About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Scrutinizing Claims Of Racism Leveled Against Donald Trump

"Has nothing to do with anything except common sense. You know, we have to stop being so politically correct in this country. And we need a little more common sense.  And I'm not blaming. I'm proud of my heritage, we're all proud of our heritage. But I want to build a wall. Now, the Hispanics, many of them like what I'm saying. They're here legally. They don't want people coming and taking their jobs and taking their house and everything else. They don't want that." – from one of Donald Trump's many interviews earlier this month in which the media focused on Trump's comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel's perceived inability to preside fairly over the civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University.  Trump cited "an absolute conflict" in the case on the judge's part because of the judge's Mexican heritage which Trump felt would have a natural opposition to Trump's campaign stance against illegal immigration & Trump's pledge to build a wall "between here & Mexico."
Trump's recent remarks, some of which are above, saying a judge presiding over a lawsuit involving one of Trump's businesses was biased because of the judge's Mexican heritage is "the textbook definition of a racist comment." – House Speaker Paul Ryan ripping into Trump's above statement.  Ryan went on – "I disavow these comments.  Claiming a person can't do the job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.  I think that should be absolutely disavowed.  It's absolutely unacceptable."  Ryan was joined in this opinion by Republicans Mitch McConnell (KY), Mark Kirk (IL), Jeff Flake (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Rob Portman (OH), Jeb Bush, & Newt Gingrich.
"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences our gender & national origins may & will make a difference in our judging . . . I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." - Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaking in 2001 @ Berkeley College when she was a judge of the U.S. Court Of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in August 2009 & was the first justice of Hispanic heritage, the first Latina, & its third female justice.  Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate 68 to 31 despite a litany of similar comments like the ones above indicating a problem with her being able to live up to her oaths of office to impartially discharge all of her duties in supporting & defending the Constitution of the U.S. 
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The purpose of this post is to scrutinize the positions of news reporters, politicians like Paul Ryan, & Supreme Court justices – especially as they relate to claims of racism leveled against Donald Trump.  It is not to go over the merits of the Trump University case other than to say that Trump is a man of tremendous accomplishment whose instinct is to naturally protect his business interests.
Ryan's quotation & just about all of the news reporters have had a field day calling Trump racist over his remarks about Judge Curiel.  Since the race card is played just about every day – & most of us are sick & tired of it – it is important to remember that racism is quite often not involved in what is called racism by the media & race hustlers like Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton.
Racism is defined as
1) The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races, &
2) prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.
The common thread in both definitions is that racists think their race is superior to another's & of course Trump's comments have never portrayed this sentiment about Judge Curiel or anyone else.  Trump says it is just common sense & inherently obvious to think this judge will not favor him in the referenced case – Trump does not say that the judge is incapable of presiding over the case because his Mexican heritage in & of itself is the basis of an inferior intellect, which would be a racist comment.
But Ryan's above comments, & just about every Democrat speaking about anything remotely close to the race topic, are known in the political world as identity politics - they are examples of pandering to interest groups that have been identified as being beneficial to their political careers – @ our expense of course. 
Identity politics has been around since the 1970s – they are political arguments that are designed to win the approval of groups with which some people identify – in this case Ryan & the Republicans are pathetically trying to appeal to Hispanics by pretending to identify with Hispanics' perceived point of view regarding this judge, who most Hispanics never heard of.  But it is just enough for Ryan to know that Judge Curiel is Hispanic & any comment concerning his heritage must be racist.
So in considering whether Trump is right or wrong concerning this judge of Mexican heritage please look @ the ruling earlier this month of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals that determined, by an 11 to 7 margin, that Americans have no Second Amendment rights to carry concealed guns in public.  My point is not to analyze the merits or lack thereof of the case but to highlight that the decision was 11 to 7.  What is it that made these supposed learned legal authorities differ so greatly on their legal opinions in the case if not for heritage, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, or identity.
But the judiciary problem gets worse & more obviously biased when you consider the Supreme Court where we have come to talk about the liberal justices & the conservative justices who all take an oath to judge impartially in accordance with the Constitution but split along these conservative-liberal lines.  There are four justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, & Sotomayor) who consistently vote liberal, two justices [Thomas & Alito (& Scalia before his death in February)] who consistently vote conservative, & two justices (Roberts & Kennedy) who are swing justices who vote whichever way the wind blows that day making up law as they go along.
Consider the results of two cases decided by the Supreme Court this past week.
In the first case the Supreme Court, in a split 4-4 decision, rejected BO's executive actions that completely bypassed Congress in expanding executive authority regarding the granting of amnesty to over 4 million illegal aliens.  The case provides a lesson in 8th grade civics involving the separation of powers of the three branches of the federal government - specifically that Congress is the branch that writes laws not the executive branch.  The question as it pertains to this post is why in the world was the decision not 8 to 0?  Based on this ruling that found half the justices on the Supreme Court could not render a decision without drawing on some ulterior motive
it is not unreasonable to think that a judge of Mexican heritage who was born in Indiana might not rule in favor of a man who wants to build a wall on the United States southern border with Mexico paying for the wall.
In the second case the Supreme Court, in a 4 to 3 decision (Kagan recused herself), voted to uphold racial preferences in admissions to UT @ Austin.  Talk about racism.  The only embarrassment greater than the Supreme Court's voting record is that the American people let the politicians, including the justices, get away with it.  In this current case the wind blew Kennedy to overturn his opinion of a 2013 case (Fisher v. UT @ Austin) by opining that university admissions are defined by "intangible qualities. . .which make for greatness" not the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.  Abigail Fisher, the white student who was denied admission to UT Austin because she was not Black or Hispanic, said "I am disappointed that the Supreme Court ruled that students applying to the University of Texas can be treated differently because of their race or ethnicity."  But returning to the point of this post – how unreasonable is Trump in thinking he will not get a fair shake from Judge Curiel based on the results of another high profile case that ruled in racism's favor by the highest court in the land?
Now the above quotations from Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor don't just illustrate the liberal-conservative divide in the American judiciary system highlighted in the examples above – when there should be no such divide in a blind justice system – but they prove Trump's concern about Judge Curiel's Mexican heritage is well founded.
Trump's contribution to America as President will be to do away with the political correctness that doesn't allow the country to see right from wrong – buffaloed by claims of racism like in the flawed, inaccurate, mistaken, bogus, groundless, ill-founded, & unsupported Mexican heritage judge matter - not just in the judicial system, but 1) in reversing the policy of anchor babies' claim to birthright citizenship that if not reversed will overrun the country with the poorest, least educated, & lowest skilled people, 2) in defunding sanctuary cities that
assist & relieve illegal aliens by providing welfare to people who are dangerous to all Americans like the man who killed Kate Steinle in San Francisco, 3) in limiting the immigration & migration of Syrian & Iraqi refugees who could have significant portions of their populations that are Islamic fascists who want to do Americans harm, & 4) in
enforcing existing immigration laws & establishing borders for our country.
The above issues are the bedrock issues that supersede the importance of policies or programs of any candidate regarding economics, tax reform, deficit reduction, jobs creation, or national defense because without corrections to these issues we really don't have a country – which is the path BO has put us on & Hillary Clinton is only too happy to follow suite.
One more thing regarding Sonia Sotomayor.
Earlier this past week the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 3 in the Utah v. Strieff case that Edward Strieff had been properly arrested when stopped by a police officer on drug use suspicion.  After the officer ran an identity check on Mr. Strieff he discovered a traffic warrant for Mr. Strieff's arrest & accordingly arrested him – not because of the drug use suspicion that Mr. Strieff was stopped for but because of the traffic warrant.  Sotomayor wrote one of two dissenting opinions & true to her previous statements highlighted hereinbefore brought racial politics into her opinion.  Although Mr. Strieff is white & the case had nothing to do with race Sotomayor managed to write "it is no secret that people of color are disproportionately victims of this type of scrutiny."
Now just imagine the next President nominating several Supreme Court justices who intentionally disregard the Constitution & issue decisions like those highlighted above – something that Carol imagines all the time.  Just try to imagine what America would look like with six or seven of the nine justices being like Sonia Sotomayor? 
Donald Trump also imagined this when he said "The executive amnesty from President Obama wiped away the immigration rules written by Congress, giving work permits & entitlement benefits to people illegally in this country.  This split decision also makes clear what is @ stake in November.  The election, & the Supreme Court appointments that come with it will decide whether or not we have a border &, hence a country."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Solutions - Challenge Quiz

Congratulations to everyone who responded to the subject quiz.  The comments show that those readers who responded enjoyed the quiz whether they got the correct answer or not.  There were five correct answers.  Click on Challenge Quiz & go to comments @ the end of the post to see all of the responses I posted, including the correct answers.
I love reading the way people approach these problems – I always learn so much as did the long time subscriber who wrote "Please send me the answer - thanks so much!  Wish I could have gotten into this one, has to be solved with algebra for me, but I don't remember how!!"
I learned more from that comment than any other.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Challenge Quiz

Although the outcome of the last quiz (4 sample practice questions from the 2015 standardized Scholastic Aptitude Test [SAT] – click on SAT Practice Quiz) was only one responder getting both math problems correct I know that people really like quizzes – about as much as I like "Man on the Street" interviews.
Below is the latest math challenge quiz from The Little Book Of Big Mind Benders
I will post all correct answers on RTE or will send the answer to anyone who requests it if no one gets the answer right.  In responding please include your reasoning or explain how you got your answer.
Challenge Quiz:
Zane is older than Mabel, & both have two-digit ages.  Zane's age is the same as Mabel's age backward, & Mabel's age doubled is within a year of Zane's age.  Without using trial & error - how old is Zane?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Narrow Republican Path To The Presidency

"We have to get together as a party because it is a tougher road to the presidency for the Republicans." - Donald Trump speaking @ the California GOP convention April 29
This post will show just how hard it is for a Republican to win the presidency.
click on graphic to enlarge
The above electoral college map shows the Democrat Party advantage & accordingly the low statistical level of confidence that any Republican presidential candidate has of winning the presidency in 2016 – almost none.  The Democrat candidate starts with a virtual certainty of 242 electoral votes & quite possibly 257 – it takes only 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.  Of the original seventeen Republican candidates for president only Trump had a chance to win the presidency from the get go.  The other sixteen surely would have followed the path of Dole, McCain, & Romney – just not enough pizzazz for the modern day voter. 
Now Hillary Clinton is the rottenest candidate imaginable but she has the advantages highlighted herein (so does any Democrat replacement should Hillary drop out of the race for  mishandling classified information, but I present this post as if Hillary is the Democrat nominee).
The electorate of 2012 was 54% women – a repeat of which favors Democrats regardless of their candidate.  See graphic below that shows a further shift in Democrats favor. 
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Party registration favors Democrats – see graphic below.
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The above three structural advantages of Democrats – electoral college, women favoring Democrat candidates, & party registration – give any Democrat candidate a good head start over their Republican counterpart in any presidential election year but the overwhelming concept favoring Democrats is the Death Of Democracy advantage meaning, quite simply, that once voters in a democracy realize they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury they will continue to vote for candidates who promise the most benefits until the democracy collapses due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

Democrats mastered this government dependence technique decades ago & Republicans follow suit so that we really have no significant fiscal difference or distinction between the two major parties – in fact we have one big government party with a Democrat wing & a Republican wing.  The country is in the apathy to dependence stage ready to move to the dependence back into bondage stage.


So the 2016 presidential election will not be about Iran nuclear agreements, transgender bathrooms, alleged police abuse, reducing the deficit, Hillary's $225,000 speeches @ Goldman Sachs, or filling Supreme Court vacancies.  And it will only be about jobs, jobs, jobs if Trump can catch the interest of enough people who can still relate to the principles of the founding of this nation.  Otherwise it will be about continuing the government dependence that BO centers his life around. 


See graph below that shows 71.3% of the total federal budget is dedicated to payments to individuals.  You can follow the Death of Democracy right up the curve – below 20% in 1953, 28% in 1966, 66% in 2010, & 71.3% today.


  click on graph to enlarge


The government has brainwashed far too many people to think they don't have to take care of themselves.  In 2011 I posted the stats that some 50.5 million Americans were on Medicaid, 46.5 million are on Medicare, 52 million on Social Security, 5 million on SSI, 7.5 million on unemployment insurance, & 44.6 million on food stamps & other nutrition programs.  Some 24 million get the earned-income tax credit, a cash supplement.  This is a lot of momentum toward government dependence & accordingly voting for people who will continue the government programs - & it has only gotten worse since these statistics were compiled because the employment situation continues to deteriorate – where else can people turn other than to the government?  ObamaCare will further swell the Medicaid, unemployment (& SSI by extension), & EITC numbers.  Premiums for ObamaCare are 75% paid for (subsidized) by taxpayers so when you hear of the large ObamaCare premium increases understand that the beneficiaries are only paying a quarter of those premium increases.  ObamaCare enrollees find ObamaCare affordable because they are not paying for most of it – a political winner.  Of course they are also finding out they are not getting much for their money with high deductibles that keep medical service out of reach – an ultimate loser.


Trump is aware of all of the above (& more below) but felt his initial working class message of restoring jobs & focusing on energy, trade, & immigration will put NY (29), PA (20), & MI (16) in play for a total of 65 electoral votes no other Republican could ever count on.  Trump also feels he would win the battleground states of OH (18) & FL (29) for a total of 47 electoral votes.  Winning these five states goes a long way in making the race competitive.


Trump has expanded his above initial five state strategy into an undefined fifteen state plan (17 by my count) to include in addition to the above five states CA (55), AZ (11), NV (6), CO (9), MN (10), WI (10), IA (6), IL (20), VA (13), NC (15), NH (4), & ME (4).  Watch where he campaigns.


If Trump holds the 121 virtual certain GOP electoral votes (see map @ top), plus the 85 near certain electoral votes, & wins these 17 states it will be a landslide in his favor & a mandate for his policies.  If Trump's priorities are doing away with political correctness – eliminate the fallacious destructive anchor baby claim to birthright citizenship, settle the incompatible relationship of Muslims following Sharia law & taking a U.S. citizenship oath, end sanctuary cities, & restore the enforcement of immigration laws – there will start to be a change in the ruinous mindset that has a suffocating strangle hold on America.


Another factor favoring Trump, @ least on the surface, is that since 1996 seven to ten states each cycle were decided by two points or less of the nationwide vote & since 1988 approximately 100 electoral votes per cycle were determined within two points of the nationwide vote – see graphs below.


click on graph to enlarge


I say "on the surface" because the trends away from Republicans increase every election cycle – e.g., Hispanics voting strength in every swing state – NV, NC, VA, FL, CO – has grown since 2008.  The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 27.3 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote in 2016 thereby making up 12% of the electorate, an increase from 10% of the electorate in 2012.  Trump thinks he will do well with Hispanics but none of the polls bear this out yet.  See graphs below for historic details – Romney wound up with 27% of the Hispanic vote, a figure virtually ensuring defeat of the entire election.  In the meantime the percentage of whites continues to decrease by about 2% per election cycle as shown below.


click on graphics to enlarge


No Republican has carried MI, PA, or WI in a presidential election since the 1980s.  BO carried MI in 2012 by nearly 10 points, WI by 7, & PA by 5 or about 300,000 votes in PA.  Ohio, where Republicans won by 3 points offered the region's only close contest.  Source WSJ 5/17.


The recent poll that showed Trump competitive in FL, OH, & PA was a Quinnipiac University poll – the least accurate pollster during the primaries & in this case they did not use a distribution that was reflective of the % of blacks who voted in 2012.  Of course Trump would do well with this inaccurate distribution.


Trump has energized the Republican primary voting base that was up 64% through the Indiana primary (from four years ago) after which Cruz & Kasich dropped out & Trump became the presumptive nominee - 25.1 million Republicans voted in primaries in 2016 compared to 15.3 million in 2012.  Voting in Democrat primaries is down to 21.6 million in 2016 from 26.1 million in 2008 - the June 7 primaries in CA & NJ are not included & neither are ballots cast in either party in states that held caucuses or conventions.


NY's Republican primary turnout was up 430% from 2012, CT's more than 250%, RI's 320%, & PA's 97% – source Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm.  White voters have accounted for 90% of the Republican primary electorate & 62% for Democrats.  1964 was the last time a majority of whites voted Democrat in a presidential race.


Hillary has to overcome the difficulty of Democrats trying to win 3 straight presidential elections – only once, in 1988, has it been done in the last sixty years & this was aided by Reagan's 63% approval rating his last year in office.  But BO realizes this also & has pushed his cabinet members to face any bad news while he appears above the fray.  And it is working – BO's approval rating has climbed to 50% - higher than the 47% average for presidents at this point in their final year in office - a good sign for Hillary.  This high rating occurs while 70% of the nation thinks we are on the wrong track & the Atlantic magazine reports that almost half of adults said they didn't have the money to pay for an emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing. 


  click on graph to enlarge


When Hillary beat Sanders in the Iowa caucuses by 42 points 55% of the voters said they wanted the next president to follow BO's policies.  Nationwide the share of Democrats supporting a continuation of BO's policies is 61%.  Source – William Galston writing in the WSJ on February 3, 2016.


Further, 72% of MS & 52% of MI primary voters said they wanted the next president to continue BO's policies with 20% in MS, 29% in MI, 49% in VT, & 42% in NH wanting the next president to pursue an even more liberal course than BO has – according to exit polls.


Accordingly, if BO keeps his approval rating in the 50% range it is a positive for Hillary.  BO is a master politician, a master community organizer, & just may pull off the trifecta.


Trump feels he can win over a significant number of Sanders supporters, especially millenials, after Bernie finally drops out of the presidential race – but this is another long shot.  Although both Trump & Sanders are considered political outsiders they come @ things as polar opposites.  In the simplest terms Trump supporters want less government involvement in their lives while Sanders supporters want as much free government stuff imaginable. 


Millenials now make up the largest percentage share of voters – 69.7 million millenials edges out 69.2 million baby boomers – each about 31% of the electorate.  The difference is that turnout of millenials in 2012 was 46% compared to 69% of baby boomers.  Source: Pew Research Center.


A May WSJ/NBC News poll found that 32% of millenials would vote for Trump & 55% would vote for Hillary – a tightening from earlier in the year.  In 2012 Hispanic millenials favored BO 74% to 23%. 


In the fall of 2016, 60% of the voting age population will vote - it was 54.9% in 2012 (235.2 million voting age population & 129.2 million voted = 54.9% turnout).  Three times in the last six presidential elections the voting age population exceeded the actual vote cast by more than 100 million people meaning that the president is actually elected by about 27% of the people eligible to vote.  See graph below for 2008 presidential election – notice from far left set of bars that women vote substantially more than men.


click on graph to enlarge


In 2012 former Congressman Allen West reports that over 30 million Christians did not vote – about 8 million were registered but did not vote & the rest weren't even registered. Trump, like Cruz previously, plans to get these people to the polls.  But not only Republicans are planning to increase turnout – Democrats have been doing this for all of BO's years as a national figure & now the Libertarian Party, with their ticket of Gary Johnson & Bill Weld, also are working for a large turnout improvement.  California alone has increased registration of Democrats nearly 1.5 million since January 1 – a 218% increase compared to 2012.


These trade offs will abound in 2016.  As mentioned above the white vote has decreased about 2% each election cycle since 2004.  Over 2 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008 census data indicate.  As Trump campaigns to draw out record numbers of whites (while they still exist) the other side of the coin is that Hispanics, Blacks, other minorities, & women may very well also vote in higher percentages.  Republican pollster Whit Ayres reports that if Trump does not improve on Romney's pitiful 17% share of nonwhite voters that he will have to win 65% of white voters to be victorious – a percentage last received by Reagan in 1984.  In 2012 Romney won 59% of the white vote & lost to BO by 4%. 


Democrats have a much more diverse & growing electorate to draw upon – see graph below.


click on graph to enlarge
In summary, Trump has a narrow path to the presidency with all of the many factors described above in play.  But the Death Of Democracy factor is the largest one & goes a long way to explain BO's reelection in 2012 – people want free government stuff.  Trump's difficulty regarding this principle is found in the WSJ/NBC poll where only 38% of respondents wanted him to "protect what has made America great" while 58% want the next president to "focus on progress & help move America forward."
Democrats have an undeniable advantage in any presidential election, winning the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections with an ever increasing control of the growing nonwhite voting block, but Hillary Clinton's rotten candidacy gives any one a chance.  Neil King, the top polling analyst I know of, reports that if Hillary wins all of the swing states that BO controlled in 2012 but Trump sweeps PA, OH, MI, & WI – very close to Trump's initial strategy – Trump will wind up with exactly 270 electoral votes. 
Indeed, a very narrow path to the presidency.