Facebook Slider


Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!
Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary (5334)

Education 0525wrp(Photo: Alan Levine / Flickr)


As a Black woman growing up in predominantly white neighborhoods and schools in Dallas, one of the most segregated cities in the US, I have since spent my professional life working to increase access to educational and economic resources for marginalized Black communities.

In that process, I've intimately experienced the symbiotic relationship between the systemic oppression of Black communities and the concentration of power -- including financial, political and social capital -- in predominantly white communities.

As managing director of Early Matters Dallas -- a program engaging stakeholders including parents, community business and philanthropic leaders to increase access to better early childhood outcomes -- I have learned that power, when used competently, expands. It is a false assumption that power is forever limited as a rule and not a fluid commodity.

Thursday, 24 May 2018 06:42

Embracing Kids Instead of Arming Them

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTkoehler 5 24 18What happens to kids who grow up feeling valued? Fabrice Florin

Let’s open the classroom doors -- all of them. Open up the schools, open up America, looking for the lost souls.

"Woo hoo!" he shouted as he fired off his guns. By the time he was done, ten more people were dead. Eight students, two teachers. 

More sacred lives tossed to the God of War.

The murders at Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18 were "the fourth-deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. public school in modern history," according to Reuters, as though such stats help us grasp what happened, and why. Perhaps in a way they accomplish the opposite -- converting the deaths to numbers, filing them away in the national memory as the news cycle moves on.

But we all know the next horror headline is waiting to be written.



cline 5 24 18Policy makers must work to end the criminalization of homelessness. scribbletaylor

Justin Abbott was sleeping under an overpass on a stormy Florida afternoon when two police officers approached, woke him up and told him to leave. Abbott refused. Things took a turn for the worse as the officers attackedAbbott for refusing to leave, sending all three to the hospital. Abbott ultimately went to jail, arrested for trespassing and resisting a law enforcement officer with violence.

The officers involved in the encounter were cleared of any wrongdoing. The encounter only made the news after two witnesses passing by captured it on their cell phones and posted it to social media. 

Unfortunately, police encounters like this one are a possibility for many homeless individuals in the United States. Actions associated with homelessness, such as panhandling or resisting an officer for refusing to leave a specific area, lead to arrest and jail. A 2015 report noted that as many as 15 percent of Americans incarcerated each year report being homeless. Indeed, homeless individuals are re-arrested at rates higher than individuals with stable housing.

Simply having a criminal record can be a bar to obtaining adequate housing or employment, which helps fuel the cycle of homelessness.


Yemen 0523wrp optA malnourished little girl with her mother in Yemen. (Photo: lastextremeanonymous / Flickr)On May 10, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia informed the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Saudi Air Defenses intercepted two Houthi ballistic missiles launched from inside Yemeni territory targeting densely populated civilian areas in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. No one was killed, but an earlier attack, on March 26, 2018, killed one Egyptian worker in Riyadh and an April 28 attack killed a Saudi man.

Unlike the unnumbered victims of the Saudis' own ongoing bombardment of Yemen, these two precious, irreplaceable lives are easy to document and count. Death tolls have become notoriously difficult to count accurately in Yemen. Three years of U.S.-supported blockades and bombardments have plunged the country into immiseration and chaos.

In their May 10th request, the Saudis asked the UN to implement "all relevant Security Council resolutions in order to prevent the smuggling of additional weapons to the Houthis, and to hold violators of the arms embargo accountable." The letter accuses Iran of furnishing the Houthi militias with stockpiles of ballistic missiles, UAVs and sea mines. The Saudis' letter omits mention of massive U.S. weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


Wealth 0523wrp opt(Photo: TMAB2003 / Flickr)In the fierce labor wars of the last century, industrial barons employed Pinkertons and other goons to bloody the heads of laborers or simply gun down those struggling for a share of economic and political power. It was brutal, but organized workers persevered and eventually gained a share of economic and political power. From their sweat and blood, America's middle class flowered.

Today, the bands of nouveau corporate royalists (with coats of arms bearing such names as Mercer, DeVos and Koch) are determined to take back those middle-class gains of yesteryear. They are working to achieve this through a coordinated, long-term campaign to crush the ability of working people to unionize, bust America's middle-class wage structure, eliminate job security and emasculate government as a force capable of controlling corporate avarice and arrogance.

These latter-day royalists are employing a more sophisticated thuggery than brute force (though don't think they wouldn't resort to it). Instead, their goons are more likely to be in Gucci than brogans, using dollars and computers rather than clubs and guns. They have been recruiting, financing, training, deploying and coordinating thousands of political operatives to work through hundreds of front groups, law firms, think tanks, PACs, lobbying offices, media and PR consortiums, faux academic centers, astroturf campaigns and, of course , compliant politicians.


800px Bears Alaska 3Brown bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

The Trump administration has proposed new regulations to overturn an Obama-era rule that protects iconic predators in Alaska's national preserves.

Wildlife protection organizations condemned the move, as it would allow hunters to go to den sites to shoot wolf pups and bear cubs, lure and kill bears over bait, hunt bears with dogs and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou. Such hunting methods were banned on federal lands in 2015 that are otherwise permitted by the state.

The proposed rule, posted Tuesday in the federal register and pushed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, "would remove a regulatory provision issued by the National Park Service (NPS) in 2015 that prohibited certain sport hunting practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska."



hauser 5 22 18The FTC should have appointed a leader of the Bureau of Consumer Protection with a proven commitment to consumer protection.

Only in a world in which the head of the Environmental Protection Agency treats the environment like an enemy of his family does the latest news from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) make any semblance of sense.

On May 16, Trump's handpicked FTC Chairman Joseph Simons and his fellow Republican commissioners installed revolving door veteran Andrew Smith to a senior leadership position at the FTC. Smith, who has spent several years specializing in advising firms which harm consumers, will now run the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

"Harm consumers" might sound like an exaggeration, but a glance at Andrew Smith's client list reads like a "who's who" of the worst consumer rip-offs of the past 18 months, including representing Facebook, Uber and Equifax. 

It's a wonder Wells Fargo seems to have never sought input from Smith.

The FTC's "About the FTC" page identifies as its mission: "[w]orking to protect consumers."


Meat 0521wrp optMeat mural. (Photo: b.ug / Flickr)Missouri state lawmakers passed an omnibus agriculture bill on Thursday that includes a provision prohibiting plant-based products from being labeled as "meat."

This measure would ban companies from using the term "plant-based meat" to describe their products. It would also prevent any future lab-grown products that hit the market from using the labeling.

The change was approved on a 125-22 vote and was backed by the state's pork producers, the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.

Critics see the act as an attempt from the beef lobby to clamp down on the $5 billion "fake" meat industry, which has boomed from the public's increasing appetite for healthier, more humane and environmentally sustainable food products.


Fam 0521wrp optFamilies separated at the US-Mexican border. (Photo: BBC World Service / Flickr)Families are being split up in the name of "zero tolerance" immigration policies. Jeff Sessions said, "[Your] child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border." John Kelly, White House chief of staff, added, "The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever." Yes, he said "whatever."

This isn't much different from slave-trading days. People then were forced INTO the country and families separated; now they're forced OUT OF the country and families separated. In both cases families have done whatever is necessary, in their own personal worlds, to survive and stay together and find happiness. And in both cases an institution of authority has made rules on behalf of the better-positioned segment of society, rules which impact the lives of those deemed somehow less valuable.

This may not be the deadliest act committed by American leaders, but it's incomparably vile in its cruelty toward human beings who have been living among us, sometimes for many years. For conservatives who are always preaching the importance of stable families, it's shocking to see the little opposition to breaking up and turning out so many loving mothers and fathers and children.


Stack 0518wrp opt(Photo: Billy Wilson / Flickr)April 2018 was the 400th consecutive month of global temperatures above the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday.

That means the last time Earth was cooler than that average was December 1984—the same month Band Aid released "Do They Know It's Christmas."

This three-decade streak is not some fluke, NOAA scientists remarked.

"It's mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming," NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN. "Climate change is real, and we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future."

The rising temps could be explained by natural causes such as an El Niño, but as Sanchez noted, "if you were to remove the human factor, you would still see a variability, but it would be up and down."

Page 1 of 381