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.
On Wednesday, Free Press submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission in response to the agency's recent report on the ownership of commercial broadcast stations.
The report confirmed that women and people of color remain disproportionately underrepresented in broadcast ownership, with some numbers still moving in the wrong direction. For example, the data show that African Americans own just five full-power television stations, down from 19 in 2006. In other words, African Americans comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population, but own a mere 0.4 percent of TV stations.
"In 2008, 2,947 children and teens died from guns in the United States and 2,793 died in 2009 for a total of 5,740," details Protect Children Not Guns 2012 (Children's Defense Fund), "—one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 55 every week for two years" (p. 2).
Tragedy is often reserved for single catastrophic events, but cumulative loss is no less tragic, particularly when the lives of innocent children and teens are placed in the context of daily violence.
For good reason Mark Charles, a member of the Navajo Nation, is deeply offended that buried on page 45 of the 2010 Defense Appropriation Act (after pages on the maintenance and operation of the United States Military) is an "official" apology to Native American People. Not only does such dismissive behavior reflect amnesia and insincerity towards hundreds of thousands of people and one the worst genocides in modern history, but it reveals a national pathological defect in that, U.S. political leaders and officials find it extremely difficult in expressing remorse for past mistakes.
Like hundreds of other Native American tribes, at least for those who survived mass extermination campaigns, the U.S. government sought to dominate the Navajo by establishing armed military posts throughout their territory. Those who resisted were either killed or imprisoned.
Every year during the first week of August the world's attention turns toward Hiroshima and then, three days later, Nagasaki, as we remember the atomic bombings that killed tens of thousands of Japanese civilians in a single moment with countless more radiation deaths in the years after.
Peace advocates, politicians, Nobel Prize laureates (though never a U.S. president) gather in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bow their heads in solemn observance of the horrors of entire cities being annihilated by a single bomb.
But who talks about Hiroshima in December?
Detroit is the largest of the internal colonies of Michigan. It is followed by Benton Harbor, Flint, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac and Highland Park. The aforementioned cities have been occupied by "Emergency Managers" for the past several years.
In 2009 Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm, the first woman governor of Michigan, appointed Robert Bobb over Detroit Public Schools. Two years later, after Snyder was elected (Republican) governor of Michgan, he appointed former GM executive and MGM casino magnate Roy Roberts to the position of Emergency Manager.
The increase in murder-suicide, in multiple gun ownership, and the rise of right-wing evangelical civilian militias has caused Second Amendment arguments relating guns and regulated militias to pervade the media. Speculation on what our forefathers had in mind for the role of militias is a new cottage industry. It is irrelevant. Militias are defined by existing federal laws that are intentionally designed to be changed when they become archaic. Redefining and specifying in detail, what determines a regulated militia and who its members are, may in effect, be a method of modifying the Second Amendment. At a minimum, it can pose serious questions relevant to the "Constitutional Right to Bear Arms" argument of the civilian population and rogue "Civilian Militias"..
The wisest man I had the privilege of knowing in my life once said, "There is no nation, no matter how powerful, that cannot be destroyed by hate."
The latest tragedy – and I sincerely hope it will still be the latest when you read this – has been unparalleled in its violence. Because the true measure of violence is not in the body count but in the violation of the sacred life that we hold most dear, for example in our innocent children. It has also been unusual in the confusion that still surrounds what exactly happened. Like most of us, I at first found myself poring over the sketchy reports, trying to understand how it happened, to piece together the story. But then I stopped. These details are at best a distraction, at a time that we can ill afford one. At worst they are more than a distraction; they are a seduction.
With reports the President is poised to force a deal that would cut Social Security benefits through the chained CPI, it may be the time for the Left to show its power as effectively as the Tea Party. The GOP may have saved us with their usual stubbornness, but it's not clear how long that will hold.
Some statements from Social Security Works and allies:
"Washington politicians need to understand that the so-called chained-CPI is a cruel cut, falling hardest on the oldest of the old, those disabled at the youngest ages and the poorest of the poor. The cut is the value of a week's worth of food each and every month for the typical 80 year old widow; nearly two weeks each month, if she survives to age 95. A cruel cut so that the richest two percent do not have to pay an extra three pennies of taxes on dollars of income in excess of $250,000.
Last month I was asked to testify before the South Jordan (near Salt Lake City) City Council about the health threat to a nearby neighborhood from lead emissions from a proposed indoor gun range. I recited the federal government's official position--no amount of lead exposure is safe, especially for children. Many young parents, worried their small children would suffer diminished intelligence from small amounts of lead continually emitted in their backyard, also testified against issuing a permit for the gun range. Despite legitimate health concerns and solid opposition from the neighbors, the council issued the permit. I went home muttering to myself about child abuse from America's pathologic infatuation with guns.