Freedom News

Notes from the US

Freedom’s long-running US correspondent Louis Further does his monthly roundup of some of the stories that have emerged over the last few weeks.


In November’s midterm elections, racist bigot Greg Abbott was re-elected governor of Texas. He won almost 55% of the votes. In other words, nearly four and a half million people thought he was an appropriate person for the most powerful position in the US’s second most populous state. Although Texas has much poverty, it is fortunate in supporting communities of multiple faiths, lifestyles, beliefs, incomes and aspirations.

Even since the elections in early November, Abbott has been guilty of trafficking (members of) over 13,000 families whose members were legitimately and legally seeking asylum at the borders of Texas. He has clearly chosen cities and states of whose policies he disapproves as the recipients of these struggling legal guest-workers. His aim is obviously to punish and harm the refugees. Many of them have to flee countries which the United States has made too violent and dangerous to live in as a direct result of its policies of economic expansionism in Central America. Those in the communities to which the eventual guest workers (who typically make a nett contribution to the US economy and do not ‘drain’ it) have been bussed have extended a caring welcome to those deliberately displaced by the hatred and racism of a senior US official – Greg Abbott.

Abbott hasn’t left it there, though. He’s upped the frequency and caustic nature of his supremacist rhetoric on immigration. Last month, for instance, he pointedly compared the arrival of asylum seekers at the border to an ‘invasion’. That is exactly the slur used by the white supremacist killer who is charged with the murder of 23 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas in 2019, the deadliest attack on the Latinx community in modern US history.

Trump was – not surprisingly – at it as well: on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (last month) he invited two notorious racists and supremacists to his unnecessarily ostentatious seaside ‘home’, Mar-a-Lago in Florida. There they apparently had dinner and talked. They were welcome, in other words. One of them was the disgraced entertainer Kanye West, now known as ‘Ye’, who said “Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes and Nick Fuentes, unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist.” This was at the same time as West thought he would make an appropriate president of one of the most powerful countries in the world, and announced his own candidacy. According to a video he asked Trump to be his vice president. But the meeting turned into a shouting match.

Nick Fuentes is one of the most vile vehement racists and anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers on the scene in the United States. His misogyny sits alongside the views that propelled him to launch a white nationalist organisation named America First Foundation. Typical of Fuentes’ pronouncements is a tweet from six months or so ago: “The American Regime used censorship, COVID hoax, election fraud, and capitol false flag to put down the revolt started by Trump in 2016 and ensure it cannot happen again”. In fact Fuentes has stated that he does want it to happen again: his affiliation with the ‘Unite the Right’ movement is but one aspect of his wish to draw the Republic party and fascism ever closer together.

In Arizona outgoing Republican governor, Doug Ducey, has broken the law by building a ‘temporary’ (will it be?) wall to keep out non-Whites from Central America. It consists of rusting double-stacked shipping containers along part of the border with Mexico and is topped off with barbed wire and metal spokes. Several miles of the ‘wall’ pass through tribal land in the Coronado national forest, and so make the scheme illegal. Although his successor is a Democrat, Ducey has announced that he will extend the illegal barrier up to 10 miles at a cost of US$$95m (£78m).


The effect of election lies after last month’s (November 8 2022) midterms continues to be felt in some trumpy pockets. In Arizona far right losing candidate for governor, Kari Lake, and her allies refused to accept the results and certify them. A court order and the threat of fines in Cochise County, for instance, was necessary to complete the process. Trump, of course, advocated not just a temporary suspension the US constitution but setting it aside permanently in order to prolong his presidency retrospectively from 2020!


On the night of Saturday 19 November a lone shooter killed five people in an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He had previously been arrested for an incident involving a bomb in June of last year; and his grandfather, former California Assembly person, Randy Voepel, likened the insurrection attempt on January 6 2021 to the Revolutionary War, where the tyranny of Biden would be overthrown. One Republican was swift to act in response to the massacre: Herschel Walker. At the time he was still trying to get elected as a US senator for Georgia. Barely 24 hours later he released a video campaign advertisement with a clear message that disparages transgender athletes. The act underlined Walker’s stance of intolerance, hatred and the suppression of those who do not fit a certain template of what it is to be human. Walker was chosen by Trump and endorsed by a majority of Republicans and supported by Fox and the right wing media.

Statistically, 2022 could become the worst year on record for gun violence in the United States. Many of the élite don’t care about the deaths of other people, and want their deaths to continue – in the name of personal ‘freedom’. In Texas, for example, 18 months ago in June 2021, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill promoting the ‘rights’ of anyone in that state who is over the age of 21 openly to carry a gun in public without needing any permit or license. The predictable has happened, Reform Austin found mass shootings in the state are up by over 60%.

As the US Supreme Court is thought to be actively considering changes to marriage laws in line with more general and public homophobic currents on the right, the number of actual armed and violent attempts at best to ostracise LGBTQ+ lifestyles and at worst to harm members of its communities is slowly and steadily increasing. Earlier this month fascists, Proud Boys, militiamen, Christian nationalists and their ilk were out in force to shut down and intimidate those participating in drag events. A typical example was the church in Columbus (Ohio) which cancelled its event when at least 50 Proud Boys turned up. Many were wearing tactical vests and covering their faces with masks and goggles; they were joined by almost as many of the white nationalist Patriot Front group and a dozen or so others who seemed to be associated with the White Lives Matter network waving flags and making National Socialist salutes.

As suppression of progressive views at Twitter – newly controlled by right wing influencer Elon Musk – grows, it’s becoming clearer that one of his aims is to advance a repressive agenda. Far right trouble-maker Andy Ngo, for example, is just one Twitter user who has been invited to ‘report’ progressive users directly to Musk. Amongst those whose accounts have been removed or suspended – merely because they expose right wing dangers, not because they have contravened Twitter’s terms of service (unlike Trump’s, whose account has been re-instated) are Chad Loder, an antifascist researcher, Vishal Pratap Singh, who reports on far-right activity in Southern California, the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club, an antifascist group that provides armed security for LGBTQ+ events in North Texas, and CrimethInc.


‘Notes from the US’ has often reported on the Keystone XL pipeline, which was originally planned to run from Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas. Intended to carry 830,000 barrels each day of the highly ‘dirty’ and toxic oil sands crude, it provoked sustained and well-organised opposition – particularly from native American groups and communities – because of the destruction and pollution it would cause. Although its permit was revoked by the Biden administration after being pushed by Trump, it seems still to be active – and actively polluting areas through which it runs.

Last week, for instance, the company responsible for the project, TC Energy, announced the 22nd spill from Keystone XL. It took place in the evening of 7 December near the small town of Washington, Kansas. The damage has not so far been disclosed, although according to some estimates it may well turn out to be the worst yet. This is despite ‘assurances’ from TC and previous governments that there would be no leaks. Well over half a million gallons previously ruined areas in wetlands in North Dakota and pasture in South Dakota.

One little-reported result of last month’s midterm elections was the rejection in a total of 375 local and state referenda (‘ballot measures’ and ‘propositions’) of proposed alternatives to fossil fuel and other earth-wrecking energy sources – wind, for example. Indeed, it appears as though electors’ refusal to play their part in advancing and supporting clean energy projects is actually growing.

Year’s End

At year’s end, to review the areas of (public) life which ‘Notes from the US’ covers is to be left with a great deal of uncertainty.

It’s hard to predict what the House of Representatives with a tiny Republican majority will do and how badly its members will behave. It’s almost certain that they will do nothing to address climate collapse; to halt the animal holocaust (by some estimates a billion living creatures are tortured to death every week for human ‘consumption’); to provide healthcare for everyone; there will be no moves towards financial equity; nor is the general well-being or tolerance of anyone not white, not conforming, not male on the agenda. Indeed, Republicans have promised to ‘shoot the messenger’ and attack and try and destroy Dr Anthony Fauci, the outgoing Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President because he has tried to keep people safe during the pandemic, which many of them still believe was a hoax.

Indeed, Republicans are proud of the fact that they plan to impeach members of the Biden family and others they dislike – for… being members of the Biden family and others they dislike.

Party, tribe, back-scratching, the quid pro quo allegiances and deals will continue to drive the legislature, not a desire to do what’s right or what many of those (taxpayers) who pay legislators, civil servants and administrators need and want – even if they may be unused to articulating it.

Some things, though, we can count on not to change. The House of Representatives has already voted 350 to 80 in favour of a military budget of US$858bn (£1.3 million per minute). Violence, aggression, destruction and hegemony take precedence over, say, educating and feeding hungry children. Huge amounts of time and money will be spent on elections which are almost two years away.

For anyone who (still, seriously) believes that there is a neutral and equitable ‘rule of law’ in the United States, the refusal of legal institutions to put an end to all sorts of illegalities – this time to a specific trend, the MAGA ‘movement’ – might come as a shock and a disappointment. But any implementation of such justice seems unlikely. The MAGA cult, Trump included, breaks all sorts of laws, civil, criminal and fiscal; they incited, planned and carried out a violent and deadly insurrection; they (try to) fix elections and deny the legitimacy of votes which they lose; they refuse to comply with such legal mandates as government subpoenas; they flout courts’ rulings; they are held in contempt of court without sanctions; they steal, retain and deny the existence of top secret documents; they break laws forbidding them from profiting from office. The list could go on. But they continually and repeatedly get away with it.

The signs are that the power of Trump himself may be declining. But trumpism and MAGA supremacism are not. The result last week when a (sitting) Democrat senator (Raphael Warnock) beat a Republican so unsuited to the job that the election was a near farce doesn’t seem to have given many Republicans who have spoken publicly about their party’s poor showings in the midterms much pause… “it was the media’s fault…”, “…we need to organise better…”, “…we ought to be able to win against communists…” and so on.

On election night itself Trump was again entertaining vicious, deluded, fascist fantasisers: Liz Crokin is an unapologetic and all out supporter of the far right Qanon conspiracy theory which believes a paedophile cabal is running Washington headed by a president who is really a cotton sock. Trump posed for photographs with Crokin and commented “You are incredible people, you are doing unbelievable work and we just appreciate you being here and we hope you’re going to be back…”. This week far right provocateur Majorie Taylor Greene said that she would have been armed if she had been involved in organising the attempt to overturn the 2020 elections. She may well get a committee chairperson-ship in the new House of Representatives next month.

Maybe this recent poor performance of the Republicans and the so far soporific and insipid nature of Trump’s nascent campaign really can be explained by a hope that electors have had enough of the drivel and lies. And of the effective criminalisation of abortion; of book banning and burning; of supremacist vitriol; and of the rest of it…

But then we’ve thought that before…

Happy Holidays!

Louis Further

Image: Los Angeles Fire Department, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Discover more from Freedom News

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading