North America Tracker 06.12.12

Salon: Anti-Muslim attitudes are now much higher than they were immediately following 9/11. Islamophobic rhetoric once unacceptable in public discourse is now commonplace. And there are now over 50 controversies raging across the country about whether Muslims should be allowed to construct houses of worship. How did we get from there to here? Part of it is that anti-Muslim fringe groups have learned how to essentially hack the media by taking advantage of the fact that reporters are drawn to highly visible displays of emotion and fear, argues Christopher Bail, a sociologist who studies the media at the University of North Carolina and University of Michigan.

Mother Jones: Membership in the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement has increased 400 percent since President Barack Obama won re-election on November 5—or so the TMN claims. Last week, the group has announced on its website that it’s taking the next step: forming a political action committee. The Texas Nationalist Movement on Tuesday filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission appointing a treasurer for the Texas Nationalist Movement Political Action Committee (TNM-PAC), signaling the organization’s most significant venture into the legislative process in pursuit of Texas independence.”

CNN: The White House has ordered the military to start planning for the possibility of cutting $500 billion from its budget over the next 10 years as part of the fiscal cliff, Pentagon officials said on Wednesday. Agency spokesman George Little told reporters that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) instructed the Defense Department to start internal planning for possible spending reductions on top of other cuts already in the pipeline.

Anti-Defamation League:Ahmed Fer­hani, a legal U.S. res­i­dent from Alge­ria, pleaded guilty yes­ter­day to ter­ror­ism charges stem­ming from his role in a plot to attack a New York City syn­a­gogue. The foiled plot was the lat­est is a series of post-9/11 ter­ror plots moti­vated, in part, by hatred of Jews and Israel. Fer­hani, 27, and his alleged cocon­spir­a­tor Moham­mad Mam­douh, 21, were arrested on May 11, 2011, after attempt­ing to pur­chase weapons, includ­ing guns and a hand grenade, from an under­cover offi­cer dur­ing a sting operation.”

CNN: The U.S. State Department is planning to designate the al-Nusra Front, a radical Islamist group in Syria, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, according to two U.S. officials who spoke to CNN on background. The announcement is likely to come within the next week, the officials said. The State Department has been building the case against the group, which is called Jabhat al-Nusra in Arabic, for several months, according to the officials.

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