Friday, 30 September 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.

At its Orlando, Florida, meeting last weekend, the Democratic National Committee platform committee voted down a proposed amendment to include single-payer health care in the party platform by a vote of 92 to 62, even though public support for single-payer includes 81 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of US residents. As Michael Lighty of National Nurses United said at the time: "If this is controversial in this room, it is the only room of Democrats in which it is controversial." Hillary Clinton's whips in the room were urging on the negative votes.

I am sitting at the foot of the north stairs of the Washington State Capitol, outside Gov. Jay Inslee's office. I am one of 17 parents and grandparents who are here in the early part of a three-day fast forclimate and our children's future. We are joined by a number of others fasting at home. We share many feelings. Grief over the many losses our world faces because our parental generations have not honestly addressed theclimate crisis. Deep concern for what we are leaving our children and grandchildren. Even a measure of hope that our modest act of self-denial can have an impact.

On Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino's official website, he promises to lead the fight against government corruption: "New York government is ranked as the most corrupt in America. It is a disgraceful distinction." But it seems that Astorino is part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. Astorino issued a revocable license to the Houston, Texas, based oil pipeline company Spectra Energy Partners, LP, to expand the existing Algonquin Pipeline through Westchester County's Blue Mountain Reservation, ignoring the proper channels of the parkland alienation process, which would require a vote at the state level for approval. For this, it appears Astorino was amply compensated. 

This has been the mantra of market advocates for many years under the theory of consumer-directed health care (CDHC), which posits that patients will be more judicious in their use of health care if they have "more skin in the game" (ie. through more cost-sharing). It has been repeated so often and for so long as to become a meme: a self-replicating myth or slogan that by constant repetition becomes part of everyday language, without regard to its merit.

In an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a surrogate for Donald Trump (the former being a millionaire and the latter a billionaire), would like you to believe they know the mindset of blue-collar Americans. News flash: They don't. Simply put, people like Senator Santorum and Trump know how to exploit blue-collar fear and anger for their personal benefit.

"The danger is, as ever with these things, unintended consequences." So wrote Prime Minister Tony Blair to President George W. Bush in 2002, as Bush prepared to invade Iraq. Blair's unstinting support of US policy, notwithstanding numerous unknowns and acknowledged large-scale obstacles, is more than a case of over-optimism or misplaced friendship. For as the Chilcot Commission has just concluded after a seven-year long investigation of British policy, bad judgment was multiplied by hubris, a deeply flawed decision-making process and an unquestioned faith in the ability of military power to resolve political and economic problems.

Jul 11

Fighting for Minds of Youth in Latvia

By Adomas Abromaitis, Truthout | Op-Ed

The most disappointing consequence of Brexit for foreign residents living in the UK has become the unexpected rise of xenophobia. According to the behavior of locals, the European Union's (EU) open door policy has completely failed. Brits have made it clear that foreigners are not welcome. Not only immigrants from conflict areas, but people from Poland and Baltic states face insults or even physical violence, hear offensive words and the call to pack their bags and leave.

Jul 11

The Need to Recognize the Reality of the Israeli Occupation

By Dr. James J. Zogby, Speakout | Op-Ed

During her opening comments, DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz, spoke about "putting ourselves in others' shoes." That's what we've tried to do with our amendment. We do not often see the Arab Israeli conflict through Palestinian eyes. As Senator Sanders has made clear, there are two peoples in this conflict -- who need to be understood and whose pain needs to be recognized.

Jul 08

What the Chilcot Inquiry Really Tells Us About the War in Iraq

By Darius Shahtahmasebi, Speakout | News Analysis

Seven years following the commencement of the long-awaited Chilcot inquiry, the findings have finally been published this week. The Guardian newspaper has referred to the findings as "crushing." Russian media have taken this one step further by calling the report "damning." Despite the media's clear inability to find any positive spin on the report, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair continues to stick to his decision to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein in 2003, creating a vacuum of power which plunged Iraq into chaos.

When I saw this ESPN story about Paulette Leaphart, I thought, "She's incredible. Heroic." Leaphart, a breast cancer survivor, social worker and mother, recently walked topless for over 1,000 miles to show her double-mastectomy scars to lawmakers in Washington, DC, and put a face to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who still struggle to pay for health care, and did it -- out of necessity, with her eight-year-old daughter in tow. I wanted people to know about her.

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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.

At its Orlando, Florida, meeting last weekend, the Democratic National Committee platform committee voted down a proposed amendment to include single-payer health care in the party platform by a vote of 92 to 62, even though public support for single-payer includes 81 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of US residents. As Michael Lighty of National Nurses United said at the time: "If this is controversial in this room, it is the only room of Democrats in which it is controversial." Hillary Clinton's whips in the room were urging on the negative votes.

I am sitting at the foot of the north stairs of the Washington State Capitol, outside Gov. Jay Inslee's office. I am one of 17 parents and grandparents who are here in the early part of a three-day fast forclimate and our children's future. We are joined by a number of others fasting at home. We share many feelings. Grief over the many losses our world faces because our parental generations have not honestly addressed theclimate crisis. Deep concern for what we are leaving our children and grandchildren. Even a measure of hope that our modest act of self-denial can have an impact.

On Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino's official website, he promises to lead the fight against government corruption: "New York government is ranked as the most corrupt in America. It is a disgraceful distinction." But it seems that Astorino is part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. Astorino issued a revocable license to the Houston, Texas, based oil pipeline company Spectra Energy Partners, LP, to expand the existing Algonquin Pipeline through Westchester County's Blue Mountain Reservation, ignoring the proper channels of the parkland alienation process, which would require a vote at the state level for approval. For this, it appears Astorino was amply compensated. 

This has been the mantra of market advocates for many years under the theory of consumer-directed health care (CDHC), which posits that patients will be more judicious in their use of health care if they have "more skin in the game" (ie. through more cost-sharing). It has been repeated so often and for so long as to become a meme: a self-replicating myth or slogan that by constant repetition becomes part of everyday language, without regard to its merit.

In an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a surrogate for Donald Trump (the former being a millionaire and the latter a billionaire), would like you to believe they know the mindset of blue-collar Americans. News flash: They don't. Simply put, people like Senator Santorum and Trump know how to exploit blue-collar fear and anger for their personal benefit.

"The danger is, as ever with these things, unintended consequences." So wrote Prime Minister Tony Blair to President George W. Bush in 2002, as Bush prepared to invade Iraq. Blair's unstinting support of US policy, notwithstanding numerous unknowns and acknowledged large-scale obstacles, is more than a case of over-optimism or misplaced friendship. For as the Chilcot Commission has just concluded after a seven-year long investigation of British policy, bad judgment was multiplied by hubris, a deeply flawed decision-making process and an unquestioned faith in the ability of military power to resolve political and economic problems.

Jul 11

Fighting for Minds of Youth in Latvia

By Adomas Abromaitis, Truthout | Op-Ed

The most disappointing consequence of Brexit for foreign residents living in the UK has become the unexpected rise of xenophobia. According to the behavior of locals, the European Union's (EU) open door policy has completely failed. Brits have made it clear that foreigners are not welcome. Not only immigrants from conflict areas, but people from Poland and Baltic states face insults or even physical violence, hear offensive words and the call to pack their bags and leave.

Jul 11

The Need to Recognize the Reality of the Israeli Occupation

By Dr. James J. Zogby, Speakout | Op-Ed

During her opening comments, DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz, spoke about "putting ourselves in others' shoes." That's what we've tried to do with our amendment. We do not often see the Arab Israeli conflict through Palestinian eyes. As Senator Sanders has made clear, there are two peoples in this conflict -- who need to be understood and whose pain needs to be recognized.

Jul 08

What the Chilcot Inquiry Really Tells Us About the War in Iraq

By Darius Shahtahmasebi, Speakout | News Analysis

Seven years following the commencement of the long-awaited Chilcot inquiry, the findings have finally been published this week. The Guardian newspaper has referred to the findings as "crushing." Russian media have taken this one step further by calling the report "damning." Despite the media's clear inability to find any positive spin on the report, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair continues to stick to his decision to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein in 2003, creating a vacuum of power which plunged Iraq into chaos.

When I saw this ESPN story about Paulette Leaphart, I thought, "She's incredible. Heroic." Leaphart, a breast cancer survivor, social worker and mother, recently walked topless for over 1,000 miles to show her double-mastectomy scars to lawmakers in Washington, DC, and put a face to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who still struggle to pay for health care, and did it -- out of necessity, with her eight-year-old daughter in tow. I wanted people to know about her.