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Q: When does the U.S. Department of Justice, once one of the most highly respected law enforcement organizations in the world, behave like an organized crime family?
A: When it’s under the control of a man named “Fredo.”
The Department of Justice continues its flat-out efforts at obstruction of Congressional oversight and investigation. And the latest act in this comic opera: it orders the head of the voting rights section, John Tanner, not to appear or testify before the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating wrongdoing in his section. TPM Muckraker reports:
The House Judiciary Committee was set to hold a hearing on the Civil Rights Division’s voting rights section tomorrow, but no more. That’s because the Justice Department has refused to allow the chief of the section, John Tanner, to testify. The committee has postponed the hearing until the Department allows Tanner to appear.
A career employee at the Department, Tanner worked hand in hand with political appointees Bradley Schlozman and Hans von Spakovsky to ensure the passage of voter identification laws in Georgia and elsewhere — sometimes overruling the recommendations of staff analysts and attorneys, who found that the laws might discriminate against African American voters.
Both Schlozman and von Spakovsky endured hard questioning during testimony last month. Tanner would have gotten the same treatment.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Average number of Americans who are injured by chain saws each year:
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”