Friday, 26 August 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.

On June 22, 2015, at the close of its 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), for the 10th consecutive year, unanimously adopted a strong resolution in support of Mayors for Peace, noting that August 6 and 9, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As a child my life was one of constant trauma. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, prone to rage, physical violence, self-hate, and alcoholism - a horrible combination. It was not easy to be the eldest child in my family. I was made responsible for things that were far beyond my years. The level oftrauma I experienced could only be described as growing up in a war zone. My sister and I never knew when or where the attacks upon our small bodies would be launched.

Fast track passes. Our Congress – the supposed representatives of We the People – voted to cut themselves and us out of the process of deciding what "the rules" for doing business "in the 21st Century" will be.

How do the plutocrats and oligarchs and their giant multinational corporations get what they want when a pesky democracy is in their way? They push that pesky democracy out of their way.

Jun 25

Medicare at 50: Strengths to Build On

By John Geyman, Truthout | Op-Ed

Traditional, or Original Medicare, turns 50 on July 30, having had many challenges and achievements from the days of its passage to today. It is time to celebrate its many successes, note some of its current challenges and threats to its future, and briefly discuss how it gives us a strong foundation upon which to build still-needed health care reform.

When it was enacted in 1965, about one-half of seniors in the U. S lacked health insurance, and many could not afford necessary health care. When it was passed with strong bipartisan support (313-116) in the House, and 70-24 in the Senate), 20 million Americans age 65 and older gained health insurance.

Over the year, I realized that the term "left" is not exclusive to a political ideology, but a mode of thinking championed mostly by self-tailored leftistwestern intellectuals. I grew to dislike it with intensity.

But that has not always been the case.

Last August the president began his air war against the Islamic State, which controls two Iraqi provincial capitals and the city of Falluja. Obama declared that his purpose was to "dismantle" the IS. By April of this year, the Pentagon's 4,050 missile and bombing strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria had cost over $2.1 billion, over $8 million a day, but without any success. Then on May 16, after assuring the country that "I will not allow the US to be dragged into another war in Iraq," the president sent a group of US commandos on their first raid into Syria. Since Congress has not declared war, this unauthorized attack and intensification would make Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon proud. Can the Nobel Committee withdraw a Peace Prize for cause?

Jun 25

Snake Oil Won't Cure Inequality

By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

At last, America's political leaders now feel the pain of the poor and empathize with the millions of working families slipping out of the middle class.

For years, politicians paid no attention to the ever-widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us. But it's recently emerged as a central issue for such Republican presidential contenders as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. They're publicly lamenting the wealth gap and - by golly - proposing solutions.

As the centennial anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement rapidly approaches, the time is now to reflect upon its vast implications. Officially recognized as the Asia Minor Agreement, the Sykes-Picot Agreement was negotiated and agreed upon between 1915 and 16 by the British diplomat Mark Sykes and the French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab provinces outside of the Arabian Peninsula were divided into two regions. Region (a) was placed under the French "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Syria and Jordan; region (b) was placed under the British "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Iraq. 

Like many millions of Americans, I will not be voting in the 2016 presidential election. And while the pundits bemoan voter apathy as a leading cause for the mass no-shows on Election Day, I will be on the sidelines because I will not be permitted to participate. I am a felon, and in prison, and even when I am released, I might never be allowed to vote again.

Though the election is over a year away, with the recent announcements of both Democratic and Republican potential nominees, the question of the disenfranchisement of over 5 million American citizens has once again come to the fore. It doesn't seem possible that millions of Americans have been stripped of their right to participate in that most fundamental duty and right of citizenship: the right to vote. But that's a reality that I, and millions of others convicted of crimes, face upon release from prison. And it's the question Americans need to ask of themselves: do they want to see felons completely disengaged from the society they are re-entering, or do they want to see a population "connected to civic life"?

As crews continue to clean Santa Barbara beaches from the 100,000-gallon oil spill that began when a corroded pipeline ruptured off Refugio State Beach on May 19, environmental and community groups are urging Governor Jerry Brown and state officials to stop increased offshore drilling that would depend on the same oil pipeline that burst last month. 

While Governor Brown, other state officlals and the mainstream media continue to falsely portray California as a "green" state, the devastation of the oilspill shows the fragility of California's ocean waters - and exposes the failure of state and federal  officials to stop a disaster like this, due to the capture of the state's regulatory apparatus by Big Oil.

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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.

On June 22, 2015, at the close of its 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), for the 10th consecutive year, unanimously adopted a strong resolution in support of Mayors for Peace, noting that August 6 and 9, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As a child my life was one of constant trauma. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, prone to rage, physical violence, self-hate, and alcoholism - a horrible combination. It was not easy to be the eldest child in my family. I was made responsible for things that were far beyond my years. The level oftrauma I experienced could only be described as growing up in a war zone. My sister and I never knew when or where the attacks upon our small bodies would be launched.

Fast track passes. Our Congress – the supposed representatives of We the People – voted to cut themselves and us out of the process of deciding what "the rules" for doing business "in the 21st Century" will be.

How do the plutocrats and oligarchs and their giant multinational corporations get what they want when a pesky democracy is in their way? They push that pesky democracy out of their way.

Jun 25

Medicare at 50: Strengths to Build On

By John Geyman, Truthout | Op-Ed

Traditional, or Original Medicare, turns 50 on July 30, having had many challenges and achievements from the days of its passage to today. It is time to celebrate its many successes, note some of its current challenges and threats to its future, and briefly discuss how it gives us a strong foundation upon which to build still-needed health care reform.

When it was enacted in 1965, about one-half of seniors in the U. S lacked health insurance, and many could not afford necessary health care. When it was passed with strong bipartisan support (313-116) in the House, and 70-24 in the Senate), 20 million Americans age 65 and older gained health insurance.

Over the year, I realized that the term "left" is not exclusive to a political ideology, but a mode of thinking championed mostly by self-tailored leftistwestern intellectuals. I grew to dislike it with intensity.

But that has not always been the case.

Last August the president began his air war against the Islamic State, which controls two Iraqi provincial capitals and the city of Falluja. Obama declared that his purpose was to "dismantle" the IS. By April of this year, the Pentagon's 4,050 missile and bombing strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria had cost over $2.1 billion, over $8 million a day, but without any success. Then on May 16, after assuring the country that "I will not allow the US to be dragged into another war in Iraq," the president sent a group of US commandos on their first raid into Syria. Since Congress has not declared war, this unauthorized attack and intensification would make Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon proud. Can the Nobel Committee withdraw a Peace Prize for cause?

Jun 25

Snake Oil Won't Cure Inequality

By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

At last, America's political leaders now feel the pain of the poor and empathize with the millions of working families slipping out of the middle class.

For years, politicians paid no attention to the ever-widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us. But it's recently emerged as a central issue for such Republican presidential contenders as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. They're publicly lamenting the wealth gap and - by golly - proposing solutions.

As the centennial anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement rapidly approaches, the time is now to reflect upon its vast implications. Officially recognized as the Asia Minor Agreement, the Sykes-Picot Agreement was negotiated and agreed upon between 1915 and 16 by the British diplomat Mark Sykes and the French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab provinces outside of the Arabian Peninsula were divided into two regions. Region (a) was placed under the French "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Syria and Jordan; region (b) was placed under the British "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Iraq. 

Like many millions of Americans, I will not be voting in the 2016 presidential election. And while the pundits bemoan voter apathy as a leading cause for the mass no-shows on Election Day, I will be on the sidelines because I will not be permitted to participate. I am a felon, and in prison, and even when I am released, I might never be allowed to vote again.

Though the election is over a year away, with the recent announcements of both Democratic and Republican potential nominees, the question of the disenfranchisement of over 5 million American citizens has once again come to the fore. It doesn't seem possible that millions of Americans have been stripped of their right to participate in that most fundamental duty and right of citizenship: the right to vote. But that's a reality that I, and millions of others convicted of crimes, face upon release from prison. And it's the question Americans need to ask of themselves: do they want to see felons completely disengaged from the society they are re-entering, or do they want to see a population "connected to civic life"?

As crews continue to clean Santa Barbara beaches from the 100,000-gallon oil spill that began when a corroded pipeline ruptured off Refugio State Beach on May 19, environmental and community groups are urging Governor Jerry Brown and state officials to stop increased offshore drilling that would depend on the same oil pipeline that burst last month. 

While Governor Brown, other state officlals and the mainstream media continue to falsely portray California as a "green" state, the devastation of the oilspill shows the fragility of California's ocean waters - and exposes the failure of state and federal  officials to stop a disaster like this, due to the capture of the state's regulatory apparatus by Big Oil.