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.
With the frenzy in Europe and parts of the United States, after the Pegida demonstrations and the Charlie Hebdo attacks, it is worth pausing to consider what a de-Islamized Europe or America would look like. It is worth remembering some history and some science.
It is quite easy to debunk the purity or the “Europeanness” of one’s daily life in the West. Imagine your life without the “European” comforts of sugar, syrup, cotton, coffee, marzipan or jars and mattresses. These and dozens more are Arabic words that mark the gifts of Islamic “states” of North Africa, Spain, Sicily or Turkey via the contacts, exchanges, conquests, and mixes that occurred over the centuries of Muslims living in Europe BEFORE the renaissance, BEFORE the industrial revolution.
A coalition of anti-fracking groups and the Center for Biological Diversity today urged the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately shut down hundreds of injection wells that are illegally dumping toxic oil industry wastewater into scores of California aquifers during the midst of a record drought.
Oil and gas companies over decades used more than 170 waste disposal wells to inject oil and gas wastewater into dozens of aquifers containing potable water, in violation of state and federal law, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The majority of these violations are located in California’s Central Valley, while others are near San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria.
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has joined the growing chorus of top medical professionals and organizations in favor of reforming marijuana laws to allow access for medical purposes.
On today’s CBS This Morning Murthy said, “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful. I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking.”
If you've followed the trials of James Risen and Jeffrey Sterling, or read Risen's book State of War, you are aware that the CIA gave Iran blueprints and a diagram and a parts list for the key component of a nuclear bomb.
The CIA then proposed to do exactly the same for Iraq, using the same former Russian scientist to make the delivery. How do I know this? Well, Marcy Wheeler has kindly put all the evidence from the Sterling trial online, including this cable. Read the following paragraph.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could drastically limit the ability of voters to take responsibility for redistricting decisions out of the hands of legislators.
The case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, challenges a state constitutional amendment adopted in 2000 by Arizona voters which created a politically neutral commission drawing new boundaries for the state’s congressional districts every ten years. Before the amendment, the state legislature, as in many states, had been responsible for setting and adjusting district lines.
San Francisco— The Center for Biological Diversity today called on the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately shut down hundreds of injection wells that are illegally dumping oil industry wastewater into scores of California aquifers, including some that supply water for drinking and farming irrigation.
Today’s letter urges the EPA to issue an administrative order requiring operators of these disposal wells to cease operations to protect aquifers from further damage and comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. “In the midst of an unprecedented drought and when so many Californians lack access to safe, clean drinking water, it is outrageous to allow contamination of drinking and irrigation water to continue. It is never acceptable to allow the contamination of drinking and irrigation water with industrial wastewater,” the letter says.
Before January 15, my associations with the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center were memories I wish I didn't have. I remember when my sister was locked up there at 15—the sharp weight that hit my stomach when I realized definitively that the "Audy Home," as it was called casually, was really a jail.
One of the ways in which we commonly handicap our own struggles to reform the bad practices of the U.S. government is by imagining those practices to be degenerative developments taking us away from a purer and nobler past. As Gary Brumback shows in this book, the United States grew out of the idea that (in Thomas Paine's phrase) it was "common sense" to launch a war to settle political differences, a war that in turn set the new nation free to launch a series of wars against the indigenous people of the continent, followed quickly by a ceaseless string of wars waged in near and far-flung corners of the globe.
This deeply moral, highly readable, and urgently necessary book, which provides a wealth of new information even to a reader like myself who writes on similar topics, takes us from the birth of the United States to the Barack Obama presidency. Brumback documents George Washington's role as first warrior in chief and first chief spy, and traces that legacy through some 13,000 to 14,000 U.S. military wars/interventions since, operations that have killed some 20 million to 30 million foreign civilians just in the years after World War II, and that have killed more than two and a half million U.S. soldiers over nearly two and a half centuries.
During the last year or so about half of the states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting student privacy. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for a Student Data Privacy Act, saying "data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children."
Most of the new laws and the President's proposal have omitted the most egregious violation of student privacy in the nation. It is the Department of Defense's administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to more than 650,000 children in 12,000 high schools and the retention of demographic information, social security numbers, and 3 hours of test results for recruiting purposes without parental consent.
Has the 2015 center-right Democratic Party transmuted literally overnight into its old center-left visage of the mid-1960s - the party of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, poverty programs, voting rights, desegregation and more?
As he begins his seventh year in office, with negligible accomplishments behind him, President Barack Obama suddenly appears to have transformed into the candidate liberal voters thought they had elected in November 2008 - the candidate of "Yes we can!" and "Change we can believe in." The liberal Nation weekly even headlined its editorial in the Feb. 6 edition: "Obama Gets His Mojo Back."