Adam Serwer

You Hear What They Said About You?

So today Politico published a piece about how the White House is really disdainful of liberal bloggers for not celebrating the administration's successes or being understanding enough about the political circumstances that led to their losses. The piece quotes exactly one "top Obama adviser" anonymously who supports this claim. Ironically, most of the advisers quoted in the piece reflect exactly what liberal bloggers have been saying for weeks -- that the economy is the only thing that matters when it comes to the president's approval. My favorite part of the piece is the section on the "liberal echo chamber," since any "echo chamber" that contains Glenn Greenwald , Jon Chait , Ezra Klein and Jane Hamsher isn't an echo chamber so much as a blogger Royal Rumble. I'm not sure whether this reflects the general feeling in the administration, and I'm not sure I care. But it seems blatantly obvious that the piece itself is meant to draw Internet traffic by piggybacking off a general and...

The Consequences Of Liberal Silence On Domestic Radicalization.

Yesterday I attended an event on domestic radicalization at the Center for American Progress which was co-hosted by the National Security Network that featured administration officials, a leader from a Muslim organization, a former NYPD commissioner and LAPD chief, and an academic who has studied domestic radicalization. It was the first such event I'd attended put on by a liberal organization. The featured speaker was Rep. Keith Ellison , the first Muslim representative elected to Congress -- and an underutilized resource on such matters. "As American Muslims, we have to tackle the moral logic that some Muslims use to justify violence in the name of religion, Ellison said. "To say glibly Islam is a religion of peace ignores the reality that there are some Muslims, to our horror, who distort Islam and advocate violence. We have to be at the forefront of correcting the record." While emphasizing the important role that the American Muslim community has and must play in countering...

Juan Willams On The Black Panther Case.

Juan Williams calmly rebuts Megyn Kelly 's insistence that the New Black Panther Case reflects a policy of not pursuing cases with white victims and black defendants, even pointing out that the likely motivation for this entire scandal is payback for the politicized hiring and enforcement scandal at the DoJ under Bush . I think what's most amusing here is that Kelly doesn't really have the chutzpah to take the same tone with Williams that she took with Kirsten Powers , even though Williams was far more devastating. It's almost like she gets that taking the aggrieved-victim-of-racism act with a black man who is old enough to have lived through the '60s and '70s would be transparently ridiculous.

Fallout.

Race is a really bad way to identify candidates who will look out for your interests. Tea Partiers find a way to justify the NAACP's resolution condemning them for racism. Conservatives accidentally make the case for stimulus. The top 10 countries with the highest incarceration rates. Guess who's on top?

Violent Crime Up Under Sheriff Arpaio.

Via Elise Foley comes another myth-busting graph from the pro-immigration group America's Voice Online, which shows that crime has gone up drastically in Maricopa County while dropping in the rest of Arizona despite (because of?) the draconian anti-immigrant policies of its conservative celebrity sheriff, Joe Arpaio : Jack Harris , the police chief in Phoenix, where crime has gone down 14 percent since 2002, wrote a declaration supporting the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona over SB 1070 saying, "deterring, investigating, and solving serious and violent crimes and it would be impossible to do our job without the collaboration and support of community members, even though they may be in the country unlawfully."

Anti-Ground Zero Mosque Crowd Gets Even More Transparent.

There have been some vague attempts to justify landmarking the building slated for the construction of the Islamic Center near Ground Zero on the grounds that the building itself was hit by debris from 9/11, but an ad Ben Smith reports was rejected by NBC and CBS doesn't even try to pretend that they aren't opposing it because of religion: "On September 11, they declared war against us," says the narrator. "And to celebrate that murder of 3,000 Americans, they want to build a monstrous 13-story mosque at Ground Zero." [...] A CBS official, Marty Daly , also rejected the ad, according to emails shared by NRT PAC executive director Scott Wheeler . "They have very selective standards – they’ll run anything MoveOn.org throws out there," said Wheeler, also citing a controversial 2004 NAACP ad invoking the slain James Byrd . The word "they," he said, "is a reference to the people who are putting up the money with the intent of provoking us." Because running an ad encouraging the passage of...

More Identity Politics In Tennessee's 9th.

In yet another episode involving Barack Obama 's (a) deep-seated hatred for white people (b) liberal racism, the president has declared his support for Rep. Steve Cohen , the congressman from Tennessee's predominantly black 9th Congressional District who trounced former Harold Ford aide Nikki Tinker 's race-baiting campaign two years ago. The Washington Post doesn't mention that in its write-up of Obama's endorsement and the current contest, between Cohen and former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton , who is making Cohen's race an issue: His opponent in next month's Democratic primary, former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton, even refers to the lack of racial diversity in Tennessee's congressional delegation on his campaign Web site. A page titled "This Picture Looks Better" includes a photo of Herenton alongside the state's all-white delegation. I expect a number of people on the right to to point to this contest as another example of the mass appeal of "reverse racism," among black folks,...

Building While Muslim.

Alex Pareene on the conservative hysteria over the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero, which has now become a gubernatorial campaign issue: If we don't give in to the most reactionary anti-Muslim forces in the nation, the terrorists who seek to convince Muslim youths that we're a reactionary, anti-Muslim nation will have won. Pareene is being sarcastic, but the opposite point is true -- a Muslim place of worship near Ground Zero would be proof that al-Qaeda hasn't succeeded in turning America's fight against terrorism into a war against Islam. Of course, if you believe we should be at war with Islam, then you're not going to make a distinction between your average Muslim and your average terrorist. By the numbers of course, it's al-Qaeda that is at war with Islam. The latest attempt to prevent the center from being built involves calls to landmark the building so it can't be changed. Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio argued yesterday that this ostensibly needs to...

Fallout.

The Department of Justice charges New Orleans police officers in connection with the Danziger Bridge shooting. The 2010 elections in one graph. Dana Goldstein on the coming birth-control battle. There are no lucrative endorsement deals for slaves. But this post got me kinda wondering what a Frederick Douglass shoe would look like. Obviously, it would be good for kicking ass. D.C. wins the gender pay gap.

Odaini Transferred Home To Yemen.

Here's an odd confluence of events: On the same day that a D.C. District Court ruling makes it easier for the government to hold suspected terror detainees indefinitely, the Department of Defense announces the transfer of Mohammed Odaini back to Yemen: On May 26, 2010, a U.S. District Court ordered the release of Mohammed Odaini from custody at Guantanamo Bay. As a result, the Department of Defense has transferred him to his native country. In accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer Odaini at least 15 days before his transfer. The suspension of Yemeni repatriations from Guantanamo remains in effect due to the security situation that exists there. However, the Administration respects the decisions of U.S. federal courts, which ordered the release of Odaini. As with all transfers, the U.S. Government will work with the Yemeni Government to the fullest extent possible to implement appropriate security...

Balko On Mehserle.

Radley Balko writes a sober-minded column on the fate of Johannes Mehserle : There's also the appearance of a double standard. Mehserle's defense is that he made a mistake. In the heat of the moment, Mehserle inadvertently reached for the wrong weapon. But Mehserle had training. He had other cops there backing him up. If we're going to be sympathetic to him, we should also show some sympathy and understanding for people like Cory Maye and Ryan Frederick , both of whom were tried for murder for killing police officers who broke into their homes at night. Both Maye and Frederick say they mistook the raiding cops for criminal intruders. Maye was convicted of capital murder. Frederick's jury opted for voluntary manslaughter. That said, Mehserle shouldn't be required to suffer the accumulated anger stemming from other problems in the criminal justice system. He should be convicted of—and punished for—the crime the evidence presented at his trial proves he committed, nothing more. His jury...

Indefinite Detention Just Got A Whole Lot Easier.

Lyle Denniston reports : The D.C. Circuit Court, in a broad hint to the Justice Department to adopt a new strategy in detainee cases, suggested strongly on Tuesday that federal judges are now demanding too much evidence from the government to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere. Although the three-judge panel said it was not deciding the issue finally, it said that detention might be legal if the government has only “some evidence” to support captivity. Even a “preponderance of the evidence” standard may be too strict, it indicated. More on this later. I suppose having lost about three-quarters of the habeas challenges so far, the D.C. Circuit Court may have felt the government needed a little extra boost.

Omar Khadr Boycotts His Own Military Commission.

Last week, Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr , a Canadian national who is being prosecuted by military commission for crimes he is alleged to have committed as a teenager, fired his lawyers. Yesterday, now-unbanned Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg reports that Khadr also rejected a plea deal in which he would serve five more years at Gitmo and the rest in Canada, while the judge ultimately refused to allow Khadr to represent himself: Khadr stirred controversy throughout the day about his willingness and ability to defend himself. In the end, [Judge] Parrish instructed the Canadian's Pentagon appointed counsel, Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson , to defend Khadr over the captive's objections. ``I'm not going to allow an unrepresented accused in here. That's not going to happen,'' the judge said. ``I want to make sure the proceedings are fair to Mr. Khadr -- whether he boycotts or not.'' Marcy Wheeler has transcribed Khadr's reasons for wanting to boycott the proceedings, which closely...

Judge Napolitano On Bush And Cheney.

Andrew Napolitano is one of those genuinely idiosyncratic Fox News personalities. Last year, he wrote an op-ed in the LA Times denouncing the whole "War on Terrorism" framework and calling for terror suspects to be tried in civilian courts. Yesterday, in a conversation with Ralph Nader , he said George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should have been indicted : Napolitano: So what President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantanamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the Constitution was blatantly unconstitutional and is some cases criminal. Nader: What's the sanction for President Bush and Vice President Cheney? Napolitano: There's been no sanction except what history will say about them. Nader: What should be the sanctions? Napolitano: They should have been indicted. They absolutely should have been indicted for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants. I'd like to say they...

A Clarification on the NBPP Case.

So, I just wanted to clear something up: I wrote my post yesterday about the Justice Department's decision not to pursue criminal charges against the NBPP during the Bush administration because I had seen conservatives arguing that it was made by the Obama administration. It wasn't. I did not mean to suggest that the civil case, which the DoJ dropped in May of last year after receiving a preliminary injunction against the only NBPP member in Philadelphia who was walking around with a baton, was dismissed during the Bush administration. I apologize if any of my writing has been unclear on this point or any confusion has resulted because I misstated the accusation of who wanted the criminal case dismissed. As I've explained before, Section 11(b) cases, which are rare, are generally reserved for extensive voter-suppression schemes, which the two men standing outside the Philadelphia polling station did not amount to. The legal standard for proving Section 11(b) cases in the past has been...

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