Sunday, 18 February 2018 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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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 media has successfully turned the critical gaze on Jones just as it has with U.S. public education. And what do Jones and public schools have in common? Jones and public schools are powerful and distinct reflections of who America is, and despite what fame Jones has received for her looks, that reflection isn't very pretty. Just as Jones has not created the dynamic that now both celebrates and demonizes her, U.S. public education has not created the enormous inequity that characterizes us (as in the U.S.).

The crisis in Greece began with the discovery that the Greek government had been concealing the size of its debt in order to stay within the monetary union guidelines: it was revealed to be 120 percent of GDP, one of the highest percentages in the world. This massive debt was the result of several factors: reckless borrowing, for example to finance the Olympics and to buy weaponry from Germany and the U.S. and flagrant tax evasion by the rich - but also the structure of the Eurozone itself, which was designed to create a market for German exports in Greece and the other weaker European economies by replacing weak local currencies with the Euro.

Think tanks have an immeasurable effect on public and private policy; they impact our everyday lives by influencing wars, economy, culture, even our faith. Why immeasurable? Because most people don't know what think tanks are. Or that they even exist...

Think tanks are notoriously difficult to decipher, because while they often have significant impact on public policy – they are also pretty much sealed off from public scrutiny.

What's more alarming is that think tanks in the United States and Canada enjoy tax-exempt status. This means donors get a tax write-off by sponsoring a think tank to produce "independently researched" data that not only matches their agenda but can also be used to lobby public policy.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is chairman of the House Budget Committee and has put forward a plan that would end Medicare. He was telling another reporter that he was concerned about providing poor people with a safety net when we had this exchange:

Sam Husseini: If you're a fiscal conservative and you want to provide a safety net, why wouldn't you be for something like a single-payer health care system?

Paul Ryan: I think a single-payer health care system would be a disaster for people who need health-care the most. I think it would cause rationing, waiting lines. I think it would be a fiscal house of cards, I think it would help accelerate a national debt crisis and hurt the economy.

Aug 15

Why and How to End the War on Drugs

By Julie R Butler , SpeakOut | News Analysis

With so many problems in the world today – global economic crisis, climate change, a corrupt political system, growing inequality and entrenched injustice – why make ending the War on Drugs a priority?

The answer is that focusing on the War on Drugs addresses all of these issues in some way. From the amount of money and resources being spent to the human and environmental toll that it costs, the impairment of democracy and its promise of equality as the result of the dependence on military action and violence is at the heart of the Drug War. Working to put an end to it is therefore one of those causes that joins together many different causes, and its resolution lays the groundwork for solutions to many different problems.

Aug 15

US Guns: The Awful, Shocking Truth

By Brave New Foundation, Brave New Films | Video

President Obama has the power to help stop gun smugglers who are fueling violence in Mexico. We're demanding him to:

1) Enforce the existing ban on the importation of military-style assault weapons (because many of them are later illegally smuggled into Mexico);

2) Require gun dealers to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the sale of multiple assault rifles to the same person over a period of five days (GOOD NEWS: the Obama Administration has announced new reporting rules on multiple semiautomatic rifles in border states. A great first step -- let's keep the momentum going!);

3) Strengthen legal enforcement in regions of the U.S. that supply the bulk of the contraband weapons smuggled into Mexico.

Aug 15

Millenials Vs. Libertarianism

By Connor Kilpatrick, The Exiled | Opinion

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves “socially liberal but fiscally conservative”? Yeah. It’s for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that they’ve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they can’t count on weeping eagles and the stars ‘n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your “socially liberal” buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyone’s happy!

Ottawa–Ten Nobel Peace Laureates today issued an open letter to the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as General Wesley Clark and others involved in the new “reality” show premiering tonight on NBC—“Stars Earn Stripes”—calling on them to walk away from the show immediately.

In the letter, the Laureates—who include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams and President Oscar Arias Sanchez—note that “war isn’t entertainment” and challenge NBC’s promotional line that that such a television program would be “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-line responder services.”

The Laureates say that the program pays homage to no one and is “a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent.”

Governor Cuomo, we can't fathom your thinking. There have been 191 visits to emergency rooms because of designer drugs, and you are taking action to ban their use in New York State?

Uh, while that seems like a good thing, in the context of other threats, it's patently absurd.

You protect people from designer drugs, yet you are apparently ready to begin permitting something that will cause a lot more than 191 emergency room visits per year: the filthy, dangerous, chemical- and poison-laden fossil-fuel-extraction process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking (the entire process from exploration to the kitchen stove pilot light) involves so many toxins it's impossible to list them all, and they include the heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive materials brought up from deep underground in the process.

Aug 14

Occupy Wall Street: Year One

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Occudoc.org | Video

On Sep. 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street started a revolution. One year later, the movement is celebrating by hosting three days of education, training, and protest in New York City.

Film created by Dennis Trainor, who also made American Autumn.

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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 media has successfully turned the critical gaze on Jones just as it has with U.S. public education. And what do Jones and public schools have in common? Jones and public schools are powerful and distinct reflections of who America is, and despite what fame Jones has received for her looks, that reflection isn't very pretty. Just as Jones has not created the dynamic that now both celebrates and demonizes her, U.S. public education has not created the enormous inequity that characterizes us (as in the U.S.).

The crisis in Greece began with the discovery that the Greek government had been concealing the size of its debt in order to stay within the monetary union guidelines: it was revealed to be 120 percent of GDP, one of the highest percentages in the world. This massive debt was the result of several factors: reckless borrowing, for example to finance the Olympics and to buy weaponry from Germany and the U.S. and flagrant tax evasion by the rich - but also the structure of the Eurozone itself, which was designed to create a market for German exports in Greece and the other weaker European economies by replacing weak local currencies with the Euro.

Think tanks have an immeasurable effect on public and private policy; they impact our everyday lives by influencing wars, economy, culture, even our faith. Why immeasurable? Because most people don't know what think tanks are. Or that they even exist...

Think tanks are notoriously difficult to decipher, because while they often have significant impact on public policy – they are also pretty much sealed off from public scrutiny.

What's more alarming is that think tanks in the United States and Canada enjoy tax-exempt status. This means donors get a tax write-off by sponsoring a think tank to produce "independently researched" data that not only matches their agenda but can also be used to lobby public policy.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is chairman of the House Budget Committee and has put forward a plan that would end Medicare. He was telling another reporter that he was concerned about providing poor people with a safety net when we had this exchange:

Sam Husseini: If you're a fiscal conservative and you want to provide a safety net, why wouldn't you be for something like a single-payer health care system?

Paul Ryan: I think a single-payer health care system would be a disaster for people who need health-care the most. I think it would cause rationing, waiting lines. I think it would be a fiscal house of cards, I think it would help accelerate a national debt crisis and hurt the economy.

Aug 15

Why and How to End the War on Drugs

By Julie R Butler , SpeakOut | News Analysis

With so many problems in the world today – global economic crisis, climate change, a corrupt political system, growing inequality and entrenched injustice – why make ending the War on Drugs a priority?

The answer is that focusing on the War on Drugs addresses all of these issues in some way. From the amount of money and resources being spent to the human and environmental toll that it costs, the impairment of democracy and its promise of equality as the result of the dependence on military action and violence is at the heart of the Drug War. Working to put an end to it is therefore one of those causes that joins together many different causes, and its resolution lays the groundwork for solutions to many different problems.

Aug 15

US Guns: The Awful, Shocking Truth

By Brave New Foundation, Brave New Films | Video

President Obama has the power to help stop gun smugglers who are fueling violence in Mexico. We're demanding him to:

1) Enforce the existing ban on the importation of military-style assault weapons (because many of them are later illegally smuggled into Mexico);

2) Require gun dealers to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the sale of multiple assault rifles to the same person over a period of five days (GOOD NEWS: the Obama Administration has announced new reporting rules on multiple semiautomatic rifles in border states. A great first step -- let's keep the momentum going!);

3) Strengthen legal enforcement in regions of the U.S. that supply the bulk of the contraband weapons smuggled into Mexico.

Aug 15

Millenials Vs. Libertarianism

By Connor Kilpatrick, The Exiled | Opinion

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves “socially liberal but fiscally conservative”? Yeah. It’s for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that they’ve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they can’t count on weeping eagles and the stars ‘n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your “socially liberal” buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyone’s happy!

Ottawa–Ten Nobel Peace Laureates today issued an open letter to the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as General Wesley Clark and others involved in the new “reality” show premiering tonight on NBC—“Stars Earn Stripes”—calling on them to walk away from the show immediately.

In the letter, the Laureates—who include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams and President Oscar Arias Sanchez—note that “war isn’t entertainment” and challenge NBC’s promotional line that that such a television program would be “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-line responder services.”

The Laureates say that the program pays homage to no one and is “a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent.”

Governor Cuomo, we can't fathom your thinking. There have been 191 visits to emergency rooms because of designer drugs, and you are taking action to ban their use in New York State?

Uh, while that seems like a good thing, in the context of other threats, it's patently absurd.

You protect people from designer drugs, yet you are apparently ready to begin permitting something that will cause a lot more than 191 emergency room visits per year: the filthy, dangerous, chemical- and poison-laden fossil-fuel-extraction process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking (the entire process from exploration to the kitchen stove pilot light) involves so many toxins it's impossible to list them all, and they include the heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive materials brought up from deep underground in the process.

Aug 14

Occupy Wall Street: Year One

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Occudoc.org | Video

On Sep. 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street started a revolution. One year later, the movement is celebrating by hosting three days of education, training, and protest in New York City.

Film created by Dennis Trainor, who also made American Autumn.