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Five Ways Moore and the GOP Could Steal the Alabama Election

Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally in Midland, Alabama, on December 11, 2017. (Photo: Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images)

Just hours after a court in Montgomery, Alabama, ruled that copies of ballots from today’s election should be saved, GOP state officials, in a private meeting with an Alabama Supreme Court judge, obtained a stay on the ballot protection. If Democrat Doug Jones loses, it will be a victory not only for Roy Moore, but also for Jim Crow.

Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally in Midland, Alabama, on December 11, 2017. (Photo: Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images)

I hope you savored the moment. Yesterday, Monday, December 11, voting rights attorney John Brakey won a court order — in Montgomery, Alabama, no less — requiring counties to keep copies of their ballots after the voting Tuesday.

Then, by 6 pm Alabama time, the voting rights victory dance came to an end. GOP state officials, in an “ex-parte” (i.e. private) meeting with an Alabama Supreme Court judge, obtained a “stay” of the ballot protection, effectively killing it. Alabama counties may now destroy ballot images, destroy any record of the true vote.

But they’ll tell you the winner: Likely Republican Judge Roy Moore, the former chief of the court that just blocked any possible challenge to a suspect election.

Even without Judge Moore’s cronies taking away this protection of voter ballots, the GOP had other methods already in motion to prevent a true and fair election. If the Democrat Doug Jones loses, it won’t be to Judge Moore; rather, it will be to Jim Crow and the little cheats perfected by the GOP.

Ballot-Box Stuffing: Blocked

The TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) that Brakey temporarily won may have stopped what I call the “Baldwin Ballot Bandit” trick or, as my co-investigator Bobby Kennedy calls it, “good old ballot-box stuffing.”

Background: In 2002, Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman …read more

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This Hanukkah, Light a Candle for Gaza

Palestinian children do their homework during a power cut in an impoverished area in Gaza City, on September 11, 2017. (Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty Images)

Palestinian children do their homework during a power cut in an impoverished area in Gaza City, on September 11, 2017. (Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty Images)

The story of Hanukkah underscores a powerful truth: Oppressed people will always find the strength to resist, even in the bleakest of times. On the 10th anniversary of Israel’s intensification of the Gaza blockade and the Gaza Massacre, which killed nearly 1,500 Palestinians, including over 300 children, we should light a candle to commemorate the spirit of the Palestinian struggle against all odds.

Palestinian children do their homework during a power cut in an impoverished area in Gaza City, on September 11, 2017. (Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty Images)Palestinian children do their homework during a power cut in an impoverished area in Gaza City, on September 11, 2017. (Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty Images)

The festival of Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, a Jewish priestly family from the Hasmonean dynasty, over the Seleucid Empire in 2nd century BCE. According to the Talmud, when the Maccabees entered the desecrated Temple in Jerusalem and attempted to relight the menorah, there was only enough oil for one day. But when they lit the fire, a miracle occurred and it lasted for eight full days.

What’s the meaning of this simple parable? Some say that the image of increasing light is appropriate to the dark winter season — a time in which many religious traditions celebrate festivals by kindling lights. Others say that this story underscores a powerful political/spiritual truth: Even in the bleakest of times, an oppressed people will somehow find the strength to continue the struggle.

When I light my …read more

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A Massive Blow to Social Movements if Our Voices Are Able to Be Blocked

Janine Jackson: The Boston Globe technology writer says concerns about the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality are “overhyped”: Probably what will happen, if the agency eliminates the rules that keep the internet a level playing field, as it seems set to do, is…not much. In the same column, Hiawatha Bray describes net neutrality as “regulatory overkill on a massive scale.” So, a “massive scale” thing whose elimination will nevertheless not mean much.

Should, for example, a company like Comcast block access to, say, Amazon Prime video, so subscribers have to use Comcast’s service, Bray says, “millions of angry customers” would just “switch to a rival service.” So your head’s already well-scratched before Bray gets to the presumably ingenuous question: “What internet company would put itself in the crosshairs of public outrage just to gain a slight and temporary advantage over a rival?”

You may chuckle, but this is the level of argument in support of the FCC’s effort to repeal net neutrality rules. The truth is, advocates have everything on our side — public opinion, legal precedent, actual understanding of how the internet works. What opponents have, though, is corporate power, and its government supporters. So what now? Joining us to discuss where we are in this critical fight is Erin Shields, national field organizer for internet rights at the Center for Media Justice, one of the front-line groups on the issue. Welcome to CounterSpin, Erin Shields.

Erin Shields: Thank you for having me.

I suspect CounterSpin listeners have a healthy mistrust of media corporations claiming that they would never go against the public interest for a silly …read more

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Black Snake Chronicles: Wiindigoo Economics and the Return of Keystone XL

As the plauged Keystone Pipeline spilled 200,000 gallons of oil near the Sisseton Dakota reservation, on November 20, the Nebraska Public Service Commission issued a convoluted permit approval, allowing TransCanada to route the line through part of the state. In the meantime, the Dakota, Lakota and their allies stand strong.

That same day hundreds gathered for the Gathering to Protect the Sacred — a reaffirmation of the international agreement among sovereign indigenous nations to protect the environment from tar-sands projects. The Treaty to Protect the Sacred, first signed in 2013, was signed again. “Nothing has changed at all in our defense of land, air and water of the Oceti Sakowin,” Faith Spotted Eagle told the crowd. “If anything, it has become more focused, stronger and more adamant after Standing Rock.”

The assembly — sponsored by the Braveheart Society of Women, Wiconi Un Tipi, Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee and Dakota Rural Action — brought together 200 water protectors. Oyate Win Brushbreaker, a 97-year-old elder reminded those present, “Reaffirm the boundaries of that treaty. Keep out that black snake you have been talking about.”

The Keystone and its Spill (s)

This is a story about Wiindigoo Economics — Cannibal or Wasichu economics, if you like — an economic system that destroys the source of its wealth, Mother Earth.

We can say that it begins in the United States, where a fossil-fuel economy rules, or we can say that it begins in Canada, where 90 percent of the value of the Canadian dollar, the loonie, is based on tar sands. Regardless, an undiversified economy is a stupid idea. Even with all its oil company allies, Canada …read more

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A Movement for the Toughest Among Us

My name is Mashyla Buckmaster. I’m 28 years old. I’m the proud single mom of a beautiful one-year-old named Ella. As of today, I’m celebrating almost two years clean and sober. I live in Westport — in Grays Harbor County, Washington. I’ve spent five years of my life homeless. Once during my homelessness, a neighbor tried to assault me by throwing a log through the window of the empty building where I was squatting, because he was so enraged that homeless people were living on his block.

I got Section 8 housing after my daughter was born, just before my organization began providing cold weather shelter to our homeless members. For 110 days last winter, Chaplains on the Harbor hosted about 20 people in our church — most of them millennials who caught a record trying to survive in a county with no good jobs, no decent affordable housing, horrible healthcare, and plenty of heroin.

Business and property owners were outraged by our cold weather shelter. Our homeless members were stalked by police. Our pastor was threatened with vigilante violence. The same man who’d tried to attack me during my own time squatting also assaulted a 19-year-old homeless member of our community, on church property, and later attempted to run him over with a truck.

I volunteered to stay overnight at our church and keep people safe while they slept. I stayed there through the nights while the threats continued to pour in. I stayed because my community stepped up to save my life, when the rest of society didn’t care whether I lived or died, and now it was …read more

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As Mueller Closes in on Trump, the Right Pushes Back: Will He Be Fired?

 Special counsel Robert Mueller (left) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Special counsel Robert Mueller arrives at the US Capitol for closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017, in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., appeared on CNN on Sunday and laid out the state of the investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in stark, simple terms:

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It is. I would also add, as I wrote last week, that numerous members of the Trump transition team apparently knew that Michael Flynn told the Russian ambassador to tell his government not to react to the sanctions the Obama administration had just imposed upon them. That’s damning too. The Russians were essentially told, “Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you aren’t punished for helping us win the presidency.”

Whether laws were broken, beyond the charges filed so far against four top Trump advisers, we don’t yet know. But it’s clear that special counsel Robert Mueller is pursuing leads in a number of directions, from possible financial crimes to obstruction of justice to conspiracy. With former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying and agreeing to cooperate, this investigation has moved beyond the campaign to the transition and the White House. It’s very serious.

And as anyone could have predicted, it was inevitable that the president’s supporters in the media and the Republican Party would start to push back and try to delegitimize the investigation …read more

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Trump Takes a Stand for Corruption — by Withdrawing the US From Anti-Corruption Pact

The degree of corruption displayed by the Trump administration is on a scale that is hard to keep track of, and hits so close to home that we often forget about the wider global implications of having an incompetent, at best, and more likely a traitorous “president”. As many of us have realized since Day 1, the antics of the Distractor-in-Chief have served as excellent cover for his real agenda: covertly implementing pro-corporate policies.

In this vein, another international issue that flew under the radar recently was the withdrawal of the US last month from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as an implementing country. Through President Barack Obama, the US joined the “Anti-Corruption Pact,” as it has been called, in 2011.

Now, Trump’s hasty decision to pull out sends an unmistakable signal: corruption is tolerated if it helps line corporate pockets. According to Trump and lots of Republicans, anything regulating business is bad, even transparency. But the reality is that removing the US from EITI benefits no one.

Launched in 2002 by then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, EITI helps address the systemic corruption in countries whose GDP relies primarily on resource extraction. More than 52 countries across the world have joined the pact, which imposes international standards on business transparency so as to hinder illicit payments such as bribes or other forms of corruption. The basic idea of the Anti-Corruption Pact is simple: if extractive firms and corporations are forced to publicly disclose their contributions to government, then citizens can hold them accountable. The agreement is designed to help …read more

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The Republican Tax Bill Is a Poison Pill That Kills the New Deal

(Photo: Pgiam / Getty Images)

Many Trump supporters thought tax reform meant relief for the “forgotten Americans” he talked about on the campaign trail. But the GOP had other plans, intending to take a wrecking ball to the system of government that has been in place since 1933 and replace it with one based in their own ideology. If the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” becomes law, they will have succeeded.

(Photo: Pgiam / Getty Images)

Shortly after President Trump took office, House Speaker Paul Ryan could feel just how close he was to finally achieving the goal he and his party colleagues had dreamed about for decades. With Republicans in uncontested power in Washington, he tweeted, they had a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enact real comprehensive tax reform and get our economy moving.” Many Trump supporters thought reform meant relief for the “forgotten Americans” he talked about on the campaign trail. But Republicans had other plans, intending to take a wrecking ball to the system of American government that has been in place since 1933 and replace it with one based in their own ideology. If the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” becomes law, they will have succeeded.

It is hard to overstate the significance of this bill. It is a poison pill, killing the New Deal. The series of laws put in place by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a Democratic Congress in the 1930s regulated business so employers could no longer abuse their workers or destroy the environment. It provided basic social welfare to support the elderly and infirm, and it developed …read more

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On Eve of Alabama Senate Election, a Look at Roy Moore's Racism, Homophobia and Religious Fanaticism

Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore are locked in a tight and increasingly controversial race to fill the Alabama Senate seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The election is on Tuesday. A Democrat hasn’t won a US Senate race in Alabama for 20 years. Polling shows the two candidates are neck and neck, despite Moore being accused by at least nine women of sexually harassing or assaulting them when they were teenagers. President Donald Trump has repeatedly endorsed Roy Moore, including on Friday, when he held a rally in Pensacola, Florida, which is 20 miles from the Alabama border and in the same media market as Mobile, Alabama. Roy Moore has had a long and highly controversial political career in Alabama that’s been marked by racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and religious fanaticism. Over the weekend, the Doug Jones campaign orchestrated a massive get-out-the-vote effort, particularly targeting African-American voters. A number of prominent African-American politicians, including New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Alabama Congressmember Terri Sewell and former Massachusetts Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, all campaigned for Jones over the weekend. For more, we speak with Peter Montgomery, senior fellow at People for the American Way. His most recent piece is headlined “There’s More Than One Roy Moore Scandal.”

Please check back later for full transcript.

…read more

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