Arizona is burning. Texas, too. New Mexico is next. If you need a grim reminder that an already arid West is burning up and blowing away, here it is. As I write this, more than 700 square miles of Arizona and more than 4,300 square miles of Texas have been swept by monster wildfires. Consider those massive columns of acrid smoke drifting eastward as a kind of smoke signal warning us that a globally warming world is not a matter of some future worst-case scenario. It’s happening right here, right now.
Air tankers have been dropping fire retardant on what is being called the Wallow fire in Arizona and firefighting crews have been mobilized from across the West, but the fire remained “zero contained” for most of last week and only 18% so early in the new week, too big to touch with mere human tools like hoses, shovels, saws, and bulldozers. Walls of flame 100 feet high rolled over the land like a tsunami from Hades. The heat from such a fire is so intense and immense that it can create small tornadoes of red embers that cannot be knocked down and smothered by water or chemicals. These are not your grandfather’s forest fires.
Because the burn area in eastern Arizona is sparsely populated, damage to property so far has been minimal compared to, say, wildfire destruction in California, where the interface of civilization and wilderness is growing ever more crowded. However, the devastation to life in the fire zone, from microbiotic communities that hold soil and crucial nutrients in place to more popular species like deer, elk, bear, fish, and birds—already hard-pressed to cope with the rapidity of climate change—will be catastrophic.
The vastness of the American West holds rainforests, deserts, and everything in between, so weather patterns and moisture vary. Nonetheless, we have been experiencing a historic drought for about a decade in significant parts of the region. As topsoil dries out, microbial dynamics change and native plants either die or move uphill toward cooler temperatures and more moisture. Wildlife that depends on the seeds, nuts, leaves, shade, and shelter follows the plants—if it can.
There are some contemporary musicians who value humanity more than dollars.
A coalition of music groups has announced that its members will boycott all performances in Arizona to protest a tough new anti-immigration law there, and it has urged fans to sign a petition demanding the revocation of the legislation, which it calls “an assault on the U.S. Constitution.” Enlarge This Image
The campaign, called the Sound Strike, has been organized by Zack de la Rocha, the lead singer of the rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, and is endorsed by English-language rock and rap performers like Massive Attack, Kanye West, Conor Oberst, Sonic Youth and Joe Satriani. But the signatories also include Spanish-speaking reggaetón artists and Los Tigres del Norte, perhaps the most popular and influential exponent of Mexican regional music in the United States.
In comments published in Spanish on the Los Tigres del Norte Web site, the group said that the law, which is scheduled to go into effect in late July, had already created a climate of hostility against Hispanic residents of Arizona. “We’ve had occasion to travel there twice since it was approved, and you can feel a chilly climate from the moment of arrival at the airport,” said Jorge Hernández, the group’s lead singer and accordion player.
Even before the Sound Strike was announced, some Spanish-language performers had already canceled shows in Arizona or decided to skip the state during tours planned for this summer. According to a report in the music-industry publication Billboard this month, the rap and reggaetón artists Wisin & Yandel and Pitbull, and the Mexican regional music performers Jenni Rivera, Espinoza Paz and Conjunto Primavera, none of whom are listed on the Sound Strike manifesto, had earlier taken that action
Cypress Hill Juanes Conor Oberst Los Tigres del Norte Rage Against the Machine Cafe Tacvba Micheal Moore Kanye West Calle 13 Joe Satriani Serj Tankian Rise Against Ozomatli Sabertooth Tiger Massive Attack One Day as a Lion Street Sweeper Social Club Spank Rock Sonic Youth Tenacious D The Coup
We are calling for fans of music the world over, who recognize that this is one of the most important struggles for civil and human rights of our generation, to stand with us and refuse to lend their economic support to the state of Arizona until this unjust law is revoked.
We can also put some much needed pressure upon the Obama Administration to use his executive branch authority to prevent the implementation of this unjust law:
Mr. President, please take action!
We are asking you to do everything within your power to protect civil rights in Arizona. Throughout our nation’s history, there have been times when the federal government has had to take swift action to stop states from shredding bedrock Constitutional protections and to ensure the safety of targeted minorities.
Arizona’s new law is an assault on the US Constitution and and an affront to the civil rights that were earned by generations who came before us. When states disregard the Constitution, when they sanction mistreatment of communities, it is the imperative of the Executive Branch to take the lead in defending the U.S. Constitution.
While we wait for Congress to act, we implore you take necessary and appropriate action to ensure that our brothers and sisters in Arizona do not continue to suffer.
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Esto es un llamado a nuestros fans por todo el mundo, cual reconocen que esta es una de las mas importantes luchas por los derechos civiles y humanos en nuestra generación, que se unan con nosotros y que se rechazan a dar su apoyo economico al estado de Arizona hasta que esta ley sea revocada.
Tambien podemos presionar a la Administración Obama que utilice su autoridad Ejecutiva para prevenir la implementación de esta ley injusta:
¡Sr. Presidente, por favor toma acción!
Te pedimos que utilices todo tu poder para proteger los derechos civiles en Arizona. A lo largo de la historia de esta nación, ha habido momentos donde el el gobierno federal ha tomado acciones rapidas en poner un alto a estados que han querido eliminar protecciones constitucionales y garantizar la seguridad de minorias discriminadas.
La nueva ley de Arizona es un attaque a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos y un insulto a generaciones pasadas que lucharon para obtener los derechos civilies. Caundo los estados ignoran la Constitución, cuando autorizan el maltrato de comunidades, es el imperativo del Poder Ejecutivo a tomar la iniciativa en la defensa de la Constitución de EE.UU.
Te imploramos que tomes la acción necesaria y adecuada para asegurar que los derechos constitucionales sean respetados y garantizados de nuestras hermanas y hermanos en el estado de Arizona.
Phoenix – Don’t be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.
I don’t buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.
What’s new here is not the politicians’ fear of a xenophobic “Teabag” uprising.
What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote – and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.
Sounds plausible, if even more disturbing than the outright racism offered as a reason. However, as cynical as this is, it is par for the course for the Rove wing of the GOP. Win at any costs. Despicable.
In 2008, working for “Rolling Stone” with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters . . . directed by one Jan Brewer.
Brewer, then secretary of state, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer’s command, no fewer than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanic, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.
That statistic caught my attention. Voting or registering to vote if you’re not a citizen is a felony, a big-time jail-time crime. And arresting such criminal voters is easy: After all, they give their names and addresses.
So I asked Brewer’s office, had she busted a single one of these thousands of allegedly illegal voters? Did she turn over even one name to the feds for prosecution?
No, not one.
Which raises the question: Were these disenfranchised voters the criminal, non-citizens that Brewer tagged them to be, or just not-quite-white voters given the Jose Crow treatment, entrapped in document-chase trickery?
The answer was provided by a federal prosecutor who was sent on a crazy hunt all over the Western mesas looking for these illegal voters. “We took over 100 complaints, we investigated for almost two years, I didn’t find one prosecutable voter fraud case.”