Wednesday, 26 November 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • Free Marissa and All Black People

    Marissa Alexander made a decision for herself and her family to accelerate the (un-free) freedom that all who live black in the United States have when we aren't formally caged.

  • From Buy Nothing Day to Independence Day

    Let's highlight the importance of framing and narratives, and the power of including the Global South, in a global day of boycott against multinational corporations.

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.

The recent publicity surrounding episodes of police violence around the country makes clear that police officers need to be properly trained and prompt and thorough investigations and corrective action must be taken against officers who unnecessarily use force against individuals, especially those who are disabled.

When National Guardsman shot and killed students on the campus of Kent State in 1970, it inspired legendary artist Neil Young to immediately write the song "Ohio" in which he implored "how many more?" The incident galvanized our nation and, indeed, there has not been a killing of students by the National Guard since that tragic event.

In a macho violation of common sense and the needs of hundreds of millions of people living in crushing poverty, the ruling elite of India­ (that's the government and multinational corporations who own the country) recently launched a satellite that "after a journey of 300 days and 420 million miles…arrived to orbit around Mars," reported The Guardian. The $74 million "Mars mission" is "cheap by American (or Chinese) standards," The Economist says, but amounts to a fraction of a much more expensive – not to say insane - space program that drains US $1 billion a year from the national budget, a sum, which "is more than spare change, even for a near $2-trillion economy."

The "Mars Madness," or Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) to give it its official title, makes India one of four (the US, the EU and Russia being the other three) that have ventured to our closest cosmic neighbor, and constitutes a conspicuously extravagant part of what economist-activist Jean Dreze describes as "the Indian elite's delusional quest for superpower status." Competition and nationalism drive such escapades, not the quest for knowledge and understanding. The space race between the US and the Soviet Union for example, "was not an affordable luxury undertaken for the sake of knowledge, but intrinsically tied to the military-industrial complex," The Guardian rightly states. India's primary competitor in all things economic is that other mammoth nation, China. The Chinese space program is advanced (in 2012, it put a Chinese woman in space and last year, launched its first un-crewed lunar mission), and therefore intensely intimidating to the Indian nationalists' psyche.

From: Biofuelwatch, Dogwood Alliance, Energy Justice Network, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Save America’s Forests, and Global Justice Ecology Project

Groups around the country denounce the Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council and their industry partners' designation of this date as "National Bioenergy Day." Pointing to growing opposition to bioenergy facilities around the nation and the world, they say burning trees, contaminated wastes, and garbage is grossly and dangerously misrepresented by industry advocates as “clean, green, and carbon neutral."  The groups point out that biomass power pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than even coal, along with comparable amounts of toxic air pollution, while also posing new threats to forests, ecosystems, and our health.

On Friday, Sept. 25, 2014, Thomas Eric Duncan went to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He had a high fever and stomach pains. He told the nurse he had recently been in Liberia, part of the Ebola zone. But he was a Black man with no health insurance, so he was released after being given antibiotics and Tylenol.

Two days later Duncan returned to the hospital in an ambulance. Two days after that, he was finally diagnosed with Ebola. Eight days later, he died alone in his hospital room.

It is really bizarre how folks find it so difficult to mention the trade deficit as the obvious source of weak demand in the economy. This is not a debatable point. We have a trade deficit of around $500 billion a year or roughly 3.0 percent of GDP. This is money that is creating demand elsewhere, not in the United States.

If we are going to maintain something like full employment then we need to make up this $500 billion in lost demand with higher than normal expenditures from another sector, which means either government spending, investment, residential construction, or consumption. This is all simple GDP accounting, the stuff everyone learns in intro economics. This is about an accounting identity, it is not a theory that can be debated. It is by definition true.

It's been one month since the largest climate march in history, and recent "Climate Action" pledges from global leaders like the Department of Defense, President Obama and the United Nations do not add up to what communities need.

The People's Climate March on Sunday September 21, 2014 was a major historic event. It was historic because of the unprecedented numbers - 400,000 people came out to march. It was historic because the participants and leaders of the march were made up of primarily people of color on the frontlines of the climate and economic crises: communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy, youth of color doing environmental justice work, and indigenous peoples from around the world led a broad march from many sectors including faith communities, labor, and more. For Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), as co-anchor of the Our Power Campaign, it was historic to mobilize for this march because of the way the grassroots organizing sector and climate policy organizations came together to collaborate in the planning of the march, and laid the groundwork for strengthened relationships and a broader united movement for climate justice.

Oct 23

Bill of Rights 2014

By Jason Flores-Williams, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Amendment, The First

As the legitimacy of any system depends on the appearance of freedom, the inalienable right of the people to harmlessly assemble shall not be infringed; nor shall meaningless speech be abridged; nor shall the corporate-controlled media in any way be prohibited from fulfilling its vital role in the promotion of consumer capitalism. Those interested in making basic structural change, please send letter of intent and DNA sample to Stratfor Global.

Amendment, The Second

Though the US Government could destroy every one of its citizens with a push of a button, the fantasies of frustrated white men who blame the blacks and Mexicans for all their problems shall not be infringed, though this little illusion has resulted in the mass slaughter of our children.

I would not have guessed that people cared so much and so well about US prisoners. The Governor of Pennsylvania is expected to sign into law a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a quick stop to. In the first day since posting the following petition, over 10,000 people have signed it and added quite eloquent reasons why. It can be signed here

Imal, a 7 year old Afghan student in the 2nd grade, came to visit us in Kabul.

As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.

If you could see Imal in this video, you would want to hug Imal immediately.

From March to August Under de Blasio/Bratton, NYPD Made More Marijuana Possession Arrests than Bloomberg/Kelly in Same Period of  Previous Year

New York: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance shows that, despite campaign promises, marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under Mayor Bloomberg. As under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations, these arrests are marked by shockingly high racial disparities. The report, Race, Class & Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio’s Two New Yorks: the NYPD’s Marijuana Arrest Crusade Continues in 2014 draws on data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and shows that despite a change in mayoral administrations and police commissioners, the NYPD continues its practice of making wasteful, racially biased, and costly marijuana arrests.

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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.

The recent publicity surrounding episodes of police violence around the country makes clear that police officers need to be properly trained and prompt and thorough investigations and corrective action must be taken against officers who unnecessarily use force against individuals, especially those who are disabled.

When National Guardsman shot and killed students on the campus of Kent State in 1970, it inspired legendary artist Neil Young to immediately write the song "Ohio" in which he implored "how many more?" The incident galvanized our nation and, indeed, there has not been a killing of students by the National Guard since that tragic event.

In a macho violation of common sense and the needs of hundreds of millions of people living in crushing poverty, the ruling elite of India­ (that's the government and multinational corporations who own the country) recently launched a satellite that "after a journey of 300 days and 420 million miles…arrived to orbit around Mars," reported The Guardian. The $74 million "Mars mission" is "cheap by American (or Chinese) standards," The Economist says, but amounts to a fraction of a much more expensive – not to say insane - space program that drains US $1 billion a year from the national budget, a sum, which "is more than spare change, even for a near $2-trillion economy."

The "Mars Madness," or Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) to give it its official title, makes India one of four (the US, the EU and Russia being the other three) that have ventured to our closest cosmic neighbor, and constitutes a conspicuously extravagant part of what economist-activist Jean Dreze describes as "the Indian elite's delusional quest for superpower status." Competition and nationalism drive such escapades, not the quest for knowledge and understanding. The space race between the US and the Soviet Union for example, "was not an affordable luxury undertaken for the sake of knowledge, but intrinsically tied to the military-industrial complex," The Guardian rightly states. India's primary competitor in all things economic is that other mammoth nation, China. The Chinese space program is advanced (in 2012, it put a Chinese woman in space and last year, launched its first un-crewed lunar mission), and therefore intensely intimidating to the Indian nationalists' psyche.

From: Biofuelwatch, Dogwood Alliance, Energy Justice Network, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Save America’s Forests, and Global Justice Ecology Project

Groups around the country denounce the Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council and their industry partners' designation of this date as "National Bioenergy Day." Pointing to growing opposition to bioenergy facilities around the nation and the world, they say burning trees, contaminated wastes, and garbage is grossly and dangerously misrepresented by industry advocates as “clean, green, and carbon neutral."  The groups point out that biomass power pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than even coal, along with comparable amounts of toxic air pollution, while also posing new threats to forests, ecosystems, and our health.

On Friday, Sept. 25, 2014, Thomas Eric Duncan went to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He had a high fever and stomach pains. He told the nurse he had recently been in Liberia, part of the Ebola zone. But he was a Black man with no health insurance, so he was released after being given antibiotics and Tylenol.

Two days later Duncan returned to the hospital in an ambulance. Two days after that, he was finally diagnosed with Ebola. Eight days later, he died alone in his hospital room.

It is really bizarre how folks find it so difficult to mention the trade deficit as the obvious source of weak demand in the economy. This is not a debatable point. We have a trade deficit of around $500 billion a year or roughly 3.0 percent of GDP. This is money that is creating demand elsewhere, not in the United States.

If we are going to maintain something like full employment then we need to make up this $500 billion in lost demand with higher than normal expenditures from another sector, which means either government spending, investment, residential construction, or consumption. This is all simple GDP accounting, the stuff everyone learns in intro economics. This is about an accounting identity, it is not a theory that can be debated. It is by definition true.

It's been one month since the largest climate march in history, and recent "Climate Action" pledges from global leaders like the Department of Defense, President Obama and the United Nations do not add up to what communities need.

The People's Climate March on Sunday September 21, 2014 was a major historic event. It was historic because of the unprecedented numbers - 400,000 people came out to march. It was historic because the participants and leaders of the march were made up of primarily people of color on the frontlines of the climate and economic crises: communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy, youth of color doing environmental justice work, and indigenous peoples from around the world led a broad march from many sectors including faith communities, labor, and more. For Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), as co-anchor of the Our Power Campaign, it was historic to mobilize for this march because of the way the grassroots organizing sector and climate policy organizations came together to collaborate in the planning of the march, and laid the groundwork for strengthened relationships and a broader united movement for climate justice.

Oct 23

Bill of Rights 2014

By Jason Flores-Williams, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Amendment, The First

As the legitimacy of any system depends on the appearance of freedom, the inalienable right of the people to harmlessly assemble shall not be infringed; nor shall meaningless speech be abridged; nor shall the corporate-controlled media in any way be prohibited from fulfilling its vital role in the promotion of consumer capitalism. Those interested in making basic structural change, please send letter of intent and DNA sample to Stratfor Global.

Amendment, The Second

Though the US Government could destroy every one of its citizens with a push of a button, the fantasies of frustrated white men who blame the blacks and Mexicans for all their problems shall not be infringed, though this little illusion has resulted in the mass slaughter of our children.

I would not have guessed that people cared so much and so well about US prisoners. The Governor of Pennsylvania is expected to sign into law a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a quick stop to. In the first day since posting the following petition, over 10,000 people have signed it and added quite eloquent reasons why. It can be signed here

Imal, a 7 year old Afghan student in the 2nd grade, came to visit us in Kabul.

As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.

If you could see Imal in this video, you would want to hug Imal immediately.

From March to August Under de Blasio/Bratton, NYPD Made More Marijuana Possession Arrests than Bloomberg/Kelly in Same Period of  Previous Year

New York: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance shows that, despite campaign promises, marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under Mayor Bloomberg. As under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations, these arrests are marked by shockingly high racial disparities. The report, Race, Class & Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio’s Two New Yorks: the NYPD’s Marijuana Arrest Crusade Continues in 2014 draws on data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and shows that despite a change in mayoral administrations and police commissioners, the NYPD continues its practice of making wasteful, racially biased, and costly marijuana arrests.