Saturday, 13 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.

The imminent pilgrimage to Mexico between February 12 and 18 of Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, will highlight some of the most painful dimensions of the country's deepening human rights crisis. Liberation theology is a global phenomenon with unique roots and expressions in Latin America, which are reflected in the pope's trajectory before being elected to the position in 2013, and in his overall leadership since then.

Jessica Reznicek, 34, an Iowa peace activist, was arraigned and charged with two felonies for breaking three windows with a sledgehammer at the Northrup Grumman facility outside the Omaha Nebraska Strategic Air Command at Offut Air Force base. After her court appearance, she was returned to the Sarpy County Jail, where she has remained on $100,000 bond since her action on December 27, 2015. Reznicek, who has no plans to post a cash bond, is facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted on both counts. Her trial is set for May 24.

For Krauthammer, as for so many other conservative thinkers who have never really evolved away from 19th century capitalist economic theory, conservatism in power means the "reform" of big government, or as he still describes it, "the 20th century welfare state." Reform essentially means significant downsizing of government in the name of individual "freedom," primarily in the marketplace, and, of course, a corresponding cut in taxes for the business class.

On World Cancer Day, Zahara Heckscher, a 51-year old mother and author from Washington, DC, who has been in treatment for advanced breast cancer for seven years, and Hannah Lyon, a 29-year old from California who is in treatment for advanced cervical cancer, linked arms and refused to leave the lobby of the office building that houses PhRMA, the trade association that has pushed for extreme monopolies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while dozens of supporters chanted outside, until they were arrested.

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."

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, but immigrant 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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 imminent pilgrimage to Mexico between February 12 and 18 of Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, will highlight some of the most painful dimensions of the country's deepening human rights crisis. Liberation theology is a global phenomenon with unique roots and expressions in Latin America, which are reflected in the pope's trajectory before being elected to the position in 2013, and in his overall leadership since then.

Jessica Reznicek, 34, an Iowa peace activist, was arraigned and charged with two felonies for breaking three windows with a sledgehammer at the Northrup Grumman facility outside the Omaha Nebraska Strategic Air Command at Offut Air Force base. After her court appearance, she was returned to the Sarpy County Jail, where she has remained on $100,000 bond since her action on December 27, 2015. Reznicek, who has no plans to post a cash bond, is facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted on both counts. Her trial is set for May 24.

For Krauthammer, as for so many other conservative thinkers who have never really evolved away from 19th century capitalist economic theory, conservatism in power means the "reform" of big government, or as he still describes it, "the 20th century welfare state." Reform essentially means significant downsizing of government in the name of individual "freedom," primarily in the marketplace, and, of course, a corresponding cut in taxes for the business class.

On World Cancer Day, Zahara Heckscher, a 51-year old mother and author from Washington, DC, who has been in treatment for advanced breast cancer for seven years, and Hannah Lyon, a 29-year old from California who is in treatment for advanced cervical cancer, linked arms and refused to leave the lobby of the office building that houses PhRMA, the trade association that has pushed for extreme monopolies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while dozens of supporters chanted outside, until they were arrested.

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."

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, but immigrant 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.