Sunday, 05 July 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.

This morning at 0430 Pakistan time (0030 UK time), Aftab Bahadur was executed in Lahore, after the Pakistani authorities refused to allow his lawyers to secure key evidencethat Mr Bahadur was innocent.

Mr Bahadur was just 15 years old when he was sentenced to death for murder, following a conviction which was overwhelmingly based on 'evidence' extracted under torture.

Today, in the final days of the Bonn Climate Change Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Corporate Accountability International delivered a resounding call to the parties of the UNFCCC on behalf of hundreds of other organizations and hundreds of thousands people:  protect the treaty and climate policymaking from the undue influence of the globe's biggest polluters.

The call comes as record droughts and rainfall as well as relentless heatwaves claim lives around the globe and some of the world's biggest polluters attempt to co-opt the treaty process and influence negotiating outcomes.

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.

The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.

Jun 10

Criminalizing Criticism: A Zionist Project

By Lawrence Davidson, Truthout | News Analysis

From the 1920s on into the 1990s, the Zionists controlled the storyline in the West on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This meant that their version of history was the only version as far as most of the people in the West were concerned. Consequentially, they had an uncontested media field to label the Palestinians and their supporters as "terrorists" - the charge of anti-Semitism was not yet widely used. Also, as a consequence of their monopoly, the Zionists did not bother to engage in public debate. 

Then, over the last twenty years the Zionists slowly lost their monopoly. In part this was due to the fact that in 1993 the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist and renounced terrorism, and in the following years many of the Arab states made or offered peace. However, the Israelis did not respond in kind. In particular they failed to respond in a fair and just way to U.S.-sponsored peace efforts. Why so?

Documents released today by Syngenta include a letter from Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant to Syngenta, suggesting as a part of a corporate merger that, "We would also propose a new name for the combined company to reflect its unique global nature."

"Monsanto wants to escape its ugly history by ditching its name," said Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a consumer group. "This shows how desperate Monsanto is to escape criticism: of its products, which raise environmental and health concerns, as well as concerns about corporate control of agriculture and our food system."

Jun 10

Where Is Hillary on Health Care?

By John Geyman, Truthout | News Analysis

Twenty-one years ago, Hillary Clinton, then leading the presidential committee proposing a health care reform plan, made these statements in speaking to a group at Lehman Brothers Health Corporation on June 15, 1994, as revealed by a transcript made public through the Clinton Presidential Library:

…if there is not health care reform this year, and if, for whatever reason, the Congress doesn't pass health carereform . . . I believe that by the year 2000 we will have a single payer system . . . I don't even think it's a close call politically.

Jun 10

The Supreme Court Fails Victims Again

By Laura Finley, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Supreme Court has a very mixed track record when it comes to protecting women. As a domestic violence advocate, criminologist and activist for a decade, I am deeply concerned that the US still fails to prioritize women's safety. Given that globally, more women ages 15-45 die from men's violence than of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined, far more needs to be done to protect women and girls. The courts can and should play a far bigger role in doing so.

In 2000, the court overturned part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that allowed women to sue their abusers in federal court. So, we can sue darn near anyone for anything, just not the people who hurt us most deeply. In 2005, the court ruled in Castle Rock v. Gonzales that a town and its police cannot be sued for failing to enforce a restraining order. Jessica Gonzales (now Lenahan) had a permanent restraining order against her husband, Simon, who had been stalking and harassing her. Simon was prohibited from seeing her son (not his biologically) and the couple's three daughters, except during specified visitation times. Simon violated that order by taking the three girls on June 22, 1999, around 5:15pm. Jessica first called the police about two hours later, then proceeded to call multiple times and visit the station in person over the next several hours. The police took no action, even though Simon had called Jessica admitting he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver. At approximately 3:20am, Simon showed up at the Castle Rock police station and engaged in a shootout with police that left him dead. The police then noticed the bodies of the three girls in his vehicle. The court held 7-2 that the Colorado statute did not require that police actually enforce restraining orders.

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.

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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.

This morning at 0430 Pakistan time (0030 UK time), Aftab Bahadur was executed in Lahore, after the Pakistani authorities refused to allow his lawyers to secure key evidencethat Mr Bahadur was innocent.

Mr Bahadur was just 15 years old when he was sentenced to death for murder, following a conviction which was overwhelmingly based on 'evidence' extracted under torture.

Today, in the final days of the Bonn Climate Change Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Corporate Accountability International delivered a resounding call to the parties of the UNFCCC on behalf of hundreds of other organizations and hundreds of thousands people:  protect the treaty and climate policymaking from the undue influence of the globe's biggest polluters.

The call comes as record droughts and rainfall as well as relentless heatwaves claim lives around the globe and some of the world's biggest polluters attempt to co-opt the treaty process and influence negotiating outcomes.

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.

The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.

Jun 10

Criminalizing Criticism: A Zionist Project

By Lawrence Davidson, Truthout | News Analysis

From the 1920s on into the 1990s, the Zionists controlled the storyline in the West on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This meant that their version of history was the only version as far as most of the people in the West were concerned. Consequentially, they had an uncontested media field to label the Palestinians and their supporters as "terrorists" - the charge of anti-Semitism was not yet widely used. Also, as a consequence of their monopoly, the Zionists did not bother to engage in public debate. 

Then, over the last twenty years the Zionists slowly lost their monopoly. In part this was due to the fact that in 1993 the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist and renounced terrorism, and in the following years many of the Arab states made or offered peace. However, the Israelis did not respond in kind. In particular they failed to respond in a fair and just way to U.S.-sponsored peace efforts. Why so?

Documents released today by Syngenta include a letter from Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant to Syngenta, suggesting as a part of a corporate merger that, "We would also propose a new name for the combined company to reflect its unique global nature."

"Monsanto wants to escape its ugly history by ditching its name," said Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a consumer group. "This shows how desperate Monsanto is to escape criticism: of its products, which raise environmental and health concerns, as well as concerns about corporate control of agriculture and our food system."

Jun 10

Where Is Hillary on Health Care?

By John Geyman, Truthout | News Analysis

Twenty-one years ago, Hillary Clinton, then leading the presidential committee proposing a health care reform plan, made these statements in speaking to a group at Lehman Brothers Health Corporation on June 15, 1994, as revealed by a transcript made public through the Clinton Presidential Library:

…if there is not health care reform this year, and if, for whatever reason, the Congress doesn't pass health carereform . . . I believe that by the year 2000 we will have a single payer system . . . I don't even think it's a close call politically.

Jun 10

The Supreme Court Fails Victims Again

By Laura Finley, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Supreme Court has a very mixed track record when it comes to protecting women. As a domestic violence advocate, criminologist and activist for a decade, I am deeply concerned that the US still fails to prioritize women's safety. Given that globally, more women ages 15-45 die from men's violence than of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined, far more needs to be done to protect women and girls. The courts can and should play a far bigger role in doing so.

In 2000, the court overturned part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that allowed women to sue their abusers in federal court. So, we can sue darn near anyone for anything, just not the people who hurt us most deeply. In 2005, the court ruled in Castle Rock v. Gonzales that a town and its police cannot be sued for failing to enforce a restraining order. Jessica Gonzales (now Lenahan) had a permanent restraining order against her husband, Simon, who had been stalking and harassing her. Simon was prohibited from seeing her son (not his biologically) and the couple's three daughters, except during specified visitation times. Simon violated that order by taking the three girls on June 22, 1999, around 5:15pm. Jessica first called the police about two hours later, then proceeded to call multiple times and visit the station in person over the next several hours. The police took no action, even though Simon had called Jessica admitting he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver. At approximately 3:20am, Simon showed up at the Castle Rock police station and engaged in a shootout with police that left him dead. The police then noticed the bodies of the three girls in his vehicle. The court held 7-2 that the Colorado statute did not require that police actually enforce restraining orders.

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.