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 meeting I had this week with a congressional candidate, I was reminded of the power of the myths that define conventional wisdom about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the challenge they pose for rational discourse. In rapid succession my visitor rattled off a number of statements revealing how much he didn't know about the conflict and how steep the climb for those who seek a just peace.
The defendants had hoped to begin the evening with testimony from international law expert Francis Boyle but he was not allowed to testify. Fifty supporters watched then as the last six more defendants testified about the intentions that brought them to the nonviolent action at Hancock Air Base on October 25, 2012. The defendants all came to Hancock to ask their government for redress of grievance, and to fulfill their duties as citizens upholding International Law, under which wars of aggression and indiscriminate killing are crimes. Reaper drones flown by pilots at Hancock are used commit CrimesAgainst Peace, War Crimes and violations of Human Rights law.
It was profoundly unsettling to watch those that represent the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s opponents and assassins take up his mantle on Monday and exploit the celebration of his birthday for their own political gain. But there we were at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as a series of politicians unironically read excerpts from King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail and excoriated those privileged business leaders of Birmingham who King took to task for refusing to give up their own political clout and stature to hasten the coming of justice.
There is some comfort, I think, in a growing recognition that responses to Sherman have been at least fueled by racism—including the coincidence of Justin Bieber’s arrest and the resulting confrontation of how Sherman has been labeled a “thug” while Bieber’s wealth and white/male status shield him from a number of verbal and legal consequences that African American males experience daily.
In a recent New Yorker cartoon, a dog is shown lounging by a pool and saying to a pup: “Youtube’s one thing, but cats will never make it on the big screen.” A funny commentary, surely, but in America that statement could just as easily be applied to ethnic minorities, especially Asian Americans.
Today, New Jersey State Senator Nicholas P. Scutari announced plans to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana. Details of the proposal are pending but the senator envisions an industry that taxes and regulates marijuana like alcohol. A 2013 poll by Lake Research Partners found that 59 percent of New Jersey voters support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana. Recent national polls show similar support.
The premiere of the documentary, Legalize Democracy, will be airing on Free Speech TV (FSTV).
Legalize Democracy is a 30 minute film by Dennis Trainor, Jr. about the movement to amend -- why it is needed, and how you can get involved.
For the more than 40 million Americans in poverty, everyday life is a struggle — buying food, going to school, getting a job. And for a great many of them, what most people think of as simple tasks are also difficult. Let’s explore the picture of poverty in the U.S. and the psychological and physical toll it takes.
The following is a quote from Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center:
"Women’s union membership held steady in 2013 after dropping sharply the year before, and that’s a relief for women seeking better wages and equal pay. The wage gap among union members is half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers. And female union members earn over $200 per week more than women who are not represented by unions—an increase that represents a larger union premium than men receive. But a case pending in the Supreme Court challenges the right of home care providers—an overwhelmingly female and very low-wage workforce—and potentially the right of all public employees—to be represented by unions. Today’s data make it clear that this case has high stakes for working women and men."