Saturday, 05 September 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.

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.

California is in the middle of a severe drought. How severe? State officials expect the 2015 statewide snowpack to be about 6% of normal.

Can you imagine having only 6% of thewater you normally have to last the whole year? Well, if you're in California you don't have to imagine.

With Americans marking the 47th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just days earlier, abroad coalition of registered nurses, organized labor, anti-AIDS advocates, college students, clergy and other community activists will converge on 25 US cities Wednesday, April 8, to amplify the call for a Wall Street financial transactions tax to reverse the country's crippling inequality.

Economists estimate that a tiny surcharge of no more than a nickel on every $10 in trades of stocks, bond and derivatives - tax that is proportionally smaller than what most Americans pay fora pair of shoes - could increase revenues collected by the Treasury Department by as much as $350 billion annually.

It's election day in Chicago, and until it's over political types here are unlikely to write about much of anything else. Since I've always tended to work against the grain, I'm going to go ahead and pen an exception to that trend, because tomorrow's going to come, and regardless of who takes (or keeps) the reins here in our city, there's a whole lot that's not going to change.

Whether Wednesday's headlines declare that there's a new mayor in town, or that we'll be bunking with the King of Neoliberalism for another four years, the sun will rise over Chicago tomorrow, and determined young people will still be organizing for their lives. Racism and ableism will continue to manifest themselves in the form of police violence, and the school to prison pipeline will continue to consume our children. Those of us organizing against state violence will continue to stand up, build alternatives, and reduce harm where we can.

 

Joy First reports from Mauston, Wisc., that Bonnie Block, a Madison grandmother and long-time peace activist, was found guilty of trespassing in a jury trial in the Juneau County Courthouse on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, and sent to jail.

Sadly, this is not an April Fool's joke. Block, pictured at right, was compelled to either pay $232 or spend 5 days in the Juneau County Jail.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) told the Los Angeles Times that a bipartisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medicalmarijuana laws doesn't prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property. The statement comes as the agency continues to target people who are complying with their state medical marijuana law. This insubordination is occurring despite the fact that members of Congress in both parties were clear that their intent with the amendment was to protect medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution and forfeiture.

"The Justice Department is ignoring the will of the voters, defying Congress, and breaking the law," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance"President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder need to rein in this out-of-control agency."

The US government should not be permitted to classify information simply because it could be used to stir anti-American sentiment abroad, the Brennan Center for Justice and the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued in an amicus brief filed last week.

Allowing the US to classify information based on the argument that our enemies could use it as"anti-American propaganda" contradicts Executive Order 13526, which prohibits the classification of information to conceal misconduct or prevent embarrassment, and would create a limitless basis for future classification, the brief argues.

Washington DC - The religious anti-poverty organization JubileeUSANetwork is calling on international lenders to grant debt relief toVanuatuIn mid-March, Cyclone Pam struck the string of small Pacific islands with winds up to 165 miles per hour. The category 5 storm destroyed or damaged nearly every building inthe capital city and wiped out crops across the country. The United Nations warns that entire islands are facing imminent starvation and its President says the "monster" storm undid the nation's recent economic development. Vanuatuowes approximately $84 million to international lenders, including nearly $10 millionto the World Bank.

"The World Bank and other international lenders can reduce Vanuatu'debt," said Eric LeCompte, JubileeUSANetwork's Executive Director. "Vanuatu's people will need every single dollar they can get to rebuild."

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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.

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.

California is in the middle of a severe drought. How severe? State officials expect the 2015 statewide snowpack to be about 6% of normal.

Can you imagine having only 6% of thewater you normally have to last the whole year? Well, if you're in California you don't have to imagine.

With Americans marking the 47th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just days earlier, abroad coalition of registered nurses, organized labor, anti-AIDS advocates, college students, clergy and other community activists will converge on 25 US cities Wednesday, April 8, to amplify the call for a Wall Street financial transactions tax to reverse the country's crippling inequality.

Economists estimate that a tiny surcharge of no more than a nickel on every $10 in trades of stocks, bond and derivatives - tax that is proportionally smaller than what most Americans pay fora pair of shoes - could increase revenues collected by the Treasury Department by as much as $350 billion annually.

It's election day in Chicago, and until it's over political types here are unlikely to write about much of anything else. Since I've always tended to work against the grain, I'm going to go ahead and pen an exception to that trend, because tomorrow's going to come, and regardless of who takes (or keeps) the reins here in our city, there's a whole lot that's not going to change.

Whether Wednesday's headlines declare that there's a new mayor in town, or that we'll be bunking with the King of Neoliberalism for another four years, the sun will rise over Chicago tomorrow, and determined young people will still be organizing for their lives. Racism and ableism will continue to manifest themselves in the form of police violence, and the school to prison pipeline will continue to consume our children. Those of us organizing against state violence will continue to stand up, build alternatives, and reduce harm where we can.

 

Joy First reports from Mauston, Wisc., that Bonnie Block, a Madison grandmother and long-time peace activist, was found guilty of trespassing in a jury trial in the Juneau County Courthouse on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, and sent to jail.

Sadly, this is not an April Fool's joke. Block, pictured at right, was compelled to either pay $232 or spend 5 days in the Juneau County Jail.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) told the Los Angeles Times that a bipartisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medicalmarijuana laws doesn't prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property. The statement comes as the agency continues to target people who are complying with their state medical marijuana law. This insubordination is occurring despite the fact that members of Congress in both parties were clear that their intent with the amendment was to protect medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution and forfeiture.

"The Justice Department is ignoring the will of the voters, defying Congress, and breaking the law," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance"President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder need to rein in this out-of-control agency."

The US government should not be permitted to classify information simply because it could be used to stir anti-American sentiment abroad, the Brennan Center for Justice and the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued in an amicus brief filed last week.

Allowing the US to classify information based on the argument that our enemies could use it as"anti-American propaganda" contradicts Executive Order 13526, which prohibits the classification of information to conceal misconduct or prevent embarrassment, and would create a limitless basis for future classification, the brief argues.

Washington DC - The religious anti-poverty organization JubileeUSANetwork is calling on international lenders to grant debt relief toVanuatuIn mid-March, Cyclone Pam struck the string of small Pacific islands with winds up to 165 miles per hour. The category 5 storm destroyed or damaged nearly every building inthe capital city and wiped out crops across the country. The United Nations warns that entire islands are facing imminent starvation and its President says the "monster" storm undid the nation's recent economic development. Vanuatuowes approximately $84 million to international lenders, including nearly $10 millionto the World Bank.

"The World Bank and other international lenders can reduce Vanuatu'debt," said Eric LeCompte, JubileeUSANetwork's Executive Director. "Vanuatu's people will need every single dollar they can get to rebuild."