Tuesday, 30 September 2014 / 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.

Violence against women (VAW) under the present system of militarized state security is not an aberration that can be stemmed by specific denunciations and prohibitions. VAW is and always has been integral to war and all armed conflict. It pervades all forms of militarism. It is likely to endure so long as the institution of war is a legally sanctioned instrument of state, so long as arms are the means to political, economic or ideological ends. To reduce VAW; to eliminate its acceptance as a "regrettable consequence" of armed conflict; to exorcize it as a constant of the "real world" requires the abolition of war, the renunciation of armed conflict and the full and equal political empowerment of women as called for by the UN Charter.

The most bizarre part of Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is that almost no one has heard about it.

And whoever has heard about it, doesn't want to talk about it.

It's almost as if someone took Dr. Goebbels' "The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed" – dictum and mutated it into a 21st century super weapon:

"Tell the truth, but make it so shocking that no one wants to hear about it."

Mar 13

Gang Green or Fresh Greens?

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Occupy Washington DC | Op-Ed

The environmental movement is at a critical crossroads. Younger and bolder environmental groups are rising up and engaging in creative and strategic direct action. Will the older and more traditional environmental groups learn from them and adjust their tactics to be more effective?

The old environmental movement, 'Gang Green,' traditionally works inside the existing power structure and takes funding directly from polluting corporations and foundations funded by polluters. Sometimes they get a seat at the table, but this ends up helping to pass and legitimize laws containing inadequate regulations that become a license to pollute. Some 'Gang Green' members show signs of realizing they are on the wrong path and that they need to re-make themselves in order to face the urgent ecological crises of widespread toxins, species extinction, water and air pollution, soil depletion and climate change.

We have entered a critical era for the future of humanity on this planet, and the stakes are indeed as high as whether there will be anything left for those who come next. In the period of expansive consumer growth following World War II, and then again with another quantum leap in the age of globalization and digitization, humankind has been collectively taxing the planet’s carrying capacity and altering basic processes that have sustained our existence for eons. At this juncture, we cannot simply go back to a more pristine time (real or imagined), and the question of where we go from here is an open and urgent one.

Unfortunately, elite interests of both the national and multinational varieties are already in the process of making this all-important decision for us. Rather than reconsidering the profligate lifestyles and extractive mindsets that have pushed us to the brink, the profit-seeking powers that be are doubling down on their efforts to procure every last usable penny’s worth from the planet in short order. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that we are not going to drill, pump, mine, or frack our way out of this mess — and in reality, such methods are only going to exacerbate the problem.

Today Amnesty International launched an online campaign asking Louisiana Attorney General James Caldwell to not appeal the District Court's ruling to either release or retry Albert Woodfox.

Please support Albert by taking action, forwarding it to your email list and asking your networks to spread the word. Now is a critical time in the fight for Albert's freedom. We want Caldwell's office to be inundated with emails so he hears it loud and clear that the cycle of injustice and cruelty must end.

One would think that someone working more than 8 hours a day would be compensated fairly 127 years after the Haymarket Affair and one would think that packing workers into slums, dormitories or basements would have been settled 106 years after Upton Sinclair released The Jungle, but for many living in this country these experiences are still a reality.  These realities are still prevalent because we live in a country that still allows the managerial aristocracy to exploit workers on a daily basis.  These realities are still prevalent because the United States has some of the worst labor laws in the modern industrialized world.  These realities are still prevalent because WE have stood on the sidelines while our unionized labor force has been shrunk to the lowest density since 1929 – the run up to Great Depression.

So what do the Chinese Government and the Rightwing mega-lobbying group calling itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have in common? Apparently, they are both interested in hacking into the computer networks of their perceived political opponents and appear to be using very similar techniques and tools to do so, as The Nation's Lee Fang reported on Monday.

A computer security expert cited by Fang notes "lots of overlap" between the recent documented Chinese military cyber hacks and tactics proposed for use by federal contractors working with the U.S. Chamber and their attorneys to discredit their enemies.

"I rather have a John Brown than a Clarence Thomas."

So said the preacher.

Yep, a preacher.

He said it publicly.

Most of the postmortem commentary on Hugo Chávez has focused on his domestic legacy in Venezuela, his wider regional legacy within Latin America, and what we might call his hemispheric legacy – his “special relationship” with the United States. And for good reason: these were the principal realms in which he operated during his 14 years as Venezuela’s president (1999-2013) and it is for his accomplishments in these domains that he will be remembered and the Chávez Era (it was, to be sure, an era) will be evaluated.

But there’s a less discussed dimension of the Chávez legacy that I’d like to examine briefly: his relations with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, a story whose significance became more salient with the onset of the momentous changes the region has been undergoing over the last few years – not merely since the “Arab Spring” or Arab revolts starting at the end of 2010 but going back to the upheaval in Iran in the summer of 2009.

New America Media editor Andrew Lam has made his name as a journalist, but in his newest book, his past as a Vietnamese refugee reverberates through short stories about characters who fled Vietnam and made new lives in the Bay Area. NAM reporter Anna Challet spoke with him about the collection, Birds of Paradise Lost (Red Hen Press, 2013), published this month.

Anna Challet: Birds of Paradise Lost is your first book of fiction – how did you come to publish a fiction collection after so many years of working as a journalist?

Andrew Lam: I've been writing short stories for twenty years now, on and off ever since I was in the creative writing program at San Francisco State University. Though I later found a career as a journalist and an essayist, fiction is my first love and I never left it, even though there was no easy way to make a living from it. 

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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.

Violence against women (VAW) under the present system of militarized state security is not an aberration that can be stemmed by specific denunciations and prohibitions. VAW is and always has been integral to war and all armed conflict. It pervades all forms of militarism. It is likely to endure so long as the institution of war is a legally sanctioned instrument of state, so long as arms are the means to political, economic or ideological ends. To reduce VAW; to eliminate its acceptance as a "regrettable consequence" of armed conflict; to exorcize it as a constant of the "real world" requires the abolition of war, the renunciation of armed conflict and the full and equal political empowerment of women as called for by the UN Charter.

The most bizarre part of Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is that almost no one has heard about it.

And whoever has heard about it, doesn't want to talk about it.

It's almost as if someone took Dr. Goebbels' "The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed" – dictum and mutated it into a 21st century super weapon:

"Tell the truth, but make it so shocking that no one wants to hear about it."

Mar 13

Gang Green or Fresh Greens?

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Occupy Washington DC | Op-Ed

The environmental movement is at a critical crossroads. Younger and bolder environmental groups are rising up and engaging in creative and strategic direct action. Will the older and more traditional environmental groups learn from them and adjust their tactics to be more effective?

The old environmental movement, 'Gang Green,' traditionally works inside the existing power structure and takes funding directly from polluting corporations and foundations funded by polluters. Sometimes they get a seat at the table, but this ends up helping to pass and legitimize laws containing inadequate regulations that become a license to pollute. Some 'Gang Green' members show signs of realizing they are on the wrong path and that they need to re-make themselves in order to face the urgent ecological crises of widespread toxins, species extinction, water and air pollution, soil depletion and climate change.

We have entered a critical era for the future of humanity on this planet, and the stakes are indeed as high as whether there will be anything left for those who come next. In the period of expansive consumer growth following World War II, and then again with another quantum leap in the age of globalization and digitization, humankind has been collectively taxing the planet’s carrying capacity and altering basic processes that have sustained our existence for eons. At this juncture, we cannot simply go back to a more pristine time (real or imagined), and the question of where we go from here is an open and urgent one.

Unfortunately, elite interests of both the national and multinational varieties are already in the process of making this all-important decision for us. Rather than reconsidering the profligate lifestyles and extractive mindsets that have pushed us to the brink, the profit-seeking powers that be are doubling down on their efforts to procure every last usable penny’s worth from the planet in short order. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that we are not going to drill, pump, mine, or frack our way out of this mess — and in reality, such methods are only going to exacerbate the problem.

Today Amnesty International launched an online campaign asking Louisiana Attorney General James Caldwell to not appeal the District Court's ruling to either release or retry Albert Woodfox.

Please support Albert by taking action, forwarding it to your email list and asking your networks to spread the word. Now is a critical time in the fight for Albert's freedom. We want Caldwell's office to be inundated with emails so he hears it loud and clear that the cycle of injustice and cruelty must end.

One would think that someone working more than 8 hours a day would be compensated fairly 127 years after the Haymarket Affair and one would think that packing workers into slums, dormitories or basements would have been settled 106 years after Upton Sinclair released The Jungle, but for many living in this country these experiences are still a reality.  These realities are still prevalent because we live in a country that still allows the managerial aristocracy to exploit workers on a daily basis.  These realities are still prevalent because the United States has some of the worst labor laws in the modern industrialized world.  These realities are still prevalent because WE have stood on the sidelines while our unionized labor force has been shrunk to the lowest density since 1929 – the run up to Great Depression.

So what do the Chinese Government and the Rightwing mega-lobbying group calling itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have in common? Apparently, they are both interested in hacking into the computer networks of their perceived political opponents and appear to be using very similar techniques and tools to do so, as The Nation's Lee Fang reported on Monday.

A computer security expert cited by Fang notes "lots of overlap" between the recent documented Chinese military cyber hacks and tactics proposed for use by federal contractors working with the U.S. Chamber and their attorneys to discredit their enemies.

"I rather have a John Brown than a Clarence Thomas."

So said the preacher.

Yep, a preacher.

He said it publicly.

Most of the postmortem commentary on Hugo Chávez has focused on his domestic legacy in Venezuela, his wider regional legacy within Latin America, and what we might call his hemispheric legacy – his “special relationship” with the United States. And for good reason: these were the principal realms in which he operated during his 14 years as Venezuela’s president (1999-2013) and it is for his accomplishments in these domains that he will be remembered and the Chávez Era (it was, to be sure, an era) will be evaluated.

But there’s a less discussed dimension of the Chávez legacy that I’d like to examine briefly: his relations with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, a story whose significance became more salient with the onset of the momentous changes the region has been undergoing over the last few years – not merely since the “Arab Spring” or Arab revolts starting at the end of 2010 but going back to the upheaval in Iran in the summer of 2009.

New America Media editor Andrew Lam has made his name as a journalist, but in his newest book, his past as a Vietnamese refugee reverberates through short stories about characters who fled Vietnam and made new lives in the Bay Area. NAM reporter Anna Challet spoke with him about the collection, Birds of Paradise Lost (Red Hen Press, 2013), published this month.

Anna Challet: Birds of Paradise Lost is your first book of fiction – how did you come to publish a fiction collection after so many years of working as a journalist?

Andrew Lam: I've been writing short stories for twenty years now, on and off ever since I was in the creative writing program at San Francisco State University. Though I later found a career as a journalist and an essayist, fiction is my first love and I never left it, even though there was no easy way to make a living from it.