Republican Party tries to hustle you with a fundraiser disguised as a census form

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is sending fundraising mailers in California and other states that look like the official U.S. census, a move critics worry will confuse people and skew actual census results.

The mailers are labeled “2020 Congressional District Census” and are sent in envelopes reading: “Do Not Destroy. Official Document.” The envelope contains a questionnaire on blue paper in a similar format to the actual census, and includes questions on political policies and stances…

The questionnaire does include fine print identifying it as a Republican piece of mail, stating near the top that it is “commissioned by the Republican Party” and in smaller print noting it’s paid for by the RNC…

The official 2020 census is expected to be mailed in March. Census survey documents are issued from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau and do not ask for money.

The Republican Party already has access to more money than the average small country. You have to wonder why this clown show is doing something so smarmy. Maybe it’s just to impress the boss. Win a weekend at Mar-a-lago with the best hustle of ordinary Republican voters?

NO citizenship question on the 2020 census

Wilbur Ross gets to be the front man for this lieElizabeth Brockway

❝ The Trump administration, in a dramatic about-face, abandoned its quest on Tuesday to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a week after being blocked by the Supreme Court…Faced with mounting deadlines and a protracted legal fight, officials ordered the Census Bureau to start printing forms for next year’s head count without the question.

The decision was a victory for critics who said the question was part of an administration effort to skew the census results in favor of Republicans. It was also a remarkable retreat for an administration that typically digs into such fights.

RTFA for all the nice guy analysis and chronology. Two things you should know:

1. There is no need for any NEW inquiry from the census bureau about citizenship. That question is covered in a number of questionnaires and bureau research. As a matter of course, they’ve been asking that question for decades. For the reasons decided in court after court – it simply has no part in the decadal census.

2. Chief Justice John Roberts in all the politesse required of public servants made it clear that Trump and his lackeys can tell all the lies they wish to the American public, including voters, as a Constitutional right. They do not have the right to lie to a Federal Court. And they were caught lying about their reasons for including this question. Scumbags do not get a do-over on their testimony.

UPDATE: The Liar-in-Chief is now contradicting his flunkies in the cabinet. He’s tweeting out silly-storms demonstrating once again his inability to stick to a decision. What a neurotic dork he is!

US electoral system ranks low among democracies

Click to enlarge

The latest report from the Electoral Integrity Project is as surprising as it is expected. The annual survey measuring the integrity of elections around the world (this year, surveying elections between 2012 and 2015, based on the opinions of 2,000 election experts worldwide across 49 categories) has found that western Europe scores high, Africa scores low, and that a host of other countries score very differently than you might think.

…If you’re familiar with some of the more absurd US election laws, it may not surprise you that this year’s report finds that the US electoral system ranks lower than any other long-established democracy on Earth – 47th out of 139 countries overall.

The whole report is over here [.pdf]. For the full score sheet, click here.

Dimwit Republicans in Congress who think they are tobacco farmers in 1782 trying to hide profits from the slave trade

A group of Republicans are cooking up legislation that could give President Barack Obama an unintentional assist with disagreeable unemployment numbers — by eliminating the key economic statistic altogether.

The bill, introduced…by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), would bar the U.S. Census Bureau from conducting nearly all surveys except for a decennial population count. Such a step that would end the government’s ability to provide reliable estimates of the employment rate. Indeed, the government would not be able to produce any of the major economic indices that move markets every month, said multiple statistics experts, who were aghast at the proposal.

“They simply wouldn’t exist. We won’t have an unemployment rate,” said Ken Prewitt, the former director of the U.S. Census who is now a professor of public affairs at Columbia University.

“I don’t know how the market reacts if there is suddenly no unemployment rate at the start of the month,” Prewitt said. “How does the market react if we don’t have a GDP?…”

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Don’t like the result of surveys, census data? Stop them!

The American Community Survey may be the most important government function you’ve never heard of, and it’s in trouble.

This survey of American households has been around in some form since 1850, either as a longer version of or a richer supplement to the basic decennial census. It tells Americans how poor we are, how rich we are, who is suffering, who is thriving, where people work, what kind of training people need to get jobs, what languages people speak, who uses food stamps, who has access to health care, and so on.

It is, more or less, the country’s primary check for determining how well the government is doing — and in fact what the government will be doing. The survey’s findings help determine how over $400 billion in government funds is distributed each year.

But last week, the Republican-led House voted to eliminate the survey altogether, on the grounds that the government should not be butting its nose into Americans’ homes…This is followed by more lies about why Republicans say we shouldn’t study and learn.

Each year the Census Bureau polls a representative, randomized sample of about three million American households about demographics, habits, languages spoken, occupation, housing and various other categories. The resulting numbers are released without identifying individuals, and offer current demographic portraits of even the country’s tiniest communities.

It is the largest (and only) data set of its kind and is used across the federal government in formulas that determine how much funding states and communities get for things like education and public health…

Private companies and industry groups — including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Home Builders — are up in arms…

The leading dimwit in charge of this particular piece of backwardness, Daniel Webster, a Tea Party Republican from Florida says…“What really promotes business in this country is liberty,” he said, “not demand for information.”

Mr. Webster and other critics have gone so far as to say the American Community Survey is unconstitutional. Of course, the basic decennial census is specifically enumerated in the United States Constitution, and courts have ruled that this longer form of the census survey is constitutional as well.

I’m confident the primo reason for the foolishness is the Republican fear that Americans will have a clearer picture of how and where the stimulus program has been working, where we are starting to climb back out of the Bush recession. Here in New Mexico our unemployment rate dropped to 6.9%, last week.

Think about the kind of demagogue who advocates against knowledge, information that aids business, government, commerce. What is he supposed to be protecting?

Milestone: most American children under 1 are now minorities

U.S. minorities now represent more than half of America’s population under the age of 1, the Census Bureau said, a historic demographic milestone with profound political, economic and social implications.

“2011 is the first time the population of infants under age 1 is majority minority,” said Robert Bernstein, a Census Bureau spokesman.

The latest statistics — which also count the national population younger than 5 as 49.7% minority in 2011, an increase from 49% in 2010 — portend a future of a more racially diverse America, with new and growing populations playing more important roles politically and economically in years to come, analysts say.

Like other analysts, Kenneth M. Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey Institute and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, isn’t surprised at the trend. “We’ve known it was going to come, but the question was what year the “crossover point” would happen, he said…

Johnson sees the trend as an opportunity for more Americans to embrace diversity. More children are going to be exposed to a more diverse group of classmates, and that will affect attitudes and outlook…

Mention it that way to your friendly neighborhood Tea Party commissar. Then, duck and run!

Jeff Passell, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, called the Census numbers “a cumulative effect of 35 to 40 years of immigration” bringing large numbers of Latinos, Asians and other immigrants into the United States.

He said the Hispanic population in particular is very young, much more concentrated in child-bearing years, and has a higher fertility rate than the white, non-Hispanic population. Lately, he says, there are a lot more births among native Hispanics in the United States than new Hispanic immigrants, a “cumulative effect” of immigration. Also a cumulative effect of poor education, machismo and religion-based culture.

Michael White, professor of sociology at Brown University, said the rise of minorities fits into a longer-term evolution of the U.S. population…truly a “melting pot,” he said.

White says it’s hard to say how the changes will affect politics and that one can’t assume that ethnic patterns will determine voting patterns. Local economic issues, for example, will evolve differently in different states and cities, and there are economic benefits of having a younger population, he said.

Ain’t he naive? Aside from essential economic issues, cultural divisions that reflect class assignment by ethnicity and color – he makes no mention of the traditional WASP leaders of American conservatism and their even more bigoted cousins in the Tea Party.

Wander through the comments following this CNN article. If you thought you didn’t live in a racist nation you’re in for a sad awakening. The semantics range from patent leather rationales for bigotry to straight-up racism. The more things change, the more some fools fight harder to remain the same.

The US population ages, elder abuse and need for shelters grows

They’re weak, physically or mentally disabled or both, and often at the mercy of people they depend on the most: relatives and caretakers. They’re the nation’s fast-growing elderly population, and many are prime targets for abuse — physical, financial, sexual or emotional. Concern among the elderly and their advocates is mounting as the number of seniors soars and more of them live longer.

The Cedar Village Retirement Community in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason this month opened a long-term care facility to victims of abuse. It is the first elder abuse shelter in Ohio and one of only a half-dozen in the country, all of them funded by non-profit groups.

“There is a genuine recognition by those who are concerned by the abuse of elders that there need to be appropriate safe houses for them to get them out of immediate harm’s way,” says Sally Hurme, AARP’s senior project manager in education and outreach. “Nationally, we’ve been aware of the need for elder abuse shelters, but they’ve been slow in coming into fruition…”

The number of people who live to age 90 and beyond has tripled in the past three decades to 2 million and is projected to quadruple by 2050, according to the Census Bureau. The number of 65-plus grew 15.1% since 2000 to 40.3 million or 13% of the total population.

As their numbers grow, the dismal economy has forced many to live with children and grandchildren, a situation that may tempt the unscrupulous to take advantage of the old in their care…

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Recession and more contributes to slowing population growth rate

The population of the United States grew this year at its slowest rate since the 1940s…as the gloomy economy continued to depress births and immigration fell to its lowest level since 1991…

And just maybe a few other factors like reflecting upon opportunity, choices in general?

The population grew by 2.8 million people from April 2010 to July 2011, according to the bureau’s new estimates. The annual increase, about 0.7 percent when calculated for the year that ended in July 2011, was the smallest since 1945, when the population fell by 0.3 percent in the last year of World War II.

“The nation’s overall growth rate is now at its lowest point since before the baby boom,” the Census Bureau director, Robert M. Groves, said in a statement…Underlying the modest growth was an immigration level that was the lowest in 20 years…slowed substantially when the housing market collapsed, and the jobs associated with its boom that were popular among immigrants disappeared…

A lagging birth rate also contributed. Births in the United States declined precipitously during the recession and its aftermath, down by 7.3 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to Kenneth M. Johnson, the senior demographer at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. There were slightly over four million births in the year that ended in July, the lowest since 1999.

Economic trauma tends to depress births. In the Great Depression, the birth rate fell by a third, Mr. Johnson said. It is unclear whether the current dip means that births are being delayed or that they are foregone, as they were in the Depression, he said.

In a particularly striking measure of economic distress, birth rates among Hispanics, who are concentrated in states hardest hit by the economic downturn, like Florida and Arizona, declined by 17 percent from 2007 to 2010, Mr. Johnson said. That is compared with a 3.8 percent decline for whites and a 6.7 percent decline for blacks. Rates dropped most sharply among young Hispanics, down by 23 percent for women ages 20 to 24 between 2007 and 2010.

Or – one might hope – sufficient education about everything from equal opportunities in a macho culture to the addition of birth control and abortion to a woman’s choices may have sufficiently affected women in the Hispanic population to bring the birth rate more in line with previous immigrant populations – after a generation or two. Certainly, a greater likelihood than Catholic ideology in the Hispanic community reversing what are normal processes among incomers unto the 2nd and 3rd generations of citizenship.

It’s about 70 years since my father’s extended family confronted the parish priest who took the occasion of my grandfather’s funeral to berate him and his brothers and sisters for not being good Catholics – like their father. After all, none of them had more than 2 children – yet they came from a family of 7. The 2nd generation in Anglophone North America had learned about birth control and our priest was pissed!

I doubt if he was any happier when my father waited till the funeral was over and done – and then told the priest to take his church and archaic rules and stick them where the sun don’t shine. And the whole family walked away from that church.

A little S&M works in aid of the Hungarian census

Hungary has produced a provocative video advertisement to encourage more people to fill out its national census online next month.

In a video posted on social networking sites Wednesday, a topless young woman in red underwear, lacy black stockings and holding a whip opens the door to a census taker, who, realizing he has arrived at an inopportune moment — offers her the option of completing the census online.

We want to reach the younger generation as well, and the internet is more for this generation, it uses their language,” Imre Dobossy, a top communications official at the Central Statistics Office (KSH) told Reuters.

The last time Hungarians were counted was 10 years ago, and this will be first time they will be able to fill out the questionnaire online.

Sometimes you shouldn’t answer the door.