Thursday, 23 October 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.

Oct 06

Humpty-Dumpty and the Fall of Berlin's Wall

By Victor Grossman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
“Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. “                                 
 
The children’s rhyme and its words Wall and Fall came to mind in connection with commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall - actually its opening up. Is such an allusion frivolous? Maybe. For millions that event twenty-five years ago was marked by genuine, understandable euphoria. But unceasing ballyhoo in the German media, weeks and weeks ahead of the anniversary, and plans for 8000 white helium balloons lit up by 60,000 batteries along the ten-mile length of the former wall, to be released in the evening with triumphant trumpet blasts, jubilant church bells or something similar while Angela Merkel, Lech Valesa, Mikhail Gorbachov, Berlin’s departing mayor and other celebrities cast their eyes gratefully heavenward, may perhaps justify my somewhat different approach.  

Washington, DC – Today, consumer and worker rights groups filed a joint amicus curiae brief with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the case of Food & Water Watch v. USDA. The lawsuit challenges the agency's New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) rules, a plan modeled after the agency's controversial pilot program that USDA's own employees have fervently opposed.

Organizations listed on the brief include the Government Accountability Project (GAP), Consumer Federation of America, Center for Foodborne Illness, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Nebraska Appleseed.

Oct 06

What Violence Is Acceptable to You?

By Priya Sawhney, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Women engaged in peaceful animal rights advocacy in India were attacked in September by a mob of angry men outraged by their presence on a public street. The Western press's reaction has been typical. The Washington Times decried the "Muslim mob" that descended on the women, failing to note that the women were themselves apparently Muslim. Another conservative journal was more explicit in its discriminatory bias: "These Liberals Might Stop Saying Islam Is Peaceful After What Just Happened To Them." Of course neither press account noted the mass violence against women that occurs in the United States, a predominantly Christian country, with nearly one in five women experiencing sexual assault.

A group of social activists in Brazil, concerned with how the outcome of the upcoming nationwide elections would impact on the LGBT community, launched a nonpartisan campaign in order to increase the pro-LGBT representation within political parties and Brazilian legislature.

The #VoteLGBT campaign is mapping all candidates running for the Senate, the Lower House and the Legislative houses of each of the 27 states in Brazil who advocate civil rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans persons. “In Brazil, political institutions rarely represent the diversity of the country’s population. They are usually taken over by individuals who are committed to maintaining the privileges of a certain portion of society, denying or ignoring the rights of minorities, and the elections are the moment we can change that,” says Gui Mohallem, one of the campaign coordinators.

Reports on the destruction of the climate continue to clearly indicate that environmental groups are not doing enough to slow climate change. There is a great need for a larger, more powerful network and some new strategies.

The 311,000 protestors who took part in the exhilarating Climate Summit march through Manhattan and those who blocked some entrances to Wall Street have returned to their homes.

The leaders of the more than 120 nation states that made pie-in-the-sky, non-binding promises for reductions in carbon emissions at the UN meeting and dozens of powerful corporations have moved on.

Oct 06

The Undocumented Dream

By M.P.R., SpeakOut | Op-Ed

What type of society do we live in which I’m not able to have the same opportunities as others, in which my future is unsure, my immigration status puts a limit to what I can and can’t do? If you aren't a permanent resident or a citizen of the United States you have to work far harder in order to reach your dreams.

I was originally born in Hidalgo, Mexico in 1997. Like many other kids, I did not have a choice in coming to the United States. At the age of 3 my parents decided that it would be best if I came to San Francisco to live with them. And if you were to ask me where I was born I’d say here ,San Francisco, not because I’m ashamed of being Mexican but because I've lived here for as long as I can remember.

Oct 06

The American Dream

By Tucosha Lopez, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The controversy in the United States is whether the fault of racial and economic injustice lies with the individuals or the system. Some see poverty and racial inequality as a result of personal choices, while others see it as a result of government or systemic injustice. Lots of people have the ideology that working hard and getting an education will make you successful. Very few see the reality that individuals are at the mercy of the system, which determines their success from the day that they are born. According to Revolution Newspaper, “People like Bill Cosby as well as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - not only go so far as to blame Black people for the horrendous situation into which this system has shoved them, with its dead end set of “choices”, they do so with a phony pose of concern of Black people.” This shows that the problems people of color (mainly Blacks) face in the US are created by the system and the only way to end this is creating a new system.

John "Jack" Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY and Upstate Drone Action, was sentenced to three months incarceration, three years probation, and $1000 fine by De Witt (NY) Town Judge Robert Jokl.

"It's time for our justice system to identify the real criminals...not those who carry the message to stop the killing to the gates of Hancock Air Base," said Gilroy in his sentencing statement.

Washington, DC - The Obama administration's precarious justifications for the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regime may determine the fate of the transatlantic free trade agreement, said Public Citizen as it released a new report (PDF) examining those defenses and revealing data on the U.S. and European Union (EU) firms that would be newly empowered to attack domestic policies in extrajudicial tribunals if the pact includes ISDS. Recently, the incoming European Commission president, several large voting blocs in the European Parliament and the German government have voiced opposition to ISDS.

"The ugly political spectacle of the Obama administration insisting on special privileges and a parallel legal system for foreign corporations over European officials' growing objections is only made worse by the utter lack of policy justifications for ISDS," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "As a slew of domestic laws are being attacked in these corporate tribunals, European officials are rethinking past support for ISDS while the Obama administration just doubles down."

Speaking at the opening plenary of the New York City Global Climate Convergence in the days before the People’s Climate March, Nastaran Mohit told the assembled crowd that the revolution “and this (Climate Convergence) movement is not going to be spawned from the activist white community. It is going to be led front and center by marginalized and the most directly affected communities.”

Mohit, a New York City based labor organizer who was instrumental in the success of Occupy Sandy, went on:

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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.

Oct 06

Humpty-Dumpty and the Fall of Berlin's Wall

By Victor Grossman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
“Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. “                                 
 
The children’s rhyme and its words Wall and Fall came to mind in connection with commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall - actually its opening up. Is such an allusion frivolous? Maybe. For millions that event twenty-five years ago was marked by genuine, understandable euphoria. But unceasing ballyhoo in the German media, weeks and weeks ahead of the anniversary, and plans for 8000 white helium balloons lit up by 60,000 batteries along the ten-mile length of the former wall, to be released in the evening with triumphant trumpet blasts, jubilant church bells or something similar while Angela Merkel, Lech Valesa, Mikhail Gorbachov, Berlin’s departing mayor and other celebrities cast their eyes gratefully heavenward, may perhaps justify my somewhat different approach.  

Washington, DC – Today, consumer and worker rights groups filed a joint amicus curiae brief with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the case of Food & Water Watch v. USDA. The lawsuit challenges the agency's New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) rules, a plan modeled after the agency's controversial pilot program that USDA's own employees have fervently opposed.

Organizations listed on the brief include the Government Accountability Project (GAP), Consumer Federation of America, Center for Foodborne Illness, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Nebraska Appleseed.

Oct 06

What Violence Is Acceptable to You?

By Priya Sawhney, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Women engaged in peaceful animal rights advocacy in India were attacked in September by a mob of angry men outraged by their presence on a public street. The Western press's reaction has been typical. The Washington Times decried the "Muslim mob" that descended on the women, failing to note that the women were themselves apparently Muslim. Another conservative journal was more explicit in its discriminatory bias: "These Liberals Might Stop Saying Islam Is Peaceful After What Just Happened To Them." Of course neither press account noted the mass violence against women that occurs in the United States, a predominantly Christian country, with nearly one in five women experiencing sexual assault.

A group of social activists in Brazil, concerned with how the outcome of the upcoming nationwide elections would impact on the LGBT community, launched a nonpartisan campaign in order to increase the pro-LGBT representation within political parties and Brazilian legislature.

The #VoteLGBT campaign is mapping all candidates running for the Senate, the Lower House and the Legislative houses of each of the 27 states in Brazil who advocate civil rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans persons. “In Brazil, political institutions rarely represent the diversity of the country’s population. They are usually taken over by individuals who are committed to maintaining the privileges of a certain portion of society, denying or ignoring the rights of minorities, and the elections are the moment we can change that,” says Gui Mohallem, one of the campaign coordinators.

Reports on the destruction of the climate continue to clearly indicate that environmental groups are not doing enough to slow climate change. There is a great need for a larger, more powerful network and some new strategies.

The 311,000 protestors who took part in the exhilarating Climate Summit march through Manhattan and those who blocked some entrances to Wall Street have returned to their homes.

The leaders of the more than 120 nation states that made pie-in-the-sky, non-binding promises for reductions in carbon emissions at the UN meeting and dozens of powerful corporations have moved on.

Oct 06

The Undocumented Dream

By M.P.R., SpeakOut | Op-Ed

What type of society do we live in which I’m not able to have the same opportunities as others, in which my future is unsure, my immigration status puts a limit to what I can and can’t do? If you aren't a permanent resident or a citizen of the United States you have to work far harder in order to reach your dreams.

I was originally born in Hidalgo, Mexico in 1997. Like many other kids, I did not have a choice in coming to the United States. At the age of 3 my parents decided that it would be best if I came to San Francisco to live with them. And if you were to ask me where I was born I’d say here ,San Francisco, not because I’m ashamed of being Mexican but because I've lived here for as long as I can remember.

Oct 06

The American Dream

By Tucosha Lopez, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The controversy in the United States is whether the fault of racial and economic injustice lies with the individuals or the system. Some see poverty and racial inequality as a result of personal choices, while others see it as a result of government or systemic injustice. Lots of people have the ideology that working hard and getting an education will make you successful. Very few see the reality that individuals are at the mercy of the system, which determines their success from the day that they are born. According to Revolution Newspaper, “People like Bill Cosby as well as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - not only go so far as to blame Black people for the horrendous situation into which this system has shoved them, with its dead end set of “choices”, they do so with a phony pose of concern of Black people.” This shows that the problems people of color (mainly Blacks) face in the US are created by the system and the only way to end this is creating a new system.

John "Jack" Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY and Upstate Drone Action, was sentenced to three months incarceration, three years probation, and $1000 fine by De Witt (NY) Town Judge Robert Jokl.

"It's time for our justice system to identify the real criminals...not those who carry the message to stop the killing to the gates of Hancock Air Base," said Gilroy in his sentencing statement.

Washington, DC - The Obama administration's precarious justifications for the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regime may determine the fate of the transatlantic free trade agreement, said Public Citizen as it released a new report (PDF) examining those defenses and revealing data on the U.S. and European Union (EU) firms that would be newly empowered to attack domestic policies in extrajudicial tribunals if the pact includes ISDS. Recently, the incoming European Commission president, several large voting blocs in the European Parliament and the German government have voiced opposition to ISDS.

"The ugly political spectacle of the Obama administration insisting on special privileges and a parallel legal system for foreign corporations over European officials' growing objections is only made worse by the utter lack of policy justifications for ISDS," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "As a slew of domestic laws are being attacked in these corporate tribunals, European officials are rethinking past support for ISDS while the Obama administration just doubles down."

Speaking at the opening plenary of the New York City Global Climate Convergence in the days before the People’s Climate March, Nastaran Mohit told the assembled crowd that the revolution “and this (Climate Convergence) movement is not going to be spawned from the activist white community. It is going to be led front and center by marginalized and the most directly affected communities.”

Mohit, a New York City based labor organizer who was instrumental in the success of Occupy Sandy, went on: