Back in February, Hans von Spakovsky trumpeted news of a supposed plan by the Justice Department to use their power under the Voting Rights Act to review redistricting plans and reject those they deem discriminatory in order to benefit the Democratic Party. The former Bush Justice Department official warned that if Republican-controlled legislatures drew up redistricting plans that "Democrats don't like," "the Left's effort to exploit the Voting Rights Act for crass political purposes may reach a degree of success once thought unimaginable" as the Voting Section would strike those plans down for purely partisan reasons.
According to von Spakovsky, those Republican-led legislatures could only save their plans by choosing to bypass DOJ and taking their redistricting plans directly to federal court. Former Bush DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams quickly picked up von Spakovsky's call, warning of the "Eric Holder buzzsaw" and urging Republican-dominated states to take his words to heart.
But a funny thing has happened over the past few months. Republican-controlled legislatures in states like Louisiana and Virginia have submitted redistricting plans to DOJ. But the fears of Adams and von Spakovsky notwithstanding, those plans were precleared by the Voting Section.
If you're wondering whether this factual record has led Adams to reconsider his belief in the supposed partisanship of the Justice Department, the answer is no. Indeed, wedded to his conviction that DOJ simply must be filled with politicized ideologues, Adams doubled down, insisting that the only reason DOJ approved those plans was that the states submitted their plans to the U.S. District Court in Washington at the same time they submitted them to DOJ.
By this line of reasoning, the Voting Section's actions don't prove them to be nonpartisan - in fact, the actions even more strongly prove their political commitments. DOJ could have stopped Republican-backed redistricting, if it weren't for those meddling states, but once the plans were submitted to court, DOJ had no choice but to hide their true goals and approve the plans. The cunning of the Voting Section's lawyers is apparently unparalleled.
Of course, one could logically propose another reason for why DOJ's Voting Section didn't reject the Virginia or Louisiana plan: they engaged in legal, not political, analysis, and did not find the plans to be illegal. But by engaging in this way, Adams has made it very easy to again trumpet DOJ's partisanship if they ever do find a submitted plan to be discriminatory.
Note that Adams doesn't seem at all worried with whether or not those redistricting plans are actually discriminatory, but he does seem extremely worried about whether the Republican plans will be approved. It's almost as if his concerns are entirely partisan! And indeed, Adams is a longtime GOP supporter who was hired during the period when DOJ was illegally hiring people on the basis of partisanship. Likewise, von Spakovsky was a Bush recess nominee who was criticized by career DOJ lawyers for improperly "inject[ing] partisan political factors into decision-making."
But of course, none of this matters, because as Adams and von Spakovsky will be the first to tell you, it's the current DOJ attorneys who are the real partisans.
Fox News' strategy for assembling a stable of commentators appears to follow this pattern: find the biggest possible failure in an area of expertise and ask them to comment on that topic. When there's a story involving responses to disasters, they call in "heckuva job" Michael Brown; Mark Fuhrman is the network's "forensic and crime scene expert" and the guy they turn to for discussions of race and law enforcement; Judith Miller appears regularly on Fox News' media criticism program.
Nonetheless, the network's use this afternoon of serial fabricator J. Christian Adams for commentary on recent stories involving the Department of Justice is so pathetically absurd that it leads us to ask the question: Is it possible that this is all some sort of joke?
You may remember that it was almost a year ago when Fox News first introduced Adams to the world on America Live, the same program on which he appeared today. At the time, Adams was an obscure lawyer and writer for websites like Pajamas Media and American Spectator who had served for a few years in the Bush administration's Justice Department Civil Rights Division.
Adams had an explosive, but entirely unsubstantiated story: that DOJ improperly dismissed voter-intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party for political reasons, namely an unwillingness to protect white voters from intimidation by black defendants. It being Fox News, and given that the story was critical of the Obama administration, the network put the emphasis on the "explosive" and kept quiet about the "unsubstantiated." Adams' lengthy two-part interview with Megyn Kelly, and the wall-to-wall coverage the story would receive on the network over the following month, catapulted Adams into political relevance.
But even as Fox was promoting Adams' allegations, it quickly became clear that his story didn't add up[[,]] and that he was in fact a political hack whose goal was to damage the Obama administration and the Justice Department. Soon even Fox News pundits were pushing back on the network's obsessive coverage of Adams' tale, while other media clued into the way that Fox's coverage seemed obviously agenda-driven.
One year later, Adams is completely discredited, a fabulist whose obsession with bringing down the Obama Justice Department consistently leads him far from the facts. Except on Fox News, where he's apparently the person they turn to for commentary on what DOJ is up to.
Take a look. Make sure to pay special attention to the parts where a) Adams compares current DOJ "scandals" to the New Black Panthers case, as if that story hadn't been thoroughly repudiated and b) the host closes the interview by saying of Adams, "we know that you know so well the culture inside the DOJ":
From the June 15 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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From the June 14 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the June 14 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
A Wall Street Journal editorial calls on Congress to cancel EPA's proposed limits on mercury emissions and other toxic air pollution from power plants, claiming that the action amounts to a "War on Jobs." However, studies have found that the new standards, which have been decades in the making and are already being met by a majority of coal-fired utilities, would actually result in a net creation of jobs.
From the June 13 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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From the June 13 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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From the June 8 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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On Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck falsely suggested that the federal government was not involved in relief efforts following May's devastating storms in Joplin, MO. In fact, FEMA responded immediately to assist storm victims at the request of President Obama.
Today, The Washington Examiner asks the question: "What is Elizabeth Warren hiding from Congress?" Apparently, the Obama administration advisor who has been tasked with helping to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) deserves an "award for the most evasive witness testifying before Congress" after a performance during a May oversight hearing in which she "responded with a systematic evasion that cries out for a contempt of Congress citation." The Examiner claims that she has "refused to be honest with the subcommittee" and invokes the "maxim from the Watergate days that the cover-up is always worse than the crime."
This all sounds pretty bad, right up until the Examiner tries to provide an example to back up their rhetoric (emphasis added):
A review of the transcript of that May 24 subcommittee hearing reveals multiple examples of Warren's evasiveness on matters over which Congress, and especially the House of Representatives, has unquestioned authority. For example, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., asked Warren why the CFPB website lists salary ranges for 10 new employees as $72,000 to $149,000. The duties for the 10 jobs are comparable to those of a GS-9 in the federal Civil Service, which has a salary range of $41,000 to $54,000. The honest answer would have been that the CFPB must compete with salaries paid in the financial sector, which are considerably higher on average than those in the civil service. Instead, Warren attempted to use the question for a lengthy dissertation on the public administration and management theory behind the new agency's enacting legislation. Buerkle interrupted after listening to several minutes of Warren's filibuster and demanded a direct answer. Warren resumed the filibuster, but finally got the point about salary disparities between the government and private sector.
So the Examiner's problem with Warren is that she gave the "honest answer" (so much for the prior claim that she "refused to be honest with the subcommittee"), but did not do so quite as quickly as the paper would have liked. And that's the best example they could come up with. For that, they invoke Watergate and a contempt of Congress citation.
The Examiner has already debunked the purpose of their editorial; the story dissolves even more with a closer look at the Buerkle questioning
NY Post writer Abby W. Schachter attempts to conjure controversy out of thin air by describing a program that provides internet access to low-income families as some sort of political payoff to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Schachter even goes to News Corp.'s race-baiting well by complaining that "poor blacks in Chicago" are the beneficiaries of this supposed payoff:
Who is getting nearly free internet from Comcast? President Obama's neediest of course -- poor Chicago black kids.
Back in January we pointed that in order to buy NBC Universal the government had forced Comcast to start its own welfare program. According to an FFC letter at the time, Comcast promised to provide "2.5 million low income households: (i) high-speed Internet access service for less than $10 per month; (ii) personal computers, netbooks, or other computer equipment at a purchase price below $150; and (iii) an array of digital-literacy education opportunities."
Poor blacks in Chicago are the ones getting Comcast's sweet deal , because who needs the Internet more than voters in the President's home town, which is now run by his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel? As the mayor explained, "This will ensure that every part of this city has a chance to grow in the new economy. And Chicago will lead the country in dealing with this economic and social divide issue," Emanuel told reporters at the Woodson Regional Library.
Would Comcast have refused to install internet access at locations in Roseland and Washington Heights before its NBC deal? If so, the government just endorsed a business engaged in racist discrimination. Hardly seems likely. What seems much more likely is that Comcast would have installed internet service anywhere people ordered it but that poorer communities want cable TV not the Internet. Apparently poor folks are too stupid to make their own choices about how to spend their money.
In the last two years of the Bush administration, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division was engulfed by allegations that political appointees had illegally and inappropriately hired career attorneys because they were conservatives or Republicans, culminating with a blistering report from DOJ's Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility savaging the activity as a "violat[ion] of federal law." Ever since, the right-wing media has been desperately trying to prove that the Obama DOJ is just as unethically partisan as was the Bush DOJ.
In the latest salvo, the conservative Pajamas Media -- media home of New Black Panther Party fabulist J. Christian Adams, who was hired during the period of illegal hiring -- has published the first of what it promises will be many attacks on the division's hiring, based on a Freedom of Information Act request for the resumes of new hires.
According to Pajamas Media, the resumes "reveal a rogue's gallery of militant civil rights lawyers" with "so many aggressive attorneys who previously worked at the ACLU, NAACP, Legal Aid, or at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights that it is a wonder these organizations have anyone left on their staffs."
In other words, Pajamas Media is angry that the Civil Rights Division has hired so many attorneys who actually have experience and interest in civil rights law. This argument makes about as much sense as complaining that the DOJ's Tax Division is hiring too many tax lawyers; these are specialized areas of law, so prior experience is crucial.
Pajamas Media goes on to claim that "the Obama administration appears to have engaged in packing the Department with partisans -- and that it is worse than anything the Bush administration was alleged to have done." Either Pajamas Media has no idea what the Bush administration was actually doing (unlikely since they employ one of its beneficiaries) or they're willing to ignore it to push their attacks.
From the May 27 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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In a May 25 editorial, The Washington Times wrote that Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) "introduced legislation to protect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner production plant in his South Carolina district from the outrageous complaint filed by pro-union thugs at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)." In fact, as Media Matters has noted, labor law experts say that if the allegations against Boeing are true, the NLRB has presented a "classic case" of labor law violations.
From the Times editorial, headlined, "Obama versus Boeing; House GOP takes aim at job-killing regulators":
House Republicans are fighting back against President Obama's misuse of administrative power to punish right-to-work states. On Tuesday, Rep. Tim Scott introduced legislation to protect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner production plant in his South Carolina district from the outrageous complaint filed by pro-union thugs at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The agency wants to force the airline manufacturer to close up operations in Charleston and move the jobs to Puget Sound, where the labor bosses reign, because setting up in South Carolina was allegedly an example of "unfair labor practices."