Thursday, 02 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.

Jun 09

Youth Rising to Revolution

By Jose M., Truthout | Op-Ed

Some of the things I learned in class about race includes that race is taken seriously in this nation as long as it's about white people. This nation is ruled by powerful white men who repress the lower class, such as the Black and Brown communities. This white system fears the Black and Brown communities as shown today and in the past. For instance, in the past, the government tried getting rid of some groups like the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, and other groups. The government feared what these groups could have done, so they did everything in their power to neutralize the groups and make them look bad. Nowadays, with everything the police has been doing (i.e. taking away the lives of Black and Brown people), the two most feared black gangs in America have been making peace. The Bloods and the Crips have joined forces because they noticed they had a common enemy and they know the police are the ones who are supposedly there to "protect the people," but are killing innocent people and actually getting away with it. Not to mention that the [mainstream] news has not brought this topic up.

A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology overhis relatives'deaths.  

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed. 

Jun 09

Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Truthout | Op-Ed

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic socialism - democratic control of the economy - had substantial popularity in the United States.  At the time, the Socialist Party of America was a thriving, rapidly-growing political organization, much like its democratic socialistcounterparts abroad - the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and numerous other rising, working class-based political entities around the world.  In 1912, when the United States had a much smaller population than today, theSocialist Party had 118,000 dues-paying members and drew nearly a million votes for its candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the great labor leader, for President.  

"Transformational festival" is a phrase that's often used to describe festivals that intend to help you evolve and better yourself and the world around you.  California-based Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) certainly fits this description, but they take it another step further: the way they have chosen to manage potential drug use at their event has the power to transform the way all festivals address drug use and safety issues.

The guiding principle behind LiB's drug policy was the concept of harm reduction, acknowledging that despite efforts to maintain a drug-free event people will nonetheless use drugs – and that our primary concern should be keeping these people and others around them safe.

The mushrooming governance scandal in world soccer body FIFA increasingly spotlights political in addition to financial corruption in global soccer.

Revelations about government and corporate deals made to secure Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup alongside the prominence of political figures in sports governance, frequently aligned with autocratic regimes, emphasizes the need for a clean-up ofsoccer governance. Reforms will have to regulate the relationship between politics and sports and guard against political and corporate interference alongside the effort to eradicate related financial corruption and dismantle patronage.

With the 2016 race already under way, the voting wars continue in the states, but with a significant drop-off in new restrictions in 2015, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Since the 2010 election, however, 21 states have new laws making it harder to vote — and in 14 states, next year will be the first time these rules are in effect for a presidential election, which is marked by high turnout.

No matter what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does, his popularity is declining. In some ways, Abbas' threshold for popularity was really never impressive to begin with, a trend that is unlikely to change in the near future.

But now that a power struggle in his Fatah party is looming, and his two-decade investment in the 'peace process' scheme has proven to be fruitless, Abbas is doing what he should have done a long time ago: internationalize the Palestinian struggle, and break away from the confines of American influence and double-standard "diplomacy."

Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4. 

DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state'oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere. 

The Center for Biological Diversity today warned the federal government not to allow the pipeline behind the Santa Barbara oil spill to resume pumping crude without a legally required analysis of threats to California's environment and endangered wildlife.

In a letter to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Center says shutting down the pipeline "was essential to protect public health and the environment" and urges the agency to comply with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act before letting thepipeline restart operations.

A vote at Google's annual meeting indicates that shareholders want the company to provide more information about its spending on lobbying, Public Citizen said today.

At the meeting, 9.6 percent of shareholders voted favorably on a resolution calling for the company to be more transparent about how it spends funds to lobby Congress and regulators. The vote was significant because when shares owned by Google executives are removed, the proposal was favored by 37 percent of investors. The proposal had similar support at last year's meeting and may have contributed to Google's exit from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

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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.

Jun 09

Youth Rising to Revolution

By Jose M., Truthout | Op-Ed

Some of the things I learned in class about race includes that race is taken seriously in this nation as long as it's about white people. This nation is ruled by powerful white men who repress the lower class, such as the Black and Brown communities. This white system fears the Black and Brown communities as shown today and in the past. For instance, in the past, the government tried getting rid of some groups like the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, and other groups. The government feared what these groups could have done, so they did everything in their power to neutralize the groups and make them look bad. Nowadays, with everything the police has been doing (i.e. taking away the lives of Black and Brown people), the two most feared black gangs in America have been making peace. The Bloods and the Crips have joined forces because they noticed they had a common enemy and they know the police are the ones who are supposedly there to "protect the people," but are killing innocent people and actually getting away with it. Not to mention that the [mainstream] news has not brought this topic up.

A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology overhis relatives'deaths.  

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed. 

Jun 09

Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Truthout | Op-Ed

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic socialism - democratic control of the economy - had substantial popularity in the United States.  At the time, the Socialist Party of America was a thriving, rapidly-growing political organization, much like its democratic socialistcounterparts abroad - the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and numerous other rising, working class-based political entities around the world.  In 1912, when the United States had a much smaller population than today, theSocialist Party had 118,000 dues-paying members and drew nearly a million votes for its candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the great labor leader, for President.  

"Transformational festival" is a phrase that's often used to describe festivals that intend to help you evolve and better yourself and the world around you.  California-based Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) certainly fits this description, but they take it another step further: the way they have chosen to manage potential drug use at their event has the power to transform the way all festivals address drug use and safety issues.

The guiding principle behind LiB's drug policy was the concept of harm reduction, acknowledging that despite efforts to maintain a drug-free event people will nonetheless use drugs – and that our primary concern should be keeping these people and others around them safe.

The mushrooming governance scandal in world soccer body FIFA increasingly spotlights political in addition to financial corruption in global soccer.

Revelations about government and corporate deals made to secure Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup alongside the prominence of political figures in sports governance, frequently aligned with autocratic regimes, emphasizes the need for a clean-up ofsoccer governance. Reforms will have to regulate the relationship between politics and sports and guard against political and corporate interference alongside the effort to eradicate related financial corruption and dismantle patronage.

With the 2016 race already under way, the voting wars continue in the states, but with a significant drop-off in new restrictions in 2015, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Since the 2010 election, however, 21 states have new laws making it harder to vote — and in 14 states, next year will be the first time these rules are in effect for a presidential election, which is marked by high turnout.

No matter what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does, his popularity is declining. In some ways, Abbas' threshold for popularity was really never impressive to begin with, a trend that is unlikely to change in the near future.

But now that a power struggle in his Fatah party is looming, and his two-decade investment in the 'peace process' scheme has proven to be fruitless, Abbas is doing what he should have done a long time ago: internationalize the Palestinian struggle, and break away from the confines of American influence and double-standard "diplomacy."

Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4. 

DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state'oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere. 

The Center for Biological Diversity today warned the federal government not to allow the pipeline behind the Santa Barbara oil spill to resume pumping crude without a legally required analysis of threats to California's environment and endangered wildlife.

In a letter to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Center says shutting down the pipeline "was essential to protect public health and the environment" and urges the agency to comply with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act before letting thepipeline restart operations.

A vote at Google's annual meeting indicates that shareholders want the company to provide more information about its spending on lobbying, Public Citizen said today.

At the meeting, 9.6 percent of shareholders voted favorably on a resolution calling for the company to be more transparent about how it spends funds to lobby Congress and regulators. The vote was significant because when shares owned by Google executives are removed, the proposal was favored by 37 percent of investors. The proposal had similar support at last year's meeting and may have contributed to Google's exit from the American Legislative Exchange Council.