Thursday, 26 March 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Speakout

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.

In a video, recently removed from the Internet, the public relations firm Ketchum bragged about its success in spinning the media to get positive coverage of GMOs, and admitted “we closely monitor the conversation” on social media accounts of GMO skeptics.  Ketchum is Russia’s PR firm in the United States.

In the video, Ketchum boasts about how, following its work, “positive media coverage has doubled” on GMOs, and “we’re now on the first page of [Google] search results.”

San Francisco— The Center for Biological Diversity today called on Gov. Jerry Brown to immediately shut down thousands of oil and gas wells that are illegally injecting fluids into protected California aquifers, as well as hundreds of illegally operating oil industry waste-disposal wells.

“The oil industry is contaminating California’s water supplies and violating federal law on a massive scale and it needs to end now,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “Gov. Brown has a moral and legal duty to immediately shut down every single illegal production and wastewater disposal well. The size of this problem shows how big a threat the oil industry’s toxic waste is to California’s precious water supplies.”

On Feb. 5, New Jersey became the latest state to subvert democracy by authorizing the fast-track sale or lease of water utilities without public notice, comment, or approval. The controversial decision highlights the intensifying struggle over who owns, controls, and profits from the most precious - and threatened - resource on Earth.

We tend to associate corrupt water privatization schemes with the developing world, where according to the World Health Organization, nearly 2.6 billion people still lack a latrine and 1.1 billion people have no access to any type of improved drinking source of water. In this crisis environment, the World Bank and IMF have spent decades imposing water privatization as a condition of their exploitative loans, profiting a handful of transnational water corporations.

National Nurses United, the largest organization of nurses in the US and in Illinois late Monday condemned an executive order by new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner that is intended to dismantle public employee unions that nurses warn could cause serious harm to public health and safety.

“Under the façade of protecting employee free speech, the governor’s real goal is to decimate public employee unions, eliminate their ability to challenge his corporate agenda, and seriously erode the ability of public workers to speak out when public protections are at risk,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro. 

Feb 11

The Shift

By Kathy Kelly, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person oriented society: when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." - Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond Vietnam"

This evening, the US Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Michael Botticelli to become the next Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a position informally known as “drug czar.” Botticelli has served as Acting Director since March 2014 following the resignation of former drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske. Botticelli previously served as ONDCP’s Deputy Director. Before joining ONDCP, Botticelli spent nearly two decades overseeing substance misuse programs at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

Fox News has performed the service of posting the horrific IS video depicting the death of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh. The fact that media outlets have not made other IS videos available represents a breach of journalistic responsibility.

Citizens of a free society (surely no longer our own) have a duty to consider, analyze, understand, and criticize opposing points of view, including most especially those of their avowed enemies.

Yes, it's Monday morning at the Washington Post and Robert Samuelson wants to raise the retirement age and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. How else would one begin the week?

A few weeks back, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delivered a speech to the Henry Jackson Society in London focusing on the dangers "radical Islam" poses to the world's "freedom loving people". Far from a serious discussion, the speech amounted to little more than a dangerous mix of trite sloganeering and reckless jingoism. Jindal is no simple-minded demagogue like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman. Because he is a Rhodes Scholar and a presidential aspirant, one supposes that he thought through his remarks.

The election of SYRIZA, a leftist coalition party, in Greece, has understandably rocked European politics to its very foundation. It has inspired myriad reactions on the Left, ranging from unrestrained, and often uncritical, joy and adulation, to cynical mistrust of "reformism" and electoral politics as a means of transformation.

However, what is missing from these analyses is the important fact that while Greek politics is undoubtedly vital to the future of the country, it is not the only means by which the Greek working class and poor are building a future for themselves and their children. Rather, the last five years have inspired an entire solidarity movement organized to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable in Greek society.

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Speakout

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.

In a video, recently removed from the Internet, the public relations firm Ketchum bragged about its success in spinning the media to get positive coverage of GMOs, and admitted “we closely monitor the conversation” on social media accounts of GMO skeptics.  Ketchum is Russia’s PR firm in the United States.

In the video, Ketchum boasts about how, following its work, “positive media coverage has doubled” on GMOs, and “we’re now on the first page of [Google] search results.”

San Francisco— The Center for Biological Diversity today called on Gov. Jerry Brown to immediately shut down thousands of oil and gas wells that are illegally injecting fluids into protected California aquifers, as well as hundreds of illegally operating oil industry waste-disposal wells.

“The oil industry is contaminating California’s water supplies and violating federal law on a massive scale and it needs to end now,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “Gov. Brown has a moral and legal duty to immediately shut down every single illegal production and wastewater disposal well. The size of this problem shows how big a threat the oil industry’s toxic waste is to California’s precious water supplies.”

On Feb. 5, New Jersey became the latest state to subvert democracy by authorizing the fast-track sale or lease of water utilities without public notice, comment, or approval. The controversial decision highlights the intensifying struggle over who owns, controls, and profits from the most precious - and threatened - resource on Earth.

We tend to associate corrupt water privatization schemes with the developing world, where according to the World Health Organization, nearly 2.6 billion people still lack a latrine and 1.1 billion people have no access to any type of improved drinking source of water. In this crisis environment, the World Bank and IMF have spent decades imposing water privatization as a condition of their exploitative loans, profiting a handful of transnational water corporations.

National Nurses United, the largest organization of nurses in the US and in Illinois late Monday condemned an executive order by new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner that is intended to dismantle public employee unions that nurses warn could cause serious harm to public health and safety.

“Under the façade of protecting employee free speech, the governor’s real goal is to decimate public employee unions, eliminate their ability to challenge his corporate agenda, and seriously erode the ability of public workers to speak out when public protections are at risk,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro. 

Feb 11

The Shift

By Kathy Kelly, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person oriented society: when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." - Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond Vietnam"

This evening, the US Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Michael Botticelli to become the next Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a position informally known as “drug czar.” Botticelli has served as Acting Director since March 2014 following the resignation of former drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske. Botticelli previously served as ONDCP’s Deputy Director. Before joining ONDCP, Botticelli spent nearly two decades overseeing substance misuse programs at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

Fox News has performed the service of posting the horrific IS video depicting the death of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh. The fact that media outlets have not made other IS videos available represents a breach of journalistic responsibility.

Citizens of a free society (surely no longer our own) have a duty to consider, analyze, understand, and criticize opposing points of view, including most especially those of their avowed enemies.

Yes, it's Monday morning at the Washington Post and Robert Samuelson wants to raise the retirement age and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. How else would one begin the week?

A few weeks back, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delivered a speech to the Henry Jackson Society in London focusing on the dangers "radical Islam" poses to the world's "freedom loving people". Far from a serious discussion, the speech amounted to little more than a dangerous mix of trite sloganeering and reckless jingoism. Jindal is no simple-minded demagogue like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman. Because he is a Rhodes Scholar and a presidential aspirant, one supposes that he thought through his remarks.

The election of SYRIZA, a leftist coalition party, in Greece, has understandably rocked European politics to its very foundation. It has inspired myriad reactions on the Left, ranging from unrestrained, and often uncritical, joy and adulation, to cynical mistrust of "reformism" and electoral politics as a means of transformation.

However, what is missing from these analyses is the important fact that while Greek politics is undoubtedly vital to the future of the country, it is not the only means by which the Greek working class and poor are building a future for themselves and their children. Rather, the last five years have inspired an entire solidarity movement organized to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable in Greek society.