Friday, 28 August 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.

November 2, 2014 was the first annual International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

To mark the date, the President just issued this statement.

History shows that a free press remains a critical foundation for prosperous, open, and secure societies, allowing citizens to access information and hold their governments accountable. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the fundamental principle that every person has the right “to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Each and every day, brave journalists make extraordinary risks to bring us stories we otherwise would not hear – exposing corruption, asking tough questions, or bearing witness to the dignity of innocent men, women and children suffering the horrors of war. In this service to humanity, hundreds of journalists have been killed in the past decade alone, while countless more have been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, and tortured. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, the perpetrators of these crimes against journalists go unpunished.

To possess a right to a promised deferred compensation, such as a pension, is to assert a legitimate claim with all state legislators to protect that right. There are no rights without obligations. They are mutually dependent. Fulfilling a contract is a legal and moral obligation justified by trust among elected officials and their constituents. 

According to philosopher David Hume, the idea of keeping a promise depends upon creating rules of justice; that rules of contracts, for instance, have to be considered morally desirable as well. In other words, a "contract" or promise between the state and its public employees must be viewed as a moral commitment and requirement of justice. Justice demands we keep our "covenants" with one another. In regard to public pensions, keeping an agreement means a concern to promote the well-being of public employees and the need to secure their rights. 

Nov 05

An Open Letter to My Fellow Americans

By Musa al-Gharbi, SpeakOut | Open Letter

Many people were rightfully outraged by the caricature of my recent Truthout article, as presented first in The Washington Free Beacon, and then in Fox News. Both of these interpretations selected the most provocative lines from the column and presented them out of context, spliced with inaccurate summaries of my position—for instance, claiming that I view most US soldiers as “anti-Muslim rapists.” If I actually believed or argued what these pundits were claiming, people would have every right to be up-in-arms. But these allegations are utterly false. Please allow me to set the record straight by highlighting the inaccuracies of this coverage and clarifying what I actually argued in the column:

Florida's voters must choose between two candidates who were once members of the same party, which complicates their records. Read the other state-by-state analyses in this series here.

Florida's gubernatorial race is one of the highest-profile elections in the country this year, with incumbent Rick Scott (R) running against former Florida governor – and former Republican – Charlie Crist (D). The race has been incredibly close, with most recent projections showing Scott just a single point ahead of Crist. Women voters could certainly turn the tide for either candidate. Women make up approximately 50 percent of Florida's population and their needs and concerns – and consequently their vote – play an integral role in determining not only the upcoming gubernatorial election, but also the well-being and prosperity of Florida's overall population. But the question remains: where do women in Florida truly stand, and what does the future of women's rights look like for the state?

New York, NY - Tomorrow's midterm elections have seen new highs in nonparty outside spending (by groups other than the parties or candidates) and dark money, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law of the 11 "toss-up" 2014 Senate races. Some of the takeaways:

  • The $328 million of non-party outside money spent in these 11 races surpasses the total $259 million of such spending in all 33 2012 Senate races combined.
  • Three races, in North Carolina ($78 million), Colorado ($64 million), and Iowa ($56 million), have already broken the all-time record for most outside spending in a Senate race ($52 million).
  • 58 percent of nonparty outside spending, nearly $200 million, was "dark money," spent by groups that don't report the identities of some or all of their donors. Pro-Republican nonparty outside spending is far more likely (76 percent) to come from dark money groups than pro-Democrat spending (35 percent).
  • Expenditures have increased drastically as Election Day approaches, with almost half of outside expenditures ($207 million) made since the beginning of October. Since the data sample ends on October 29, there may be significantly more spending between then and Election Day on November 4.

LA, SF, NYC, Houston, Sacramento - Citizen activists from across the country are entering the final days of their water-only fast after weeks of deprivation in a bid to elevate the issue of money-in-politics corruption during this year's midterm election. Those fasting have urged voters to exclusively support candidates who support pro-democracy reforms that would overturn the Supreme Court's recent Citizen United and McCutcheon decisions by signing their Democracy Voter Pledge.

"We're fasting to call to action all those who believe, as we do, in a 'one person, one vote' democracy, where the voices of everyday Americans count for more than the dollars of billionaires and corporations." said 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirk, who will have gone 18 days without food on election day. "We have a sacred duty to exercise our right to vote, and a strategic imperative to do so in a way that will advance our struggle to end the domination of big money over American politics."

Nov 03

Climbing Beyond Cartels

By Staff, Escalando Fronteras | Press Release

Monterrey, Mexico –Escalando Fronteras | Climbing Borders, an international development cooperative that uses rock-climbing to prevent at-risk youth from getting involved in gangs and organized crime as child soldiers in Mexico, is set to scale up its project and solidify the place of extreme adventure sports as a youth development tool in violent and conflict prone areas around the world. Encouraged by the positive results of its pilot project, which worked with 50 kids (both boys and girls between the ages of 6-18) from one of the poorest and most marginalized neighborhoods of Monterrey, Lomas Modelo, the cooperative is set to launch an Indiegogo campaign on the 17th of November which aims will allow the organization to reach 1000 at-risk youth in Monterrey by the end of 2015.

Dr. Nadia Vazquéz (from Mexico) (specialist in child soldiers at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), Rory Smith (from the U.S.) (MA in International Development and Management), and Nicklas Karlsson (from Sweden) (MA in Social Anthropology), all avid climbers, with experience working in youth development in Monterrey, and armed with substantial evidence supporting the positive effects of climbing and the outdoors on both the mind and body saw the potential for climbing in development. They set out in the beginning of 2014 to test the effectiveness of climbing as a development tool in areas characterized by violence and conflict.

Nov 03

Peace Leadership

By David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation | Press Release

We live in a time of war and in a world that sacrifices its children at the altar of violence.

President Eisenhower warned against the “military-industrial complex.”  He might well have added, “military-industrial-academic-congressional complex.”  All are implicated in the obscene sums spent on war and its preparation.

An elderly Briton was framed for a murder for which he has spent 28 years in a Miami prison, according to new evidence detailed last night in an investigative BBC report.

Krishna ‘Kris’ Maharaj, now 75 years old, was handed a death sentence in 1987 in Miami after a seriously flawed trial for the murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young. Since then, evidence collected by Mr Maharaj’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith of the international human rights organisation Reprieve, has shown that Mr. Maharaj was far from the crime scene, and that the Moo Youngs were killed by members of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. Mr. Maharaj could finally be proven innocent after a full ‘evidentiary hearing’ takes place at the Miami District court on November 10th.

Weakening radiation standards, a cap on accident liability, reactor propaganda vs improvements, old units running past expiration dates, revving the engines beyond design specs …. You’d think we were itching for a meltdown.

The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended increased radiation exposure limits following major releases. It would save the industry a bundle to permit large human exposures, rather than shut down rickety reactors.

GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES
Optional Member Code

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


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.

November 2, 2014 was the first annual International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

To mark the date, the President just issued this statement.

History shows that a free press remains a critical foundation for prosperous, open, and secure societies, allowing citizens to access information and hold their governments accountable. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the fundamental principle that every person has the right “to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Each and every day, brave journalists make extraordinary risks to bring us stories we otherwise would not hear – exposing corruption, asking tough questions, or bearing witness to the dignity of innocent men, women and children suffering the horrors of war. In this service to humanity, hundreds of journalists have been killed in the past decade alone, while countless more have been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, and tortured. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, the perpetrators of these crimes against journalists go unpunished.

To possess a right to a promised deferred compensation, such as a pension, is to assert a legitimate claim with all state legislators to protect that right. There are no rights without obligations. They are mutually dependent. Fulfilling a contract is a legal and moral obligation justified by trust among elected officials and their constituents. 

According to philosopher David Hume, the idea of keeping a promise depends upon creating rules of justice; that rules of contracts, for instance, have to be considered morally desirable as well. In other words, a "contract" or promise between the state and its public employees must be viewed as a moral commitment and requirement of justice. Justice demands we keep our "covenants" with one another. In regard to public pensions, keeping an agreement means a concern to promote the well-being of public employees and the need to secure their rights. 

Nov 05

An Open Letter to My Fellow Americans

By Musa al-Gharbi, SpeakOut | Open Letter

Many people were rightfully outraged by the caricature of my recent Truthout article, as presented first in The Washington Free Beacon, and then in Fox News. Both of these interpretations selected the most provocative lines from the column and presented them out of context, spliced with inaccurate summaries of my position—for instance, claiming that I view most US soldiers as “anti-Muslim rapists.” If I actually believed or argued what these pundits were claiming, people would have every right to be up-in-arms. But these allegations are utterly false. Please allow me to set the record straight by highlighting the inaccuracies of this coverage and clarifying what I actually argued in the column:

Florida's voters must choose between two candidates who were once members of the same party, which complicates their records. Read the other state-by-state analyses in this series here.

Florida's gubernatorial race is one of the highest-profile elections in the country this year, with incumbent Rick Scott (R) running against former Florida governor – and former Republican – Charlie Crist (D). The race has been incredibly close, with most recent projections showing Scott just a single point ahead of Crist. Women voters could certainly turn the tide for either candidate. Women make up approximately 50 percent of Florida's population and their needs and concerns – and consequently their vote – play an integral role in determining not only the upcoming gubernatorial election, but also the well-being and prosperity of Florida's overall population. But the question remains: where do women in Florida truly stand, and what does the future of women's rights look like for the state?

New York, NY - Tomorrow's midterm elections have seen new highs in nonparty outside spending (by groups other than the parties or candidates) and dark money, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law of the 11 "toss-up" 2014 Senate races. Some of the takeaways:

  • The $328 million of non-party outside money spent in these 11 races surpasses the total $259 million of such spending in all 33 2012 Senate races combined.
  • Three races, in North Carolina ($78 million), Colorado ($64 million), and Iowa ($56 million), have already broken the all-time record for most outside spending in a Senate race ($52 million).
  • 58 percent of nonparty outside spending, nearly $200 million, was "dark money," spent by groups that don't report the identities of some or all of their donors. Pro-Republican nonparty outside spending is far more likely (76 percent) to come from dark money groups than pro-Democrat spending (35 percent).
  • Expenditures have increased drastically as Election Day approaches, with almost half of outside expenditures ($207 million) made since the beginning of October. Since the data sample ends on October 29, there may be significantly more spending between then and Election Day on November 4.

LA, SF, NYC, Houston, Sacramento - Citizen activists from across the country are entering the final days of their water-only fast after weeks of deprivation in a bid to elevate the issue of money-in-politics corruption during this year's midterm election. Those fasting have urged voters to exclusively support candidates who support pro-democracy reforms that would overturn the Supreme Court's recent Citizen United and McCutcheon decisions by signing their Democracy Voter Pledge.

"We're fasting to call to action all those who believe, as we do, in a 'one person, one vote' democracy, where the voices of everyday Americans count for more than the dollars of billionaires and corporations." said 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirk, who will have gone 18 days without food on election day. "We have a sacred duty to exercise our right to vote, and a strategic imperative to do so in a way that will advance our struggle to end the domination of big money over American politics."

Nov 03

Climbing Beyond Cartels

By Staff, Escalando Fronteras | Press Release

Monterrey, Mexico –Escalando Fronteras | Climbing Borders, an international development cooperative that uses rock-climbing to prevent at-risk youth from getting involved in gangs and organized crime as child soldiers in Mexico, is set to scale up its project and solidify the place of extreme adventure sports as a youth development tool in violent and conflict prone areas around the world. Encouraged by the positive results of its pilot project, which worked with 50 kids (both boys and girls between the ages of 6-18) from one of the poorest and most marginalized neighborhoods of Monterrey, Lomas Modelo, the cooperative is set to launch an Indiegogo campaign on the 17th of November which aims will allow the organization to reach 1000 at-risk youth in Monterrey by the end of 2015.

Dr. Nadia Vazquéz (from Mexico) (specialist in child soldiers at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), Rory Smith (from the U.S.) (MA in International Development and Management), and Nicklas Karlsson (from Sweden) (MA in Social Anthropology), all avid climbers, with experience working in youth development in Monterrey, and armed with substantial evidence supporting the positive effects of climbing and the outdoors on both the mind and body saw the potential for climbing in development. They set out in the beginning of 2014 to test the effectiveness of climbing as a development tool in areas characterized by violence and conflict.

Nov 03

Peace Leadership

By David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation | Press Release

We live in a time of war and in a world that sacrifices its children at the altar of violence.

President Eisenhower warned against the “military-industrial complex.”  He might well have added, “military-industrial-academic-congressional complex.”  All are implicated in the obscene sums spent on war and its preparation.

An elderly Briton was framed for a murder for which he has spent 28 years in a Miami prison, according to new evidence detailed last night in an investigative BBC report.

Krishna ‘Kris’ Maharaj, now 75 years old, was handed a death sentence in 1987 in Miami after a seriously flawed trial for the murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young. Since then, evidence collected by Mr Maharaj’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith of the international human rights organisation Reprieve, has shown that Mr. Maharaj was far from the crime scene, and that the Moo Youngs were killed by members of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. Mr. Maharaj could finally be proven innocent after a full ‘evidentiary hearing’ takes place at the Miami District court on November 10th.

Weakening radiation standards, a cap on accident liability, reactor propaganda vs improvements, old units running past expiration dates, revving the engines beyond design specs …. You’d think we were itching for a meltdown.

The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended increased radiation exposure limits following major releases. It would save the industry a bundle to permit large human exposures, rather than shut down rickety reactors.