to speak your mind, and to choose how you will go about expressing yourself, and to choose where you will do it, to a large extent. As long as you are not infringing on the rights of others, you are free to do things your own way. One person's freedom only ends where the other person's nose begins, as they say.
  So, disagree with Kaepernick on whether blacks are mistreated, if you will, but don't fault him for the way he expresses himself. He goes down on one knee to show his respect, and that is good enough for me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Dollar Follows the Dime; So What does that Indicate with Trump?

   The dollar follows the dime. Where you invest is where you'll reap. With regards to the presidential election, if you have invested in (elected) a person who outlined a tax plan that will place us $11.5 trillion more in debt, you should expect to reap a humongous national debt. If you have invested in a candidate who demeans others, you should expect two things: (1) He will continue to do so, and, (2) The example he sets will affect the nation.
   We have elected the president we have, and now, as a nation we might become more like the man we have elected.
   Maybe, that is. Yes, we saw some negative characteristics from Trump during the campaign. But, I suppose I wonder (hope) if he has repented. The public castigated him sufficiently,, and, who knows, perhaps he took it all to heart, and realized he needs to be a different person.
    And, who knows, maybe once he reflects on what his tax plan will do, once he sets down with his advisers, maybe he will yet decide on a different policy than one that shoots the national debt up so much, We have become accustomed to adding to the national debt. As we have elected leaders who have allowed it, we have grown to accept it. As we have invested in them, we, ourselves, have become more inclined that direction.
   When Trump released his economic plan with the tax cuts, and the experts suggested what impact it will have on the national debt, we did not recoil in horror. Instead, we either glossed it over, not giving it much thought, or we supposed Clinton would do just as much harm. (If we so supposed the later, we didn't listen closely: The experts suggest no where near the increase in debt under Clinton's tax plan.) In not being alarmed when Trump revealed his tax plan, it shows we have become more like our leaders. They have influenced us. The acceptance of the national debt has spread to all quarters. The dime has led to the dollar.
   What will we become as a nation as a result of electing Trump? I hope for the best, and can hope that I am wrong. But, it is the dime that determines where the dollar goes. If you invest in one thing, you can expect to reap your results in that same area. As a man soweth, so shall he reap.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

We Should be able to Write in Whomever We want

 I should not have voted for Gary Herbert tonight. No, although I favor him, I should have used my vote more wisely. My vote isn't going to make a lick of difference, in the outcome, anyway. But, had I voted a little differently, I would have learned more about the process.
   You know you can't vote for a write-in unless that write-in is registered as a write-in, don't you? Some have suggested that you can write in whomever you want, even if they aren't registered, but it just won't count. Well, as I am voting tonight, I notice the governor's race is the only one that even offers the option of voting for a write-in. I wish I would have clicked on it. (Maybe president also did offer that option, but I just didn't notice.) I wonder if I had clicked on the write-in box, if it would have listed all the write-in candidate(s) by name, and I would have been able to vote for one that way. There was no key pad, that I could have actually typed in someones name. Or, maybe a screen would have come up allowing me to touch letters of the alphabet to spell out my write-in's name.
   If the registered write-ins names are listed, why do they even call it a write-in? If you can't actually write a name in, you just have to select from the names given, that isn't a write in.
   This year, a lot of people would have voted for Mitt Romney, given the chance. But, they weren't given that opportunity.
   We ought to be allowed to vote for whomever we want. I don't like Utah's prohibition against voting for write-ins.The freedom to vote for whomever you want should be a basic freedom. If you can only vote for candidates the state provides, that isn't full freedom to vote for the candidate of your choice.

Everyone is Talking about the Jazz Tonight, right?

   Everybody's mind is on the Utah Jazz tonight, right? Isn't that what everyone is talking about? Two things: (1) George Hill was Western Conference player of the week this past week. Cool. (2) Ticket prices drop 21 percent when the Jazz visit other cities, worst in the NBA. Not so cool.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Would a City Designer be of Benefit?

   I wonder if a city might benefit if it had a person designated as its designer. The city designer would look for ways to beautify the city, through lighting and whatever. He (or she) would look to create the scenic views, encouraging beautiful buildings and such.
 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The National Deficit is too Big a Concern for Me to Vote for Trump

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When I consider who to vote for, the national debt is an overriding concern. Many speak of our
Constitution hanging by a thread. Perhaps so. I do not know. But, I can see if we do not reign in our national deficit, our nation might hang by a thread. Economists are saying Trump's budget plan will add, what, $11 trillion? That is a humongous increase, just better than the $10 trillion we have seen under Obama. Trump has called out Obama for raising the debt, but his economic plan flies flat in the face of that. He campaigns against the debt, but his economic plan promises to only deliver more, much more. It reminds me of when Obama was first running for the office, and of how there was a national debate on the cost of health care, and Obama suggested he would fix things, and I said, yes, let's do something about it, and then, when he did come up with a plan, I perceived it would only increase costs and I quickly got off board with his plan. Even so, Trump is crying about reducing the national debt, but, when you look at his plan, it is only going to do the opposite. Save the nation? I would say we certainly do not want to vote for Trump, then. He has telegraphed his punch,  and we are not wise enough to get out of the way. We are going to the polls oblivious to the fact of what a vote for Trump means, ignoring it, that is, for we have been told but we have not given it the slightest heed.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Kellen Wilson Makes an Argument that Could Impact Utah's Vote

   Kellen Wilson, writing a letter to the Deseret News from his home far away in Georgia, makes a point that might change the outcome of the presidential vote here in Utah, if voters could just read what he says.
   "There is no scenario where a McMullin win in Utah helps Clinton win the presidency," Wilson writes. And, he is correct, in that. If McMullin pulls enough votes to take Utah's six Electoral College votes, then there is no way it helps Clinton. The only way Clinton wins the presidency is if she gets 270 Electoral College votes. If McMullin wins, no votes are added to Clinton's total. And, if neither Trump nor Clinton win 270 votes, the race goes to the U.S. House of Representatives to be decided. Since Republicans are in control there, Hillary still can't win.
   The trick is, McMullin has got to win Utah, or, if he doesn't, Trump has still got to have enough votes to take the state. Kellen Wilson is wrong when he says "Switching your support from Trump to McMullin in NO WAY helps Clinton." It just takes a plurality to capture Utah's six Electoral College votes. If enough voters drop Trump for McMullin that it leaves Clinton with a plurality, she does, indeed, benefit.
   But, the polls having shown McMullin having been close enough to taking the Utah vote, knowing that his winning cannot help Hillary could have pushed him over the top. If Utah voters realized that, many still on board with Trump would have been inclined to switch to McMullin.
   In the last few days, though, Trump has gone way up in the polls, and McMullin has sunk. It appears Utah voters are now accepting the notion they must vote for "the lesser of two evils" to avoid a Hillary win. I wish, instead, they would realize a McMullin victory is in sight and vote for him.

Let the Salt Flats Defendants Off the Hook on Filming Charge

  The First Amendment being at stake, we should reconsider laws that restrict recording. I read of how Parker Heuser and others were fined for not having a permit to shoot a video on the Salt Flats. My thought is, cite them for the damages they caused, for breaking rules that brought the damage, but not for their video recordings.
  Heuser and other members of the Canadian group High on Life enjoyed a lot of views when they posted their videos on Youtube. But, when public officials saw the postings, they cited and fined the offenders.
  It is the filming citation I take issue with. I would make it law that filming does not require permits or licensure. You can require use permits for activities that can cause damage, but filming, itself, does not cause damage. If Heuser and his friends could have walked onto the Salt Flats without causing damage, then it should have been within their rights to film.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Utah is Sending a Message to the Rest of the Country

   It is fruitless to vote for Evan McMullin? It's a wasted vote? He's not going to win, so why vote for him?
   Reflect on what the Utah surge for McMullin already has accomplished. Utah is garnering national attention. Other states are looking to us. We are sending a message that we will not be hogtied into voting for someone on the basis of that candidate being the lesser of two evils.
   Voting for McMullin sends a message of principle. It says, "If we do not like the two major candidates, we will find an alternative we do like." All America is watching Utah. We can tell the country, principles do matter. We will not take Trump just because he is a Republican. With us, it is principle over party. Our patriotism is to our country, not to our party. We don't vote for a candidate simply because he has an R after his name.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Dangers of Fraud in Voting by Mail Deserve More Attention

   The danger of voter fraud is on the increase, as the country turns more and more to voting by mail. The system is not secured. Someone can come along and steal the ballot out of the mailbox. And, with ballots sent out to all registered voters, that includes voters who have died. Those ballots fall into the hands of family members of the deceased, who can be tempted to use them.
   Yes, vote-by-mail systems usually compare the signatures on the ballots with those on file. Unfortunately that safety check has not been perfected.
   And, it is not just the ballots of those who have died.  Ballots arrive to voters who decide they don't want to vote. They sit on the table, and the voter tells others he is not going to vote. Then a family member or friend says, "Well, then, let me use it."
   Vote sharing. Like no time in our history, we now have the danger of that. The person using someone else's ballot can sometimes get the rightful ballot owner to sign it. And, thus, the perfect crime. The fraud cannot be detected when the signatures are examined.
   Vote sharing might be just part of the danger of double ballots being cast. I wonder if some vote by mail, then show up at the polls just to see if they can get away with a second vote. This presses the need for vote-by-mail ballots to all be in and counted, so those who voted by mail can all be on file at the polling place, so the poll workers can look them up and not let someone vote twice. Or, does a computer catch all the double voting? If so, does it always correctly pick the legitimate vote and dismiss the fraudulent one?
   There are advantages and benefits to voting by mail, but I wonder if the dangers should make us think on this more. Do the negatives outweigh the positives?
 

To Coach Xs and Os is Good, but to Coach Attitude is Better

   To coach Xs and Os is good, but to coach attitude is better. You have to know all the nuances of the sport -- you have to be able to design plays and teach technique -- but the coach who leaves off at that will never be a great coach.
   Great coaches get the best out of their players. They instill in them confidence and enthusiasm. They inspire. They imbue in their players determination and effort. To leave off coaching at Xs and Os is to leave off coaching before the real coaching has even begun.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Life can be Compared to Living on a Beach

   Life can be compared to living on a beach. Usually, the sun shines, and you walk the beach, and all is well. There are times, though, when you might walk into the waters, or go swimming in them. And, there are times when the waves roar. If you ever get in trouble, about to be swallowed by the waves, it should not go unnoticed that you were probably led into your troubles by your desire for entertainment, or a desire for a pleasant challenge, one of the two. Nor, should it go unnoticed that you became careless toward the dangers of the sea, underestimating them. Even so, it is with life: We often get into trouble seeking entertainment and in racing after challenges, while underestimating the dangers.
 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Your Vote is Your Statement, Declaration and Stand

   Voting for the person you want not a wasted vote. You are declaring that if it were your's to decide, this is who you would place in office. Your vote alone is not going to decide the election, and you already know that. One vote in a million hardly makes a difference. But, your vote is your stand. A vote for someone you want is your declaration on which direction you want the country to go. So, take your stand, whether it influences the election or not. Make your stand, whether the country is with you or not. Let it be your statement as to who you think will be the best elected leader.