Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html en-gb 30 Mon 03 Aug 2015 11:56:40 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=99#comment224 222. At 11:56pm on 11 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:I believe that every person's vote should counted as a vote for who they voted for. In USA, I think it is like if you vote Democrat, but live in a county that votes mostly Republican, your vote goes to the Repubs?To me, this is not right. Our votes should count for who we voted for.I am also extremely distrustful of the new voting machines. How do we know that the machines won't someday somehow rig the votes, since the machine is owned by a private company?____________I'm sorry, I am not familiar with what you are talking about.I am familiar with problems relating to the electoral college and statewide votes, but I have never heard that it applies from county to county.------------The use of voting machines is something I do not understand, either.We take a pencil, and mark an X in a circle next to the candidate's name. Then we fold the ballot, and put it in the ballot box.At the end of the night, the returning officer for the poll opens the box, and carefully empties out the ballots on the table. She (and occasionally he) is always watched by at least two scrutineers. The ballots are unfolded, one by one; stacked in piles for each candidate; and counted by hand, one by one.Somehow, while this may be old-fashioned and low tech, every time I participate in this process I get choked up about it. It is so basic. And yet seeing the machinery of the engine of democracy in action sends shivers up and down my spine, and makes the hair stand up on my neck. There is such an enormous power of justice and civil rights in those slips of paper. Those slips of paper define the ultimate power and authority to govern in a democracy. I can't explain why I find this so moving, but I always do.Voting machines, Schmoting machines. Give me old-fashioned paper ballots any day. Mon 16 Aug 2010 03:36:23 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=99#comment223 220. At 5:04pm on 11 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:If that is accurate, why would the Parliament not force an election on a vote of no confidence?____________I looked at the numbers again this evening, and, although elections can be very dangerous things, and although I believe that the polls do not take adequate account of the voter ID problem, you may be right. The Conservatives would probably still win more seats than any other party, but significantly fewer. Maybe the opposition parties should give it a go when Parliament sits again in the Autumn.Here is an example of what FPP does in a five party House:BQ - 10.0 % of the vote - 50 seatsNDP - 18.2% of the vote - 37 seatsGreens - 6.8 % of the vote - 0 seats. Thu 12 Aug 2010 00:44:19 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=98#comment222 222. At 11:56pm on 11 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote to IF "I believe that every person's vote should counted as a vote for who they voted for. In USA, I think it is like if you vote Democrat, but live in a county that votes mostly Republican, your vote goes to the Repubs?To me, this is not right. Our votes should count for who we voted for.I am also extremely distrustful of the new voting machines. How do we know that the machines won't someday somehow rig the votes, since the machine is owned by a private company?"LJ, we seem to be agreeing more these days. You should get your vote recorded and not given away by the system. What happens now is that if your district votes 50%+ 1 vote Republican, then the 49.99% who voted Democrat see their votes going to the Republican. This is why we sometimes have the loser of the Popular vote, George Bush, winning the presidency while the man who got more votes, Al Gore, loses.The PR [Proportional Representation] system gives all parties receiving at least x% of the vote the proportion of votes, seats, to which that entitles them. That would encourage small parties, theoretically, but the structure of the US government would seem to mitigate against it. Our two party system gets an occasional spoiler party, but the way the presidency is chosen [election not parliamentary vote]almost guatantees that the coalitions happen before the elections.The "big tent" vs "little tent" reference to US parties is about the coalition building which happens inside the two main parties here. If the Republicans alienate conservative but secular voters, they may stay nominally Republican until they get irritated by being called RINOs, at wich point they become independents or even democrats.Another electoral possibility referred to here allows people to register their first and second choices. If you go out for an ice cream and your favorite flavour is sold out, then you might be satisfied with your second choice. I'm not sure how that would work out here when applied to politics. It would seem to give the voter a first and second choice built in to the system. Any change in our system would require changing something we have been happy with for over 200 years. That's a tall order.I agree with you about the voting machines with no paper trail. The Massachusetts ballots, like SAT/GRE computer scoring sheets, are easy to use, can be counted by machine, and can be retained long enough to assure an accurate recount. Any kind of electronic vote can be corrupted, remember the machines that were found to be open to corruption by cell phones in the last election? Thu 12 Aug 2010 00:06:49 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=98#comment221 IF wrote:Therefore, what is the way to structure the electoral system so that it will least distort the outcome from what the majority of voters really want?-------------------------------------------------------------------------I believe that every person's vote should counted as a vote for who they voted for. In USA, I think it is like if you vote Democrat, but live in a county that votes mostly Republican, your vote goes to the Repubs?To me, this is not right. Our votes should count for who we voted for.I am also extremely distrustful of the new voting machines. How do we know that the machines won't someday somehow rig the votes, since the machine is owned by a private company? Wed 11 Aug 2010 22:56:24 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=97#comment220 220. At 5:04pm on 11 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:InterestedForeigner (218): "And, of course, roughly 70 % of Canadians do not want this government. At all."If that is accurate, why would the Parliament not force an election on a vote of no confidence?____________Because the way that FPP works in this country, there is a significant danger that the government might well obtain a majority of the seats with very little more than 30% of the vote - and then we'd be even worse off.That 70% is split 4 ways.And the governing party is flush with cash, while the NDP and Liberals are almost broke.The irony of that, of course, is that when the Liberals were last in power they themselves introduced the legislation to make campaign financing more fair. They never imagined that they would be the ones most heavily disadvantaged by their own law.I'll post more on this in a bit. Wed 11 Aug 2010 21:38:47 GMT+1 GH1618 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=97#comment219 InterestedForeigner (218): "And, of course, roughly 70 % of Canadians do not want this government. At all."If that is accurate, why would the Parliament not force an election on a vote of no confidence? Wed 11 Aug 2010 16:04:11 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=96#comment218 215. At 9:22pm on 10 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:"What I prefer is that all parties be able to place a candidate on the general election (November) ballot, plus independent candidates, and that the business of narrowing down the candidates within a political party be left entirely to the parties as a private matter, at private expense. A plurality would win, as has been the case with most offices."216. At 9:35pm on 10 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:"Don't we all have the right to vote on who we want for whatever reasons we want, regardless of why we want them?Is that not freedom of choice?What you may consider ignorant, another may consider smart, but regardless, if we only one option, that would not be a choice, would it?"____________These posts raise profound points about electoral systems.I find it highly offensive (indeed, in my view it is criminal) for people deliberately to attempt to bias the outcome of a vote by rigging the structure of the electoral system.It is wrong when the Mullahs in Iran get to screen all the candidates beforehand.It is wrong to use Voter ID to suppress the votes of various groups in society.It was wrong, however highly expedient, to allow the women-folk of soldiers in Flanders to vote in 1917, but not extend the franchise to other women.All of these things absolutely smack of cheating.Is it, however, wrong to promote proportional representation because my fringe party might then be able to hold a perpetual coalition government hostage, and thereby exercise influence out of all proportion to its popular vote, as in Israel? (A situation that the Swiss solved by giving the voters at large the last say, if they wish it).Is it wrong then, to set a threshold, of, say 5% of the popular vote to have any representation in Parliament, as the Germans do, deliberately to avoid that problem?------------Whatever structure is chosen, it will influence the outcome in some way.The whole reason I would favour preference votes is because I believe it would alter the outcome. I believe my position is morally defensible because whatever it would do, it would at all times achieve a result that is closer to the desires of the majority of voters than FPP.But that doesn't necessarily mean there aren't better systems.I agree with the view that, at the end of the day, voters have to be able to decide how they wish to vote, for whatever reason seems important to them. You have to trust that extraneous views will cancel out at the margins, and the common sense of the bulk of voters in the center of the spectrum will carry the day.Therefore, what is the way to structure the electoral system so that it will least distort the outcome from what the majority of voters really want?------------I also agree with Gary's view that parties should be able to choose their own standard bearers.But that usually assumes that the parties are broad tents. What happens when 1/3 of the party doesn't fit that "broad tent" description?Any candidate who disagrees with the single issue dear to the heart of that 1/3 will then have a very difficult fight obtaining 51% of the total vote out of the remaining 2/3. This is the reality of single issue politics. So, inevitably, you can't get the nomination as a real "Conservative" unless you believe in God; and oppose abortion, gun control, and gay marriage.But you say, "Hold on, I'm a free market liberal economist, a proto-typical Eisenhower Republican ..."The problem with the primary system, as I see it, is that it allows relatively small, but cohesive, groups of activists to exercise disproportionate influence over the choice of candidates. This is the "log-rolling" problem.These groups, by their nature tend to be extremists, not moderates. Between this and unlimited funding, the moderates, compromisers and deal making centrists are being driven out of public office, not because the majority of voters do not want them, but because they can't win the nomination in their own party.So maybe parties should be required to put forth at least two candidates ... ? Well, when you get into making rules like that, what you are really trying to do is to manipulate the outcome, and then you are as guilty as anyone else.I tend to think that the rules ought structurally to prevent log-rolling, and ought, generally, to create pressures to nominate moderate or centrist candidates.My rationale for this is that, by definition, candidates that are closer to the center of a statistical distribution are more likely to be more representative of their constituency. But the real reason, of course, is my subjective view that the election of extremists tends to lead to legislative rigidity and grid-lock. This in turn tends to lead to poor or ineffective government, and the enactment of poorly thought out laws based on either ideology or distributing enough pork to enough members of the House and Senate.But if it is really to be done because that is my subjective view of what is good and right, then it is no more defensible on the basis of principle than the gerrymandering that so offends.------------Probably the fairest way is to get rid of primaries entirely, put all the candidates on one long ballot, and then vote.Drop the lowest vote-getter, and then vote again; and keep repeating that process until, finally, somebody gets 51% of the vote.That might turn out to be a very long and expensive process. People might not have the patience for it. And it works for voting for Presidents and Senators, but not necessarily as well for the House. It will still exaggerate the effect of evenly distributed marginal pluralities, and punish smaller parties.Smaller parties, of course, always prefer PR.----------So, what is an effective way to structure an electoral system so that it prevents log-rolling, and neither favours extremists nor imposes a view that centralism is good, and all else is bad?This is a difficult question.Overall, in my view the Swiss have come closest to the answer. Wed 11 Aug 2010 03:59:34 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=96#comment217 217. At 01:14am on 11 Aug 2010, JMMThe problem is, our electoral system really isn't that democratic.Canada is in a state of institutional transition. Let me explain.Canada has a bad government right now that nearly 70 % of Canadians do not want, and what is going on has a lot to do with electoral arithmetic and one man's obsession with majority government.------------There used to be three main parties, and the vote split: 2/5 Liberal (+/-5%), 2/5 Conservative (+/- 5%)and 1/5 NDP (+0/-3%).When the Mulroney's government self-destructed over the Meech Lake Accord, the PC Party went from 155 seats to 2. The hard right of the PC's became Reform; the Quebec PC's became the Bloc. Each won about 50 seats. The generally center-right Progressive Conservatives simply lost their way, and lacked a strong leader with a clear and compelling vision to pull them out of their tailspin.This split led to thirteen years of really outstanding government by the Liberals under Jean Chretien - and I say this as a life-long Conservative (i.e., a real Conservative, not a fake-Reform-Party-wannabe-Conservative).It was like having CD Howe back in office, that's how good it was. Trade balance in surplus. Budget in surplus. National Debt being paid off (approx. 85% of GNP when they entered office in 1993, 43% of GNP when they left Office in 2006). Unemployment low. Interest rates low and stable. Inflation low and stable. Crime low and falling. Powerful, competent government, full of talent.Oh how, oh how, oh how, could we have been so incredibly stupid as to have voted them out of office?In the wilderness, Reform became the "Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party", or, famously "C-CRAP". The PC's were (in my view) finally duped into a "merger" with the Alliance - like the "merger" of an anaconda and an ox. They still keep the former PC leader around for window dressing, but really, he might as well be a stuffed parrot: The PC's were systematically asphyxiated.While this "merger" was going on, there was much greater interest in the Green Party. The Greens won 7.8% of the vote last time, nearly all of it coming from the Liberals.------------With two dominant parties, First Past the Post worked ok, but it was systematically unfair to the NDP.With five parties (Conservative nee Reform; Liberal; NDP; Bloc; Green) FPP produces manifestly undemocratic results. It just doesn't work. It particularly doesn't work for the parties on the left, since four parties are splitting the vote on the center to left.The Reform Party is trying to take advantage of this.Roughly 1/6 of Canadians are evangelical Christians. Their voter turn-out is nearly 100%, and those votes are nearly 100% for Reform. They provide all the campaign workers. They are driven by the dream of re-criminalizing abortion (not going to happen in Canada, but they are in denial).They have forced voter turn-out down from roughly 65% to 58%. If they can force it down to 50% then that 1/6 of eligible voters becomes 1/3 of votes cast. At 33% in a five party vote, the evangelical Christians might just be able to eke out a Parliamentary majority. If they can get ever so little support from any other group, and reach 35 - 37% they will win a majority for certain.Right now, the Evangelical right amount to roughly 28% of votes cast. They will vote for Stephen Harper no matter what because, as far as they are concerned, God wants Stephen Harper to be Prime Minister.There are just enough non-evangelical hard right voters that it only takes a few more votes and they will reach their goal.So they hit every hard-right, social conservative, hot button issue they can find.That is roughly the calculus driving the government's efforts.If it had not been for a very funny video produced in Quebec, they would have succeeded in the 2008 federal election. As it is, they caught the other parties asleep on the voter ID law and came within a whisker.To give you an idea of how unpopular the government is outside the evangelical Christian community, the polls now indicate that if an election were held today the Harper government would win just about exactly 30% of the vote, with roughly 28 of that 30 coming from evangelical Christians.------------And, of course, roughly 70 % of Canadians do not want this government. At all.Which, in turn, has really laid bare the inadequacies of FPP.This situation could be avoided many ways. Some people think proportional representation is the answer. I tend to think that the Australian style preference vote would work, and if not that, then just a run-off between the two top candidates in any riding where no candidate receives 50% of the vote. Either way, I like the way Swiss government works.------------I don't know what the solution is going to be, but the idea that 16% of eligible voters can impose a religion-driven majority government on the vast majority of Canadians who don't share those religious beliefs, and who want nothing to do with that kind in government, will eventually be found intolerable, and our institutions will change to something more democratic.In the meantime, though, it's just really unpleasant. Wed 11 Aug 2010 02:43:32 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=96#comment216 216. At 9:35pm on 10 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:JMM,"Don't we all have the right to vote on who we want for whatever reasons we want, regardless of why we want them?"Of course we do, in the general election. And members of a party should choose the person they want, without another party playing dirty tricks, or stuffing their party ballot box with votes for the worst candidate.Yes everyone has a right to free speech. Everyone has a right to make a decision on issues of importance to them. But the country used to be able to reach agreements, to compromise for the good of the country as a whole. Now, driven by divisive issues and panicked by demagogues, the people aren't sure of anything except that people who don't believe as they do are the ENEMY.I've lived in dictatorships and theocracies. I studied political science in high school and in college. I know what socialists and communists are, and President Obama is neither. I know what Nazis and dictators are, and President Obama is neither. Calling him that is distortion or outright lies in order to convince people to vote against everything he tries to do. I don't like everything he wants to do. I don't want an amnesty to succeed. I don't want the banks and wall street to go unpunished while ordinary Americans suffer. But I will not accept lies and propaganda about everything; I distrust liars and propagandists which means I no longer watch FOX or CNN, and when someone lies about one thing I have to suspect their truthfulness in general.The country is polarized and divided, possibly deliberately. If the people can't make common cause with each other, then they can be controlled by the propagandists. If you are my enemy, I won't listen to you about anything, even things we might agree on, and things that would be better for both of us.If this continues the US could self-destruct, or become like Mexico. If Interested Foreigner is right in his assessments, Canada is now in danger as well. When the non-partisan civil servants have been either removed or muzzled, the non-partisan national information sources will be corrupted next [if it hasn't already started].Long live free and democratic Canada, IF, Vive Canada libre et democratique! Wed 11 Aug 2010 00:14:54 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=95#comment215 JMM,Don't we all have the right to vote on who we want for whatever reasons we want, regardless of why we want them?Is that not freedom of choice?What you may consider ignorant, another may consider smart, but regardless, if we only one option, that would not be a choice, would it?What matters to one person may not matter to another...Right now, we have two extremes going back and forth against each other like a see-saw...this can leave many of us feeling dizzy and nauseous, but it also leaves us with the conclusion that we must pick one extreme or another, when the best solution would be for the two extremes to become more moderate- yet so far, neither side is willing to compromise. I don't think that one extreme is necessarily better or worse than the other, they are simply extremes on the opposite side of the spectrum, in our universe, there are many sides of the spectrum and it is one wild ride... Tue 10 Aug 2010 20:35:38 GMT+1 GH1618 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=95#comment214 InterestedForeigner (213): "On the primaries thing, I kind of liked the idea of the "top two" primaries that Bienvenue described for Louisiana. What's wrong with that system?"This system has been used for a long time for local elections in some jurisdictions. Candidates for mayor or city council are listed without regard to party. A majority vote counts as election, otherwise a runoff election is held between the top two candidates.California recently changed its election law so that the primary election for state offices is now nonpartisan, with a runoff in the general election. This was a reaction to a previous attempt to hold a blanket (partisan) primary, which was overturned by the courts, on lawsuits by the parties. Political parties don't like the nonpartisan system, either. Small parties don't like it because it effectively eliminates them from the general election, which generates the most interest and news coverage. The smaller of the two major parties (Republicans in California) doesn't like it either, because it could result in a choice between two Democrats for governor in the general election. The new law is being challenged, and it remains to be seen whether it will pass constitutional muster.I, too, am an independent voter, unaffiliated with any party. For many years I have declined the opportunity to vote in partisan primaries, even when it is allowed, because I believe it the prerogative of a political party to choose its own representative without interference from those who bear no allegiance to the party. I haven't decided what I will do under the new system, if it holds up, but I don't like the system.What I prefer is that all parties be able to place a candidate on the general election (November) ballot, plus independent candidates, and that the business of narrowing down the candidates within a political party be left entirely to the parties as a private matter, at private expense. A plurality would win, as has been the case with most offices. Tue 10 Aug 2010 20:22:05 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=94#comment213 213. At 02:25am on 10 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:211. At 00:25am on 10 Aug 2010, JMM"On the primaries thing, I kind of liked the idea of the "top two" primaries that Bienvenue described for Louisiana. What's wrong with that system?"Not having direct access, my opinion is purely theoretical. It seems to me that the flaw in "open primaries" would be there as well. I have begun to wonder if the founding fathers' ideas about indirect democracy weren't the best way after all.People who are ignorant, easily spooked, easily led astray, people who do not care enough to access accurate information, are all participating in the general election and in the primaries. Why do you think the GOP is moving so far to the right and the Democrats [though not so far] to the left? Who are Sarah Palin's "core constituency?"In addition to the completely clueless, there are the single issue voters. They only care about protecting Israel, or Mexican immigration, or repeal of Roe vs Wade, etc. They will vote for a candidate based on his/her stand on that one issue, regardless of how stupid, corrupt, or misguided on other issues. There are those with business/financial issues. There are those with social agendas.If the US is becoming ungovernable it is a result of too many people voting ignorantly or for the wrong reasons. It is a result of not teaching them civic values at home and in school. It is a result of uncompromising extremists using propaganda and scare tactics [not to mention lies, bribery and distortions] to get and keep influence. It is, moreover, the loss by the public, due to the foregoing, of the ability to tolerate compromise. Tue 10 Aug 2010 19:47:05 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=94#comment212 211. At 00:25am on 10 Aug 2010, JMMOn the primaries thing, I kind of liked the idea of the "top two" primaries that Bienvenue described for Louisiana. What's wrong with that system? Tue 10 Aug 2010 01:25:34 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=93#comment211 There are more differences between Canada and the US than I had thought.1. We do not have a national ID or voter ID, but when you register to vote you have to have identification. 2. On voting day, You have to go to the jurisdiction and ward where you live and are registered. If you move inside the jurisdiction you can change the address easily. If you move to a different jurisdiction [town in MA] you have to reregister in the new town.3. In MA when you get or renew your driver's licence you can register or re-register, the town or district will send you a voter ID for your first vote or instruct you to go to the town hall with some proof of residence.We have been having town meetings and voting for officers since colonial times. One reason that Massachusetts went solidly into rebellion in 1774 was the King's revoking the charter, dismissing the legislature and putting in martial law.The legislature went into session outside occupied Boston and, to be frank, usurped all governing authority. After Lexington and Concord Boson was under seige and royal authority was nil outside the city. We did not declare independence immediately, but Massachusetts was a de facto independent country until voluntarily joining together with other states.I mention this briefly, to show that we have a long history of independence and tradition. There were other quasi rebellions against royal authority as well. The crown unified New York New Jersey and the New England colonies as the Dominion of New England. When news of the revolution in England arrived they arresetd Governor in chief Andros and deposed the other governors. So, voting is a long held right here that has, obviously been expanded. Also it is obvious that the newly independent states desired to drastically change their previous forms of government thus leading to the non-British forms of today. The checks and balances you mention are virtually holy writ, as they were aimed at making a resurgence of royal authority impossible.Our constitution of 1780 is still in force [though much amended]. The surprise should be that in a nation of semi-autonomous states there are remarkably few variations in constitutions, the state flags even often look similar. You might wish to compare a relatively new constitution [of Montana] with our oldest one.One state, Nebraska, has a unicameral legislature, one state, Louisiana uses parishes instead of counties and bases its law on the Code Napoleon.I think Massachusetts is the only state to have retained a colonial characteristic, The Governor's Council. We don't have a uniform model. When achieving statehood, the territory drafts its own constitution which must conform to the US Constitution, but that the only requirement are that it must be a republic and that it accpt the duties and requirements of the USC [and, of course that it be accepted by the US government].If you look up the [newest] Montana constitution you can see the influence of the other states' and the federal constitutions in it. It also is a very good example of the "right to bear arms" carried over from the foundation of the republic in its original meaning. Tue 10 Aug 2010 00:07:03 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=93#comment210 208. At 2:27pm on 09 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:“The thing I don't like is when they ask you, "Democrat or Republican?", because in my opinion, you should be able to vote for both if you want to in the pre-election. Maybe someone likes someone from each side, so why not be able to vote for the best of both parties?”LJ what you describe is a primary. I have never voted in one because I have always been independent. An “open primary” is one where you can vote for any candidate in either party. A closed primary is an internal vote for candidates by members of their party.In theory voters vote for the best person no matter in which party. In fact voters in open primaries many times vote for the worst candidate in the other party to try to improve their party’s chances in the election. There have been cases of deliberate and organized attempts to do so, with people changing their registration in order to hurt the opposition.In my view that is despicable, an attempt to spoil the oppositions chance to make their best case to the electorate. All primaries IMHO should be closed.In some places there is a box you can check or a lever to automatically vote for all candidates of one party. They still have that in New Jersey but I don’t remember seeing it on my ballot here. I would NEVER use such an option. Mon 09 Aug 2010 23:25:44 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=92#comment209 206. At 02:19am on 09 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:"This, I gather from your posts, is one of the perversions PM Harper is trying to foist on Canada before he his required to go to the country. I found the back and forth on voting regulation a bit confusing. I see no problem with identifying yourself at the poles."____________It has already become law, and it affected the outcome of the 2008 federal election. As far as I can tell it seems to have changed the outcome in perhaps a dozen or 14 seats. In a 308 seat Parliament, where the government is within a whisker of obtaining the 155 seats required for a majority, that is quite a few.The basic problem is that the law is based on a lie: That voter fraud is a problem in Canada.Not only is there no evidence to support this hypothesis, but the most senior officials from Elections Canada testified to Parliament outright to the contrary.The whole point of enacting these laws - and 34 US states have them - is that on election day their effect is the equivalent of a 5% vote swing from the left (i.e., the Democrats in the US) to the right (i.e., the Republicans). This effect is notoriously well known to political scientists, and most assuredly to partisan campaign strategists. That's why right wing parties so desperately want these laws.What makes them unconstitutional (in Canada, at least) in my view is (a) their unconstitutional purpose, namely to suppress voter participation; and (b) because they require ID to be presented even when there is absolutely no doubt as to the identity of the voter or of their entitlement to vote then and there.That is when true purpose of these laws is revealed.It's fine to ask for ID where there is doubt, and that is properly part of the enumeration process, which should occur long before polling day.But insisting on voters showing ID at the polls, when the voter has already been enumerated, when the voter shows up at the poll with their unique enumeration card, and when there has been no showing of voter fraud as being a serious problem in Canadian elections, is ridiculous.There is no doubt at all about their entitlement to vote, but they are being denied the most basic characterizing right of citizenship in a democracy on an administrative procedural basis.I'm sorry, that just doesn't cut the mustard constitutionally.The most ridiculous examples, by the way, come from ridings where there are high concentrations of aboriginal voters. The polling clerks for both parties are very often relatives of the people showing up to vote, and yet the voters are not allowed to vote unless they can produce photo ID, or have someone who has ID swear an affidavit on their behalf at the polling station. As if that is likely to happen.Furthermore, they are required to produce documentation proving an address, when, in those remote communities, many of them do not have street addresses because there is no need.Again, totally ridiculous. Mon 09 Aug 2010 15:10:37 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=92#comment208 205. At 01:57am on 09 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:"The two advantages our system seems to afford over yours is that the president can not control, dismiss, or prorogue either house, nor appoint the cabinet without senate consent, if you will pardon my saying so. I also gather that your fail-safe defense, the Royal Governor, has failed to work in this case, at least thus far. Could you appeal directly to the Queen over the RG’s head?____________On the first point, I believe that Parliamentary government in which the cabinet is responsible to the legislature is an inherently better form of government structure than the US Presidential system. This is a long and complicated topic, though.In essence, I believe that the structure of US government has too many "checks-and-balances" that it doesn't need, and is, nonetheless, missing some checks and balances that it does need. So the US has both sclerosis, and lack of Parliamentary discipline. Further, the Senate is becoming less and less democratic for a whole series of reasons, and the abuse of the filibuster when combined with unlimited campaign financing is a recipe for all kinds of problems.The big advantage of a Parliamentary system, with party discipline, is that a government is able to pursue a legislative agenda upon which it campaigned.In the US a President may be elected on the basis of an array of policy proposals, without necessarily having any ability to implement those proposals (particularly in terms of domestic policy). His power is then to block initiatives through a veto. So he has no power to move matters forward, only a power to obstruct and frustrate. Likewise, barring a super-majority, the Senate has limited power to move things forward, but almost infinite power to obstruct.This is a long and very complicated subject.------------In our constitutional monarchy it is misleading to think of the Sovereign as a person having substantive legislative powers. It is much more accurate to think of the monarchy as an idea than as a person. The idea is of a non-partisan head of state. The head of state is above politics, and embodies the continued existence of the nation. The armed forces swear loyalty to the head of state, not to the government, for example. As importantly, the entire Civil Service owes its loyalty to the Crown, as opposed to the government, and hence the idea of having a professional civil service that is above the fray of politics, and whose duty is to give objective, impartial, unbiased advice to the government of the day, of whatever stripe.(Some of us take this duty of impartiality quite seriously.For a long time the thought of becoming Chief Electoral Officer of Canada was quite attractive. You can see, then, why tampering with the electoral system deliberately to make it have less fidelity to the wishes of the voters, as the current government is doing, would strike quite a nerve with me. However, it now seems rather unlikely that an appointment to that post will occur any time soon. I may eventually get over that disappointment. Patrick Boyer would have been an excellent choice, but I fear he is no longer young enough, either.)------------The monarch's powers are dictated by constitutional convention and precedent, so that on any constitutional question the decision is not made by the monarch so much as by the most senior civil servants, eminent outside counsel retained by the government, and, ultimately, by the highest court in the land on a constitutional reference. In England the highest court is the judicial committee of the House of Lords. In Canada it is the Supreme Court of Canada (until 1949 it was the HL). There are still countries (Jamaica? Barbados? Trinidad & Tobago?) whose final court of appeal is the HL.In everyday affairs, the Queen cannot act except on the advice of her government. The government, in turn, has no right to govern unless it has the confidence of the House of Commons. In essence "having the confidence" of the House of Commons means that a majority of members are willing to vote to support government legislation.There are very few exceptions to this rule. Those exceptions tend to arise when it is unclear whether the government has the confidence of Parliament, and the Crown must call upon someone to form a government, or where the government is attempting to behave in an unconstitutional manner. Then it can be quite tricky to determine what constitutional precedent and convention require the Crown to do.For example, in the constitutional crisis over prorogation, the Governor General is deemed to have made a decision, but ultimately that "decision" was made on the basis of what the Crown would have considered the best legal advice available, and the basis for the decision would have been established in exceedingly well researched legal memoranda. I believe that the principal outside counsel consulted in that instance was Peter Hogg, an eminent constitutional expert. While one may disagree with the advice that was given (as I do), there is no question that it was a decision taken on the basis of carefully considered advice.In our system of government, Parliament is supreme. The Governor General cannot then go and make some personal, discretionary decision. To do so would amount to a coup d'etat. If the Queen were to do so, she would have to abdicate. If a Governor General were to do so, they would have to resign.The Governor General is the Queen's representative in Canada, has the same role, and exercises the same powers at the federal level as the Queen would do (and occasionally does) when she is in Canada. Similarly, the Lieutenant Governors stand in the Queen's shoes at the provincial level. One would never call upon the Queen to "overrule" any of them, because the decisions made by the Queen's representatives in the Queen's name are, in law, the decision of the Crown, just the same as if the Queen had made them herself.To add a bit to this, the Queen of Canada is, in law, an entirely distinct legal person from the Queen of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Got that?Constitutional law often requires abstract mental gymnastics of this kind. Mon 09 Aug 2010 13:35:28 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=92#comment207 I live in a small town and it is similar to JMM's type of experience, with blackening the bubbles and so on. It is old-school.But we are always required to show our driver's licenses when voting.I do not think that without a driver's license, we would be allowed to vote.The thing I don't like is when they ask you, "Democrat or Republican?", because in my opinion, you should be able to vote for both if you want to in the pre-election. Maybe someone likes someone from each side, so why not be able to vote for the best of both parties?You do have to get registered the first time you vote in USA, but then after that, you are registered for life, unless you move, in which case you would have to re-register your address, so on... Mon 09 Aug 2010 13:27:27 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=91#comment206 JMM:Here is what happens when you combine an excellent school system, a sober, hard-working culture, and ultimate power held tightly in the grasp of voters:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10886215 Mon 09 Aug 2010 12:40:48 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=91#comment205 204. At 00:31am on 09 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner Re point one, perversion of electoral laws for partisan advantage.I am well aware of the poisonous and undemocratic practice of Gerrymandering, as Elbridge Gerry, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts "perfected" the art in 1812. I think it was pioneered in England, though, and called rotten bouroughs if I remember correctly.This, I gather from your posts, is one of the perversions PM Harper is trying to foist on Canada before he his required to go to the country. I found the back and forth on voting regulation a bit confusing. I see no problem with identifying yourself at the poles.What happens here is that I go to the high school in my ward [a small town of about 31K population [1,200 per km2] with only 2 wards. The volunteer at the table for my street asks my name and address and checks the large register book [yes that's archaic, especially in a place known for high tech, but its traditional]. My name is checked off and I get my ballot.The ballot looks like a test form with bubbles to be blackened-in with a special marker that is provided in the screened voting booths. Having checked off the names and answered aye or nay on a variety of legal or constitutional issues I take my paper to a guarded lock box where I insert it myself.It's very calm and routine. I've never been challenged, but of course I carry my driver's licence with me at all times, though that is not required unless driving. Mon 09 Aug 2010 01:19:10 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=90#comment204 204. At 00:31am on 09 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote: “On the second topic Canada has always followed the British idea of having a permanent, impartial public service... This is not the norm in the United States, where it is expected that thousands of office holders will be replaced following any given election.”The spoils system predates Andrew Jackson, but he “perfected” it. Civil service had made gains in the states as well as the Fed [below department head anyway]. GWB dismissing non partisan district attorneys was blatant but not a completely new perversion.“On the third point, we now see political parties that promote, and wallow in, the ignorance and prejudice of voters...”Tell me about it! My gorge rises at the merest mention of Sarah Palin and her “core constituency.”“It is perverse that one party sees its own partisan advantage as being important enough to kick out that fundamental pillar of democracy.”Both of our big parties do that, but the GOP/FOX/TEA Party more so.This situation may affect both of our countries, but there are many strings devoted to the US and none to Canada, so Canada deserves its own, especially on this crucial issue.The two advantages our system seems to afford over yours is that the president can not control, dismiss, or prorogue either house, nor appoint the cabinet without senate consent, if you will pardon my saying so. I also gather that your fail-safe defense, the Royal Governor, has failed to work in this case, at least thus far. Could you appeal directly to the Queen over the RG’s head?I’ve been reading Massachusetts’ history lately, It’s Governor General, not Royal Governor now, right [Shades of Andros, Hutchinson and Gage!]? Mon 09 Aug 2010 00:57:35 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=90#comment203 204. JMMBless your heart.I should point out that the issues I am raising here are not purely Canadian issues, even though they may appear that way. Each of them also bedevils US politics.____________The issues I am raising have three themes:(1) The perversion of electoral or other laws for partisan advantage;(2) The rejection of the idea of an impartial non-partisan professional service;(3) The deliberate effort to capitalize on, and, indeed to whip up and then pander to, the ignorance and prejudices of the electorate.All of these things seem to me to be attacks on the integrity of our civic institutions. I regard them as being serious long term threats to our future, because they hobble us in our ability to formulate good public policy.-----------On the first topic, Steven Harper quite literally lost in his bid on behalf of the National Citizens Coalition to make Canada have the same election spending free-for-all that threatens US democracy: See Harper v. Canada (A.G.) 2004 SCC 33, [2004] 1 SCR 827, where Bastarache J., for the court wrote:"The egalitarian model promotes an electoral process that requires the wealthy to be prevented from controlling the electoral process to the detriment of others with less economic power." (Quoting with approval from 44 McGill L.J. 5 (1999)The USSC, or course, has taken a different position.Still on the first topic, and voter ID, the USSC decided in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 128 S.Ct. 1610(2008) that voter ID requirements were constitutional in the US. Again, the composition of the court was significant to the outcome, and the law is different from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is doubtful that Crawford would have been decided the same way in Canada.The point is that in both countries there are people who are trying to use revisions to electoral law to attack the integrity of our electoral process under the disingenuous, and, indeed, profoundly intellectually dishonest guise of "preventing voter fraud".-----------On the second topic Canada has always followed the British idea of having a permanent, impartial public service whose duty it is to provide the best objective policy advice it can to its political masters, whatever party may be in power. Ever since C.D. Howe ran the Government of Canada in the 1940's and 1950's, this very technocratic and meritocratic approach has been assumed. The existence of an impartial public service is now taken for granted as essential to our democracy. It is extraordinary now to have a government that simply repudiates (or is that "refudiates"?) the entire idea.This is not the norm in the United States, where it is expected that thousands of office holders will be replaced following any given election.The point is that the civil service is expected to tell government the truth, and government policy is expected to be a rational reflection of that advice, in some way. What is new is to have a government where ideology is a trump card that overrules all scientific evidence.------------On the third point, we now see political parties that promote, and wallow in, the ignorance and prejudice of voters - and seek to perpetuate and take advantage of that ignorance. This is a very serious topic in a democracy, since it attacks the most basic assumption of democracy, and in particular American democracy, that an educated electorate can make enlightened choices.It is perverse that one party sees its own partisan advantage as being important enough to kick out that fundamental pillar of democracy.All three of these topics affect both Canada and the US. Sun 08 Aug 2010 23:31:18 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=89#comment202 Mr. MardellThis topic is very interesting, under reported and obviously not well understood.Forgive me for being so bold as to impinge on your responsibilities, but at this important juncture in Canadian history, would you consider a thread devoted to the Canadian Constitutional Crisis?I am a US citizen who understands that the stability of our northern neighbor's democracy is vital to the US. The notion of undemocratic or quasi-democratic regimes on both of our land borders is the stuff of nightmares. Sun 08 Aug 2010 12:53:31 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=89#comment201 198. At 10:01pm on 06 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"FPTP is about constituencies and constituent representation, therefore proving that [a voter?] is a constituent is crucial. And not only in Canada, and not only under FPTP. ..."_________Oh, give it a rest.For this argument to have any strength you need to be able to show that there was some problem with voter identity and voter enumeration previously, that this law now solves.But, as noted several times above, there was, and is, simply no factual basis to support that argument. I repeat, again, that was the testimony of both the then current and previous Chief Electoral Officers of Canada.These men were career civil servants. They had no partisan axe to grind. They were working for a body whose dedication to impartiality was well respected.But, just as in the current census idiocy, an ideologically driven, obsessively politically partisan government simply ignored the objective, non-partisan advice it received from the recognized and respected experts in the field.____________"Re Constitutionality"The supreme law of Canada is the Constitution. Our constitution does not govern France, or Germany, or Italy, or the United States.It does, however, govern Canada. Your comments with respect to those other countries are utterly irrelevant to the constitutionality of the provisions of the Canada Elections Act, or any other Act of the Canadian Parliament.It is basic constitutional law that a law that has an unconstitutional purpose cannot stand. This law has only one purpose, and it is the disenfranchisement of as many opposition voters as possible.It is basic constitutional law that a law cannot hide behind a facade of formal constitutionality when its substantive effect is unconstitutional. This law easily fails this test, since the stated rationale has not factual support, and the observed effect, all across the country, was to have voters turned away from the polls for no good reason. The law has no saving constitutional purpose.I welcome the day when this law is referred to the Supreme Court of Canada on a constitutional reference. It is clearly unconstitutional.______________Again, I note that Peterbo's posts do not answer or refute the substantive points I have made in this string, whether in respect ofthe constitutionality of the voter ID law;the Harper government's disdain for science;the Harper government's disdain for the institution of a professional public service;Peterbo cited a reference that does not support his position on incarceration, and has failed in any way to address either my commentary in regard to that document or the lengthy articles I have cited.The points he has made on voter ID, and much else, have been riddled with non-sequiturs, have gone off on irrelevant tangents, and have raised straw men (the "recent immigrant" issue being the best example).But he has done nothing to refute the substantive arguments made here. Sat 07 Aug 2010 03:40:54 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=88#comment200 198. At 10:01pm on 06 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:" ... However, the premise that the address proof is an unnecessary requirement that discourages exercising of voting rights is erroneous."____________Once again, Hogwash.Read the paper by Alvarez et al.The voter ID law would not have been passed if it were not intended to discourage voters from voting. That was the entire motivation for introducing the bill in the first place.Every last additional detail of that bill is designed to deter voters from voting. That is precisely the purpose of this law. That is its only purpose.That is why it was subject to ridicule in testimony before the Senate by the current and former Chief Electoral Officers of Canada. Sat 07 Aug 2010 03:18:44 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=88#comment199 198. At 10:01pm on 06 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Here's your initial premise, and it's erroneous:"____________Once again, you are wrong.Before you post again on this topic, you might take the trouble to read the Alvarez paper, cited above.You might also consider:"Voter Requirements and the Disenfranchisement of Latino, Black and Asian Voters", Barreto, Nuno and Sanchez, 2007 American Political Science Association Annual Conference, September 1, 2007."Voter Identification", Sepncer Overton, 105 Michigan Law Review 631, February 2007.------------At no time, in any posting did I even vaguely suggest that non-citizens are entitled to vote in Canada. (There was a time, however, when some of them were entitled to vote in Canada: any British subject qualified.)You are the one, of your own accord, who went off on a totally irrelevant tangent.It seemed to elude you that the fact that someone has become a Canadian citizen does not suddenly make them cease to be a recent immigrant.As for the groups most affected by this law, the groups I have listed are all correct. Of course the groups only apply to persons entitled to vote. That is the premise of the topic.____________While it is interesting to see that you have apologized for being wrong, that is not the principle item for which you need to apologize. You accused another person, publicly, of being a liar.You were reckless as to the truth of your accusation.And you were wrong.It was a reckless and unjustified attack on my character and reputation.Whether you think so or not, people who post on this website know each other well enough to respect each others' opinions and reputation for being accurate and fair-minded in their statements, or not.Since you have now acknowledged that you were factually wrong, perhaps your next posting will include a more forthright and unconditional retraction, an appropriate acknowledgment of the tortious nature of your comments, and a rather less mealy-mouthed apology. Sat 07 Aug 2010 02:15:43 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=88#comment198 Tomatoes are delicious and extremely nutricious.Whether they are considered a fruit or vegetable doesn't really matter.Whether you say tomato- or tohm-ah-toh doesn't matter, either.Although I do not think ketchup should be considered a vegetable.My favorite are the orange tomatoes. Love the red ones, too, but the orange ones are excellent.I always eat my tomatoes and green peppers with lots and lots of ranch sauce. Love the zucchinis and squash, too, with pepperoni, mozzarella and red sauce. Awesome salsas. Really, there is so much to with tomatoes and really all fruits and veggies.Whether someone is religious or not, whether someone is liberal or conservative, whether someone is poor or well-off, fruits and veggies are the way to go.Grow fruit and veggies, share with neighbors and friends is spreading the love... Fri 06 Aug 2010 23:11:45 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=87#comment197 IF,Here's your initial premise, and it's erroneous:"162. At 11:30pm on 03 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:The de facto purpose, and empirically observable and observed effect, of the law is differentially to disenfranchise groups that do not vote for the Reform Party.Who are those groups?Recent immigrants...""Recent immigrants" is not synonymous with Canadian citizens, as some of them may (still) be landed immigrants residing in Canada for less than three years, or more than three years but have not applied/not been approved for Canadian citizenship. Recent immigrants may also be refugees. Both categories, landed immigrants and refugees, are not entitled to vote.To accuse me if infringing voter rights of "recent immigrants" because you associate all recent immigrants with Canadian citizens is disingenuous.Re: Canadian passport/birth certificate. You are right, by itself, neither is sufficient to allow a vote. For this I apologize. However, the premise that the address proof is an unnecessary requirement that discourages exercising of voting rights is erroneous.FPTP is about constituencies and constituent representation, therefore proving that s.o. is a constituent is crucial. And not only in Canada, and not only under FPTP.Your liberal zest may be shocked by required docs for voting in Italy's municipal/regional elections:1) Electoral Certificate is sent to a voter 10 day in advance (i.e. the voter must have provided an address)2) Photo ID is required together with that certificate at the polling station. How about electing a EU MP? Required:1) Proof of citizenship (i.e. passport/ID)2) Proof of residence in the member state (i.e. address IS required). For some countries, a minimum time of residence is requiredParliamentary elections in France:To be allowed to vote, a voter must be on the "electoral roll", ie be registered BEFOREHAND. Voters register in place of residence (ie address proof mandatory), or in a place where they have been on the roll of taxpayers for local taxes for at least 5 years. A citizen may not be legally registered in more than one place.Municipal elections in Germany: The following documents are required: * Police registration form (polizeiliche Anmeldung) * Proof of identity (passport) * Proof of residency in the country for a minimum of three monthsOnce the application to vote (Antrag) has been completed and approved, a voting card will be issued entitling the person to vote.And that's it: no three options and a myriad of possible doc combos, no sworn affidavits re who you are, of proof provided by a friend/neighbour/etc., as in Canada.Re constitutionalityIF, what do you do for a living? Are you a constitutional lawyer/professor of law qualified to interpret the law and its constitutionality? Have you launched a judicial challenge? Have you obtained a ruling of SCC verifying that the electoral law is unconstitutional?The bill was voted in the Commons and the Senate, and supported by the conservatives AND a number of sane opposition MPs and senators. I am not aware of any current judicial challenge or a SCC ruling re unconstitutionality. Ergo, that's the law of the land. Dura lex sed lex, and the Canadian lex is quite lax. Live with it. Fri 06 Aug 2010 21:01:33 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=87#comment196 Saint Dom:Thanks for the kind words and the welcome back. My internet connection at home is hindered by an old computer, a slow connection and my desire to parent my children responsibly, so tend to comment from my receptionist desk. Therefore, while on vacation I tend to ignore my email and my favourite blogs. (misspelling of favorite intended.) We had a lovely time camping and going to amusement parks, and we even took a day trip to the Jersey Shore. Good times.TimOhio/Lucy:My tomatoes are coming in and I've made tons of pesto, but my cucumbers seem stunted... I blame the hornets eating the bees. Oh... and all of this is growing out of buckets, baskets, and a 1'x 8' strip of dirt I call my 'yard' on the front stoop of my city row. It ain't much, but it beats tryin' to grow veggies on an apartment balcony. :-) Fri 06 Aug 2010 14:35:11 GMT+1 timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=86#comment195 re. 135. LucyJ and 136. SaintDominick:I understand what both of you are saying, but neither of your local economies is dependent on heavy manufacturing. There's about 12 percent unemployment in NW Ohio and much higher in southeast Michigan. That still leaves a lot of people who have jobs, so superficially it can look like everything is okay. But if you look closely, there are boarded up businesses and for sale signs that have been on front lawns for a long time. Also, one of the things that happens in a recession is that the ones left with jobs are attempting to keep the businesses going with smaller staffs. My job duties got doubled a year ago, for example. So worker productivity and overtime is way up right now and companies are resisting hiring back the laid off workers until they feel certain that the economy will support that level of production. But the work force is running on empty and you can't keep an economy going indefinitely this way.And Lucy, I agree with you about gardens. I have a big vegetable garden now and have more or less vegetable gardened my entire adult life. When I was in grad school I went a long way towards feeding my family by gardening. The diet got a little monotonous at times, but it helped out a lot. You would be amazed at how much food you can grow in a fairly small space. And there were side benefits. My son grew up with an understanding of where his food came from. These days, that's huge. If you can't garden, there are always farmers markets. Fri 06 Aug 2010 01:42:05 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=86#comment194 193. At 06:02am on 05 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"IF, I am a busy individual, but will somehow try to reply tomorrow ..."__________Let's try a different hypothesis:what Peterbo really means is that after realizing that he botched it in his long attempts yesterday, he now needs to check in with the Reform Party Central Office to get help responding to the points made in my postings.Nothing quite like the smell a Stephen Harper sycophant ... Thu 05 Aug 2010 12:22:37 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=85#comment193 193. Peterbo.You twice accused me of lying on this blog.You have now had to admit implicitly if not explicitly that the statements I made are true, and that it was, in fact, your own statements that were incorrect.You have made rejoinders that fail to address the points being made. Most of your arguments are non-sequiturs that are irrelevant to the points in issue, all of which can accurately be summed up as "Hogwash".You have not had the decency to apologize and make appropriate retractions. If you can't make appropriate retractions and apologies in your next effort, there is no reason why anybody should pay any further attention to you. Thu 05 Aug 2010 12:05:36 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=85#comment192 IF, I am a busy individual, but will somehow try to reply tomorrow to those verbose, stream-of-(leftist)consciousness, logorrheic posts of yours. Thu 05 Aug 2010 05:02:04 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=84#comment191 188. At 9:49pm on 04 Aug 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:"Essentially, the list I asked for is non-existent"Oh, is it? Happy reading. The rest of your post is highly irrelevant, as the linked article is not ABOUT Henry Shaefer (the messenger you're trying to kill), but BY Henry Shaefer. You may get detailed bios on the listed from numerous i-net sources.1) Paul Charles William Davies "An initial cosmological singularity . . . forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. . . . On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself." (P. C. W. Davies, "Spacetime Singularities in Cosmology," in The Study of Time III, ed. J. T. Fraser (Berlin: Springer Verlag ))'What caused the big bang?' . . . One might consider some supernatural force, some agency beyond space and time as being responsible for the big bang, or one might prefer to regard the big bang as an event without a cause. It seems to me that we don't have too much choice. Either . . . something outside of the physical world . . . or . . . an event without a cause." (Paul Davies, "The Birth of the Cosmos")2)Gott, Gunn, Schramm, and Tinsley "the universe began from a state of infinite density about one Hubble time ago. Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe. It is not meaningful to ask what happened before the big bang; it is somewhat like asking what is north of the North Pole. Similarly, it is not sensible to ask where the big bang took place. The point-universe was not an object isolated in space; it was the entire universe, and so the only answer can be that the big bang happened everywhere" (J. Richard Gott III, James E. Gunn, David N. Schramm, and Beatrice M. Tinsley, "Will the Universe Expand Forever?" Scientific American [March 1976], p. 65)3) Arvind Borde and Alexander Vilenkin showed that a universe eternally inflating toward the future cannot be geodesically complete in the past, so that there must have existed at some point in the indefinite past an initial singularity: " A model in which the inflationary phase has no end . . . naturally leads to this question: Can this model also be extended to the infinite past, avoiding in this way the problem of the initial singularity? . . . this is in fact not possible in future-eternal inflationary spacetimes as long as they obey some reasonable physical conditions: such models must necessarily possess initial singularities." (A. Borde and A. Vilenkin, "Eternal Inflation and the Initial Singularity," Physical Review Letters 72 (1994): 3305, 3307.)4)Stephen Hawking: "The idea that space and time may form a closed surface without boundary . . . has profound implications for the role of God in the affairs of the universe . . . . So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator." (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time) 5) Christopher Isham, cosmologist "Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his/her theory" (Christopher Isham, "Creation of the Universe as a Quantum Process," )6) Check George Gamow, unfortunately I have lost the link Thu 05 Aug 2010 04:05:57 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=84#comment190 InterestedForeignerYour posts are disheartening. I always thought of Canada as a country New England could join if the right-wing, anti-science, red-state crazies managed to take over much of the US. Now it appears that the right-wing, anti-science, red-state crazies have taken over Canada.You have my sympathetic support. Prorogation is anti-democratic [pardon my interference in Canadian internal affairs by saying so] and I hope that you and the Canadian majority are able to take your country back. Thu 05 Aug 2010 00:58:38 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=84#comment189 To anyone who is still paying attention, you'll note that "Peterbo" has not refuted any of the substantive arguments I have made in this string.Ultimately, he had to admit that, in fact, precisely as I said in the first place, all Canadian citizens have the right to vote under s. 3 of the Charter.Ultimately he had to admit, precisely as I sad in the first place, that neither a birth certificate nor a Canadian passport constituted sufficient identification under the voter ID law to permit a Canadian citizen to vote.He has not in any was refuted my point that the purpose of the law is differentially to disenfranchise groups that tend not to vote for right wing parties.He has not in any way refuted (or even addressed, actually) my point that the law is based on a lie - that there was no evidence of voter fraud ever presented to establish a factual basis for the government's assertions in proposing and enacting the law.He has not in any way addressed the unconstitutionality of the voter ID law, whether in its purpose, or in its effect.Moving on to other points raised, he asked for examples of the current government's hostility to science. I provided them. His replies were hogwash, as I have noted. In respect of "tough on crime" issues he cited a paper that does not in fact support the position of the government.He did not in any way address, let alone discredit, the references I have cited.But, at the end of the day he lacks the strength of character to admit that he has failed to refute the points made in my postings, or to admit that he is in error.It pretty much speaks for itself. Wed 04 Aug 2010 23:22:32 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=83#comment188 155. At 10:18pm on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"If the info is so vital, outsource the job to private companies, and pay for the results."____________What irony.A government that cooks up, as its belated, and palpably unbelievable excuse that it doesn't want Canadians to be compelled to provide information, is now defended by someone who suggests that this duty now be put into the hands of the private sector.So the census is bad if conducted by government,but good if conducted by a private company.Pathetic.------------The reason we have the DBS (i.e., Statistics Canada) is the same reason, fundamentally, that Britain set up the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.It provides the standard.They are the ones who make the actual count, who establish the datum, from which all other studies take their point of reference.The government is supposed to be the impartial public guardian of the standard. The steward, in effect.____________What the current government has done is to show a complete and utter disdain for science.It has shown complete and utter disdain for the concept of an impartial professional civil service.It has shown a complete and utter disdain for reasoned public debate, or any obligation that public policy be supportable on the basis of reasoned argument.It has very publicly humiliated a senior public servant who has given his entire 42 year career to public service, and whose only "crime" was a dedication to providing the most accurate, impartial and objective advice to government that he was capable of giving.In terms of exalting blind ignorance over knowledge, what has happened is so far beyond the Pale, there is virtually nobody in this country with a professional or science degree who will ever vote for this government after this.(Mind you, very few university educated people were prepared to vote for it before, so maybe it doesn't make much difference.)Nobody with any understanding of science will vote for the Reform Party, no matter how it tries to comb its hair. Wed 04 Aug 2010 23:10:43 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=83#comment187 # 182. At 3:52pm on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"179. At 2:12pm on 04 Aug 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:# 161. At 11:26pm on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Intellectually very disappointing. Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc.). Please educate yourself on the Big Bang theory, accepted, albeit grudgingly by some, scientists as THE theory of the origins of the universe. "Indeed.As I recall you have tried this one before.Since, according to you, "Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc.)", perhaps you would be so good as to provide a list of eminent and respected academics and scientists in the fields of astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy etc who have concluded scientifically that the Big Bang theory - which AFAIK is accepted almost universally by scientists - somehow DISPROVES atheism and somehow proves the existence of a deity? "To initiate you, supposing you, as I, are not astrophysisist and high calibre mathemathician:http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.htmlWhile certain scientists accept the idea of beginning and creation, others try to tiptoe around the notion of a pro-creator. However, the level of current knowledge is such, that it does not exclude the heresy of creation, and God. On the contrary.Science has completed a full cercle from the iconocalst Galileo through Newton through Einstein, and here it stands today, contemplating a beginning and creation. How will it evolve from its current state, is anyone's guess. For the time being, though, it's the Big Bang."Essentially, the list I asked for is non-existentYou provide an eminent chemist, and creationist, who doesn't believe in evolutionFrom his Wiki profile"Henry "Fritz" Schaefer III (born June 8, 1944) is a computational and theoretical chemist. He is the author of a large number of scientific publications, and was the 6th most cited chemist from 1981 to 1997 and the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia. Schaefer is often slated as a prominent proponent of intelligent design. However, he has described himself as "sympathetic" to Intelligent Design, but primarily a "proponent of Jesus." He is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the hub of the intelligent design movement, Schaefer was once a fellow for the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design, which is now defunct. and a signer of the Discovery Institute's anti-evolution letter, A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.""On January 25. 2008, he presented a lecture titled 'Big Bang, Stephen Hawking and God' at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. It promoted Intelligent Design and also implied the futility of belief systems other than Christianity as the way to God. This evoked a response from a group of students in the form of handbills which were distributed to the audience of more than 500 student and professors. The students' handbill described his speech as unscientific and therefore out-of-context for the largest technology festival of Asia Techfest 2008.Schaefer is often cited as an example of the Discovery Institute inflating the academic credentials and affiliations of prominent intelligent design advocates. The institute prominently and frequently mentions the Nobel Prize in connection with Schaefer,referring to him as a "five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize" despite the fact that Nobel Prize nominations remain confidential for fifty years. Intelligent Design critic Barbara Forrest, Glenn Branch and Reed Cartwright allege that in elevating mere speculation to a fact, the Discovery Institute is inflating his reputation. The original source of the estimate that Schaefer has been nominated 5 times for a Nobel Prize is a December 23, 1991 cover article in U.S. News and World Report."How about a list of eminent THEOLOGIANS who believe the Big Bang Theory disproves atheism and proves the existence of a deity?I shall not hold my breath.May I cordially suggest that, if that's the best you can do, you refrain in future from patronising others? Eg "Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science"..."Please educate yourself on the Big Bang theory" etcAs I said - "Intellectually very disappointing" Wed 04 Aug 2010 20:49:11 GMT+1 RHCracker http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=82#comment186 Back to the subject,If one does not spend more than they make,lives within their means,and does not finance homes they cannot afford ,it is much easier to stay in your home.People blame the banks for predatory lending ,and the government for not controlling the banks better,but the truth is it all boils down to personal responsibility.If one can only afford the interest on the loan you signed up for, you will never own that home,if you have a non fixed rate well don't be shocked when it goes up on you,if you sign a loan on a home and have a balloon payment due in five years that you are just hoping you might have at that time well that is just irresponsible. Wed 04 Aug 2010 19:17:18 GMT+1 RHCracker http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=82#comment185 SIMON 21 IN POST 31 WROTE;Remembering America has the biggest porn industry in the world, and porn is one the US' biggest industries - hardly a glowing tribute to the status of women.Maybe,but Pakistan is the worlds leader in porn searches on the web.Explain that Wed 04 Aug 2010 19:04:53 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=81#comment184 BTW ya', speaking of Philly Districts & such:THIS is my Rep.(I'm kind of on the border between North Philly and NorthWest Philly.)So, all yall's jokes about funny soundin names ain' nuthin when you consider that my Congressional Representative's name is Chaka Fattah.Chaka Fattah. I jus sound cool, don it? Dang. Makes me smile every time. Chakaaaaaah Fattahhhhhhhh.... I love living here.Oi Mark! Hope you had a lovely time in Philly! I hope you hit South Street, toured the town, and had a delightfully artery clogging authentic Philly Cheesesteak.You know, West Philly had their Annual Free 'Shakespeare In The Park' series this past weekend. They did Midsummer Night's Dream on a bowl shaped hill (rather Globe-like). Puck was a Mohawk-ed Punk on a Trick Bike and the music was comprised by a fiddler and a percussionist banging on drain pipes, trashcan lids and kids drums. Sweet. At one point, the dust kicked up from a nearby pick-up soccer game hovered over the large crowd and crossed the stage, catching the lights like fairy dust... At another point an angry drunken fellow threatened to cross the stage and was intercepted by ushers. (I don't think he realized he was almost on stage.) Nowhere else have I seen so many tattoos, body piercings, skin-tones, bikes and babies in the audience of a Shakespeare showing. I love my town. Wed 04 Aug 2010 15:42:11 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=81#comment183 Interestedforeigner wrote on Gerrymandering (6 & 35). "We jail people for smoking pot, yet the people responsible for this Gerrymandering are damaging their country many orders of magnitude worse. These are evil people. They are deliberately undermining the institutions of democracy."Agreed, Agreed, Agreed.Only ONCE in Pennsylvania have I ever voted and seen a White Person, yet I see white people (and black/brown/tan/red/etc) at work, in stores, on buses bikes at concerts and in parks... Strange.Just one correction: Pot users have so totally clogged Philly's jails, that Philly just passed a law that pot smokers only get hit with a $300 fine. Dealers, on the other hand... well... they're mostly black I guess. Whereas Pot Smokers might live on the Main Line with the Blue Bloods (IOW, they white.)Note: I've never smoked pot 'cause I can't afford expensive hobbies. I got kids to feed. Wed 04 Aug 2010 15:21:19 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=80#comment182 # 172 PartTimeDonI apologize for hypothesizing that you are an academic, and agree with you on the rest.One clarification only: you are being too generous, it is not I who claim that before 13.7 bn yrs there was nothing. I just try to parrot current scientific views on the subject. Wed 04 Aug 2010 15:04:20 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=80#comment181 179. At 2:12pm on 04 Aug 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:# 161. At 11:26pm on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Intellectually very disappointing. Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc.). Please educate yourself on the Big Bang theory, accepted, albeit grudgingly by some, scientists as THE theory of the origins of the universe. "Indeed.As I recall you have tried this one before.Since, according to you, "Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc.)", perhaps you would be so good as to provide a list of eminent and respected academics and scientists in the fields of astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy etc who have concluded scientifically that the Big Bang theory - which AFAIK is accepted almost universally by scientists - somehow DISPROVES atheism and somehow proves the existence of a deity? "To initiate you, supposing you, as I, are not astrophysisist and high calibre mathemathician:http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.htmlWhile certain scientists accept the idea of beginning and creation, others try to tiptoe around the notion of a pro-creator. However, the level of current knowledge is such, that it does not exclude the heresy of creation, and God. On the contrary.Science has completed a full cercle from the iconocalst Galileo through Newton through Einstein, and here it stands today, contemplating a beginning and creation. How will it evolve from its current state, is anyone's guess. For the time being, though, it's the Big Bang. Wed 04 Aug 2010 14:52:44 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=80#comment180 "... it saves the cost of not having to incarcerate someone or have them live a life on state support because as a convicted criminal they can't get a job.This has been known for quite some time. That is, dollar for dollar, money spent on Police officers is far more cost effective than money spent on building prisons."I agree, but you need to address this issue to the police unions. Due to escalating pay, pension, and benefits demands, policing becomes unaffordable for tax payers. In California, communities are firing policemen, and hiring "free-lance" ones.In my opinion, police, firefighters, hospital nurses, and teachers should be self-employed, contracted by municipalities/provinces, and responsible for their own pensions, ins, benefits, etc. Just like the rest of us. Wed 04 Aug 2010 14:27:10 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=79#comment179 175. At 1:17pm on 04 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:173. At 12:23pm on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Another lie or sheer ignorance? A landed immigrant is barred from voting until he/she acquires Canadian citizenship - after spending a total of three years in Canada."___________Clearly you do not read well. I will state the law, again. Try reading this time:"Every Canadian citizen is entitled to vote under s. 3 of the Charter."That is a Charter right, whether you like it or not.That is a Charter right, whether the person is a recent immigrant or not.It is a defining right of citizenship in this country."I don't know how to state it in simpler terms, but will try:The stages of obtaining Canadian citizenship for non-Canadians are:Refugee - Landed Immigrant (could be refugee who has obtained a landed immigrant status, or outright landed immigrant) - Canadian Citizen (a landed immigrant who has applied for, and obtained citizenship after spending a cumulative period of three yrs in Canada)Only a Canadian citizen may vote, as you correctly write. Wed 04 Aug 2010 13:33:01 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=79#comment178 # 161. At 11:26pm on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Intellectually very disappointing. Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc.). Please educate yourself on the Big Bang theory, accepted, albeit grudgingly by some, scientists as THE theory of the origins of the universe. "Indeed.As I recall you have tried this one before.Since, according to you, "Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc.)", perhaps you would be so good as to provide a list of eminent and respected academics and scientists in the fields of astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy etc who have concluded scientifically that the Big Bang theory - which AFAIK is accepted almost universally by scientists - somehow DISPROVES atheism and somehow proves the existence of a deity? [I've no doubt some such scientists hold religious belief - I have just never heard of one claiming that modern science had 'disproved' atheism. In fact I've rarely heard of one claiming that science had disproved the existence of a God either.]"Intellectually very disappointing." You said it... Wed 04 Aug 2010 13:12:57 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=78#comment177 170. At 03:46am on 04 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:166. At 00:41am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:#162"Note also that neither a birth certificate nor even a Canadian passport (!!!) was sufficient identification to meet the requirements of the voter ID law."Absolute lie, Canadian passport and birth certificate ARE legitimate prerequisites under the law. Why can't the left win any dispute on merits of logic and facts?___________Absolutely wrong.I am sorry, you are completely mistaken."Neither a birth certificate nor a Canadian Passport, nor both taken together, is sufficient under the Canadian voter ID law.You must have at least one piece of ID that shows your current address.This requirement, in particular, effectively, and deliberately, disenfranchised thousands and thousands of University students - more than 3000 at Dalhousie University alone.You are completely wrongPlease read carefully. I talk about prerequisites, i.e. required but insufficient attributes.Re student voting: you're trying to cook up a Greek tragedy, but the result is more of a vaudeville.Every student who is a Canadian citizen must have been issued a birth certificate, SIN card, and citizenship certificate at some (early) point in life.Any of those, AND a 170. At 03:46am on 04 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:166. At 00:41am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:#162"Note also that neither a birth certificate nor even a Canadian passport (!!!) was sufficient identification to meet the requirements of the voter ID law."Absolute lie, Canadian passport and birth certificate ARE legitimate prerequisites under the law. Why can't the left win any dispute on merits of logic and facts?___________Absolutely wrong.I am sorry, you are completely mistaken."Neither a birth certificate nor a Canadian Passport, nor both taken together, is sufficient under the Canadian voter ID law.You must have at least one piece of ID that shows your current address.This requirement, in particular, effectively, and deliberately, disenfranchised thousands and thousands of University students - more than 3000 at Dalhousie University alone.You are completely wrong."Please read carefully. A prerequisite (as per my post) may be a necessary, but insufficient attribute.Re student voting: you're trying to cook up a Greek tragedy with a resulting vaudeville.Any student who is a Canadian citizen, and thus entitled to voting, must have been issued at some (early) point in life a birth certificate, SIN card, and a citizenship card. Probably over 90% of all students can produce a student card as well.Any ONE of those, AND a simple written address confirmation/bill/rent receipt from a student residence of a landlord, would allow voting.For any poor student soul who, as a result of negligence/irresponsibility or other circumstances, cannot produce one of the four documents and/or address registration, there's Option 3. Wed 04 Aug 2010 13:12:48 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=78#comment176 164. At 00:28am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Let's leave the Charter's and the law's interpretation to where it belongs: the courts of law, and the SCC. I for one do not feel qualified to discuss the constitutionality of the law."------------166. At 00:41am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"So, the ample options below cannot satisfy you free liberal spirit?"____________The law is unconstitutional, no matter how many "options" are appended to it.And heaven forbid that we should discuss the unconstitutionality of the law. Of course you don't want to discuss it. Why would you. The fact that the law is clearly unconstitutional would rather undercut your position.No surprise you don't want to discuss it.And, yes, it is long past time for the law to be sent to the SCC on a constitutional reference.------------The law is unconstitutional because it requires a person to present ID to vote even when there is no doubt about either the person's identity or their entitlement to vote.If the law requires the presentation of ID when there is no doubt about either identity or entitlement to vote then it serves no constitutionally justifiable public purpose. It over-reaches its legitimate bounds.It is then exposed for what it is: merely an administrative requirement to force voters to jump through bureaucratic hoops in order to exercise a fundamental democratic right.You cannot lawfully deprive a citizen of this country of their basic democratic right to vote on that basis.------------That basic problem with the law cannot be overcome, no matter how many "options" you add.The fundamental constitutional problem is that the law is based on a lie.It seeks to cloak its real purpose in a public rationalization of "voter fraud" for which there is absolutely no supporting evidence. That rationalization is, and always has been, a lie.The real purpose, which is amply evident in the literature, e.g., the Alvarez paper cited above, is to dissuade voters from voting, because it is known that the voters so dissuaded overwhelmingly vote for the Democrats, not the Republicans. That is the origin of this law. The entire object is to suppress the opponent's vote by erecting artificial bureaucratic barriers to voting.As Alvarez points out, the more requirements are stacked on top of each other, the more voters stay away. The Canadian law stacks four requirements together - a first piece of identification; a second piece of identification; at least one piece of identification must include a photo; and at least one piece of identification must link the person to an address. These requirements are imposed even if the voter has been enumerated at the same address, and carried on the electoral rolls their entire life. This concatenation of requirements makes the Canadian voter ID law one of the strictest in North America, and so therefore most likely to have a strong effect on election day.Which is precisely what happened. Alvarez' paper was dead accurate in its predictions.The law is no different in purpose from the "literacy tests" that used to be given to black voters in the southern US to prevent them from voting.Here, somebody realized that there was no need to be blatantly and formally discriminatory as in former Jim Crow times, but rather, that the playing field can be tipped quite significantly by having a law that, while not formally discriminatory, yet yields a partisan political advantage nonetheless, by a much more sly and subtle means.The motivation is exactly the same. Only the means are different.----------So this law couples an unlawful purpose, (namely erecting an artificial obstruction to citizens exercising their lawful right to vote);to an unlawful outcome (the empirical result of a reduction in voter turn-out of 5%, bolstered by news reports from all across the country of voters being turned away from the polls).When a law, like this one, has a de-facto unconstitutional purpose it cannot be saved.This law has both an unconstitutional purpose, and an unconstitutional outcome.Add as many "options" as you like, it's still unconstitutional.------------The BC voter ID law is subject to a constitutional challenge.I do not know why the federal law is not subject to dozens of Charter challenges, but I suspect it may have more than a little to do with the elimination, by the current government, of the Charter challenge program - a program terminated, no doubt, out of the government's deep respect for the rule of law. The CCLA needs pay a fair bit more attention to this. Wed 04 Aug 2010 13:05:03 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=77#comment175 171. At 03:49am on 04 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:164. At 00:28am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"- Recent immigrants are barred from voting anyway,, and rightly so, until they acquire knowledge of the political/gov'tal system and culture, and integrate fully"__________Wrong again.Every Canadian citizen is entitled to vote under s. 3 of the Charter, whether they are recent immigrants or not."Landed immigrants are NOT allowed to vote until they obtain citizenship after spending a cumulative period of three years in Canada. Landed immigrants may be recent immigrants, or not. Wed 04 Aug 2010 12:55:35 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=77#comment174 173. At 12:23pm on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Another lie or sheer ignorance? A landed immigrant is barred from voting until he/she acquires Canadian citizenship - after spending a total of three years in Canada."___________Clearly you do not read well. I will state the law, again. Try reading this time:"Every Canadian citizen is entitled to vote under s. 3 of the Charter."That is a Charter right, whether you like it or not.That is a Charter right, whether the person is a recent immigrant or not.It is a defining right of citizenship in this country. Wed 04 Aug 2010 12:17:54 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=76#comment173 164. At 00:28am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"...the law ensures adherence to basic electoral principles and electoral integrity."__________ That is precisely what the law is designed not to do.It is designed to prevent people from voting by making them jump through administrative hurdles, whether there is any doubt or not about their identity or their entitlement to vote.The whole purpose of the law is to undermine electoral integrity - which it has done. Wed 04 Aug 2010 12:14:13 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=76#comment172 171. At 03:49am on 04 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:164. At 00:28am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"- Recent immigrants are barred from voting anyway,, and rightly so, until they acquire knowledge of the political/gov'tal system and culture, and integrate fully"__________Wrong again.Every Canadian citizen is entitled to vote under s. 3 of the Charter, whether they are recent immigrants or not."Another lie or sheer ignorance? A landed immigrant is barred from voting until he/she acquires Canadian citizenship - after spending a total of three years in Canada. Wed 04 Aug 2010 11:23:07 GMT+1 PartTimeDon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=76#comment171 Ref# 148 and 161 peterbo"You seem to dwell in the Academia grove, so you may be better equipped - provided there's the miracle of a grain of objectivity in a left-leaning academic - to acknowledge the fact that the CRU e-mails have irreparably compromised the sacred cow of the AGW religion: the peer-reviewed assertions of the AGW zealots. The scriptures turned overnight into junk science."___________First things first, I'm no academic. I have no claim to a more valid opinion on this than you. The scandal on global warming was clearly a mistake, but it was a PR disaster and PR is not relevant to scientific progress in the long run. The driver for this incident was a bafflement that the general public, driven on by sceptical journalists and profit fearing business, would not accept the overwhelming scientific opinion on the subject. That's not an excuse. The culprits are in disgrace and any future research they do will always be suspect, but some kind of knee-jerk reaction was pretty much inevitable because top level science doesn't function in order to be profitable or morally friendly.Secondly, you are applying the language of ideology to scientific discipline to denigrate it. Academic research specifically scientific research, is based on theorising and finding ways to empirically check those theories. That still leaves plenty of room for disagreement, but once a theory is proven, or evidence emerges to favour one theory in favour of another, the scientific community (slowly) aligns behind the evidence.Someone may well come up with a better theory than the big bang tomorrow, but until they do, it is the model that best fits the data we have. It has been used to predict certain characteristics of our universe, like Cosmic Background Radiation. Your point that it suggests there was nothing over 13.7 billion years ago might be disturbing, but that does not invalidate it as a theory.Finally, the open nature of publishing results and peer review means it isn't easy to subvert the academic process. Thats why Bob Jones University remains an academic pariah and will remain so until it accepts that research that assumes religious ideology to be true is not empirically any use. Wed 04 Aug 2010 08:36:05 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=75#comment170 164. At 00:28am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"- Recent immigrants are barred from voting anyway,, and rightly so, until they acquire knowledge of the political/gov'tal system and culture, and integrate fully"__________Wrong again.Every Canadian citizen is entitled to vote under s. 3 of the Charter, whether they are recent immigrants or not. Wed 04 Aug 2010 02:49:21 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=75#comment169 166. At 00:41am on 04 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:#162"Note also that neither a birth certificate nor even a Canadian passport (!!!) was sufficient identification to meet the requirements of the voter ID law."Absolute lie, Canadian passport and birth certificate ARE legitimate prerequisites under the law. Why can't the left win any dispute on merits of logic and facts?___________Absolutely wrong.I am sorry, you are completely mistaken.Neither a birth certificate nor a Canadian Passport, nor both taken together, is sufficient under the Canadian voter ID law.You must have at least one piece of ID that shows your current address.This requirement, in particular, effectively, and deliberately, disenfranchised thousands and thousands of University students - more than 3000 at Dalhousie University alone.You are completely wrong. Wed 04 Aug 2010 02:46:49 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=74#comment168 167. At 00:43am on 04 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:"So would you feel more comfortable if people in Canada did not have to show id?""Then, it would not matter if they were citizens or not voting for the future of Canada?""Personally, I feel proud to show my id when I vote."____________The object of holding elections is to determine the democratic will of the people.For more than half a century governments of all stripe in this country have tried to encourage higher voter turn-out so that (a) we get a more accurate measurement of what the democratic will of the people actually is; and (b) we foster a greater sense of civic belonging and responsibility in our citizens.This strengthens our society, makes it more just, and more durable.----------Playing games deliberately to avoid the genuine will of the voters, as the Harper government delights in doing, is unethical, and undemocratic. It is not worthy of any politician running for office in any democracy. It is something which, in my view, merits a very long prison sentence, because it strikes at the very most basic institutions of our democracy, and at the very legitimacy of our government.------------If there had been ANY evidence of voter fraud in Canada, I might think differently. But there has been none. Not one single instance of documents voter fraud was cited in evidence before the Parliamentary committees considering the bill.Not one.------------The voter ID law is designed not to prevent fraud, but to distort our ability to obtain a real measure of the will of the people.The academic studies in the US showed that it preferentially deterred certain groups from voting, and was worth the equivalent of a 5% vote swing from the Democrats to the Republicans.That is why Republican-governed states introduce these laws, and Democrat governed ones do not. The correlation is stark. That itself should speak volumes about the true motivation behind these laws.----------Nobody in a free and democratic society should have to show ID to vote, or to do anything else, unless there is a bona fide objective basis for doubting their identity or their entitlement to vote or engage in such other activity as may be.This is a reasonable requirement in a democracy:The parties have a minimum of 35 days of enumeration in which to check the list. Enumeration always involved representatives from at least two parties, as did, and does, scrutineering.Furthermore, we now have standing electoral lists that are merely updated at each election, rather than re-created from scratch. The parties already know who most of the voters are, and who their supporters are. The unknowns at the margin are relatively small in number.There is absolutely no justification for demanding ID from people whose entitlement to vote is not doubted by anyone. Wed 04 Aug 2010 02:43:14 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=74#comment167 This is a long and detailed posting made for refuting, in detail, the nonsense posted by peterbo at 152.:152. At 10:00pm on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"This is a pivotal paper written by Steven D. Levitt:"__________There is a very long briefing article in the July 24, 2010 edition of the Economist entitled "Too many laws, Too many Prisoners".It is worth a read. It summarizes a number of scientific findings.I have not read all of the source papers upon which the Economist briefing article is based.I have had time to read the Levitt article in its entirety.----------The citation for the Levitt article is "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990's", Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter 2004, pp 163 - 190.In brief summary, the data in the paper neither supports the policies of the Harper government, nor the postings made here by Steph .., er, I mean, Peterbo. ----------First, and contrary to Levitt, The Economist notes that other authors have found that increasing the prison population is, in fact, fairly weakly correlated to crime rate.Second, while Levitt appears to show that gun control does not work in America, what he is really showing is that gun control does not work where there is a patchwork of jurisdictions and no customs officers on guard to keep guns from crossing the jurisdictional boundaries. If the same study is made between jurisdictions with significant customs barriers, the results are stark.Third, while Levitt asserts that demographic change is only relatively weakly related to crime rate, that assertion is contradicted by:conventional teaching in the field;by the very visible fact that the decline in the number of males in the 15 - 35 year old age group with the aging of the baby boom almost exactly matches the reduction in crime rate - and not only in the US;and finally it contradicts his own findings that legal access to abortion commencing with Roe v. Wade has significantly reduced crime after 1990 (a finding in which others concur - as reported by The Economist itself, more than a decade ago) which is, in essence measuring the same demographic effect that he finds to be "weak".----------Oddly, Levitt for some reason defines the "troublemaker" age group as 15 - 24, rather than 15 - 35.This is odd, because one of the long held rules of thumb of recidivism is that the most effective anti-recidivist program is the 35th birthday.That is, government programs (gentle or harsh, seems to make no difference) have virtually no effect on recidivism, to the point of being almost universally exercises in futility.The one thing that is incredibly strongly related to recidivism is waking up, in jail, on the 35th birthday, and looking in the mirror. (For some it is age 35, for some age 40, but the effect is the same.)Boys start getting into serious trouble with the law at age 15. At some point the serial trouble-maker wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and realizes that he has wasted the first half of his life. After that dawning realization, they stop going back to jail.This has been a truism for decades.-----------Furthermore, Levitt's own Figures 1 and 3 contradict his conclusions both in respect of the effectiveness of incarceration (which he thinks is large, but the researchers cited in The Economist find to be small) and with respect to the effectiveness of demographic change (which he thinks is small, and the Economist, and lots of others think is not merely large, but dominant and driving).In Figure 1 on page 165, broadly speaking the homicide rate in 1960 (when the first baby boomers turned 15) is similar to the homicide rate in 2000, (when the last of the baby boomers turned 35).At the same time, the incarceration rate quintupled according to Figure 3 on page 178.If Levitt's conclusion is to be believed, then the homicide rate in 2000 should have been far, far lower in 2000 than in 1960. Clearly his conclusion contradicts the facts that he himself presents in Figures 1 and 3.Further, if Levitt's conclusions are correct, then we would expect that between 1960 and 1975, when the homicide rate increased most rapidly, that the incarceration rate must have fallen significantly.But, not only does Figure 3 not support this conclusion, rather, it contradicts Levitt's conclusion: the incarceration rate stayed virtually unchanged.Further still, from about 1975 to 1995 the homicide rate fluctuates relatively evenly about a plateau. This "bulge" matches almost perfectly with the baby boomer bulge of the 15 - 35 year age cohort.If Levitt's conclusions are to be believed, that "plateau" should not have been there. After 1980 the homicide rate should have dropped sharply and continuously. It does not.On the contrary, the homicide rate reaches the "plateau" in about 1975 (before the incarceration rate begins to rise), and hardly budges until 1995, despite the fact that the incarceration rate has increased monotonically, and essentially linearly to quintuple throughout that time.Again, Levitt's conclusions are contradicted by the information he himself presents in Figures 1 and 3.Another factor, not in the article, but surely damning, is that if Levitt is correct, then America's incarceration rate - which is higher than any other country on earth - including Russia - ought to make America the safest, least crime ridden country as well.But the fact is that America is one of the most violent countries, and far more violent than any other country of comparable per capita wealth.(A point made rather well by a chart of comparative crime rates in The Economist's briefing article.)All of the countries of western Europe, Japan, and Australia have both far lower rates of incarceration and lower crime rates (typically of the order of 1/5 and 1/10 of the comparable rates of America).Clearly then, Levitt's hypothesis that incarceration rates strongly influence crime rates is not merely wrong, but dangerously wrong, because it(a) leads to an inappropriate allocation of resources to prisons, when the money is better spent on almost anything else, and, in particular, on policing;(b) unnecessarily criminalizes a significant portion of the population, which has a huge societal cost; and(c) leads to the very kind of hysterical right-wing fear mongering and pandering that we see here and in the mis-guided, poorly thought out, "tough on crime" initiatives.Similarly, based on the information that Levitt himself produces in Figure 1, which agrees well with conventional wisdom, Levitt's hypothesis that demographics are only a weak factor is clearly not supported by the information Levitt himself presents.Again, his hypothesis is not merely wrong, but dangerously wrong.------------The thought that these right-wing ideological wing-nuts consider this manifestly, horribly flawed, self-contradicting paper to be "pivotal" in the justification for spending billions of dollars on prisons, and as justification for ruining hundreds of thousands of peoples lives, ...... is stomach turning."pivotal"Oh, Dear God.----------One factor on which the Levitt article is in agreement with conventional teaching is that an increase in police presence has quite a strong effect on the crime rate: Simply put, most crimes are crimes-of-opportunity, and when there are lots of police about, a great deal of crime does not occur in the first place.That is the essential message of the cost-effectiveness of crime prevention:it saves both the injury (to person and property) of the victim,ANDit saves the cost of not having to incarcerate someone or have them live a life on state support because as a convicted criminal they can't get a job.This has been known for quite some time. That is, dollar for dollar, money spent on Police officers is far more cost effective than money spent on building prisons.But, of course, we keep trimming the police force, and spending more and more on prisons, very much the mis-guided Harper "get tough on crime" approach. Again, we ignore science: the real lesson is that we need far more Police, not far more prisons.(There are some who believe that several jurisdictions have reached the point where additional spending on prisons is actually counter productive, because, in essence, it is increasingly taking relatively low level wrongdoers and turning them into much worse wrongdoers by the time they are released. Need to get a copy of that paper.)------------Enough of this.The long and short of it is that the Levitt paper does not support the position for which Peterbo has cited it. Wed 04 Aug 2010 02:26:16 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=73#comment166 Int. For.So would you feel more comfortable if people in Canada did not have to show id?Then, it would not matter if they were citizens or not voting for the future of Canada?Personally, I feel proud to show my id when I vote. Tue 03 Aug 2010 23:43:03 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=73#comment165 #162 "Note also that neither a birth certificate nor even a Canadian passport (!!!) was sufficient identification to meet the requirements of the voter ID law."Absolute lie, Canadian passport and birth certificate ARE legitimate prerequisites under the law. Why can't the left win any dispute on merits of logic and facts?So, the ample options below cannot satisfy you free liberal spirit?http://tinyurl.com/5rqz59Option 1Driver’s Licence Ontario Health Card Note: Not all electors in Ontario will have cards with photo, name and address Provincial/Territorial Identification Card for the provinces/territories of Newfoundland and Labrador Prince Edward Island Nova Scotia New Brunswick Manitoba Alberta British Columbia Northwest Territories NunavutOption 2Show two original pieces of authorized identification. Both pieces must have your name and one must also have your address. Driver's Licence Health Card Canadian Passport Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (Citizenship Card) Birth Certificate Certificate of Indian Status (Status Card) Social Insurance Number Card Old Age Security Card Student ID Card Provincial/Territorial Identification Card Liquor Identification Card Hospital/Medical Clinic Card Credit/Debit Card Employee Card Public Transportation Card Library Card Canadian Forces Identity Card Veterans Affairs Canada Health Card Canadian Blood Services/Héma-Québec Card CNIB ID Card Firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence or Possession Only Licence Fishing, Trapping or Hunting Licence Outdoors or Wildlife Card/Licence Hospital bracelet worn by residents of long-term care facilities Utility Bill (telephone, TV, public utilities commission, hydro, gas or water) Bank/Credit Card Statement Vehicle Ownership/Insurance Correspondence issued by a school, college or university Statement of Government Benefits (employment insurance, old age security, social assistance, disability support or child tax benefit) Attestation of Residence issued by the responsible authority of a First Nations band or reserve Government Cheque or Cheque Stub Pension Plan Statement of Benefits, Contributions or Participation Residential Lease/Mortgage Statement Income/Property Tax Assessment Notice Insurance Policy Letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee One of the following, issued by the responsible authority of a shelter, soup kitchen, student/senior residence, or long-term care facility: Attestation of Residence, Letter of Stay, Admission Form or Statement of Benefits Option 3Swear an oath and have an elector who knows you vouch for you (both of you will be required to make a sworn statement). This person must have authorized identification and their name must appear on the list of electors in the same polling division as you. This person can only vouch for one person and the person who is vouched for cannot vouch for another elector. Examples: a neighbour, your roommate.Oh how unfair the electoral system is to all those victim-of-capitalism/conservatism groups. Tue 03 Aug 2010 23:41:06 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=72#comment164 This post has been Removed Tue 03 Aug 2010 23:35:23 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=72#comment163 #146Too much foam at the mouth and name calling, too few arguments.- Recent immigrants are barred from voting anyway,, and rightly so, until they acquire knowledge of the political/gov'tal system and culture, and integrate fully- For all other categories listed, if they ever turn up at a polling station, an ID (at least a birth certificate or a citizenship card if they do not possess a dr license) will be the least impediment to their voting enthusiasm"There is no factual basis to believe that the law has achieved its ostensible purpose, because there is absolutely no evidence that voter fraud was a problem in Canada prior to enactment of the law. Rather, the evidence given in the Senate hearings was to the contrary."Instead of working with hypotheses if there was/will be fraud in past/future, the law ensures adherence to basic electoral principles and electoral integrity."The de facto effect of this law was to disenfranchise roughly 5% of the registered electorate. Virtually none of those voters would otherwise have voted for Stephen Harper. There is no comparable event at any other time in Canadian history.Where there is a Charter breach, the law requires that the breach be minimized. Were there lesser measures that could have achieved the desired result less intrusively, that is, without infringing voters' rights to the same extent?"So, you guarantee, that none of the "disenfranchised" voters would ever vote for CPC? This is abrakadabra/wizard-of-oz land.Let's leave the Charter's and the law's interpretation to where it belongs: the courts of law, and the SCC. I for one do not feel qualified to discuss the constitutionality of the law. The leftist wise heads though keep their mouths shut and haven't bothered with a judicial challenge - probably for a very good reason. Tue 03 Aug 2010 23:28:02 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=72#comment162 This post has been Removed Tue 03 Aug 2010 23:16:50 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=71#comment161 151. At 9:34pm on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"I prefer Stalin's (or Lenin's ?) "Trust, but check". Anecdotal evidence of lack of electoral fraud and strict laws nullifying any chance of electoral fraud are different propositions. On any day, I'd prefer the rule of law."___________What a load of disingenuous clap-trap.Rule of Law?Stephen Harper?Oh, please.As far as I can see, the man has done more to undermine the rule of law in this country than any other Prime Minister in my lifetime.Why am I not surprised that Stephen Harper would favour an approach favoured by Stalin. No irony there. No, none at all.------------The Voter ID law is clearly unconstitutional.Its ostensible justification has absolutely no basis in fact. The testimony given before the Senate was hardly anecdotal. It was given by the current and former Chief Electoral Officers of Canada.The de facto purpose, and empirically observable and observed effect, of the law is differentially to disenfranchise groups that do not vote for the Reform Party.Who are those groups?Recent immigrants.People who have a low level of literacy in English or French.People who are physically disabled.People who have recently moved, such as the unemployed or students.Aboriginal people.People who are poor.People who do not have a driver's license.This is a Jim Crow law, without any possible doubt.The entire dishonest tactic was learned from the US Republicans. There are academic studies on this e.g.,: "The Effect of Voter Identification Laws on Turnout", Alvarez et al., Caltech, October 2007.The results of the 2008 federal election are precisely what the Alvarez et al., paper predicts.------------The law infringes a core political right under s.3 of the Charter.The actual purpose and effect of the law is unrelated to the rationales advanced for its enactment.There is no factual basis to believe that the law has achieved its ostensible purpose, because there is absolutely no evidence that voter fraud was a problem in Canada prior to enactment of the law. Rather, the evidence given in the Senate hearings was to the contrary.There is ample factual evidence that thousands of Canadians who were fully entitled to vote were turned away from the polls, and thereby deprived of the basic defining right of a democracy without good reason.The de facto effect of this law was to disenfranchise roughly 5% of the registered electorate. Virtually none of those voters would otherwise have voted for Stephen Harper. There is no comparable event at any other time in Canadian history.Where there is a Charter breach, the law requires that the breach be minimized. Were there lesser measures that could have achieved the desired result less intrusively, that is, without infringing voters' rights to the same extent?Yes there were.For example, the law could have allowed for a challenge to a voter's right to vote- where there was a bona fide basis for doubting the identity of the voter or their entitlement to vote; and- by requiring the person making the challenge to identify themselves, to state that basis, in writing, before a witness, and under oath.By way of another example, a person lacking suitable ID could have been given the option of swearing an affidavit as to their own identity, with their affidavit and folded ballot placed in a sealed envelope, for counting in the event that a recount were required in the riding. Several US states have this provision.I might point out that the first provision was precisely the voter ID challenge provisions of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in candidate nomination votes right up to the takeover by the Reform Party.And where party members could not produce membership cards, the second provision is precisely the procedure followed by the Progressive Conservative party of Canada in allowing the member to swear an affidavit, on the spot, attesting to their own identity, without any ID whatsoever, and on that basis they were allowed to vote.Either alternative would have lessened the effect of the Constitutional infringement.It would have prevented abuse of the provision.It would properly have placed the onus on the person making the challenge, and not on the voter.It would not have been difficult or costly to implement, since the cost of making the challenge would have been borne entirely by the person making the challenge.All of these things could easily have been done - and have been done in the past under the constitution of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.----------The present law presumes that all voters intend to commit voter fraud and places a reverse onus on innocent people to prove otherwise. Reverse onus provisions are prima facie unconstitutional, and can only be saved where there is a demonstration of a very strong public policy purpose justifying the need for the provision, and where the provision is circumscribed to result in the smallest reasonable breach of the Charter provision. Here, there is absolutely no evidentiary justification at all!Note also that neither a birth certificate nor even a Canadian passport (!!!) was sufficient identification to meet the requirements of the voter ID law.This law requires that all voters produce identification whether there is any bona fide basis for doubting their entitlement to vote;it requires a form of ID that the federal government does not issue;it infringes a Charter right without having established any basis in evidence of a public harm establishing a need for the infringement of that right;the law is not measured and proportionate in its effect relative to the perceived harm; andit does not include alternate, easily implemented provisions that would minimize the Charter breach, as required by law.Thus the law fails every single branch of the test for Constitutionality of a Charter breach.Rule of Law?Don't make me puke. Tue 03 Aug 2010 22:30:39 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=71#comment160 145. At 5:38pm on 03 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:"Let's move on to climate change, where the government is determined, as a matter of principle, to ignore all scientific knowledge."Please refer to my #148."Then let's move on to Science, generally, where they put a guy who believes in "Creationism" in charge. Unbelievable."Intellectually very disappointing. Atheism is oh so passe, and totally out of step with modern science (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc.). Please educate yourself on the Big Bang theory, accepted, albeit grudgingly by some, scientists as THE theory of the origins of the universe. The theory is the brainchild of the brilliant Jesuit-mathematician, Prof Georges Lemaitre, based on Einstein's relativity theory. They corresponded extensively, and a initially skeptical Einstein fully accepted the Big Bang maths of Lemaitre.Yes, before 13.7 bn years there was, according to modern science, nothing. The bang/beginning was initiated by the introduction of a singularity - by s.o./s.th/you-name-it. The universe was created out of nothing: the earth is an integral albeit insignificant part of it. Use simple deduction to come to a logical conclusion re the creation of the earth, certainly not before 6,000 years.No wonder Big Bang is an MSM nightmare as opposed to Darwin's evolution. Still, before evolving, s.o./s.th. must exist. Tue 03 Aug 2010 22:26:12 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=70#comment159 144. At 4:57pm on 03 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:Re #142He who speaks ill of Evo Morales have obviously never spoken to Fidel Castro or Salvadore Allende.He who claims that pres. Ahmadinnerjacket is a looney has obviously never listened to Hugo Chavez. Or better still: to ill Kim Jong- il.-------------------------------------------------------------------------No that might be because Allende was murdered by neo fascists in a US backed coup and few people outside the country speak Korean. Tue 03 Aug 2010 22:10:49 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=70#comment158 153. At 10:03pm on 03 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:ref #147If you elimnate the extreme liberal links ones, my facts are borne out Morales is stealing land from one group and giving to another.--------------------------------------------------------------------------You defend the rights of slaveowners? These people have forfeited any rights but the right to life.Morales whould turn them over to the people they abused. Tue 03 Aug 2010 22:05:48 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=69#comment157 This post has been Removed Tue 03 Aug 2010 22:03:11 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=69#comment156 ref #147Here is a link for youhttp://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/international/2009/march/Bolivian-President-Demands-Redistribution-of-Land.htmlYou can argue the morality(and I don't believe the rancher was treating the workers poorly, I will generally trust the integrity of a busineesman over a union hack politician)but the fact is Evo is taking somone else's property which he paid for and not giving him any compensation.I call that theft. Tue 03 Aug 2010 21:40:43 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=68#comment155 149. At 9:09pm on 03 Aug 2010, Elena wrote:"@IF: yes, the state of our great country is a source of great concern to me as well. However, I am confused as to why the opposition aren't jumping on this?"Scary, eh? The opposition's job is not to "jump on this" (what exactly is "this"?).The opposition:1) Devises policies2) Propagates the policies and tries to cell them to an electorate3) If in office, implements the policiesCurrently, 1), 2), and 3) are non-existent items on LPC's agenda. The electorate is interested in policies, not politics. Tue 03 Aug 2010 21:24:38 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=68#comment154 145. At 5:38pm on 03 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:"As for the branches of science under attack by these dangerous ideologues, well, let's start with Statistics."Dear IF, a census, and the structuring of a sample, are not synonyms for statistics. I understand that the utility of the proposed by CPC census will be strongly diminished for any minority interest groups at the re-distribution trough, but let's face it: the nanny welfare state is crumbling even in its European den. If the info is so vital, outsource the job to private companies, and pay for the results.I for one would gladly agree with Trudeau that the state shouldn't be allowed in my bedroom. Tue 03 Aug 2010 21:18:17 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=68#comment153 145. At 5:38pm on 03 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:"[[Let's move on to gun control, where the government is determined to abolish the long arms registry in the face of opposition from the Chiefs of Police, and the police generally, in the face of all logic, and in the face of an abundance of empirical evidence that gun control in Canada works, and works well.]]"I was never aware that the long gun registry was "scientific". Please provide a link to a source linking the register and science.Re the vote in the House of Commons, you seem to be aware that a minority govn't needs a little help to repeal this boondoggle. Certain NDP and LP MPs saw positives in scrapping the registry. Tue 03 Aug 2010 21:08:37 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=67#comment152 ref #147If you elimnate the extreme liberal links ones, my facts are borne out Morales is stealing land from one group and giving to another. Tue 03 Aug 2010 21:03:14 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=67#comment151 145. At 5:38pm on 03 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote: "Let's more on to Criminology, where the government is determined to ignore the advice of every expert in the field, and adopt "tough on crime" policies that are actually going to make the situation worse instead of better - to increase recidivism, and ultimately the overall crime rate, while, at the same time, vastly increasing the amount spent not on prevention but on building jails. More money, less effectively spent.[[Continuing with Criminology, note how the government continues to justify its "tough on crime" initiatives on the basis of some terrible crime wave afflicting our nation, without ever being able to admit that the actual facts are that the crime rate has fallen 40% for all major categories of violent crime against persons or property since 1990."Yes, CPC's policy on crime may seem madness to the left yet there's (scientific) method in it.This is a pivotal paper written by Steven D. Levitt:http://tinyurl.com/jc7caAnd this is who Steven D. Levitt is, according to Wiki:Steven David "Steve" Levitt (born May 29, 1967) is an American economist known for his work in the field of crime, in particular on the link between legalized abortion and crime rates. Winner of the 2004 John Bates Clark Medal, he is currently the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, director of the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and co-editor of the Journal of Political Economy published by the University of Chicago Press. He co-authored the best-selling book Freakonomics (2005) and its sequel Superfreakonomics (2009). Levitt was chosen as one of Time magazine's "100 People Who Shape Our World" in 2006.[1] Tue 03 Aug 2010 21:00:55 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=66#comment150 145. At 5:38pm on 03 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:137. At 02:58am on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Please explain how exactly the govn't is "suppressing the voter turn-out of its opponents".IF: "That was the entire purpose of the Voter ID law, enacted to reverse the half century trend of trying to raise voter turnout, and in the face of testimony by both the current and former Chief Electoral Officers of Canada that there had never been a single documented case of voter fraud in Canada. In the subsequent election the Voter ID law reduced turnout by 5% (from 66% to 61%), and was responsible for a gain of 14 seats by the Conservatives."You seem to be on the same page with ACORN. I prefer Stalin's (or Lenin's ?) "Trust, but check". Anecdotal evidence of lack of electoral fraud and strict laws nullifying any chance of electoral fraud are different propositions. On any day, I'd prefer the rule of law.But there's some hope for you at municipal electoral level.Recently, I was shocked by a loophole in the TO mayoral electoral statutes. As a real estate investor in TO AND Canadian citizen I am entitled to vote. Citizenship is a prerequisite as per statute. However, at the poll voters are not required to present any proof of citizenship!? If explicitly asked, a voter must confirm verbally that he/she is a Canadian citizen; the TO statutes are not enforced, and the left has its Wonderland. Unfortunately, even that does not raise voter participation. Tue 03 Aug 2010 20:34:50 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=66#comment149 As for security and militias, fhe founders didn't trust government with a monopoly on arms and I've seen nothing in the actions of government in my lifetime that would make me disagree with the founder's precautions in that regard.------------------------------------------------------------------------And you send those whom you dont trust to afghanistan and want the afghans to trust them and have a military....You want them to accept a system which you dont even accept... Tue 03 Aug 2010 20:30:35 GMT+1 Elena http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=65#comment148 @IF: yes, the state of our great country is a source of great concern to me as well. However, I am confused as to why the opposition aren't jumping on this? I realise Iggy is busy BBQing and boozing around the nation, but seriously? That the PCs are so obstinate regarding "protecting our privacy" by making the long-form mandatory, irregardless of what anyone has to say, makes me very worried about their "hidden agenda" (I discredited all those who warned of hidden agendas during the last election, but looks like they were right...)However, what can I, a young, anglo citizen in a strongly Bloc riding, do in protest? Like they care about my vote anyways. I'm feeling rather disenfranchised.----------WRT topic at hand, I'm glad that Philidelphia is helping out people who are temporarily in the hole. Sometimes we all need a helping hand. Sounds like they're not "bailing out" homeowners, just giving people options as to how to repay their debts. I don't know how this could be a bad thing... if people are willing to work at keeping their possessions with new payment plans, isn't this better than declaring bankrupcy and going homeless? Tue 03 Aug 2010 20:09:10 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=65#comment147 146. At 5:59pm on 03 Aug 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:"peterboIf you genuinely think that "Climategate" - one instance of scientists interpreting data at its most extreme end in favour of climate change - is sufficient to bring the entire wealth of evidence in favour of climate change, or the overwhelming body of scientific opinion in favour of it, then no amount evidence will ever convince you."There may be global warming, apart from the religion of AGW, although you shouldn't take GW for granted either. You may not be aware of the fact that even the respectable Met Office has requested a reassessment of 160 years of temperature measurement:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7039264.eceThe reason, as per article linked?"... The Met Office, which supplies the global temperature trends used by the IPCC, has proposed that an international group of scientists re-examine 160 years of temperature data. The Met Office proposal is a tacit admission that its previous reports on such trends have been marred by their reliance on analysis by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. "Then there were Australia-climategate and New Zealand-climategate, where the disciples of Phil Jones & Co had disingenuously missed the chance to destroy their raw data, and were caught red-handed, while the CRU pattern of temperature manipulations was exposed in its simplistic beauty:[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]Then came Hymalaya-climategate, and long before that the Canadian S McIntyre broke to pieces Mann's hockey stick. You seem to dwell in the Academia grove, so you may be better equipped - provided there's the miracle of a grain of objectivity in a left-leaning academic - to acknowledge the fact that the CRU e-mails have irreparably compromised the sacred cow of the AGW religion: the peer-reviewed assertions of the AGW zealots. The scriptures turned overnight into junk science.Unfortunately, the Met Office has come to that conclusion, and does not seem interested in your links either. Tue 03 Aug 2010 20:06:21 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=64#comment146 142. At 3:40pm on 03 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:"ref #129If you would google or bing Evo Morales stealing property you will find several sources saying how his supporter are beating up opponents, and other human rights violations in addition to theft./As far as I know these people are also Bolivian citizens and should be treated fairly./The Palestinians who have no right to what they claim are at war with Israel."Since MK was too lazy to provide any sources, as is his wont, I adhered to his suggestionResults herehttp://www.bing.com/search?FORM=IEFM1&q=Evo+Morales+stealing+propertyhttp://www.google.ie/#hl=en&source=hp&q=Evo+Morales+stealing+property&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=98ae1654efa2deb7To my surprise - for I had expected a barrage from the extreme right wing neocon blogosphere favoured by MK - what mostly found were articles favouring Morales. [This was not universal of course - one piece on 'Panama-Guide' said " Leftist President Evo Morales has pledged an "agrarian revolution" to redistribute idle farmlands to the impoverished country's landless peasants -- a move that has highlighted divisions between the poor majority and the rich elite. Many landowners in the agricultural heartland of Santa Cruz are bitterly opposed to the land reform.....Rich land-owners have vowed to keep their lands, but Morales is basically a drug-lord who has money, the army, and a political mandate". Clearly a nice unbiased source...]Interestingly I also found a link to the UK Daily Mail, a notoriously right wing paper - which I have often read. [I like to keep a balanced view.] They said inter alia"President Evo Morales easily won re-election, getting an overwhelming mandate for further revolutionary change on behalf of Bolivia's long-suppressed indigenous majority./Morales' allies also won a convincing majority in both houses of Congress in Sunday's election./Opponents say they fear the coca-growers' union leader union will use his consolidated power not just to continue reversing racially based inequalities but also to trample human rights and deepen state influence over the economy./Unofficial counts of 98 per cent of the vote by two polling firms said Bolivia's first indigenous president won with 63 per cent of the ballots - 36 points ahead of his closest challenger in a field of nine candidates."As I pointed out before - In MK - the smear 'dictator engaged in ethnic cleansing' means - In English - 'an elected politician MK disagrees with'I won't waste my time commenting on his views on the Palestinians..... Tue 03 Aug 2010 18:23:17 GMT+1 PartTimeDon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=64#comment145 peterboIf you genuinely think that "Climategate" - one instance of scientists interpreting data at its most extreme end in favour of climate change - is sufficient to bring the entire wealth of evidence in favour of climate change, or the overwhelming body of scientific opinion in favour of it, then no amount evidence will ever convince you.Anyhow, here are more examples for you to add left-wing labels to for disagreeing with you:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2004/nov/18/dishonesty-in-science/http://www.nature.com/news/2004/040913/full/news040913-10.htmlhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/24/obama-white-house-abortionshttp://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=6193389&page=1http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/pepfar.html Tue 03 Aug 2010 16:59:38 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=64#comment144 137. At 02:58am on 03 Aug 2010, peterbo wrote:"Please explain how exactly the govn't is "suppressing the voter turn-out of its opponents".[[That was the entire purpose of the Voter ID law, enacted to reverse the half century trend of trying to raise voter turnout, and in the face of testimony by both the current and former Chief Electoral Officers of Canada that there had never been a single documented case of voter fraud in Canada. In the subsequent election the Voter ID law reduced turnout by 5% (from 66% to 61%), and was responsible for a gain of 14 seats by the Conservatives.The whole point of debasing the Census is to disadvantage groups that do not vote Conservative, and, ultimately, for redistribution to short change regions of the country in which there is an undercount.Until Dalton McGuinty cried foul the Harper folks were going to set up re-distribution so that the right number of seats were added in Alberta and B.C., but only half the correct additional number would be added in Ontario. That was as clear an attempt to disenfranchise those opposed to the Reform Party (they can call themselves Conservatives until the cows come home, but they will always by the Reform Party in Sheep's clothing)]].#121"Nobody even bothers to propose measures that they know the voters won't tolerate. So minority interests can't leverage their power. The mere threat of the voters being able to vote directly is usually sufficient to avoid the need for voting.""So, democracy is not the rule of the majority?"[[This is what the log-rolling problem is about, and it is the problem so brilliantly solved by the Swiss. Interesting how Harper was all in faovur of Direct Democracy - right up until he got into office.]]"Please name those American and Canadian Lysenkos. Which branches of science are envisaged in the discourse? Specifics, please."[[There is no philosophical difference whatsoever between the Stephen Harper Reform Party and the GW Bush/Carl Rove White House. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous, at best.]][[As for the branches of science under attack by these dangerous ideologues, well, let's start with Statistics.How bad does a government have to be to force the resignation of the Chief Statistician?They have told one of the elite statistical bodies in the world to "dumb down" the Census, to adulterate the database, on the basis of the brainless, ideology of one man - when the entire profession speaks with one voice against it, when the Provinces speak against it, when business and other organizations speak against it, when every major reputable news organization speaks against it.There is absolutely no support, anywhere, for this ideologically driven lobotomy of one of our premiere scientific bodies, known world wide for the quality, objectivity and impartiality of its work.This is unconscionable. It is scientific vandalism.And the bozo of a cabinet Minister in charge hasn't got, as the Globe and Mail so aptly put it "an ounce of honour" sufficient to resign.But why leave it there?Let's move on to climate change, where the government is determined, as a matter of principle, to ignore all scientific knowledge.Then let's move on to Science, generally, where they put a guy who believes in "Creationism" in charge. Unbelievable.[[Let's more on to Criminology, where the government is determined to ignore the advice of every expert in the field, and adopt "tough on crime" policies that are actually going to make the situation worse instead of better - to increase recidivism, and ultimately the overall crime rate, while, at the same time, vastly increasing the amount spent not on prevention but on building jails. More money, less effectively spent.[[Continuing with Criminology, note how the government continues to justify its "tough on crime" initiatives on the basis of some terrible crime wave afflicting our nation, without ever being able to admit that the actual facts are that the crime rate has fallen 40% for all major categories of violent crime against persons or property since 1990.[[Let's move on to gun control, where the government is determined to abolish the long arms registry in the face of opposition from the Chiefs of Police, and the police generally, in the face of all logic, and in the face of an abundance of empirical evidence that gun control in Canada works, and works well.]][[Let's move on to maternal health in Africa - the Government's big idea to avoid having to face up to another climate change conference. They try to discuss maternal health in the third world without ever mentioning abortion. All the groups with knowledge and experience in the field protest. It makes no difference.[[It doesn't matter what branch of science it is, if it there is a choice between:(a) paying attention to people who actually have knowledge and expertise in the field, and choosing public policy accordingly; or(b) pig-headedly implementing Republican Party dogma in the face of all logic,this government is determined not merely to ignore the scientific community, but to cut off all funding of any scientific research that might show that the truth is contrary to government dogma.Prior to Stephen Harper there had never been, in my lifetime certainly, and probably not since Confederation, any government that was hostile to science, or to scientific research.On the contrary, we used to respect knowledge. We used to respect learning. We used to respect scientific advance. We used to see it as the road to a brighter future.Now, for the first time ever, we have a government that views Science as an enemy of the state.Unbelievable.]] Tue 03 Aug 2010 16:38:01 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=63#comment143 Re #142He who speaks ill of Evo Morales have obviously never spoken to Fidel Castro or Salvadore Allende.He who claims that pres. Ahmadinnerjacket is a looney has obviously never listened to Hugo Chavez. Or better still: to ill Kim Jong- il. Tue 03 Aug 2010 15:57:04 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=63#comment142 ref #137,138,140You can't get a reasoned debate on the climate situation because both sides spend time demonizing one another.Any criticism of the Al Gore position was scorned even though Al gore has been proven wrong, also the East Anglia controversary has been dismissed as lying for the Greater Good. Tue 03 Aug 2010 15:34:06 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=62#comment141 ref #129If you would google or bing Evo Morales stealing property you will find several sources saying how his supporter are beating up opponents, and other human rights violations in addition to theft.As far as I know these people are also Bolivian citizens and should be treated fairly.The Palestinians who have no right to what they claim are at war with Israel. Tue 03 Aug 2010 14:40:02 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=62#comment140 Talking of Lysenkos in EPA:http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10274412-38.html Tue 03 Aug 2010 11:55:51 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=61#comment139 138. At 08:49am on 03 Aug 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:Ref#137 PeterboPlease name those American and Canadian Lysenkos. Which branches of science are envisaged in the discourse? Specifics, please______________"http://www.alan.com/2010/04/29/epa-staffers-forced-to-ignore-science-during-bush-administration/Think that'll do to be going on with..."No, after Climategate, it won't. The Lysenkos are on the other side of the spectrum. Nice try, but make an effort to provide quotes from reputable sources instead of parroting a peripheral, obscure far-left blogg, which,on its part, relies on circular arguments (EPA evaluating ... EPA. That's so deja vu with the exonerating "inquiry" into EAU's CRU and Phil Jones). Tue 03 Aug 2010 11:35:07 GMT+1 sayasay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=61#comment138 The Bible is right in 1 Samuel 8 verses 9 to 18, in particular the part where “the behaviour of the king… he will he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants.” Despite this, Saul was elected king. The government, no matter what form and style will always do the expropriations. The US American suburban home-owner feels comfortable and secure in knowing that the state will not confiscate his property to be given to the poor. At the same time a USA wheat-farmer will not mind the government taking a portion of his field to build an underground missile silo for the sake of national security. Pure property ownership is only object-specific, time-specific and governmental objectives specific. Other than these, be prepared for adverse eventuality. Don’t waste time excusing the governments who are worse and praising the governments who are more lenient. Governments, in general, will do what makes their constituents most happy and if not, spin it such that that you should be ‘thinking happy’. Going into deficit to bailout banks is as ‘capitalistic’ as ‘fascism’ is non-discriminatory to people’s castes/ types.Thus, the Israel government, Chavez and Morales are just performing to type. So is the US government when taking a chunk of the budget to save the banking class. Of course, there is a way out or escape, but, to say so will break house rules. Tue 03 Aug 2010 11:34:21 GMT+1 PartTimeDon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=60#comment137 Ref#137 PeterboPlease name those American and Canadian Lysenkos. Which branches of science are envisaged in the discourse? Specifics, please______________http://www.alan.com/2010/04/29/epa-staffers-forced-to-ignore-science-during-bush-administration/Think that'll do to be going on with... Tue 03 Aug 2010 07:49:16 GMT+1 as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=60#comment136 114. At 5:13pm on 02 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner"In our FPP system, the government is determined to gain a majority not by convincing voters to vote for it, but by deliberately suppressing the voter turn-out of its opponents. If current trends continue, they may win a majority government on 34% of the popular vote, amounting to 20% of registered voters."Please explain how exactly the govn't - and, taking into account your political leaning, I assume you mean the CPC govn't - is "suppressing the voter turn-out of its opponents".#121"Nobody even bothers to propose measures that they know the voters won't tolerate. So minority interests can't leverage their power. The mere threat of the voters being able to vote directly is usually sufficient to avoid the need for voting."So, democracy is not the rule of the majority? Based on polls on major policies (economy/growth/jobs/taxation, bailouts/deficit/debt, health care, immigration, etc), the Obama administration and Dem-dominated Congress represent a minority of the electorate, against the interests of the majority. Corrections are imminent in 2010 and likely in 2012. In the meantime, how would such a rule against the majority be defined: regime, clique, junta, camarilla? 116. At 6:34pm on 02 Aug 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:""The Stalin-esque treatment of science by Bush mk2 in favour of ideological dogma ..."[[This is the exact ideology that is being imported by the Stephen Harper Conservatives.]]".Please name those American and Canadian Lysenkos. Which branches of science are envisaged in the discourse? Specifics, please. Tue 03 Aug 2010 01:58:44 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=60#comment135 Ref 135, LucyThe Dust Bowl had nothing to do with the Great Depression, but you are absolutely right what we are having now is nothing compared to what happened in the 1920s and 30s.Like you, I wonder how bad our economy really is. We had record car sales in the county where I live last month. People go to restaurants, the stores are full, my neighbors are taking cruises to the Caribbean and Europe, and some are remodeling their homes. There is no doubt that parts of our society and some business sectors have been affected by the recession; especially real estate, construction, and tourism, but other sectors are booming.It may take a while to go back to the sustained economic growth and prosperity we enjoyed in the Clinton era, while simultaneously reducing government deficits and ending up with a surplus to boot, but if we all put our minds to it and make a few sacrifices we could do it again. Tue 03 Aug 2010 00:56:33 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=59#comment134 Even though things are slower than they used to be, there is still a lot of business here.I still see lots of people going out to eat, shopping, getting their oil changed, renting videos from the movie store, ect. They may not be spending as much as they used to, but they are still out and about.Some of the older people I know have told me about the Great Depression and they have said to me how it was a hundred times worse than this recession, as there was gas rationing, food rationing, all sorts of rationing. There was some sort of Dust Bowl, too.I really think that more people need to plant lots of fruit trees and bushes, plant lots of vegetables everywhere. Because it is so worth it, being able to step outside and collect or eat fruits and veggies straight from your yard. Everyone who has a yard should do it. Gardens are a way of the past, present and future.If our grandparents made it through the Great Depression, surely we can make it through the recession. Tue 03 Aug 2010 00:19:13 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=59#comment133 Really it wasn't a democracy I quote " I expressly say that Congress is not a representative body but a diplomatic body, a collection of ambassadors from the thirteen sovereign States...nor indeed, in any moment of my life, did I ever approve of a consolidated government, or would I have given my vote for it. A consolidated government under a monarchy, an aristocracy, or democracy, or a mixture of either would have flown to pieces like a glass bubble under the first blow of a hammer on an anvil." John Adams, 1824 It is a was an alliance of countries, the 13 original colonies. Those it took the best that the Magna Charta, and right of free Englishmen, it went beyond that to something that was to be better. I read that a 14 year old girl was enslaved in Britian, who did this? Were they caught? Will they be punished? Under which law? Sharia? I don't have a problem with Americans helping Americans, or others if so choosen. But to force these by government decree is another thing, bad law is bad law. I mean even Charle Rangel couldn't understand the healthcare bill he voted for. Good law, I doubt it. Mon 02 Aug 2010 23:47:07 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=58#comment132 Ref 130, TimohioCongratulations!!! When I retired a few years ago we decided to sell our house in Maryland and move to Florida to take advatange of lower real estate prices, no sales tax, a lower cost of living overall, and a warm climate.When we came to look for a lot and talk to building contractors our realtor tried to talk us out of having a relatively modest house built and told us that paying cash for a house was a mistake. His advice was to buy an expensive house near a salt water canal or a luxury condo on the beach which he predicted would not only be more pleasurable than buying a lot 10 miles from the beach but a much better investment.I am glad we didn't listen to him. We bought a lot in a typical middle class neighborhood and had a house built that we were able to pay for cash with the equity we got from our house in Maryland. Since I can't afford to buy a yacht having a house on a salt water canal would not have done anything for us, other than saddled us with exhorbitant mortgage payments we could not afford, and if I want to look at pelicans fish it only takes me 10 minutes to go to the beach. On top of that I don't have to worry about hurricanes wiping out my property!We don't owe money to anybody, we don't have to worry about mortgage payments, foreclosures or anything else. As far as I am concerned ours was a win/win decision. One of my neighbors (a retiree) decided to buy and sell houses to supplement his retirement income when prices were going up almost daily. When the market collapsed he got stuck with 5 houses and no buyers. I guess you have to take risks to get rich, but I rather be able to sleep at night knowing that nobody can take away the roof over our heads. Mon 02 Aug 2010 23:16:01 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=58#comment131 131. At 11:35pm on 02 Aug 2010, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:"It was widely understood that the US replaced one form of monarchy with another (The Americans have got rid of George III and replaced him with George 1)." - Simon21It was widely understood by whom?...Skeptical European Imperialists perhaps? I don't think the full nature of Republican form of government was widely understood by anyone in the 1700s, even the founders; it was far more widely described as "our great national experiment in Democracy". If you want actual quotations, Google Thomas Jefferson, Tocqueville, William Penn, or Reagan.-------------------------------------------------------------------------Fine words but not facts. The US constitution was modeled on the British and the authors of this experiment were slaveowners and the wealthy. Democracy meant their rights, not other peoples Mon 02 Aug 2010 22:57:36 GMT+1 Al from BR http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=57#comment130 "It was widely understood that the US replaced one form of monarchy with another (The Americans have got rid of George III and replaced him with George 1)." - Simon21It was widely understood by whom?...Skeptical European Imperialists perhaps? I don't think the full nature of Republican form of government was widely understood by anyone in the 1700s, even the founders; it was far more widely described as "our great national experiment in Democracy". If you want actual quotations, Google Thomas Jefferson, Tocqueville, William Penn, or Reagan. Mon 02 Aug 2010 22:35:11 GMT+1 timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=57#comment129 re. 123. Philly-Mom and 127. SaintDominick:I've always been edgy about debt. With my wife and me both having non-profit jobs, keeping a low debt burden just seemed like a safer way to live. Non-profits are just as sensitive to economic downturns as for-profits, but they are lagging indicators of a recovery. When we bought a house 25 years ago we picked a fixer-upper that was below market and went to a bank, where the loan officer sort of chuckled and said, "no problem." Even by the standards of that time we were well under what a bank would be willing to lend. But it's meant that over the years I've been able to take time off for grad school without stressing about mortgage payments, we've been able to send our son to a private school, we could afford to pay off the mortgage in 15 years. Mind you, I'm still fixing up the fixer-upper, but it's a comfortable house in a pleasant older neighborhood. I have no regrets. People should buy a home they can comfortably afford, not speculate in real estate. Mon 02 Aug 2010 22:29:22 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=56#comment128 124. At 8:15pm on 02 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:ref #119Netanyahu and his "government" encourage white Israelies to settle and steal land every dayAnd you applaud this.So what is the difference between Mr Netanyahu and Mr Morales.Ah yes. What these two do would be the equivilent of Obama confiscating all of John Mccain's wealth.________________You can't steal what is yours, The Palestinians have no claim to the land-------------------------------------------------------------------------Neither do President Morales' opponents who should be forced to surrender all they have stolen and then tried for the numerous hideous crimes they have committed. Morales is far too moderateSo once againWhy Netanyahu over Morales?Morales is only doing what Netanyahu is doing. Mon 02 Aug 2010 22:12:56 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=56#comment127 125. At 8:17pm on 02 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:ref #118Chavez and Morales are showing the way forward in South America and that is why they are immensely popular.Unlike Colombia where the government is embroiled in scandals assocaited with US supplied (intentional or unintentional is not clear) terrorist death squads.But this poster will never accept that native peoples have any rights.Chavez and Morales have a certain colour like Obama - so the views are predictable._____________If Hugo and evo are so popular how come they send dignity battilions to beat up opponets.------------------------------------------------------------------------If Presidents Chavez and Morales are so unpopular why does every opinion poll say otherwise.-------------------------------------------------------------------------How come Uribe is lionized in Columbia for standing up to the Chavez backed FARC.------------------------------------------------------------------------Why do you support a former president whose family and supporters were linked to terrorists and drug lords?-------------------------------------------------------------------------Stop listening to Sounds of Dissent and listen to legitimate sources.-------------------------------------------------------------------------Stop pretending ignorance about terrorist death squads-------------------------------------------------------------------------I noticed you could not defend the two autocrats thefts.-----------------------------------------------------------------------Theft is far more acceptable than genocide to any sane personWhat is your preference? Deah squad terrorism, drug lord murders or theft?I would have thought you opposed genocide. Mon 02 Aug 2010 22:06:54 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=56#comment126 Ref 123, Philly-MomWelcomed back, I missed your focused and thoughtful posts.I was surprised to read that some banks continue their predatory practices considering the problems that caused, the difficulties we are still having to overcome the near collapse of our economy, and the establishment of new regulation that, theoretically, introduce new requirements for banks to follow to minimize the probability of a double dip recession...or worse.Some of the problems where I live were created by people buying expensive properties they could not afford, but much of it was caused by speculation and overbuilding. We currently have a housing glut that has driven house prices down to about half of what they were 3 or 4 years ago, and many mortgages are under water (the owner owes more than the house is worth).I am afraid it is going to take at least another couple of years to recover, which is terrible for those that have to sell but a great opportunity for new buyers. Good luck! Mon 02 Aug 2010 20:39:49 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/07/keeping_philadelphians_in_thei.html?page=55#comment125 Ref 125, Magic"If Hugo and evo are so popular how come they send dignity battilions to beat up opponets."I don't know about Bolivia, but the violence that currently exists in Venezuela is not promoted or endorsed by Hugo Chavez. His supporters are taking things to dangerous extremes and are using violence to intimidate anyone who opposes Hugo and his policies. Unfortunately, the masses responsible for most of the violence constitute about 85% of the population and trying to control it is not an easy task. Needless to say, Chavez, and I suspect Morales and Correa, benefit from the fanatical support they enjoy. "How come Uribe is lionized in Columbia for standing up to the Chavez backed FARC."Using death squads to murder and terrorize opponents the way Uribe, Castro, Somoza, Trujillo and other Latin American strongmen and/or dictators have done in the past, and some still do today, is reprehensible. With the exception of the wealthy elite that has controlled every facet of life in Latin America until a few years ago, the reaction of the average man in the streets when we tell them to oust leaders like Chavez, Morales, Correa, Noriega, Lula and replace them with leaders friendly to the USA, like those they had in the past, is a mixture of amusement, incredulity and anger. Until we come up with a better alternative, preferably one that demonstrates respect for the values and aspirations of others, concern for the health and welfare of others, and policies conducive to a higher standard of living, peace and more freedom what we are proposing is simply a tough sell that will continue to be rejected by all but the elite."Stop listening to Sounds of Dissent and listen to legitimate sources."Like FOX, Limbaugh, Coulter and others? Unfortunately for us the people of Latin America are not interested in what our news media and our politicians have to say and they make up their minds based on what they believe is best for them. Obviously, we do not like it and we can not understand how those short dark skinned people who speak Spanish and Portuguese could ignore the advice of big brother, but as far as I can tell, short of invading most of Latin America, disenchantment with our policies and closer ties with China and other superpowers is going to be the norm for decades to come.The ones that need to reflect on what is happening and need to shift gears is us, not them. What is important to the average person in Latin America is the fact that instead of living in a shack, going without food, not being able to send their children to a doctor or school, or using a poorly trained midwife to give birth; today they live in a modest apartment with electricity and running water, have food on the table, clothes on their back, and their kids can attend school and go to a hospital or doctors whenever they are sick. Most importantly, they can now hope for a better future. Trying to convince them that the way forward is to reject the leaders that got them out of poverty and gave them hope is not an easy sell."I noticed you could not defend the two autocrats thefts."I suspect you are referring to the confiscation of land and other property, and its redistribution to poor and/or indigenous people. Are you suggesting the the descendents of Spanish and Portuguese conquerors have the right to keep the property they stole from the native population, and keep it even when they do not cultivate while millions of people are starving to death?Robin Hood approaches may not be the best solutions in the long run, but until somebody comes up with an alternative this is the only game in town for most of the inhabitants in countries like Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela.Quite frankly, considering your unabashed support of Israeli expansionist policies, including the unlawful appropiation of land and property owned by Palestinians since the creation of Israel your position is perplexing. Mon 02 Aug 2010 20:29:43 GMT+1