Saturday, 01 October 2016 / 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.

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.

Sitting across the table confined to a wheelchair, Miguel spoke fondly of El Salvador. But his fond memories turned to anguish andgrief when he spoke of Ignacio Martin-Baro, and five other Jesuit brothers assassinated by US-trained Salvadoran death squads in 1989. Martin-Baro, a Jesuit psychologist, not only mirrored the popular protests against poverty and dehumanizing institutions that had marginalized the working poor and oppressed, but developed Liberation Psychology.

In the field I teach, Peace and Conflict Studies, we examine alternatives to violence or the threat of violence in the management of conflict. We are a transdisciplinary field, that is, we don't only draw from an interdisciplinary set of research findings - e.g. Anthropology, Economics, Education, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology - but we do so with certain provisos.

Last week, the European Commission 'released' very heavily redacted documents concerning their contacts with the tobacco industry on EU trade negotiations, including the ongoing EU-Japan and EU-US trade talks. In all four documents (correspondence with and minutes of meetings with tobacco lobbyists) virtually all the content is removed (blacked out) including the names of all tobacco lobbyists and Commission officials involved.

In mid-September, UN member states are expected to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which picks up where the Millennium Development Goals left off. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, announcing the Agenda recently (August 3) after several years of lead-up and negotiations, called it the UN's "to-do list" for the next 15 years.

Imagine getting a "gratuity deduction" on taxes for tips at restaurants, barbershops, taxis, apartment maintenance staffers or governmental services (state, federal, local) rendered to us. Or "gifts" to expedite any kind of license, permit or ear of a public official. Or, if the move were to go global, reimbursements to the rural poor for having to pay private water companies.

Sep 01

Unequal Access to Local News Undermines Democracy

By Peter Montague, Speakout | News Analysis

A new report on community access to local news in New Jersey has revealed one more way democracy is being undermined by economic inequality: Judging by access to critical local news and information, poor communities are "dramatically under-served" compared to wealthier ones, the report concludes.

The Campaign to Bring Mumia Home is in court demanding immediate lifesaving medical treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and we are going to win.

On Aug. 24, Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote, Legal Director of the Abolitionist Law Center, and co-counsel Robert Boyle filed a preliminary injunction in Abu-Jamal v. Kerestes with Judge Robert Mariani of the Middle District Federal US Court.

During times of meteorological disasters, citizens often make it a point to head to local hospitals in the hopes of finding safety from the storm. After an investigation by Consumer Reports, it has become apparent that flocking to nearby hospitals may not be the safest option, especially when so many people do it. Studies found that most hospitals have out of date generators, which are often placed in poor locations, and many other factors that could lead to complications within the building.

Activists objecting to the overgrowth of the wine/hospitality industry in rural areas of four Northern California counties have met monthly for half a year. At their August 15, meeting in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, one of the wine industry's epicenters, they agreed to name themselves Wine and Water Watch (WWW).

They ratified the following mission statement: "We challenge the over-development of the wine tourism industry and promote ethical land and water use. We advocate agricultural practices that are ecologically regenerative."

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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.

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.

Sitting across the table confined to a wheelchair, Miguel spoke fondly of El Salvador. But his fond memories turned to anguish andgrief when he spoke of Ignacio Martin-Baro, and five other Jesuit brothers assassinated by US-trained Salvadoran death squads in 1989. Martin-Baro, a Jesuit psychologist, not only mirrored the popular protests against poverty and dehumanizing institutions that had marginalized the working poor and oppressed, but developed Liberation Psychology.

In the field I teach, Peace and Conflict Studies, we examine alternatives to violence or the threat of violence in the management of conflict. We are a transdisciplinary field, that is, we don't only draw from an interdisciplinary set of research findings - e.g. Anthropology, Economics, Education, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology - but we do so with certain provisos.

Last week, the European Commission 'released' very heavily redacted documents concerning their contacts with the tobacco industry on EU trade negotiations, including the ongoing EU-Japan and EU-US trade talks. In all four documents (correspondence with and minutes of meetings with tobacco lobbyists) virtually all the content is removed (blacked out) including the names of all tobacco lobbyists and Commission officials involved.

In mid-September, UN member states are expected to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which picks up where the Millennium Development Goals left off. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, announcing the Agenda recently (August 3) after several years of lead-up and negotiations, called it the UN's "to-do list" for the next 15 years.

Imagine getting a "gratuity deduction" on taxes for tips at restaurants, barbershops, taxis, apartment maintenance staffers or governmental services (state, federal, local) rendered to us. Or "gifts" to expedite any kind of license, permit or ear of a public official. Or, if the move were to go global, reimbursements to the rural poor for having to pay private water companies.

Sep 01

Unequal Access to Local News Undermines Democracy

By Peter Montague, Speakout | News Analysis

A new report on community access to local news in New Jersey has revealed one more way democracy is being undermined by economic inequality: Judging by access to critical local news and information, poor communities are "dramatically under-served" compared to wealthier ones, the report concludes.

The Campaign to Bring Mumia Home is in court demanding immediate lifesaving medical treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and we are going to win.

On Aug. 24, Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote, Legal Director of the Abolitionist Law Center, and co-counsel Robert Boyle filed a preliminary injunction in Abu-Jamal v. Kerestes with Judge Robert Mariani of the Middle District Federal US Court.

During times of meteorological disasters, citizens often make it a point to head to local hospitals in the hopes of finding safety from the storm. After an investigation by Consumer Reports, it has become apparent that flocking to nearby hospitals may not be the safest option, especially when so many people do it. Studies found that most hospitals have out of date generators, which are often placed in poor locations, and many other factors that could lead to complications within the building.

Activists objecting to the overgrowth of the wine/hospitality industry in rural areas of four Northern California counties have met monthly for half a year. At their August 15, meeting in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, one of the wine industry's epicenters, they agreed to name themselves Wine and Water Watch (WWW).

They ratified the following mission statement: "We challenge the over-development of the wine tourism industry and promote ethical land and water use. We advocate agricultural practices that are ecologically regenerative."