Friday, 09 December 2016 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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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.

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.

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed a comment with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent federal agency, urging the CFPB to add language related to protecting the finances of released prisoners to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid debit cards. Sixty-eight criminal justice reform groups, civil rights organizations and public interest law clinics joined in the comment.

The comment requests that the CFPB exercise its authority under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) to add language to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid accounts under EFTA and the Truth in Lending Act.

The bipartisan "Doc Fix" legislation (H.R. 1470, now H.R. 2) and proposed amendments will undermine traditional Medicare and advance the goal of privatization, according to Dr. Don McCanne in a series of posts to his popular health policy blog, the Quote of the Day. If enacted as it presently reads, it will:

1. Limit choice of physician in traditional Medicare. Physicians in traditional Medicare would be subject to onerous new documentation requirements for payment and financial incentives to avoid complex patients under the proposed "Merit-based Incentive Payment System." 

Imagine if an American presidential candidate made a plea to his supporters on election day with the following statement: "The Republican administration is in danger. Black voters are going en masse to the polls. Liberal NGOs are bringing them on buses."

Even in a country where Chris Matthews is a media celebrity and Pamela Geller is an intellectual, the statement would be scandalous, a political death wish even. In Israel, however, the opposite is true.

All eyes are on Colorado to gauge the impact of the country's first-ever state law to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older. Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1, 2014, the state has benefitted from a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales, and an increase in jobs, while Denver has experienced a decrease in crime rates.

Now, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance brings another jolt of good news by providing comprehensive data on marijuana arrests in Colorado before and after the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012.

Mar 26

Who Stands Behind?

By Elle Kurancid, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Cairo - To introduce the photograph above (unpublished until now), I was tempted to reiterate the scenes of "A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross," an execution video released on February 15, 2015, by militants who pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group (IS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

The five-minute video marches on with the decapitations of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Chadian man purportedly on a Libyan beach. Like me, perhaps you recall the bloody ideology gripping 42 men on camera: half of them wearing Gitmo-inspired orange jumpsuits, their lips moving in prayer with hands bound while kneeling in the sand, each of them paired with an IS executioner standing close behind.

Mar 25

There Is No Palestinian Problem...Yet

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

For all of the energy, emotion, for all of the massacres that have occurred over the past several decades in the Holy Land, for all of the advocacy of one-state or two-state solutions, there has never quite been an acknowledgement that there has yet really to be a problem.

Yes, you've heard me correctly.  What is the problem?

Indigenous organizations and thousands of people from around the world have called on delegates attending a major conference on the illegal wildlife trade to recognize tribal peoples' right to hunt for their survival.

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights, indigenous organizations from Brazil, Cameroon, Kenya and many other countries, and over 80 experts on hunter-gatherers, have urged delegates attending an intergovernmental conference in Kasane, Botswana, on March 25, to recognize that tribal people should not be treated as criminals when they hunt to feedtheir families.

Join us for PEACE AND PLANET, a mobilization to build a nuclear-free, peaceful, just, and sustainable world!

April 24-26, New York City

Long Beach, California — Hazmat suit-wearing demonstrators with Californians Against Fracking will protest today outside a state-run "aquifer exemption" workshop in Long Beach aimed at helping oil companies get federal permission to dump oil waste into California's underground water. The protest starts at noon at the Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport, 2640 N. Lakewood Blvd., Long Beach.

"Instead of this 'Toxic Dumping for Dummies' class, Gov. Jerry Brown's regulators should protect our water from oil waste," said Ash Lauth of Californians Against Fracking. "During this devastating drought, oilcompanies shouldn't be allowed to use our aquifers as trash dumps for fracking flowback and other dangerous fluids."

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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.

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.

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed a comment with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent federal agency, urging the CFPB to add language related to protecting the finances of released prisoners to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid debit cards. Sixty-eight criminal justice reform groups, civil rights organizations and public interest law clinics joined in the comment.

The comment requests that the CFPB exercise its authority under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) to add language to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid accounts under EFTA and the Truth in Lending Act.

The bipartisan "Doc Fix" legislation (H.R. 1470, now H.R. 2) and proposed amendments will undermine traditional Medicare and advance the goal of privatization, according to Dr. Don McCanne in a series of posts to his popular health policy blog, the Quote of the Day. If enacted as it presently reads, it will:

1. Limit choice of physician in traditional Medicare. Physicians in traditional Medicare would be subject to onerous new documentation requirements for payment and financial incentives to avoid complex patients under the proposed "Merit-based Incentive Payment System." 

Imagine if an American presidential candidate made a plea to his supporters on election day with the following statement: "The Republican administration is in danger. Black voters are going en masse to the polls. Liberal NGOs are bringing them on buses."

Even in a country where Chris Matthews is a media celebrity and Pamela Geller is an intellectual, the statement would be scandalous, a political death wish even. In Israel, however, the opposite is true.

All eyes are on Colorado to gauge the impact of the country's first-ever state law to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older. Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1, 2014, the state has benefitted from a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales, and an increase in jobs, while Denver has experienced a decrease in crime rates.

Now, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance brings another jolt of good news by providing comprehensive data on marijuana arrests in Colorado before and after the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012.

Mar 26

Who Stands Behind?

By Elle Kurancid, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Cairo - To introduce the photograph above (unpublished until now), I was tempted to reiterate the scenes of "A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross," an execution video released on February 15, 2015, by militants who pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group (IS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

The five-minute video marches on with the decapitations of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Chadian man purportedly on a Libyan beach. Like me, perhaps you recall the bloody ideology gripping 42 men on camera: half of them wearing Gitmo-inspired orange jumpsuits, their lips moving in prayer with hands bound while kneeling in the sand, each of them paired with an IS executioner standing close behind.

Mar 25

There Is No Palestinian Problem...Yet

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

For all of the energy, emotion, for all of the massacres that have occurred over the past several decades in the Holy Land, for all of the advocacy of one-state or two-state solutions, there has never quite been an acknowledgement that there has yet really to be a problem.

Yes, you've heard me correctly.  What is the problem?

Indigenous organizations and thousands of people from around the world have called on delegates attending a major conference on the illegal wildlife trade to recognize tribal peoples' right to hunt for their survival.

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights, indigenous organizations from Brazil, Cameroon, Kenya and many other countries, and over 80 experts on hunter-gatherers, have urged delegates attending an intergovernmental conference in Kasane, Botswana, on March 25, to recognize that tribal people should not be treated as criminals when they hunt to feedtheir families.

Join us for PEACE AND PLANET, a mobilization to build a nuclear-free, peaceful, just, and sustainable world!

April 24-26, New York City

Long Beach, California — Hazmat suit-wearing demonstrators with Californians Against Fracking will protest today outside a state-run "aquifer exemption" workshop in Long Beach aimed at helping oil companies get federal permission to dump oil waste into California's underground water. The protest starts at noon at the Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport, 2640 N. Lakewood Blvd., Long Beach.

"Instead of this 'Toxic Dumping for Dummies' class, Gov. Jerry Brown's regulators should protect our water from oil waste," said Ash Lauth of Californians Against Fracking. "During this devastating drought, oilcompanies shouldn't be allowed to use our aquifers as trash dumps for fracking flowback and other dangerous fluids."