[FoRK] Newsroom score: American Taliban

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Aug 29 12:31:30 PDT 2012

On 8/29/12 12:02 PM, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Aug 29, 2012, at 9:56 AM, "Stephen D. Williams" <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> Is there also a conspiracy by local government not to report this voter fraud to the Federal government?
>> Recent stories have cited 86 or 26 verified cases of voter fraud, nationally, in the last 6 or so years.  Were they all in Garden Grove?  If not, what's wrong with the local election board that has prevented them from reporting these problems?  Where are links to proof that this has happened?
> I think you are taking a bit of a naive view of the reality.
> I know someone that does transaction analysis at one of the major banks for the purposes of detecting irregularities such as money laundering. To do that job, they look at pretty much the entire ebb and flow of money throughout the country. While the bank only cares about irregularities it has some liability for, they detect a much broader range of crimes in the analysis. The most pervasive crime detected is securities fraud, but most people probably do not find that surprising. The second most pervasive crime, on the other hand, is very surprising to many people: judicial bribery.
> If we were to go by "verified cases" of judicial bribery as evidence, we would conclude that it is very rare. The people who could verify cases to your satisfaction have no significant incentive to do so and there is rarely a smoking gun that the victims of the crime can point to. In fact, most of the victims have no idea that it even occurred. Furthermore, on what basis could someone in the government responsible for investigating judicial corruption run the kind of privacy-violating fishing expeditions that the banks do? As far as the government is concerned, there is no evidence of widespread corruption in the judiciary even though they know they would find it if they actually looked.
> Voter fraud likely falls into a similar category. It is "rare" because it is institutionally implausible for the people who could verify it to look for it. Like with judicial bribery, there is an enormous amount of resistance to putting into place the kinds of policies that would make it possible for the government to officially verify its existence.

Certainly true to some extent.  You do however have to separate the lack of investigation under-bias from the conspiracy theory 
fear-mongering opportunist over-bias.  You periodically need a full investigation to get a realistic sample to gauge both.  In the 
1996 OC case, apparently there was a thorough investigation, costing at least $1.4M, which found essentially no real substance of 
wrongdoing, only plenty of appearance.  That firm data point will make it tough to make a firm argument until a contra-indicating 
thorough investigation happens.

On the banking example, I can think of few legal restrictions that would prevent a bank from reporting a pattern or even specific 
instances that seem to indicate jury tampering.  They in fact have a moral and perhaps some degree of legal responsibility to do so. 
While the government can't and shouldn't go on fishing expeditions, that has nothing to do with what private citizens and entities 
may choose to do.  I would be surprised if there wasn't a catchall "report suspicion of illegal activities" on the books to cover this.

The only reason I can see that a bank wouldn't report suspected illegal activity is if they didn't want to lose that and loosely 
associated (i.e. other nefarious) business.

> There are many things that, as far as the government is concerned, do not exist because the government goes to great lengths to not look for them.


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