Fwd: Census Perspective - an open letter

Date: Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 8:59 AM
Subject: Census Perspective - an open letter

I also got another card after I got the letter asking me to fill out the report. Maybe they are trying to help the US postal service with their loss. So much for the Government's idea of stimulus. At least the Roosevelt administration spent the money for things that would stay after the expense such as drainage, roads, etc.

Robert M. Groves, Director,
U.S. Census Bureau
Washington, DC

March 10, 2010

Dear Mr. Groves:

Thank you for your kind letter of March 8th telling me
that you will be sending me a Census form in about a week. It made
me wonder, do you also send your employees emails giving them a “heads
up” that you’ll be sending them future emails?

I will have plenty of time to wait in eager anticipation of your census, as
I am
currently unemployed. Since you are into numbers, you might be
interested in knowing that 4 million Americans have become unemployed
over the last 18 months or so. That’s a lot of people waiting for
your census! Of course not every job market is suffering; the
government has added about 55,000 jobs during this same timeframe!
That stimulus bill has really done a number on us, hasn’t it?

I know this is a really busy time for you, but perhaps you will humor me by
answering a few survey questions:

•How does it cost $14 BILLION to count 350 million people?
That’s $40 per person. Did you think about bidding this out to a
private company? I’ll count everyone in my town for $25 per
person. Please send me $250,000 and I’ll send you back the
information (care to guess how many people live in Groton?).I’m
also willing to do a few surrounding towns if you want.

•Are you really hiring 800,000 people to conduct this count?
Is this really just a government plot to temporarily reduce the
unemployment figures for two months? Each new hire only has to
count 437.5 people—I could do that in one morning and be

•Why did you think you needed a Super Bowl ad to tell people about
the Census? Never mind, I guess that’s obvious since you think you
need to send me a letter to tell me that you’re going to send me a

•Is it true that every person identified could be “worth” $1,000
in Federal government aid, prompting cities and counties to aggressively
seek out and count illegal residents in their area?

•How many Acorn activists are working on the Census? Are you
comfortable hiring people from an organization that is facing charges of
voter registration fraud?

•The census only has 10 questions, so why are two of them focused
on race? Instead of asking me if I’m Hispanic and THEN asking my
race, you could pretty much just add Hispanic to the race

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate your letter. It is a stark reminder
how wacky and over-blown our government has become. I only wish
you were doing this survey in October so we’d be even more energized for
the November elections, if that is possible.

Good luck with your census—we’re all counting on you!

Chuck McKinney
Groton, MA


gruaud said...

Forget the census, Chuck. Even though it is
mandated by the Constitution that you profess
to love. Not to mention that data processing will
be handled by defense contractor Lockheed-
Martin. You should be shitting your pants in

Instead, think about why you're unemployed.

SoRefined said...

I am pretty sure sending out a notice that you are going to be getting your census form soon is cheaper than having to follow up with all the people who throw theirs out not realizing what it is. Kind of like when the Bush administration sent out a firm notifying people their stimulus payments, er, I mean, rebate checks would be coming. (Side note: Why was THAT government handout okay? Is it because rich people got it, too?)

Also, perhaps if the GOP wasn't sending party recruitment mail pretending to be the census, and/or if the right wing wasn't actively telling people not to fill out their census forms, the need for commercials or pre-notifying people that the legit census was on its way wouldn't be as necessary.

I love the thought of census hiring as government plot. All the unemployment figures I have read recently have actually mentioned the impact census hiring has had on the unemployment rate.

I'm not even going to address the outdated BOOGA BOOGA ACORN BOOGA BOOGA allegations and skip right to the race question. This is a question that has changed a lot over the years on the census, and is a question that is asked very differently on censuses the world over. Our incredible nation happens to be one that is rich in diversity, and it can be difficult to ask about race in a way that makes each person feel like he or she is accurately represented. Not that this matters to the sort of people who write these sorts of letters, who seek to dehumanize their fellow human beings at every turn if those human beings don't look like them.

Which I think gets us to the point about people living in this country illegally. Sorry wingnuts, they're still human. The point of the census is to count people, not American citizens.

Anonymous said...

@ Sorefined

Exactly right. It may seem silly to send out a notice, until you realize that doing so raises the response rate which in turn lowers the cost of running this thing.

On a separate note, I'd just like it known that Robert Groves is one of the finest survey researchers in the world, and an all around nice guy. Obama tapped him for a reason, because he's the best at this.

For fun, lets go down the line of this wingnut crap:

Not sure where they got the 14 billion figure, but I can't seem to verify it. However, that the census also conducts the CPS, a very important monthly survey, along with a lot of other things, I'm willing to be that may include their budget for all operations.

Its estimated that every percentage increase in response rates save $85 million dollars, because that means they don't have to train and send a person out to knock on people's doors. One percent is 3 million people, so the actual rate is about $29, which isn't crazy when you consider the training and logistics of actually finding them, not to mention the fact they they'll go back up to 6 times to try and get things right.

And yes, wingnuts, you can save the government money by sending back your form! Its the ultimate in responsible citizenship!

No, they won't be hiring 800K workers as part of some plot. They hired about 40K. And no, you couldn't count 437.5 people in a morning, you jackass.

The Super Bowl ad was a smart move given how big an audience it reached. Again, response rates.

The ACORN thing is bullshit, like most wingnut crying about ACORN. As of this week they don't even exist anymore, and they were never part of the census.

If you don't understand why the hispanic and race questions are different they you probably aren't hispanic.

CharlieE said...

I think it's funny that Republicans hate the government and think it can't do anything right, but then wonder why the government is doing something to provide them with a job.

Anonymous said...

Am I understanding the complaint correctly? That this guy is unemployed and he thinks hiring people to government jobs is bad for the economy? Shouldn't he be thrilled that all these potential job competitors now are employed elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that hopes that the right-wing stays paranoid about the census and doesn't get counted?

I mean... Just think how we'd be once all those red states have only one or two representatives and electoral votes...

ferschitz said...

LOL... this dude's also now praising FDR for using his stimulous to build roads and improve the infrastructure, yet these same tools will bitch and moan on cue from billoglennrushsean about teh eeevul dreaded socialismcommienazi FDR and how horrible his stimulous program was (even though it worked, but gawd forbid and heaven forfend that teh poors get any help; socialism is only for the excessively wealthy and giant corporations).

So stupid on so many levels, but prior posts have covered the ground well. But hey, conservatives, please go ahead and follow the commands of one of your bestest Reps, Michelle Bachmann, and refuse to fill out your census form. Go right ahead; be my guest; toss that puppy in the mail; and threaten any census worker who comes to your door with a gun and tell him/her to get the eff out.

That's fine by me. It will result in re-districting that's more favorable to sane people who just go ahead and fill out the form, as has been done now for years without anyone complaining.

dumb de dumb dumb dumb...

Anonymous said...

Dear right-wing lunatic:

Please do us a favor, and don't answer your census. The more under-counted and under-represented you people are, the better off the country will be.



Yeah, I know, I know, it's the wrong attitude. But I couldn't resist.

Hooray4US said...

I don't know if that's the "wrong attitude," Anon. As ferschitz points out, Republican Rep from MN Michelle Bachmann has been commanding her constituents to not fill out the census (I'm not sure why; it's hard to make any sense out of what she says).

I'm all for Michelle Bachmann's voters to just NOT fill out the census. Just toss it in the trash and be done with it.

Works for me!! And they'd be obeying what their authoritarian Representative is telling them to do. It's a two-fer!

katz said...

I think they just like picking on the census because it's a part of government that's essentially helpless and that they're likely to interact with personally.

So they hate all government. But the people they really hate (Congress, the president, etc) are inaccessible. Taking it out on the police would be a bad idea. Similarly, people like bus drivers are providing services they actually want, so they can't give much trouble or they'll risk just getting thrown off the bus.

But what about the skinny college student with the Census bag? He isn't providing a service and he depends on cooperation, so you can obstruct him all you want. He's too low-ranking to get you in trouble. Sure, if you threatened him with a weapon he could call the cops, but if you're rude and uncooperative, he can't do a thing. Plus, he's a temporary employee who doesn't know anything not immediately pertinent to the job he's doing, so your stupid "gotcha!" questions are likely to stump him. And he's a government representative, so if you stump him, it's a sign that the whole government doesn't know what it's doing.

Does this sound likely to you?

Anonymous said...

@ everyone
temporary government jobs like the ones created to harass the public are not an answer in any fashion to the 10% unemployment crisis. I have been personally asked by a census worker things like employment history and income. it's none of their business. don't tell me this information is confidential. please review your history books. you will find plenty of examples of the census information being used against united states citizens.

don't tell me "the acorn thing is bs." look at the white house blogg. the director of the u.s. census bureau, mr. groves, sent a letter to the director of acorn, ms. maude, on september 11 2009. In this letter groves informed maude that acorn would not be involved with the census. so it's not bs. it was a valid concern. "Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership." R. Groves

to all genius democrats and liberals and socialist: Please describe a single government entitlement program that is not on it's way to insolvency or is already completely bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

"I have been personally asked by a census worker
things like employment history and income."

There's no nice way to put this, so I'll just get right
to the point: you're a liar.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon

No one ever said that census jobs were a solution to unemployment. The only people even trying to parrot that line are Republicans, who tried to downplay last weeks good jobs report with crap about how it was all just census workers, when the facts didn't bear that out. But we'd

If you don't want Census workers coming to your door, there is a simple answer: mail back your damn form. As for employment and income and all that, do you really think the government doesn't know that? Didn't you file your tax return? Don't you do so every year? If they really wanted to get you they would.

As for the ACORN thing, it is BS, for exactly the reason you stated. ACORN was potentially one group which may have helped with the census, but after the totally BS "sting" operation done by right wing media hacks, which was later revealed to be a total fraud, they were removed from the list. And even if they weren't they don't even exist anymore. Again, these are facts.

To all the genius republicans and teabaggers: how about that free market, huh? Those businesses on wall street sure have done a way better job then the government in not totally screwing up everything and going broke.

Hooray4US said...

To the last Anon post: thank you (I mean it sincerely) for a thoughtful post. With respect, I disagree with you about the census, but you are entitled to your opinion. Speaking strictly for myself - and as person up there in years - I am confused (quite honestly) about all the fuss about the census this year. I've gone through 5 censuses, and I've never, ever seen the resistance to the census as what I see happening this year.

You tell me to "read my history books" to learn where "confidential info" has been used against US citizens. I would appreciate it (mean it sincerely) if you could give me one example of that.

I am also confused about the great fear of information from censuses being used against citizens, yet most Republicans and conservatives have not one problem with the prior President GW Bush initiated warrantless wiretappings on all citizens.

I was told by many conservatives that I know that this was "for my own good," "for the safety of our nation in a time of war," that the "information will not be used against citizens who have nothing to hide" and so on.

Frankly, I find warrantless wiretappings to much more of a threat to me in terms of info being "used against" me than the info that was gathered in my census form.

I am being quite honest here. I would also greatly appreciate learning just one example where someone's info collected in a census was used against them. You suggest that I read "history books" to find out. I mean it when I say: can you point out some of the history books or other sources that give examples. Websites, for example?

That would be helpful. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

what evidence do you have that i'm lying about being asked employment history and income? I live in lincoln park chicago on clark and commonwealth. if you don't believe me call the census bureau and ask them what questions they ask on their home visits. i was asked these questions buy a later aged man in his 50's on march 30th. he had an official u.s. census bureau badge. i had already sent in my census form 3 weeks prior to this visit. i have also received an additional census form with a letter informing me that I have yet to send in my census form. there's my tax dollars hard at work.

so i will have to say I am sorry but let me get to the point: you are a misinformed individual who resorts to name calling before gathering any facts on your own. stop listening to the media and start asking your own questions

Tootseye said...

Hmmm. Well, lessee: frankly there are commercial databases with loads of info stored about each and everyone us, including employment history, credit info, financial info, and all of our addresses and phone numbers going back into the mists of time. So if you're worried about the census, I dunno. It's really not the problem.

I think one of the prior posts brought up a good question. Where you worried about Bush's warrentless wiretaps, and did you protest against them?

And where's the one example of where census data was "used against" a citizen in some nefarious way?

Anonymous said...

@hooray4us since you asked politely...

Data from the 1940 Census was used to intern Japanese, Italian, and German Americans following the U.S.’s entry into the war, and to monitor and persecute others who escaped internment. In addition to providing geographic information to the War Department, the Census Bureau released the name, address, age, sex, citizenship status and occupation of Japanese Americans in the Washington, D.C., area to the Treasury Department in response to an unspecified threat against President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943.

There may well be other instances of such data sharing of which we remain unaware, as the full scope of the personal information released during World War II has only recently been brought to light.
Thus, while the Census Bureau assures us that “your confidentiality is protected. Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep all information about you and all other respondents strictly confidential,” these exceptions negate such assurances. Of course, the release of the “strictly confidential” data was also perfectly legal: during World War II, under the terms of the Second War Powers Act, and more recently, under the terms of the USA PATRIOT Act, now extended by the Obama administration.
In preparation for this year’s census, 140,000 workers were hired to collect GPS readings for every front door in the nation. Such pinpoint precision will certainly simplify the process of locating any individual or group that may be identified as a threat to “national security” in the future. Remember, for example, the 1976 Senate Report in which 26,000 Americans were slated for roundup by the FBI in the event of a national emergency at the height of the Cold War. Now that the U.S. Government’s Terrorist Watchlist has exceeded one million, the GPS data acquired could be instrumental in accomplishing such a roundup.
Meanwhile, the data is also shared a little more broadly than advertised. Stanford University recently joined UC Berkeley, Duke, the University of Michigan, UCLA, and others in having its very own census data center. As the director of the new center explained, “The Census Bureau is very interested in making the centers more accessible to scholars who can use the data they provide.”
As Henry Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and principal investigator for the California Census Research Data Centers helpfully added: “We’re trying to make centers where lots of federal agencies will let us use their data.”
While reassurances are repeated that the data is held under the strictest security, and will only be used for innocuous projects like “government programs and solutions to our problems,” do we really want academics to social engineer policy solutions based on sensitive personal data? After all, they may turn out to be no more desirable than the “solutions” provided by government programs like internment and renditioning. Without the protections afforded by a right to privacy, there’s little chance of escaping a political will to enforce discriminatory policies.
This “mission creep” for the Census thus pushes up against a level of discomfort no amount of advertising dollars can likely assuage. Many will no doubt choose to follow former Senate majority leader Trent Lott’s advice to skip any Census questions they feel violates their privacy—which may well include any exceeding the Constitution’s mandate for an “actual Enumeration.” Unfortunately, choosing privacy now costs more: legislation recently passed raises the fine for “anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers” from a limit of $100 to $5,000—a fact not advertised even in the small print.

Hooray4US said...

Thank you for an informative response. You *may* have a point. However, have you been protesting the census every time it's taken, or are you only doing so now?

And again: did you protest against Bush's warrantless wiretaps, or did you agree at the time and think that they were a good thing?

Would like to know.

Anonymous said...

what does bush's wire tapping have to do with the census? how can you compare a selective national security policy to a nationwide survey? i don't commit crimes and i'm not a terrorist so i don't care if they tap their phones.

and still there is bush bashing, it's been over a year now. the economy is in worse shape than at any point during bush's administration. it's a futile argument. bush is not in charge! it's time to make THIS administration take some responsibility.

I filled out my census form answering only the question needed to accurately appropriate the correct amount of seats in congress for my district. i.e. how many people live at this address. like i said before the rest is none of their business.

oh and i'm still waiting for an answer to my questions. name one entitlement program that is not on the brink of insolvency or completely bankrupt already.

Hooray4US said...

I don't feel that asking whether you were for or against the Bush warrantless wiretaps constitutes "Bush bashing," but you are entitled to your opinion. I was asking a question.

I ask because, from my perspective (it's my opinion), I find the prospect of warrantless wiretaps to be more concerning that filling out census forms. It would seem that we have different perspectives on these topics.

If you felt more comfortable answering your census form in the way that you did: that's fine, and that's your choice. The fact that you seem to feel that having your voice phone calls tapped (and they are) is of no concern causes me to scratch my head. Again: we see it differently.

As for entitlement programs going broke: how about if we stopped spending like drunken sailors on 2 senseless wars?? There never were WMD in Iraq; that was a big fat old lie.

I've long protested both of those wars (and many others) because those happen to be the "entitlement" programs that I believe are bankrupting other programs that I prefer to see funded. Again: that's my opinion.

I disagree with the wars, and I think our futures are being sold down the river to Big Daddy WarBucks, Inc.

Social Security should have enough money in it, but both political parties have chosen to mis-use it. I've long protested that, as well.

I don't have time tonight to go on about this, but you raise some fair enough questions. I sense, though, that we might (hopefully respectfully) disagree about what we each feel is an important "entitlement" program and where tax dollars should be sent.

Thanks for asking and thanks for being (mostly) polite in your responses.

Anonymous said...

Hooray4us, i wasn't directing that bashing comment at you.

also, to clarify: no i have never protested a census before. however, this is the first one i have ever personally experienced due to my young age and the fact i have only been a homeowner for the last 3 years. regardless, the census has become more intrusive over the years and crept from it's original scope. i find this alarming and refuse to accept it. call me what you want, teabagger, right wing nut etc... (again not directed @ hooray) i find asking "why" is something the way it is much more enlightening than blindly accepting any government explanation or media opinion.

hooray what evidence do you have that innocent random u.s. citizens have been tapped without a warrant? i too honestly have a genuine interest in this data.

as far as the WMD's go. i'm also not concerned with the fact there were none in existence (that we know of). it's completely within the realm of possibilities that they were moved to syria before we invaded. that's speculation but not completely unfounded. i'm happy for the citizens of iraq and their new found democracy albeit imperfect. it's an improvement to their tyrannical dictatorship.

as for afghanistan i think obama has done a wretched job managing the war. however, we no longer see the front page of every news paper with death tolls on them even though the bloodiest period in that ware happened on obama's watch.

i have never felt and can't comprehend how a war is an entitlement but maybe you could add to that opinion when time permits.

anyway hooray, we do have different opinions and i happily accept that.

Anonymous said...

@ anon

Why worry now? The Census has existed since the beginning, and its been asking these types of questions for centuries. Yes, they have asked about race, occupation, income, etc etc etc since the early days of the republic. Why? Because its useful to know these things if we are going to create good public policy. This is common practice and has been for generations, yet now- NOW!- and only now has this become a concern for conservatives. Which seems to be pretty common these days: things which were normal, even praised, by Republicans are now part of some evil Democratic plot.

As for entitlement programs not on the brink of insolvency: Social Security. Yes, I know that's a favorite whipping boy for the right, but the fact is that its not insolvent. It has significant savings in the trust fund, which should last at least 25 more years, and when it is done there will still be social security, it just won't be able to pay out 100% of what its current projected. That's unfortunate, and it will require readjustments, but its not on the "brink of insolvency", no matter how many times you say it.

But maybe we should have put it into the Stock Market like Bush wanted to do. I'm sure things would have been just grand if we let the free market handle everything...

Anonymous said...

as far as the WMD's go. i'm also not concerned with the fact there were none in existence (that we know of). it's completely within the realm of possibilities that they were moved to syria before we invaded. that's speculation but not completely unfounded.

So you don't care that thousands of Americans are dead and tens of thousands more are forever maimed, not to mention hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis? You don't mind that this war made us LESS safe in many ways, and has basically flushed hundreds of billions of dollars down the toilet?

Get this through your head: the WMDs Bush promised were a lie. They weren't there, and they weren't taken to Syria and Iraq was NEVER a threat to us or involved in 9/11.

as for afghanistan i think obama has done a wretched job managing the war. however, we no longer see the front page of every news paper with death tolls on them even though the bloodiest period in that ware happened on obama's watch.

Really? How? Because Obama actually tried to win in Afghanistan and didn't let is fester like an open sore for years while wasting time, resources and personnel on a completely irrelevant and stupid war? Obama screwed things up? Get real.

i have never felt and can't comprehend how a war is an entitlement but maybe you could add to that opinion when time permits.

Its worse than an entitlement: in most cases its wasted money. Some people get rich, a lot of people suffer, and a lot of money basically vanishes. As for war as en entitlement, one need only look at the bottom line of America's military industrial complex to see corporate welfare at its finest.

Anonymous said...

@ Tootseye :
if the information exists freely and in copious amounts going back into the mists of time then why does the u.s. census need to spend 14 billion dollars to obtain this seemingly free information? I don't get it. that does seem like a problem to me as a taxpayer.

i'd like evidence that shows innocent american were targeted for unwarranted taps.

your final question was answered at length above.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 19:50
when did i indicate that i had no regard for the loss of u.s. soldiers in iraq or any innocent civilian? death is a part of war. it has been for ever. i say god bless our troops every day and thank them all for their ultimate sacrifices.

get this through your head: you have no way of knowing for sure if the weapons didn't make it to syria and you can't prove it. i never said iraq had anything to do with 9/11. i heard those talking points years ago.

afghanistan is an irrelevant war? really? here's what obama had to say about this irrelevant war last month to 2,500 troops at bagram air field
"I made a promise to all of you who serve: I will never send you into harm's way unless it's absolutely necessary. I anguish in thinking about the sacrifices that so many of you make," Mr. Obama said, saying that the promise is two-pronged -- he will not send troops into dangerous situations without the tools to succeed.

"You will be backed up by a clear mission, and the right strategy and you will have the support to finish the job, to get the job done," the president said. "I am confident all you will get the job done right here in Afghanistan."

In assuring the troops that they were fighting in the Asian country out of necessity, Mr. Obama harkened back to the cause of the war. On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by suspected al-Qaeda terrorists. Four commercial airplanes were hijacked in attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers, crashed into the Pentagon and one which was overtaken by the flight's passengers.

"We did not choose this war. This was not an act of America wanting to expand its influence, of use wanting to mettle in somebody else's business," the president said. "We were attacked viciously on 9/11. Thousands of our fellow countrymen and women were killed. This is the region where the perpetrators of that, al-Qaeda crime still base their leadership.

sounds like obama may disagree with you. and it is FACT that the bloodiest time in this war was on obama's watch. fail.

if you feel war is a waste of money move to Switzerland. i think though if you asked the dozens of countries that we have bailed out they'd tell you it wasn't a waste of money. maybe you feel the American Revolutionary War was a waste of money and an entitlement. or how about WWI or WWII? were those a waste of money?

Anonymous said...

@ anon

Because they have to actually go do it. They aren't allowed to just cull records from companies or sample things. They are required to either get a response from everyone or go train someone and pay them to go out and ask the necessary questions. As has been said before, the vast majority of these costs are due to nonresponse to the mailings.

As for evidence of innocents being wiretapped, are you really so lazy that you can't do a 5 second google search for the relevant cases. But lets put aside the question of innocence and guilt for a minute. The bigger issue here is that these wiretaps broke the law and directly violated the constitition. Whatever their use they were illegal and unethical, and the worst part about it was that there was a system set up to all but rubber stamp secret warrants for wiretapping. I would have been so simple for them to just go through the motions and get what they needed for the taps to be technically legal, but they didn't even give enough of a crap to do that. They just did whatever they wanted and wiped their feet with the Constitution. The same Constitution which right wingers NOW claim is being violated by the Constitutionally mandated census! Its insane!

Anonymous said...

@ anon

Searching... searching... searching...

Nope, I can't find where I said Afghanistan was an irrelevant war. On the contrary, I think I stated pretty clearly that Obama's been actually trying to win that war, and your criticism of his efforts is out of touch with reality.

And I also said that war is often a waste of money (not to mention blood), and you know what, it often is, especially wars like Iraq, which serve no purpose except to kill a lot of people and bleed our nations treasury dry. Sadly, the number of "Good" wars in history, is far outnumbered by the pointless ones driven by greed and hate.

get this through your head: you have no way of knowing for sure if the weapons didn't make it to syria and you can't prove it.

I also have no way of knowing for sure that Obama isn't a space alien from Jupiter. But then again that issue wasn't addressed in the 9/11 Commission Report or admitted by W himself, unlike the lack of WMDs, which was addressed by both of those sources.

i never said iraq had anything to do with 9/11. i heard those talking points years ago.

You didn't say it, but Bush and his cronies sure did. Until they did an about face and admitted that was a bunch of crap.

Anonymous said...

what are you talking about??it was in your 3rd statement "Because Obama actually tried to win in Afghanistan and didn't let is fester like an open sore for years while wasting time, resources and personnel on a completely irrelevant and stupid war?"
did you mean ; "irrelevant and stupid war" like iraq? in which case you have 2 problems. one your statement is poorly worded and is confusing. Two, the war in iraq is over, it's been over for a couple years, oh yeah and we won.

it's right there can you see it? waiting waiting waiting...

katz said...

"I have been personally asked by a census worker things like employment history and income."

I'm a census enumerator. If you're referring to this year's census, you've lied several times.

1. Employment history and income are not on the census this year (I don't know if they ever were).

2. Assuming you don't live in a prison, mental ward, or other group facility, or are homeless, you can't have been visited yet because visits to nonresponsives don't begin until May 14.

3. Even if you do live in a group home, it's unlikely that you've been visited, because a) those visits only started on April 2 (Friday) and b) in most group homes, the census worker only delivers and collects the forms, and the individuals fill them out themselves.

You may have received the American Community Survey (the so-called "long form"), but that's not the census, although it's administered by the Census Bureau. Nevertheless, you are probably lying because:

1. Only about 1% of homes have received the American Community Survey. The number of anti-census conservatives who claim to have received it is disproportionate.

2. Non-responsives still don't start until May 14 (unless you got one of the test forms in a previous year, in which case I don't know why you're suddenly making a stink about it now).

3. If you sent back the form, you're extremely unlikely to get a visit from an enumerator, even if you didn't fill it out entirely. You aren't even required to put your name on it.

katz said...


He/she is referring to Japanese internment. While census data was used, it wasn't personal data; it was demographic data about areas, which was never confidential. It isn't even meaningful to say that it was "released," because it was publicly available already.

Paul said...

I was hired by the US Census Bureau and have been instructed to ask about employment history and income among many other personal questions. Anyone who denies this practice is lying.

Anonymous said...

did you mean ; "irrelevant and stupid war" like iraq? in which case you have 2 problems. one your statement is poorly worded and is confusing. Two, the war in iraq is over, it's been over for a couple years, oh yeah and we won.

I absolutely meant that Iraq is both irrelevant and stupid. If a fraction of the resources and attention wasted there had be focused on Afghanistan then

As for the Iraq war being over: bullshit. There are still almost 90K US troops there, plus an unknown number of non-military contractors. There are still bombings almost every day (3 today!). We are still having to pay billions each month as we slowly try to back away from W's happy little quagmire. And there are still Americans dying. 90 this year so far. So go tell their families that the war is over.

We didn't "win" in Iraq in any meaningful way. We got rid of Saddam, who was never a threat, but at a huge cost in blood and treasure.

Anonymous said...

By which I meant to say:

I absolutely meant that Iraq is both irrelevant and stupid. If a fraction of the resources and attention wasted there had be focused on Afghanistan then maybe it wouldn't have fallen apart from Bush's neglect.

Anonymous said...

@ Paul

And? They already know. They have your tax records. If they were coming to get you, you'd already be gotten.

katz said...

Paul, were you hired to conduct the American Community Survey? Also, when were you hired?

katz said...

"i was asked these questions buy a later aged man in his 50's on march 30th. he had an official u.s. census bureau badge. i had already sent in my census form 3 weeks prior to this visit."

Sorry guys--my computer wasn't displaying this thread correctly, so I only just saw this message. It is, however, further proof that this guy is lying.

No house-to-house enumeration was conducted on March 30. The census was conducting service-based enumeration from March 29 to March 31 (March 31 was the TNSOL count, where we went out overnight and counted homeless people; you may have heard about it). We were at homeless shelters and soup kitchens on March 30.

These dates are the same throughout the US. I know because I asked if training dates were flexible and they told me no; every GQE enumerator was being trained from March 24 to March 26.

Anonymous said...

It is, however, further proof that this guy is lying.

Or perhaps there are Census Bureau impersonators. I suppose we'll find out in May if he gets a second visit.

ferschitz said...

Thanks, Katz, for your info about the Japanese Internments during WWII and the relationship (or not) to Census data. That's what I thought, as well, but wasn't sure.

Look: sure the gov't does nefarious things, and all citizens are advised to question what's going on. That's fine. But be honest in your questioning and look at a broad range of resources.

I've been around for 5 Censuses, and I've never seen anything like the current conservative complaining about the Census. The last one was in 2000 when Clinton was still POTUS, and the Census was pretty much of a non-event. What's changed so radically since then?

IMO, the last Census was overriden by Republicans' focus on the Clenus, a certain blue dress and a cigar. That exercise in futility cost ME and YOU a lot of wasted tax dollars for Ken Starr's starbursts over Bill & Monica. What a waste.

I'd suggest that if conservatives are so concerned about the Census, then they ought to question the unconstitutional warrantless wiretaps foisted on us by the Bush Admin. I agree with Hooray4US. I don't see why conservatives see no equivalency between their complaints about the unseemly invasiveness of the Census, but are somehow completely at ease if the gov't is listening in on their phone conversations. If you have nothing to hide, and you think it's appropriate for your phone calls to be tapped at random, then why do you mind answering a few questions on a Census? I say that in earnest without anger or bile: I don't get that. That's just me, but I don't get that.

The only thing that changed about this year's Census is that a Democrat is POTUS, and the current crop of Republicans have stated very bluntly, very plainly and very publically and very often their plan of action is to resist and obstruct absolutely everything that this current Admin does. Everything!

So here we have a Census that's been taken once per decade for however many years, and suddenly, out of the blue, Republicans are complaining that there's something evil and nefarious and unseemly about it, and somehow data is being gathered that will be used "against" US citizens. However, tapping your phone calls is "nothing" and "no big deal," especially if you have "nothing to hide."

I have to say it: I call bullshit.

This is nothing more than a blatant political manuever (and hey: that's politics, frankly; that is how it works. I'm really not talking about something arcane or secretive or whatever) to pit Republicans against this Democratic Admin in every way, at all times, for any and every reason. So be it: that's called political manuevering. Fine on one level.

But if you wish to REALLY question the gov't, then you might want to consider questioning why one political party is championing this line of thought and action, and really look into what it means.

I'm not saying that Repubs are particularly more nefarious than Dems. Just saying that it's a poltical ploy to manipulate citizens for political reasons.

Just saying...

ferschitz said...

Google "Downing Street Memo" and read a range of info about WMD and what really happened. Bush planned to attack Iraq no matter what, and google Valerie Plame to read how one of our own CIA spies was outed by Karl Rove bc her husband was disputing (with accurate info) the claim of Niger yellow cake being imported by Saddam.

When 9/11 happened, GWB had all citizens behind him. Bush had a shining moment to pull this country together and to show the world who we are and how we can handle situations. But he didn't do that. He acted on his own behalf.

Although I am a long a pacifist and disagreed with even sending troops to Afghanistan, I was mostly sanguine about that bc it's just in the nature of the USA to do that. But then what happened? Bush called off the hunt for Osama bin Laden when special ops nearly had captured Osama in the Tora Bora hills, and since then: no capture of Osama. I'm cynical about the long, deep and abiding friendship and business relationship between the Bush family and the bin Laden family having something to do with this. Think I'm a loony leftie "bashing" Bush? Fine. Look it up.

I abhor the expansion of the war in Afghanistan under BHO stated plainly during his campaign that he planned to do what he's doing. I do not agree with it.

The Iraq war isn't over, and if you think so, then you've been duped. Plus both of these wars are costing YOU and ME billions of tax dollars, while also resulting in dead and seriously maimed US citizens (soliders, etc) and foreign nationals. If conservatives think is ok or good or what is necessary: so be it. I don't agree.

Bush lied about WMD in Iraq, and Bush made certain strategic decisions about Afghanistan that largely resulted in prolonging an unnecesary conflict, which results in billions of OUR tax dollars being wasted.

I'm not supposed to "complain" about Bush policies now that a year has passed? Republicans have been complaining for years not only about Clinton, but about Carter. It's not JUST Dems or lefties who complain. Conservatives have gone so far as to state plainly that 9/11 happened when Clinton was STILL POTUS. How much more of a bald faced LIE can anyone come up with? Spare me the outrage if I complain about Bush.

I believe that military-indus complex is ruining our country. If you don't see the billions of YOUR tax dollars spent on exercises in futility based on lies and causing people to die as an entitlement program that should be ceased immediately, then I give up.

This country has deregulated everything (often with the connivance of Dems, so I also hold the accountable) to the point where all of our businesses, including service sector work, has been off-shored to 3rd world countries. The money that we have left is being wasted on war, and conservatives waste time victimizing themselves to poor people. Wake up.

A final thought: go read about how other empires in history died. Check Rome, and if you want a more recent example, check out the former British empire.

Both empires way over extended themselves, spent way too much money to spread themselves way to thin. And then their empires collapsed. Guess what: that's what's happening here and now in the USA.

Reganomics and Regan era tax cuts to the extremely wealthy have resulted in an unfair tax burden on the rest of us. Conservatives have every right to protest whatever they want. I just wish that you'd protest something real for a change that would potentially result in an improvement for the middle and lower classes, rather than playing right into the hands of rich and the powerful.

Hooray4US said...

Amen, ferschitz. I agree with all of your points, and more.

Conservatives have a right to their viewpoints, and sometimes we here at this blog get slap-happy and rude. Perhaps not a good idea, but most of what we dispute here can be readily proven by google and snopes searches.

I also agree that this country is being ruined by the continuance of Regan era tax cuts to the extremely rich, which Dems aren't doing a whole lot about either. But how can Dems even *think* about raising taxes on the very rich?? Because the tea party express will get in motion screaming about how unfair it is and how it's ruining their lives.

Yet, the vast majority of tea party protesters simply do not make enough money to be affected by increasing the taxes of the extremely wealthy. These conservatives play right into the hands of the rich and powerful, as ferschitz says. You might want to check out tax rates over the years, and since the 1960s, the top end tax rates have been significantly and substantially reduced to the deteriment of all citizens.

Following WWII, it was considered all citizens' duties to contribute to the well-being of this nation via taxes, which were used in the 1950s and 1960s to substantially enhance and improve our infrastructure, grow businesses, expand the middle class, improve education, etc.

Beginning in the late 1960s, conservatives, such as Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, Pat Buchanon, Dick Cheney and others, determined to change the course of this progress and initiated a very successful program to demonize and villify the left, progressives and Democrats to the point where all taxes are now considered some kind of evil and that citizens should somehow never have to pay them under any circumstances for any reason. It's fine to read Ayn Rand and feel that libertarianism is the way to go, but who pays for the roads you drive on, the public schools and libraries that we all utilize, the bridges and levees that we need, and so on?

The results are dramatic. Our nation went from being towards the top in terms of our educational system and the achievements of our students to dropping way down the list. It's easy to blame teacher's unions and other culprits for this, rather than looking at the picture more wholistically, as well as examining how other industrialized nations approach education.

I could go on with other examples. Speaking for myself, I'm beyond being frustrated with conservatives who waste all of times endlessly villifying the poor and speaking condescendingly about entitlement programs, but have nothing of any consequence to say about tax cuts for those at the top, or about the unending wars for no reason which are breaking our backs.

If you're concerned about entitlements, then start with the DoD and the wars. And fine: go protest BHO's continuing in Afghanistan: I'll join you in that protest.

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