Body Stretching, Feel the Wretching, in the Cage!

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On Tuesday I poked some fun at Greg Palast, the investigative reporter who unloaded at great and terrible length after a Daily Kos commenter doubted his big story about Karl Rove plotting to steal the next election by purging the voter rolls. Dalia Lithwick, who knows a lot more about the law and elections than I do, thinks Palast is on to something. Soon-to-be-ex-U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin might have broken the law by using direct mail "caging" to attack legitimate voters. (He did it when working at the RNC, not in the government.)

Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren't living at (because they are, say, at college or at war). The Republican National Committee reportedly stopped the practice following a consent decree in a 1986 case. Google the term and you'll quickly arrive at the Wizard of Oz of caging, Greg Palast…

Lithwick praises Palast but notes he dramatically oversold the story.

He is one of many who have repeated the claim that, "In an Aug. 24 e-mail, the Justice Department's Monica Goodling wrote to Sampson, that Griffin's nomination would face opposition in Congress because he was involved 'in massive Republican projects in Florida and elsewhere by which Republicans challenged tens of thousand of absentee votes. Coincidentally, many of those challenged votes were in black precincts.' " Goodling wrote no such thing. That quote is from an article circulated by Goodling on Aug. 24. It's an unfair smear of both Griffin and Goodling (both of whom have proven amply capable of smearing themselves).

This is the problem with Palast's stuff: He over-promises what he has and gusses it up with lots of weird jokes and snark. In his last big post about caging:

'Caging' voters is a crime, a go-to-jail felony.

It isn't a crime unless you can prove racial bias in the list of names you tried to "cage." Palast hasn't done that yet, and the only list he (actually whitehouse.org) has made available is largely black but includes the odd Bauknecht, Eberhardt, and Ligenzowski. Palast also dresses up his story with claims like this:

Our BBC team broke the story at the top of the nightly news everywhere on the planet — except the USA — only because America's news networks simply refused to cover this evidence of the electoral coup d'etat that chose our President in 2004.

The point is that Palast shouldn't be laughed off, and this story could break the U.S. Attorneys scandal wide open, but some less eccentric reporters might want to take it on.

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  1. Palast should too be laughed off, have you seen that hair? And Dave, by eccentric, do you mean borderline communist?

  2. Dave Weigal, Jay Carney. Jay Carney, Dave Weigel.

    I’m sure you two have a lot to talk about.

  3. Can we get a FOIA?

  4. only because America’s news networks simply refused to cover this evidence of the electoral coup d’etat that chose our President in 2004

    Yeah, because American news netowrks would never want to portray Bush in a bad light.

  5. You know what would be a worthwhile project for some enterprising journalist?

    Go back through conservative political mags, and find out which ones were pushing the bogus “Democratic voter fraud” stories during the time period that, as we all now know, the Justice Department and RNC (but I repeat myself) were engaging in their campaign of bogus fraud prosecutions, voter roll purges, and other shady practices for which voter fraud was a pretext.

    Heck, a stroll through the H&R archives during the relevant period would turn up a few eager dupes, I’m sure.

  6. “Go back through conservative political mags, and find out which ones were pushing the bogus “Democratic voter fraud” stories”

    Joe do you honestly believe that there is no such thing as “Democratic voter fraud”? Really are you that big of a fanatic? Does it ever cross your mind that perhaps there are people on both sides who are capable of doing lousy things? I really want to know if it is possible for you to admit that Democrats are capable of doing anything unethical much less illegal.

  7. Perhaps it is the way Weigel quoted the stories. I don’t see anything that says that anyoen actually caged anyone. Challenging absentee votes is not caging and of course the Democrats would object to someone involved in Florida in 2000. That is just partisian politics and sour grapes. That doesn’t mean that the person did anything illegal. I don’t see how Democratic opposition means there is something illegal. Perhaps there is something there but it is not clear from the post. Further, Weigel is right about the need for someone else to look into it. Whatever the truth is, a nut like Palast and a fanatic partisian hack like Lithwick are unlikely to find it.

  8. Moreover, I think the biggest reason neither party raises a bigger stink about voting fraud is the amount of dirty linen they have in their own closets.

  9. joe,

    At least in Milwaukee voter fraud is common. The fact that a Democratic local district attorney is unwilling to prosecute any case that is a “slam dunk” doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    http://html.themilwaukeechannel.com/mil/election2000/itsyourvote/stories/-20001105-134550.html

    McGee is certainly no a Republican:
    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=613397

  10. “Moreover, I think the biggest reason neither party raises a bigger stink about voting fraud is the amount of dirty linen they have in their own closets.”

    That is probably the case. Once the mud started flying and they actually tried to clean it up, too many people in both parties would go down over it.

  11. At the risk of sounding like Cathy Young…

    It is interesting how the electoral misconduct accusations leveled by each side are opposite in character yet focused on the same issue.

    One side wants to make sure that no eligible person is excluded (a very reasonable goal, given that such things have indeed happened in history) and so pushes for processes to achieve that goal. In doing so, they open themselves up to charges of wanting to make illegitimate voting easier. At the same time, they accuse those who oppose their proposals of wanting to keep eligible voters away.

    The other side wants to make sure that no ineligible person votes, and that no eligible person unlawfully votes multiple times (a reasonable concern, given that fraud at the ballot box has indeed happened in history), and so pushes for processes to achieve that goal. In doing so, they open themselves to allegations of wanting to find ways to exclude eligible voters. At the same time, they accuse those who oppose their proposals of wanting to enable fraud.

    While both concerns are reasonable (it’s not like electoral shenanigans of either type are unknown in history), the mirror image nature of their concerns makes me wonder if this isn’t more about mutual mistrust than justified concern over ongoing and documented phenomena.

    Of course, the problems with my Cathy Young style analysis are:

    1) Both sides have their contemporary anecdotes, so it’s not like they’re operating in a fact-free zone. Doesn’t mean those anecdotes necessarily represent a wider phenomenon, but…

    2) One type of misconduct being alleged will, of necessity be done in secret (making the full scope hard to judge) and the other type of misconduct is generally cloaked in official procedures and reasonable-sounding justifications, making the full scope of actual misconduct difficult to disentangle from more reasonable actions.

    The worst part is that when the air is full of allegations that can (at least sometimes) reach hyperbolic levels, and when everything is tainted by strong mutual distrust, it’s harder to identify the larger, more systematic (rather than anecdotal) misconduct. In that case, it’s all the more tempting to just do the Cathy Young analysis and leave it at that. Which probably suits some people just fine.

  12. John,

    I’m certain that there’s such a thing as voter fraud. However, there doesn’t seem to be that much, and the vast majority of what is there seems to be confusion by people who didn’t know that because of felony conviction or immigration status, that they weren’t allowed to register. Considering the enthusiasm with which the justice department has been pursuing voter fraud, if the base of the iceberg existed, it would have been found.

    The problem is that voter fraud is often confused with REGISTRATION fraud. This is an issue in situations where people are payed to register voters, usually by the registration. With this kind of motivation, you get registration workers filling out forms with made up names, just to get the few extra dollars per form. This won’t affect elections, though, because Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne aren’t likely to show up at the polls.

    The practicalities of getting enough fraudulent voters, making sure they go to the right polling places, use the right aliases, and vote in the right ways are also prohibitively difficult. It makes more sense to bribe people to vote in their own names, and to ensure that they vote the way that you want by watching as they fill out an absentee ballot.

  13. Flyover county,

    You’re right that there appears to be widespread voter fraud in Milwaukee. However, it appears to be due almost entirely to illegal voting by individuals with felony convictions. Again, people that probably didn’t even know that the two year prison sentence that they served twelve years ago disqualified them with the ACORN rep. asked them to register. Extensive investigations in Milwaukee have uncovered no evidence of organized voter fraud.

  14. John,

    Don’t you think the “criticizing Republicans means you think the Democrats are perfect” dodge is getting a little stale?

    Sure, I’ll admit that there is some actual voter fraud out there. I belief I saw the figure of 19 people who were found guilty of double voting, or non-citizen voting, over the past year.

    Now, back atcha – with all of the stories that have come out, are you capable of overcoming your partisan hackitude and admitting that the GOP is using bogus charges of fraud to influence election?

    (And yes, you are perhaps the prominent and aggressive of the eager dupes I was referring to.)

  15. Tacos,

    You make a good point. Of course registration fraud is a problem if it allows people like resident aliens and illegals and felons to register and vote. I don’t think a lot of Democrats view that as fraud. They look at elections as being for everyone living here and that whole non-felon citizen thing as an invalid requirment. I had a discussion on here with Joe where he claimed that photo ID requirments were unfair because “immigrants don’t always have IDs”. It never occured to Joe that any immigrant who had gone through the citizenship process would have to have a photo ID an that any legal alien would have to have a passport and a greencard. The only “immigrant” who didn’t have a photo ID would be an illegal one, which I think gives away the game of baring photo IDs.

  16. “admitting that the GOP is using bogus charges of fraud to influence election?”

    But if there is as you admit, legitimate voter fraud, how is it bogus? Further, I can’t imagine any sort of evidence that would ever get you to beleive that the Democrats are capable of anything other than an isolated instance of fraud, probably perpetraited by a Republican plant. You say the stories are bogus, but you are Joe, of course you would. You would never believe it. The day you come up with a legitimate criticism of the Democratic Party without a yeah but, you might start to have some crediblilty on the issue. But that will never happen.

  17. John,

    “But if there is as you admit, legitimate voter fraud, how is it bogus?”

    There are actual rapes that happen in this country.

    Nonetheless, the charges levelled at the Duke lacrosse players were bogus.

    The caging efforts aimed at college students and military personnel described in the article? Bogus.

    The case that recently got dismissed, with the judge calling the prosecutor’s theory “less than thin,” which the Republican prosecutor announced just before the election, in violation of Justice Department standards? Bogus.

    The Marquette student – a Republican activist – who told the newspaper about all the voting fraud he witnessed, and later recanted, saying he hadn’t witnessed a single act of voter fraud, but made the charges anyway, just before the election? Bogus.

    And neither dodging the issue that there is a particular, well documented campaign being carried out by the Republicans; nor trying to abstract the discussion into whether there are legitimate voter fraud cases; nor your yammering about how only partisans could possibly see anything wrong with what’s going on here, makes those cases any less bogus.

  18. I don’t think a lot of Democrats view that as fraud. They look at elections as being for everyone living here and that whole non-felon citizen thing as an invalid requirment.

    I’m sympathetic to this idea as well. Consistent with the founding ideals of this nation, if you pay taxes, you should be able to vote. Being busted for a DUI in college is a ludicrous reason for disqualifying a voter.

  19. Not only were the charges against the Duke lacrosse players bogus, but they were the result of a political conspiracy to influence an election, and a campaign among ideological partisans to make an example of somebody who was doing something that they JUST KNEW was happening all the time.

    AND YET, I can write that, and still acknowledge that there are actual rapes that occur.

    My goodness, how is such a thing possible?

    Because I’m a Democrat, that’s how!

    Nice reasoning, John.

  20. The question — for anyone other than an utter wingnut — is not whether fraudulent voting or voter exclusion occur ever at all, but what their relative magnitudes are. Preventing a fraudulent vote at the expense of deterring three legitimate votes is clearly not an acceptable outcome in anyone’s book; preventing three fraudulent votes at the expense of deterring one legitimate one probably is.

    To date every study I’ve seen says that the methods pursued against fraud fall far more in the first category than the second. I’d love to see evidence to the contrary, but for the moment I have to say that fraud prevention measures don’t really look like they’re meant to improve the quality of elections.

    It’s easy to say that these counterproductive anti-fraud measures are Republican dirty tricks — so much so that I’ll say it, yep, a lot of them probably are. A lot of them as well though are being pushed by ID system vendors (part of the whole Real ID lobbying industry), voting computer vendors, and honestly misinformed or stupid legislators.

    To say it’s all Republican dirty tricks is probably overblown; to say that none of it is is definitely mistaken.

  21. To date every study I’ve seen says that the methods pursued against fraud fall far more in the first category than the second.

    I have a very hard time believing that requiring photo ID to vote will deter anyone who is entitled to vote.

  22. Oh, Grant, there you go being all reasonable and middle ground and stuff!

    To be fair, there’s an additional element to consider in fraud measures: Deterrence. A system that only catches a few frauds serves the additional purpose of keeping people from trying to organize a larger fraud scheme. So that complicates the analysis somewhat.

    We have to accept that any system will have some false positives and false negatives. Work heavily on preventing one and you’ll probably increase the later. In general I’d strive to minimize the errors while keeping the types of errors roughly equal. A false positive that keeps an eligible person from voting is an injustice against that person. A false negative that lets an ineligible person vote adds insult to the eligible person’s injury, and also dilutes the votes of those eligible people who did vote.

  23. There wouldn’t be voter fraud, if there wasn’t billions of dollars in government contracts to be had for commiting voter fraud.

    The higher the stakes in an election (such as total control of the economy, education, media, health care, and all the profit potential controlling those things provides), there wouldn’t be the temptation to commit fraud.

    The way to get rid of voter fraud is to eliminate the popular dictatorship we have now, and return to limited government.

  24. It is a question of numbers. If you have a system where it is so easy to vote that anyone, legit or not can vote with pretty minimal effort, how many illegitimate votes will that produce? My guess is a hell of a lot. If you have a systme that goes the other way, where you studiously clean up the voter rolls and ask for a photo ID, how many elligible voters who would have voted will not? If you go overboard, probably a lot. But, if you just put in some minimal pre-cautions, like showing an ID, I doubt that number is very high and certainly lower than the number of illegitimate votes such a system would prevent.

    You are never going to have a perfect system. If nothing else, some people are going to screw up their ballot and not have their vote counted. That was the fallacy of the hanging chad controversy. You will never get a perfect count or have a perfect election. Human errer is inherent in the system. All you can do is have reasonable rules up front that prevent the majority of the fraud and mistakes. IF you do that, you will have a good election, but no election is perfect. The good thing is that the numbers are so large that you don’t have to have a perfect election to have a valid election. A few votes not counted or casted fraudulently here or there will not be enough to change the outcome.

  25. T, I think your Cathy Young analysis is good. Another natural conflict is that in living memory both parties think presidential elections were stolen (even though the actual evidence is light). When I was a kid, it common knowledge that the Graveyards of Chicago won the election for JFK. My Democrat mother believed it, but thought it was all part of the game. We all remember what happened in the 2000 election.

    RR, I’d bet voter fraud (and accusations of voter fraud) has been around for as long as there have been elections. For many, power is as important as money.

  26. I second stuartl’s comment to Rex Rhino: I seem to recall that some of the Founders used liquor to get their supporters to show up at the polls.

    Where there is power there will always be an incentive to acquire it via shady means. Period.

  27. “I have a very hard time believing that requiring photo ID to vote will deter anyone who is entitled to vote.”

    If you don’t have a driver’s license, what photo ID are you supposed to have?

  28. “I second stuartl’s comment to Rex Rhino: I seem to recall that some of the Founders used liquor to get their supporters to show up at the polls.”

    In the 19th Century it was a common and accepted practice to buy votes. Further, they didn’t have anonomous ballets back then. The election standards of the 19th Century would shock anyone today. Somehow the Republic survived. Ultimately, voter fraud only goes so far. If the people get pissed off enough and the margin for on side gets wide enough, no amount of voter fraud can tip the election unless you have Soviet level control.

  29. “If you don’t have a driver’s license, what photo ID are you supposed to have?”

    A passport or a school ID like a college one. Further, you can’t so much as open a bank account without a photo ID. If you don’t have a photo ID, not being able to vote is the least of your problems.

  30. If you don’t have a driver’s license, what photo ID are you supposed to have?

    At least in Texas, you can get a picture ID from the Department of Public Safety that isn’t an actual driver’s license. They’re common for elderly people who don’t drive.

    Concealed weapons permits also have pictures and are considered official IDs.

  31. I do have to admit, I’m skeptical of the idea that it’s onerous or sinister to require a valid picture ID to vote.

  32. People who don’t have bank accounts should still be allowed to vote. Same with people who don’t have passports. And if you’re not a student, you’re not going to have a student ID. The concealed weapons permit suggestion is a little silly — what if you don’t have any guns? You should get a permit just so you can vote?

    The DMV-issed “non-driver’s” license is a good alternative, though.

  33. lurker,

    Who exactly is over 18, doesn’t have a passport, is too lazy or stupid to go the DMV and get a photo ID, which oh buy the way is necessary to buy cigs or booze or get into a club, and has no need for a bank account or so much as a debit card? No one I have ever known or met.

  34. I said the DMV card is a good idea. I had forgotten about those.

    But, there are some really poor people, probably homeless, you don’t have bank accounts or driver’s licenses. Most of them probably don’t vote anyway, but they should be allowed to.

  35. I’ve never held a driver’s license. My ID alternated between state ID and my military ID when I was in the service. The fee for an ID card is usually extremely low between $7-$15. In the states that I’ve had ID cards (I’ve moved quite a bit), they even had provisions to get the fee waived if you were too poor.

    The applications were also available in multiple languages.

  36. But, there are some really poor people, probably homeless, you don’t have bank accounts or driver’s licenses. Most of them probably don’t vote anyway, but they should be allowed to.

    And they can. If they show a photo ID. What’s so frickin’ hard about that?

    I mean, if you don’t care enough about voting to go get an ID, then you really don’t have much to complain about, do you?

  37. Shorter David Wiegel:

    Ha Ha! Greg Palast is teh weird. He is eccentric!!! He writes for teh bBC! He is teh lib3r4l too! NERD!!!!!!!

    I will ignore everything he writes about. For I am the Libertarian Man of Reason!!!!

    Whuh oh! Dahlia Lithwick sez Palast is teh Man and not me!!!!

    Well, Palast is t3h weird! He is eccentric. He is a nerd!

    I am the Libertarian Man of Reason!

  38. John,

    “I had a discussion on here with Joe where he claimed that photo ID requirments were unfair because “immigrants don’t always have IDs”. It never occured to Joe that any immigrant who had gone through the citizenship process would have to have a photo ID an that any legal alien would have to have a passport and a greencard. The only “immigrant” who didn’t have a photo ID would be an illegal one, which I think gives away the game of baring photo IDs.”

    You left out a rather salient point – I checked out that argument with an immigration expert, she confirmed that immigrants are issued IDs, and I ceased making that argument.

    It is poor people, the elderly, and people living in isolated rural areas who are much more likely not to have government-issued IDs, not immigrants.

  39. John writes, “If you have a system where it is so easy to vote that anyone, legit or not can vote with pretty minimal effort, how many illegitimate votes will that produce? My guess is a hell of a lot.”

    Your guess would be wrong. The 2006 elections produced 24 charges of voter fraud, and 19 convictions, out of almost 100,000,000 ballots cast. Even if you put a mulitplier of 1000x for each conviction – an absurdly high number – that amounts to less than 0.02% of ballots.

    Who can’t produce a government-issued ID on demand? According to John, “No one I have ever known or met.” And with little Pauline Kael chestnut, we seem to have arrived at the gist of the debate. What kind of people are beign stripped of their rights by an ID requirement? Not John’s sort of people. No, stupid, lazy people, who don’t drive or own guns.

    So a few of that sort of person have their civil rights abrogated? Do you have any idea how they are likely to vote?

  40. “Most of them probably don’t vote anyway, but they should be allowed to”

    -actually this is the law. They the they ARE citizens, they DO have the right to vote. This is the fundamental foundation of democracy…

    As to vote fraud, there have been few cases outside a few local races where there have even been any real evidence of people voting as others. The real vote fraud has always been based on supressing voters (and now electroninc voting). While the “idea” of requiring a voter ID card outwardly does not seem problematic, you only have to look a bit deeper to deteremine what is really going on here. Especially when you look at who is pushing these laws. The last batch were pushed in hearings run by Bob Ney (try a google search to find out where he is now). They used evidence from a supposedly non partisan organization called the American Center For Voting Rights. (try a google search to find out where they are now). ACVR was actually run by a guy named Thor Hearne who happened to be the general council for Bush Cheny 2004. He is trying to keep a low profile today…

    As to caging, there are emails with caging lists that were sent to an incorrect email address and were recovered. -by Tim Griffin who was then appointed to replace the Attorney general that was forced out in Arkansas (and also was Karl Roves right hand man). Monica Goodling actualy testified in congress that they (justice) had known about Tim’s little caging operation and that it might be a little issue. BTW: Tim quit yesterday after John Conyers started investigating the caging issue…

    Want to know about real fraud? Here are a few places to start…

    PS: The atorney general firing were being pushed to cover up the “real” voter fraud…

    Good searching (you may find the real truth)…

    Now shouldnt we be calling our representatives to suggest that this may be something that they should be looking into? How about asking the main stream media why they missed the most important thing that Monica Goodling said (implicating one of the new attorneys in a serious felony that happens to under mine democracy)?

  41. Joe you live in a fantasy world. You really do. Go find me one person who is legally allowed to vote that doesn’t have an ID? You won’t find one.

    “It is poor people, the elderly, and people living in isolated rural areas who are much more likely not to have government-issued IDs, not immigrants.”

    oor? How do you cash a welfare or a social security check without an ID? Every elderly person in this country has an ID. You can’t cash a check without one. Rural areas? Where? Bangladesh? My whole family is from one of the most isolated rural area in the country. The population is lower now than it was during the frontier days. Yet, they still have banks, cash checks and ATMs and work and live just like you and I. Do you ever get out Joe? Do you honestly think that there are areas in this country where people live like Deliverance or something? The only place I have ever been, and I have been a lot of places in this country, where people might not have photo IDs is some Indian Reservations out in New Mexico and Arizona. Those places really are a different country. But even there, I bet they have tribal or BIA cards.

    Joe you live in a fantasy world on this. The only people who do not have IDs in this country are people who have completely dropped out of society yet still receive no government aid.

    The idea that there are significant numbers of people out there who do not have photo ids is just a lie and figment of your imagination.

  42. While the “idea” of requiring a voter ID card outwardly does not seem problematic, you only have to look a bit deeper to deteremine what is really going on here. Especially when you look at who is pushing these laws. The last batch were pushed in hearings run by Bob Ney (try a google search to find out where he is now). They used evidence from a supposedly non partisan organization called the American Center For Voting Rights. (try a google search to find out where they are now). ACVR was actually run by a guy named Thor Hearne who happened to be the general council for Bush Cheny 2004. He is trying to keep a low profile today…”

    WTF is going on here? So Republicans are pushing it therefore it must be fraud. Where the hell is the evidence that it supresses votes. Further, what about all of the fraudulent votes that are cast because we don’t check ids? Isn’t there a duty to stop those?

  43. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
    Like a Colossus; and we petty men
    Walk under his huge legs and peep about
    To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
    Men at some time are masters of their fates:
    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves,that we are underlings.

  44. There is plenty of evidence that it was being done specifically to supress the vote (did you try the searches that I suggested). Actually the truth is that there are many many Americans that do not have picture ID’s. Many states do not issue them (except for drivers licenses). The very people that are trying to supress the vote not only know this, they also know that people of reason like yourselves will argue for ID’s just as you do now. This is a smokescreen. Many elderly voters do not have drivers licenses because they do not drive. Ditto for many people in urban areas (who typically just happen to be minority voters). The folks that are trying to supress votes know their demographics a bit better that you do. Actually there is probably a much higher percentage of people in rural areas who have picture ID because of the need to drive there (compared with urban areas where there is public transportaion). Many of these ID drives not only required a picture ID, but a special voting ID which required a DMV like visit to obtain.

    The truth also is that there are VERY few fraudulant votes cast. If there were many people showing up at their LOCAL precints (typically run by their neighbors, church members, etc), and attempting to vote as soneone else this would be noticed pretty quickly. especially since precint workers seem to not be very transient. If there were a bunch of false names on the voter list this would be obvious as well.

    What we have here is a group trying to make a very small problem into a very big issue with the intention of swinging public opinion.

    This is very slick and intelligently designed fraud…

    I suggest that you investigate further before defending… You might find that you are fighting for somthing that you would not support once you knew the truth….

  45. John,

    Some quick poking around the ACLU web site should provide you with the information you’re assuming doesn’t exist. Challenges to “papers, please” laws were filed on behalf of actual people, with standing, who had been denied their right their vote.

    BTW, please note that last phrase there, “right to vote.” It doesn’t matter that you imagine the number of people who’ve had their rights stripped not to be “significant.” The government is using force to deny people their rights with this law.

  46. Dalia Lithwick is a partisan hack. That she thinks Palast is on to something is further evidence that he isn’t.

  47. Here is how conspiracy theories start: “Government is bad. Worse than bad, government is evil. It’s full of bad people, evil people. So evil that they probably drown kittens for the fun of it. Hmmm, I wonder if the government drowns kittens. There aren’t a lot of kittens in the neighborhood now that I think about it. OMG! There’s this email from a guy saying that he isn’t seeing a lot of kittens in his neighborhood either! The government is drowning kittens! I just asked Bush and he denied it, and since we know he is a liar, then it’s proof that the government is drowning kittens! That’s why they’re caging votes, so the they can blow up the WTC without anyone knowing about the kittens!”

  48. If there are, in fact, those who are unable to acquire voter ID cards under their own income or ability, wouldn’t it be worthwhile for local charitable organizations to donate the fee for getting these ID cards and mobilize transportation to get these individuals to the proper places of registration? That would go a long way towards alleviating the ID issue.

    Grant Gould, you analysis was both well-reasoned and compassionate. As a result, expect a thorough flaming from both joe and John, who I think should both knock off the extreme-wing posturing and just get a room together already.

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