STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
James Bovard Questions Government Census Promises
By Daily Bell Staff - November 30, 2015

Fo Real S'kebei … Pidgin english is now officially a language Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii Don't 'oe be givin me no stink eye, this is fo real s'kebei. After hundreds of years, Hawaiian Pidgin has been officially recognised as a language. A US census survey into languages, which was released on November 3, included both Hawaiian Pidgin and Pidgin in its official list for the first time. – Metro UK

Dominant Social Theme: Government agencies get a bad rap. In the US, many fedgov facilities try very hard to be respectful of differences of all kinds.

Free-Market Analysis: This is a great public relations coup for the US Census Bureau, one of the more invasive of US agencies and thus a department that is always thinking of ways to better its image.

And what better way than to officially recognize a "language" spoken by non-white islanders residing on a US protectorate, the Philippines?

Here's more:

More than 327,000 Hawaiians took part in the five-year survey from 2009-2013, asking residents if any language other than English was spoken within their home … Pidgin has been denigrated as a 'sub-standard' form of english in the past and linguists have been trying to reverse this perception ever since.

After reading this article, one must come away convinced that the Census Bureau bureaucrats are uniquely sensitive to the cultural components of the "clients" they attempt to count on a regular basis.

This was surely a tempting "wrong" the Bureau was able to rectify and so it did. Hopefully, people will realize now that the Bureau, invasive as it is, is dedicated to the well being of the US inhabitants it is charged with counting.

Of course, the Bureau needs to generate as much good will as it can, given what has been discovered lately about its participation in placing Japanese-American citizens in internment camps.

We are informed about this from an article that recently appeared in USA Today by libertarian reporter and author James Bovard. The article, entitled "Trump Card for Another Census Roundup," tells the sad tale of Census Bureau participation in a shameful episode of US history.

The putative reason for James Bovard's article has to do with the current political success of Donald Trump who may wish to create a registry of the names of Muslims in the US.

Bovard, of course, is anti-registry and mentions at the beginning of the article that he "recently received this 28-page tsunami of questions about everything from my plumbing to my profession to my ethnicity and income. But … Trump's words … and the bureau's actions in the past make me wary of this blunderbuss."

Bovard continues:

… In the early 1940s, the Census brazenly violated federal law by providing key information on Japanese Americans so that the Army could round them up for internment camps. The detentions are widely recognized now as among the largest civil liberties violations in modern U.S. history.

For almost 60 years, the Census denied any improper role in the internment. But in 2000, researchers disclosed a cache of smoking-gun documents that compelled the bureau to admit some culpability. Even so, it proudly declared that it had never provided the names and addresses of specific Japanese Americans to law enforcement or the military.

This sordid history is one of the reasons that Bovard is suspicious of the Bureau. While the Bureau maintained that it had never turned over names, the article informs us that in 2007, "a study by William Seltzer of Fordham University and Margo Anderson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee proved that the Census gave the Secret Service the names and addresses of all persons of Japanese ancestry in the Washington, D.C., area during World War II."

James Bovard implies that what happened in DC probably took place elsewhere as well. The evidence simply hasn't surfaced yet. And the Bureau's behavior during World War II is apparently not anomalous. Bovard writes that a little more than a decade ago, the Bureau gave the newly-formed Department of Homeland Security a report on where Arab Americans lived by zip code.

The Bureau touts the lawful confidentiality of its information but Bovard points out that Congress can change the law at will and compel the Bureau to supply survey data as necessary.

There is another even deeper layer to the Japanese interment story, however, and it is one that we have referred to previously but does not appear in any history books. It was communicated to us by a source we consider trustworthy who had close family ties to officials at the very top of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

According to this individual, family members of the victims of Pearl Harbor were contemplating a lawsuit against the federal government for negligence and worse. FDR was most concerned about what might emerge at a trial and cast about for a way to provide compensation.

It was suggested to FDR that putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps would remove a potentially treacherous fifth column while providing the solution to FDR's larger problem. Accordingly, Japanese were interred and, as Bovard points out, at least in one case, the Census Bureau provided confidential information.

But the matter does not end there. The larger reason for the incarcerations involved the removal of the assets of the interred Japanese. Bank accounts were confiscated and houses were sold. In this way a slush fund was constructed that was then used to compensate the families of the victims of Pearl Harbor.

This sordid chapter in US history, if our source is correct, only deepens the culpability of the Census Bureau, as not only did it cooperate to put Japanese-Americans in camps, it also becomes culpable for what happened to Japanese-American assets. When these citizens were finally released in 1945, they found their wealth had been confiscated in its entirety. Many did not even have homes to return to. They had been sold years before.

Of course, it is not just the Census Bureau about which US citizens ought to harbor suspicions. Virtually every facility of US fedgov is a potential opponent of the people it is constituted to serve.

Today, the census bureau may use its data gathering power to right a historical wrong concerning language in the Philippines. But tomorrow the Bureau can be commanded by Congress to hand over even the most sensitive data – and it will do so.

This goes for other federal agencies as well. The amounts of data that the federal government collects on US citizens is truly staggering, though much of it is supposed to remain confidential. Not so fast: In a time of crisis, these agencies will surely prove less reliable than their current policies suggest.

US citizens should be mindful that their relationship with the federal government is not one of equals – nor is it benevolent. Once government was meant to be a servant of citizens of the Republic, but now it is the master.

After Thoughts

For this reason, as well as because of the historical record, people should be skeptical of government promises of any kind. As these times grow more chaotic and dangerous it is increasingly necessary to take steps to protect one's family and prosperity. The Daily Bell regularly provides information on how to do this, and by signing up for The Daily Bell Newswire you'll receive information that might further expand your options.

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • paul crosley

    Although the Census Bureau may try to collect as much as possible on US residents, most people give away the most sensitive info on themselves through Facebook, Twitter etc. Much more efficient and completely voluntary. The govt. has it all and in real time!

  • frankw

    I was recently the unhappy recipient of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and a more intrusive detailed questionaire can hardly be imagined. Along with the BS about how important this repulsive missive is comes the threat of punishment for not participating in this bad joke. I have no intention of complying, but will enclose a copy of the Supreme Court ruling Interstate Commerce v. Brinson, 154 U.S. 447,479 (May 26, 1894) that no government bureau has the legal right to force the public to provide personal information.

  • Pilgrim

    I got that blasted Obama census report and answered the first question only. “How many people in your household” My response: “3”. I sent it back. Never heard from them again.

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