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.

Nov 08

The Second Term: Now What?

By Wilmer J Leon III, SpeakOut | News Analysis

The results are in. They will not be official until the Electors convene on December 17th and prepare their Certificates of Votes, but for all intents and purposes President Barack Obama has won his second term by defeating Mitt Romney 303 electoral votes to 206 and the popular vote 50% to 48%.

Now what? When you look at the electoral map, red states / blue states it becomes fairly obvious the country has politically re-segregated itself with a solid Republican South (except Virginia and Florida) and this re-segregation falls along racial lines. Many White voters are voting their sentiments instead of their interests. As Tim Wise writes in Between Barack and a Hard Place, Obama's success is meaningful but "'the larger systemic and institutional realities of life in America suggest the ongoing salience of a deep-seated cultural malady – racism - which has been neither eradicated nor even substantially diminished by Obama's victory."'

Election 2012 results from Lee Camp.

In 2010/2011, workers at St. Charles Hospital in Bend, Oregon came together to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49 to improve their conditions and strengthen their voice. It was the largest union organizing victory in Oregon for 30 years. This victory held great promise for not only St. Charles's service workers, but all workers in Central Oregon and health care employees statewide.
On November 1st of this year, workers voted to decertify SEIU Local 49 in a vote of 334 to 212. Why this bitter reversal in less than two years?
To start to answer this question it is necessary to understand how the laws in this nation favor employers at the expense of workers' unity.

Boston, November 7, 2012 - By a three to one margin, Massachusetts voters yesterday sent a clear message to both Democrats and Republicans in Washington about the federal budget crisis and the impending "fiscal cliff". The Budget for All ballot question passed by 661,033 to 222,514 votes. It calls for no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or other vital programs; investment in useful jobs; an end to corporate tax loopholes and to the Bush cuts on taxes on high incomes; withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan now; and redirection of military spending to domestic needs and job creation. The question passed by a wide margin in every district and all 91 Massachusetts cities and towns where it appeared on the ballot, ranging from most of Greater Boston to Holyoke to Norwood, Lawrence and Fall River.

Yesterday, ten days after the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, became the first head of state ever to visit Gaza, two-year-old filly Flotilla, owned by another member of the Qatari ruling family, Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani, thrilled racegoers who are supporters of the Gaza flotilla movement, by winning the prestigious Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf race by a length and a quarter.

Wearing a big white shadow roll under her eyes, Flotilla was easy to spot as she wove her way through the field of horses from the back of the pack. She then displayed an impressive closing kick to run down her opponents under the skillful handling of French jockey Christophe Lemaire.

About 100 activists, concerned citizens and beekeepers, including Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and CCD Posterboy David Hackenberg huddled outside of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters on an overcast but mild mid-morning to protest systemic pesticides that continue to slowly kill honeybees and humans. Many protesters, including a few dogs, were adorned in black and yellow while others held signs that read "Save Our Hives."

On the street, a few yards away, Hackenberg had parked his 40 ft. flatbed truck full of empty hives. At about noon, we hooked up a microphone and a small hive of us took turns protesting our love of bees and the need to ban systemic pesticides.

Often times, indeed, when we mention the word Vietnam in the United States, we don't mean Vietnam as a country. Vietnam is unfortunately not like Thailand or Malaysia or Singapore to America's collective imagination. Its relationship to us is special: It is a vault filled with tragic metaphors for every pundit to use.

After the Vietnam War, Americans were caught in the past, haunted by unanswerable questions, confronted with an unhappy ending. So much so that my uncle who fought in the Vietnam War as a pilot for the South Vietnamese army, once observed that, "When Americans talk about Vietnam they really are talking about America."

Nov 06

Decisions 2012: End of "Our" World?

By Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, SpeakOut | Opinion

I vote, but I never endorse. Seems a bit presumptuous for people in media to go around making endorsements. Ideally, media should inform, and the readers should decide.

As such, I feel compelled to put my $.02 regarding the importance of these elections. I have friends that believe that voting is either a waste of time, or an endorsement of the politically corrupt system we live in. Despite this, they're probably going to vote for Ralph Nader again.

Zack Kaldveer, Assistant Media Director with the YES on Prop 37 Campaign, suggests 4 questions voters should ask themselves before voting on Proposition 37. For more info, please visit California Right to Know.

Nov 06

Before the Post-Mortems

By Carolyn Eisenberg, SpeakOut | Opinion

This weekend, activist list-serves and web-sites were crackling with furious debate over whether or not progressives should be voting for President Obama this time around or helping to build a third party organization. For those in the latter camp, the list of the President's failures (and not just failures, but dreadful acts of commission) rendered support for him a perfidious moral choice. That indictment extended as well to the Congressional Democrats, who had a majority in 2009 and blew the chance to make constructive changes.

The take-away from the past four years, it was argued, is that the two mainstream parties are so completely dominated by corporate America that they are incapable of acting in the public interest. This perception is not simply confined to the third-party advocates. I suspect there are few readers on this web-site, who have not been stunned at times, and disappointed at how the 2008 mandate for "change" has been squandered.