Monday, 26 September 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.

May 04

MRFF Agree: Navy Went Too Far

By Staff, Chaplain Alliance | Press Release

Dr. Ron Crews, USA (Ret.), executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, released a joint statement Friday, which reads in part as follows:

"We have testified before the same Congressional panels. We have spoken out on the same incidents in the services.  And, we are always on opposing sides, but in this instance it is easy for us both to say that the Navy went too far and is clearly in violation of the Constitutional religious liberty rights of American sailors at the Recruit Training Command."

Gov. Jerry Brown today announced an important new plan to reduce California's greenhouse gas pollution by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. But the governor's executive order on climate change isundermined by his support for fracking and dangerous oil production. Leading climate experts have called on the governor to impose a moratorium on fracking in the state.

"Gov. Jerry Brown deserves credit for this important step toward fighting global warming, but the governor continues to undermine his own plans by backing fracking," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. "Fracking pollution threatens to blow a huge hole in California's target for reducing planet-warming emissions. No plan to prevent climate disruption can succeed if it doesn't include a rapid transition away from fracking and other dangerousoil and gas production."

Pete Seeger spent his whole long life speaking and singing truth to power. He told Governor Cuomo that, while his father, Mario, would be remembered as one of New York's best governors, if he, Andrew, allowed fracking in New York he would be remembered as one of the worst.

When the New York fracking ban was announced in December, the only person who cemented his place in history was acting Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker. He said that studies showed harmful health effects due to fracking and he would not allow his family to drink tap water in an area where fracking occurred. Therefore he couldn't support fracking in New York.

Apr 30

Observing Colombia's Peace Negotiations

By William Edstrom, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Peace negotiations are moving forward in Havana, Cuba, between the Colombian central government and the FARC, the Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia, aka, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Progress includes a joint agreement to clean up the thousands of landmines that litter the Colombian landscape and an end to the conscription of soldiers under the age of 17. Many issues remain on the table such as reparation; a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; lingering questions of whether or not to hold criminals accountable for crimes against humanity and genocide; an effective mechanism for the return of property to people who fled their property in fear, the disarmament - or not - of FARC.

Patients, family members and activists stood with legislators today as they announced the introduction of Assembly bill A.7060 that would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medicalmarijuana as soon as possible. The bill, introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb, comes 298 days after Governor Cuomo signed the medical marijuana bill into law on July 5, and nine months after the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy.

Apr 30

Lake Apopka: Ecocide, Rural Oligarchy and Slavery

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In April 17-18, 2015, I attended a conference in Orlando, Florida. Beyond Pesticides, a non-profit environmental organization in Washington, DC, since 1981, sponsored the forum.

Before the conference started, some fifty people took a bus tour of rural Florida, especially exploring the lush agricultural region around Lake Apopka, Florida's fourth largest lake. I entered the bus with apprehension. I had heard bad things were taking place in central Florida.

Citigroup shareholder votes today on two resolutions aimed at reforming the way the bank does business in Washington, DC, highlight the increased demand nationwide for corporations to disclose details of their political spending, Public Citizen said.

The first resolution asks Citigroup to disclose more information about its lobbying activities. The second asks the company to disclose which of its executives are eligible for bonuses should they leave the bank for high-ranking positions in government. Both resolutions, which were filed by shareholders, address a troubling pattern of influence-peddling by the bank, made worse by the shadow of Citigroup's 2008 taxpayer bailout.

Apr 30

Foundation Myths

By Nicholas Mele, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Since 2001, the United States sees myriad existential threats to our nation from lone terrorists to rogue states like North Korea to China and Russia. The American response to this has been to act in line with what Walter Wink called The Myth of Redemptive Violence. The original form of the myth tells of the creation of an ordered world through killing: violence defeats chaos and enables ordered societies to flourish. Violence, in the form of war, then looks like the best way to overcome threats. As Stephen Kinzer pointed out recently, there are in fact few or no such doomsday threats. We need to look at the world with eyes open to the complexity of the conflicts and injustices in the world, and we need to widen our sense of the options available to us.

Apr 30

Welcome to Where?

By Matt Mullins , SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Imagine yourself in these shoes… you and your family live imprisoned behind concrete walls twice the height of the Berlin wall, grimly underlined with razor wire and punctuated by sniper towers. Each tower stands foreboding like a giant inquisitor sneering down over a barren, ravished land; their bullet proof glass eyes cruelly manned by young patriots ready to burn lead holes through human skulls. The occupying force frequently closes the roads and highways you use for work, to see family and friends or hope to God don't needto reach a hospital. Yet the citizens of the occupying force pass freely on these same roads.

The Greek tragic playwright Aeschylus was a combat veteran.  More than 2,400 years ago he said, "The first casualty of war is truth." As our nation approaches the 40th anniversary of the end of the VietnamWar (April 30, 2015), a major effort is underway to change how we view the war, how history records it, how future Americans will think about it.  Much celebration and re-interpretation will take place. Our government, military and some veteran and civilian groups are working to recast the war in honorable and moral terms and help veterans and all Americans look at it through more positive lenses.

Let us try to heal that first casualty and view the Vietnam War through the lens of truth.  Consider these ten facts and their related myths about the Vietnam War.

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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.

May 04

MRFF Agree: Navy Went Too Far

By Staff, Chaplain Alliance | Press Release

Dr. Ron Crews, USA (Ret.), executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, released a joint statement Friday, which reads in part as follows:

"We have testified before the same Congressional panels. We have spoken out on the same incidents in the services.  And, we are always on opposing sides, but in this instance it is easy for us both to say that the Navy went too far and is clearly in violation of the Constitutional religious liberty rights of American sailors at the Recruit Training Command."

Gov. Jerry Brown today announced an important new plan to reduce California's greenhouse gas pollution by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. But the governor's executive order on climate change isundermined by his support for fracking and dangerous oil production. Leading climate experts have called on the governor to impose a moratorium on fracking in the state.

"Gov. Jerry Brown deserves credit for this important step toward fighting global warming, but the governor continues to undermine his own plans by backing fracking," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. "Fracking pollution threatens to blow a huge hole in California's target for reducing planet-warming emissions. No plan to prevent climate disruption can succeed if it doesn't include a rapid transition away from fracking and other dangerousoil and gas production."

Pete Seeger spent his whole long life speaking and singing truth to power. He told Governor Cuomo that, while his father, Mario, would be remembered as one of New York's best governors, if he, Andrew, allowed fracking in New York he would be remembered as one of the worst.

When the New York fracking ban was announced in December, the only person who cemented his place in history was acting Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker. He said that studies showed harmful health effects due to fracking and he would not allow his family to drink tap water in an area where fracking occurred. Therefore he couldn't support fracking in New York.

Apr 30

Observing Colombia's Peace Negotiations

By William Edstrom, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Peace negotiations are moving forward in Havana, Cuba, between the Colombian central government and the FARC, the Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia, aka, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Progress includes a joint agreement to clean up the thousands of landmines that litter the Colombian landscape and an end to the conscription of soldiers under the age of 17. Many issues remain on the table such as reparation; a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; lingering questions of whether or not to hold criminals accountable for crimes against humanity and genocide; an effective mechanism for the return of property to people who fled their property in fear, the disarmament - or not - of FARC.

Patients, family members and activists stood with legislators today as they announced the introduction of Assembly bill A.7060 that would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medicalmarijuana as soon as possible. The bill, introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb, comes 298 days after Governor Cuomo signed the medical marijuana bill into law on July 5, and nine months after the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy.

Apr 30

Lake Apopka: Ecocide, Rural Oligarchy and Slavery

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In April 17-18, 2015, I attended a conference in Orlando, Florida. Beyond Pesticides, a non-profit environmental organization in Washington, DC, since 1981, sponsored the forum.

Before the conference started, some fifty people took a bus tour of rural Florida, especially exploring the lush agricultural region around Lake Apopka, Florida's fourth largest lake. I entered the bus with apprehension. I had heard bad things were taking place in central Florida.

Citigroup shareholder votes today on two resolutions aimed at reforming the way the bank does business in Washington, DC, highlight the increased demand nationwide for corporations to disclose details of their political spending, Public Citizen said.

The first resolution asks Citigroup to disclose more information about its lobbying activities. The second asks the company to disclose which of its executives are eligible for bonuses should they leave the bank for high-ranking positions in government. Both resolutions, which were filed by shareholders, address a troubling pattern of influence-peddling by the bank, made worse by the shadow of Citigroup's 2008 taxpayer bailout.

Apr 30

Foundation Myths

By Nicholas Mele, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Since 2001, the United States sees myriad existential threats to our nation from lone terrorists to rogue states like North Korea to China and Russia. The American response to this has been to act in line with what Walter Wink called The Myth of Redemptive Violence. The original form of the myth tells of the creation of an ordered world through killing: violence defeats chaos and enables ordered societies to flourish. Violence, in the form of war, then looks like the best way to overcome threats. As Stephen Kinzer pointed out recently, there are in fact few or no such doomsday threats. We need to look at the world with eyes open to the complexity of the conflicts and injustices in the world, and we need to widen our sense of the options available to us.

Apr 30

Welcome to Where?

By Matt Mullins , SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Imagine yourself in these shoes… you and your family live imprisoned behind concrete walls twice the height of the Berlin wall, grimly underlined with razor wire and punctuated by sniper towers. Each tower stands foreboding like a giant inquisitor sneering down over a barren, ravished land; their bullet proof glass eyes cruelly manned by young patriots ready to burn lead holes through human skulls. The occupying force frequently closes the roads and highways you use for work, to see family and friends or hope to God don't needto reach a hospital. Yet the citizens of the occupying force pass freely on these same roads.

The Greek tragic playwright Aeschylus was a combat veteran.  More than 2,400 years ago he said, "The first casualty of war is truth." As our nation approaches the 40th anniversary of the end of the VietnamWar (April 30, 2015), a major effort is underway to change how we view the war, how history records it, how future Americans will think about it.  Much celebration and re-interpretation will take place. Our government, military and some veteran and civilian groups are working to recast the war in honorable and moral terms and help veterans and all Americans look at it through more positive lenses.

Let us try to heal that first casualty and view the Vietnam War through the lens of truth.  Consider these ten facts and their related myths about the Vietnam War.