Tuesday, 21 February 2017 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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.

Feb 03

We Must Resist Trump's Energy Plan

By Vaios Triantafyllou, Speakout | Op-Ed

Donald Trump's presidency signifies very clearly for the first time an identification of fascist rhetoric with the interests of the American ruling class, also known as the 1%, in the face of the country's executive power. This problem, however, has not been solely caused by the totalitarian billionaire president of the United States, but expands to his choice of cabinet members, all of whom will most likely be approved by the Senate. Among others, Trump picked Rex Tillerson, outgoing president of ExxonMobil, for secretary of state; Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, for head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, for secretary of the treasury.

My husband, Kevin, was an almost Trump voter. We live in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white rural area and part of the "Rust Belt" that's gotten so much attention from Donald Trump and the media in the past year. Kevin suffers from epilepsy, mental health issues and arthritis. He has been fighting to get Supplemental Security Income for over 10 years now and has continuously been denied benefits. Kevin can't work a 40-hour week because of medical restrictions which include no kneeling, pushing, pulling, lifting, walking up or down stairs, and no standing for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Maintaining power in a society as grossly unequal as the United States has become is not easy. It can be accomplished, however, through demagoguery and the manipulation of reality. Truth is, modern capitalism has entered a deep phase of crisis. Predatory finance and globalization have produced unprecedented concentrations of wealth. Neoliberal policies have eliminated basic democratic protections, gutting welfare programs, dismantling the public sector and decimating unions. Millions of workers face extreme insecurity. Climate change has reached apocalyptic proportions.

Feb 01

Are Americans Ready for Revolution?

By Joey Gomez, Speakout | Op-Ed

Are Americans ready for revolution? This thought kept going through my head as I stood in the rain among the crowds of hundreds of women, men, children and citizens filling the streets in front of the capitol. We were here for the Women's March on Washington and were representing the state of Oregon. Standing amidst of the crowd, taking note of the various colorful umbrellas, signs and personalities in the crowd, I began to realize something: Are these people truly ready for revolution?

Feb 01

Nonviolent Resistance in the Age of Trump

By Brandon Jacobsen, Speakout | Op-Ed

It has now been just over a week since the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, was inaugurated. In that time, popular demonstrations have exploded across the country, reaching their recent pinnacle with what is likely the largest protest in American history, the Women's March on Washington (and its many offshoots in all 50 states). These uprisings portend a strong and multifaceted opposition to Trump's presidency. They also point to what is likely to be a definitive feature of the next four years. Nonviolent resistance, it seems, is on the rise.

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.

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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.

Feb 03

We Must Resist Trump's Energy Plan

By Vaios Triantafyllou, Speakout | Op-Ed

Donald Trump's presidency signifies very clearly for the first time an identification of fascist rhetoric with the interests of the American ruling class, also known as the 1%, in the face of the country's executive power. This problem, however, has not been solely caused by the totalitarian billionaire president of the United States, but expands to his choice of cabinet members, all of whom will most likely be approved by the Senate. Among others, Trump picked Rex Tillerson, outgoing president of ExxonMobil, for secretary of state; Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, for head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, for secretary of the treasury.

My husband, Kevin, was an almost Trump voter. We live in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white rural area and part of the "Rust Belt" that's gotten so much attention from Donald Trump and the media in the past year. Kevin suffers from epilepsy, mental health issues and arthritis. He has been fighting to get Supplemental Security Income for over 10 years now and has continuously been denied benefits. Kevin can't work a 40-hour week because of medical restrictions which include no kneeling, pushing, pulling, lifting, walking up or down stairs, and no standing for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Maintaining power in a society as grossly unequal as the United States has become is not easy. It can be accomplished, however, through demagoguery and the manipulation of reality. Truth is, modern capitalism has entered a deep phase of crisis. Predatory finance and globalization have produced unprecedented concentrations of wealth. Neoliberal policies have eliminated basic democratic protections, gutting welfare programs, dismantling the public sector and decimating unions. Millions of workers face extreme insecurity. Climate change has reached apocalyptic proportions.

Feb 01

Are Americans Ready for Revolution?

By Joey Gomez, Speakout | Op-Ed

Are Americans ready for revolution? This thought kept going through my head as I stood in the rain among the crowds of hundreds of women, men, children and citizens filling the streets in front of the capitol. We were here for the Women's March on Washington and were representing the state of Oregon. Standing amidst of the crowd, taking note of the various colorful umbrellas, signs and personalities in the crowd, I began to realize something: Are these people truly ready for revolution?

Feb 01

Nonviolent Resistance in the Age of Trump

By Brandon Jacobsen, Speakout | Op-Ed

It has now been just over a week since the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, was inaugurated. In that time, popular demonstrations have exploded across the country, reaching their recent pinnacle with what is likely the largest protest in American history, the Women's March on Washington (and its many offshoots in all 50 states). These uprisings portend a strong and multifaceted opposition to Trump's presidency. They also point to what is likely to be a definitive feature of the next four years. Nonviolent resistance, it seems, is on the rise.

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.