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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.

Mar 31

The Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel: Pointing the Way Forward

By Dr. James J. Zogby, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In 1971, I was in Beirut on a grant from my university to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation on the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Since the subjects of my study were the Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, I set about to visit Ein al Hilweh to interview families and document their stories.

Midway through my fieldwork, I had a discussion with the novelist Ghassan Kanafani, which resulted in a dramatic shift in my approach. Ghassan told me that I was looking in the wrong place. The stories I had collected were important and would be useful, but, he noted, in reaction to the trauma of dislocation and hardship of the camps, their consciousness had been frozen.

A tribal leader in one of India's tiger reserves is fearing for his safety after a wildlife official urged his community to beat him and drive him out for defending their right to remain on their land.

Telenga Hassa, a Munda man from Jamunagarh community inside what is now Similipal Tiger Reserve, has been leading his village's struggle against official moves to evict them in the name of tiger "conservation."

This report provides a new understanding of the growing ways in which those inpoverty are disproportionately targeted, marginalized, and prosecuted.

Poor people, especially people of color, face a far greater risk of being fined, arrested, and even incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping in a park can all result in jail time. In this report, we seek to understand the multi-faceted, growing phenomenon of the "criminalization of poverty."

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a newlow, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at the prison expected to face charges.

Although a total of 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, just ten of those still at the prison are currently undergoing prosecution or serving sentences handed down by quasi-judicial military commissions.  A further eight detainees have been convicted and released, although three of those have since been cleared on appeal.

Washington, DC – The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised the passage of legislation in the United Kingdom to crack down on the use of anonymous shell companies with the creation of a public registry of corporate ownership. The new law brings increased pressure on the United States to follow suit.

Anonymous companies have long been a prime vehicle to launder proceeds from corruption, crime, tax evasion, and other illicit activities. FACT Coalition member Global Witness recently reported on dozens of cases of U.S. anonymous shell companies being used to defraud Medicare, embezzle from public schools, hide the owners of expensive real estate and scam the elderly. Creating a pubic registry of beneficial ownership information, or the true human owners, as the legislation does, provides a useful and effective tool to combat these criminal activities.

Mar 29

Take Me Out

By Rochelle Lefkowitz, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

You almost had to be on Mars last week to have missed San Francisco 49er rookie Chris Borland making football history. He did not make a breathtaking play. Instead, the talented, promising young inside linebacker quit the NFL at age 24.

Why did he do that? Chris Borland hadn't stopped loving football. It turns out he'd had two concussions before the NFL draft in college, then a third during practice. Instead of waiting until he fell victim, like too many pro-football players, to grave, irreversible brain damage, Borland announced his proactive retirement. Despite the thrill of the game, great pride in his team, the roar of the crowd and future millions, he'd concluded the risk was not worth the reward.

Prior to announcing his bid for the presidency, in which he plans on raising an army of Christian conservatives to remake the US, TexasRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz was dumb founded by an unlikely heckler: a 3-year-old girl. Standing before a small group of people, Cruz was hell-bent on criticizing President Obama's foreign and domestic policies. After claiming that signing a nuclear enrichment treaty with Iran would cause another Holocaust, he then declared, "The Obama economy is a disaster… Obamacare is a train wreck and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind-the whole world is on fire!" 

I defied my advanced age last week to board a  special train, with a thousand mostly young people, and join in the big "Blockupy" demonstration in Frankfurt/Main, Germany's big banking city. The trip,  though not the usual 4 ½ but seven hours, retained till well into the night a spirit of happy anticipation.

The occasion was the opening of a giant new European Central Bank building, over four years and $1.4 billion in the making, one more modernistic banking skyscraper to reshape the city's skyline, with two adjacent towers reaching up 201 meters (660 ft.).

Finland, Minnesota - The OrganicConsumers Association (OCA) issued the following statement today in response to plans by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to reintroduce a federalbill to preempt states'rights to enactGMOlabelinglaws, and create a voluntary non-GMOlabeling scheme.

"The Pompeo bill, aptly dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, is not only anti-consumer, but anti-democracy and anti-state'rights as well.

Indiana's Republican Governor, Mike Pence, said on Wednesday he would consider implementing a syringe service program to help combat escalating HIV infection rates in Scott County, Indiana. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently determined that HIV infection rates have soared in Scott County on account of the sharing of syringes used for the injection of heroin and other drugs.

Governor Pence expressed support for syringe service programs as part of a heroin emergency plan that he is expected to announce today. Governor Pence's announcement came just hours after Republican Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed legislation that would create syringe service programs in local jurisdictions that formally approve them.

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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.

Mar 31

The Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel: Pointing the Way Forward

By Dr. James J. Zogby, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In 1971, I was in Beirut on a grant from my university to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation on the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Since the subjects of my study were the Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, I set about to visit Ein al Hilweh to interview families and document their stories.

Midway through my fieldwork, I had a discussion with the novelist Ghassan Kanafani, which resulted in a dramatic shift in my approach. Ghassan told me that I was looking in the wrong place. The stories I had collected were important and would be useful, but, he noted, in reaction to the trauma of dislocation and hardship of the camps, their consciousness had been frozen.

A tribal leader in one of India's tiger reserves is fearing for his safety after a wildlife official urged his community to beat him and drive him out for defending their right to remain on their land.

Telenga Hassa, a Munda man from Jamunagarh community inside what is now Similipal Tiger Reserve, has been leading his village's struggle against official moves to evict them in the name of tiger "conservation."

This report provides a new understanding of the growing ways in which those inpoverty are disproportionately targeted, marginalized, and prosecuted.

Poor people, especially people of color, face a far greater risk of being fined, arrested, and even incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping in a park can all result in jail time. In this report, we seek to understand the multi-faceted, growing phenomenon of the "criminalization of poverty."

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a newlow, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at the prison expected to face charges.

Although a total of 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, just ten of those still at the prison are currently undergoing prosecution or serving sentences handed down by quasi-judicial military commissions.  A further eight detainees have been convicted and released, although three of those have since been cleared on appeal.

Washington, DC – The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised the passage of legislation in the United Kingdom to crack down on the use of anonymous shell companies with the creation of a public registry of corporate ownership. The new law brings increased pressure on the United States to follow suit.

Anonymous companies have long been a prime vehicle to launder proceeds from corruption, crime, tax evasion, and other illicit activities. FACT Coalition member Global Witness recently reported on dozens of cases of U.S. anonymous shell companies being used to defraud Medicare, embezzle from public schools, hide the owners of expensive real estate and scam the elderly. Creating a pubic registry of beneficial ownership information, or the true human owners, as the legislation does, provides a useful and effective tool to combat these criminal activities.

Mar 29

Take Me Out

By Rochelle Lefkowitz, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

You almost had to be on Mars last week to have missed San Francisco 49er rookie Chris Borland making football history. He did not make a breathtaking play. Instead, the talented, promising young inside linebacker quit the NFL at age 24.

Why did he do that? Chris Borland hadn't stopped loving football. It turns out he'd had two concussions before the NFL draft in college, then a third during practice. Instead of waiting until he fell victim, like too many pro-football players, to grave, irreversible brain damage, Borland announced his proactive retirement. Despite the thrill of the game, great pride in his team, the roar of the crowd and future millions, he'd concluded the risk was not worth the reward.

Prior to announcing his bid for the presidency, in which he plans on raising an army of Christian conservatives to remake the US, TexasRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz was dumb founded by an unlikely heckler: a 3-year-old girl. Standing before a small group of people, Cruz was hell-bent on criticizing President Obama's foreign and domestic policies. After claiming that signing a nuclear enrichment treaty with Iran would cause another Holocaust, he then declared, "The Obama economy is a disaster… Obamacare is a train wreck and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind-the whole world is on fire!" 

I defied my advanced age last week to board a  special train, with a thousand mostly young people, and join in the big "Blockupy" demonstration in Frankfurt/Main, Germany's big banking city. The trip,  though not the usual 4 ½ but seven hours, retained till well into the night a spirit of happy anticipation.

The occasion was the opening of a giant new European Central Bank building, over four years and $1.4 billion in the making, one more modernistic banking skyscraper to reshape the city's skyline, with two adjacent towers reaching up 201 meters (660 ft.).

Finland, Minnesota - The OrganicConsumers Association (OCA) issued the following statement today in response to plans by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to reintroduce a federalbill to preempt states'rights to enactGMOlabelinglaws, and create a voluntary non-GMOlabeling scheme.

"The Pompeo bill, aptly dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, is not only anti-consumer, but anti-democracy and anti-state'rights as well.

Indiana's Republican Governor, Mike Pence, said on Wednesday he would consider implementing a syringe service program to help combat escalating HIV infection rates in Scott County, Indiana. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently determined that HIV infection rates have soared in Scott County on account of the sharing of syringes used for the injection of heroin and other drugs.

Governor Pence expressed support for syringe service programs as part of a heroin emergency plan that he is expected to announce today. Governor Pence's announcement came just hours after Republican Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed legislation that would create syringe service programs in local jurisdictions that formally approve them.