New Black Panthers fabulist J. Christian Adams attacked Department of Justice attorney Varda Hussain for previously defending terror suspects and suggested she was one of the purported "activist lawyers" hired by the Obama DOJ. But Hussain is one of several attorneys hired during the Bush administration who previously represented Guantanamo Bay detainees, and several Bush administration officials have criticized attacks against lawyers who represented terror suspects as "inappropriate" and "wrong."
If you are wondering if there was any lie about the Obama Justice Department so absurd that even New Black Panthers fabulist J. Christian Adams wouldn't push it, today is the day to eat some crow.
In an op-ed in The Washington Examiner, the rightwing activist cites as an example of "bizarre cases have come out of the Holder Civil Rights Division" that "DOJ stopped the debut of the Amazon Kindle because it was not in Braille." Problem 1 with this claim: the Kindle debuted in 2007, during the Bush administration. Problem 2: DOJ didn't block the Kindle's debut.
Adams seems to have a lot of trouble getting the facts right on this; back in August 2010, he offered the similarly false claim that Amazon "tried to sell a talking Kindle reader, but Justice said it couldn't because the button to make the Kindle talk didn't have Braille."
Here's what actually happened: In June 2009, the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind filed suit against Arizona State University on behalf of a bind student after the university announced plans to participate in a pilot program to use the Kindle DX in the classroom. ASU was one of several universities to participate in this program. According to NFB, the program was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because:
The Kindle DX features text-to-speech technology that can read textbooks aloud to blind students. The menus of the device are not accessible to the blind, however, making it impossible for a blind user to purchase books from Amazon's Kindle store, select a book to read, activate the text-to-speech feature, and use the advanced reading functions available on the Kindle DX.
The advocacy groups also filed complaints with DOJ, which began an investigation of the use of Kindle in classrooms. The impact of these efforts was swift and positive for the blind. Under pressure, Amazon began improving the Kindle to be more accessible to the blind. In January 2010, the groups -- joined by DOJ -- settled with ASU, citing "making improvements to and progress in the accessibility of e-book readers" and the university's agreement that they would "strive to use devices that are accessible to the blind.
In the fifteen days following Megyn Kelly's June 30, 2010, interview hyping the unsubstantiated allegations of right-wing activist J. Christian Adams, six Fox News shows devoted 95 segments and more than eight hours of airtime to the phony New Black Panthers scandal. By contrast, those shows have devoted a total of two segments and 88 seconds to the Justice Department's release of the results of an internal investigation clearing DOJ officials of any wrongdoing or misconduct in that case.
I'm sure you are shocked to read this, but J. Christian Adams, the former DOJ attorney and Republican activist who has been the prime mover of the New Black Panther Party conspiracy theory, is not moving on with his life now that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has found no evidence of wrongdoing in the DOJ's handling of the case. Instead, Adams is using his platform at the right-wing blog Pajamas Media to continue his attacks.
In an appearance yesterday on PJTV, Adams claimed that the report showed "there's more amazing things that the taxpayers would be shocked that this is how the Justice Department runs law enforcement." Specifically, Adams highlighted that Steve Rosenbaum, a senior DOJ attorney who called for the trial team to be overruled and the case be narrowed, suggested that the trail team "should go out in the community, the investigators should talk to people, 'What do you think about the Black Panthers? What's their reputation? Do you kind of know them?'" Adams added, "It was this crazy, 'You didn't do enough investigation because you didn't see what people's feelings were.'"
Adams is carefully extracting what he apparently considers a laughable idea from Rosenbaum's extremely damning criticism of the trial team's failure to adequately investigate the case. From the report, regarding Rosenbaum's review of the trial team's J Memo as of May 14, 2009:
Rosenbaum said that, in his opinion, the information in the J Memo reflected an incomplete factual investigation. Rosenbaum Transcript at 307. He was surprised at the absence of basic information about the specifics of what transpired at 1221 Fairmount Avenue on election day, such as how long the NBPP members were present or what Jackson did or said after Samir Shabazz left. Id. at 306, 308. Rosenbaum said he expected a memorandum that described the NBPP team's efforts to contact witnesses, such as contacting both the Republican and Democratic officials who may have been present; interviewing all of the poll watchers and poll workers to determine what they saw or heard; interviewing people who lived or worked in the building, to determine if they had witnessed the incident, or if Jackson and Samir Shabazz were known in the community and how they were regarded. Id. at 307-09. Rosenbaum said the NBPP team also could have accessed the voter list to try to contact voters who may have witnessed the incident, particularly if they were able to identify individuals who voted in the morning. Id. At 308-09. Instead, Rosenbaum noted, it appeared that the factual investigation was based largely on talking only to Republican party members who - were in Philadelphia or at the polling place, without including the accounts of Democratic party officials or other people who were present at the polls that day. [emphasis added]
I can see why Adams wants to talk about Rosenblum's alleged excessive attention to "people's feelings" rather than his criticisms of the trial team's failure to even attempt to find an intimidated voter for their voter intimidation case, or the coincidental way all the poll watchers and poll workers they interviewed happened to be Republicans.
That said, Adams' criticism of Rosenbaum makes no sense in and of itself.
Along with clearing the Obama Justice Department of wrongdoing in its handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case, showing that an Obama administration appointee said that the case could not be dismissed in full, and revealing that the NBPP trial team seemed to withhold exculpatory information in its dealing with senior Justice Department attorneys, the Office of Professional Responsibility's report appears to clear up a loose end that has long gone unexplained -- and exposes the trial team as petty, deceitful, and incompetent.
One of the original claims made by former DOJ attorney, GOP activist, and conservative blogger J. Christian Adams in his first Fox News interview on the case was that one of the senior Justice Department attorneys who overruled the trial team's recommendations "hadn't even read the memos which detailed all of the facts and the law before he started arguing against the case." According to Adams, this indicated that for that lawyer, Steve Rosenbaum, "the mind was mind up," supposedly due to political partisanship and the Obama administration's unwillingness to enforce the law in a race-neutral manner. From the interview:
MEGYN KELLY: You say there is evidence that they did not review the facts of this case and even the briefs of this case.
ADAMS: Yeah. It's obviously false that they knew all the evidence. They -- Steve Rosenbaum hadn't even read the memos which detailed all of the facts and the law before he started arguing against the case. The mind was made up.
And it was so derelict and so corrupt that Chris Coates actually threw the memo at Rosenbaum and said, "How dare you make these arguments without even knowing what's in the briefs?"
Adams was making these claims based on his conversations with Christopher Coates, who had been the head of the Voting Section at the time of the case, about Coates' May 1, 2009, meeting with deputy Voting Section chief Robert Popper and Rosenbaum and Loretta King, both of whom were senior career DOJ attorneys who were serving as acting deputy assistant attorney general and acting assistant attorney general. At that meeting, King and Rosenbaum criticized the trial team's handling of the case.
In a September 2010 hearing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Coates said that he would not testify "about the statements made during my meetings with Ms. King and Mr. Rosenbaum because of the DOJ's assertion of the deliberative process privilege." An October 2010 Weekly Standard article on the case based largely on interviews with the trial team reports only that the meeting led to "two days of shouting."
The OPR report appears to indicate that the statement that Rosenbaum "hadn't even read the memos" is based on Rosenbaum's lack of familiarity with a parenthetical reference in one of those memos that did not even make the point about which he was inquiring to the trial team.
Glenn Beck tonight continued his attacks against Cass Sunstein, an adviser to President Obama. Beck previously has claimed that Sunstein was "pushing for more regulation on food," fearmongering that this would "drive the cost of food up" for Americans. Now Beck is claiming that Sunstein and the FDA are questioning "the rights of families to 'produce, obtain and consume the foods of their choice.' " It turns out that Beck was misrepresenting a government legal brief defending longstanding regulations banning the interstate sale of raw milk, a product that the FDA had concluded was causing a "significant public health problem."
BECK: Cass Sunstein and the FDA are now questioning the rights -- this will blow your mind -- the rights of families to, quote, "produce and obtain and consume the foods of their choice." They go on to say, quote, "There is no deeply rooted historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kind. To the contrary, society's long history of food regulation stretches back to the dietary laws of biblical times."
So, now, we have Cass Sunstein and the radicals in Washington actually quoting the Bible and suddenly finding Moses important. I can't write this stuff.
While Beck always tells his viewers to "do your own homework," it turns out that Beck was actually quoting a 2010 government brief in a court case brought by the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It does not appear that Sunstein had anything to do with the brief in question. But even if he did, there was nothing controversial about the comments.
This afternoon, the House Committee on the Judiciary posted on their website the full report of the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility from their investigation into the controversy surrounding DOJ's handling of the New Black Panther Party case. As previously indicated by OPR's March 29 letter to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), that committee's chairman, the report conclusively debunks the wild claims that the right-wing media has been making about the case.
As I noted when the letter was released, the right wing has been obsessed for nearly two years with the decision by senior career attorneys to drop civil charges against three defendants affiliated with the New Black Panther Party who allegedly intimidated voters at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. Those conspiracies have always seemed farfetched and politically motivated, but have now been definitely rebutted.
Right-wing media have claimed that the DOJ's actions were directed by top political appointees, including Attorney General Eric Holder, and asserted that only political partisanship or hostility to race-neutral justice could explain the decision to overrule the trial team. The OPR report found those claims to be utterly unfounded.
From the April 6 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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From the April 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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An hour and a half into today's broadcast of Fox News' America Live, after two days of completely ignoring the story, Megyn Kelly finally got to reporting on the Office of Professional Responsibility's statement that they had completed their review of the Justice Department's handling of the New Black Panther Party case and determined that DOJ's attorneys engaged in no "professional wrongdoing." For 20 seconds.
The brief reference to the OPR statement came in the middle of a one-minute-four-second news brief which largely focused on Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-VA) demand to the DOJ for documents related to the case:
KELLY: Well, new developments today in the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. Congressman Frank Wolf now giving the Department of Justice a 30-day deadline to produce documents on why it essentially dropped major portions of that voter intimidation case. You may remember on Election Day in 2008 members of the New Black Panther Party were caught on videotape holding a nightstick and hurling racial taunts at white and black voters as they entered a polling station in Philadelphia. The Department of Justice decided internally, in connection with an internal probe, that no wrongdoing occurred, and that neither race nor politics played any role - no politics, I should say -- in the dismissal of those charges. Now, that's from the DOJ's Office of Professional Conduct, clearing essentially the lawyers in the case. Now that the DOJ 's investigation is over, Congressman Wolf is pushing Congress to get their hands on the documents. He's the chair of the subcommittee on Commerce and Justice that's been looking into this case.
So if you're following:
J. Christian Adams and Hans Von Spakovsky, the chief proponents of the New Black Panther Party manufactured scandal, have branded as "uber-political" "militant leftist partisan[s]," "hyper-Democratic loyalist[s]," and "liberal ideologues" those who disagree with their interpretation of the Justice Department's handling of the case. This is ironic given their own partisan and ideological records.
From the April 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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The Washington Times editorial board writes today:
The Justice Department continues to do its best to whitewash its involvement in the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. The department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) wrote Tuesday to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar S. Smith to say it found no "misconduct" in Obama administration political appointees overruling career attorneys in dropping most charges and penalties against the individuals who stood menacingly outside a polling place in military-style uniforms, holding nightsticks.
The text of OPR's report, which took 19 months to complete, remains under wraps. That's not surprising considering the office has long been a hotbed for liberal attorneys.
Two weeks ago, former DOJ attorney and GOP activist J. Christian Adams wrote :
The New Black Panther fix is in. I have learned through sources inside and outside the Department of Justice that the long-awaited internal report on the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal is done, and sensible Americans aren't going to be happy. In essence, it will adopt the outrageous position of Attorney General Eric Holder when he testified to Congressman Frank Wolf's Appropriations subcommittee a few weeks ago: all this fuss about the New Black Panther dismissal does a disservice to his people, or to quote the attorney general at the hearing, "my people."
Technically, reports produced by OPR are never released to the public. If the report is leaked, it will be a sure sign the fix is in.
So let me get this straight. Two weeks ago, proponents of the absurd theory that the decision by senior career attorneys at DOJ to drop charges against several of the defendants in the New Black Panther Party case was motivated by race were claiming that if the OPR report was leaked, it would be evidence of liberal bias at DOJ. Now that the report hasn't been released, the fabulists are claiming that that is evidence of liberal bias at DOJ.
This is just getting sad.
On today's edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck asserted that "members of [President Obama's] administration ... openly deliver blatantly insensitive and highly out-of-line anti-Semitic comments." Beck pointed to only one supposed anti-Semitic comment from one member of the Obama administration. And as it turns out, that comment in no way backs up Beck's outrageous smear.
Beck aired Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan's statement that "in all my travels, the city I have come to love most is Al Quds, Jerusalem." Beck stated that Brennan was "using the Arabic term for Jerusalem, which kind of means to the Arab world that Jerusalem doesn't exist." Beck also said: "Al Quds. That's a slam to anybody who is Jewish and lives in Israel."
Beck did get one thing right: Al Quds is indeed "the Arabic term for Jerusalem." But his claim that by using that term Brennan was engaging in anti-Semitism is pure hogwash. And it's not even new hogwash.
As we documented when Beck and others in the right-wing media freaked out about Brennan's remarks in May 2010, prominent political figures -- including current Israeli Minister of Defense and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak -- have referred to Jerusalem as "Al Quds." So did Marshall J. Breger, President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the Jewish community.
In addition, a page on Bar-Ilan University's website states, "According to the historian Moshe Gil the current Arabic name for Jerusalem -- Al Quds, similar to the Hebrew HaQadosh -- 'the Holy' began being commonly used in the 11th century and even appears in Jewish documents found in the Cairo Geniza."
So there's nothing to support Beck's charge that Obama administration officials are delivering "anti-Semitic comments." (As an aside, it takes real chutzpah for Beck -- who has repeatedly promoted the work of anti-Semitic writers and used anti-Semitic stereotypes to smear George Soros -- to throw around charges of anti-Semitism.)
One would hope that a news organization would not let its hosts make an accusation of anti-Semitism against public officials unless there was some actual evidence of anti-Semitism. But this is Fox News and Glenn Beck we're talking about.
If Megyn Kelly wants people to pretend that she is a journalist, can't she at least try to play one on TV?
Kelly, of course, is a touchstone of the so-called "news division" that puts the "news" in Fox News.
It was in that role last year that Kelly eagerly promoted "explosive new allegations" that the Obama Justice Department was racist, as evidenced by their supposed refusal to protect white voters from intimidation at the hands of minorities. Kelly bragged how she helped Fox News drag the rest of the media "kicking and screaming" to cover the preposterous claims being pushed by right-wing activists with an axe to grind. Kelly alone hyped the story during 45 segments in 2 weeks, covering 3 hours and 39 minutes of airtime.
I imagine Megyn Kelly, for one, will not return to this particular scandal -- a scandal that she has been hyping with obvious relish for some time now -- very often in the future.
Indeed. In four hours of on-air coverage since the new developments broke, Kelly has reported on kids who got stuck in the mud, a YouTube video of two girls in a fistfight, a missing cobra, AARP's support two years ago for health care reform, and - I'm not making this up - explosive new charges that the Obama administration is insufficiently transparent. The closest Kelly has come to the New Black Panthers was a report on controversy surrounding Oscar-winning film The Black Swan.
Kelly seems content to cover everything except an investigation that essentially discredited the non-scandal she flogged over, and over, and over again last summer.