Thursday, 30 July 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.

Washington, DC - Ahead of President Obama's trip to Jamaica this week,a new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) finds that Jamaica is running the most austere budget in the world, with a primary surplus of 7.5 percent, due to its IMF agreement, and that the government's interest payments on the debt and austerity have brought public investment to a low.

The paper, "Partners in Austerity: Jamaica, the United States andthe International Monetary Fund" by Jake Johnston, notes that Jamaica has a debt-to-GDP ratio of nearly 140 percent and its public interest burden is one of the very highest intheworld, at over 8 percent of GDP last year.

Below is the thank you letter that educators at Seattle's Garfield High Schoolwrote to Nathan Hale High School for their courage in taking the lead in the movement to oppose the new "Smarter Balanced Assessment Common Core Tests.  Their example helped inspire Garfield to win a major victory against the SBA test, and has helped ignite the opt out movement around Seattle.  Seattle's opt out movement is now the largest in the city's history.  Thank you Nathan Hale!

With the help of the New York Times and reporters Julie Bosman and Jonathan Martin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was able to fend off challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, in a runoff election on Tuesday.

The New York Times coverage of middle-class concerns has become a circus-mirror of confusion for Democrats divided by free trade agreements and neoliberal ideals on the one hand and the plight of hard working families on the other. During Chicago's runoff election, the Times demonstrated its unflinching support for a democratic leadership that embraces Wall Street's ownership of City Hall and Capitol Hill.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is slated to roll out its annual "Rich States, Poor States" publication this week. The document, whose lead author is economist Arthur Laffer, is sold to the press as an objective, academic measure of state good economic performance, but should instead be viewed as a lobbyist scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with good economic outcomes.

The ALEC entity that publishes the report, the Center for State Fiscal Reform, has received large grants from the Bradley Foundation, the Searle Foundation and the now-closed Claude M. Lambe Foundation, one of the Koch family foundations.

It is often alleged that the basis for U.S.-Israeli relations lies in "shared concerns and interests." However, what really holds the relationship together is a systemic aspect of American politics - the system of special interest lobbying and the money that underlies it. That practice is just about as old as the country itself, and the Zionist lobby is a past-master at exploiting this system. With the Supreme Court rulings telling us that political spending and donations are forms of free speech, this rather perverse aspect of U.S. politics is not going to change in the foreseeable future. 

Legendary television writer and producer Norman Lear, creator of such landmark comedy series as All in the FamilyMaude and The Jeffersons, and co-founder of People for the American Way, has spoken out in support of independent documentary filmmakers struggling to protect the broadcast of their work on public television.

At issue is the scheduling of two PBS series, Independent Lens and POV, important national showcases for independent film. In New York, WNET – Channel 13 — has proposed moving the series to its smaller sister station, WLIW, with repeats airing on WNET at 11 pm on Sundays.

A soccer pitch in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, home to Iran's Arab minority, has emerged as a flash point of anti-government protest at a time of rising Arab-Iranian tensions over the status of Shiite Muslim minorities in the Arab world, the crisis in Yemen, and the outlines of a multilateral agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear program and return the Islamic republic to the fold of the international community.

Soccer fans clashed with security forces last Friday after a match between state-owned Foolad FC and Teheran's Esteghlal FC  in Ahwaz, the capital of the Iranian province of Khuzestan for the second time is as many weeks, according to the National Council of Resistance in Iran, a coalition of opposition groups dominated by the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a group that lost much of its credibility after it was expelled from France in 1986 and moved its operations to Iraq at a time that Iraq was at war with Iran.

The Wilderness Society is celebrating with the Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance over striking a deal with the conservative elements in the
state. Trading away half a million acres of land to the energy industry
for 1.5 million acres of wilderness seems good on paper, after all. And
after the Bundy Ranch fiasco in Nevada, rapprochement between the greens
and the far right seems like exactly what the country needs.

But not everybody is happy.

I'm Chris Pepus and I work in the university's Film & Media Archive. I am sending you this open letter to resign in protest against ongoing class bias in the university's admissions policies.

Washington University has consistently ranked last in social diversity among leading colleges, measured by the percentage of students eligible for Pell Grants, a need-based federal scholarship. In January, your administration promised a new commitment to social diversity, but we both know it is a sham. It is time the people did as well, since they pay for Wash. U.'s tax exemptions.

The New York Times recently published an editorial lamenting the "shameful impunity of the Islamic State" and encouraging the United Nations Security Council to refer the group's crimes to the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). The editorial, titled "The Crimes of Terrorists" (4/2/2015), should more accurately be titled "The Crimes of theU.S. and Its Allies Should Go Unpunished."

In the last several months alone, the Times has repeatedly failed to condemn crimes by the U.S. government and its allies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories.

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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.

Washington, DC - Ahead of President Obama's trip to Jamaica this week,a new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) finds that Jamaica is running the most austere budget in the world, with a primary surplus of 7.5 percent, due to its IMF agreement, and that the government's interest payments on the debt and austerity have brought public investment to a low.

The paper, "Partners in Austerity: Jamaica, the United States andthe International Monetary Fund" by Jake Johnston, notes that Jamaica has a debt-to-GDP ratio of nearly 140 percent and its public interest burden is one of the very highest intheworld, at over 8 percent of GDP last year.

Below is the thank you letter that educators at Seattle's Garfield High Schoolwrote to Nathan Hale High School for their courage in taking the lead in the movement to oppose the new "Smarter Balanced Assessment Common Core Tests.  Their example helped inspire Garfield to win a major victory against the SBA test, and has helped ignite the opt out movement around Seattle.  Seattle's opt out movement is now the largest in the city's history.  Thank you Nathan Hale!

With the help of the New York Times and reporters Julie Bosman and Jonathan Martin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was able to fend off challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, in a runoff election on Tuesday.

The New York Times coverage of middle-class concerns has become a circus-mirror of confusion for Democrats divided by free trade agreements and neoliberal ideals on the one hand and the plight of hard working families on the other. During Chicago's runoff election, the Times demonstrated its unflinching support for a democratic leadership that embraces Wall Street's ownership of City Hall and Capitol Hill.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is slated to roll out its annual "Rich States, Poor States" publication this week. The document, whose lead author is economist Arthur Laffer, is sold to the press as an objective, academic measure of state good economic performance, but should instead be viewed as a lobbyist scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with good economic outcomes.

The ALEC entity that publishes the report, the Center for State Fiscal Reform, has received large grants from the Bradley Foundation, the Searle Foundation and the now-closed Claude M. Lambe Foundation, one of the Koch family foundations.

It is often alleged that the basis for U.S.-Israeli relations lies in "shared concerns and interests." However, what really holds the relationship together is a systemic aspect of American politics - the system of special interest lobbying and the money that underlies it. That practice is just about as old as the country itself, and the Zionist lobby is a past-master at exploiting this system. With the Supreme Court rulings telling us that political spending and donations are forms of free speech, this rather perverse aspect of U.S. politics is not going to change in the foreseeable future. 

Legendary television writer and producer Norman Lear, creator of such landmark comedy series as All in the FamilyMaude and The Jeffersons, and co-founder of People for the American Way, has spoken out in support of independent documentary filmmakers struggling to protect the broadcast of their work on public television.

At issue is the scheduling of two PBS series, Independent Lens and POV, important national showcases for independent film. In New York, WNET – Channel 13 — has proposed moving the series to its smaller sister station, WLIW, with repeats airing on WNET at 11 pm on Sundays.

A soccer pitch in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, home to Iran's Arab minority, has emerged as a flash point of anti-government protest at a time of rising Arab-Iranian tensions over the status of Shiite Muslim minorities in the Arab world, the crisis in Yemen, and the outlines of a multilateral agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear program and return the Islamic republic to the fold of the international community.

Soccer fans clashed with security forces last Friday after a match between state-owned Foolad FC and Teheran's Esteghlal FC  in Ahwaz, the capital of the Iranian province of Khuzestan for the second time is as many weeks, according to the National Council of Resistance in Iran, a coalition of opposition groups dominated by the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a group that lost much of its credibility after it was expelled from France in 1986 and moved its operations to Iraq at a time that Iraq was at war with Iran.

The Wilderness Society is celebrating with the Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance over striking a deal with the conservative elements in the
state. Trading away half a million acres of land to the energy industry
for 1.5 million acres of wilderness seems good on paper, after all. And
after the Bundy Ranch fiasco in Nevada, rapprochement between the greens
and the far right seems like exactly what the country needs.

But not everybody is happy.

I'm Chris Pepus and I work in the university's Film & Media Archive. I am sending you this open letter to resign in protest against ongoing class bias in the university's admissions policies.

Washington University has consistently ranked last in social diversity among leading colleges, measured by the percentage of students eligible for Pell Grants, a need-based federal scholarship. In January, your administration promised a new commitment to social diversity, but we both know it is a sham. It is time the people did as well, since they pay for Wash. U.'s tax exemptions.

The New York Times recently published an editorial lamenting the "shameful impunity of the Islamic State" and encouraging the United Nations Security Council to refer the group's crimes to the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). The editorial, titled "The Crimes of Terrorists" (4/2/2015), should more accurately be titled "The Crimes of theU.S. and Its Allies Should Go Unpunished."

In the last several months alone, the Times has repeatedly failed to condemn crimes by the U.S. government and its allies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories.