Thursday, 27 August 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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.

California Governor Jerry Brown spent this year's Earth Day at the elite Iron Horse Winery in the Sebastopol countryside. It was a great photo opportunity and promotion for the winery. Iron Horse is known for donations to President Bill Clinton and other politicians, with whom it has cozy relationships, and from whom it receives favors, such as these visits. I operate a small berry and apple farm nearby and teach sustainable agriculture, mainly to college students.

"Hope Amid Drought" headlined the April 20 pro-wine industry daily Press Democrat's (PD) report on this winery event of some 200 people. "Brown says innovation, efficiency will get state through water shortage," the article notes. Iron Horse Vineyards CEO Joy Sterling "said the 300-acre winery…epitomized the environmental stewardship honored on Earth Day." She spoke about their "love of the land."

Gov. Jerry Brown today announced an important new plan to reduce California's greenhouse gas pollution by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. But the governor's executive order on climate change isundermined by his support for fracking and dangerous oil production. Leading climate experts have called on the governor to impose a moratorium on fracking in the state.

"Gov. Jerry Brown deserves credit for this important step toward fighting global warming, but the governor continues to undermine his own plans by backing fracking," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. "Fracking pollution threatens to blow a huge hole in California's target for reducing planet-warming emissions. No plan to prevent climate disruption can succeed if it doesn't include a rapid transition away from fracking and other dangerousoil and gas production."

May 04

MRFF Agree: Navy Went Too Far

By Staff, Chaplain Alliance | Press Release

Dr. Ron Crews, USA (Ret.), executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, released a joint statement Friday, which reads in part as follows:

"We have testified before the same Congressional panels. We have spoken out on the same incidents in the services.  And, we are always on opposing sides, but in this instance it is easy for us both to say that the Navy went too far and is clearly in violation of the Constitutional religious liberty rights of American sailors at the Recruit Training Command."

In response to the killing of Freddie Gray, Mya Hall, and others by the Baltimore Police Department, the protests in the street, and the mobilization of the National Guard to enforce a nightly curfew the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) issued the following statement:

"Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Freddie Gray, a 25 year old Black man who was brutally and senselessly beaten by six officers of the Baltimore Police Department.  Gray's injuries were so horrific that his spine was severed during the encounter, and he later died from the injuries that he sustained.  Just a few weeks prior, Mya Hall, a Black trans woman, was killed by the same police department..."

Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Indonesian embassies in London, Paris and other cities today to call for an end to West Papua's 50 years of isolation.

Supporters of Tapol, Amnesty International, Free West Papua Campaign and Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights, wore black to protest the media black-out in Papua, and carried placards brandishing slogans such as "Stop the killings, open Papua".

On March 8, 2015, President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13692, which declared a national emergency, calling Venezuela "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," and imposed sanctions on several Venezuelan officials. Now that he has publicly backpedaled on his claim, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls on him to immediately withdraw the executive order.

On April 9, the day before the Summit of the Americas began in Panama City, President Obama backtracked on that claim. In an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE that received little coverage, Obama stated, "Venezuela is not a threat to the US and the US is not a threat to Venezuela." Nevertheless, the EO remains in effect. Such a false declaration that a country poses a national security threat to the United States violates domestic and international law and serves only to further isolate the US in the region.

We still don't know the names of the racist police officers that brutally murdered Freddie Gray. All we know is that they have been suspended with pay. We are told that we cannot rush to judgment, for what would otherwise become of 'due process'? However, we now know that there is another person to blame, another subject involved in and responsible for, the tragic, torturous and horrific death - the lynching of Freddie Gray, and that is Freddie Gray himself.

From the Washington Post to Fox News and other media outlets, we learn that, according to a prisoner who was in the police van with Freddie Gray during that terrible and murderous ride, Freddie Gray was "banging against the walls" of the vehicle. This other prisoner now says that he believed Freddie Gray was "intentionally trying to injure himself." Articles reporting on this don't say that the second prisoner had no idea of what had happened during Gray's arrest, that his spine had been injured, and his legs were rendered useless. So they don't say that the banging against the walls of the police van was simply a way to somehow deal with the excruciating and unsustainable pain caused by his spine injury. During the 'rough ride' in the van, Freddie Gray was trying to exit his body, bring it back to a healthy state, or perhaps break it even more, in an attempt to stop that impossible condition of pain, impossible to sustain, stop the nightmare which these six racist and murderous police officers had brought upon him. No - rather, in the lying fashion typical of mainstream media, in the deliberate thoughtlessness typical of the law and the police, they go from one absurdity to the other trying to convince an audience whose stupidity and gullibility they offensively assume. So they say that the document, the second prisoner's statement, was "written by a Baltimore police investigator."

If you haven't heard it from your friends, kids, grandkids or even the paperboy, 71 percent of people have some sort student loan debt and the average is nearly $33,000.

Student debt is reaching a crisis point in the US.

Apr 30

Welcome to Where?

By Matt Mullins , SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Imagine yourself in these shoes… you and your family live imprisoned behind concrete walls twice the height of the Berlin wall, grimly underlined with razor wire and punctuated by sniper towers. Each tower stands foreboding like a giant inquisitor sneering down over a barren, ravished land; their bullet proof glass eyes cruelly manned by young patriots ready to burn lead holes through human skulls. The occupying force frequently closes the roads and highways you use for work, to see family and friends or hope to God don't needto reach a hospital. Yet the citizens of the occupying force pass freely on these same roads.

Apr 30

Foundation Myths

By Nicholas Mele, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Since 2001, the United States sees myriad existential threats to our nation from lone terrorists to rogue states like North Korea to China and Russia. The American response to this has been to act in line with what Walter Wink called The Myth of Redemptive Violence. The original form of the myth tells of the creation of an ordered world through killing: violence defeats chaos and enables ordered societies to flourish. Violence, in the form of war, then looks like the best way to overcome threats. As Stephen Kinzer pointed out recently, there are in fact few or no such doomsday threats. We need to look at the world with eyes open to the complexity of the conflicts and injustices in the world, and we need to widen our sense of the options available to us.

GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES
Optional Member Code

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


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.

California Governor Jerry Brown spent this year's Earth Day at the elite Iron Horse Winery in the Sebastopol countryside. It was a great photo opportunity and promotion for the winery. Iron Horse is known for donations to President Bill Clinton and other politicians, with whom it has cozy relationships, and from whom it receives favors, such as these visits. I operate a small berry and apple farm nearby and teach sustainable agriculture, mainly to college students.

"Hope Amid Drought" headlined the April 20 pro-wine industry daily Press Democrat's (PD) report on this winery event of some 200 people. "Brown says innovation, efficiency will get state through water shortage," the article notes. Iron Horse Vineyards CEO Joy Sterling "said the 300-acre winery…epitomized the environmental stewardship honored on Earth Day." She spoke about their "love of the land."

Gov. Jerry Brown today announced an important new plan to reduce California's greenhouse gas pollution by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. But the governor's executive order on climate change isundermined by his support for fracking and dangerous oil production. Leading climate experts have called on the governor to impose a moratorium on fracking in the state.

"Gov. Jerry Brown deserves credit for this important step toward fighting global warming, but the governor continues to undermine his own plans by backing fracking," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. "Fracking pollution threatens to blow a huge hole in California's target for reducing planet-warming emissions. No plan to prevent climate disruption can succeed if it doesn't include a rapid transition away from fracking and other dangerousoil and gas production."

May 04

MRFF Agree: Navy Went Too Far

By Staff, Chaplain Alliance | Press Release

Dr. Ron Crews, USA (Ret.), executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, released a joint statement Friday, which reads in part as follows:

"We have testified before the same Congressional panels. We have spoken out on the same incidents in the services.  And, we are always on opposing sides, but in this instance it is easy for us both to say that the Navy went too far and is clearly in violation of the Constitutional religious liberty rights of American sailors at the Recruit Training Command."

In response to the killing of Freddie Gray, Mya Hall, and others by the Baltimore Police Department, the protests in the street, and the mobilization of the National Guard to enforce a nightly curfew the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) issued the following statement:

"Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Freddie Gray, a 25 year old Black man who was brutally and senselessly beaten by six officers of the Baltimore Police Department.  Gray's injuries were so horrific that his spine was severed during the encounter, and he later died from the injuries that he sustained.  Just a few weeks prior, Mya Hall, a Black trans woman, was killed by the same police department..."

Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Indonesian embassies in London, Paris and other cities today to call for an end to West Papua's 50 years of isolation.

Supporters of Tapol, Amnesty International, Free West Papua Campaign and Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights, wore black to protest the media black-out in Papua, and carried placards brandishing slogans such as "Stop the killings, open Papua".

On March 8, 2015, President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13692, which declared a national emergency, calling Venezuela "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," and imposed sanctions on several Venezuelan officials. Now that he has publicly backpedaled on his claim, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls on him to immediately withdraw the executive order.

On April 9, the day before the Summit of the Americas began in Panama City, President Obama backtracked on that claim. In an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE that received little coverage, Obama stated, "Venezuela is not a threat to the US and the US is not a threat to Venezuela." Nevertheless, the EO remains in effect. Such a false declaration that a country poses a national security threat to the United States violates domestic and international law and serves only to further isolate the US in the region.

We still don't know the names of the racist police officers that brutally murdered Freddie Gray. All we know is that they have been suspended with pay. We are told that we cannot rush to judgment, for what would otherwise become of 'due process'? However, we now know that there is another person to blame, another subject involved in and responsible for, the tragic, torturous and horrific death - the lynching of Freddie Gray, and that is Freddie Gray himself.

From the Washington Post to Fox News and other media outlets, we learn that, according to a prisoner who was in the police van with Freddie Gray during that terrible and murderous ride, Freddie Gray was "banging against the walls" of the vehicle. This other prisoner now says that he believed Freddie Gray was "intentionally trying to injure himself." Articles reporting on this don't say that the second prisoner had no idea of what had happened during Gray's arrest, that his spine had been injured, and his legs were rendered useless. So they don't say that the banging against the walls of the police van was simply a way to somehow deal with the excruciating and unsustainable pain caused by his spine injury. During the 'rough ride' in the van, Freddie Gray was trying to exit his body, bring it back to a healthy state, or perhaps break it even more, in an attempt to stop that impossible condition of pain, impossible to sustain, stop the nightmare which these six racist and murderous police officers had brought upon him. No - rather, in the lying fashion typical of mainstream media, in the deliberate thoughtlessness typical of the law and the police, they go from one absurdity to the other trying to convince an audience whose stupidity and gullibility they offensively assume. So they say that the document, the second prisoner's statement, was "written by a Baltimore police investigator."

If you haven't heard it from your friends, kids, grandkids or even the paperboy, 71 percent of people have some sort student loan debt and the average is nearly $33,000.

Student debt is reaching a crisis point in the US.

Apr 30

Welcome to Where?

By Matt Mullins , SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Imagine yourself in these shoes… you and your family live imprisoned behind concrete walls twice the height of the Berlin wall, grimly underlined with razor wire and punctuated by sniper towers. Each tower stands foreboding like a giant inquisitor sneering down over a barren, ravished land; their bullet proof glass eyes cruelly manned by young patriots ready to burn lead holes through human skulls. The occupying force frequently closes the roads and highways you use for work, to see family and friends or hope to God don't needto reach a hospital. Yet the citizens of the occupying force pass freely on these same roads.

Apr 30

Foundation Myths

By Nicholas Mele, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Since 2001, the United States sees myriad existential threats to our nation from lone terrorists to rogue states like North Korea to China and Russia. The American response to this has been to act in line with what Walter Wink called The Myth of Redemptive Violence. The original form of the myth tells of the creation of an ordered world through killing: violence defeats chaos and enables ordered societies to flourish. Violence, in the form of war, then looks like the best way to overcome threats. As Stephen Kinzer pointed out recently, there are in fact few or no such doomsday threats. We need to look at the world with eyes open to the complexity of the conflicts and injustices in the world, and we need to widen our sense of the options available to us.