Wednesday, 10 February 2016 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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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 10

Larry Yarbrough: A Case for Clemency

By Mark Faulk, Speakout | Op-Ed

In Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's 2015 inaugural address, she promised to pursue "smart on crime" solutions to over-incarceration, saying that nonviolent drug offenders "don't need to spend long stints at the state penitentiary," and that they "need to be returned to their communities as sober adults ready to support themselves and their families."

Today, February 10, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will have the perfect opportunity to help the governor keep her promise in a commutation hearing for Larry Yarbrough, Sr.

Feb 10

Immigrant Rights Affect Us All

By Shannon Gleeson, Speakout | Op-Ed

As Barack Obama prepares to exit his presidency, he leaves a list of accomplishments, butimmigrant rights advocates judging his legacy will likely remember this president as the "deporter-in-chief." During the latest round of deportations ordered by his administration - whose most recent targets include children fleeing violence from Central America - the stalemate in Congress over immigration reform has been made worse by Obama's refusal to lead on this issue. Since he came into office in 2009, Obama has facilitated the deportation of 400,000 immigrants each year, a group that is disproportionately male and Latino. This is bad public policy. 

After dreamily sleepwalking in denial, unions were shocked and awed awake by the Supreme Court's hearing of Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association. If unions lose Friedrichs, the fallout might ruin labor for a generation or more. A red alert should be broadcasted across every union hall in the country and to the broader public, since Friedrichs is an attack on all working people. Union memberships must be educated about the dire urgency of Friedrichs, and must be engaged in creating and implementing the strategy to defeat the case.  

As all eyes are on Michigan's poisoned water crisis, Reverend Edward Pinkney continues to servea prison sentence for effectively organizing against the first Emergency Manager put into place in the entire country in Benton Harbor, Michigan. There, the Emergecy Manager legally suspended thelocal city government and appointed himself supreme ruler of the city. Pinkney visited San Jose in 2011 warning us about the dangerous experience just beginning then and now has created the humanitarian disaster in Flint. We need to do everything inour power to free Reverend Pinkney so he can continue to speak out against this draconian law. 

It's a common economic development strategy in the South: State policymakers offer deep tax incentives and relocation subsidies to lure big corporations from elsewhere, a tactic sometimes called "smokestack chasing." New evidence, however, suggests supporting in-state startups and existing local companies is a far more effective strategy for creating jobs and building strong economies. In "State Job Creation Strategies Often Off Base" the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed new data from the Labor Department, the Census Bureau and business analysis firm Dun & Bradstreet. The numbers show homegrown business contributed more than 80 percent of total private-sector job creation in every state from 1995 to 2013. Jobs that moved into one state from another represented only 1 to 4 percent of total job creation each year. 

Feb 08

Silencing Critics of Israel

By Dr. James J. Zogby, Speakout | Op-Ed

Israel doesn't accept criticism. In fact, whether from friend or foe, even mild criticism is viewed as an existential threat, prompting Israeli officials to unleash a torrent of abuse in an effort to silence and/or punish critics. And given new initiatives being rolled out in Israel and here is the US by Congress and some state legislatures, this effort to silence critics is endangering free speech and the search for peace.

Feb 05

Cap and Clear-Cut

By Will Parrish, East Bay Express | Op-Ed

Jerry Brown basked in adulation during his whirlwind trip to Paris, and the evening of December 8 figured to offer more of the same. Standing alongside governors of states and provinces from Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, California's governor planned to tout his state's leadership role on global climate policy. The event was one of 21 presentations that Brown delivered during a five-day swing through France during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

If Portland is to ever become truly world class, it needs to finally atone for (among other transgressions) its role in the ethnic cleansing, internment and internal exile of its entire Japanese American population during WWII. Back then, the Rose City stood out as a hotbed of vicious racism that couldn't get its Japanese Americans - most of whom were American citizens - rounded up andremoved from the city fast enough.

The list of well-known Palestinian hunger strikers exceeds Al-Qeq, Adnan, Allan and Sharawneh and includes many others, not forgetting Samir Issawi, Hana Shalabi, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Thiab. But what all of these former hunger strikers seem to have in common is their insistence that their battles were never concerned with the freedom of individuals only, but of an entire group of desperate, oppressed and outraged people.

Protests against Monsanto's Roundup - with its poisonous, weed-killing glyphosate - have spread around the globe. An arm of the World Health Organization declared it a probable cause of cancer in 2015. California's Environmental Protection Agency recently decided to label it as such. Environmental groups and activists in Northern California, a region known for its wines, advocate a moratorium on this herbicide as health concerns mount. Roundup is the world's most widely used pesticide.

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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 10

Larry Yarbrough: A Case for Clemency

By Mark Faulk, Speakout | Op-Ed

In Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's 2015 inaugural address, she promised to pursue "smart on crime" solutions to over-incarceration, saying that nonviolent drug offenders "don't need to spend long stints at the state penitentiary," and that they "need to be returned to their communities as sober adults ready to support themselves and their families."

Today, February 10, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will have the perfect opportunity to help the governor keep her promise in a commutation hearing for Larry Yarbrough, Sr.

Feb 10

Immigrant Rights Affect Us All

By Shannon Gleeson, Speakout | Op-Ed

As Barack Obama prepares to exit his presidency, he leaves a list of accomplishments, butimmigrant rights advocates judging his legacy will likely remember this president as the "deporter-in-chief." During the latest round of deportations ordered by his administration - whose most recent targets include children fleeing violence from Central America - the stalemate in Congress over immigration reform has been made worse by Obama's refusal to lead on this issue. Since he came into office in 2009, Obama has facilitated the deportation of 400,000 immigrants each year, a group that is disproportionately male and Latino. This is bad public policy. 

After dreamily sleepwalking in denial, unions were shocked and awed awake by the Supreme Court's hearing of Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association. If unions lose Friedrichs, the fallout might ruin labor for a generation or more. A red alert should be broadcasted across every union hall in the country and to the broader public, since Friedrichs is an attack on all working people. Union memberships must be educated about the dire urgency of Friedrichs, and must be engaged in creating and implementing the strategy to defeat the case.  

As all eyes are on Michigan's poisoned water crisis, Reverend Edward Pinkney continues to servea prison sentence for effectively organizing against the first Emergency Manager put into place in the entire country in Benton Harbor, Michigan. There, the Emergecy Manager legally suspended thelocal city government and appointed himself supreme ruler of the city. Pinkney visited San Jose in 2011 warning us about the dangerous experience just beginning then and now has created the humanitarian disaster in Flint. We need to do everything inour power to free Reverend Pinkney so he can continue to speak out against this draconian law. 

It's a common economic development strategy in the South: State policymakers offer deep tax incentives and relocation subsidies to lure big corporations from elsewhere, a tactic sometimes called "smokestack chasing." New evidence, however, suggests supporting in-state startups and existing local companies is a far more effective strategy for creating jobs and building strong economies. In "State Job Creation Strategies Often Off Base" the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed new data from the Labor Department, the Census Bureau and business analysis firm Dun & Bradstreet. The numbers show homegrown business contributed more than 80 percent of total private-sector job creation in every state from 1995 to 2013. Jobs that moved into one state from another represented only 1 to 4 percent of total job creation each year. 

Feb 08

Silencing Critics of Israel

By Dr. James J. Zogby, Speakout | Op-Ed

Israel doesn't accept criticism. In fact, whether from friend or foe, even mild criticism is viewed as an existential threat, prompting Israeli officials to unleash a torrent of abuse in an effort to silence and/or punish critics. And given new initiatives being rolled out in Israel and here is the US by Congress and some state legislatures, this effort to silence critics is endangering free speech and the search for peace.

Feb 05

Cap and Clear-Cut

By Will Parrish, East Bay Express | Op-Ed

Jerry Brown basked in adulation during his whirlwind trip to Paris, and the evening of December 8 figured to offer more of the same. Standing alongside governors of states and provinces from Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, California's governor planned to tout his state's leadership role on global climate policy. The event was one of 21 presentations that Brown delivered during a five-day swing through France during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

If Portland is to ever become truly world class, it needs to finally atone for (among other transgressions) its role in the ethnic cleansing, internment and internal exile of its entire Japanese American population during WWII. Back then, the Rose City stood out as a hotbed of vicious racism that couldn't get its Japanese Americans - most of whom were American citizens - rounded up andremoved from the city fast enough.

The list of well-known Palestinian hunger strikers exceeds Al-Qeq, Adnan, Allan and Sharawneh and includes many others, not forgetting Samir Issawi, Hana Shalabi, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Thiab. But what all of these former hunger strikers seem to have in common is their insistence that their battles were never concerned with the freedom of individuals only, but of an entire group of desperate, oppressed and outraged people.

Protests against Monsanto's Roundup - with its poisonous, weed-killing glyphosate - have spread around the globe. An arm of the World Health Organization declared it a probable cause of cancer in 2015. California's Environmental Protection Agency recently decided to label it as such. Environmental groups and activists in Northern California, a region known for its wines, advocate a moratorium on this herbicide as health concerns mount. Roundup is the world's most widely used pesticide.