The Burden of Proof for Voter Fraud Belongs to the Accusers

Love is blind, justice was peeking.

There is a tenant in criminal law that proclaims that it is better to let one guilty man go free than it is to convict ten innocent men. That is the core of our legal system. Innocent until proven guilty. Everyone deserves an impartial judgement of their peers regardless of the heinousness of the crime. The burden of proof does not fall upon the accused. It falls upon the state. No punitive action may be taken until the state proves beyond reasonable doubt that the accused actually performed the deed in question.

This is a good philosophy. It keeps the government from becoming a tyranny that arbitrarily and capriciously renders judgement based upon its own purposes. Anything else results in something other and more sinister than a democracy.

Voter fraud; the act of voting under false pretense either as posing as a non-citizen, another person, or voting more than once, is a concern and election offices in states take great pains to prevent it from happening. Continue reading

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Fear Trumps Hope, Again

An hommage to Sheperd Fairey

We tiny humans are a curious evolutionary accident. In nature, many species bear their offspring and those animals have mere seconds to get on their feet and start running with the herd. Otherwise, they are dinner for some other type of animal lurking nearby. But human babies require years of nursing and attention of at least one parent before they can function on their own and even a decade or more before they can operate as autonomous individuals in their cohort. This would seem to be an evolutionary disadvantage save for the fact that humans have evolved as tribes that protect mothers and newborns from predators.

But one thing most species have in common is fear. Being distrustful of things has probably ensured our survival. It’s why most of us stand back from the edge of the cliff. Pain is also a factor. We learn from painful experiences not to do certain things. Our fear of experiencing that pain again helps us avoid those things that are potentially harmful to us. That little warning voice coming from the amygdala in our brains has probably ensured our survival as a species.

There are also some negative effects as well. Racism is likely a fearful response towards people who do not look like you. That may have been useful long ago to protect your tribe from pillagers but that trait isn’t terribly useful now even though we recently waged a world war based on a philosophy of a ‘master race’ and in our own country over whether people with dark skin were less than human. Fear is indeed a powerful motivator.

Fear works in religion as well. Continue reading

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Vampire Capitalism

We’re in the money

Rick Perry probably did more to help the Obama campaign by coining the phrase ‘vulture capitalism’ than anything the Obama campaign could have done. Actually, he didn’t coin the phrase but he did introduce it into the public arena during the Republican primary when he was challenging Mitt Romney‘s record at Bain Capital. Predictably, the Romney camp is maneuvering to get out in front of the perception that Romney is a vulture capitalist. Their counter strategy? Make the claim that President Obama is a anti-capitalism socialist.

Of course the President isn’t against capitalism. He’s actually a beneficiary of it through his book sales. He’s a green energy advocate. He has done as much as he can as President to create private sector jobs as most Presidents have. If anything he’s a capitalism cheerleader. But Romney only has the Muslim-socialist Tea party meme to fall back on. Will it be effective? Possibly. Most of the people who are against the President have already made up their minds about the President. We can wade into the waters of why that is some other time but the reality is that that message isn’t likely to be taken seriously by most informed voters.

Romney would like for everybody to not be focusing on his tenure at Bain. He would also not like anyone to focus on his tenure as the Governor of Massachusetts because then people would realize he is actually a moderate. Continue reading

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And the Republican Nominee For President of the United States is…Ron Paul! Wait…What?!?

Ron Paul? You gotta be kidding, right?

Ron Paul, member of the United States House of...

Actually, no. It could very well happen according to the nominating rules of the Republican National Committee. While the rest of the nation has been focused on the cat fight between Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Bachman, Cain, Huntsman and Perry, Ron Paul supporters have been sneaking through the back door. I witnessed this first hand when I went to my local Republican Caucus (see this article).

Ron Paul’s campaign, though effectively suspended for now, has played a brilliant strategy. All but ignored and often scorned by the media as a joke candidate, his campaign quietly went after states with caucuses and states with election processes that nominate delegate representatives to send to the convention. People show up to caucus at these events and cast their votes and as soon as that’s done they nominate a delegate to represent that district at the convention. Most people don’t want to bother with politics after the caucus. That’s where Ron Paul supporters have been sneaking in. They stick around and volunteer to be those delegates. All in favour say ‘aye’. And we’re done, let’s go home.

Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum may have won the caucus but a Ron Paul supporter is going to the convention. Nothing could go wrong there, could it? Continue reading

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Requiem for the Job Creators

It’s an endless refrain. If only the wealthy had the resources, they could stimulate the economy by investing in new business and hiring workers to satisfy consumer demand. There’s just one glaring problem with this scenario; consumer demand decreases in hard times. And without consumer demand, there is no compelling reason for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, or current business owners to ramp up production. In fact it’s often prudent to scale back until such demand warrants further investment.

But that’s a double edged sword, isn’t it? There isn’t any reason for consumers to create demand unless the economy is such that they are able to shop for more durable goods. So which comes first, the chicken or the egg? This has long been an economic argument where there are no clear winners. Essentially, you can’t have one without the other. But business owners argue for the supply side economics while the public argues for the demand side of the equation. There are merits for each side of the coin. Continue reading

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Bracketing the General Presidential Election

The Republican Primary is effectively over as first Rick Santorum and then Newt Gingrich finally threw in the towel and suspended their campaigns.  The outcome was pretty much as expected with Mitt Romney being the presumptive challenger to President Obama in November. Now as the Obama and Romney camps turn towards their advertising strategies it’s time to armchair quarterback the general election.

Several of the polling firms are already weighing in with forecasts and they don’t look too favourable for Mitt Romney. Romney isn’t doing himself any favours either by committing serial verbal gaffes that illustrate a glaring propensity for being out of touch with regular American values. Continue reading

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A Word on Mother’s Day

I’ve never been one for ceremony. I normally eschew holidays such as Mother’s day or Valentine’s day as attempts to sell greeting cards or flowers. But I caught the tail end of Reverend Al Sharpton’s show on MSNBC the other day and he made a point that seems, well, poigniant. And it echoes an axiom to which my mother has always adhered: there are three things certain in life; death, taxes, and the love of one’s mother.

Reverend Sharpton said that we should acknowledge our mothers on this day as having helped us get through life and if our mothers had already passed we should honour them by doing something that would show that their contribution to the planet was worthwhile. In short, we should honour them by being good examples and living a full and purposeful life. I thought that was good advice. Continue reading

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