Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Moving The Electoral Goal Posts

Democrats have been bitterly disappointed by some election results over the past two decades — both nationally and in Maine, so now they want to move the goal posts. Maine Democrats were burned when they nominated a weak gubernatorial candidate in 2010 in the person of Libby Mitchell. She got only 18.8% (108,387) of the vote, while the winner, Governor Paul LePage got 37.6% (218,065). He might not have won if there weren’t a spoiler candidate named Elliot Cutler in the race who obtained 35.9% (208,270) of total votes cast. 

Mitchell, Cutler, and LePage
Cutler was an Independent but ran on a platform far to the left of Republican LePage. He supported public funding for abortion, opposed education vouchers, favored same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and amnesty for illegal aliens. If either he or Mitchell were running head-to-head against LePage, the outcome would likely have been different. 

LePage, Cutler, Michaud

In 2014, Maine Democrats nominated former congressman Mike Michaud, but again Elliot Cutler ran as an independent liberal — and again he was the spoiler drawing 8.43% ((51,405) of the vote that, if it were added to fellow liberal Mike Michaud’s 43.34% (264,369), would have put him over the top against LePage who won reelection. Democrats were furious. They hated LePage who was a fighter much like President Trump whom he endorsed for President in 2016. 

Democrats nationally never got over losing the 2000 election to George W. Bush after their candidate, Al Gore, had won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. That’s only happened five times in US History but the last two occurred in the past two decades and both times it was the Democrat candidate who was burned. The second one, as I’m sure you know, was Hillary Clinton in 2016.

After the hated Maine Governor Paul LePage’s reelection with a plurality of the vote, Democrats circulated a referendum petition for something called “Ranked Choice Voting” which passed in 2016. It was employed against Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin who won a plurality of the 2018 popular vote and thought himself the winner — but the goal posts had been moved. Voters were urged to vote for all candidates on the ballot for a particular office. They could vote for just one candidate as they always had, or they can rank their choices first, second, third, etc.

If no candidate gets a majority of first choices, the candidate with the lowest vote total is eliminated and counting starts over. If there still isn’t a candidate with a majority of first choices, the process is repeated until there is. That’s how Democrat candidate Jared Golden was declared the winner. If balloting were done as it always had been, Republican Bruce Poliquin would have won reelection.

Supporters call ranked-choice balloting an “instant run-off.” Republicans call it an instant rip-off and consider the election flawed. A real run-off, the way other states like Louisiana do it, would mean the top two vote-getters then go head-to-head in another election. That way, the candidate with the most votes would win — a process voters can support because they understand it. If Poloquin and Golden were to have gone head-to-head, the result might well have been different.

Most Mainers who hated Governor LePage also hate President Trump and would like to eliminate the electoral college process that elected him. To do that, however, requires a constitutional amendment and that’s a very difficult process. I remember former Maine US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, a Democrat, came to Fryeburg years ago and said the amendment process is intentionally difficult because our plan of government — which is what our constitution is — should never be changed without a broad, public consensus.

Article Five declares that to eliminate the electoral college, two-thirds of both houses of Congress would have to propose an amendment. Then it would have to be ratified by three-quarters of state legislatures. Democrats know there isn’t enough support for all that so, rather than follow the Constitutional process, they’re trying to circumvent it by forming something called “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact,” or NPV. According to last month’s Imprimis:

Until this year, every state that had joined NPV was heavily Democratic: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The NPV campaign has struggled to win other Democratic states: Delaware only adopted it this year and it still has not passed in Oregon (though it may soon). Following the 2018 election, Democrats came into control of both the legislatures and the governorships in the purple states of Colorado and New Mexico, which have subsequently joined NPV.

Maine Democrats almost passed a bill to join NPV but it lost narrowly last month. Had it passed, Maine would have forfeited power over its four electoral votes. They would instead have been awarded to whatever candidate won the most popular votes nationally.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Asylum Seeker Racket

It says: “Comments are disabled on some stories about sensitive topicsat the bottom of articles about hundreds of African “asylum seekers” coming into Portland, Maine on buses from San Antonio, Texas. That tells me The Portland Press Herald, Maine’s largest newspaper, knows illegal immigration is unpopular with Mainers and millions of other Americans across the country. The paper wants only its view presented and restricts opposing views.

Press Herald coverage amplifies anecdotes about the hardships endured by African families from Angola, Congo, and Cameroon who travel to Brazil, then Central America, and through Mexico to arrive at the Texas border demanding asylum. There’s no investigation, however, into who supported them on that long journey. Who paid their passage across the Atlantic? Who fed, clothed, and housed them on their months-long journey? Who told them to ask for asylum immediately after crossing the border and then ask to be bussed to Portland, Maine? Photographs of them arriving in Portland don’t depict people worn out after a harrowing journey. They’re well-dressed and some appear overweight.

A Swiss journalist named Urs Gehriger tried to interview these “asylum seekers” on the streets of San Antonio about how they got there. According to Fox News: “…he met hostility from people who didn’t want to share details about their experiences … and had rolls of $100 bills. They offered conflicting answers and contradicted each other.” They had crossed the Rio Grande illegally but immediately became “legal” after asking border officials for asylum because of the federal law congressional Democrats refuse to change. So, we can expect “asylum seekers” to just keep coming and they’re not illegal aliens; they’re “asylees.” Gehriger believes the illegals were coached on giving answers to authorities. “I had the impression that somebody told them not to speak about it,” and acting like “now we’re here, you have to help us, give us money,” he said.

Hundreds of Africans have arrived and as many as 1500 more are expected. There’s no hint in the PPH coverage about Mainers who believe Democrats support open-borders and who are unhappy about spending their tax money on people from anywhere in the world who make their way to Maine claiming “asylum.” How do “asylees” know that in little Portland, Maine they can get free food, medical care, housing, and education? When they arrive in Texas, they ask to be bussed here. Government officials in San Antonio also know Portland offers more free stuff for “asylum seekers” than almost anywhere else in the country.

When Democrats controlled Maine prior to 2012 and Portland gave illegal immigrants and “asylum seekers” General Assistance (welfare), the state reimbursed the city for 90% of it. Then former [Republican] Maine Human Services Director Mary Mayhew said in 2015: “For too long, legislators in Augusta have taken Maine citizens’ tax dollars and prioritized welfare dollars for illegal aliens over aid to elderly and disabled Maine citizens.” Former Governor LePage [also Republian] cut off state reimbursement for payments to illegal immigrants and “asylum seekers” in spite of efforts by then-Attorney General Janet Mills [a Democrat] to stop him. Now Democrats are back in control of Maine’s government and Janet Mills is governor. Expect them to restart the gravy train very soon.

It looks like Democrats are willing to pay for any number of people from anywhere in the world, yet they deny they support open borders. Yes, it’s nice to help people who are fleeing war and oppression, but is that the case with all of them? Many Mainers doubt it. Life in America is better than most places in the world and, according to a Gallup poll, a hundred fifty million more would like to come here. How many of those should we pay for? A million? Ten million? Fifty million? Ask a Democrat official and you won’t get a straight answer. Portland’s social services infrastructure cannot handle the ones we have already so local officials reach out to surrounding communities like South Portland where I’m also a taxpayer.

According to the Washington Examiner, Catholic Charities pays to bus the “asylum seekers” around the country. A ticket to New York for a family of five to seven cost $2000. Why would they do that? Is it because most of their budget comes from the federal government for resettling refugees and asylum seekers? American Catholic bishops support open borders and, according to newsmax.com: “Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services [in the USA] received $202,000,000 and $426,943,000 respectively in 2016.”

There are at least 3000 asylum seekers in Maine who wait two years for their cases to be heard by an immigration court. However, US Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan reported earlier this month that 90% of asylum seekers in the country never show up. Is that because their asylum claims are phony? After defaulting on their court appearances they all become illegal aliens again and McAleenan says very few will ever be deported.

Quite a racket, huh? Expect to read none of this in the Portland Press Herald.

Left & Right June 5, 2019

Mark Guerringue again sits in the left chair. The producer asks us both if we support President Trump's increasing tariffs on China and Mexico. I support the China tariffs but not necessarily the recent ones on Mexico. Mark questions all tariffs and thinks conservatives should too. They always did.

Mark says tariffs never worked anywhere but I point out how the US Government used tariffs almost exclusively to support itself until the Graduated income tax was enacted in the early 20th century. Mark raises history too saying that tariffs on Merino wool were a boom to sheep farmers in northern New England in the early 19th century resulting in all the stone walls through what are now woods.

I bring up historian and biographer Dave Garrow's claim that Martin Luthor King was much more of a womanizer than previously reported. He participated in orgies and witnessed a rape by a fellow minister and laughed. Mark questioned why I brought it up and I answer that it shows mainstream media's bias against stories that don't fit their left-wing narrative. Mark says it's insulting when I question the professionalism of the New York Times and others in media. We go back and forth on that for quite a while.

At about the halfway point Mark brought a print-out of my column submission to his newspaper for the week and voiced several criticisms, ultimately saying he would not run it. It pertained to the Drag Queen Story Hour due to run at the Conway Public Library later this month. I see it as a danger for drag queens who are usually homosexual men to be models for children aged 3-8 who may become confused about their own sex. Mark says I'm wrong to conflate drag queens, homosexuality, and transgenders.

I contend there's a spectrum and what is lately referred to as gender dysphoria is on it. Mark says that's just wrong and they're all separate and distinct. This discussion takes up nearly all the second half of the show and gets heated. He claims I pull people out of thin air who support my ideas.

I cite research by Lisa Littman MD of Brown University who documented a group of fourteen-year-old females that together declared they were males after showing no signs of gender dysphoria previously. Mark contends she rescinded her study but I disagreed, pointing out that the former dean of Harvard Medical School backed up the science behind Littman's study. (Later I learned that she republished the study with minor modifications but didn't change her basic claims.)

Mark suggests I'm unenlightened and need therapy because my beliefs run counter to the LGBTQ narrative. I obviously disagree and claim that whoever dares publish data or opinions contradicting that narrative is publicly vilified by the LGBTQ lobby and Littman suffered a politically-correct assault at Brown University reminiscent of fascist tactics.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Transgender Juggernaut

Last Saturday’s Conway Daily Sun reported on a “Drag Queen Story Hour” at the local public library scheduled for later this month. According to the national organization for drag queens who want to read books to children, the target demographic is children aged 3-8. Books that “may be read” include: "Jacob's New Dress" by Sarah and Ian Hoffman and "Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.” Children must be accompanied by an adult so parental permission is assumed. If that’s something to which parents want to expose their kids, so be it.

It’s hard to see this as anything but a further assault on societal sexual norms. I mean it’s not as if homosexual men are suddenly dedicated to raising literacy rates. The library program is voluntary but elementary schools are mandatory and supported by our tax dollars. Similar homosexual propaganda is endorsed by teachers’ unions and education bureaucrats at all levels and we’re paying for it.

Just before I retired from teaching, I learned that a boy in the lower grades thought he was a girl. His parents evidently believed he was and insisted that everyone at the local elementary school behave as if he were. I figured I’d be gone before he got to my classroom and wouldn’t have to deal with the situation, and that’s the way it worked out. All elementary staff used female pronouns and he used the girls’ bathroom. I don’t know how long his confusion lasted and I wondered if the parents went ahead with puberty-blocking drugs and penis amputation for him as well.

Perhaps the boy overcame his confusion. Seventy or eighty percent do according to brave psychiatrists not afraid to speak out, but when everyone with whom a sexually confused young person comes in contact cooperates with the pretense it will likely persist. I felt bad for the little boy because the rate of suicide attempts for so-called transgenders was and is higher than 40%. The LGBTQIA (and whatever other letters have added to the ever-expanding acronym) lobby insists it’s because of discrimination by people who continue to maintain that humans are male and female and cannot switch sex on a whim.

Others dispute that. According to Daniel Payne writing in the Federalist: “[I]t utterly ignores the most salient feature of transgender individuals: that they are mentally ill and need serious treatment. This is not a moral or ethical judgment. It is, rather, a fact. Individuals who believe they are a different sex than that of their biology are psychologically ill—self-evidently so—and one would quite reasonably expect a higher suicide rate from a portion of the population that suffers from so significant a mental illness (particularly a mental illness it is fashionable to indulge rather than treat).”

It was possible that a sexually confused student might transfer into my class and I resolved that I would not call her “him” or him “her” even if school authorities insisted and if I were fired I’d sue. I didn’t want to hurt the student’s feelings but I had a responsibility to other students. If I went along I’d signal that I believed it was possible to change from male to female or vice versa, and I didn’t. I wouldn’t pretend to admire the emperor’s new clothes or Morris’s tangerine dress as it were. I would resist the education Thought Police as well.

Mainstream media ignore developments counter to the LGBTQIA narrative so you’re not likely to read about so-called “transgenders” who regret their transition and seek to reverse their surgery. The Daily Wire quotes Professor Miroslav Djordjevic of Belgrade, one of the world’s leading genital reconstructive surgeons: “Definitely reversal surgery and regret in transgender persons is one of the very hot topics. Generally, we have to support all research in this field.” But universities will not fund it because it counters the LGBTQIA narrative.

Last week, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed a bill banning “conversion therapy” defined as: “any practice or treatment that seeks or claims to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” Maine therapists could lose their license if they help a child accept his/her biological sex. Canada’s Supreme Court ruled last month that a parent must allow his 14-year-old daughter to receive male hormone injections. Last year, an Ohio judge removed a female child from her parents’ custody because they refused to allow hormone injections.

Last year, Brown University Assistant Professor Lisa Littman MD published a research study on ROGD — “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” in PLOS One a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Among her findings: “Parents describe that the onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a[an adolescent female] peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe.” To this former teacher of adolescent girls, her conclusions seemed eminently plausible.

Littman was vilified by the LGBTQIA lobby for “using transphobic dogwhistles” because she pulled the rug out from under the fashionable transgender juggernaut now getting its nose in the tent of the Conway Public Library.