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.
To begin with, I briefly want to share part of the currently operational Keystone XL southern leg regulatory experience that we went through in the hopes that our experience may help provide some insight into the Army Corps/federal regulators mode of operation and finally what we all may be able to do about it. I am a Texas landowner who stood in the way of construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline on our property.
With the developments of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests by the Standing Rock Sioux and other groups and individuals, organizations around the world have come out with statements of solidarity for the protesters. Below are some messages of support from Friends of the Earth Mexico (Amigos de la Tierra México), the Mexican Network of Those Affected by Mining (REMA), the National Agrarian Council of Colombia, the Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4) and the California Faculty Association.
In this interview, Daniel Falcone interviews Lawrence Davidson, a progressive activist and academic who has written several notable works on US foreign policy and the Middle East. Davidson offers some insights on the complexity of political matters in Turkey, and additional far-reaching global concerns, as well as providing context for Russia's current relationship with the US.
The vast majority of people "live locally." Wherever they are residing, that is the arena of their life, and it is that environment that they know best. Even up-and-coming American political leaders are subject to this rule. This became embarrassingly obvious when, on September 8, 2016, Gary Johnson made his now famous faux pas.
The colonial structures and systems that settler societies have built will always pale next to the Indigenous knowledge and lands they are built upon. Despite colonial efforts to assimilate and kill the First Peoples of Turtle Island, their resilience is unfailing. Not only have they survived the colonizers' best and continued attempts at cultural genocide, but they also have the beauty of Spirit to share with us their wisdom and leadership on the path toward healing.
We write to thank you for your unwavering support for your extraordinarily courageous and tenacious staff in (1) investigating CIA tortureunder the Bush/Cheney administration and (2) resisting CIA/White House attempts under the Obama administration to cover up heinous torture crimes like waterboarding. We confess to having been shocked at the torture detailed in the version of the executive summary your Committee released on December 9, 2014. We found ourselves wondering what additional behavior could have been deemed so repugnant that the White House and CIAinsisted it be redacted; and if the entire 6,700-page investigation -- with whatever redaction might be truly necessary -- would ever see the light of day. We think you could take steps now to make it less likely that the full report be deep-sixed, and we will make some suggestions below toward that end.
As election time approaches, voters are lukewarm on the candidates. While this story is familiar, a greater crisis should command our attention: class biases in elections. In 2008, the wealthiest 1% of the US voted at a 99 percent participation rate (pg. 3). For those around median income, the number hovered at about 65 percent. A similar divide exists with voters who graduated college versus those who only completed high school. The former voted at just over 70 percent participation while the latter struggled to break 50 percent. If we hope to address this problem and strive for a truly representative democracy, we must observe the role income plays in education and voting.
The history of the United States is one of a nation built on robbery, murder, massacre, exploitation by armed force and predatory capitalism. Knowing this and reckoning with it all are two vastly different things. If ever a people showed us the path forward, it is the Standing Rock Sioux, peaceful but forceful, warriors but nonviolent, confrontational but invitational. They just want to preserve the land, sacred sites, maybe a bit of their Indigenous lifeways.
President Obama will be hosting a Leaders' Summit on Refugees next week. The crisis in Syria will no doubt take center stage, with ISIS (also known as Daesh) and Bashar al-Assad being widely discussed. But how much focus will be put on the historic drought that precipitated the Syrian refugees fleeing their homes? Will climate change be discussed as a leading cause of both current and, especially, future waves of refugees? Will the president once again acknowledge our country's central role in creating the kind of climate change that is making such droughts and unusual climatic events more common?
It was on August 12, 1949 that the nations of the world, with Nazi atrocities still in mind, updated what are known as the Geneva Accords. This constituted an effort to once again set limits on the wartime behavior of states and their agents. Among other things, the accords set the range of acceptable behavior toward prisoners of war, established protections for the wounded and the sick, and the necessary protections to be afforded civilian populations within and approximate to any warzone. Some 193 countries, including the United States, have ratified these agreements. Now, as of August 2016, they are 67 years old. Have they worked? The answer is, in all too many cases, no.