SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Normally I prefer it when Congress is not in session in Washington, reasoning our legislators can do us no harm, or less harm anyway, when they are back home in their districts meeting with constituents and/or pandering to and raising money from corporate special interests.
However this week, two congressional hearings shed light on some very interesting, previously unknown (or at least not widely known) facts related to our "national security."
Veterans For Peace has just released this statement:
As a major U.S. peace organization of veterans, including members who served in the Korean War, Veterans For Peace (VFP) is deeply concerned about the increasing risk of another open conflict on the Korean Peninsula at this time.
CNN reported on Thursday that, "Developments in and around North Korea are so worrisome that they appear to have frightened Dick Cheney." Bellicose rhetoric and maneuvers are indeed extremely worrisome, but it is important that we understand where the hostility is originating if we are going to be able to counter it.
Nearly 300,00 people have signed the Move To Amend petition that states:
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
There are roughly 28 million Americans who can't find a job or have given up looking. Many more than that are suffering. And I just want to remind everyone, it's not your fault. Don't believe the "personal responsibility" bullshit that gets thrown around. This is not your fault.
Humanitarian agency Church World Service President and CEO the Rev. John McCullough called on God to "grant us the political and moral courage to truly love and embrace one another, to honor each other's humanity," yesterday at a national rally in Washington, D.C. in support of immigration reform.
CWS supports immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship and that protects family unity for the some 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
In early April the Associated Press announced that it would no longer use the word "illegal" when referring to undocumented immigrants. The decision has been hailed by immigrant rights groups and others, who say the term is a pejorative that dehumanizes large swaths of the U.S. population, immigrant and native-born alike. Below, authors Andrew Lam, Helen Zia and Chitra Divakaruni offer their own views on the term "illegal" through the lens of the immigrant experience.
Nothing is certain except birth and taxes. That's right, I said birth and taxes. We know that babies will be born. We know that we will pay taxes. We know that eventually those babies will pay taxes too. In fact, that's why we pay our taxes, to collectively invest in the future for our children. And they in turn will pay taxes to invest in the next generation. And so it goes.
Then why are we doing such a poor job of allocating our federal tax dollars to make a great world for the next generation? This Tax Day is a grand opportunity to start the pivot to such a future for our children.
Last night, a federal judge rejected the State of California's attempt to dismiss a class action lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California's notorious Pelican Bay prison. The case was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and partners on behalf of prisoners in the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU) who have spent between 10 and 28 years in solitary confinement and who staged two widely publicized hunger strikes in 2011. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) had asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the prisoners had failed to adequately allege cruel and unusual punishment and due process violations. CDCR also asked the court to find that the case was moot in light of a two-year pilot program that purports to reform the procedures CDCR uses before indefinitely placing a prisoner in solitary confinement. The Judge disagreed, ruling that the pilot program did not moot claims that California's use of solitary confinement denies the prisoners' right to due process, and finding that the case raised grave Eighth Amendment claims.
A group of Boston area peace activists met today to share what we know about yesterday's bombings and to discern how best to respond to the deadly attack against our community and against people from across the nation and around the world who came to Boston to participate and enjoy the Marathon. Several of us had loved ones or close friends who would have been among the attack's victims, had they not left the finish line area shortly before the bombings or who had yet to arrive there. First and foremost our thoughts and sympathy go out to family and friends of those killed yesterday, to those who injured and maimed, their families and friends.