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The Officer of the Deck



Why is there so much effort being expended to “increase voter participation?” In King County, there is an idea being implemented to make vote-by-mail ballots postage free. Or more precisely, pre-paid postage. Presumably, the funding will come from the vast resources the County has that it is not already spending on addressing the “homeless crises” by shaking down Amazon and others.

Seriously though, why all this effort to increase turnout by making voting so easy that even a dead person could do it? Oddly enough, it turns out that nearly one-third of ALL Washington State voters live in King County. And virtually all of those belong to a single party. Any guesses as to which one? Now the Secretary of State is asking for $2 Million to make the postage-paid ballot State-wide for the 2018 mid-term election. If the State goes ahead and does that, will King County then object to having to pay for their own ballots?

The Officer of the Deck aboard USS Fitzgerald will face Special Court Martial for dereliction of duty that resulted in the deaths of seven sailors when the ship collided with a merchant vessel last spring. On the surface, I have no real issue with this. My concerns lie in three directions. First, what defense could be offered that makes any sense whatsoever? Second, will gender enter into the question? Lastly, what happened to the Good of the Service?


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Mea Culpa

Ben has an ear infection, but you’d never be able to tell. The only reason that we knew was because (a) he didn’t want to go to the park on Wednesday afternoon and (b) he told Cami that “When I burp, my ear hurts.”

The doctor we have fixed him up with some super good meds, and today his is pretending he is really sick in hopes of getting out of going to school. He is failing, because he keeps wanting more breakfast and to practice writing his vowels on the chalkboard.

I, on the other hand, am not doing quite so good. Whatever creeping crud this is that has infected Ben’s ears has hit me pretty hard as well. Yesterday and so far this morning, I can hardly speak above a whisper, and anything more than five seconds of talking results in a coughing fit that ends with me having to sit down and a whole bunch of disgusting stuff being deposited in my tissue. I don’t want to go, but I have a feeling that I will end up at my Doctor today as well.

So that’s why I was not able to record Constitution Thursday yesterday and why I ended up going to bed with a slug of Nyquil at around 5pm. which sucked, because all the prep was done and I feel like it is a good episode. With luck, I will get to it this weekend.

And it’s also why there won’t be a show today, which also sucks because this is one of those occasions when I get to say that I was wrong. Incorrect, Misspoken and even that I had a brain fart.

Of course I know that Modesto requires 50%+1 to win the Mayorship, and I knew that on Wednesday. How many runoffs have I been a part of? Basically every one since Carmen Sabatino was elected the first time. which – by the by – caused an abrupt end to one of the first dates I went on after I moved here, when I predicted to her that Carmen would win that race, and the person I was out with happened to be on Dick Lang’s Campaign staff. 

So yeah, I brain farted and let my virtue rant override the actual operation of the election system.

Mea Culpa.

Now, let’s see how many people show up in February for the runoff. The over under will be right around 12,000 or so, and if I had to guess, it’ll be under that. Which hearkens back to my original point (which according to my notes was what I was supposed to say on Wednesday, but it didn’t come out that way, did it?) that in a city of 200,000, we can guesstimate that roughly 100,000 are “registered to vote.” I realize that it’s possibly a bit under that – 175,000 in the entire county – but it’s a fair and reasonable estimate that roughly or just under 50% of the City of Modesto’s population is registered to vote. Throw out the kids and those who are ineligible to vote (for now) and you’re probably safe saying that between 80,000 and 100,000 is a good number.

Which means that in the first round somewhere between 12% and 15% of the entire city’s eligible voters “picked” the final two. Since it’s likely to be even less people voting in the runoff, whoever wins will be governing with less than 15% of the people who can vote in the city having given an affirmative vote. In other words, no matter how you slice it, 80% of the people in the city will not have voted for the winner.

Now, you can make all kinds of rationale for that and even excuse it by saying that hey, of the people who did vote they preferred Candidate A and don’t we want a smaller, more engaged electorate anyway?

No… we don’t. We want a virtuous electorate. Big or small, it must be full of citizens who love their city.

And that, as they say, was supposed to have been my point.

Stuff we would have covered today:

My screw up on the runoff. Check

Ben Carson and the perceived attacks on him by the media and whether or not such “attacks” are “racist.”

  • Also, as an aside, apparently Dr. Carson believes that the Pyramids were built by the Jews for grain storage. He is, of course, free to believe that as a part of his religion, but should questions be asked about it?

  • For the record, ancient Egyptian history is one of my most beloved passions. I personally would have serious questions about a Presidential (or any other office) Candidate who seems to ignore facts for his personal position. Despite the occasional AHT Indiana Jones wannabe spouting some new theory about space aliens and the Pyramids, the FACTS are that the Pharaohs who built them left pretty detailed records about the pyramids, and none of them mention the Jews or grain. So while you can say that Carson’s position on the Pyramids is religious, should there not be serious questions about whether or not his faith will lead him to ignore other facts in favor of his other chosen positions on issues of substance?

The UC Merced Knife attack and the media reaction to the various elements of that attack.

  •     For example, the refusal by some news outlets to report the attackers name.

  •     Was it “terrorism” or something else?

  •     Did the assailant, Faisal Mohammed want to commit “suicide by cop?”

Tonight’s CNBC “Forum” as opposed to a debate, and some of the potential questions for Hillary and Bernie

New York is investigating an Oil Company for “Lying to investors” about Climate Change.

If We Can Keep It…

For most of the past week, both Ben and Cami have been suffering from a really bad head cold. I did everything I could, including casting spells, to try and avoid it myself. Alas, I was unsuccessful, and as you will hear today I am losing my voice already.

I am long winded this morning, and I realize that the vast majority of people want McNews and McComment, but I feel like I have to get this down in an organized form to make any sense. If you make it through, DROP ME AN EMAIL (which I will read) or a comment and let me know your thoughts on the matter

We spoke yesterday about two things of importance. First, THE WATER BOND. Generally speaking the reaction to the Bond seems positive across the board. The Legislature is patting themselves on the back for “cutting out the pork” and really focusing on the “big” issues. As I have still not read the Bond language, I remain uncommitted at this point. My first question would be, does the bond set aside funds for the inevitable court battles that will happen over the two new dam projects the bond apparently contains? My guess is no, but we need to understand that there will be organizations and individuals who will put a great deal of money into stopping both of these projects. The dams will not be built in time for the rains this year, or even next year. At best they are a decade away, and while I believe them to be necessary and useful, we have already seen the beginning of the fight against them this week.

Playing right along with the water bond and its foreordained fight with those who oppose the dams, is the study (HERE) of which I spoke briefly yesterday by a Princeton University Professor and a Northwestern University Professor who looked at nearly 1800 “public policy issues” for which all of four groups and their positions could be determined. They considered Rich Individuals, the Business Lobby, Organized grass roots groups, such as the Tea Party, and not-rich individuals. What they found was not really surprising in that it confirmed the “Golden Rule,” that is, “those with the gold make the rules.” But the degree to which they found that to be the case is stunning. The study found that in cases where all four groups had a position, the Grass Roots Groups and the Average Voter have virtually no influence on policy.

While I think that most of us already believed that, I am happy to say that the study also reveals why that it is so, and it is as simple as a Dr. Ben Franklin quip, We The People aren’t doing our part. With the worst turnout in history in our last election, is it any wonder that massive amounts of money influence the few people who do vote?

Consider this from our own State. Tim Donnelly was in the lead in the polls right up to a fortnight before the election. With virtually no money being spent, the voters were forced to rely on becoming informed through various sources, such as news outlets, interviews with the candidates, personal recommendations from friends, and even social media. Enter Neel Kashkari who over the course of the last few weeks spent millions of dollars on a single campaign ad and mailers. Initially trailing even Glenn “Jesus Told Me to Run” Champ, Kashkari essentially bought his way to 2nd place finish just ahead of Donnelly. Now, ask yourself a question, that even those who ardently opposed Donnelly or passionately support Kashkari have to look at honestly – without those millions (from Kashkari and Munger), who wins that race for 2nd Place?

That’s the effect that money has.

Is it possible that Donnelly (or even Champ) could still have won? Yes, but it would have taken what is not happening, even on the Republican side – turnout. Which one has to accept based on the numbers, is getting worse by the election with a generally downward trend, meaning that effect of money poured into a campaign is magnified multifold.

This is why both Party’s spend so much time and money on these “Voter Registration schemes.” They believe that newly registered voters are more likely to vote, so why bother developing relationships with long time registered voters when they can gain more votes by expending massive amounts of funds registering (or even re-registering) voters who will then show up, at least once?

By the by, I have had a sitting US Congressman tell me this theory to my face. So I know that they believe it and that they use it to justify the fund raising that goes on and on. “How else am I supposed to run my voter registration scheme, Dave?” is the exact quote.

So what is the solution? On the one hand, the politician have it right – it IS turnout. Like most things, they have  select group of controlled turnout in mind and that is what is NOT the solution. At the end of the day the answer is and always has been We the People. If we are not going to do our part to maintain the Republic, then the Politicians get what they want – power and control with the illusion of representative democracy. Under current turnout conditions, they have no reason or motivation to fear the electorate, the grass roots or the average voter.

At the end of the day, the study simply reiterates what we have already known – an engaged, educated and involved electorate is more than just important, it is imperative. Without it, a Republic devolves into an oligarchy controlled by money, and eventually into a tyranny of the few.

If we commit ourselves to education and engagement, perhaps we can reverse the trend. I fear not, but I am obligated to do what I can and to pass on that which I have received, as of first importance, the liberty and freedom given to me by my forefathers.

They were Patriots all, not because they gave speeches, or held office or even had  radio show or newspaper column. They were American Patriots because they answered the call of liberty and stood watch over a swamp in the Carolinas as the Tories and Brits threatened the area; because they walked in the summer heat from Ashdown County, Arkansas to Rolla, MO, to enlist in the 1st Arkansas Cavalry (US), to preserve the Union AT A COST TO THEMSELVES THAT ALMOST NEVER GETS remembered. Because when the threat to liberty was worldwide, they set aside their own wishes and wants and went to war. I too, chose to serve my nation and the idea of liberty – even before I really understood what I was doing – and I now have a legacy to pass on to my own son and to my own grandchildren.

Would that they will one day write of me, that I refused to lay down the fight and in the small way which I was able to do so, I helped encourage and educate and inspire people who want liberty and freedom to do the simplest thing that they can to keep that liberty:

Vote.

I leave you with three quotes from history, to show that while these ideas are not “mine” in origin, they are mine in inheritance, passed to me by generations of Americans who believed in liberty:

“Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” – Alexander Hamilton, the Federalist Papers 1787

“The truth is that men are tired of liberty” – Benito Mussolini, 1922

A Republic, madam. If you can keep it.” – Dr. Benjamin Franklin, 1787

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