Saturday, June 26, 2010

Joe Biden and the Triumph of Pessimism

Democrats simply don’t get it. They don’t comprehend that we understand  George W. Bush nearly doubled the national debt, that his Administration spent eight years of looking the other way while mortgage fraud was rampant, and that he lied us into a costly war while bungling the execution of a justifiable war.  They further don’t comprehend that we don’t care that they inherited the problem.  They wanted to take a shot at leading, and in doing so, they assumed the problems of the previous regime.  Every incoming majority assumes the problems of the previous regime, and there’s a powerful case to be made that the regulatory loosening which led to the Great Recession took place at the end of the Clinton Administration with broad bipartisan support sufficient enough to override a presidential veto.  In other words, we know that both parties on Capitol Hill bear joint responsibility for the way our economy soured.  

 

Americans don’t elect leaders to hear them make excuses.  We elect leaders to deliver results.  Real results, not the kind that rely on manipulated statistics to make it seem as though jobs are being generated when in fact the only job uptick is due to a round of Census hiring.  The kind of results in job creation that don’t rely on excluding individuals who’ve simply given up (or, as I like to put it, recognized the obvious) on looking for jobs after realizing that the economy has something along the lines of eight applicants for every available job, and many of those jobs tell people with college degrees that they’re “overqualified.”  I remember a time when a desire to work was the only qualification one needed to get a job.  

 

I played on that qualification as a twelve year old hustling yards to mow from realtors whose listings had overgrown yards.  I flipped my willingness to work for whatever was offered into gigs working for men at my church, who had fleets of trucks at their businesses which needed to be cleaned.  My dad, a supervisor at a Navy boatyard and a lay minister, managed to parlay his willingness to work into extra cash by changing the oil on those trucks while his son washed the exteriors and cleaned out the interiors.  Today’s economy is fundamentally different than it was ten years ago.  I know from personal experience.  

 

You see, when I moved back to Alabama as a college degreed individual with three years of teaching experience in two states, not to mention two gigs in retail management, it took me five months to get a job.  Not a job, really.  A part time, minimum wage, under the table gig as a guard for my future father in law’s security company.  Three months later, I attained employment in a call center.  

 

A willingness to work simply isn’t enough.  A willingness to work combined with experience and a college degree isn’t enough.  There’s a fundamental disconnect between what we’re told as children and teenagers and what we experience as adults.  It doesn’t matter if you work hard and show up on time anymore.  It doesn’t matter if you’re willing to work in the first place. 

 

If the jobs aren’t there, they aren’t there. Every bit of encouraging economic data is directly linked to artificial demand.  Declining unemployment data to a level which would indicate job creation?  Census jobs.  Rising housing starts, new and existing home sales?  Home buyer tax credit, which upon its expiration, led to a 32% decline in home sales in April.  What is more, anyone can buy a home when you give them a down payment in the form of a tax credit.  I predict a round of foreclosures related to the tax credit as buyers who didn’t have the means to buy a home without government intervention will inevitably default.  Rising manufacturing statistics?  Appliance buyer’s credit and the assistance offered to automotive buyers.  Both of these credits involved the destruction of previous appliances and automobiles.  How does one create wealth by destroying it simultaneously?  

 

The entirety of our economy is a mirage.  We have low trading volume reflecting the fact that liquidity was extended to a limited number of players in the finance sector, who used that liquidity to backstop their exposure to toxic assets and to accumulate more investments in the market.  When you insert $23.7 trillion liquidity and guarantees into a market, you can nearly double your market in 14 months.  It’s simple mathematics. 

 

What is more, when your ostensible justification in putting out $23.7 trillion in liquidity and guarantees is to bolster a mortgage market whose sum total between its residential and commercial sectors was a mere $21 trillion, you’ve over spent by almost $3 trillion at least. What is all the more galling is that the entire mortgage market was not underwater.  For the $23.7 trillion in liquidity we issued to allegedly backstop the mortgage market, we could have paid off the national debt and had over $10 trillion to spare.  

 

It is granted that the entire $23.7 trillion was not entirely liquid, as part of that total consisted of guarantees.  But the reality of the matter is this: whatever you guarantee with public credit is the total amount you free up for investment by the private sector whose players no longer have to hold back that amount as capitalization.  In a very real sense, then, while you did not issue $23.7 trillion in total liquidity, your guaranteeing of certain amounts of debt or liability freed up actual existing liquidity for investment which would otherwise have been held back to hedge against potential losses.  The freed up liquidity was not invested in the traditional sense, it was instead used to speculate in the market, which skyrocketed to nearly double its previous lows.  

 

Say what you will about all of this, the Democrats have done nothing substantive to move away from the practices which led us to the current debacle.  Financial reform, like healthcare reform, isn’t about reforming anything.  It’s about preserving the status quo for the future despite a long track record of failure which requires government intervention around twice a decade.  Business as usual is the end to which reform by the Democrats works.  

 

So while they admittedly inherited problems from the previous administration, they’re doing their damnedest to ensure that those problems can arise in the future.  After all, government bailouts are extremely lucrative to private industry.  Who wouldn’t want a $23.7 trillion safety net to invest in speculative endeavors?  

 

This brings me to Vice President Joe Biden, who went out this week to state that the eight million jobs vaporized in the Great Recession will not be coming back.  Aim low, Joe.  It’s the only way to avoid the disappointments of the past which arose when you highballed the jobs numbers associated with the stimulus.  

 

While Obama campaigned on any number of promises, he’s ruled in a manner which testifies to his honest intention to betray each and every one of those promises.  A public option?  Sacrificed to bring insurance lobbyists to the table, and what a table it was: they wrote the reform bill, and ensured that their industry would be exempted from free market competition by preserving the anti-trust exemption for their companies.  Transparency?  Obama’s minions have taken down websites and information on those websites which they deemed too transparent for comfort.  Limiting executive power by repealing torture and closing down a system of secret prisons?  Not so much. Guantanamo still rolls on, and our President notified Congress that he now claims the power to execute American citizens without due process or judicial review if he deems them to be associated with terrorist groups. 

 

Obama looked upon his inheritance insofar as executive power was concerned as a mere starting point.  He’s been building on it ever since.  In the Senate, Joe Lieberman and John McCain are busy crafting the Enemy Belligerents Act, which would criminalize political dissent.  The inheritance isn’t a problem in that it presents any obstacles, it’s a problem because it didn’t contain within it the power to execute individuals arbitrarily without due process or review.  It didn’t legislate speech sufficiently by criminalizing dissent.  

 

One wonders if the members of our Congress and their peers over at the White House comprehend that the monstrosities they are creating will one day be used against them.  Imagine the shock when power shifts and the ability to classify and define speech as criminal shifts as well.  What a shock it will be when Joe Lieberman and others find themselves detained indefinitely without trial or representation under the auspices of the very laws they created years before.Like Dr. Frankenstein, they will find themselves undone by their own creation.    

 

The triumph of pessimism is this: we elected hope and change, and all we received was more of the same.  In point of fact, it’s worse now than it was.  Our President has the audacity to claim the ability to kill Americans without due process or review.  The reform we’ve seen thus far guarantees nothing but a continuation of the very worst qualities of our insurance system, and our financial sector, and an expansion of both to expose more people to liability and loss.  Whom do we have on the horizon?  Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Jeb Bush.  Do we really want any of those individuals running for President?  

 

The Democrats have to deal with something even more unpalatable: the prospect of running a re-elect Obama campaign after a period in which the U.S. economy has not and will not recover due to the idiotic approach offered by the very triumvirate of individuals who created the conditions for economic collapse in the Clinton Administration: Summers, Rubin, and Geithner.  Then there’s Ben Bernanke over at the Federal Reserve, whose hindsight is 20/20 and whose foresight is 20/400.  Build the man a time machine and he might be worth something as a central banker. Otherwise, don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed.  

 

Let us all entertain the option that Obama may be forced to resign due to political fratricide in which the members of his own party seek to salvage their prospects by jettisoning his.  At the present rate, it’s an entirely realistic assumption that Democrats may seek to turn Obama into the second coming of Lyndon Baines Johnson.  The truly deplorable state of American politics is this: is there anyone who could do any better than Obama, or is it that they couldn’t possibly do any worse?  Therein lies the key to the triumph of pessimism.  

Posted via email from momus1978's posterous

Monday, June 21, 2010

Statism and Myth as a Tool of Survival and Perpetuation Part VII: The State and the Law

 

Statism and Myth as a Tool of Survival and Perpetuation Part VII: The State and the Law

 

“Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.”

 

- John Adams, letter to George Wythe

 

There are reasons why we impose limitations upon the state. We recognize that the natural inclination of statists, or of those individuals who seek power through positions within the statist bureaucracy, is to arrogate greater power unto themselves for the purpose of perpetuating their own authority and expanding that authority. The great flaw within America, indeed within many states, is the assumption by citizens that the state will observe the limitations upon its own power.  The state inevitably evolves a wanton disregard for the very laws it is supposed to uphold.  What is more, the state’s disregard for the law extends to the drafting of new laws which erode the original limitations placed upon the state’s power at the direct expense and to the exclusion of the original liberties retained by individuals.  

 

Our error was in assuming that government was good, that order flows from government rather than from the notion of the people represented by a government.  The people hold certain beliefs and expectations about the sort of order they wish to promote within their society, and they establish institutions and bureaucracies to enforce that order.  Order does not flow from these institutions and their bureaucracies; they arise out of the necessity that individuals arranging a society have for a practical means of enforcing the type of order they wish to have for themselves.  

 

The failure to recognize this elemental reality is the direct outgrowth of positivism, which insists upon the state as the origin of rights and order and denies that individuals possess innate rights and dignity apart from the acknowledgement of the state. This positivist outlook stems from the notion of William the Conqueror that all land in England belonged to the King and could be parceled out by the King to his supporters as he saw fit.  In this way, the sovereign maintained fealty and established the idea that all real power flowed from his grant alone.  

 

This model was documented in the Domesday Book, which detailed William’s confiscation of all property and his subsequent doling out of that property by grant until the natives were dispossessed of land and therefore any mode of power from which to challenge William’s rule.  Economic empowerment, or ownership, is the only form of power that matters in this world.  Free and open societies built upon the notion of individual rights and power apart from the state recognize this, and a hallmark of statist tyranny is the erosion of individual ownership, which is a direct assault on individual power.  This view of power being linked to ownership is clearly borne out by the fact that rights were linked directly to ownership in William’s world. 

 

It is also borne out by the fact that owning land was the basis of suffrage in the earliest days of our own republic, a reality which continued up until the age of Andrew Jackson and into the 1840s.  This evolved over time into a tax requirement, where any man of a certain age who paid taxes of a minimum standard was entitled to vote, but neither the property ownership nor the taxation standard came to an end until 1850 and 1855, respectively.  Suffrage was limited rather than universal until 1855 based on these standards, a historical fact which eludes the awareness and comprehension of most individuals today, who have been indoctrinated in the idea that our forefathers fought against England in part under the cry of “No taxation without representation!”  

 

Moreover, the absurdity of the arrangements was captured by the following quote from Benjamin Franklin: 

 

“Today a man owns a jackass worth fifty dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. The man in the meantime has become more experienced, his knowledge of the principles of government, and his acquaintance with mankind, are more extensive, and he is therefore better qualified to make a proper selection of rulers – but the jackass is dead and the man cannot vote. Now gentlemen, pray inform me, in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or in the jackass?”

 

The echo of these struggles and arguments over suffrage is today heard anew in the cry by some modern figures that individuals who have votes should not based on the fact that they do not pay taxes.  Which taxes do they not pay? Income taxes? The fact is that every individual in this country pays taxes in some form or another. Even if an individual was to be personally exempted from sales and excise taxes, he or she would still pay the indirect tax associated with corporate income taxes, which are inevitably externalized by businesses onto workers in the form of lower wages and customers in the form of higher prices.  Since workers tend to be customers, this odious tax in particular tends to be a double tax, much like those wealthy advocates of repealing capital gains taxes tend to portray their tax burden given that their dividends were taxed once as a corporate profit and taxed again as capital gain.  

 

The idea that individuals do not pay taxes and therefore should be stripped of their right to vote is therefore absurd. The pernicious reality of our tax code and our entire system of taxation is that it is ubiquitous and pervasive in our society. No one can avoid it in its entirety.  They can minimize their obligation, they can even evade their obligation through illegal means, but they cannot avoid taxation entirely.  

 

The implications of this outlook are quite troubling and even enraging when one encounters the methodology of such an outlook in application.  In Macomb County, Michigan, the chairman of the Republican Party in that county, a man by the name of James Carabelli used foreclosure lists to challenge the right of individuals to vote in the 2008 elections on the grounds that people whose names appeared on the list were not “true residents of the city or township” in which they were voting (http://michiganmessenger.com/4076/lose-your-house-lose-your-vote).  

 

Michigan state law allows for election challenges at the polls on such grounds, but the reality of a foreclosure list is as follows: if your name is on it, you have not necessarily lost residency, you have merely been served notice that your home has been entered into foreclosure proceedings.  To a statist, however, the idea is to strip individuals who might vote a certain of their power to do so utilizing any available means.  In this way the law is used to subvert the very freedom and equality of application it is supposed to exist to uphold.  What is more, the sorts of loans which typically defaulted in Macomb County were subprime loans, loans which were made overwhelmingly to African-American voters at a rate of over 60%.  

 

Considering that those loans were made by banks whose political interest lies in promoting a certain form of political outcome which favors their outcome above those of the voter, and you can see that subprime loans, which hold the highest rate of default, are potentially part of a concerted overall effort to preserve an order by which certain groups are denied the power of representation and any real chance of financial emancipation with which to reply against those who traditionally oppose their political and financial empowerment on the grounds that such empowerment would be mutually exclusive to banks and the interests they represent.  That’s the conspiratorial view, and while it may not be entirely true, it is a convenient outcome, all in all, for the banks and the political interests they have traditionally aligned themselves with, which include pro-business Republicans and Democrats, who will not have to worry about electoral challenges to their continued dominance at the polls.  

 

Incumbency has been remarkably successful over the past 47 years.  In that time frame, the rate of reelection in the House of Representatives has never dipped below 85%, and only five times has it dipped below 90%. In every way imaginable, this has been due to an order which has been systematically advanced by incumbents and the interests they represent, those of their campaign contributors. The natural consequences of this order have been the evolution of methodologies to rob individuals of their right to vote through the exploitation of legal technicalities and gray areas, because doing so would prevent any electoral possibility that a plurality of votes might be cast for candidates who would then challenge that order and its benefits for banks and large corporations. This is why we have bailouts and deregulation efforts which lead to market implosion and the need for bailouts.  

 

As you can see, from a strategic vantage point, it is quite within the interests of certain groups and businesses to adopt strategies which constrict suffrage rather than ensuring the access of all people to an equal vote.  Conversely, as individuals on the receiving end of such injustice and subterfuge evolve their responses to this lawlessness, we see the net end of such efforts: lawlessness begets lawlessness.  In Port Chester, New York, the idea of one man, one vote became a mockery when a judge ordered that individuals be given six votes to cast in an election for trustees to ensure the desired outcome of a Hispanic candidate being elected to office (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/15/politics/main6585088.shtml).  Then again, given that the alternative is an environment in which caging lists of felons with names similar to law abiding citizens are utilized to challenge the rights of the unconvicted to vote, or foreclosure lists being utilized to challenge the right to vote on the grounds of legal residency, one can see how we might have arrived at such absurdities.  

 

The abuse is not confined to either Republican or Democrats.  It is bipartisan, it is ugly, and it is destabilizing our society by constricting the very right which lies at the heart of our republic: the right of the people to select the representatives who will govern on their behalf.  What is so troubling about the Port Chester example is that while half the population is Hispanic in a town of 28,000 people, the federal judge in the case decided that Hispanics voting for whites was an unfair and wholly unacceptable explanation for the fact that no Hispanic had ever been elected to the trustee position.  

 

Additionally, the non-profit organization FairVote noted that cumulative voting, as the six vote per person practice was called, would enable “a political minority to gain representation if it organizes and focuses its voting strength on specific candidates.”  You don’t say.  In a town where half the population is Hispanic, the notion that Hispanics could not mobilize on their own to elect a candidate based solely upon his or her Hispanic race was apparently incomprehensible to FairVote and the federal judge who order six votes per voter.  

 

At the heart of our democratic republic is the notion that individuals should not base their vote or their treatment of their fellow citizens on race. The fact that this clearly occurred in Port Chester was not indicative of any success to FairVote and the judge, it was instead an indication that individuals weren’t polarized enough on the basis of race to make their votes contingent upon a candidate’s racial classification.  Enter the order of a federal judge and the consulting prowess of FairVote.   

 

Here are the facts of Port Chester, New York: it’s a town of roughly 28,000 people, where just 25 percent of those eligible to vote do so during elections.  46% of the population is Hispanic, but many of those within the Hispanic population are ineligible to vote due to the following reasons: 

 

  1. They aren’t citizens. 
  2. They aren’t old enough to legally vote, a fact that ought to be evident when 10% of the votes cast in a school board district election are from individuals of Hispanic background while 70% of the students within the Port Chester school system are Hispanic.  
  3. They don’t bother registering to vote, and the politically active component within their own community has been miserably inadequate at organizing its own for such purposes.  

 

What is more, the at-large voting for the mayoral  race, which did not rely upon cumulative voting, produced a Hispanic mayor named Dennis Pilla.  Clearly, Hispanics are capable of putting a Hispanic candidate into office in an at large election, except for the fact that Dennis Pilla received votes from whites and blacks as well. He was elected by a democratic majority which contained people of all walks of life and many different racial backgrounds.  

 

In the at large election for Port Chester Board of Education, where individuals could vote for two candidates from the slate of four, Blanca Lopez was elected with just 24% of the total vote in an election where just 172 votes came from Hispanic individuals according to the sign in sheets (http://www.westmorenews.com/docs/20090626/ExhibitB.pdf).  The 790 votes received by Ms. Lopez would, if the entire 172 votes cast by Hispanics went to her at least in part (given the ability of each voter to select two candidates), her support was far and away drawn from non-Hispanic voters to the tune of 618 votes.  What this means is that she received at least 359% more votes from individuals of non-Hispanic backgrounds, assuming that the entire Hispanic vote was cast for her in the election!  In all likelihood, the Hispanic vote was not uniformly cast for one candidate, which would mean that even more of her votes came from non-Hispanics.  My God! The bigotry of those who would vote for someone outside of their own race is all the more evident and overwhelming!

 

To put forth a 46% Hispanic population statistic as though it is proof of racial prejudice in electoral outcomes when that population is made up of a large section of individuals who are either too young to vote or ineligible to vote by virtue of their lack of citizenship is patently misleading.  It’s actually blatantly dishonest.  It invites the expectation that a demographic of 46% should expect a 46% influence at the polls; when by common sense and basic reality, the demographic in question cannot expect such a proportionate influence due to the ineligibility of non-citizens to vote and the fact that individuals below 18 years of age cannot vote, which basically wipes out the idea of some disproportionate injustice between 10% of the vote being Hispanic in a district where 70% of the students are Hispanic.  It’s a false initial premise, and those who make such arguments are well aware of their disingenuous game. 

 

But let’s entertain the notion put forth by advocates of cumulative voting: let’s take those 172 votes by individuals of Hispanic descent and multiply them by six: 1,032 votes!  It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have six times the votes, isn’t it?  Amazing, indeed, especially when on considers that the trend among white voters would be to divvy up their votes among various candidates, as it was during the Blanca Lopez election, where 1792 people voted and just 172 of those individuals were Hispanic.  As you can see, the arithmetic clearly indicates just how disproportionate cumulative voting could for those 172 Hispanics in an at large election where their votes were concentrated behind one candidate.  Far from eliminating racial polarization in elections, cumulative voting would cement such voting trends by ingraining within an electorate a sense of the efficacy of such racially concentrated voting strategies.  If such strategies were extended beyond elections for office to elections on spending referendums, the implications could be staggering to consider for the pocketbooks of individuals.  

 

But the court went further: “In sum, it is clear to this Court that Hispanic voters and non-Hispanic voters in Port Chester prefer different candidates, and that non-Hispanic voters generally vote as a bloc to defeat Hispanic-preferred candidates.” You don’t say. The court recognized in its bench decision the following realities: 

 

  1. The citizen voting age population of Port Chester was just 13,990 in the Census of 2000, with a demographic division of 65.5% non-Hispanic white, 21.9% Hispanic, and 8.9% black.  
  2. The United States’ own expert witness in the case, Dr. Andrew Beveridge, estimated Port Chester’s citizen voting age population as of July 2006 at 14,259, with 27.5% of that number estimated to be Hispanic (United States of America vs. Village of Port Chester 06 Civ. 15173 SCR).  

 

In such a voting demographic, it is entirely plausible that Hispanics would face an uphill battle in an at large election even with full registration and participation, neither of which could be plausibly argued given the documented failure of Hispanics to register and participate in elections.  For that matter, the overall population had a participation rate of just 25%!   

 

What is more, the idea that the court could say with certainty that the intent of white voters was to vote against Hispanic candidates solely on the criteria of race alone is not only farcical, it assigns to the court powers of telepathy by which it could communicate with the white voters of Port Chester and read their innermost motivations and deepest, darkest prejudices.    

 

The election of Blanca Lopez proves not only that significant crossover occurred from white voters who voted for a Hispanic, it also establishes a trend among Hispanics to avoid voting, given that the sign-in sheets indicate that only 172 voters were of Hispanic descent.  Put simply, though 27.5% of the citizen voting age population in Port Chester is Hispanic, which would give the Hispanic community 3,921 eligible voters, only 172 bothered to show up to vote in an election where one of their own was attempting to gain a seat on the Board of Education.  That’s a 4.39% turnout. Perhaps the problem is not racism, but rather apathy among the Hispanic voter population.  

 

However, it’s only the first part of the above paragraph that matters.  The crossover among white voters must have been overwhelming, given the fact that the votes of non-Hispanics constituted at least 618 of Blanca Lopez’s 790 votes in her successful candidacy for the Board of Education.  You see, the Supreme Court has ruled that white bloc voting cannot be reasonably said to have occurred when 20% or greater crossover in elections has occurred.  That is, when 20% or more of the white population has voted for someone outside of their own race, it’s an indicator to the Supreme Court that their motivation in voting was not racism.  We could argue about that 20% being indicative of racism or other criteria, but for the purposes of brevity, we won’t examine the absurdity of that standard.  We’ll simply say that by the Supreme Court’s own standard to measure bloc voting, bloc voting along racial lines clearly doesn’t occur in Port Chester, which means that Judge Robinson ought to have disposed of cumulative voting and dismissed the notion that racism was to blame for the low proportion of Hispanics attaining election to the Board of Trustees, especially given that in another at large election where no such cumulative measures were undertaken, a Hispanic was elected to the mayor’s office.  

 

In fact, the attorney for Port Chester, Anthony Piscione, petitioned for the abandonment of the cumulative solution on these very grounds.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kennedy’s response?  Due to the fact that fewer than 10% of the overall voters were Hispanic in a school district where 70% of the students are Hispanic, injustice is still present.  The intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking.  Because the school district is comprised of a 70% demographic ineligible to vote by their race, and over 95% of the eligible Hispanic voters did not bother to show up to vote, Port Chester is a hotbed of inequality requiring federal intervention in their electoral process.  What absurdity. 

 

The reality is this: Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kennedy and FairVote don’t particularly care to acknowledge that their claims are not based on fact at all.  They don’t care to acknowledge that Hispanics are not elected in Port Chester because only a paltry 4.39% of those eligible to vote bother doing so, or to acknowledge that if the full 3,921 Hispanics eligible to vote in Port Chester turned out to vote, they would have swamped the polls and elected whoever they pleased to the two open seats on the Board of Education.  That’s because of the 1792 votes cast in the election, just 1620 were cast by non-Hispanic whites and blacks. If just half of the eligible Hispanic vote had bothered to show up and vote in unison, they would have crushed their white and black neighbors at the polls by a full 340 votes.  

 

The problem among Hispanics in Port Chester isn’t racist oppression. It’s a crushing oppression of their own devising that we know as apathy.  They simply don’t give a damn about the political process, but they bitch about it after the fact as though they were disenfranchised when in reality, they didn’t even bother to show up and vote in the first place.  By court precedent, the well over 40% crossover which occurred in the school board election and the at-large election of a Hispanic mayor ought to suffice to prove that there was no violation of the Voting Rights Act afoot which explained the lack of Hispanic representation.  In fact, by the 20% standard established by the Supreme Court, it absolutely obviates the allegations of racially based bloc voting.  The simple reality was then and still is that Hispanics have rights which they do not bother to exercise with any great enthusiasm or consistency in the elections of Port Chester.  This tendency unites them with their white and black neighbors, given Port Chester’s stellar electoral turnout of a whopping 25%.  

 

It is overwhelmingly tragic that we have jurists on the bench at the federal level who are apparently incapable of exercising common sense to cut through the nonsense logic offered up by liberals who seek to rescue the electoral system by subverting it altogether as an answer to a problem which arguably doesn’t exist in many of the cases that such advocates bring before our courts.  

 

But it is more than that: it is the idea that a court could accuse individuals of the same color who vote for another individual of the same color of racism if a certain percentage of the overall population of the color in question does not vote for an individual of a different color.  In short, the court decides what your motivation is, and if your motivation isn’t pure and good according to a court, then you and your community may face cumulative voting or some other such scheme as a court-ordered remedy to the perceived racism lying at the heart of your motivation in voting for an individual of your own race. There is something pernicious about this idea, something deeply wrong.  

 

A judge who has never met the voters in question, or lived among the community whose members will be subjected to whatever injunctive relief he orders, can arbitrarily order that community and its individuals members to adopt a solution he decrees as adequate, or he can deny them the ability to hold elections altogether in order to coerce them.  That’s what happened in Port Chester.  The judge stayed elections for the Board of Trustees over a three year period until Port Chester’s government finally arrived at a cumulative voting solution which lined up with his estimation of how things ought to be.  

 

You can either vote in the way that produces an outcome which conforms to a judge’s expectation, or you can lose the right to even hold an election.  That’s the reality of Port Chester and the precedent it sets for America. Tyranny advances in incremental steps, slowly and steadily and insidiously moving forward until the day arrives where your vote is measured for its racial significance by a judge who doesn’t even know you or live in your community, where you and your peers are compelled to vote for someone of a different race regardless of their qualifications just to achieve some measure of legitimacy in the eyes of a judge you didn’t get to elect, who knows little if anything about your neighbors beyond census statistics, and the selective excerpting of the very worst examples of behavior within your community.  That’s what you and yours are judged for: the selective excerpting and sampling of statistics, which is misleading at best and downright fraudulent at worst.  

 

That’s why the government in its pleadings before a federal district judge has routinely sought to present a proportionate representation argument by utilizing the argument that while 46% of the overall population is Hispanic, no Hispanic has ever achieved electoral success for the Board of Trustees in Port Chester.  Of course, the fact that only 21.9% of the overall population are citizens of voting age, and of that proportion, a paltry 5-10% even bother to vote in elections where Hispanic candidates are on the slate of candidates is irrelevant to the government and the judge.  Injustice is present! It must be rooted out and deracinated!  

 

The government responds to the idea that a Hispanic achieved election in an at-large election to the Board of Education with the response that while 70% of the student population is Hispanic, just 24% of the overall vote went to the Hispanic winner of the election in question.  When 70% of the student population is Hispanic and a Hispanic achieves 24% of the vote to win elective office, nothing is established other than the obvious fact that 70% of the student body is below voting age and therefore one could not reasonably expect a Hispanic candidate to receive anywhere near 70% of the vote, especially when the voting age Hispanic citizens of precinct in question comprise 21.9% of the population in question according to the Census and 27% of the population according the government’s own expert witness.  As it stands, the Hispanic receive either 2% more of the vote that one could reasonably expect her to receive if in fact voting age citizens of Hispanic descent voted as a bloc for her, or she received 3% less of the expected vote if you were to go by the government’s estimate of the Hispanic citizen voting age population.  Damn those disloyal Chicanos who voted for a white candidate! Don’t they understand the importance of the Board of Education seat for la raza?

 

But when you factor in that just 172 of her votes could have come from individuals of Hispanic descent if one counts the sign in sheet evidence (and admittedly, given the tendency of white patriarchal imperialists to intermarry with Latinas, there might have been some Latinas on the sign in sheet with Anglo surnames, along with some Anglo blondes whose surnames were Hispanic due to their intermarriage with a Julio or a Miguel) that means that a a full 618 of her votes potentially came from non-Hispanics, or Hispanics and whites so non-racist as to be okay with miscegenation and intermarriage!  What, exactly, does the federal government think is afoot in Port Chester?  The fact that one or two candidates have circulated literature with borderline racist appeals in past elections is apparently grounds for a massive and costly federal intervention in the elections of a town of under 30,000 people, who were sacked with the cost of a voter education program costing some $300,000 as part of the federal remedy!  

 

This is the pernicious and evil coercion that a state run by ideologues of varying persuasions produces: if the electoral outcome doesn’t conform to their ideological notions of what ought to occur, all of the above-listed factors which might suffice to serve as an explanation contradicting the assumption of racism on the part of voters are disregarded.  Every selective excerpt, every selective sampling, and every patently dishonest argument thereof is put forth as clear evidence of racism or injustice to justify centralized remedies from the federal level. If those remedies aren’t accepted with open arms by the municipality or local government in question, well, then, they won’t be allowed to hold elections at all for their Board of Trustees until they get it through their thick heads that they are racist and come up with a solution which will produce the result desired by ideologues who achieve through litigation what they could not achieve through democratic process: racial polarization, demagoguery, and the electoral success thereof.  

 

The argument employed by the government about cumulative voting is this: Port Chester came up with the solution on its own and submitted it to the federal judge, who then approved it! Cumulative voting wasn’t a federal idea; it was the idea of Port Chester’s government and citizens!  Yes, after you denied them to right to even hold elections for the Board of Trustees three times, they bent to your will and arrived at the solution you wanted.  In the interregnum, they also elected a Hispanic mayor and a Hispanic candidate to their Board of Education.  That wasn’t enough for Assistant U.S. District Attorney David Kennedy.  No, no, no...he had to see a vote percentage for the Hispanic candidate in line with the school population in an at large election with four candidates where just 1,792 of the eligible voters bothered to show up to the polls, and where the rules of the election gave those voters the option of selecting the two candidates they liked most.  The top two vote getters were selected to the Board of Education.  

 

Despite the fact that according to the sign-totals, under 5% of the Hispanics eligible to vote did so, David Kennedy was unimpressed by the fact that even with all 172 votes going to Blanca Lopez, 618 whites and blacks would have had to vote for her in order for her to reach her cumulative total!  This racial crossover, while meeting the arbitrary standard of more than 20% established by the Supreme Court in a separate case, did not suffice to pass muster with David Kennedy.  No, Blanca Lopez, while receiving a vote percentage equal to or just under the proportionate level of voting age citizens who were Hispanic, did not receive 70% of the vote, which was in line with student population of the school system she sought to oversee.  Despite the fact that the student population couldn’t vote due to age restrictions, David Kennedy apparently thinks that they are underrepresented because in a community where 21.9-27% of the eligible voters are Hispanic, the Hispanic candidate received only 24% of the votes cast to win her seat.  He therefore petitioned the court to continue tyrannizing Port Chester’s voting process.  

 

It doesn’t matter whether the ethnicity of the vote is proportionate to the candidate’s ethnicity.  What matters is getting candidates of color into elected office using any and all means possible.  That’s the bare knuckle reality of the injunctive relief of Port Chester and the cumulative voting which was its outgrowth.  Let’s say that all of the eligible Hispanics show up to vote, while trends hold at 25% for the white and black communities of Port Chester.  In a town of under 30,000 people, 3,921 Hispanics could outvote whites number 2,654 by a tally of 23,526 to 15,924 utilizing cumulative voting if they voted as a bloc.  That’s the power of race in voting, and that’s the end result desired by racial fanatics who seek to subvert the principle of one man, one vote to arrive at a notion of brown man six votes, white man six votes in a population where both sides are apathetic but an outside pressure which radicalizes one portion of the population can produce racially based outcomes which were the ostensible factor the courts sought to eliminate in the first place.  Far from eliminating racist bloc voting, the individuals who support such machinations hope to cement such disdainful motivations into our electoral process for all time.  If just 2,655 Hispanics show up to an election and vote as a bloc against white candidates with cumulative voting, they can outvote the 25% of the white demographic which tends to show up to the polls in Port Chester.  What is more, their overall tally would exceed the white vote by six. In at large election where individuals have the ability to divvy up their votes among candidates, it is conceivable that Hispanics who organized to strategically cast their votes could produce an all Hispanic outcome.  That’s racial bloc voting, to the exclusion of candidates who are black or white, but if it were to occur, does anyone seriously believe that David Kennedy or FairVote would be spewing invective over the travesty which would have occurred?  

 

And let’s view what the section of the Voting Rights Act in question actually says, because that’s the section the judge in the case held was violated by the at-large Board of Trustee elections in Port Chester: 

 

Sec. 1973 Denial or abridgement of right to vote on account of race or color through voting qualifications or prerequisites; establishment of violation

(a) No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision in a manner which results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 1973b(f)(2) of this title, as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

  1. A violation of subsection (a) of this section is established if, based on the totality of circumstances, it is shown that the political processes leading to nomination or election in the State or political subdivision are not equally open to participation by members of a class of citizens protected by subsection (a) of this section in that its members have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice. The extent to which members of a protected class have been elected to office in the State or political subdivision is one circumstance which may be considered: Provided, That nothing in this section establishes a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population.

 

Section 4(f) is also relevant: 

 

(f) Congressional findings of voting discrimination against language minorities; prohibition of English-only elections; other remedial measures

(1) The Congress finds that voting discrimination against citizens of language minorities is pervasive and national in scope. Such minority citizens are from environments in which the dominant language is other than English. In addition they have been denied equal educational opportunities by State and local governments, resulting in severe disabilities and continuing illiteracy in the English language. The Congress further finds that, where State and local officials conduct elections only in English, language minority citizens are excluded from participating in the electoral process. In many areas of the country, this exclusion is aggravated by acts of physical, economic, and political intimidation. The Congress declares that, in order to enforce the guarantees of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, it is necessary to eliminate such discrimination by prohibiting English-only elections, and by prescribing other remedial devices.

(2) No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote because he is a member of a language minority group.

(3) In addition to the meaning given the term under subsection (c) of this section, the term "test or device" shall also mean any practice or requirement by which any State or political subdivision provided any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, only in the English language, where the Director of the Census determines that more than five per centum of the citizens of voting age residing in such State or political subdivision are members of a single language minority. With respect to subsection (b) of this section, the term "test or device", as defined in this subsection, shall be employed only in making the determinations under the third sentence of that subsection.

(4) Whenever any State or political subdivision subject to the prohibitions of the second sentence of subsection (a) of this section provides any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, it shall provide them in the language of the applicable language minority group as well as in the English language: Provided, That where the language of the applicable minority group is oral or unwritten or in the case of Alaskan Natives and American Indians, if the predominate language is historically unwritten, the State or political subdivision is only required to furnish oral instructions, assistance, or other information relating to registration and voting.

 

 

Let’s begin our examination by calling your attention to the end of first excerpt in Sec. 1973(b): “That nothing in this section establishes a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population.”  Nothing in this section establishes the right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population.  Yet that is precisely the grounds upon which the plaintiffs in the Port Chester case (the United States Federal Government and a previous loser in the Board of Trustee election named Cesar Ruiz) rested their complaint: no Hispanic was elected to the Board of Trustees despite the large proportion of Hispanics in Port Chester to the overall population.  The government sought injunctive relief precisely to achieve a more racially proportionate representation in government, which the very law the government appeals to as the basis for injunctive relief denies is a right of any protected minority language class!  

 

Now, as to the purpose of the sections in question, it was as follows: to prevent elections from being conducted solely in English, so as to exclude individual citizens whose mastery of English didn’t meet their native language proficiency from making an informed vote.  That’s all well and good, and let’s review the complaint of the federal government to see if Port Chester sought to conduct English only elections in order to exclude Hispanics from making an informed vote.  But first, let’s see the different between Blanca Lopez’s name on a ballot in English and a Blanca Lopez’s name on a ballot in Espanol: 

Espanol:  English:

 

Blanca Lopez Blanca Lopez

 

Wait. They’re the same! Hispanics can make an informed vote for a Hispanic candidate!  You see, Spanish and English have very similar script in their alphabets. There are just two differences: ll and ñ.  So let’s take a look at how an English only ballot might mislead Hispanic voters if, say, candidate Miguel Nuñez’s name was misspelled.  

 

Espanol:  English:

 

Miguel Nuñez Miguel Nunez

 

One can easily see how Hispanic individuals might mistake Miguel Nunez for an Anglo candidate and decide against casting their vote for him.  After all, they want someone of their own race to represent them, someone who identifies with their issues and their unique experiences and struggles as a minority class within the bosom of oppression which transliterates ñ to n and makes them feel as though even their alphabet isn’t respected.  

 

But I digress: the issue is whether or not Port Chester attempted to conduct English only balloting in its elections to the detriment of Hispanic candidates.  Wait, it isn’t. As the Brennan Center for Justice notes, the issue was the “dilution” or “abridgment” of the Hispanic community’s right to vote.  The complainants in the case, Cesar Ruiz and the United States of America, acknowledged racial bloc voting on the part of Hispanic voters: 

 

11. Ethnically and racially polarized voting patterns prevail in elections for the Port Chester Board of Trustees as well as in elections for other local offices.

 

12.  Hispanic voters almost always vote cohesively for the candidate they prefer, and the white majority usually votes sufficiently as a bloc to defeat the Hispanic candidate.  

 

- http://brennan.3cdn.net/7b33ee60f30bd8d37c_wrm6b9pyk.pdf

 

The problem wasn’t racially motivated bloc voting, it was that one race wasn’t winning through racial bloc voting while the other was.  That’s the Department of 

Justice’s logic: as long as the minority engages in a documented history of voting for minority only candidates, it’s perfectly fine.  It’s not racism when you vote for someone of your own color or racial identification exclusively so long as you’re a minority and they’re a minority, but if you’re a majority, it’s an evil to vote for someone of your own color regardless of qualification.  

 

The goal of the Justice Department isn’t to eliminate racism as a motivation in voting; it is to favor one form of racial motivation over another to ensure a particular electoral outcome.  In other words, rigging a vote to ensure that someone of color achieves election.  If a government agency did this to ensure an outcome for a white candidate, we would be screaming about the injustice of such practices. Before you scoff, consider the words of Judge Stephen C. Robinson in this case: “..but it occurs to me that in 10 years, when I’ll still be here, God willing, that the very people who were upset about this system that is currently in place may wish for it, and those that are fighting for the system to remain intact will be glad that it didn’t.  Because I think very soon those numbers are going to cross in a way, the trends show that those numbers will cross in a way that an at-large voting system will actually work to the detriment of the white population.  Not part of my ruling. Not part of why I ruled. Just my observation, but I find it fascinating...(Transcript, March 8, 2007, pg. 29 line 8- pg. 30 line 7).”  

 

There’s only one problem: white people aren’t a protected language minority under the Voting Rights Act under any available precedent or interpretation.  As soon as the number crossing that Judge Robinson notes occurs, it is almost guaranteed that if cumulative voting is still in effect, there will be court challenges by FairVote and other organizations like FairVote to remove the injunctive remedy of cumulative voting in order to preserve an outright Hispanic majoritarian advantage.  That’s reality.  

 

Furthermore, the reality of Port Chester is this: dilution of the Hispanic vote did not occur because of the structure of an at-large election for the Board of Trustees, it occurred because Hispanics traditionally did not register to vote and did not vote even if they were registered.  It’s called apathy, and there is no protection in the Voting Rights Act from apathy amongst your own kind for a protected minority language group.  Nonetheless, if you can get the Department of Justice to take up your cause, you can force a municipality to choose between its ability to hold elections for open positions and the remedy you see to coercively impose. That’s statism: the law doesn’t matter.  It’s twisted and selectively applied to produce outcomes, until the law is no longer an agent of justice or equality, but a perverted instrument whereby inequality can be implemented by the injunctive order of a judge who lays siege to a municipality or state level government until they capitulate to his will and the will of the plaintiffs in a case.  Otherwise, they can’t hold elections, elected positions go unfilled, and the administrative duties of a government aren’t discharged. The people aren’t represented at all by a government which is render effectively incapable of filling elected seats due to a judge’s order which stays any election until a city government surrenders.  And it will, because eventually, the city government won’t be able to discharge city business.  

 

This isn’t democracy. It isn’t justice. It’s not a republic. It’s rule by fiat and judicial obstruction.  Anyone who can litigate can impose an effective paralysis upon a municipal or state government, thereby laying siege which only ends when they get their way apart in spite of the fact that they cannot demonstrate a systemic bias within the electoral process which would justify their challenge to that process.  In spite of the fact that ample evidence existed which would have thoroughly refuted and contradicted the baseless claim of the plaintiffs in the Port Chester case that the Hispanic vote was diluted by the government of Port Chester, evidence which clearly explained why a 46% population of Hispanics could not expect 46% representation due to the fact that only 22% of the population was eligible to vote, and of that eligible proportion, there were more than a few individuals who had not even bothered to register to vote; Judge Stephen C. Robinson persisted in seeking to implement injunctive relief in the form of cumulative voting.  What is more, his motivation in doing so was clearly aligned with an extralegal outcome: the ensuring that minority class would achieve representation proportionate to their percentage of the population.  The Voting Rights Act explicitly states that nothing within its sections shall be construed to establish such a right for minority classes!  

 

Nevertheless, the establishment of just an ideal in action was what the plaintiffs were seeking, and after extorting cumulative action as a solution out of the government of Port Chester by denying the people of Port Chester their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote for their elected representatives to the point where offices lay vacant and city business could not be performed as a practical matter, the court pretended as though all was fine and normal.  After all, cumulative voting can’t be all bad: they do it in Europe, and other judges have implemented it elsewhere.  What is more, the people of Chilton County, Alabama use cumulative voting to select their school board.  If the people of a city, county, or state decide of their own volition apart from any coercion by the state to arrive at cumulative action as their own freely chosen destination, they are free to do so.  But if they do so after being denied their constitutionally guaranteed right to choose officeholders for an extended period of time, their consent is coerced rather than free, and it is thus illegitimate.  

 

Statists regard the law in a two-fold manner: if it enables their claim of greater power, and does not obstruct their arrogation of such, the law is perfectly fine.  If the law interferes with a desired ideological outcome, it can be disregarded, or even grossly perverted in its application or interpretation to arrive at the desired outcome in question.  The law thus becomes an enabler not of uniformity or equality in a society, it  becomes the means by which special classes of people are established, and their prerogatives are raised to a level which excludes or reduces the claim of other classes to equal treatment before the law by those vested with the sacred task of enforcing that law.  Far from binding us together according to our common interests, the law becomes an enabler of tyranny, a sword to be deployed by partisans and ideologues against their enemies, real and perceived.  The law divides the house rather than uniting it, and only a tyrannical military or police apparatus can prevent the house from splitting altogether by coercing those who rightly seek to leave such a coercive arrangement by compelling them with force or threats to stay against their own interest. This is why statism must be fought at all turns from within and without: it prevents men from organizing according to their own interests if those interests conflict with the interests of the state.  

 

As I noted in an earlier section, the acknowledgment of the common interests of men who seek to organize into a society is the only reason for the state to exist. When the state becomes exclusionary to those interests and ends for a portion of its population, and their grievance is legitimately based on the complaint that the state no longer acknowledges them as equal before the law but rather relegates them to an inferior status, those men and women have just cause to seek redress by leaving the state.  To suggest that they cannot is to fall back on the notion that their privately held property is a grant of the state, much in the same way that the Domesday Book catalogued William the Conqueror’s appropriation of property and his subsequent doling out of property.  Men can and should own property apart from the state, and the state’s role in private property is simple: protection of private property from threat by a commonly funded police and military apparatus, depending upon whether or not the threat is domestic or foreign; and the documentation and enforcement of titles and contracts arising out of property claims for the purposes of order and a clear provenance. 

 

Our forefathers did not fight against one sovereign’s claim of such prerogatives only to exchange his claim for that of another later sovereign who would tyrannize their descendants.  They fought, and later generations have also fought, for the notion of the individual as a sovereign and the state as the servant of his sovereign prerogative to pursue his life, his liberty, and his happiness according to his own self-determination. A state which seeks to coerce individuals to act against these ends by various forms of aggression and force, whether physical or by the order of the law, has ceased to retain its claim to legitimacy in our system of governance.  It can be rightfully withdrawn from or even abolished by men seeking to assert their prerogatives as sovereigns who rightly recognize that their government no longer represents them as equals on even par with their fellow man, but instead establishes a system whereby some men are more equal than others.  We have reached a point of decision in this country, and the apathy which so many in Port Chester have chosen is not a viable option: if we would be free, we must cast off the state and choose whether or not to erect a new state in its place or to go forth in some new and unprecedented manner.  

 

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