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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.

Jan 31

Oregon's Budget Deficit Presents a Provocative Choice

By Ramin Farahmandpur, Speakout | News Analysis

An Oregon state budget drawn to douse the political establishment with a splash of reality was released on January 19 by Ways and Means Co-Chairs, Sen. Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin) and Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene). Presented as a "framework" designed to work within existing projected resources, this budget will be considered by the 79th Oregon Legislative Assembly Session when it begins on February 1. Facing a $1.8 billion deficit, lawmakers say they will be forced to make drastic cuts to state programs unless the legislature agrees to raise taxes. Raising taxes will be an uphill battle, however.

In this interview, Goldfield discusses the recent Women's March and the balance of optimism and hope and how actions of dissent can lead to an actual progressive path. She also discusses the media treatment that followed the event and marked the difference between the corporatized filtered news and non-filtered perspectives of the march. Goldfield gives further analysis on strategic voting, voter turnout and participation at the local level.

Jan 30

Animal Agriculture: The Huge Machine

By Sara Muniz, Speakout | Op-Ed

I'm walking through the aisles in the pitch dark; as I shine my flashlight I cannot even see the end of the aisle I'm in. The dirty particles in the air from the filthy and dusty cages fly in front of my face. I feel a deep sadness aching in my chest, then my heart sinks to my stomach when I see the thousands of eyes turn and look at me, their little faces, scared, confused, many distressed and in pain. As I'm walking forward, I turn to another investigator and say, "Do you smell that? It smells like rotting cheese." I start looking around to find where the smell is coming from, and then finally I see her.

In what could fairly be described as the de Blasio administration's entry in the contest for the Sean Spicter medal for the the most blatant lie by a government spokesperson this month, here's a recent statement by J. Peter Donald, an NYPD mouthpiece: "Quotas for arrests, summonses, or stops have never been used by the NYPD. The department measures success based on the prevention and reduction of crime."

Here in Minneapolis, I'll learn whether six jurors believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Dan Wilson and I are criminals. The court case stems from an action protesting the execution of Jamar Clark, age 24, who died in the early morning of November 15, 2015, outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex. Two Minneapolis police officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were involved in the shooting. Jamar Clark died after a bullet was fired directly into his head.

Jan 26

Where Do They Keep the White People?

By Jane Lazarre, Speakout | Op-Ed

I try to rise up each time the pits of Trump fears and anger draw me down. Many people speak of the tangle of old fears and new, past traumatic times bleeding into these times now, like a ruined watercolor painting -- liquid stress muddying what needs above all at this time to be crystal clear. Friends talk of their inability to read the newspaper, watch television news or go to social media. "I listen to music, read a book, take a walk," each one says. I do the same, but then we reverse ourselves: we must stay informed.

Jan 20

Why I'm Taking Part in the #BridgesNotWalls Action

By Priscilla Eyles, Speakout | Op-Ed

Over 150 coordinated "Bridges not Walls" actions are planned across the UK and Europe for January 20 -- and actions are planned as far afield as San Diego, California and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In a show of solidarity with those resisting incoming US president Donald Trump, in London we will be dropping banners off each of nine famous Thames bridges to highlight and resist the right-wing rhetoric and agenda at home in the UK and Europe.

Douglas Lain's dystopic sci-fi novel After the Saucers Landed imagines an alternate reality in which the dreams of UFOlogists are realized and aliens really do come to earth. These aliens, anticipated by everyone as an apocalyptic force with the power to radically transform everything for the better, turn out to be dull, boring and complicit in the most banal forms of capitalist mundanity. They drink Pepsi, build corporations and enroll in undergraduate courses. In short, very little changes. Donald Trump is not quite such an alien. Things will significantly change in the Trumpocalypse, and they will of course change for the worse.

On January 20, President-elect Donald J. Trump will inherit an economy that looks very different to what President Obama received in 2009. When President Obama moved to the Oval Office, he inherited an ailing economy that was facing a whiplash from the subprime mortgage crisis. The unemployment rate was as high as 7.3 percent, quickly moving towards 10 percent while home prices and stock prices plummeted at a steep rate. Amidst struggling industries and failing banks, a quick revival of the economy meant the introduction of fresh and non-traditional economic policies.

The recent first step by the Republicans for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by a vote of 51-48 in the Senate and 227-198 in the House opens up an intense debate among Republicans as to how and when to replace it. President-elect Donald Trump is pressing Congress to replace it concurrently, or nearly so, with its actual repeal, with which House Speaker Paul Ryan now seems to agree. Recent talk of a two- to four-year delay is quickly fading away.

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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.

Jan 31

Oregon's Budget Deficit Presents a Provocative Choice

By Ramin Farahmandpur, Speakout | News Analysis

An Oregon state budget drawn to douse the political establishment with a splash of reality was released on January 19 by Ways and Means Co-Chairs, Sen. Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin) and Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene). Presented as a "framework" designed to work within existing projected resources, this budget will be considered by the 79th Oregon Legislative Assembly Session when it begins on February 1. Facing a $1.8 billion deficit, lawmakers say they will be forced to make drastic cuts to state programs unless the legislature agrees to raise taxes. Raising taxes will be an uphill battle, however.

In this interview, Goldfield discusses the recent Women's March and the balance of optimism and hope and how actions of dissent can lead to an actual progressive path. She also discusses the media treatment that followed the event and marked the difference between the corporatized filtered news and non-filtered perspectives of the march. Goldfield gives further analysis on strategic voting, voter turnout and participation at the local level.

Jan 30

Animal Agriculture: The Huge Machine

By Sara Muniz, Speakout | Op-Ed

I'm walking through the aisles in the pitch dark; as I shine my flashlight I cannot even see the end of the aisle I'm in. The dirty particles in the air from the filthy and dusty cages fly in front of my face. I feel a deep sadness aching in my chest, then my heart sinks to my stomach when I see the thousands of eyes turn and look at me, their little faces, scared, confused, many distressed and in pain. As I'm walking forward, I turn to another investigator and say, "Do you smell that? It smells like rotting cheese." I start looking around to find where the smell is coming from, and then finally I see her.

In what could fairly be described as the de Blasio administration's entry in the contest for the Sean Spicter medal for the the most blatant lie by a government spokesperson this month, here's a recent statement by J. Peter Donald, an NYPD mouthpiece: "Quotas for arrests, summonses, or stops have never been used by the NYPD. The department measures success based on the prevention and reduction of crime."

Here in Minneapolis, I'll learn whether six jurors believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Dan Wilson and I are criminals. The court case stems from an action protesting the execution of Jamar Clark, age 24, who died in the early morning of November 15, 2015, outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex. Two Minneapolis police officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were involved in the shooting. Jamar Clark died after a bullet was fired directly into his head.

Jan 26

Where Do They Keep the White People?

By Jane Lazarre, Speakout | Op-Ed

I try to rise up each time the pits of Trump fears and anger draw me down. Many people speak of the tangle of old fears and new, past traumatic times bleeding into these times now, like a ruined watercolor painting -- liquid stress muddying what needs above all at this time to be crystal clear. Friends talk of their inability to read the newspaper, watch television news or go to social media. "I listen to music, read a book, take a walk," each one says. I do the same, but then we reverse ourselves: we must stay informed.

Jan 20

Why I'm Taking Part in the #BridgesNotWalls Action

By Priscilla Eyles, Speakout | Op-Ed

Over 150 coordinated "Bridges not Walls" actions are planned across the UK and Europe for January 20 -- and actions are planned as far afield as San Diego, California and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In a show of solidarity with those resisting incoming US president Donald Trump, in London we will be dropping banners off each of nine famous Thames bridges to highlight and resist the right-wing rhetoric and agenda at home in the UK and Europe.

Douglas Lain's dystopic sci-fi novel After the Saucers Landed imagines an alternate reality in which the dreams of UFOlogists are realized and aliens really do come to earth. These aliens, anticipated by everyone as an apocalyptic force with the power to radically transform everything for the better, turn out to be dull, boring and complicit in the most banal forms of capitalist mundanity. They drink Pepsi, build corporations and enroll in undergraduate courses. In short, very little changes. Donald Trump is not quite such an alien. Things will significantly change in the Trumpocalypse, and they will of course change for the worse.

On January 20, President-elect Donald J. Trump will inherit an economy that looks very different to what President Obama received in 2009. When President Obama moved to the Oval Office, he inherited an ailing economy that was facing a whiplash from the subprime mortgage crisis. The unemployment rate was as high as 7.3 percent, quickly moving towards 10 percent while home prices and stock prices plummeted at a steep rate. Amidst struggling industries and failing banks, a quick revival of the economy meant the introduction of fresh and non-traditional economic policies.

The recent first step by the Republicans for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by a vote of 51-48 in the Senate and 227-198 in the House opens up an intense debate among Republicans as to how and when to replace it. President-elect Donald Trump is pressing Congress to replace it concurrently, or nearly so, with its actual repeal, with which House Speaker Paul Ryan now seems to agree. Recent talk of a two- to four-year delay is quickly fading away.