Sunday, 19 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.

An Indian woman from Earth's most threatened tribe is fighting for her life after being contacted in Brazil's north-eastern Amazon rainforest.

Jakarewyj, a member of the Awá tribe, has contracted flu and a severe respiratory disease after her group was "surrounded by loggers" and contacted in late December 2014. Since then, her health has deteriorated rapidly and she is now emaciated and desperately ill.

Dignitaries from three continents gathered in New York City recently to sharpen their strategies to confront some of the world's most powerful nations over a subject that sizeable numbers of citizens support in the nearly two-dozen nations those dignitaries represent: reparations for deprivations from slavery, colonialism and legal segregation.

Those dignitaries, that included ambassadors and legislators, along with luminary activists and legal experts, participated in the three-day International Reparations Summit convened by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, a research, policy and advocacy organization based in the United States.

Apr 15

Politics of Dissent and Neutrality

By Zulfiqar Shah, Truthout | Op-Ed

Neither dissent, nor the anti-dissent has changed their historical yin-yang process. This, an ever green social-dynamic is as old as the history of human consciousness itself is. It is only the difference of time (age, era and epoch) and circumstances (socio-political ecology) that has changed the nature of dissent and manifestation of anti-dissent mostly in the form of state-offense / oppression against the dissenting citizens and the people.

What can be the most simple meaning of the dissent? "NO!" The history of "No" in human heritage is richer and magnificent than the history of "Ay." In earlier eras, dissenters poked the eyes of rulers, superstitions, obsolete ideologies, the clergy and the traditional socio-political leadership. 

The Our America Initiative has just released a powerful video exposing the fraud of the privately-owned Commission on Presidential Debates, the organization that unjustly took over hosting the main presidential debates after the League of Women Voters permanently dropped their support. The video chronicles one of the greatest social movements of our time, that is rallying alternative parties and independents throughout the nation towards a common goal. Lack of representation or adequate choice during presidential elections is no coincidence. It is the product of tyranny and corruption at the highest levels of our government, that has unjustly stripped the prestige and integrity from the electoral process.

"Justice is served in this case but must be assured globally," the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries has said today, reiterating its call for global regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCs). "The outsourcing of security to these firms by States creates risks for humanrights, hence the need to regulate their activities," they said. 

The expert body'call comes after a federal judge in Washington sentenced a former Blackwater Worldwide security guard to life in prison, and three others to 30 years terms for the killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007, in Baghdad's crowded Nissour Square. A further 17 Iraqi civilians were injured as the privatesecurity contractors opened fire.

Today the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) announced plans to revise parts of the NYC Summons process. The announcement comes after advocates voiced key questions and concerns about Mayor de Blasio's announcement last November that individuals would receive summonses instead of being arrested for low level marijuana possession in public view. Advocates expressed concerns about the overburdened and complex summons court system, biased police practices, collateral consequences of summonses, and lack of data transparency. The plan announced today includes a new NYPD summons form, website, and automated call-in system to help New Yorkers more easily navigate the NYC Summons court system.

In an October 2014 report, Race, Class & Marijuana Arrests in Mayor De Blasio's Two New Yorks: The NYPD Marijuana Arrests Crusade Continues in 2014, the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance noted the de Blasioadministration was on track to meet or surpass the Bloomberg 2013 marijuana arrests. Following the report's release, the deBlasio administration announced that New Yorkers found with small amounts of marijuana would be issued a court summonsand immediately released. This marked a shift from past arrest practices, wherein police charged people with a misdemeanor – the person was then handcuffed, taken to the precinct and held for hours, fingerprinted and photographed, and eventually released with a court date and a virtually permanent arrest record.

We Say the Land is Not Yours: Breaking the Silence Against Forced Displacement in Ethiopia, a landmark report from the Oakland Institute documents testimony from members of several ethnic groups from different areas of the country, bringing forward the voices of those most directly impacted by land grabs and villagization. The Ethiopian government's villagization program aims to resettle up to 1.5 million Ethiopians, mainly pastoralist and indigenous communities, from areas targeted for industrial plantations. These resettlements have happened without free, prior and informed consent, and when communities resist, they have been forcibly removed by means of violence, imprisonment, intimidation, political coercion, and the denial of humanitarian assistance.

Apr 15

By the Shores of Kitchi-Gami

By Leslie Thatcher, Truthout | Press Release

The two follow-up volumes to Vidar Sundstøl's Riverton Prize-winning The Land of Dreams have now been released.The haunting rugged country of Minnesota's Arrowhead region remains almost solid and the driving force and sole boundary in these final volumes of The Minnesota Trilogy where dreams and actual events, loyalty and enmity, the past and the present, the hunted and the hunter, the personal and the political, love and hate, family and foe meld and conjoin like the strands of a multi-dimensional Möbius strip.

When US Forest Service Ranger Lance Hansen finally solves the mystery of the Norwegian tourist's murder that sets these coils in motion, other mysteries of identity and allegiance resolve themselves in a most satisfying way. Sundstøl teamed with Nunnally brilliantly succeed in creating atmosphere, empathy and concern for the characters and deep suspense.

The Uruguayan writer and journalist, author of emblematic books such as Open Veins of Latin AmericaMemory of Fire and The Book of Embraces, died at 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Eduardo Germán Hughes Galeano was born in Montevideo on September 3, 1940, the son of EduardoHughes Roosen and Licia Ester Galeano Muñoz, whose last name he took as a writer and journalist. When he was a teenager, he began publishing cartoons in El Sol (The Sun), a socialist newspaper in Uruguay, under the pseudonym "Gius." He also worked as a laborer in an insecticide factory and signboard painter, among other jobs, despite coming from an upper-class family.

Annapolis, Maryland – The General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a bill to restore voting rights to approximately 40,000 Maryland citizens who live in their communities but cannot vote because of a criminal conviction in their past. The bill, which has a broad coalition of support, now heads to Gov. Hogan for his signature.

Current Maryland law prohibits individuals from voting until they have finished probation and parole. SB 340/HB980, introduced by Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore) and Del. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore), simplifies the process by allowing an individual to become eligible to vote upon release from prison or if they are no longer incarcerated.

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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.

An Indian woman from Earth's most threatened tribe is fighting for her life after being contacted in Brazil's north-eastern Amazon rainforest.

Jakarewyj, a member of the Awá tribe, has contracted flu and a severe respiratory disease after her group was "surrounded by loggers" and contacted in late December 2014. Since then, her health has deteriorated rapidly and she is now emaciated and desperately ill.

Dignitaries from three continents gathered in New York City recently to sharpen their strategies to confront some of the world's most powerful nations over a subject that sizeable numbers of citizens support in the nearly two-dozen nations those dignitaries represent: reparations for deprivations from slavery, colonialism and legal segregation.

Those dignitaries, that included ambassadors and legislators, along with luminary activists and legal experts, participated in the three-day International Reparations Summit convened by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, a research, policy and advocacy organization based in the United States.

Apr 15

Politics of Dissent and Neutrality

By Zulfiqar Shah, Truthout | Op-Ed

Neither dissent, nor the anti-dissent has changed their historical yin-yang process. This, an ever green social-dynamic is as old as the history of human consciousness itself is. It is only the difference of time (age, era and epoch) and circumstances (socio-political ecology) that has changed the nature of dissent and manifestation of anti-dissent mostly in the form of state-offense / oppression against the dissenting citizens and the people.

What can be the most simple meaning of the dissent? "NO!" The history of "No" in human heritage is richer and magnificent than the history of "Ay." In earlier eras, dissenters poked the eyes of rulers, superstitions, obsolete ideologies, the clergy and the traditional socio-political leadership. 

The Our America Initiative has just released a powerful video exposing the fraud of the privately-owned Commission on Presidential Debates, the organization that unjustly took over hosting the main presidential debates after the League of Women Voters permanently dropped their support. The video chronicles one of the greatest social movements of our time, that is rallying alternative parties and independents throughout the nation towards a common goal. Lack of representation or adequate choice during presidential elections is no coincidence. It is the product of tyranny and corruption at the highest levels of our government, that has unjustly stripped the prestige and integrity from the electoral process.

"Justice is served in this case but must be assured globally," the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries has said today, reiterating its call for global regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCs). "The outsourcing of security to these firms by States creates risks for humanrights, hence the need to regulate their activities," they said. 

The expert body'call comes after a federal judge in Washington sentenced a former Blackwater Worldwide security guard to life in prison, and three others to 30 years terms for the killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007, in Baghdad's crowded Nissour Square. A further 17 Iraqi civilians were injured as the privatesecurity contractors opened fire.

Today the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) announced plans to revise parts of the NYC Summons process. The announcement comes after advocates voiced key questions and concerns about Mayor de Blasio's announcement last November that individuals would receive summonses instead of being arrested for low level marijuana possession in public view. Advocates expressed concerns about the overburdened and complex summons court system, biased police practices, collateral consequences of summonses, and lack of data transparency. The plan announced today includes a new NYPD summons form, website, and automated call-in system to help New Yorkers more easily navigate the NYC Summons court system.

In an October 2014 report, Race, Class & Marijuana Arrests in Mayor De Blasio's Two New Yorks: The NYPD Marijuana Arrests Crusade Continues in 2014, the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance noted the de Blasioadministration was on track to meet or surpass the Bloomberg 2013 marijuana arrests. Following the report's release, the deBlasio administration announced that New Yorkers found with small amounts of marijuana would be issued a court summonsand immediately released. This marked a shift from past arrest practices, wherein police charged people with a misdemeanor – the person was then handcuffed, taken to the precinct and held for hours, fingerprinted and photographed, and eventually released with a court date and a virtually permanent arrest record.

We Say the Land is Not Yours: Breaking the Silence Against Forced Displacement in Ethiopia, a landmark report from the Oakland Institute documents testimony from members of several ethnic groups from different areas of the country, bringing forward the voices of those most directly impacted by land grabs and villagization. The Ethiopian government's villagization program aims to resettle up to 1.5 million Ethiopians, mainly pastoralist and indigenous communities, from areas targeted for industrial plantations. These resettlements have happened without free, prior and informed consent, and when communities resist, they have been forcibly removed by means of violence, imprisonment, intimidation, political coercion, and the denial of humanitarian assistance.

Apr 15

By the Shores of Kitchi-Gami

By Leslie Thatcher, Truthout | Press Release

The two follow-up volumes to Vidar Sundstøl's Riverton Prize-winning The Land of Dreams have now been released.The haunting rugged country of Minnesota's Arrowhead region remains almost solid and the driving force and sole boundary in these final volumes of The Minnesota Trilogy where dreams and actual events, loyalty and enmity, the past and the present, the hunted and the hunter, the personal and the political, love and hate, family and foe meld and conjoin like the strands of a multi-dimensional Möbius strip.

When US Forest Service Ranger Lance Hansen finally solves the mystery of the Norwegian tourist's murder that sets these coils in motion, other mysteries of identity and allegiance resolve themselves in a most satisfying way. Sundstøl teamed with Nunnally brilliantly succeed in creating atmosphere, empathy and concern for the characters and deep suspense.

The Uruguayan writer and journalist, author of emblematic books such as Open Veins of Latin AmericaMemory of Fire and The Book of Embraces, died at 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Eduardo Germán Hughes Galeano was born in Montevideo on September 3, 1940, the son of EduardoHughes Roosen and Licia Ester Galeano Muñoz, whose last name he took as a writer and journalist. When he was a teenager, he began publishing cartoons in El Sol (The Sun), a socialist newspaper in Uruguay, under the pseudonym "Gius." He also worked as a laborer in an insecticide factory and signboard painter, among other jobs, despite coming from an upper-class family.

Annapolis, Maryland – The General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a bill to restore voting rights to approximately 40,000 Maryland citizens who live in their communities but cannot vote because of a criminal conviction in their past. The bill, which has a broad coalition of support, now heads to Gov. Hogan for his signature.

Current Maryland law prohibits individuals from voting until they have finished probation and parole. SB 340/HB980, introduced by Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore) and Del. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore), simplifies the process by allowing an individual to become eligible to vote upon release from prison or if they are no longer incarcerated.