Sunday, 26 October 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.

The Internet is no longer a child. It was conceived by the Defense Department in the '60s, nurtured by academics and engineers in the '70s and adopted by billions of people in the years since.

Susan Crawford's new book, Captive Audience, details a host of challenges for the Internet and its users as this network enters middle age.

Many of its recent growing pains come at the hands of network providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that sell access to the global network.

These companies often act like they own the Internet, and are pursuing polices to wrest control of Internet content away from its many users.

Ten years ago, Colin Powell made the case for invading Iraq before the United Nations Security Council. Many aspects of his case were clearly dubious at the time, but one notorious aspect desperately needs to be truly understood: Some of Powell's argument for an Iraq link to al-Qaeda came from Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi who was tortured into giving such "evidence" -- that is, he told the torturers what they wanted to hear so that the torture would stop.

This is particularly noteworthy as the movie Zero Dark Thirty has many liberals screaming "torture doesn't work" -- which, in a sense is totally true and at the same time exactly misses the point. Torturedoes work. It just doesn't work in so far as its stated purpose(catching criminals, stopping evil plots) is concerned.

Galloping crony capitalism that ensures a corporate stranglehold on Washington has increased exponentially since the Supreme Court essentially offered unfettered access to and influence over Capitol insiders by their 2010 decision Citizens United v. FEC. The decision is a gift to the same people who crashed our economy without accountability, and have purchased government outright. It is part of a 40-year wealth transfer upward engineered by corporate and wealthy elites who have also participated in union-busting, mortgage fraud and sought to depress workers' wages. The wealthy have profited from increased worker productivity over the past 30 years. Working people have not.

Every manufactured crisis, from the debt ceiling to the fiscal cliff, has become an excuse for the wealthy class to hold the 99% hostage, to extort more and more money in the form of tax subsidies and tax breaks that balloon corporate profits and bonuses, even as they have targeted the income, pensions, health care and homes of the low and middle income.

Journey for Justice 2: Our Children Are Not Collateral Damage

Department of Education

Washington, D.C.

1/29/2013

Yesterday, February 6, was a national day of action to support Seattle teachers' boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. The response was astounding. We received messages of solidarity from across the country and across the world. We heard from parents, teachers, students and community members in Victoria, BC; Austin, TX; Oxfordshire, UK; Rochester, NY. Our union brothers and sisters in the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted unanimously to support our struggle, and the More than a Score coalition in the same city gathered signatures at 36 schools against flawed standardized testing. Portland students inspired us today by initiating their own historic boycott of the standardized OAKS tests. In Seattle there were rallies at Orca, Chief Sealth High School, Roosevelt High School, Ballard High School, and many others. There were still many other solidarity actions from around the nation, and they are being posted at the Scrap the MAP website as they pour in.

"Once they were kings. A half million strong, they matched their faith with fervor and out-matched the Moslem and Christian tribesmen around them to rule the mountain highlands around Lake Tana. They called themselves Beta Israel - the house of Israel - and used the Torah to guide their prayers and memories of the heights of Jerusalem as they lived in their thatched huts in Ethiopia."

-Jewish Virtual Library-The History of Ethiopian Jews

Republicans' passion to support Israel stems from the desire to capture the vote in a country where the majority of people side strongly with Israel. The Republicans' most reliable primary voters, conservatives and evangelical Christians, are fanatically pro-Israel, pro Life and Anti-Contraception. They and their growing Israeli counterpart now face a nasty dilemma.

Feb 07

Michael Lewis!

By James Kwak, The Baseline Scenario | Op-Ed

On the title page of my copy of The Big Short, in black ink, it says:

"For James Kwak

With admiration"

And then a scrawl that I take to be Michael Lewis's signature. (Christopher Lydon got the book signed for me, since Lewis was on his radio show a few days before I was.) It may be the only book I've ever bothered to get autographed.

January 27, 2013 was the fortieth anniversary of the signing of theParis Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet Nam (Paris Agreement). Probably not one American in a thousand is aware of the occasion.

But here in Vietnam this anniversary is hugely important and is being marked with much pomp and festivities. The main event was an official commemoration ceremony in the National Conventional Center. Vietnam's President, Truong Tan San, important cabinet members, and leading Communist Party officials all attended, as did ambassadors from many countries and delegations from around the world. The program included a multimedia performance that included dance and music; and the President awarded a medal to the now-elderly Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, the lead negotiator in Paris for the Provisional Revolutionary Government, or PRG (referred to in the United States pejoratively, and inaccurately, as the Viet Cong).

Each of the last few years I have compiled an annual list of the year's best films and divided them into fiction and non-fiction categories. Since "best of the year" lists are so prolific, my own focus is on non-fiction documentaries that don't receive as much media attention.

The term "non-fiction" should not be confused with reality or "the truth". There's no better example of a deliberate manipulation of facts than this year's top grossing documentary, 2016: Obama's America. Written and directed by conservative author Dinesh D'Souza, it is essentially a paid partisan polemic based on the premise that Barak Obama is a radical socialist who was informed by his long deceased Kenyan father. Although the Naro was harassed with multiple harangues by "true believers" who tried to persuade us to play the film, we would not program this latest example of fear-mongering. Nevertheless we'd like to draw more conservatives to join our political documentaries and discussions, but unfortunately there has been little interest in our film events.

Feb 07

What Security Means to Edi

By Michelle Chen, Culture Strike | Op-Ed

There's nothing special about the Arma family. They're like countless other American households, with parents working hard to raise their kids right in a blue-collar sunbelt immigrant community in Phoenix. And sadly, when immigration agents came to take away the Guatemalan-born father of three, Edi; when his 11 year-old son tried to defend his father and was pushed away, and watched his dad whisked away to detention in what might have been their last seconds together–there was nothing unusual about that, either. It's happened hundreds of thousands of times in just the last few years. The epidemic of family separation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been a pillar of President Obama's immigration policy, proudly presided over by the very same politicians who are now crafting a "reform" plan that purportedly aims to fix the broken system and "secure the border."

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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.

The Internet is no longer a child. It was conceived by the Defense Department in the '60s, nurtured by academics and engineers in the '70s and adopted by billions of people in the years since.

Susan Crawford's new book, Captive Audience, details a host of challenges for the Internet and its users as this network enters middle age.

Many of its recent growing pains come at the hands of network providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that sell access to the global network.

These companies often act like they own the Internet, and are pursuing polices to wrest control of Internet content away from its many users.

Ten years ago, Colin Powell made the case for invading Iraq before the United Nations Security Council. Many aspects of his case were clearly dubious at the time, but one notorious aspect desperately needs to be truly understood: Some of Powell's argument for an Iraq link to al-Qaeda came from Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi who was tortured into giving such "evidence" -- that is, he told the torturers what they wanted to hear so that the torture would stop.

This is particularly noteworthy as the movie Zero Dark Thirty has many liberals screaming "torture doesn't work" -- which, in a sense is totally true and at the same time exactly misses the point. Torturedoes work. It just doesn't work in so far as its stated purpose(catching criminals, stopping evil plots) is concerned.

Galloping crony capitalism that ensures a corporate stranglehold on Washington has increased exponentially since the Supreme Court essentially offered unfettered access to and influence over Capitol insiders by their 2010 decision Citizens United v. FEC. The decision is a gift to the same people who crashed our economy without accountability, and have purchased government outright. It is part of a 40-year wealth transfer upward engineered by corporate and wealthy elites who have also participated in union-busting, mortgage fraud and sought to depress workers' wages. The wealthy have profited from increased worker productivity over the past 30 years. Working people have not.

Every manufactured crisis, from the debt ceiling to the fiscal cliff, has become an excuse for the wealthy class to hold the 99% hostage, to extort more and more money in the form of tax subsidies and tax breaks that balloon corporate profits and bonuses, even as they have targeted the income, pensions, health care and homes of the low and middle income.

Journey for Justice 2: Our Children Are Not Collateral Damage

Department of Education

Washington, D.C.

1/29/2013

Yesterday, February 6, was a national day of action to support Seattle teachers' boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. The response was astounding. We received messages of solidarity from across the country and across the world. We heard from parents, teachers, students and community members in Victoria, BC; Austin, TX; Oxfordshire, UK; Rochester, NY. Our union brothers and sisters in the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted unanimously to support our struggle, and the More than a Score coalition in the same city gathered signatures at 36 schools against flawed standardized testing. Portland students inspired us today by initiating their own historic boycott of the standardized OAKS tests. In Seattle there were rallies at Orca, Chief Sealth High School, Roosevelt High School, Ballard High School, and many others. There were still many other solidarity actions from around the nation, and they are being posted at the Scrap the MAP website as they pour in.

"Once they were kings. A half million strong, they matched their faith with fervor and out-matched the Moslem and Christian tribesmen around them to rule the mountain highlands around Lake Tana. They called themselves Beta Israel - the house of Israel - and used the Torah to guide their prayers and memories of the heights of Jerusalem as they lived in their thatched huts in Ethiopia."

-Jewish Virtual Library-The History of Ethiopian Jews

Republicans' passion to support Israel stems from the desire to capture the vote in a country where the majority of people side strongly with Israel. The Republicans' most reliable primary voters, conservatives and evangelical Christians, are fanatically pro-Israel, pro Life and Anti-Contraception. They and their growing Israeli counterpart now face a nasty dilemma.

Feb 07

Michael Lewis!

By James Kwak, The Baseline Scenario | Op-Ed

On the title page of my copy of The Big Short, in black ink, it says:

"For James Kwak

With admiration"

And then a scrawl that I take to be Michael Lewis's signature. (Christopher Lydon got the book signed for me, since Lewis was on his radio show a few days before I was.) It may be the only book I've ever bothered to get autographed.

January 27, 2013 was the fortieth anniversary of the signing of theParis Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet Nam (Paris Agreement). Probably not one American in a thousand is aware of the occasion.

But here in Vietnam this anniversary is hugely important and is being marked with much pomp and festivities. The main event was an official commemoration ceremony in the National Conventional Center. Vietnam's President, Truong Tan San, important cabinet members, and leading Communist Party officials all attended, as did ambassadors from many countries and delegations from around the world. The program included a multimedia performance that included dance and music; and the President awarded a medal to the now-elderly Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, the lead negotiator in Paris for the Provisional Revolutionary Government, or PRG (referred to in the United States pejoratively, and inaccurately, as the Viet Cong).

Each of the last few years I have compiled an annual list of the year's best films and divided them into fiction and non-fiction categories. Since "best of the year" lists are so prolific, my own focus is on non-fiction documentaries that don't receive as much media attention.

The term "non-fiction" should not be confused with reality or "the truth". There's no better example of a deliberate manipulation of facts than this year's top grossing documentary, 2016: Obama's America. Written and directed by conservative author Dinesh D'Souza, it is essentially a paid partisan polemic based on the premise that Barak Obama is a radical socialist who was informed by his long deceased Kenyan father. Although the Naro was harassed with multiple harangues by "true believers" who tried to persuade us to play the film, we would not program this latest example of fear-mongering. Nevertheless we'd like to draw more conservatives to join our political documentaries and discussions, but unfortunately there has been little interest in our film events.

Feb 07

What Security Means to Edi

By Michelle Chen, Culture Strike | Op-Ed

There's nothing special about the Arma family. They're like countless other American households, with parents working hard to raise their kids right in a blue-collar sunbelt immigrant community in Phoenix. And sadly, when immigration agents came to take away the Guatemalan-born father of three, Edi; when his 11 year-old son tried to defend his father and was pushed away, and watched his dad whisked away to detention in what might have been their last seconds together–there was nothing unusual about that, either. It's happened hundreds of thousands of times in just the last few years. The epidemic of family separation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been a pillar of President Obama's immigration policy, proudly presided over by the very same politicians who are now crafting a "reform" plan that purportedly aims to fix the broken system and "secure the border."