Balkinization  

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Did Rove Aide "Cage" Black Voters in 2004? Did McNulty or Goodling Know About It?

JB

Greg Palast, writing at Brad Blog claims he has e-mails suggesting that a Karl Rove aide, Tim Griffin, engaged in illegal "caging" of black voters during the 2004 election. "Caging" involves political operatives sending "do not forward letters" to homes of voters that the sender knows are students, on extended vacation, or serving in the military overseas. When the letters are returned, the operative uses them to trick election officials into purging the voters (who are otherwise qualified to vote) from the voter rolls.

The issue arose in passing in Monica Goodling's testimony. She testified that Deputy Attorney General McNulty did not disclose what he knew about allegations that Griffin had caged African-American voters.

Congress didn't follow up on this tantalizing morsel of information. What did McNulty know about these allegations? For that matter, what did Goodling know? Nobody asked her, and she didn't say anything more about it.

Rick Hasen notes that the issue was not mentioned in the press (except for this article); He wonders if the media will see the connections and pick it up.

I'm wondering myself. The big story of the U.S. Attorney scandal, as Marty has noted previously, is the relationship between the Justice Department and Rovian attempts to suppress the vote through pushing for spurious prosecutions of voter fraud. At least some of the US Attorneys were fired because they wouldn't play along with these attempts. If the big story is not political patronage per se but using the Justice Department to suppress the vote, then the key question is what McNulty or Goodling or anyone else at Justice knew about related plans to purge qualified voters from the rolls.

Comments:

The whole "U.S. Attorneys" think is political. Rove has been tryng to use the federal gummint the same way he's used everything else he could get his hand on in his entire life (as in the FBI agent as detailed in Moore and Slater's "Bush's Brain"). It's all politics to him, and "winning". The attorney purge was designed to get those people in place that would do his bidding to try and gat any advantage possible for the Republicans, by any means necessary.

That is the story. It wasn't "conservatives" per se they were seeking, but rather tools of the Republican machine. Just like Doan and the GSA "pep talks".

With RW authoritarians, power is not an end in itself, but rather the end in itself.

Cheers,
 

Opposition Research!
 

As soon as Monica mentioned the word "caging," she was asked what it means. When she said it had to do with "direct mail," the name Karl Rove came to mind immediately. I'm sure he has this scheme in his political toolkit.
 

if greg palast is right. this is all about suppressing the vote to guarantee a GOP Majority.

i think they should look at Diebold too.

not enough solid answers to too many serious questions.
 

:::rolls eyes:::

Palast is a demonstrated paranoid loon. Google the conspiracy theories this clown has floated over the years.

Let us take a look at his latest claim...

Here's how caging worked, and along with Griffin's thoughtful emails themselves you'll understand it all in no time.

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.


Where to start with this lunacy?

Homeless people do not have addresses to send letters to.

How would Karl Rove know which registered voters were homeless?

Nearly no homeless people vote, so why would Rove bother?

How would Karl Rove know which registered voters were students and when they went on vacation?

Vacation mail gets forwarded or held, not returned to sender.

Why would Karl Rove try to disenfranchise soldiers, the vast majority of which vote for the Grand Old Party of the military? Usually, it is the Dems trying to disenfranchise soldiers like the 14,000 absentee votes they tried unsuccessfully to get thrown out in the Florida 2000 count.

Finally, if GOP operatives came in with "hundreds of thousands" of returned letters disenfranchising Dems, most of these would be in Dem counties run by Dem elections officials. And none of them noticed?

How do I know? I have the caging lists...

I have them because they are attached to the emails Rove insists can't be found. I have the emails. 500 of them --- sent to our team at BBC after the Rove-bots accidentally sent them to a web domain owned by our friend John Wooden.


So, produce them. Maybe the FBI should consider investigating Palast for obstructing justice.

Professor Balkin, do you really subscribe to this nonsense?
 

"Bart" DePalma just didn't get Rove's memo, I guess:

Where to start with this lunacy?

Why, I was saying just the same thing about "Bart"'s own writing.... Coincidence? I think not.

["Bart"]: Vacation mail gets forwarded or held, not returned to sender.

Ummm, these letter said "do not forward":

"The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes."

["Bart"]: How would Karl Rove know which registered voters were homeless?

Because they tend to use predictable mail addresses for pickup. Did you read the freakin' e-mail, "Bart", and the notes?!?!?

["Bart"]: Nearly no homeless people vote, so why would Rove bother?

Perhaps, but how "Bart" 'knows' this is not obvious. Nonetheless, his comment parses better in translation from Republican to English: "Nearly no homeless people vote, so why would I care?" Maybe dear ol' "Bart" thinks we ought to go back to the days when only landowners (and no wimmin and certainly no slaves) could vote. Just for the slow-of-thinking (that be you, "Bart), "Bart"'s comment here doesn't refute Palast's charge, nor does it make it any the more legal because "Bart" thinks the crime de minimus.

["Bart"]: Palast is a demonstrated paranoid loon.

Nope. He's one of your worst nightmares, "Bart". Here's his bio. More here. But nice argumentum ad hominem there, "Bart". Surely you won't mind if we just start dismissing your 'arguments' offhand with a "Oh, Bart's a raving, racist RW butt-sucking sycophantic lying loonie"....

Cheers,
 

More on "Bart"'s cluelessness:

["Bart"]: Why would Karl Rove try to disenfranchise soldiers, the vast majority of which vote for the Grand Old Party of the military?

Because they did that in Florida in 2000 too. This was reported in July 2001 by Don Van Natta of the N.Y. Times as well. They challenged absentee ballots from soldiers ... but only in Democratic-leaning counties (in the Republican-leaning counties, they argued for the inclusion of absentee ballots under identical circumstances).

["Bart"]: ... Usually, it is the Dems trying to disenfranchise soldiers like the 14,000 absentee votes they tried unsuccessfully to get thrown out in the Florida 2000 count.

Actually, after the uproar about the Dem's memo regarding challenges, the Dems dropped al such efforts. But the Republicans, workng from their own memo pretty much identical, didn't. See the Van Natta link above.

["Bart]: Finally, if GOP operatives came in with "hundreds of thousands" of returned letters disenfranchising Dems, most of these would be in Dem counties run by Dem elections officials. And none of them noticed?

Argument by personal incredulity.

[Palast]: How do I know? I have the caging lists...

[Palast]: I have them because they are attached to the emails Rove insists can't be found. I have the emails. 500 of them --- sent to our team at BBC after the Rove-bots accidentally sent them to a web domain owned by our friend John Wooden.


["Bart"]: So, produce them.

He did.

["Bart"]: Maybe the FBI should consider investigating Palast for obstructing justice.

Why? Has Palast failed to produce them when ordered to do so, like the Republican National Party and the maladministration has? But, dear "Bart", I think you're finally starting to get the idea about OOJ.... ;-)

Cheers,
 

It is great to see this blog for a change taking up a legal issue that is more substantive and not just arguing mostly about legal technicalities and arcania.

And for Bart dePalma -- this might not penetrtate his thick skull, but homeless people are not necessarily permanently homeless. People who have a home can fall on hard luck or lose a job, and are forced to become homeless. However that does not make them ineligible to vote under our Constitution. However, dishonest intriguers like Rove apparently wish this wasn't so.

I notice that people who frequently voice the uncomfortable truth and factual evidence are often quickly dismissed as "conspiracy theorists" by the dishonest likes of BDP.
 

Mr.Langsetmo,the only flaw that I can find in your logic is that while Bart calling Palast "a demonstrated paranoid loon" without any evidence is indeed an ad hominem argument,you referring to Bart as "a raving racist RW butt-sucking sycophantic lying loonie" is in fact true and clearly evident to anyone who's visited this blog for more than two posts.
 

The comments section works best when people make strongly held arguments but also when they don't resort to simply calling the other commenters names. I've noticed a tendency towards increased vitrol in the last few months, and find it more than a little worrisome. Perhaps a gentle reminder that we should stick to robust but civilized disagreement might be in order.
 

I, too, share concerns about Greg Palast's methods.
The emails have been available to him since 2004, when he first wrote on them. The only public release of his "caging list" is a Jpeg image on flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregpalast/413062748/) where you cannot make heads nor tails from the information. You can also purchase his book to get the same image.

These emails (Posted here: http://2004.georgewbush.org/deadletteroffice/) are called by Mr. Palast "Rove's emails", and some of the presented ones certainly look Republican (what is on the website is not PDF of the actual emails, but the transcribed or transported versions for the web, and hence subject to errors). They are described as being randomly sent to georgewbush.org, an RNC account. The caging lists could be significant; I am not denying that.

But I recoil from being manipulated, and Mr. Palasts actions are in that ballpark. Calling these "Rove office emails" or Rove emails is a stretch. Saying they hold the "keys to the kingdom" without documentatary support is also a stretch. These emails have been around since 2004. Hyping them now as he is doing coincident with his book touring, and not sharing them in any comprehensive public way, really raises questions of credibility.
 

bart: "do you really subscribe to this nonsense"

Bart, you're an expert on nonsense. You've left a trail of it a mile long. We're still waiting for you to clear up all sorts of mysteries. Here's one of my personal favorites: your implied claim that NSA has no secret programs.
 

I agree with JB that is alot of vitrol. But, it high class vitrol.
 

There are two basic elements to all of Rove's efforts to politicize everything Federal gov't he can --

1. Establishing permanent Republican majority;

2. Repealing the New Deal.

Were he to succeed at those, is there any question that he/his extremsist reactionaries would work to roll progress even further back than the New Deal?
 

JB writes: The comments section works best when people make strongly held arguments but also when they don't resort to simply calling the other commenters names. I've noticed a tendency towards increased vitrol in the last few months, and find it more than a little worrisome. Perhaps a gentle reminder that we should stick to robust but civilized disagreement might be in order.

I am confident that the great bulk of posters on this site seek robust but civilized disagreement. The vitriol, I believe, arises from frustration. When someone repeatedly posts arguments that have been thoroughly refuted, without addressing the counter arguments or otherwise advancing the discussion, opponents of that person’s viewpoint are left in a quandary. In real life, one counters this behavior with a quiet smile and a there-he-goes-again expression, but text requires us to instead generate pithy, sardonic replies. That’s not easy to do as often as this site demands of late. So, instead, lamentable vitriol.
 

Hat tip to dractional for the links to Pelast's "evidence:"

Of the alleged 500 emails Pelast claims to have proving "illegal caging," only 2 emails have Excel attachments named Caging and Caging-1. (Look about 2/3 the way down the linked page.) There is no mention of Mr. Rove anywhere on these 2 emails.

The excel spreadsheets Caging and Caging-1 list the names and addresses in my old stomping grounds of Jacksonville, Florida of 1771 and 1834 persons respectively - not hundreds of thousands as claimed by Pelast.

There is no information concerning race, homelessness or military status. This is a fabrication of Pelast.

Pelast is correct that the GOP was apparently checking to see if the registration information for these couple thousand Jackosnville voters was accurate by sending letters to these alleged voters.

It appears as if the GOP had a small measure of success in this endeavor. The last column after the addresses provide notes for a fraction of these registrations many of the addresses simply do not exist and others were returned to sender for unstated reasons.

Where is the alleged crime in mailing letters to apparently fraudulent registrations to determine if they are legitimate or not? It is perfectly legal under elections law to challenge the legitimacy of unlawful registrations.
 

LouieSimpson said...

Bart calling Palast "a demonstrated paranoid loon" without any evidence is indeed an ad hominem argument...

As I posted, go Google "Greg Palast." Start with Wikipedia for a rather generous rundown of Palast's history of conspiracy theories. There are a couple dozen other links which provide more information.

I usually do not engage in arne style name calling in my posts. However, my use of the phrase "demonstrated paranoid loon" to describe Mr. Palast is more than borne out by his rather checkered history with reality.

It is a sad commentary on how far the BBC news service has slid that they use the estimable Mr. Palast as a source.
 

The letters were apparently targetted toward minority neighborhoods. Of the 1834 addresses, 508 have a zip code in an 80% black area, but none have a zip code in a 80% white area. I haven't checked this myself; I am just relaying information posted elsewhere.

(Note: if you doubt this information, you have the zip codes and could recreate it yourself; I am not going to spend the time to do that though.)
 

Here is the first of the two biography of Greg Palast that Arne linked above. Apparently, a link did not suffice to have it read:

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Armed Madhouse” (Penguin Paperback 2007). When Palast, an investigator of corporate fraud and racketeering, turned his skills to journalism, he was quickly recognized as, “The most important investigative reporter of our time” [Tribune Magazine] in Britain, where his first reports appeared on BBC television and in the Guardian newspapers.

Author of another New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Palast is best known in his native USA as the journalist who, for the Observer (UK), broke the story of how Jeb Bush purged thousands of Black Florida citizens from voter rolls before the 2000 election, thereby handing the White House to his brother George. His reports on the theft of election 2004, the spike of the FBI investigations of the bin Ladens before September 11, the secret State Department documents planning the seizure of Iraq’s oil fields have won him a record six “Project Censored” for reporting the news American media doesn’t want you to hear. “The top investigative journalist in the United States is persona non grata in his own country’s media.” [Asia Times.] He returned to America to report for Harper’s Magazine.

Palast’s Sam Spade style television and print expos’es about elections manipulations, War on Terror and globalization, as seen on BBC ’s Newsnight and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!

Palast, who has led investigations for government on three continents, has an academic side: the author of Democracy and Regulation, a seminal treatise on energy corporations and government control commissioned by the United Nations based on his lectures at Cambridge University and the University of Sao Paulo.

Beginning in the 1970s, having earned his degree in finance studying under Milton Friedman and free-trade luminaries, Palast went on to challenge their vision of a New Global Order, working for the United Steelworkers of America, the Enron workers’ coalition in Latin America and consumer and environmental groups worldwide. As an investigator for the Chugach Natives of Alaska, he uncovered the oil company frauds which led to the grounding of the Exxon Valdez. His racketeering probe of a nuclear plant operator led to one of the largest jury judgments in US history

In 1998 Palast went undercover for Britain’s Observer, worked his way inside the prime minister’s inner circle and busted open Tony Blair’s biggest scandal, “Lobbygate,” chosen by Palast’s press colleagues in the UK as “Story of the Year.” As the Chicago Tribune said, became a “fanatic about documents–especially those marked “secret and confidential” from the locked file cabinets of the FBI, the World Bank, the US State Department and other closed-door operations of government and industry–which regularly find their way into Palast’s hands. The inside information he obtained on Rev. Pat Robertson won him a nomination as Britain’s top business journalist.

Palast, Guerrilla News Network’s Guerrilla of the Year, is Patron of the Trinity College Philosophical Society, an honor previously held by Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. His writings have won the Financial Times David Thomas Prize–and inspired the Eminem video, Mosh. “An American hero,” said Martin Luther King III. In the BBC documentary, Bush Family Fortunes, Palast exposed George Bush Jr.’s dodging the Vietnam War draft. Greg Palast, says Noam Chomsky, “Upsets all the right people.”

Palast won the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Award for his BBC documentary, Bush Family Fortunes.

What they’re saying …
“Greg Palast is one of my heroes. The last investigative reporter in America. In Armed Madhouse he has the best inside story of the war inside the White House over the war in Iraq, the battle between the neo-cons and Big Oil.” -Robert F Kennedy Jr. -Air America Radio
“Twisted and maniacal” -Katherine Harris

“We hate that sonuvabitch.” -The White House

“Doggedly independent, undaunted by power. His stories bite, they’re so relevant they threaten to alter history” -Chicago Tribune

In England, Tribune Magazine calls him, “The most important investigative reporter of our time.”

“Greg Palast is investigative journalism at its best. No one has exposed more truth about the Bush Cartel and lived to tell the story.” - Baltimore Chronicle

“Armed Madhouse is great fun. Palast, detective style, provides … pieces of the secret puzzle.” - The New Yorker

The Chicago Reader asks about Greg Palast, “Can one reporter change the entire political discourse of the nation?”

In Britain he’s called, “The most important investigative reporter of our time.” -Tribune
After exposing on BBC TV the contents of a stack of documents from inside The World Bank and the World Trade Organization, the WTO called his report, “Rubbish rubbish rubbish,” and CNN reported, “The World Bank hates Greg Palast” for stories the Wall Street Journal’s Jude Wanniski called, “Extraordinary reporting on the IMF,” and Nobel Laureate Joesph Stiglitz called, “Excellent on the WTO.”

“The information is a hand grenade.” - John Pilger, New Statesman

“Up there with Woodward and Bernstein.” -Manchester Guardian

“Just read Armed Madhouse - fantastic work.” - Comedian Doug Stanhope

“What does a multi-award winning reporting investigator do when he has a huge story to break? If it’s Greg Palast, one of America’s foremost journalists, he goes to England! Greg Palast has repeatedly scooped the U.S. networks, and newspaper elites, reporting for London’s Guardian newspaper, and BBC television’s current affairs flagship program, Newsnight. He’s reported on the truth behind George W. Bush’s theft of the 2000 presidential election, the attempted theft of Venezuelan democracy, the World Bank’s willful destruction of Argentina, Enron’s looting of California, and the cozy relationship between the Bush and Bin Laden dynasties. The problem is: The men behind the curtain of America’s media don’t want you to know about these, or any of the other stories he has to tell. Undeterred by the sucking vacuum of America’s mainstream media, Greg put together a few of his greatest journalistic hits in the book, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: the Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization, and High-Finance Fraudsters.” Ironically, the stories the New York Times didn’t find fit to print have become a New York Times best-seller. Now Greg Palast is releasing a DVD, “Bush Family Fortunes,” based on “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” and featuring some of his reports from Britain.” - Chris Cook, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Awards
Patron of the Philosophical Society, Trinity College (an award previously given to Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift)

The Upton Sinclair Freedom of Expression Award The American Civil Liberties Union

George Orwell Courage in Journalism Award: Freedom Cinema Fest at The Sundance Film Festival

The Financial Times David Thomas Prize

Nominated for Business Journalist of the Year 1998 (UK)

Politics Story of the Year on Salon.com 2001

Guerilla News Network’s Reporter of the Year

The Peace and Justice Award -Office of the Americas

Path Breaking Investigative Journalism Award–Long Island Progressive Coalition

National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, Book Category, First Place.


Ad hominem attacks offer a sad commentary on the attacker.
 

quitealarmed:

Even arne's fawning resume of Mr. Palast gives a pretty good summary of his conspiracy fantasy life and the fact that even the Dem dominated US media won't touch this character:

Fantasy Conspiracy #1: Palast is best known in his native USA as the journalist who, for the Observer (UK), broke the story of how Jeb Bush purged thousands of Black Florida citizens from voter rolls before the 2000 election, thereby handing the White House to his brother George.

Florida purged about 5000 felons of all races from the rolls. Hundreds of other felons were found to illegally remain in the rolls. It is amusing, though, that Pelast assumes that all the unlawfully registered felons would vote for Al Gore.

Fantasy Conspiracy #2: His reports on the theft of election 2004...

Apparently Karl Rove disenfranchised several million Dem voters through a super secret conspiracy.

Fantasy Conspiracy #3: ...the spike of the FBI investigations of the bin Ladens before September 11...

The old George Bush knew about the 9/11 attack before it happened loony tune.

Fantasy Conspiracy #4: the secret State Department documents planning the seizure of Iraq’s oil fields

The old war for oil slander. I am still waiting for some American to make money off Iraqi oil.

...have won him a record six “Project Censored” for reporting the news American media doesn’t want you to hear...“The top investigative journalist in the United States is persona non grata in his own country’s media.” [Asia Times.]

If the Dem media, who rarely have a problem publishing unfounded rubbish so long as it attacks Mr. Bush, will not touch this nut job, what does that tell you?

BTW, I am being exceedingly generous calling Pelast a lunatic. The alternative is that he is intentionally lying and is a serial slanderer.
 

I've noticed a tendency towards increased vitrol in the last few months, and find it more than a little worrisome.

I've noticed that the comments section here is generally not very worthwhile. With every post, the commenters are the same handful of people with too much time on their hands and an ax to grind.

In any event, it doesn't seem very prudent to take Palast at face value. Look at his key paragraph:

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes.

Not substantiated at all. The only evidence produced is an email and an Excel file saying that the total is 1,834. Hundreds of thousands? Is he talking about nationwide?

Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers.

Again, almost completely unsubstantiated. In the Excel file (here), I count 50 out of 1834 people whose address is "Naval Air Station." I don't know how to determine which of the addresses supposedly belong to homeless people or students on vacation, and Palast provides no indication of how he supposedly discovered this fact.

Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Again, says who? The most I could find to substantiate this claim is a commenter here who claims that about 500 names are in a zip code half of which consists of a black neighborhood.
 

Hundreds of thousands? Is he talking about nationwide?

Maybe he's giving the RNC the benefit of the doubt. If the caging worksheets are the results of sending out people to every registered voter in Jacksonville, that should require that letters were sent out to hundreds of thousands of voters, since it had a population of 735,000.

The most I could find to substantiate this claim is a commenter here who claims that about 500 names are in a zip code half of which consists of a black neighborhood.

Check the demographic of the zip codes listed in the spreadsheet by entering the zip codes here. Several of the zip codes that occur often in the list (32206, 32208, 32209) are from predominantly black neighborhoods.

The list is full of errors, so you'll want to sort those out. You'll also want to weight your results by population (mostly white zip codes like 32220-22 have lower populations)...all of which assumes, of course, that you have too much time on your hands. :)
 

Hmmm, Bart.

I think I will leave you with this (admittedly) tired (but equally true) old saw, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they AREN'T out to get you."
 

"I usually do not engage in arne style name calling in my posts. However, my use of the phrase "demonstrated paranoid loon" to describe Mr. Palast is more than borne out by his rather checkered history with reality."

"#posted by Bart DePalma : 4:46 PM"

If you were qualified to engage in psychological diagnostics it would be unethical for you to do so without at least face-to-face interview with the subject of the diagnosis, and the use of psychometric testing instruments.

In view of the fact that you are clearly not qualified to so diagnose, is it ethical for you to pretend otherwise? To pretend an expertise you don't have? Or is it flatly dishonest?

Doubtless the foregoing is wholly over your head, and not only because in all things you prefer the low road.
 

"Even arne's fawning resume of Mr. Palast gives a pretty good summary of his conspiracy fantasy life and the fact that even the Dem dominated US media won't touch this character:"

Substantiate that the US media is "Dem dominated".

I knew you couldn't.

Do you wish to be believed? Or do you do it on purpose to discredit yourself?

"Florida purged about 5000 felons of all races from the rolls. Hundreds of other felons were found to illegally remain in the rolls. It is amusing, though, that Pelast assumes that all the unlawfully registered felons would vote for Al Gore."

It's safe to demand you substantiate that assertion because we know you can't.

"If the Dem media, who rarely have a problem publishing unfounded rubbish so long as it attacks Mr. Bush, will not touch this nut job, what does that tell you?"

That the media isn't "Dem "dominated".

"# posted by Bart DePalma : 6:11 PM"

It can only be that you deliberately discredit yourself.
 

JNagarya said...

Substantiate that the US media is "Dem dominated". I knew you couldn't.

The ideological position of the media is so one sided and well established that this task is elementary. There are dozens of sources you can consult starting with the Pew polls, but to save time here is one fairly good summary of a variety of polls over the past couple generations of journalists.
 

Bart,your "Dem media" conspiracy theory suggests a shaky attatchment to reality.If you're not careful,some amateur psychologist might conclude you're a paranoid lunatic.
After taking your suggestion and looking up Greg Palast on Google and Wikipedia and finding nothing to support your simplistic mischaracterization of his reporting,I'm going to skip your link to the summary of polls which I'll guess shows that a majority of reporters support a woman's right to abortion,gun control,and other 'liberal' ideas.Instead,I'm going to refer you to 'Manufacturing Consent' by Noam Chomsky and Ed Hermann for a more nuanced explanation of what dictates media content.
And Bart,would you please explain your repeated use of "Pelast" in the 4:39pm post?Seriously.I hope it's not some lame attempt at an insult(pee last?)like we all thought was funny when we were NINE YEARS OLD and that I frequently see from commenters of your political persuasion.
 

Check the demographic of the zip codes listed in the spreadsheet by entering the zip codes here. Several of the zip codes that occur often in the list (32206, 32208, 32209) are from predominantly black neighborhoods.

The first and only zip code I checked -- 32257 -- has 59 occurrences on the list, and it's a neighborhood that is 84% white. Of course, it's still possible that all the actual names were of the few black people in that zip code, but like nearly everything else about this story, that hasn't been substantiated.
 

Prof. Balkin:

The comments section works best when people make strongly held arguments but also when they don't resort to simply calling the other commenters names. I've noticed a tendency towards increased vitrol in the last few months, and find it more than a little worrisome. Perhaps a gentle reminder that we should stick to robust but civilized disagreement might be in order.

In the instant case, my quote was:

"But nice argumentum ad hominem there, "Bart". Surely you won't mind if we just start dismissing your 'arguments' offhand with a 'Oh, Bart's a raving, racist RW butt-sucking sycophantic lying loonie'...."

The quote of the 'ever-so-polite' "Bart" was "Palast is a demonstrated paranoid loon."

Just so we have that straight.

I'd also note that argumentum ad hominem is not simple name-calling. The fallacy is in rejecting an argument because of the (alleged) nature of the proponent. I may be impolite, but I generally (if not almost always) address the substance of the opponent's argument. The same can't be said for "Bart", who apparently thinks that eh's the only one saying anything of substance here and refuses to address point raised in opposition. You might suggest that I'd get a better reaction from "Bart" if I was less impolite to him and restricted myself to 'polite' criticism of his points. I can tell you from long experience that such an approach makes no difference in his response to substantive criticitsm; he ignores it regardless of the tenor it was offered in, if he has no counter.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

The excel spreadsheets Caging and Caging-1 list the names and addresses in my old stomping grounds of Jacksonville, Florida of 1771 and 1834 persons respectively - not hundreds of thousands as claimed by Pelast.

Oh. 3605 people (in these lists). So it's legal then. Thanks for correcting us.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma is wilfully "obtuse":

There is no information concerning race, homelessness or military status. This is a fabrication of Pelast.

Well, outside of military base addresses and homeless shelter addresses, no.... But that requires some slight intelligence to discern.

Cheers,
 

Notice also that Greg Palast made a factual and legal claim that somewhat oddly has escaped any examination by any of the lawyers around here. To wit:

Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses.

1. How does Palast know that Republicans ever actually challenged the ballots of the people on this caging list?

2. What makes Palast think that a mere challenge could actually "block" a voter's ballot? This is a legal claim, and one that persons skilled in the law could investigate for themselves.

I'm not an expert in Florida voting law, but here is a page containing Florida voting statutes (look for the 2004 version, which is pertinent to this story).

Section 101.111 said that you can challenge a particular voter, but only by swearing out an affidavit and producing the reasons that you believe the voter is about to vote illegally. Even so -- and this is important to the credibility of Palast's story -- the statute does not allow the voter's ballot to be "blocked."

Far from it. After a challenge, the statute (2004 version) requires the voting clerk to "immediately" notify the person who was challenged. Then that person had two options. 1) Swear out their own oath saying that they are a qualified voter. At that point, the clerk and the inspectors will examine any "evidence" that the person offers, and take a vote on whether to allow the person to cast a normal ballot. If the person refuses to take the oath of eligibility or if the voting workers are doubtful the person's elibility, then the vote is . . . nope, it's not blocked then either. Then option 2 arises: 2) "the challenged person shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot."

Next, turn to section 101.048. This is the section about provisional ballots. It said that provisional ballots would be counted if the county canvassing board "determined that the person was registered and
entitled to vote at the precinct where the person cast a vote in the
election."

So at the end of the day: Palast says that there were hundreds of thousands of voters "blocked" from voting. But his only evidence is an Excel file with about 1,800 names. He does not show that any of these people were even challenged by sworn affidavit, let alone that any of them ended up being unable to vote at least a provisional ballot.
 

I finally grew tired of people citing Palast as a legitimate journalist concerning the "500 Rove emails".
See this diary at daily kos for the quetions I raised and Greg Palast's response (through a spokesman).
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/5/21/12120/5682

1. he manipulates evidence without disclosing why or how he did it.
2. he overstates the number of people on the "caging" lists or has hidden evidence that he has not disclosed.
3. he fails to source many, many claims in a verifiable way.
 

I suspect drational is secretly on the RNC or White House payroll, like Armstrong Williams. Greg Palast has responded to this character at BradBlog. I recommend anyone who is still invested in this thread check out this response by Palast:

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4608#more-4608

Basically, Palast's point is that the amount of data, physical footwork verifying caging list data received, and other research he and a BBC staff of several people did is far beyond the snippet of information which has been provided by the simple blog post that drational is basing his/her criticism. (The same can be said of the ever-present Bart DePalma.) A fuller presentation of his evidence and description of his methodology is in the book he published and is promoting.
 

What Palast still notably fails to do:

1. Substantiate his claim that even a single one of the people on this list had his or her vote challenged.

2. Substantiate any further claim that, after a challenge, such person or persons was somehow unable to prove their eligibility to vote, and/or cast a provisional ballot.

All of which leaves, again, completely unsubstantiated Palast's histrionic claim that all of these people were sub silentio "blocked" from voting.
 

How do you know about the truth or falsity of the above claims, Stuart Buck? Have you read Palast's book? Have you looked at his evidence or spoken with anyone else who has?

I suspect that you are talking out of your hind end, like drat and BDP. You seem to be just another troll very nervous about the scandal that is expanding around the leading DoJ officials.

The Palast information about GOP caging efforts has been in front of the public actually for several years, but not given adequate attention until now, what with the plethora of other Bush administration lies and criminal scandals competing for attention with it.
 

I have read several articles by Palast on this supposed caging scandal, and I've seen the emails and the Excel files that he's talking about (they're linked above). Palast noticeably fails even to pretend to provide any evidence that any of these specific people had their votes unjustifiably "blocked."

Keep in mind: even if Republicans filed affidavits challenging each of these Florida voters, which Palast simply asserts but does not demonstrate; and even if any of these voters weren't allowed to file regular ballots, which Palast doesn't even pretend to show; and even if any of those voters weren't allowed to file provisional ballots, which Palast doesn't even pretend to show -- that could very well be because those particular voters indeed were not properly entitled to vote in that particular Florida location, which, again, Palast doesn't even pretend to know one way or the other.

Instead, Palast seems to think (if he's not deliberately lying on this point) that simply filing a challenge was enough to "block" someone from voting, and that this could be done without the voter's knowledge. That's simply not true, at least not according to Florida voting law. And if Palast has any reason to think that Florida voting law wasn't followed here, once again, he has never even pretended to have evidence for such a claim.
 

Stuart Buck:

And if Palast has any reason to think that Florida voting law wasn't followed here.

Note that "caging" is not a violation of Florida voting law. You can do stuff that is per se legal taken in isolation, but if you're trying to deny a specific group their rights or are going after them preferentially, that's illegal. If you challenge only blacks, and some challenges succeed (or even if you just manage to intimidate some of them ala Rehnquist in his salad days), you're "caging".

Cheers,
 

Mr. Langetsmo:

Your comment is doubly wrong:

1. "Caging" does not mean what you say.

2. My comments had nothing to do with whether "caging" -- however defined -- itself violated Florida law. The point is that, as I've shown, Florida voting law does not allow the thing that Palast is so hysterically claiming, i.e., for a voter's ballot to be secretly "blocked" simply by the fact that the Republicans filed a challenge. Instead, even if the Republicans filed a bunch of perjurious affidavits against these voters, the voters would immediately be notified; they would have the chance to show that they were indeed eligible; and then at last resort they'd have the chance to file a provisional ballot, which would be counted if they showed their eligibility (a showing that would be incredibly easy in the cases that Palast hypothesizes, where the person had merely been out of town).

Even if you know nothing about legal matters, use a little common sense. Does it make sense that Florida, or any state, would make it so incredibly easy for any political party to keep the other side from voting altogether?
 

Stuart Buck:

Mr. Langetsmo:

Your comment is doubly wrong:


Oh, really?

1. "Caging" does not mean what you say.

Let me be clear.

2. My comments had nothing to do with whether "caging" -- however defined -- itself violated Florida law....

Nor did I say you did. I simply pointed out your misdirection.

... The point is that, as I've shown, Florida voting law does not allow the thing that Palast is so hysterically claiming, i.e., for a voter's ballot to be secretly "blocked" simply by the fact that the Republicans filed a challenge....

That's not what Palast said. Here's what he said: "The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters."

... Instead, even if the Republicans filed a bunch of perjurious affidavits against these voters, ...

No one said anyone filed "perjurious affidavits" (but I wouldnt rule it out either).

... the voters would immediately be notified; ...

How? If the challenges are sufficiently close to election time, there may not be enough time to rectify any errors. That's the whole friggin' point.

... they would have the chance to show that they were indeed eligible; and then at last resort they'd have the chance to file a provisional ballot, which would be counted if they showed their eligibility (a showing that would be incredibly easy in the cases that Palast hypothesizes, ...

It requires extra (and timely) effort, not to mention not being available to absentee voters.

... where the person had merely been out of town).

No one said that people "merely ... out of town" were targeted.

Even if you know nothing about legal matters, ...

FU and the horse you rode in on.

... use a little common sense....

I'd say the same to you. When the Republican party goes out to make it as difficult as it can for targeted groups of people to vote, they deserve calumny if not jail. That you defend it shows either a lack of common sense or a profound disregard for the franchise.

... Does it make sense that Florida, or any state, would make it so incredibly easy for any political party to keep the other side from voting altogether?

They don't, but that has never stopped the Republicans ... particularly Rove.

Republicans don't believe in democracy. Never have. There's Rehnquist's previous shenanigans for the Republican party before he was rewarded for his good work with a gummint job, for instance....

Cheers,
 

Well, I can see you're not here for a good faith debate.

2. My comments had nothing to do with whether "caging" -- however defined -- itself violated Florida law....

Nor did I say you did. I simply pointed out your misdirection.


Huh? I point out that the scenario painted by Palast is not even allowed by Florida law; and further pointed out that Palast certainly provided no evidence that Florida law (as to election challenges) wasn't followed here (as would be the case if election workers blocked a ballot without notifying the voter, for example).

Your response betrayed a inability to understand that basic point. That is, you started discussing whether "caging" is a violation of Florida law, as if that were what I was talking about.

Once again, you have no answer to my substantive point, which you now try to claim was "misdirection."


No one said that people "merely ... out of town" were targeted.

What? Palast specifically said that the caging list included students who were "on vacation."

* * *

I could do the same for the rest of your claims, but it would take too much time, and the payoff would only be more bad faith responses.
 

Stuart Buck:

Huh? I point out that the scenario painted by Palast is not even allowed by Florida law;...

Oh, BS.

See here and here.

... and further pointed out that Palast certainly provided no evidence that Florida law (as to election challenges) wasn't followed here (as would be the case if election workers blocked a ballot without notifying the voter, for example).

They can flle challenges any time in the 30 days before an election. It is true that the person challenged can protest the challenge and provide additional information in the three days after the election, but that takes effort (and another day off from work), not to mention dealing with bureaucracy. The net effect is to make it harder for the challenged voter to vote (which of course is the desired effect).

Your response betrayed a inability to understand that basic point. That is, you started discussing whether "caging" is a violation of Florida law, as if that were what I was talking about.

No. I understod full well what you were saying, and I pointed it out to you again. I'm afraid that it is you that is a little slow on the uptake.

Once again, you have no answer to my substantive point, which you now try to claim was "misdirection."

Nonsense. It's legal to fire a gun under the laws of Florida. If you happen to fire that gun at a federal officer, don't be surprised if the particular curcumstances of your exercising your "right to fire a gun" get you into trouble.

No one said that people "merely ... out of town" were targeted.

What? Palast specifically said that the caging list included students who were "on vacation."


Since when does "merely ... out of town" equal "on vacation". As for students, they may well register at their campus location (makes sense, don't it?), but be out of town the entire summer. Good opportunity to send a letter, and get it returned, wouldn't you say? But what does that say about the proper state of affairs WRT the person's legitimate voting status?

You're intentionally obtuse, I think. There's less polite ways to phrase that.

Just to be clear, "caging" refers to putting together targeted mailing lists. The intent of the Republicans was not to clean up the rolls; the targets show that. The intent was to make it more burdensome (if not impossible) for suspected Democrats to vote. And in doing so, they concentrated on predominantly black areas and other known groups that tend to vote Democratic.

Cheers,
 

You say that my claim is "BS," and do nothing but link to the Florida voting statutes. But I already discussed and analyzed those statutes in detail! I explained why Palast's account is nonsense -- he seems to think that the Republican party merely had to make a call to a Florida official and these people's votes would have been "blocked" without their knowledge, while the very Florida laws that you link to show that outcome to be impossible.

You've managed to figure out that filing a challenge via an affidavit would create a minor bureaucratic hurdle, but Palast wasn't just claiming that there were minor bureaucratic hurdles as to a few voters; he's has been claiming that many thousands of votes were "blocked." You have no defense of Palast on this point.

Thus, like I said, you're obviously not here for a good faith debate. Indeed, you're one of the handful of commentators who consistently clog up Balkin's otherwise useful site with personal attacks and empty vitriol.
 

And to repeat, as far as I can tell, Palast still hasn't substantiated that even a single one of these Florida voters on the list actually were subject to a challenge in the first place. If you're aware of any substantiation on this point, speak up; it would be immensely more relevant than anything else you've said.
 

I do agree, by the way, that IF the Republicans intentionally created bureaucratic hurdles for Democratic voters by using the tactic that Palast describes (i.e., sending mail when you know someone is out of town), then that's very bad. What I don't agree is that this has been substantiated. All we really know is that, as Palast says and as the Republicans admit, they sent out a bunch of letters to newly registered voters, and then made a list of the ones whose mail was returned. We do NOT know that Republicans then challenged every person, or even any person, on that list, and we certainly don't know that anyone's vote was "blocked."

Incidentally, here's a Florida news story from that same time period that should indicate why Republicans might rationally have been worried about returned mail:

"Duval County elections officials alerted state prosecutors Thursday to investigate 25 voter registration applications that turned out to be linked to bad addresses.

* * *

"The Associated Press reported that it checked each address and found only one that matched an occupied house. Most of the addresses didn't exist. Residents at the occupied house said they moved in this week and did not know the person registered at the address. Other locales included a park, parking lot and utility building.

"All but three of the individuals registered as Democrats. Two chose no party and one checked Republican."
 

Stuart Buck:

You say that my claim is "BS," and do nothing but link to the Florida voting statutes. But I already discussed and analyzed those statutes in detail! ...

Nonsense.

... I explained why Palast's account is nonsense -- he seems to think that the Republican party merely had to make a call to a Florida official and these people's votes would have been "blocked" without their knowledge, while the very Florida laws that you link to show that outcome to be impossible.

Glad you're a mind-reader. See if you can divine what I'm thinking you should do right now.

Palast was pretty clear about what was done and what effect it had. I was pretty clear about what the Florida laws say.

You've managed to figure out that filing a challenge via an affidavit would create a minor bureaucratic hurdle, ....

A "minor bureaucratic hurdle", eh? Having to go back and prove residence, etc. within three days, or your vote is tossed? And if you don't, then the board will take the "evidence" of the affidavit as pretty much the sum total and conclude you shouldn't have voted?

... but Palast wasn't just claiming that there were minor bureaucratic hurdles as to a few voters; he's has been claiming that many thousands of votes were "blocked."

Depends what you mean by "blocked". Certainly any "challenged" ballots would not be counted until a determination was made.

... You have no defense of Palast on this point.

Nonsense. You have no defence of what was done.

Thus, like I said, you're obviously not here for a good faith debate. Indeed, you're one of the handful of commentators who consistently clog up Balkin's otherwise useful site with personal attacks and empty vitriol.

Nonsense, of course.

And to repeat, as far as I can tell, Palast still hasn't substantiated that even a single one of these Florida voters on the list actually were subject to a challenge in the first place. If you're aware of any substantiation on this point, speak up; it would be immensely more relevant than anything else you've said.

What were the "caging" lists for, then?

FWIW, there's plenty of evidence that people weer denied the right to vote in 2000, thanks to the(in)famous Harris "voter purge".

This is just "more'o'da'same" for the anti-democratic Republican party.

I do agree, by the way, that IF the Republicans intentionally created bureaucratic hurdles for Democratic voters by using the tactic that Palast describes (i.e., sending mail when you know someone is out of town), then that's very bad. What I don't agree is that this has been substantiated. All we really know is that, as Palast says and as the Republicans admit, they sent out a bunch of letters to newly registered voters, and then made a list of the ones whose mail was returned. We do NOT know that Republicans then challenged every person, or even any person, on that list, and we certainly don't know that anyone's vote was "blocked."

So we'll wait to see if the DoJ starts an investigation to see if there were people that were blocked or hampered from voting due to the Republican efforts ... oh, wait.

Incidentally, here's a Florida news story from that same time period that should indicate why Republicans might rationally have been worried about returned mail:

"Duval County elections officials alerted state prosecutors Thursday to investigate 25 voter registration applications that turned out to be linked to bad addresses.

* * *

"The Associated Press reported that it checked each address and found only one that matched an occupied house. Most of the addresses didn't exist. Residents at the occupied house said they moved in this week and did not know the person registered at the address. Other locales included a park, parking lot and utility building.

"All but three of the individuals registered as Democrats. Two chose no party and one checked Republican."


We've been through this before in an old thread.

My answer is this: If someone votes illegally, prosecute them. You know, that might include that Republicn that bragged to the N.Y. Times that he'd proudly voted for Dubya twice.....

Cheers,
 

I don't see anything in your comment that is even intelligent enough to be worth responding to.
 

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