Tactical voting in a year of questionable Presidential candidates

Barring a miracle, the US will soon elect either the candidate of the political ruling class, or the candidate of the economic ruling class, as its President.

Each candidate was chosen based on their ability to manipulate the machinery of their political party. They were assisted by news media that sell politics as entertainment. And they were abetted by millions of Americans who, out of fear, or outrage, or exhaustion, have forgotten the concept of liberty, and why it’s important.

Okay, this is going to be a bad election. What, if anything, can we do to make it less bad?

I think this is a tactical issue. I recommend the following:

  • If you’re in a swing state, vote for Clinton.
  • Otherwise, vote for Johnson (preferably) or Stein (if you must).

Why? Because our tactics as voters should be aimed at both a short-term and a long-term goal:

  • Short-term: Trump is contrary to what America stands for. He is a strongman ruler with a weak brain and no ethics. He must be kept out of the White House, even if it means suffering under Clinton’s presidency.
  • Long-term: The two major parties need to be terrified over what they have done. One of them will win this election, but it must not be with a “mandate”. Third-party candidates need to receive a very high percentage of the popular vote, so that both the Republicans and Democrats will recognize they are not invulnerable.

 

For those of you who are still reading, let me try to justify my recommendations:

Trump

He’s bad. I don’t need to go into detail — you can find plenty on the Internet if you want. But briefly:

  • Trump intends to be boss of the US, not President. Yes, his actions are limited by the Constitution and by the other branches of government. But we know (from our experience with recent Presidents) that it’s much too easy to issue illegal or unconstitutional orders, which then take years and years to work their way to the Supreme Court and be invalidated.
  • Trump loves Putin because he adores the idea of having that much power, and Putin loves Trump because Trump will be so easy to manipulate in the interests of Russia.
  • Trump is a big fan of using the government’s powers of eminent domain for the benefit of big business, most famously in his battle with Atlantic City homeowner Vera Coking in 1993, and in his recent statements with regard to the Keystone pipeline.
  • He’s happy to mistreat entire ethnic or religious groups, based on the criminality of a small percentage. The concept of punishing the innocent along with the guilty is repugnant, cowardly, and contrary to what this country stands for.
  • He’s willing to treat Constitutionally-guaranteed rights as mere privileges to be granted or withheld at the whim of government officials — in particular, the 2nd amendment (no guns for you, if some bureaucrat or computer software puts you on the no-fly list) and the 4th amendment (warrantless search and seizure is just fine, if a cop wants to stop and frisk you).
  • Need more? Here you go: The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet

Clinton

Yeah, she’s not so great either. But I expect a Clinton presidency to be essentially Obama 2: The Sequel. We survived 8 years of Obama, we can probably survive 4 or 8 of Hillary Clinton.

But if you really think she’s the best choice, take a look here: From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer

If you are in a state where the race between Trump and Clinton is close, please vote for Clinton. Remember, your state’s Electoral College votes are winner-take-all (except in Nebraska and Maine). Don’t let Trump grab the whole basketful.

But if you’re in a “safe” state, where the winner is inevitable, I urge you to vote for your favorite third-party candidate. The Republicans and Democrats will probably remain in power for many years to come, but especially in this election, a vote for the Libertarian or Green candidate is not wasted. You want change in the major parties? How do you think they’ll react if they lose 20% of the popular vote to third parties? This isn’t an unrealistic goal.

Johnson

The news media have settled on the amusing narrative of Gary Johnson as the stoner who can’t remember “What’s Aleppo?” Fine, maybe he’s not the most articulate spokesperson the Libertarian Party has ever had. And if you’re a dedicated libertarian anarchist, he won’t pass your purity test.

But Johnson gets the concept of liberty, to a much greater degree than any other candidate. Check out his issues page. And he has relevant experience as former Governor of New Mexico (1995-2003). I’d rather see Johnson as President than any of the other candidates. For one thing, he’d be a lot more mellow.

Stein

The Green Party and Jill Stein have good intentions, I think. They recognize that there is an economic ruling class that has acquired a lot of its wealth and power by unethical means (something that the Libertarian Party really ought to say more about).

However, they want to fix this problem by handing yet more power to the political ruling class. Yes, they call it a Power to the People Plan, but socialism never works out that way in practice.

I disagree with quite a lot of what Stein proposes, but if you were a Bernie Sanders supporter, you might like her.


 

Many of you will object to my recommendations, so I’ll try to respond in advance. But first, I’d like to say a few words in praise of gridlock.

Gridlock saves us from the most extreme and partisan plans of both major parties. No legislation can get signed without compromise. This is a good thing. A tied-up government is a safer government.

There is virtually no chance of a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives after this election. The Senate is more iffy, but there’s a fair likelihood it will also remain in Republican control. This means we will be much safer with a Democrat in the White House.

“I can’t vote for Clinton because she’s a criminal.”

She probably is. Trump probably is, too. But what I’m discussing here is tactical voting — trying to get the least-bad result from this mess. And even if she’s elected, she can still be impeached. Republicans will be working 24/7 to find clear and convincing evidence for impeachment proceedings. I’ll actually be surprised if the House doesn’t vote to impeach her at some point.

But if you really can’t vote for Clinton, I think your vote will have more long-term impact if you give it to Johnson or Stein.

“I can’t vote for Clinton because she will appoint a flaming liberal to the Supreme Court.”

No she won’t. There’s no way for a nominee to get through the Senate confirmation process without bipartisan support. It only takes 41 out of the 100 senators to prolong a filibuster indefinitely.

“I actually like Trump’s proposals.”

Well, I can’t argue with that, but I do encourage you to look again. Trump supporters seem to be inspired by a vision of America as it was 60 years ago — and that vision is a fairy tale. But even if the fairy tale could come true, Trump’s plans for getting from here to there are wrongheaded. Patriotic Americans of 60 years ago would, I believe, reject Trump. The same should be true for patriotic Americans today.

“A vote for a third-party candidate is wasted.”

No, but one of the third-party candidates is wasted.

No, it’s really not, and especially not in this election. For the first time in many years, third-party candidates are likely to get a noticeable percentage of the vote. Think of this as a referendum on which direction you want the major parties to move — because they will notice that percentage, and try to attract those voters in the future.

“Government is inherently immoral, and it isn’t made moral by majority vote. I won’t participate in this. I don’t need a President.”

You’re gonna get a President anyway.

Look, I sympathize with this, strongly. For many years I followed this philosophy, and refused to vote for the lesser of two (or three or more) evils. I still do this in elections where all the candidates seem equally bad.

That’s not the situation in this Presidential election. One outcome is way worse than all the others. And that’s why I’m writing about tactical voting.

“Elections are a joke. The voters have no real control.”

A bully, armed with a baseball bat, gives you a twig to defend yourself. Do you throw the twig on the ground, or do you try to poke him in the eye with it?

“I can’t vote for Johnson. I agree with most of what he stands for, but he supports X, and that’s a deal-breaker.”

And Trump is better how exactly? We don’t even know what Trump supports from one month to the next. He will support or oppose anything if he thinks it’s in his political or financial interest. (Yes, ditto for Clinton.)

“What’s the big deal with ‘liberty’?”

Such an antique word, isn’t it? Is it obsolete? Is it just the name of a statue?

Let me quote a few more antique words:

Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance.

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, that we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time, and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.

It was by the sober sense of our citizens that we were safely and steadily conducted from monarchy to republicanism, and it is by the same agency alone we can be kept from falling back.

Thomas Jefferson was an imperfect human being, with an incomplete view of some important liberties for which, in his time, few were pressing forward. Yet he and the other founders set personal liberty as the foundation of our country and its government. We have built on this foundation by inches over the last 240 years. And the results have been pretty good. But we still have a long way to go, and we’re continuously at risk of falling back.

You really want to make America great again? Look past the slogans, the scandals, the lies, and the outrage, and focus on liberty.

Seattle can prohibit carrying a kitchen knife, but swords might be OK

Here’s a superficial article explaining a recent Washington State Supreme Court decision:

Seattle PI, 12/31/15: High court: No constitutional right to carry a knife in Seattle

Upholding a city of Seattle ban, the Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that there is no constitutional right to carry a knife.

Writing for the majority, Justice Charles Wiggins said neither the state constitution nor the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution block the city law against carrying knives. The 5-4 split decision enables local restrictions against knives that likely could not be extended to firearms.

“While almost any common object may be used as a weapon, that does not necessarily mean that possession of otherwise innocuous objects that could be wielded with malice will trigger the constitutional protections afforded to ‘arms,’” Wiggins said in the majority opinion. …

The article is accurate as far as it goes. Wayne Evans was pulled over for speeding in Seattle, admitted to the officer that he had a sheathed paring knife, and was arrested. Seattle bans the carry of all fixed-blade knives, plus all knives with a blade longer than 3½ inches. Evans appealed his conviction on 2nd Amendment grounds, and lost, because paring knives are not “arms”.

But this omits several important points. For the details, you need to read the actual Supreme Court decision:

City of Seattle v. Evans (Majority and Dissent)

Evans lost this appeal because he was unable to prove (to the satisfaction of a majority of the justices) that his paring knife was an “arm” in the 2nd Amendment sense. The majority opinion states:

…We hold that the right to bear arms protects instruments that are designed as weapons traditionally or commonly used by law abiding citizens for the lawful purpose of self-defense. …

The four dissenting justices said, basically, that’s a stupid argument, because obviously all sorts of knives have been traditionally or commonly used for self-defense, so they’re all protected by the 2nd Amendment. Unfortunately, they didn’t persuade a fifth justice to agree with them.

So, basically, Evans lost because his knife was too little.

The majority opinion makes this clear in a footnote:

…many knives banned under the Seattle ordinance may be arms deserving constitutional protection. … In a different case under appropriate facts, the ordinance’s “broad prohibition” on carrying arms for purposes of self-defense may well be constitutionally infirm. … We reserve judgment on this issue for an appropriate case.

Evans’ appeal had another flaw: he failed to argue that the Seattle ordinance was unconstitutionally broad or vague. The majority notes this in another footnote:

…Amicus curiae Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers newly raises the contention that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague and thus violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Washington Constitution, article I, section 3. But Evans never argued that the ordinance was vague, too broad, or improperly sweeps within its prohibitions innocuous objects like tools. This court “will not address arguments raised only by amicus.”…

So, although the knife ordinance remains on the books for now, the majority has provided a roadmap for challenging its constitutionality on two grounds.

Useful tools for researching whether images and videos are fake

Another viral image or video? Beyond checking Snopes, sometimes you may want to do a little investigation on your own. And this article by Pete Brown will point you at several very useful tools to help:

Six easy ways to tell if that viral story is a hoax

Here are the tools he lists (mostly posted here so I can find them myself!):

Google Images (reverse image search)

TinEye (reverse image search)

Amnesty International’s Youtube DataViewer (displays upload date/time, thumbnails, and convenient reverse image search links)

Jeffrey Friedl’s Exif Viewer (displays metadata stored by digital cameras in image files)

FotoForensics (analyzes JPG and PNG files for evidence of photoshopping)

WolframAlpha (a general-purpose knowledge search, especially useful for questions like “weather in [cityname] at [time] on [date]”, so that you can check if conditions shown in an image or video match reality)

Google Maps (especially the Street View function) and Google Earth (which offers historical imagery)

Germanwings copilot is Muslim? How a rumor spreads

On Tuesday 3/24/15, Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz apparently flew his passenger jet into the ground, killing everyone on board.

A few hours later, the anonymous owner of the St Thomas Aquinas Versus NASA blog posted this analysis:

…There is a boundary established by God that men must not pass over and that boundary is 15 cubits above the Mountain tops, or about 29,050 feet. This boundary is the same level that the waters of the deluge reached to cleanse the world of sin in the time of Noah. This 29,050 boundary is also the same level that the tower of Babel reached before God came down and paid a visit – pushing the tower over with his Finger.

This 29,050 ft boundary is the same level that the fire of the final conflagration will reached at the end of days to cleanse all the works of men, both holy and profane.

In order for the element of fire to do the will of God at the end of days – all the works of men must be at or below this 29,050 ft boundary in order to burn up in the fire of the final conflagration. …

The latest air disaster took place today when the aircraft was flying above the 29,050 foot boundary that was established by God – the boundary that man must not pass over…

Couple of things:

  • Either the Germanwings pilot is a Muslims and committed Jihad Suicide by crashing the plane into the Mountain.
  • Or the pilot (non-Muslim) was under the influence of the demons who inhabit the atmosphere above the 29,050 ft boundary.

Too impossible to believe that demons can mess with airplanes? Yea…but the lot of you fools believe in space aliens and such stupid nonsense. …

Personally I don’t find this very persuasive, but that’s just my opinion.

Two days later, the same blogger posted this follow-up: Muslim Convert Co-Pilot Andreas Günter Lubitz Committed Jihad By DELIBERATELY Slamming The Plane Into The Mountain! Murdering All On Board

…It was said that Lubitz had a Muslim girlfriend. It is unclear if she was still dating Lubitz at the time of the crash. It is unclear if he met the woman through his Muslims friends.

One said that Lubitz had broken off the relationship after he pledged to commit Jihad for Allah. …

No source is given for the above statements.

…We do know that Lubitz trained at the Lufthansa Flight Training School in Bremen, Germany.

Bremen is home to the Mosque Masjidu-l-Furqan Mosque… This Mosque was raided by the police in December 2014…

Lubitz did his time in Bremen when the Mosque was under surveillance.

During his training Lubitz took a break – a several month break:

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Germanwings parent company, said in a press conference today that Lubitz “took a break in his training six years ago. Then he did the tests (technical and psychological) again. And he was deemed 100 percent fit to fly.” “I am not able to state the reasons why he took the break for several months

I can because Lubitz converted to Islam during his break. …

That’s it. That’s the complete evidence that Lubitz is Muslim.

And that should have been the end of it — unsubstantiated speculation by a random weird blogger. Except that this latest blog post was picked up by one Michael Mannheimer, who quoted it on his personal blog on Thursday 3/26, originally at this link [dead link]. Although the post has been removed, as of right now it is still available in Google’s cache. Here is an English translation, courtesy of Google:

Copilot Airbus accident aircraft was Islam convert. He controlled the machine deliberately against the Mountain

Germany has now thanks to the converts to Islam Andreas Lubitz his own 9/11

All evidence indicates that the copilot of misfortune machine in its six-month break during his training as pilots in German Wings converted to Islam and subsequently either by the order of “radical”, ie,. devout Muslims received for carrying out this mass murder, or withdrew the order from the book of terror, the Koran, of his own accord. However, as a radical mosque in Bremen is in the center of the investigation, in which the convert was staying often, it can be assumed that he — as then Mohammed Atta in the attack against New York — received his instructions directly from the immediate vicinity of the mosque. Converts are already the most important weapon of Islam. Because of them you can either outwardly or of their resume suggests that it often is particularly violent Muslims to Muslims. Thus Germany has to be specially 9/11, albeit in a reduced form. And so it is clear that Islam is a terrorist organization that are in accordance with §129a of the Criminal Code to prohibit and to follow their supporters. But nothing will happen. One can bet that the apologists (media, politics, “Islamic Studies”) will agree to assign this act a “mentally unstable” man, and you can bet beyond that now, once again prayers like a mantra heruntergespult the mantra of supposedly peaceful Islam will. And worse still, the attacks of the mob left to those who have always warned against Islam, are angrier still be merciless. For now the German ash Islam supporters like never before with their backs to the wall.

Michael Mannheimer, 03/26/2015

***

Targeted the copilot of the German Wings Maker, Islam convert Andreas Günter Lubitz, a nuclear plant?

The wonders US website “St Thomas Aquinas Versus NASA” in her latest article today in view of the fact that all seven nuclear reactors were located within just a minute deviation from the normal route. Fact: The co-pilot steered the plane intentionally in the mountains. Its mission would be were to control the aircraft in one of the seven active nuclear reactors, which were located just minutes away from the normal route. The following Atommeiler he could meet with little effort:

Centrale Nucléaire de Cruas
Coordinates 44°37’59” N 4°45’24” E
Centrale Nucléaire de Tricastin
Coordinates 44°19’47” N 4°43’56” E
Centrale Nucléaire de Saint-Alban
Coordinates 45°24’16” N 4°45’19” E

Mannheimer’s post then quotes the St Thomas Aquinas Versus NASA blogpost “proving” that Lubitz was Muslim.

Michael Mannheimer (pseudonym — his real name is Karl-Michael Merkle) is also a writer for the German blog Politically Incorrect, which is dedicated to opposing the “Islamisation of Europe”.

Next step in the spread of this rumor (and I have to credit Jay Hathaway for this excellent bit of rumor-research): Speisa, a site specializing in outrageous news of the day — and especially anti-Muslim outrageous news — quoted Michael Mannheimer’s post, crediting him as “a writer for German PI-News”. Which makes him sound a little more impressive than a mere blogger quoting a religious nut. By this point, the original text from St Thomas Aquinas Versus NASA has been completely lost.

Next up: The Gateway Pundit:

GERMAN CO-PILOT WAS MUSLIM CONVERT – STAYED AT Bremen Mosque … A German news website claims Andreas Lubitz was a Muslim convert. …

Speisa is now upgraded to a “German news website”, and The Gateway Pundit has completely flubbed the translation, saying that Lubitz stayed at the mosque in Bremen, when the original story was only that he stayed in Bremen which had a radical mosque.

From here, the mutant story has spread across the Net just like Silly Putty spreads through your little brother’s hair when it gets too warm. (Don’t ask me how I know about this.) And it will be just as hard to remove.