Monday, 24 November 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.

Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.
 
Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are acknowledging that merchants who use images and names of the government agencies on parody merchandise are not in violation of any federal laws.

The admission settles a lawsuit Public Citizen filed against the agencies on behalf of Minnesota activist Dan McCall. Public Citizen argued that McCall has a First Amendment right to sell parody merchandise using the NSA and DHS seals.

... among people who are not the president.

On Presidents Day, RootsAction.org set up a petition in response to this news:

"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say," the Associated Press reports -- "and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year."

Feb 19

New Snowden Revelation Show US Targeting of WikiLeaks, Assange

By Staff, Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release

February 18, 2014, New York – In response to recent revelations by Edward Snowden of the NSA’s global effort to surveil, intimidate and target WikiLeaks, its publisher Julian Assange, and their associates, supporters and counsel, the Center for Constitutional Rights, U.S lawyers for Assange, issued the following statement:

These documents shed even more light on the Obama administration’s continuing attacks on bona fide journalists and whistleblowers, and confirm the administration’s attempts to criminalize and put a stop to the journalistic work of the WikiLeaks media organization. The U.S. government has been spinning a web around Assange, WikiLeaks, and their supporters in order to prevent the truth about government criminality, corruption and hypocrisy from being revealed. The U.S. tried to pressure other countries to do the same.

Nicholas Kristof’s ill-conceived diatribe against the supposed self-marginalization of academics has come in for a fair amount of criticism, notably from Corey Robin. The most obvious problem with Kristof’s argument assertion is that anywhere you look in the policy sphere, you can’t help stumbling over academics left and right. Macroeconomics is an obvious one, but there many others. Take education, for example, where anyone pushing for any conceivable policy change can wave a fistful of academic papers in your face.

Feb 19

Snowden Attorney Radack Interrogated and Harassed at Heathrow

By Staff, Government Accountability Project | Press Release

Washington, DC – Jesselyn Radack, an attorney at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) in Washington, DC who represents whistleblower Edward Snowden, was interrogated and harassed by a Heathrow Border Force agent as she entered the United Kingdom over the weekend. Her questioners made it clear that she was subjected to this intrusive and hostile treatment because of her legal relationship to Mr. Snowden.

I had a heck of a time making sense of the U.S. Navy's new motto "A Global Force for Good" until I realized that it meant "We are a global force, and wherever we go we're never leaving."

For three years now people in the little island nation of Bahrain have been nonviolently protesting and demanding democratic reforms.

For three years now the king of Bahrain and his royal thugs have been shooting, kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and terrorizing nonviolent opponents.  An opponent includes anyone speaking up for human rights or even "insulting" the king or his flag, which carries a sentence of 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.

Feb 18

Today's Egypt in a Song: Rima Is Back to Her Old Ways

By Mamoon Alabbasi, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In Egypt, there is a new catchy tune circulating in social media pages. The song, which gives a symbolic description of the current events in Egypt, is sung by an artist who is known for his strong leanings towards the 25th January 2011 revolution. Yasser Elmanawahly stayed true to his ideals even when they clashed with those who were in power following the fall of Egypt's dictator Hosni Mubarak. He was critical of the SCAF reign and he did not hold back in criticising the rule of the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

It’s been more than five years since the peak of the financial crisis, and it seems clear (to me, at least) that not much has changed when it comes to the structure of the financial sector, the existence of too-big-to-fail banks, and the types of activities that they engage in. It’s also clear that the Dodd-Frank Act and its ensuing rulemakings have embodied a technocratic perspective according to which important decisions should be left to experts and made on the grounds of economic efficiency. Even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Dodd-Frank achievement most beloved of reformers, is essentially dedicated to correcting market failures, which means attempting to achieve the outcomes that would be generated by a perfect market.

Thomas Friedman is loose in Silicon Valley, the economic hub best known for colluding to rip off its workers. He can't contain his enthusiasm for "start-up America," telling readers;

"What they all have in common is they wake up every day and ask: 'What are the biggest trends in the world, and how do I best invent/reinvent my business to thrive from them?' They’re fixated on creating abundance, not redividing scarcity, and they respect no limits on imagination. No idea here is 'off the table.'"

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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.

Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.
 
Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are acknowledging that merchants who use images and names of the government agencies on parody merchandise are not in violation of any federal laws.

The admission settles a lawsuit Public Citizen filed against the agencies on behalf of Minnesota activist Dan McCall. Public Citizen argued that McCall has a First Amendment right to sell parody merchandise using the NSA and DHS seals.

... among people who are not the president.

On Presidents Day, RootsAction.org set up a petition in response to this news:

"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say," the Associated Press reports -- "and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year."

Feb 19

New Snowden Revelation Show US Targeting of WikiLeaks, Assange

By Staff, Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release

February 18, 2014, New York – In response to recent revelations by Edward Snowden of the NSA’s global effort to surveil, intimidate and target WikiLeaks, its publisher Julian Assange, and their associates, supporters and counsel, the Center for Constitutional Rights, U.S lawyers for Assange, issued the following statement:

These documents shed even more light on the Obama administration’s continuing attacks on bona fide journalists and whistleblowers, and confirm the administration’s attempts to criminalize and put a stop to the journalistic work of the WikiLeaks media organization. The U.S. government has been spinning a web around Assange, WikiLeaks, and their supporters in order to prevent the truth about government criminality, corruption and hypocrisy from being revealed. The U.S. tried to pressure other countries to do the same.

Nicholas Kristof’s ill-conceived diatribe against the supposed self-marginalization of academics has come in for a fair amount of criticism, notably from Corey Robin. The most obvious problem with Kristof’s argument assertion is that anywhere you look in the policy sphere, you can’t help stumbling over academics left and right. Macroeconomics is an obvious one, but there many others. Take education, for example, where anyone pushing for any conceivable policy change can wave a fistful of academic papers in your face.

Feb 19

Snowden Attorney Radack Interrogated and Harassed at Heathrow

By Staff, Government Accountability Project | Press Release

Washington, DC – Jesselyn Radack, an attorney at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) in Washington, DC who represents whistleblower Edward Snowden, was interrogated and harassed by a Heathrow Border Force agent as she entered the United Kingdom over the weekend. Her questioners made it clear that she was subjected to this intrusive and hostile treatment because of her legal relationship to Mr. Snowden.

I had a heck of a time making sense of the U.S. Navy's new motto "A Global Force for Good" until I realized that it meant "We are a global force, and wherever we go we're never leaving."

For three years now people in the little island nation of Bahrain have been nonviolently protesting and demanding democratic reforms.

For three years now the king of Bahrain and his royal thugs have been shooting, kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and terrorizing nonviolent opponents.  An opponent includes anyone speaking up for human rights or even "insulting" the king or his flag, which carries a sentence of 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.

Feb 18

Today's Egypt in a Song: Rima Is Back to Her Old Ways

By Mamoon Alabbasi, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In Egypt, there is a new catchy tune circulating in social media pages. The song, which gives a symbolic description of the current events in Egypt, is sung by an artist who is known for his strong leanings towards the 25th January 2011 revolution. Yasser Elmanawahly stayed true to his ideals even when they clashed with those who were in power following the fall of Egypt's dictator Hosni Mubarak. He was critical of the SCAF reign and he did not hold back in criticising the rule of the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

It’s been more than five years since the peak of the financial crisis, and it seems clear (to me, at least) that not much has changed when it comes to the structure of the financial sector, the existence of too-big-to-fail banks, and the types of activities that they engage in. It’s also clear that the Dodd-Frank Act and its ensuing rulemakings have embodied a technocratic perspective according to which important decisions should be left to experts and made on the grounds of economic efficiency. Even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Dodd-Frank achievement most beloved of reformers, is essentially dedicated to correcting market failures, which means attempting to achieve the outcomes that would be generated by a perfect market.

Thomas Friedman is loose in Silicon Valley, the economic hub best known for colluding to rip off its workers. He can't contain his enthusiasm for "start-up America," telling readers;

"What they all have in common is they wake up every day and ask: 'What are the biggest trends in the world, and how do I best invent/reinvent my business to thrive from them?' They’re fixated on creating abundance, not redividing scarcity, and they respect no limits on imagination. No idea here is 'off the table.'"