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Author Topic: One party rule forever
scifibum
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Latest homepage essay.

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2009-02-16-1.html

OSC argues that Obama is making a naked power grab by putting the Census in the White House instead of the Commerce Dept.

Is there any reason to think the change Obama is making will change the amount of influence the administration has on the census? If Obama can move the census, doesn't that imply he'd have as much influence over it in the old location as he will in the new location? (Either it's part of the executive branch or not, right?)

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JoshuaD
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My understanding is that the equations have the potential to be more accurate than a door-to-door census. There are a number of practical difficulties in doing a head count, some of which are the homeless, people refusing to answer the door, dishonest census workers, and language barriers. It's probably true that the head-count method is favorable to republicans.

The problem with the formulaic method is that it's very easy to put a thumb on the scale. And when the person responsible for rendering the formula is the same person subject the results of the formula, I'm very uncomfortable.

I don't see the intentional malevolence OSC sees, but I do think the danger he's describing is legitimate. Even if you love Obama and trust him to do-no-evil, this should still scare you. If the current president doesn't abuse it, certainly future presidents will.

[ February 25, 2009, 04:41 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Remember, the Democratic Party is the one that tried to steal the 2000 presidential election by a highly selective recount in Florida; and when that didn't work, the solidly liberal Florida supreme court selectively nullified any election law that might prevent the theft of the election. Only the U.S. Supreme Court put a stop to this openly partisan attempt at election theft."

You know, as I've become more and more disciplined at the enthralling but grueling work of writing fiction for publication, I've noticed that when I am in that mode, it takes awhile to recover from that hyper-interpretative/hyper-inductive state called imagining bull****.

Orson has an obvious well-established work ethic in this regard.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Anyway, anyone care to explain to me why having it in the White House would change the president's access to the data and oversight of it?

Last president/VP kept the Budget Office out of its Energy Summit for 8 years and we still have an Office of Energy.

Is there something I'm missing?

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scifibum
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"I don't see the intentional malevolence OSC sees, but I do think the danger he's describing is legitimate. Even if you love Obama and trust him to do-no-evil, this should still scare you. If the current president doesn't abuse it, certainly future presidents will."

It scares me that we have a large federal government with a lot of effective power.

Who reports to whom in the structure of that juggernaut seems to me a minor detail.

If Obama has the power to sway the census, he had it before he drew this line on the org chart.

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abm3
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I would just like to point-out that the Wall Street Journal is covering this issue in the opion secition:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123423384887066377.html

Last I check wsj was pretty mainstream, issues of ownership notwithstanding.

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abm3
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And here's an article from the Washington Post:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/02/05/census_director_to_report_to_w.html

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abm3
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Some more from the New York Times:

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/longest-serving-senator-gives-obama-a-history-lesson/?scp=1&sq=census%20obama&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/us/politics/20memo.html?scp=2&sq=census%20obama&st=cse

Sometimes you have to look on more than one page of your google search to find relevant material. Wow, that came out much more snide than I meant it.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:It scares me that we have a large federal government with a lot of effective power.

Who reports to whom in the structure of that juggernaut seems to me a minor detail. [/QB]

I think that detail is significant. If you're put in charge of writing these formulas, you're going to be more inclined to care that they work properly than someone who depends on them for their livelihood and legacy.

Sure, the census angency could get bribed, or act in a partisan way, but it's certainly more difficult than if the mechanisms are directly in the hands of the politician.

It's the same principle as separation of powers.

[ February 25, 2009, 05:41 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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scifibum
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quote:
Sometimes you have to look on more than one page of your google search to find relevant material. Wow, that came out much more snide than I meant it.
Doesn't even register on the snark scale around here. [Big Grin]
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kmbboots
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If Pres. Obama's plan was to skew the census wouldn't it have made more sense to just nominate a Commerce Secretary that would do it his way? How twisted must you be to nominate someone who has a firm opinion that is in opposition to yours and then screw with him?

And how paranoid must one be to see the statement that the White House would work closely with the director as a power grab rather than a reassurance to the minority caucus leaders that their concerns about under-counted populations would be addressed?

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natural_mystic
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Was OSC similarly outraged by the Texas redistricting and the stated Rovian goal of a permanent majority?
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kenmeer livermaile
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Didn't fit in his plot outline at the time.
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munga
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wow, just read the article from OSC.

I don't know what to think. He's complaining about something that means almost nothing while Obama is parting the Red Sea.

Hard to please some people.

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0Megabyte
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Well, of course you can't please him.

Obama is a Democrat. And that means that he's going to be a tyrant.

Now, they do say that what you assume about people tells something about you... which would be interesting, in OSC's case.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by munga:
He's complaining about something that means almost nothing.

Seriously?

Imagine Bush had done this instead of Obama. You wouldn't have been worried?

Do you really think this is a power the president should have? Do you realize how ridiculously easy this is to abuse?

Do you realize how easy it is to abuse without making it obvious that abuse is happening?

Forget your Obama love for a minute. It doesn't matter if he abuses it. Someone after him certainly will.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I worried about anything Bush did because Bush was... special.

We've had three fizzles in picking a Secretary of Commerce, the person who normally heads the Department of Commerce that heads the Census Bureau. Anyway, last I knew, that person answered to the president.

quote:
The decennial Census is used to redraw district lines for elected seats in Congress and state legislatures, and is always a major issue for minority advocates. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials released a statement on Tuesday, shortly after Obama announced Gregg's nomination, questioning Gregg's willingness to produce the most accurate count of the nation's population.

"As a current member and former chairman of the subcommittee that funds the U.S. Census Bureau, Secretary-designate Gregg fought President Clinton's efforts to increase funding for the Commerce Department to administer the 2000 Census," the statement read. "During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, some policymakers questioned his commitment to supporting the basic functions of the Bureau."

Corruption can happen at any level, you know? Doesn't have to be the prez. And isn't the legislation empowering the United States Code authorizing the census bureau subject to Congressional review?
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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
"Requiring the Census director to report directly to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is a shamefully transparent attempt by your administration to politicize the Census Bureau and manipulate the 2010 Census," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), both of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote in a letter today to Obama. "The constitutionally-mandated decennial Census needs to be fair, accurate and trusted. By circumventing the secretary of commerce's oversight of the Census Bureau and handing it directly to a political operative such as Mr. Emanuel, you are severely jeopardizing the fairness and accuracy of the 2010 Census."
That seems a far stretch from this:

quote:
Obama is adding oversight of the director by senior White House aides, but keeping the bureau itself under the umbrella of the Department of Commerce, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
No circumvention in that, just an expanded network.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
quote:
Originally posted by munga:
He's complaining about something that means almost nothing.

Seriously?

Imagine Bush had done this instead of Obama. You wouldn't have been worried?

Do you really think this is a power the president should have? Do you realize how ridiculously easy this is to abuse?

Do you realize how easy it is to abuse without making it obvious that abuse is happening?

Forget your Obama love for a minute. It doesn't matter if he abuses it. Someone after him certainly will.

Done what, exactly? Commerce is part of the Executive Branch. The Commerce Sec. reports to him. What power is Pres. Obama taking that he didn't already have?

There is a conflict over whether or not to use sampling in the census. Certain, especially poor and minority, populations are undercounted; sampling would mitigate that and likely come up with more accurate data. On the other hand, the Constitution says "actual enumeration" and some think this means counting. Of course, the "how" of the census has changed many times over the years anyway - sometimes including slaves, sometimes only heads of households, sometimes counting other household members, sometimes estimating them.

Also, the if the undercounted populations were counted, they would probably be Democrats.

When Senator Gregg was nominated for commerce, there was concern among the minority leaders that, given his history of opposition to sampling, Sen. Gregg wouldn't pay enough attention to the undercounted minorities.

The response to those concerns was what seemed to me to be in essence, "Don't worry guys, we'll keep an eye on that."

[ February 26, 2009, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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scifibum
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Concerns over whether the census is conducted fairly without a political agenda seem fair. Maybe Emanuel is the wrong guy for the job, and will politicize it. I don't have a problem with voicing those concerns (though I think it's a bit early to freak out, obviously).

But characterizing this as a power grab is just inaccurate. It's demagoguery. Obama hasn't altered the power of the executive branch one whit with this change. Consider that he could have just appointed Emanuel the Secretary of Commerce. Would that still be a power grab? [Roll Eyes]

quote:
Do you really think this is a power the president should have? Do you realize how ridiculously easy this is to abuse?

Do you realize how easy it is to abuse without making it obvious that abuse is happening?

Forget your Obama love for a minute. It doesn't matter if he abuses it. Someone after him certainly will.

Have the past few presidents (or the past few secretaries of commerce) been immune to the temptation? In other words, do you see this as a new concern?

[ February 26, 2009, 11:24 AM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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I'm sure we'll see calls for investigation if any funny-looking data is employed.
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munga
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I find this interesting.

I though Card was pretending to be a democrat at this time.

Wouldn't that make his objection to having liberal oversight of this process...... suspect?

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cherrypoptart
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The scariest thing isn't that Obama is trying this underhanded powerplay to engage in blatant census fraud by making up people who can't be found and then counting them in mostly liberal bastions of support, but that so many people are willing to go along with it so easily, and not just like good little sheeple, but in enthusiastic jack booted goose step.

Obama's election may have something in common with elections of Communists and Islamic governments. The first free election they have is the last free election there is. Good job people, good job Obama, in throwing away any credibility you could have hoped to gain.

What's next I wonder? Diversity in communication ownership, i.e, fairness doctrine, i.e. censorship of conservative speech.

And people complained about the fascism of Bush and Cheney... jeez.

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scifibum
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It's just freaking exhausting that you not only leap to the "power play" but treat it as a given that the intent is to commit fraud.

Of course I think you know this. I think, cherry, that of all the right wing blowhards on the site, you are probably the most aware of your rhetorical sins.

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cherrypoptart
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Yes, there is some small measure of pride to be taken in that. Thank you. [Smile]

Of course, it's at least equally frustrating that people always seem to give the benefit of the doubt when some measure of suspicion might be more pragmatic, especially with the accumulation of trends we see developing here. Census. Change in rules in Congress. Buying votes and calling it a stimulus. Attacking the wealth, and therefore the power, of conservatives, the attack on free speech in talk radio in the name of diversity, the attack on conservatism in religion. Blah blah blah I'm sure everyone has heard it before. It's not so much that they don't see it though, but that they think it's a good thing.

But if this had been done by the conservatives against liberals, we wouldn't have heard the end of it. As it is, too much is made of it.

It's too obvious, but that's my strong point. Stating the obvious.

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RickyB
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munga - The greater Obama's success, the more OSC will fulminate against him and invent terrible evil for him.
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RickyB
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"I think, cherry, that of all the right wing blowhards on the site, you are probably the most aware of your rhetorical sins."

I'll go further. Cherry has more non-partisan commitment to the truth than the others. [Smile]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Cherry has more non-partisan commitment to the truth than the others."

If you say so. I think that while cherry regularly displays fits of reasonableness and the capacity to reason with objectivity as his goal, they are spike manifestations on his readout. Whatever commitment they may represent is decidedly intermittent, even sporadic.

I think it's more like professional ethics for trolls.

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Blayne Bradley
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This is the first time I can honestly say I'm disgusted and disgruntled.

Will still buy his books though, I can actually differentiate between his Political Opinion and His Novel Writing.

Except for Tom Clancy where book and opinion are one and the same and separated by a thin red line.

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Blayne Bradley
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Question whats his jib at mexico aimed at, haven't they been a democracy since the 1900's? Or perhaps even earlier? (1800's)?
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:

Obama's election may have something in common with elections of Communists and Islamic governments. The first free election they have is the last free election there is. Good job people, good job Obama, in throwing away any credibility you could have hoped to gain.

What's next I wonder? Diversity in communication ownership, i.e, fairness doctrine, i.e. censorship of conservative speech.

And people complained about the fascism of Bush and Cheney... jeez.

Technically I think depending on your definition of "islamist" those countries have had several semi free to free elections. Pakistan I believe has been largely Democratic, Indonesia I think also has been largely democratic, Malayasia? Assuming we widen the definition to include any country whose cultural Muslem. Even if you just talking about Islamic Republic of X I can still think of Pakistan as being largely democratic.

As for Communist countries I don't think a single one ever "started" with a free election which became the last one, look at Nepal, Maoist gov't freely elected to power this year ish, and they haven't grabbed power except for abolishing their monarchy. (which the vote for was overwhelming)

Iran is possibly the only ironic example of their democratic election for a Socialist party became their "last" because of a CIA/MI6 led coup d'etate.

Vietnam almost had a free election, got interrupted when the US nudged the South Vietnamese faction to cancel nationwide elections to prevent what was perceived at the name would be a Ho Chi Minh landslide victory.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
Yes, there is some small measure of pride to be taken in that. Thank you. [Smile]

Of course, you're also impossible to provoke, which is worthy of a considerable measure of pride. Good on you.
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Adam Masterman
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I've given up responding to these essays in words. Here's a picture instead:

http://mahasiddha.deviantart.com/art/Orson-Scott-Card-114328201

[Big Grin]
Adam

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kenmeer livermaile
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Generally speaking, mental aberrations grow more pronounced as people grow older.
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GrokThis
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I disagree with most of Pres. Obama's goals but think he is the most mature leader available now.

My question is would Mr. Card respond to a offer of a presidential advisory position if it came to him?

If the tables were turned I believe Obama would respond to Card's.

The measure of a person is not if one is right all the time but how one comes to conclusions and who a person listens to for advise.

The fact that Pres. Obama has searched out people that are not his "devotees" for appointed positions tells me that he is mature about his decision making even if his fellow party members are not. I do not think Pres. Obama is another Abraham Lincoln but I do think that he is aligned with Lincoln in that he is a pioneer in his party, one that may yet spur a new party that becomes prominent. That is what Lincoln did, from the Whig party to Republican.

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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
Generally speaking, mental aberrations grow more pronounced as people grow older.

Aha! thanks for the insight that explains kenmeer livermaile so perfectly... [Razz]
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kenmeer livermaile
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Not perfectly but true enough.

My prime mental aberration is a squirrel cage in my brain that won't stop. It doesn't spin fast enough to make make schizo or paranoid, but it does make me different.

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RickyB
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"Question whats his jib at mexico aimed at, haven't they been a democracy since the 1900's? Or perhaps even earlier? (1800's)?"

1920's or 30's, iirc. Kinda sorta. If you think the PRI remained in power for 70 straight years through democratic processes... oh, wait, you like the CPC too, so... [Razz]

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Viking_Longship
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Well you guys mostly hit any objections or questions I had about this essay.

I wish he'd spend more time talking about homework or carless communities. Even when he comes up with a valid point he has to pepper it with so many outlandish accusations that aren't even related to the topic that it becomes a real headache to get the point. ("If you think the Democrats aren't evil remember (bum bum bum) FLORIDA!!!!")

I don't know what it is but he becomes a really bad writer when he goes on these tears. Do you think he's writing angry or something?

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Viking_Longship
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Actually let me modify that, I guess his contention that the Democrats were trying to steal that election would be relevant to his contention that the real goal was one party rule by whatever means necessary. Still it's not even a very solid example unless he is only preaching to the choir.
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