Friday, 21 November 2014 / 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.

A federal appellate court ruled today that Kansas and Arizona may not force applicants using the federal voter registration form to show documents proving their citizenship when registering to vote in federal races.

The decision overturned a district court’s ruling that would have required the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to change the federal form to allow Kansas and Arizona to require documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The district court’s order had previously been stayed pending appeal. The court found Kansas and Arizona “failed” to show their documentary proof of citizenship requirement was needed to enforce their voter qualifications. It also made clear the federal voter registration form “can only be modified by the federal government, not directly by states.”

Israel's decision to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, 30 October, is not just a gross violation of the religious rights of Palestinian Muslims.

In fact, the rights of Palestinian Muslims and Christians have been routinely violated under the Israeli occupation for decades, especially in Jerusalem, and more recently in Gaza. During the 51-day war on the Gaza Strip, a reported 73 mosques were destroyed, while 205 were partially destroyed, according to a Palestinian government report.

"Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope." -Zechariah 9:12


"But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved."
-Hebrews 10:39

The NAACP Forward Together Moral Movement is a state-based, deeply moral and constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, fusion movement. 

Nov 10

Levers of Power

By Abraham Entin, Levers of Power | Song

A Song about Corruption, Revolution, Power, Hope and the Emperor's new clothes. Written by Abraham Entin with help from his friends.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that most households now have less wealth now than they did in 1989. The report, “The Wealth of Households: An Analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finance,” presents data on household wealth by age cohort based on the results of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finance (SCF). The analysis shows little or no gains for the majority of Americans over the last 25 years, even in the years since the end of the recession. This is true of and particularly concerning for near retirees.

“This is especially bad for those nearing retirement,” said Dean Baker, a co-director of CEPR and an author of the paper. “Households in this age cohort will not have a chance to benefit from any strengthening of the economy and will only have the wealth they have accumulated to date to depend on in their retirement.”

Washington, DC — As President Obama prepares to leave for Asia in another attempt to finalize the stalled Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, a broad coalition of labor, environmental and consumer groups delivered over half a million petition signatures and letters to key Congressional leaders today opposing Fast Track authority for the pact.  
 
"CWA activists are focusing all our efforts on stopping Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Millions of labor, environmental, community and human rights activists are fighting back and demanding that the White House and Congress put U.S. citizens ahead of the corporate and financial interests that already define and dominate the global economy," said Communications Workers of America president Larry Cohen.

LA, SF, NYC, Houston, Sacramento - 99Rise Citizen activists from across the country ended their water-only fast yesterday after weeks of deprivation in a bid to elevate the issue of money-in-politics corruption during this year’s midterm election. Those fasting had urged voters to exclusively support candidates who support pro-democracy reforms that would overturn the Supreme Court’s recent Citizen United and McCutcheon decisions through a constitutional amendment and federal legislation.

“It’s a bittersweet moment for me.” said 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirk who broke his 18-day fast last night. “Our fast has come to an end, but it comes in the wake of a devastating election, stolen from the American people by corporations and billionaires who bankrolled these campaigns to the tune of 4 billion dollars. That's an auction, not a democratic election.”

Environmental and human rights activists are increasingly demanding that companies be responsible actors in a myriad of ways, from eradicating conflict minerals in their supply chains, to paying workers a fair wage, to using less toxic materials in apparel or other products. Activist campaigns have become much more sophisticated over the past few decades as well; instead of campaigns solely based on environmental and human rights impacts, activists are now targeting companies for how they wield their influence, and for their public stance on issues. In essence, a company's impact on society – or even a company's impact on culture – is increasingly transparent and is therefore more likely to be questioned.

A quick Google search for "how do companies affect culture" yields results on how to influence corporate culture, how a company's corporate culture can influence its profitability, you name it. What's not as readily examined is how a company –through its products, ethics and business choices as a brand – affects our wider cultural values, norms and ethics. What are the imprints made by the very companies whose products populate our daily lives, with which we have a personal relationship – your favorite ice cream, shoes, or shampoo – and how do those imprints dictate our culture? Can you imagine a world unchanged by Coca-Cola, Apple or Twitter?

Introduction

Citizenfour is about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's actions as well as the collective work of reporters, and whistleblowers Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Jeremy Scahill and William Binney.

Laura Poitras produced My Country, My Country in 2006. In that film she explained life for Iraqis under American occupation. In 2010, she produced The Oath, which covered two Yemenis' relation to Gitmo and the War on Terror. Poitras also produced The Program, which discusses the domestic surveillance enterprise in Bluffdale, Utah. As a result of this body of work, Poitras undergoes monitoring by the United States Government, and is harassed routinely by border patrol agents.

Nov 07

Deconstructing Elizabeth Warren

By Paul Brown, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Elizabeth Warren, with her crusade to reform finance, is the darling of many, and there is a movement for her to run for President. But she's another imperialist hawk in the tradition of Bush II, Obama, and Hillary Clinton. Consider the foreign policy statement in her 2012 campaign for Senate:

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for 'Smart Power' - the use of defense, diplomacy, development, and other tools to advance US interests in the world. As a Senator, I will pursue a foreign policy that is smart, tough, and pragmatic." Her Hillary is a super-hawk, deeply committed to fear- and war-waging, and a war criminal

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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.

A federal appellate court ruled today that Kansas and Arizona may not force applicants using the federal voter registration form to show documents proving their citizenship when registering to vote in federal races.

The decision overturned a district court’s ruling that would have required the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to change the federal form to allow Kansas and Arizona to require documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The district court’s order had previously been stayed pending appeal. The court found Kansas and Arizona “failed” to show their documentary proof of citizenship requirement was needed to enforce their voter qualifications. It also made clear the federal voter registration form “can only be modified by the federal government, not directly by states.”

Israel's decision to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, 30 October, is not just a gross violation of the religious rights of Palestinian Muslims.

In fact, the rights of Palestinian Muslims and Christians have been routinely violated under the Israeli occupation for decades, especially in Jerusalem, and more recently in Gaza. During the 51-day war on the Gaza Strip, a reported 73 mosques were destroyed, while 205 were partially destroyed, according to a Palestinian government report.

"Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope." -Zechariah 9:12


"But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved."
-Hebrews 10:39

The NAACP Forward Together Moral Movement is a state-based, deeply moral and constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, fusion movement. 

Nov 10

Levers of Power

By Abraham Entin, Levers of Power | Song

A Song about Corruption, Revolution, Power, Hope and the Emperor's new clothes. Written by Abraham Entin with help from his friends.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that most households now have less wealth now than they did in 1989. The report, “The Wealth of Households: An Analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finance,” presents data on household wealth by age cohort based on the results of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finance (SCF). The analysis shows little or no gains for the majority of Americans over the last 25 years, even in the years since the end of the recession. This is true of and particularly concerning for near retirees.

“This is especially bad for those nearing retirement,” said Dean Baker, a co-director of CEPR and an author of the paper. “Households in this age cohort will not have a chance to benefit from any strengthening of the economy and will only have the wealth they have accumulated to date to depend on in their retirement.”

Washington, DC — As President Obama prepares to leave for Asia in another attempt to finalize the stalled Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, a broad coalition of labor, environmental and consumer groups delivered over half a million petition signatures and letters to key Congressional leaders today opposing Fast Track authority for the pact.  
 
"CWA activists are focusing all our efforts on stopping Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Millions of labor, environmental, community and human rights activists are fighting back and demanding that the White House and Congress put U.S. citizens ahead of the corporate and financial interests that already define and dominate the global economy," said Communications Workers of America president Larry Cohen.

LA, SF, NYC, Houston, Sacramento - 99Rise Citizen activists from across the country ended their water-only fast yesterday after weeks of deprivation in a bid to elevate the issue of money-in-politics corruption during this year’s midterm election. Those fasting had urged voters to exclusively support candidates who support pro-democracy reforms that would overturn the Supreme Court’s recent Citizen United and McCutcheon decisions through a constitutional amendment and federal legislation.

“It’s a bittersweet moment for me.” said 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirk who broke his 18-day fast last night. “Our fast has come to an end, but it comes in the wake of a devastating election, stolen from the American people by corporations and billionaires who bankrolled these campaigns to the tune of 4 billion dollars. That's an auction, not a democratic election.”

Environmental and human rights activists are increasingly demanding that companies be responsible actors in a myriad of ways, from eradicating conflict minerals in their supply chains, to paying workers a fair wage, to using less toxic materials in apparel or other products. Activist campaigns have become much more sophisticated over the past few decades as well; instead of campaigns solely based on environmental and human rights impacts, activists are now targeting companies for how they wield their influence, and for their public stance on issues. In essence, a company's impact on society – or even a company's impact on culture – is increasingly transparent and is therefore more likely to be questioned.

A quick Google search for "how do companies affect culture" yields results on how to influence corporate culture, how a company's corporate culture can influence its profitability, you name it. What's not as readily examined is how a company –through its products, ethics and business choices as a brand – affects our wider cultural values, norms and ethics. What are the imprints made by the very companies whose products populate our daily lives, with which we have a personal relationship – your favorite ice cream, shoes, or shampoo – and how do those imprints dictate our culture? Can you imagine a world unchanged by Coca-Cola, Apple or Twitter?

Introduction

Citizenfour is about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's actions as well as the collective work of reporters, and whistleblowers Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Jeremy Scahill and William Binney.

Laura Poitras produced My Country, My Country in 2006. In that film she explained life for Iraqis under American occupation. In 2010, she produced The Oath, which covered two Yemenis' relation to Gitmo and the War on Terror. Poitras also produced The Program, which discusses the domestic surveillance enterprise in Bluffdale, Utah. As a result of this body of work, Poitras undergoes monitoring by the United States Government, and is harassed routinely by border patrol agents.

Nov 07

Deconstructing Elizabeth Warren

By Paul Brown, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Elizabeth Warren, with her crusade to reform finance, is the darling of many, and there is a movement for her to run for President. But she's another imperialist hawk in the tradition of Bush II, Obama, and Hillary Clinton. Consider the foreign policy statement in her 2012 campaign for Senate:

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for 'Smart Power' - the use of defense, diplomacy, development, and other tools to advance US interests in the world. As a Senator, I will pursue a foreign policy that is smart, tough, and pragmatic." Her Hillary is a super-hawk, deeply committed to fear- and war-waging, and a war criminal