Thursday, 08 December 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.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) just submitted a request for rule-making regarding several standards to the Board of Corrections (BOC), including minimum standards for visiting.

A collective letter from 17 New York advocacy groups, including the Osborne Association, urges the BOC to deny the request because the standards are too broad, sweeping, and subjective. They are very concerned about the effects of these restrictions on the children and families of incarcerated individuals, arguing that the restrictions are unfair and will have the opposite effect as desired, cutting incarcerated people off from their families will only increase violence.

More than 1,770 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, and the peak season of North African immigration to Europe has just begun. The horrors of April this year - first the drowning of 400 people off the coast of Libya, and then 900 more near the Italian island of Lampedusa - exposed the inhumanity of Fortress Europe. When austerity is mixed with a large scale demonization of The Other, it creates emotional barrier that is almost as strong as the physical one.

When these catastrophes occurred, the EU was spending a third as much money and less than a tenth of the manpower into rescue operations compared to 2014, according to The Economist. The professed reasons for this drastic decrease were not only economic in nature. Some within the UK government had argued that the rescue operations served as a "pull factor." According to this line of reasoning, when some of the immigrants survived, many others were inspired to take the same hazard-filled illegal journey. So the implicit solution was to simply let them drown, in the hope of turning the pull-factor into a deterrent. It didn't take too long for the results of this abhorrent logic to come in, and they are: 1) a death toll that is 30 times greater compared to 2014 and 2) no decline in the number of people coming into Europe.

The Center for Biological Diversity today warned the federal government not to allow the pipeline behind the Santa Barbara oil spill to resume pumping crude without a legally required analysis of threats to California's environment and endangered wildlife.

In a letter to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Center says shutting down the pipeline "was essential to protect public health and the environment" and urges the agency to comply with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act before letting thepipeline restart operations.

Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4. 

DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state'oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere. 

No matter what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does, his popularity is declining. In some ways, Abbas' threshold for popularity was really never impressive to begin with, a trend that is unlikely to change in the near future.

But now that a power struggle in his Fatah party is looming, and his two-decade investment in the 'peace process' scheme has proven to be fruitless, Abbas is doing what he should have done a long time ago: internationalize the Palestinian struggle, and break away from the confines of American influence and double-standard "diplomacy."

With the 2016 race already under way, the voting wars continue in the states, but with a significant drop-off in new restrictions in 2015, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Since the 2010 election, however, 21 states have new laws making it harder to vote — and in 14 states, next year will be the first time these rules are in effect for a presidential election, which is marked by high turnout.

The mushrooming governance scandal in world soccer body FIFA increasingly spotlights political in addition to financial corruption in global soccer.

Revelations about government and corporate deals made to secure Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup alongside the prominence of political figures in sports governance, frequently aligned with autocratic regimes, emphasizes the need for a clean-up ofsoccer governance. Reforms will have to regulate the relationship between politics and sports and guard against political and corporate interference alongside the effort to eradicate related financial corruption and dismantle patronage.

"Transformational festival" is a phrase that's often used to describe festivals that intend to help you evolve and better yourself and the world around you.  California-based Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) certainly fits this description, but they take it another step further: the way they have chosen to manage potential drug use at their event has the power to transform the way all festivals address drug use and safety issues.

The guiding principle behind LiB's drug policy was the concept of harm reduction, acknowledging that despite efforts to maintain a drug-free event people will nonetheless use drugs – and that our primary concern should be keeping these people and others around them safe.

I'll begin by noting that most terrorism has not been perpetrated by Islamic-identified people. In fact, despite the relentless deluge of publicity to the contrary, Islamic-identified people commit only a fraction of the world's terrorism.

Most terrorism is large scale. In the 20th and 21st centuries most terrorism is high tech and airborne...whether over Guernica or Dresden or Nagasaki or Hiroshima or Tokyo or Laos or Viet Nam or Baghdad or Gaza. Airborne violence primarily murders civilians. Airborne terror is shooting fish in a barrel.

The economic justice periodical In These Times recently ran this important article on the mass rolling strike wave of teachers and educators across Washington State - including now some 65 different union locals - who are standing up to a lawless state legislature that refuses to obey a court order to fully fund education. As I point out in the article, Washington State has the most unequal tax structure and it is time we taxed the rich to fund our schools.

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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.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) just submitted a request for rule-making regarding several standards to the Board of Corrections (BOC), including minimum standards for visiting.

A collective letter from 17 New York advocacy groups, including the Osborne Association, urges the BOC to deny the request because the standards are too broad, sweeping, and subjective. They are very concerned about the effects of these restrictions on the children and families of incarcerated individuals, arguing that the restrictions are unfair and will have the opposite effect as desired, cutting incarcerated people off from their families will only increase violence.

More than 1,770 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, and the peak season of North African immigration to Europe has just begun. The horrors of April this year - first the drowning of 400 people off the coast of Libya, and then 900 more near the Italian island of Lampedusa - exposed the inhumanity of Fortress Europe. When austerity is mixed with a large scale demonization of The Other, it creates emotional barrier that is almost as strong as the physical one.

When these catastrophes occurred, the EU was spending a third as much money and less than a tenth of the manpower into rescue operations compared to 2014, according to The Economist. The professed reasons for this drastic decrease were not only economic in nature. Some within the UK government had argued that the rescue operations served as a "pull factor." According to this line of reasoning, when some of the immigrants survived, many others were inspired to take the same hazard-filled illegal journey. So the implicit solution was to simply let them drown, in the hope of turning the pull-factor into a deterrent. It didn't take too long for the results of this abhorrent logic to come in, and they are: 1) a death toll that is 30 times greater compared to 2014 and 2) no decline in the number of people coming into Europe.

The Center for Biological Diversity today warned the federal government not to allow the pipeline behind the Santa Barbara oil spill to resume pumping crude without a legally required analysis of threats to California's environment and endangered wildlife.

In a letter to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Center says shutting down the pipeline "was essential to protect public health and the environment" and urges the agency to comply with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act before letting thepipeline restart operations.

Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4. 

DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state'oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere. 

No matter what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does, his popularity is declining. In some ways, Abbas' threshold for popularity was really never impressive to begin with, a trend that is unlikely to change in the near future.

But now that a power struggle in his Fatah party is looming, and his two-decade investment in the 'peace process' scheme has proven to be fruitless, Abbas is doing what he should have done a long time ago: internationalize the Palestinian struggle, and break away from the confines of American influence and double-standard "diplomacy."

With the 2016 race already under way, the voting wars continue in the states, but with a significant drop-off in new restrictions in 2015, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Since the 2010 election, however, 21 states have new laws making it harder to vote — and in 14 states, next year will be the first time these rules are in effect for a presidential election, which is marked by high turnout.

The mushrooming governance scandal in world soccer body FIFA increasingly spotlights political in addition to financial corruption in global soccer.

Revelations about government and corporate deals made to secure Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup alongside the prominence of political figures in sports governance, frequently aligned with autocratic regimes, emphasizes the need for a clean-up ofsoccer governance. Reforms will have to regulate the relationship between politics and sports and guard against political and corporate interference alongside the effort to eradicate related financial corruption and dismantle patronage.

"Transformational festival" is a phrase that's often used to describe festivals that intend to help you evolve and better yourself and the world around you.  California-based Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) certainly fits this description, but they take it another step further: the way they have chosen to manage potential drug use at their event has the power to transform the way all festivals address drug use and safety issues.

The guiding principle behind LiB's drug policy was the concept of harm reduction, acknowledging that despite efforts to maintain a drug-free event people will nonetheless use drugs – and that our primary concern should be keeping these people and others around them safe.

I'll begin by noting that most terrorism has not been perpetrated by Islamic-identified people. In fact, despite the relentless deluge of publicity to the contrary, Islamic-identified people commit only a fraction of the world's terrorism.

Most terrorism is large scale. In the 20th and 21st centuries most terrorism is high tech and airborne...whether over Guernica or Dresden or Nagasaki or Hiroshima or Tokyo or Laos or Viet Nam or Baghdad or Gaza. Airborne violence primarily murders civilians. Airborne terror is shooting fish in a barrel.

The economic justice periodical In These Times recently ran this important article on the mass rolling strike wave of teachers and educators across Washington State - including now some 65 different union locals - who are standing up to a lawless state legislature that refuses to obey a court order to fully fund education. As I point out in the article, Washington State has the most unequal tax structure and it is time we taxed the rich to fund our schools.