The drug war in the US has been an abysmal failure (except to the militarization industry, which has done a great deal of business exploiting people’s fears), as has the war on immigration (there’s an overlap on the profiting on fear there by the same bad actors). There have always been some in the US that would just love to make ideas illegal as well. While Arizona is hardly a first in this desire, there’s just something about Arizona’s methods that really stick out. Backwards, ignorant. Just a couple of words that come to mind. But, like the other “war on____” efforts, this one is going to prove equally useless. This is a war on IDEAS, not just a culture itself, on a people themselves, but on the very IDEA. Dangerous, true, but also stupid, and ineffective. What it is going to be VERY effective for is showcasing just how backwards, how ignorant, a segment of the population in Arizona really is. How stupid are the people of Arizona willing to look? Wait, don’t answer that, it might just break my heart. In any case, kudos to those that stand up to this childish, racist garbage. Long live the idea!
And don’t think the idiocy in Arizona ends with banning books, because it doesn’t.
Brazil charges Chevron, France bans Monsanto, Europe gets a more robust anti-shark killing measure and, lastly but certainly not least, the US feds are now going to look into the racist murder of a kid walking to the store to get some Skittles. You guess the race of those involved, it’s not hard.
PHOENIX — Tony Diaz, aka “El Librotraficante” (or book smuggler) is arriving in Tucson on Friday with a truckload of Mexican-American books that were effectively banned from the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) to distribute to a network of “underground libraries.”
The caravan, which started in Houston on March 12, aims to draw attention to a state law in Arizona banning ethnic studies that was used by politicians to shut down a Tucson Mexican-American Studies Program and literally box its books away.
“Every great movement is sparked by outrage at a deep cultural offense,” said Diaz, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, a group that promotes Latino authors and culture. “Latinos are not the sleeping giant; we’re the working giant. When any state in this nation passes an anti-Latino law they’ll know we’ll respond together,” he said.
Authors and publishers have joined the cause by donating and re-printing books: Wings Press, for example, reprinted one of the banned books, “Curandera” by Carmen Tafolla, and donated 100 copies to take on the road to Tucson, said Diaz.
Some books will be brought by the authors themselves in a bus; others are being shipped to underground libraries.
[newamericamedia/20 mar 2012]
By all accounts, Jeffery Harbin was a minor player in the white supremacist movement, a man living deep in the fringes of American extremism. But in the broader context of the immigration debate, he was hardly alone.
Arizona became a hotbed for a certain brand of extremist groups in the past decade as it took center stage in discussion about how to handle the nation’s broken immigration system. But while a report by the nation’s leading watchdog of the extremist movement shows the numbers of so-called “border watch” groups are dwindling, some that remain have shown a surprising penchant for violence. They are armed, angry and desperate to fight in what they see as a real-life war taking place in the nation’s borderlands.
[TPMMuckraker/Nick R. Martin/20 Mar 2012]
Brazilian prosecutors say they will bring criminal charges against 17 executives from the US oil company Chevron and drilling contractor Transocean after a new leak of crude.
The executives have been barred from leaving the country until the investigation concludes.
Chevron halted production in Brazil after the new oil leak was found on the seabed off Brazil earlier this week.
The seepage is near a well where there was a major oil spill last November.
[BBC/19 Mar 2012]
French Agricultural Minister Bruno Le Maire imposed Friday a temporary ban on a genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto “to protect the environment”.
The French agriculture ministry said in a statement that the Monsanto maize strain MON 810 had been banned as a “precautionary measure”.
France’s top administrative court in November overturned a government order banning French farmers from planting genetically modified crops from Monsanto.
However, President Nicolas Sarkozy swiftly pledged to seek new legal measures after the French ruling as well as a similar decision by the European Court of Justice.
France’s agriculture ministry imposed a ban in February 2008 amid concerns over public safety, but the French State Council said the government had failed to prove that Monsanto crops “present a particularly elevated level of risk to either human health or the environment”.
[Agence France-Presse/19 Mar 2012]
Making the rounds of many of the news outlets today is some good news offered by the European Union. Earlier this month, meeting in Brussels, the European Commission, siding with the opinions of 27 member nation fishery ministers, proposed amending EU regulations on shark fishing by recommending a total ban on shark finning both within EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels worldwide. Today, the Council of the European Union gave its approval of the measure.
While EU regulations have already prohibited shark finning, the actual execution was riddled with loopholes and special permits, all originally intended to promote commercial shark fishing management. However, monitoring and enforcement was difficult to attain and so, ultimately, a complete ban was deemed best.
As good as this all sounds, in reality it is an incremental step. Properly permitted vessels will still be able to take sharks, but they will be required to land them whole – fins attached. This is a disadvantage to the boat operators as whole shark carcasses will fill up a boat’s hold with low value meat compared to the more highly prized shark fin. It could very well prove to be enough of an inducement for many boats to move out of the shark fin business altogether, finding it no longer economically worthwhile.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI will investigate the killing of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer, the department announced late Monday.
The announcement coincided with a statement from Florida Gov. Rick Scott asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to offer “appropriate resources” in the case.
The federal and state agencies are intervening in what attorneys call a botched investigation into the killing of the Michael Krop Senior High School student, who was killed Feb. 26 in Sanford, a town of 55,000 just north of Orlando. Trayvon, 17, on suspension from school, was staying at his father’s girlfriend’s house when he walked to a nearby a 7-Eleven store to buy candy and iced tea.
George Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer with a long history of calling in everything from open garage doors to “suspicious characters,” called police to say he had spotted someone who looked drugged, was walking too slowly in the rain, and appeared to be looking at people’s houses. Zimmerman sounded alarmed because the stranger had his hand in his waistband and held something in his other hand.
The unarmed teen was carrying Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea.
[miamiherald/20 mar 2012]