Wednesday, 22 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.

Recently obtained videos which have been exposed to the public show corrections officers using extreme force on incarcerated people suffering from various forms of mental illness.

Footage of one such video (shown below), taken in September of last year and later obtained by The Colorado Independent through an open records request, shows a team of corrections officers using force on Isaiah Moreno, who had been suicide watch at the Denver City Jail.

Aug 07

Toledo Sips of Life in Iraq

By Mike Ferner, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Toledo, OH – Ironically, although this city is affixed to the shore of a Great Lake, we’ve given a new meaning to what a “dry” town is.  We learned it’s one thing to go without beer; quite another to go without water.

For three days, some 500,000 people in northwest Ohio avoided almost all bodily contact with water coming out of a faucet.  No drinking, cooking, dish-washing, teeth-brushing.  Boiling made it worse.  Bathing was OK except for small children, pets and those with compromised immune systems.  

These are the emerging voices of a new generation of anti-war Jewish Americans, the millennials, those who reached adulthood around the year 2000. They are opposed to Israel’s ever escalating war in Gaza and the unending Occupation. They protested at the headquarters of the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) in Washington, DC. The JFNA supports Israeli military actions, and says it does so in the name of all Jewish Americans. Which is not how these millennials see it. “Not in Our Name” was the message and this film tells you a part of the story why.

Mr Enav's prominently displayed July 15 P-S article seems to suggest that that bully, Gaza, is hitting poor Israel below the belt. Writing from Jerusalem, Enav reports on a single (foiled) Hamas drone attack. Like many mainstream commentators on the latest Israeli invasion of Gaza, Enav ignores key realities.

In response to the recent school shooting in Oregon, the President made a stark and important point. He said that we are coming to just accept that shootings will happen at schools, and, in fact, we can't get even the mildest gun control measure through Congress. "We should be ashamed," he said, and he was right. 

Instead of a meaningful efforts to stop gun violence, the debate is routinely sidelined by, say, measures to stop people with diagnosed mental illnesses from having guns, as if that sort of limitation is all it would take to protect children.

Aug 07

Are You as Water Smart as Conan O'Brien?

By Steve Fleischli, NRDC | Report

Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, NRDC, and the State of California have teamed up to create a new series of very funny Public Service Announcements to encourage water conservation during California’s historic drought.  This new partnership follows the debut of Conan’s first drought PSA just a few weeks ago after the State adopted wise Emergency Regulations to cut outdoor water waste. Conan and Andy are awesome for inspiring needed action, but you’ll see that they’re also pretty darn water smart. 

Are you as water smart as Conan?  To find out, take the quiz below and watch and share Conan’s videos for the answers.

The following is a letter sent to CBC Radio One's weekday newsmagazine, The Current.

In my writings on Ukraine since last March, I warn readers to be wary of the "propaganda" of the government in Kyiv that is prosecuting the war in the east of the country and of mainstream news outlets that parrot Kyiv's words. Kyiv's imagined reality is of a Russian "invasion" of Ukraine through the medium of the social and political rebellion in the east of the country.

This fiction is designed to suit the political and economic goals of Ukraine's wealthy billionaires - to carry out a vast, austerity assault on the economy and working class of the entire country. The envelope of that assault is the austerity "economic association" agreement signed with the European Union on June 30.

On August 11th, Luke O'Donovan goes on trial for defending himself against a homophobic attack. Yes, you read that correctly. Somewhere between five and twelve people attacked Luke while calling him a faggot, early in the morning on New Year's, 2013, and Georgia prosecutors have decided to charge him, and not his assailants. Nor are the charges light: five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of attempted murder, meaning that, if convicted, Luke could spend decades in prison.

After O'Donovan was seen kissing and dancing with other men at a party in an Atlanta neighborhood, a mob of mostly drunken individuals punched him, stabbed him, and stomped on him while he was on the floor. Five of his assailants ended up with knife wounds. Despite a prevalence of witness statements in O'Donovan's favor (the only prosecution witness who is not one of the assailants and was
not drunk that night is the sister of one of the assailants), the state has decided to carry out their own lynching, within legal channels, but backed by the same homophobic prejudices and with consequences potentially far more brutal than the mob assault O'Donovan already suffered.

The health of a hunger-striking detainee at Guantánamo Bay has plummeted so low that it appears his life is at risk, his lawyer has said, days after a visit to the prison.

Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a father of four from Syria, is currently asking the DC District Court to order a halt to abusive force-feeding methods and the practice of unnecessary ‘forced cell extractions.’ Mr. Dhiab, who needs a wheelchair after years of mistreatment at Guantánamo, has been detained at the prison without charge or trial since 2002. He was cleared for release by the Obama Administration in 2009.

Washington, D.C. – Last night, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) asked the US Supreme Court to review its case challenging the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as a violation of the First Amendment.  The law punishes causing lost profits to an animal enterprise, but makes no distinction between loss caused by criminal acts and loss caused by boycotts and other constitutionally-protected activity. 

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act punishes anyone found to have caused the loss of property or profits to a business or other institution that uses or sells animals or animal products, or to a “person or entity having a connection to, relationship with, or transactions with an animal enterprise.”  CCR attorneys argued the law was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, and that it cast a chill on legal First Amendment activity by the animal rights activists they represent.

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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.

Recently obtained videos which have been exposed to the public show corrections officers using extreme force on incarcerated people suffering from various forms of mental illness.

Footage of one such video (shown below), taken in September of last year and later obtained by The Colorado Independent through an open records request, shows a team of corrections officers using force on Isaiah Moreno, who had been suicide watch at the Denver City Jail.

Aug 07

Toledo Sips of Life in Iraq

By Mike Ferner, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Toledo, OH – Ironically, although this city is affixed to the shore of a Great Lake, we’ve given a new meaning to what a “dry” town is.  We learned it’s one thing to go without beer; quite another to go without water.

For three days, some 500,000 people in northwest Ohio avoided almost all bodily contact with water coming out of a faucet.  No drinking, cooking, dish-washing, teeth-brushing.  Boiling made it worse.  Bathing was OK except for small children, pets and those with compromised immune systems.  

These are the emerging voices of a new generation of anti-war Jewish Americans, the millennials, those who reached adulthood around the year 2000. They are opposed to Israel’s ever escalating war in Gaza and the unending Occupation. They protested at the headquarters of the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) in Washington, DC. The JFNA supports Israeli military actions, and says it does so in the name of all Jewish Americans. Which is not how these millennials see it. “Not in Our Name” was the message and this film tells you a part of the story why.

Mr Enav's prominently displayed July 15 P-S article seems to suggest that that bully, Gaza, is hitting poor Israel below the belt. Writing from Jerusalem, Enav reports on a single (foiled) Hamas drone attack. Like many mainstream commentators on the latest Israeli invasion of Gaza, Enav ignores key realities.

In response to the recent school shooting in Oregon, the President made a stark and important point. He said that we are coming to just accept that shootings will happen at schools, and, in fact, we can't get even the mildest gun control measure through Congress. "We should be ashamed," he said, and he was right. 

Instead of a meaningful efforts to stop gun violence, the debate is routinely sidelined by, say, measures to stop people with diagnosed mental illnesses from having guns, as if that sort of limitation is all it would take to protect children.

Aug 07

Are You as Water Smart as Conan O'Brien?

By Steve Fleischli, NRDC | Report

Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, NRDC, and the State of California have teamed up to create a new series of very funny Public Service Announcements to encourage water conservation during California’s historic drought.  This new partnership follows the debut of Conan’s first drought PSA just a few weeks ago after the State adopted wise Emergency Regulations to cut outdoor water waste. Conan and Andy are awesome for inspiring needed action, but you’ll see that they’re also pretty darn water smart. 

Are you as water smart as Conan?  To find out, take the quiz below and watch and share Conan’s videos for the answers.

The following is a letter sent to CBC Radio One's weekday newsmagazine, The Current.

In my writings on Ukraine since last March, I warn readers to be wary of the "propaganda" of the government in Kyiv that is prosecuting the war in the east of the country and of mainstream news outlets that parrot Kyiv's words. Kyiv's imagined reality is of a Russian "invasion" of Ukraine through the medium of the social and political rebellion in the east of the country.

This fiction is designed to suit the political and economic goals of Ukraine's wealthy billionaires - to carry out a vast, austerity assault on the economy and working class of the entire country. The envelope of that assault is the austerity "economic association" agreement signed with the European Union on June 30.

On August 11th, Luke O'Donovan goes on trial for defending himself against a homophobic attack. Yes, you read that correctly. Somewhere between five and twelve people attacked Luke while calling him a faggot, early in the morning on New Year's, 2013, and Georgia prosecutors have decided to charge him, and not his assailants. Nor are the charges light: five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of attempted murder, meaning that, if convicted, Luke could spend decades in prison.

After O'Donovan was seen kissing and dancing with other men at a party in an Atlanta neighborhood, a mob of mostly drunken individuals punched him, stabbed him, and stomped on him while he was on the floor. Five of his assailants ended up with knife wounds. Despite a prevalence of witness statements in O'Donovan's favor (the only prosecution witness who is not one of the assailants and was
not drunk that night is the sister of one of the assailants), the state has decided to carry out their own lynching, within legal channels, but backed by the same homophobic prejudices and with consequences potentially far more brutal than the mob assault O'Donovan already suffered.

The health of a hunger-striking detainee at Guantánamo Bay has plummeted so low that it appears his life is at risk, his lawyer has said, days after a visit to the prison.

Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a father of four from Syria, is currently asking the DC District Court to order a halt to abusive force-feeding methods and the practice of unnecessary ‘forced cell extractions.’ Mr. Dhiab, who needs a wheelchair after years of mistreatment at Guantánamo, has been detained at the prison without charge or trial since 2002. He was cleared for release by the Obama Administration in 2009.

Washington, D.C. – Last night, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) asked the US Supreme Court to review its case challenging the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as a violation of the First Amendment.  The law punishes causing lost profits to an animal enterprise, but makes no distinction between loss caused by criminal acts and loss caused by boycotts and other constitutionally-protected activity. 

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act punishes anyone found to have caused the loss of property or profits to a business or other institution that uses or sells animals or animal products, or to a “person or entity having a connection to, relationship with, or transactions with an animal enterprise.”  CCR attorneys argued the law was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, and that it cast a chill on legal First Amendment activity by the animal rights activists they represent.