Evening Blues Preview 2-17-15
This evening's music features r&b singer Wilbert Harrison.
Here are some stories from tonight's post:
On Tuesday, the White House will convene a national summit on combatting violent extremism – but, despite a plethora of attacks by domestic right-wing extremists and the increase in white supremacist hate groups, no one expects that to be on the agenda.
Just a week ago, Craig Hicks, an apparently militant anti-theist murdered three American Muslim college students in Chapel Hill; the FBI and local law enforcement have opened an inquiry into the possibility that it was a hate crime. In August 2012, Wade Michael Page, an avowed white supremacist, stormed into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin outside Milwaukee and killed six people. Page died, but Attorney General Holder made it clear that the community had endured an act of terrorism and hatred at Page’s hands. Frazier Glenn Miller Jr, a neo-Nazi who founded the White Patriot Party, allegedly killed three people at a Jewish retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas on 13 April 2014. He awaits trial for murder.
One would think the federal government’s response to this and other threats against communities of color would be to develop programs and practices to confront the very real threat of right-wing violence and the alarming increase of such hate groups in the United States. Instead, the Obama Administration’s programs to counter violent extremism (CVE) almost exclusively focus on the recruitment and radicalization of Muslims to engage in terrorist attacks in this country.
While it is important for our government to address all forms of violent extremism to keep Americans safe, the CVE framework is deeply flawed because of its failure to do that and its reliance on unworkable models.
The threat of right-wing domestic extremism is not far-fetched. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), since the year 2000, the number of hate groups in the United States has increased by 56%; they now include anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-government “Patriot” groups. The federal government too is aware of the threats from these groups. In April 2009, a report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on right-wing extremism was leaked and then withdrawn. It revealed the government’s assessment that “white supremacist lone wolves” posed the most significant domestic terrorist threat in the US.
Yet, despite this complicated and growing landscape of domestic right-wing groups, the Obama Administration’s Countering Violent Extremism programs continue to focus on the threat of radicalization in Muslim communities.
While the wealthiest 85 individuals on the planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – and when the top 1% will soon own more wealth than the bottom 99% – the people of Greece and the anti-austerity party, Syriza, they elected to lead them are struggling to rebuild their economy so that ordinary people there can live with a shred of dignity and security.
But powerful international interests are putting the pro-growth, pro-worker experiment in progressive democracy currently underway in grave danger. ... The German government, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) all seem intent on bringing the new government to heel, regardless of the people for whom German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble claims to feel sorry.
The real concern, apparently, is that democracy may go too far for austerity advocates to continue imposing their economic ideology from a distance: in Spain, Portugal, Finland and elsewhere, the patience of citizens is wearing thin as a growing number of them awaken to the stark reality that, while the very rich get much richer, the austerity programs their governments dutifully implemented are the cause rather than the cure for what ails their economies.
If Syriza succeeds in rolling back the EU-mandated measures, it could encourage dissident political movements in other parts of Europe; the right-wing governments in Europe’s periphery are terrified of a Greek success at the negotiating table. ...
My hope instead is that both Syriza and the EU coalition will work toward a compromise that promotes economic growth for all Europeans. A more heavy-handed approach aimed at “teaching the Greeks a lesson” would not only be an economic mistake but, perhaps more importantly, a political mistake. Anything that weakens the Greek economy and undermines democracy could strengthen the Greek neo-Nazi movement and do real harm to economically vulnerable people in Greece.
According to the Charleston Daily Mail, at least one tanker car fell into the Kanawha River that runs adjacent to the tracks, forcing the shutdown of a water treatment plant about three miles from the scene that serves about 2,000 customers. Another plant further downstream also closed after the accident, according to an Associated Press report. A 911 dispatcher told the Daily Mail oil was leaking from at least one car.
The train was carrying light crude from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota, Rosser said, which is particularly volatile. The fire is expected to burn until at least midnight and had already caused power outages. ...
The incident comes a day after a train carrying petroleum derailed in a remote part of northern Ontario, starting a fire that's still burning and spilling an unknown amount of crude.
The train, operated by Canadian National Railway Company, was travelling from Alberta to Quebec, traveling 38 miles per hour, when 29 cars derailed shortly after midnight on Sunday. Seven of the cars caught fire and were still burning as of Monday afternoon.
"The accident site itself is quite remote," Chris Krepski, a spokesperson with Canada's Transportation Safety Board, told VICE News. "It's not anywhere near any kind of populated area. There's no road access to where the accident happened."