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.
I am usually attracted to monumental themes in theory and literature: works like A C Bradley's Appearance and Reality would seem to encompass everything. The first major book I wrote was The Production of Desire, a comparison and evaluation of the theories of Marx and Freud. There is a great deal to be said, however, for seeing 'the world in a grain of sand ... and eternity in an hour.'
The same notion applies to the tragedy of democratic corruption under capitalism. The foundation of this corruption is adumbrated in the pompous and bloated rhetoric we were to witness at the Democratic National Convention. However, what was equally revealing was the ubiquitous manifestation of such pervasive themes as militarism and self-sacrifice as embodied in the person of Tammy Duckworth, whose grievous physical wounds were the result of her involvement in the war in Iraq. A wound seems quite the opposite of an abstraction like patriotism, courage, or imperialism; a concrete instance rather than a distant generality. Yet, in her physical existence and her speech, we witness, permeating the surface, the synthesis of patriotism, sacrifice, glorification of military culture and the disregard of the wholly unnecessary, dishonest and brutal military invasion of Iraq that lead to the death and displacement of at least 500,000 Iraqi civilians. In this grain of sand a world is foreshadowed.
You might think corn looks so sweet and innocent, but there's a sh**load you don't know about it. Corn is involved in some pretty shady operations and most of 'em are on your dinner table. [more at LeeCamp.net]
Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed historic legislation establishing a state policy that every Californian has a human right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible drinking water.
AB 685, authored by Assemblymember Mike Eng (D-Alhambra), also requires that all relevant state agencies consider the state policy when creating policies and regulations.
By signing this bill into law, California becomes the first state in the nation to declare safe, clean, affordable and accessible water a human right.
Lee Camp is a comedian / political commentator / online video ranter extraordinaire. In the edition of Talk Nation Radio, we sample his rants and discuss with him the development and political value of his medium. For more see http://leecamp.net
Lee Camp's new book is called Moment of Clarity: The Rantings of a Stark Raving Sane Man
Across the country, families facing foreclosure and homeowners with "underwater" mortgages are fighting back against the big banks that stripped them of their one valuable asset and crashed the economy. The resistance takes many forms - homeowners refusing to leave when the sheriff arrives with an eviction notice, community groups engaging in civil disobedience at bank offices and lobbying campaigns to get city and state government to enact protections from banks foreclosing on owners for missing one or two payments, often as a result of banks making unscrupulous loans.
Occupy Wall Street provided Americans and the media with a new framework for explaining the nation's economic hard times - the "1%" vs. the "99%." But veteran community, union and faith groups that are mobilizing against Wall Street know that to hold big banks accountable, they need to identify and name the top executives whose decisions ripped off consumers, plunged the nation into a deep recession, plummeted housing prices and put cities and states at the precipice of fiscal ruin due to declining property values and revenues.
In New Court Filing International Rights Groups and Experts Urge Spanish Supreme Court to Reopen Inquiry Into Bush Era TortureBy The Center for Constitutional Rights, The Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release
A group of international human rights organizations and experts filed a brief today before the Spanish Supreme Court, arguing that the continued failure of U.S. authorities to investigate or prosecute torture binds the Spanish judicial system to resume its inquiry into these practices. The amicus filing in the case, which argues that international law requires Spain to act, comes only weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it had closed its investigation into the torture and death of detainees held in CIA custody, an investigation that ended without charges being brought against a single person.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed the brief with 10 additional organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), World Organization Against Torture, and The International Commission of Jurists.
Weltschmerz (from German; from Welt (world) + Schmerz (pain) delineates the type of sadness experienced when the world revealed does not reflect the image of the world that one believes, or has been led to believe, should exist. The corporate/consumer state (as well as, its scion, the present day presidential election cycle) has brought us, as a people, into a wilderness of weltschmerz.
Confronting the stark contrast between life imagined and life revealed can prove to be a daunting task. It is an endeavor that has proven particularly difficult for political partisans, both professional and rank and file, who seem unwilling or unable to grasp the sense of futility experienced by significant numbers of their fellow citizens regarding political participation, on any level, including the act of voting under the corrupted to the core structure of the current system.
Such reactions are understandable. Exercises in futility prove enervating. Disenchanted, sizable and increasing numbers of voters have tuned out and walked away from the process, due to the abject refusal of the political class to be responsive to the needs of the populace beyond the elitist-ridden New York/DC nexus of privilege and power.
Unresolved OPD Shooting of Black Teenager Alan Blueford Illustrates Oakland's Continuing Crisis of GovernanceBy Scott Johnson, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
After seeking justice from the City of Oakland for months, the family of Alan Blueford finally caught the attention of city leaders on September 18 when their protest brought the City Council to a halt.
Alan, an African-American high school student, was murdered on May 6 by Officer Miguel Masso, who drove up on the young man who had committed no crime, chased him for five blocks and shot him dead outside a Cinco de Mayo party. Masso initially claimed that Alan shot him, a story spread by the local media, although when it was revealed that Masso actually shot himself this lie turned into the claim that Alan pointed a gun at the officer. The Bluefords refute even this claim, considering Masso's earlier lie.
The Master, the latest movie from director Paul Thomas Anderson, initially seems to miss the mark after aiming high, but it nonetheless gets under your skin! A few days after seeing the film, I realized that it sticks with you because there is a possible political critique embodied in the relationship between the characters played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix that is so audacious, it is almost thrilling, even as it struggles to emerge under Anderson's languorous directorial pace.
The Master is set in 1950s America. Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, a con man modeled loosely on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, though the film is clearly not a bio-pic. Dodd is in the process of creating a quasi-religious cult of personality that lures adherents with various forms of past life regression and psychographic analysis. Phoenix is cast as Freddie Quell, a volatile, hard drinking Navy veteran on the lam from the law who is taken in by Dodd and falls under his sway in 1950, several years after his military discharge.
Writer Hunter S. Thompson was a pro at weird. But he would find Facebook beyond weird. Even as tiny green tree frogs scampered around the edge of his tequila and there seemed to be an aardvark climbing up his leg, he would consider it surreal that contact with dozens of "friends" can morph into two at the click of Delete. That's the rate of attrition in the five days since I left Facebook — and that's just the people I shared messages and comments with. Yeah, I knew. Yeah, I'm not surprised. The more time goes by since I last logged into Facebook, the even weirder the few months I spent on it seem.
"Imagine the problem is that we cannot imagine a future where we possess less but are more. Imagine the problem is a future that terrifies us because we lose our machines but gain our feet and our pounding hearts." – Chuck Bowden, in Blood Orchid.