A Governor Who Understands The Purpose Of The Electoral College

On Thursday, The Hill reported that Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday vetoed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which had been passed by the Nevada Assembly and Senate.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would essentially nullify the Electoral College. However, it will not become effective unless enough states to control 280 electoral college votes pass the measure. The idea is that 280 electoral votes would be a majority of the Electoral College and would elect the person who got the most popular votes. At that point we would live in a county governed by New York and California–two states that have not done a particularly good job of governing themselves. That is exactly what our Founding Fathers were attempting to avoid (as explained by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68).

In Federalist 68, Alexander Hamilton stated:

And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.

The idea was that the Electoral College would give less-populated states a voice in the election of the president. A candidate for president would be required to gain a broad base of support–he would be required to represent the entire country–not just one or two sections.

To illustrate what elections would look like without the Electoral College, let’s look at where the campaign money comes from in elections.

According to opensecrets.org the top donor states are California (22 percent), New York (21 percent), Illinois (7 percent), and Florida (6 percent). The other states provided 44 percent of campaign donations. California has 40 million people; West Virginia has 2 million people. Without the Electoral College, how likely is a presidential candidate to campaign in (or represent) the people in West Virginia? There is a valid reason for the Electoral College.

 

Unintended Consequences Can Be Brutal

One of the recent news stories has been the granting of driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants in California. Breitbart.com posted a story yesterday reporting how that is going.

A few snippets from the story:

Many illegal immigrants at a Northern California DMV reportedly were failing the written exam when applying for driver’s licenses on Friday.

…At a DMV in south Sacramento, Veronica Oropeza, a 28-year-old illegal immigrant who has reportedly been driving without a license for six years, reportedly failed her written exam twice.

“Nobody’s passing,” she told the Sacramento Bee in Spanish.

…When Nevada allowed illegal immigrants to apply for licenses last year, 71% of illegal immigrants in the state reportedly failed the written exam in the first three days. Wanting to avoid what happened in Nevada, immigrant groups like the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) had provided free test prep classes to illegal immigrants in the final months of 2014.

Oropeza had “already spent more than three hours at the DMV,” and “she couldn’t stay to take the exam a third time, she said, because she had to get to work.”

Maybe the American education system is better than we thought.

The Situation In Nevada Is Getting Uglier

The Obama Administration is noted for runaway government. Harry Reid is right in there with them. However, the latest news on the Nevada ranch standoff is stunning.

A website called Infowars has posted a story about the government action on the Bundy ranch that really raises some questions about what this is really about.

The article reports:

Back in 2012, the New American reported that Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, was the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada.

And journalist Marcus Stern with Reuters also reported that Sen. Reid was heavily involved in the deal as well.

“[Reid] and his oldest son, Rory, are both involved in an effort by a Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert,” he wrote. “Reid has been one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on behalf of the project in Nevada.”

“His son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.”

The article at Infowars has pictures of Bureau of Land Management documents that have been pulled off of the internet that give credence to this story.

When Harry Reid entered Congress he was a middle-class American. He is now a millionaire. There is a least one questionable land deal in his past. It looks as if he working on another one–only this one may involve loss of life.

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Government Bullying Takes A New Turn

Yesterday the Las Vegas Sun posted an article about some recent events in the Nevada desert. Cliven Bundy, a 68-year-old Nevada native, has been in a battle with the Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) over land that his cattle has been grazing on for decades.

The article reports:

A renegade when it comes to any sort of government control, Bundy — the father of 14 children — has refused to pay BLM a dime of required grazing fees for his 900 cattle, a tab that has since reached $300,000. Bundy has fought the fee, he says, because his Mormon ancestors set up shop on the land long before the BLM formed.

The problem? The land where Bundy’s cattle graze is federally owned, and the BLM now says the livestock aren’t supposed to be there. Federal agents this week cordoned off sections of land and sparked a monthlong operation to seize the cattle.

Tensions boiled over this week when a scuffle between the BLM and Bundy’s supporters ended in violence: Agents reportedly used a stun gun to subdue Bundy’s son and knocked his daughter to the ground. Though called “brutal” by some, the brawl did not land anyone in a hospital or jail.

But the incident did prompt Operation Mutual Aid — a national militia with members from California to Missouri — to visit Bundy’s ranch and set up a camp just in case things got out of hand again. Before their arrival Thursday, dozens of Bundy’s friends and relatives gathered at a protest camp in solidarity for the recent woes that have colored his rustic ranch.

The Blaze has also reported on this story:

But the presence of what appear to be heavily armed agents isn’t the only thing that has the Bundys on edge: Their son, Dave, was arrested and allegedly roughed up Sunday for filming federal agents while outside an area designated for First Amendment activity on the restricted property. He was held overnight.

The 37-year-old Bundy was arrested “following failure to comply with multiple requests by BLM law enforcement to leave the temporary closure area on public lands,” Cannon said. She declined to comment on the claim that he was brutally treated.

Dave Bundy was released from custody Monday and cited for refusing to disperse and resisting issuance of a citation or arrest, she added. Cannon could not explain why Dave was held overnight.

There are a few questions I have here. At what point did the government take over the land? Did the government pay for the land? Why was David Bundy arrested for taking filming federal agents? This does not sound like America–it sounds like a government of bullies with nothing better to do than harass American citizens. Among other things, the government is stealing this man’s cattle!

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Your Tax Dollars At Work

CBN News is reporting today on the annual release of Senator Tom Coburn‘s “Wastebook.” The book details some of the government programs funded by taxpayer dollars in the past year.

Some of the examples listed in the article:

…the U.S. State Department spending $630,000 to attract followers to its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

…a study on angry wives allowed the government to spend $300 million to learn that women would find marriage more satisfying if they could calm down faster during arguments with their husbands.

…in Nevada, $17 million in tax exemptions went to brothels. Deductions ranged from breast implants to promotional free passes to bring in new customers.

Fort Hood shooter Nadal Hassan collected $278,000 in military benefits because the military Code of Justice doesn’t allow a soldier to be suspended until they are found guilty.

It is disturbing that this spending is continuing while the retirement pay of our military is in danger of being cut. If Congress can’t deal with this spending before cutting in places that will actually do harm to Americans, we need to elect a new Congress.

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What Good Are Laws If The Government Ignores Them?

Yesterday George Will posted a column at the Washington Post about a court decision that is an attempt to make the executive branch of government follow the laws Congress passes.

The article reports:

…last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia instructed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to stop “flouting the law.” Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said: “It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case.”

So what is this all about? In 1982, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 stated that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “shall consider” the Yucca Mountain application to become a repository, and “shall” approve or disapprove the application within three years of its submission. The application was submitted in 2008.

The NRC has no intention of complying with the law–former (NRC) Chairman Gregory Jaczko had previously served on the staff of Nevada Senator Harry Reid and was placed at the NRC to prevent the storage at Yucca Mountain from taking place. He resigned last year.

The NRC is considered part of the executive branch. It has no legal right to disregard a law enacted by Congress.

The article concludes:

This episode is a snapshot of contemporary Washington — small, devious people putting their lawlessness in the service of their parochialism and recklessly sacrificing public safety and constitutional propriety. One can only marvel at the measured patience with which the court has tried to teach the obvious to the willfully obtuse.

Until we elect different people to office in Washington, we can expect more of this.

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Voting With Your Feet

CBN News posted a story today about the relationship between tax rates in different states and where people choose to live.

The article reports:

Brown (author Travis H. Brown) discovered that the nine states with no personal income tax gained $146.2 billion in AGI. Those states include Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Conversely, the states with the highest personal income tax rates lost a total of $107.4 billion. They are California, Hawaii, Oregon, Iowa, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, and Maine. Washington, D.C., was also included.

Another measurement delivers similar results. Brown looked at the 10 states with the lowest per capita state and local tax burdens and found they netted $69.9 billion in AGI. Those states include Alaska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Wyoming, Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Nevada, and South Carolina.

The 10 states with the highest state and local tax burden lost $139 billion in AGI. They are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

This story has personal relevance to me. My husband will be retiring at the end of the year, and we are about to put our house on the market. (If anyone wants a five-bedroom house in Southeastern Massachusetts, please leave a comment). We are moving for many reasons–one of those reasons is the cost of living in Massachusetts. We will be headed to North Carolina where we have family and the cost of living is lower.

Recently, Massachusetts raised the taxes on cigarettes. I don’t smoke, so that doesn’t impact me, but I was in a store yesterday in Rhode Island near the Massachusetts state line. The person ahead of me in line was commenting that she would no longer be buying cigarettes in Massachusetts because they were cheaper in Rhode Island. Right now, gasoline is more expensive in Rhode Island than in Massachusetts, but since the gasoline tax in Massachusetts is now indexed to inflation, I wonder how long that will be the case.

When people have an option, they give less money to the government, whether it is state or federal government. The Laffer Curve explains one aspect of that.

At some point, government needs to realize that at some point it has all of the money we have earned that it is entitled to. The question is exactly where the point of enough taxes is reached.

 

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I Saw This Story Earlier In The Week, But Didn’t Believe It

The Daily Caller posted a story Friday about a family in Henderson, Nevada, whose home was invaded by police without sufficient reason. The story was also posted in the Wall Street Journal. In July 2011, Anthony Mitchell was asked by police if they could use his home as a tactical center for a domestic violence investigation they were doing on one of his neighbors. Mr. Mitchell declined, saying that he did not want to get involved. The police decided that they would use his house anyway.

The Daily Caller reports what happened next:

According to Courthouse News Service, the police department decided that if Mitchell refused to leave or open the door, officers would force their way in and arrest him.

Mitchell claims this is exactly what happened. First officers “smashed open” Mitchell’s door with a “metal ram” after he did not immediately open it himself. He then “curled on the floor of his living room, with his hands over his face,” as the police shot Mitchell and his dog — which the family claims did not attack the officers — several times with “pepperball” rounds.

Pepperball is a projectile containing chemical irritant pepper spray, which is released upon impact.

Afterward, Mitchell was arrested for “obstructing a police officer.”

The Third Amendment to the U. S. Constitution states:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Mr. Mitchell is suing the city of Henderson, Nevada for violating that amendment.

The Daily Caller also reports that the abuse of Anthony Mitchell also extended to his parents who also live in the neighborhood. Michael Mitchell, Anthony’s father, was asked to come to a local police command center to help with negotiations involving the neighbor being investigated for abuse. Upon arrival, Michael was informed the negotiations would not be taking place, and when he tried to leave, he was arrested. Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

The article reports:

The elder Mitchell’s wife was not arrested, but she was roughly escorted from her home while other officers entered the house without permission, the complaint alleges. The family claims that when she was allowed to return, “the cabinets and closet doors throughout the house had been left open and their contents moved about… Even the refrigerator door had been left ajar, and mustard and mayonnaise had been left on their kitchen floor.”

The charges against both the father and the son were dismissed.

As I stated in the headline of this story, when I first saw the story (it was posted on Facebook), I couldn’t believe this could happen in America. I still can’t believe this could happen in America, but unfortunately it did. Frankly, I hope the policemen involved in this case are fired and sued along with anyone who issued the order to act as they did.

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I Obviously Have Pursued The Wrong Career

National Review Online posted a story today about Harry Reid‘s wealth and some of his investment history. Harry Reid was a law student who worked part time to put himself through law school. He has been a public servant for all be two years of his work history. His current salary is $193,400, basically higher than it has been during his working life. Harry Reid’s current net worth is between 3 and 10 million dollars. Obviously, this man is an investment genius–he should be on Wall Street.

When Harry Reid began his career in the Nevada legislature in 1982, he was worth between 1 and 1 1/2 million dollars.

The article at National Review details some of Senator Reid’s strategies for acquiring wealth. They involve such things as questionable land deals and insider stock trading. The land deals are clearly at the edge of legality; the insider trading, although legal at the time for Congress, is now illegal.

The Democrats have attacked Mitt Romney for being rich. He has been accused of everything from soup to nuts. However, no one is disputing the fact that he made his money honestly through hard work and intelligence. It is also to his credit that he started from scratch–he did not inherit his father’s wealth. It is amazing to me that an honest, successful businessman would be so strongly attacked while the source of the Senate Majority Leader’s wealth is overlooked.

One of the things I would like to see happen in November is to have the voters elect a Congress that is interested in the prosperity of American citizens–not using the office to line Congressional pockets.

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Does This Spending Represent Your Priorities ?

CBN News posted an article today listing some of the things that our government is currently spending money on. Remember, this is a time when we are borrowing one out of every four dollars we spend and Congress is saying that it is impossible to cut spending without seriously hurting certain sectors or our economy.

Please follow the link above to read all of the article, but here are a few highlights:

Like the $120 million for federal retirement benefits to retirees who are already dead. Patrick Knudsen, The Heritage Foundation’s senior federal budget expert, pointed showed CBN News a recent example.

“After a retiree had died, his son continued cashing his checks for 37 years. And it didn’t stop until 2008 when the son himself died,” he said.

…More federal funding in the amount of $593,000 went to a primate research center to study where in chimpanzees’ brains they get the idea to throw their feces.

…A Virginia university received $55,000 to study Jordanian students’ water pipe smoking habits.

…A new grant of $176,000 joined $350,000 already spent to study how cocaine hurts or helps the sex drive of Japanese quail.

Some other gems:

…A museum of magic received $147,000 to study the audiences of magic shows.

…More than $550,000 of U.S. taxes went to the production of a documentary on how rock bands contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire.

…A television production of a Pakistani version of PBS’ “Sesame Street” has already cost tax payers $10 million and $20 million more has already been budgeted.

…IPad 2s were purchased for $96,000 for students in Maine, where 96 percent of their parents said the cost wasn’t worth it.

…Nevada’s Western Folklife Center received $50,000 for cowboys and cowgirls to gather once a year to recite cowboy poetry.

Somehow, I think we can find some room for spending cuts in these programs.

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Another One Bites The Dust

A website called GlobalWarming.org reported on Friday that the Las Vegas Sun reports that Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the Porkulus, will cut two-thirds of its workforce, about 200 employees, only seven months after opening a factory in Nevada. Earlier last week, Ener1, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and recipient of Stimulus largesse, filed for bankruptcy.  Evergreen Energy , also a recipient of stimulus money, has also declared bankruptcy. These companies are not even viable when the government is writing them enormous checks! When you consider the amount of stimulus money spent on pet projects of President Obama, it is scary. He could have simply given each taxpayer $100,000. I suspect that would have truly stimulated the economy!

The interesting part of the article linked above is the comments. There are definitely some people out there who are paying attention and who are angry that taxpayer money is being spent in this way.

 

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Do Politics Influence Where People Choose To Live ?

Map of USA showing states with no state income...

Image via Wikipedia

Yahoo Finance posted an article yesterday entitled, “States Where No One Wants To Buy A New Home.” Since I live in one of the states on the list (Massachusetts is listed as number 7 of 10), I read the article.

The map above shows all the states with no state income tax in red and the states that tax only interest and dividend income in yellow. I am not sure how much of a factor this is in the number of housing starts. It is interesting, though, that none of the states with no state income tax are on the list of states with the lowest number of housing starts.

The article reports:

Surprisingly, our list of states where few permits have been issued recently is different from the typical list of the worst housing markets. California, Nevada and Florida are always on those lists because homes are vacant and home values continue to drop. But the three are not on this list. It may be that prices have dropped so low in these markets that home inventory has begun to move, even if only tentatively. Instead, markets where housing permits are very small in relation to total homes are markets in which builders have abandoned any hope of near-term sales.

In case all you really wanted to do was see the list, here it is:

  1. Rhode Island
  2. West Virginia
  3. Illinois
  4. Michigan
  5. Connecticut
  6. Ohio
  7. Massachusetts
  8. New York
  9. Maine
  10. Pennsylvania

What in the world do these states have in common? I suspect there are a lot of reasons for the number of building permits to decrease in these states. Michigan for instance has lost a lot of businesses due to the tax policies of recent state administrations. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island all have state income taxes and business environments that do not necessarily encourage businesses to migrate there. New York is a very expensive place to live, although I believe the current governor is trying to ease the burden on the state’s taxpayers. It is interesting to me that these are all states in the northern areas of the country. Could it be that as the baby boomers age, they are simply looking for warmer places to live?

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