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.
An international jury of independent human rights experts and advocates has found Mexico, the US and key countries of origin of migrants in transit jointly responsible for widespread human rights violations in Mexico, based on hearings held at New York University (NYU) in September 2015. The jury has called for the suspension of US military and police aid to Mexico.
The recent killings in Paris and San Bernadino have many people at once scared for themselves and their families, angry in a way that makes some susceptible to anti-Muslim rhetoric, and also utterly shaken that people in our own midst can be drawn to ISIS and others who want to do us great violence for seemingly no reason. How could anyone wish to start shooting and killing large numbers of innocent, anonymous people in the name of restoring a patriarchal Califate from a thousand years ago?
The Miraflores Locks are perhaps the principal tourist attraction of Panama City. Visitors are more than willing to pay the $15 admission to a state-of-the-art museum espousing the grandeur of this enormous emblem of human engineering and its contribution to the global economy. There is another museum, though.
It appears that the US is not the only nation forced to tiptoe around a blundering, blockading Republican-dominated Congress. In fact, the monumental COP21 climate talks in Paris were forced to create an agreement that was crafted to specifically leave them out of the equation.
For only the second time in House of Representatives history, a committee boasts women Members of Congress in both the Chair and Ranking Member leadership roles. In fact, the chair of this committee will be Representative Marsha Blackburn from my own home state of Tennessee. So why am I not celebrating this watershed moment forwomen in Congressional leadership?
The anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US keeps getting worse. Now, Donald Trump has called for a complete ban on Muslim immigrants to the United States. The way Trump sounded an alarm about the danger of Muslims within our midst, blaming immigration, has some parallels with the dramatic electoral success of the extreme right in France.
Twenty years ago the people of Ireland voted to allow divorce yet, today, Ireland has the lowest divorce rate in the European Union. Understanding the role of marriage among the Irish can help us understand why.
With nuclear weapons, what could possibly go wrong? The short answer is: Everything.
Nuclear weapons could be launched by accident or miscalculation. There have already been several close calls related to false warnings nearly leading to actual launches, which would most likely have led to retaliatory responses. These false warnings are all the more dangerous for the US and Russia knowing that each side keeps hundreds of nuclear weapons on high alert, ready to be launched in moments of an order to do so.
A society's prison system mirrors the society. What does America's say about America?
Some numbers: With only five percent of the world's population, the U.S. has more than 20 percent of the world's prison population. America has the largest actual prison head count in the world and the second-highest per-capita incarceration rate (first place is held via a statistical oddity by the tiny Seychelles island nation.) In the U.S., from 1978 to 2014, the prison population rose 408 percent, to the point where the nation is closing in on a full one percent of the entire population being in prison proper. If you include all forms of correctional control - prison, jail, parole and probation - about three percent of Americans are included. The numbers are currently as high as they have ever been in history.
Will 2015 be remembered in history as a year when the human race decided to abandon the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? If the first part of this year saw the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ending in a failure, the closing of 2015 might witness a final and de facto expansion of the nuclear weapons club. Not surprisingly, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have spoken out strongly against the proposed agreement, which the Japanese prime minister might sign during his visit to India this weekend. In an extraordinary move, the two mayors - Kazumi Matsui and Tomihisa Taue - held a press conference issuing a joint statement and urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to abandon the nuclear supply agreement with India.