Monday, 22 September 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.

Feb 04

Minimum Wage: Hope for the Poor

By Dan Arel, Truthout | Op-Ed

After President Obama’s latest State of the Union address, the media lit up. The most controversial thing he said? Not gun control, we have heard that all before. Not the war. What could have been so controversial that it out shined some of the hottest topics in the media today? Minimum Wage.

Why is this so controversial? Why wouldn’t we want to give everyone who makes $7.25 an hour a pay raise to $9.00? The GOP is calling it crazy, but in reality it’s not crazy at all. In fact, it makes complete sense from both a moral and a prudential standpoint.

As pro se defendants, we are probably naive about how the U.S. “justice” system works.

We understood from our charges that any alleged trespass must occur on private property.

We further understood that any alleged annoyance, any alleged disturbance, any alleged recklessness, construed as disorderly conduct, must occur on public property.

Squaring that circle, we’ve been thinking, would surely result in at least one of those charges being dropped.

Feb 03

Talk Show Baloney and Europe's Future

By Victor Grossman, Truthout | Op-Ed
There are many TV talk shows in Germany, sometimes hot, often vacuous. But the one on January 16th hit the roof, with far more people watching it afterwards via internet than at the time it was aired. And their comments, by the thousand, were mostly pounded away in great anger!
 
A main cause of such emotion was Markus Lanz. For years the most popular TV show in Germany had been “Wetten dass…” (copied in the USA as “Wanna bet?”). But when its extremely popular moderator stepped down after 27 years Marcus Lanz took over. With an unusual combination of stupidity, boredom and bad taste he soon managed to send theshow, which once hit a record of 14 million Saturday night viewers, skidding down to 6.3 million. But Lanz kept plodding - and did better with his late-night talk show three evenings in the week, mostly with prominent, newsworthy guests. Their views, Lanz’s jolly manners and perhaps his handsome good looks kept a much smaller audience more or less satisfied.
Feb 03

Groups Sue FEC, Call on Federal Court to Overturn Dismissal of Complaint Against Crossroads GPS

By Kevin Zeese, Karilyn Gower and Dave Vance, Truthout | Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A court should overturn the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) dismissal of acomplaint about the secretive political spending group Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies (GPS), watchdog groups said in a lawsuit filed (PDF) today against the commission in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Feb 03

Obama Out-Orwelled Orwell

By Lee Camp, Popular Resistance | Video Interview

Barack Obama may as well have delivered his 5th State of the Union address to and for the Superstate Oceania, the fictional empire mired in perpetual war from George Orwell’s 1984.

No, Obama did not come directly out and tell us that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength so much as he embodied those ideas in a nuanced, measured performance that inspired the political pundits like Chris Matthews to wax poetic like a Theatre critic praising an aging stage actor who was able to find the old magic one last time.

Today, CCR announced with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that we have reached an agreement for the City to drop the appeal in our landmark stop-and-frisk class action,Floyd v. the City of New York.

In August 2013, a federal judge found that the New York Police Department (NYPD) had engaged in a widespread practice of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stops and frisks. The court ordered the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee a collaborative, joint remedial process.

Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that would reduce the federal prison population, decrease racial disparities, save taxpayer money, and reunite nonviolent drug law offenders with their families sooner.  The reforms are supported by a strange bedfellows group of senators, including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Maybe it was the Polar vortex that gripped large parts of the US, but El Salvador's elections on Sunday February 2nd have pretty much flown under the radar of the United States media. And yet, there is good reason to pay attention. The FMLN is the party generally projected to win the election and is the guerilla organization that morphed into a political party after the signing of the peace accords in 1992. The FMLN candidate Salvador Sánchez Cerén is running against Norman Quijano, the candidate for the conservative right wing ARENA, a party backed by the country's waning oligarchy with nefarious ties to the US backed death squads during the war in the 1980s.

Feb 01

The Shriveling State of the Union

By Ben Manski, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Republicans are right when they they point to America’s 25+ million jobless and ask whether the President is serious in proposing job training as his primary remedy. The Democrats are right when they respond that the Republicans have proposed no real jobs alternatives of their own.

Five years after Obama’s historic mandate, the conditions of the great mass of Americans remains intolerable. And yet to hear his fifth State of Union address, an uninformed listener might think America’s problems are limited and manageable.

Adding momentum to a national trend of reigning in reckless outsourcing of publicservices to for-profit corporations and other private entities, legislators in Nebraska, Vermont and West Virginia recently introduced transparency and accountability legislation aimed at protecting taxpayersand putting them back in charge of their public services.

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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.

Feb 04

Minimum Wage: Hope for the Poor

By Dan Arel, Truthout | Op-Ed

After President Obama’s latest State of the Union address, the media lit up. The most controversial thing he said? Not gun control, we have heard that all before. Not the war. What could have been so controversial that it out shined some of the hottest topics in the media today? Minimum Wage.

Why is this so controversial? Why wouldn’t we want to give everyone who makes $7.25 an hour a pay raise to $9.00? The GOP is calling it crazy, but in reality it’s not crazy at all. In fact, it makes complete sense from both a moral and a prudential standpoint.

As pro se defendants, we are probably naive about how the U.S. “justice” system works.

We understood from our charges that any alleged trespass must occur on private property.

We further understood that any alleged annoyance, any alleged disturbance, any alleged recklessness, construed as disorderly conduct, must occur on public property.

Squaring that circle, we’ve been thinking, would surely result in at least one of those charges being dropped.

Feb 03

Talk Show Baloney and Europe's Future

By Victor Grossman, Truthout | Op-Ed
There are many TV talk shows in Germany, sometimes hot, often vacuous. But the one on January 16th hit the roof, with far more people watching it afterwards via internet than at the time it was aired. And their comments, by the thousand, were mostly pounded away in great anger!
 
A main cause of such emotion was Markus Lanz. For years the most popular TV show in Germany had been “Wetten dass…” (copied in the USA as “Wanna bet?”). But when its extremely popular moderator stepped down after 27 years Marcus Lanz took over. With an unusual combination of stupidity, boredom and bad taste he soon managed to send theshow, which once hit a record of 14 million Saturday night viewers, skidding down to 6.3 million. But Lanz kept plodding - and did better with his late-night talk show three evenings in the week, mostly with prominent, newsworthy guests. Their views, Lanz’s jolly manners and perhaps his handsome good looks kept a much smaller audience more or less satisfied.
Feb 03

Groups Sue FEC, Call on Federal Court to Overturn Dismissal of Complaint Against Crossroads GPS

By Kevin Zeese, Karilyn Gower and Dave Vance, Truthout | Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A court should overturn the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) dismissal of acomplaint about the secretive political spending group Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies (GPS), watchdog groups said in a lawsuit filed (PDF) today against the commission in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Feb 03

Obama Out-Orwelled Orwell

By Lee Camp, Popular Resistance | Video Interview

Barack Obama may as well have delivered his 5th State of the Union address to and for the Superstate Oceania, the fictional empire mired in perpetual war from George Orwell’s 1984.

No, Obama did not come directly out and tell us that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength so much as he embodied those ideas in a nuanced, measured performance that inspired the political pundits like Chris Matthews to wax poetic like a Theatre critic praising an aging stage actor who was able to find the old magic one last time.

Today, CCR announced with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that we have reached an agreement for the City to drop the appeal in our landmark stop-and-frisk class action,Floyd v. the City of New York.

In August 2013, a federal judge found that the New York Police Department (NYPD) had engaged in a widespread practice of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stops and frisks. The court ordered the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee a collaborative, joint remedial process.

Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that would reduce the federal prison population, decrease racial disparities, save taxpayer money, and reunite nonviolent drug law offenders with their families sooner.  The reforms are supported by a strange bedfellows group of senators, including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Maybe it was the Polar vortex that gripped large parts of the US, but El Salvador's elections on Sunday February 2nd have pretty much flown under the radar of the United States media. And yet, there is good reason to pay attention. The FMLN is the party generally projected to win the election and is the guerilla organization that morphed into a political party after the signing of the peace accords in 1992. The FMLN candidate Salvador Sánchez Cerén is running against Norman Quijano, the candidate for the conservative right wing ARENA, a party backed by the country's waning oligarchy with nefarious ties to the US backed death squads during the war in the 1980s.

Feb 01

The Shriveling State of the Union

By Ben Manski, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Republicans are right when they they point to America’s 25+ million jobless and ask whether the President is serious in proposing job training as his primary remedy. The Democrats are right when they respond that the Republicans have proposed no real jobs alternatives of their own.

Five years after Obama’s historic mandate, the conditions of the great mass of Americans remains intolerable. And yet to hear his fifth State of Union address, an uninformed listener might think America’s problems are limited and manageable.

Adding momentum to a national trend of reigning in reckless outsourcing of publicservices to for-profit corporations and other private entities, legislators in Nebraska, Vermont and West Virginia recently introduced transparency and accountability legislation aimed at protecting taxpayersand putting them back in charge of their public services.