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.
Egyptian Revolutionary Labor Leader, Asma Mohammed Who Said No to Tear Gas, To Be Honored with War Resisters League’s 2012 Peace AwardBy Ali Issa, The War Resisters League | Press Release
Tomorrow, November 27th, War Resisters League, a US-based antimilitarist organization founded in 1923, recognizes Asma Mohammed and the Suez Port Workers with its 2012 Peace Award. Exactly one year ago, on November 27th, 2011, Asma Mohammed, customs officer at the Adabiya Port of Suez, Egypt, refused to process a 7-ton shipment of US-made tear gas coming in from the port of Wilmington, North Carolina.
This refusal came in the wake of unprecedented use of tear gas use against protesters around Tahrir Square during "the battle of Mohamed Mahmoud," where dozens died directly from inhalation of the gas.
This year's post-election "lame duck" congressional session presents several disturbing threats—alongside exciting opportunities—for fundamental civil liberties.
Measures extending government authority to conduct dragnet warrantless wiretapping, and arbitrarily detain Americans in domestic military detention without trial, have passed the House and now loom before the Senate. Yet members of Congress willing to do their jobs could support alternative measures to protect privacy and dissent.
Internet freedom means different things to different people. But for most of us it boils down to this: the freedom to read, do and say what we want online — and in private.
This Thursday, that freedom could come under attack. The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) — a bill passed in 1986, before most of us had even heard of the Internet — to bring it into the 21st century.
Only recently has Black Friday referred to shopping for great deals the day after Thanksgiving. Before that, it didn’t refer to people saving money but losing losing lots of lucre. In 1929 in Europe, it referred to the Wall Street stock market crash that coincided with the onset of the Great Depression. The first use of the phrase likewise referred to an American financial collapse back in 1869. Today, lots of people, if they swallow all the hype, attach the phrase to something fun -- consumer mania. While it’s good for both a day and a color to gain positive associations, it’s not so good for people to lose a historical note of caution.
It’s impressive how our collective amnesia came about. Modern media attained the power to totally redefine a phrase that once conjured up a scary memory. Not only has a major event in American history been forgotten by most Americans, but their economic masters have managed to get them to dedicate a day to shopping. And it seems this new Black Friday is being turned into a new national holiday almost as big as the other two on either side of it.
I did not spend Thanksgiving evening with my wife and my five children. I spent it, instead, handing out turkey sandwiches to workers in WalMart. And showing my support for one brave soul who walked off the job in protest against exploitation.
WalMart “associates” make an average of just more than $10 an hour. That means that if they manage to get a full 40 hours a week – and many don’t – they get paid $1,700 a month, before taxes. Somehow, that is supposed to pay for their food, shelter, clothing and medical care, and that of their children. Quite a trick.
No, it wasn‘t shredded wheat. This shredding was not of breakfast food and has been much harder to digest; it was evidence on serial murder! The related biliousness is all the more painful due to a worrisome new survey of rightist hatred in Germany. But first some background.
For a year now the case of three mystery killers has roiled the German scene. Their mug shots, shown over and over on TV, have made them as recognizable as family members. The two men are dead, eliminated by rather dubious “suicides”. The third, Beate Zschäpe, still awaits trial for her role in the killing, between 2000 and 2006, of ten men with immigrant background, nine Turkish and one Greek, of shooting down a policewoman, robbing banks, and igniting a bomb in 2004 in a Turkish neighborhood in Cologne which injured 22 people, four of them severely.
Israeli Violence Finally on Trial: Turkish Court Hears Evidence Against Four Senior Israeli Military in Mavi Mamara MurdersBy Ann Wright, SpeakOut | Report
Almost four years ago after the Israeli 22 day attack on Gaza that killed 1440, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless, in late January, 2009, I travelled to Gaza and witnessed the terrible destruction.
Now 4 years later, the Israelis have mounted another major military attack on Gaza that so far has killed 97 and wounded at least 780 Palestinians.
During these past four years I joined international citizen activists in many projects to educate our fellow citizens about the frequent Israeli military attacks on Gaza, the land and sea blockade of Gaza, the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, the illegal settlements built by the Israeli government in the West Bank and the apartheid walls that separate children from schools, farmers from their land and workers from their employment.
The public K-12 reform movement that was initiated with NCLB has now been underway for a decade. The perhaps unintended consequences of the alleged reform have expanded to expenditure of double-digit billions of taxpayer dollars without material K-12 improvement, and have taken on the properties of a cold war. The protagonists have multiplied, in this election going beyond a government versus public education dyad, to engaging education's civilians, parents and voters as in Indiana's state superintendent race.
As any conflict escalates, the categories of adversaries expand, and all can become enveloped in the "fog of war." The term, coined by Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz in 1837, "seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign." Our reform conflicts have now reached a stage where a growing question is; who is doing what to whom, and inferentially why? Intentions may not be what they seem.
A new Institute for Policy Studies report reveals the massive windfalls members of the "Fix the Debt" campaign stand to gain from their proposed solutions to the nation's fiscal challenges.
This corporate campaign is a major player in the debate, with a $60 million budget and a roster of more than 80 powerful CEO endorsers. The IPS report focuses on the extreme self-interest behind Fix the Debt's corporate tax proposals and how these CEOs have enriched themselves under the current tax regime.