I recently wrote in my Federal Way Mirror column, The Firearms Lawyer, that Federal Way’s Tea Party leader is a lady named Robin Caldwell- an African-American. Robin- also a member of our Federal Way GOP precinct organization- is first of all an American who happens to be a mixture of African, native-American and European ancestry. She is also a conservative libertarian. Despite my affiliation with Robin, however, the usual suspects called me a right wing demagouge (sic) and labeled my description of recent events as racist, ignorant editorializing masquerading as fact!
The article touched on the subject of how the NAACP allegedly lobbied the DOJ to dismiss charges against the New Black Panthers for intimidating voters with a weapon at a polling place.
King Samir Shabazz, the poll watcher with the night-stick, was penalized by not being allowed to return with a weapon to the polling places in 2012:
A recent Media Matters investigation has debunked charges that the Obama administration withdrew criminal charges against the Panthers (in fact, the Bush administration decided not to pursue criminal charges, with Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez testifying that the Bush Justice Department “determined that the facts did not constitute a prosecutable violation of the criminal statutes“; a civil lawsuit was filed in the last days of the Bush administration, and a judgment won by the Obama Justice Department in May 2009).
The Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Abigail Thernstrom, recently said on CBS’ “Face the Nation”, “We have no direct evidence that [the NBP activist) actually intimidated anybody, stopped them from voting.”
“I think the evidence is extremely weak,” Thernstrom told CBS anchor Bob Schieffer. “If the Justice Department chooses – and I would be delighted if it did so – to send to us, for instance, somebody who is at that alleged brown bag meeting in which [Deputy Assistant Attorney General] Julie Fernandez said, ‘We don’t prosecute cases [against] blacks …’ fine. I’m an evidence girl, really. I want evidence.”
Despite the fact that evidence was forthcoming, Thernstrom continued to impugn the integrity of her fellow Commissioners by alleging that the Republican members of the Commission are simply trying to damage President Obama.
“My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president,” Thernstrom said in an interview with POLITICO. She makes such allegations but nevertheless admits in several places that the question of whether the voter intimidation case could be successfully prosecuted is arguable. Her point is that DOJ prosecutors dismissed the case in good faith but why does she question the good faith of her colleagues on the Commission?
Thernstrom claims to think very highly of J. Christian Adams. But he is the whistleblower that testified as to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes informing DOJ personnel that the Voting Section was not going to bring cases against black defendants for the benefit of white victims.
Thernstrom has recently been backing away from some her statements made on “Face the Nation”.
See Thernstrom’s Reply to Andrew McCarthy; National Review Online.
The “politicalized” commissioners that Thernstrom criticized for wanting to take down Obama were largely reacting to Adams’s testimony- and to the Obama Administration’s ongoing campaign to impede efforts to find out out who talked to whom about dismissing the NBP charges.
The real issue is not whether the jack-booted racist NBP thugs were ever a threat to the voting process but whether thugs with suits and brief cases will obey the law and disclose what is really happening or hide a questionable agenda behind some variation on the claim of Executive Privilege. When the Bush Administration asserted Executive Privilege the news media used enough ink to drain an ocean discussing imminent threats to the Constitution.
Thernstrom also indicated at various times that she needed direct evidence. The record of proceedings before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is replete with direct evidence from eye-witnesses who testified before the Commission that both Black Panthers, including the one against whom the Justice Department dismissed its case, were physically threatening a poll watcher and the two Black Panthers acted as a team, in concert, at the polling place.
On the issue of voters, Hill testified as follows:
QUESTION: How were third parties reacting to the presence and the actions of the Panther members?
HILL: People were put off when – there were a couple of people that walked up, a couple of people that drove up, and they would come to a screeching halt because it’s not something you expect to see in front of a polling place. As I was standing on the corner, I had two older ladies and an older gentleman stop right next to me, ask what was going on. I said, ‘Truthfully, we don’t really know. All we know is there’s two Black Panthers here.’ And the lady said, ‘Well, we’ll just come back.’ And so, they walked away.
Hill was then questioned about that testimony by Commissioner Thernstrom:
THERNSTROM: But otherwise, did you see anybody at the polling place who obviously intended to vote, and didn’t end up voting because of the presence of the New Black Panther Party members?
HILL: It was two women and a gentleman….They stopped right at the corner of the driveway, circular drive, where I was standing on the phone, and they said, ‘What’s going on?’ Truthfully, I didn’t really have a good answer for them…But at that exact moment in time, those people were not going near that doorway, and ma’am, I’m not as well versed as you are in these civil rights issues, but they were intimidated.
Bartle Bull, another poll watcher testified:
BULL: One of them was waving a baton like that, slapping against his hand, pointing at people. And several people –I was more or less at the end of the driveway, and several people began to walk up the driveways, saw these guys, and then went back and didn’t go on to vote.
QUESTION: Did the individuals that you saw turn around, those were people that you believed were coming to vote?
BULL: Oh, yes, yes. That’s the only reason you walk along that long block on the pavement, and then go in the long driveway. And several walked in, saw this at the door, and walked back out the drive.
No voters came forward to testify that they were intimidated. The nature of intimidation is that when people drive away and don’t vote, they are not likely to come back to testify against racists that exhort their followers to “kill cracker babies”- especially when the potential witnesses live in the same neighborhood as the New Black Panthers. But it is also illegal to intimidate poll watchers. The testimony is arguably not the best at this time but it is important to keep in mind that the government already had taken a default against the NBP and the individual defendants because the defendants never appeared for court!
In a letter dated July 14, 2010, Gerald A. Reynolds, Chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, wrote to Assistant Attorney General Perez:
Regrettably, in the face of the Department’s intransigence regarding the Commission’s investigation and its unwillingness to enforce the Commission’s lawful and longstanding subpoena… Mr. Adams was forced to resign before he could comply with the Commission’s subpoena for his testimony.
J. Christian Adams, the career DOJ attorney that resigned because of the Department’s intransigence, testified that member’s of DOJ’s Voting Section management indicated to him that senior political Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes informed them that the Voting Section is “in the business of doing traditional civil rights work,” and “cases are not going to be brought against black defendants [for] the benefit of white victims.”
According to Mr. Reynolds, the testimony indicated that Fernandez stated that if somebody wanted to bring these cases, it was up to the U.S. Attorney, but the Civil Rights Division wasn’t going to be bringing them. (Testimony of Mr. Adams, July 6, 2010 USCCR Hearing Trans. at 61-63.)
Thus, notwithstanding Abigail Thernstrom’s credentials as a Bush appointee to the Commission, her representations that DOJ’s dismissal of the case is “small potatoes” are suspect. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) recently wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) requesting a hearing on the investigation into voter intimidation.
Sen. Graham’s letter stated:
In sworn testimony, Mr. Adams confirmed that various political appointees overruled a unanimous recommendation by six career DOJ attorneys that prosecution of members of the NBPP should continue. Mr. Adams testified that within the DOJ Civil Rights Division, “not only was their open hostility toward equal enforcement in a colorblind way of the voting rights laws… Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes instructed Civil Rights Division attorneys that they would not pursue voter intimidation cases involving black defendants and white victims.”
According to Sen. Graham:
According to the USSCR, both men “hurled racial epithets at whites and blacks alike, taunting poll watchers and poll observers who were there to aid voters.” Long time civil rights attorney Bartle Bull was at the polling place that morning and called the incident “the most blatant form of voter intimidation” he had ever seen. Despite DOJ having won a default judgment in this case, political appointees voluntarily dismissed several of the defendants.
DOJ only sought an injunction against the defendant brandishing a nightstick. The injunction bars him from displaying a weapon within 100 feet of a Philadelphia polling place for three years.
Many Senators and Congressman, as well as members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission have expressed the same concern that Sen. Graham expressed concerning DOJ’s ongoing attempts to stonewall subpoenas:
Unfortunately, the Department of Justice continues to stonewall the USCCR by refusing to honor the subpoena issued for Christopher Coates, former chief of the Voting Rights Section. It is imperative that you schedule a hearing immediately so we can determine the validity of these claims and whether DOJ, as Mr. Adams testified, “abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens.” Given the importance of this oversight matter, we believe that holding a hearing on this issue should take priority over other Committee business.
Thus, every indication is that these allegations will become toxic for the Obama administration. Of course it all depends on which party controls Congress after November!
The “mainstream” media’s position on who is “playing the race card” oscillates between a sort of moral equivalency argument to the ridiculous claim that it is Republican and Tea Party activists that are fueling dangerous racial hostilities. The NAACP went on the offensive and said that the Tea Partiers should take responsibility for elements of the movement that display racist signs at Tea Party protests.
Conservative Andrew Breitbart responded by releasing a video of a U.S. Department of Agriculture official talking about how she did not give a white farmer “the full force of what I could do” to save his farm. She “took him to (a white lawyer) so that one of his own kind would take care of him.” The USDA forced her to resign without giving her a chance to explain that she eventually became good friends with the white farmer and his family.
Meanwhile, other Conservatives got hold of e-mails from a liberal online journalist forum called JOURNOLIST. Messages were exposed in which a journalist proposed to report that people like Karl Rove are racist in order to help the Obama administration’s agenda.
One of Eric Holder’s first pronouncements when he became the U.S. Attorney General was that America needs to have a dialogue about race. The national conversation is going so well that I recently proposed a beer summit be held in Federal Way!
The ‘Beer Summit’: President Barack Obama, right, and Vice President Joe Biden, left, have a beer with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., second from left, and Cambridge, Mass. police Sgt. James Crowley in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 30, 2009.
But someone needs to tell Holder that the Progressive tradition of race-baiting in order to gin up populist enthusiasm for big government can only go so far in an era where the people have alternatives to getting our news from big media outlets. The Tea Party goes to Washington, DC on August 28.
Maybe Robin Caldwell will give the Administration and its proxies the message! The American people are ready to deliver the message in November that race is no longer the ticket for those that want to turn back the clock on American’s freedom.
If predictions hold true that many Democrats are about to be swept out of power, then the NBP story may take on a new life after November!