This post contains spoilers through the Oct. 2 episode of Breaking Bad, “End Times.”
After the tension of the last two episodes, the simultaneous de-escalation and realignments of this episode felt necessary. For the past couple of weeks, it’s been hard for me to see a way for the terrible tension to stretch out for a full season between this one. I still can’t necessarily see the shape of how they’re going to do it, but I now feel like the show can make this story last.
Given how vile Walt’s become, in a way it’s a relief to see him step up to the plate, even if it’s in a sad, suicidal sort of way, telling Skyler, who begs him to find an alternative that “There isn’t. There was. But now there isn’t…Oh, Skyler. Skyler. I have lived under the threat of death for a year now, and because of that, I’ve made choices. I, alone, should suffer the consequences of those choices. And those consequences, they’re coming. No more prolonging the inevitable.” He’s being a man for the first time in ages, and it’s a reminder of why we liked him, why there was this nasty little thrill in rooting for Walter White once upon a time.
It’s also nice seeing Hank, after being rebuffed, goad Steve into actually taking a crack at the laundry. “We’re gonna find heroin here like we’re going to find Jimmy Hoffa,” Steve jokes to the guy who runs Gus’s legitimate business on the cook site. And it’s true. They don’t find anything, but Hank, even though his new car hasn’t arrived yet, is mobilizing his network, and soon, he’ll be out there on the prowl himself. The DEA mobilization around Hank and Marie may be a lot of sound and fury, but Hank is unbowed, even in the face of a threat.
And the show’s quiet makes Brock’s dreadful sickness and everything that follows even more powerful. It’s been interesting watching a newly self-confident Jesse these past few episodes, to see him be the kind of man who can tell Gus, “The guy is a complete and total dick. But I can’t. I’m not signing off. If something final happens to Mr. White, we are going to have a problem,” who can be a supportive boyfriend to Andrea when Brock is rushed to the hospital. But that new Jesse is so fragile that it’s heartbreaking to watch him realize first that the cigarette with the ricin is gone, and to regress, totally unable to accept responsibility for the idea that the boy might simply have gotten into his cigarette stash. It turns out he has good reason not to believe it, but it’s an interesting vestige of an addict’s mentality, a conviction that this is someone else’s fault. Given the showdowns we’ve seen between Walt and Jesse this season, this one felt like a bit of a retread, but there’s still something impressive about the fact that Walt figures out what’s going on. “I have been waiting. I have been waiting all day for Gus to send one of his men to kill me,” he tells Jesse. “And it’s you. Who do you know who’s okay with using children, Jesse? Who do you know who’s allowed children to be murdered?…All he needs is your consent. He’s got it now.”
But it’s hard to believe that Walt and Jesse can ever beat Gus. Did Walt and Jesse really believe, once Gus knew that Jesse didn’t kill Walt, that Gus wouldn’t suspect them? That he wouldn’t be on his guard? His ability to walk away from the car is freaky. There is something inspiring about seeing Walt finding a diabolical joy in playing with chemicals again, with Jesse calling him “Mr. White” as he did back in the days when it was all “Yeah Mr. White! Yeah science!” in a criminal parody of joy. But it’s so hard to believe they can win, going up against a myth.
If there's an upside to coming back from a recess, it's that there's usually not much (if anything) to write about in the recap of the previous week. In this case there actually was some activity last week, but we'll have to reverse our usual order of reporting to cover it. On Monday, the Senate passed amended versions of two continuing appropriations bills and sent them back to the House?one keeping the government running until this Tuesday, October 4th; one lasting slightly longer, until November 18th.
The House, during its September 29th pro forma session, approved the shorter term bill?H.R. 2017?by unanimous consent, allowing the government to keep operating until the full House could return from the recess. That's where things stand on government shutdowns, and the sum total of the substantive work done in Congress last week.
This week, the House returns with the traditional first day slate of suspension bills, including the critical Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act and this week's BANANAS Alert contender, the Help to Access Land for the Education of Scouts or HALE Scouts Act. Why would anyone want to hale scouts? I have no idea. But after the easy stuff, it's on to the slightly longer-term continuing appropriations bill, when we'll see whether any Tea Party crazies want to cause the Republican leadership (and the country) more headaches. From there on, it's the usual House agenda: attempting to repeal parts of the stimulus bill (H.R. 1343) and/or some sort of health and safety regulations (the "Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act," and the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act").
The Senate begins the week with an executive session and the consideration of six judicial nominations (only one of which is at this point expected to be close enough to require a vote), and then a return to the all-too-normal routine of a cloture vote on a motion to proceed, this time to the Chinese currency manipulation bill, S.1619, formally the "Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act," the consideration of which will likely consume the better part of the week, if not more.
Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s 8:45 AM round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but let us know what you?re checking out too. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- In case you missed it, watch President Obama’s speech from this weekend’s Human Rights Campaign dinner.
- Herman Cain tried to suggest the booing of a gay soldier at the last Republican presidential debate was actually booing of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (as if there is a difference), but admitted he should have responded to it.
- Former vice president Dick Cheney is “leery” of criticism of the candidates for not condemning the booing, but says he thinks repealing DADT is “the right thing to do.”
- Legal proceedings continue this week in Doe v. Reed, a lawsuit regarding the disclosure of signatures in Washington’s Referendum 71.
- One of the students accused of harassing Jamey Rodemeyer’s sister, Alyssa, has (finally) been suspended.
- Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach won his fight against DADT, receiving notice that his discharge has been withdrawn.
- The mentor of Fox News’ Dr. Keith Ablow, Fred Berlin, says Ablow didn’t get his transphobic ideas from him.
- Could this be the first time the New York Times acknowledged the existence of gender-neutral pronouns?
- The New York City Fire Department has welcomed its first transgender firefighter.
- Pastor Tom Brown wants to recall El Paso’s mayor and two of its City Council members for “rewarding homosexuals” with domestic partner benefits.
- Nevada’s transgender nondiscrimination protections have gone into effect.
- The Syracuse Post-Standard’s editorial board says that Ledyard town clerk Rose Marie Belforti is “wrong” to refuse to issue same-sex marriage certificates.
- A hilarious yet tragic report from an ex-gay conference.
- VIDEO: Check out Australia’s new marriage equality campaign, “I Do.”
- Russian gay prides face censorship and violence.
- VIDEO: Bill Maher says, “It Gets Better.”
- Toby Keith has relatively positive things to say about gays and women in the military.
- This “Marriage according to the Bible” infographic pairs nicely with this attempt from Jesus to record an anti-same-sex marriage PSA:
Welcome to ThinkProgress Economy?s morning link roundup. This is what we?re reading. Have you seen any interesting news? Let us know in the comments section. You can also follow ThinkProgress Economy on Twitter.
? Rick Perry wanted to use special tax breaks to incentivize more subprime lending in Texas.
? State Department reeling from budget cuts.
? Joe Weisenthal demolishes the WSJ editorial page.
? Occupy Wall Street FAQ.
? Video of Ronald Reagan arguing against tax expenditures.
? Emails show links between TransCanada lobbyists and the State Department.
? Wolfgang Münchau says the latest Eurozone ideas are “a con trip for the desperate.”
Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and bête noire of climate change activists around the world, has been told that the incoming Danish government will cut off his £1m a year funding.
It’s not been a good 12 months for the Danish delayer.
About a year ago he flip-flopped his core belief, asserting ?Climate change is undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today.? Presumably he did that to widen his appeal before the launch of his big effort at mass miscommunication, Cool It.
But the documentary still went down as one of the great box office bombs. According to Box Office Mojo, after grossing a whopping $58,179 in its debut month of December, it grossed $4, 534 from 12/1 to 12/24 before it was pulled from theaters. That would be $189 per day, or roughly $24 per theater.
Ouch! You don?t have to be a statistician like Lomborg to figure out that nobody watched and somebody has lost a bundle of money. Still, it managed to be the 435th highest grossing documentary of all time, edging out such classics as ?Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired? (444) and “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” (439). Hmm. If a documentary film is made and nobody watches it, does it make a sound?
The movie, of course, was just a clever loss leader for Lomborg?s bad ideas, as I noted. A film is a ticket to widespread media attention, far more than even a new book provides. For instance, the movie means that credulous reviewers who don?t follow the energy and climate debate closely will write columns that millions will read (see ?Cool It and plausible deniability?), compared to the, uhh, hundreds that flocked to the film.
Lomborg then basically flip-flopped back (see ?Now that his movie has bombed, Lomborg is back to telling folks ?Go Ahead and Guzzle?).
But after selling out what few principles he had, Lomborg is getting cut off by the new Danish is government. As DeSmogBlog reports:
“Our starting point is that money which is given to people who do not agree that there are climate change problems should be chucked out,” stated Social Democrat environmental spokesperson Mette Gjerskov.
In response to the news, our friends at the Carbon Brief noted about Lomborg’s funding loss, “that’s a lot of tight t-shirts.”
This summer, a protest in Tel Aviv started with a few tents and grew to a huge tent city, culminating in a massive march of over 350,000 people who were angry over the lack of jobs, unaffordable housing and economic justice in Israel. It included Jews, Christians and Palestinians, and at its peak, was pulling huge support in public polls, with even 85 percent of Netanyahu?s Likud voters saying the protest was justified.
And yet, there was almost no TV news coverage of this in America, which was spending so much time covering the Arab spring. From August 3rd:
The Tent Protest has been dominating the news cycle in Israel for two weeks, and now there are also a couple of interesting polls regarding its possible political impact.
While it would be unwise to try and predict what sort of effect these unprecedented demonstrations will have on Israeli politics, the polls do confirm some of the hunches we had in the last three weeks, and most notably, a potential for far-reaching changes in the political system in the years to come.
- The support for the protest crosses sectors and party lines. According to Channel 10?s poll conducted on Monday, 88 percent of Israelis support the protest. The middle class parties lead the way: 98 percent of Kadima voters (!), 95 percent of Labor?s and even 85 percent of Netanyahu?s Likud voters find the protest just. Even if these figures dropped in the last couple of days?which had some fractions and public disputes in the protest movement?they are still exceptionally high.
- The attempts to discredit the protest have mostly failed. Government spokesperson and rightwing organizations tried to tie the protest to left wing movements, claiming that it is a politically-motivated move aimed personally against PM Netanyahu. Still, 74 percent of the public think that the protest is a genuine one, and only 22 percent find it to be politically motivated.
- The hard right is the only group not identifying with the protest. Half of Shas? voters and most of those voting for the settlers? parties think the protest is politically motivated. Voters of those parties are more inclined to oppose the protest than any other group. I believe that these groups sense that the protest might challenge the dominant political arrangements in Israel ? ones [which] benefit the settlers and the religious parties.
- The protesters reject the major opposition and the coalition parties alike. I wouldn?t take the headline of the Globes-Jerusalem Post?s poll?about a possible social party winning 20 seats in the coming elections?too seriously. There is a long time until the elections and it?s impossible to know which issues will dominate the campaign. Still, it?s very interesting to see where these 20 seats (roughly 16 percent of the votes) come from: 4-5 seats from Kadima, 2-3 seats from Likud, 2-3 seats from Labor, and some more votes from Meretz and undecided voters. The Arab parties and the extreme right are not hurt by the protest.
[...] To sum it up, all figures point to a unique phenomenon: the secular middle class ? usually the backbone of society?is unsatisfied with the political and economical trends, and more important, with the entire political system (usually it?s the other way around ? the more you move to the edges of the system, the less satisfied people there are). Under these circumstances, the potential for major political changes?though not necessarily immediate ones?is enormous.
A series of marches and rallies was due to be held around the country with the main focus in Jerusalem. This weekend will be the first for five weeks with no Saturday night demonstrations.
In a statement, the National Union of Israeli Students said the protestmovement was "lowering its head on this difficult day, joins the families in mourning, and wishes the wounded a speedy recovery". NUIS leader Itzik Shmueli told Army Radio: "We decided given the events to cancel them." He said the campaign for "social justice" and over the high cost of housing, childcare, fuel, electricity and food would continue.
[...] Some participants have said only a major security event would deflect attention away from the protests.
So what can we learn from this? The Powers That Be don't seem to want us to know that even in countries that aren't run by dictators, citizens everywhere are unhappy with huge economic inequalities and lack of opportunity, nor are they willing to support the huge military expenditures that suck up money away from everything else.
We also learn that whether by design or circumstances, if the people are too restless, the establishment will look for ways to divert us.
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteFind the past "On This Day in History" here.On this day in 1967, Woody Guthrie, godfather of the 1950s folk revival movement, dies.In 1963, Bob Dylan was asked by the authors of a forthcoming book on Woody[...]
Read The Full Article:
New Black Panthers Party fabulist J. Christian Adams is a long-time right-wing activist who began working for the U.S. Department of Justice during its notorious era of politicized hiring and now blogs for the right-wing media site Pajamas Media, often issuing false attacks on the Obama DOJ for its supposed politicization and "racial agenda." His forthcoming book, Injustice: Exposing The Racial Agenda Of The Obama Justice Department, promises to cover similar territory.
Adams Seeks To Capitalize On His Partisan Distortions By Writing New Book Rehashing His Attacks. From the Amazon.com product description of Adams' book, Injustice: Exposing The Racial Agenda Of The Obama Justice Department:
The Department of Justice is America's premier federal law enforcement agency. And according to J. Christian Adams, it's also a base used by leftwing radicals to impose a fringe agenda on the American people.A five-year veteran of the DOJ and a key attorney in pursuing the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, Adams recounts the shocking story of how a once-storied federal agency, the DOJ's Civil Rights division has degenerated into a politicized fiefdom for far-left militants, where the enforcement of the law depends on the race of the victim.In Injustice, Adams reveals:
The inside story of how the Obama DOJ spiked the voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party--and the Panthers' little-known public appearance with ObamaHow the Obama administration changed DOJ hiring policy to ensure radical leftists would dominate the Civil Rights Division
The Obama DOJ's bizarre agenda, from insisting on kids' rights to attend school dressed as transvestites, to litigating for teachers' rights to take paid vacations to Mecca
How the DOJ has repeatedly sided with political bosses who flagrantly disenfranchise entire communities of white voters
Why the DOJ's fixation on racial grievance threatens the integrity of the 2012 elections [Amazon.com, accessed according to Bloomberg News. Democratic poll watchers had advised voters not to accept provisional ballots because of the risk they could be discounted under Florida law, Bloomberg reported. [MainJustice.com, 12/2/09]
Adams Was A Project Leader For The Center For Legal Policy At The Conservative Manhattan Institute. From the acknowledgments of a September 2001 report by The Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy: "The data collection for this study was conducted by Stateside Associates, Arlington, Virginia, under the leadership of Samuel B. Witt, III, Senior Vice President and General Counsel. J. Christian Adams, Esq. of the Adams law firm in Fairfax, Virginia provided project management." [Manhattan-Institute.org, accessed 9/20/11]
Adams Donated To GOP Presidential Candidates Rudy Giuliani And John McCain. According to filings from the Federal Election Commission, Adams donated $1400 to Giuliani's presidential committee in 2007 and $1150 to John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008. [Federal Election Commission filing, contribution dates 9/12/08, 9/13/07, 3/31/07]
Former Voting Rights Section Chief: Adams Is "Exhibit A Of The Type Of People Hired By Schlozman." A July 6 article on Main Justice reported that Joseph Rich, former head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division Voting Section, said that Adams "was hired in the Civil Rights Division Voting Section under a process the DOJ Inspector General later determined was improperly influenced by politics," by Bush DOJ political appointee Douglas Schlozman. Main Justice further reported:
Rich said Schlozman asked him to attend an interview with J. Christian Adams, a solo practitioner from Alexandria, Va., who had worked for the Secretary of State in South Carolina. Adams had also volunteered for the Republican National Lawyers Association, a GOP-funded group that sought to draw attention to voting fraud.
Adams did not have an extensive background in civil rights, Rich said, but may have had limited voting rights experience from his time in South Carolina. "He is exhibit A of the type of people hired by Schlozman," Rich said.
Rich said he sat in on the interview, but Schlozman asked most of the questions. There was no discussion of Adams' political background at the meeting, according to Rich. Adams was offered the position shortly thereafter, and Rich said he doesn't believe anyone else was interviewed for the job.
"I was invited to the interview but was never asked for a recommendation," Rich said. "This was an example of the way things were being done. There's no evidence that this was a normal hiring process." As a supervisor, Rich said, he normally would have been involved in hiring decisions. [MainJustice.com, 7/6/10]
DOJ IG "Found That Schlozman Considered Political And Ideological Affiliations When Hiring... In Violation Of Department Policy And Federal Law." A July 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Schlozman "considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law." The report concluded:
The evidence in our investigation showed that Schlozman, first as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and subsequently as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General, considered political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys and in other personnel actions affecting career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division. In doing so, he violated federal law -- the Civil Service Reform Act -- and Department policy that prohibit discrimination in federal employment based on political and ideological affiliations, and committed misconduct. The evidence also showed that Division managers failed to exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that Schlozman did not engage in inappropriate hiring and personnel practices. Moreover, Schlozman made false statements about whether he considered political and ideological affiliations when he gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in his written responses to supplemental questions from the Committee. [IG/OPR report, "An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring and Other Improper Personnel Actions in the Civil Rights Division," 7/2/08]
Schlozman Is Said To Have Picked Attorneys Who "Lacked Relevant Experience" And "Rarely Expressed Any Interest In Civil Rights Enforcement." The IG/OPR report stated that Special Litigation Section Chief Shanetta Cutlar "said that the applicants whose résumés she reviewed after they had been culled from the applicant pool by Schlozman or others in the front office typically reflected membership in conservative organizations. She also said the most striking thing she noticed about the résumés was that the applicants generally lacked relevant experience. She said Schlozman minimized the importance of prior civil rights or human rights work experience." In addition, the report states:
Former Criminal Section Chief [Albert] Moskowitz also said the candidates for career positions chosen by Schlozman had conservative political or ideological affiliations and rarely had any civil rights background, rarely expressed any interest in civil rights enforcement, and had very little or no federal criminal experience. [IG/OPR report, "An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring and Other Improper Personnel Actions in the Civil Rights Division," 7/2/08]
After resigning from DOJ, Adams baselessly accused the Obama administration of using racial motives in its decisions to prosecute or not prosecute cases within the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.
Adams Resigned From DOJ Claiming Decision Not To Pursue Charges In New Black Panthers Case Demonstrates Unprecedented, Racially Charged Corruption. In a June 2010 Washington Times op-ed, Adams wrote:
On the day President Obama was elected, armed men wearing the black berets and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were stationed at the entrance to a polling place in Philadelphia. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters and poll watchers. After the election, the Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case.
The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney. [Washington Times, 6/25/10]
Adams Then Took To Fox News To Accuse The DOJ Of "A Hostility" To "Bringing Cases On Behald Of White Victims For The Benefit Of National Racial Minorities." Adams appeared in a two-part interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly. During the interview, Adams accused the Justice Department of "a hostility in the voting section and in the civil rights division to bringing cases on behalf of white victims for the benefit of national racial minorities." Adams further said that "the decision to dismiss this case was corrupt," adding, "to abandon law-abiding citizens and abet wrongdoers constitutes corruption." [Fox News, America Live, 7/1/10, via Media Matters]
Fox's Kelly: A Source "Close To The Case" Said "Christian Adams Is A Conservative Who Has Made Willful Misstatements In This Interview." After airing a portion of her interview with Adams on the June 30 edition of America Live, Fox News host Megyn Kelly reported the Justice Department's reaction to Adams' allegations and then noted, "Another source close to the case telling one of our producers that Christian Adams is a conservative who has made willful misstatements in this interview." [Fox News, America Live, 6/30/10]
Adams Admits He Did Not Talk To The Attorneys He Said Made The Decision Not To Pursue Additional Charges. During the interview, Kelly asked Adams, "So, what happened at the Department of Justice to get you to the point where you literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory?" Adams said: "[W]hat happened was -- and it's been -- there's been testimony -- we were ordered to dismiss the case. We were told, 'Drop the charges against the New Black Panther Party.' " Kelly asked, "Who told you that?" Adams responded, "Well, the testimony's been that Steve Rosenbaum and Loretta King, two political officers at the department, ordered the dismissal of the case [emphasis added]." Kelly then asked Adams, "Did you, personally, speak with Mr. Rosenbaum and Ms. King about the dismissal of this case?" Adams responded: "No. Chris Coates and Bob Popper did. Two other attorneys." [Fox News, America Live, 6/30/10]
Republican Civil Rights Commissioner: Adams "Doesn't Know Why The Decision Was Made." Abigail Thernstrom, the Republican vice chairwoman of the Civil Rights Commission, said during an April 23, 2010, hearing into the case:
I know Chris Adams very well, and he doesn't know why the decision was made, which was the question before -- that we were supposed to be addressing at this Commission. [U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing, 4/23/10]
BipartisanAgreement: New Black Panthers Case Is A Phony Scandal. Numerous media and political figures,including Fox News contributors and Republicans, dismissed Adams' phony scandalsurrounding the New Black Panthers Party.[Media Matters, 7/17/10]
DOJ's Ethics Office Found "No Evidence" To Support Adams' Claims, Said DOJ Attorneys "Acted Appropriately." From a letter to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, from Robin Ashton of the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility:
Based on the results of our investigation, we concluded that Department attorneys did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment, but rather acted appropriately, in the exercise of their supervisory duties in connection with the dismissal of the three defendants in the NBPP case.
We found no evidence of improper political interference or influence from within or outside the Department in connection with the decision in the case.
We found no evidence that political considerations were a motivating factor in reaching the decision. [DOJ Letter to Rep. Smith, 3/29/11]
Since quitting his post at DOJ, Adams has gone on to push trumped up pseudo-scandals concerning the DOJ for right-wing blogs such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and the aforementioned Pajamas Media.
ADAMS ATTACK: "Leftist Activists Convince Eric Holder's DOJ To Set Violent Marxist Free." In a BigGovernment.com blog post, Adams claimed:
Marilyn Buck was a Marxist terrorist who participated in conspiracies that led to the deaths of multiple police officers. Buck helped the Black Liberation Army, a violent Marxist offshoot of the black panthers, acquire weapons and ammunition. She participated in the robbery of an armored car where a guard was murdered. If that wasn't enough, Buck was also charged with the bombing of the U.S. Senate, Ft. McNair, the Washington Navy Yard Officer's Club and a New York City federal building. In many states, Buck's behavior might have led to a midnight reservation in the electric chair.
Yet Holder's DOJ unlocked Buck's jail cell and set her free last summer. Justice concluded that Buck "expressed a dramatic change from her previous political philosophy." Releasing Buck reflects an alien attitude that has caused the Obama years to be characterized by an ideological disconnect with most Americans.
The letters which persuaded the Justice Department were stuffed with crackpot arguments and have yet to be reported over the last year. They are full of lawlessness and arguments from extreme fringes of political thought. What's worse, the letters are on the letterhead of government and private institutions, institutions most Americans incorrectly think are worthy of respect. [BigGovernment.com, 8/4/11]
REALITY: Bush DOJ Recommended Buck's Parole. From a July 2010 memo from case services administrator Deirdre Jackson which recounted the history of Buck's dealings with the U.S. Parole Commission:
Ms. Buck first appeared before the USPC on 9/8/2003. The subject accepted responsibility for past [sic] expressed a dramatic change from her previous political philosophy. On 10/2/2003, the USPC ordered a 15 year reconsideration hearing to take place in September 2018. On appeal the decision was modified to Presumptive Parole 2/8/2011 after the service of 360 months. Following her most recent hearing (6/5/2008), the USPC advanced her PP date to 8/8/2010 based on superior program achievement. She was scheduled for a statutory interim hearing in June 2010 but the hearing did not take place. [Justice Department memorandum, 7/9/10]
REALITY: Obama DOJ Moved Up Buck's Parole By Three Weeks Because She Was Dying Of Cancer. From the DOJ memo:
On 7/7/2010 this case was referred to me after several phone calls were received from community supporters urging the USPC to release the subject immediately due to her declining health. The institution has provided verification that the subject is suffering from "Sarcoma" and that she has a life expectancy of less than 3 months. The Case Manager also verified that her release plan with Ms. Jill Elijah (originally approved in September 2009) was still viable. Ms. Elijah has expressed a willingness to travel from New York to Texas to accompany Ms. Buck and a doctor during her travel. The institution is very supportive of the USPC advancing the subject's release date and has suggested a new release date of 7/15/2010 to allow for all necessary travel and logistical arrangements to be made. [Justice Department memorandum, 7/9/10]
REALITY: Buck Passed Away Weeks After Her Release. From Buck's New York Times August 2010 obituary:
Marilyn Buck, who served more than two decades in prison for her role in the 1981 Brink's armored-car robbery in Rockland County, N.Y., in which three people were killed, died on Tuesday at her home in Brooklyn. She was 62.
The cause was uterine cancer, according to the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel in Manhattan.
Because of her illness, Ms. Buck was released from the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, in Fort Worth, on July 15. She is survived by three brothers. [New York Times, 8/5/10]
ADAMS ATTACK: "Justice Department Only Selectively Complies With Freedom Of Information Act." In February, Adams accused Holder and the Obama DOJ of selectively responding to FOIA requests based on a group or individual's political affiliation, alleging that groups with a liberal ideology received speedier compliance. From a post Adams describes as a "bombshell" at Pajamas Media:
Eric Holder's Justice Department has even politicized compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. According to documents I have obtained, FOIA requests from liberals or politically connected civil rights groups are often given same day turn-around by the DOJ. But requests from conservatives or Republicans face long delays, if they are fulfilled at all.
The documents show a pattern of politicized compliance within the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. In particular, I have obtained FOIA logs that demonstrate as of August 2010, the most transparent administration in history is anything but. The logs provide the index number of the information request, the date of the request, the requestor, and the date of compliance. [PajamasMedia.com, 2/10/11]
REALITY: "Allegations Rest On Comparisons Of Dissimilar Requests." After Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) asked DOJ about Adams' allegations, DOJ responded by pointing out that Adams had compared some document requests given priority for legitimate reasons with other requests that did not receive that priority:
In accordance with the Division's usual protocol, the FOIA Office began processing that request immediately, sending an interim response the day after it was received. That process requires a time-consuming line-by-line review of the resumes before public release, consistent with our obligations to protect the privacy of attorney hires."
The Voting Section prioritizes requests for Section 5 submission files when the jurisdiction's submission is pending before the Attorney General. ... This helps ensure that interested parties have a meaningful opportunity to receive and review a pending submission, and prepare and present a comment on that submission, as Congress provided in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in time to be considered during the statutorily-mandated 60-day review period. If the request letter cites the FOIA but seeks pending Section 5 files, it is treated as a pending Section 5 request and processed accordingly. Because of these procedures, it is not meaningful to compare the handling of requests for pending Section 5 records with the handling of requests for closed Section 5 files or FOIA requests for other types of records. [DOJ letter To Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), 4/14/11]
REALITY: Adams Cherry-Picked Requests From Supposedly Liberal Sources That Took Less Time. From the DOJ letter:
[T]he blog post cited in your letter alleges that Eugene Lee received responses to his FOIA requests only three days after submitting them. The log that we provided with our letter to you of August 12, 2010 included three requests to the Division by Mr. Lee. Two of these three requests, however, were requests for copies of pending Section 5 submission files that were handled under the procedure described above. On the other hand, Mr. Lee's third request was for a closed Section 5 submission file (which was processed by the FOIA office due to the need for redactions). It did not receive the same priority as pending Section 5 requests, and took 172 days to fill. Another example is the request of Raul Arroyo-Mendoza, who is also alleged to have received "same day service." Mr. Arroyo-Mendoza has made many requests over the last two years. While he received quick turnaround for requests relating to pending Section 5 submissions, he waited 18 months for the Division to complete processing on his request for a closed Section 5 submission file, which includes voluminous records and required redactions. [DOJ Letter To Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), 4/14/11]
ADAMS ATTACK: DOJ Sending Vote Monitors In Response To "Billboards Urging Citizens To Voluntarily Show Photo Identification." Adams used a PJM post to opine about a request for poll watchers in Southbridge, Massachusetts, claiming that the town requested the monitors in response to a billboard put up in Southbridge that recommends people show identification at the polls. Adams' response:
So what is more intimidating: black panthers with billy clubs, or billboards urging citizens to voluntarily show photo identification? I'd lay odds that right now inside the Voting Section, you'd find more votes for the billboard. The two photos, the lady on the billboard vs. the black panthers, serve as a DOJ Rorschach test. Hold both up, and watch what happens in the next few weeks. [PajamasMedia.com, 4/14/11]
REALITY: Town Requested Monitors After Reports Of Voter Intimidation By Members Of Tea Party Groups. From the April 14 Worcester Telegram & Gazette article:
Town Clerk Madaline I. Daoust said yesterday she witnessed "unnecessary challenges" geared toward mentally challenged people and Hispanics.
The clerk said she was surprised by the level of observers from campaigns and the back-and-forth challenging from the groups. She said she wanted voters to know it wasn't the town being a hindrance.
"Some people left saying, 'I'll never vote again,' " she said. "We're not here to turn people away."
On Tuesday night, retired Worcester Juvenile Court Judge Luis G. Perez told a reporter he saw "tea party folks intimidating voters, challenging mental health issues and linguistic issues," and especially Latinos. The judge, who served as a poll observer for Mr. Alicea, said he also saw people leaving the polls crying. [Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 4/14/11]
ADAMS ATTACK: Obama DOJ "Stopped The Debut Of The Amazon Kindle." In an April op-ed in The Washington Examiner, Adams wrote that "DOJ stopped the debut of the Amazon Kindle because it was not in Braille." [Washington Examiner, 4/13/11]
REALITY: Kindle Debuted During The Bush Administration. [TechCrunch.com, 11/18/07]
REALITY: Several Universities Using Kindles In Classroom Settled With Obama DOJ, Agreed Not To Promote Kindle DX Until It Became "Fully Accessible" To Blind Students. From a January 2010 DOJ press release:
The Justice Department today announced separate agreements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Pace University in New York City and Reed College in Portland, Ore., regarding the use in a classroom setting of the electronic book reader, the Kindle DX, a hand-held technological device that simulates the experience of reading a book.
Under the agreements reached today, the universities generally will not purchase, recommend or promote use of the Kindle DX, or any other dedicated electronic book reader, unless the devices are fully accessible to students who are blind and have low vision. The universities agree that if they use dedicated electronic book readers, they will ensure that students with vision disabilities are able to access and acquire the same materials and information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as sighted students with substantially equivalent ease of use. The agreements that the Justice Department reached with these universities extend beyond the Kindle DX to any dedicated electronic reading device.
These agreements follow the Jan. 11, 2010 agreement between the Justice Department, Arizona State University, the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind concerning the use of electronic book readers.
A handful of universities participated in a pilot project in cooperation with Amazon.com Inc. to test the viability of the Kindle DX in a classroom setting. The terms of the Justice Department's agreement with each university become effective at the end of the pilot projects.
The current model of the Kindle DX has the capability to read texts aloud, so that the materials would be accessible to blind individuals, but the device does not include a similar text-to-speech function for the menu and navigational controls. Without access to the menus, students who are blind have no way to know which book they have selected or how to access the Kindle DX Web browser or its other functions. The technological "know how" to make navigational controls or menu selections accessible is available. [DOJ press release, 1/13/10]
REALITY: In June 2010, DOJ Warned Universities That Requiring Inaccessible Electronic Book Readers Is Discrimination Against The Blind. From a June 29, 2010 letter from the DOJ to college and university presidents:
We write to express concern on the part of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education that colleges and universities are using electronic book readers that are not accessible to students who are blind or have low vision and to seek your help in ensuring that this emerging technology is used in classroom settings in a manner that is permissible under federal law. A serious problem with some of these devices is that they lack an accessible text-to-speech function. Requiring use of an emerging technology in a classroom environment when the technology is inaccessible to an entire population of individuals with disabilities - individuals with visual disabilities - is discrimination prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) unless those individuals are provided accommodations or modifications that permit them to receive all the educational benefits provided by the technology in an equally effective and equally integrated manner. [DOJ letter, 6/29/10]
REALITY: The Next Month Amazon Released Kindle DX Version Accessible To The Blind. From a July 29, 2010, press release from the National Federation Of the Blind:
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today commended Amazon on the unveiling of a new, accessible Kindle. Amazon announced Wednesday that the new Kindle will come equipped with a voice guide that reads all menu options aloud so blind and other print-disabled people can navigate the device menus. [NFB press release, 7/29/10]
Adams Appears At Summit For Group That "Critics Said Trained Poll Watchers Who Intimidated Voters." TPM Media reported:
A Texas Tea Party group that critics said trained poll watchers who intimidated voters in neighborhoods with large minority populations last year is launching a nationwide effort to put an end to what they say is the massive problem of voter fraud.
True the Vote, an outgrowth of the King Street Patriots group, held a "Texas Summit" at the beginning of the month featuring prominent anti-voter fraud speakers J. Christian Adams (a former DOJ lawyer who resigned over its handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case) and Anita Moncrief, who was fired from the community organized group ACORN for allegedly misusing a credit card and then became a critic of the group.
Both will be featured at an upcoming National Summit on March 25 and 26 which is being hosted in Houston. [TPM Media, 1/24/11]
Adams Was A Panelist At The Right-Wing Convention CPAC. During the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, Adams participated in a panel entitled "Lawlessness, Racialism and Terror at Obama's Department of Justice." [CPAC 2011 Schedule of Events, The American Conservative Union, accessed 10/3/11]
Adams Fails To Make Politicization Argument Against DOJ's Civil Rights Division. Adams, with Hans von Spakovsky, have been trying desperately to make the case that DOJ's hiring practices are "politicized." MainJustice.com critiqued their effort:
J. Christian Adams and Hans Von Spakovsky - who served together in the Civil Rights Division during the George W. Bush administration - have used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain resumes of new hires during the Barack Obama administration. In an ongoing series of posts on the Pajamas Media blogging network (co-authored with Richard Pollack), Adams and Von Spakovsky have meticulously detail the names and backgrounds of the new hires.
Their series is entitled, "Every Single One," as in "every single one" of the new hires is a liberal. Their research found the new lawyers have worked for organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union. It apparently formed the basis of [Senator] Grassley's assertion in a congressional hearing earlier this week that the Civil Rights Division in the Obama era "has hired 96 liberals and zero conservatives."
The punch line here is, of course, that Adams and Von Spakovsky are the ones connected to improperly politicized hiring inside the division.
The line between proper and improper hiring of career lawyers is whether someone is hired specifically for his politics rather than his qualifications.
The stumbling block for Grassley (and Adams and Von Spakovsky) is that the historical mission of the Civil Rights Division -- ensuring full voting, housing and other rights for minorities who have faced documented discrimination -- is inherently a liberal mission.
It's just not clear how it's wrong to hire career lawyers to staff the Civil Rights Division who have a background in civil rights. [MainJustice.com, 9/15/11]
Adams Attacked DOJ Attorney Sitton For Belonging To Intersex Group. Adams wrote of DOJ attorney Jaye Sitton, "She is also a member of GAYLAW and the Intersex Society of North America -- whatever that is." [Pajamas Media, 8/9/11]
Adams Attacked DOJ Attorney Smith For Providing Legal Representation To The Poor. In a Washington Examiner op-ed, Adams wrote:
Who did Holder pick to head the unit inside civil rights to bring civil rights lawsuits against police departments and prisons? Why none other than Jonathan Smith, formerly of the Prisoners Legal Services Project and the D.C. Legal Aid Society, two anti-police and anti-prison guard antagonist groups. Hopefully America's police unions will take note of Smith's hiring when deciding presidential endorsements next year. [Washington Examiner, 4/13/11]
Adams Attacked DOJ Attorney Daniel For Having Led Diversity Committee, Comparing Such Committees With "South Africa's Apartheid Regime." From an Adams post at Pajamas Media:
Tamica Daniel: Ms. Daniel comes to the Section only a year out of Georgetown's law school, where she was the diversity committee chair of the law review, volunteered with the ACLU's Innocence Project, and participated in the Institute for Public Representation Clinic. For those in the real world, diversity committees are groups set up to hector for race-based outcomes in hiring employees and student matters. It is an entity with close cousins in South Africa's apartheid regime and other dark eras in history. [Pajamas Media, 8/17/11, emphasis added]
Adams Attacked DOJ Attorney Hussain For Representing Terror Suspects, Suggested She Was Hired Under Obama. From Adams' April 13 Washington Examiner op-ed:
Attorney General Eric Holder tours the country proclaiming that he has "reinvigorated" the Civil Rights Division, compared to the Bush years. Reporters never ask precisely what he means. The American people might not like answer.
Holder really means adopting outside activist agendas far beyond the American legal mainstream. It also includes hiring a swarm of activist lawyers to advance an outside agenda from inside the federal government.
In December, the Justice Department filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Berkeley School District in Illinois. The school district had refused to allow a new teacher to take three weeks off during final exams so she could go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, an unreasonable demand far beyond what federal law requires.
The lead Justice Department lawyer on the case says a great deal about why this case was filed. The senior career trial attorney who signed the complaint, and therefore was in charge of the investigation, is Varda Hussain. Hussain used to be a lawyer at the Venable law firm in Virginia. In 2006, she received the firm's Benjamin R. Civiletti Pro Bono award for spending "over 500 hours in the past year fighting to bring due process to our clients."
Who were the particular clients Hussain spent so much time helping? Three Egyptian terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay. Although when the Venable firm wrote its internal newsletter that reported on this award, it called them merely "Egyptian clients," here's what they are: terrorists.
That sort of euphemism for murderous thugs who want to destroy America is needed at a law firm that doesn't want to upset its business clients about the work Hussain was doing to help America's deadliest enemies get away with murder and mayhem. She received an award for the work no less! [Washington Examiner, 4/13/11]
Varda Hussain, an attorney hired in 2008 with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, was an associate with the Washington-based firm Venable when she helped represent three Egyptians being held at Guantanamo Bay. [FoxNews.com, 3/3/10]
Pratik Shah, an assistant to the Solicitor General hired by the Bush Administration, was part of the WilmerHale team that put together arguments for the Boumediene v. Bush case.
Trisha Anderson, an adviser in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel who was also hired by the Bush Administration, was previously an attorney at Attorney General Eric Holder's former firm, Covington & Burling, where she helped represent 13 Yemeni detainees. [FoxNews.com, 3/5/10]
Who knew that Ronald Reagan was a class warrior?
We're going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.
They sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver paid 10 percent of his salary, and that's crazy.
Do you think the millionaire should pay more in taxes than the bus driver, or less?
In other words, Ronald Reagan was a socialist fuckstick too.