Thursday, 05 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.

Jun 10

The Supreme Court Fails Victims Again

By Laura Finley, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Supreme Court has a very mixed track record when it comes to protecting women. As a domestic violence advocate, criminologist and activist for a decade, I am deeply concerned that the US still fails to prioritize women's safety. Given that globally, more women ages 15-45 die from men's violence than of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined, far more needs to be done to protect women and girls. The courts can and should play a far bigger role in doing so.

In 2000, the court overturned part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that allowed women to sue their abusers in federal court. So, we can sue darn near anyone for anything, just not the people who hurt us most deeply. In 2005, the court ruled in Castle Rock v. Gonzales that a town and its police cannot be sued for failing to enforce a restraining order. Jessica Gonzales (now Lenahan) had a permanent restraining order against her husband, Simon, who had been stalking and harassing her. Simon was prohibited from seeing her son (not his biologically) and the couple's three daughters, except during specified visitation times. Simon violated that order by taking the three girls on June 22, 1999, around 5:15pm. Jessica first called the police about two hours later, then proceeded to call multiple times and visit the station in person over the next several hours. The police took no action, even though Simon had called Jessica admitting he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver. At approximately 3:20am, Simon showed up at the Castle Rock police station and engaged in a shootout with police that left him dead. The police then noticed the bodies of the three girls in his vehicle. The court held 7-2 that the Colorado statute did not require that police actually enforce restraining orders.

Jun 10

Where Is Hillary on Health Care?

By John Geyman, Truthout | News Analysis

Twenty-one years ago, Hillary Clinton, then leading the presidential committee proposing a health care reform plan, made these statements in speaking to a group at Lehman Brothers Health Corporation on June 15, 1994, as revealed by a transcript made public through the Clinton Presidential Library:

…if there is not health care reform this year, and if, for whatever reason, the Congress doesn't pass health carereform . . . I believe that by the year 2000 we will have a single payer system . . . I don't even think it's a close call politically.

Documents released today by Syngenta include a letter from Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant to Syngenta, suggesting as a part of a corporate merger that, "We would also propose a new name for the combined company to reflect its unique global nature."

"Monsanto wants to escape its ugly history by ditching its name," said Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a consumer group. "This shows how desperate Monsanto is to escape criticism: of its products, which raise environmental and health concerns, as well as concerns about corporate control of agriculture and our food system."

Jun 10

Criminalizing Criticism: A Zionist Project

By Lawrence Davidson, Truthout | News Analysis

From the 1920s on into the 1990s, the Zionists controlled the storyline in the West on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This meant that their version of history was the only version as far as most of the people in the West were concerned. Consequentially, they had an uncontested media field to label the Palestinians and their supporters as "terrorists" - the charge of anti-Semitism was not yet widely used. Also, as a consequence of their monopoly, the Zionists did not bother to engage in public debate. 

Then, over the last twenty years the Zionists slowly lost their monopoly. In part this was due to the fact that in 1993 the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist and renounced terrorism, and in the following years many of the Arab states made or offered peace. However, the Israelis did not respond in kind. In particular they failed to respond in a fair and just way to U.S.-sponsored peace efforts. Why so?

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.

The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.

Jun 09

Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Truthout | Op-Ed

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic socialism - democratic control of the economy - had substantial popularity in the United States.  At the time, the Socialist Party of America was a thriving, rapidly-growing political organization, much like its democratic socialistcounterparts abroad - the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and numerous other rising, working class-based political entities around the world.  In 1912, when the United States had a much smaller population than today, theSocialist Party had 118,000 dues-paying members and drew nearly a million votes for its candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the great labor leader, for President.  

A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology overhis relatives'deaths.  

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed. 

Jun 09

Youth Rising to Revolution

By Jose M., Truthout | Op-Ed

Some of the things I learned in class about race includes that race is taken seriously in this nation as long as it's about white people. This nation is ruled by powerful white men who repress the lower class, such as the Black and Brown communities. This white system fears the Black and Brown communities as shown today and in the past. For instance, in the past, the government tried getting rid of some groups like the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, and other groups. The government feared what these groups could have done, so they did everything in their power to neutralize the groups and make them look bad. Nowadays, with everything the police has been doing (i.e. taking away the lives of Black and Brown people), the two most feared black gangs in America have been making peace. The Bloods and the Crips have joined forces because they noticed they had a common enemy and they know the police are the ones who are supposedly there to "protect the people," but are killing innocent people and actually getting away with it. Not to mention that the [mainstream] news has not brought this topic up.

Santa Barbara County is legally required to reject Exxon's dangerous new plan to use a massive fleet of oil trucks to transport a million gallons of crude a day though coastal communities, the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch warned today.

In a letter to county officials, the groups explained they'll likely take legal action if Exxon is allowed to use 192 oil truck trips a day to carry oil previously transported by the ruptured pipeline that caused the Santa Barbara oil spill. "These ultra-hazardous trucks do not belong in California's coastal environment — they are inherently dangerous, and carry significant risk of accidents, fiery explosions, injuries, deaths and environmental destruction," the letter states.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) just submitted a request for rule-making regarding several standards to the Board of Corrections (BOC), including minimum standards for visiting.

A collective letter from 17 New York advocacy groups, including the Osborne Association, urges the BOC to deny the request because the standards are too broad, sweeping, and subjective. They are very concerned about the effects of these restrictions on the children and families of incarcerated individuals, arguing that the restrictions are unfair and will have the opposite effect as desired, cutting incarcerated people off from their families will only increase violence.

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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.

Jun 10

The Supreme Court Fails Victims Again

By Laura Finley, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Supreme Court has a very mixed track record when it comes to protecting women. As a domestic violence advocate, criminologist and activist for a decade, I am deeply concerned that the US still fails to prioritize women's safety. Given that globally, more women ages 15-45 die from men's violence than of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined, far more needs to be done to protect women and girls. The courts can and should play a far bigger role in doing so.

In 2000, the court overturned part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that allowed women to sue their abusers in federal court. So, we can sue darn near anyone for anything, just not the people who hurt us most deeply. In 2005, the court ruled in Castle Rock v. Gonzales that a town and its police cannot be sued for failing to enforce a restraining order. Jessica Gonzales (now Lenahan) had a permanent restraining order against her husband, Simon, who had been stalking and harassing her. Simon was prohibited from seeing her son (not his biologically) and the couple's three daughters, except during specified visitation times. Simon violated that order by taking the three girls on June 22, 1999, around 5:15pm. Jessica first called the police about two hours later, then proceeded to call multiple times and visit the station in person over the next several hours. The police took no action, even though Simon had called Jessica admitting he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver. At approximately 3:20am, Simon showed up at the Castle Rock police station and engaged in a shootout with police that left him dead. The police then noticed the bodies of the three girls in his vehicle. The court held 7-2 that the Colorado statute did not require that police actually enforce restraining orders.

Jun 10

Where Is Hillary on Health Care?

By John Geyman, Truthout | News Analysis

Twenty-one years ago, Hillary Clinton, then leading the presidential committee proposing a health care reform plan, made these statements in speaking to a group at Lehman Brothers Health Corporation on June 15, 1994, as revealed by a transcript made public through the Clinton Presidential Library:

…if there is not health care reform this year, and if, for whatever reason, the Congress doesn't pass health carereform . . . I believe that by the year 2000 we will have a single payer system . . . I don't even think it's a close call politically.

Documents released today by Syngenta include a letter from Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant to Syngenta, suggesting as a part of a corporate merger that, "We would also propose a new name for the combined company to reflect its unique global nature."

"Monsanto wants to escape its ugly history by ditching its name," said Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a consumer group. "This shows how desperate Monsanto is to escape criticism: of its products, which raise environmental and health concerns, as well as concerns about corporate control of agriculture and our food system."

Jun 10

Criminalizing Criticism: A Zionist Project

By Lawrence Davidson, Truthout | News Analysis

From the 1920s on into the 1990s, the Zionists controlled the storyline in the West on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This meant that their version of history was the only version as far as most of the people in the West were concerned. Consequentially, they had an uncontested media field to label the Palestinians and their supporters as "terrorists" - the charge of anti-Semitism was not yet widely used. Also, as a consequence of their monopoly, the Zionists did not bother to engage in public debate. 

Then, over the last twenty years the Zionists slowly lost their monopoly. In part this was due to the fact that in 1993 the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist and renounced terrorism, and in the following years many of the Arab states made or offered peace. However, the Israelis did not respond in kind. In particular they failed to respond in a fair and just way to U.S.-sponsored peace efforts. Why so?

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.

The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.

Jun 09

Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Truthout | Op-Ed

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic socialism - democratic control of the economy - had substantial popularity in the United States.  At the time, the Socialist Party of America was a thriving, rapidly-growing political organization, much like its democratic socialistcounterparts abroad - the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and numerous other rising, working class-based political entities around the world.  In 1912, when the United States had a much smaller population than today, theSocialist Party had 118,000 dues-paying members and drew nearly a million votes for its candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the great labor leader, for President.  

A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology overhis relatives'deaths.  

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed. 

Jun 09

Youth Rising to Revolution

By Jose M., Truthout | Op-Ed

Some of the things I learned in class about race includes that race is taken seriously in this nation as long as it's about white people. This nation is ruled by powerful white men who repress the lower class, such as the Black and Brown communities. This white system fears the Black and Brown communities as shown today and in the past. For instance, in the past, the government tried getting rid of some groups like the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, and other groups. The government feared what these groups could have done, so they did everything in their power to neutralize the groups and make them look bad. Nowadays, with everything the police has been doing (i.e. taking away the lives of Black and Brown people), the two most feared black gangs in America have been making peace. The Bloods and the Crips have joined forces because they noticed they had a common enemy and they know the police are the ones who are supposedly there to "protect the people," but are killing innocent people and actually getting away with it. Not to mention that the [mainstream] news has not brought this topic up.

Santa Barbara County is legally required to reject Exxon's dangerous new plan to use a massive fleet of oil trucks to transport a million gallons of crude a day though coastal communities, the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch warned today.

In a letter to county officials, the groups explained they'll likely take legal action if Exxon is allowed to use 192 oil truck trips a day to carry oil previously transported by the ruptured pipeline that caused the Santa Barbara oil spill. "These ultra-hazardous trucks do not belong in California's coastal environment — they are inherently dangerous, and carry significant risk of accidents, fiery explosions, injuries, deaths and environmental destruction," the letter states.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) just submitted a request for rule-making regarding several standards to the Board of Corrections (BOC), including minimum standards for visiting.

A collective letter from 17 New York advocacy groups, including the Osborne Association, urges the BOC to deny the request because the standards are too broad, sweeping, and subjective. They are very concerned about the effects of these restrictions on the children and families of incarcerated individuals, arguing that the restrictions are unfair and will have the opposite effect as desired, cutting incarcerated people off from their families will only increase violence.