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.
Twenty years ago today, President Bill Clinton "ended welfare as we knew it." In practical terms, this roughly doubled the number of those in extreme poverty. Philosophically, the move signaled that the Democratic Party believed that the "war on poverty" was a battle best fought by "the market." Yet the promotion of equal opportunity -- and especially racial integration -- has always been a task that we have entrusted to our elected officials.
Florida prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda threw the case against George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2013. The prosecutor discredited his key witnesses and excluded an eyewitness to the murder. This writing examines parts of his closing argument to jurors and reveals the excluded eyewitness.
All over the globe, including here in the US, there is a resurgence of muscular authoritarian politics. How that trend unfolds and is enforced varies country by country, but the core is recognizably neo-fascist, to a lesser or greater degree, often emerging from the extreme right wing. This rise of authoritarianism is as true in Turkey as it is in Russia, in the turbulent greater Middle East as it is in the Philippines -- and, of course, as it is in the Trump movement in America. To be sure, there are occasional left-wing strongmen as well, but these days, most of theautocratic rulers seem to congregate on the far-right edge of the political spectrum.
I share your frustration and your anger over the outcome of the Democratic (?) National Convention. I've had my share. There is a place for anger; but there is also a way to use it. Anger is power. The revolution launched by Senator Sanders has accomplished amazing results. The point is now to recognize the beauty and power of our momentum -- and, as Martin Luther King, Jr. says, harness our anger "under discipline," meaning convert it into determination. Let's think what that might look like now.
With incidents of political violence occurring on a frequent basis across the world, officials in the Obama administration repeatedly face a difficult question: Is it ever legitimate to use violence to achieve political aims? On July 19, 2016, State Department spokesman Mark Toner presented one answer. Today, "we would certainly want to caution anybody who thinks that violence is a plausible way to achieve any political aims," Toner stated. Hoping to discourage people from turning to violence, Toner insisted that the Obama administration opposed the use of violence in political affairs. "I think it's a pretty common dictate of ours to say that there's no military solution to any crises, political or otherwise," he noted.
Eight days after the murder of Paul O'Neal, the footage from that day was released by the Independent Police Review Authority IPRA. Paul O’Neal was an 18-year-old blk man who was killed by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The same council that dragged its feet for five years for accountability for Dante Servin, who murdered Rekia Boyd and still wasn't held accountable. The same council who told the loved ones of those killed by police that they can't speak for more than two minutes. IPRA is illegitimate and doesn't care about blk life.
Attica Correctional Facility, built in the northwest of the state of New York, 342 miles away from the capital, between the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, became famous for a bloody rebellion in September 1971. The inmates took over the place and made 42 staff members hostage. The state police, under the command of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, broke into the prison, acting ruthlessly. When the battle ended, the dead bodies of 33 prisoners and 10 guards, as well as countless injured prisoners, occupied the courtyards and the cells. The uprising was caused by the murder of black activist George Jackson, imprisoned in San Quentin, California, two weeks earlier. A trail of penitentiary uprisings served as a response to police brutality.
Two years ago, a mine waste dam in British Columbia, Canada, breached, releasing 24 million cubic meters of mine waste (or tailings) sludge into the Fraser River watershed, a group of lakes and rivers that bear salmon and sustain the livelihoods of First Nation communities. The disaster at the Mount Polley mine should have served as a wake-up call for stronger regulations and scrutiny of an industry that too often remains out of the public spotlight. Unfortunately, far too little has been done to prevent such a disaster from reoccurring.
The water infrastructure in our country is over 100 years old, so an upgrade is long overdue. The American Water Works Association estimates that replacing the obsolete water infrastructure in the country would cost at least $1 trillion. All the public attention to the water infrastructure was occasioned by the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan. While the incident was tragic, it opened the nation's "eyes" to the little known water infrastructure problem being experienced across the United States. It also drew anger and emotions, which are the key drivers for change.
While the scientists have been doing their job in calling attention to the multiple ways in which environmental decline threatens the planet, we hear less and less from political leaders. Their focus is on the here-and-now -- terrorism, jobs, immigration -- and not on commitments to the future. Last year's Paris Agreement on climate change seems like a distant memory. Here is some of the latest scientific evidence, which points not only to the magnitude and immediacy of the problem, but also to the interdependence of its parts.