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.
President Obama's recent closed-door sessions with Republican congressmen to reach a "grand bargain" has roused suspiciously little attention in the mainstream media. What scant reporting has occurred presents the following narrative: President Obama is a "middle ground" politician attempting to breach political divides with erstwhile Republican opponents. In reality these meetings are not between political opposites, but kindred spirits; perfectly matched ideologies that differ only in implementation, and only by degrees.
Here's a summary of the meetings by the Conservative Economist magazine :
On Heels of Successful Death Penalty Repeal in Maryland, Exonerated Death Row Prisoner, Kirk Bloodsworth, Urges Delaware Senate to Follow SuitBy Staff, Witness to Innocence | Statement
Today, less than a week after Maryland's legislature passed Governor O'Malley's bill to abolish the state's death penalty, Kirk Bloodsworth, exonerated death row prisoner, current advocacy director of Witness to Innocence, and former Delaware waterman, addressed the Delaware senate's executive committee to announce his support of Senate Bill 19 with the following statement:
Distinguished members of the committee, I am Kirk Bloodworth. I am here to urge you to repeal the death penalty in Delaware for one simple reason: human beings are not perfect. No one knows this better than me, an honorably discharged Marine, who served my country as a Military Policeman (MP). I had no criminal record and found myself on Maryland's death row for a crime I did not commit.
Rights Group Condemns Dismissal of Animal Rights “Terrorism” Case; Activists Will Appeal, Attorneys SayBy Staff, Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release
Last night, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), without addressing the central First Amendment question in the case. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) brought the case on behalf of five long-time animal rights activists who allege that the 2006 law violates their right to free speech. The judge ruled that the men and women suing the government did not have standing to bring the case and therefor the case could not go forward. The judge's ruling was based on a narrow interpretation of the AETA as criminalizing only property destruction and threats, despite the law's broad prohibition on causing an animal enterprise any loss of property, which is generally understood to include the loss of profit. Attorneys say they will appeal the dismissal.
This week Internet advocacy groups — including the Free Press Action Fund — are uniting to protest CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
As we wrote last month when the bill was introduced, this is actually CISPA's second time around (it stalled last year in Congress). The "new" CISPA — we call it the zombie bill — is actually identical to the old CISPA. It would protect companies like Facebook and Microsoft from legal liability when they hand over your sensitive online data to the federal government, without any regard for your privacy.
There are just a few slots left for the National Conference for Media Reform. (You can get registered here.)
Here's why I'm going, along with thousands of other activists, media makers, techies and journalists:
Back in 2001, I created a website calling for a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. That site merged with MoveOn.org and a few years later I became MoveOn's executive director. At MoveOn, we used the Internet to help millions of people become online and offline activists.
While the two major parties plot strategy for the next battle in the federal debt-reduction war, another war rages among economists over the question, "Is debt really the federal government's biggest problem?" Some insist that unless Washington cuts spending substantially to reduce the debt quickly, we are headed for disaster. Others insist with equal fervor that growth is the number one priority: Aggressive pro-growth policies will reduce the debt in the long run with far less pain.
If the pro-growth economists could gain public support they would give liberal Democrats a powerful weapon to resist the Republican's budget-slashing ax. But the pro-growth faction makes little headway in the public arena because the political wind is blowing so strongly against it. Why should the wind blow that way?
The banks use something called MERS in order to destroy local land records, avoid taxes, and foreclose on our homes. The truth is slowly coming out about it and people are fighting back.
ALEC, Meat/Poultry Industries, State Bills Target Farm Animal Abuse Videos Revealing Calves Skinned Alive, Cows SuffocatedBy Staff, The Political Carnival | Report
My brother just emailed me a link from Seattlepi.com that made my stomach turn. Then again, animal cruelty, like all torture, always does, but the abuses in this story are especially egregious. I want those responsible for these atrocities– and those abetting them– to be exposed and for the entire article to be more widely read, so I hope you’ll share:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An undercover video that showedCalifornia cows struggling to stand as they were prodded to slaughter by forklifts led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history. In Vermont, a video of veal calves skinned alive and tossed like sacks of potatoes ended with the plant’s closureand criminal convictions.
My presentation last week on the great intellectual and educator Anna Julia Cooper for Women's History Month stimulated some wonderful responses. Among them was a letter from Katherine van Wormer, a sociologist who grew up in New Orleans and now teaches at the University of Northern Iowa. She reminded me of the importance of remembering those whose stories aren't often told, such as the many black domestic workers during the period of Jim Crow.
David Walter Jackson, II, Charletta Sudduth, and Katherine van Wormer wrote a moving book: The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics and White Families in the Jim Crow South (Louisiana State University Press, 2012). This book tells a story with which many of us are familiar and one that continues to be misrepresented in so many ways, as the movie 2011 movie The Help (which I found unbearable) attests. Van Wormer and her co-authors offer a corrective to such misrepresentations.
David Brooks jumped the shark in his March 18 New York Times column, when he attacked the only budget proposed in Congress this year that would rapidly improve the economy, restore full employment, but reduce the ratio of the national debt to the GDP, without cuts in Medicare or Social Security. Remarkably, the "Back to Work Budget" of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also would restore sequester cuts in the defense budget and provide for a more rational reduction in military spending.
Brooks attacked the $2.1 trillion in stimulus spending in the budget as unnecessary because the economy is "finally beginning to take off," and argued that the raising of revenue from increasing the top marginal tax rates, closing loopholes, taxing capital gains like ordinary income, and imposing a tax on some of Wall Street's risky financial transactions will unfairly punish the wealthy and discourage the mythical "job creators."