Wednesday, 27 July 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.

I recently had a vivid encounter with neocolonialism when I visited my parents' homeland Kenya. A friend who'd recently returned to the country from the diaspora had organized a group of fellow young physician colleagues for anice lunch. We were all separately eager to meet up, and I looked up a trusty international travel site that rates lodging and restaurants, which I have used time and again for innumerable international trips. Atop the list on this site was a restaurant, located in a reclusive, well-to-do neighborhood in Nairobi.

Over the past few years, the debate over the state of K-12 public education has intensified. Some have made the claim that public education is in a state of crisis for reasons such as crumbling school buildings, uneven quality and availability of teaching staff and rising poverty rates among students and disengaged parents. In response, policymakers have championed new policy ideas in search of a path forward to "fix" public education.  

Apr 05

A West Coast Battle Over Big Money in Politics

By Steve Early, Speakout | Film Review

Richmond, California's next municipal voting is less than seven months away. But memories of our last election -- one of the most expensive in local history– remain fresh in the minds of many participants. For Richmond residents whose recollections are fading, we now have a fascinating 90-minute video history of that campaign. Entitled Nat Bates for Mayor, it provides a timely reminder of the stakes involved in a key Left Coast battle against big money in politics that resonated nationally.

This spring, French authorities (supported and funded by the UK government to the current balance of £62 million)  have been demolishing the "Jungle," an area saturated with landfill-derived toxins on the edge of Calais. Formerly a landfill site, 4 km² it is now populated by approximately 5,000 refugees who have been pushed there over the past year. A remarkable community of 15 nationalities adhering to various faiths comprises the Jungle.

Obama finds himself in no-man's land, tossed haplessly by the endless contradictions and way-winds of the imperial US and his blood brothers, institutional racism and capitalism. How does his recent trip to Cuba inform us about the importance of remembering our past, lest human rights misadventures revisit in spanking new forms?

Adam Smith is often claimed by conservative Republicans that reflexively support business interests with top-level Democrats not far behind. Advocacy organizations and right-wing think tanks that often promote the name of Smith strive to advance policies that contradict the sentiment found in his writings.

I'm tied up with many other things, but since folks asked, I will give a quick comment/explanation of the Vox analysis of Bernie Sanders' tax plans. For those who haven't seen it, Vox put together a calculator that allows people to plug in their income and then see how their tax bill would change under the tax plans proposed by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. For the first two, most people get tax cuts. There is little change with Clinton, but big tax increases with Sanders.

The Wolferts sisters, Danielle and Sydney (ages 15 and 16), ran away during visitation with their mother on July 17, 2014, after reporting abuse by their father and then remained in hiding until found with their mother on January 3, 2016. They have been held without charges in a Utah juvenile detention center, known as Slate Canyon, for more than three months, during which Child Protective Services substantiated their allegations of father Brian Wolferts' emotional abuse, but failed to substantiate allegations of physical abuse due to insufficient evidence.

Where would we be without plausible deniability? A gift from the Reagan presidency that keeps on giving, that phrase lowered the bar for truthfulness and accountability. The concept gained currency after Ronald Reagan used it to absolve himself of involvement for the Iran-Contra scandal. The verbal arsonist Donald Trump has done away with the plausible part, and even the deniability part as well, reserving the act of denial only when he has been accused of inciting riots.

His critics have called him anything from a performance artist, an executioner to America's insult comic-in-chief. Designed to derail his presidential campaign, comments such as these have only emboldened Donald Trump's increasingly certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination. The truth is that Trump is a performance artist. He is an executioner. And for the most part, he does treat the campaign trail as a stage for his foul-mouthed comedic routine. 

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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.

I recently had a vivid encounter with neocolonialism when I visited my parents' homeland Kenya. A friend who'd recently returned to the country from the diaspora had organized a group of fellow young physician colleagues for anice lunch. We were all separately eager to meet up, and I looked up a trusty international travel site that rates lodging and restaurants, which I have used time and again for innumerable international trips. Atop the list on this site was a restaurant, located in a reclusive, well-to-do neighborhood in Nairobi.

Over the past few years, the debate over the state of K-12 public education has intensified. Some have made the claim that public education is in a state of crisis for reasons such as crumbling school buildings, uneven quality and availability of teaching staff and rising poverty rates among students and disengaged parents. In response, policymakers have championed new policy ideas in search of a path forward to "fix" public education.  

Apr 05

A West Coast Battle Over Big Money in Politics

By Steve Early, Speakout | Film Review

Richmond, California's next municipal voting is less than seven months away. But memories of our last election -- one of the most expensive in local history– remain fresh in the minds of many participants. For Richmond residents whose recollections are fading, we now have a fascinating 90-minute video history of that campaign. Entitled Nat Bates for Mayor, it provides a timely reminder of the stakes involved in a key Left Coast battle against big money in politics that resonated nationally.

This spring, French authorities (supported and funded by the UK government to the current balance of £62 million)  have been demolishing the "Jungle," an area saturated with landfill-derived toxins on the edge of Calais. Formerly a landfill site, 4 km² it is now populated by approximately 5,000 refugees who have been pushed there over the past year. A remarkable community of 15 nationalities adhering to various faiths comprises the Jungle.

Obama finds himself in no-man's land, tossed haplessly by the endless contradictions and way-winds of the imperial US and his blood brothers, institutional racism and capitalism. How does his recent trip to Cuba inform us about the importance of remembering our past, lest human rights misadventures revisit in spanking new forms?

Adam Smith is often claimed by conservative Republicans that reflexively support business interests with top-level Democrats not far behind. Advocacy organizations and right-wing think tanks that often promote the name of Smith strive to advance policies that contradict the sentiment found in his writings.

I'm tied up with many other things, but since folks asked, I will give a quick comment/explanation of the Vox analysis of Bernie Sanders' tax plans. For those who haven't seen it, Vox put together a calculator that allows people to plug in their income and then see how their tax bill would change under the tax plans proposed by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. For the first two, most people get tax cuts. There is little change with Clinton, but big tax increases with Sanders.

The Wolferts sisters, Danielle and Sydney (ages 15 and 16), ran away during visitation with their mother on July 17, 2014, after reporting abuse by their father and then remained in hiding until found with their mother on January 3, 2016. They have been held without charges in a Utah juvenile detention center, known as Slate Canyon, for more than three months, during which Child Protective Services substantiated their allegations of father Brian Wolferts' emotional abuse, but failed to substantiate allegations of physical abuse due to insufficient evidence.

Where would we be without plausible deniability? A gift from the Reagan presidency that keeps on giving, that phrase lowered the bar for truthfulness and accountability. The concept gained currency after Ronald Reagan used it to absolve himself of involvement for the Iran-Contra scandal. The verbal arsonist Donald Trump has done away with the plausible part, and even the deniability part as well, reserving the act of denial only when he has been accused of inciting riots.

His critics have called him anything from a performance artist, an executioner to America's insult comic-in-chief. Designed to derail his presidential campaign, comments such as these have only emboldened Donald Trump's increasingly certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination. The truth is that Trump is a performance artist. He is an executioner. And for the most part, he does treat the campaign trail as a stage for his foul-mouthed comedic routine.