Human Rights & Individual Liberties
September 25th – Politico – Race and the Modern GOP
Lately, some young Republican leaders have hit the headlines with campaigns offering a liberal alternative to the traditional party line (see last week’s review). An occasion for Politico to come back on the history of the “Grand Old Party” and to recall that, not that long ago, GOPs were on the edge of social progress.
Overwhelmingly in favour of the 1957 Civil Right Act, liberal Republicans allowed the passage of the first piece of Civil Right legislation since the end of the 19th century. But shortly after that, the number of conservative Republicans quintupled in Congress, leaving the anti-segregation campaigns in the Democrats’ sole responsibility. The reason? “A powerful national countermovement called “white resistance”, that decisively altered the racial geography of American politics”.
Sept 23th – Salon – America’s most heinous judge: Why wife-beater Mark Fuller deserves more than resignation
Mark Fuller was arrested in August for domestic violence after an altercation with his wife. The police report describes “visible lacerations” to Fuller’s wife face. Kelli Fuller says she has been “dragged around the room” while being “hit in the mouth several times”. Luckily, this incident may not have an impact on Fuller’s career, as compassionate colleagues of his took care of the deal.
The man is a Federal Judge in Alabama and a repeat offender. However, his prosecutors allowed him to enter a “pre-trial diversion program”. A rather rare favour thanks to which, in exchange of 24 sessions of counselling, Fuller will avoid a stand trial and potentially see his arrest record expunged.
On the public side of the matter, the discussion is focusing on whether the Judge should stay in function, resign or be impeached. This comprehensive piece by Salon sheds light on the persistence of domestic violence and on the lack of accountability of some powerful men before the Courts and their constituents.
September 17th – MotherJones – How NRA degrades and objectifies women
With over 80% of its members being males, the National Rifle Association is trying to strike a greater gender balance by launching a communication campaign targeted at potential female gun-advocates.
The task will surely be a hard one, as the campaign will have to cohabit with the club’s long-time effort to degrade these very women and to portray them as objects. MotherJones investigates the lust/hate relationship between the NRA and women, by compiling a series of TV ads and speeches where “assault weapon are like hot women (…) and real moms sport kitchen aprons and feather dusters”.
Environment and Sustainable Development
September 25th – The Guardian – Barack Obama To Create World’s Largest Ocean Reserve In The Pacific
Through the 1906 Antiquities Act, the President of the United States is authorized to restrict the use of particular public land, owned by the federal government. For the 12th time as President, Barak Obama made use of this law to unilaterally decide on the creation of the world’s largest marine reserve in the Pacific Ocean.
The 490 000 square miles area (around 790 000 square kilometres) has been set to ban commercial fishing and deep sea mining, in a south-central Pacific archipelago. The protected zone is said to be larger than California, Nevada, Utah and Nevada combined, and the Administration already announced that it would be expanded next June. However, the project is less important than originally intended.
After protests from the commercial tuna industry, Barack Obama decided to scale down the reserve borders by a third and, in the meantime, gave the world another proof that industrial lobbies often turn out to be more difficult to bypass than Congress.
September 24th – Truthdig – Global Warming Global Warring
Following the massive climate march last Sunday in New York, Amy Goodman wrote a column for Truthdig in which she hails people’s commitment to the environmental cause, while calling on the Obama Administration to take action. In a compelling analogy between war and environment, the award-wining host of Democracy Now contrasts Washington’s obsession with military interventions with its relative disinterest in climatic challenges. She notes that “while climate talks generate little success or media coverage, President Obama’s attack on the Islamic State (…) dominated the U.N. General Assembly”.
Then, why not engage in an actual war against climate change? After all, as Leonardo DiCaprio reminded us earlier this week, “the chief of the US navy’s Pacific command, admiral Samuel Locklear, recently said that climate change is our single greatest security threat”. And as Amy Goodman puts it, the 400,000 people who turned out for the march on Sunday constitute our “army of hope for a sustainable future”.