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(en) Britain, Freedom* #7214 - NOTES FROM THE US by Louis Further

Date Sat, 10 Sep 2011 20:32:02 +0300


American public life seems at times to be built on a series of facts – none of which is true! ---- Take Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s recently announced candidacy for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination. Not only did she commit several gaffes on television in the days before her much-heralded announcement, misstating historical facts (for example, that the country’s Founding Fathers fought hard to end slavery).
But her platform is also constructed on the dogma of the Christian right… she advises that, if elected, she will insist that creationism be taught in schools; she vigorously opposes abortion. For this leading politician, as the country experiences some of the most severe weather in living memory, climate change is a hoax.

Her part of the country is not unfamiliar with such piercing intellect, though: in late June Wisconsin became the latest state to ban funding for the group Planned Parenthood and its nine clinics state-wide. Never out of the headlines for long for his anti-union, anti-justice antics, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker approved the cuts – ostensibly as part of a bill slashing public spending. Other states seeking to take the same reactionary steps now include Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina. A federal judge in Indiana, though, has issued an injunction against a state law there that would block Planned Parenthood from taking part in Medicaid. Then earlier in June a conservative member of the Wisconsin state Supreme Court (Justice David Prosser) apparently tried physically to choke a fellow justice (Ann Walsh Bradley) during an argument.

Racism

Arizona, of course, has until now made much of the running in anti-immigrant legislation. The state’s superintendent of schools recently ordered Tucson public schools to cancel a popular ethnic studies project or risk losing millions of dollars in funding. But Alabama is close behind: a new measure will require police to arrest anyone whom they suspect might be in the country without legal status; it will also force public schools to determine the immigration status of pupils. Yet the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, has said that he will refuse to let his state participate in the Secure Communities programme, on which Freedom has reported previously. That scheme requires local police to send fingerprints of every person they arrest to the Department of Homeland Security. Patrick is not alone: New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, suspended that state’s involvement while Illinois pulled out in May and Washington and Minnesota have done the same.

On the other hand, New York Republican Peter King has begun the second session of his series of House Homeland Security Committee hearings into the ‘radicalisation’ of the American Muslim community. King said, “…the first radicalisation hearing which this committee held in March of this year was met with much mindless hysteria led by radical groups such as the Council of Islamic Relations and their allies in the liberal media, personified by The New York Times.”

Not far away – at New Jersey’s Newark Airport – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners have been found by a federal report to be deliberately singling out passengers from Mexico and the Dominican Republic for prolonged questioning and luggage searches.

Mexico is more likely to make the news for its dramatic and seemingly far-reaching drugs ‘war’. Now it has emerged in a hearing held by the United States House of Representatives oversight committee that a once secret government operation, called ‘Fast and Furious’ and run by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF, the rough equivalent of HM Customs) encouraged US gun shops to sell thousands of guns to intermediaries for Mexican drug cartels.

Libya

As evidence emerged in the last week of June suggesting that some of the stories of atrocities by the Libyan élite which were used as an excuse for the recent war on that country are either exaggerated and/or fabricated, it also became obvious that Obama rejected the views of senior lawyers at the Pentagon and the Department of Justice when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue his aggression without congressional authorisation after 60 days… under the War Powers Act of 1973, Obama should have terminated or scaled back the mission after May 20. Congressperson Mike Turner (Ohio) meanwhile revealed that NATO commander US Admiral Samuel Locklear has confirmed to him that the United States and NATO forces are actively trying to assassinate Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi in defiance of the United Nations authorisation. Still that’s not really what it’s about: a group of American drilling companies that includes Halliburton stands to make tens of billions of dollars in Iraq under new oil deals.

Enough dollars to deal with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and a protrusion in his chest is not what James Verone from North Carolina had. He was made redundant and felt he had so few options that to get himself jailed seemed one of the best. He demanded a dollar from a local bank teller, seated himself quietly and waited for arrest. He says he hopes to remain jailed for three years to continue receiving medical treatment.

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* Anarchist journal
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