Thursday, 30 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Frightened

    Ebola, Dengue fever, West Nile virus ... Republican ideology created some of these threats in the first place, or managed to make others worse. The climate crisis, which Republicans dismiss en masse, is a key ingredient in all of them.

  • The 0.01 Percent's "I Reap All" Accounts

    At least 9,000 wealthy Americans have amassed $5 million-plus sized IRAs. Multimillionaires and billionaires are shielding vast fortunes from taxation with monstrously huge IRAs.

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.

Working from the moment her mom died at the age 16 til now at age 52, my mom works endlessly yet we still find ourselves struggling to make ends meet. Is this her fault or the systems? Bill O’Reilly, a conservative political commentator with his own Fox TV show, seems to think the blame is on the individual stating, “You gotta look people in the eye and tell ‘em they’re irresponsible and lazy. And who’s gonna wanna do that? Because that’s what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen.” Irresponsible? My mom while raising five of her brothers and sisters also studied in her country’s university. She came to America and worked over 40 hours a week and we still found ourselves homeless at one point. Who exactly is to blame? The way I see it...the system is. This systematic problem that is based on capitalism is what makes sure that we start off poor and stay that way no matter what good choices we make or how hard we work or how much “responsibility” we put on ourselves.

Evidently, only men are supposed to ask for raises. Women who do will only annoy their bosses and instead should simply have faith in the system and hope for good karma. This is what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently stated. Although he later apologized for his “inarticulate” response, the fact remains that his initial answer serves to mask the tremendous gender wage gap that still exists. It also reinforces dangerous beliefs about workplace communication, which research has found already differs in ways that generally disadvantage female workers.

It is very clear that women’s wages still lag behind men’s in most every industry. In 2013, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that full-time, year-round female workers earned 78 percent of what their male counterparts earned.  In the technology industry, women earn, on average, $6,358 less than their male counterparts, and women with at least one child earn $11,247 less than all other workers, according to a study by the American Institute for Economic Research. The AAUW found that female engineers made 88 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries, while women in the financial services industry earn $14,067 a year less than men, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

Consider this comical scene described by Peter Van Buren, a former US diplomat, who was deployed to Iraq on a 12-month assignment in 2009-10:

Van Buren led two Department of State teams assigned with the abstract mission of the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq, which was destroyed in the US-led wars and sanctions. He describes the reconstruction of Iraq as such:

“In practice, that meant paying for schools that would never be completed, setting up pastry shops on streets without water or electricity, and conducting endless propaganda events on Washington-generated themes of the week (‘small business,’ ‘women's empowerment,’ ‘democracy building.’)”

It is September 26, 2014, and once again Mexico will soon fill the headlines of news outlets worldwide: 43 college students from a rural community in the state of Guerrero went missing. The immediate thought that come to the minds of many is the long repeated story and state-logic that frames these kinds of events under one and only rubric: the narco.

With that word in the horizon, Mexicans are slowly losing the capacity for surprise and concern. It may just be another narco-disappearance or execution among gangs, another one among thousands of tragedies that become the bread of every day. Perhap, this is why the news of the missing students got stronger momentum among the international media at first: the New York Times, the GuardianViceAl Jazeera, the Washington Post, the BBC.

Oct 17

Target Practice

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Poem

Niggers, kikes and dagos, spics and micks –

We knew about the differences –

But everybody was a motherfucker

Who sucked cock

 

At least we were honest about it

In the neighbourhood

Santa Barbara – Some 73 civil society leaders from 22 countries around the world have lent their support to the people and government of the Marshall Islands and the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits.

On April 24, 2014, The Marshall Islands (RMI) filed unprecedented lawsuits in the International Court of Justice and US Federal Court to hold the nine nuclear-armed nations accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was established on 1 June 2004 by Security Council resolution 1542 . The UN mission succeeded a Multinational Interim Force (MIF) authorized by the Security Council in February 2004.  The mission has a mandate to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, to strengthen Haiti’s government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights. With MINUSTAH’s mandate renewed on October 14, 2014, it is opportune to review the mission’s accomplishments during its ten-year presence in Haiti.

The recent deaths of Mike Brown and VonDerrit Myers and the resulting protests have stirred up a lot of emotions and opinions. People who would never consider themselves racist have been saying things that can come across as just that. 

Oct 16

Honoring the Original People

By Cris Toffolo, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Last week the Seattle City Council took the courageous decision to celebrate October 13th as Indigenous People’s Day.  This is a national event, for in making this decision, Seattle is showing all of us how to take steps toward renewing our nation and remaking it in a more just and less violent image.

Americans descend from many different indigenous and non-indigenous nations and it is often unclear just what defines us as a people. Let me put forth the idea that what many of us share is a history of violence, suffering, oppression and trauma. 

Cambridge, MA - Open Hillel, a student-led movement advocating open conversation on the Israel/Palestine conflict within American Jewish institutions, hosted its first conference October 11-13 at Harvard University. Over 300 students, activists, scholars, and Jewish community leaders attended the conference, subtitled “If Not Now, When?”, which featured a broad range of panels, breakouts, and organizing workshops.

"For nearly two years, the Open Hillel campaign has worked to promote open discourse and pluralism in Jewish communities on campus and beyond. This weekend, hundreds of Jewish students and recent grads from across the US and Canada will convene to create the Jewish community that we want to see -- and to organize together to create change." said Rachel Sandalow-Ash, a senior at Harvard University and Open Hillel Internal Coordinator.

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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.

Working from the moment her mom died at the age 16 til now at age 52, my mom works endlessly yet we still find ourselves struggling to make ends meet. Is this her fault or the systems? Bill O’Reilly, a conservative political commentator with his own Fox TV show, seems to think the blame is on the individual stating, “You gotta look people in the eye and tell ‘em they’re irresponsible and lazy. And who’s gonna wanna do that? Because that’s what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen.” Irresponsible? My mom while raising five of her brothers and sisters also studied in her country’s university. She came to America and worked over 40 hours a week and we still found ourselves homeless at one point. Who exactly is to blame? The way I see it...the system is. This systematic problem that is based on capitalism is what makes sure that we start off poor and stay that way no matter what good choices we make or how hard we work or how much “responsibility” we put on ourselves.

Evidently, only men are supposed to ask for raises. Women who do will only annoy their bosses and instead should simply have faith in the system and hope for good karma. This is what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently stated. Although he later apologized for his “inarticulate” response, the fact remains that his initial answer serves to mask the tremendous gender wage gap that still exists. It also reinforces dangerous beliefs about workplace communication, which research has found already differs in ways that generally disadvantage female workers.

It is very clear that women’s wages still lag behind men’s in most every industry. In 2013, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that full-time, year-round female workers earned 78 percent of what their male counterparts earned.  In the technology industry, women earn, on average, $6,358 less than their male counterparts, and women with at least one child earn $11,247 less than all other workers, according to a study by the American Institute for Economic Research. The AAUW found that female engineers made 88 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries, while women in the financial services industry earn $14,067 a year less than men, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

Consider this comical scene described by Peter Van Buren, a former US diplomat, who was deployed to Iraq on a 12-month assignment in 2009-10:

Van Buren led two Department of State teams assigned with the abstract mission of the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq, which was destroyed in the US-led wars and sanctions. He describes the reconstruction of Iraq as such:

“In practice, that meant paying for schools that would never be completed, setting up pastry shops on streets without water or electricity, and conducting endless propaganda events on Washington-generated themes of the week (‘small business,’ ‘women's empowerment,’ ‘democracy building.’)”

It is September 26, 2014, and once again Mexico will soon fill the headlines of news outlets worldwide: 43 college students from a rural community in the state of Guerrero went missing. The immediate thought that come to the minds of many is the long repeated story and state-logic that frames these kinds of events under one and only rubric: the narco.

With that word in the horizon, Mexicans are slowly losing the capacity for surprise and concern. It may just be another narco-disappearance or execution among gangs, another one among thousands of tragedies that become the bread of every day. Perhap, this is why the news of the missing students got stronger momentum among the international media at first: the New York Times, the GuardianViceAl Jazeera, the Washington Post, the BBC.

Oct 17

Target Practice

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Poem

Niggers, kikes and dagos, spics and micks –

We knew about the differences –

But everybody was a motherfucker

Who sucked cock

 

At least we were honest about it

In the neighbourhood

Santa Barbara – Some 73 civil society leaders from 22 countries around the world have lent their support to the people and government of the Marshall Islands and the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits.

On April 24, 2014, The Marshall Islands (RMI) filed unprecedented lawsuits in the International Court of Justice and US Federal Court to hold the nine nuclear-armed nations accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was established on 1 June 2004 by Security Council resolution 1542 . The UN mission succeeded a Multinational Interim Force (MIF) authorized by the Security Council in February 2004.  The mission has a mandate to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, to strengthen Haiti’s government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights. With MINUSTAH’s mandate renewed on October 14, 2014, it is opportune to review the mission’s accomplishments during its ten-year presence in Haiti.

The recent deaths of Mike Brown and VonDerrit Myers and the resulting protests have stirred up a lot of emotions and opinions. People who would never consider themselves racist have been saying things that can come across as just that. 

Oct 16

Honoring the Original People

By Cris Toffolo, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Last week the Seattle City Council took the courageous decision to celebrate October 13th as Indigenous People’s Day.  This is a national event, for in making this decision, Seattle is showing all of us how to take steps toward renewing our nation and remaking it in a more just and less violent image.

Americans descend from many different indigenous and non-indigenous nations and it is often unclear just what defines us as a people. Let me put forth the idea that what many of us share is a history of violence, suffering, oppression and trauma. 

Cambridge, MA - Open Hillel, a student-led movement advocating open conversation on the Israel/Palestine conflict within American Jewish institutions, hosted its first conference October 11-13 at Harvard University. Over 300 students, activists, scholars, and Jewish community leaders attended the conference, subtitled “If Not Now, When?”, which featured a broad range of panels, breakouts, and organizing workshops.

"For nearly two years, the Open Hillel campaign has worked to promote open discourse and pluralism in Jewish communities on campus and beyond. This weekend, hundreds of Jewish students and recent grads from across the US and Canada will convene to create the Jewish community that we want to see -- and to organize together to create change." said Rachel Sandalow-Ash, a senior at Harvard University and Open Hillel Internal Coordinator.