Category Archive 'Black Panthers'

18 Jul 2010

Decrying Panthergate

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Abigail Thernstrom, nearly two weeks ago in National Review Online, pooh-pooh-ed the scandal of Eric Holder’s Justice Department overruling prosecutors in order to quash the voter intimidation case against Philadelphia Black Panthers, describing it as insignificant by comparison to the (more abstract, and less sexy) issue of the Department of Justice requiring racially gerrymandered election districts.

Forget about the New Black Panther Party case; it is very small potatoes. Perhaps the Panthers should have been prosecuted under section 11 (b) of the Voting Rights Act for their actions of November 2008, but the legal standards that must be met to prove voter intimidation — the charge — are very high.

In the 45 years since the act was passed, there have been a total of three successful prosecutions. The incident involved only two Panthers at a single majority-black precinct in Philadelphia. So far — after months of hearings, testimony and investigation — no one has produced actual evidence that any voters were too scared to cast their ballots. Too much overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges has been devoted to this case.

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Nothing gratifies the left’s commentariat like a conservative come to Lenin, so Thernstrom’s characterization of the Philadelphia Panther affair as small potatoes was shouted from the rooftops.

Ben Smith, at Politico, treated it as headline news.

Adam Serwer, at American Prospect, gloatingly announced that Thernstrom’s comments exploded a conservative conspiracy to bring down Eric Holder and damage Barack Obama.

And Joan Walsh, editor in chief of Salon, was today hastening to admire Adam Serwer’s intelligence in the course of performing damage control. It turns out that the Washington Post, unlike the New York Times, really does have an Ombudsman representing the public’s interest in journalistic evenhandedness and objectivity.

The Philadelphia Panther Polling Place Intimidation story has been receiving coverage from Fox News and developing legs as a story and provoking public interest, causing Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander to criticize the Post’s delay in covering it.

Walsh lays down the law in response to Alexander:

[I]t really is hard, with limited news room resources, to decide whether and how to cover the insane narrative of rumors, half-truths and lies being peddled by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, not to mention Fox News “reporters” like Megyn Kelly. By covering them (as Salon readers frequently remind us) we risk spreading lies and delusion beyond the right-wing smogosphere. But by ignoring the ones that gain political currency, we risk letting them acquire more influence than they deserve.

Let me state, for the record, that the New Black Panther Party is a despicable, deluded, crackpot fringe group, whose members’ insane anti-white rhetoric sometimes makes me wonder if they’re still on the payroll of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, that 60s-era project in which righty provocateurs infiltrated left-wing groups, including the Black Panthers, and egged on some of the worst violence (not that the old Panthers weren’t capable of violence and thuggishness all on their own, along with the breakfast programs their lefty admirers like to remember).

But the right wing needs the thuggish but miniscule and derided NBBP to matter, and to tie the crazy group to our black president, in order to advance their narrative of lies about Obama’s “racism,” tyranny and illegitimacy to be president. If they can convince enough people that Obama was elected thanks to intimidation by the NBPP, and “voter fraud” by the now-defunct ACORN, they won’t even need the crazy Birthers to prove he’s not legitimately president, even though he won with a bigger mandate than any first-term president since Lyndon Johnson (who of course had become president after the Kennedy assassination.) …

It’s the job of editors at big papers like the Post to expose those lies, and the movement behind them – not to flagellate themselves for not saying “How high?” when right-wing media watchdogs say “Jump!”

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The left’s arguments as to why the Department of Justice blocking prosecution of the Philadelphia Black Panther standing in front of the Fairmont Avenue polling station brandishing a nightstick is a non-story run like this:

J. Christian Adams, the former Justice Department voting rights attorney who resigned and later testified before the the U.S. Commission on Civil Right in connection with Eric Holder’s Justice Department’s handling of the Philadelphia case, is a Republican who was hired by another Republican attorney they dislike.

No one has proven that Eric Holder or Barack Obama personally interfered.

The New Black Panther Party is a small, unrepresentative fringe group that simply does not matter.

No one has produced voters testifying that they were prevented from voting by the Panthers.

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Most Americans do not agree that testimony coming from Republicans, even from conservative Republicans, of bias and improper conduct can be impeached successfully simply by identifying the witness’s politics. An obviously greater number of Americans trust the reliability of Fox News more that they trust other networks, the New York Times or the Washington Post, and more Americans believe that conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh are reasonably fair-minded than would say the same thing of Salon.

The unavailability of evidence of participation of senior officials in a far-from-thoroughly-investigated scandal is not per se exculpatory evidence.

The Fairmont Avenue nightstick-carrying Panther incident is known from a few very short videos which were posted on YouTube. A University of Pennsylvania student tried filming and interviewing the Panthers. He found them hostile and evasive. In the immediate aftermath of that confrontation, he or a Republican poll observer summoned the police. The Panther carrying the nightstick was persuaded by Philadelphia police to leave. His associate produced identification as a poll watcher, and was (despite his paramilitary get up) permitted to remain.

A Fox News reporter, Rick Leventhal, interviewed the Republican poll observer, who told him that the Panthers had tried to intimidate him when he tried to enter. The observer was also subjected to racial remarks. He says that he then phoned the police.

The police intervened after two Panthers, one armed with a nightstick, had been standing in front of the Fairmont Avenue polling place door for about an hour. It’s true that this specific incident involved two people and a fairly limited amount of time. But it was clearly a case of intimidation.

Is the fringiness of the intimidators some kind of legal defence?

What would Ms. Thermstrom, Mr. Serwer, or Ms. Walsh say about two people in paramilitary uniforms, brandishing a club and making hostile racially-charged remarks having probable discouraging impact in detering black or Jewish voters or observers from entering a polling place? Under the proposed insignificance rule, Nazis or Ku Klux Klansmen could police certain polling stations at will, as long as they remained basically few in number and intimidated only a few people. And, of course, if they succeeded in scaring people away from testifying about what had happened, that would be all the better, since it would prove that no one had been intimidated at all.

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Let my readers decide for themselves. Here are the videos.

1:21 University of Pennsylvania student films Panthers at 1221 Fairmount Avenue polling place video

1:00 video Philadelphia police intervene. The Panther with the bill club is ordered to leave. The other Panther is allowed to stay because he is a registered poll watcher!

Departing billy club wielder: “that’s why you’re going to be ruled by a black man.” 0:05 video

4:05 Fox News video from 2008 with Rick Leventhal.

Who was holding that billy club? Samir Shabaz 0:51 video

Addtional evidence of denial of entry and election fraud in Philadelphia appeared in a couple of other videos:

Poll watcher denied entry to polling place on 6125 Market Street. 2:53 video

This black voter in Overbrook Park tells CNN he voted “a coupla times.” 0:41 video

Earlier postings

16 Dec 2009

Panthergate: Justice Department Stonewalls Investigation

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The Washington Times reports that Eric Holder’s Justice Department is again roadblocking federal efforts to investigate incidents of voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the 2008 presidential election by Black Panthers costumed as security guards and brandishing billy clubs.

The systematic efforts by the Obama Administration to protect their own partisans from prosecution are outrageous and have every possibility of developing into a serious scandal capable of inflicting major harm on a presidency already in serious trouble.

The Justice Department has told the federal attorneys who filed a civil complaint against the New Black Panther Party for disrupting a Philadelphia polling place last year not to cooperate with an investigation of the incident by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The commission last week subpoenaed at least two Justice Department lawyers and sought documents from the department to explain why the complaint was dismissed just as a federal judge was about to punish the New Black Panther Party and three of its members for intimidating voters.

07 Dec 2009

DOJ Resignations Related to Panther Coverup?

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The Washington Times wonders aloud: Is Eric Holder’s Department of Justice experiencing major in-house fighting and a rash of resignations connected with a top-level decision to avoid prosecuting the 2008 voter intimidation by Black Panthers in Philadelphia seen everywhere on YouTube video?

Could it be that President Obama’s legal team is imploding due to a voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party? …

First, a Web site called “Main Justice” reported on Wednesday (and we have since confirmed) that the Justice Department has, for now, ordered two key career attorneys not to comply with a subpoena about the case issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The commission, by law, has explicit power to issue subpoenas, and the law mandates that “all federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the commission.” The Justice Department, however, is citing internal regulations stemming from a 1951 case to support its order to ignore the subpoena. …

Second, that same day, the two Republican House members with top-ranking jurisdiction over the Justice Department, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, issued a joint statement calling Justice Department delays “a cover-up,” and “a pretense to ignore inquiries from Congress and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.” At a hearing on Thursday, Mr. Smith said that “continued silence by the Justice Department is an implied admission of guilt that the case was dropped for purely political reasons.”

Third, at the same hearing, Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, accused Justice Department Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez of not being “truthful” while under oath, to such an extent that “there are people who have gone to jail” for such a level of purported “dishonest[y].”

The disputed statement, from what appeared to be prepared remarks by Mr. Perez that he later repeated insistently, was that “the maximum penalty was sought and obtained” against the one Black Panther for whom the charges were not entirely dropped. The bizarrely weak penalty consisted of a mere injunction for the Black Panther not to brandish a weapon near a polling place, within Philadelphia, through Nov. 15, 2012. In short, he is prohibited, only within Philadelphia and only for four years, from doing something that is illegal anyway. …

As all of this was going on, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, the No. 2 man in the whole department, was announcing that very morning that he will resign after less than 10 months in office. Mr. Ogden – whose possible involvement in the Black Panther case had been specifically mentioned in the Civil Rights Commission’s subpoena – became the third high-ranking Obama legal official to announce a resignation in the last month. He was preceded by White House counsel Gregory Craig and deputy White House counsel Cassandra Butts.

14 Sep 2009

Rule of Law Isn’t What It Used To Be Under Obama

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Andrew looks smug in his Atlantic logo illustration. It’s nice having friends in high places.

Remember George W. Bush?

We used to have a president so rigidly righteous that he actually refused to pardon Lewis Libby for defending his own administration and thus becoming the target of a special prosecutor and winding up convicted of perjury (in a case where no crime was really ever proven to have occurred) by a DC jury.

Now we have Barack Obama, who is not like that at all.

Intimidate voters, brandishing billy clubs in Philadelphia? You don’t get prosecuted if you were an Obama supporter. Eric Holder’s Justice Department will overrule career prosecutors for you.

Are you a governor or state official taking campaign contributions in exchange for contracts? If you’re a democrat, you are OK. Eric Holder’s Justice Department will drop the investigation.

Suppose you are a homosexual leftwing blogger, who also happens to be a non-US-citizen, in danger of getting into trouble with immigration if you are convicted of a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana on a Cape Cod Beach? You have a Get Out of Jail Free card, if you are, as Andrew Sullivan is, a faithful defender of Barack Obama and his policies. The US Attorney’s Office will go right on prosecuting non-Obama-supporting-bloggers coming before the court for the identical complaint, but will shock the court by giving you a special pass.

Andrew himself is declining to comment on the advice of counsel.

Boston Globe

Some News Agency

John Hinderaker has a comment.

30 May 2009

Justice Obama-Style: No Prosecution For Voter Intimidation By Black Panthers

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Billy-club wielding Black Panthers outside Philadelphia polling station

The 2008 Presidential election featured brazen acts of voting fraud and voter intimidation in favor of the democrat party candidates. The Obama Administration’s Department of Justice just sent a message to its supporters assuring them crimes committed in support of democrats will not be punished.

Washington Times:

Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.

The incident – which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube – had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.

Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as “the most blatant form of voter intimidation” that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.

The lawyers also had ascertained that one of the three men had gained access to the polling place by securing a credential as a Democratic poll watcher, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Washington Times.

The career Justice lawyers were on the verge of securing sanctions against the men earlier this month when their superiors ordered them to reverse course, according to interviews and documents. The court had already entered a default judgment against the men on April 20.

A Justice Department spokesman on Thursday confirmed that the agency had dropped the case, dismissing two of the men from the lawsuit with no penalty and winning an order against the third man that simply prohibits him from bringing a weapon to a polling place in future elections.

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Original 1:21 video

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The same Washington Times ran the following editorial.

Imagine if Ku Klux Klan members had stood menacingly in military uniforms, with nightsticks, in front of a polling place. Add to it that they had hurled racial threats and insults at voters who tried to enter.

Now suppose that the government, backed by a nationally televised video of the event, had won a court case against the Klansmen except for the perfunctory filing of a single, simple document – but that an incoming Republican administration had moved to voluntarily dismiss the already-won case.

Surely that would have been front-page news, with a number of firings at the Justice Department.

The flip side of this scenario is occurring right now. The culprits weren’t Klansmen; they belonged to the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. One of the defendants, Jerry Jackson, is an elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party when the violations occurred. Rather conveniently, the Obama administration has asked that the cases against Mr. Jackson, two other defendants and the party be dropped.

The Voting Rights Act is very clear. It prohibits any “attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce” any voter or those aiding voters.

The explanation for moving to dismiss the case is shocking. According to the Department of Justice: “These same Defendants have made no appearance and have filed no pleadings with the Court. Nor have they otherwise raised any other defenses to this action. Therefore, the United States has the right … to dismiss voluntarily this action against the Defendants.” In other words, because the defendants haven’t tried to defend themselves, the Justice Department won’t punish them.

By that logic, if a murderer doesn’t respond to the charges, he should be let free. That’s crazy.

04 Sep 2008

Another Obama Radical Connection

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Donald Ward aka “Khalid Al Mansour”

Kenneth R. Timmerman describes the latest skeleton to fall out of Barak Obama’s personal closet.

When Obama was applying to Harvard, Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton was asked to write a letter of recommendation for him by Donald Warden aka Khalid Al Mansour, a radical Black Nationalist, once mentor to Huey Newton, founder of the Black Panthers, later an Islamicist extremist and antisemite.

YouTube has numerous videos of this gentleman’s rants.

New evidence has emerged that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was closely associated as early as age 25 to a key adviser to a Saudi billionaire who had mentored the founding members of the Black Panthers.

In a videotaped interview this year on New York’s all news cable channel NY1, a prominent African-American businessman and political figure made the curious disclosures about Obama.

Percy Sutton, the former borough president of Manhattan, off-handedly revealed the unusual circumstances about his first encounter with the young Obama.

“I was introduced to (Obama) by a friend who was raising money for him,” Sutton told NY1 city hall reporter Dominic Carter.

“The friend’s name is Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, from Texas,” Sutton said. “He is the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men. He told me about Obama.”

Sutton, the founder of Inner City Broadcasting, said al-Mansour contacted him to ask a favor: Would Sutton write a letter in support of Obama’s application to Harvard Law School?

“He wrote to me about him,” Sutton recalled. “And his introduction was there is a young man that has applied to Harvard. I know that you have a few friends up there because you used to go up there to speak. Would you please write a letter in support of him?”

Sutton said he acted on his friend al-Mansour’s advice.

“I wrote a letter of support of him to my friends at Harvard, saying to them I thought there was a genius that was going to be available and I certainly hoped they would treat him kindly,” Sutton told NY1.

3:07 video

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Suppose the New York Times were to discover that the mentor of one of the founders of the American Nazi Party, an extremist with ties to foreign radicals who was still delivering antisemitic diatribes today, had persuaded a prominent Republican politician to write a letter of recommendation to McCain’s Congressman supporting his appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis? Would liberals consider this evidence of unsavory radical connections in MCain’s life history significant?


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