Sunday, 26 February 2017 / 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.

Feb 24

Trump's Holy War on Muslims

By Ramin Farahmandpur, Speakout | News Analysis

In a series of ill-executed maneuvers, Donald Trump began his presidency by opening fire on the innocenti. Among the president's unprecedented flurry of executive orders is one that alarmed the international community, titled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." Known as the "Muslim ban," the executive order targeted Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen -- seven majority-Muslim countries.

On January 17, Betsy DeVos, nominee for US secretary of education, went to Washington, DC, to face senators in a congressional hearing. What occurred during that hearing has left many Americans in total shock. Throughout the hearing, DeVos proved herself not only riddled with conflicts of interest and a lack of basic knowledge in education, but also a mindset that was hostile towards the public school system she was nominated to head. After her floundering on the Senate floor, DeVos was confirmed with a historic tie-breaker from Vice President Mike Pence and is now the secretary of education.

Hidden Figures, an inspirational film based on the true story of three Black women mathematicians and computers at NASA, has been nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture. But is its box-office success due, in large measure, to the way it positions racism and sexism as things of the past? The depiction of these women overcoming segregation-era odds to serve their country in winning the space race seems to offer something compelling for all audiences, especially at a time when many throughout the country feel divided.

Feb 23

On Why Crowd Size (Actually Still) Matters

By Kirk Freudenburg, Speakout | Op-Ed

It was on day one of his presidency that Donald Trump told his first spectacular lie. Basking in the glow of his inaugural ceremony, he humbly speculated that the event was attended by "a million, million and a half people." When the sheer ridiculousness of this assertion was called out by the media, President Trump's new Press Secretary Sean Spicer doubled down: "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!" -- as if the word "period" had the power to transform the facts, and make it so.

European nations have significantly seen a rise of populist parties. Along with a common stance on protectionism and immigration, these parties hold a collective admiration for President Donald Trump. Amidst a political mayhem, France, Germany and Netherlands hold elections this year, and since they represent 56 percent of the Eurozone economy, any political shifts could significantly impact the integration of the union.

The Republicans' campaign promises are coming back to haunt them as they confront the reality of dealing with a law that is supported by at least half of the population. The debate among Republicans in Congress over how to deal with the GOP's promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is splitting the party. While there is consensus to repeal it at the earliest possible time, there is great concern that the political fallout of doing so without an acceptable replacement plan will lead to dire political consequences.

Feb 17

The Real Problem With the USDA

By Ken Levy, Speakout | Op-Ed

Given the mainstream media's focus on human affairs, it is easy to forget just how many non-humans we victimize every day. And now that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has removed animal welfare inspection reports and enforcement records from its website, the few who have not forgotten will no longer be able to monitor whether even the most minimal standards of humane treatment are satisfied. The USDA's move is disgraceful but not at all surprising.

Feb 17

How to "Make America Great": Invest in Its Children

By Anne Cummings Jacopetti, Speakout | Op-Ed

Relationship is the foundation for healthy development. It continues to be crucial long after early childhood, and plays a critical role during the school years in shaping the architecture and functioning of our brains. The quality of our relationships determines the depth of our verbal, social and mathematical skills, as well as the maturity of our executive functions -- our working memory, attention span and ability to self-regulate our emotions. Children learn enthusiastically from adults they trust.

Feb 17

We Must #ResistTrump

By Bianca Jagger, Speakout | Op-Ed

On Monday, February 20, 2017, thousands of people all over the UK will come together as part of a 'Stop Trump' national day of action, to demand that the government withdraw the invitation for a Donald Trump state visit. I will be addressing the rally in Parliament Square which starts at 6 pm. I hope you will join me there -- or find your nearest rally. We must #ResistTrump. Our future depends on it.

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 thirteenth in the series. 

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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.

Feb 24

Trump's Holy War on Muslims

By Ramin Farahmandpur, Speakout | News Analysis

In a series of ill-executed maneuvers, Donald Trump began his presidency by opening fire on the innocenti. Among the president's unprecedented flurry of executive orders is one that alarmed the international community, titled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." Known as the "Muslim ban," the executive order targeted Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen -- seven majority-Muslim countries.

On January 17, Betsy DeVos, nominee for US secretary of education, went to Washington, DC, to face senators in a congressional hearing. What occurred during that hearing has left many Americans in total shock. Throughout the hearing, DeVos proved herself not only riddled with conflicts of interest and a lack of basic knowledge in education, but also a mindset that was hostile towards the public school system she was nominated to head. After her floundering on the Senate floor, DeVos was confirmed with a historic tie-breaker from Vice President Mike Pence and is now the secretary of education.

Hidden Figures, an inspirational film based on the true story of three Black women mathematicians and computers at NASA, has been nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture. But is its box-office success due, in large measure, to the way it positions racism and sexism as things of the past? The depiction of these women overcoming segregation-era odds to serve their country in winning the space race seems to offer something compelling for all audiences, especially at a time when many throughout the country feel divided.

Feb 23

On Why Crowd Size (Actually Still) Matters

By Kirk Freudenburg, Speakout | Op-Ed

It was on day one of his presidency that Donald Trump told his first spectacular lie. Basking in the glow of his inaugural ceremony, he humbly speculated that the event was attended by "a million, million and a half people." When the sheer ridiculousness of this assertion was called out by the media, President Trump's new Press Secretary Sean Spicer doubled down: "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!" -- as if the word "period" had the power to transform the facts, and make it so.

European nations have significantly seen a rise of populist parties. Along with a common stance on protectionism and immigration, these parties hold a collective admiration for President Donald Trump. Amidst a political mayhem, France, Germany and Netherlands hold elections this year, and since they represent 56 percent of the Eurozone economy, any political shifts could significantly impact the integration of the union.

The Republicans' campaign promises are coming back to haunt them as they confront the reality of dealing with a law that is supported by at least half of the population. The debate among Republicans in Congress over how to deal with the GOP's promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is splitting the party. While there is consensus to repeal it at the earliest possible time, there is great concern that the political fallout of doing so without an acceptable replacement plan will lead to dire political consequences.

Feb 17

The Real Problem With the USDA

By Ken Levy, Speakout | Op-Ed

Given the mainstream media's focus on human affairs, it is easy to forget just how many non-humans we victimize every day. And now that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has removed animal welfare inspection reports and enforcement records from its website, the few who have not forgotten will no longer be able to monitor whether even the most minimal standards of humane treatment are satisfied. The USDA's move is disgraceful but not at all surprising.

Feb 17

How to "Make America Great": Invest in Its Children

By Anne Cummings Jacopetti, Speakout | Op-Ed

Relationship is the foundation for healthy development. It continues to be crucial long after early childhood, and plays a critical role during the school years in shaping the architecture and functioning of our brains. The quality of our relationships determines the depth of our verbal, social and mathematical skills, as well as the maturity of our executive functions -- our working memory, attention span and ability to self-regulate our emotions. Children learn enthusiastically from adults they trust.

Feb 17

We Must #ResistTrump

By Bianca Jagger, Speakout | Op-Ed

On Monday, February 20, 2017, thousands of people all over the UK will come together as part of a 'Stop Trump' national day of action, to demand that the government withdraw the invitation for a Donald Trump state visit. I will be addressing the rally in Parliament Square which starts at 6 pm. I hope you will join me there -- or find your nearest rally. We must #ResistTrump. Our future depends on it.

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 thirteenth in the series.