First some background: Despite multiple promises to veto a partisan remap of Illinois state legislative districts, Democratic governor JB Pritzker signed into law new hyper-partisan new state House and Senate districts, claiming that these new maps preserve diversity.
Not so fast, JB.
Late Thursday the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on behalf of five Hispanic voters, filed suit in federal court claiming that the new maps are “malapportioned.” AP sums up the controversey beautifully. “But the challenge from MALDEF,” the wire service says, “expands the source of objections to the very groups whose voting rights Democrats say they are protecting.”
Indeed it may. Illinois’ constitution states that new General Assembly district maps must be drawn by legislators by the end of June after each decennial census. If not, the process moves to an eight-person committee evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. If that panel can’t come to a decision then two names are placed in a hat, one Republican and one Democrat. Lovers of political theater will be thrilled to learn that the four times the remapping committee was formed, three times times no decision was reached and the tiebreaker clause was invoked. In 2000 a stovepipe hat said to have been worn by Abraham Lincoln was used for the tiebreaking ceremony.
The complete Census figures won’t be available until August. But it’s clear that the Democrats didn’t want the redistricting process to be left by chance, or worse, given to Republicans. So the Dems, rather than work with hard numbers, instead used population estimates from the American Community Survey.
This weekend on Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, host Mike Flannery ventured into what-aboutism expressed by the left regarding gerrymandering in Republican states. During an interview with state Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield). Flannery phrased their argument this way, “That the Democrats here stopped short of annihilating as many Republicans as they could in the General Assembly–do you buy that?” Butler responded that he does not and he explained to Flannery, “We have 14 members–Republican members of the House–that were drawn in districts together and we have zero Democrats that were drawn into districts together.” That’s an observation the Wall Street Journal made earlier this month. Because of Democratic gerrymandering after the 2010 census, there are currenly only 45 Republicans among the 118 members in the Illinois House.
There is a better way. Twice in the 2010s enough signatures were collected to put an amendment to the Illinois Constitution on the general election ballot that would take redistricting out of the hands of legislators and placing a non-partisan committee in control. Twice a lawyer closely tied to Boss Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), the longtime Illinois House speaker who was forced out of power early this year, sued to block having Illinois voters decide the issue. In a party-line vote, the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the Democrats both times.
A month ago I wrote about Illinois General Assembly Democrats, behind closed doors, redrawing legislative maps. The Dems, thanks to their gerrymandering after the 2010 Census, already enjoy supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.
There was hope, a quite naive one to be sure, that because Illinois’ Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, firmly promised, many times, that he would veto any partisan remap proposal, that fair maps could eventually emerge.
Shortly before Election Day in 2018, again as I noted last month, Pritzker had this to say to an NRP reporter, “I will not sign a bill that is gerrymandered, I have been for independent maps for a long time now.”
Well Pritzker isn’t for independent maps anymore even though, as the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) reported just two weeks ago, the Chicago billionaire promised to veto “an unfair map.”
Illinois Democrats hold a statehouse supermajority, every statewide office and a state Supreme Court majority. That sounds like a monopoly on power. But with voters starting to revolt against the state’s fiscal woes and political corruption, Democrats are now working to further entrench their power.
Late last week Democrats jammed through new state legislative maps that combine 14 Republicans in the Illinois House into seven districts. That means seven GOP incumbents are guaranteed to lose in party primaries. Republicans will also lose their incumbent advantage in seven districts. No Democrats were combined in the same House districts.
Illinois’s maps were already heavily gerrymandered to favor Democrats, who control 73 of the 118 seats in the House and 41 of 59 in the Senate. But Democrats are worried a GOP wave in the 2022 midterm elections could defeat Gov. J.B. Pritzker. They want to shore up their supermajority to ensure they can override a new Republican Governor.
Apologists for the Democrats explain that according to the state constitution the General Assembly needs to have new legislative districts approved by June 30. What they leave out is that if no map is passed, again according to the state constitution, an eight-person bipartisan committee is appointed to redraw maps. Republicans would likely end up in a stronger position in such a scenario because don’t believe it’s possible to create an even more unfair map.
What’s worse about these new legislative districts is because of the COVID-19 epidemic, not all of the US Census numbers have been released. Illinois Democrats based their new state House and Senate districts on projections from American Community Survey, not hard numbers.
When confronted about gerrymandering by Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery on this weekend’s Flannery Fired Up, Boss Michael Madigan’s slippery successor as state House Speaker, Chris Welch, explained to the host that Oklahoma, a red state, also based their remapping on ACS data.
Illinois, because of population loss, will have one less congressional seat after the 2022 midterm elections. Federal guidelines on congressional districts are quite strict–so the new congressional maps have not been released as the Illinois Democrats await those hard numbers to crunch and torture. But speculation is that these maps will also punish the GOP.
One-party Democratic rule has destroyed Illinois. I’ve noted these facts many times at Da Tech Guy. Illinois’ public-worker pension plans are among the worst-funded in the nation. The average percentage in state budgets dedicated to pensions is four percent. In Illinois, because its promises to these liberal public-sector unions were not properly funded, it is 25 percent. The state’s repupation for corruption is well known–in my lifetime four governors, three Democrats and one Republican, have served time in federal prison. Federal authorites have been investigating the inner circle of Boss Madigan for several years. And for the first time in history Illinois lost population between Censuses.
Every state will be redrawing their maps. Former president Barack Obama and his first attorney general, Eric Holder founded a group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, that opposes Republican gerrymandering. Look for the two of them to holler and scream when they declare new red state remaps to be unfair. Of course Obama and Holder will be mum on gerrymandering in blue states, such as what occurs every ten years in Obama’s home state.
What do you do if a liberal moans to you about those red state district maps that they say are gerrymandered? I have a three word reply for you.
Last year former president Barack Obama called partisan gerrymandering “a sneaky way for politicians to consolidate as much power as they can. In the end, gerrymandering means that citizens’ voices are being diminished.”
A year earlier the governor of Obama’s home state of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, had this to say after the US Supreme Court decided not to get involved in partistan remaps. “As I’ve said since I was a candidate, I will veto any map that is unfair,” Pritzker said. “It’s the right thing to do. We’re going to have to make sure that here in Illinois we’re not gerrymandering, that we’re drawing maps that are fair and competitive. That’s what’s best for the voters of the state, that they have choices when they go to the ballot.”
Obama and Pritzker are of course both Democrats. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, state Senate minority leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods), pointed out that Obama, while at Illinois’ state capital late in his presidential term, denounced gerrymandering and called for reform. “And this needs to be done across the nation,” the 44th president said, “not just in a select few states. It should be done everywhere.”
Apparently not in Illinois becauses Obama has been silent about stacking the decks in favor of Democrats. The 2010 remap of Illinois congressional and state legislative districts was a travesty of democracy, as was the one after the 2000 Census, both of which were the work of longtime Illinois House speaker and Democratic party chairman Boss Michael Madigan, who was forced into retirement this year as scandals engulfed his inner circle. The state legislature, as mandated by the Illinois constitution, draws new General Assembly and US congressional district maps.
The most blatant gerrymandering from the most recent remap is Illinois’ 4th congressional district, nicknamed “the earmuffs,” which is pictured above.
But a quick look at maps won’t tell the whole story. Illinois three largest cities outside of Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, and Springfield, the aforementioned state capital, are each split between two congressional districts. This is not a case of these cities being too large for one district, the average size of a US congressional district is over 700,000, the largest of these municipalities is Rockford, with just under 150,000 residents.
The current Illinois congressional delegation consists of thirteen Democrats and five Republicans. Mission accomplished, Democrats. That number will change because Illinois, again, will lose a congressional seat. As I’ve remarked before, Illinoisans are voting with their feet by moving out. They are fed up with rampant corruption, high taxes, and an unfunded public worker pension debt crisis that can be solved only by default or hyperinflation. Between the 2010 and 2020 Census counts Illinois lost population–the first time that has ever happened to the Prairie State.
Twice in the prior decade Republicans led efforts to allow voters to decide to amend the state constitution by having a non-partisan committee draw maps instead of the legislature. Both times what was called the Fair Map Amendment was ruled unconstitutional in a party-line state Supreme Court decision. The lead attorney in the lawsuit to block the amendment had ties to Boss Madigan.
Back to the US Congress. Illinois’ Democratic delegation is lockstep behind House Bill 1, which if made into law, in the process of nationalizing local elections, will mandate independent committees, not state legislators, to take charge of the decennial remaps in all 50 states. But why aren’t Illinois 13 Democratic members of Congress decrying the current remap process here? Because they are phonies, that’s why. Just like Pritzker and Obama.
The current remapping in Illinois is being performed behind closed doors by Democratic members of the General Assembly using preliminary Census data. Hey Pritzker! Are you aware of this news?
Yeah, I know, in 1990 Republicans drew gerrymandered districts. It was wrong then too.
On Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up this weekend, state Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) told the host, “We should draw fair, straightforward maps that use official [Census] data and give the people of Illinois a real choice in their elections so people are picking their elected officials and not the other way around.”
Tellingly, because Flannery strives to be fair, he had two Republicans on the gerrymandering segment of his program, but no Dems. I’m very confident that Flannery invited a Democrat to appear but they are either too ashamed to defend their non-transparent remapping–or they know it’s indefensible.
One more time for emphasis.
Six days before his election as governor a St. Louis NPR reporter, Jason Rosenbaum, asked Pritzker, “If you’re governor and they send you a map that is obvioulsy gerrymandered against Republicans would you veto it and why?”
Candidate Pritzker’s response? “I will not sign a bill that is gerrymandered,” adding, “I have been for independent maps for a long time.”
A post by Da Tech Guy himself last week got me thinking about Chicago’s legendary newspaper columnist Mike Rokyo. Yes, he was another of the greats in journalism who didn’t have a college degree. For most of his life Royko was a steadfast liberal, but his blue collar roots made him suspicious, for good reason I’d like to add, of left-wingers. Yet Royko was a harsh critic of the Boss of Chicago, the first Mayor Richard Daley, as well as the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, better known as the Chicago Machine. Still, Rokyo understood why rank-and-file Chicagoans kept the Machine in power.
I’ll return to Royko in a bit.
The January 6 protest in Washington will forever be remembered as the Capitol Riot because of the 1,000 or so hooligans and loons who stormed the Capitol building. But the great majority of the protesters didn’t riot and they had valid reasons to question the vote count, and yes, to also be angry about those results.
News reports of the fraud allegations regarding the November election are typically partisan. The mainstream media calls claims of vote fraud “baseless,” conservative media, Newsmax for instance, is more forceful.
President Joe Biden, before he went on his unprecedented flurry of executive orders pushing far-left causes such as cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline and banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands, was calling for healing.
A good start for healing would be a bipartisan congressional committee investigating 2020 vote fraud allegations, such as dead people voting, abuse of mail-in voting, and the like. Here’s are few more: Were ballots in Georgia tallied after party observers left? Why were votes counted at Detroit’s TCF Center after people were told to depart and the windows of the building covered? Were election integrity standards sacrificed every place else to protect voters from COVID-19?
There may be plausible reasons for what occured in Georgia and Detroit and other places, such as Arizona, where some are crying foul.
Maybe the 2020 vote count was quite accurate.
Or perhaps not.
What’s the harm in finding out? After all the Democrats and a special prosecutor spent three years investigating Donald Trump’s “collusion” with Russia. They might have been better off tracking down post-death Elvis Presley sightings. It’d be worth a laugh at least to see crazy California Democratic congressman Adam Schiff analyzing the lyrics of Mojo Nixon’s novelty tune “Elvis Is Everywhere.” He’d wonder, “Did Elvis really build Stonehenge?”
Because there are only a few weeks for investigators to look into vote fraud charges before a winner is sworn in after an election, having an honest and secure ballot count is crucial. Scandals take a long time to be exposed. It took ten months for Watergate to break wide open and Richard M. Nixon, no relation to Mojo Nixon by the way, didn’t resign the presidency until two years after the Watergate break-in.
We’re not off to a good start with the 117th Congress. HR 1, which means that it is the first bill proposed the the new Congress, will broaden the use of mail-in voting and the vile practice of ballot harvesting if made law.
The latest snowstorm here in the Chicago area is winding down as I write this post which gets me thinking of Royko and the devastating winter of 1979. After Daley’s death in 1976 the Chicago City Council chose Michael Bilandic, the alderman in Daley’s ward, as his successor. It’s generally believed Bilandic was selected to be a placeholder for Richard M. Daley, the Boss’s son, who would then run in 1983. It’s a long story worth telling but not now, but Richie Daley would finally become mayor in 1989, serving until 2011, while destroying Chicago’s finances.
Bilandic, on Chicago standards, was a decent and hardworking man, whose character flaw was that he assumed everyone else was too. Snow removal after a major January snowstorm that came after a couple of smaller ones was not handled well by Bilandic, who was lied to and misled by other city officials when they told him everything was fine. Meanwhile Jane Byrne, a minor player at City Hall who was fired by Bilandic, challenged the incumbent in what was seen as a longshot bid in that year’s Democratic primary. Her initial core support was the Democrats’ progressive wing, then known as the Lakefront Liberals. Rage over the botched response in digging the city out of the snow gave Byrne her opportunity to pull off an upset and she ran with it.
I remember a Chicago Sun-Times Royko column from that year where he wrote somthing along the lines that Byrne wouldn’t beat Bilandic if she captured 50 percent of the vote plus one. Or if she collected 51 or 52 percent. Her magic percentage, Royko reasoned, was 53 percent.
That’s because of vote thefts by the Machine, Royko surmised, amounted to three percent of the total each election. Four decades ago crooked Democratic tactics were different. Non-existent people were registered in vacant lots, roving bands of homeless people, which in mock Latin Rokyo labeled hobo floto voto, voted multiple times, and the seeds of ballot harvesting could be found, particularly in nursing homes, even then. Oh, dead people voted. An effective yet dishonest Chicago precinct captain kept a close eye on who passed away in the neighborhood. And when Election Day came–there wasn’t an “Election Season” like now–thousands of Lazurus voters exercised their franchise.
In short, Chicagoans, even those who supported the Machine, didn’t see election results as fair. Ironically back then it was the liberals who were calling for election integrity in Chcago.
Imagine a football game where the NFL commissioner is a Chicago Bears fan. And at kickoff Da Bears have a 7-0 lead. And the referees are Bears backers too.
Byrne won that primary and prevailed in the general election over a hapless Republican, but the Machine, with some new faces in power, had the last laugh over the Lakefront Liberals as she set herself up as a new Boss. Royko eventually called her “Mayor Bossy.”
Back to the present.
Has America reached the point where the Democrats, because of mail-in voting, ballot dropboxes, and ballot harveting, possess that three-percent advantage in elections? Let’s throw in non-citizens and illegal aliens voting. Will Republicans need 53 percent of the vote to win? 55 percent?
If HR 1 becomes law will we ever have another Republican president? Will the system perpetuate the permanent Democratic majority that the leftists dream of?
And if tens of millions of Americans don’t trust the results of elections our republic is in peril.
Even if Joe Biden didn’t steal the election, he certainly bought it through a record-breaking amount from anonymous donors whom Democrats have decried for years until 2020.
A Bloomberg investigation, which not so ironically came after the election rather than before it, noted that “the public will never have a full accounting of who helped him win the White House.”
Biden’s winning campaign received $145 million in so-called “dark money donations,” or roughly 10 percent of his record-breaking campaign chest of $1.5 billion.
Biden’s haul of dark money dwarfed the $28.4 million spent on behalf of Donald Trump tops the previous record of $113 million in anonymous donations backing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.
In the past, many Democrats wanted to ban dark money since it allowed supporters to quietly back a candidate without scrutiny and obtain undue influence over victorious candidates. But in their effort to defeat Trump in 2020, they embraced dark money.
For example, Bloomberg reported that Priorities USA Action Fund, the super political action committee that Biden designated as his preferred vehicle for outside spending, used $26 million in funds originally donated to its nonprofit arm, called Priorities USA, to back Biden. The donors of that money do not have to be disclosed.
Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA, was unapologetic in comments to Bloomberg. “We weren’t going to unilaterally disarm against Trump and the right-wing forces that enabled him,” he said.
Campaign finance laws are supposed to limit the influence big money has over politicians. But the system has gaping loopholes, which groups backing Biden exploited.
In fact, the Biden campaign called for banning some types of nonprofits from spending money to influence elections and requiring that any organization spending more than $10,000 to influence elections to register with the Federal Election Commission and disclose any donors.
Overall, Democrats received $326 million in dark money, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That was more than twice the $148 million that supported Republican groups.
Bloomberg found that Future Forward PAC, a super-PAC that spent $104 million backing Biden, got $46.9 million Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, $3 million from Twilio Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lawson, and $2.6 million from Eric Schmidt of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. But the most significant source of funds was from a sister nonprofit, Future Forward USA Action, which contributed $61 million. The names of those who put up the $61 million don’t have to be disclosed.
I guess you aren’t exactly stealing an election if you buy it with questionable donations, but it’s awfully close.
I was planning on reviewing Parler on my quest to look for Facebook alternatives, and then Parler essentially disappeared. At least you could find websites that hosted articles about Parler disappearing. But what if you plugged in a website, and it never appeared? Think that couldn’t happen?
Think again. For 2021, I’m predicting that the next big thing in censorship will be DNS censorship.
DNS stands for Domain Name System. It’s a process that your web browser uses to turn the website that you type in (say, gab.com) into an IP address that the computer can actually use to route traffic. Your web browser sends a request to a DNS resolver, which talks to a name server to find the address for the website you requested. This DNS resolver then sends that IP address to your browser, which then lets your browser get the information you requested from the website. DNS resolution is one of those background tasks that just sort of works without you thinking about it.
You shouldn’t assume this is going to work well in the future. With Parler’s obvious targeting by Apple, Google and Amazon all at once, if you had doubts about FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) censorship, your doubts should be cleared up now. But imagine if you attempted to go to the “next great conservative website,” only to find it was “down.” No matter what you enter into your browser, it never resolved the website.
Like most people, you’re probably using Google’s public DNS server, 184.108.40.206, and its alternate, 220.127.116.11, without even knowing it. That means that any website you enter into the address bar of your browser has to get approval from Google to be shown to you. If you don’t think that’s a problem, read Google’s own FAQ page:
Does Google Public DNS offer the ability to block or filter out unwanted sites?
Google Public DNS is purely a DNS resolution and caching server; it does not perform any blocking or filtering of any kind, except that it may not resolve certain domains in extraordinary cases if we believe this is necessary to protect Google’s users from security threats. But we believe that blocking functionality is usually best performed by the client. If you are interested in enabling such functionality, you should consider installing a client-side application or browser add-on for this purpose.
“…protect Google’s users from security threats.” Hmmm. Like the Capitol protests? Or “domestic terrorism?”
I’m skeptical, and while there isn’t a lot of evidence its happening now, I think its the next obvious web censorship step against anything conservative on the internet.
Fortunately there are options. CloudFlare right now seems to be sticking to neutrality, and has been concerned for years about web censorship. Their DNS servers are 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124, and I recommend you setup your computer to use them before Google’s DNS server finds a way to blacklist your conservative websites in order to “ensure the security and continuing stability” or “protect users from security threats,” for a “safe and secure society” of course.
PC Mag and Toms Hardware both have easy to use guides on changing your DNS server. I also recommend you log into your router and change the DNS server there. It’s a small pain, but unless you want websites to suddenly disappear like the Tiananmen Square Massacre, you’ll need to start thinking about what other back-end processes can be altered against your will.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.
Wednesday was a dark day in American history. Most of the blame for the riot at the US Capitol deservedly goes to the hooligans, about 1,500 of them, who broke through blockades and defied law enforcement and entered the Capitol building–the first such mass hostile group to do so since British forces marched in during the War of 1812 before setting it ablaze.
Many of the thugs who illegally entered the Capitol have been arrested and they deserve, if found guilty, to face the full brunt of the law.
This was not, as the media deemed last year’s many instances of “unrest” in American cities, “a mostly peaceful protest.”
President Donald J. Trump is by no means blameless. He should have conceded his loss to Joe Biden weeks ago. I support Trump’s fight for free and fair elections. But even in states where the vote count was the most questionable, Pennsylvania and Georgia, had their electoral votes magically gone to the president, Trump still would have lost. And while I disagree with the mainstream media blowhards and Democratic politicians who said Trump incited the crowd to riot, he gave some of the protesters hope. Normally hope is a good thing to spread but he gave some people the belief that their protest might have compelled Congress to ignore the Electoral College and keep Trump in the White House. That was never going to happen.
On Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show Thursday night he asked that we look at why the protesters–not just the rioters–attended the rally. They were angry.
In November a Rasmussen poll found that 75 percent of Republican voters believed the presidential election was stolen. Even many Democrats agreed. As for myself I don’t believe the election was stolen. My view is that the weak standards with mail-in voting, put in place on a widespread basis for the first time in many states because of the COVID-19 epidemic, has something to do with that. Mail-in voting, without safeguards, makes such crimes as voting twice or more, dead people voting, and voting in a jurisdiction when you live someplace else more likely.
While elections need to continue to be run at the state level Congress should, if such a thing is possible, have an open mind in regards to exploring new nationwide election standards, such as what was done after the Florida recount debacle of 2000. Banning ballot harvesting is a good place to start, as well as replacing early voting, that is “election season,” with–and this is an idea that comes from the liberals–making the day of a general election a work holiday. And photo ID should be required for voting too.
If millions of Americans don’t have faith in the election process then democracy rests on a flimsy leaf.
Now let’s look at the mainstream media and Big Tech. I’ll be brief only for the sake of not overwhelming you. I could bring up dozens of examples of media bias but I won’t for now.
For over four years most of the media flogged a dead horse of a story in Russian collusion. There was no Trump-Russia collusion. Zero. Robert Mueller’s exhaustive investigation found none. That didn’t stop the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC from hawking it, not so subtly, as the way to oust Trump from power for nearly four years nearly every day.
Meanwhile the Hunter Biden laptop story was minimized by that same mainstream media during the 2020 campaign. The younger Biden’s alleged influence peddling activities are not a nothing-burger. And Facebook and Twitter for a while blocked the posting the New York Post story about the deeply troubling news that the former vice president’s son might be compromised by foreign governments, including our greatest rival, China. Twitter, in a preview of 2021’s ongoing purge of conservatives that includes Trump, from the microblogging platform, locked the Post out of its account for nearly two weeks. Free press anyone? The suppression worked. Many people I spoke with, folks who only get their news from Facebook, never heard about the Hunter laptop scandal until I told them about it.
Trump’s core base of supporters are voracious consumers of news–and yes, to be fair of course some of their news stories come from Facebook and Twitter, unless of course they’ve been purged from those sites. And the double-standard of most of the media on those two stories seethes the Trump base.
After the riot the media continued its dismissive attitude of Trump supporters.
Anderson Cooper of CNN, a scion of the Vanderbilt family that got filthy rich during the Gilded Age, said of the protesters after the riot. “And they’re going to go back to the Olive Garden and to the Holiday Inn they’re staying at, or the Garden Marriott, and they’re going to have some drinks and talk about the great day they had in Washington … They stood up for nothing other than mayhem.”
Clearly Cooper dines at what he deems are better restaurants than the Olive Garden. And he can afford to stay at the finest hotels, places that are beyond my financial reach. And yes, I’ve stayed at those hotels Cooper denigrated. I’ve eaten at the Olive Garden a few times.
Another cruel irony of the mainstream media coverage of the Capitol riot is that they deemed it one, while they went to great pains to call the many urban riots of 2020–which occurred almost exclusively in Democrat-run cities–anything but that. While storming the Capitol is clearly a much different dimension than looting and arson, and yes, a very disturbing one, the hypocrisy of the media is apparent to a 10-year-old.
More than ever we need new media. If you agree with my post, especially if you dine at the Olive Garden, stop seething. Start your own blog. WordPress and Blogger.com are good places to start. Even if you have just ten readers a day–my own blog has many more than that in case you are wondering–you will be making a difference. Besides, much of the mainstream media, particularly daily newspapers, are endangered species. Warren Buffett, no conservative, expects only a few of them to survive and he made that prediction before the COVID-19 outbreak that has devastated their ad revenue. Those papers, for the most part, take their lead in reporting news from the aforementioned Washington Post and the New York Times. It’s where they learn not to use words like “riot” unless it involves conservatives. They invent terms like “mostly peaceful” or sugarcoat the carnage by saying it is “unrest.” Those last two newspapers aren’t going anyhere but we can fight back with reality. An army of mosquitoes can make a difference.
Update (DTG) I put something like this in as a comment but figured it belonged as a post update as this has gotten instalanched. (Thanks Ed)
John is one one my original magnificent seven bloggers/ He produces quality work and I’m proud to have him here.
I believe he is completely wrong about the election not being stolen, both math, the actions of the left and common sense in my opinion scream it to be the case, but he has the right to his opinion and I respect that he comes by it honestly and have no problem with him expressing it here.
If anyone has problem with him expressing that opinion on my site and want him off for having & expressing it, well that’s too bad.
The competition for worst big city mayor is fierce, New York’s Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti typically lead the pack but don’t overlook Lori Lightfoot of Chicago.
How did America’s third-largest city get there?
Lightfoot’s victory in last year’s election was a fluke. She and Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle, the president of the Cook County Board emerged as the top two candidates after a 14-candidate first round of balloting–she collected only 17-percent of the vote. Lightfoot, used her endorsement by the Chicago Sun-Times and her time as chair of the Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards to fashion herself as the reform candidate. Her predecessor, Rahm Emanuel, decided not to run for a third term; it’s widely believed his blocking the release of a video until after his 2015 reelection of the shameful deadly police shooting of Laquan McDonald led to his bowing out.
Now there is a another video. Late in Emanuel’s second term Chicago police officers raided the apartment of social worker Anjanette Young. But they busted into the wrong home. Guns were drawn and Young was handuffed naked while she screamed. “You’ve got the wrong place.” She said that 43 times. Lightfoot’s campaign slogan was “Let There Be Light” and this was her opportunity to be transparent in a time of crisis.
Then the woman often derisively called “Mayor Beetlejuice” claimed that she wasn’t aware of the raid on Young’s home. But emails show that Lightfoot learned about the raid in November of 2019, around the time CBS Chicago began reporting on it. She says she “focused on budget issues” at that time and the could explain why she has no recall of the emails.
Lightfoot also admitted that she was wrong when she said that Young hadn’t filed a Freedom of Information Request for the video of the raid. The victim had in fact done so.
At best, Lightfoot’s Chicago is circling the drain. Yes, she inherited a mess. Even before the COVID-19 epidemic Chicago was losing residents. Chicago’s public-worker pension worker plans are the worst-funded of any big city. But Lightfoot’s lockdown orders are best draconian, she hasn’t been taken to task as much as she deserves for that only because her fellow Democrat, blowhard governor JB Pritzker, has been all over local media almost daily trying to frighten Illinoisans into compliance with his own lockdown orders.
The day before the second round of widespread looting and rioting, deemed “unrest” of course by the mainstream media, Lightfoot followed through on her threat to close the vast Montrose Beach to visitors because she thought too many people gathered there on a gorgeous late summer afternoon.
In the spring Lighfoot scolded Chicagoan by declaring “getting your roots done is not essential.” During that first lockdown, which closed all hair salons, the mayor got her stylist, maskless, to do her hair.
When confronted with a predictable uproar for her hypocrisy, Beetlejuice doubled down, “I’m the public face of this city, I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.”
Last month a few days before imposing a second COVID-19 lockdown, Lightfoot appeared, maskless, outdoors at a spontaneous rally at an unsafe distance with many others as she celebrated the media calling the presidential election for Joe Biden.
Chicago, a failed city, has the perfect person to represent it in the public eye.
Illinois conservatives have reason to feel pretty good after Election Day. Pretty good but not great. Still that’s a rarity in this state that has been trending blue for decades, much of the reason for that is the tortured gerrymandering practiced by Boss Michael Madigan, the longtime state House speaker and Democratic Party chairman.
The Land of Lincoln’s feckless GOP, which local radio host Dan Proft calls “Stockholm Syndrome Republicans,” has contributed to the decline, doesn’t deserve much credit for this bit of success.
The big win for conseratives–really, for all Illinoisans–was the resounding defeat to the so-called Fair Tax Amendment, which would have replaced the state’s flat-rate income tax with graduated rates. Sixty percent of voters neeeded to approve the amendment to the state consitution–of 50 percent of all those voting. Despite big votes for Joe Biden and Dick Durbin, Illinois’ senior Democratic US senator, only 45 percent of voters supported the Fair Tax.
Credit for the victory for keeping the flat tax goes of course to Prairie State voters, but also for the libertarian think tank, the Illinois Policy Institute, as well as Illinois’ richest resident, Ken Griffin, who funded highly-effective television ads against the amendment. Slow down liberals, if you think a billionaire “bought” the win against the Unfair Tax Amendment. Illinois’ billionaire Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, spent $58 million of his own money on the campaign for the amendment. Griffin spent $53 million opposing it.
Illinois doesn’t tax retirement income–all 32 states with progressive tax rates tax pensions. The anti-Fair Tax ads said that retirement income wouldn’t be untouchable, and an admission, quickly retracted, by state treasurer Michael Frerichs, that the Fair Tax would be a first step to taxing pensions aided the argument of the “antis.”
This summer a federal investigation of rank-and-file Illinois political corruption implicated Boss Madigan. The speaker has not been charged. But the stench from the ongoing investigation served as a potent reminder that Illinois isn’t just mismanaged, it’s crooked. Clearly Illinois kleptocrats don’t need more money to squander and steal, many voters–including some Democrats–reasoned.
Illinois hasn’t had a balanced budget since 2001, when there was a GOP majority in the state Senate and a Republican in the governor’s mansion, despite a constitutional requirment for a balanced budget. The current budget has a $7.4 billion deficit. That GOP governor in ’01, by the way, was George Ryan, who later served time in federal prison for corruption.
For many good reasons Illinoisans don’t trust state government.
Illinois is still counting ballots. I can mail a letter from Illinois that is addressed to someone in Los Angeles and it will probably arrive there in three business days. But my state is allowing mail-in ballots to be counted if they arrive at one of Illinois 102 county clerk offices by November 17. So a few races are yet to be called. While it appears the Democrats will pick up a seat in the state Senate, the Republicans will probably gain two seats in the state House of Representatives. The Dems will maintain supermajorites in both chambers of the General Assembly. But there is a budding revolt by Democrats in the House against Madigan because of the election results. Pritzker and Durbin have called for Madigan to resign his chairmanship of the state Democratic Party. A few brave Democrats in the House have called on this term as speaker for Madigan, who has held the gavel since 1983 except for two years, to be his last. Illinois’ other US senator, Tammy Duckworth, also a Democrat, has called for Madigan to resign his speakership as well as the party chairmanship.
A weaker Madigan–and a specially a Democratic Party without him in leadership posts–means a weaker Democratic Party, which is why the Boss still has support. That’s good news for Illinois conservatives. But the state Republican Party still might find a way to squander this gift.
Other pretty good news for Illinois conservatives is that Donald Trump bettered his performance over his 2016 effort by two percentage points. Two Republican candidates nearly ousted two Democratic incumbents. One of those close calls was in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. Despite being heavily outspent by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Cheri Bustos, GOP challenger Esther Joy King came within three points of upsetting the incumbent, whose role as DCCC chair is to elect more Democrats to Congress.
On the other hand, Illinois will lose at least one congressional seat in the 2020 reapportionment. A downstate rural district, the 15th, that is currently represented by a Republican, is expected to be sacrificed. During the 2018 gubernatorial campaign, Pritzker vowed to support fair legislative maps rather than a gerrymandered ones.
Don’t hold your breath for Pritzker to fulfill that campaign promise.
Illinois conservatives need to get firmly and publicly behind two new constitutional amendments, the first one to eliminate the pension guarantee clause, so that reasonable and financially responsible pension reform can occur. The biggest challenge for Illinois is its worst-in-the-nation $230 billion in unfunded pension debt. Illinois cannot tax itself out of this mess, an insight not lost on voters when they voted “No” on the Fair Tax. Pension reform will be painful–but even moreso if state politicians continue the decades-long policy of kicking the can down the road.
Meanwhile of course the Illinois Exodus continues. The Prairie State has lost population every year since 2015.
Oh, I almost forgot. There was another victory of note for conservatives on Election Day. Voters chose not to retain Illinois Supreme Court justice Thomas Kilbride, a downstate Democrat. One of the reasons for Kilbride’s defeat was his being in the party-line 4-3 majority that prevented a redistricting reform amendment from appearing before voters in 2016. The suit against the Fair Map Amdendment was filed by a long-time Madigan ally. Kilbride is the first Illinois Supreme Court justice to fail to be retained. But the victory was short-lived. Kilbride’s interim replacement, chosen unaminously by the remaining justices, is a Democrat. Ken Griffin also funded much of the anti-Kilbride effot.
The second amendment conservatives need to rally around is another attempt at an Illinois Fair Map Amendment.
UPDATE December 6: After lots of counting, in the end the GOP caucus will increase by one seat, not two, in the state House.
The Democrats used a variety of ways to stop Trump from winning the state.
For example, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, declared Biden the winner of the Keystone State BEFORE votes had been counted.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is also dominated by Democrats, extended the deadline for counting mail-in ballots. Votes couldn’t be challenged even if signatures didn’t look right.
In Philadelphia, the city held back votes on election night in an act reminiscent of the 1960 election in Chicago when Mayor Richard J. Daley held back votes–many from people long dead–that helped JFK win the presidential race.
Vote counters in Philly kept poll watchers out of the buildings and erected screens to keep outsiders from seeing what was going.
Although the city had introduced a high-tech computer system to count votes, it took FOUR days to wrangle enough ballots to put Biden in the lead.
The critical battle will occur in the Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, a case joined by 10 attorneys general and the Trump campaign.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled before the election that mail-in ballots received within three days after the official vote would be counted. The ruling overturned a state statute that required the ballots to be received by election day.
What’s the importance of the decision? On election night, Trump was leading by several hundred thousand votes.
Within three days, Biden was ahead.
How many of those Biden votes came in AFTER it looked Trump was going to win?
So far, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to get involved by a tie vote BEFORE Justice Amy Coney Barret was confirmed.
Last Friday, Pennsylvania Republicans renewed their request in a slightly different form. They sought an injunction to require the country board to segregate the late-arriving ballots and not count them.
Justice Samuel Alito, who handles emergency applications from the geographic area that includes Pennsylvania, issued a ruling to force the segregation of late ballots. He wanted the full court to decide whether to count the votes.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear a Republican appeal to allow greater access to vote counting in Philadelphia. Again, that case may end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
With a Biden margin of roughly 50,000 votes out of nearly seven million cast, it’s time to slow down the victory parade of the Democrats to see what actually happened in Pennsylvania.