Thursday, 08 December 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.

Two journalists reporting for Democracy Watch News were ejected from World Food Prize (WFP) events in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 13, after they were observed by police filming anti-GMO protesters. Karri Marks and Kaylynn Strain were covering the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium scheduled at the Des Moines downtown Marriott October 12-14. Both are livestreamers living in Iowa. Marks is a former resident of Hawai’i, where she is a member of the Big Island Press Club. 

 

Just a minute inside Victor Johanson's single-wide trailer at the Oak Leaf Mobile Home Park on NE Killingsworth in Portland, Oregon, and three things became clear. First, mold spores in the air were at a level so high as to be unhealthy to breathe, and possibly dangerous. Water was actively dripping through his tarp-covered roof into plastic bins on his living room couch. Second, Johanson, 57, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, is doing his best to maintain his dignity in the face of overwhelming odds. He said he couldn't smell the mold himself due to his vulnerable medical condition.

For the entire 21 years that I have been living in Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigrant official who calls Donald Trump his "political soulmate," has been in office. Throughout my childhood, I never knew that a role of community organizer or human rights activist existed, that it was a thing, or that people like me could be part of making a change. But two events changed that.Ten years ago, immigration authorities deported my uncle. And now my young cousin, his son, goes to sleep in a cell, after spending the past year in one of Arpaio's cold juvenile detention facilities.

At the 69th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared that Pakistan, in order to match India's military "stockpile" (most likely referring to recent deals with Israel, Russia and the United States, totaling to upwards of $10 billion in sales), would "take whatever measures are necessary to maintain credible deterrence." Of course, such a dialogue between two states that share infamous rivalries is expected. That both of these states are part of the world's eight nuclear powers should spring no surprise either; coincidentally, the most bitter disputes in global geopolitics (from a historical perspective, anyway) seem to unanimously share the narrative of parties involved in acquiring -- or at least attempting to acquire nuclear arms/weapons -- at some point in time. The real crisis is that these similarities are blatantly ignored by the international community at large and this cycle of dull-minded competition continues, despite warnings from foreign policy analysts and scientists alike that such events could mean utter catastrophe.

For millions of American workers across the country, the cool air of the fall season promises to bring relief from intense heat on the job. In California, however, the persistent autumn heat wave brings along with it dangerous wildfires and also dangerous working conditions. Of the 35 million low-wage workers in the nation, many must contend with the elements of extreme heat in environments such as fields, factories, and construction sites often while earning sub-minimum wages in abusive conditions. And while the worst may be over for 2016, it will return again in 2017.

Israel's August 16th military raid on the Fawwar refugee camp, just south of Hebron, left a 19 year-old Palestinian dead, dozens seriously wounded and hundreds upon hundreds gravely traumatized. Israel claims that the raid, which lasted nearly 24 hours and was carried out by hundreds of soldiers from three separate military battalions, was a security necessity. Scouring the camp and searching somewhere between 150 and 200 homes, many of which were ransacked, Israeli soldiers turned up next to nothing.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  So I'm calling on African American Artists of a Certain Status to do the right thing and speak out forcefully against homelessness and the social acceptability of poverty, the ongoing [extrajudicial] killings of African-Americans, the school-to-prison pipeline,  the slave-like conditions of the federal penitentiary and all other forms of "Jim Crow 2.0."

Oct 13

Solitary = Torture

By Alan Mills, Speakout | Op-Ed

The front page of this morning's New York Times features an in depth report on the permanent damage this country inflicted on people it tortured in Gitmo and secret prisons around the world in the aftermath of 9/11. The article details the severe mental problems people continue to experience years after the torture ends. What the article does not mention is that we don't need to look to our secret prisons to find torture. We are torturing people every day, right here in the US, in our state and federal prisons.

Usually the US presidential debates are more about personalities than politics. The phony Commission on Presidential Debates, deeply in the pocket of Democratic and Republican parties, serves as a fig leaf to mask the shamefully narrow discussion that passes for democracy in "The Greatest Country On Earth.™" But living in the 21st century, we do not have to accept the limitations that those in charge would use to hem us in. With technology at our service, we can present a real, broader debate. According to imperial decree, we are only allowed to hear from the two candidates that represent Wall Street and Corporate America.

On October 9, 200 of us marched along the dusty highway between Nogales and Tucson toward the Border Patrol checkpoint just north of Tubac, Arizona. At the front, those of us prepared to risk arrest clutched painted crosses in our hands, each bearing the name of someone murdered by US-trained assassins or the militarized US-Mexico border. The desert sun beat mercilessly on our linked arms as we sang: I see/I see/No immigration police/No checkpoints/No fear/The world we want is right here.

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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.

Two journalists reporting for Democracy Watch News were ejected from World Food Prize (WFP) events in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 13, after they were observed by police filming anti-GMO protesters. Karri Marks and Kaylynn Strain were covering the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium scheduled at the Des Moines downtown Marriott October 12-14. Both are livestreamers living in Iowa. Marks is a former resident of Hawai’i, where she is a member of the Big Island Press Club. 

 

Just a minute inside Victor Johanson's single-wide trailer at the Oak Leaf Mobile Home Park on NE Killingsworth in Portland, Oregon, and three things became clear. First, mold spores in the air were at a level so high as to be unhealthy to breathe, and possibly dangerous. Water was actively dripping through his tarp-covered roof into plastic bins on his living room couch. Second, Johanson, 57, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, is doing his best to maintain his dignity in the face of overwhelming odds. He said he couldn't smell the mold himself due to his vulnerable medical condition.

For the entire 21 years that I have been living in Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigrant official who calls Donald Trump his "political soulmate," has been in office. Throughout my childhood, I never knew that a role of community organizer or human rights activist existed, that it was a thing, or that people like me could be part of making a change. But two events changed that.Ten years ago, immigration authorities deported my uncle. And now my young cousin, his son, goes to sleep in a cell, after spending the past year in one of Arpaio's cold juvenile detention facilities.

At the 69th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared that Pakistan, in order to match India's military "stockpile" (most likely referring to recent deals with Israel, Russia and the United States, totaling to upwards of $10 billion in sales), would "take whatever measures are necessary to maintain credible deterrence." Of course, such a dialogue between two states that share infamous rivalries is expected. That both of these states are part of the world's eight nuclear powers should spring no surprise either; coincidentally, the most bitter disputes in global geopolitics (from a historical perspective, anyway) seem to unanimously share the narrative of parties involved in acquiring -- or at least attempting to acquire nuclear arms/weapons -- at some point in time. The real crisis is that these similarities are blatantly ignored by the international community at large and this cycle of dull-minded competition continues, despite warnings from foreign policy analysts and scientists alike that such events could mean utter catastrophe.

For millions of American workers across the country, the cool air of the fall season promises to bring relief from intense heat on the job. In California, however, the persistent autumn heat wave brings along with it dangerous wildfires and also dangerous working conditions. Of the 35 million low-wage workers in the nation, many must contend with the elements of extreme heat in environments such as fields, factories, and construction sites often while earning sub-minimum wages in abusive conditions. And while the worst may be over for 2016, it will return again in 2017.

Israel's August 16th military raid on the Fawwar refugee camp, just south of Hebron, left a 19 year-old Palestinian dead, dozens seriously wounded and hundreds upon hundreds gravely traumatized. Israel claims that the raid, which lasted nearly 24 hours and was carried out by hundreds of soldiers from three separate military battalions, was a security necessity. Scouring the camp and searching somewhere between 150 and 200 homes, many of which were ransacked, Israeli soldiers turned up next to nothing.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  So I'm calling on African American Artists of a Certain Status to do the right thing and speak out forcefully against homelessness and the social acceptability of poverty, the ongoing [extrajudicial] killings of African-Americans, the school-to-prison pipeline,  the slave-like conditions of the federal penitentiary and all other forms of "Jim Crow 2.0."

Oct 13

Solitary = Torture

By Alan Mills, Speakout | Op-Ed

The front page of this morning's New York Times features an in depth report on the permanent damage this country inflicted on people it tortured in Gitmo and secret prisons around the world in the aftermath of 9/11. The article details the severe mental problems people continue to experience years after the torture ends. What the article does not mention is that we don't need to look to our secret prisons to find torture. We are torturing people every day, right here in the US, in our state and federal prisons.

Usually the US presidential debates are more about personalities than politics. The phony Commission on Presidential Debates, deeply in the pocket of Democratic and Republican parties, serves as a fig leaf to mask the shamefully narrow discussion that passes for democracy in "The Greatest Country On Earth.™" But living in the 21st century, we do not have to accept the limitations that those in charge would use to hem us in. With technology at our service, we can present a real, broader debate. According to imperial decree, we are only allowed to hear from the two candidates that represent Wall Street and Corporate America.

On October 9, 200 of us marched along the dusty highway between Nogales and Tucson toward the Border Patrol checkpoint just north of Tubac, Arizona. At the front, those of us prepared to risk arrest clutched painted crosses in our hands, each bearing the name of someone murdered by US-trained assassins or the militarized US-Mexico border. The desert sun beat mercilessly on our linked arms as we sang: I see/I see/No immigration police/No checkpoints/No fear/The world we want is right here.