Saturday, November 19, 2016

Abraham Lincoln's Thoughts on Plans to Ditch or Reform the Constitution and the Electoral College

Doesn't Honest Abe's June 20, 1848, Speech on Internal Improvements (first para below) and his February 13, 1848, letter to a Josephus Hewett (second para) sound like he is talking to those who wish to ditch or at least reform the Constitution and the Electoral College?
I now wish to submit a few remarks on the general proposition of amending the constitution. As a general rule, I think, we would much better let it alone. No slight occasion should tempt us to touch it. Better not take the first step, which may lead to a habit of altering it. Better, rather, habituate ourselves to think of it, as unalterable. It can scarcely be made better than it is. New provisions, would introduce new difficulties, and thus create, and increase appetite for still further change. No sir, let it stand as it is. New hands have never touched it. The men who made it, have done their work, and have passed away. Who shall improve, on what they did?

 … I was once of your opinion … that presidential electors should be dispensed with; but a more thorough knowledge of the causes that first introduced them, has made me doubt. Those causes were briefly these. The convention that framed the constitution had this difficulty: the small states wished to so frame the government as that they might be equal to the large ones regardless of the inequality of the population; the large ones insisted on equality in proportion to population. They compromised it, by basing the House of Representatives on population, and the Senate on states regardless of population; and the executive on both principles, by electors in each state, equal in numbers to her senators and representatives. Now, throw away the machinery of electors, and the compromise is broken up, and the whole yielded to the principle of large states. … Have you reflected on these things?
Related: • How Come So Much of What Honest Abe Spoke of 150 Years Ago Seems Relevant Today?

• The Electoral College: A Few Choice Remarks

To better understand America's electoral college, it might be helpful to make a comparison that brings in the European Union

Why the electoral college? So that every part of the nation has some kind of say over the next executive while preventing large swaths of said nation from being bullied

This week, anti-Trump protesters hit the streets in big cities around the country,
notes Reason's David Harsanyi,
chanting "This is what democracy looks like!"

Yes. That's the problem.
That is precisely the problem.
For many Democrats, the greatest political system is the one that instills their party with the most power. Now that it looks like Hillary Clinton will "win" the fictional popular vote over Donald Trump, people—not just young people who've spent their entire lives being told America is a democracy, but people who know better—are getting hysterical about the Electoral College. Not only is it "unfair" and "undemocratic" but like anything else progressives dislike these days it's also a tool of "white supremacy" and "sexism."

If liberals truly believe majoritarianism is the fairest way to run a government, then why shouldn't 50 percent of states be able to repeal constitutional amendments?

Granted, because of our childish propensity to use the word "fair," I understand that the Electoral College must seem like a relic that undercuts the sacramental notion of "one man, one vote." As if a losing vote ever counts anyway. But if you still generally believe the Founding Fathers did a decent job setting up the conditions for material prosperity and individual freedom to guarantee a stable government and dispersed political power, you should be a big fan of the Electoral College.

If it needs repeating, in the United States of America, we have an Electoral College, wherein the president and vice president aren't elected directly by the voters, but rather by electors who are chosen through the popular votes from each state. Your state's portion of electors equals the number of members in its congressional delegation—one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your senators. We have 51 separate elections. This is done so that every part of the nation has some kind of say over the next executive. The president, after all, is not a monarch. He does not make laws. Not even President Barack Obama was supposed to do that. Voters need to view the system as a whole to understand why this is "fair."
Diffused democracy weakens the ability of politicians to scaremonger and use emotional appeals to take power. It blunts the vagaries of the electorate. So, naturally, the left has been attacking the Electoral College for years—including talk of a national "compact" to circumvent smaller states.

Need it be repeated again, the Electoral College, and other mechanisms that balance democracy, create moderation and compromise—they stop one party from accumulating too much power. It is certainly possible that Obama's unilateral governance over the past eight years had a lot to do with the pushback of three consecutive losses in the Senate and Congress, and the election of Donald Trump.

To some extent, the Electoral College impels presidents and their political parties to consider all Americans in rhetoric and action. By allowing two senators for both Wyoming, with a population of less than 600,000, and California, with a population of more than 38 million, we create more national cohesion. We protect large swaths of the nation from being bullied. We incentivize Washington, D.C.—both the president and the Senate—to craft policy that meets the needs of Colorado as well as New York.

 … It's also worth remembering that the dynamics of this election would be completely different if the popular vote actually mattered. The election is geared toward winning states, not people. There is no guarantee that Hillary Clinton would have won. There are tons of conservatives in blue states, for instance, who do not vote because they understand that the majority around them have a different political outlook. A direct national election would mean focusing on blue-state Republicans and red-state liberals. I'm not sure that setup works out for Democrats exactly as they imagine.

Electoral College: even under a parliamentary democracy, Hillary Clinton would still have lost, as Republicans have built a huge majority in the House of Representatives

Now the losers of the 2016 election are turning their fire upon the Constitution
writes John Yoo.
Clinton will win by a slight majority of the vote nationwide, but will not take the oath in January because of the Electoral College. Trump won a significant share of the electors, with more than 300 votes of the 538 at stake.

As they did after losing George W. Bush’s 2000 election by a majority of the Electoral College but not the popular vote, Democrats attack the Constitution’s method for selecting the president as fundamentally undemocratic.

Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder went on a talk show to demand that the United States elect the president by simple nationwide majority vote, while failed 1988 Democratic candidate Mike Dukakis declared that the nation should have thrown out the Electoral College “150 years ago.”
These liberal officials have a point. The Electoral College is not democratic, if by democratic they mean rule by simple majority.
 … The Electoral College further encourages candidates to campaign state by state, particularly in the large “battleground” states that Clinton ultimately lost, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. If Democrats had their way, candidates would ignore the states and campaign solely in the population centers that Clinton easily won, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

But the Electoral College’s exaggeration of the power of the states is not some bizarre mistake or a constitutional version of the appendix.

The Framers specifically designed the Electoral College to dilute democracy and favor the states. Democrats who disagree are at war with the federalism that the Framers hardwired throughout the Constitution itself.
They forget that fundamental features of the Constitution are even more anti-democratic than the Electoral College.

 … If Democrats oppose the undemocratic nature of the Electoral College, they should seek to uproot other restraints on democracy.

They should start with judicial review, which gives nine federal judges, appointed for life, the power to strike down legislation. They could continue with the Bill of Rights, which exists solely to prevent the majority from infringing on the rights of individuals, no matter how great the benefit to society. They could finish with the administrative state, where unelected bureaucrats exercise most nation regulatory power.

Liberals, of course, would never oppose these undemocratic aspects of our government, because they more often than not advance their agenda.

The Electoral College has other positive features, despite its complicated process.

 … If Democrats oppose the Electoral College, it only is in keeping with their broad hostility to the Constitution’s founding of a republican government, not a democratic one.

They are also only arguing to benefit themselves now, not to defend principle. For if they were serious, they should argue that the United States adopt a parliamentary democracy — indeed, the very goal of Woodrow Wilson, the intellectual father of progressivism.

In most of our democratic allies, such as Great Britain, Germany, and Japan, the majority party in the legislature selects a prime minister, who becomes head of the executive branch as well. But even under that system, Hillary Clinton would still have lost, as Republicans have built a huge majority in the House of Representatives over the last three elections.

Nothing better shows how liberal attacks on the Electoral College amount to nothing more than sour grapes and constitutional cherry-picking.

Friday, November 18, 2016

In a democracy, it's never a good idea to mock the people for too long

In Le Figaro Ivan Rioufol writes that
In a democracy, it's never a good idea to mock the people for too long, accusing it of incarnating populism, or firing broadsides against those who speak in its name. For that type of scorn, Hillary Clinton paid dearly. A similar reaction is to be expected in France.
In Le Figaro Ivan Rioufol écrit qu'
En démocratie, il n'est jamais bon de se moquer trop longtemps du peuple, en l'accusant d'incarner le populisme, ou en accablant ceux qui parlent en son nom. Ce mépris [Hillary] Clinton l'a payé cher. Une semblable réaction est à attendre en France.

Why a Black Voter in Southern France Voted for Trump

An African-American from New York living in the Basque country, Marjorie explains to France Info how she is disappointed by Barack Obama and that she voted for Donald Trump because he was the least bad candidate.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

There are some people in this world, let’s just call them Social Justice Warriors, who see a racist under every bed

And the award for dumbest reporter in America goes 
announces Benny Huang
to… Josh Feldman of Mediaite! During game seven of the World Series, Feldman noticed three cards in the stands each bearing the letter ‘K’ and began wondering via Twitter if the Klan was rearing its ugly head. He quickly dashed off an embarrassing piece entitled “Wait, What’s That KKK Sign Doing at the World Series?” He was apparently not the only one who believed that the three K’s were somehow related to the Ku Klux Klan. Feldman’s piece relied on a Twitterstorm of perplexed and angry messages from people who also perceived racist intent behind the three K’s.

This is what happens when bandwagon-jumpers tune in to watch baseball for the first time in their lives. If these people knew anything about the sport they would know that ‘K’ is baseball shorthand for a strikeout. It’s common for fans to tally strikeouts by holding up cards with the letter ‘K’ on them. Three K’s means three strikeouts—not Ku Klux Klan. Sheesh. Even I knew that and I haven’t watched an entire baseball game in years. After the error was discovered, Mediate altered the story, claiming that “some Twittters” made the foolish mistake, omitting the fact that the most prominent of these Twitterers was their very own Josh Feldman.

The whole incident would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Did these people really think that the KKK crashed the World Series? Yes, they probably did. As ridiculous as it sounds, they honestly believe that the KKK is a force to be reckoned with in modern American life and not just a negligible group of fringe yahoos who are justifiably held in universal contempt.

Apocryphal KKK sightings are becoming increasingly common. In April, the University of Indiana had a minor panic after news spread via Twitter that an honest-to-goodness klansman was prowling the campus—with a whip no less. Crisis was averted when it was discovered that the “klansman” was Father Jude McPeak, a Franciscan friar dressed in the white garment of his order. The “whip” was actually a rosary hanging from his belt.

At the height of last autumn’s racial unrest at the University of Missouri, word of klansmen on campus went viral—just in time to prove the student protestors’ point that their campus was infested with racism. As you can probably imagine, the whole thing was a giant hallucination. Payton Head, Mizzou’s student body president, did his part to amplify the panic by pushing misinformation (or, more likely, disinformation) through his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Payton Head is black, by the way, and one of the main instigators of the insane Black Lives Matter-inspired hysteria that rocked Mizzou in 2015.

The turbulent events of last autumn began when Head claimed that someone had screamed the n-word at him from a passing pickup truck. I have my doubts that such an incident happened at all because Payton Head is an agenda-pushing racial arsonist and a liar. We know this at very least from his tweeting about the illusory klansmen on his campus: “Students please take precaution. Stay away from windows in residence halls. The KKK is confirmed to be sighted on campus. I’m working with the MUPD, the state trooper [sic] and the National Guard.” The Twitter rumors only got more outlandish from there. Suddenly the imaginary klansmen were chanting “white power!” One Twitterer seemed to believe that klansmen were throwing bricks through dorm windows while enjoying police protection. How’s that for institutional racism?

Eventually Payton Head was forced to admit that the KKK was not on campus. Duh. “I’m sorry about the misinformation that I have shared through social media,” Head wrote on Facebook. “In a state of alarm, I was concerned for all students of the University of Missouri and wanted to ensure that everyone was safe. I received and shared information from multiple incorrect sources, which I deeply regret.”

But Payton Head was not duped. He claimed to have been working with the campus police, state police, and the National Guard. How could that possibly have been true when in fact there never were any hooded bad guys to speak of? Furthermore, the university says that the National Guard wasn’t even on campus. Payton Head told a ridiculous lie that was believed by far too many paranoid ninnies.

The only word to describe the insane fear of a weak and dying redneck organization like the KKK is paranoia. It occurs to me however, that many people don’t perceive paranoia to be a problem when racism is its subject. Given the negative connotation of the word “paranoia” they of course avoid using it, though they embrace it all the same. Dare I say that our society, or at least segments of it, considers paranoia of racism to be a virtue of sorts? Their attitude seems to be that racism is so utterly loathsome that there can be no such thing as excess when opposing it.

There are some people in this world, let’s just call them Social Justice Warriors, who see a racist under every bed. I am intentionally borrowing a Cold War phrase that was often used to discredit anti-communists for perceiving “a communist under every bed.” The phrase had a certain sting to it because it portrayed anti-communists as hopeless paranoids—which they weren’t. Anti-communists weren’t looking for communists under every bed but there were plenty to be found in Hollywood (Lillian Hellman, Dalton Trumbo), in academia (Howard Zinn, the entire Frankfurt school) in the news media (I.F. Stone, Carl Bernstein), and in the so-called “civil rights movement” (Bayard Rustin, Hunter Pitts O’Dell, Stanley Levison). By the late 1960s the communists weren’t even hiding anymore; they were waving Viet Cong flags and brandishing Mao’s little red books.

Yet despite the plethora of evidence that communists were indeed burrowing into our societal institutions, some particularly ignorant people still talk about anti-communism as if it were nothing more than tilting at windmills. Now, some 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union we’ve come to embrace paranoia—real paranoia—as something to be admired. The Don Quixotes of our time are Payton Head and his allies yet we don’t mock them for being wrong in the same way that we mocked anti-communists for being right.

The genuine paranoia of 21st Century race-baiters is excused because it indicates a supposed consciousness of racial issues. In the parlance of the Black Lives Matter movement these people are “woke”—which is to say that their eyes are open to the reality of racism in America. They see nothing wrong with crying wolf about racism because it shows that their hearts are in the right place. Recall Payton Head’s Facebook post in which he claimed that he was only worried about the students’ safety. And who could fault him for an abundance of caring? The rest of us who don’t see imaginary men in white bedsheets are miscreants for not perceiving racism in every aspect of modern American life. It’s a messed up world we live in when paranoids get to lecture the rest of us for not sharing their pathology.

Paranoia of any kind is unattractive and even dangerous. Granted, people will always disagree about what constitutes paranoia. If one person perceives a real threat and another does not, the second person will think of the first as paranoid while the first person will think of the second as blithely unaware. But which one is right? In a country where fake hate crimes regularly spur the population into fits of rage, I think we can safely say that the pathology resides mostly with the Social Justice Warriors. There’s nothing wrong with us but there is something very, very wrong with them. It’s time they paid a social penalty for their crazed antics. Laugh at them. Scorn them. Call them nutjobs because that’s what they are. Only when they cease to be rewarded for their supposed good intentions will the hysteria end.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Le Figaro at the Maison de la Radio's Election Night in Paris

Thibault Izoret Masseron had a 2-minute report for Le Figaro from election night in Paris's Maison de la Radio.

Douche froide pour les Américains pro-Clinton qui se trouvaient à la Nuit américaine, organisée par la Maison de la Radio à l'occasion des élections. Alors que Donald Trump est devenu le 45e président des États-Unis, il n'était pas favori dans notre capitale.

Mystère Président

The front page of le Courrier Picard was chosen by the Newseum as one of the ten best front pages related to Donald Trump's election.

That Is the Reason — That Is Precisely the Reason

Powerline's Steven Hayward (gracias to Ed Driscoll)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We Must Resist Monarchism–Even When the President is a Republican

If I have one thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving
sighs Benny Huang,
it’s that the reign of Barack Obama is nearly over. And I do mean reign—he exercised power like a monarch and a lousy one at that. Barack Obama is a dishonorable man and a power-hungry megalomaniac.

I spent the last eight years hoping that we would replace him with someone who is honorable and who respects the limits of presidential power. Instead, we got Donald Trump. He’s better than Hillary, of course, but that’s a pitifully low standard. I would love to be proven wrong but I suspect that our next president will be another dishonorable, power-hunger megalomaniac who behaves like a monarch. From time to time he may exercise his power to enact policies that I like but that doesn’t excuse conduct that is eerily similar to his predecessor’s.

Yes, I’m one of those #NeverTrumpers. I didn’t vote for him in the primary or the general election though I enjoyed the luxury of not being a resident of a swing state. … In any case, Donald Trump won without me just as he said he would.

Ever since Donald Trump defeated his final primary opponent in May I’ve been asking myself what ails our electoral system so profoundly that it churns out two candidates as unlikable and unworthy as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. At least the Democrats can blame the superdelegates. We can’t. We voted for this guy.

How did the country end up in this cage match between the lesser-evils, always voting against someone we despise and never for someone we like? It wasn’t supposed to be this way. There must have been a time when voters liked at least one name on the ballot. In some instances they may have liked more than one name and were forced to decide which of the two good candidates was better. I envy those people.

I’ve come to realize since May that I’ve found fault in all the wrong places. By blaming “the system” I was avoiding the real issue. We nominate morally bankrupt candidates because we are a morally bankrupt nation. We created this monster.
Well, not really, Ben. Actually, as I wrote in May, Trump "is but the latest GOP candidate that the Democrats and their minions in the MSM dearly — dearly want to run in the election, so that they can tear him to pieces. …  As Ted Cruz himself remarked on Sunday," the networks started by bringing the (highly lucrative) debates to an abrupt end once The Donald had (to everyone's surprise) emerged as the frontrunner, and they then effectively provided him, and him alone, with the equivalent of millions of dollars in donations thanks to all the airtime they gave him.
The Democrats nominated a perjurer, an obstructer of justice, and a woman whose campaign apparatus engaged in voter fraud and “bird-dogging”—the practice of provoking violence at her opponent’s events just to paint his supporters as violent. If you want to know just how crooked the Clinton machine was just remember the immortal words of Democrat operative Scott Foval:
“It doesn’t matter what the friggin’ legal and ethics people say, we need to win this motherf***er.” 
Hillary Clinton put national security at risk by storing classified material on a private server that was almost certainly hacked by five foreign intelligence services. She’s a liar, a cheater, and a demonstrable criminal.

The Republicans, on the other hand, nominated a superhypocrite who employed illegal aliens. He bragged of bedding married women and grabbing females by their you-know-whats. “When you’re a star they let you do it,” said Trump. “They let you do anything.” At a Republican debate he defended Planned Parenthood, a mass-murdering organization which he may have given money to in the past. (He’s not sure. He can’t remember.) He put the Constitution in danger with threats to the media—as corrupt and biased as they are—to alter libel laws to silence them. He championed eminent domain abuse. He spoke of exercising executive power just the same way that Barack Obama did if only toward slightly different ends.

I understand that a lot of Trump supporters see his looming executive actions as Democrats getting their comeuppance. Barack Obama stuck it to us with his pen and phone for eight years. Now it’s our turn! But that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

Our constitutional form of government has deformed itself in the past two hundred years. The federal government has entirely too much power and the executive branch wields an outsized portion of that power. We need to get to work fixing it, not install someone we like better in the hyperpowerful Oval Office.

This entire election season has reminded me that there’s nothing new under the sun. A valuable lesson about current events can be found in an old book you’ve probably heard of—it’s called the Bible. Flip to 1 Samuel Chapter 8, you’ll see what I mean. In these ancient times the rebellious Israelites had no king, only judges and the prophet Samuel. But something was rotten in the state of Israel.
“When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges of Israel. His eldest son was called Joel and his second one, Abijah; they were judges at Beersheba. His sons did not follow his example but, seduced by the love of money, took bribes and gave biased verdicts. The elders of Israel all assembled, went back to Samuel at Ramah, and said, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons are not following your example. So give us a king to judge us, like the other nations.’ Samuel thought that it was wrong of them to say, ‘Let us have a king to judge us,’ so he prayed to Yahweh. But Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you: it is not you they have rejected but me, not wishing me to reign over them any more. They are now doing to you exactly what they have done to me since the day I brought them out of Egypt until now, deserting me and serving other gods. So, do what they ask; only, you must give them a solemn warning, and must tell them what the king who is to reign over them will do.’”
God then proceeded to lay out all of the terrible consequences of installing a king. He warned that if they made a man into a king would the Israelites into his subjects. Is that where we are today? In our desperation are we crying out for a king? Perhaps we already have one in Barack Obama, but that’s no reason to enthrone another.

Monarchies are anathema to the American ideal. We fought a war to ensure that no king would ever rule over us. Free men can rule themselves, we said. I still believe that—but are we still free men? I don’t know. We are only human, after all. The temptation toward a strong leader is compelling. Perhaps it’s in our nature to want someone to rule over us. It’s just easier. We don’t have to make tough decisions. We don’t have to take any personal responsibility when our rulers make bad decisions for us because—hey!—they charted the course, not us. There’s also the faint hope that the ruler, as caustic as he may be to the ideals of self-government, will exercise his power in our favor. A good monarch is a good thing, or so the thinking goes.

Am I being too hard on Donald Trump? After all, he hasn’t even been inaugurated and I’m already warning of his impending tyranny. Perhaps I am. The only point I’m trying to make is that we need to keep him on a short leash. He deserves a chance to prove that he can lead but nothing more. Real conservatives will approach the new administration with vigilance. We don’t drink anyone’s Kool-Aid even if he is the guy who stopped the abominable Hillary Clinton. We are free men and women, willing and able to rule ourselves.

A Look Back: GOP Rep in France Faces MSM Onslaught in October After Surfacing of Trump's Lewd Remarks

It was a tough day in early October for the vice-president of the French chapter of Republicans Overseas as Paul Reen is interviewed (or should the verb be hammered?) by France 24, taking hits for the team…

Monday, November 14, 2016

Adolf Trump and Godwin's Law

holding signs such as "not my president," "proud to be a nasty woman", and "Trump = 💩"
The demonstrations or riots, such as those in
Dallas, have been shown on French TV by such  France Info.

Reminder about Godwin's Law: it's an invitation, or a command, to shut up, and of course a double standard which never applies to the left.

Details here: Mitt Hitler and Double Standards: Godwin's Law Applies to Thee, But Not to Me

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Sneak Preview of the Cover of the The New Yorker Issue of Jan. 20, 2017

Two months ahead of time, Dan Greenberg has managed to ferret out the cover of the upcoming inauguration issue of The New Yokrer

The Left's Personality Cults Continue: Michelle Obama is "a form of God"

All over America, black women were still, their eyes watching a form of God, because she represented their image writ large in the world. 
The left's tendency towards personality cults continues in the New York Times Style magazine as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls Barack Obama's wife "a form of God."

It continues with Jon Meacham, Rashida Jones, and (below) Gloria Steinem:
Though I’m old enough to remember Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House — and all the couples and families since — I have never seen such balance and equal parenting, such love, respect, mutuality and pleasure in each other’s company. 
Reminder: Barack Obama and The God Factor Interview; Newsweek: Obama is "Sort of God"

GOP's Paul Reen Amongst Crowd Spending Election Night at the Maison de la Radio Event Special

Durant la nuit américaine of November 8-9, France Inter broadcast continuously while the guests' partying and cheering dimmed as the night went by…

France Inter à l'heure américaine