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.
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.
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.
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.
Maybe something positive will result from the dangerously brazen antics of the Trump administration. Perhaps an awakening of consciousness is occuring that would not have happened without the obviousness of Trump’s inadequacies. We may be realizing just how wrong we are in how we are treating our planet and its creatures, including ourselves.
Disaster struck when the Senate confirmed the controversial Trump Secretary of Education nominee, billionaire Betsy DeVos. With the Senate deadlocked at 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to cast the tie-breaking vote confirming her nomination. During the Senate hearing, senators questioned the candidate about her qualifications to serve as secretary of education. Although DeVos admitted that neither she nor her children had ever attended public schools, she believed she was qualified for the post nonetheless. Even more embarrassing was the fact that she lacked basic understanding of key education laws.
"Alternative Facts." "The media is the opposition party." "National Day of Patriotic Devotion." Short poignant phrases that very well could have been written by an ailing Eric Arthur Blair in a cottage on the Isle of Jura. It was the winter of 1946 and Blair, who had taken the pen name George Orwell 14 years prior, had sought a temporary reprieve from post-World War II London in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The work that occupied his mind: 1984. Since the utterance of these short, distressing phrases by members of the Trump regime, sales of 1984 have boomed.
The American electorate has spoken and we are rejecting politicians funded by -- and representing -- the large donors and party insiders. Is either party listening? If "We the People" Want to Run It, We Have to Fund It. During the past election cycle, the American electorate demonstrated to both political parties that they no longer find tolerable the large donor campaign financing models. On the Republican side, reflecting the views of the donor base was an anathema to the voters to such extent that an "outsider" viewed as a "self-funder" was given the nod largely because he was not controlled by the Republican Party.
If all the climate-change denial coming from the Beltway these days tells us anything, it is that the politicians who espouse it are also likely to champion policies that further entrench social and economic inequalities, as well as undercut civil liberties. Let's look at a few examples.
Ever since the election of President Donald Trump, the world has been assessing every statement and tweet to weigh the potential policies that will come from this new administration. Climate scientists and renewable energy industry leaders are worried -- as are many others, especially about the impact human activities have on our climate. Trump's statements on climate change, renewables and China deserve scrutiny.