The paradoxical "progressive" flirtation with right-wing wackjob Ron Paul continues unabated. Mondoweiss is the latest to enthuse that he "opposes another neocon war for Israel." (Remember back when the left used to blame Middle East military adventures on oil companies?) Meanwhile, the sinister nature of the Paulist agenda becomes increasingly blatant. In our last post calling out Paul as a bogus pseudo-libertarian who opposes reproductive freedom and separation of church and state, we noted his enthusiasm for the far-right John Birch Society (whose paranoid fantasies of a UN take-over of the USA fueled the militia movement in the '90s), and facetiously asked if the Oklahoma City bombing was the kind of "revolution" he wants to see. Well, maybe it isn't just a joke. Gawker takes note of a Ron Paul campaign ad in which he pledges to do away with the departments of Education, Interior, Housing and Commerce—with the word "gone" for each one punctuated by an image of mushroom cloud! (We've come a long way from Lyndon Johnson's famous "Daisy ad," no?) Pretty disquieting that someone who is so glib about nuclear explosions could have his finger on The Button. But, more to the point, whose interests would be served by Paul's mania for blowing up federal agencies—such as the Interior Department, which controls some 20% of total US land area, including much resource-rich territory? Let's take a look...
The US Department of Justice on Dec. 15 announced the findings of its three-year civil rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO). The investigation concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that MCSO engages in a pattern or practice of violating the Constitution and laws of the US in three areas. First, the DOJ found that the MCSO engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing, specifically in racial profiling of Latinos and in the unlawful stops, detains and arrests resulting therefrom. Next, the DoJ found that the MCSO unlawfully retaliates against people who criticize its policies and practices. Finally, the DoJ found reasonable cause to believe that the MCSO operates its jails in a manner that discriminates against Latino inmates that are limited-English-proficient, routinely punishing them when they fail to understand commands given in English, and denying critical services that are provided to other inmates. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez made the findings announcement, criticizing the MCSO for failing to cooperate with requests for information, which caused the investigation to to take longer than expected.
Ron Paul's iconoclastic stances on foreign interventions, civil liberties and the war on drugs are unfortunately winning him much support from naive "progressives"—despite the fact that he is clearly a right-wing wackjob. This is obvious enough from his own words, if his paradoxical "progressive" pom-pom wavers would take the time to do a little reading. For instance, this bogus pseudo-libertarian is proudly anti-choice! USA Today reported Oct. 14 that Paul is airing a lugubrious anti-abortion ad in Iowa. In the 60-second spot, an announcer says Paul is a "man of faith committed to protecting life" before the supposed gadfly congressman recounts how he once watched a late-term abortion being performed, calling it something "I am not able to accept." Where's Mr. Gadfly now? Like a typical weasily politician, he'll talk up the "revolution" (sic!) when he wants to make inroads to gullible elements of the Occupy Wall Street crowd—but toe the Republican line against reproductive freedom when he wants to win over heartland conservatives.
Three inmates at Corcoran state prison who participated in this year's California prisoner hunger strike— Zaharibu Dorrough, Heshima Denham and Kambui Robinson—issued a statement Dec. 6 proposing "10 core demands" for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The communiqué, issued from Corcoran's supermax Secure Housing Unit (SHU), says the demands were hashed out by prisoners at Corcoran and Pelican Bay under the name of the NARN Collective Think Tank. It states, "These 10 core demands can be modified, augmented or amended to take into account the broadest cross-section of the 99 percent possible and the collective will of the movement." The demands are online at San Francisco Bay View:
Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters blocked cargo trucks at West Coast ports from San Diego to Anchorage Dec. 12, forcing terminals in Oakland, Portland and Longview to halt operations. Police used "flash-bang" percussion grenades to disperse protesters who blocked an entrance to a Port of Seattle terminal. Protesters responded with hurled debris, and several were arrested. The march to the Port of Oakland was led by Scott Olsen, the Marine Corps veteran who was gravely wounded when he was struck in the head by a tear-gas canister during a clash between police and Occupy Oakland protesters in October. While the protests attracted far fewer people than the 10,000 who turned out Nov. 2 to shut down Oakland's port, organizers declared victory and promised further such actions. "The truckers are still here, but there's nobody here to unload their stuff," protest organizer Boots Riley said. "We shut down the Port of Oakland for the daytime shift and we're coming back in the evening. Mission accomplished." (San Diego Union-Tribune, CBS, AP, Dec. 12)
Both the Bottom Line business blog at the San Francisco Chronicle and the On Deadline blog at USA Today make note of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's apparent dissent from the Occupy Wall Street movement's call for a West Coast Port Blockade on Monday Dec. 12. In a call to action, the Occupy movement states:
Thousands of activists attended the 21st annual protest against the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), in front of the US Army's Fort Benning base in Columbus, Georgia, on Nov. 20. The SOA Watch movement, which sponsors the protests, opposes the army's training of Latin American soldiers, noting that SOA graduates have been among the region's most notorious human rights violators.
In the fourth Internet edition of the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade, World War 4 Report editor Bill Weinberg interviews legendary songster and activist Darryl Cherney and film-maker Mary Liz Thomson on their new work Who Bombed Judi Bari?—documenting the life of the fighter for Northern California's ancient redwoods who was targeted in a car bomb attack and then framed by the FBI. Darryl and Mary Liz talk about Judi's legacy in light of the Occupy Wall Street movement on the eve of their sneak-preview screening of the movie at New York's Anarchist Forum.