Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mind Control in American Politics.

In this recent editorial, Nick Troiano and Charles Wheelan make the case for why Howard Schultz running for President of the Untied States as an independent candidate is a good thing. They also note how awful people can be if one chooses to not go along with the herd. “These early attempts to suppress a candidate because of his political independence are at best anti-democratic and at worst a new kind of political bigotry. Schultz deserves a chance to make his case, and our country would be better for it. Furthermore, he could win.”

Regardless of how spot-on Troiano and Wheelan are, the politics of mind control in the USA are a formidable obstacle for anyone willing to make their own way. I recall 2016 and the reactions I received from people because I supported Gary Johnson's campaign. There were Democratic voters, so obsessed with their hatred of Trump, telling me I was somehow wasting my vote on Johnson.

No, my vote was not wasted —— it was a good vote FOR someone.

Today, people with no idea who the Democratic Party nominee for president is going to be, are hardly democratic. Even though they will be voting against a candidate — Trump — these voters are convinced others, who choose not to support any major party candidate and vote FOR someone, are wasting their vote.

This is the result of the mind-control politics practiced by most Democratic office holders. They just grandstand against Trump and too many people eat it up.

I now expect to get swarmed by people obsessed with their hatred of Trump—these who will support the Democratic nominee "no matter what". These who, like Trump supporters, are political walking dead.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Panel Van 2

This van sat in the woods in Eastern Washington near the Canadian border since 1980. The previous owner told me someone had stole the engine then pushed it down a hill. The van was saved by a barbed wire fence that stopped its descent. There are about 5 bullet holes in the metal. All the glass has been broken out. Somebody hacked in some aftermarket larger taillights sometime in the 1970s. I will keep this dynamic instead of doing all of the welding to restore the original look—even though I like the original better.
John repaired all of the hubcap clips on the van rims. 

It took John and I 3.5 hours to pull the van out of the gully. We put roller tires on. To our pleasant surprise, the transmission and wheels moved freely. The front tires freed up too!!
Right after we pulled it out—after nearly 40 years!

I have obtained replacement glass. In the image at the bottom, you can see new tires and painted rims. John had a 1200cc engine with a good bottom end. We obtained new 77mm pistons and we reconditioned some cylinders. Also cleaned up a couple of 40hp heads. Still need to put the engine together.

So what do I do? Patina, or Rustoleum gloss paint job. Don't want to put the time and money into a fancy restoration. I plan on using this van to work on the ranch and in the hills. It will be a Western Wahkiakum cruiser—hauling tools like shovels, saws and guitars. Will be mechanically sound rig.

The panel as it sits today.

1956 Volkswagen Panel Van

Robert painted the wheels and I purchased new tires. I bought snow tires without the studs so I can have better traction in the mud. This is a work van after all!!! The only size available was 205 R15. I need hub caps.

Next job is welding in the new cab floor.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Majority Losers

On Twitter Lee Drutman is pointing out how Democrats could win a majority of votes nationally this November—but still be in the minority in the US House of Representatives. This happened as recently as 2012.

How? One factor is Washington’s Redistricting Commission packed too many Democratic voters in Seattle, while other similar voters were sprinkled around other places in the state.

For example, in the 2012 election, the Democrat in Seattle's WA07 won 298,368 votes, for 79.65 percent of the vote. This is in an election with 85 percent voter turnout!

I live in the southwest corner of the state in WA03. In the same election the Democratic candidate earned 116,438 votes for 39.62 percent of the vote.

In WA07, for the all of the turnout, Democrats got one seat. There could have been 100 percent turnout for the Democrat and the result would be the same. In WA03, for a decent showing of 40 percent—Democrats got nothing. This used to be a competitive district, however, it was the first election within the new 3rd district; where the Commission drew Olympia, with all its Democratic state employees, out of the district. This basically made the 3rd a GOP safe seat.

Single-member districts can skew outcomes through arranging voter populations. Combine the Democratic voters in the districts mentioned above and see how 414,806 votes won only a single seat. This leads to how majority Democrats lost the US House in 2012, and very well could wind up in the same place again for the 2018 election.

The way we elect US House members is the result of political decisions made in various states and US Congress. There is no mandate in the United States Constitution for 435 House seats elected with single-member districts. Here is Drutman on the Fair Representation Act. It is about using proportional representation to elect House seats as a way to minimize the wasted votes like we found in 2012's election.

This system is good for urban and rural Democrats. It’s good for urban Republicans. It also creates space for independents and third parties.

Washington’s redistricting commission puts power in the hands of political appointees. Here is an idea for you: How about instead we put power in the hands of voters themselves? Yes, let voters decide who represent them—after all these are the folks who pay the taxes and live under the laws and rules passed by government. We can do this with multi-member districts electing candidates with fair proportional voting rules. No constitutional amendment required.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Transparency is the best policy.

Thump, thump, bam, thump.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting Facebook will be requiring more transparency with political issue ads. “The latest [Facebook] move will cover “issue ads”—those that don’t specifically mention a candidate but weigh in on a divisive issue, including during an election campaign. Such advertisers will be required to confirm their identities and locations with the company.

This is the approach I suggested in a November 1, 2017 Rolling Stone op-ed. Hey Google!!! Are you in?

I want Facebook to know I am happy to help anytime.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Who Will Be Accountable for Limiting Voters Choices?

In 2018, our state legislature is set to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act (WA VRA). We need to support the versions of HB 1800 and SB 6002 that keep voting system options open for local communities when they face issues such as racially polarized voting. Like its federal predecessor, this would allow communities to find their own solutions to changing demographics and how it impacts voting—instead of an overly restrictive mandate from Olympia.

We’ve already seen how mandates limiting local options has had policy consequences.