Patterico's Pontifications

5/23/2007

Dr. Henry Lee – Going…Going…Gone

Filed under: Crime,Current Events — Justin Levine @ 5:19 pm

[posted by Justin Levine] 

We all know that O.J. spinmeister Dr. Henry Lee can distort evidence and  concoct some amazing tales to help get the guilty off. But he also plays both sides of the criminal fence in testifying about his “forensic science”.

Note to Patterico: If you are ever so tempted, you might want to think twice about calling him as a witness to prove your case. 

How did this guy get such a big reputation again?

Proof That John McKay’s Investigation of Voter Fraud Was Woefully Inadequate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:50 pm

Back in March, I said:

John McKay in Washington is the U.S. Attorney who said: “There was no evidence” of voter fraud in the 2004 Governor’s election. Stefan Sharkansky has done yeoman’s work on this issue, and has solid evidence of improper ballots counted. That by itself doesn’t show fraud, but Stefan alleges that election officials made false public statements about the improperly counted ballots, and further contends that records were altered to make the improper votes appear to be genuine votes . . . If Stefan is right, it sounds like at least enough to investigate further. Stefan doesn’t think McKay looked at all of his evidence.

Wouldn’t you like to know whether Stefan is right? Wouldn’t you like to know how McKay came to the conclusion that there is “no evidence” of voter fraud? Wouldn’t it be great if Stefan could confront McKay directly and find out what evidence McKay looked at?

Well, he did.

In a post that deserves to be linked by every blog concerned about the U.S. Attorney story, Stefan has detailed an interview that he did with McKay, in which he asked him these questions. Takeaway quotes from Stefan’s post:

McKay’s statements about the absence of evidence of a crime have been trumpeted by partisan Democrats and many in the media to suggest that he thought that the election was just fine. But he clarified on Sunday that “there was no evidence” means one thing, but that he won’t say “there was no crime committed.” And he stated some personal opinions on the election that he refrained from saying as the U.S. Attorney. He said he “didn’t like the way the election was handled”, describing it using phrases such as “incompetence”, “troubling”, “smelled really, really, bad” and “stinky, nasty”. He commended me for researching the irregularities, agreed with me that there needs to be a review of the processes that allowed the illegal votes to be counted, and said that he and I were “kindred spirits” in believing that state election laws “didn’t serve us very well”.

So, despite the fact that there was a stench around the election, McKay thinks there was “no evidence” of voter fraud. Exactly how he reached this conclusion is illuminating and disappointing:

He explained in the interview that the threshold of evidence he was looking for was for an informant to come forward with an eyewitness account of a conspiracy to change the outcome of the election. Short of that, he would not even send FBI agents to interview election officials about illegal ballots. That is an extraordinarily high, and I would argue, unreasonable, hurdle to overcome. Clearly there can be serious crimes by individuals which do not constitute a conspiracy yet corrupt the election, and there can be serious crimes that no eyewitness would ever come forward on his own to report.

In a nutshell, McKay wanted a confession (or at least an informant) before he would even investigate. This means that there was evidence his “investigation” didn’t even consider, including (surprise, surprise) Stefan’s:

It was only months after the trial that I managed to uncover, through public records requests, the documentary evidence that county election officials counted nearly 500 illegal votes, which were not known to the court. I showed McKay a few examples of the illegal votes that I uncovered. He called this information “troubling”, and acknowledged that he had not been aware of it. Of course, some or all of these 500 illegal votes could have been tabulated through mere garden-variety negligence and not out of criminal intent. However, it is highly unlikely that anybody can establish whether there was criminal intent without sending an investigator to interview the election workers involved.

The 500 votes, by the way, isn’t chump change. Stefan notes that 500 votes is

nearly 4 times the 133-vote margin of “victory” in the governor’s race.

So you have a U.S. Attorney who thought the election stank, but still waited for a confession or an informant before investigating — and consequently was unable to uncover hundreds of illegal votes that a single blogger managed to uncover in his spare time, with public records act requests. Then he announces to the press that there was “no evidence” of voter fraud.

Pathetic. Simply pathetic. He didn’t deserve to keep his job.

What Do Illegal Immigrants Cost?

Filed under: General,Immigration — Patterico @ 6:08 am

This U.S. News and World Report piece (h/t DRJ) asks:

[W]hat do low-skilled immigrants cost America? Everything has its costs, of course. According to a new analysis by Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation, the average low-skilled immigrant household received $30,160 in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and other services from all levels of government in 2004.

By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes that year, meaning the average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588. And what about retirement costs? Rector estimates that if all the current adult illegal immigrants in the United States were granted amnesty, the net retirement costs to government (benefits minus taxes) could be over $2.5 trillion.

A 2003 analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas concluded that while high-skilled immigration had “good economic effects”–it added to economic growth and helped government finances–low-skilled immigration was more of a mixed picture. “The economic benefits are there as well but have to be balanced against the fiscal impact, which is likely negative,” explained economist Pia Orrenius.

This piece from the Cato Institute responds:

It is certainly true that low-skilled workers do, on average, consume more in government services than they pay in taxes, especially at the state and local levels. But some of the estimates of that cost have been grossly exaggerated. Moreover, the value of an immigrant to American society should not be judged solely on his or her fiscal impact.

I find the Cato Institute piece highly unpersuasive. It tries to tell me that the estimated 1-2 million extra people in Los Angeles County don’t contribute to:

  • Increased traffic
  • Crowded hospitals
  • Increased crime
  • Overcrowded schools

How, you might ask, does the Cato Institute manage to reach this conclusion? It looks at things like rates, and concludes that (for example) the crime rate among illegals is low, so you can’t blame them for extra crime — or that they are generally healthy, so you can’t blame them for crowding the hospitals.

But this is a misleading way to look at it, because it ignores the fact that the absolute numbers are still going up, regardless of what the rates are — and we don’t have the infrastructure to accomodate the absolute numbers, which are having an impact on society.

Take prison space as an example. Let’s assume, hypothetically, that we have a 140,000 bed capacity in our prison system, but we have 170,000 prisoners, 35,000 of which are illegal immigrants. Even if it were true that illegals commit crimes at a lower rate than others, these numbers would still mean that with illegals, we have a capacity problem that could cost us billions to rectify — and without them, we’d have plenty of beds.

Studies like the Cato study ignore quality of life issues that result from an overabundance of people, and they also give short shrift to the strain on the infrastructure caused by millions of extra people. Of course they crowd the roads. Of course they crowd the hospitals. Of course they crowd the schools and the jails and the prisons. And of course there is a cost to all of this.

There are simply too damn many people — and the law is supposed to control the numbers to keep them in line with our capacity to handle them. Why doesn’t the Cato Institute talk about that?


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