“Hamilton Electors” Are Being Dramatic, Not Effective

I believe that this is one case where living up to the original intent of the founding fathers is a good idea: the electoral college shouldn’t vote for Trump.
But what is currently going on is at best a symbolic protest. Even if these people were GOP delegates, and thus taking votes away from Trump, it wouldn’t matter. So long as he has more than 270 votes, he’s still elected. Perhaps more importantly, if nobody has 270+ votes, nobody wins.

There are 2 ways faithless electors can keep Trump out of office:

  • 270 of them can change their vote to someone who is neither Trump nor Clinton (and presumably not Stein or Johnson, either). And they all have to pick the same someone.
  • 38 of them can change their vote to Clinton (while the 232 pledged to her still vote for her).

Now, getting died-in-the-wool GOP electors to vote for Clinton is a really tall order. These people are picked for their partisan loyalty, not their patriotism or smarts—not saying they don’t have those things, just that they aren’t requirements for getting the job. But getting an eighth of the GOP electors to do so still sounds more plausible to me than getting half the electors (or 7/8ths the GOP electors) to agree on some third person.

And if nobody gets 270 votes, Congress decides. Unlike the electoral college, they only have three options: Trump, Clinton, and Johnson. So probably Trump. Unless they deadlock and we end up with Ryan and {I forget—McConnell?}. I’m not entirely convinced that would be better.

So, yes, if your point is that the electoral college is dumb and should be eliminated, then switch your vote from Clinton to, I dunno, McCain.

But if your point is that the electoral college has an important purpose in protecting people from themselves, then Democrat electors not voting for Clinton is at best a risky strategy, and likely just pointless. Heck, even getting 7 fewer votes for Trump (while still letting him win) would be a more effective statement.

RNC vs Apple

Oh, look, Fox News thinks supporting the status quo is apolitical, at least when it’s a status quo they like.

Co-host Steve Doocy noted that Apple had dropped its support of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to protest some of Trump’s comments on the campaign trail. “But should the company be getting political?” Doocy asked.

Got it: not supporting the RNC is “political”; supporting the RNC is “not political”.

Root — the author of The Power of Relentless, a book which unironically uses the word “mega-success” in its subtitle — said that the company is making “a very, very big mistake, tragic, and I think [Apple CEO] Tim Cook is going to regret this.”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure the guy who felt a social responsibility to come out as gay is going to regret not supporting Trump’s and/or the GOP’s hate-mongering and bigotry.

“I think Apple has a big problem now,” he said, “because there are what? Sixty million-odd Republican voters? If every one of us pulls our support of Apple products or sells our Apple stock, I think the board will quickly make the decision to fire Tim Cook.”

“I think a boycott is a good move now,” Root continued. “I think all Republicans should boycott Apple products and pull their support of Apple stock until the decision to is made to fire the biased, prejudiced Tim Cook.”

Doocy said that “while we love the design and everything else — whether it’s the iPod or iPad or whatever else — it’s made in China! Isn’t this just what Donald Trump’s been saying about the jobs?”

Yep, because you’re all going to switch to using smartphones and laptops made in…oh, wait, China. So that doesn’t work.

So you’re all going to stop using smartphones and laptops and make do with a dumbphone…which is made in China.

It really doesn’t matter what brand, if you want to stick to US manufacturing, that pretty much means no computing devices, and very few consumer electronics. Though the Mac Pro is “manufactured” (I think actually assembled) in the US, so you can still buy that.

Oh, except you’re boycotting Apple because they manufacture things in China.

That is, if the whole political/apolitical distinction they’re making weren’t bullshit to begin with.

Reading Comprehension—It’s Not Just for Lit Class

If you’re going to condemn someone based on their words, it behooves you to employ your reading comprehension skills so that you can actually understand what they wrote.

[This is no longer topical, because I didn’t realize I had never hit the “publish” button at the time. But the lesson still holds, and the example is still valid. Plus, the GOP will probably attempt to indict someone (anyone but the Congress that denied additional security funding for embassies before the attack, that is) for Benghazi again—9th time’s the charm!]

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Maybe if Walker Starts Running for President in Earnest, He Won’t Have Any TIme Left to Screw Up WI

Governor Walker says that we need to cut state spending on UW by $300 million, at the same time proposing increasing state spending by $220 million for a stadium for a private professional sports team.

I think Walker’s comment that his proposed changes to the UW financial structure are “like Act 10 for the UW” are more telling than he is letting on. Act 10, ignoring for a moment it’s ulterior motive of gutting Democratic support, was about backing people into a corner and then pretending that they have options. Under Act 10, public unions may not negotiate on anything but wages. Pray, tell me, what sort of “negotiation” is it when you have nothing else to trade off against it?

“We would like our wages to go up.”

“OK, but we aren’t made of money—what are you willing to trade for that.”

“Um, sorry, but: nothing. We’re not allowed to negotiate any other part of our work or compensation.”

And, on top of that, it capped public union wage increases at the rate of inflation. So, public unions may negotiate for any pay raise they wish, so long as it’s either no raise at all or a decrease, and they may not bargain for any other thing. How do you think that’s gonna turn out in the long run? It’s clearly not about controlling costs, it’s about gutting the public sector, undermining government so that it in fact ceases working, as his ideology claims it always hasn’t.

Think about it: you’re working for the government. You now know that your real wages will never go up, and will probably go down at least some years. So the longer you work there, the less you make. Maybe your accumulated seniority will make up for that so you can tread water. But your only real hope is that someone like Walker will promote you to a high-paying position you’re completely unqualified for.

Can we cut the governor’s and legislators’ salaries 13% and ask them to work longer hours?

So, anyway, Walker’s proposal for the UW is a massive 13% cut, after several years of cuts and tuition freezes, which he says they can make up with their new-found autonomy. Though one of the tools that is not to be available to the UW, at least initially, is adjusting tuition. Thus clearly illustrating that he doesn’t understand education and doesn’t actually value it. If he were really concerned about public return on investment and what is best for the state, he would be pumping money into our schools (at all levels)—see here, here, here, and here, for starters. Or maybe spending on infrastructure.

“It will make them do things that they have not traditionally done.” —Walker

Yeah, like provide a poor education at a too-high price. 

Confusing Technical Innovation and Profits

“The FCC’s plans to reclassify broadband under Title II are misguided,” [US Rep. Bob] Latta [(R-Ohio)] said in his announcement. “Imposing monopoly-era telephone rules on a 21st Century industry that has thrived under the current light-touch regulatory framework will undoubtedly impede the economic growth and innovation that have resulted in the broadband marketplace absent government interference. These businesses thrive on dynamism and the ability to evolve quickly to shifting market and consumer forces. Subjecting them to bureaucratic red tape won’t promote innovation, consumer welfare, or the economy. My legislation provides the certainty needed for continued investment in broadband networks and services that have been fundamental for job creation, productivity, and consumer choice.”

Here, let me rewrite that for you:

Imposing monopoly-era telephone rules on a telecom industry that consists of de facto monopolies in almost every market makes sense. The industry is currently thriving at the expense of both customers and the citizenry as a whole, due to the government being all but absent in the broadband marketplace. A business should not need to victimize its customers in order to thrive, and the current marketplace means that consumer forces on the telecoms are essentially non-existent. As a result, telecoms have been enjoying the kind of “thriving” that means huge profits for senior executives and shareholders, while their product offerings stagnate despite rising prices. “Regulation” doesn’t always mean excessive “bureaucratic red tape”, but even if it did the “victims” of this bureaucracy would be some of the wealthiest companies in the US, boasting of record profits while keeping their workers’ wages low and regularly raising the prices they charge consumers. Allowing them to operate without regulation hasn’t promoted innovation—except in billing—consumer welfare, or the economy. If we reclassify broadband service under Title II everyone—big telecom and small upstart—can have the certainty needed so that they will resume investing in broadband networks and services, and so that the telecoms have an incentive to start providing consumer choice. 

 

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