News & Views | 12.18.14
Maya Schenwar, Truthout: Even as officials eschew “drug war” language, many states’ actions in response to the heroin panic have taken the same old tack. Overwhelming, well-publicized evidence that mandatory minimums do not reduce crime has apparently been cast aside in the swirl of the heroin scare.
Lilia D. Monzó and Peter McLaren, Truthout: Racism is exacerbated through a capitalist production process that teaches us that some people have a God-given right to pursue their own economic and social interests without regard for others’ right to thrive in the world, free of fear for their own survival, and with dignity and freedom. The antidote is red love.
Robert Naiman, Truthout: A left-right coalition, supported by the president and public opinion, could successfully push Congress to end the Cuba embargo.
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Kevin Berends, Black Agenda Report: Despite thousands of calls and emails, neither Barack Obama nor Attorney General Eric Holder has agreed to meet with the mothers of slain boys and men. The women advocate for changing existing laws providing loopholes that allow police to kill their children with impunity.
Marc Yaggi, Truthout: Disasters on our waterways have been occurring at an unprecedented rate in a climate of lax government regulations. In February, 140,000 tons of toxic coal ash sludge and wastewater leaked into North Carolina’s Dan River, highlighting why boots on the ground activism is crucial.
Pam Bailey, Truthout: Is there a helpful way to respond when you encounter one of the approximately 578,424 people who are homeless on any given night in the United States?
Nick Fillmore, Truthout: With yet another United Nations climate change conference making very little real progress, a near-miracle will be required if countries are to reach a meaningful and binding global agreement on carbon emissions at next year’s conference in Paris.
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism: The restructuring of the economy to save the banks at the expense of pretty much everyone else has hurt some former members of the top 1% and even the 0.1%. The fact that economic distress has moved pretty high up the food chain is a sign that this recovery isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.
Nancy A. Heitzeg, Critical Mass Progress: As “criminal justice reform” continues to capture public attention, we must never stop asking the hard questions. Ask early and often, because once these measures are enacted, it may be too late.
Lindsey Konkel, Environmental Health News: In New England, medical researchers are now uncovering clues that appear to link some cases of the lethal Lou Gehrig’s disease to people’s proximity to lakes and coastal waters – and they suspect that toxic blooms of blue-green algae may play a role.
Rebecca Rehr, OtherWords: Federal rules are so weak that the fracking industry faces no national obligation to reveal which chemicals it uses in the process. Yet many of the chemicals widely believed to be used, such as formaldehyde and benzene, are known carcinogens that don’t belong in our air and water.
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: The United States had a genuinely good employment report earlier this month, and we’re finally seeing some actual wage growth. Good news can turn into bad news, however, if it encourages complacency.
All Executions Are “Botched” Because Capital Punishment Is Inhumane
Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: Despite the outrage of the media and politicians at “botched” executions, there is no way to make capital punishment humane and morally acceptable.
GOP Lawmaker Wants a Woman to Get Permission From the Father Before Having an Abortion
Jim Hightower: Thinking of Amazon Workers This Holiday Season
Jon Stewart Dismantles Sean Hannity’s Racism Yet Again
How Torture Puts Americans at Risk
Arctic Still Heating Up Twice as Fast as Rest of Planet
US Executes Fewer Prisoners, but Deaths Are More Brutal
Here’s All the Plastic in the Ocean, Measured in Whales
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: Academic exile seems like more than a reprieve. Instead it’s a kind of public space where a new language, understanding of politics and new forms of solidarity can at least be nurtured among the displaced.
Joe Brewer, Truthout: People understand that voting alone will not magically change a system that has been decades in the making. The system must be dismantled and evolve into new configurations of civic participation and collective action.
John Pilger, Truthout: The United States is pursuing Julian Assange, with the help of the UK and Swedish governments, because WikiLeaks exposed US crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mildred Pitts Walter, Truthout: Some may say they had nothing to do with slavery, that they are not racist and not guilty. However, we have all participated in or observed and allowed institutions and other individuals to perpetuate racism in this nation. There must be acknowledgement of wrong to another human being, admission of racism and willingness to change to achieve reconciliation.
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism: One of the reasons that private equity has managed to flourish is that its biggest investor group is what is traditionally referred to as dumb money: public pension funds, which account for 25 percent of industry assets.
Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch: In the wake of the midterm elections, Republican energy hawks are ascendant. They are preparing to put pressure on a president already presiding over a largely “drill-baby-drill” administration to take the last constraints off the development of North American fossil fuel reserves.
Robin Marty, Care2: With a short lame-duck session to finish first, 2015 already looks like a legislative session that will be full of butting heads, dueling policies and outside action groups hoping to see politicians represent their demands. Will anything actually get accomplished, though?
Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now!: President Obama is considering issuing an executive action that could protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Obama’s executive actions will not provide any formal, lasting immigration status, but many immigrants will receive work permits.
Michael Winship, Moyers & Company: Since President Obama made a strong statement in support of net neutrality, opposition from the telecom and cable companies and their supporters in Congress has countered the initial, intense burst of enthusiasm from the media reform community.
In today‘s On the News segment: Neuroscience may understand how another round of new climate deniers got elected to Congress; next time you visit a salon, your hairstyle may come with a side of toxic chemicals; a Texas oil regulator says she won’t respect the will of the voters; and more.
It Should Be Illegal for Corporations to Pay CEOs More Than the Companies Pay in Income Taxes, but They Do
Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: A report released todayindicates, “Of America’s 30 largest corporations, seven (23 percent) paid their CEOs more than they paid in federal income taxes last year.”
Ferguson: There Is No Way That This Ends Well
Fracking to Be Permitted in Largest National Forest on the East Coast
Comet Landing 2014: Rosetta Probe Philae Discovers Organic Molecules on Comet
Bill Cosby Loses Control: Comedian No Longer Dictating the Narrative – and It’s About Time
Why Republicans Can’t Quit the Government Shutdown Game
Here’s What’s Happening With the Big Keystone Pipeline Vote
Do Wars Really Defend the United States’ Freedom?
Mark Karlin, Truthout: To be a radical and revolutionary artist is to be defiant of any imposition of form or content by any economic system, artistic academy or political status quo.
John Weeks, Truthout: The TPP represents not “freer” trade, but re-regulation of trade to entrench corporate profit making. Economist John Weeks skewers the free trade dogma that is the ideological justification and corporate sales pitch for neoliberal globalization.
Robin Marty, Truthout: While clinics are being shut down throughout the country by restrictive and medically unnecessary state laws, patients may soon learn that their last hope – their own private physician – has lost the opportunity to provide abortion care as well.
Ted Asregadoo, Truthout: Ayanna Banks Harris talks about Marissa Alexander, a jailed mother who faces a possible 60 years in prison – in a state that has Stand Your Ground laws on the books – for firing a warning shot to keep her estranged husband from attacking her.
Victoria Bassetti, Brennan Center for Justice: If money is speech, then rich people have more speech and more say in our political system, and that is anathema to our conception of how a democracy works.
Paul R. Pillar, Consortium News: Neocons and other hardliners are still fanning the flames of confrontation with Iran, but the recent thawing of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is making the hawks’ work more difficult.
Laura Garcia and Molly Rusk, Yes! Magazine: On May 15, the city of Portland, Oregon got rid of $9 million, or 25 percent, of its investments in Walmart. The initiative also prohibits the city from purchasing Walmart bonds in the future.
Lois Beckett, ProPublica: How many Americans have been shot over the past 10 years? No one really knows. We don’t even know if the number of people shot annually has gone up or down over that time.
Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report: Black American revolutionary worker James Boggs firmly believed that the destructive impact of automation was not a problem of technology itself, but rather of the capitalist system that employed the technology.
Jill Richardson, OtherWords: Pom Wonderful made such outlandish claims that the Federal Trade Commission stepped in and told them to cut it out.
Serena Nanda, The Indypendent: From Miami to West Palm Beach, Florida’s Gold Coast is not just paradise for the 1%, but also for middle- and working-class people. A closer look at the region highlights its massive inequalities.
Barbara Ellis writes an open letter to Warren Buffett about an alternative to investing in railcars that carry explosive fracked fuel; James and Jean Anton say that the bosses lost in Vermont with the passage of a GMO food labeling proposition; Dr. James Zogby expresses disappointment over John Kerry’s walk-back of his “apartheid state” comment; Richard Waddell argues that “surfer dude” Jason Greenslate does deserve food stamps; Bill Henderson wonders why the Obama administration continues to miseducate Americans about the global scope of climate change; Zachary Norris and Eveline Shen decry the treatment of struggling mother Shanesha Taylor who faces criminal charges for leaving her kids in a car during a job interview; James Mitchell wonders what John Lennon, a target for government scrutiny, would say now about mass surveillance; the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions characterizes the deadly mining disaster in Soma, Turkey as murder; Manash Bhattacharjee exposes what’s at stake in India’s general elections; Dr. Michael I. Niman excoriates the Obama response to looming environmental destruction; and more.
The Buzzflash commentary for Truthout will return soon.
Everyone Should Know Just How Much the Government Lied to Defend the NSA
Switzerland Rejects World’s Highest Minimum Wage
For the First Time, a Judge Halts the Force-Feeding of a Guantánamo Detainee
The United States’ Homeless: The Rise of Tent City, USA
Growing Evidence Points to Systemic Troubles in VA Health Care System
Why Are Kids Being Tried in Kangaroo Courts?
How Thomas Piketty and Elizabeth Warren Demolished the Conventional Wisdom on Debt
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