Archive | Truth-out

Philando Castile's Murder Shows How the System Fails Everyone

Like Valerie Castile, I’m mad as hell.

Following the acquittal of her son Philando Castile’s killer — Jeronimo Yanez, who was a policer officer in a Minnesota suburb when he shot into the vehicle where Castile was a passenger — posts trending “The system continues to fail Black people” saturated social media.

It’s not just Black people whom The System is failing. White people, The System is also failing you.

It is a fact that Black and Brown people are herded through the prison system at higher rates, are killed by police officers at higher rates, and are not allowed the same privileges in this country as most of you, especially when it comes to receiving justice. That is the reality the country has been built on. People who are not White are treated as less than human because The System was designed by and for White people.

Everyone in this country has been socialized for generations that Whiteness is central and supreme. That Brown and Black are worth less.

So how does a system designed to benefit Whites also exploit and fail them?

To protect the White supremacy narrative, you all have been duped.

By deception. You have been lied to. The education you have received, that we all have received, omits the contributions of Black and Brown people. It teaches that these people are slaves, vagrants, animals, invaluable, and not worthy of compassion. These lies have been reinforced in all of our institutions — schools, legislatures, corporate industry — and courts and policing.

To protect the White supremacy narrative, you all have been duped. When you make excuses for the racial injustices or rationalize them — or, worse, cannot see them — you too have been failed by The System.

When you say “all lives matter” to silence the wail of those declaring …read more

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Why the South Still Has Such High HIV Rates

Population data from Census Bureau. (Source: CDC)

Increased funding, targeted prevention efforts and better treatment have helped to slow down the HIV epidemic in the United States. The number of new HIV-positive cases has decreased significantly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the number of new HIV diagnoses declining by 19 percent from 2005 to 2014.

This is not the case in many parts of the country, however. As AIDS and public health researchers, we are among those who are alarmed by areas in the southern United States where the numbers of cases have not declined and even more by the areas in which increases have occurred.

In particular, we have seen some disturbing trends in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where we do research on AIDS and health disparities. These are similar to trends in other nonurban settings in the southern United States where a majority of African-Americans live.

Southern Nonurban Black Communities in Crisis

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, the number of new HIV infections has increased from 2014 to 2015, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In fact, Prince George’s County leads the state in the number of new HIV diagnoses, having surpassed Baltimore City in 2013.

With rates that are 20 times higher than those of whites in 2015, African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by HIV in Prince George’s County. In 2015, African-Americans constituted 86 percent of all new HIV diagnoses and 85 percent of the total population living with HIV.

Moreover, engagement in HIV care remains at critically low levels among those living in Prince George’s County. Only 49 percent of people living with HIV are retained in care and 37 percent have achieved viral suppression, when a person’s HIV viral load is undetectable or is …read more

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As Jon Ossoff Loses Georgia Special Election, Where Do Democrats Go From Here in Challenging GOP?

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In the most expensive congressional race in history, Republican Karen Handel has defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election in Georgia. We go to Atlanta for response and look at the role of gerrymandering in shaping the outcome of the race. We speak to Georgia state Senator Nan Orrock and Rev. Raphael Warnock, the chair of the New Georgia Project, which conducts voter registration and outreach to the state’s growing population of color. He is also the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, which was the spiritual home of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Georgia, where the Republicans have pulled off a victory in the most expensive congressional race in history. In a special election in Georgia’s 6th District, Republican Karen Handel won nearly 53 percent of the vote, defeating her challenger, Democrat Jon Ossoff, to be — to fill the seat left vacant after Tom Price resigned to become secretary of health and human services. The candidates and outside groups spent more than $55 million on the race, a record-shattering amount. While the seat has been held by a Republican for decades, Democrats were hoping to pull off an upset in the suburban Atlanta district where President Trump’s approval rating is just 35 percent. This marks the fourth congressional race Democrats have lost since the election of Trump. Speaking Tuesday night, Handel thanked President Trump.

REP.-ELECT KAREN HANDEL: I need to also thank Speaker Ryan and the House leadership and so many of the members across this country who also united to help us hold the 6th. And a special thanks to the president of the United States.

HANDEL SUPPORTERS: …read more

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A Lesson From My Hospital Bed: For-Profit Health Care Is a Merciless Sham

(Photo: Inspiri)

(Photo: Inspiri)

My week and a half in the ICU brought home for me the power of that little insurance card in my wallet — a power it shouldn’t have. Let us relegate the for-profit health care industry to the dustbin of history and seize our right to health. Without it, our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will never be wholly possible.

(Photo: Inspiri)(Photo: Inspiri)

This piece is part of Fighting for Our Lives: The Movement for Medicare for All, a Truthout original series.

I came out of it for the first time in near darkness, couldn’t lift my arms, couldn’t lift my legs, couldn’t rise to a sitting position, and there was a breathing mask over my nose and mouth methodically forcing air down my throat. I quickly learned to inhale with its rhythm. I had no idea where or when I was. Suddenly there was a bright light in my eyes and then faces, faces, barely visible, hands touching and voices murmuring too low to comprehend. Someone fiddled with the IV in my left hand and I floated away again.

I had been sick for weeks — months, actually, if you include the pernicious insomnia — and had finally grown tired of waiting for the thing to clear itself up. My respiration sounded like a gravel truck in low gear, I had no wind, and I was falling asleep standing up multiple times a day. You know the old joke about passing out at your keyboard and typing “qqqqqqqqqqqqq” with your face? I did that twice. I took myself to …read more

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The Anatomy of a Purge: The Left Must Resist Demonization

Police patrol the scene at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park following a mass shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017.  (Photo: Al Drago / The New York Times)

The right wing’s attempts to generate panic over rising violence from the left following the shooting in Alexandria last week and articles about “left-wing extremism” in the press, which have downplayed numerous incidents of right-wing violence implicitly endorsed by Trump, hark back to previous periods of US history when the left was suppressed using similar scare tactics.

Police patrol the scene at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park following a mass shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. (Photo: Al Drago / The New York Times)

In the immediate aftermath of the Alexandria shooting on June 14, the New York Times and Vice News joined the rising chorus of right-wing outrage with two pieces denouncing growing “left-wing extremism.” They failed to mention, of course, the rising tide of blood shed due to attacks by far-right activists before and since Trump’s inauguration, the current president’s own endorsement of violence on the campaign trail or the long history of right-wing forces urging their followers to embrace Second Amendment remedies as a solution to politics they oppose. On the surface, these shoddy pieces seem driven by a desire for hits, but lurking behind these words is the very real possibility of a new political panic targeting US progressive and left organizing and action.

Throughout US history, the forces of the left have suffered from numerous political purges, usually referred to as panics or scares, each of which were incited by incidents like the Scalise shooting. The first example was the suppression of the US Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World …read more

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Nevada Organizers Hold Senator's Feet to the Fire on Health Care

Carson City WFP demonstrates at the Carson City chamber of Commerce Luncheon where both Amodei and Heller spoke promising not to repeal. (Photo: Courtesy of Carson City WFP)

The reality of the 1% is that they are there off the backs of labor. So, as working people in one of the wealthiest countries, we shouldn’t be crowdfunding our health care, says Autumn Zemke, co-chair of the Northern Nevada Working Families Party, which is putting pressure on Nevada’s Republican Senator Dean Heller to resist Trumpcare.

Carson City WFP demonstrates at the Carson City chamber of Commerce Luncheon where both Amodei and Heller spoke promising not to repeal. (Photo: Courtesy of Carson City WFP)

Since election night 2016, the streets of the US have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this ongoing “Interviews for Resistance” series, experienced organizers, troublemakers and thinkers share their insights on what works, what doesn’t, what has changed and what is still the same. Today’s interview is the 49th in the series. Click here for the most recent interview before this one.

Today we bring you a conversation about current efforts to oppose the American Health Care Act (AHCA) with Autumn Zemke, a Carson City resident who has served as the co-chair of Northern Nevada Working Families Party since November 8.

Sarah Jaffe: You guys had an action this weekend at the office of Senator Dean Heller around the health care bill. Tell us about it.

Autumn Zemke: We were planning on doing a sit-in. We weren’t allowed to even enter the building except for one person at a time. Pretty amazing. The part that I found interesting is, I went in. We were a group of three. We were going to ask if we could go up together. …read more

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Former FCC Commissioner: Net Neutrality Is a First Amendment Issue

In just a few short months, the Trump wrecking ball has pounded away at rules and regulations in virtually every government agency. The men and women the president has appointed to the Cabinet and to head those agencies are so far in sycophantic lockstep, engaged in dismantling years of protections in order to make real what White House strategist Steve Bannon infamously described as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”

The Federal Communications Commission is not immune. Its new chair, Republican Ajit Pai, embraces the Trump doctrine of regulatory devastation. “It’s basic economics,” he declared in an April 26 speech at Washington’s Newseum. “The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get.”

His goal is to stem the tide of media reform that in recent years has made significant progress for American citizens. Even as we rely more than ever on digital media for information, education and entertainment, Pai and his GOP colleagues at the FCC seek to turn back the clock and increase even more the corporate control of cyberspace.

Net neutrality, the guarantee of an internet open to all, rich or poor, without preferential treatment, was codified by the FCC in 2015. Pai — a former lawyer for Verizon — wants net neutrality reversed and has taken the first steps toward its elimination. He has abandoned media ownership rules and attacked such FCC innovations as the Lifeline program that subsidizes broadband access for low income Americans. Among other rollbacks, he also has opposed rules capping the exorbitant cost of prison phone calls (that cap was overturned on June 13 by the US Court of Appeals).

To see more stories like this, visit Moyers & Company at Truthout.

A veteran of the …read more

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Solidarity in the Health Care Struggle: A Message From the Truthout Team

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

Dear Readers,

At this moment of crisis, with the health care of 24 million people on the line, we at Truthout know that we’re all in this together. With less than a week to halt the bill that Republican senators are duplicitously developing in Washington, we know this is a critical time for our readers’ communities, movements and families. Like many of you, we could very well lose friends, family members and even staff members if this bill comes to pass.

At Truthout, we pride ourselves on creating an accessible workplace for our chronically ill and disabled staff members. We see what they and others are already up against in this society, and we are determined to do everything in our power to fuel efforts to protect them and other at-risk individuals from this act of state violence.

We are writing today to let you know that you are not alone in this fight. Journalists working on this front of struggle support you, and your efforts to make change. We prioritize stories that we believe will help sustain and uplift movements, and we know that the wellbeing and lives of millions are presently on the line. We will do all we can to deliver stories that will aid this struggle during the next week, and we intend to continue to speak to the truth of this moment: that all people are entitled to health care, and that any attempt to strip our communities of what care they have is a fundamental violation of their human rights.

In solidarity,

The Truthout Team

…read more

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