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.
One would think that someone working more than 8 hours a day would be compensated fairly 127 years after the Haymarket Affair and one would think that packing workers into slums, dormitories or basements would have been settled 106 years after Upton Sinclair released The Jungle, but for many living in this country these experiences are still a reality. These realities are still prevalent because we live in a country that still allows the managerial aristocracy to exploit workers on a daily basis. These realities are still prevalent because the United States has some of the worst labor laws in the modern industrialized world. These realities are still prevalent because WE have stood on the sidelines while our unionized labor force has been shrunk to the lowest density since 1929 – the run up to Great Depression.
Chinese Cyber Attacks on US Targets Said to Mirror US Chamber of Commerce Cyber Plot Targeting Progressives Such as The BRAD BLOGBy Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog | Report
So what do the Chinese Government and the Rightwing mega-lobbying group calling itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have in common? Apparently, they are both interested in hacking into the computer networks of their perceived political opponents and appear to be using very similar techniques and tools to do so, as The Nation's Lee Fang reported on Monday.
A computer security expert cited by Fang notes "lots of overlap" between the recent documented Chinese military cyber hacks and tactics proposed for use by federal contractors working with the U.S. Chamber and their attorneys to discredit their enemies.
Most of the postmortem commentary on Hugo Chávez has focused on his domestic legacy in Venezuela, his wider regional legacy within Latin America, and what we might call his hemispheric legacy – his “special relationship” with the United States. And for good reason: these were the principal realms in which he operated during his 14 years as Venezuela’s president (1999-2013) and it is for his accomplishments in these domains that he will be remembered and the Chávez Era (it was, to be sure, an era) will be evaluated.
But there’s a less discussed dimension of the Chávez legacy that I’d like to examine briefly: his relations with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, a story whose significance became more salient with the onset of the momentous changes the region has been undergoing over the last few years – not merely since the “Arab Spring” or Arab revolts starting at the end of 2010 but going back to the upheaval in Iran in the summer of 2009.
New America Media editor Andrew Lam has made his name as a journalist, but in his newest book, his past as a Vietnamese refugee reverberates through short stories about characters who fled Vietnam and made new lives in the Bay Area. NAM reporter Anna Challet spoke with him about the collection, Birds of Paradise Lost (Red Hen Press, 2013), published this month.
Anna Challet: Birds of Paradise Lost is your first book of fiction – how did you come to publish a fiction collection after so many years of working as a journalist?
Andrew Lam: I've been writing short stories for twenty years now, on and off ever since I was in the creative writing program at San Francisco State University. Though I later found a career as a journalist and an essayist, fiction is my first love and I never left it, even though there was no easy way to make a living from it.
Venezuela's left-wing populist president Hugo Chávez died on Tuesday, March 5, after a two-year battle with cancer. If world leaders were judged by the sheer volume of corporate media vitriol and misinformation about their policies, Chávez would be in a class of his own.
Shortly after Chávez won his first election in 1998, the U.S. government deemed him a threat to U.S. interests--an image U.S. media eagerly played up. When a coup engineered by Venezuelan business and media elites removed Chávez from power, many leading U.S outlets praised the move (Extra!, 6/02). The New York Times (4/13/02), calling it a "resignation," declared that "Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator." The Chicago Tribune (4/14/02) cheered the removal of a leader who had been "praising Osama bin Laden"--an absurdly false charge.
The US media has been especially emetic recently in their coverage of the sequester. While cuts to human services, education, health care, and environmental protection are huge, most of the stories are all about how this will hurt the military, will threaten our national security, will ripple out into the civilian world, and woe woe woe. Really?
How is it, then, that John Kerry has just promised $60 million in starter funds plus more "non lethal" aid to the Free Syrian Army, the irregulars in Syria who are mirroring some of the worst of the Assad regime? The FSA has tortured, killed civilians, and shut down all current hope of a nonviolent solution to this civil war. John!
Conversation in Germany these days, when not about soccer, dealt often with beef which was part horsemeat, high-priced organic "bio" eggs which weren't all they claimed to be or, in thrilling, moving detail, the last weeks, days and hours of the one and only German Pope (since 1058 A.D.).
Also under often heated debate was the court decision that either member of a homosexual "life partnership" can legally adopt the child or children of the other member, as part of a family. This was one more step towards normalizing homosexual relationships and someday, it is hoped, legalizing regular marriages. Most political parties supported the decision, opposed were only the Christian Social Union, the further-right Bavarian branch of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, and some other Christian Democrats who also mourned the good old days with the old "Biblical" family formula. But they were a small minority in the Bundestag; how ideas have changed in ten or twenty years!
Hugo Chávez was the President of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013. To discuss the legacy of Chavez, I talk with Kevin Zeese, who states that "The death of Hugo Chávez is a great loss to the people of Venezuela who he lifted out of poverty and brought a deep participatory democracy. He was a leader who in unity with the people was able to free Venezuela from the grips of US Empire, brought dignity to poor and working class, and was central to a Latin American revolt against US domination."
"America is a racist country," Mychal Denzel Smith wrote earlier this month in an articleat the Nation. Smith called on whites to acknowledge racism's pervasiveness and eliminate it. I won't debate the accuracy of Smith's assessment of what America is, and I don't know whether or not he was using hyperbole to make his point. Either way, however, his demand that white people admit its truth as part of their pledge to fight racism only discourages some of them from doing what the article's title rightly demands, to "give up racism."
Smith reduces a complex topic to a yes-no question: is America racist? Sixty years ago racial discrimination was legal; most blacks were barred from voting and sending their children to integrated schools. Now, we have a black First Family. As Smith indicates, that does not mean racism has disappeared. But it does mean a simplistic approach to American racism is inadequate.