Thursday, 21 September 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.

Sep 21

Hands Off North Korea

By Sydney Roberts, Speakout | Op-Ed

Current relations between the United States and North Korea are being painted as sudden, unprompted aggression against the peace-keeping beacon of justice that is the West, but this dynamic couldn't be further from the true historical lineage. Ambassador Haley's recent remarks, the rhetoric of the Trump administration, as well as an overwhelming animosity towards North Korea from the American public prompts an urgent need for context.

The current nominee for the head of NASA, Rep. Jim Bridenstine from Oklahoma, has denied the scientific evidence that human activities are responsible for increasing global temperatures. In a 2016 interview he was asked if there was any data that would change his view. That was a great question. This query represents a basic principle of science. For any valid scientific idea there must be some criterion that, if met, could demonstrate the idea to be incorrect. In other words, there must be a way to prove it wrong -- if it is wrong.

Although more Americans now have insurance coverage, many still lack easy access to a local primary care physician. By 2030, Illinois will need 1,063 more primary care physicians to meet our residents' health care needs. Despite that glaring need, our best resource -- the Teaching Health Center (THC) Graduate Medical Education Program -- could end on September 30 unless Congress votes to reauthorize and appropriately fund it.

Some Democrats are attempting to co-opt dozens of grassroots movements addressing vital domestic needs, such as single-payer health care, by either dividing or sidelining them with long-term postponement of this critical issue. By promoting an "alliance" of groups with significantly different missions, Democrats are squelching action on issues opposed by the party's major donors.

Sep 11

Enriqueta Vasquez: Eminent Historian for "The Women of La Raza"

By Roberto Rodriguez, Speakout | Book Review

I am going to go out on an (academic) limb and call The Women of La Raza by Enriqueta Vasquez both a treasure and a living codex. I will also say this about Enriqueta herself: Vive en la sabiduria -- she lives in wisdom, wisdom of an elder, wisdom of the elders, an elder who also leaves footprints and also walks in beauty. Her words and generational knowledge are gifts to us, and I will say that her epic book is a must-read, especially for those interested in the history of Chicanos in general, but even more specifically, the history of Chicanas in this country.

Nothing unites better than a common enemy, and an autonomous woman is an easy mark in our society. Over the decades, myths and misinformation have clouded the issue of abortion by heaping shame and blame on women for the audacious act of deciding when and whether to become a parent. The ability to make decisions about our health, families and futures is a human right. However we may feel personally about abortion, this is a personal decision a woman must make for herself, based on her unique circumstances. Some politicians, from the White House and Congress to my home state of Kentucky, disagree.

The National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) recent name change to UnidosUS is bizarre and incomprehensible and its rationale that their name was "getting in the way of their mission" strains credulity, especially because it was also purportedly trying to be more relevant to the young. This action, coming from the nation's largest Latino civil rights coalition, simply reeks of outright capitulation -- this at a time when the communities that it seeks to represent are under the most relentless attacks in modern history, compliments of the current White House occupant and his allies.

The democracy movement DIEM25 (Democracy In Europe Movement) is far from a pure protest movement. DIEM25 asserts that the refusal to accept proposals from the EU must be supplemented with counter-proposals. Since it began in 2016, alliances with progressive movements and politicians around Europe have been created and there has been a continuing dialogue with its members. Questions have been put to others, as well as to their own members regarding how the EU and Europe can be democratized.

This past June, a critical law passed in Nevada, thanks to persistent people with spirit that never gives up. The law, which is a hybrid of two proposed bills, SB265 and SB539, will hold companies accountable for the outrageous pricing of insulin by requiring a report if they raise prices by a certain amount. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) will no longer be able to cover rebates that ultimately burden patients, and pharmaceutical sales reps and pharma-funded nonprofits will have to be transparent as well. 

Aug 24

Have Nations Ever Gone to War Over a Joke?

By Maggie Hennefeld, Truthout | Op-Ed

In 2016, a Scottish gold miner, Michael McFeat, nearly caused a war between the UK and Central Asia by inadvertently comparing Kyrgyzstan's national dish to a horse penis. McFeat claimed that he simply mistook chuchuk sausage in good faith for the nethers of an equine. He was subsequently smuggled out of the country, narrowly evading an angry lynch mob, and warned by police at Manas Airport in Bishkek, who arrested him under race hatred laws, that his "act could send Kyrgyzstan to war with the UK."

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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.

Sep 21

Hands Off North Korea

By Sydney Roberts, Speakout | Op-Ed

Current relations between the United States and North Korea are being painted as sudden, unprompted aggression against the peace-keeping beacon of justice that is the West, but this dynamic couldn't be further from the true historical lineage. Ambassador Haley's recent remarks, the rhetoric of the Trump administration, as well as an overwhelming animosity towards North Korea from the American public prompts an urgent need for context.

The current nominee for the head of NASA, Rep. Jim Bridenstine from Oklahoma, has denied the scientific evidence that human activities are responsible for increasing global temperatures. In a 2016 interview he was asked if there was any data that would change his view. That was a great question. This query represents a basic principle of science. For any valid scientific idea there must be some criterion that, if met, could demonstrate the idea to be incorrect. In other words, there must be a way to prove it wrong -- if it is wrong.

Although more Americans now have insurance coverage, many still lack easy access to a local primary care physician. By 2030, Illinois will need 1,063 more primary care physicians to meet our residents' health care needs. Despite that glaring need, our best resource -- the Teaching Health Center (THC) Graduate Medical Education Program -- could end on September 30 unless Congress votes to reauthorize and appropriately fund it.

Some Democrats are attempting to co-opt dozens of grassroots movements addressing vital domestic needs, such as single-payer health care, by either dividing or sidelining them with long-term postponement of this critical issue. By promoting an "alliance" of groups with significantly different missions, Democrats are squelching action on issues opposed by the party's major donors.

Sep 11

Enriqueta Vasquez: Eminent Historian for "The Women of La Raza"

By Roberto Rodriguez, Speakout | Book Review

I am going to go out on an (academic) limb and call The Women of La Raza by Enriqueta Vasquez both a treasure and a living codex. I will also say this about Enriqueta herself: Vive en la sabiduria -- she lives in wisdom, wisdom of an elder, wisdom of the elders, an elder who also leaves footprints and also walks in beauty. Her words and generational knowledge are gifts to us, and I will say that her epic book is a must-read, especially for those interested in the history of Chicanos in general, but even more specifically, the history of Chicanas in this country.

Nothing unites better than a common enemy, and an autonomous woman is an easy mark in our society. Over the decades, myths and misinformation have clouded the issue of abortion by heaping shame and blame on women for the audacious act of deciding when and whether to become a parent. The ability to make decisions about our health, families and futures is a human right. However we may feel personally about abortion, this is a personal decision a woman must make for herself, based on her unique circumstances. Some politicians, from the White House and Congress to my home state of Kentucky, disagree.

The National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) recent name change to UnidosUS is bizarre and incomprehensible and its rationale that their name was "getting in the way of their mission" strains credulity, especially because it was also purportedly trying to be more relevant to the young. This action, coming from the nation's largest Latino civil rights coalition, simply reeks of outright capitulation -- this at a time when the communities that it seeks to represent are under the most relentless attacks in modern history, compliments of the current White House occupant and his allies.

The democracy movement DIEM25 (Democracy In Europe Movement) is far from a pure protest movement. DIEM25 asserts that the refusal to accept proposals from the EU must be supplemented with counter-proposals. Since it began in 2016, alliances with progressive movements and politicians around Europe have been created and there has been a continuing dialogue with its members. Questions have been put to others, as well as to their own members regarding how the EU and Europe can be democratized.

This past June, a critical law passed in Nevada, thanks to persistent people with spirit that never gives up. The law, which is a hybrid of two proposed bills, SB265 and SB539, will hold companies accountable for the outrageous pricing of insulin by requiring a report if they raise prices by a certain amount. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) will no longer be able to cover rebates that ultimately burden patients, and pharmaceutical sales reps and pharma-funded nonprofits will have to be transparent as well. 

Aug 24

Have Nations Ever Gone to War Over a Joke?

By Maggie Hennefeld, Truthout | Op-Ed

In 2016, a Scottish gold miner, Michael McFeat, nearly caused a war between the UK and Central Asia by inadvertently comparing Kyrgyzstan's national dish to a horse penis. McFeat claimed that he simply mistook chuchuk sausage in good faith for the nethers of an equine. He was subsequently smuggled out of the country, narrowly evading an angry lynch mob, and warned by police at Manas Airport in Bishkek, who arrested him under race hatred laws, that his "act could send Kyrgyzstan to war with the UK."