Wednesday, 04 May 2016 / 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.

For interest groups that sought to influence Washington's thinking on the massive trade package set to bind together 40 percent of the world's economy, Monday's announcement of an agreement on the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a long time coming.

Over eight years of negotiations, 487 clients paid lobbyists to meet with or contact lawmakers and administration officials to discuss the trade pact, a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of lobbying data shows.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's plan for cracking down on gun violence faces long odds given a Congress that has largely failed to pass gun control legislation for years and receives millions of dollars from gun rights groups every election cycle.

Which is why Clinton - speaking in New Hampshire on Monday after a shooting left 10 people dead at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week - said she would take executive action if necessary.

September 11, 2001, was a tragic day for the entire world and for me personally. My 25-year-old niece, Katie McCloskey, was working on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower. My high school friend, Ken Waldie, was aboard that jetliner. Both perished that morning. In the following days, I began to consider how peace might be achieved if people could begin to see each other as human beings.

Oct 06

Cops vs. a Culture of Nonviolence

By Tom H. Hastings, Speakout | Op-Ed

Cops without guns? Snort. Impossible. Who is going to stop the next mass shooting slaughter?

Well, not so fast. There are a few folks who remain quite cross about police who kill unarmed people. Those unarmed people tend to fall into two categories - people of color or people suffering a mental health crisis.

On October 6, the California Supreme Court will consider whether to allow the state's electorate to vote on a ballot measure that instructs Congress to overturn the US Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC by passing a constitutional amendment. It's an unusual case that asks a state judicial branch, in effect, whether voters have the right to smack the federal judiciary in the face.

Oct 05

Volkswagen Shows We Can't Trust Car Companies to Regulate Themselves

By Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang, USA Today | Op-Ed

The diesel engines on which Volkswagen relied for at least seven years could meet critical emissions standards only with software designed to cheat on government tests, the Obama administration disclosed this month. But in the ranks of cheaters, VW is not alone. At some point over the past four decades, VW has had plenty of company among big automakers in trying to evade emissions restrictions.

Caleen Sisk, the Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, spoke movingly about the sacredness of water and the threat to the environment and people posed by controversial plans to raise the Shasta Dam and build Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels.

"This spring, the headwaters of the Sacramento, is sacred to us," said Chief Sisk.

Plutonium was named after Pluto, "god of the underworld," Hades or hell. It was created inside faulty reactors, concentrated and machined by US scientists into the most devastating and horrifying of all weapons. Photos of what the Manhattan Project's plutonium bomb did to human beings at Nagasaki prove the point. There is radioactive blowback in the fact that the thousands of tons of plutonium created since 1945 is so dangerously hot and long-lived that, like the underworld itself, nobody knows how to handle it at all - except maybe to trivialize it. 

Prop Francis supporters rallied at City Hall September 30 prior to a Supervisor's hearing on a new city agency's enforcement of San Francisco's short-term rental law. Critics challenged the only nine violations the agency has prosecuted, arguing that the housing crunch is being exacerbated by the allocation of thousands of resident housing units into short-term rental space for tourists.

More than five years ago, a soldier named Bowe Bergdahl left his US Army unit in Afghanistan. He was captured, imprisoned in brutal conditions for five years, and finally released in a prisoner exchange in 2014. The Army is now considering whether he should be court-martialed for desertion and other crimes.

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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.

For interest groups that sought to influence Washington's thinking on the massive trade package set to bind together 40 percent of the world's economy, Monday's announcement of an agreement on the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a long time coming.

Over eight years of negotiations, 487 clients paid lobbyists to meet with or contact lawmakers and administration officials to discuss the trade pact, a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of lobbying data shows.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's plan for cracking down on gun violence faces long odds given a Congress that has largely failed to pass gun control legislation for years and receives millions of dollars from gun rights groups every election cycle.

Which is why Clinton - speaking in New Hampshire on Monday after a shooting left 10 people dead at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week - said she would take executive action if necessary.

September 11, 2001, was a tragic day for the entire world and for me personally. My 25-year-old niece, Katie McCloskey, was working on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower. My high school friend, Ken Waldie, was aboard that jetliner. Both perished that morning. In the following days, I began to consider how peace might be achieved if people could begin to see each other as human beings.

Oct 06

Cops vs. a Culture of Nonviolence

By Tom H. Hastings, Speakout | Op-Ed

Cops without guns? Snort. Impossible. Who is going to stop the next mass shooting slaughter?

Well, not so fast. There are a few folks who remain quite cross about police who kill unarmed people. Those unarmed people tend to fall into two categories - people of color or people suffering a mental health crisis.

On October 6, the California Supreme Court will consider whether to allow the state's electorate to vote on a ballot measure that instructs Congress to overturn the US Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC by passing a constitutional amendment. It's an unusual case that asks a state judicial branch, in effect, whether voters have the right to smack the federal judiciary in the face.

Oct 05

Volkswagen Shows We Can't Trust Car Companies to Regulate Themselves

By Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang, USA Today | Op-Ed

The diesel engines on which Volkswagen relied for at least seven years could meet critical emissions standards only with software designed to cheat on government tests, the Obama administration disclosed this month. But in the ranks of cheaters, VW is not alone. At some point over the past four decades, VW has had plenty of company among big automakers in trying to evade emissions restrictions.

Caleen Sisk, the Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, spoke movingly about the sacredness of water and the threat to the environment and people posed by controversial plans to raise the Shasta Dam and build Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels.

"This spring, the headwaters of the Sacramento, is sacred to us," said Chief Sisk.

Plutonium was named after Pluto, "god of the underworld," Hades or hell. It was created inside faulty reactors, concentrated and machined by US scientists into the most devastating and horrifying of all weapons. Photos of what the Manhattan Project's plutonium bomb did to human beings at Nagasaki prove the point. There is radioactive blowback in the fact that the thousands of tons of plutonium created since 1945 is so dangerously hot and long-lived that, like the underworld itself, nobody knows how to handle it at all - except maybe to trivialize it. 

Prop Francis supporters rallied at City Hall September 30 prior to a Supervisor's hearing on a new city agency's enforcement of San Francisco's short-term rental law. Critics challenged the only nine violations the agency has prosecuted, arguing that the housing crunch is being exacerbated by the allocation of thousands of resident housing units into short-term rental space for tourists.

More than five years ago, a soldier named Bowe Bergdahl left his US Army unit in Afghanistan. He was captured, imprisoned in brutal conditions for five years, and finally released in a prisoner exchange in 2014. The Army is now considering whether he should be court-martialed for desertion and other crimes.