Wednesday Highlights

Good morning.

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  1. From Paglia:

    There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist.

    LOL. Seriously? The whole article reads as if she supported Palin solely because she’s “pro-life.”

    From sore winners:

    People have to complain about the states that did go for McCain, claiming that all the white Southerners who voted for McCain were doing so merely because of racism rather than because they think Obama’s policies would be awful.

    Nobody would argue that everybody who voted against Obama did so out of racism. However, when the old confederacy is pretty much the only place in the entire country that voted more Republican than last time, it makes you wonder. Unless you’re completely blind (willingly or not) to history.

    See this article in the Times. Money quote:

    Less than a third of Southern whites voted for Mr. Obama, compared with 43 percent of whites nationally.

    Let’s not be naive.

    The Very rich and very poor … today’s Democrats?

    Your link goes to a chart of changes in TREND, not who voted Democratic. Obama won most demographic groups.

    Rules for lobbying from Mr Obama … unless of course they run it through the “normal” bogus credit card channels of course.

    Very uncharitable interpretation, Mark.

    Paygo is dead.

    One Democrat said it might not apply anymore. That doesn’t make it dead. Also, I don’t think ANYBODY says that deficit spending is always always always bad during a recession… or during the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.

    Post election … Mr Bush … not so bad?

    Your link says nothing of the kind… even with the WSJ spin.

  2. Mark says:

    I don’t think Paglia is personally against abortion. I think just as Black conservatives are viewed (by many) as “not black” or ‘betraying their own”, women who are not pro-choice by many are viewed as betraying their own.

    On racism … I think I’m going to carry my response to that into an essay.

    As for lobbying and Mr Obama … my remark stems from the fact that the credit card loophole got just about 0 recognition. Imagine for a moment, you’re a very wealthy supporter of Mr Obama. You have a very low (legal) limit on giving. But via whatever channel you are informed that there is no “name/id” check on credit card donation. You and I can, electronically for use on the internet obtain a temporary credit card number for e-commerce safety. So, how long would it take for any reasonably competent programmer to put together a program to automatically obtain said numbers, match with a semi-random list of names and begin automatically dumping those millions you want to give into Mr Obama’s coffers? Two days work at most … 16 hours of progamming time. Do you think a rich donor, say a Soros, could perhaps hire that work done. How many donors did it. Well … I’ve heard there’s to be no investigation. So … I’m thinking the number is not 0.

    On Mr Bush and his rehabilitation … we shall see shan’t we.

  3. Mark says:

    That’s two days work starting from scratch. I bet there are people who could do it in a half hour or so … if that’s the sort of programming they do regularly (web 2.0 b2b and so on).

  4. Mark,

    think just as Black conservatives are viewed (by many) as “not black” or ‘betraying their own”, women who are not pro-choice by many are viewed as betraying their own.

    I agree with that.

    Regarding Obama and the credit cards, I have to say, “Come on.” Just because something is technically possible doesn’t mean it happened. It’s inconceivable that such a scheme would go undiscovered on a scale large enough to matter.

  5. Mark says:

    How would you check? (regarding the credit cards)

  6. Boonton says:

    There’s no name/id check on regular donations either. Or more to the point the donar is required to give their name & using fake names to dodge election law is a criminal act on the donars part.

    Consider this old school vairation on the credit card. You like McCain, you head over to Wal-Mart and get a $200 money order for $0.69. You mail it into the McCain campaign, all you’re required to do is write on a piece of paper your name and address and check that you’re an American citizen. If you want to channel $20,000 illegally to McCain all you need to do is send in a bunch of money orders all with different names you pick out of the phone book.

    As for the credit card name check:

    1. The issue has been covered by the MSM. I read about it in the Washington Post. Like your embarassment over Palin’s troopergate story, here we go again with another case of conservatives claiming the MSM is hiding things and citing, as proof, stories they read in the MSM.

    2. I suggest you review look at the comment(s) by Morat20. Essentially at the end of the day, the name given on credit card transactions must match the name on the credit card. “Turning off” the name/address verification doesn’t alter that fact. The difference is that the transaction will go through faster at the beginning but will get kicked out a few days later by the banks. If you’re a merchant selling something on the web you probably don’t want to turn that off because by the time you’re informed of the kickout you may have already shipped your product tot he person. If you’re simply asking people to give you money turning the verification off makes sense because every time someone is confronted with a time out or error they may become discouraged and decide not to bother.

    #3 Hackable systems

    We discussed this topic briefly when we were talking about voter registration. Simply pointing out a way someone can dodge the system’s rules doesn’t do anything to prove corruption. The unhackable system does not exist unless maybe you are talking about a single computer room sitting in the center of the CIA (ala Mission Impossible).

    With donating to campaigns, the simpliest ‘hack’ is simply the straw donar. Give twenty people a few thousand dollars and have each one send a contribution to McCain and you’ve dodged campaign finance laws and probably did so in a way that is undetectable by anyone in the campaign itself and is hard to find and prove even if you have the full resources of the FBI behind you.

    The problem with stories about the weaknesses of systems is that they create the false impression that making them less hackable is costless, it is not. The drivers’ license has become a very secure document but it is hardly unhackable. Nonetheless, if people had to jump through the hoops to vote or donate to a campaign that they have to for licences almost no one would bother.

    All things being equal, I’d rather see a system that let’s twenty thousand people exceed their donation limit by $200 each than a highly secure system that let’s only one person exceed their limit by $200,000.

    #4 More to the point, if you did have a person who wanted to put a massive amount of money into supporting a candidate there’s no need to create an elaborate credit card ruse. “Soft money” still exists in independent groups who support candidates but aren’t directly controlled by the candidates’ themselves. Many of these groups produce the more colofrul ‘issue ads’ during a campaign that usually lack the “I am X and I approve this message” at the end.

  7. Mark,

    I don’t know the details, but I’m sure it’s pretty hard to disguise large sums of money by inventing thousands of non-existent people.

    Would you say it’s more likely that Soros etc. illegally funneled Obama a significant amount of money this way or that Diebold gave Bush the 2004 election? Why?

  8. Boonton says:

    I disagree JA, it is easy but you’re right in that the question is why? If Soros wanted to put a lot of money behind getting Obama elected he could easily do so in a legal way. There would be no particular need for him to risk humiliation and possible prosecution using fake names to charge his credit card on Obama’s web site (as well as the potential of such a tactic backfiring and causing Obama to loose more votes than his donation would generate)

  9. Boonton:

    To be clear, I’m not saying it would be hard to do, just hard to get away with.

  10. Mark says:

    How about a wealthy foreign backer?

    What checking would be done? Why would it be “hard to get away with?”

  11. Boonton says:

    How about a wealthy foreign backer?

    You mean Murdoch’s Fox News?

    Seriously though,

    Foreign backers too can start 521 groups and sponsor ‘issue ads’ independent of the candidate but nonetheless meant to influence the election. Basically the SC has ruled that spending money is an element of free speech. Foreigners can’t give money to candidates but they can spend it if they really want.

    Additionally, a wealthy foreign backer intent on making an illegal donation could easily dodge either Obama’s or McCain’s controls. (See, for example, the money order ruse I described above or the most simple of all…the straw man where you give friends who can legally donate the money to do so)>

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