Adam Serwer

Fallout.

Jonathan Chait , not a huge fan of J-Street, nonetheless sticks up for J-Street. Medical costs for aging inmates help make locking people up for really long periods of time very expensive. Former Bush administration speechwriter seems to have a double standard on how leakers of classified information should be treated. Incumbency probably has a lot to do with the ethics investigations plaguing the Congressional Black Caucus.

Cucinelli's Sympathetic Judge.

Jack Balkin reads the recent decision from Judge Henry Hudson , who ruled that the lawsuit filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli can go forward and finds more then a few conservative dog whistles: Judge Hudson, however, has tipped his hand about the merits in the way he describes the case. He clearly sympathizes with the state of Virginia. First, he characterizes the challenge as a "narrowly-tailored facial challenge" (normally, one says this about as-applied challenges, not about facial challenges, which are generally characterized as broad based). Second he characterizes the issue as one of first impression, which is precisely what opponents of the individual mandate want. Third, he characterizes the issue as whether individuals can be forced to participate in interstate commerce, which also accepts the framing by opponents of the individual mandate. Fourth he massages a quote by a Justice Department attorney to suggest that the government is conceding that Congress...

Smearing Rauf As A Terrorist Sympathizer.

Rudy Giuliani weighs in on the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy: "It sends a particularly bad message, particularly (because) of the background of the Imam who is supporting this. This is an Imam who has supported radical causes, who has not been forthright in condemning Islamic (terrorism) and the worst instincts that that brings about. [...] "I mean, they died there because of Islamic extremist terrorism. They are our enemy, we can say that, the world will not end when we say that. And the reality is it will not and should not insult any decent Muslim because decent Muslims should be as opposed to Islamic extremism as you and I are." The obvious response is that to the right, what defines a "decent Muslim" is a Muslim who does not believe Muslims should be entitled to the same rights as other Americans. Second, the notion that Imam Faisal Rauf has "supported radical causes" and "not been forthright in condemning Islamic terrorism" doesn't seem to be true. Conservatives point to this...

Shales' Bizarre Anti-Amanpour Crusade.

I'm not a stickler for the Sunday morning news shows. I thought ABC's Jake Tapper did a great job as a temporary host on This Week , but I generally don't watch them -- I just read the transcripts later. I didn't watch this weekend, so I have no idea whether or not the show's new host, Christiane Amanpour , did a good job. Still, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales ' hatred of her is just weird. Eric Boehlert points out that Shales, in attacking Amanpour as "globe-trotting fancypants," ( previously "little miss politics") suggested that she sympathized with the Taliban during her debut: Perhaps in keeping with the newly globalized program, the commendable "In Memoriam" segment ended with a tribute not to American men and women who died in combat during the preceding week but rather, said Amanpour in her narration, in remembrance of "all of those who died in war" in that period. Did she mean to suggest that our mourning extend to members of the Taliban? In case it needs mentioning,...

How Far The ADL Has Fallen.

From the Anti-Defamation League's own timeline: ADL learned two very significant lessons in the 1920's: achieving equality needed affirmative techniques as well as defensive efforts, and the welfare of any one minority was intertwined with the welfare of all. ADL head Abraham Foxman , 2010 : The issue was wrenching for the Anti-Defamation League, which in the past has spoken out against anti-Islamic sentiment. But its national director, Abraham H. Foxman, said in an interview on Friday that the organization came to the conclusion that the location was offensive to families of victims of Sept. 11, and he suggested that the center’s backers should look for a site “a mile away.” “It’s the wrong place,” Mr. Foxman said. “Find another place.” Asked why the opposition of the families was so pivotal in the decision, Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, said they were entitled to their emotions. “Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the...

Behold The Scourge Of NeoCommunism!

Media Matters reads Andy McCarthy 's book, in which, reflecting Michelle Malkin 's habit of manufacturing colorful but meaningless political epithets, he refers to President Obama as a "neocommunist" who is "disposed" to "advance the cause of Islam in the world." Obama professes a love for this country. So does many an Islamist. What they love, however, is a vision of America, not America as it is: E Pluribus Unum -- the Many who are transformed into One by freedom, not ideology. For the president as for the Islamists, the object of their affection is not our Unum, the glorious inheritance we pluribus cherish through generations past, present, and (one prays) future. That Unum earns only their disdain. Move through Obama's career as a community organizer, his embrace of ACORN, his radical associations: the common denominator is a purpose to break down the Unum at its foundations, what he calls the "grass roots." For America, he plans an atom bomb. Or, to be precise, an atoms bomb:...

Breitbart And Media Matters.

This section of Andrew Breitbart 's interview with Newsweek last week caught my eye: If Sherrod wanted to meet with you, what would you tell her? I’d have a long discussion with her, and I’d tell her that I’m not one of these people in this country that thinks racism doesn’t exist. And that I’m not one of these people who says that she hasn’t suffered from racism. And that the scars of her racism aren’t warranted. But I’d also tell her that my passion in life and my political trajectory from left to right was born from watching the Clarence Thomas hearings. I didn’t understand how [the] NAACP sat on its hands while privileged white gentlemen hammered him mercilessly and humiliated him and the media and the NAACP allowed for it to happen. All respect due to Mark Halperin 's great column on how the media's "downward spiral" got started, but the Clarence Thomas hearings, rather than the OJ Simpson trial, are the more likely origin point. Thomas went onto become a Supreme Court justice,...

Did Anything Really "Happen" To Conservatism?

David Klinghoffer wants to know what happened to conservatism: Buckley 's National Review , where I was the literary editor through the 1990s, remains as vital and interesting as ever. But more characteristic of conservative leadership are figures on TV, radio and the Internet who make their money by stirring fears and resentments. With its descent to baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims, its accommodation of conspiracy theories and an increasing nastiness and vulgarity, the conservative movement has undergone a shift toward demagoguery and hucksterism. Once the talk was of "neocons" versus "paleocons." Now we observe the rule of the crazy-cons. So I'm with Oliver Willis in thinking that the journey from William F. Buckley's declaration that "The South Must Prevail" to "baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims" -- not to mention the one between Ronald Reagan warning Medicare would lead to the end of freedom and Sarah Palin decrying "death panels" -- looks more like a straight line than a...

SB 1070 Still Not About Crime.

Proponents of Arizona's SB 1070 are operating under a number of misleading assumptions and/or deliberate distortions. The undocumented population of Arizona is decreasing , not increasing, drug violence from Mexico has not spilled over , crime is generally down, and deportations are higher than they've been in 10 years. Proponents of the law know that public opinion is on their side , however, so instead of engaging reality, they've chosen to make outlandish claims that are out of line with the facts but in sync with people's emotions, with Gov. Jan Brewer telling false tales of beheadings in the desert and Sen. Jon Kyl claiming the Obama administration is holding the border "hostage" even as it deploys troops to guard it. This weekend on Face the Nation , Kyl dismissed the notion that crime was down in Arizona as a "gross generalization": SMITH: One of the things that’s come to light over the past last couple weeks is that in some of these border towns that were thought to be...

Fallout.

The ADL loses Jon Chait . Marx , Lenin , whomever . I suppose it could have been worse for North Korea's World Cup team. Michael Bloomberg stands up for the freedom to sag your pants.

Gingrich Embraces A Clash Of Civilizations.

The importance of Newt Gingrich 's speech at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday has been overlooked. Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino have embraced Islamophobia out of political expediency, and Sarah Palin can be expected to reflect the GOP's populist impulses, no matter how ugly. But Gingrich is considered an intellectual force within the party, and his mainstreaming of once-fringe conspiracy theories regarding Islam is an important development. It marks another stop in the transition from the GOP of George W. Bush , who even as the rubble at the World Trade Center smoldered, declared that "terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics," to a Republican Party that, in Gingrich's words, must be engaged in a battle not merely with terrorists, but with "radical Islamists, in both their militant and their stealth form." In Gingrich's words, the "stealth radical Islamists" use "cultural,...

Post-Racial Harmony.

Kathryn Jean Lopez on Essence Magazine hiring a white fashion director: [E]ssence [M]agazine sounds like it has brought us closer to a "post-racial america" than anything [B]arack [O]bama has done. I think this is about as coherent a conservative vision of interracial cooperation as has ever been expressed. "Post-racial America" is where black people do stuff for white people.

ADL Condemns, Enables, Anti-Muslim Bigotry.

The Anti-Defamation League comes out against the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero: The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found. In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one. Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a...

Defending Holder.

Jason Zengerle says something that shouldn't have been necessary -- that Attorney General Eric Holder is not a racist. He also explains why some conservatives are saying so anyway: But if the conservative case against Holder makes no sense logically, it does emotionally: Like Obama , the attorney general is black, and some right-wingers seem to think that, when two prominent black Democrats are given the reins of power, they’ll surely conspire to undermine white people. Absent any tangible proof to back up this argument, that really is the only way to explain the conservative media’s strange fixation on Holder. He inflames their fears and suspicions in a way that, say, John Edwards —who, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, was considered Obama’s likely choice for attorney general—never would have. The implication that Holder and Obama are sympathetic to, even protective of, the racist, anti-Semitic New Black Panther Party in the absence of any evidence, suggests that, no...

The Ethics Of WikiLeaks.

Yesterday The New York Times has confirmed what a former military intelligence officer told me earlier this week, that the unredacted documents released by WikiLeaks have put Afghans who assisted coalition forces in Afghanistan in danger. A Taliban spokesman confirmed they were looking through the documents in order to find the names of Afghans who assisted coalition forces so they can "punish" them ( via Joshua Foust ). Yesterday Secretary Robert Gates said that the leaks "may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world,” adding that "intelligence sources and methods, as well as military tactics, techniques, and procedures, will become known to our adversaries.” Two things seem clear: Julian Assange acted recklessly, and judging by his recent statements, callously by not considering the lives of the people whose names he was exposing in pursuit of his anti-war agenda, and the administration really wants to make the WikiLeaks story about Assange and not...

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