Tuesday, 04 August 2015 / 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.

In the continuous acquiescence of local government municipalities mixing church with state, the Jefferson County Police Department of Illinois has recently elected to place the words, "In God We Trust" on their police vehicles. This act, among many like it across the country, is a stark contradiction to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

No religion or its rhetoric should be promoted by a government agency. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow the promotion of God to infiltrate public services.

On behalf of the Organic Consumers Association, which represents more than 1 million Americans, I ask that you take the lead in protecting the right of consumers to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by issuing a public statement opposing HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, and by urging your fellow senators to oppose a Senate version of this bill.

On July 23, 2015, the US House of Representatives passed HR 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states' rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Jul 31

Obama's Legacy for Africa

By Foday Darboe, Speakout | Op-Ed

In light of President Obama's 2015 trip to Africa, likely his last trip to Africa as US president, it is appropriate to evaluate his government's foreign policies in Africa since he assumed office. Through this assessment, it is sadly plain to see that Obama's policies have not helped the vast majority of Africans. Instead, the policies have allowed the suppression of the African people's hoped-for democratic reforms, while simultaneously bolstering the power of corrupt African elites.

Compare Hillary Clinton's top donors to Bernie Sanders': 90 percent of the top 20 contributors to Hillary Clinton are corporations or provide services to corporations. 95 percent of the top 20 contributors to Bernie Sanders are unions.

Watchdog NGO Open Secrets monitors donations to US politicians and money in US politics. Open Secrets has compiled a list of the 20 largest donors to Democratic 2016 Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth, answered questions that acTVIsm Munich put to him about the crisis in Greece. He provides his analysis on the voting results of the Greek referendum, austerity and its effects on the Eurozone. 

Last year, San Francisco tenant rights' supporters scored an important victory when voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition K, requiring all new housing developments provide 33% low and moderate-cost units.

The objective was to put a lid on the unregulated, speculative construction boom that earned the city its most contentious distinction of being the country's second most expensive place to live, just after New York City.

Jul 29

Adjunct Professors and Workers' Rights

By Laura Finley, Speakout | Op-Ed

The workers' rights movement has exploded in the last few years, with fast food, agricultural and other workers staging strikes andother nonviolent actions to demand increased wages, benefits, and better working conditions. One group of workers that has received far too little attention is adjunct college professors.

According to data collected by the Chronicle of Higher Education, adjuncts at one college and two universities near my home in Southeast Florida earn between $1,380 and $3,000 to teach a fifteen week, three credit course.

In March, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed rules to crack down on predatory payday lenders. These rules would prevent many payday lending abuses and give consumers a way out of lenders' debt trap.

Under the CFPB's new rules, borrowers would first have to show they could cover their basic living expenses while repaying loans. Lenders could skip "means testing" and instead limit each person's total borrowing to $500 - with a single finance charge and no repeated charges.

Faced with the rising rents of commercial properties in cities, one New York organization is modeling a way for people to invest in permanently affordable, commercial real estate. The New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative leverages patient crowdfunding - small investments by a large number of people over time - to turn vacant municipal properties into sustainable community resources.

Jul 28

Bullet Songs From Gaza

By Shrouq Hamed El-Aila, We Are Not Numbers | Video

Once Ghada Shoman, 20, and her brother Mohammed, 16, began playing music, their songs flew through the sky as if seeking the peace missing from their lives. But lately their music has become so much more.

"Now my voice and my brother's guitar are our 'weapons,'" Ghada says, staring out to what lies beyond the horizon. "During the last offensive on Gaza (in the summer of 2014), the resistance was inspired by national songs of bravery and a vision of future freedom. And now, so are we."

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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.

In the continuous acquiescence of local government municipalities mixing church with state, the Jefferson County Police Department of Illinois has recently elected to place the words, "In God We Trust" on their police vehicles. This act, among many like it across the country, is a stark contradiction to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

No religion or its rhetoric should be promoted by a government agency. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow the promotion of God to infiltrate public services.

On behalf of the Organic Consumers Association, which represents more than 1 million Americans, I ask that you take the lead in protecting the right of consumers to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by issuing a public statement opposing HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, and by urging your fellow senators to oppose a Senate version of this bill.

On July 23, 2015, the US House of Representatives passed HR 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states' rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Jul 31

Obama's Legacy for Africa

By Foday Darboe, Speakout | Op-Ed

In light of President Obama's 2015 trip to Africa, likely his last trip to Africa as US president, it is appropriate to evaluate his government's foreign policies in Africa since he assumed office. Through this assessment, it is sadly plain to see that Obama's policies have not helped the vast majority of Africans. Instead, the policies have allowed the suppression of the African people's hoped-for democratic reforms, while simultaneously bolstering the power of corrupt African elites.

Compare Hillary Clinton's top donors to Bernie Sanders': 90 percent of the top 20 contributors to Hillary Clinton are corporations or provide services to corporations. 95 percent of the top 20 contributors to Bernie Sanders are unions.

Watchdog NGO Open Secrets monitors donations to US politicians and money in US politics. Open Secrets has compiled a list of the 20 largest donors to Democratic 2016 Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth, answered questions that acTVIsm Munich put to him about the crisis in Greece. He provides his analysis on the voting results of the Greek referendum, austerity and its effects on the Eurozone. 

Last year, San Francisco tenant rights' supporters scored an important victory when voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition K, requiring all new housing developments provide 33% low and moderate-cost units.

The objective was to put a lid on the unregulated, speculative construction boom that earned the city its most contentious distinction of being the country's second most expensive place to live, just after New York City.

Jul 29

Adjunct Professors and Workers' Rights

By Laura Finley, Speakout | Op-Ed

The workers' rights movement has exploded in the last few years, with fast food, agricultural and other workers staging strikes andother nonviolent actions to demand increased wages, benefits, and better working conditions. One group of workers that has received far too little attention is adjunct college professors.

According to data collected by the Chronicle of Higher Education, adjuncts at one college and two universities near my home in Southeast Florida earn between $1,380 and $3,000 to teach a fifteen week, three credit course.

In March, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed rules to crack down on predatory payday lenders. These rules would prevent many payday lending abuses and give consumers a way out of lenders' debt trap.

Under the CFPB's new rules, borrowers would first have to show they could cover their basic living expenses while repaying loans. Lenders could skip "means testing" and instead limit each person's total borrowing to $500 - with a single finance charge and no repeated charges.

Faced with the rising rents of commercial properties in cities, one New York organization is modeling a way for people to invest in permanently affordable, commercial real estate. The New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative leverages patient crowdfunding - small investments by a large number of people over time - to turn vacant municipal properties into sustainable community resources.

Jul 28

Bullet Songs From Gaza

By Shrouq Hamed El-Aila, We Are Not Numbers | Video

Once Ghada Shoman, 20, and her brother Mohammed, 16, began playing music, their songs flew through the sky as if seeking the peace missing from their lives. But lately their music has become so much more.

"Now my voice and my brother's guitar are our 'weapons,'" Ghada says, staring out to what lies beyond the horizon. "During the last offensive on Gaza (in the summer of 2014), the resistance was inspired by national songs of bravery and a vision of future freedom. And now, so are we."