Thursday, 28 July 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.

An Appeals Court has vacated the sabotage convictions of peace activists Greg-Boertje-Obed, of Duluth, Min., and his co-defendants Michael Walli of Washington, DC, and Sr. Megan Rice of New York City. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that federal prosecutors failed to prove - and that "norational jury could find" - that the three had intended to damage "national defense."

In July 2012, Greg, Michael and Megan clipped through four fences and walked right up to the "Fort Knox" of weapons-grade uranium, the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility inside the Y-12 complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Uranium processed there puts the "H" in our H-bombs. With three hours before they were spotted, the nuclear weapons abolitionists painted "Woe to an Empire of Blood" and other slogans on several structures, strung banners, and celebrated their luck in catching the nuclear weapons system asleep at the wheel. When a guard finally confronted them, they offered him some bread.

A cross-party delegation of MPs will next week hold talks in Washington DC to lobby for the return of the last remaining Briton in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker Aamer.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and Conservatives David Davis (a former Shadow Home Secretary) and Andrew Mitchell (a former Chief Whip) will hold meetings with Senators and Obama administration officials.

We submit these letters as mothers, advocates and organizers in solidarity with Shanesha Taylor. Shanesha is a mother who was convicted in Arizona last year for child abuse, for being homeless and having no childcare available to her while she interviewed for a badly needed job. She got the job, and her children were unharmed in the car, (their home at the time), but still she faces a decade of probation, payment to the state of thousands of dollars in what is being called "restitution", and the threat of jail. Shanesha returns to court Friday, May 15th.

Employee turnover costs businesses millions of dollars each year. However, many employers don't accurately track this expense, which could be reduced by improving workplace conditions. To help business owners understand the cost of turnover, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) have released an updated turnover calculator. This dynamic tool allows employers to calculate turnover costs by responding to 10 simple questions.

When employees leave or are laid off, companies incur numerous expenses searching for and on-boarding their replacements; these include advertising, recruiting, background checks, benefits administration, training, and lost productivity while new employees become proficient at their jobs.

Today, the House of Representatives will vote on a blatantly unconstitutional nationwide ban on abortion care after 20 weeks (H.R. 36), which is a threat to women's lives and health, and at odds with medical standards of care.

This bill was introduced in January 2015 and pulled from floor consideration at the eleventh hour because its extreme policies caused controversy even among anti-choice politicians. Now, its sponsors have put forth a new version of the bill – purporting to "fix" the bill's most dangerous clauses. However, the new version of H.R. 36 is even worse than the prior version, revealing that there is only one thing that extreme anti-choice politicians can agree upon: denying women accessible medical care.

May 14

Open Letter to the Environmental Justice Community Rallying in Raleigh Today

By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, NAACP | Open Letter

We in the NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement are glad to stand with you as we make the moral case for environmental justice.

I am pleased to welcome you to Raleigh to the People's House. We are especially pleased to have Robert Kennedy, Jr. here, who has been a long-time fighter for environmental justice.

We must stand together to fight to protect our land, water, air - every part of our environment.

With Pennsylvania's Supreme Court primary less than a week away, television ad buys have reached at least $1,456,975, according to Federal Communications Commission records analyzed by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.

In this primary, 12 candidates are vying for three open seats - the most open at one time in thecourt's history - making it likely that this year's election cycle will be among the most expensive in state history. (The most expensive election to date was in 2007, where TV spending totals reached $4.6 million with two open seats and one retention election.) Two of the three seats up for election this cycle were vacated due to scandal, and the November general election will determine the ideological makeup of the court.

A senior FBI official and former US attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, has been selected by President Obama as interim director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Rosenberg has served as the chief of staff to the FBI director, James B. Comey, for the past 18 months.

Outgoing DEA head Michele Leonhart announced her retirement last month in the wake of numerous scandals. She came under intense criticism for opposing the Obama administration's efforts to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and for opposing the administration's hands-off approach in the four states that have approved legal regulation of marijuana.

May 13

Everyone Has to Practice Nonviolence Now

By Rev. John Dear, Truthout | Op-Ed

The death of unarmed Freddie Gray in police custody and the subsequent riots in Baltimore demonstrate the profound systemic injustice in our country, as well as the complete misunderstanding and widespread hypocrisy about nonviolence.

Everyone has to practice nonviolence. Everyone. From the people on the streets to the police, to church ministers and parents, but also our media spokespeople and elected officials. Including the president. And the military. Everyone, everywhere. The days of war, killing, shootings, bombings, torture, executions and nuclear weapons are coming to an end. The days of violence are over. Everyone has topractice nonviolence. That is our only future - if we are to have a future.

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading organization working to end the war on drugs, has placed a mock "Help Wanted" ad in Roll Call seeking a new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to "prolong the failed war on drugs." Primary areas of job responsibility include "Mass Incarceration," "Police State Tactics," "Obstruction of Science," "Subverting Democracy" and "Undermining Human Rights." The ad comes in the wake of numerous DEA scandals and DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart's recent announcement she will resign sometime in May.

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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.

An Appeals Court has vacated the sabotage convictions of peace activists Greg-Boertje-Obed, of Duluth, Min., and his co-defendants Michael Walli of Washington, DC, and Sr. Megan Rice of New York City. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that federal prosecutors failed to prove - and that "norational jury could find" - that the three had intended to damage "national defense."

In July 2012, Greg, Michael and Megan clipped through four fences and walked right up to the "Fort Knox" of weapons-grade uranium, the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility inside the Y-12 complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Uranium processed there puts the "H" in our H-bombs. With three hours before they were spotted, the nuclear weapons abolitionists painted "Woe to an Empire of Blood" and other slogans on several structures, strung banners, and celebrated their luck in catching the nuclear weapons system asleep at the wheel. When a guard finally confronted them, they offered him some bread.

A cross-party delegation of MPs will next week hold talks in Washington DC to lobby for the return of the last remaining Briton in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker Aamer.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and Conservatives David Davis (a former Shadow Home Secretary) and Andrew Mitchell (a former Chief Whip) will hold meetings with Senators and Obama administration officials.

We submit these letters as mothers, advocates and organizers in solidarity with Shanesha Taylor. Shanesha is a mother who was convicted in Arizona last year for child abuse, for being homeless and having no childcare available to her while she interviewed for a badly needed job. She got the job, and her children were unharmed in the car, (their home at the time), but still she faces a decade of probation, payment to the state of thousands of dollars in what is being called "restitution", and the threat of jail. Shanesha returns to court Friday, May 15th.

Employee turnover costs businesses millions of dollars each year. However, many employers don't accurately track this expense, which could be reduced by improving workplace conditions. To help business owners understand the cost of turnover, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) have released an updated turnover calculator. This dynamic tool allows employers to calculate turnover costs by responding to 10 simple questions.

When employees leave or are laid off, companies incur numerous expenses searching for and on-boarding their replacements; these include advertising, recruiting, background checks, benefits administration, training, and lost productivity while new employees become proficient at their jobs.

Today, the House of Representatives will vote on a blatantly unconstitutional nationwide ban on abortion care after 20 weeks (H.R. 36), which is a threat to women's lives and health, and at odds with medical standards of care.

This bill was introduced in January 2015 and pulled from floor consideration at the eleventh hour because its extreme policies caused controversy even among anti-choice politicians. Now, its sponsors have put forth a new version of the bill – purporting to "fix" the bill's most dangerous clauses. However, the new version of H.R. 36 is even worse than the prior version, revealing that there is only one thing that extreme anti-choice politicians can agree upon: denying women accessible medical care.

May 14

Open Letter to the Environmental Justice Community Rallying in Raleigh Today

By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, NAACP | Open Letter

We in the NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement are glad to stand with you as we make the moral case for environmental justice.

I am pleased to welcome you to Raleigh to the People's House. We are especially pleased to have Robert Kennedy, Jr. here, who has been a long-time fighter for environmental justice.

We must stand together to fight to protect our land, water, air - every part of our environment.

With Pennsylvania's Supreme Court primary less than a week away, television ad buys have reached at least $1,456,975, according to Federal Communications Commission records analyzed by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.

In this primary, 12 candidates are vying for three open seats - the most open at one time in thecourt's history - making it likely that this year's election cycle will be among the most expensive in state history. (The most expensive election to date was in 2007, where TV spending totals reached $4.6 million with two open seats and one retention election.) Two of the three seats up for election this cycle were vacated due to scandal, and the November general election will determine the ideological makeup of the court.

A senior FBI official and former US attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, has been selected by President Obama as interim director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Rosenberg has served as the chief of staff to the FBI director, James B. Comey, for the past 18 months.

Outgoing DEA head Michele Leonhart announced her retirement last month in the wake of numerous scandals. She came under intense criticism for opposing the Obama administration's efforts to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and for opposing the administration's hands-off approach in the four states that have approved legal regulation of marijuana.

May 13

Everyone Has to Practice Nonviolence Now

By Rev. John Dear, Truthout | Op-Ed

The death of unarmed Freddie Gray in police custody and the subsequent riots in Baltimore demonstrate the profound systemic injustice in our country, as well as the complete misunderstanding and widespread hypocrisy about nonviolence.

Everyone has to practice nonviolence. Everyone. From the people on the streets to the police, to church ministers and parents, but also our media spokespeople and elected officials. Including the president. And the military. Everyone, everywhere. The days of war, killing, shootings, bombings, torture, executions and nuclear weapons are coming to an end. The days of violence are over. Everyone has topractice nonviolence. That is our only future - if we are to have a future.

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading organization working to end the war on drugs, has placed a mock "Help Wanted" ad in Roll Call seeking a new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to "prolong the failed war on drugs." Primary areas of job responsibility include "Mass Incarceration," "Police State Tactics," "Obstruction of Science," "Subverting Democracy" and "Undermining Human Rights." The ad comes in the wake of numerous DEA scandals and DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart's recent announcement she will resign sometime in May.