Gerrymandering–The Big Bug-A-Boo

The new data from the census is out and the rush by the GOP to redraw voting districts has begun…it is called gerrymandering.

For those that do not understand the term……

Gerrymandering is the act of politicians manipulating the redrawing of legislative district lines in order to help their friends and hurt their enemies. They may seek to help one party win extra seats (a partisan gerrymander), make incumbents of both parties safer (an incumbent-protection gerrymander) or target particular incumbents who have fallen out of favor.

Those engaged in gerrymandering rely heavily on winner-take-all voting rules. That is, when 51% of voters earn 100% of representation, those drawing districts can pack, stack and crack the population in order to make some votes count to their full potential and waste other votes. Gerrymandering has become easier today due to a combination of new technology to precisely draw districts and greater voter partisan rigidity that makes it easier to project the outcome of new districts.

Basically and simply….it is how politicians pick their votes instead of the voter picking their candidates….

The 2020 census has set up a political battle….

… the stage is set for rampant partisan gerrymandering to skew many of those maps in favor of politicians’ preferences over the public’s. 

This undemocratic process has a real impact on the balance of power in Congress and many state legislatures. We saw it at the federal level in the 2010s, when extreme partisan bias in congressional maps gave Republicans a net advantage of some 16 seats in the House. The same has happened on the state level. For example, in 2018 Wisconsin Democrats won the majority of the statewide vote but only 36 of 99 state assembly seats.

Although partisan gerrymandering hurts everyone, often communities of color bear the brunt. Racially polarized voting patterns and residential segregation mean that targeting communities of color can be an effective tool for creating advantages for the party that controls redistricting— whether that party is the Democrats or Republicans.

Texas (go figure) was the first to slither its policies into law……

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, while much of the country slept, the Republican-dominated Texas House approved a heavily gerrymandered district map that critics have denounced as part of an anti-democratic and racist GOP power grab—one that right-wing lawmakers could try to replicate across the United States.

At around 3:30 am local time, Texas lawmakers passed the GOP’s state House redistricting proposal in a largely party-line vote after roughly 14 hours of debate. The bill, authored by state Rep. Todd Hunter (R-32) and designed to set boundaries for the 150 Texas House districts, now heads to state’s Republican-controlled Senate.

On top of a slew of other right-wing priorities, the Texas legislature is racing to approve state House, state Senate, and congressional district maps before its third special session of the year expires on October 19.

Gerrymandering hurts ALL voters….

  • Fewer competitive U.S. House districts and safe incumbents after redistricting: In 2010, 70 of 435 U.S. House districts had a competitive partisan balance of 47% to 53%. That was small, but after redistricting in 2011, the number of competitive districts declined to only 53. That number dropped again to 47 seats (only 11% of all seats) after the 2012 election due to shifts in voting behavior. Of 31 vulnerable incumbents (those who won by less than 10% in 2010) affected by redistricting (with a new district drawn with partisanship changing by more than 3%), 26 had their district made safer and only five less safe.
  • Partisan distortions in politically drawn plans: In 2011, Republican lawmakers drew new district lines in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. In 2012, Democratic U.S. House candidates won more than Republican candidates in both states, but won only 9 of 31 seats.
  • Partisan distortions in commission drawn plans: In 2011, an independent redistricting commission drew lines in California and a bipartisan commission with a public interest “swing vote” drew lines in New Jersey. In 2013, Republican candidates for the New Jersey assembly won 51% of the vote, but only 32 (40%) of 80 seats. In 2014, Democratic U.S. House candidates won 57% of votes in California’s 53 U.S. House races, but 74% of seats.

Changing this election fixing has only one sure solution….

The only sure way to eliminate gerrymandering – both intentional and unintentional – from American elections is to abandon single-member plurality arrangements and adopt proportional representation. Indeed, the whole purpose of PR is to minimize wasted votes and ensure that the parties are represented in proportion to the votes they receive. This eliminates the possibilities of unfair representation produced by gerrymandering. The key to eliminating partisan gerrymandering is the large multimember districts used in PR systems. As numerous studies have shown, as long as a PR system has at least five seats in every district, it is effectively immune from gerrymandering. These districts largely eliminate the wasted votes that make gerrymandering possible. In such districts, even small political minorities do not waste their votes and are able to elect their fair share of representatives. Thus, under PR arrangements, where voters live or how district lines are drawn makes no difference – fair representation will result.

This political tool will be with us for a very long time for one party has learned just how valuable it is…..

For further info read this…..

More to explain this situation…..

Any ideas how to solve this problem to our elections?

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“lego ergo scribo”


Art Of The Steal

A take-off of the silly book written by our ‘president’, The Art Of The Deal….even after Biden has been certified as the winner Trump continues to fight to throw out the vote in many states because he lost.

In an extraordinary scene of political warfare, a total of 44 of the 50 states have filed briefs with the US Supreme Court arguing for and against honoring the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden over President Donald Trump. Only six states did not file briefs by the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline set by the high court.

The state of Texas filed the first brief Monday, directed against four “battleground” states won by Biden over Trump: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The brief asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the vote in those four states and to refer the appointment of electors to the state legislatures, which are Republican-controlled in each state.

AS I wrote…Trump’s Art of the Steal……..

The shock of defeat appears to have dimmed some of the golden boy’s luster as well as whitened his faux blond hair and lightened his spray-on tan. Still, not only has Trump not conceded, he has, at current count, mounted over thirty-eight unsuccessful lawsuits to overturn the election or, at best, stall his ouster from office. Undaunted, the self-avowed stable genius’s latest Wile E. Coyote move has been to pressure Republican state legislators to choose pro-Trump electors when the Electoral College convenes this month. Having apparently failed at that, his only hope now is a Supreme Court Hail Mary. It doesn’t matter that he may fail; it’s the smoke, mirrors, and gaslight that ultimately count. None of this suggests that Trump is even remotely entertaining conceding.

In fact, it’s highly likely Trump will never concede, despite media speculation that his reticence is actually yet another of his three-dimensional chess gambits, the current one, according to some pundits, designed to make possible his own Murdock-like media empire to sustain his brand until he (or one of his felonious spawn) runs again in 2024. All this Occam razor-rejecting media confabulation refuses to accept the simple fact that toddler Trump is throwing a tantrum and that the true intent of his intransigence is to remain in power by any means necessary.

Grab ’Em by the Ballot: The Art of the Steal

I do not think his attempts will be successful….but I do think he is setting the stage for 2022 and 2024.

I like this Tweet as well….


Read the rationale of this proposal…..

I say use it!  If they cannot defend the US from enemies domestic or foreign then they should not be allowed to take the oath of office.  PERIOD!

To be fair…my representative Steven Palazzo is one of the signers….(more about him later today)…..another gutless GOP toad….and the sooner the people of my area realize what a d/bag he is the sooner we can eliminate him.

Looks like the Supreme Court is not having any of the silly Trump games…..

The Supreme Court on Friday afternoon rejected a lawsuit backed by President Trump to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory. The decision ends a desperate attempt to get legal issues rejected by state and federal judges before the nation’s highest court, the AP reports. The court’s order was its second this week rebuffing Republican requests that it become involved in the 2020 election outcome. The justices turned away an appeal from Pennsylvania Republicans on Tuesday. The Electoral College meets Monday to formally elect Biden as the next president.

Per Axios, the court wrote: “The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution. Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.”

Then there is not moron of the GOP, Alan West, the GOP Chair from Texas……

126 GOP House members and 17 other state attorneys general was rebuffed by the nation’s highest court, Texas GOP Chair Allen West, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel and former congressman, issued a statement noting his displeasure, and offering an eyebrow-raising suggestion, per CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. “This decision will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic,” West said. “Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.” West’s remarks brought swift backlash from both sides of the aisle, per the Hill.

“I believe @TexasGOP should immediately retract this, apologize, and fire Allen West and anyone else associated with this,” Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted. Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii added, “They have lost their minds. … These people are deadly serious about secession and sedition.” Also disappointed in the Supreme Court’s rebuff: President Trump, who was said to have nixed an appearance at a White House holiday party Friday night, per the New York Times. Later that evening, he tweeted, “The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, No Courage!” He continued mulling over the situation well past midnight, adding his final thoughts on the matter: “It is a legal disgrace, an embarrassment to the USA!!!” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared on Newsmax Friday night, vowing the fight isn’t over. “We’re not finished, believe me,” Giuliani said, per the Times. The Electoral College is set to formally elect Biden as the next president on Monday.

I believe that Alan West has earned his new pair of Trump knee pads for this Christmas.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Has The Fat Lady Sung?

Finally……someone has called this election for Joe Biden……

Joe Biden has reached the magic number of 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency, reports the AP. Details are still emerging, but the AP and CNN report that Biden won Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, putting him at 273. The Trump campaign, however, still has legal challenges pending and recounts are likely, meaning it could be days or weeks before the nation has an undisputed winner. Biden addressed the nation late Friday night.

In a statement on Friday, President Trump vowed to continue his legal fight, saying it was “about the integrity of our entire election process,” reports Politico. The outlet notes that Trump has failed to produce any evidence to back up his allegations of fraud during the counting of mail ballots. “We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law,” said Trump. “I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”

Of course that poser on the White House will milk this for all it is worth and feed the bullshit his supporters will believe…..

President Trump is not about to concede. In a statement issued after news outlets declared Joe Biden the winner on Saturday, the president remained defiant:

  • “We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed,” he said, per Reuters. “The simple fact is this election is far from over.”

The president, who has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of fraud about the counting of mail ballots, said his legal team would start “prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld,” per CNBC. Earlier, before the race was called, the president tweeted, ” WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” He also traveled to his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday morning for a round of golf.

Biden says it is time  for the healing……which is bullshit…..48% of the voters went for Trump and he will not go silently and Biden will have to contend with that.

Please stop believing that the country will find its better angels….it will be just as fucked up as it has been for decades…..

Let’s all hope we can end this nightmare as soon as possible….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those Close Elections

As we continue to wait on the official announcement of who actually won this thing I thought I would pass the time with some history….(is that heavy sighs I hear?)

But first a little election news….

Our lousy president spends all his time telling us that the Dems are stealing votes and screaming that since he is ahead in some regions the count should stop and yes there are those “Americans” that believe and support his attacks on our system…..and then there are those crazies that try to enforce Trumpism with guns….

Two armed men were arrested Thursday near the Philadelphia convention center, police said, where an ongoing vote count could decide the presidential election. The men traveled to the city in a Hummer and did not have permits to carry the weapons in Pennsylvania, police said. They were arrested after police received a tip about their plans, the AP reports. A gun was found inside the vehicle, police said.

A silver Hummer with Virginia license plates was parked Friday at the location where police say they found the men. It was adorned with an American flag and a window sticker for the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon. Police said the men will be charged with firearms offenses. Their names have not been made public. They have yet to be arraigned. Information on lawyers who could comment on their behalf was not immediately available.

The same 5 states have been “Too Close To Call” for going on 3 days (81 hours since the polls closures)… there is little actual news….just media filler until another update can be found.

The only excitement yesterday was the presser of the president that was pure bullsh*t……

ABC, CBS, and NBC all cut away from President Trump on Thursday as he spoke from the White House to make an unfounded accusation that the presidential election was being stolen from him. Trump had tried to commandeer the nation’s airwaves at a time when the evening newscasts are shown on the East Coast, after a day when the slow drip of vote counting revealed his leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia dwindling. MSNBC’s Brian Williams also interrupted the president. Fox News Channel and CNN aired the president’s full address, after which CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Trump was “like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun realizing his time was over.” Network personalities had sharply criticized Trump after his angry, middle-of-the-night speech following Election Day but aired that talk in full. Trump was more subdued Thursday, yet offered a litany of complaints about “suppression” polls, mail-in voting and fraud that he never specified.

Let’s move on……First this thought—-

Only 5 presidents have won the election without the popular vote: John Quincy Adams, 1824 Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876 Benjamin Harrison, 1888 George W. Bush, 2000 Donald Trump, 2016

The voting tally….Biden…..74,811,378     Trump……70,554,537

But as close as this election was….it was just one of many……

Will the presidential election of 2020 be a close one?

We don’t yet know.

But the United States has certainly had its share of close elections, dating from the earliest days of the republic to recent history.

The 2016 campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was the 13th closest in the country’s history with Trump losing the popular vote by 3 million but winning the electoral college 304-227.

Here are 10 other races that came down to the slimmest of margins.

Nixon vs Humphrey

The 10 closest presidential elections in U.S. history

Now are you not pleased to have a diversion from the “hurry up and wait” mentality of the media?

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–06Nov20

We wait….and wait…..and wait…..

5 states are still in the “Too Close To Call” category…..and it has been this way for 2 days… there a plan to use this to drive the news cycle….just asking.

I did not vote for Joe Biden!

Let me explain……Biden is a bad candidate even by progressive standards. He doesn’t support Medicare for All. He is pro-fracking and refuses to commit to even the minimal reforms of the Green New Deal. As part of the Obama administration, he supported record high detainments and deportations of immigrants who were already within the United States. He masterminded Plan Columbia, which has been described as the Central American equivalent of the 1994 Crime Bill (i.e. incredibly damaging).  He supports the police, Zionism, and bombing people in the Middle East. Joe Biden is no good. But most people I know agree with all of this, yet are voting for him anyway.

I just cannot go against my principles and vote for someone that does not embrace the ideals that I support….even to rid ourselves of a slug like Trump…..without principles we would be NO better than the spineless coward in the White House Now.

By voting for Biden I would be turning my back on people that are struggling with poverty, health issues, the reality of living in this society….we can always try to justify it by stating that “at least he, Biden, is better than Trump”……is that true?

If the daily lives of Americans do not improve then that slogan and/or belief is just a lie told ourselves…..and is NO better than the lies told to us by Trump.

In case you are wondering….I did not vote Libertarian or Green…..I voted with a write-in…..and will continue to do so until the Dems learn to be a Party of the people.

A final thought…..all progressives in Congress have won re-election….and yet the DNC wants you to think that they are dragging the Party down…..sorry but old fart ideas and candidates are dragging the Party down…..time for the Democrats to replace the dinosaurs in the Party leadership with fresh leaders and ideas.  We already have one Party that lives in the past and it is called the GOP…we need a fresh Party of ideas and actions….that looks to the future.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Relax Those Drug Laws

Marijuana, the medical type, was on the ballot in my state of Mississippi and it appears that it has been made official…..and Mississippi was not alone in the vote on so-called illegal drugs….

In states across the country, voters sent a clear message they wanted restrictions on recreational drug use eased. On Tuesday, residents of Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota voted to join the ranks of 11 other states that have done so.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington made the leap to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Colorado has collected $1.23 billion in marijuana taxes and fees since 2014, including more than $302 million last year alone. Washington eclipsed Colorado that same year, collecting $395.5 million.

Oregon, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2014, went a step further Tuesday and voted to decriminalize illicit drugs. Measure 110 makes the possession of small quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs a civil violation subject to a $100 fine, but no jail time. However, the measure does not go so far as to decriminalize the manufacture or sale of drugs.

After 50 years of a War on Drugs and the failures plus the cost of over $1 trillion and all that and the program is a dismal failure.

Society is now looking into the necessity for a War on Drugs.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


Contested Elections–A History

As long as you await the final results and the announcement of who will be president in 2021…..why not learn something… a little history.  (I can hear the eyes rolling in the background)…..

This election will not be the only election where there was some contention on who the winner was……but it may be the silliest in history.

As states continue to count their ballots in the 2020 election, it seems possible that Democrats and Republicans will end up in court over whether President Trump will win a second term in the White House.

President Trump has said he’s going to contest the election results – going so far as to say that he believes the election will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a team of lawyers lined up for a legal battle.

Unprecedented changes in voting procedures due to the coronavirus pandemic have created openings for candidates to cry foul. Republicans argued earlier this year that extending deadlines to receive and count ballots will lead to confusion and fraud, while Democrats believe Republicans are actively working to disenfranchise voters.

Should either Trump or Biden refuse to concede, it wouldn’t be the first time turmoil and claims of fraud dominated the days and weeks after the elections.

The elections of 1876, 1888, 1960 and 2000 were among the most contentious in American history. In each case, the losing candidate and party dealt with the disputed results differently.

Like I said it never hurts to learn while you are wringing your hands waiting for the results to be finalized.

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“lego ergo scribo”

VOTE Today!

Closing Thought–03Nov20

Today in history….

1868–Ulysses Grant elected president

1896–William McKinley elected president

1964–Lyndon Johnson elected president

1992–Bill Clinton elected president


I will be cruising the Coast to check on different polling stations to see if there is anything to report.

Today is the Big Day….time to make up your mind go to the polls and cast your worthless vote……worthless because all we will do is change who sits on the Golden Toilet in the White House.

“The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action in mind.” ~ Frank Herbert

Policies will remain similar as those today…..the rich will get richer and the poor will go hungry….but at least were tried to rid the nation of the gutless wonders that control our very lives.

Regardless we need to vote our feelings and hopes…..

Then there are those creepy little piss ants that think they are tough by dressing like soldiers (something they are too cowardly to do in real life) and the DA of Philly has the right idea on the treatment of these small minded douche bags….

Philadelphia’s Democratic district attorney Larry Krasner is warning armed, so-called “poll watchers” to stay away from the city’s voting precincts unless they want to find themselves explaining to a jury why they “thought it was okay to come to Philly and steal our votes.”

“If you want to dress up like a G.I. Joe and claim you are protecting the polls when we all know what you’re really doing is intimidating voters,” Krasner told CNN on Friday, “you’re getting locked up.”

“Wannabe fascists stay home,” he added. “If your idea of how to have a democratic election is to steal it, then I’ve got something for you. I’ve got a jail cell, and I’ve got criminal charges.”

That should be law and enforced.

One final thought from Daniel Ellsberg (look him up)….

‘Tis the season for some progressives to argue that the best way to build a progressive political movement in America is to stick it to the centrist Democrats—who have rejected progressive nominees and platforms—by voting for a third party, even in swing states.

If that helps elect what many regard as a “greater evil” Republican, some third party supporters argue, it will radicalize significant parts of the electorate, help the third party grow, and gradually increase the prospect of victory for genuinely progressive politics.

As die-hard progressives, we strongly disagree. Few beliefs among progressives have been so thoroughly tested in empirical reality over the last twenty years—and few have been so thoroughly discredited—than the idea that running third party candidates in swing states during close elections is a good way to build a progressive voting bloc.

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities.” ~ Frank Herbert

“Governments can be useful to the governed only so long as inherent tendencies toward tyranny are restrained.” ~ Frank Herbert

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.” ~ Frank Herbert


“lego ergo scribo”

The Lesser Of Two Evils

I have had many debates and discussions in my 70 years on the act of voting.

We all know the ones that say it is a duty to vote or those that say if you vote for anyone other than the 2 major candidates then you are doing a disservice to the country.

This is all so much noise or to my thinking…..babble.

Every year here on IST I get someone that will come on and tell me why I am helping elect the “other” side when I talk about voting beyond Dem/Repub….I do not mind for they have their opinion and I have mine….and in the end it is my vote and I shall place it where I feel it deserves.

I do not like “Lesser of evils” elections and it seem in the last 30 years that is all we have been offered and in those years our lives have been stagnant….but we can feel better that we voted for the “lesser of evils” (that is sarcasm)……

A good summation……

There are two major parties in the US and they both represent “capital.” But since defining capital is very controversial among economists, let us simply say that both parties represent money, the kind of money that begets more money. This kind of money is sacrosanct. It is a deity. It is worshiped by almost everyone. Having this kind of money, or being backed by it, is essential for getting elected, especially since most voters rely on advertising before voting for a candidate. Many voters, even if poor, admire and highly respect those who have a lot of money.

Once in office the office holder must make sure that conditions for self-expanding money are kept intact. This means preserving and reproducing existing social relations, particularly by maintaining “law and order.” Among many other things, the class structure must be kept intact. But it is hard to define “class,” and, moreover, the word is tabooed in the US. So, let me illustrate this with a simple, personal example.

Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils: a Vicious Circle

So, what is it that prevents me from voting for a president? Is voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden worse than having a colonoscopy?

I have told anyone who will listen….I have a set of political principles that I have never veered from in my voting history….I will not veer this election either.

You may disagree with my choices…but keep in mind they are MY choices.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

30 Days And Counting

Actually 29 days….but who is caring?

November 3rd is so close you can almost smell the desperation of some candidates….and that got me to thinking… these days of uber divisiveness and the lack of knowledge about how Civics work especially how the elections work….I thought I would do what I do best…..EDUCATE!

How many know how the system works?

That would be the election system.

Please put your hands down…..I thought about a lengthy dissertation on our voting process but then I had to laugh… one would read it for most think they have all the answers… instead I decided to dumb it down to the level of a 5th grader…..teach with infographics.

Then the vote and the Electoral College…..I personally would like to see this dinosaur scraped in favor of the popular vote…..but that is for another post.

Just how does the EC actually work?

Once again I will dumb it down to an inforgraph……

Click to access Electoral-College-Kids-Discover-1ttmyti.pdf

WE are hearing a lot about Red and Blue states….but how does that decide the election (via the EC)…..and again with the dumbing down of Civics……

The new Snake Chart from FiveThirtyEight

In recent years two presidents can thank their lucky stars for the EC….and both were from the GOP…..Bush and Trump… do not look for reform from the GOP it is about the only hope they have these days…..short of voter suppression…..and that is another post altogether.

This is how it works……any questions?

Learn Stuff!

Then VOTE!

I read, I write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”