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.

Apr 15

Tax Dollars for the Next Generation

By Mary Zerkel, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

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.

The Obama administration employs lethal drones for illegal targeted attacks around the world – notably in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen, where hundreds of civilians have been killed. The United States military sends drones to spy on many other countries to establish contingency targets when secret decisions are made to advance U.S. corporate economic and/or strategic interests; the U.S. reign of terror ceaselessly expands. Countries that pose no threat to the United States are demonized by the corporate media – supplied by CIA-manufactured horror stories – to prime public opinion to accept the unacceptable.

When Jose Vilson posts a blog, I read carefully, and I don't multitask.


I am a privileged, white male who has lived his entire 52 years in the South where racism clings to our region like the stench of a house razed by fire. And as a result, I walk freely among racism because I am white.

So when Jose posted "An Open Letter From The Trenches [To Education Activists, Friends, and Haters]," I listened, and I recognized...

A delegation of Lakota elders has travelled to the United Nations in New York City to deliver an official complaint of ongoing genocide against the United States government. The delegation is currently being rebuffed by The Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and high officials within the United Nations. The delegation and a group of supporters are currently waiting at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza directly across from the UN.

Today, a coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates, brought together by hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins, presented an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to change the United States' criminal justice policy from that of a punitive, suppression-based model to one that favors evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. According to Department of Justice data, the U.S. leads the world in the incarceration of its own citizens, both on a per capita basis and in terms of total prison population. More than 500,000 of the 2.3 million people behind bars in the U.S. are incarcerated for nothing more than a nonviolent drug offense.

The opening day of the major league baseball season is when I start to live again until October when pro basketball and NFL football take over and the fan in me goes into a long winter sleep. I'm not a full-time fan of anything I haven't tried to play. (Hence no ice hockey or lacrosse.) Traumatically, when it dawned on me as a kid that I wasn't going to be the next Chicago Cubs pitching whiz – yes, the all-time loser Cubs! – I beamed myself down to being a mere avid spectator, first at live games at Wrigley, Ebbets and Chavez Ravine's Dodger field, now couch-potatoing on TV.

Today, attorneys for activist Daniel McGowan at the Center for Constitutional Rights released the following update on his situation: 

Daniel McGowan is back at the halfway house where he has been residing after a week that was by turns difficult, disturbing and ridiculous. To recap: on Monday, April 1, Daniel published an opinion piece on the Huffington Post titled “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for My Political Speech.” On Thursday, April 4, Daniel was picked up by U.S. Marshals from the halfway house and taken into custody at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He was issued an “incident report” indicating that his Huffington Post blog post violated a BOP regulation prohibiting inmates from “publishing under a byline.”  The BOP regulation in question was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and eliminated by the BOP in 2010. On Friday, April 5, after we brought Daniel’s unjust detention to the BOP’s attention, he was released from MDC, and the incident report was expunged. 

On Sunday, April 14 (just a few days away) the people of Venezuela will vote for a new president to succeed the late Hugo Chavez.

This election will be enormously significant, not just for Venezuela, but also for the entire Latin American and Caribbean region; indeed, in many respects, crucial to the destinies of many countries in the developing world.

There are reports circulating today that Washington is busy interfering in the election campaign with the objective of determining an outcome that will serve its imperial interests in the Americas.

With President Obama's new spending blueprint delivered to congress, there can be no more question about it: the Wall street wing of the democratic party has completely taken over and won. How decisive is the victory? The wall street wing of the democratic party, has given the "we-are all in this together-lets look out for our neighbor- America is capable of a grand new deal " wing of the democratic party" a rooffie and dragged it around from house party to house party, raping it- handing off to friends so the rape can be repeated and then posting the pictures of the rape to twitter. That is how brutal Obama's grand betrayal is.

Shih-Wei Su was jailed for 12 years on attempted murder charges before a federal appeals court overturned his conviction, finding that a Queens prosecutor had "knowingly elicited false testimony" in sending him to prison. The city eventually paid Su $3.5 million.

The prosecutor received a private reprimand.

Jabbar Collins served 15 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit before his conviction was thrown out in 2010. Michael Vecchione, a senior Brooklyn prosecutor, had withheld critical evidence during trial, a federal judge determined. Collins has filed a $150 million lawsuit against the city.