Friday, 29 April 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.

Montevideo, UY and New York, US - Today the Brazilian Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) formally approved an industry request to release genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees. The application was made by FuturaGene, a company owned by Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano. This is the first approval for commercial release of GE trees in Brazil or Latin America. 

Organizations in Brazil are exploring legal avenues to stop the commercial release of GE eucalyptus trees, pointing out that this decision violates national law.

With the help of the New York Times and reporters Julie Bosman and Jonathan Martin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was able to fend off challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, in a runoff election on Tuesday.

The New York Times coverage of middle-class concerns has become a circus-mirror of confusion for Democrats divided by free trade agreements and neoliberal ideals on the one hand and the plight of hard working families on the other. During Chicago's runoff election, the Times demonstrated its unflinching support for a democratic leadership that embraces Wall Street's ownership of City Hall and Capitol Hill.

Below is the thank you letter that educators at Seattle's Garfield High Schoolwrote to Nathan Hale High School for their courage in taking the lead in the movement to oppose the new "Smarter Balanced Assessment Common Core Tests.  Their example helped inspire Garfield to win a major victory against the SBA test, and has helped ignite the opt out movement around Seattle.  Seattle's opt out movement is now the largest in the city's history.  Thank you Nathan Hale!

Legendary television writer and producer Norman Lear, creator of such landmark comedy series as All in the FamilyMaude and The Jeffersons, and co-founder of People for the American Way, has spoken out in support of independent documentary filmmakers struggling to protect the broadcast of their work on public television.

At issue is the scheduling of two PBS series, Independent Lens and POV, important national showcases for independent film. In New York, WNET – Channel 13 — has proposed moving the series to its smaller sister station, WLIW, with repeats airing on WNET at 11 pm on Sundays.

It is often alleged that the basis for U.S.-Israeli relations lies in "shared concerns and interests." However, what really holds the relationship together is a systemic aspect of American politics - the system of special interest lobbying and the money that underlies it. That practice is just about as old as the country itself, and the Zionist lobby is a past-master at exploiting this system. With the Supreme Court rulings telling us that political spending and donations are forms of free speech, this rather perverse aspect of U.S. politics is not going to change in the foreseeable future. 

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is slated to roll out its annual "Rich States, Poor States" publication this week. The document, whose lead author is economist Arthur Laffer, is sold to the press as an objective, academic measure of state good economic performance, but should instead be viewed as a lobbyist scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with good economic outcomes.

The ALEC entity that publishes the report, the Center for State Fiscal Reform, has received large grants from the Bradley Foundation, the Searle Foundation and the now-closed Claude M. Lambe Foundation, one of the Koch family foundations.

It's election day in Chicago, and until it's over political types here are unlikely to write about much of anything else. Since I've always tended to work against the grain, I'm going to go ahead and pen an exception to that trend, because tomorrow's going to come, and regardless of who takes (or keeps) the reins here in our city, there's a whole lot that's not going to change.

Whether Wednesday's headlines declare that there's a new mayor in town, or that we'll be bunking with the King of Neoliberalism for another four years, the sun will rise over Chicago tomorrow, and determined young people will still be organizing for their lives. Racism and ableism will continue to manifest themselves in the form of police violence, and the school to prison pipeline will continue to consume our children. Those of us organizing against state violence will continue to stand up, build alternatives, and reduce harm where we can.

 

With Americans marking the 47th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just days earlier, abroad coalition of registered nurses, organized labor, anti-AIDS advocates, college students, clergy and other community activists will converge on 25 US cities Wednesday, April 8, to amplify the call for a Wall Street financial transactions tax to reverse the country's crippling inequality.

Economists estimate that a tiny surcharge of no more than a nickel on every $10 in trades of stocks, bond and derivatives - tax that is proportionally smaller than what most Americans pay fora pair of shoes - could increase revenues collected by the Treasury Department by as much as $350 billion annually.

California is in the middle of a severe drought. How severe? State officials expect the 2015 statewide snowpack to be about 6% of normal.

Can you imagine having only 6% of thewater you normally have to last the whole year? Well, if you're in California you don't have to imagine.

The New York Times recently published an editorial lamenting the "shameful impunity of the Islamic State" and encouraging the United Nations Security Council to refer the group's crimes to the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). The editorial, titled "The Crimes of Terrorists" (4/2/2015), should more accurately be titled "The Crimes of theU.S. and Its Allies Should Go Unpunished."

In the last several months alone, the Times has repeatedly failed to condemn crimes by the U.S. government and its allies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories.

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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.

Montevideo, UY and New York, US - Today the Brazilian Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) formally approved an industry request to release genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees. The application was made by FuturaGene, a company owned by Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano. This is the first approval for commercial release of GE trees in Brazil or Latin America. 

Organizations in Brazil are exploring legal avenues to stop the commercial release of GE eucalyptus trees, pointing out that this decision violates national law.

With the help of the New York Times and reporters Julie Bosman and Jonathan Martin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was able to fend off challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, in a runoff election on Tuesday.

The New York Times coverage of middle-class concerns has become a circus-mirror of confusion for Democrats divided by free trade agreements and neoliberal ideals on the one hand and the plight of hard working families on the other. During Chicago's runoff election, the Times demonstrated its unflinching support for a democratic leadership that embraces Wall Street's ownership of City Hall and Capitol Hill.

Below is the thank you letter that educators at Seattle's Garfield High Schoolwrote to Nathan Hale High School for their courage in taking the lead in the movement to oppose the new "Smarter Balanced Assessment Common Core Tests.  Their example helped inspire Garfield to win a major victory against the SBA test, and has helped ignite the opt out movement around Seattle.  Seattle's opt out movement is now the largest in the city's history.  Thank you Nathan Hale!

Legendary television writer and producer Norman Lear, creator of such landmark comedy series as All in the FamilyMaude and The Jeffersons, and co-founder of People for the American Way, has spoken out in support of independent documentary filmmakers struggling to protect the broadcast of their work on public television.

At issue is the scheduling of two PBS series, Independent Lens and POV, important national showcases for independent film. In New York, WNET – Channel 13 — has proposed moving the series to its smaller sister station, WLIW, with repeats airing on WNET at 11 pm on Sundays.

It is often alleged that the basis for U.S.-Israeli relations lies in "shared concerns and interests." However, what really holds the relationship together is a systemic aspect of American politics - the system of special interest lobbying and the money that underlies it. That practice is just about as old as the country itself, and the Zionist lobby is a past-master at exploiting this system. With the Supreme Court rulings telling us that political spending and donations are forms of free speech, this rather perverse aspect of U.S. politics is not going to change in the foreseeable future. 

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is slated to roll out its annual "Rich States, Poor States" publication this week. The document, whose lead author is economist Arthur Laffer, is sold to the press as an objective, academic measure of state good economic performance, but should instead be viewed as a lobbyist scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with good economic outcomes.

The ALEC entity that publishes the report, the Center for State Fiscal Reform, has received large grants from the Bradley Foundation, the Searle Foundation and the now-closed Claude M. Lambe Foundation, one of the Koch family foundations.

It's election day in Chicago, and until it's over political types here are unlikely to write about much of anything else. Since I've always tended to work against the grain, I'm going to go ahead and pen an exception to that trend, because tomorrow's going to come, and regardless of who takes (or keeps) the reins here in our city, there's a whole lot that's not going to change.

Whether Wednesday's headlines declare that there's a new mayor in town, or that we'll be bunking with the King of Neoliberalism for another four years, the sun will rise over Chicago tomorrow, and determined young people will still be organizing for their lives. Racism and ableism will continue to manifest themselves in the form of police violence, and the school to prison pipeline will continue to consume our children. Those of us organizing against state violence will continue to stand up, build alternatives, and reduce harm where we can.

 

With Americans marking the 47th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just days earlier, abroad coalition of registered nurses, organized labor, anti-AIDS advocates, college students, clergy and other community activists will converge on 25 US cities Wednesday, April 8, to amplify the call for a Wall Street financial transactions tax to reverse the country's crippling inequality.

Economists estimate that a tiny surcharge of no more than a nickel on every $10 in trades of stocks, bond and derivatives - tax that is proportionally smaller than what most Americans pay fora pair of shoes - could increase revenues collected by the Treasury Department by as much as $350 billion annually.

California is in the middle of a severe drought. How severe? State officials expect the 2015 statewide snowpack to be about 6% of normal.

Can you imagine having only 6% of thewater you normally have to last the whole year? Well, if you're in California you don't have to imagine.

The New York Times recently published an editorial lamenting the "shameful impunity of the Islamic State" and encouraging the United Nations Security Council to refer the group's crimes to the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). The editorial, titled "The Crimes of Terrorists" (4/2/2015), should more accurately be titled "The Crimes of theU.S. and Its Allies Should Go Unpunished."

In the last several months alone, the Times has repeatedly failed to condemn crimes by the U.S. government and its allies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories.