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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.

What does the recent election cycle portend for health care in America? Nothing good, if we go by the recent and current debate over further reform of our dysfunctional system. The non-debate has been shallow, barely covered by the mainstream media, and uninformative at this important juncture in deciding where to go next in US health care.  

Residents of the Third World and people who have come to understand its history within the context of the world system must be reeling with déjà vu thickly stewed in irony at the rise of Bernie Sanders and his "social revolution." Many Third World leaders have come to office with plans to effect changes very similar to those advocated by Sanders. These leaders have been called socialist, social democrat, communist, Marxist and even democratic socialist, like Sanders -- all leftists in an age of corporate capitalism backed by military force.

I've worked passionately full-time for years on climate awareness and solutions. I believe we need more at this do-or-die moment. I'm not eloquent or networked well enough to issue the required call to action. But I hope my voice and thoughts will help spark one of you -- or someone else -- to create a message that galvanizes and unites millions at a time when the future of the world may be at stake. Who will convince worried Americans to stop being too busy or too scared?

Here in Kabul, I'm generally an early riser at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, but I'm seldom alone. Facing exams, my young friends awaken early and then stay up late to study. Before sunrise this morning, eighteen-year-old Ghulamai sits in the kitchen, poring over his textbook. His efforts have made him number one in his class for the past three school terms. Now in the eleventh grade, he greatly hopes to continue his education, but his situation is precarious.

We woke to a different country on November 9, 2016, one to be ruled by a racist, dishonest, autocratic, militarist, plutocratic, neo-fascist administration. Our responsibility now is to defend our rights, human lives here and abroad, our Constitution and the democratic republic. Nothing less. Let me begin by celebrating the people across the country who didn't roll over and play dead when Donald Trump said he wanted to deport up to 3 million undocumented "criminal immigrants" who he imagines are among us.

"Our chains are your chains," said Ricardo Flores Magón to the American people just over 100 years ago in the midst of a revolutionary war against the dictatorship lead by Porfirio Díaz and William Taft. Today, those words are more effective than ever. Today as yesterday, brotherhood between the American and the Mexican people is urgent, necessary, visible and possible. The dominant class in Mexico and the United States is well articulated to turn the region into a source of unprecedented capitalist wealth, while contempt against migrants becomes the main tool for both governments.

Public education is no longer a top priority in the state of Oregon. At least that's the message students, parents and teachers got when a majority of voters nixed Measure 97, a corporate tax ballot measure, on November 8. Measure 97 would have levied a 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on C corporations with Oregon sales of more than $25 million. Had it passed, it would have raised approximately $6 billion a biennium, adding to the $19 billion state general fund.

Elon Musk, the billionaire investor and inventor at the head of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has a long track record of clickbait-friendly pronouncements. His plans for solar roofing are no different. Framing the new product in the same revolutionary terms he uses for self-driving Tesla cars or colonizing Mars, Musk promises shingle-sized solar panels that cost less to manufacture than a traditional roof and reduce energy consumption. Musk's vision for American rooftops is interesting enough, but in hindsight, the date of his announcement is even more so.

On the evening of December 4, the camp at Standing Rock celebrated. Traditional songs and drumming resounded through the valley and speakers offered congratulations and prayers of gratitude around the sacred fire. Earlier that day, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will deny the easement for a crucial section of the Dakota Access pipeline to be built under the Missouri River.

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.

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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.

What does the recent election cycle portend for health care in America? Nothing good, if we go by the recent and current debate over further reform of our dysfunctional system. The non-debate has been shallow, barely covered by the mainstream media, and uninformative at this important juncture in deciding where to go next in US health care.  

Residents of the Third World and people who have come to understand its history within the context of the world system must be reeling with déjà vu thickly stewed in irony at the rise of Bernie Sanders and his "social revolution." Many Third World leaders have come to office with plans to effect changes very similar to those advocated by Sanders. These leaders have been called socialist, social democrat, communist, Marxist and even democratic socialist, like Sanders -- all leftists in an age of corporate capitalism backed by military force.

I've worked passionately full-time for years on climate awareness and solutions. I believe we need more at this do-or-die moment. I'm not eloquent or networked well enough to issue the required call to action. But I hope my voice and thoughts will help spark one of you -- or someone else -- to create a message that galvanizes and unites millions at a time when the future of the world may be at stake. Who will convince worried Americans to stop being too busy or too scared?

Here in Kabul, I'm generally an early riser at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, but I'm seldom alone. Facing exams, my young friends awaken early and then stay up late to study. Before sunrise this morning, eighteen-year-old Ghulamai sits in the kitchen, poring over his textbook. His efforts have made him number one in his class for the past three school terms. Now in the eleventh grade, he greatly hopes to continue his education, but his situation is precarious.

We woke to a different country on November 9, 2016, one to be ruled by a racist, dishonest, autocratic, militarist, plutocratic, neo-fascist administration. Our responsibility now is to defend our rights, human lives here and abroad, our Constitution and the democratic republic. Nothing less. Let me begin by celebrating the people across the country who didn't roll over and play dead when Donald Trump said he wanted to deport up to 3 million undocumented "criminal immigrants" who he imagines are among us.

"Our chains are your chains," said Ricardo Flores Magón to the American people just over 100 years ago in the midst of a revolutionary war against the dictatorship lead by Porfirio Díaz and William Taft. Today, those words are more effective than ever. Today as yesterday, brotherhood between the American and the Mexican people is urgent, necessary, visible and possible. The dominant class in Mexico and the United States is well articulated to turn the region into a source of unprecedented capitalist wealth, while contempt against migrants becomes the main tool for both governments.

Public education is no longer a top priority in the state of Oregon. At least that's the message students, parents and teachers got when a majority of voters nixed Measure 97, a corporate tax ballot measure, on November 8. Measure 97 would have levied a 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on C corporations with Oregon sales of more than $25 million. Had it passed, it would have raised approximately $6 billion a biennium, adding to the $19 billion state general fund.

Elon Musk, the billionaire investor and inventor at the head of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has a long track record of clickbait-friendly pronouncements. His plans for solar roofing are no different. Framing the new product in the same revolutionary terms he uses for self-driving Tesla cars or colonizing Mars, Musk promises shingle-sized solar panels that cost less to manufacture than a traditional roof and reduce energy consumption. Musk's vision for American rooftops is interesting enough, but in hindsight, the date of his announcement is even more so.

On the evening of December 4, the camp at Standing Rock celebrated. Traditional songs and drumming resounded through the valley and speakers offered congratulations and prayers of gratitude around the sacred fire. Earlier that day, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will deny the easement for a crucial section of the Dakota Access pipeline to be built under the Missouri River.

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.