Wednesday, November 14, 2012

TheSkepticalHeretic needs more cowbell

Today I will be responding to and debunking some of the statements made by Skeptical Heritic. He was one of the people who chose to criticize me for my video encouraging people not to vote third party. That particular video also linked to my blog where I made my case for why I thought Romney was the best choice for President. The link to that blog is HERE.

Lets take this point by point.

Point 1.
Yes my definition of voting for third party candidate for President working is getting a third party candidate in the White House. The topic of my video was the Presidential Election and because of the Electoral College and how it is currently set up, a Third Party candidate can not win. As far as making my voice heard or making political impact that doesn't happen when the last time a third party candidate won an Electoral Vote was in 1972 and in 1976 and that was because of one of the Electors going against the wishes of the voters. Fun fact, the Elector in the 1972 election was from Virginia and cast cast his vote for someone who wasn't even on the Virgina Ballot. FYI didn't TheSkepticalHeritic say this does not happen at 0:46 and at of this video. Yet it did. You can read about it HERE.

Point 2.
You actually have to kind of facepalm when TheSkepticalHeritc rejects my example of Ross Perot as the most successful third party candidate in recent history and instead counters with the Election of 1912. I swear I am not making this up. According to TheSkepticalHeritic 100 years is recent history. Let me give you an idea of how far back this was. This was before the 17th amendment to the constitution was ratified and made it possible for voters to elect their Senators. To TheSkepticalHeritic a lot has changed in the last 100 years and yes while we do have names such as Theodore Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln to point to, this was back when we couldn't vote for Senators and other old laws that have since changed.

Point 3
Ross Perot not a spoiler in the election. It can not be disputed that almost 2/3 of the country voted against the winner. Or specifically 57 percent. Clinton won with 43% of the popular vote, Bush got 37 and Perot got 19 percent. In his re-election Clinton only got 49%. In both cases third party candidate Ross Perot who IS the most successful third party candidate in RECENT history got zero electoral votes. This is crucial to the point I was making. In the current system we have now, not what we had 100 years ago, third party candidates can not win unless we rely on Electors voting against the will of the people as one did in 1972 and in 1976.

Point 4
How are electors chosen. At 3:28 TheSkepticalHeritic tries to explain what the Electoral College is but sadly gets some things wrong. For the purpose of fact checking I will be quoting from the website that tells us everything we need to know about this system. Here is the LINK if you want it. The website it run by the United States National Archives and Records Administration.

First they can not be a member of congress or a "Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States" They also can not be guilty of insurrection or rebellion against the United States or have given aid or comfort to our enemies. While federal positions are off limits they can be state elected officials or party leaders. Typically the major parties submit the candidates who are on their side and then they are certified by the state. Independent candidates can also submit their guys as well. However it should be noted that while today the process is mostly the same across the board, each state is free to run their own process. As such there are a few small differences from state to state.

Each state has different rules for when an election must be certified. In Arizona the law is that the election must be certified on or before the second Monday following an election. After each state's election is certified, "your governor prepares a “Certificate of Ascertainment” listing all of the candidates who ran for President in your state along with the names of their respective electors. The Certificate of Ascertainment also declares the winning presidential candidate in your state and shows which electors will represent your state at the meeting of the electors in December of the election year. Your state’s Certificates of Ascertainments are sent to the Congress and the National Archives as part of the official records of the presidential election." (Quoting exactly from

The next big day is the first Monday after the Second Wednesday of December. This is when each state does it's voting usually in state legislative chambers. A certificate of the vote is prepared and then sent to both Congress and the National Archive. On January 6h in a joint session of Congress headed by the Vice President the votes are counted. Fun Fact they states electors must send copies of their Certificate of Ascertainments and Certificate Of the Vote to the national archivist. In total 6 copies of each document is made.

So when TheSkepticalHeritic took a guess as to where the electoral college votes go in 4:54 instead of actually looking it up, you can imagine I took offense to this. Here is a person who is attempting to correct my mistakes yet he didn't even research the subject and decided to just wing it. In short, each State get's to make up its own laws for choosing electors, and how to declare the winners. (Only two states Maine and Nebraska currently split the electoral vote) The electors can and have voted against the will of the people, and in our current system Third Party candidates can not win.

Point 5
The founding fathers. As TheSkepticalHeritic already pointed out, the founding fathers thought it best to restrict voting to only land owners. To be specific only white male land owners (about 10-16 percent of the poplulation) had the right to vote. He cited the lack of electric power and the distance of some states from others as justification. He then moved on. I am not kidding. Watch it yourself starting at 5:24. One of the points I raised in my blog and again here is that the Electoral College is outdated and no longer needed. If you are honestly going to make the claim that the founding fathers had the right idea in setting this up, why don't we reinstate all their ideas such as land ownershhip being a requirement. Why not abolish the 17th Amendment? The founding fathers of our great nation did a lot of great things but some of their ideas no longer work in a 21st century society with things such as phones, planes, and the internet.

Point 6
Ross Perot brought about fiscal responsibility? Sorry but that is flat out not true. In 1992 Bill Clinton was elected President and the following year when he was swept into office he and his party had control over the House and the Senate. His wife Hilary Clinton took an unusually active role in politics and was placed in charge of trying to get healthcare reform passed. Before Obamacare there was Hilarycare. This along with other polices that the Democrats tried to put into place brought about the rise of the Republican Revolution of 1994 and Newt Gingrich coming to power as Speaker of the House. The first two years of the Clinton Presidency were NOT fiscal responsibility.

As a result of the first two years of the Clinton Presidency the Republican's took control of the House for the first time in 40 years and took control of the Senate for the first time since 1986. It is during the time of Republican control that spending was addressed, the welfare reform act was passed (which Clinton had previously vetoed), and other successes such as the attempts at a balanced budget. Ross Perot had a lot of problems he could identify, but never really offered any real solutions other than "gettin under the hood." Fiscal responsibility came as a result of Clinton and Gingrich learning how to work together.

Point 7
Faithless elector. At 8:40 TheSkepticalHeritic states something that is flat out not true. First and foremost not all states have faithless elector laws. Secondly, there has never NEVER been a faithless elector that has been sent to jail. It is nice to see TheSkepticalHeritic update his video description as of the time of this post so I will give him credit for that. I just hope next time he does his research because not everyone reads video descriptions sadly. At the time this blog was written 21 states do NOT have faithless elector laws. Arizona is one of them. Only two states have laws that invalidate faithless elector votes, Minnesota and Michigan. The Supreme Court has upheld the legality of a state requiring a pledge from an elector however the states's punishment has never been constitutionally tested. The reason is most likely is because so far the laws have not been enforced. As indicate in 1972 a Virgina Elector cast his ballot for a person who was NOT on the ballot. So once again I restate my claim, that currently electors can pretty much vote for whomever they wish. (With the exclusion of Minnesota and Michigan) Even in states where there are punishments, the punishments have not been enforced. The Electors are not replaced as SkepticalHerictic claimed with the two previously mentioned exceptions to the rule.) One simply need to look up the history of faithless electors and you will see that the faithless elector's vote was counted on January 6th. 2004 one Electoral vote went to John Edwards most likely by accident yet it is recorded. In 1988 one elector switched the votes for President and Vice President as a protest against the electoral college and as such Lloyd Bentson got one electoral vote in 1988. Of course I already discussed 1976 for Reagan and 1972 for John Hospers. Faithless elector votes ARE COUNTED and are in the official record. So even with 29 states having penalties it does still happen. The Electoral College is outdated and needs to be replaced with the popular vote. Why do we have a system that does contain the possibility for the person with fewer votes to win the Election? Furthermore being a faithless elector does mean they are usually barred from holding public office. Just ask Margaret Leech who was a faithless elector who went on to serve six years in the West Virginia state legislature. Mike Padden is another faithless elector who went on to serve in Washington state legistlature. He is currently serving as a State Senator. (This took less than 2 minutes of research. All I did was look up the names of recent faithless electors and found out what they did after.) When TheSkepticalHeritic followed up this blunder with the claim that these are things you must know in order to be an informed voter at 10:03 I just had to facepalm. Research > shooting from the hip.

Point 8
You don't want to influence other people's vote yet criticize me for doing it? It is pretty much what he said at 10:30 of his video. Ok, let me again explain the purpose of my video and blog. My intention was to reach out to third party voters in swing states. I saw some real danger in Obama being re-elected. I myself would have preferred a different Republican Nominee, I myself voted for Gingrich. However during the primary I uploaded a few videos that stated my preference as basically "Anyone but Ron Paul." I made three videos. Two on the HappyCabbie channel and one on the FacepalmResponse channel. I saw Ron Paul as the biggest threat to our country and used what little power I had with a moderately sized YouTube channel to try and sway the vote. I did the same again this time a few weeks ago. Only two candidates had a realistic shot given our current election system. It was going to come down to who won just 9 states. Third party voters were crucial. I had to do what I could to try and convince at least one of them to vote for Mitt Romney. If I convinced at least one voter, then it was all worth it. As a person with a large Atheist and liberal subscriber base I also dedicated a great portion of my blog to why Romney was not going to take away reproductive rights, and all the other things people were accusing him of. I won't go into that again. My blog is linked up at the top in case anyone wants to read it.

This goes back to a point I made in another video. I saw the video by TheBarkingAtheist and why he was voting for the Green Party. Everyone jumped on him and was tearing him a new one. I then noticed something. These same people had also criticized me, yet they haven't put forth a video of their own. It is one thing to put your own ideas forward, and quite another to be critical of someone's ideas. Now this is not to say that you can't ever be critical. A simple look at my content and you will see about a third of what I put out is a response to someone else. However I did see a bit of unfairness when it came to those tearing apart TheBarkingAtheist and myself and yet not giving us the same option to criticize them.

Point 9.
At this part in the video starting at 11:04 I speak towards libertarians (the largest third party in America.) and explain why I think Romney is the better candidate as opposed to Obama. I cite suppression of states rights and limits on freedom as examples. (Note SkepticalHeritic does correct me when he points out that the topic is Medical Marijuana, a point I later make clear but I did goof up when I first said marijuana instead of medical marijuana. However he makes a mistake when he says at least one state had passed use and cultivation at 11:43. Colorado and Washington has laws on the ballot but at the time of his video they had not yet passed. So we each made a goof.) However the point is clear. States have voted to legalize medical marijuana and the Obama Adminstration is leading the charge to seize property of licensed dispensaries and has escalated the war on drugs in ways the Bush Admin would not even dream of. He is going against the will of the voters.

At 14:17 The SkepticalHeritic says that the state government has not been knocking on doors of these dispensaries and seizing their assets. I should remind him that I never made such a claim. He did state at 15:06 that it was indeed the federal government. Let's review. What I said was it was the Obama Team and that this was something not done in the Bush years. FYI this can be proven in less than 10 seconds with a Google search. Behold the LA Times article HERE. FYI I got more if I ever need to produce them.

So if you are a cancer patient or just a regular user, which President do you want enforcing our drug laws. One who when asked about his views dismissed it as a non-issue and would probably do what Bush did, or someone who wants to do everything in his power to throw not only you but the dispensary owners behind bars? Now I am not saying that Under 8 years of Bush or under Romney the War on Drugs would be peachy, yet what I am saying is that it is preferable to what Obama is doing now. Right now the Obama team is gearing up to crack down on Washington and Colorado for their defiance. While there were a few isolated incidents of dispensary raids under the Bush Years none compare to what Obama is doing now.

15:44 TheSkepticalHeritic suggests voting for a candidate who supports drug reform as a way to change this. I guess he forgot we actually did vote for a candidate who was for drug reform in 2008. That person's idea of reform was to crack down even harder. He says the idea is to get the idea front and center, as if to assume ballot initiatives don't qualify for that. He is correct that young people don't vote enough however the tide is changing. My generation and the ones that come after me get it. We just had a vote in four states on gay's right to marry. In all 4 election civil rights won out. We just passed for the first time regular pot use. As the older generations become a smaller and smaller minority of the voting block these type of changes will happen.

Now yes I do support voting for third party candidates but NOT in Presidential Elections. This is because with the current system in place the deck is stacked against them. I voted libertarian for my congressman. It was even a close race between the two major candidates. However 48 out of 50 states have winner take all in their electoral votes. So regardless of how close the election is, the state goes either Blue or Red. Only a few states in each election are actually up for grabs. This is how Obama won with only a three percent lead but got over 100 more electoral votes. This is also how Bush beat Gore in Electoral Votes even though more people voted for Gore.

Point 9
Did TheSkepticalHeritic actually defend GitMo? Please tell me he didn't do that at 16:58. Please tell me that he did not say at 17:19 that if we did close down GitMo we would have to try these prisoners on American soil and extend rights to them. He then blames Obama's failure to keep his promise on the Republicans with no citation given. Here is what really happened. Of course everything I say is documented with a link. He first tried with an Executive Order but there was problems as documented HERE.

The next option was to transfer them to local prisons here in the States. Kansas, Michigan, and Illinois all threw up road blocks. Here is an article from USA today about Kansas. So how much of this can I blame on Obama? Well I can't hold him accountable for the decisions of other nations for refusing to accept these prisoners. I also can't hold him accountable for the actions of mayors, and state legislatures some of whom are Democrat by the way, so SpepticalHeritic can't blame this all on Republican's either. However what I can hold him accountable for is the passage of the National Defense and Authorization Act which according to the bills sponsor in the Senate Lindsay Graham says, "We're no longer in the box of having to read Miranda rights to terrorists who come to America to try to kill us," This is the bill that allows the indefinite detention of American citizens on the suspicion of Terrorism. Conviction is not necessary. A trial is not necessary. Despite veto threats, he signed it on New Years Eve. The right of a fair trial and to question our accusers was done away with by President Obama who failed to veto the bill and instead signed it into law.

Point 10
The budget. At 18:01 TheSkepticalHeritic attempts to counter my point by claiming that the Republicans blocked the vote for the budget that Obama submitted. So I am guessing then that President Obama did not sign into law his stimulus bill on February 17 2009. A month later he did reluctantly sign into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act for 2009. However he still signed it. Spending bills by law start in the house, then they go to the Senate. If there are differences in the two laws then it goes to conference committee where the two houses agree on one version. The final step is the bill is sent to the President. The President can send spending bills to the House but it is up to a member to sponsor a bill.

It should also be noted in 2009 Democrats not only controlled the Senate but also the House in clear majorities in both chambers. It wasn't until 2 years later that the Republican's retook the House and almost took the Senate. So in 2009 When Obama reluctantly signed the Omnibus Appropriations Act who was to blame, was it the Republicans? Should I remind you that the Democrats had a 76 seat majority in the House and a 16 seat majority in the Senate. (18 if you count the two independents that caucused with the Democrats) Explain to me again how the Republican's blocked his budget? Research > shooting from the hip.

Now of course starting in 2011 after the midterm elections Republican's retook the house but with a much slimmer majority of only 49 seats. With a Democrat controlled Senate and a Democrat President they just can't run any bill they want. It HAS to pass the Democrat Senate.

So finally to TheSkepticalHeritic. If you are going to try to debunk my videos in the future it would help if you would list your evidence in the video description. Stating things such as faithless electors go to jail or that they can't run for office without ANY evidence to back up your claim is just sloppy. Remember you and I both cater to a large audience of skeptics. Skeptics demand evidence. Sure you could put forth the argument that it isn't your job to do our research for us, but you are the one making the claim. If I were to make a claim that the KKK endorsed Obama surely you would be there asking for evidence. (Fun fact that internet rumor actually was actually flying around LOL) Instead you put the burden on your viewers to do their best to look up the evidence for your claims and we came up empty. A good portion of what you claimed was debunked with just a few clicks of the mouse. It wasn't that hard.

Now if you want to vote for a third party candidate be my guest. However don't throw mud at people who take the time to actually research the facts and put forth an argument if you are not willing to take the same time to research yourself.