Sunday, June 27, 2010

Next President Elected By 15% of Voters...If National Popular Vote Has their Way

Rapidly advancing movement to eliminate Electoral College shifts control to coasts

A four-year-old effort that effectively would turn the Electoral College out to pasture in the United States by arranging a direct vote of president by the people is gaining strength, and is poised to claim support from states that control 106 of the 270 votes now needed to claim the Oval Office.

The total might be even higher already.

But that has a number of analysts alarmed, including author Tara Ross, who has written in opposition to the concept of a direct national vote for president at the Save Our website.

"Eliminating the Electoral College would probably mean at least two things: Elections will become easier to steal and the two-party system will be undermined. So it follows that two types of political parties would benefit the most: Those that don't mind stealing elections and third parties," she wrote.

The California-based National Popular Vote has been working since about 2006 on its plan that would assign Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who has captured the most individual votes in a presidential election nationwide – no matter who has won in an individual state.

The Electoral College system now assigns votes by the state – or in a couple of cases by the congressional district – based on the popular vote in that state or district. This is the circumstance that gave George W. Bush the presidency in 2000 even though Al Gore collected more popular votes.

It is being promoted in state legislatures – it has been introduced in all 50 – as a compact among the states in which legislators commit their state's votes to the popular vote winner as soon as there are enough states to guarantee a victor with 270 Electoral College votes.

So far, Hawaii, with 4 votes; New Jersey, 15; Illinois, 20; Maryland, 10; and Washington, 11; have made commitments. As of now, there are active bills that could put another three states in that camp: New York, 31; Massachusetts, 12; and Delaware, 3.
That would total 106 of the needed 270 Electoral College votes.

Ross, who has written, "Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College," said in a National Review analysis that the campaign is coming "startlingly close to success even as most Americans remain completely unaware that the presidential-election process is so close to being turned on its head."

Tom DeWeese claims the Electoral College is an effective way of keeping every state in play in a presidential election.

"The abolishment of the Electoral College would, in fact, establish an election tyranny giving control of the government to the massive population centers of the nation's Northeastern sector and the area around Los Angeles. If these sections of the nation were to control the election of our nation's leaders, the voice of the ranchers and farmers of the Mid and Far West would be lost, along with the values and virtues of the South. It would also mean the end of the 10th Amendment and state sovereignty. "

WND columnist Henry Lamb has joined those expressing concern.

"Democracy is often described as two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Democracy is mob rule. Democracy collapses when the majority discovers it can vote for itself treasure from the public coffers. Democracy is the last plateau of social order before anarchy," he has written.

"The last remaining vestige of a federal republic is the Electoral College, an ingeniously designed system to insure that small states are not overrun by large states in the election of the president. Now, there is a powerful movement afoot to bypass the Constitution, and the amendment process, and destroy the Electoral College, which would transform America into a pure democracy," he said.

"The National Popular Vote movement seeks to get legislation adopted in enough states to guarantee that the president will be the candidate who receives the majority of the popular vote, thereby nullifying the constitutionally prescribed Electoral College," he continued. "The genius of the Electoral College designed by the founders is that it provides at least a degree of check and balance against the nation being perpetually led by a president chosen by urbanites. The Electoral College requires candidates to be aware of and concerned about the desires of all states, not just the states with the largest populations.

"It is essential that the president of the United States never be the choice of one segment of the population, or a "faction," as James Madison feared. The president must represent the broadest possible range of ideas and concerns of Americans all across the varied landscape," he said.

By Bob Unrauh

You can read the entire article on World Net Daily here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Democrats New Financial Rules " No One Will Know...

"No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we've done something that has been needed for a long time."

Key House and Senate lawmakers agreed on far-reaching new financial rules early Friday after weeks of division, delay and frantic last-minute deal making. The dawn compromise set up a potential vote in both houses of Congress next week that could send the landmark legislation to President Obama by July 4.

Lawmakers pulled an all-nighter, wrapping up their work at 5:39 a.m. -- more than 20 messy, mind-numbing, exhaustive hours after they began Thursday morning.

"It's a great moment. I'm proud to have been here," said a teary-eyed Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee led the effort in the Senate.

"No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we've done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done."

Both the House and Senate must approve the compromise legislation before it can go to Obama for his signature.

FOX Nation

Friday, June 25, 2010

Economic Realities Hold Bitter Pills For Democrats and Their Unions

The economy is forcing leaders to swallow bitter pills these days.

Gov. Gregoire recently announced plans to consider major reforms to cut government costs. Unemployment, while falling, is still at 9.1 percent. The state faces a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall just months after "fixing" the last deficit.

Despite this the Washington Federation of State Employees is suing to prevent the state's plan to furlough state employees. The union argues that the furlough plan violates public employees' statutory and constitutional (hmmm....) rights.

And there you have it: the problem with public employee unions.

Regardless of the economic constraints placed upon the state the union will oppose cost-saving measures that affect the union's members.

Forget reality and forget the budget crisis.

Now,do I want to see these individuals and their families out of jobs? No,of course not. But the perverse nature of government unionization is that employees everywhere else are forced to accept economic realities while also shouldering the burden of sustaining the government union's dreamland.

by Mike Reitz

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Murray...Lack of Respect or Lockstep

by Bryan Myrick

In 2007, when Petraeus came before Congress to testify on the progress of the war in Iraq, his honest report was preceded by choreographed howling from the rabid anti-war Left.

As soldiers risked their lives executing a surge campaign that would ultimately be effective, Democrats and their allies were conducting a different kind of surge to undermine the military mission and attack leaders like Petraeus. Murray was a dutiful lieutenant in the overall effort to erode public support for the war, going so far as refusing to vote to condemn personal attacks against Petraeus.

While coordinated the anti-war media campaign – punctuated by its infamous full-page “General Betray Us” ad – Murray worked hard to make use of the negative public opinion it generated.

In September 2007, Murray and 24 other Democrats voted against an amendment to show full support for Petraeus and “condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.”

For the record, Obama did not vote on the measure. Shocking.

Murray’s upcoming vote on Obama’s appointment of Petraeus, therefore, will say a great deal about her principles. She cannot claim to have voted against supporting Petraeus simply because of who the commander-in-chief was at the time, because that truly was not the question put before the Senate.

The vote taken in 2007 was an up or down referendum on the character and fitness of the same man that stood beside Pres. Obama Tuesday morning in the White House Rose Garden, and if she saw serious deficiencies in his ability to lead at that time it is implausible that she would not find the same features in him today.

Neither can Murray claim to have changed her mind about Petraeus in light of the fact that he succeeded in radically reestablishing the kinetic advantage American-led forces had in Iraq and thus bringing greater stability to a country that had at one point been on the precipice of civil war.

The Petraeus plan was the same plan supported by Pres. George W. Bush, and admitting that Bush owns the victory in Iraq is political suicide for a Democrat.

So, will Murray risk breaking ranks with Obama on an issue in which national security is at risk? Or will she simply pull an Obama and vote “not present?”

That is within the scope of possibility, but as the Senate has a key role in foreign affairs any failure to weigh in at a critical moment for the country would be fair game in the upcoming election. The disgrace of Gen. Stanley McChrystal has become a catalyst for renewed debate concerning the Afghan mission. It will be an issue in the Senate campaign.

Whatever course Murray takes in devising a compromise between her lack of respect for Petraeus and her lockstep record of voting with Obama and her party, watching it unfold will be an old-fashioned, popcorn-eatin’ good time!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Coast Guard Halts Clean Up in Gulf

Eight days ago Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state's oil-soaked waters. At a rate of over 4000 gallons per hour crude oil was removed from the Gulf by powerful vacuums and place safely into a waiting fleet of barges...that is, until the Coast Guard came and shut them down.

So on day 59 of this disaster, with 52 mile of coastline compromised, sixteen barges with giant vacuums sat government order.

Why? The Coast Guard said they needed to confirm there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and they had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

"These barges work. You've seen them work. You've seen them suck oil out of the water," said Jindal. "The Coast Guard came and shut them down,"

After Jindal strenuously made his case, the barges finally got the go-ahead today to return to the Gulf and get back to work, after more than 24 hours of sitting idle.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Counting Words to Assess Priorities

Obama Speech Breakdown
Counting the president's words to assess his priorities

by Mark Impomeni

President Obama’s much hyped Oval Office address on the Gulf oil disaster is being roundly criticized from the left and the right as lacking in substance and leadership on the spill but full of presidential inaction on the cleanup. An analysis of the number of words the president devoted to the four general topics of the speech shows that the critics are right.

The problem seems to be in Obama’s priorities, as the word count shows. This was not a speech about the oil spill, the aftermath, or recovery in the Gulf. It was largely a sales pitch for Obama’s “green energy” agenda.

Obama spoke close to 2,700 words in his first Oval Office address, which can be separated into four broad themes: an update the oil spill and clean up efforts; the impact on the Gulf region; a history of regulatory ineffectiveness (Bush bashing); and the case for his “green energy” agenda.

Here is how the sections breakdown in words spoken on each:

• 345 words blaming Bush
• 418 words on the impact to Gulf region
• 778 words on the oilspill and cleanup efforts
• 863 words on Obama’s “green energy” agenda

Clearly, the president’s number one priority in making this speech was to make the case for his high tax, command and control, lifestyle changing, carbon regulating energy plan.

Moreover, Obama placed his 863 words on “green energy” at the end of his address. In so doing, the president organized the speech on the principles of inductive logic - in which the bad news comes first in order to soften the impact of the proposed solution.

Everything which comes before his pitch for “green energy” is properly seen, then, as support for Obama’s proposal. The crisis, the impact, the lives of those affected, all props in Obama’s drive to remake the nation’s energy policy.

Last night, Obama revealed himself to be nothing more than a snake-oil salesman. He knows that the public does not want his energy-limiting scheme, but he is determined to force it on America using the worst environmental tragedy in the nation’s history as the hook. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pay Close Attention - This One Should Be Riveting

In grocery store parking lots (and even inside Costco stores), they’re gathering signatures on initiative petitions. In county auditor offices and in Olympia, they’re signing up to run for office.

Election season has begun in Washington. And with a record number of initiatives filed, along with competitive races taking shape for seats in Congress and the Legislature, it should be fun to watch — even if you’re not one of those too-talkative political nerds people avoid at parties.

If ever there was a year to pay close attention to issues and candidates, this is it.

• A record number of initiative petitions (77) were filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. Some will spark a spirited debate: putting hard-liquor sales in private hands; legalizing marijuana; enacting an income tax on the wealthy; busting the state’s monopoly on worker’s compensation insurance; and reinstituting a supermajority requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes, to name a few.

To qualify for the November ballot, petition supporters must gather 241,153 valid voter signatures by July 2. Expect to be approached soon, if you haven’t been already.

• Patty Murray’s U.S. Senate seat, which appeared safe a few months ago, is now in play. Republican Dino Rossi’s statewide name recognition, along with an apparent anti-incumbent mood, makes this a race to watch. (We’re assuming both will advance from the Aug. 17 primary. If you disagree, we can discuss it at some social event — in an otherwise empty room.)

Every seat in the state House of Representatives is up for election, as are 25 of the 49 Senate seats. Some races will feature contests in the primary. Under the primary system approved by voters in 2004, the top-two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party preference.

Might that set up an all-Republican or all-Democrat final? Probably not in relatively moderate Snohomish County this year, but, hey, it’s possible.

Three seats on the state Supreme Court are up this year, too. Judicial races are worth paying attention to in June, July and August, because if any candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, they win the seat.

Whether you’re on the right, left, firmly in the center or hovering above the fray, this election will be worth your attention. Who knows? People might even start talking about it at parties.

HeraldNet Editorial

Monday, June 7, 2010

Candidate Filing Week Begins

The election season is officially open with the start of filing week in Washington.

Candidates headed to the secretary of state's office Monday in Olympia.

Races this year include the U.S. Senate seat held by three-term incumbent Democrat Patty Murray. All the state's congressional seats are up, including an open seat in the 3rd Congressional District in southwest Washington where Brian Baird is not seeking re-election.

All 98 state House positions are up for re-election, as are 25 state Senate seats.

Three state Supreme Court seats are also up, as well as numerous court of appeals and superior court positions.

The deadline for candidates to file is June 11. Washington's primary election is Aug. 17.


Gone..."Effective Immediately"

From FOX News: Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas announced her retirement Monday following an uproar over comments she made about Jews in Israel.

Hearst Corporation, which employed Thomas as a columnist, put out a brief story by Hearst News Service announcing the retirement "effective immediately."

The announcement came after the White House Correspondents Association decried her remarks as "indefensible" and began to consider whether Thomas should continue to have the privilege of a front-row seat in the briefing room.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called her remarks "offensive and reprehensible" on Monday, as other former White House spokesmen called for Thomas to be fired.

The announcement Monday marked an abrupt end to a career that has spanned decades.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Speaking of Obama Spending

Our national debt recently topped $13 trillion. The Washington Times crunched the numbers on Obama’s spending, and here’s what they found:

“At $13 trillion, that figure has risen by $2.4 trillion in about 500 days since President Obama took office, or an average of $4.9 billion a day. That’s almost three times the daily average of … the previous administration.”

The Stand at Ground Zero

They started showing up long before the rally began at noon today. They came from Washington state, California, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, South Carolina, Florida, and elsewhere. They were Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists, Muslims of conscience. They were lovers of freedom.

An hour before the rally began, they numbered 1,000. Zuccotti Park's owners withdrew their permit to allow us to gather there, and so the police repeatedly requested that people leave the park and move into the pens that the police had set up at Church and Liberty streets. Before noon, however, the pens were full -- and so, with free citizens having every legal right to be in the park, the park became a site for the rally.

By the time the rally was in full swing, the crowd filled the pens, the park, and the other side of the street. Police estimated that 5,000 people were there, and other estimates ranged as high as 10,000. The crowd carried signs expressing their love for freedom, their contempt for Sharia, and their anger at Islamic supremacism and insult to the memories of those murdered on 9/11 that this mosque represents.

Robert Spencer

King County Metro Drivers Enjoy the Third-Highest Wages in the Nation

Life is good for King Co. Metro drivers according to this interesting post by Erica Barnett on Publico:

New information released by King County Metro shows that Metro drivers enjoy the third-highest wages in the nation, behind only Boston and San Jose. The top wage for a driver at Metro is $28.47 an hour—higher than drivers’ wages in much more expensive cities like San Francisco ($27.92) and New York ($28).

Metro drivers have also enjoyed significant wage increases over the years, averaging a 3.9 percent annual increase since 2004. That’s significantly higher than the Consumer Price Index (inflation rate) in Seattle, which rose an average of 3.2 percent a year between 2004 and 2008 and just 0.6 percent in 2009.

Only Las Vegas transit operators, who enjoyed an average wage increase over the past five years of 4.5 percent, had a larger pay increase—and they make far less than Metro drivers, topping out at just $19.60.

Meanwhile, Metro projects a budget shortfall due to declining sales-tax revenues of $600 million over the next three years.

You can read the rest here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Time to Reclaim Self-Government from the Political Class

Richard Davis published an interesting article in yesterday's Everett Herald titled "Government by the people needs renewal" from a recent interview he conducted with pollster Scott Rasmussen. I have exerpted a section below.

In an extended essay, “In Search of Self-Governance,” Rasmussen explores the growing disaffection between the American public and the political class.

He writes, “… the gap today between Americans who want to govern themselves and politicians who want to rule over them may be as big as the gap between the colonies and England during the 18th Century.”

The divide transcends the usual political lines of demarcation.

“The American people don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or the center,” he writes. “The American people want to govern themselves.”

He reflects on the Founders’ commitment to checks and balances, consciously designed to thwart swift government action. In this way, “the Founders created a mechanism that would force society to reach a consensus before” launching major new programs. Until the recent health-care reform, that demand for consensus has largely prevailed.

Our state has even more countervailing influences built into its governing documents. We have initiative and referendum, the plural executive (nine statewide elected officials), and an elected state Supreme Court. Our founders so distrusted government that they did everything possible to render it inefficient and ineffective.

Rasmussen…encouraging more public involvement. He recommends the usual transparency fixes, like posting legislation before a vote and disclosing meetings between lawmakers and regulators. He also suggests giving the public control of the purse strings, at all levels of government.

“With today’s technology and communications capabilities,” he writes, “there is absolutely no rational reason to keep voters out of the loop on tax increases.” He similarly calls for a public vote on tax exemptions offered to individual companies. At the Research Council dinner, he went further, suggesting a national referendum on major policy measures, like health care reform.

He may be on to something. We can quibble with the details, but it’s clearly time to reclaim self-government.

Richard S. Davis, president of the Washington Research Council, writes on public policy, economics and politics.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It’s Time for Washington to Get Competitive - Yes on I-1082


Initiative 1082: The Time is Right for a Competitive Option in Workers’ Compensation

Our Costs Are Too High

■Despite a 52% decrease in on the job injuries since 1990, workers’ compensation taxes have increased more than 53% over the past ten years.
■Even though claims have decreased, the Department of Labor & Industries’ administrative costs increased 82% from 1999 – 2009 (28% in just the last year).
■A recent report from the State Auditor says workers’ comp taxes will need to be increased 33% next year to keep the system solvent.
Our System Doesn’t Work
■In Washington, the average injured worker with a time-loss claim misses 270 days of work—more than twice the national average. Oregon’s average time loss rate is about 70 days.
■WA has the highest pension rate in the nation. Pension rates have increased more than 300% since 1996.
■More than 50% of injured workers are likely to receive a lifetime pension from Washington if they’ve been off work more than two years.
■Between 2007-08 Washington pensioned 3,600 injured workers, while Oregon pensioned just 24. So, for every 1 person who received a pension in Oregon, Washington handed out 150.
■A recent report from the State Auditor says our state’s Accident Fund faces a 74.4% chance of insolvency within two years. Within five years, the chance is 90%.
Washington Is Out of Step With the Rest of the Nation
■Washington is one of only four states with a government monopoly that forbids private competition for industrial insurance coverage.
■While workers’ comp taxes are falling around the country, Washington is one of only a handful of states that increased workers’ comp taxes this year. Oregon has not increased rates in 20 years—and employers there are actually enjoying rate decreases in 2010.
■Washington has the second-highest cost per employee in the nation for workers’ compensation. We provide the third most generous benefit package in the nation. There is no such thing as a high-benefit/low-cost system.

Employers Need More Choices

Five years ago, the West Virginia legislature passed a bill to transition their government-run workers’ compensation system into a competitive market. In the one year since the privatization of WV’s workers’ comp system was fully complete, the result has been:

■The number of claims filed has decreased from 40,000 to 29,000
■Claim protests have fallen 68 percent
■The overall appeals process has been streamlined, resulting in claims disputes being resolved in a shorter period of time
■Claimants have received better claims management by claims adjusters having fewer claims to manage, and
West Virginia’s open market for workers’ comp has also resulted in:

■Overall premiums have dropped over 30%, or more than $150 million
■198 different workers’ compensation insurance companies have filed rates and forms, and 154 of those have active workers’ comp policies in the voluntary market
■More than 90% of all claims are ruled upon within 30 days.
If the goal of workers’ compensation is to assist injured workers in the best way possible while maintaining a competitive business environment, shouldn’t we look at examples where both are apparently taking place?

It’s Time for Washington to Get Competitive.