Gerrymandering and Court Standards for Redistricting

 

Gerrymandering has been in the news especially since the recent Pennsylvania Special election where the winner would have to run in a different district this fall because of the Penn. Supreme Court throwing out the gerrymander set of districts they currently have. Then too I read an article where the US Supreme Court was a bit hassled with the prospect of being a policeman on redistricting in the computer age.

It has occurred to me over the years that what the Court needs to do is hire a mathematician to determine if their constraints of compact, contiguous, and equally sized (in terms of population) districts are able to generate a unique (single) solution for a geographic area (a state) with a population density that varies (the real world). If not, what models could be used to generate districts without taking voting patterns into account?

Often state legislatures claim they district the way they do to preserve community representation. If one looks at the relative geographic sizes of urban versus rural districts in any state, the notion of representing communities comes into question. A district in the heart of NY City compared to a rural upstate district belies the notion of community. So, it may be possible to meet the constitutional standards set by the court and have the smallest variance in geographic size of districts as well.

In short, let a mathematician see if he or she can prove the Supreme Court standards are possible (a theorem proof). If so, the Court would not have to police redistricting issues, but simply require the states to apply the model. If a mathematician cannot prove the standards are possible then let the mathematician demonstrate algorithms, free of voting patterns, that come the closest in any given state.

Yes, I realize how ridiculous my approach is, but then it doesn’t smack of partisanship and the evils thereof.

 

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One Constitutional Issue After Another

March 28, 2018

I was some what amused yesterday with the talking heads and the twit’s administration proposal to add a question about citizenship to the Census. I heard all sorts of nonsense from left and right but somehow the talking heads on the two segments I watched on two networks missed an actual reference to the words in Article One I stipulating that all Free Persons and Indentured Servants were to be counted for the purposes of apportionment. These talking heads are paid, right? If they had stipulated the purpose first, perhaps their blithering about their points of view would have been tolerable.

I got to thinking about my comments on the 2nd Amendment and realized that the articulated reason for that Amendment was to reassure the voters of NY that they could keep their guns to fight off a tyrannical central government if it came to that. So that makes the back ground for the Second Amendment at odds with the provision under law, U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 115 › § 2385, that it is illegal to advocate the violent overthrow of the US Government, much less actively attempt it. My my we are a conflicted nation.

I would observe that the frequency with which Constitutional Issues come to the fore today is probably a testament to the fact that the twit has not read the document and if quoted to him, he clearly does not understand its words—some of them are just too big for a self proclaimed genius to wrap his genius head around.

I did note that Nicole Wallace yesterday in addressing the Stormy Daniels news said, in effect, ‘if this guy can’t negotiate a hush agreement with a porn star how can we trust him to negotiate with North Korea?’ (I am paraphrasing).

 

What happened to the first thirteen words of the 2nd Amendment?

While none of the gun advocates have responded, I keep asking “What happened to the first thirteen words of the 2nd Amendment?” (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,”). As I recall, when given a condition before permission, the condition needed to be fulfilled. For example “If you clean your room you can go play basketball.” Every parent understands that the condition must be met or no basketball. Yet those same parents are some of those who keep yelling that they have a right to have guns because of the 2nd amendment. Indeed they argue self-protection. hunting and sports as the reasons the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to own guns. Never have I heard anyone in the NRA or its fellow travelers argue the right is to keep the state secure by having a well regulated militia. In the context of the time that the language was written a well regulated militia involved regular drills and a structure with officers chosen, usually by election. How is it that we do not insist that well regulated militias be maintained as a prerequisite to citizen gun ownership? Hell, if Chicago had well regulated militias, one might argue that the gangs would be driven out of the city by those militias. I suspect the gun advocates do not know there are 13 words in the 2nd Amendment before the bit about citizen’s rights to keep and bear arms is mentioned.
As I recall, the 2nd Amendment was added as the people at the time were afraid of a big central government, you know like the one in London at the time. There was a real concern that a standing army and a central government would impose tyranny upon the people and states. So far that tyranny manifest itself by a central government here in the good old USA stamping out first, slavery and then bigamy. That tyranny also imposed integration. Well, we seem to be taking steps backward of late, so perhaps it is time to remember the first 13 words of the 2nd Amendment and resist the current tyrant and his regime. I wonder how the NRA and fellow travelers would feel about that use of the 2nd Amendment. Regardless it is impossible to have an intelligent discussion about guns as long as the advocates of more guns seem to have missed the point entirely and don’t even acknowledge the 2nd Amendment has those awkward first 13 words.

The Twit’s Tariffs — a bad idea, he should try thinking once

Let’s examine the twit’s justification for the tariff on steel and aluminum. There seem to be three threads. 1) we need to have this capability for national defense, 2) We need to keep jobs in America, and 3) we are being treated unfairly by other countries and taken advantage of by them.

By imposing a 25% tariff on steel, this means that the 180,000 or so steelworkers and the handful of corporations will indeed remain n business and perhaps even grow a bit. However, the imposition of the tariff will increase the steel components across every industry in American that uses steel by 25%, a cost that is passed on to the buyers of these goods and services. Let’s suppose this impacts 1,000,000 workers directly and indirectly. The employment in those industries will decrease by at least 180,000 jobs and the costs of products will go up with fewer people purchasing them so there will likely be even more unemployment in those steel and aluminum using industrious. So, to maintain the capacity for national defense, the twit has ensured that we will have lower overall production and employment and higher costs, not to mention the increased costs of all goods using steel. It would be cheaper for the country if we simply subsidized the steel industry and kept the production levels where they meet defense needs and stockpile their output until needed, if ever. By subsidizing steel and aluminum we would not incur the unemployment in industries using steel and aluminum as inputs and increase the cost of their goods which increases the cost of goods to the American Consumer. Subsidize is the more rational and economically sound approach to maintaining steel and aluminum production capabilities for national defense (armament) purposes.

Keeping job in America is a hot-button issue. Unfortunately, when tariffs are involved, fewer jobs remain in America as they are lost not to foreign competition but to increased prices of the output of those jobs remaining here that need the tariff to protect them. So, under the guise of keeping jobs in America, tariffs actually increase the decline of jobs. Reread the prior paragraph.

The twit alleges often and loudly that foreign countries are taking advantage of America and that there isn’t an even playing field. However, I have never heard him explain how foreign countries are taking advantage of American in trade. The closest the twit has come to illustrate this is to point at the trade deficit that results when we spend more in country x than country x spends here. What that means is that country x uses its resources and labor to produce things that we get from them in exchange for our currency (probably electronic bookkeeping entries). So we get real things and they get money. Remember there is nothing backing our money except faith that it is money. So we get something for an idea (money) of value. Unfortunately, if the countries with a positive trade balance of our dollars ever figure out they are giving us something for nothing in return our easy life will come to a sudden end. The twit is really not quite understanding that we win when we have a deficit, we win big. And he wants to put a stop to that by claiming unfair trade practices that he can’t explain or name.

 

The Twit’s Tariffs

 

Another day, another tariff as the twit in the White House tries to reduce the US trade deficit. Unfortunately, things are often not what they seem nor as bad as they sound. Specifically, trade deficits are not what they seem nor as bad as they sound. Unfortunately, the twit in the White House, who claims to be a rich guy, does not seem to understand money. He seems to think our dollars paid for China’s development to our detriment. Let’s look at the facts.

 

 

China sends good to America in exchange for US Dollars. The goods that China sells in America require raw material inputs and labor to fashion them. Since we run a trade deficit with China that means they sell us more goods than we sell to them so the extra goods they sell to us require we ship them US Dollars (a good percentage of which are electronic entries in financial accounts. the rest of pieces of paper with printing on them).

 

 

Take a look at a US Dollar. What backs it up, Gold? NO, nothing backs it up. You will find that the law, as printed on the front, mandates that ‘this note is legal tender for all debts public and private.’ It is fiat money. It is money because the US Government says it is and because almost all Americans think it is money. However, the law requiring one accept it as payment stops at our borders (and the borders of countries using the US Dollar as currency). Yet, the Chinese and almost all other nations accept our US Dollars in payment. If you think about it foreign nations and nationals accepting US Dollars in payment is very strange.

 

 

The US issues a lot of US Dollars on a virtually continuous basis. One would think that would create inflation. However, sufficient US Dollars go to foreign entities who sell us goods and services in exchange for those dollars. So, one break on inflation is the sheer volume of dollars flowing overseas. Then too, some exchanges (market) are traded in US Dollars, oil springs to mind. The international oil market is cleared with US Dollars. With a significant portion of the US Money Supply tied up in the international oil market, we have another break on inflation.

 

 

So let’s take the twit’s logic and stop the flow of money abroad. That means we will enter an inflationary cycle. America will be awash in money, as the twit calls it, coming home. The domestic value of the US Dollar will plummet (and so will the value of the dollar in financial markets).

 

 

At the same time the twit’s tariffs will kick in and the price of goods Americans, individuals and firms, will increase by at least the value of the tariffs (not to mention the inflationary impact of the flush of dollars driving all prices up, remember, inflation?). Americans will be able to afford less of the goods they have been purchasing. When prices go up, standards of living go down and Americans can not afford the domestic products the tariffs are supposed to generate.

 

 

Obviously there is more. But this is enough for today.