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Posts published in “Day: June 16, 2009”

A nativist backwash

The strands of neo-Nazi activity running around in the Northwest have become well-known, famous even, mainly because of parades and a long shut-down Aryan Nations compound in the Idaho Panhandle. Probably less well known are the many linkage and contacts, formal and informal, they had around the region and around the country.

These days, the anti-immigrant nativist extremes may be the best place to look for a counterpart. It is less visible in the Northwest than the white supremacists once were, but it's there.

The Orcinus blog (writer, Dave Neiwert) at Seattle today provides a fascinating runthrough of how some of this works, detailing many of the ties and links between anti-immigrant activity in the Northwest and some chilling crimes further south.

From the post: "the recent arrest of Minuteman offshoot leader Shawna Forde for the murder of an Arizona man and his 9-year-old daughter -- part of a broader plan to rob drug dealers and use the money to finance their Minuteman operations - has ripped the veneer off the fake walls these nativists use to pretend that they have nothing to do with the racists who seem to swell their ranks as though they belonged there naturally." The Northwest connections include a Yakima meeting (caught on video) featuring Forde. There are even links running back to the Aryan Nations.

Useful reading.

Meaning . . . kicked out of the party?


Maureen Walsh

It's been around a while, but we just ran across the paperwork - formal verbiage - and it seemed worth reprinting here. Not for the basic point being made, which isn't that unusual in Republican circles, but for its down-on-paper explicitness.

The trigger was a vote by Representative Maureen Walsh, R-College Place (near Walla Walla), this year's session in favor of the bill expanding the reach of domestic partnership law, the almost-marriage bill. As you might expect, that didn't go over entirely well with all the Republicans back home, but many weren't especally upset.

Some were. The blog McCranium (hat tip here) reports that a "source tells me it was more like mob rule than a meeting when a group consisting largely of evangelicals led by Nicole Prasch and Brenda High (complete with a area representative from Focus on the Family) pressured for a censure vote."

What they passed was reflected in this press release, posted on the Franklin County Republicans blog:

On April 21, 2009, at the Franklin County Republican Central Committee meeting, the Committee overwhelmingly voted to censure 16th District Legislator, Maureen Walsh, for her sponsorship of the recently passed HB 1727.

HB 1727 inserts the following language in nearly 200 different places within its text:

“The terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons …Gender- specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in state registered domestic partnerships.”

Despite all her rhetoric otherwise, it has become indisputable to the Franklin County Republican Central Committee that Rep. Walsh is actively working to incrementally legalize gay marriages. As early as the 2006 legislative session, Rep. Walsh was working to expand the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission to include cases of discrimination because of a person’s sexual orientation with her co-sponsorship or HB 2661. (more…)

Idaho Fry no, Boise Fry yes

No doubt to the relief of the Idaho Fry Company's people, and to their customers (they produce some good eats), that firm has reached a settlement with the Idaho Potato Commission over the disputed use of the business' name. It will henceforth be the Boise Fry Company; the IPC evidently will underwrite the name change. (For more, see our post on June 6.) Presumably, the growers and processors of the Gem State's tubers are now safe.

Considering the hailstorm that descended on the commission after word about its challenge to the small restaurant's name got out, the commission is probably just as relieved. Doubtless its people never intended to be, or saw themselves as, legal bullies. They have the (legitimate) job of protecting Idaho potato growers' investment in their good name, and that's what they thought they were doing.

But then, what we see as the key point here really isn't about the potato commission: It is about a series of interpretations of trademark and related law, from coast to coast, that amounts to a real threat to several types of liberty in this country, and that's a point we've come back to in a variety of past posts and doubtless will again. When that last post made the point that, under the commission's logic, the Idaho Statesman newspaper might run afoul of it (and maybe have to remove the Idaho from its name) if potato chips are sold in its vending machines, the point wasn't simple sarcasm: It had to do with a reach of the law run completely amok.

Settlements or not in this case, that serious point remains, with a reach well beyond the Idaho Potato Commission.