Saturday, 30 July 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.

Sep 14

Will Monsanto Launch another "Sneak Attack" in Congress?

By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association | Op-Ed

So we were told recently by a Senate staffer, during one of the many meetings we've held with Senators to urge them to reject HR 1599, or what we refer to as the DARK - Deny Americans the Right to Know - Act.

Could that comment mean Monsanto is cooking up another "sneak attack," similar to the one it conducted in 2013, that led to passage of the Monsanto Protection Act?

With criminal legal system reform figuring prominently in the early stages of the 2016 presidential race, its national moment has undeniably arrived. And with it, our country's march - or rather grueling slog - toward a system of greater humanity is rightfully celebrated. After all, we stand at the brink of repairing an institution that violently mocks US rhetoric about justice and equality. Excitement naturally flows from the near reversal of a policy hellscape that's claimed the lives of so many.

After decades of self-destructive business-as-usual - empire-building, waging wars for fossil fuels, selling out government to the highest bidder, lacing the environment and the global food supply with GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, toxic sweeteners, artery-clogging fats and synthetic chemicals,  attacking the organic and natural health movement, brainwashing the body politic, destroying soils, forests, wetlands, and biodiversity and discharging greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere and the oceans like there's no tomorrow - we've reached a new low, physically and morally. 

I was seven when Mount Saint Helen's - a beautiful peak 90 miles from our home - erupted. My sister and I were playing outside as ash and soot began to fall around us like soft snowflakes. We stared in wonder as inches turned to drifts, and our young imaginations led us to ask if maybe it was the beginning of the end of the world.

A new report released today reveals the dramatic extent of the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying efforts towards EU decision-makers, withthe industry spending an estimated 15 times more than civil society actors working on public health or access to medicines.

"Policy prescriptions: the firepower of the EU pharmaceutical lobby and implications for public health" by Corporate Europe Observatory probes the privileged access to decision-making in Brussels enjoyed by the sector.

Sep 10

Executive Excess 2015: Money to Burn

By Sarah Anderson, Sam Pizzigati and Chuck Collins, Inequality.org | Report

This report reveals how our CEO pay system rewards executives for deepening the global climate crisis, based on in-depth analysis of the 30 largest publicly held US oil, gas and coal companies. This year's IPS Executive Excess report, the 22nd annual, also includes an updated scorecard that rates recently enacted and proposed CEO pay reforms.

Although grassroots activism has dealt it a blow, the Senate Intelligence Committee's Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) keeps shambling along like the zombie it is. In July, Senator McConnell vowed to hold a final vote on the bill before Congress left for its six-week long summer vacation. In response, EFF and over 20 other privacy groups ran a successful Week of Action, including over 6 million faxes opposing CISA, causing the Senate to postpone the vote until late September.

The heartbreaking pictures of three-year-old Aylan Kurdhi symbolize everything that is wrong with war. Following #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik ("humanity washed ashore") is a painful confrontation with what some might call the "collateral damage" of war. When we look at the images of this toddler through the tears in our eyes, it is time to deconstruct some myths about war. Aren't we used to hearing and believing that war is part of human nature; wars are fought for freedom and defense; wars are inevitable; and wars are fought between militaries?

There were more US air strikes reported in Afghanistan in August than Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia combined. More than half the 32 reported attacks in Afghanistan came in the space of a week. The US was providing air support to Afghan security forces trying to stop a second district in the southern province of Helmand falling under Taliban control.

Sep 04

Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions

By Sylvia Frain, Speakout | News Analysis

On Saturday morning, August 29, 2015, the United States Navy signed the Record of Decision, the final document needed for the implementation of one of the largest "peacetime" military build-ups in US history. This will cost between $8 and 9 billion, with only $174 million for civilian infrastructure, which Congress has not released yet. As a central aspect of the United States' foreign policy "Pivot to the Pacific," the build-up will relocate thousands of Marines and their dependents from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam.

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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.

Sep 14

Will Monsanto Launch another "Sneak Attack" in Congress?

By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association | Op-Ed

So we were told recently by a Senate staffer, during one of the many meetings we've held with Senators to urge them to reject HR 1599, or what we refer to as the DARK - Deny Americans the Right to Know - Act.

Could that comment mean Monsanto is cooking up another "sneak attack," similar to the one it conducted in 2013, that led to passage of the Monsanto Protection Act?

With criminal legal system reform figuring prominently in the early stages of the 2016 presidential race, its national moment has undeniably arrived. And with it, our country's march - or rather grueling slog - toward a system of greater humanity is rightfully celebrated. After all, we stand at the brink of repairing an institution that violently mocks US rhetoric about justice and equality. Excitement naturally flows from the near reversal of a policy hellscape that's claimed the lives of so many.

After decades of self-destructive business-as-usual - empire-building, waging wars for fossil fuels, selling out government to the highest bidder, lacing the environment and the global food supply with GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, toxic sweeteners, artery-clogging fats and synthetic chemicals,  attacking the organic and natural health movement, brainwashing the body politic, destroying soils, forests, wetlands, and biodiversity and discharging greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere and the oceans like there's no tomorrow - we've reached a new low, physically and morally. 

I was seven when Mount Saint Helen's - a beautiful peak 90 miles from our home - erupted. My sister and I were playing outside as ash and soot began to fall around us like soft snowflakes. We stared in wonder as inches turned to drifts, and our young imaginations led us to ask if maybe it was the beginning of the end of the world.

A new report released today reveals the dramatic extent of the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying efforts towards EU decision-makers, withthe industry spending an estimated 15 times more than civil society actors working on public health or access to medicines.

"Policy prescriptions: the firepower of the EU pharmaceutical lobby and implications for public health" by Corporate Europe Observatory probes the privileged access to decision-making in Brussels enjoyed by the sector.

Sep 10

Executive Excess 2015: Money to Burn

By Sarah Anderson, Sam Pizzigati and Chuck Collins, Inequality.org | Report

This report reveals how our CEO pay system rewards executives for deepening the global climate crisis, based on in-depth analysis of the 30 largest publicly held US oil, gas and coal companies. This year's IPS Executive Excess report, the 22nd annual, also includes an updated scorecard that rates recently enacted and proposed CEO pay reforms.

Although grassroots activism has dealt it a blow, the Senate Intelligence Committee's Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) keeps shambling along like the zombie it is. In July, Senator McConnell vowed to hold a final vote on the bill before Congress left for its six-week long summer vacation. In response, EFF and over 20 other privacy groups ran a successful Week of Action, including over 6 million faxes opposing CISA, causing the Senate to postpone the vote until late September.

The heartbreaking pictures of three-year-old Aylan Kurdhi symbolize everything that is wrong with war. Following #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik ("humanity washed ashore") is a painful confrontation with what some might call the "collateral damage" of war. When we look at the images of this toddler through the tears in our eyes, it is time to deconstruct some myths about war. Aren't we used to hearing and believing that war is part of human nature; wars are fought for freedom and defense; wars are inevitable; and wars are fought between militaries?

There were more US air strikes reported in Afghanistan in August than Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia combined. More than half the 32 reported attacks in Afghanistan came in the space of a week. The US was providing air support to Afghan security forces trying to stop a second district in the southern province of Helmand falling under Taliban control.

Sep 04

Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions

By Sylvia Frain, Speakout | News Analysis

On Saturday morning, August 29, 2015, the United States Navy signed the Record of Decision, the final document needed for the implementation of one of the largest "peacetime" military build-ups in US history. This will cost between $8 and 9 billion, with only $174 million for civilian infrastructure, which Congress has not released yet. As a central aspect of the United States' foreign policy "Pivot to the Pacific," the build-up will relocate thousands of Marines and their dependents from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam.