Friday, 31 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Frightened

    Ebola, Dengue fever, West Nile virus ... Republican ideology created some of these threats in the first place, or managed to make others worse. The climate crisis, which Republicans dismiss en masse, is a key ingredient in all of them.

  • The 0.01 Percent's "I Reap All" Accounts

    At least 9,000 wealthy Americans have amassed $5 million-plus sized IRAs. Multimillionaires and billionaires are shielding vast fortunes from taxation with monstrously huge IRAs.

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.

Militarization of our Police Forces – An infographic by the team at ArrestRecords.com

People in the Punjab province celebrated Republic Day in Pakistan on March 23, with an entirely opposite event 'Sindh Freedom March' held in Karachi. CNN claimed there were at least "5 million Sindhis" in attendance while some Sindh-based media quoted a figure of 8 million. The Freedom March celebrated under the banner of a Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM), a Sindh freedom secessionist party, and demanded a separate, independent status for Sindh province.

The people from across the province, particularly from the Karachi city, were wearing Sindhi caps and special printed shawls called Ajrak. The large group rallied at Tibet Centre with the protesters holding party flags and chanting slogans for freedom of the Sindh from the Pakistan, like "Sindh Ghuray thee Azadi" (Sindh wants freedom). The 'Freedom March' (a National Anthem of Sindh) was also sung in chorus by the millions of the people.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A court ruling today in a case against a Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist is a significant victory for advocates everywhere, said Public Citizen, which represented the activist in court.

Susquehanna County Judge Kenneth Seaman today substantially narrowed an injunction placed on anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins in a lawsuit brought by Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. Public Citizen represented Scroggins in court on Monday arguing that the prior injunction – which barred Scroggins from land where Cabot has a lease to extract gas from under the surface, including Scroggins’ grocery store, the homes of some of her friends and the nearest hospital – was overbroad and violated Scroggins’ First Amendment rights. The revised injunction no longer applies to properties on which Cabot has mineral leases but no active operations.

On February 26, Cornell Law Professor Steve Shiffrin argued an Appeal based on Habeas Corpus before Acting NYS Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti in Syracuse. He was appealing the Order of Protection issued to Dan Findlay, who was arrested on April 28 of 2013 protesting outside the gate of Hancock Air National Guard Base. Like all the protesters arrested at Hancock since October of 2012, Findlay had been issued a restraining order, an Order of Protection requested by one of the Base Commanders. In mid March, Judge Brunetti issued his decision, vacating Findlay’s Order of Protection. This is a huge victory for the protesters at Hancock, and for protesters across the state, where Orders of Protection are being used to restrain protesters from exercising their first amendment rights.

Initially the Judge stated that he didn’t like the way the Order of Protection was issued, but wasn’t sure if the Appellate Court had Jurisdiction to speak to the issue because the rules are different for a situation where  a judge Issues an Order than those governing a Verdict or Sentence.

Today, the Commissioner of the Department of Investigations, Mark Peters, named Philip Eure as the first Inspector General for the New York City Police Department. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York School of Law proposed the creation of the office in 2012 to add much needed oversight of police counterterrorism operations.

“By appointing an inspector general who has shown that he is not afraid to make real change, the Administration has signaled that it is serious about protecting both our safety and our civil liberties,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at theBrennan Center. “Mr. Eure has a real opportunity to make the NYPD better and stronger through rigorous oversight and we eagerly anticipate his next steps.”

A select Senate committee is charged with overseeing CIA skullduggery to insure, among other things, that it stays within the stretched confines of the Constitution.

(1) As part of the Committee's supervision it was given electronic documents relating to CIA interrogations.

(2) The CIA broke into the committee's secured and private computer system and stole the documents from the drives.

How is that not an e-burglary? How is it not a repeat of the Watergate break-in when Nixon Administration undercover operatives burglarized the Democratic Party headquarters and photocopied documents from the file-cabinets while bugging the office?

MADISON -- After nearly a year of litigation, the Center for Media and Democracy has settled its open records lawsuit against American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) National Board member and Wisconsin State Senator Leah Vukmir.

Senator Vukmir, who had previously insisted that she had no records in her possession and made an unprecedented claim of legislative immunity, is anticipated to release numerous emails from her private email account, and pay $2,500 in damages. This may be the first time a Wisconsin legislator has had to pay damages under Wisconsin's open records law.

As President Obama prepares for his long-delayed April trip to Asia, corporate lobbyists and other supporters of the massive 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal have released deceiving polling results to imply that a large majority of Americans support new fast-track authority for President Obama. The corporate special interests are relying on fast-track authority so that the TPP can sail through Congress with no real debate. If approved, fast track would allow the President finalize the TPP and then send it to Congress for limited debate, no amendments, and a simple up-or-down vote.

President Obama's trip is widely seen as an effort to breathe new life into a trade bill that is all but dead due to the broken promises of past trade agreements, the ongoing secrecy of negotiations that are dominated by corporate interests, and increasing opposition to a pact that includes weak environmental standardsthreats to sovereigntyaccelerated job loss and much more. It is in the self-interest of multinational corporations to confuse and mislead the public with the phrasing of polling questions. After all, they stand to benefit from fast-tracking TPP --- a deal that they are helping to negotiate in secret at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Mar 28

The Turn of the Key

By David Krieger, SpeakOut | Poetry

The missile launch officers failed to grasp
the ratio of death and destruction to the simple act
of following orders and turning a key.

And they were caught cheating.
All they were after was a good grade, to help
them climb the slippery walls of promotion,
so that one day they could be the ones to give the orders.

I have previously written about (here, for example) what I call economism, or excessive belief in the little bit that you remember from Economics 101. The problem is twofold. First, Economics 101 usually paints a highly stylized, unrealistic view of the world in which free markets always produce optimal outcomes. Second, most people in the world who have taken any economics have only taken first-year economics, and so they never learned that, from a practical perspective, just about everything in Economics 101 is wrong. (Complete information? Rational actors? Perfectly competitive markets?) This produces a nation of people like Paul Ryan, who repeats reflexively that free market solutions are always good, journalists who repeat what Paul Ryan says, and ordinary people who nod their heads in agreement.

The problem is not the economics profession per se. These days, to make your mark as an economist, it helps to be arguing (or, better yet, proving) that the free market caricature of Economics 101 is wrong. The problem is the way it is taught to first-year students, which pretty much assumes that Joseph Stiglitz, Daniel Kahnemann, Elinor Ostrom, and many others had never existed.

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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.

Militarization of our Police Forces – An infographic by the team at ArrestRecords.com

People in the Punjab province celebrated Republic Day in Pakistan on March 23, with an entirely opposite event 'Sindh Freedom March' held in Karachi. CNN claimed there were at least "5 million Sindhis" in attendance while some Sindh-based media quoted a figure of 8 million. The Freedom March celebrated under the banner of a Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM), a Sindh freedom secessionist party, and demanded a separate, independent status for Sindh province.

The people from across the province, particularly from the Karachi city, were wearing Sindhi caps and special printed shawls called Ajrak. The large group rallied at Tibet Centre with the protesters holding party flags and chanting slogans for freedom of the Sindh from the Pakistan, like "Sindh Ghuray thee Azadi" (Sindh wants freedom). The 'Freedom March' (a National Anthem of Sindh) was also sung in chorus by the millions of the people.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A court ruling today in a case against a Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist is a significant victory for advocates everywhere, said Public Citizen, which represented the activist in court.

Susquehanna County Judge Kenneth Seaman today substantially narrowed an injunction placed on anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins in a lawsuit brought by Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. Public Citizen represented Scroggins in court on Monday arguing that the prior injunction – which barred Scroggins from land where Cabot has a lease to extract gas from under the surface, including Scroggins’ grocery store, the homes of some of her friends and the nearest hospital – was overbroad and violated Scroggins’ First Amendment rights. The revised injunction no longer applies to properties on which Cabot has mineral leases but no active operations.

On February 26, Cornell Law Professor Steve Shiffrin argued an Appeal based on Habeas Corpus before Acting NYS Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti in Syracuse. He was appealing the Order of Protection issued to Dan Findlay, who was arrested on April 28 of 2013 protesting outside the gate of Hancock Air National Guard Base. Like all the protesters arrested at Hancock since October of 2012, Findlay had been issued a restraining order, an Order of Protection requested by one of the Base Commanders. In mid March, Judge Brunetti issued his decision, vacating Findlay’s Order of Protection. This is a huge victory for the protesters at Hancock, and for protesters across the state, where Orders of Protection are being used to restrain protesters from exercising their first amendment rights.

Initially the Judge stated that he didn’t like the way the Order of Protection was issued, but wasn’t sure if the Appellate Court had Jurisdiction to speak to the issue because the rules are different for a situation where  a judge Issues an Order than those governing a Verdict or Sentence.

Today, the Commissioner of the Department of Investigations, Mark Peters, named Philip Eure as the first Inspector General for the New York City Police Department. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York School of Law proposed the creation of the office in 2012 to add much needed oversight of police counterterrorism operations.

“By appointing an inspector general who has shown that he is not afraid to make real change, the Administration has signaled that it is serious about protecting both our safety and our civil liberties,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at theBrennan Center. “Mr. Eure has a real opportunity to make the NYPD better and stronger through rigorous oversight and we eagerly anticipate his next steps.”

A select Senate committee is charged with overseeing CIA skullduggery to insure, among other things, that it stays within the stretched confines of the Constitution.

(1) As part of the Committee's supervision it was given electronic documents relating to CIA interrogations.

(2) The CIA broke into the committee's secured and private computer system and stole the documents from the drives.

How is that not an e-burglary? How is it not a repeat of the Watergate break-in when Nixon Administration undercover operatives burglarized the Democratic Party headquarters and photocopied documents from the file-cabinets while bugging the office?

MADISON -- After nearly a year of litigation, the Center for Media and Democracy has settled its open records lawsuit against American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) National Board member and Wisconsin State Senator Leah Vukmir.

Senator Vukmir, who had previously insisted that she had no records in her possession and made an unprecedented claim of legislative immunity, is anticipated to release numerous emails from her private email account, and pay $2,500 in damages. This may be the first time a Wisconsin legislator has had to pay damages under Wisconsin's open records law.

As President Obama prepares for his long-delayed April trip to Asia, corporate lobbyists and other supporters of the massive 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal have released deceiving polling results to imply that a large majority of Americans support new fast-track authority for President Obama. The corporate special interests are relying on fast-track authority so that the TPP can sail through Congress with no real debate. If approved, fast track would allow the President finalize the TPP and then send it to Congress for limited debate, no amendments, and a simple up-or-down vote.

President Obama's trip is widely seen as an effort to breathe new life into a trade bill that is all but dead due to the broken promises of past trade agreements, the ongoing secrecy of negotiations that are dominated by corporate interests, and increasing opposition to a pact that includes weak environmental standardsthreats to sovereigntyaccelerated job loss and much more. It is in the self-interest of multinational corporations to confuse and mislead the public with the phrasing of polling questions. After all, they stand to benefit from fast-tracking TPP --- a deal that they are helping to negotiate in secret at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Mar 28

The Turn of the Key

By David Krieger, SpeakOut | Poetry

The missile launch officers failed to grasp
the ratio of death and destruction to the simple act
of following orders and turning a key.

And they were caught cheating.
All they were after was a good grade, to help
them climb the slippery walls of promotion,
so that one day they could be the ones to give the orders.

I have previously written about (here, for example) what I call economism, or excessive belief in the little bit that you remember from Economics 101. The problem is twofold. First, Economics 101 usually paints a highly stylized, unrealistic view of the world in which free markets always produce optimal outcomes. Second, most people in the world who have taken any economics have only taken first-year economics, and so they never learned that, from a practical perspective, just about everything in Economics 101 is wrong. (Complete information? Rational actors? Perfectly competitive markets?) This produces a nation of people like Paul Ryan, who repeats reflexively that free market solutions are always good, journalists who repeat what Paul Ryan says, and ordinary people who nod their heads in agreement.

The problem is not the economics profession per se. These days, to make your mark as an economist, it helps to be arguing (or, better yet, proving) that the free market caricature of Economics 101 is wrong. The problem is the way it is taught to first-year students, which pretty much assumes that Joseph Stiglitz, Daniel Kahnemann, Elinor Ostrom, and many others had never existed.