Wednesday, 04 March 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.

Retired black and brown police officers applaud FBI Director James Comey's honesty and will meet with Congressman John Lewis in DC to further discussion on race relations between police and the black community.

In a recent speech on relations between police and blacks, FBI Director James Comey echoed what members of the black and brown communities have complained about for years: Some police officers enforce the law with a racial bias that is "brutally unfair to disfavored groups." It is for this reason that retired and former black and brown police officers have joined together to create the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform and Accountability (NCLEO).

Feb 17

Mending "Axis of Resistance": Hamas Returns to the Start

By Ramzy Baroud, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Despite its success of rebelling Israeli military advances in Gaza, Hamas’s regional political maneuvers of recent years are not bearing fruits. Jointly isolated by Israel and other Arab parties, unaided by the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas, the Islamic Resistance Movement is once again facing difficult choices, and it seems to be choosing a cautious return to its old camp of Iran and Hezbollah. The maneuver this time is particularly risky.

Hamas’ other options, however, are too limited or simply don’t exist. The movement is facing formidable challenges: a mired economy, ruined infrastructure, destroyed Rafah tunnels and a persisting Israeli siege.

Washington, DC - As couples and spouses prepare to celebrate their love this Valentine’s day weekend, We Belong Together issues its newly updated report, Heart of the Matter: Women, Children, and the Way Forward on Immigration Policy.

The newly updated report evaluates the likely benefits of executive action for immigrant women and families and demonstrates the need for additional steps for both the White House and Congress to take with featured profiles of women actually impacted by current policies.

“The President’s executive action was a leap forward for this country. Unfortunately, after wasting many opportunities to enact legislative reform of the immigration system, Congress is now advancing tired and outdated enforcement-only approaches and attacking women and children, such as the individuals highlighted in Heart of the Matter who are mothers, workers and survivors. These attacks are mean-spirited distractions,” explains Andrea Mercado, co-chair of We Belong Together, “The temporary and limited nature of executive action leaves much more for Congress to do to promote family reunification, fairness for women workers, and restore justice in the immigration system.”

Freedom came early for former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge on Friday, February 13. It was expected that Burge would begin his parole on Valentine's Day, but it appears the system would rather not attend to such matters on a Saturday. So, rather than make Burge wait it out through a long weekend, the system cut this confirmed torturer yet another break, and gave him a head start on his new life.

And so it goes.

As an abolitionist, I do not expect justice from carceral solutions. But like anyone who values black and brown lives, I am always pained by the disparities that manifest themselves within this system, not because indictments or prison sentences heal societal wounds, but because the disproportionate administration of carceral penalties is a constant reminder that, under this system, some lives matter, while others are deemed utterly disposable.

President Obama sent language to Congress on Wednesday seeking an Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) for military action against ISIS, which seeks Congressional approval for war in the Middle East for the next three years.

National Priorities Project, a non-partisan and non-profit research group that tracks federal and military spending, released the following statement from Executive Director Doug Hall in response to the president's request.

Whether saying "I love you" or preparing to make that big commitment, a gift of jewelry can mean even more this Valentine’s Day.  A new comprehensive survey of the jewelry retail industry, offers jewelry shoppers a way to make informed consumer choices and to support peace in war-torn Congo.

Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers (parent company of retailers Zales, Jared, and Kay) are leading the way to help build a conflict-free gold trade and support mining communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Three other jewelry super-sellers, J.C. Penney, Cartier, and Target, are also taking important initial steps.

On Monday, February 9th, Matt DeHart’s parents, Paul and Leann, received notice by mail from the Refugee Protection Division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board that the family’s claim for Refugee Protection had been denied. The family fled the United States after Matt was interrogated and tortured during an FBI espionage investigation in which child pornography charges were hastily filed after Matt was detained at the Canadian border, an action which was triggered by an espionage alert.

The Refugee Protection Division determined that because they found no “credible and trustworthy evidence” to support the US government’s child pornography charges against Matt, the DeHarts weren’t excluded from refugee protection on the basis of those criminal charges. However, the determinative issue for the board was whether they considered the DeHarts would be afforded adequate protections by the United Sates.

The Growing Threat of Big Corporations and Multinationals

The corporation was a creation of government to provide a vehicle for economic growth. It was intended to provide a means of pooling capital from investors to develop businesses that would benefit the state by providing jobs and economic benefits.Corporations were more attractive to investors than partnerships because, in a corporation, the shareholders have no responsibility for the business's debts or other liabilities. Their potential losses are limited to their investment.

Feb 12

Sanctions: A Curse or a Blessing?

By Alex Kogan, SpeakOut | News Analysis

This Thursday, February 12th, representatives from all 28 EU member states will meet in Brussels to deliberate renewal of sanctions launched in response to Russian involvement in Ukraine. Regardless of the EU decision, one thing is clear: the strategy of economic sanctions has failed, as it historically always has. It's a tactic which harms the citizens of the targeted nation, but fails to pressure the leadership. And as one can see in Russia, sanctions often even reinforce the targeted leaders by feeding them a scapegoat for their problems.

President Obama in the State of the Union praised the sanctions "demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy," but the results don't look good: the war in Ukraine rages more violently than ever, with rebels capturing Donetsk Airport and shelling Mariupol; Kiev has been losing as much as $10 million a day and borrowed new funds from the IMF; so many Ukrainians flee to Russia that the parliament has authorized local commanders to shoot deserters and is considering drafting women; and Putin's popularity at home is as strong as ever. Though the ruble has collapsed, the pro-Russian foothold in Ukraine remains steadfast, and Obama's SOTU self-congratulation seems as unearned as Bush's 2003 "Mission Accomplished."

Washington, DC - In testimony (PDF) today at a hearing on aggregate campaign limits, two Public Citizen experts are urging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to rein in out-of-control election spending.

Some of the remedies Public Citizen recommends came from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who supported the court decisions that have unraveled decades of campaign finance law even as he called on policymakers to shore up the system.

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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.

Retired black and brown police officers applaud FBI Director James Comey's honesty and will meet with Congressman John Lewis in DC to further discussion on race relations between police and the black community.

In a recent speech on relations between police and blacks, FBI Director James Comey echoed what members of the black and brown communities have complained about for years: Some police officers enforce the law with a racial bias that is "brutally unfair to disfavored groups." It is for this reason that retired and former black and brown police officers have joined together to create the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform and Accountability (NCLEO).

Feb 17

Mending "Axis of Resistance": Hamas Returns to the Start

By Ramzy Baroud, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Despite its success of rebelling Israeli military advances in Gaza, Hamas’s regional political maneuvers of recent years are not bearing fruits. Jointly isolated by Israel and other Arab parties, unaided by the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas, the Islamic Resistance Movement is once again facing difficult choices, and it seems to be choosing a cautious return to its old camp of Iran and Hezbollah. The maneuver this time is particularly risky.

Hamas’ other options, however, are too limited or simply don’t exist. The movement is facing formidable challenges: a mired economy, ruined infrastructure, destroyed Rafah tunnels and a persisting Israeli siege.

Washington, DC - As couples and spouses prepare to celebrate their love this Valentine’s day weekend, We Belong Together issues its newly updated report, Heart of the Matter: Women, Children, and the Way Forward on Immigration Policy.

The newly updated report evaluates the likely benefits of executive action for immigrant women and families and demonstrates the need for additional steps for both the White House and Congress to take with featured profiles of women actually impacted by current policies.

“The President’s executive action was a leap forward for this country. Unfortunately, after wasting many opportunities to enact legislative reform of the immigration system, Congress is now advancing tired and outdated enforcement-only approaches and attacking women and children, such as the individuals highlighted in Heart of the Matter who are mothers, workers and survivors. These attacks are mean-spirited distractions,” explains Andrea Mercado, co-chair of We Belong Together, “The temporary and limited nature of executive action leaves much more for Congress to do to promote family reunification, fairness for women workers, and restore justice in the immigration system.”

Freedom came early for former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge on Friday, February 13. It was expected that Burge would begin his parole on Valentine's Day, but it appears the system would rather not attend to such matters on a Saturday. So, rather than make Burge wait it out through a long weekend, the system cut this confirmed torturer yet another break, and gave him a head start on his new life.

And so it goes.

As an abolitionist, I do not expect justice from carceral solutions. But like anyone who values black and brown lives, I am always pained by the disparities that manifest themselves within this system, not because indictments or prison sentences heal societal wounds, but because the disproportionate administration of carceral penalties is a constant reminder that, under this system, some lives matter, while others are deemed utterly disposable.

President Obama sent language to Congress on Wednesday seeking an Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) for military action against ISIS, which seeks Congressional approval for war in the Middle East for the next three years.

National Priorities Project, a non-partisan and non-profit research group that tracks federal and military spending, released the following statement from Executive Director Doug Hall in response to the president's request.

Whether saying "I love you" or preparing to make that big commitment, a gift of jewelry can mean even more this Valentine’s Day.  A new comprehensive survey of the jewelry retail industry, offers jewelry shoppers a way to make informed consumer choices and to support peace in war-torn Congo.

Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers (parent company of retailers Zales, Jared, and Kay) are leading the way to help build a conflict-free gold trade and support mining communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Three other jewelry super-sellers, J.C. Penney, Cartier, and Target, are also taking important initial steps.

On Monday, February 9th, Matt DeHart’s parents, Paul and Leann, received notice by mail from the Refugee Protection Division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board that the family’s claim for Refugee Protection had been denied. The family fled the United States after Matt was interrogated and tortured during an FBI espionage investigation in which child pornography charges were hastily filed after Matt was detained at the Canadian border, an action which was triggered by an espionage alert.

The Refugee Protection Division determined that because they found no “credible and trustworthy evidence” to support the US government’s child pornography charges against Matt, the DeHarts weren’t excluded from refugee protection on the basis of those criminal charges. However, the determinative issue for the board was whether they considered the DeHarts would be afforded adequate protections by the United Sates.

The Growing Threat of Big Corporations and Multinationals

The corporation was a creation of government to provide a vehicle for economic growth. It was intended to provide a means of pooling capital from investors to develop businesses that would benefit the state by providing jobs and economic benefits.Corporations were more attractive to investors than partnerships because, in a corporation, the shareholders have no responsibility for the business's debts or other liabilities. Their potential losses are limited to their investment.

Feb 12

Sanctions: A Curse or a Blessing?

By Alex Kogan, SpeakOut | News Analysis

This Thursday, February 12th, representatives from all 28 EU member states will meet in Brussels to deliberate renewal of sanctions launched in response to Russian involvement in Ukraine. Regardless of the EU decision, one thing is clear: the strategy of economic sanctions has failed, as it historically always has. It's a tactic which harms the citizens of the targeted nation, but fails to pressure the leadership. And as one can see in Russia, sanctions often even reinforce the targeted leaders by feeding them a scapegoat for their problems.

President Obama in the State of the Union praised the sanctions "demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy," but the results don't look good: the war in Ukraine rages more violently than ever, with rebels capturing Donetsk Airport and shelling Mariupol; Kiev has been losing as much as $10 million a day and borrowed new funds from the IMF; so many Ukrainians flee to Russia that the parliament has authorized local commanders to shoot deserters and is considering drafting women; and Putin's popularity at home is as strong as ever. Though the ruble has collapsed, the pro-Russian foothold in Ukraine remains steadfast, and Obama's SOTU self-congratulation seems as unearned as Bush's 2003 "Mission Accomplished."

Washington, DC - In testimony (PDF) today at a hearing on aggregate campaign limits, two Public Citizen experts are urging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to rein in out-of-control election spending.

Some of the remedies Public Citizen recommends came from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who supported the court decisions that have unraveled decades of campaign finance law even as he called on policymakers to shore up the system.