Saturday, 01 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.

There is ONE topic above all others that basically cannot be addressed on your television sets. Even mentioning it goes antithetical to everything our media stands for. Once you see the truth about this one thing, it can change your entire world. And our media REALLY doesn't want that. 

More than 1,770 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, and the peak season of North African immigration to Europe has just begun. The horrors of April this year - first the drowning of 400 people off the coast of Libya, and then 900 more near the Italian island of Lampedusa - exposed the inhumanity of Fortress Europe. When austerity is mixed with a large scale demonization of The Other, it creates emotional barrier that is almost as strong as the physical one.

When these catastrophes occurred, the EU was spending a third as much money and less than a tenth of the manpower into rescue operations compared to 2014, according to The Economist. The professed reasons for this drastic decrease were not only economic in nature. Some within the UK government had argued that the rescue operations served as a "pull factor." According to this line of reasoning, when some of the immigrants survived, many others were inspired to take the same hazard-filled illegal journey. So the implicit solution was to simply let them drown, in the hope of turning the pull-factor into a deterrent. It didn't take too long for the results of this abhorrent logic to come in, and they are: 1) a death toll that is 30 times greater compared to 2014 and 2) no decline in the number of people coming into Europe.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) just submitted a request for rule-making regarding several standards to the Board of Corrections (BOC), including minimum standards for visiting.

A collective letter from 17 New York advocacy groups, including the Osborne Association, urges the BOC to deny the request because the standards are too broad, sweeping, and subjective. They are very concerned about the effects of these restrictions on the children and families of incarcerated individuals, arguing that the restrictions are unfair and will have the opposite effect as desired, cutting incarcerated people off from their families will only increase violence.

Santa Barbara County is legally required to reject Exxon's dangerous new plan to use a massive fleet of oil trucks to transport a million gallons of crude a day though coastal communities, the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch warned today.

In a letter to county officials, the groups explained they'll likely take legal action if Exxon is allowed to use 192 oil truck trips a day to carry oil previously transported by the ruptured pipeline that caused the Santa Barbara oil spill. "These ultra-hazardous trucks do not belong in California's coastal environment — they are inherently dangerous, and carry significant risk of accidents, fiery explosions, injuries, deaths and environmental destruction," the letter states.

Jun 09

Youth Rising to Revolution

By Jose M., Truthout | Op-Ed

Some of the things I learned in class about race includes that race is taken seriously in this nation as long as it's about white people. This nation is ruled by powerful white men who repress the lower class, such as the Black and Brown communities. This white system fears the Black and Brown communities as shown today and in the past. For instance, in the past, the government tried getting rid of some groups like the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, and other groups. The government feared what these groups could have done, so they did everything in their power to neutralize the groups and make them look bad. Nowadays, with everything the police has been doing (i.e. taking away the lives of Black and Brown people), the two most feared black gangs in America have been making peace. The Bloods and the Crips have joined forces because they noticed they had a common enemy and they know the police are the ones who are supposedly there to "protect the people," but are killing innocent people and actually getting away with it. Not to mention that the [mainstream] news has not brought this topic up.

A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology overhis relatives'deaths.  

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed. 

Jun 09

Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Truthout | Op-Ed

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic socialism - democratic control of the economy - had substantial popularity in the United States.  At the time, the Socialist Party of America was a thriving, rapidly-growing political organization, much like its democratic socialistcounterparts abroad - the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and numerous other rising, working class-based political entities around the world.  In 1912, when the United States had a much smaller population than today, theSocialist Party had 118,000 dues-paying members and drew nearly a million votes for its candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the great labor leader, for President.  

"Transformational festival" is a phrase that's often used to describe festivals that intend to help you evolve and better yourself and the world around you.  California-based Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) certainly fits this description, but they take it another step further: the way they have chosen to manage potential drug use at their event has the power to transform the way all festivals address drug use and safety issues.

The guiding principle behind LiB's drug policy was the concept of harm reduction, acknowledging that despite efforts to maintain a drug-free event people will nonetheless use drugs – and that our primary concern should be keeping these people and others around them safe.

The mushrooming governance scandal in world soccer body FIFA increasingly spotlights political in addition to financial corruption in global soccer.

Revelations about government and corporate deals made to secure Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup alongside the prominence of political figures in sports governance, frequently aligned with autocratic regimes, emphasizes the need for a clean-up ofsoccer governance. Reforms will have to regulate the relationship between politics and sports and guard against political and corporate interference alongside the effort to eradicate related financial corruption and dismantle patronage.

With the 2016 race already under way, the voting wars continue in the states, but with a significant drop-off in new restrictions in 2015, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Since the 2010 election, however, 21 states have new laws making it harder to vote — and in 14 states, next year will be the first time these rules are in effect for a presidential election, which is marked by high turnout.

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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.

There is ONE topic above all others that basically cannot be addressed on your television sets. Even mentioning it goes antithetical to everything our media stands for. Once you see the truth about this one thing, it can change your entire world. And our media REALLY doesn't want that. 

More than 1,770 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, and the peak season of North African immigration to Europe has just begun. The horrors of April this year - first the drowning of 400 people off the coast of Libya, and then 900 more near the Italian island of Lampedusa - exposed the inhumanity of Fortress Europe. When austerity is mixed with a large scale demonization of The Other, it creates emotional barrier that is almost as strong as the physical one.

When these catastrophes occurred, the EU was spending a third as much money and less than a tenth of the manpower into rescue operations compared to 2014, according to The Economist. The professed reasons for this drastic decrease were not only economic in nature. Some within the UK government had argued that the rescue operations served as a "pull factor." According to this line of reasoning, when some of the immigrants survived, many others were inspired to take the same hazard-filled illegal journey. So the implicit solution was to simply let them drown, in the hope of turning the pull-factor into a deterrent. It didn't take too long for the results of this abhorrent logic to come in, and they are: 1) a death toll that is 30 times greater compared to 2014 and 2) no decline in the number of people coming into Europe.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) just submitted a request for rule-making regarding several standards to the Board of Corrections (BOC), including minimum standards for visiting.

A collective letter from 17 New York advocacy groups, including the Osborne Association, urges the BOC to deny the request because the standards are too broad, sweeping, and subjective. They are very concerned about the effects of these restrictions on the children and families of incarcerated individuals, arguing that the restrictions are unfair and will have the opposite effect as desired, cutting incarcerated people off from their families will only increase violence.

Santa Barbara County is legally required to reject Exxon's dangerous new plan to use a massive fleet of oil trucks to transport a million gallons of crude a day though coastal communities, the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch warned today.

In a letter to county officials, the groups explained they'll likely take legal action if Exxon is allowed to use 192 oil truck trips a day to carry oil previously transported by the ruptured pipeline that caused the Santa Barbara oil spill. "These ultra-hazardous trucks do not belong in California's coastal environment — they are inherently dangerous, and carry significant risk of accidents, fiery explosions, injuries, deaths and environmental destruction," the letter states.

Jun 09

Youth Rising to Revolution

By Jose M., Truthout | Op-Ed

Some of the things I learned in class about race includes that race is taken seriously in this nation as long as it's about white people. This nation is ruled by powerful white men who repress the lower class, such as the Black and Brown communities. This white system fears the Black and Brown communities as shown today and in the past. For instance, in the past, the government tried getting rid of some groups like the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, and other groups. The government feared what these groups could have done, so they did everything in their power to neutralize the groups and make them look bad. Nowadays, with everything the police has been doing (i.e. taking away the lives of Black and Brown people), the two most feared black gangs in America have been making peace. The Bloods and the Crips have joined forces because they noticed they had a common enemy and they know the police are the ones who are supposedly there to "protect the people," but are killing innocent people and actually getting away with it. Not to mention that the [mainstream] news has not brought this topic up.

A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology overhis relatives'deaths.  

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed. 

Jun 09

Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Truthout | Op-Ed

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic socialism - democratic control of the economy - had substantial popularity in the United States.  At the time, the Socialist Party of America was a thriving, rapidly-growing political organization, much like its democratic socialistcounterparts abroad - the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and numerous other rising, working class-based political entities around the world.  In 1912, when the United States had a much smaller population than today, theSocialist Party had 118,000 dues-paying members and drew nearly a million votes for its candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the great labor leader, for President.  

"Transformational festival" is a phrase that's often used to describe festivals that intend to help you evolve and better yourself and the world around you.  California-based Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) certainly fits this description, but they take it another step further: the way they have chosen to manage potential drug use at their event has the power to transform the way all festivals address drug use and safety issues.

The guiding principle behind LiB's drug policy was the concept of harm reduction, acknowledging that despite efforts to maintain a drug-free event people will nonetheless use drugs – and that our primary concern should be keeping these people and others around them safe.

The mushrooming governance scandal in world soccer body FIFA increasingly spotlights political in addition to financial corruption in global soccer.

Revelations about government and corporate deals made to secure Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup alongside the prominence of political figures in sports governance, frequently aligned with autocratic regimes, emphasizes the need for a clean-up ofsoccer governance. Reforms will have to regulate the relationship between politics and sports and guard against political and corporate interference alongside the effort to eradicate related financial corruption and dismantle patronage.

With the 2016 race already under way, the voting wars continue in the states, but with a significant drop-off in new restrictions in 2015, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Since the 2010 election, however, 21 states have new laws making it harder to vote — and in 14 states, next year will be the first time these rules are in effect for a presidential election, which is marked by high turnout.