Adam Serwer

Competition

Right Wing Watch has the latest Islamophobic statements from Evangelical leader Pat Robertson, from his broadcast this morning: Robertson: I think the Antichrist is Islam. I really do, and I think it’s a system. Meeuwsen: It’s a system more than person? Robertson: It’s both, it’s centered on Mohammed, who defied Jesus, he said Jesus wasn’t the son of God, I mean that’s Antichrist. And I think the system is the Antichrist system, because they’re trying to destroy the Jews and there’s a hatred, a virulent hatred, of Christians and Jews. So could that be it? I think. So the U.S. has a national security problem in the form of global extremism--including Islamic extremism. Separate from that is the growth of Islam as a religion, and the fact that Christianity is in competition with Islam for humanity's souls. There is a substantial portion of the Republican base that cannot distinguish between the two, and so views the latter as a "threat" indistinguishable from the former. Hence the...

Supposedly Anti-White DoJ Monitoring Primary Elections In Noxubee

Just a reminder: As I noted earlier this month, the voting section of the Justice Department is sending election observers to the primaries in Noxubee County Mississippi today, where the Bush administration filed a case on behalf of white voters under Section 11(b), the same part of the Voting Rights Act used to secure an injunction against the New Black Panthers. At the time, Noxubee was the first voting rights case ever filed on behalf of white voters. Now, a key part of the conservative narrative in the NBPP case was that the Obama administration would not intervene to protect white voters. Aside from the fact that last year the voting section requested that the injunction against the individual in that case, Ike Brown, be extended, they are now sending election observers to Noxubee, with the implied purpose of making sure white voters aren't being disenfranchised. The allegations of anti-white racial bias in the narrowing of the NBPP case were debunked by an internal report by the...

The FBI's Spies

Trevor Aaronson has a very important piece in Mother Jones questioning the nature of the FBI's many sting operations that involve the arrest of suspects who commit to carrying out FBI-facilitated terror plots, but I think this part of the piece is a bit unfair: Ever since 9/11, counterterrorism has been the FBI's No. 1 priority, consuming the lion's share of its budget—$3.3 billion, compared to $2.6 billion for organized crime—and much of the attention of field agents and a massive, nationwide network of informants. After years of emphasizing informant recruiting as a key task for its agents, the bureau now maintains a roster of 15,000 spies—many of them tasked, as Hussain was, with infiltrating Muslim communities in the United States. In addition, for every informant officially listed in the bureau's records, there are as many as three unofficial ones, according to one former high-level FBI official, known in bureau parlance as "hip pockets." The informants could be doctors, clerks,...

If I Were President...

The New York Times has a feature asking "If I were president" which basically involves the enlisted getting wistful about all the things they'd do if you know, Congress didn't existed and if the office of the presidency conferred the ability to work magic. As for me well, if I were president, I would make sure all the money's spent on good things. I would not jock the fact that there are rich people in the world because, yo, I got a girl and she needs new clothes and I need new sneakers. And that's all I know.

What Happened To Rick Perry, "No Apologies Candidate?"

Texas Governor Rick Perry, whom Washington Post reporter Chris Cilizza dubbed the "no apologies" candidate, disavows entirely a book he wrote last year endorsing the view that New Deal reforms like Social Security are unconstitutional. Ian Millhiser writes , "After just a few days of embarrassing press, however, Perry now expects the country to believe that his entire book was not intended to be a factual statement." He suggested the program’s creation violated the Constitution. The program was put in place, “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government,” he wrote, comparing the program to a “bad disease” that has continued to spread. Instead of “a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme,” he wrote, he would prefer a system that “will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement.” But since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications...

Where There Won't Be Vindication

Over at Greg's I mock the right's reaction to good news in Libya: McCain and Graham, both of whom had warm personal interactions with Ghadafi in the past, have now gotten exactly what they wanted from the administration’s decision to intervene. But GOP partisanship demands that they not acknowledge the president’s role in assembling the global coalition that aided the rebels. Indeed, with the Republican Party wedded to a contradictory image of the president as foreign policy weakling and iron-fisted domestic dictator, we’re going to see a lot of bizarre rationalizing of what happened in an attempt to preserve this narrative of the Obama presidency. While the Libyan rebels have earned a moment of celebration, toppling Ghadafi was still the “easy” part, relatively speaking. The “hard” part is the post-conflict transition to a stable government that respects the individual rights of its citizens. The premature celebrations of victory in Iraq in 2003 should be a reminder of this. A...

Causality

The Obama administration is reportedly pressuring New York's new Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to go easy on the banks and engage in the "settlements in lieu of prosecutions" approach to financial crime that started with the Bush administration. In an interview on Friday, Mr. Donovan defended his discussions with the attorney general, saying they were motivated by a desire to speed up help for troubled homeowners. But he said he had not spoken to bank officials or their representatives about trying to persuade Mr. Schneiderman to get on board with the deal. “Eric and I agree on a tremendous amount here,” Mr. Donovan said. “The disagreement is around whether we should wait to settle and resolve the issues around the servicing practices for him — and potentially other A.G.’s and other federal agencies — to complete investigations on the securitization side. He might argue that he has more leverage that way, but our view is we have the immediate opportunity to help a huge number of...

Bloggingheads: Perry And Louie Edition

I talk Rick Perry, civil liberties, and the genius of Louie CK with Conor Friedersdorf: A coda on our discussion on Perry's decision to mandate the HPV vaccine, from Amanda Hess: Thanks to HPV, just about everyone has a sexually transmitted infection these days. About 20 million Americans are currently infected with one or more strains of the virus. Six million more are infected each year. If you have sex, you're more likely than not to get it before you die. Forty percent of women will contract it within just 16 months of their first vaginal intercourse. And the virus' proliferation has complicated Americans' moral judgments concerning sexual activity. The ubiquity of HPV has democratized sexual stigma—the virus infects people of all races, classes, and sexual orientations. If contracting a virus from sex is the norm, it makes it more difficult to dismiss people with STIs as moral degenerates or irresponsible sluts. At the same time, the proliferation of HPV among young people has...

Fallout

HPV is the STD of a new generation . Primary hype . Immigration restrictionist Russell Pearce wants you to pay for his recall campaign. Rick Perry's political savvy . "Bank of America. We'll help you out ."

Dept of "Goofy And Wrong"

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, fresh off yesterday's remarks that Barack Obama wants "to create dependency because it worked so well for him,” because he's black, offers some thoughts on Afghanistan: The best way to get us out of Afghanistan is to grow our economy, change the regulations, have a vibrant, growing America where people are afraid to come against us,” Coburn said. Yesterday Coburn said Obama's ideas were "goofy and wrong." Completely unlike the idea that deregulation would get us out of Afghanistan. Almost seems like a missed opportunity to promote other Republican cure-all's like lowering taxes or bombing Iran. Those would get us out of Afghanistan too right?

The Politics Of Obama's Deportation Shift

The political impact of the Obama administration's decision to commit to discretion in deportation procedures may not be immediately obvious. No, most Latinos in the U.S. are not undocumented. However, most Latinos do have some kind of social connection to someone who is undocumented. According to a June 2011 poll by Latino Decisions, more than half of Latino voters know an undocumented person, and a quarter know someone who has been deported. A majority of these voters (53%) said they know someone who is undocumented, while one-fourth (25%) said they know a person or family who is facing deportation or has been deported. The implications of this are obvious--the administration's aggressive, uncompromising approach to deportations must have had quite an impact on the perceptions of Latino voters towards the administration, because most have at least some direct, personal understanding of the dilemmas undocumented immigrants face. By the same token, the decision to forestall the...

Voting And Recidivism

Mansfield Frazier (via Sara Mayeux ) reports that recidivism rates in Florida are lower for offenders who get back their right to vote post-incarceration. According to a recent report by The Florida Parole Commission, “the overall three-year recidivism rate based on all released inmates” was 33..1, while the recidivism rate for released prisoners who were given their civil rights back and were allowed to vote stood at 11 percent. These findings were not generated by a progressive organization such as The Sentencing Project, the ACLU, or the NAACP, but by a state governmental body utilizing exacting scientific methodologies. The inescapable conclusion has to be that allowing formerly incarcerated persons to more fully participate in society will result in a reduction of crime and recidivism. Well I wouldn't go that far. The study suggests that the formerly incarcerated who are reinfranchised are less likely to recidivate. Correlation is not causation. Under the Florida process, those...

Smoke Weed, Lose Your Kids

Today's drug war outrage comes from New York City, where possession of, or even admitted use of marijuana by parents results in child protective services taking your children away from you: Lauren Shapiro, director of the Brooklyn Family Defense Project, which defends most parents facing neglect charges in Family Court in Brooklyn, said more than 90 percent of the cases alleging drug use that her lawyers handle involve marijuana, as opposed to other drugs. “There is not the same use of crack cocaine as there used to be, so they are filing these cases instead,” Ms. Shapiro said. Marijuana is the most common illicit drug in New York City: 730,000 people, or 12 percent of people age 12 and older, use the drug at least once annually, according to city health data. Over all, the rate of marijuana use among whites is twice as high as among blacks and Hispanics in the city, the data show, but defense lawyers said these cases were rarely if ever filed against white parents. Keep in mind that...

A BFD On Immigration Enforcement

The Obama administration's decision to defer deportation of undocumented immigrants who don't post a threat to public safety is really a huge deal : What changed? Obama’s poll numbers among Latino voters began to slip. Both on the local and national level, immigration reform advocates upped the pressure, even protesting at the Obama administration’s headquarters in Chicago. While the debate over the administration’s aggressive enforcement policy largely occurred under the radar in the mainstream media, Obama was getting pilloried in the Spanish-language press for breaking his promises. All the while, the administration was getting no credit from the right for its aggressive enforcement policies, even as deportations rose, the number of illegal immigrants dropped, and more resources were deployed at the border. Heading into 2012 with little in the way of progress to show on immigration reform, the administration likely felt that it had to do something to show that its immigration...

Fallout

For the Clinton contrarians . Smoke weed and lose your kids. The buck still stops with the Syrians. The GOP's shifting school reform agenda.

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