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.
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.
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.
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.
Though well known to some and little known by many, Gene Sharp's From Dictatorship to Democracy has served as a handbook for pro-democracy advocates throughout the world. It is not an academic treatise on the whys and wherefores of this or that dictatorship; rather it is a straightforward, 100-page manual for formulating the strategies and choosing the tactics needed to bring down dictators, complete with an appendix listing 198 concrete actions available to do just that. Donald Trump is no dictator. He is a demagogue.
In the toxic political environment of the US, love is an act of protest. At least, that is what Dr. Martin Luther King, whose 88th birthday we celebrate Monday, said in many ways. As just one example, he wrote in his book Strength to Love, "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
It is an undeniable fact that with the upcoming inauguration, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Yet a part of me refuses to accept that reality. On the one hand, I love this country for its freedom and democracy, and as part of my love greatly respect the office of the presidency. On the other, it seems to me that Trump is doing great damage to the core values and institutions that make this country great. I thus find myself at odds with myself, and out of step with the major forces in the political arena -- a weird American in Trump's America.