Tuesday, 21 April 2015 / 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.

Apr 01

Coming to America?

By DH Garrett, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I wonder when we will arrive…

We've been here a few hundred years already (Native Americans aside) and yet very few of us have really set foot on this continent. Jackboots yes. Bare - caressing, vulnerable, sensitive, strong- bare feet, no. We are certainly "on" the continent: we've clear-cut it, mountain-top removed it, asphalted it, concreted it, bulldozed it, mined it, terra-formed it, damned it, sucked it dry, shit industrial shit on it, mono-cropped it, and murdered entire species and cultures; all to fill some primal need for our own creature comforts, at the expense of the comfort of all other creatures and that of most of our fellow human beings.

Mar 31

The Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel: Pointing the Way Forward

By Dr James J Zogby, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In 1971, I was in Beirut on a grant from my university to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation on the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Since the subjects of my study were the Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, I set about to visit Ein al Hilweh to interview families and document their stories.

Midway through my fieldwork, I had a discussion with the novelist Ghassan Kanafani, which resulted in a dramatic shift in my approach. Ghassan told me that I was looking in the wrong place. The stories I had collected were important and would be useful, but, he noted, in reaction to the trauma of dislocation and hardship of the camps, their consciousness had been frozen.

US, European and Iranian negotiators are working against a self-imposed Tuesday deadline to secure a "framework agreement" which will outline the parameters of a comprehensive agreement to be achieved by June on international limitation and supervision of Iran's nuclear program and the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.

On Sunday night at 9:15 pm ET, The New York Times sent me a scary email.

 Environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic "torches" and "pitchforks," formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on Friday March 20, effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. 

Members of the "Crunch Nestlé Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including "We got to fight for our right to water," "Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and "Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente!" 

Washington, DC – The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised the passage of legislation in the United Kingdom to crack down on the use of anonymous shell companies with the creation of a public registry of corporate ownership. The new law brings increased pressure on the United States to follow suit.

Anonymous companies have long been a prime vehicle to launder proceeds from corruption, crime, tax evasion, and other illicit activities. FACT Coalition member Global Witness recently reported on dozens of cases of U.S. anonymous shell companies being used to defraud Medicare, embezzle from public schools, hide the owners of expensive real estate and scam the elderly. Creating a pubic registry of beneficial ownership information, or the true human owners, as the legislation does, provides a useful and effective tool to combat these criminal activities.

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a newlow, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at the prison expected to face charges.

Although a total of 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, just ten of those still at the prison are currently undergoing prosecution or serving sentences handed down by quasi-judicial military commissions.  A further eight detainees have been convicted and released, although three of those have since been cleared on appeal.

This report provides a new understanding of the growing ways in which those inpoverty are disproportionately targeted, marginalized, and prosecuted.

Poor people, especially people of color, face a far greater risk of being fined, arrested, and even incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping in a park can all result in jail time. In this report, we seek to understand the multi-faceted, growing phenomenon of the "criminalization of poverty."

A tribal leader in one of India's tiger reserves is fearing for his safety after a wildlife official urged his community to beat him and drive him out for defending their right to remain on their land.

Telenga Hassa, a Munda man from Jamunagarh community inside what is now Similipal Tiger Reserve, has been leading his village's struggle against official moves to evict them in the name of tiger "conservation."

Mar 29

Take Me Out

By Rochelle Lefkowitz, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

You almost had to be on Mars last week to have missed San Francisco 49er rookie Chris Borland making football history. He did not make a breathtaking play. Instead, the talented, promising young inside linebacker quit the NFL at age 24.

Why did he do that? Chris Borland hadn't stopped loving football. It turns out he'd had two concussions before the NFL draft in college, then a third during practice. Instead of waiting until he fell victim, like too many pro-football players, to grave, irreversible brain damage, Borland announced his proactive retirement. Despite the thrill of the game, great pride in his team, the roar of the crowd and future millions, he'd concluded the risk was not worth the reward.

Last week, legislators in hub airport states of Illinois, Georgia and North Carolina all advanced proposals to end valuable handouts, loopholes and tax breaks worth over $93 million per year to United, Delta and American Airlines.

On Wednesday, March 18, a majority of the North Carolina Senate signed onto an economic incentive bill that would let American Airlines’ handout expire at the end of the year. The break is a cap on the amount of sales tax on jet fuel American pays, expected to be worth $15.5 million next year.

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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.

Apr 01

Coming to America?

By DH Garrett, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I wonder when we will arrive…

We've been here a few hundred years already (Native Americans aside) and yet very few of us have really set foot on this continent. Jackboots yes. Bare - caressing, vulnerable, sensitive, strong- bare feet, no. We are certainly "on" the continent: we've clear-cut it, mountain-top removed it, asphalted it, concreted it, bulldozed it, mined it, terra-formed it, damned it, sucked it dry, shit industrial shit on it, mono-cropped it, and murdered entire species and cultures; all to fill some primal need for our own creature comforts, at the expense of the comfort of all other creatures and that of most of our fellow human beings.

Mar 31

The Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel: Pointing the Way Forward

By Dr James J Zogby, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In 1971, I was in Beirut on a grant from my university to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation on the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Since the subjects of my study were the Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, I set about to visit Ein al Hilweh to interview families and document their stories.

Midway through my fieldwork, I had a discussion with the novelist Ghassan Kanafani, which resulted in a dramatic shift in my approach. Ghassan told me that I was looking in the wrong place. The stories I had collected were important and would be useful, but, he noted, in reaction to the trauma of dislocation and hardship of the camps, their consciousness had been frozen.

US, European and Iranian negotiators are working against a self-imposed Tuesday deadline to secure a "framework agreement" which will outline the parameters of a comprehensive agreement to be achieved by June on international limitation and supervision of Iran's nuclear program and the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.

On Sunday night at 9:15 pm ET, The New York Times sent me a scary email.

 Environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic "torches" and "pitchforks," formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on Friday March 20, effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. 

Members of the "Crunch Nestlé Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including "We got to fight for our right to water," "Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and "Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente!" 

Washington, DC – The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised the passage of legislation in the United Kingdom to crack down on the use of anonymous shell companies with the creation of a public registry of corporate ownership. The new law brings increased pressure on the United States to follow suit.

Anonymous companies have long been a prime vehicle to launder proceeds from corruption, crime, tax evasion, and other illicit activities. FACT Coalition member Global Witness recently reported on dozens of cases of U.S. anonymous shell companies being used to defraud Medicare, embezzle from public schools, hide the owners of expensive real estate and scam the elderly. Creating a pubic registry of beneficial ownership information, or the true human owners, as the legislation does, provides a useful and effective tool to combat these criminal activities.

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a newlow, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at the prison expected to face charges.

Although a total of 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, just ten of those still at the prison are currently undergoing prosecution or serving sentences handed down by quasi-judicial military commissions.  A further eight detainees have been convicted and released, although three of those have since been cleared on appeal.

This report provides a new understanding of the growing ways in which those inpoverty are disproportionately targeted, marginalized, and prosecuted.

Poor people, especially people of color, face a far greater risk of being fined, arrested, and even incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping in a park can all result in jail time. In this report, we seek to understand the multi-faceted, growing phenomenon of the "criminalization of poverty."

A tribal leader in one of India's tiger reserves is fearing for his safety after a wildlife official urged his community to beat him and drive him out for defending their right to remain on their land.

Telenga Hassa, a Munda man from Jamunagarh community inside what is now Similipal Tiger Reserve, has been leading his village's struggle against official moves to evict them in the name of tiger "conservation."

Mar 29

Take Me Out

By Rochelle Lefkowitz, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

You almost had to be on Mars last week to have missed San Francisco 49er rookie Chris Borland making football history. He did not make a breathtaking play. Instead, the talented, promising young inside linebacker quit the NFL at age 24.

Why did he do that? Chris Borland hadn't stopped loving football. It turns out he'd had two concussions before the NFL draft in college, then a third during practice. Instead of waiting until he fell victim, like too many pro-football players, to grave, irreversible brain damage, Borland announced his proactive retirement. Despite the thrill of the game, great pride in his team, the roar of the crowd and future millions, he'd concluded the risk was not worth the reward.

Last week, legislators in hub airport states of Illinois, Georgia and North Carolina all advanced proposals to end valuable handouts, loopholes and tax breaks worth over $93 million per year to United, Delta and American Airlines.

On Wednesday, March 18, a majority of the North Carolina Senate signed onto an economic incentive bill that would let American Airlines’ handout expire at the end of the year. The break is a cap on the amount of sales tax on jet fuel American pays, expected to be worth $15.5 million next year.