Saturday, April 22, 2017

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of one state (California) would have dictated the choice to the other 49

In the third of twenty-five weekly articles in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Series (thanks to Instapundit), the Tennessee Star addresses The Electoral College and the Selection of the President.
In recent years, a number of political figures and commentators have criticized the Electoral College and want the President selected by direct popular vote.

Four times since 1868, the first year in which all states selected Electors by some form of popular vote, the candidate who received the most popular vote did not win the Electoral College, and therefore was not elected President.

 … In our most recent Presidential Election of 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 48 percent of the popular vote to Republican Donald Trump’s 46 percent. But Trump was elected President because he won the majority of the Electoral College votes, 304 to 227 (7 Electoral College votes were split between other candidates).

Clinton’s popular vote margin of 2.8 million was the highest of any Presidential candidate who won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote (though her 2 percent margin was less than Samuel Tilden’s 3 percent margin in 1876), and therefore the Presidency.

A closer look at the state by state breakdown of the 2016 Presidential Election results reveals the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in establishing an Electoral College method for selecting a President.

Hillary Clinton won the state of California resoundingly, beating Donald Trump there by more than 4.2 million votes – a 61 percent to 31 percent thumping.

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of California would have dictated to the other 49 states who would have served as our President.

Looking at the total combined vote in the other 49 states, Donald Trump won 1.4 more million votes than Hillary Clinton, taking 58.5 million votes to her 57.1 million votes.

But because of the Electoral College, Hillary Clinton’s huge vote margin in California earned her the state’s 55 Electoral College votes, and no more.

The Founding Fathers had an idea that the Electors would be of a high personal character, wisdom, and intelligence, and would exercise those qualities in their selection.

They also hoped against the development of factions and competing political powers, a hope in retrospect was inevitably bound to be disappointed, given the foibles of human nature.
Related to the Electoral College: The 2016 Vote and the Electoral College System Explained — With Help from the European Union

Friday, April 21, 2017

Each time a Muslim terror attack occurs, journalists attempt to lead the public through what can only be called a coping ritual; a ritual divided into four stages

Two horrific suicide bombings, in two different cities, two hours apart—this is how Egyptian Christians began Holy Week. 
Thus writes Benny Huang, as he seemed to be predicting the Thursday terrorist attack in Paris.
In the cities of Tawra and Alexandria, Muslim terrorists stormed Coptic churches where they proceeded to blow themselves to a fine pink mist while taking 44 worshippers with them. These two attacks followed last December’s horrific suicide bombing at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Cairo that killed 29.

Does Egypt have a problem with Islamic violence? Not according to Egypt’s most prominent clergyman, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, who holds the prestigious title of Grand Imam of al-Azhar. At a conference in Cairo last month, al-Tayeb said that the incidence of Muslim violence around the world is rather unremarkable:
“There is an obvious double standard in the world’s judgment of Islam on the one hand, and [its judgment of] Christianity and Judaism on the other, despite the fact that all are guilty of one and the same thing, that is, religious violence and terrorism.”
The point al-Tayeb is trying to make is pretty straightforward: that people are quick to chide Muslims for terrorism when in fact the terror problem cuts across religious lines. Clearly all of this talk about terrorism must be a cloak for bigotry. If people were truly concerned with eradicating terrorism they would condemn it wherever it’s found. The fact that they don’t exposes their hypocrisy.

 … The “double standard” accusation is a serious one that was likely intended to disarm Westerners who are notoriously sensitive about treating others with bias. But is there really a double standard in the way we perceive Muslim violence compared to other kinds? Yes, there is—just not in the way that the Grand Imam suggests. Each time a Muslim terror attack occurs, journalists attempt to lead the public through what can only be called a coping ritual. The ritual has four stages.
The first of these is the “let’s not jump to conclusions” stage in which reporters take great pains not to assume that the attacker is a Muslim just because his name happens to be Abdul or Muhammad or even because he yelled “Allahu Akbar” moments before his killing spree began. Then, when it turns out that he is a Muslim, reporters wonder if his religious affiliation might have been incidental to the attack—which it rarely ever is. In the second stage, the shortest of the four, reporters actually acknowledge the attack and its motive before quickly moving on to the third stage. I’ll call this the “Muslims fear backlash” stage, and it’s characterized by stories about hijab-snatchings (that usually turn out to be hoaxes) or Muslims getting dirty looks in the street. It isn’t even necessary to find any actual incidents of backlash after an attack because the fear of a backlash, not the backlash itself, is the real story. The fourth and final stage is when reporters begin to ask how the right-wing might “exploit” the story. This serves as a warning that taking action to stave off civilizational demise is somehow letting the terrorists win.

So yes, there’s a double standard. No other kind of terrorist attack is reported this way.

But that’s not what Ahmed al-Tayeb meant by a “double standard.” What he meant was that Muslims, Christians, and Jews commit proportional amounts of terrorism but Westerners seem only to notice or care about the Muslim variety. This is a truly extraordinary theory and one that I have often tried to test. Every time there is a Muslim terrorist attack anywhere in the world—and they’re happening now at a rate of several per month—I ask myself if there were other attacks committed in the name of other faiths that the media failed to report or I failed to notice.

Let’s start with the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt. Have there been any comparable attacks carried out by Christians against mosques? Nope. The only one that I could find occurred this January not in Egypt but in Canada. The alleged perpetrator, Alexandre Bissonnette, appears to be an anti-immigrant nationalist and a fan of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen but not particularly religious.

To be sure, the Canadian mosque attack was terrorism but it was also anomalous and not religiously inspired. There is no equivalence between Bissonnette and the suicide bombers who attacked two churches on Palm Sunday, and even if there were it wouldn’t begin to balance out the countless other terror attacks that have occurred in recent weeks.

 … Presumably all of these attacks have proportional counterparts committed in the name of other faiths, right? No, they don’t. Though Lutherans represent the largest religious group in Sweden, there has never to my knowledge been a Lutheran terrorist attack in that country or any other. Likewise there are no Russian Orthodox suicide bombers. There is no Anglican approximation of ISIS. If the Muslims don’t have a complete monopoly on religious terror, they’re pretty darned close.
Yet terror-deniers never tire of trying to draw some kind of false equivalence between Muslim terrorism and other kinds, no matter how much of a stretch it is. They often deny or downplay Muslim terrorism, or they assume that every white terrorist is both Christian and religiously motivated, or they blame Christians for Muslim terrorism.

 … The cliché that “Terror Knows No Religion” sums up [the leftists'] vapid sentiment pretty well.

Yes it’s true that not all Muslims are terrorists. And yes it’s true that not all terrorists are Muslim, though an absurdly high proportion of the religious variety are. What cannot be denied, however, is that the overlapping between these two groups—Muslims on the one hand and terrorists on the other—is very real. Those who choose not to see it are willfully blind, which isn’t a virtue. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BREAKING! Paris Hit by a Terrorist Attack, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées Is Evacuated and Sealed Off

Two days before the first round in the 2017 presidential election, a terrorist attack hit Paris on its most famous avenue, leading to the death of one policeman, the wounding of two colleagues, and the complete evacuation of the Champs-Élysées.

The terrorist, who (surprise) was known to the police, is dead as well, gunned down when the fellow cops in the police van he tried emptying his Kalashnikov on returned fire. Islamic State (IS) said that one of its "fighters" had carried out the attack.

Only days ago, Abu-Yusuf al-Baljiki had been interrogated by the police, in response to rumors that he was known to have voiced a desire to buy weapons to kill police officers with. Due to the fact that he was not thought to be a real threat, he had been released.

DEVELOPING: One police officer was killed and another was wounded [actually, two others were — severely — wounded] when a gunman opened fire late Thursday on the famed Champs-Élysées shopping district in Paris, officials said.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the avenue popular with tourists.
The French Interior Ministry said the shooting attack "deliberately targeted" police officers guarding the area. Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on the police vehicle.
The attacker was known by secret service in France, officials confirmed to Fox News. Police sources told France 24 searches are currently ongoing at the home of the gunman killed in the attack.

Turning science into a narrative: For decades, the Left has been attempting to equate its political goals with Science Itself

Although is, and has been, a Carl Sagan fan "from way back", he cannot avert his eyes from How Carl Sagan Ruined Science.
 … we’ve had nearly forty years to assess the long-term impact and see how Sagan unwittingly contributed to a trend that has served to muddle public understanding of science.

 … that’s the problem. The “March for Science” is an attempt to equate the political goals of the left with Science Itself, claiming the intellectual and moral authority of science for the left’s agenda.

 … Science has its own unique language and methods: the language of mathematics and a method of systematic observation and experimentation. The reason science tends to be opaque to the public is because it ultimately requires that they understand its language and learn to use its methods. But how do you communicate the history and meaning of science to those who don’t yet speak its language? You turn science into something they can understand. You make into a narrative, a story.

In Sagan’s case, he mostly turned it into a story about brave and honest scientific pioneers fighting against the forces of superstition and obscurantism. He made it into a narrative of good guys versus bad guys, of the forces of light and progress against closed-minded reactionaries. This was sometimes oversimplified, but it wasn’t entirely wrong; the religious authorities who persecuted Galileo definitely weren’t the good guys. But Sagan fell into the temptation to make this narrative about science fit just a little too closely with the agenda of conventional late-20th-century liberalism, so he used “Cosmos” as a platform for the Cold-War-era moral equivalence of the “anti-nuclear” movement and for homilies about environmentalism.

“Cosmos” is an interesting intellectual time capsule, because it was broadcast just at the point when predictions of global environmental catastrophe were tipping between global cooling and global warming. So he presented the two as equally likely scenarios that required further study (and, of course, massive government funding). But this is the point at which he dropped his guard, forgot his own admonitions about following the evidence wherever it leads, and indulged the conceit that science would just happen to line up neatly with his own political preferences. Because what he didn’t do was to entertain the possibility that human being aren’t destroying the planet and we aren’t cruising toward planetary catastrophe. He literally does not even consider this null hypothesis as a possibility.

It was a glaring hole in scientific objectivity, but it set the path for the popularizers of science who would follow in his footsteps. He had fixed the narrative in place, and they followed it.

… If you don’t really need science and all you need is the narrative, then what you get is our own era’s official replacement for Carl Sagan: Neil deGrasse Tyson. As the decades pass by, Sagan’s imitators become less thoughtful and more propagandistic, less interested in conveying the actual scientific method and more concerned with just telling the public what to think. It’s also about making those who accept the approved “pro-science” political agenda feel that they are superior to all of those ignorant, knuckle-dragging bigots who disagree with them. It equates science, not just with the politics of the left, but with the left’s attitude of smug condescension. That’s how you get Tyson’s fake-but-accurate narratives or the meme-swapping superficiality of the IFL Science crowd.

That’s also how we get things like the March for Science, in which it is naturally assumed that defending science dovetails perfectly with the left’s “resistance” against the current administration and every part of its agenda. It reduces science to a narrow political pose and blinds people to its big questions and radically different method of inquiry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Democrats only believe that inappropriate Holocaust references are bad when it comes out of a Republican mouth

Sean Spicer the President’s press secretary … made inappropriate Holocaust statements twice during the same press briefing … neither [of which] was made out of maliciousness
writes Jeff Dunetz.
Both were atrocious. … Almost immediately Sean Spicer realized what he said, issued an apology, and went on more than one news network making televised apologies,
“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
He made a mistake, but he didn’t obfuscate, instead owned up to it and apologized. However, the apology didn’t matter– throughout that day and the next one also, the pile-on continued despite the fact they’ve always ignored inappropriate holocaust references by Democratic Party politicians and their colleagues in the mainstream media.

Despite his many mea culpas Eric Wemple of the Washington Post blasted Sean Spicer in his column today;
“it’s not all just a verbal tic. The halting, hard-to-follow speech patterns reflect an unflattering truth about the top spokesperson at the White House: He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A press secretary needs to have command of a vast topical landscape. Spicer has mastered bluster, and not much else.”
Yet in the month of September when his own paper ran two different opinion pieces inappropriately comparing then-candidate Trump to Hitler, Wemple was silent.  I suppose Wemple only believes that inappropriate Holocaust references are bad when it comes out of a Republican mouth.

Wemple and the other media liberals weren’t only silent when the Washington Post made stupid Holocaust references, they ignored Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Huffington Post, Comedian Louis C.K, and Rachel Maddow. They also ignored when Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown compared Republican governors John Kasich, Scott Walker and Chris Christie to the Nazis. Even the Holocaust Center in Washington was so very quick to blast Sean Spicer but they never complained when President Carter rejected a Presbyterian Christian  for a position on the board of the Holocaust Memorial because the guy’s name was too Jewish.
Where were Democrats like  Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) and David Cicilline (D-RI) both of whom who called for Spicer to be fired,  when Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)  compared conservative bloggers (like me) to Hitler? The celebrities like Barbara Streisand or Debra Messing who think they know better than those of us who have to struggle for a living and called for Spicer to be fired–why  were they silent when Hillary Clinton said Republicans who wanted want the law enforced, and illegal immigrants deported, wanted to “round them up” and “put them in box cars?”

Why aren’t any of the members of the media bashing Nancy Pelosi for calling Sean Spicer to be fired, when she twice supported Barack Obama, the most anti-Semitic president since Franklyn Roosevelt refused to allow Jews fleeing Hitler into the country, not because he saw them as a threat, but because he believed America already had enough Jews.

And there is never an outcry that Al Sharpton, advisor to Obama, and MSNBC host, only has to burp to get front page coverage in the MSM despite the fact that he led two anti-Semitic pogroms in NYC, one in Crown Heights, the other in front of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem.

There are hundreds of other examples but the point is there was not one iota of criticism about the examples above. None of it excuses what Sean Spicer said yesterday, and my liberal friends will say the case of Spicer is much different– I agree. You see, not once in the cases above, did the person or media involved apologize.  But Sean Spicer immediately “manned up’ acknowledged his mistake and said he was sorry.