Monday, 20 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • The Shell Game of Contingent Employment

    When subcontractors, freelancers and independent contractors get hurt or abused on the job, these workers are finding it harder to hold employers accountable. This is no accident - it's a direct result of a neoliberal labor agenda.

  • Paying the Price of Tar Sands Expansion

    Despite all the reasons to keep tar sands in the ground, the refining equipment tax credit has helped put tar sands development in the US on the rise, accelerating climate change at the expense of US taxpayers.

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.

Life, as lived, moment to moment, in the corporate/consumer state, involves moving between states of tedium, stress, and swoons of mass media and consumer distraction. Therein, one spends a large portion of one's economically beleaguered life attempting to make ends meet and not go mad from the pressure and the boredom. Where does a nebulous concept such as freedom even enter the picture, except to be a harbinger of an unfocused sense of unease...that all too many look to authority to banish?

Finding a balance between anxiety and freedom is not something that comes easy to us.

Ordinary taxpayers are subsidizing exorbitant executive pay at the corporations leading the push for austerity in the budget debate, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Campaign for America's Future.

The report is the first to put a price tag on the tax breaks specific corporations have enjoyed from a loophole that allows unlimited deductions for executive stock options and other "performance-based" pay. It focuses on corporate members of Fix the Debt, a lobby group that is calling for "shared sacrifice" while quietly advocating for cuts to Social Security and more corporate tax breaks.

May 06

A Letter to Attorney General Holder

By Whistleblower Defense League, The Brooklyn Rail | Statement

The Whistleblower Defense League is a nationwide group of experienced trial attorneys who have assembled to defend the principles of our democracy. The American people have an absolute right to know the truth about their government and the damaging influence of corporate wealth. Our forefathers did not fight for us to live in the fearful shadows of a darkened constitution, but in the brave light of freedom.

Criticism without action is the country of the weak. If the issue is not one of vision, but of limited resources, then the WBDL is available...

In the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings, we have a lot of questions that need answering. But are we asking the right ones?

May 06

Bush and Cheney Arrested by Dallas Police

By Dennis Trainor Jr, AcronymTV | Video

Code Pink, Backbone Campaign, and dozens of supporters escorted protestors costumed as George W. Bush & Dick Cheney into the hands of the Dallas police who gladly arrested the duo. The arrests took place during a ceremony just a few hundred yards away where five living U.S. presidents and thousands of others participated in the dedication of the younger Bush's presidential library.

The protestors serving as stand-ins for Bush and Cheney were identified as Gary Egelston, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (Bush) and Dennis Trainor, Jr, documentary director of American Autumn: an occduc and creator of Acronym TV. Photojournalist Bill Perry was also arrested. All three were charged with Misdemeanors and released after 13 hours in custody.

May 03

Remember This Day: Uno De Mayo

By Richard A Stitt, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Some of the media scribes who attended the dedication ceremony on April 26 for the George W. Bush $250 million Library and Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, TX commented that there was not one word mentioned about Iraq.

Most of us know why, including the 2008 and 2012 Republican conventions in which there was no mention by the party's leadership of George W. Bush's Iraq legacy. Or much, if anything, of number 43.

There are, of course, exceptions. Most notably Karl Rove whose George W. Bush adulation included his recent proposal to chisel his former boss's image on Mount Rushmore. Rove no doubt was yearning for those halcyon days when photo ops maintained the facade of a commander-in-chief in thoughtful poses such as the one that lined up the profile of George W. Bush with the four presidents' likenesses that are etched into South Dakota's Mount Rushmore.

he Shareholder Protection Act, reintroduced today by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), is critical legislation because it would bring responsible corporate governance to corporate political spending by involving shareholders in those spending decisions and keeping the public informed of them, a coalition of 39 groups said today.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision reversed decades of political tradition prohibiting direct corporate financing of elections and overnight made CEOs of wealthy businesses principal players in American elections," said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "Unless there are internal policies to the contrary, CEOs now can literally dip into the corporate till and spend that money without limit promoting or attacking candidates."

As the story of the Tsarnaev brothers unfolds -- from asylum, to attempts at assimilation and finally to terrorism -- I hear echoes of another set of brothers from my own country, Vietnam.

On April 4, 1991 three Vietnamese brothers and a friend -- all teenagers -- took over an electronics store in Sacramento, California. The group held 41 people hostage, garnering national attention as journalists flocked outside the store. Inside, the boys prowled about with their guns, the hostages tied up.

What did the Nguyen brothers want?

They wanted $4 million dollars, 1000-year-old ginseng roots (thought to make one invincible in battle), helicopters and bulletproof jackets. Their plan: To fly back to Vietnam and take on the Vietcong.

As President Obama departs for a three-day trip to Mexico and Central America to meet with several regional counterparts, advocates are urging him to put drug policy reform at the top of the agenda.

The failed drug war has wreaked havoc throughout Latin America. In Mexico, the war on drugs has caused an estimated 70,000 deaths, 25,000 disappearances and over 250,000 internally displaced people since 2006. Meanwhile, drug trafficking organizations have increasingly moved or expanded their operations to Central America, which has become one of the most dangerous regions in the world, according to the United Nations. And rather than reducing the supply of or demand for drugs, prohibitionist drug policies have only enriched criminal organizations while increasing rates of incarceration and drug-related harms.

With mass species die-offs, threats to human food supplies, toxicity of air and water, along with deforestation and ocean destruction and the justifiably dominant concern of climate change causing long-term droughts, floods, and extreme storms, the rule of law needs to be applied to the environment. The Green Shadow Cabinet will make putting in place the rule of law a top priority.

In 1970 the National Environmental Policy Act, signed by President Nixon, took effect. The law seeks: ""To declare national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation..."

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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.

Life, as lived, moment to moment, in the corporate/consumer state, involves moving between states of tedium, stress, and swoons of mass media and consumer distraction. Therein, one spends a large portion of one's economically beleaguered life attempting to make ends meet and not go mad from the pressure and the boredom. Where does a nebulous concept such as freedom even enter the picture, except to be a harbinger of an unfocused sense of unease...that all too many look to authority to banish?

Finding a balance between anxiety and freedom is not something that comes easy to us.

Ordinary taxpayers are subsidizing exorbitant executive pay at the corporations leading the push for austerity in the budget debate, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Campaign for America's Future.

The report is the first to put a price tag on the tax breaks specific corporations have enjoyed from a loophole that allows unlimited deductions for executive stock options and other "performance-based" pay. It focuses on corporate members of Fix the Debt, a lobby group that is calling for "shared sacrifice" while quietly advocating for cuts to Social Security and more corporate tax breaks.

May 06

A Letter to Attorney General Holder

By Whistleblower Defense League, The Brooklyn Rail | Statement

The Whistleblower Defense League is a nationwide group of experienced trial attorneys who have assembled to defend the principles of our democracy. The American people have an absolute right to know the truth about their government and the damaging influence of corporate wealth. Our forefathers did not fight for us to live in the fearful shadows of a darkened constitution, but in the brave light of freedom.

Criticism without action is the country of the weak. If the issue is not one of vision, but of limited resources, then the WBDL is available...

In the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings, we have a lot of questions that need answering. But are we asking the right ones?

May 06

Bush and Cheney Arrested by Dallas Police

By Dennis Trainor Jr, AcronymTV | Video

Code Pink, Backbone Campaign, and dozens of supporters escorted protestors costumed as George W. Bush & Dick Cheney into the hands of the Dallas police who gladly arrested the duo. The arrests took place during a ceremony just a few hundred yards away where five living U.S. presidents and thousands of others participated in the dedication of the younger Bush's presidential library.

The protestors serving as stand-ins for Bush and Cheney were identified as Gary Egelston, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (Bush) and Dennis Trainor, Jr, documentary director of American Autumn: an occduc and creator of Acronym TV. Photojournalist Bill Perry was also arrested. All three were charged with Misdemeanors and released after 13 hours in custody.

May 03

Remember This Day: Uno De Mayo

By Richard A Stitt, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Some of the media scribes who attended the dedication ceremony on April 26 for the George W. Bush $250 million Library and Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, TX commented that there was not one word mentioned about Iraq.

Most of us know why, including the 2008 and 2012 Republican conventions in which there was no mention by the party's leadership of George W. Bush's Iraq legacy. Or much, if anything, of number 43.

There are, of course, exceptions. Most notably Karl Rove whose George W. Bush adulation included his recent proposal to chisel his former boss's image on Mount Rushmore. Rove no doubt was yearning for those halcyon days when photo ops maintained the facade of a commander-in-chief in thoughtful poses such as the one that lined up the profile of George W. Bush with the four presidents' likenesses that are etched into South Dakota's Mount Rushmore.

he Shareholder Protection Act, reintroduced today by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), is critical legislation because it would bring responsible corporate governance to corporate political spending by involving shareholders in those spending decisions and keeping the public informed of them, a coalition of 39 groups said today.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision reversed decades of political tradition prohibiting direct corporate financing of elections and overnight made CEOs of wealthy businesses principal players in American elections," said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "Unless there are internal policies to the contrary, CEOs now can literally dip into the corporate till and spend that money without limit promoting or attacking candidates."

As the story of the Tsarnaev brothers unfolds -- from asylum, to attempts at assimilation and finally to terrorism -- I hear echoes of another set of brothers from my own country, Vietnam.

On April 4, 1991 three Vietnamese brothers and a friend -- all teenagers -- took over an electronics store in Sacramento, California. The group held 41 people hostage, garnering national attention as journalists flocked outside the store. Inside, the boys prowled about with their guns, the hostages tied up.

What did the Nguyen brothers want?

They wanted $4 million dollars, 1000-year-old ginseng roots (thought to make one invincible in battle), helicopters and bulletproof jackets. Their plan: To fly back to Vietnam and take on the Vietcong.

As President Obama departs for a three-day trip to Mexico and Central America to meet with several regional counterparts, advocates are urging him to put drug policy reform at the top of the agenda.

The failed drug war has wreaked havoc throughout Latin America. In Mexico, the war on drugs has caused an estimated 70,000 deaths, 25,000 disappearances and over 250,000 internally displaced people since 2006. Meanwhile, drug trafficking organizations have increasingly moved or expanded their operations to Central America, which has become one of the most dangerous regions in the world, according to the United Nations. And rather than reducing the supply of or demand for drugs, prohibitionist drug policies have only enriched criminal organizations while increasing rates of incarceration and drug-related harms.

With mass species die-offs, threats to human food supplies, toxicity of air and water, along with deforestation and ocean destruction and the justifiably dominant concern of climate change causing long-term droughts, floods, and extreme storms, the rule of law needs to be applied to the environment. The Green Shadow Cabinet will make putting in place the rule of law a top priority.

In 1970 the National Environmental Policy Act, signed by President Nixon, took effect. The law seeks: ""To declare national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation..."