In what is becoming a crucial battle in the war being waged by an ever-expanding federal authority against the sovereignty of the states, Alabama has been instructed to heed the voice of the power on the Potomac. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the Attorney General of Alabama, Luther Strange, instructing him that despite the position taken in his earlier correspondence to the department, the DOJ has authority to conduct investigations into possible violations of the civil rights of immigrants. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the author of the DOJ missive, was responding to a letter from Strange penned earlier in the week. In that letter, Strange demanded that the federal department inform him as to the authority granted to it to require schools in Alabama to report demographic enrollment data to the DOJ.
An elementary school field trip to the Wisconsin State Capitol got out hand when the teacher allowed his fourth-grade students to participate in a protest against embattled Governor Scott Walker, the current target of the state’s public school teachers’ unions. A video of the incident, obtained by a Milwaukee Fox News affiliate, shows students clapping along while protesters sing a modified version of the Woody Guthrie folk song, “This Land Is Your Land,” with a verse that includes the incendiary line, “Scott Walker will never push us out, this house was made for you and me.”
After being slapped with a $2.4-million bill by the Beijing tax bureau, Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei could be charged with illegal fundraising. Ai disclosed to the public his hefty tax bill only last week, and since then nearly 20,000 people have donated more than 5.3 million yuan ($840,000) to help the artist pay an enormous sum of back taxes and fines. The Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper, castigated Ai’s funding measures and suggested that using the contributions to pay back the government "could be an example of illegal fundraising." The newspaper also attempted to downplay Ai’s support from the Chinese people. "It is absolutely normal for a certain number of people to show their support for him with donations. But these people are an extremely small number when compared with China's total population," the newspaper’s commentary read. "Ai's political preference along with his supporters' cannot stand for the mainstream public, which is opposed to radical and confrontational political stances."
Communist China has long been seeking to increase its influence over the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, whether through economic, industrial, diplomatic, or militaristic means, as part of its gambit for geopolitical dominance. Part of this overall mission has been the establishment of formal ties with various African nations, most of them impoverished and home to petty dictators, such as the beleaguered nation of Zambia, where concerns have been raised that China is engaged in widespread human rights abuses against Zambian copper mine workers, according to a report released last week from Human Rights Watch. In a 122-page report, " 'You'll Be Fired If You Refuse': Labor Abuses in Zambia's Chinese State-owned Copper Mines," the international rights watchdog said that despite improvements in recent years, safety and labor conditions at Chinese-owned mines are worse than at other foreign-owned mines, and Chinese mine managers often violate government regulations in their treatment of Zambian workers. These violations include poor health and safety conditions, regular 12-hour and even 18-hour shifts involving arduous labor, and anti-union activities, all in violation of Zambia’s national laws or international labor standards. The four Chinese-run copper mining companies in Zambia are subsidiaries of China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Corporation, a state-owned enterprise under the authority of China’s highest executive body. Copper mining is the lifeblood of the Zambian economy, contributing nearly 75 percent of the country’s exports and two-thirds of the central government revenue.
In Washington, D.C. on Nov. 4, Mitt Romney promised attendees at the Defending the American Dream Summit that if elected, he would end funding for several federal programs. Conservative Republicans, however, may not have been comforted by Romney's reasons for denying these programs federal funding. At the event, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, he stated: For each program that we have in the government, I'm going to look at them one by one. I’m going to ask this question: Is this program so critical, so essential, that we should borrow money from China to pay for it? Now, for example, I like Amtrak. But I’m not willing to borrow $1.6 billion dollars a year from China to pay for it.
The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it is launching a probe into whether Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) required congressional aides to work on her 2010 reelection campaign on the government’s clock while using House resources. The ethics panel had voted unanimously Thursday to establish a special subcommittee to investigate the Congresswoman, who was already investigated last year by the panel for receiving preferential treatment from a bank on her foreclosed home in Sacramento.
Thanks to a wonderfully patriotic French couple, Jean-Pierre and Cecile Mouraux, Uncle Sam has been saved from multicultural oblivion and is now living and thriving in the very farm house in Mason, New Hampshire, where the original Uncle Sam spent his boyhood. When Cecile and Jean-Pierre, who had been collecting Uncle Sam posters, found out that the house was for sale, they bought it and turned it into the Uncle Sam Museum. It seems odd that a French couple, who settled in California in 1979, would adopt Uncle Sam, America’s unique icon, representing the spirit and pride of America, and make Americans once again aware of this great symbol’s significance. But they didn’t start out with this idea. They came to America to create their own American dream, which had its incredible ups and downs. Their first enterprise, in which they invested their savings, was a tour guide company, specializing in providing French and French speaking visitors with a complete tour service. Their goal was to have them discover and love America, especially California and the Bay Area. They did a thriving business until a new Socialist government in France limited what French tourists could spend abroad: $200 a year per person. That killed their business. In a short time they were flat broke. But they found an immediate solution to the problem of survival: baby-sitting. At first they earned $2.00 an hour. But soon Cecile found a customer who also needed house-cleaning. That enabled Jean-Pierre to contribute his special talents.
Critics of the banking system in the United States declared Saturday, November 5, National Bank Transfer Day — a grassroots movement that encouraged bank customers to switch to credit unions. The notion behind the event was to teach banks a critical lesson. The effort reportedly has had some positive impact on the credit unions; however, overall it proved to have the opposite effect on banks from what the protesters intended.
According to American intelligence sources, senior Israeli ministers who once opposed a military strike against Iran are now indicating support for such an endeavor. Those sources indicate that Israeli officials have been swayed by updates on the progress Iran has made toward building a nuclear program, believing that the next round of sanctions will not be tough enough. Israeli President Shimon Peres has warned that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly imminent, prompting U.S. officials to voice concerns that Israel may attack Iran without any warning for the United States. Last week, the Israeli military launched a “ballistic missile” test, in addition to a large-scale civil defense drill. Though Israeli officials indicate that the drills were planned long ago, some believe the tests reveal a potential drive toward Israeli military action against Iran. Sources indicate that information about how Israel would like to proceed with Iran will likely appear in the next International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran, expected on November 8. Members of the Obama administration claim that the change of heart is based on the notion that Iran may already possess a nuclear weapon.
Rosen Plevneliev managed a narrow victory in Bulgaria's recent presidential elections on a reform platform pledging to clean up the country's corruption-plagued government, one of the most notorious in Europe. On November 3, Plevneliev was certified as the official winner in Bulgaria’s presidential race. The President-elect immediately declared that the first thing he plans to do after assuming office is fire all Bulgarian diplomats abroad who have been exposed as former agents of the communist Committee of State Security (CSS).