Category Archives: racism

Migrant jobs squeeze alarms UK fruit farmers | Business | The Observer

The rise of Ukip is having unexpected consequences for Britain’s countryside. Farmers fear that the political upstart’s success has the government running scared on immigration, with the result that foreign workers could soon be absent from Britain’s fields.

“We can see there’s a toxic mix brewing,” says Alastair Brooks, who employs 200 temporary foreign workers to pick strawberries and raspberries at Langdon Manor Farm in Faversham, Kent. “People have understandable concerns about immigration, but temporary migrant workers have got tied up in the debate,” he said.

Brooks has 130 acres of his farm devoted to fruit. Without foreign workers, he says, he will have to cut production. Many other farmers are in a similar position, says the National Farmers Union, because they fear that without foreign workers they will not have the staff to do the job.

It is not an idle concern. A shortage of foreign workers in 2007 and 2008 resulted in crops being left unharvested. Since then, the seasonal agricultural workers’ scheme (Saws), which supplies about a third of the sector’s temporary labour, has been open only to Romanians and Bulgarians. However, at the end of this year, both countries’ citizens will gain full access to the EU job market. There are concerns that many of the 21,500 on the Saws scheme – which was established after the iron curtain came down to help the families of Polish and Czech servicemen unable to return home – will look for permanent jobs rather than seasonal work.

However, Brooks questions whether many will even come to the UK once the restrictions are lifted, given that their countries are closer to a booming Germany mode

via Migrant jobs squeeze alarms UK fruit farmers | Business | The Observer.

Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Senator Vitter Offers — and Senate Democrats Accept — Stunning Amendment With Racially Tinged Impacts

In today’s Senate debate on the farm bill, Senator David Vitter offered — and Senate Democrats accepted — an amendment that would increase hardship and will likely have strongly racially discriminatory effects.

The amendment would bar from SNAP (food stamps), for life, anyone who was ever convicted of one of a specified list of violent crimes at any time — even if they committed the crime decades ago in their youth and have served their sentence, paid their debt to society, and been a good citizen ever since.  In addition, the amendment would mean lower SNAP benefits for their children and other family members.

So, a young man who was convicted of a single crime at age 19 who then reforms and is now elderly, poor, and raising grandchildren would be thrown off SNAP, and his grandchildren’s benefits would be cut.

Given incarceration patterns in the United States, the amendment would have a skewed racial impact.  Poor elderly African Americans convicted of a single crime decades ago by segregated Southern juries would be among those hit.

The amendment essentially says that rehabilitation doesn’t matter and violates basic norms of criminal justice.

It’s also possible that the amendment could contribute to recidivism.  Ex-offenders often have difficulty finding jobs that pay decent wages.  The amendment could pose dilemmas for ex-offenders who are trying to go straight but can neither find jobs nor, as a result of the amendment, obtain enough food to feed their children and families.

Senator Vitter hawked his amendment as one to prevent murderers and rapists from getting food stamps.  Democrats accepted it without trying to modify it to address its most ill-considered aspects.

The farm bill is still on the floor, and the amendment can still be modified.  Senators should gather the courage to step up to the plate and address this matter forthwith.

via Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Senator Vitter Offers — and Senate Democrats Accept — Stunning Amendment With Racially Tinged Impacts.

Roma union targets inclusion issues (

Representatives in the parliaments of Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovakia created the Roma Inter-Parliamentary Union in order to resolve the lack of institutional state support for Roma communities in the region.

The union aims to initiate Roma inclusion in all life areas, support governments in resolving Roma issues and foster better co-operation with international organisations.

via Roma union targets inclusion issues (

Greece’s Jews take on neo-Nazi party (

Hundreds of Jews march in Thessaloniki on March 16th to the railway station where the first train left for the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. Amid worry about the rise of Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, Jewish leaders from around the world have arrived in Thessaloniki to commemorate the event. [AFP]

via Greece’s Jews take on neo-Nazi party (

Raul Labrador warns that Obamacare could kill immigration bill – Seung Min Kim –

“What might be the story at the end of this year, at the end of this session, is that Obamacare killed immigration reform,” Rep. Raul Labrador said Wednesday. The Idaho Republican is one of eight House lawmakers who have engaged in private talks on immigration reform.

via Raul Labrador warns that Obamacare could kill immigration bill – Seung Min Kim –

“He actually said this with a straight face and pretended that he cared if immigration reform passed or not.”

Woolwich attack reaction: Riots and two arrested over mosque attacks as al Qaeda gloats | Perth Now

TWO men have been arrested after separate attacks on mosques after the sickening Woolwich attack in which a man was decapitated on a London street.

British police have boosted their presence after a man, believed to be a soldier, was butchered in broad daylight on the streets of southeast London.

The two men – believed to be Islamic fundamentalists – who killed him ranted at shocked onlookers and waited for police to arrive before they were shot by marksmen.

As Muslim leaders and British leaders condemned the attack and al-Qaeda gloated on ts website, about 100 supporters of the English Defence League, a right-wing organisation, gathered near the attack site and rioted.

In a possible attempt at reprisal, a 43-year-old man was arrested suspicion of attempted arson after reportedly walking into a mosque with a knife in Braintree, Essex.

Local MP Brooks Newmark on Wednesday night tweeted: “Local mosque in Braintree attacked by man with knives and incendiary device. Man arrested. No one injured”.

via Woolwich attack reaction: Riots and two arrested over mosque attacks as al Qaeda gloats | Perth Now.

EDL proves itself to be as horrid/hateful as al-Qaeda

SC Governor Names White Nationalist to Reelection Committee | Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Center

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is the daughter of Indian immigrants and just the third person of color to be elected governor of a Southern state.

So, one might think she would want nothing to do with racists and anti-immigrant extremists. Not so, apparently.

In anticipation of her 2014 re-election campaign, the Tea Party darling has put together a 164-member steering committee comprising folks from all 46 of her state’s counties. And on that list is one “Republican leader” and Tea Party activist named Roan Garcia-Quintana of Greenville.

The name won’t ring many bells outside of the South Carolina political world. But he’s better known in white nationalist, anti-immigrant and neo-Confederate circles.

Garcia-Quintana is a lifetime member and current board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which is listed as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The CCC is the linear descendant of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South, and has evolved into a crudely racist organization. Its website, for example, has published pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.”

Garcia-Quintana is also a rabid nativist, even though he’s a naturalized citizen who was born in Havana. He’s executive director of the anti-immigrant group Americans Have Had Enough, based in Mauldin, S.C., where he lives. At the 2008 CCC conference held in Sheffield, Ala., Garcia-Quintana referred to Latino immigration as an “illegal alien invasion.

via SC Governor Names White Nationalist to Reelection Committee | Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Center.

Meaness before Mercy and Community – Food Politics » Civics lesson: SNAP amendments to the farm bill

Civics lesson: SNAP amendments to the farm bill

I know the mere words “farm bill” are enough to put any sane person into a coma, but what’s happening in Congress can be quite entertaining if you don’t care what happens.

For example, the bill is so big and covers so much territory that just about every legislator introduces amendments (these are tracked by

Because SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) takes up 80% of farm bill funding to the tune of about $80 billion a year, lots of amendments deal with further decreasing the budget allocation or restoring amounts that have been cut.  So far, none of these has passed.

But legislators have other things they want SNAP to do.  For example, Senator Tom Coburn MD (Rep-Oklahoma) has introduced several amendments pertaining to SNAP, among them:

Amendment 1000 – Junk Food Purchases with SNAP: Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to approve state demonstration projects that limit the purchase of junk food under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Additional information here.


Energy drinks, candy bars, sodas, ice cream, potato chips, fancy bakery cakes and cookies are all eligible foods under the program, as defined by statute…Few people would qualify these goods as “nutritional assistance.”

Amendment 1001 – Food Stamps: Returns the title of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to its original name, the Food Stamp program. Additional information here.

Congress renamed the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and made a name change to the underlying legislative bill governing food stamps. Given spending patterns and eligible purchases in the program, though, SNAP is anything but nutritious for recipients or the country as a whole. Instead of misleading the public as to its benefits, SNAP should be renamed its original title, the Food Stamp Program. This name…is also a reminder of the core goal of the program: to serve our nation’s most vulnerable.

Amendment 1002 – SNAP Promotion Limitation: Limits the amount of SNAP funding that may be used to promote increased participation and enrollment in the program to 1% of overall funds and prevents SNAP funding for soap operas and parties. Additional information here.

Giveaways, soap operas, and radio miniseries all may be solid advertising opportunities for private companies wishing to market a product. They are not, however, appropriate uses of taxpayer funds to advocate for greater enrollment in SNAP, which would even further drain the government’s already-depleted coffers.

Want to take bets on whether the Senate, let alone the House, will pass any of these?

via Food Politics » Civics lesson: SNAP amendments to the farm bill.

IPS – Female Garment Workers Bear Brunt of Tragedy | Inter Press Service

Eighteen-year-old Shapla, a garment worker who survived the Apr. 24 factory collapse, lies on a hospital bed in Dhaka. Credit: Nari Uddung Kendra (the Centre for Women’s Initiative)

DHAKA, May 10 2013 (IPS) – Last month, 18-year-old Shapla was just another one of thousands of garment workers employed in a factory in Savar, a suburb of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.

Today she is a handicapped survivor of one of the worst industrial accidents in history: the collapse on Apr. 24 of the massive Rana Plaza, a building housing five factories, that buried scores of workers under a wave of cement and glass.

The death toll reached 996 on Friday, though officials and families are still counting the bodies and searching for others beneath the rubble.

“I am desperate about the future,” Shapla said, echoing the sentiments of hundreds of female apparel workers like her who lost their limbs on that fateful day.

via IPS – Female Garment Workers Bear Brunt of Tragedy | Inter Press Service.

Disney kills ‘Dia de los Muertos’ trademark bid – L.A. Biz

Can you trademark a holiday? Disney learned the hard way this week it’s best not to try, as the studio’s attempt to register “Dia de los Muertos” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was met with vociferous criticism. The company has since withdrawn its applications.

On May 1, the Walt Disney Company quietly filed 10 applications for “Dia de los Muertos” toys, cereal, jewelry and more, reported the Los Angeles Times, in anticipation of merchandising opportunities associated with its upcoming animated Pixar movie about the Mexican holiday. The public was quick to condemn the move, however, and a petition that went up on Tuesday has more than 20,000 signatures as of this writing.

via Disney kills ‘Dia de los Muertos’ trademark bid – L.A. Biz.