2016 Presidential Election

First off, I offer my congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump. As I did with Obama, I hope that Mr. Trump has a successful presidency that benefits the United States.

I don’t particularly like Mr. Trump, but then I rather disliked all the candidates of this election cycle. I did, however, pick Trump to win the election back in March 2016. I think he won largely due to those “long political shadows” I mentioned in that post (i.e. decades of declining middle class, Mrs. Clinton’s ongoing political and legal woes, associations with unpopular organizations, individuals, and legislation, Benghazi, etc., etc.) combined with the arrogance and dismissiveness of the Democratic Party, Clinton’s election machine, and the main stream media towards Middle America.

So naturally, the public (Middle America) decided to remind everyone that they were still a force to be reckoned with.

Don’t get me wrong. Clinton won the popular vote, but lost the far more important electoral college vote to Trump. Of course this has liberals gnashing their teeth and calling it unfair. Obviously, they failed their social studies classes or need a refresher. The electoral college system has worked (and continues) to work as it was intended: to prevent a small number of highly concentrated population centers from being able to dictate to the rest of the nation by simple majority rule style democracy.

Typically, the majority vote would coincide with the electoral counts, but as we have seen in the past occasionally that is not the case. And in those cases was ultimately a result of the arrogance of the losing party thinking they could ignore certain members of the citizenry in favor of others.

Hubris was Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic Party, and the so called political elite’s analysts and polls downfall this election cycle, and I admit I am smiling from ear to ear about their comeuppance. Don’t take that to mean I’m particularly giddy about Trump and the Republicans, but they played it smart this campaign cycle being notably less presumptive about victory when dealing with the American public.

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Cecil the Lion Thoughts

It saddens me that such a magnificent animal was killed in such a terrible fashion.

Now before anyone flies off the handle, let me clear about some things. In general I support hunters and hunting, but I do so based on some principles hunters in my family have had for generations:

  1. Hunt only what you need. Do not overhunt
  2. You eat what you kill and not let go to waste the rest of the remains.
  3. Respect the animal you hunt. Do not let an animal suffer.
  4. Do not hunt endangered or near endangered animal species.
  5. No trophy hunting.

The final two principles came about in more recent years as a result of endangered species populations and a general disgust for those who hunt solely for trophies. That said, we’ll move…

I know some question the outrage over a lion’s death. Even with my opposition to trophy hunting and the hunting of endangered species in general, I too would question the outrage over killing a lion. What makes this one different for many is  what information we have at this point: Cecil was apparently lured from the preserve, by all accounts made to suffer for 40 hours from a man obviously not skilled enough to track and kill a lion properly, and the fact the hunters then attempted to destroy the collar Cecil war as part of ongoing study.

In my opinion, the group of hunters actions before, during, and after the hunt and subsequent uproar are those of poachers, not legitimate hunters and guides. So I can understand the outrage quite plainly.

My hope is those involved are prosecuted by the Zimbabwean government and that this incident inspires more people to look into ways to end trophy hunting, protect and help repopulate endangered and near endangered species, and in general look for ways to preserve our planet’s wildlife and habitats for the enjoyment of all.

Foot In Mouth: Biden on voter ID laws

Vice President Joe Biden said Republican-controlled states like Wisconsin were leading an “assault” on voting rights designed to “repress minority voting” through their passage of laws that require people to present a photo ID to vote.

Too bad Vice President Biden has no idea what he is talking about when he trots out the leftist myth that voter id laws are used to repress minorities. The leftist case against voter IDs is further undermined by the federal 2002 law, the Help America Vote Act, and numerous court cases upholding rather strict identification laws in states like Indiana. In other words, more leftist scare tactics to try to cow and control the Democratic base and stir up potential supporters/voters.

It’s rather insulting when political parties think they need to instill fear in order to get support, but sadly it is too often effective. But that is another discussion entirely.

I, my brother, and several others in my voting district were victims of voter fraud several years ago during off-year elections (i.e. midterm elections) in which others posed and voted in our stead. This of course was only discovered because when we showed up to vote, we were listed as having already voted with some scribbled signatures next to our name. We were allowed to vote on temporary ballots, but everyone knows that those never get counted unless a race is extremely tight, which is a rare event. Additionally, in later years my name showed up on petitions (that were dismissed) I did not sign.

So in effect, I was potentially, If not outright, denied my vote by someone else because no one bothered to confirm who the people voting were. This blatant voter fraud did not happen in later elections at that particular polling place as they simply demanded everyone show their state voter registration card (which everyone at the time got for free and I believe still do) or picture identification. That’s not to say there weren’t any other questionable voting practices, only that such flagrant violations were addressed.

Obviously as a result of my personal experience I am a firm believer in requiring verifiable identification in order to be allowed in elections of any sort in the United States. I believe most Americans agree with this position as well.

Do I think there is rampant voter fraud in the United States. No. Rather I think there is rampant corruption with numerous groups across the political spectrum trying to sway and steal elections in ways both obvious (intimidation, defamation/slander, judicial activism) and subtle (gerrymandering, ethno-centrist pandering, legislative maneuvering, propagandist or politically slanted “news”) to steal the voice of the legitimate voting public.

World Cup 2014 Thoughts: US Men’s Team

I have to say that I think the U.S. Men’s National Team did decently this time around in the World Cup. They still had some moments of their past mediocrity but in general they acquitted themselves well in a very competitive group. It was called the Group of Death with good reason after all. At least I didn’t have a moment as I’ve in previous World Cups where I thought the Women’s National Team would make a better showing against the other nation’s men’s teams. (Don’t think the WNT is good? Check their record compared to the MNT.)

So while still scratching my head in puzzlement over the absence of Donovan from the roster and the unfortunate injuring of Altidore I think overall the USMNT is on its way to improving it’s international competiveness. For the team they have much to look forward to in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia (if it remains there, but that furball of a mess is another issue).

For now I shall go on to supporting the remaining teams I favor: Germany and Columbia.

Arizona Lottery Looks Into Identical Tickets

Arizona lottery looks into identical tickets

Two lottery tickets bought at the same time have the same exact numbers.

Interesting and sort of funny.

I would be somewhat suspicious myself, especially since it took an individual going to the media to get any response from Arizona Lottery officials. I doubt it was anything more than a malfunction with the machine or program running the random number generator but a little more transparency by official would have been better received by the public.

As an aside, congratulations to the winners of last night’s Mega Millions jackpot.

Mega Millions Mega Madness

Although admittedly the Mega Million madness doesn’t seem too bad around here since I haven’t seen long lines, or well, lines at all for that matter. Like millions of others I decided to give it shot and bought some tickets back on Wednesday. Why not? Sure the likelihood of winning is slim to none, but it’s also a rarely large sum up for grabs, so a couple bucks spent seems okay to me.

Whoever wins (whether now or a later drawing) will definitely be set for life, so long as they don’t fall into the trap of spending it wildly. I just hope whoever wins is someone (or several someones) who really need the money. I have nothing against the well to do and rich, but I admit it rubs me the wrong way when I see such people win large prizes. It seems greedy to me.

Whoever wins, it’ll be historic. Even more so if no one wins the prize given projections for next drawing in that circumstance.

So good luck to all partaking in the madness.

Commentary: SCOTUS Starts Review of ObamaCare

Today begins the first day of the Supreme Court’s review of the challenges to ObamaCare, specifically related to the individual mandate. Once, I would have implicitly trusted that Justices of the SCOTUS to make the correct decision with regard to Constitutional matters. Recent decisions by the court such as granting corporate personhood and stripping away property rights using eminent domain for business development to name but two issues make that impossible for me now. For me the challenge to ObamaCare is not just about the personal freedom of American citizens to choose to partake (or not) in commerce but whether the Court itself is still legitimate.

Anyone who’s read this blog knows I oppose ObamaCare on a number of grounds, namely those that infringe upon personal choices, taxes, and discriminatory policies, fees, and taxes in the law that have a detrimental impact toward the poor, those with long term medical conditions, the disabled, small businesses, the self employed and contractors, the elderly, and existing government entitlement programs. However, my greatest opposition comes from the so-called mandate that requires an individual to buy health insurance or face a penalty or prison time. This brings to mind some terrifying notions and a frightening image of the law’s creator’s mindset. One, the law if it were to stand, implies that the government in the future could require any American citizen to make a purchase of a product (whether needed/wanted or not) or face legal harassment and/or punishment. Given the United State’s poor history when the government has too much power we are led to a disturbing possibility: the law effectively re-establishes the horrific and reprehensible notion that people are in fact the property of the state and said state (the Federal Government) can dictate any aspect of the “property” as it sees fit.

Overstatement? Hysterical hyperbole? Hardly. Simply look back over the past one hundred years of history alone to see how dangerous it is to allow an overarching government too much say in people’s lives, let alone healthcare. Does anyone really want to see a return to the bad old days of discrimination and marginalization of whoever the government deems unworthy? Especially with a government that has a history of favoring certain classes above all others. Perhaps I’m too independent minded and my personal experiences have made me eternally skeptical and cynical towards the Federal Government’s motives especially when they start making claims about benefiting society.

My hope is the SCOTUS will partially redeem itself (at least to me) by striking down the mandate, but we’ll simply have to wait and see. While there is much laudable about ObamaCare, there is much that is harmful. If the mandate stands, individual freedom and liberty in America will have its death knell.