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.
On August 5, 2016, all eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro for the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics. It will be three weeks of intense competition and inspiring performances from the world's top athletes. As it draws near, we look at how the city is preparing to host this prestigious event, including the work of civil engineers who played a pivotal role in building the infrastructure and stadiums for the event.
On August 6 each year, the world commemorates the dawn of the atomic age by remembering the obliteration of Hiroshima. In May, President Obama laid a wreath in the Peace Park that marks ground zero there. This is also the time each year when politicians, historians, veterans and peace activists revisit the decision to use this new weapon for the first time, then for the second three days later at Nagasaki. The rationales are familiar: nukes would shorten the war, save American lives, and demonstrate the country's overwhelming military and technological superiority.
On July 12, 2016, former US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad accused a close US ally of supporting terrorism. In his testimony before a joint subcommittee of the House of Representatives, Khalilzad argued that the Pakistani government aided terrorist organizations. Convinced that the Pakistani government supported terrorism, Khalilzad called on the US government to designate the Pakistani government as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Michael Jordan recently announced his plan to donate $2 million in response to the shootings of Black Americans and police officers. For some, Jordan's actions come at a curious time. US law enforcement officials have been killing, brutalizing and harassing Black people for as long as we have been here. Despite all of the names that have been consecrated through hashtag burials, it seems that police officers had to die before Jordan was sufficiently moved to open his mouth and wallet.
What weighs as much as a cow and is as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa? The amount of trash you produce every year. The average American is responsible for 4.4 pounds of trash a day, or 1,606 pounds a year. The average family of four in the US produces 6,351 pounds of trash each year.
My name is Robert, and I am a Cornell University undergraduate student. However, I'm not sure if I want to be one any more. Allow me to explain. Cornell, as an institution, appears to be complicit in a shocking amount of ecologically destructive, academically unethical, and scientifically deceitful behavior. Perhaps the most potent example is Cornell's deep ties to industrial GMO agriculture, and the affiliated corporations such as Monsanto. I'd like to share how I became aware of this troubling state of affairs.
Across the US, professors and staff are facing not only a crisis of state divestment, but also lack of job security and the growing cost of living. Many labor groups challenge administrations and public officials in a fight for their labor and others succeed in their struggle. The only question is: "What's next?"On June 16, 2016, the City University of New York (CUNY) and the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) announced, after six years of negotiating, a contract deal for CUNY employees.
Dan Falcone recently interviewed journalist, blogger, filmmaker, activist and author Antony Loewenstein in East Jerusalem via Skype to discuss his current film project, Disaster Capitalism -- inspired by his 2015 book, Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe (Verso, 2015), as well as a host of domestic and foreign issues impacting the West, the US and the world. In his film project, Loewenstein provides commentary on US involvement and influence in Haiti, Afghanistan, Gaza, Papua New Guinea and beyond. Loewenstein also draws parallels to Brexit and the national election in the US within his own research and work, and explains how those areas are relevant.
I spent 13 years in Arizona's punishment system. Though I completed all of the terms of my sentence and earned a master's degree and Ph.D., I remain unable to fully contribute to or participate in society. I have struggled to find employment, housing, I am unable to vote and I live under the constant threat of social rejection, all of which impacts my two children. The reality is that the impact of a conviction history cannot be neutralized -- at least not without amending our collective moral imagination that equates justice with punishment.
The United States and its allies are striking a deadly blow against ISIS (also known as Daesh). While much of the press coverage in the United States focuses on the horrors inflicted by ISIS throughout Iraq, Syria and the rest of the world, the United States and its allies are waging a massive military assault that has left tens of thousands of people dead.