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.
The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the easement permit needed to complete the Dakota Access pipeline. The struggle is not over yet, but this is a major victory for Standing Rock. Might the large number of people, Indians and non-Indians alike, sending prayers for life on Mother Earth actually have had a role? I can only share my observations and experiences of the hours before the decision.
Like many moments in this post-truth political era, Trump's missives reveal not only the absence of a solid policy stance on international development assistance, but also misconceptions of what we actually do with our aid and how it serves our interests. Yet, as president, he will wield enormous power over our global development agenda, from appointing or nominating leaders on development in the White House cabinet, State Department and the heads of the world's largest aid agencies; to working directly with Congress to set the agenda and budget for our foreign aid.
The Trump team grows larger and, with it, the weight of just how grand defensive actions will need to be. Everything appears at risk -- the economy, the planet, safety, well-being, the ongoing struggle for civil rights. The big orange elephant in the room is that this is bigger than Donald Trump. Our political system can't find the common good, and this relates to design, not just him. The winner-take-all electoral system divides us into winners and losers and creates a situation where no one really wins.
The election of Donald Trump has spurred a number of protests, some of them very large, in cities across the United States. Many of the people venting their frustration are participating in protests for the first time. A whole section of the US population has almost overnight discovered that it wants to be political. In protests, on social media and in conversations, it is clear that the liberal white middle class is prepared to mobilize politically, for the first time, really, since the antiwar movement fizzled out under the Nixon administration.
Colin Kaepernick is not a novelty. Far from an anomaly, the 49ers quarterback is part of a storied history of Black political protest. From refusing to stand for the National Anthem, to exercising his right not to vote, Kaepernick's actions are part of lineage of skepticism over mainstream politics. The presidential election, of course, represents the height of mainstream politics. Blackskepticism, however, should not be read as lack of interest in politics, but rather a struggle to expand what is meant by politics. Black skepticism says that if voting is the only way to be political, then we're in trouble.
The increasing costs and unaffordability of insurance and health care for Americans remain an urgent issue in our society. It is obvious to all that patients are still not protected by good insurance coverage at affordable rates, and that the very name of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or ACA and Obamacare) is a misnomer. The cost of health care keeps rising at rapid rates as insurers, hospitals and drug companies blame others for these increases.
On Monday, the Water Protectors Legal Collective (WPLC) -- the legal support team behind the Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline -- filed a class action lawsuit against Morton County, the Morton County Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies for use of excessive force against Water Protectors.
On Sunday, November 20, a confrontation between police and Standing Rock Water Protectors escalated as police shot water cannons and rubber bullets into the crowd. The onslaught went hours into the night, and without showers or a nearby medical center, the residents of nearby Oceti Sakowin who were injured or exposed to hypothermia were vulnerable to permanent physical damage.
The fourth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 4) was published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on November 17. The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 (SDWA) requires the publication of the CCL every five years. The CCL includes contaminants that are not currently governed by the EPA's Primary Drinking Water Regulations, which place legal limits on the levels of hazardous and carcinogenic contaminants in drinking water. Every five years the EPA must make a determination whether or not to regulate at least five contaminants from the CCL.
Every year for the last 50, prestigious Jaindl Farms in Orefield, Pennsylvania, has supplied the White House turkeys that sit atop the holiday table for the thanksgiving feast. Jaindl -- a Whole Foods supplier that claims to be in the 98th percentile for animal welfare and 95th percentile for food safety according to audits -- is exactly the sort of farm you would expect the president to receive his turkey from, at least on paper. The turkeys from Jaindl are gifted to the president. I recently visited Jaindl with a team of animal farm investigators, and what I saw did not match what I read on paper.