Adam Serwer

CCR Report: S-Comm Harms Law Enforcement

The Center for Constitutional Rights, a foe of the Obama administration's "Secure Communities" Program, has released a report arguing that the program should be ended. The expected objections to the program "excessively punish[ing] marginal populations" are contained in the report, but it also includes testimony from law enforcement officials like former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and former Los Angeles Police Chief David Bratton. The law enforcement argument against Secure Communities goes something like this: Because the program is automatic, undocumented immigrants are discouraged from talking to police because of the possibility that they might end up getting deported. "When immigrants perceive the local police force as merely an arm of the federalimmigration authority," Morgenthau writes, "they become reluctant to report criminal activity for fear of being turned over to federal officials." The way Secure Communites works is that jurisdictions covered by the...

Correction Of The Day: Spymaster Moses

The New York Times has a pretty cool feature story on a summer camp for Jews of color, which I kind of wish had existed when I was growing up. The story also featured this awesome correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of spies Moses sent to report on the Promised Land. He sent 12, not 10. Let it be known that Moses was nothing if not a master in the conservation and deployment of human intelligence resources.

Presidents And Wearing The Uniform

According to Texas Governor Rick Perry, he's running for president because "I want to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States respects highly the president of the United States." He later "clarified" by saying that “If you polled the military, the active duty and veterans, and said ‘would you rather have a president of the United States that never served a day in the military or someone who is a veteran?’ They’ve going to say, I would venture, that they would like to have a veteran." Maybe, but that doesn't mean they'd want Perry. Last time around, Obama ran against John McCain, a decorated Navy pilot and former prisoner of war in Vietnam. Yet according to a report the Center for Responsive Politics released in August 2008, active duty servicemembers deployed abroad gave six times the amount to Obama that they did to McCain. The anti-war Republican Congressman Ron Paul actually raised more money from active-duty servicemembers than McCain...

Giving Aid And Comfort To The Economy

Texas Governor Rick Perry gives his opinion of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.” I wonder what Perry considers "ugly." Perhaps he means he'd charge Bernanke with murder, execute him following a conviction based on faulty evidence , and then try to cover it up after the fact? Liberals are clamoring for the Fed to do something to help the economy--in this case printing money. But Perry thinks this would be "treason." Now you might ask, what exactly does an aspiring secessionist like Perry have against treason? Well it's pretty simple. If the Fed actually helped stimulate the economy, Perry or whomever the Republican nominee is would have a harder time winning the election, because Obama would benefit from stronger growth. So...

Fallout

Unity on American Dream Dissolves When Explaining Failures That'll play well with women voters . Obama embraces Obamacare. Pam Grier was a fan of Gloria Steinem.

If By "The District of Columbia" You Mean "College Educated White People"

The problem with economic commentary posting that DC is insulated from the recession and that said insulation gives policy-makers an unrealistically rosy view of the economy is that it basically ignores that an entire segment of the city isn’t insulated from the recession. So here’s Catherine Rampell : In every state, a majority of residents think the economy is getting worse. In the nation’s capital, however, a full 60 percent of people think the economy is getting better. This may be good evidence for those arguing that Washington exists in its own disconnected bubble. At the very least, Gallup’s results show that the District of Columbia thinks very differently about the state of the economy than the rest of the country does. Joan McCarter cosigns : The rest of the country is flipping out about the economy because they are actually living that reality. Perhaps while 535 of those Washington residents are out visiting the people across the nation they’re supposed to be representing,...

Judging Is Fine, It's A Free Country

Michele Bachmann told David Gregory on Meet The Press yesterday that she doesn't "judge" gays and lesbians. But oh she does : "It's sad," she continues. "Any of you who have members of your family that are in the lifestyle - we have a member of our family that is - this is not funny. It's a very sad life." Bachmann has a stepsister who is gay. She goes on to say that it is "profoundly sad to recognize that almost all, if not all, individuals who have gone into the lifestyle have been abused at one time in their life." Bachmann argues that legalizing same-sex marriage - which she describes as "bringing it into the mainstream if you will, giving it a legitimacy" - will impact all Americans, "particularly the schools." She says it means teachers will be forced to teach "sexual identity" in a way that suggests homosexuality is acceptable. She says "children would have to be taught a falsehood because they're in a captive audience in the public schools, they couldn't get out." Later,...

Moar Economic Determinism

My post for Greg today is on Obama's recent dip below 40 percent in the Gallup Daily tracking poll--and how the administration should ignore the daily numbers and worry more about the economy: What should worry the Obama administration is the reason Reagan won and Bush lost — economic growth. Strong economic growth in the later stages of the first Reagan administration resulted in his winning reelection by a landslide—while a faltering economy ensured the elder Bush would lose reelection to Bill Clinton. When I spoke to political scientists and economists about Obama’s chances for reelection in 2012, they said that at the very least , GDP growth would have to average about 2 percent per quarter for Obama to be reelected based on date from prior elections. Growth in the first quarter of 2011, meanwhile, was a paltry .4 percent. So there’s little point in wringing one’s hands over daily approval ratings. It’s still the economy, stupid, and what will likely determine the outcome in 2012...

Why Rick Perry Can Win

I'm going to have a little fun with Kevin Drum whose list of reasons Texas Governor Rick Perry won't win largely reads to me like reasons why he can. Everyone looks good before they get into the race. Drum writes that "He'll start to look distinctly more human" when the national media starts taking a look at him. True, but absent some really serious scandals we don't know about yet, I've seen nothingvyet to suggest Perry will be seriously damaged by the scrutiny. He's too Texan. I don't think this is much of a liability. It's certainly possible that an unconscious association with Bush might hurt Perry among the general electorate, but his "Texanness" is part of his appeal to conservatives--not torture lover Michael Goldfarb gushing that “He’s a cowboy. You have to assume he’d shoot first and ask questions later — which would be nice after four years of a leading from behind, too little too late foreign policy.” Like I've said before, Republicans want like their nominees manly,...

Anti-Shariah Legislation In Michigan

Michigan is the site of one of the Shariah-panic crowd's favorite incidents. Supposedly, a group of Christians passing out literature outside an Arab festival in Dearborn were silenced in accordance with Sharia law. Conservative mouth breather John Hinderaker claimed that "local authorities now enforce Shariah in preference to the Constitution of the United States." The story was nonsense -- the police were called by a Christian festival volunteer who said the group was "harassing" festival patrons. Nonetheless, the conservative version of the story where Michigan cops have become the local Basij is another exhibit A to the imminent Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the U.S. Recently, a Michigan state representative named Dave Agema has proposed a Shariah law ban similar to the ones that have been passed in other states over the past few years. Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, is pushing a bill to bar the implementation of foreign laws. It doesn't mention Sharia — Islamic law — but he...

Relitigating Torture, Ctd.

Ben Wittes responds to my post on the Rumsfeld torture cases: And Gabor Rona of Human Rights First, in an email yesterday, told me that he “must take issue with your endorsement of your reader’s ambivalence about suing Rumsfeld as an attempt to ‘relitigate.’ Fact is, you can’t ‘relitigate’ that which has not yet been litigated.” Both Rona and Serwer make good points. Yet, I confess, my mixed feelings remain–and my sympathy with all three points in my original reader’s email remains as well. The doctrine here is fuzzy, and Rumseld has some strong defenses that may well prevail before the Supreme Court. At the same time, these defenses would, if they do prevail, lead to an absurdity. Yet, on the third hand, what will come from extending Bivens to these cases will, in the long-run, not prove salutary either. Rather, the litigation–relitigation or not–of these Bush-era cases will create real costs for war-fighting that are hard to envision prospectively but that will prove no less real...

Don't Call It A Caliphate

The Shariah-panic crowd is convinced of the far-fetched theory that American Muslims are involved in a sinister, secret plot to infiltrate American political institutions in order to establish Taliban-style Islamic law in the United States. But what if there actually was a religious ideology holding that only people of a certain strain of belief should run the government and were intent on replacing American civil law with their own religious views? What if two presidential candidates running high in the polls had ties to this movement? Surely the Shariah-panic crowd, with their unshakeable commitment to the separation between mosque church and state would be alarmed right? Michelle Goldberg explains this Christian influenced political movement, "Dominionism," does in fact exist and that Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann are pretty cozy with it: Now, however, we have the most theocratic Republican field in American history, and suddenly, the...

Fallout

Voicebox 360 . Megyn Kelly loves maternity leave as long as it's hers. Putting a price on Middle East peace. Guy who wants "furthering Islam" to be a felony says he'd never support discriminating against Muslims.

Mandate Optimism

Conservative George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr has bravely predicted the outcome of the case against the individual health care mandate once it goes to the Supreme Court, and he seems pretty confident it'll be upheld: Here are my guesses. Justices Breyer and Ginsburg are pretty obvious votes for the mandate, as they dissented in United States v. Lopez . Justices Kagan and Sotomayor seem like safe votes for the mandate, even if only for the reason that there is almost no opposition to the constitutionality of the mandate in the Democratic establishment from which they were appointed. Chief Justice Roberts will likely vote to uphold the mandate given the very expansive views of the Necessary and Proper clause that he signed on to just recently in United States v. Comstock . I suspect Justice Kennedy will vote to uphold the mandate given his concurring opinion in United States v. Lopez . And I’m pretty sure Justice Thomas will vote to strike down the mandate given his...

On The "Submissive" Question

There’s a lot of chatter about the decision of the moderators in last night’s Republican debate to ask Michele Bachmann “As president, would you be submissive to your husband?” But for all the focus on whether or not the question is sexist, the real problem is that asking it mostly helps the candidate without shedding further light on anything important about their views. While the question may have seemed sexist or unfair, the fact is that the question was premised on her own words. In 2006, Bachmann said she pursued a law degree because ““The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands.” Here was Bachmann’s answer: Marcus and I will be married for 33 years this September 10th. I'm in love with him. I'm so proud of him. And both he and I -- what submission means to us, if that's what your question is, it means respect. I respect my husband. He's a wonderful, godly man, and a great father. And he respects me as his wife. That's how we operate our...

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