Thursday, October 02, 2014

The right narrative to fight voter-suppression candidates

I sent the following suggestion to the campaign of Jean Schodorf, who is running to oust the “worst Republican in the world” - Kris Koback - from the office of Kansas Secretary of State. Schodorf is that rare creature, a genuine prairie conservative who would have been republican all her life, till she realized that the madness that has hijacked today’s GOP is not temporary and recently switched parties. 

Unlike the millions of sane but in-denial “ostrich republicans” who have buried their heads, moaning and hoping the craziness will just go away, Schodorf is taking it on, head-to-head. Zeroing in on Koback’s blatant and extreme efforts to suppress thousands of native born Kansans from exercising their right to vote.
Here is my suggestion… which any of you are free to pass along to your own favorite candidates-for-sanity.
 ————
Dear Jean Schodorf,
voter-suppression-laws-voteDavid Brin here - best-selling author and scientist - with a suggestion how to manage the voter-suppression issue in your electoral campaign.
Let’s start with the obvious: You will get almost nowhere just proclaiming that Voter Suppression laws are unfair.  That will be dismissed as "the whining of losers." Nor will it do any good to compare the exceedingly rare polling-place fraud with the outrageous vote theft called gerrymandering,  which can be brought to heel by other methods
No. There is a much better "judo" argument that will expose the Voter ID campaigns as hypocritical cheating... a much more powerful accusation.  Please carefully read my argument below, which is cribbed from one of my more well-known postings: Steering Our Outrage in Wrong Directions.
“In fact, as a moderate, I am not opposed to gradually increasing the demand that voters prove who they are! Even though at-precinct voting fraud is virtually nil, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with improving care and accountability. People who are against voter ID improvements in any form are probably dogmatic, too.
voter-repression-laws“But -- and here is a very big "but" -- if these laws weren't aimed solely at stealing elections for the GOP, then the states in question would have accompanied the new regulations with measures aimed at helping their citizens to comply with the new burdens.
“States routinely give "compliance assistance" to corporations, when new regulations apply to them. 
 "But apparently not one cent has been appropriated in any red state to help the poor, or young, or women, or minorities to get the required ID -- a move that would also help them in so many other aspects of life.  In some cases, simple access to ID might help them to STOP being poor.
“Please dig that well, because it is the alarm and utter proof of both cheating motives and lying hypocrisy. How much have red states allocated to help newly disenfranchised citizens to comply with onerous new state regulations?  Not… one… red… cent.*
Hypocrisy“Hypocrisy is still punished by some voters. If this point -- about helping corporations with regulation compliance, while refusing to help one poor citizen to comply with new regulatory hurdles -- were hammered home, then maybe ten percent of the voters might be swayed, and that’s a lot.
Hammer that this is what the once honorable and intellectual movement of Goldwater and Buckley is reduced to. Not winning elections based on the merits of their evidence or by comparing the outcomes from their party's past periods of rule. (Those comparisons go very badly for the GOP.) Rather, all efforts go to cheating and more cheating. And if you support this cheat, then no amount of arm-waving will let you escape the clear fact -- that you are a cheater, too.”
Yes, that is a very aggressive way to put it.  But this issue could be a killer for candidates opposing the swarm of vipers who have taken over the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan.
With cordial regards,
David Brin
http://www.davidbrin.com

====
* Note, Wisconsin does provide compliance help to get ID and has proved that this is very cheap to do.  But Wisconsin is not "red". It is a battleground state and the compliance help has been engaged by blue elements of that state as part of the tussle among fanatical and moderate elements in this, phase eight of our re-ignited Civil War. 

54 comments:

Webmaster said...

David, during the GW Bush Administration on immigration legislation, an idea turned into a bill was a national ID card. The card, issued by the federal government using all its databases, would prove a person was an American citizen. Democrats thought it was a good bill to answer the Republicans on non-legal immigrants receiving benefits, etc. The congressional GOP killed it.

Further, what you have not noted is that many states have made compliance even harder. For example, in WI, numerous offices, particularly in Democratic districts, where voters could go to obtain official documents were closed and those that remained open had their hours and days of service severely reduced by state edict.

In No. Carolina and TX, being a student voter means jumping over enormous, unimaginable hurdles, especially if that student is from out of state. In TX, married women are being locked out of the vote because their birth certificate name apparently must match their voting name. The list of voter restrictions goes on and on in any state controlled by the GOP.

As United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Justice Posner (a Republican appointed by Reagan) wrote a year or so ago, he would never have agreed to the Indiana voter ID decision the court took had he known the full and complete details of the case. He publicly stated that his position in that case was wrong.

But what really eats at my soul is the overt attempts of modern Republicans to deny the franchise to their so-called political enemies. Gingrich started this whole ideology that Democrats were enemies of the US...and the GOP had embraced that ideology. If you don't think exactly as I do, then you are not American.

I know enough about the American democracy experiment to know that ideology was anathema to the nation's founders. They welcomed spirited debate ad chose compromise, understanding that no one had a lock on eternal truth.

But you are right, the GOP has chosen to deny the franchise to legitimate voters out of fear. It's a fear not only of loss of power, which is extremely strong amongst the political class, but also a well understood fear amongst the GOP that they have nothing to offer American voters that changes the chess pieces on the board. No movement forward on innovation, creativity, competition, transparency, fair and flat business playing fields, equalizing labor (workers) with capital(management and rentiers) in negotiations,and a progressive tax system that prevents a return to feudalism.

In essence, they have nothing to offer but social and cultural division while the oligarchs steal the country. What we have now is a GOP that resembles McKinley's Robber Barons and their successful attempt to buy the presidency and congress with their overwhelming fortunes...and compliant public too willing to give away their own kitchen table economic interests out of partisan loyalty.

Shame on the American people to toss aside the great Enlightenment experiment that changed not only this country but the world for political power devoid of anything but a less free past.

The Baron said...

Politics is best understood in terms of tribal strategies, not philosophical ideals. The tribal strategy of David Brin’s kind is clear: gain disproportionate top-down influence over the cultural, educational, financial and political apparatus of a society, and use this to re-engineer it in such a way that larger tribes can’t threaten you. This means a constant barrage of propaganda denigrating any sort of strong tribal identity, a push for open borders (e.g. Immigration Reform of 1965, UK post-war immigration policies, etc.), denigration of potentially hostile religions such as Christianity and Islam (see portrayals of Christians in Hollywood), introduction of “political correctness” of the sort pioneered by the Bolsheviks, and a general hostility to majoritarian expressions of any kind. Thus we arrive at societies like the modern UK and USA, which are no longer nations in any meaningful sense, and are increasingly tyrannized by various minorities, financial interests and PC cabals which are openly hostile to the majority population. We also arrive at a better understanding the aggressive tribal basis of Western foreign policy toward Arabs, Muslims, Russians, etc. A good one-word description of this mentality might be "Zionism".

The point is, these are all manifestations of a particular tribal strategy developed over centuries by a small group of clever people, but they shouldn’t be mistaken for universal truths or ideologies that can sustain a larger civilization. Other tribes have other strategies and values that have worked for them, but which Brin’s kind like to vilify in their media as extreme, regressive, racist, etc. Again, this is their tribal strategy at work, to shut out threatening ideologies and only allow a narrow range of ideas into the conversation – a strategy which has been very effective in the Anglosphere in particular, at least until the advent of the internet and the breaking of the media stranglehold.

So for me David Brin is a classic example of the tribal propagandist masquerading as an objective intellectual, who may not even be aware that he is unconsciously propagating ancient tribal memes (though I doubt that). The Anglosopheric elite is full of folks like these, and it falls to the rest of us to deconstruct them relentlessly, to act as an internal proletariat, to let them know that their arrogant antics are not appreciated, and to restist their hostile tribal strategy.

Robert said...

Baron, you forget something important.

The strongest substances are not pure metals. They are alloys.

Genetic "purity" often risks recessive genes taking hold. Look at all the purebred dogs and cats out there which have significant problems with their hips and joints. It is the mutts and the mixed breeds that end up being stronger healthier animals.

The United States is not some European pureblood nation. It is a nation of mutts and mixed-breeds. It is Irish-Jews and Scottish-Blacks and Indian-Asians and more. It is taking these diverse elements and melting them together in a huge pot to create something called American.

Elon Musk has created two truly spectacular companies - SpaceX and Tesla Motors - while not having been born in the United States. If you had your way, he'd need not apply because he's an immigrant. And the U.S. would be poorer as a result.

America is greater than that. And if you are too blind to see that, then I pity you.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Seeing as how “The Baron’s” attack on me was clearly a piece of form-cant that he borrowed from somewhere, pasting in my name, I think I can safely dismiss this as a troll. There is no reference to anything I ever actually said, nor any overlap with any beliefs I promoted. In fact, the cut and paste is actually kind of hilarious, and reveals this pseudonymous putz as the coward that he is.

reformed tourist said...

OK - I feel once again that compelling urge to post... I managed to resist when the ExIm bank issue arose a short while ago (Dr. Brin is aware that I have a role as a semi-pro government affairs advocate for an aerospace trade union; one that strongly desires ExIm reforms, NOT extinction). The Baron's comments, however... Well, despite Dr. Brin's en pointe response, I am moved to add something.

I have spent a professional lifetime in a technical trade and been additionally involved in related trade union and government affairs activities. It is abundantly clear to me that our society and culture has been subjected to a relentless and disturbingly successful campaign to denigrate empiricism as well as civic awareness, appreciation, and participation. Worse, this effort has substituted the intrinsic desire to belong (the Baron is correct that man is a tribal creature with evolutionary survival traits that are hardwired to a communal identity) with jingoism, triumphalism, and mysticism - none of which stand close examination, but nonetheless are celebrated such that to question them is to be called out as un-American (or un-British, or un-Russian, or, to put a fine point on it, infidel: a rose by any other name).

The point of this is that my experience suggests our society and culture have come to be dominated by what I call the sit-com mentality. This a syndrome in which our fellow citizens essentially are conditioned to only process information within a presentation period of 22 minutes plus commercial breaks, and then only if it appeals to and validates their initial biases. Novel concepts can only be introduced sparingly and preferably in a titillating (rather than intellectually challenging) manner.

Those such as The Baron seek to continue and strengthen this trend towards popular "drone-ism" by employing various tautologies as illustrated by the obvious "cut'n paste" example that Dr. Brin points out.

Troll? Most probably. But this is a sort of pseudo-academic rationalization that needs to be called out for what it is. It is not simply cant, but rather a truly destructive mode of thought that is anti-democracy, anti-secular, yes, even anti-religious as it ignores the egalitarian aspects of the major religions. It serves only to provide cover for the plutocratic interests that Dr. Brin has discussed in both this blog and other channels. The use of scapegoats, der untermenschen, is a well worn trope; one that, sadly, still maintains currency. That doesn't mean that we should accord it any value beyond the effort expended to illuminate its counterfeit nature. But it also means that we shouldn't spare the effort lest the currency become more pervasive than it already is.

David Brin said...

reformed tourist, I would go further. We have been subjected to MANY propaganda campaings and half of them are very very good messages. Most Hollywood films and songs and novels preach Suspicion of Authority (SoA) and praise protagonists who are individualists, display personal eccentricity, stand up for victims, support diversity and tolerance. You would be hard pressed to find ANY exceptions.

We differ in WHICH elites we aim our SoA reflexes at... wealth & corporations... Big government... But the amazing thing is how many of us actually think we invented these themes, especially SoA. The biggest cynical snarkers out there are the worst.

But overall, these themes have helped to keep us free, engendered creativity in millions of young people, encouraged rebellious criticism and helped to make us a people who constantly expand our horizons of inclusion, never satisfied with last year's levels of acceptance of diversity. Sure, "conservative" means you rsist these trends, a bit. But even most of those folks are glad we've moved along on such matters.

Other Hollywood messages are less wholesome. Like "I am the ONLY rebel!" and "All my neighbors are sheep!" and "anyone who disagrees with me is a tool or member of the elites I hate!"

See http://www.davidbrin.com/idiotplot.html

Alas, our cut n paste snarker unconsciously illustrated every bad/stupid aspect of this trend. What is amusing is how clearly he imagines himself a sooopreeem intellectual! I've known such fools, left and right, all my life.

reformed tourist said...

David, perhaps needless to say, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Your citation of "....world filled with idiots" previously informed and refined my "sit-com" thesis (though I suppose I should give a nod to Pohl's "marching morons," too - and his collaborations with Kornbluth)

While we are somewhat diverging from your original post (I, too, have a certain attraction to a Heinleinesque scheme requiring H&MP classes and veteran status to vote and hold office), the quintessential question remains: who is allowed to vote and what access should be provided and by what rights and mode of assurance?

Folk such as the Baron (if we grant him something beyond troll status) would apparently suggest that those of us who are made nervous by oligarchical structures are by definition, both elitists and anti-elitists! As you point out, popular culture does provide memes that celebrate both notions...

What I find disturbing in my world is that many of my fellow technical professionals, many with advanced degrees and many also having been deemed gentlemen by act of congress, go to extraordinary lengths to justify positions that are not only logically inconsistent, but also antithetical to their own best self-interest - and in some cases, their oaths and professional creeds.

While, admittedly, it has ever been thus in my particular field to some extent, I believe that this phenomenon exploded over the last 20 or so years. Thankfully, I see some evidence that the cycle is shifting with the older strata, but I have some concern with the new hires e.g. those in their late twenties and thirties who have grown up in a culture that provided a particularly shallow (and artificially supported) world view.

Yes, certainly, the world of letters (and cinema and art in general) has always been more progressive in nature, stimulating or reinforcing enlightenment. The rub is that the increasing corporatist influence in popular media has been something of a counterbalance to the natural development that artifacts of the human imagination have provided to date...

Mind you, I also endorse the A. Smithian view for a healthy economic system so I wouldn't want to leave the impression that I am anti-capitalist. I do have some problems with the pseudo-person manifestation of the modern corporation; a citizen with superior rights and greater immunity from real consequence.

In any event, the problem that I see is that as the complexity (and density) of the world increases, the luxury of suffering fools becomes increasingly perilous.

LarryHart said...

Doubtless, you didn't miss the "subtle" references to "tribes", "anti-Christian", "clever people", "intellectuals" etc in Herr Baron's screed. Of course, if it's not clear which "tribe" is being accused, "Zionism" is a dead givaway.

What's funny is that if you assume the clever manipulative minority to be Republicans rather than Jews, the screed becomes mostly spot-on. Another exzmple of why the correct response to any right-wing condemnation of "liberals" is best answered by "I know you are, but what am I?"

Duncan Cairncross said...

Just to chip in on this whole voter ID theme
I voted a couple of weeks ago (the wrong party won)(New Zealand)
I just went to my voting station
(it had been open for a week)
The local library
I said my name and address - the nice lady gave me my ballot and ticked my name off on her list
No ID - nothing
But also almost fool proof - if a second DC had tried to vote it would have been obvious
Catching the malefactor could have been more difficult - but identifying that it had happened would have been child's play

None such were detected - no surprise there!

Tony Fisk said...

Duncan, I suspect NZ has a similar voting registration process as Australia:
- voting is compulsory here (not so in NZ, I think?)
- voter registration is handled via one agency (the Australian Electoral Commission) rather than the plethora of middlemen that the US appear to have.
- registration is via a form picked up at the Post Office, not some special office that may or not be convenient to your area.
- you do *not* need to re-register when you change address, marital status etc. (although, clearly, you have to notify the authorities of changes)
- same data is used to determine voting at all levels of government.

Following David's remarks, I would say the system makes it easy on the voter.

From this side of the Lake, The US system seems to be so riddled with 'gaming opportunities' that it's a wonder the results are accepted at all.

Prior to the last election, the IPA (fount of policy for the neo-feudalists aka the Libs) drew up a wish list which included scrapping compulsory voting.

To which I say 'Plplplplplplp!'. It is no big imposition to carry out a civic duty once every couple of years, and if anyone *really* wants to exercise their right to remain silent, they just turn up on the day and fill out an invalid ballot.

Paul Shen-Brown said...

I have always felt that the vaunted American melting pot was pretty lumpy. Some of us have melted into it - gone beyond ancient tribalistic instincts - but many of us comprise such hard lumps as to constipate the entire nation. Not all of these lumps are political in orientation, of course, but all are sought for their votes, so they all end up as part of somebody's propaganda.

Would that make a blog like this cultural prune juice?

Duncan, it sounds like NZ has a simpler, and better system, than we have here. NZ is a place I have been interested in for ages. During the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government sent agents all over the world to see how things are done and copy the best practices from other countries. If the US were willing to listen to others, we could point them your way.

Larry, your appropriate response sets it at just the right maturity level. When I was growing up, that fellow would be referred to as a WASP, though I never hear this term any more, and even then many people missed what the AS were, lumping all Caucasians into the category.

Diversity is strength, not just something to be tolerated.

Happy cogitations!

Tacitus2 said...

David

The Baron's post is a little atypical. I suppose it does reflect his/her true opinions, to which the most appropriate response would be that he/she is entitled to them.

Regards the main topic. Voter ID is a very hot topic and there are posters here who feel quite strongly that it is a GOP disenfranchisement scheme. This includes people who I respect such as Randy Winn. As I see it a little differently I need to consider both the possibility that I am wrong and the possibility that the situation in Wisconsin is different than elsewhere.

WI is a state roughly half and half in its political makeup. It has a geographic quirk, the "blue" part of the state is concentrated in the SE corner and is effectively an extension of Chicago. Not surprisingly there is a long standing "legend" of border crossing voters. It makes a certain kind of sense, if your D vote in IL is wasted why not take it where it might make a difference?

Instances of this being proved are rare but, and this is a key point, the public employees of WI are so incandescently opposed to the Republican party that it is unlikely that for instance the District Attny in Milwaukee would bother to look for it. (I really must post on the out of control John Doe investigation, this is chilling stuff).

It is my understanding btw that Wisconsin will provide the needed ID for anybody, free. If you lack the absolute basic documents, say a birth certificate, the state will pay to have a search done. Complaints that the DMV office in this or that place have crappy hours seem to be one of the few legitimate issues. But to reinforce my point above, the public service employee unions are so violently opposed to the Walker admin that said DMV officials are not going to do anything to help the law succeed. And the baseline inertia of DMV clerks is really something.

If the Democratic party was serious in this matter they could take some of their GOTV money and/or volunteers and offer to give people rides to where ever they need to go to get this documentation. Hell, the GOP should offer to match it dollar for dollar. Not all the people with dodgy documentation are going to vote blue.

You may say that it is not fair for either party to have to do this but the system is awash in money right now much of it "runoff" that has less impact on the outcome than would this extension of GOTV.

I actually suspect that genuine hardship cases of legitimate voters are rare. I can't recall any being publicized. Some of this furor is simply a way for the D to fund raise now and to explain losses later.

I wonder if we should have mandatory voting. It seems unAmerican to force this but it would enhance the "ownership" of the results.

We should also remember that voter ID measures are favored by the majority of the citizenry. And while it is vital that the courts help craft the laws to remove unfair burdens, we do need to recall that the desires of the citizens can't be cavalierly dismissed. In this David and I are don't seem that far apart. Making it fair could take a while and a few false starts.

Tacitus



reformed tourist said...

Tacitus, the specific vagaries of Illinois and Wisconsin alleged chicaneries notwithstanding, the underlying disease that is the boundary condition of the American experiment remains the LACK of electorate involvement.

Most institutions in this country that involve some sort of election to install governing bodies and policies enjoy a roughly 30% turnout rate - quick shout-out to those such as Aus. where voting is compulsory...

The net result is that, given the polarization that typically exists, elections are determined by roughly less than 10% of the total franchisees. And in the world of cross-tabs, they represent a pretty small representative sample of the population.

The issue at hand is that there is a concerted effort of voter-suppression that seeks to amplify this condition. The case in point of the money element you mentioned is easily illustrated using the Koch Bros. example:

The Kochs, since 2008 when their net worth was estimated at $50B have invested (depending on the accounting used) $400-800M in various political channels. They specifically supported some 27 candidates, of whom only 1 actually won their race. At the end of the last 3 election cycles (an 8 year period), their net worth is estimated to have doubled. The focus of most of their political expenditures has been to promote dis-governance, deny participation in the civil experience, and bolster their unique status.

The emergence of Super-PACs, the effects of Citizen United, and McCutcheon et al, have given rise to what amounts to overt extortion in the business of politics. The way it works now, particularly in the GOP, is that a Super-PAC walks into a campaign finance director's office waving a check. The director reachs out for it and is told,

"We really think the Congressman should take this position on this issue." To which the director assures them, he will convey their thoughts and reaches for the check.

The S-P maintains their distance stating, "No, you don't get it. We really think he/she needs to take that position."

Again the director states he will forcefully articulate their desires complete with nuance and reaches again for the check. The S-P then snatches the check away and while heading for the door says over their shoulder, "No, you really don't get it - if the congressman doesn't take that position, this check is going to some one to primary his/her ass and there's another just like it to establish a 501c3 to let all the true believers know what a jerk he is on this and everything else we can dream up..."

The net result of all this is that the signal-to-noise aspect of our political process has gotten much worse in our lifetime. The secondary and tertiary effects are a rise in the distrust of both political processes and government themselves to the point where the electorate is discouraged from exercising their own responsibility.

Another aspect of this is that often, those issues that should be straightforward policy discussions (i.e. the ExIm Bank: how many manufacturing jobs are better than service jobs, or vice versa, etc, and what is the true net effect on GNP and other national interest), become hijacked for quite crass "inside baseball" political purposes that have little or nothing to do with the technical policy matter at hand...

Robert said...

There is a simple method that could enhance voter registration and voter participation. Anyone who votes is given a card with a specific code, and that code is also turned on in electronically (maybe after the election for those districts with paper ballots and the like).

If you vote, you get a $50 tax refund, assuming you file for taxes (and input the code into your tax form). If instead you owe taxes, up to $100 is subtracted from the taxes owed (ie, if you owe $73, then you get nothing, but don't have to pay the $73 either).

Now you have a financial incentive to vote. However, only tax-paying citizens will get the benefit and illegal aliens and voter fraud would not benefit. This thus kills any complaint by Republicans that you'll have people voting multiple times to get multiple payouts.

There are plenty of people who would vote for $50, even if it's money they'd not see for months. And what's more, the number of people who lose their cards mean that you'd need to reimburse voters less money - nor would those lost cards be theft targets as you only get to reimburse one card on your taxes. (Anyone filing taxes multiple times has more to worry about with the IRS than cheating the vote reimbursement system. It might be useful in tracking down tax fraud as well, or at the very least add another nail into the coffin of caught tax cheats.)

If Republicans protest this saying we can't afford it, point that out the next time they try to get tax breaks for billionaires - that Republicans felt that giving each registered voter $50 back in taxes was too expensive, but that the tax break for the billionaire would easily exceed the amount that would have gone to the average citizen.

Rob H.

locumranch said...


As a long-time resident of the Kansas adjacent, I warn that you are stepping into a metaphorical minefield where blue urban PC assumptions do not apply.

First, you confuse education with intelligence; second, you ignore regional religious variants; third, you underestimate the political effects of tribalism; fourth, you insist on the superiority of your urbanity; and, fifth, you assume that your urbane assumptions will be welcomed as 'liberators'.

All and all, in the context of 'Red State, Blue State', you commit the same sociopolitical errors as committed by the Bush Administration in Iraq:

You ignore the Baron's (unpleasant & socially incorrect) warnings of 'tribalism' at your own peril; you seek to intervene in (what amounts to) a family matter analogous to domestic violence; and you do not accept that your assistance is NOT welcome here.

You don't even realise that your most innocuous suggestion (the Universal ID) is tantamount to a declaration of war !! And, probably, you will not stop until all of the central red states are united 'As One' against your blue urban agenda.


Best

matthew said...

I maintain that the Oregon vote by mail system is the killer of Republican vote suppression. I know that David has said that he thinks that vote by mail is inherently non-secure, but in the 16 years since we started the experiment there have been very few cases of fraud, despite many attempts to find it. I have had ballots challenged because my signature did not closely match. I find this a little reassuring.

To deny that the Republicans are using voter suppression tactics is to reveal oneself as either hopelessly out of touch, or hopelessly partisan. Also, we hear a lot about Chicago-area voter fraud, and yet, when all three branches of government were controlled by Republicans and hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on the search for voter fraud, basically none was found. Facts, not "backroom stories," should dictate our debate on the subject. The continual smearing of the Chicago area as hopelessly corrupt is merely echoing the racist trope that African Americans cannot be trusted to vote. Prove your assertions of cheating with some convictions, not rumors from the country club.

Tacitus2 said...

Matthew

I assume you are addressing your last comments to me. Country club rumors is unfair. You do not know me, but be assured you will not find me in a Country Club.

I am not making accusations of a racial nature. You can hear whatever dog whistles you like. Like the Baron, you can hold any opinions you wish.

Convictions, well, OK.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/milwaukee-man-pleads-guilty-to-five-counts-of-voter-fraud-b99119682z1-227686051.html

http://watchdog.org/112022/voterfraud-milwaukee-voterid/

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/scott-walker-supporter-voter-fraud-amnesia

And the last one is a Republican! Although to be really fair, an indictment is not a conviction.

I don't think any of these are "cross border" cases but that was not my main point.

Now, perhaps you can favor me with some examples of Wisconsin voters who will be unable to vote due to the new law?

Tacitus

raito said...

It seems to me that part of the problem is that it's easier to change the rules than to win by playing the game.

And I'm pretty tired of both sides lying to me.

As far as Wisconsin goes, that's home for me. And both sides are lying. GOP says that IDs stop fraud. But there's not really any fraud, at least not enough to change an election result. And IDs wouldn't stop anything organized. Dems say that granny won't be able to vote any more. Doubtful. If she's been voting long enough, she'll find a way.

But unlike John Sharpless, it does bother me. I'm not a big fan of adding more legislation to stop a problem that isn't really there. Hazzard management says that risk = exposure X severity. By that measure, there's no current problem. And adding the legislation won't really improve it.

I also rather discount Tacitus2's assertion that SE WI is an extension of Chicago. But it's certainly true that the political sensibilities of Madison and the Milwaukee area are quite different than the remainder of the state. I recall that around 15 years ago, there was a state referendum that essentially asked whether the 2nd amendment applied in Wisconsin. It was touted as a sure thing in Madison and Milwaukee, as was going to get those nasty guns away from everyone. In reality, those 2 metro areas found out that they're outnumbered by the farmers who won't have police on their doorstep 2 minutes after calling 911. Not that they learned anything.

As an aside to the Wisconsin situation, I also find the current ads touting the incumbent governor as some sort of women's health savior particularly galling, having run up against some of the recent legislation all to personally in the last few years.

And as far as the melting pot goes, I believe that diversity as currently practiced is anathema to the melting pot. Note that I say as currently practiced. I do not expect nor want complete uniformity. The melting pot is predicated on the idea that all sides change a bit, and none is unaffected by the addition of new ideas or cultures. As practiced, diversity seems to mean that the old must change, but that the new isn't required to. That is hypocrisy.

next door Laura said...

ratio

I am quite prepared to agree with you. The amount of voter ID fraud that has come to light, and with considerable efforts expended, is tiny.
As you are a fellow Badger, might I ask your opinion on the John Doe process? Others may tune out as this law is very Cheddarcentric.

Tacitus

A.F. Rey said...

To change the topic for a moment, I found an interesting popular science article on vertical farms and pebble-bed reactors.

http://theweek.com/article/index/269160/how-to-solve-global-warming-in-2-easy-steps

I would be interested in any informed critiques of these ideas. :)

David Brin said...

r.tourist. Good, cogent points. Science encourages recitation of the sacred mantra “I might be wrong, so let’s find out.” Alas, we are human beings, so that mantra only helps a bit. What matters most is the competitiveness of a positive sum market… one that is regulated well enough to quash cheating but open enough so that brash young voices can question established ones.

This happens very well in science, such that when 99% of experts say something is likely true… it probably is. And that regulated competitiveness is NOT the image promulgated by the enemies of science.

Re the US military officer corps… I have been very impressed with those I’ve met… though I hang with ideas men when I visit the Pentagon & etc, so my sampling may be skewed. Certainly the higher ranks are among society’s best-educated people.

Re Adam Smith:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/11/liberals-you-must-reclaim-adam-smith.html

TACITUS - You evade the point. Republicans are very big on demanding, whenever a new regulation comes in, allocation of assistance for corporations to achieve compliance with a new regulatory burden. I don’t give a $%$@! how easy anyone claims it is to get ID in Wisconsin. The fact that many of the poor or elderly or young… or harried divorced moms… have trouble negotiating the path (and lack of ID can be a factr KEEPING them poor) should have been enough to foster an outreach program before voter ID laws were even mentioned.

But the failure to allocate such outreach efforts AFTER the creation of a regulatory burden that demonstrably WILL reduce participation of the poor, women etc in elections? That is nothing less than lying,cheating, pure-unadulterated hypocritical evil.

Locum, as usual, is off on some horizon, muttering angrily as some strawman of his own imagining. Whoever he’s grumbling at, it bears no resemblance to me.

David Brin said...

raito I find it very disturbing that state who were stalwart in earlier phases of the civil war are forgetting their blue heritage. I'm looking at YOU, Indiana.

matthew said...

My comments were not directed to Tacitus, but of a more general nature. When I am directing a comment, I will do so like this:

Tacitus, two of the links you provided were about the same man that voted twice while drunk and claiming not to remember the earlier vote. The third link is an asserted case of amnesia. I believe your links support my assertion that Voter ID is vote suppression, and not your assertion that cross-border fraud is a large problem. See, easy to tell I am targeting your post directly.

Now, when I say that calling out "Chicago-style" politics is a racist trope, I mean everyone that uses the term. I'm not calling each individual that says "Chicago-style" politics a racist, but I am asserting that the meme is based in the latent racism of in our nation. I am attacking the message, not the messenger.

And my message is simple - voter ID laws are intended to suppress voting.

Wisconsin does get a partial pass on the voter ID front because of the "too poor for ID" aid that is being offered, the only such in the nation, if our host is correct.

Tacitus, would you care to comment on the disproportional access to the DMV to acquire said IDs? DMV offices in heavily Dem districts have had their hours cut back, in some cases to *two* hours a week, while those offices in red districts have had their hours increased. See: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/07/25/277592/walker-closes-dmvs/

Vote by mail addresses many of the issues that "vote fraud" charlatans bring to the table. I have personally been contacted to inform me that my ballot was being treated as suspect and was given a chance to come in in person and prove I was who I said I was. The system works which is why I am sure that it will not be implemented in any red states.

Tacitus2 said...

(back on my own computer)

Matthew

The link you provide is from the summer of 2011. Hardly current stuff. But I am perfectly willing to stipulate that if DMV is the preferred portal to the ID system there should be greater access. Most of the locations cited in the various iterations of this were in sparsely populated rural areas of the state. I understand the economics of being open every day would be impractical but with the no doubt willing help of the DMV employees it would be fair to stagger opening days, have some evening and weekend slots.

The recent appeals court decision that gave the law a green light addressed some access issues but probably did not go far enough.

Regards Chicago style politics, I have never considered it a racial issue. Machine politics is an old institution in the US and predates the current concentration of minorities to the extent we now see. I figure it to be more of the "clipping a twenty dollar bill to your licence and registration" kind of thing.

And David I had not thought of it in terms of corporate regulatory burdens.

Tacitus

locumranch said...

Allow me to clarify some of my angry mutterings:

First, education is a matter of indoctrination but intelligence is innate, so there is no cause to refer to others as 'stupid' when & if they have been indoctrinated differently than you have.

Second, smaller rural communities are not the folksy 'Andy Griffith' like entities that most city dwellers assume. They are highly fractionated cultures, related by blood but separated by race, economics & religion.

Third, this tribalism extends into all aspects of rural living, so much so that most subset members will choose only interact with other subset members, keeping all of their 'business' within the family and, like dueling spouses engrossed in domestic violence, they will not tolerate outside interference.

David then has the temerity to lecture a member of the Kansas legislature about family matters by invoking the 'Voter ID' concept even though the very (ID) idea is anathema to (1) all Kansas Christian fundamentalists who equate it with 'The Mark of the Beast' from Revelations and (2) most libertarians who agree that IDs (all forms) are designed to reduce, limit and/or eliminate social access & individual freedom.



Best

Robert said...

I'm not going to look for a link to the story. There was another confirmed case of voter fraud using deceased voters to gather dozens of extra votes. The Republican who was behind this was convicted (or indicted at least).

No thoughts on my vote-encouragement method? ;)

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Dang. Whatever pill locum takes - now and then - is transformative. All of those were excellent points.

Indeed, I am sure that if most fox viewers let themselves actually parse that their campaign will lead to a national ID card, fractures would appear in their alliance. Just as fractures WOULD appear over the issue of compliance assistance for meeting new regulatory burdens… were there any longer a culture of political dignity on that side.

Proof that there is not… and that “stupid” truly is an applicable term… comes from the fact that millions of dittoheads nodded in shared dread over George Soros’s vast media “empire” (1/20th the size of Rupert’s), his contributions to candidates (less than a 20th those of the Kochs) and the fearsome, manipulative power that Soros “toppled eight foreign goverments!”

True enough. But NOT ONE of those millions of nodding dittoheads ever publicly or noticeably asked “um… which foreign governments did that fearsome meddler topple?”

Sorry. The distinction is not one of education. Many farmers and rural folk in the South have college degrees. It truly is a matter of “stupid,” when your incuriosity has risen to such heights that you cannot lift you head to question even such basics.

I am critical of the reflex (tat locum shows almost incessantly) to dismiss our fellow citizens as sheep. But sorry. Citizens of the New Confederacy do indeed go baaaaaaaaaaaaa.

reformed tourist said...

To David and Locum's point(s), I would contend that the intelligence/wisdom/education aspect is directly related to the nature/nurture one that sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists/psychiatrists debate. A simple parsing suggests that absent congenital defect, humans are not born stupid... Note the studies on early childhood development comparing Kalahari bush kids with 1st worlders. Moreover, my previously stated notion as to societal conditioning (dumbing down the electorate as well as winnowing them) speaks to this as well. Both Lakoff and Westen have written regarding this.

And as to the ovine characterization, I would add that the program I believe is in effect (even if not a coordinated effort - I'm really not much of a conspiratorialist...) has the ultimate aim of creating a world where Men are Men, Women are Property, and Sheep are Nervous.

Finally, David, given the trade union/government affairs work I do and the added fact that my wife is on the board of directors of a more-or-less progressive activist association, you can be sure that your essay on reclaiming Adam Smith has previously been (and will continue to be) spread around quite a bit.

David Brin said...

For you Aussies! These excerpts from a posting by Mark Anderson: ( ALL of what follows is Mark):

"When China's growth later started an abrupt decline, perhaps five years ago, purchasing growth slowed. And thus began the latest phase in Australian economic history, with overexpansion in supply hitting abrupt cancellation of resource uptake by Australia's top country customer. Coal exports slid 1.6% over the five years ending in 2013, according to the government, and 3.6% in 2013 alone. Iron, the country's top export at $69.5B in 2013, grew 27.6% in 2013, ramping up from 19.4% over five years. But now, well -

Last week, the Chinese announced they would take a limited - and lower than anticipated - amount of iron ore this year, with prices already at five-year lows, down 37% since the year start. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are both at 12-month-low stock prices, and the analysts are trying to figure out whether this is a buying opportunity, or things are different this time.

Trust me, they're different: China is hitting a wall. No, make that several walls.

---
Not that everything on Australia's economic horizon is bleak; far from it. First, its banks were among the smartest in the world back in the runup to the Global Financial Collapse, with almost zero damage to themselves or the country. If the US had had the same banks and bankers, it would have saved several trillions of wasted dollars, most of which ended up in the pockets of bankers somehow anyway - but not in taxpayers' pockets.

Second, although gold was down 10.5% last year, and crude oil down 17.9%, natgas was up 8.8% for the year and 12.6% for five years, now No. 4 on the export list.

And then there's China again. What happens when you are the closest Inventing Nation to the Panda? First, there has been a surge in M&A activity, as China buys into its supply chain, much of which is in Australia. If not the mines, then what is for sale?

It is also now well understood that among the prime desires of the very rich in Communist China is - leaving Communist China. I must say, for business leaders dealing with China, this is a fascinating situation.
....

The result, in nearby Australia, is a commercial and residential real-estate boom. If one looks at the result of Middle East oil baron money on London real estate prices, and extrapolates the same trend to China buyers in general and the whole nation of Australia - well, you get the picture.

But here's the rub: what happens when incomes go down, stocks go down, and real estate prices go up? This isn't "normal" in economic history, so get ready, Australia, because that's exactly where you are right now. If these trends continue, you'll start to feel colonized all over again, unable to afford your own homes, working for less.

In a conversation with one of the country's top execs, I asked a question about China's impact domestically. "I'd better be careful," this person said, "I may be working for them tomorrow." On further questioning, the explanation was: "China owns about three-quarters of the country already." Even assuming extreme hyperbole, the message is clear.


David Brin said...

Mark Anderson continues:
Summary



Australia is not just far away in distance - it is also removed from the world in a more important way: it seems to have a lot of common sense. When you have resources, you might as well sell them. When you have a continent ringed with people, and nothing but space inside, you'd better have an excellent communications system. When, because you're a continent, you're also the victim of the "tyranny of distance," this same communications network will put you inside the circle of friends, rather than outside, whether for business or policy.



The greatest risks for Australia come from its greatest current assets: resource dependence and proximity to China. Failure to continue expanding beyond resources into technology-driven economic sectors will accentuate the nation's physical separation, while allowing political pressures similar to those of Kentucky or West Virginia to dictate national policy. This can't possibly lead the country into the future, as the future isn't about coal - something its leaders already firmly grasp.

Jumper said...

Tacitus, I'm curious both how an ID law would have stopped those cases, and how they got caught without one.

I used to throw newspapers in a neighborhood with people who will have a problem getting their IDs. I really don't think people understand how poverty curtails options. Mostly elderly women who are barely scraping by. Some don't have friends to rely upon and don't have the requisite papers. Yes, you can cash a SS check without a drivers license especially if doing so at the same place for 10-20 years.

Like football, this political ploy is a game of inches. I would be surprised if it changes anything over a half a percentage point. Add up several unfair chicaneries and it begins to matter.

Doug S. said...

"Schodorf is that rare creature, a genuine prairie conservative who would have been republican all her life, till she realized that the madness that has hijacked today’s GOP is not temporary and recently switched parties. "

The two people running for Governor of Florida this year are Rick Scott aka "Governor Voldemort" running as a Republican, and Charile Crist, who became Governor in 2006 after running as a Republican but is now running as a Democrat.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Interesting figures from our last election
(Just completed the final count and re-count including all of the special votes)

Enrollment - 92.6%
Turnout - (of enrolled) 77.9%

So 72% of all voters voted

raito said...

next door Laura,

I'm not sure whether you're referring to how they're conducted (as the governor contends) or the current investigation. I'll answer both.

It has been put forth that in Wisconsin, John Doe proceedings may be held secret (just how secret is a matter of dispute). This is a double-edged sword. The purpose of any John Doe investigation is to find out whether a crime has been committed. One would think that secrecy would work because if there is no crime committed, there is no accusation (in our society an accusation is frequently as good as a conviction). On the other, it keeps things out of the public eye, which certainly is not good, especially when publicly relevant crimes, such as those committed by election campaigns, are being investigated.

As to the investigation that's causing the current flap, this is 2 completely separate things. The first issue is whether the investigation was politically motivated. It probably is. But some of that comes from having won. And some comes from previous shenanigans. So saying it could only be politically motivated isn't quite right. And do I care? Not really, given the stuff that's been turned up already.

The other issue is whether the investigation should be canned and buried because of that. Again, with what's already been dug up, I don't think so.

The whole deal about indicting the investigators is just an attempt to muddy the waters.

More on voter ID:

When I left home, I didn't have my birth certificate, nor my SS number. I did eventually get both. How I got my SS number would these days be classified as phishing or social engineering (my HS guidance counselor called the SS people and said she needed it for some application I supposedly filled out. Bless you, Ms. Specht). The certificate was a lot harder. It required me to go in person -- not easy when you're working a minimum wage job. In fact, it took me 3 tries to get through the bureaucracy. The only was I was able to do so was because instead of a regular 9-5 job, I worked in a restaurant where I could swap shifts occasionally. It would have been very rough otherwise. It's a bit easier now, as the process is documented online. Still, the $7 wasn't the problem, and never was.

And it's my opinion that the ONLY reason the IDs are now cost-free is that the judge in the case said it's about the only way he'd declare it legal. Is anyone actually naive enough to believe that if he hadn't the cost would have been removed? And in my experience, removing the cost isn't the problem.

Combine this with the DMV hours shenanigans, and the mess with early voting and poll hours, and it adds up to a big mess.

You'd think that politicians would welcome any opportunity to have more people participate in the process. I'm dreaming again. Sure, there should be minimum poll hours and such. But to cry not fair! because some municipality can do more is not good.

And as long as I'm dreaming, in my fantasyland, politicians welcome John Doe investigations because the truth will out. Either there's no evidence of wrongdoing, and they're exonerated, or there is, and they're thankful for rooting it out. While we're at it, I'd like a pony.

As for Indiana, in my experience, it's part of the south, not the midwest. Neither is Ohio, or Chicago.

And while I deplore the poor turnouts in US elections, I do believe in the freedom of political speech, and I feel that not speaking speaks. At the school district meeting I attended this week, there were about 100 people present in a city of 20K or so. Of those hundred, only 69 voted on the school tax levy. More people voted for increase the pay for the school board.

It may be plain disillusionment. It is very wearing to have to figure out the lesser of 2 evils every election than to have someone to vote FOR.

raito said...

And the last of the previous comment...


I'm still trying to figure out how we went from Feingold and Kohl, both of who I respect, to Baldwin and Johnson, who I do not (even though I used to swap French homework with Baldwin in High school. She's been angling for a political career since middle school.)

Tony Fisk said...

While Anderson makes a few good points (which are fairly common knowledge to folk down under), his conclusion strikes a bum note:

"Failure to continue expanding beyond resources into technology-driven economic sectors will accentuate the nation's physical separation, while allowing political pressures similar to those of Kentucky or West Virginia to dictate national policy. This can't possibly lead the country into the future, as the future isn't about coal - something its leaders already firmly grasp. "

Let's see:
- abolition of the Science Ministry
- determined efforts to wind back initiatives that encourage the development and rollout of renewable energy technology.
- pushing to deregulate University fees (cf Germany's recent decision to abolish them)
- toting 'clean coal' technology.
- toting our coal reserves
- risking damage to the Great Barrier Reef to build coal export terminals

The future's not about coal? I don't think the current crop of neo-feudalists in Canberra grasp anything of the sort!

LarryHart said...

matthew:

Now, when I say that calling out "Chicago-style" politics is a racist trope, I mean everyone that uses the term. I'm not calling each individual that says "Chicago-style" politics a racist, but I am asserting that the meme is based in the latent racism of in our nation. I am attacking the message, not the messenger.


Hmmm, I understand that in these days of President Obama, there is a certain amount of dog-whistling that ties "Chicago" to blacks.

The meme of the Chicago Democratic machine and election fraud, however, goes back to the roughly two-decades when the senior Mayor Daley ruled.

As someone who has lived in the Chicago area for 50+ years, I have to say that whatever truth there once was to that vision of Chicago politics is outdated, just as the notion that the corporate media is "liberal" may have been true in Walter Cronkite's day, but not so much today.

As to comparisons between Wisconsin and Chicago, well, after a few recent incidents where thousands of Republican votes "showed up" at the last minute in one particular WI county, I like to say that "Waukeshau is the new Chicago."

;)

David Brin said...

It is true that there are outcrops of lefty excess that remind us that the right has no monopoly on political skullduggery. Just a NEAR-monopoly.

Anyone who spends time on a university campus knows that there will be maybe a dozen departments that are islands of almost-orwellian thought-policing, in which "diversity" stops dead at allowing anyone with thinks non-PC to ever speak, let alone get tenure. (These departments tend to hate science fiction, though it is the literary genre of which Americans should be most-proud.)

But I do not fret. These bullies are isolated and impotent. They tried to ruin the universities that are America's greatest accomplishment and our beacon to the world... and they failed.

And yes, there are some other outposts. San Francisco, Berkley, Chicago... but you know what? Those places are actually doing very, very well!And as experiments? More power to em! And sure, the STATE govts of Illinois and Maryland are corrupt... but they compare well to almost any red state, except Utah.

No, there is no comparison. I remain wary, because I remember campus bully-radicals and the USSR. But the New Confederacy is so vastly worse an existential threat to our republic and civilization and Great Experiment that it's terrifying.

Ian Gould said...

Tell me again what a fucking moron I was for predicting this a year ago.

"The Ghost Gunner is a small CNC milling machine that costs a mere $1200 and is capable of spitting out an aluminum lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle. This device allows people with no gunsmith training to assemble a working assault rifle at home with no licensing or serial number — and it’s completely legal.

The Ghost Gunner itself is a small box about one foot on each side. Inside is an Arduino controller and a custom-designed spindle that holds a steel carbide drill bit. It works like any other CNC machine — the drill spins up and moves in three dimensions to carve items out of blocks of metal. However, this machine is specifically intended to make an AR-15 lower receiver. That’s the part of a gun that connects the stock, barrel, and magazine. You could say it’s the “gun” part of a gun. It’s also the part that’s regulated by the ATF and assigned a serial number. Selling it without a license is illegal, but making it yourself is perfectly fine."
http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/191388-1200-the-price-of-legally-3d-printing-your-own-metal-ar-15-rifle-at-home

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Ian
What the hell has that to do with 3D printing??

I could make one of those on my workshop mill/lathe -
Why would I need to spend $1200??

matthew said...

Appropro of both our hosts' Earth and Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, here is a set of photographs of the data center bunkers in Switzerland. Especially interesting are the genetic material storage areas in light of the recent revelation that mankind has destroyed 50% of the world's wildlife in the last 50 years. Sobering and confounding, I can see the possession of such a bunker full of genetic material could be the source of much violence in the future.

http://www.wired.com/2014/09/yann-mingard-deposit/

matthew said...

Pardon me, the wildlife number is 50% in the last *40* years. slip of the typo.

David Brin said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but that's a 50% cut in the NUMBER of wild animals right? Because I would know by now and be volcanic if it were 50% of species.

As it is, of course, I can only try to help fight for Earth, every day.

A.F. Rey said...

It could be species, although I believe that most of them are various types of beetles. :)

David Brin said...

Then we are in trouble. Because God has an inordinate affection for beetles.


onward...

Alex Tolley said...

nlWithin the next 30 years as many as half of the species on the earth could die in one of the fastest mass extinctions in the planet's 4.5 billion years history.

Problem: Extinction of Plant and Animal Species

Slightly contradicted by this paper concerning methodology:
Species–area relationships always overestimate extinction rates from habitat loss

Accessible explanation of the nature paper in reference to other estimates:
<a hef="http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17826898>Biodiversity loss: How accurate are the numbers?</a>

Anonymous said...

Does anyone want to bet that a polling place will not be shot / blown up in the next one or two election cycles prompting the authorities to protect us from voting?

Paul451 said...

Ian,
When you abandoned the site last time, I remembered afterwards that you had said you were going through an illness. In hindsight I wondered if that had explained you passive-aggressive comments leading up to your leaving. Having a family member going through a serious illness at the time, and seeing people often make it worse for her, I felt like an ass if I made such an illness worse for you.

So before I call you anything, I'm wondering if your comment about an illness meant anything that serious, if so, I apologise if I made it harder for you.

(If not, let me know so I can safely insult you again.)

TheMadLibrarian said...

Duncan, the thing that makes it different is that it is plug and play, and unmonitored to boot. You undoubtedly learned how to use a lathe and/or mill 'n' drill. This is a black box: insert billet, receive, er, receiver. No skill involved, and can apparently be used by almost anyone who can pony up enough to buy one.

If anyone wants to observe a CF in process, please to monitor the current shenanigans on Maui regarding growing GMO crops. Both sides are pumping out enough obfuscatory clouds that it's like standing downwind when a cane field is fired.

TheMadLibrarian

Paul451 said...

"No skill involved"

Anyone who thinks you can use an CNC machine with "no skill" has never used a CNC machine.

[Even in the story, they needed to start with an 80% complete blank.]

The point is, given the number of easily available legal and illegal weapons in the US, what is the hysteria over 3d printed or milled guns?

Paul451 said...

"start with an 80% complete blank"

By which I meant a "blank" that is 80% complete. Apparently the CNC machine used can't handle billet steel.

Another story on the "no skill" gun making:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/02/omg_with_nothing_but_machine_tools_steel_and_parts_you_can_make_a_gun/

"If you take such a possibly-not-a-gun-part, possibly-a-gun-part pre-manufactured piece - status depending how much of the work has been done, and on the judgement of the feds - and pop it into a Ghost Gunner connected to a PC with the right software, the machine can mill out the remaining bits of metal that are not required (it can't do the job starting from just a block of steel [...] ).

Then all you need is a whole lot of other specialist parts - springs, trigger, safety/selector, hammer, various pins etc - and you can, if you know what you're doing, assemble a complete lower receiver. Then all you need is an upper receiver, a barrel, bolt, buttstock and various other specialist items and - again, assuming you are a competent armourer - you can build a complete, functioning AR-15 assault or battle rifle. [...]

And there you have it - by spending thousands of dollars, learning some complicated skills and doing some machining, you have obtained a functioning semi- or even, potentially weapon and you didn't have to comply with any pesky gun controls. Wow! Big stuff, eh?

Not really. It would be so much easier and cheaper to go to one of the great majority of US states where there are no local "assault-weapons" laws and buy a proper, working, factory made AR-15 of your choice from a private owner or dealer not operating under a federal firearms licence. Such a sale is perfectly routine (some studies estimate that 40 per cent of US gun sales are of this type), requires no background check or records, and of course owning such a weapon is perfectly legal for an American."

TheMadLibrarian said...

Paul, I take your point and stand corrected. Without looking farther, I thought it was an upscale version of those vending machines in a mall, where you drop in a coin, crank it through some dies, and out pops a defaced coin with some sort of memorabilia stamped on it.

TheMadLibrarian

Paul451 said...

De nada. Apologies if my tone was bitchy. Like the author of the article I linked to, there's frustration in seeing the hysteria over 3d printed guns.

Randy Winn said...

Perhaps the CNC magic gun machine is yet another proof that P.T.Barnum was right!
---

Rob H (and Tacitus and Dr. Brin Aw heck y'all) a tax incentive for voting would be simple: you cast your vote, you get a 1098v (federal election voting deduction form), with a duplicate sent to the IRS to catch cheaters. Politically difficult to implement, I suppose.

But why not take the next logical step: universal and automatic voter registration at whatever address you file your 1040? The IRS has every taxpayer address on file, and could easily mail a federal ballot for both primary and general elections (I wouldn't touch local elections. .... here in King County we have hundreds of ballot variants due to the idiotic practice of electing party PCOs on an official county-generated ballot).

---

Tacitus - I appreciate your courtesy, and I have no great knowledge of your fair state, bit do you really want examples of people denied ballot access? Nationwide there are many, so give me a number of how many it would take to conclude the issue is significant. ... iirc the Brennan Center has numbers.