A Philosopher's Blog

Suppressing Voters

Posted in Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on April 25, 2012
Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the 2012 election coming up, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing the ads encouraging people to vote. Given that voting is an essential part of a proper democracy, this sort of encouragement is quite reasonable and even laudable. What is far less laudable are the attempts to suppress voters.

As might be imagined, politicians will not come out and state that they are attempting to suppress voters via legislation. Rather, they present these attempts under the guise of preventing voter fraud. The main problem with this justification is that these are solutions in search of  a problem. That is, voter fraud is simply not a significant problem. To present two examples, the 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington State revealed a fraud rate of 0.0009% and the Ohio election that same year had a fraud rate of 0.00004%. As such, an individual voter is more likely to be struck by lightning while going to vote than s/he is to commit voter fraud. While people do present anecdotes and alleged evidence of fraud, these generally turn out to be mistaken.

Naturally, if countering even this microscopic problem could be done with no cost or inconvenience, then it would be worth doing. However, this is not the case. Rather, the attempts to “prevent” this extremely unlikely voter fraud impose costs and inconvenience on the voters far out of proportion to the significance of the problem. Even worse, these “anti-fraud” measures actually seem calculated to suppress people who tend to historically vote for Democrats, such as the poor and students. As such, it is hardly a shock that these laws have been presented by Republicans. While it might be the case that they are acting from good intentions, the fact that the problem they are addressing barely even exists and the fact that those most impacted by the methods are those who tend to vote for Democrats gives rational grounds for suspicions regarding the motivation behind said laws. If, in fact, these laws are aimed at suppressing voters, they are wicked laws because they strike at a fundamental right of citizens, namely that of being a participating citizen. As such, these laws certainly seem to be immoral. While it might be claimed that my view is unfounded, due consideration of the facts should reveal the plausibility of my view.

Under the rule of Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin passed the Voter Photo ID law which requires citizens to show an official photo ID (such as a driver’s license) in order to be able to vote. Some other Republican dominated states have passed similar laws. On the face of it, this might seem like no big deal. After all, most people already have such IDs and those who do not can simply get them. In fact, Wisconsin offers voters the necessary ID for free. However, there are some points worth considering. First, some DMV offices have been closed or have had their hours changed. This makes it harder for people to get the needed IDs. Second, there is the challenge in getting the documentation needed to get the ID. For example, if a resident’s utility bills are included in the rental fee, they will not have that proof of residence. There is also the matter of the certified birth certificate. Most people do not have these and they cost $20. While most people will see $2o as no big deal, this can be a problem fro people who are very poor and there is also the hassle of getting the document. Adding to the hassle is that women voters will sometimes need to buy copies of their marriage license or divorce papers to prove their identity so they can vote.

It might be replied that this is still no big deal. After all, the worst case estimate seems to be that about 5 million voters will have a tougher time voting in 2012 and, of course, people need to go through all that documentation hell to get a driver’s license (I went through it myself-fortunately I had the foresight and the money to get my passport before the laws went into effect). While it is surely tempting to some to dismiss this as not a problem, it certainly seems to be a problem for a country that purports to be a democracy and one that is supposed to value voting.

One point worth considering is that voter turnout is already rather low, with less than 2/3 of eligible voters turning out for presidential elections. Adding in extra obstacles to voting will no doubt lower this turnout, which would be contrary to the values of a democracy. If we believe that voting is important, then we should be focusing our efforts on improving participation rather than impeding it under the deceitful guise of eliminating almost non-existent voting fraud.

Once again, if voter fraud was a serious problem, I would support steps to prevent it from occurring. Of course, what is going on now can be seen as a type of voter fraud: one in which certain Republicans are using fraud to try to keep American citizens away from the voting booths. This is, of course, an attack on the core values of a democracy, yet is being pushed by the self-proclaimed champions of America.

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91 Responses

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  1. magus71 said, on April 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Mike’s lashing out again at the nasty Republicans trying to destroy democracy. This is like their third attempt in 12 months.

    In Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, a citizen had to serve a term in the federal service before they could vote. In our country, you don’t even have to prove you are who you say you are.

    “To present two examples, the 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington State revealed a fraud rate of 0.0009% and the Ohio election that same year had a fraud rate of 0.00004%.”

    Can you give me a percentage of people that wouldn’t be able to vote because of voter ID laws whom otheriwse would be able? Students? Don’t all students have a student ID card? I did in 1992. The poor? I’ve been poor most of my life and I’ve always had an ID since I was an adult.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      I’m not lashing out. I am pointing out laws that seem to have been created with an intent to lower voter registration among certain groups. Perhaps the Democrats would do the same thing to certain Republican voters if they could-if so, I’d be writing about them.

      The estimate is that it will impact 5 million voters. Even if the estimate is a bit high, it seems reasonable to hold that it would impact more than .0009% of the voting population. As I see it, it is better that we run the risk of .0009% voter fraud to avoid disenfranchising so many people.

      Student IDs are not valid for identification for voting. Also, while you have had an ID (as have I), not everyone does.

      Now, if there was a serious issue with voter fraud, then I would support efforts to counter such fraud, provided that they were both effective and fair. However, the evidence indicates that the objective of these laws is to deter people who are more likely to vote for Democrats rather than to deter voter fraud.

      My concern is not that Democrats will lose votes, but that American citizens will be effectively disenfranchised. Being a patriot, I am against such an attack on the core of our democracy.

      • T. J. Babson said, on April 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm

        Mike, there is no source given for the 0.0009%, so there is no way to evaluate how that number was determined.

        Meanwhile:

        Two elections supervisors are taking action after an NBC2 investigation uncovers flawed record keeping and human error allowing people who are not citizens of the United States to vote.

        No one knows how widespread this problem is, because county election supervisors have no way to track non-citizens who live here.

        So NBC2 did something election officials never thought to do, and found them on our own.

        “I vote every year,” Hinako Dennett told NBC2.

        The Cape Coral resident is not a US citizen, yet she’s registered to vote.

        NBC2 found Dennett after reviewing her jury excusal form. She told the Clerk of Court she couldn’t serve as a juror because she wasn’t a U.S. citizen.

        We found her name, and nearly a hundred others like her, in the database of Florida registered voters.

        Naples resident Yvonne Wigglesworth is also a not a citizen, but is registered to vote. She claims she doesn’t know how she got registered.

        “I have no idea. I mean, how am I supposed to know.”

        Records show Wigglesworth voted six times in elections dating back eleven years.

        “I know you cannot vote before you become a citizen, so I never tried to do anything like that,” Samuel Lincoln said.

        He isn’t a U.S. citizen either, but the Jamaican national says he doesn’t know how he ended up registered to vote.

        “It’s their mistake, not mine,” said Lincoln.

        We obtained a copy of his 2007 voter registration application. It’s clearly shows he marked U.S. citizen.

        “This is under oath, that document, they are attesting that it is true and by falsifying, it’s a third degree felony,” said Tim Durham, Collier County’s chief elections supervisor.

        County supervisors of elections tell me they have no way to verify citizenship. Under the 1992 Motor Voter Law, they’re not required to ask for proof.

        “We have no policing authority. We don’t have any way of bouncing that information off any other database that would give us that information,” said Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington.

        NBC2: Does that need to change??
        Harrington: “I think it needs to be looked at.”

        Until that happens, the only way supervisors of elections can investigate voter fraud is if they get a tip.

        So that’s what our list became. After showing them the nearly 100 names we compiled, both county election offices sent letters to each voter, asking them verify citizenship.

        “It could be very serious. It could change the whole complexion of an election,” said Harrington.
        It’s important we don’t know we know if these folks are here illegal or not, just they are potentially not U.S. citizens who registered to vote.

        Voters who received letters have 30 days to show proof of citizenship, or they’ll be taken off the registration rolls.

        Based on our investigation, both election offices say they’ll now request a copy of every jury excusal form where residents say they can’t serve because they’re not a citizen.

        http://www.nbc-2.com/story/16662854/2012/02/02/nbc2-investigates-voter-fraud

        • dhammett said, on April 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

          Ah. . .Florida. See 4:12 below
          .

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

          While anecdotal evidence is interesting, objective statistics serve as better evidence.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/washington/12fraud.html?pagewanted=all

          http://www.thestate.com/2012/02/23/v-print/2164540/state-election-commission-finds.html

          http://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2009/02/myth-voter-fraud

          http://www.truthaboutfraud.org/pdf/TruthAboutVoterFraud.pdf

          While there are incidents of fraud (after all .000X% is greater than 0) the consistent statistical evidence is that it is minuscule. While some Republican politicians express grace concerns and certain media folks create and run sensationalist stories, the evidence is simply lacking for the claims about the alleged dire threat of voter fraud.

          As I noted in my post, if voter fraud was a real problem, I would support legitimate and fair methods to combat it. However, the main problem today is voter apathy.

          • magus71 said, on April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

            Here’s another anecdote: The number of felons casting illegal votes in Minnesota possibly pushed Al Franken to victory in the 2008 Senate race.

            http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/12/felons-voting-illegally-franken-minnesota-study-finds/

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

              Yes, voter fraud does exist. After all, .000X% is still more than zero.

              Let it be supposed that the Fox News story’s data is accurate and felons did in fact vote when they had been stripped of their right to vote. This fraud would not, obviously enough, have been detected by requiring them to present IDs. After all, the reported fraud seems to be that felons voted, not that felons voted by pretending to be someone else.

              Assuming, again, that the data reported is accurate, the fix is not IDs but policing the voter rolls properly. After all, these felons were “caught” by matching the felon lists with the voter records.

              It is also worth noting that the numbers presented and the numbers confirmed seem to be different. For example, The article says “that in Ramsey, 460 names on voting records were matched with felon lists, and a further review found 52 were conclusive matches.” As such, the numbers of folks that match felon lists is only a fraction of those who turn out to actually be felons. Because of this, claims about the number of felons voting need to be properly assessed.

              Naturally, I am in favor of better data handling in this regard. While voter fraud is exceptionally low, some data base work would sort out the felon problem-if only we had the budget money to do that…

            • dhammett said, on April 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm

              “The six-month election recount that turned former “Saturday Night Live” comedian Al Franken into a U.S. senator may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
              ‘That’s the finding of an 18-month study conducted by Minnesota Majority, a conservative watchdog group . . .”

              NOTE: “may have been”
              “a conservative watchdog group”

              Eighteen months. . . The reasoning behind their conclusion is impeccable. . . :, right? :) It must be. They spent 18 months on the case. These people may as well be a congressional watchdog panel. 18 months of ‘effort’ to conclude with a mighty “may have been” whimper.

            • magus71 said, on April 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

              dhammett,

              Yes, clearly it’s not a problem. We should do nothing to stop felons form voting. Even in Afghanistan, voters have to get their thumbs inked to prevent double voting. But nothing in a truly democratic nation like our own. Just claim your Eric Holder and cast your vote.

            • dhammett said, on April 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

              magus71–

              “Yes, clearly it’s not a problem.” I did not write or imply that.
              “We should do nothing to stop felons form voting.” I did not write or imply that.

              What I wrote and implied was that the quote-unquote “findings” of the quote-unquote ” conservative watchdog group” were essentially useless because they were
              1/possibly influenced by the fact that the group is conservative. You know, like having sugar-producers finance research that proves conclusively that sugar is safer if consumed in large quantities. Or kinda/sorta like having corporations or financial institutions supervise the evaluation and enforcement of their industries’ regulations. And
              2/far from absolute. Your word was “possibly” and your source’s words were “may have been”.

              That’s all I said. No more. No less.

              I’d hesitate to hold Afghanistan up as a role model for voting or anything else:

              http://www.badgesociety.com/news/afghan-woman-forced-to-marry-her-rapist/

              I can’t vouch for the veracity of this story, though I’ve seen similar reports of other such situations in Afghanistan. Let’s say it “may have happened”. :)
              Rick Santorum wouldn’t force the marriage, though he would encourage it. Or so I hear. . .

          • T. J. Babson said, on April 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm

            “The Brennan Center points out that in the state of Washington, for example, six cases of double voting and 19 instances of individuals voting in the name of the dead yielded 25 fraudulent votes out of 2,812,675 cast — a 0.0009 percent rate of fraud.”

            I note that this number does not include non US citizens or felons voting.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

              It does not. Nor does it include vampires or children voting. It might be because non-US citizens and felons did not vote in that election or it might be that the report is just reporting on that type of fraud. The fact that they did not mention it does not entail that it did occur-if that is what you are implying.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

              “The fact that they did not mention it does not entail that it did occur-if that is what you are implying.”

              It means they did not measure it, so we don’t know if it did or did not occur. Therefore the 0.0009 percent must be taken with a very large grain of salt.

              Also, I am sure dead people vote in Chicago more frequently than in Washington state.

          • T. J. Babson said, on April 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm

            Nothing to see here…no need to worry about voting fraud…

            It could be one of the most disturbing e-voting machine hacks to date.

            Voting machines used by as many as a quarter of American voters heading to the polls in 2012 can be hacked with just $10.50 in parts and an 8th grade science education, according to computer science and security experts at the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. The experts say the newly developed hack could change voting results while leaving absolutely no trace of the manipulation behind.

            “We believe these man-in-the-middle attacks are potentially possible on a wide variety of electronic voting machines,” said Roger Johnston, leader of the assessment team “We think we can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine.”

            http://www.salon.com/2011/09/27/votinghack/

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 27, 2012 at 9:15 am

              This is, of course, a reasonable concern. However, it is not connected to the actual issue I’m addressing, namely that of requiring IDs for voters. Requiring IDs will not make the machines less vulnerable.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

              All part and parcel of protecting the integrity of our voting system.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

              “We believe these man-in-the-middle attacks are potentially possible on a wide variety of electronic voting machines,” said Roger Johnston, leader of the assessment team “We think we can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine.”

              This means to me that we should do something about this potential problem, but according to Mike’s logic because there is no evidence of widespread voting machine hacking we should not bother to do anything.

            • dhammett said, on April 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm

              TJ:
              From your source:

              “In what Warner describes as ‘probably the most relevant attack for vote tampering,’ the intruder would allow the voter to make his or her selections. But when the voter actually attempts to push the Vote Now button, which records the voter’s final selections to the system’s memory card, he says, ‘we will simply intercept that attempt … change a few of the votes,’and the changed votes would then be registered in the machine.

              “’In order to do this,’ Warner explains, ‘we blank the screen temporarily so that the voter doesn’t see that there’s some revoting going on prior to the final registration of the votes’.”

              Dr. L says this problem of vote tampering through hacking is of “reasonable concern”. I think, however, you’re correct in one respect. If what your source says is true, I should think we should be deeply concerned. In fact, I would think that , in light of the supposed threat of voting machine hacking, the government’s efforts should focus on the problem with the same sense of urgency we applied to ramping up security after 9/11.Why? Because any voter, with or without an ID, could have his vote changed through hacking. If we don’t require IDs any voter could have his vote hacked. If we do require IDs of all voters, any voter could have his vote hacked.

              What I’m saying is that this hacking problem could be so big that requiring IDs seems, by contrast, revealed to be what it likely is— an attempt to disenfranchise certain classes of people. An attempt disguised as a sincere effort to guarantee the integrity of each voter’s vote. Want to make a real effort? Solve the hacking problem. Then you can deal with the relatively (by comparison to the potential of hacking fraud) small amount of voter ID fraud. Warning: If your view of the inefficiency of big government is consistent, you won’t ask government to do both things at the same time.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm

              Why not do both? I’m consistent in that I want to maintain the integrity of the voting process. You are inconsistent in that you want illegal aliens and felons to vote Democratic. I have yet to see any evidence that requiring ID is an unreasonable requirement.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 28, 2012 at 11:38 am

              But I spent an entire post arguing that it is unreasonable. That seems to be evidence that is greater than none.

            • dhammett said, on April 28, 2012 at 11:30 am

              I didn’t say I “want illegal aliens to vote”. You may want to reread my post. I said that, by comparison to the problem that you, yourself, raised with your article from Salon,the alien/felon issue is a relatively insignificant problem and I’m more concerned with the integrity of the voting process as a whole and the safety of the individual votes of all American voters. You would seem to be willing to sacrifice that overall integrity to get at the (again) relatively few illegals and felons who might vote illegally.

              Allow me to repeat these sentences from my last post–4/27 10:15PM– with some added emphasis: “Because ANY voter,^ with or without an ID^, could have his vote changed through hacking. If we ^don’t^ require IDs ANY voter could have his vote hacked. If we ^do^ require IDs of all voters, ANY voter could have his vote hacked. What I’m saying is that this hacking problem could be so big that requiring IDs seems, by contrast, revealed to be what it likely is— an attempt to disenfranchise certain classes of people. ”

              I repeat: If you’re against the inefficiencies of big, bad government –and in the past your comments here have seemed to tend in that direction–, you sound somewhat inconsistent saying that that same evil government (as it’s presently constituted, with its current highly partisan, non-functionial state*# can successfully handle the hacking problem and the illegal alien/ felon problem at the same time, least of all make necessary progress before the November elections.

              *# Here’s some light weekend reading for you. It’s co-authored by a member of the American Enterprise Institute (conservative think tank) and the Brookings Institution (liberal think tank). You know—non-partisan think tanks :). Two partisan-non-partisan think tank members cooperating!! Imagine that!

              http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_story_3.html

              Clearly, Independents and moderate Democrats aren’t the only ones who feel this way.
              For Lexington’s view ( you might consider it more “fair and balanced”) see:

              http://www.economist.com/node/21553449

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm

              Canada:

              To vote, you must prove your identity and address. You have three options:

              Option 1

              Show one original piece of identification with your photo, name and address. It must be issued by a government agency.

              Option 2

              Show two original pieces of authorized identification. Both pieces must have your name and one must also have your address.

              Option 3

              Take an oath and have an elector who knows you vouch for you (both of you will be required to make a sworn statement). This person must have authorized identification and their name must appear on the list of electors in the same polling division as you. This person can only vouch for one person and the person who is vouched for cannot vouch for another elector.

              Examples: a neighbour, your roommate.

              http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=ids&document=index&lang=e

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm

              But what does that entail? Many countries have different voting procedures.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm

              Switzerland:

              Voters select their favoured candidates from the candidate lists issued by the parties. Voters may vote for as many candidates as their canton’s number of seats in the National Council.

              The voting material sent by post includes the following documents:
              a voter identification card indicating the voter’s name and proving that he or she is eligible to vote (in some cantons, the envelope containing voting material serves as the voter identification card);
              a series of pre-printed election ballots papers carrying the list of candidates that each party or electoral alliance is proposing for election;
              a blank election ballot paper without any names;
              in most cantons, a ballot envelope.

              http://www.ch.ch/abstimmungen_und_wahlen/02186/02188/02194/02228/index.html?lang=en#sprungmarke3_10

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm

              Okay, but what does that actually prove?

            • magus71 said, on April 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

              TJ,

              You got them this time. No liberal can disagree with Canada or Switzerland. :)

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm

              Just pointing out that very reasonable countries do not view voter ID as an unreasonable burden.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm

              But are they analogous to the United States in ways that allows a good inference to be made (if it is assumed that these are reasonable countries and that it follows that they are thus reasonable in their voting methods)?

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm

              Sweeden:

              Identity checks

              For all voting a voter who is not known to the election officers must show identification or otherwise confirm her/his identity. The election officers must also make a note of how they have checked the voters’ identities.

              http://www.val.se/in_english/general_information/voting/index.html

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

              Mexico, France, Poland, Singapore, Brazil:

              MEXICO CITY – Office worker Ana Martínez lined up at 7 a.m. on a recent Sunday to renew her voter credential, a document required at a polling station to vote.

              Mexicans recently flocked to modules run by the country’s electoral institute in order to renew voter credentials.

              Mexicans recently flocked to modules run by the country’s electoral institute in order to renew voter credentials.

              But voting was not the main reason she was getting it. The free photo ID issued by the Federal Electoral Institute had become the accepted way to prove one’s identity — and is a one-card way to open a bank account, board an airplane and buy beer.

              Voting was almost an afterthought to Martínez.

              “They ask for it everywhere,” she said. “It’s very difficult to live without it.”

              National IDs for voting, or proving citizenship, is an idea that is being floated in the United States to crack down on voter fraud, illegal immigration and foreign terrorists.

              Proponents, such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, say it is an efficient way to verify identities and prevent crime. Opponents, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, describe it as an invasion of privacy. Minority advocacy groups have even alleged that the cards would frighten minorities going to the polls.

              But Mexico has not seen many problems with its card, and national identity cards have been issued for years in France, Poland, Singapore, Brazil, to prove citizenship.

              http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-01-22/mexico-national-voter-ID-cards/52779410/1

  2. urbannight said, on April 25, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Reblogged this on Urbannight's Blog and commented:
    Too good not to reblog.

    • T. J. Babson said, on April 25, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Is re-blogging like actual blogging, but easier?

  3. T. J. Babson said, on April 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

    When national elections can hinge on a few hundred votes in one state, it seems like a good idea to make a little extra effort to insure the integrity of the process.

    Also, do you not need to show an ID in order to register to vote?

    Is there any estimate of how many non-citizens voted in 2008?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Based on the research data, the fraud rate seems to be between .0004 and .0009%. As far as the non-citizens voting, this would be fraud and hence the percentage would be very, very low indeed.

      I just filled out a form online to register here in Florida and they mailed me my card.

      • dhammett said, on April 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

        Ah, Florida. . .
        .

  4. [...] Suppressing Voters (aphilosopher.wordpress.com) [...]

  5. magus71 said, on April 27, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Illegal aliens, felons, and socket puppet voting seem to threaten democracy more than laws that attempt to control such activity.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

      As I’ve noted, I agree that people who legitimately lack the right to vote should not be voting. However, the ID requirement does not address these concerns. As has been noted, the very tiny number of illegal aliens and felons who have voted illegally were caught not because of ID laws but by simply checking their names against existing lists.

      You are on a related issue, but not the issue I wrote about (namely the ID requirement).

  6. magus71 said, on April 27, 2012 at 8:59 am

    The hoops I had to jump through just to get the title to my own car (completely paid off and owned by myself) were quite extensive. I think voting should at least require an ID.

    Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.com/Douglas-Moore/e/B007WN14JY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Congratulations on the Kindle book-time to start on the script for the movie…

      • magus71 said, on April 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        Thanks, Mike. I’ll make Christopher Nolan my director.

    • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Good luck with the self-publishing, Magus…

      Check this out: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/05/01/a-self-publishing-rocky-story/

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm

        Self publishing (well, semi-self, since it involved Amazon etc.) is a good option for folks who have the skills but lack the connections or luck to get a big ticket contract. I’ve made far more with my 99 cent books via Amazon than all my professionally published works combined.

        • magus71 said, on May 7, 2012 at 9:02 am

          Thanks for the words of encouragement. My main issue will be getting the word out. I’ll be starting another novel in July when I go on leave. Too busy now for anything more than outlining. I’ve had a few sales already, though.

          Great story on that link, TJ.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

            The start up will be slooooow. My first Kindle book sold 6 copies the first month and now it averages 1,000 per month.

  7. dhammett said, on April 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    TJ:

    My God man, I think you may be on to something here! If I understand the point you’re attempting to make with the examples you’ve provided here, you’re saying that if Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Poland, and Singapore–did I miss anyone?– have voter ID requirements and they’re reasonable countries, so should we also have voter ID.

    Currently we have more than 30 states with varying voter ID requirements. If you’re certain that voter IDs in the US are reasonable, then it seems you must think their many different requirements are reasonable.

    SO. . . Why don’t we just combine all these ‘reasonable’ OPTIONS from the reasonable countries and all the options available in the US and make one reasonable national voter ID law for our exceptionally reasonable country? We could provide voters with a list of options as long as your arm and your leg and your… …if necessary–to choose from.

    To make this work, I’m willing to ignore the fact that somehow, the argument that other reasonable and civilized countries (32 of the 33 developed nations—-some of them ^must^ be reasonable!) had universal health care wasn’t acceptable to the loyal opposition when the health care bill was being considered . Then maybe we can get around to solving that truly major issue you interjected into the discussion earlier–vote hacking. :)

    • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Hi dhammett,

      You may remember in an earlier discussion I remarked that one of the differences between conservatives and liberals is that liberals had a tendency to question the motives of people who disagree with them.

      And sure enough, this post is entitled “suppressing voters,” and the suggestion is that those who wish to make our voting system more secure are motivated by partisan politics.

      By pointing out that countries like Canada, etc. have these laws, it suggests that there are probably some good reasons to have voter ID laws that go beyond partisan politics.

      And to address the other issue you just injected into the discussion, universal health care, I would be in favor of it if it actually saved money and lowered the percentage of GDP that we spend on health care. The current ACA is a disaster because does nothing to control costs, and will probably make things worse in terms of percentage of GDP spent on health care.

      • dhammett said, on April 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

        Just listen to any conservative talk show pundit . Just listen to the pre-election ads. Do you honestly think you won’t hear conservatives questioning the motives of liberals? Have you ever listened to a congressional debate? I’m pretty certain that in the area of questioning motives, conservatives ‘hold their own ‘ when it comes to questioning their opponents’ motives. To conclude otherwise is . . . .

        “By pointing out that countries like Canada, etc. have these laws, it suggests that there are probably some good reasons to have voter ID laws that go beyond partisan politics. ”

        And the fact that 32 out of 33 developed nations have a health care bill doesn’t suggest that ” there are probably some good reasons to have” universal health care? What progress was made (or why wasn’t progress made) toward Universal Health Care–toward cutting medical costs controlling the “percentage of GDP spent on health care ” in the 8 Bush years or the 10 Republican congressional years ending in 2006? Medicare Part D –unfunded? :(

        I ‘interjected’ UHC to point out that you seem to be willing to look to foreign countries to present examples from an “If I’m right, they’re right, and if I’m wrong , they’re wrong” perspective. Have you looked into the detailed voter ID policies of all the nations you presented and considered the ramifications of the various approaches? Check this out:

        http://www.cartercenter.org/news/documents/doc140.html

        Or India. Or Zimbabwe. Greece requires ID cards.

        Part of my point that you seem to have missed is that in the 30+ states that have voter ID laws, the requirements are varied. Do you believe they’re all reasonable?
        Note the list below–from Wikipedia:
        Strict photo ID (voter must show photo ID at polling place): Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin. In addition, South Carolina and Texas have strict photo ID laws that must receive, but have not received, approval from the federal Justice Department; pending such approval, they require non-photo ID.
        Photo ID or alternative (voters at polling place must either show photo ID or meet another state-specific requirement, such as answering personal questions correctly or being vouched for by another voter who has voter ID): Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota.
        Non-photo ID (state-specific list of acceptable forms of polling place ID, including a non-photo form): Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington.

        Are you happy with that “variety” when it comes to voter ID reqm’ts ? If there’s no problem with any of them, why not push all the alternatives above into one federal law? I for one would love to see what the LEAST demanding requirement of the “state-specific list of acceptable forms of polling place ID, including a non-photo form” would include. Wouldn’t you?

    • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

      “Then maybe we can get around to solving that truly major issue you interjected into the discussion earlier–vote hacking. :)”

      I’m willing to solve it, but if we follow Mike’s reasoning on voter ID we do not need to deal with it because it has not been demonstrated to be a major problem.

      I would argue that it is important that citizens believe in the integrity of the voting process, but that is just me.

      • dhammett said, on April 29, 2012 at 11:07 am

        Actually, here’s what Mike said about the vote hacking problem:
        “This [the vote hacking issue] is, of course, a reasonable concern. However, it is not connected to the actual issue I’m addressing, namely that of requiring IDs for voters. Requiring IDs will not make the machines less vulnerable.”

      • dhammett said, on April 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm

        “I would argue that it is important that citizens believe in the integrity of the voting process, but that is just me.”

        TJ: Also please note that you’re not the only one (“just me” :) ) who’s interested in the “integrity ” of the voting process. It is possible that people who have opinions other than yours might have viewpoints different than yours and still be patriotic citizens concerned with the integrity of the ‘voting process’, the political process, financial and corporate influences on the well-being of our nation, etc.

        It just seems to me that you’re not concerned enough about the possible ramifications of the actions involved in insuring the integrity of the voting process. It ‘seems’ you only see an up side to voter ID and are unwilling to take note of –and possibly attempt to avoid– the down side. I don’t see a down side to eliminating vote hacking. I DO see some possible negative effects to poorly thought out voter ID laws. Don’t you? Clearly, in all those state requirements listed in Wikipedia some are much better than others. Same is true of the voter ID laws in foreign countries. (I’ve got a One Hundred Trillion Dollar note form the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. It cost me less than $3 on e-Bay. :) Zimbabwe has a voter ID law.) Reasonable and unreasonable countries have voter ID laws. It stands to reason that some voter ID laws might be less reasonable than others.

        Perhaps it wouldn’t do any harm for reasonable people with open minds to think about this in a less-than-reactionary fashion.

        • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

          Maybe the problem is that I find it difficult to believe that any qualified voter would not have suitable identification. Can you tell me the kind of person you have in mind that would be negatively affected by this law? As far as I can tell, this person must be (1) unemployed, because employment requires ID; (2) not receiving government assistance, because that also requires ID. So who are we talking about, exactly?

          • dhammett said, on April 30, 2012 at 8:53 am

            This question seems to be aimed at deflecting from the issue I raised: Which of the voter ID laws, in your mind, is acceptable? Strict photo ID? Photo ID*# or alternative? “State-specific list of acceptable forms of polling place ID, including a non-photo form?” That’s quite a menu. Are they all acceptable? What, for example, ^are^ all those different questions that must be answered correctly in Alabama and Louisiana and South Dakota and Hawaii and Idaho and Florida and Michigan? Would you agree to compiling a smorgasbord of options, ranging from the most to the least demanding from all the state and internationa (Brazil, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, etc) options and making them available to ALL who enter the voting place?

            Can these photo IDs requirements (“strict” or otherwise)t hat you revere be faked by people who really want to game the system? I’ve seen the voting places in large and small towns and cities across this country. Many of them seem ill-equipped to handle the activities required for make voter ID an accurate and efficient and fair system. Who’s to guarantee that a sort of profiling won’t take over where only the “suspicious-looking” registered Republicans are checked and no Democrats are checked?

            Meanwhile, those vote hackers might be stealing votes by the thousands. . .

            *# This alternative isn’t “strict”. Does that mean I can use my Sam’s Club card ?

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2012 at 10:30 am

              So we agree that requiring ID is acceptable, and we are now discussing what types of ID should be required?

              I would think that something less onerous than required to fly on an airplane would still be OK. How about anything with a picture? Student ID, even a credit card with a picture.

            • dhammett said, on April 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm

              “So we agree that requiring ID is acceptable.”

              TJ If you actually read what I wrote previously, I’ve never opposed ID. I’ve opposed ill-conceived ID requirements. There are some states that require something other than a non-photo ID.
              Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington.
              Then there are those states that allow for meeting “other state-specific requirement, such as answering personal questions correctly or being vouched for by another voter who has voter ID: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota.”

              I’ve cited all of these before. If you’d present me with the specific “state-specific requirements” of these various states, perhaps it could be decided which are most “onerous”. As I said earlier: “It stands to reason that some voter ID laws might be less reasonable than others. ” And what about the third paragraph of my 4/28 10:30 pm post? Someone gave it a thumbs down, so I’ll present it here, again. Thumb away, thumb sucker. . .
              “SO. . . Why don’t we just combine all these ‘reasonable’ OPTIONS from the reasonable countries and all the options available in the US and make one reasonable national voter ID law for our exceptionally reasonable country? We could provide voters with a list of options as long as your arm and your leg and your… …if necessary–to choose from.”
              Does that sound like i didn’t think “requiring ID is acceptable” two days ago? Provide a vast smorgasbord of options that includes all the laws of “reasonable” (your word”) states and countries, and make them available to our voting public. Surely, on that bountiful table, each voter could find a “less onerous” option. . .

              “How about anything with a picture? Student ID, even a credit card with a picture.”

              Can you see the problem with the lack of clarity from state to state that might arise as they apply photo –or even non-photo — requirements? “[A}nything withi a picture”: My Sam’s Card, which I mentioned in my 4:30 8:53 am , has my picture on it. Does it pass muster?

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

              “My Sam’s Card, which I mentioned in my 4:30 8:53 am , has my picture on it. Does it pass muster?”

              Sure. Why not? We can call it the “Walton Rule.”

          • dhammett said, on April 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

            TJ: Not to worry about the integrity of the voting process. . . In five years these two will be eligible to vote. :(

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2-teen-girls-who-fell-asleep-while-sunbathing-on-pa-road-are-struck-by-car-flown-to-hospital/2012/04/29/gIQAz7ZZqT_story.html?tid=pm_pop

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

              A sobering thought.

            • dhammett said, on April 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm

              Even more sobering:: there’s no indication they were drinking.

              It should be required that voters present the results of a valid IQ test, pass a drug test, and take a Breathlyzer test before entering the polling place.

            • magus71 said, on April 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

              They’ll be eligible, but I doubt they’ll muster the will to stop watching Jersey Shore and pick up a newspaper. Maybe if Snookie runs for President. Rock The Vote!

            • dhammett said, on April 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

              magus: I’m not certain all drinkers, dopers, and cretins fall into the 18-30 age group. You’re willing to risk weakening the integrity of our voting system by betting on the boob tube? I’m not.

              I recommend a study, monitored by an internationally recognized organization, to observe voting activities nationwide at thousands of locations large and small during the upcoming elections. I’d like them to report to us, with reasonable certainty, which force impacts most negatively on the integrity of the voting process and the voter’s sense of that integrity. Is it the mental incapacities–inborn or self-imposed– of the voters, ” flawed record keeping and human error allowing people who are not citizens of the United States to vote”, the number of dead voters, or voter hacking.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm

            I do understand your incredulity. When I first learned of the voter ID laws, my first thought was “well, what is the big deal? I’ve had a driver’s license since before I could vote and who doesn’t have ID these days? I have to show ID to rent a car, cash a check, get a job and so on. Hell, I had to bring my passport to work last year to prove yet again I am an American citizen.”

            But, when I did some research into the matter, it turns out there are actually a significant number of people who lack such IDs and for whom getting them would be an obstacle. Adding to this is the fact that the DMVs that provide such IDs are having their hours changed and some are being closed-thus making it even harder for some people to get the IDs needed. The fact that it has been the Republicans pushing the laws and the changes in the DMVs suggests that they are not concerned with voter fraud (which is minute) but with the fact that most people who will be impacted would probably vote for a Democrat. While I do get the idea of winning by any means necessary, this sort of tactic is unethical and contrary to our democratic ideals.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

              “But, when I did some research into the matter, it turns out there are actually a significant number of people who lack such IDs and for whom getting them would be an obstacle.”

              Exactly who are we talking about that does not have any ID?

              And is it a question of the type of ID required, or the principle of requiring IDs?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

              Mostly poor people.

              While I, like Robert Heinlein, look a bit negatively on a society that makes IDs mandatory (and necessary) I do recognize the realistic reasons for having them. But my main objection to the requirement(as I have written repeatedly) is that there is adequate evidence to believe that a significant number of voters would either not be able to get the required ID or would be deterred from voting because of the challenge/cost of getting one. This objection would be countered if it was the case that the ID requirement would prevent voter fraud to a level that would offset the harm of the requirement. Given that voter fraud is microscopic and that the main types of fraud that do occur would generally not be countered by ID requirements, I hold that my view is reasonable.

              Now, if you can show that there is a significant number of people engaged in voter fraud and that this would be countered by the ID requirement and that this would outweigh any harms of this requirement, then I would be all for it. In fact, I would write a blog called “Voter ID: TJ Babson was Right and I was Wrong.”

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm

        However, my principle is not “if a problem is not major, then it should not be solved.” Rather, it is “if a problem is statistically incredibly minor and the proposed solution would not fix the problem and would create more harm then good, then that fix should not be used.”

        I actually discussed voting machines some years ago in my ethics class, in the context of Thoreau and voting. My view is that the voting machines need to be properly secure-that seems reasonable and would not deny anyone their right to vote.

        • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

          Mike, do you not attach any value to measures that increase public confidence in the outcome of an election? If the public does not view the election result as legitimate, is this not a huge problem? Are you not playing with fire by not making an effort to verify if the people voting are actually eligible to vote?

          • dhammett said, on April 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

            Perhaps if I rearrange the Dr’s words you’ll interpret them differently. The professor is saying that he does indeed value the voting process. He believes increasing public confidence in the voting process is important, but that the voter ID solution you recommend “may create more harm than good”. He believes dealing with voting machine problems (hacking, etc.) would not be harmful and therefore should take priority.

          • dhammett said, on April 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

            I concur in large part with Dr. LaBossiere, but I’d like to note once more that anyone promoting voter ID should demonstrate that they’ve carefully considered the implications of the ^ type of voter ID^ *#they’re advocating. I’d have more confidence in your opinion, if you’d respond to my 11:59 am ( the last two paragraphs in particular) and my1:07pm (the paragraph that begins “It just seems to me that you’re not concerned enough. . . “.

            *# Surprisingly, not all voter ID laws in different states or in different countries are the same! Treating them as if they are is a mistake.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

            I do agree that the voting methodology needs to be such that people can rationally have confidence in the process. In the case of requiring voter IDs, I do not think I am playing with fire at all. First, the incidence of actual voter fraud is minuscule. Second, the cases of fraud most commonly mentioned seem to be such that voter ID would not prevent such occurrences (like felons voting). Third, the voter ID requirement would seem to disenfranchise a significant number of Americans.

            The fact that I am against the current voter ID laws does not entail that I am against other methods that improve security without denying people the right to vote unfairly.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

              Mike, this doesn’t bother you? Remember, the studies you cite only measure double voting and voting by dead people:

              Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, told the panel that his department’s study identified nearly 12,000 people who were not citizens but were still registered to vote in Colorado.

              Of those non-citizen registered voters, nearly 5,000 took part in the 2010 general election in which Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet narrowly defeated Republican Ken Buck.

              Colorado conducted the study by comparing the state’s voter registration database with driver’s license records.

              “We know we have a problem here. We don’t know the size of it,” Gessler said in testimony to Administration’s Elections subcommittee.

              http://thehill.com/homenews/house/153079-gop-says-5000-non-citizens-voting-in-colorado-a-wake-up-call-for-states

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 10:36 am

              Assuming the data is correct (there is no specification on the study in regards to who conducted it, its methods and so on), it would bother me. However, the problem (if it exists) is not one of a lack of ID. After all, all they needed to do to check was match the list of voters against the list of citizens and that would solve the problem.

              I do have a concern about the “Colorado study”-can you provide a link to the study data, most importantly the methodology used? I am not claiming that it is wrong, just that I have no basis to assess the claims without the data.

              As I have said before, I am in favor of checking the lists. They should be properly verified to ensure that the people on the voting lists are citizens and are not legitimately denied their right to vote.

            • magus71 said, on May 1, 2012 at 6:02 am

              Confidence in any government process is hugely important.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

              I agree. But this also includes the confidence that the folks in power are not disenfranchising voters so they can improve their odds of being re-elected. Yes, I am also against gerrymandering by Democrats (and Republicans).

            • magus71 said, on May 1, 2012 at 6:05 am

              TJ,

              I wonder if the illegals voted Republican or Democrat…

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

              We’d have to poll them since votes don’t get labeled with the voter’s name. If illegals are voting, that is one more thing that they are willing to do that many Americans are not.

            • magus71 said, on May 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

              What? breaking federal laws?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm

              Americans are still willing to do that.

            • dhammett said, on May 1, 2012 at 8:49 am

              magus71:
              Surely TJ would have meaningful figures on that. . .
              What do you think. Would Catholic Mexicans be more likely to vote for a party that promotes choice over “life”?

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

              A Republican president freed the slaves, the KKK was mostly associated with Democrats, Bull Connor was a Democrat, yet blacks vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.

              Based on this analogy, I would say the Catholic Mexicans would vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, too.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 10:40 am

              True, Lincoln was a Republican and there were plenty of Democrats who were racists. But we are no longer in the 1800s and need to take into account what has changed since then.

            • dhammett said, on May 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

              “Based on this analogy, I would say the Catholic Mexicans would vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, too.”

              Are you referring to some other analogy in this discussion or is your reasoning is that Catholic Mexicans, unlike some Catholic Americans, aren’t single issue voters (or, more specifically, basically faith-driven voters) and that they’d vote for the party of choice regardless of the teachings of their church?

              You do prove fairly conclusively with your first paragraph that party ‘labels’ are a matter of changing times and perceptions. But I understand. . .It’s easy to confuse the Republican and Democratic parties (labels) with liberal and conservative ideological stances.

              Here,concerning the ^parties^: “The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Anti federalist factions before America’s independence from British rule. These factions were organized into the Democrat – Republican party by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792.
              “The Republican party is the younger of the two parties. Founded in 1854 by anti-slavery expansion activists and modernizers, the Republican Party rose to prominence with the election of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president.
              History
              “Since the division of the Republican Party in the election of 1912, the Democratic party has consistently positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party in economic as well as social matters. ”

              http://www.diffen.com/difference/Democrat_vs_Republican

              And here, concerning the ideologies:

              http://www.balancedpolitics.org/ideology.htm

              So. Two different animals. Sometimes, the wine changes bottles. Sometimes it’s mixed.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

              “But we are no longer in the 1800s and need to take into account what has changed since then.”

              No need to go all the way back to the 1800s:

              Bull Connor was a Democrat. As the public safety commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, it was at his command that civil rights protestors were attacked by dogs and beaten back by high-powered streams from fire hoses. One did not have to fabricate evidence that he was a racist.

              Bull Connor was also a member of the Democratic National Committee. That’s the governing board of the national Democratic Party, the one currently chaired by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She’s the ever-civil, understated lady who says Republicans are using “violent movie clips” to push “their people to inflict pain and hurt people.” But I digress. We were talking about Bull Connor, whose minions — unlike the Republicans maligned by Ms. Schultz — really did hurt people.

              It bears noting as well that Bull Connor was not only a member of the Democratic National Committee, but also of the Ku Klux Klan. And when Klansmen attacked Freedom Riders in Birmingham with bats and metal pipes, Connor allowed the beating to go on for 15 minutes without police interference. No arrests were made at the scene, but the pain and hurt inflicted were real.

              Connor was active in the Democratic Party at the same time that Senators Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Albert Gore, Sr. of Tennessee were leading the opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Connor was no doubt pleased that 80 percent of the “no” votes on that bill in the U.S. Senate, and 75 percent of the opposition in the House, came from Democrats.

              Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/08/17/remembering-bull-connor-accurately/#ixzz1tdW5wmLo

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm

              Sure, there are Democrats who are racists. However, the Democrats are now regarded as being non-racist and pro-minority. Perhaps wrongly so, of course.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

              “…Democratic party has consistently positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party…”

              Which reminds me that today is Victims of Communism day, in which we spare a moment to think of the 80-100 million who died because of lefty politics…

              http://volokh.com/2012/05/01/victims-of-communism-day-4/

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

              That is a rather broad accusation. After all, this just divides the world into two guilty classes: those to the left and those to the right.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm

              Sure they are both guilty, but the left is *more* guilty…

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

              How so? Also, how does this guilt by vague association work? For example, how does my having some liberal views make me responsible for Stalin’s deeds? Am I accountable for everything ever done by anyone left of the mythical center? Do my conservative views make me accountable for everything else?

  8. dhammett said, on April 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    TJ: Re: your 4/30 10:30am

    Well then–the Walton Rule’s got my vote. :) HOWEVER: Before instituting the rule we must have in place a privately funded program –or publicly funded, if the private funding falls short–the proceeds of which would be used to purchase Sam’s cards for those too poor to purchase them and pay to transport people who live too far from a Sam’s Club to be photographed. (Are there such remote locations?Are there such people? You betcha, dammit!) I imagine you saw those difficulties when you initially said “anything with a picture”, right? I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few more weaknesses buried in the “Rule”. I’ll have to think about it a bit more. Why don’t you join me?.

    It’s lack of foresight, the inability to foresee problems, or the political lack of will to see and solve such problems that has us looking at voter ID as a bumper-sticker problem. Ah, voter ID.
    Sure, let’s do it. Let’s not think into it. That’s the public reaction, and unfortunately that’s how the government acts in reaction to their thinking.

    Ah, Kaylie. The macadam is warm. It would be a great place to sunbathe.
    Yeah, Sammie. Let’s go!

  9. dhammett said, on May 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    TJ @ 5/1 12:40pm

    Thank you!Thanks for the assist!

    Now I know that Left is liberal is ultra-liberal is moonbat is communist is socialist.
    And I know that Right is ultra-conservative, is wingnut , is facist.
    And it’s crystal clear why Muslim is extreme Muslim is Satan .
    And Christian is fundamentalist Christian is wacko Christian.
    And I know that Independents are fence-sitters—or worse—because they’re not commies or fascists or extreme Muslims or wacko Christians.

    Thanks. Life’s so much easier this way.
    Easier. But the down side is that , apparently, everybody in the world sucks. . .

    • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Glad to be of assistance.

      And always remember T.J.’s golden rule: it is never right vs. wrong, but always wrong vs. greater wrong.

      • dhammett said, on May 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

        TJ–That clarifies it all even more! NIce to hear we’re all wrong and that, in all likelihood, being Independent, leaning moderate liberal, I’m less wrong than many. Less sucky, if you will.


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