Friday, 30 January 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.

Payette, Idaho - Alta Mesa Idaho vice president and general counsel John Peiserich will not face battery charges stemming from a November 17 scuffle with EnviroNews editor-in-chief Emerson Urry.

Urry has recused himself from his editing duties on this article.

Of late there has been news about attacks on academic freedom. Much of this is the result of aggressive efforts of Zionist organizations and individuals to silence those academics they see as enemies of Israel. The latest example of this is the successful pressure brought to bear, apparently by a Zionist donor, on the chancellor of the University of Illinois, to rescind a job offer for Professor Steven Salaita. This was done because this influential donor, noting Salaita's anti-Israel tweets, decided he was anti-Semitic. The Chancellor was apparently convinced that hiring Salaita would cost the university a lot of support - a pretty clear example of donor blackmail.

The Salaita case is not the only recent attempt to intimidate academics critical of Israel. An organization calling itself AMCHA ("your people" in Hebrew) and purporting to work for the "protection of Jewish students" has posted a list of over 200 professors who support the boycott of Israel. They too have been judged anti-Semitic and Jewish students are urged by the organization to avoid their classes.

Lifting up the work & words of Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan. To be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this day with Kailash Satyarthi, of India.

Join students and teachers from Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, by LIVESTREAM or SKYPE. We'll share hope, and rededicate ourselves to truly building a BORDERFREE world for ALL people.

Dec 01

Dr. Huxtable's Lessons

By Damian Kolodiy, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I grew up as a kid in the 80s watching the Cosby show every week. Cliff Huxtable made us all laugh, and his deep voice with its specific cadence was very much hardwired into our childhood memories. He was a household father figure, a moral and ethical rock that broke down walls of perception of black families. Today I believe it is quite hard for the general public to disengage the Cliff Huxtable character portrayed on TV with the real life person that is Bill Cosby. This is a ubiquitous perception problem that exists within celebrity culture in general, actors achieve cult status and thereby power because of the almost seamless association of the actor and the "larger than life" character they play when they perform. 

Bill Cosby, however, appears quite clearly to be guilty of using his power and status to entice aspiring actresses and models into one on one situations where he was able to drug them and then have sex with their unconscious bodies. Over 17 different women have stepped forward with strikingly similar stories of Cosby's predatory behavior. 

Violence, you are killing our children,
in our streets, our schools, our homes.

Violence, you are killing our children,
in Mexico and Nigeria, in Iraq and Syria.

Violence, you are killing our children,
in our cities, our towns, everywhere.

We’re all familiar with the tired old meme, “there aren’t any atheists in foxholes” or lifeboats, or fill in the blank. But at the end of the day, really, there’s seldom any empirical evidence coming out of foxholes on the god or no god argument. More likely there aren’t any atheists on the front lines of wars because most wars today are rooted in religious feuds, leaving atheists home to watch the game, eat dinner or make love. While the atheist meme doesn’t really work unless you’re already prone to believe the unquantifiable, I think with a little twist, the basic linguistic device can work. Let’s try this out: There aren’t any libertarians in a Buffalo Blizzard. This is empirically quantifiable.

Now I’m employing a bit of artistic license here, using “any,” when I mean “many,” as one should always avoid absolutes in an argument. As in, given their proclivity to dogmatic idiocy, there will be a few. That said, the first time one asks, “Where the hell is the damn plow?,” they cease to be a libertarian. This is a simple binary. Do you want the government to rescue you, or not? There’s a simple rule of thumb here. When the snow covers your Ron Paul bumper sticker, it’s ok to ask big government to come and save your ass.

Some people at the New York Times apparently feel so strongly about pushing the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) that it is prepared to abandon the longstanding separation between the news and editorial pages. A news article reporting on a statement from the new European trade commissioner on her commitment to achieving a deal with the United States described the deal as:

"a pact aimed at lowering tariffs and reducing regulatory barriers to encourage job creation and economic growth in Europe and the United States."

Amsterdam – Yesterday, the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam featured the groundbreaking documentary film Silenced. Screening from November 21st to November 24th, the film focuses on prominent Government Accountability Project (GAP) clients – National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whistleblower John Kiriakou – along with GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack, a whistleblower herself.

Silenced showcases the serious and life-altering decisions whistleblowers make when they are forced to choose between following their conscience and sacrificing their careers or their very freedom. John Kiriakou faced that choice when he refused to be trained in "enhanced interrogation techniques" and instead blew the whistle on the George W. Bush-era torture program, becoming the first CIA official to expose the use of torture as government policy. Silencedchronicles the government's prosecution of Kiriakou under the Espionage Act, a century-old law intended to target spies, not whistleblowers.

Dec 01

Economists Without Borders

By Thomas Palley, Thomas Palley's Blog | Op-Ed

Inspired by the work of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), I have recently started a project called Economists Without Borders (Economistes Sans Frontières). Its purpose is to inoculate the global economy against the virus of neoliberalism. Last week, I had two difficult “missions” to Vienna and Warsaw.

In Vienna, I confronted an outbreak of the neoliberal globalization – free trade strain of the virus. Without doubt, this is the most virulent and dangerous of all strains. People who get infected become blind to all evidence, deaf to all argument and prone to intellectual condescension. Massachusetts Avenue in Washington DC is a hot zone of infection. The bad news is that if you are over forty and infected it is doubtful you can be cured. However, younger patients have a chance of recovery. Here is the anti-viral I prescribed titled “The Theory of Global Imbalances: Mainstream Economics vs. Structural Keynesianism”.

On November 20th, President Obama finally announced his plan to fix the country's dysfunctional immigration system. After the disastrous midterm election defeat, the administration started to make quick executive moves on critical issues, such as climate change and net neutrality. Based on corporate media's relentless effort to sensationalize the administration's swift actions, it seemed as though the Obama administration would also make a "Big Move" on immigration. Nonetheless, once the official announcement was made, his plan was a hollow branding effort, just like his presidency.

Under the new plan, it is estimated that about 5 million out of 11.5 million undocumented immigrants will receive temporary relief. It is great that 5 million folks will be relieved from the fear of deportation. However, his plan rather shamelessly revealed the administration and his party's honest views toward undocumented immigrants.

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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.

Payette, Idaho - Alta Mesa Idaho vice president and general counsel John Peiserich will not face battery charges stemming from a November 17 scuffle with EnviroNews editor-in-chief Emerson Urry.

Urry has recused himself from his editing duties on this article.

Of late there has been news about attacks on academic freedom. Much of this is the result of aggressive efforts of Zionist organizations and individuals to silence those academics they see as enemies of Israel. The latest example of this is the successful pressure brought to bear, apparently by a Zionist donor, on the chancellor of the University of Illinois, to rescind a job offer for Professor Steven Salaita. This was done because this influential donor, noting Salaita's anti-Israel tweets, decided he was anti-Semitic. The Chancellor was apparently convinced that hiring Salaita would cost the university a lot of support - a pretty clear example of donor blackmail.

The Salaita case is not the only recent attempt to intimidate academics critical of Israel. An organization calling itself AMCHA ("your people" in Hebrew) and purporting to work for the "protection of Jewish students" has posted a list of over 200 professors who support the boycott of Israel. They too have been judged anti-Semitic and Jewish students are urged by the organization to avoid their classes.

Lifting up the work & words of Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan. To be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this day with Kailash Satyarthi, of India.

Join students and teachers from Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, by LIVESTREAM or SKYPE. We'll share hope, and rededicate ourselves to truly building a BORDERFREE world for ALL people.

Dec 01

Dr. Huxtable's Lessons

By Damian Kolodiy, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I grew up as a kid in the 80s watching the Cosby show every week. Cliff Huxtable made us all laugh, and his deep voice with its specific cadence was very much hardwired into our childhood memories. He was a household father figure, a moral and ethical rock that broke down walls of perception of black families. Today I believe it is quite hard for the general public to disengage the Cliff Huxtable character portrayed on TV with the real life person that is Bill Cosby. This is a ubiquitous perception problem that exists within celebrity culture in general, actors achieve cult status and thereby power because of the almost seamless association of the actor and the "larger than life" character they play when they perform. 

Bill Cosby, however, appears quite clearly to be guilty of using his power and status to entice aspiring actresses and models into one on one situations where he was able to drug them and then have sex with their unconscious bodies. Over 17 different women have stepped forward with strikingly similar stories of Cosby's predatory behavior. 

Violence, you are killing our children,
in our streets, our schools, our homes.

Violence, you are killing our children,
in Mexico and Nigeria, in Iraq and Syria.

Violence, you are killing our children,
in our cities, our towns, everywhere.

We’re all familiar with the tired old meme, “there aren’t any atheists in foxholes” or lifeboats, or fill in the blank. But at the end of the day, really, there’s seldom any empirical evidence coming out of foxholes on the god or no god argument. More likely there aren’t any atheists on the front lines of wars because most wars today are rooted in religious feuds, leaving atheists home to watch the game, eat dinner or make love. While the atheist meme doesn’t really work unless you’re already prone to believe the unquantifiable, I think with a little twist, the basic linguistic device can work. Let’s try this out: There aren’t any libertarians in a Buffalo Blizzard. This is empirically quantifiable.

Now I’m employing a bit of artistic license here, using “any,” when I mean “many,” as one should always avoid absolutes in an argument. As in, given their proclivity to dogmatic idiocy, there will be a few. That said, the first time one asks, “Where the hell is the damn plow?,” they cease to be a libertarian. This is a simple binary. Do you want the government to rescue you, or not? There’s a simple rule of thumb here. When the snow covers your Ron Paul bumper sticker, it’s ok to ask big government to come and save your ass.

Some people at the New York Times apparently feel so strongly about pushing the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) that it is prepared to abandon the longstanding separation between the news and editorial pages. A news article reporting on a statement from the new European trade commissioner on her commitment to achieving a deal with the United States described the deal as:

"a pact aimed at lowering tariffs and reducing regulatory barriers to encourage job creation and economic growth in Europe and the United States."

Amsterdam – Yesterday, the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam featured the groundbreaking documentary film Silenced. Screening from November 21st to November 24th, the film focuses on prominent Government Accountability Project (GAP) clients – National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whistleblower John Kiriakou – along with GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack, a whistleblower herself.

Silenced showcases the serious and life-altering decisions whistleblowers make when they are forced to choose between following their conscience and sacrificing their careers or their very freedom. John Kiriakou faced that choice when he refused to be trained in "enhanced interrogation techniques" and instead blew the whistle on the George W. Bush-era torture program, becoming the first CIA official to expose the use of torture as government policy. Silencedchronicles the government's prosecution of Kiriakou under the Espionage Act, a century-old law intended to target spies, not whistleblowers.

Dec 01

Economists Without Borders

By Thomas Palley, Thomas Palley's Blog | Op-Ed

Inspired by the work of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), I have recently started a project called Economists Without Borders (Economistes Sans Frontières). Its purpose is to inoculate the global economy against the virus of neoliberalism. Last week, I had two difficult “missions” to Vienna and Warsaw.

In Vienna, I confronted an outbreak of the neoliberal globalization – free trade strain of the virus. Without doubt, this is the most virulent and dangerous of all strains. People who get infected become blind to all evidence, deaf to all argument and prone to intellectual condescension. Massachusetts Avenue in Washington DC is a hot zone of infection. The bad news is that if you are over forty and infected it is doubtful you can be cured. However, younger patients have a chance of recovery. Here is the anti-viral I prescribed titled “The Theory of Global Imbalances: Mainstream Economics vs. Structural Keynesianism”.

On November 20th, President Obama finally announced his plan to fix the country's dysfunctional immigration system. After the disastrous midterm election defeat, the administration started to make quick executive moves on critical issues, such as climate change and net neutrality. Based on corporate media's relentless effort to sensationalize the administration's swift actions, it seemed as though the Obama administration would also make a "Big Move" on immigration. Nonetheless, once the official announcement was made, his plan was a hollow branding effort, just like his presidency.

Under the new plan, it is estimated that about 5 million out of 11.5 million undocumented immigrants will receive temporary relief. It is great that 5 million folks will be relieved from the fear of deportation. However, his plan rather shamelessly revealed the administration and his party's honest views toward undocumented immigrants.