Monday, 20 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • The Shell Game of Contingent Employment

    When subcontractors, freelancers and independent contractors get hurt or abused on the job, these workers are finding it harder to hold employers accountable. This is no accident - it's a direct result of a neoliberal labor agenda.

  • Paying the Price of Tar Sands Expansion

    Despite all the reasons to keep tar sands in the ground, the refining equipment tax credit has helped put tar sands development in the US on the rise, accelerating climate change at the expense of US taxpayers.

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.

Farmers in India are killing themselves every time they take a sip of water. Learn more with Lee Camp in this week's Moment of Clarity.

In light of confirmation hearings beginning today for Senator Chuck Hagel to be President Obama’s next Secretary of Defense, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:

In 2005, Senator Hagel publicly opposed the prison at Guantánamo, stating that it was one reason why the United States was “losing the image war around the world.” As the next Defense Secretary, he will be directly responsible for overseeing Guantanamo’s closure and will have the opportunity to fulfill the promise President Obama made to citizens here and abroad, to end this shameful chapter in our history. The Senate Armed Services Committee should seize this occasion to press Senator Hagel to reaffirm his commitment to shutter the prison once and for all. 

Once again the corporate mass media got the story wrong. The headlines across the country were that occupiers in New York came from households with incomes of over $100,000. The movement writer for The Nation, Allison Kilkenny, interviewed one of the researchers who points out that a lot of these were young people earning under $15,000 per year who were still in school and living with their parents.

The most important takeaway from the researcher's point of view:

"The takeaway for me is that this is part of an arch of social movement activity that built on previous work, and is building into continuing work."

That struck us because we are working with political activists and occupiers across the country to develop a strategy to reach a more effective level of advocacy for transformation to a peaceful, just and sustainable society.

"There are a lot of crazy bastards out there with Ar-15s. I'll be ready if they come after me."……..My Neighbor, Your Neighbor, and Your Neighbor's Neighbor

 The ongoing explosion in assault weapon purchases is fueled by a nation-wide "positive feedback" reaction. We are in a Republican engineered surreptitious Second Civil War. Three related factors are demonstrably responsible for the explosion in purchases of assault rifles, 1) hatred of the first black president, 2) fear that the Connecticut massacre of small children will allow Obama to ban future sales of assault weapons and ammunition, and 3) the fear of many law abiding citizens that assault weapons are the only thing that will be effective in protecting them against similar weapons held by their lunatic neighbors.

Feb 01

Perfunctory and Fading Black History Month

By Gwen Y Fortune, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

February is the official American celebration of the story of the lives and stories of millions of people captured and held in bondage during the invasions of the American hemisphere by Europeans until today. Sleep is not the most dependable ally of the aging, unlike the infant, who awakens wet and hungry. US octogenarians are leaving, "dropping like flies." Daily, more octogenarian do not awaken and those who do wonder, was it in vain?

New generations have come and continue: Gen X, Y, and Z. Will a new alphabet appear when we run out of the Phoenician twenty-six? The world has become one of equivalents to "Cliff's Notes," a shorthand of two digits-x/o or 1/2. What will be the next to mark the momentum of progress?

Feb 01

Is the US #1, or #What?

By Eric Zuesse, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The latest annual ranking of 144 countries, on a wide range of factors related to global economic competitiveness, is "The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013," by the World Economic Forum. Their research includes some stunning findings.

On each of their many rankings, #1 represents the best nation, and #144 represents the worst nation.

The U.S. ranks as #1 on only 4 out of the 117 different factors that are rated, and each of these 4 factors concern merely the sheer size, the hugeness, of the U.S. economy. These four factors might thus collectively be identified as Hugeness: "GDP," "GDP as a Share of World GDP," "Available Airline Seat Kilometers," and "Domestic Market Size Index." Other than Hugeness, the results for the U.S. are not at all outstanding.

The PBS Nova broadcast "Rise of the Drones" was sponsored by drone manufacturer Lockheed Martin--a clear violation of PBS's underwriting guidelines.

As Kevin Gosztola reported (FireDogLake, 1/24/13), the January 23 broadcast was a mostly upbeat look at surveillance and weaponized drones. "Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history," PBS urged, promising to reveal "the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful."

The defenders of the status quo say that we can't end marijuana prohibition because it "sends the wrong message to the kids" and will increase teen drug use "Legalizing Pot Won't Make it Any Safer" by Mitchell S. Rosenthal, op-ed, Jan. 17).

Ironically, prohibition is a complete failure when it comes to keeping young people from using drugs. Despite decades of DARE programs with the simplistic "Just Say No" message, 50% of teenagers will try marijuana before they graduate. Young people also feel the brunt of marijuana enforcement and make up the majority of arrests. Arresting young people will often cause more damage than drug use itself. Teenagers need honest drug education to help them make responsible decisions. We have cut down on teen smoking without tobacco prohibition and without one arrest.

When will enough be enough, huh?

When will taking every. possible. harmful. action to attack workers, wages and the welfare of the average American no longer be en vogue?

When will being so certain of the benefits of lower standards, less oversight, and a next-to-nothing future start getting lawmakers in trouble?

When Bubbles Burst

Those seeking deeper understanding of the planet's shaky economic and financial condition should watch Hans Petter Moland'sWhen Bubbles Burst. The main subject of this Norwegian documentary is the relationship between finance and what economists call the real economy, and how unleashing finance to grow at the expense of the real economy—to allow a parasite, essentially, to overtake its host—leads inexorably to greater economic suffering and environmental degradation. The film revolves around the tragic story of a small town in Norway whose elected officials were persuaded by financial consultants, at the height of the stock boom, to invest in Citibank's mortgage-backed securities, products that became worthless with the crash of the global casino in 2008.

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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.

Farmers in India are killing themselves every time they take a sip of water. Learn more with Lee Camp in this week's Moment of Clarity.

In light of confirmation hearings beginning today for Senator Chuck Hagel to be President Obama’s next Secretary of Defense, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:

In 2005, Senator Hagel publicly opposed the prison at Guantánamo, stating that it was one reason why the United States was “losing the image war around the world.” As the next Defense Secretary, he will be directly responsible for overseeing Guantanamo’s closure and will have the opportunity to fulfill the promise President Obama made to citizens here and abroad, to end this shameful chapter in our history. The Senate Armed Services Committee should seize this occasion to press Senator Hagel to reaffirm his commitment to shutter the prison once and for all. 

Once again the corporate mass media got the story wrong. The headlines across the country were that occupiers in New York came from households with incomes of over $100,000. The movement writer for The Nation, Allison Kilkenny, interviewed one of the researchers who points out that a lot of these were young people earning under $15,000 per year who were still in school and living with their parents.

The most important takeaway from the researcher's point of view:

"The takeaway for me is that this is part of an arch of social movement activity that built on previous work, and is building into continuing work."

That struck us because we are working with political activists and occupiers across the country to develop a strategy to reach a more effective level of advocacy for transformation to a peaceful, just and sustainable society.

"There are a lot of crazy bastards out there with Ar-15s. I'll be ready if they come after me."……..My Neighbor, Your Neighbor, and Your Neighbor's Neighbor

 The ongoing explosion in assault weapon purchases is fueled by a nation-wide "positive feedback" reaction. We are in a Republican engineered surreptitious Second Civil War. Three related factors are demonstrably responsible for the explosion in purchases of assault rifles, 1) hatred of the first black president, 2) fear that the Connecticut massacre of small children will allow Obama to ban future sales of assault weapons and ammunition, and 3) the fear of many law abiding citizens that assault weapons are the only thing that will be effective in protecting them against similar weapons held by their lunatic neighbors.

Feb 01

Perfunctory and Fading Black History Month

By Gwen Y Fortune, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

February is the official American celebration of the story of the lives and stories of millions of people captured and held in bondage during the invasions of the American hemisphere by Europeans until today. Sleep is not the most dependable ally of the aging, unlike the infant, who awakens wet and hungry. US octogenarians are leaving, "dropping like flies." Daily, more octogenarian do not awaken and those who do wonder, was it in vain?

New generations have come and continue: Gen X, Y, and Z. Will a new alphabet appear when we run out of the Phoenician twenty-six? The world has become one of equivalents to "Cliff's Notes," a shorthand of two digits-x/o or 1/2. What will be the next to mark the momentum of progress?

Feb 01

Is the US #1, or #What?

By Eric Zuesse, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The latest annual ranking of 144 countries, on a wide range of factors related to global economic competitiveness, is "The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013," by the World Economic Forum. Their research includes some stunning findings.

On each of their many rankings, #1 represents the best nation, and #144 represents the worst nation.

The U.S. ranks as #1 on only 4 out of the 117 different factors that are rated, and each of these 4 factors concern merely the sheer size, the hugeness, of the U.S. economy. These four factors might thus collectively be identified as Hugeness: "GDP," "GDP as a Share of World GDP," "Available Airline Seat Kilometers," and "Domestic Market Size Index." Other than Hugeness, the results for the U.S. are not at all outstanding.

The PBS Nova broadcast "Rise of the Drones" was sponsored by drone manufacturer Lockheed Martin--a clear violation of PBS's underwriting guidelines.

As Kevin Gosztola reported (FireDogLake, 1/24/13), the January 23 broadcast was a mostly upbeat look at surveillance and weaponized drones. "Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history," PBS urged, promising to reveal "the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful."

The defenders of the status quo say that we can't end marijuana prohibition because it "sends the wrong message to the kids" and will increase teen drug use "Legalizing Pot Won't Make it Any Safer" by Mitchell S. Rosenthal, op-ed, Jan. 17).

Ironically, prohibition is a complete failure when it comes to keeping young people from using drugs. Despite decades of DARE programs with the simplistic "Just Say No" message, 50% of teenagers will try marijuana before they graduate. Young people also feel the brunt of marijuana enforcement and make up the majority of arrests. Arresting young people will often cause more damage than drug use itself. Teenagers need honest drug education to help them make responsible decisions. We have cut down on teen smoking without tobacco prohibition and without one arrest.

When will enough be enough, huh?

When will taking every. possible. harmful. action to attack workers, wages and the welfare of the average American no longer be en vogue?

When will being so certain of the benefits of lower standards, less oversight, and a next-to-nothing future start getting lawmakers in trouble?

When Bubbles Burst

Those seeking deeper understanding of the planet's shaky economic and financial condition should watch Hans Petter Moland'sWhen Bubbles Burst. The main subject of this Norwegian documentary is the relationship between finance and what economists call the real economy, and how unleashing finance to grow at the expense of the real economy—to allow a parasite, essentially, to overtake its host—leads inexorably to greater economic suffering and environmental degradation. The film revolves around the tragic story of a small town in Norway whose elected officials were persuaded by financial consultants, at the height of the stock boom, to invest in Citibank's mortgage-backed securities, products that became worthless with the crash of the global casino in 2008.