Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People's Money out of their Pockets, tho' only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell'd to pay by some Law.

All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.
---Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris, 25 Dec. 1783, Writings 9:138

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Brian Kemp, Georgia's Secretary of State, engages in bad logic in the pages of the Washington Post (with impunity, of course)
Regarding E.J. Dionne Jr.’s June 20 op-ed column, “Rigging the 2012 election”:

An analysis of votes cast in Georgia with the photo ID law in place refutes Mr. Dionne’s assertions that voter-ID laws will reduce voter turnout among minority groups. Georgia started requiring a photo ID for in-person voting in 2007. When we compare the 2006 general election with the 2010 general election, voter turnout among African Americans outpaced the growth of that population’s pool of registered voters by more than 20 percentage points. From 2004 to 2008, Hispanic and African American voter turnout increased by 140 percent and 42 percent, respectively, rates that align with the growth rates of voter registration in those demographics.

Mr. Dionne argued that photo ID and related election-security laws are not needed because voter fraud “is not a major problem.” As chairman of the Georgia State Election Board, I can attest that every year we investigate and penalize hundreds of people guilty of election and voter fraud, and we work with county district attorneys to prosecute them on criminal charges.

In Georgia, one instance of voter fraud is an unacceptable breach of the public’s trust.

Brian Kemp, Atlanta

The writer is secretary of state for Georgia.

Kemp's argument: Black voters in Georgia increased from 2006 to 2010. Therefore, Georgia's 2007 photo ID law did not suppress the black vote.

There are two obvious reasons why the black vote would have increased from 2006 to 2010: (1) unlike in 2006, a black man was running for president in 2010; (2) if the black population in Georgia increased, one would expect the black vote to increase proportionately.

If one were a impartial researcher actually interested in encouraging citizens to vote --- rather than a scumbag demagogue thug like Brian Kemp interested only in defending his indefensible and undemocratic voter-suppression laws --- one would ask a different question. One would ask whether the black vote in Georgia would have increased more than it did had Georgia's 2007 voter-suppression law not been in place. Kemp fails to mention how many black voters were turned away from polls due to lack of photo IDs. E. J. Dionne's quite persuasive hypothesis --- one whose logic remains completely untouched by Kemp's clumsy and bad-faith arguments --- was that more Democrats than Republicans are turned away from polls due to these laws, and that that is why Republicans have suddenly gotten all concerned about voter fraud ---a "problem" which Republican demogogues have failed again and again to prove actually exists. E. J. Dionne is correct, and Kemp has shown himself to be a liar who deliberately obstructs democratic processes for his own partisan purposes, just like every other Republiacn demagogue who defends these voter suppression laws. Unfortunately, the United States currently lacks legal processes to bring to justice public figures who deliberately suppress the vote.