Friday, 19 December 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • Homeless People: Do You Just "Walk On By"?

    Is there a helpful way to respond when you encounter one of the approximately 578,424 people who are homeless on any given night in the United States today?

  • Quiet Distress Among the (Ex) Rich

    Yves Smith: The fact that economic distress has moved pretty high up the food chain is a sign that this recovery isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

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.

AUSTIN—A new report by Corporate Accountability International (CAI) and Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) finds that US cities are rejecting water privatization and taking back public control of their public water systems at a growing rate. The report was released at the annual National League of Cities conference, a forum often exploited by the private water industry to lobby and market its services.  

The release of the report, titled “Troubled Waters: Misleading industry PR and the case for public water” comes in the midst of uncertainty about the state of public water systems nationwide. Prominent cases like Detroit’s recent shut-offs are stoking the public’s concerns about who controls America’s water systems and to what end. As federal funding for public water infrastructure dries up, corporations are rushing to fill the void with false promises that gloss over track records of rate hikes, water quality concerns, labor abuses and political interference.

Santa Barbara – Greenpeace, the most inclusive, people-powered collective movement in the world, is lending its strong support to the Marshall Islands and the Nuclear Zero lawsuits. In doing so, they are sending a clear message to the world that it is long past time for the nuclear Goliaths to begin negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said, “We stand with the people of the Marshall Islands in their fight to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Having seen their land, sea and people poisoned by radiation, they are now taking to task the nine nuclear-armed nations for failing to eliminate this danger which threatens humanity at large.”  He continued, “Greenpeace salutes their struggle and joins them in declaring that Zero is the only safe number of nuclear weapons on the planet.”

Washington, DCAfrican mayors gathered in Accra, Ghana to call on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to cancel debts owed by the countries impacted by the Ebola epidemic. The Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent made the call in a communique named "The Accra Accord on Ebola." This call follows efforts by Jubilee USA, a religious debt relief group, to move forward a debt relief plan for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The plan was endorsed by the US government who brought the plan to the G20 summit. 100 million dollars in debt relief could become available from a special IMF trust fund set aside for countries impacted by natural disasters.

"The call from African mayors must be heard," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA. "Debt relief means a long term investment in health infrastructure in the countries affected by Ebola."

This is no conspiracy theory. This is a well-known fact by those inside the beltway. While the American people are told about the endless "gridlock" within our government, many aspects of the "Deep State" run completely smoothly no matter what the American people think. Wars do not stop, Wall Street does not slow, and NSA surveillance keeps going at a breakneck speed. "The Deep State" is how the US Government ACTUALLY runs.

Hate to be the econ nerd here, but this is the sort of thing that folks writing on economics should get straight. (The failure by econ writers to get such things right is one reason that Jonathan Gruber thinks the public is "stupid.") Anyhow, Catherine Rampell messes this one up in an otherwise reasonable piece discussing differences in saving rates by age.

The piece notes the negative saving rate reported for people under age 34 and then comments:

"These numbers have inspired various condemnatory headlines and think pieces about my generation’s irresponsible savings deficit. The more sympathetic coverage has at least acknowledged the effects of student loan debt and high youth unemployment, but even those articles came loaded with judgment."

November 20 is Universal Children’s Day, a day devoted to observing the welfare of the world’s children. Unfortunately, in the U.S and elsewhere, children are still denied fundamental human rights. Children worldwide suffer from corporal punishment in homes and schools, are denied access to schooling, are forced to join violent militias, and a endure a host of other atrocities that clearly violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international human rights treaties. One issue that has received attention in the past few months is that of child labor.

According to the International Labor Office, there are about 168 million child laborers globally, which accounts for approximately one in 10 of the world’s children. Albeit a one-third reduction since 2000, the problem remains acute. An estimated 13 million children work in India alone, despite laws prohibiting child labor and mandating school attendance.  About four percent of child laborers are in forced or bonded labor, prostitution, or fighting in armed conflict. The remainder of the world’s child laborers work in family businesses or on family farms, where they often toil as much as 27 hours per week and are, like the child tobacco laborers, exposed to a variety of dangerous chemicals and pesticides.

Standing there on November 19, 1863, in front of those who had come to sanctify yet another bloody battlefield, President Abraham Lincoln should have spoken the truth. He should have ended his dedication, the Gettysburg Address, by declaring “that government of a few people, by a few people, and at the expense of certain people, shall not perish from the earth.” But like many others who carried out the policies of Manifest Destiny, mythical ideologies are easier to believe than the harsh realities of conquest and genocide. They also help justify glaring social inequalities and economic disparities for those already governing through powerful political, economic, and military institutions.

Just before traveling to Gettysburg by railroad to deliver his well-planned words, Lincoln had randomly selected thirty-eight Dakota Sioux leaders to die in the largest mass public hanging in US history.[1] Lincoln, always the politician, had promised their lands to constituents that raised him to the presidency, wealthy monopolists and free-soil settlers. At Lincoln’s request, Congress passed the 1862 Homestead Act, transferring two hundred million acres of Indigenous lands to states, settlers, and railroad and mining and cattle industrialists.[2] Before long, they were slaughtering Indigenous peoples while also ravaging their resources and food supplies.

You might not know this from reading most media coverage of 2014 midterm elections, but the world's two wealthiest men just bought US Congress. Oligarchy is now official, with a nefarious new force behind much of the Republicans' madness in Washington. Amazingly, leading Democrats are advancing the same agenda by pushing a pipeline that could double the fortunes of America's two top plutocrats.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen today called on (PDF) the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) to close a loophole of its own making in the federal “pay-to-play” law against campaign contributions from businesses that land lucrative government contracts.

In response to a complaint filed last year by Public Citizen against Chevron – a major government contractor – the FEC ruled that a separately incorporated member of a corporate family may dip into corporate coffers to make campaign contributions if it holds no government contracts, while another separately incorporated subsidiary or affiliate solicits and receives lucrative government contracts. Chevron and a handful of other government contractors relied on this ruling to make campaign contributions in the 2014 elections to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned with US House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dedicated to electing Republican candidates to Congress.

Payette, Idaho — “I’ll do whatever I want” and “fuck you” were the responses from one of the nation’s top oil and gas industry attorneys when asked not to touch a news camera.

The incident occurred in the hallway of the Payette County Courthouse in Payette, Idaho, following a meeting of the county commissioners on November 17, 2014.

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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.

AUSTIN—A new report by Corporate Accountability International (CAI) and Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) finds that US cities are rejecting water privatization and taking back public control of their public water systems at a growing rate. The report was released at the annual National League of Cities conference, a forum often exploited by the private water industry to lobby and market its services.  

The release of the report, titled “Troubled Waters: Misleading industry PR and the case for public water” comes in the midst of uncertainty about the state of public water systems nationwide. Prominent cases like Detroit’s recent shut-offs are stoking the public’s concerns about who controls America’s water systems and to what end. As federal funding for public water infrastructure dries up, corporations are rushing to fill the void with false promises that gloss over track records of rate hikes, water quality concerns, labor abuses and political interference.

Santa Barbara – Greenpeace, the most inclusive, people-powered collective movement in the world, is lending its strong support to the Marshall Islands and the Nuclear Zero lawsuits. In doing so, they are sending a clear message to the world that it is long past time for the nuclear Goliaths to begin negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said, “We stand with the people of the Marshall Islands in their fight to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Having seen their land, sea and people poisoned by radiation, they are now taking to task the nine nuclear-armed nations for failing to eliminate this danger which threatens humanity at large.”  He continued, “Greenpeace salutes their struggle and joins them in declaring that Zero is the only safe number of nuclear weapons on the planet.”

Washington, DCAfrican mayors gathered in Accra, Ghana to call on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to cancel debts owed by the countries impacted by the Ebola epidemic. The Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent made the call in a communique named "The Accra Accord on Ebola." This call follows efforts by Jubilee USA, a religious debt relief group, to move forward a debt relief plan for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The plan was endorsed by the US government who brought the plan to the G20 summit. 100 million dollars in debt relief could become available from a special IMF trust fund set aside for countries impacted by natural disasters.

"The call from African mayors must be heard," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA. "Debt relief means a long term investment in health infrastructure in the countries affected by Ebola."

This is no conspiracy theory. This is a well-known fact by those inside the beltway. While the American people are told about the endless "gridlock" within our government, many aspects of the "Deep State" run completely smoothly no matter what the American people think. Wars do not stop, Wall Street does not slow, and NSA surveillance keeps going at a breakneck speed. "The Deep State" is how the US Government ACTUALLY runs.

Hate to be the econ nerd here, but this is the sort of thing that folks writing on economics should get straight. (The failure by econ writers to get such things right is one reason that Jonathan Gruber thinks the public is "stupid.") Anyhow, Catherine Rampell messes this one up in an otherwise reasonable piece discussing differences in saving rates by age.

The piece notes the negative saving rate reported for people under age 34 and then comments:

"These numbers have inspired various condemnatory headlines and think pieces about my generation’s irresponsible savings deficit. The more sympathetic coverage has at least acknowledged the effects of student loan debt and high youth unemployment, but even those articles came loaded with judgment."

November 20 is Universal Children’s Day, a day devoted to observing the welfare of the world’s children. Unfortunately, in the U.S and elsewhere, children are still denied fundamental human rights. Children worldwide suffer from corporal punishment in homes and schools, are denied access to schooling, are forced to join violent militias, and a endure a host of other atrocities that clearly violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international human rights treaties. One issue that has received attention in the past few months is that of child labor.

According to the International Labor Office, there are about 168 million child laborers globally, which accounts for approximately one in 10 of the world’s children. Albeit a one-third reduction since 2000, the problem remains acute. An estimated 13 million children work in India alone, despite laws prohibiting child labor and mandating school attendance.  About four percent of child laborers are in forced or bonded labor, prostitution, or fighting in armed conflict. The remainder of the world’s child laborers work in family businesses or on family farms, where they often toil as much as 27 hours per week and are, like the child tobacco laborers, exposed to a variety of dangerous chemicals and pesticides.

Standing there on November 19, 1863, in front of those who had come to sanctify yet another bloody battlefield, President Abraham Lincoln should have spoken the truth. He should have ended his dedication, the Gettysburg Address, by declaring “that government of a few people, by a few people, and at the expense of certain people, shall not perish from the earth.” But like many others who carried out the policies of Manifest Destiny, mythical ideologies are easier to believe than the harsh realities of conquest and genocide. They also help justify glaring social inequalities and economic disparities for those already governing through powerful political, economic, and military institutions.

Just before traveling to Gettysburg by railroad to deliver his well-planned words, Lincoln had randomly selected thirty-eight Dakota Sioux leaders to die in the largest mass public hanging in US history.[1] Lincoln, always the politician, had promised their lands to constituents that raised him to the presidency, wealthy monopolists and free-soil settlers. At Lincoln’s request, Congress passed the 1862 Homestead Act, transferring two hundred million acres of Indigenous lands to states, settlers, and railroad and mining and cattle industrialists.[2] Before long, they were slaughtering Indigenous peoples while also ravaging their resources and food supplies.

You might not know this from reading most media coverage of 2014 midterm elections, but the world's two wealthiest men just bought US Congress. Oligarchy is now official, with a nefarious new force behind much of the Republicans' madness in Washington. Amazingly, leading Democrats are advancing the same agenda by pushing a pipeline that could double the fortunes of America's two top plutocrats.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen today called on (PDF) the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) to close a loophole of its own making in the federal “pay-to-play” law against campaign contributions from businesses that land lucrative government contracts.

In response to a complaint filed last year by Public Citizen against Chevron – a major government contractor – the FEC ruled that a separately incorporated member of a corporate family may dip into corporate coffers to make campaign contributions if it holds no government contracts, while another separately incorporated subsidiary or affiliate solicits and receives lucrative government contracts. Chevron and a handful of other government contractors relied on this ruling to make campaign contributions in the 2014 elections to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned with US House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dedicated to electing Republican candidates to Congress.

Payette, Idaho — “I’ll do whatever I want” and “fuck you” were the responses from one of the nation’s top oil and gas industry attorneys when asked not to touch a news camera.

The incident occurred in the hallway of the Payette County Courthouse in Payette, Idaho, following a meeting of the county commissioners on November 17, 2014.