11.22.2016

Let Hillary's (Alleged) Crimes at State Drop

I've seen a few articles by conservatives who are disappointed in Trump's statements that he is not going to pursue criminal prosecution of Mrs. Clinton any further.

Personally, I think that's one of Trump's better decisions.

I do think Hillary Clinton is guilty of violating federal law on multiple occasions with regards to campaign finance, quid pro quo abuse of her position at the State Department, federal records act requirements, and protection of classified information.

But I also think that pursuing criminal charges on these matters would serve no further purpose.  It would cost the federal government far more than would ever be recouped in fines from the Clintons.  It would further exacerbate the already strong divisions in the country and continue the appearance of a highly politicized police power.  The Obama administration used the DoJ (and other federal agencies) to punish political opponents with some regularity.  Prosecuting Hillary would seem too much like tit-for-tat perpetuation of that strategy rather than a repudiation of it.  

The Clintons would certainly never believe they did anything wrong, so it would have no corrective or rehabilitative purpose, either.

And as for punishment, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump.  I think that's punishment enough.  Her power and influence as a leading politician in this country has been shattered.  To lose to a Marco Rubio or John Kasich would have allowed her to retain something of her dignity.  But she lost to Donald J. Trump.  There is nothing of dignity left for her in such a loss.

So I think Trump is right on this.  She's already received the worst punishment she could imagine.

11.21.2016

Dixon May Not Owe Pence an Apology, But He Owes Everyone Else in the Theater One

Typical.

A guy goes to see a play, a concert, something similar to take his mind off life and be entertained.  Then some blowhard actor or musician with an axe to grind decides to rant about his or her political gripes.  Most often the opinion is ignorant, irrelevant, and impolite - and this time was no different.

Vice-President Elect Pence is gracious.  He says it is simply the sound of freedom.  Perhaps it is.  It is also the sound of rudeness, tactlessness, and self-importance.

Pence says he isn't owed an apology.  Fine.  But Brandon Victor Dixon does owe an apology to everybody else who paid good money to see a musical rather than be harangued by his over-inflated ego.

11.10.2016

Satan Wasn't on the Ballot

Every time.  It's like clockwork.  A bunch of bubble-headed celebrities think they can blackmail their fans into voting the way they want by promising to flee the country of the Republican is elected.

Then, when a Republican is elected, they make a big deal of being so very gracious and forgiving as to remain.  I can't say that I find it so gracious.  I was looking forward to their departure.  But I knew they wouldn't.  They're really not all that brave.  How much bravery does it take to parrot the same lines they hear from everyone else they know?  They also know they won't be arrested and hauled off to jail before the cameras for whatever stupid video they make - unlike a certain youtuber whose videos were made a scapegoat for the Secretary of State's abject failure a couple years ago.

This "won't accept the results" talk from either side of the aisle - and let's be honest: Trump and his fans started it this time around - is male bovine fecal matter.  Neither God nor Satan was on the ballot.  Two horrible candidates, both very human, were.  More than any election I can remember - and I can remember as far back as the 1972 Nixon-McGovern race - this election was a referendum on which candidate is the lesser of two evils.

Trump is not a fascist.  And it seems strange to call someone married to a Slovenian "xenophobic".  His first wife was Czech.  That's two out of three foreign-born wives.  I doubt that he's racist, either.  His sins lie in a completely different direction.  Egotistical, vain, arrogant, dishonest, greedy, self-obsessed, adulterous, crass, vulgar - these I can easily believe of him (and Hillary, except for the adulterous bit).  But I don't think skin color or place of birth matters to him when he decides to screw you over.  He may be tyrannical - he certainly has expressed an impatience with the legislative process that is very similar to our current president's and, like Obama, has pledged to simply ignore the Constitution on some points.  But a tyrant is not necessarily a fascist, as Obama demonstrates.

In a way, I find this all-too-obvious imperfection hopeful.  One of my primary concerns with the U.S. today is the way we tend to expect our presidents to be miracle-working messiah figures, high priests in our cult of government.  This idolatry of the state lies at the root of many of our ills.  I don't think very many of the roughly 120 million who voted in the presidential race think any of the candidates were messiah figures.  If we had nominated the likes of Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio, that almost certainly would have been different.

11.09.2016

We Have Chosen the Form of the Destructor

The good news is, Hillary Clinton will not be the next president of the United States of America.

The bad news is, Donald Trump will.

I am encouraged that the GOP retains control of Congress, and I think we have a kind of reverse-coattails phenomenon this year.  Instead of the top of the ticket pulling the other elections towards his column, I think it is the efforts of GOP senators in some key, tight races that pulled the presidential vote their way.  Trump owes the GOP in congress far more than they owe him.

All that said, my basic, gut reaction this morning was, "You know, he kinda looks like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man when you think about it."

11.03.2016

We're Not Dead Yet

Latest Headlines

Ninth Circle Reports Temps Dip Below Freezing!
Lucifer Apologizes for Lack of Winter Coats!

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Tied!
Candidates Agree to Co-Presidency of the United States!
Bill Assures Donald He'll Still Be Able to Grab P***y!

Massive Flight of Winged Pigs Spotted Over Northwest Iowa!
Car Washes Overjoyed at New Business Opportunities!

Supreme Court Rules Supreme Court Unconstitutional!  
Judges Accept Pension and Go Home!

Cubs Win World Series!

Hey - if that last one could happen, any of the others could, too.  Seriously, though, a hearty congratulations to the Cubs - and to the Indians - for a well-played World Series.  Nobody grandstanding for political points, just baseball and honorable competition.  It would be good to see more of that.

There will be an election in 5 days.  Despite what the various factions would have you believe, the sun will rise on the day after.  Life will go on after Tuesday no matter who wins.  There will be wars, poverty, struggle, death, and taxes on the 9th of November.  There will also be peace, prosperity, success, life, and joy as well.  The mix of the human experience since the dawn of time will continue.  This is not the apocalypse, even if Hell does freeze over and the pigs of northwest Iowa take flight.

I will vote, and if you're interested, I will vote for as many Republicans as I can bring myself to vote for.  Whether Donald or Hillary is elected, the only effective check on either will be a Republican Congress and Republicans in the various state houses and governorships.

Ballot Initiatives

Since I've been asked a couple times about the ballot initiatives in South Dakota, here's my thinking. [This post has been changed - I forgot to mention Referred Law 20 in the original.  That has been rectified.]

Constitutional Amendment R - it's mostly an administrative thing, but sure.  My main wonder is that such a mundane matter is embedded in the state's constitution.  It shouldn't be.  Since it already is, however, I'll vote yes.

Constitutional Amendment S - I think it is redundant and I don't think it needs to be in the state constitution.  The only reason for doing so that I can think of is that, to the extent that a victim's rights may conflict with a defendant's rights under the state (not the federal - just the state) constitution, this will give the victim's rights priority.  As most defendant's rights arise out of the federal constitution, however, this won't really do much.  So I think it's unnecessary, but mostly harmless.  I'll probably vote no.

Constitutional Amendment T - this is a measure by the Democrat Party to try to win by amendment what they can't win through votes for candidates.  The notion that the commission would be non-partisan or bi-partisan is silly.  In other states, it has resulted in deadlock and thrown the districting questions to the courts for resolution.  I'll vote no.

Constitutional Amendment U - this is an answer from the lending lobby to initiated measure 21.  By putting in the constitution that if a borrower and lender have the right to agree (in writing) on whatever interest rate is amenable to them, it undercuts measure 21's hard cap of 36%.  It is duplicitous in that it claims to put a hard cap on interest rates of 18% when in fact it removes the state's ability to put any cap at all on interest rates.  While I think lenders and borrowers should be allowed to set whatever rate they wish, I do not think the dishonesty of this amendment's sponsors should be rewarded.  I'll vote no.

Constitutional Amendment V - this is another attempt by the Democrat Party in South Dakota to get around their dismal failures at the ballot box.  The fact is, put "Democrat" after your name in South Dakota and the likelihood of winning an election plummets.  Rather than do the hard work of persuading voters regarding their policies, however, they prefer to simply hide the fact that their Democrats.  Hey, it worked for Mike Huether, so maybe we can take this to the whole state.  In short, this is another effort to present themselves dishonestly to the voters.  I'll vote no.

Initiated Measure 21 - I find this measure to be premised on ignorance of both economics and human nature.  I fully understand the biblical injunctions against usury.  I also understand that folly should have its price and that loaning money to foolish people is incredibly risky.  A business, which by definition exists to make a profit, must be able to charge enough interest to compensate for that risk.  And people who have been foolish need to be able to obtain at least some credit if they are ever to overcome the effects of their folly.  What will happen if this passes is not that poor people will get money at 36%, but that they will either get no credit or they will be forced to turn to loan sharks whose interest rates and collection methods are even worse.  This is indeed what has happened in other jurisdictions.  I'll vote no.

Initiated Measure 22 - I think there is too much money in politics as it is.  Taxing people in order to supply it is execrable.  I don't think the taxpayers should fund primaries - if the parties want to choose a candidate, let them pay for it.  I don't think a Democrat should be taxed to fund a Republican's campaign or vice versa.  And the notion that this will somehow protect politicians from the temptations inherent in having to raise money is absurd.  It hasn't anywhere else.  Instead, this is an effort by Democrats to raise funds for their party through taxation since they can't manage to do so through donations in this state.  I'll vote no.

Initiated Measure 23 - Another dishonest and duplicitous measure on a ballot rife with dishonesty and deceit.  Currently, South Dakota is a right-to-work state.  By federal law, when a union represents a shop, they represent everybody in that shop whether they want to be part of the union or not.  In South Dakota, as in all right-to-work states, we get around that by requiring unions to get people to formally join before they can collect money from them.  What this measure does is allows unions to charge people for "services" regardless of whether the people want the union to provide those services or not.  In effect, the union can charge you dues even if you don't join.  I'll vote no.

Referred Law 19 - While I agree with the provisions changing the dates, I disagree with the provision limiting accepted signatures on a petition to those corresponding to the candidate's party.  Sometimes what we want is just good, honest, fair competition to bring the issues out and I should be able to endorse as a candidate anyone from any party or no party.  I think this law does indeed make it harder for those not affiliated with either political party to get on the ballot and that fact makes it very hard for me to support it.  I'll vote no.


Referred Law 20 - I would far rather the minimum wage be lowered or even eliminated all together.  Since that isn't happening, I'll take lowering it for teens trying to land a job for work experience.  There will be an effect beyond this, though.  If I can hire a 17-year-old for 3-4 hours of part time work at this reduced rate, how likely will I be to hire that retiree who'd like something productive to do, too?  Right.  Even so, I'll vote yes.