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.
August 6, 2015, will mark the 70th anniversary of the horrific atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I clearly remember two years ago when Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the 50,000 people who had gathered for a Peace Ceremony in memory of the event, that to hold the vision of world peace, "We must never forget the horrors of nuclear weapons and we must never repeat this tragedy that has been engraved into the history of mankind. As the only country to be victimized by an atomic bomb and experiencing its ravages, we have the noble responsibility to the human race and the future of the Earth to pass on the memories of this tragedy to the next generation."
Seventy years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States knows now what the effect has been on the only nation ever to explode nuclear weapons on human beings. The result is not pleasant. August 6 and August 9, 2015, represent days of remembrance ... and days of reckoning.
When referencing nuclear weapons, it is common for Americans to circulate images of the mushroom cloud. The awe-inspiring image of phenomenal power reinforces the nation's sense of self-importance and sanitizes the reality of nuclear bombs.
Chinese authorities seized more than 881 pounds of baby milk formula that had been imported from Japan because they had been produced in areas known to be heavily contaminated with radioactive material emitted by three damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi complex. China's Xinhua news agency reported that quarantine officials said that no excessive radioactive material was found in the formula, but the baby food was sent back to Japan because China has had a ban on any imports from the areas around Fukushima.
Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first nuclear weapon used in warfare ever, on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The development and use of the atomic bomb changed the course of history forever. The United States' victory in the race to build it and use it still has profound impacts on our role as a global superpower and the responsibility it bears.
We've been burned too many times by candidates who sound great on the campaign trail, but once elected, do little or nothing to ensure that our democracy is of, by and for the people.
So this year, we're demanding action and giving voters the tools to hold candidates accountable in the "Fighting Big Money, Empowering People: A 21st Century Democracy Reform Agenda."
Ralph Waldo Emerson had predicted that if Indian people were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands, "the name of the nation removed would be a stench to the world." After enduring centuries of sickness, near starvation, crippling cold and loss of their ancestral homelands, the Choctaw again faced the very exact "stench to the world" that Emerson mentioned. Moreover, and forced at gunpoint in 1830 to march westward from Mississippi to Indian Territory in Oklahoma without preparation, many thousands died as aresult of the Removal, also known as the Trail of Tears.
I don't know any of the 13 activists who lowered themselves from the St. John's Bridge in Portland, Oregon, nor any of the dozens of kayakers paddling in the Willamette River below them, but they succeeded in a temporary blockade of the Shell-leased Arctic-boundice breaker MSV Fennica. I know that the activists participated in our democracy - they were nonviolent and far more civil than many members of Congress. The ship was in Portland for repairs of damage to the hull, which ironically occurred when it was scheduled tol eave for the Arctic as part of the safety conditions Royal Dutch Shell Oil needed to fulfill for federal approval to drill for oil after a series of accidents in 2013.
The heat rose from the asphalt beneath me like a snake with no head. It circled around my body and landed in my nose and mouth. I began to have choking sensations. It was at least 111 degrees with heavy smog in downtown Los Angeles that day and I had already been working for eight hours, but me and my mama had no money to eat so I couldn't leave our vendor stand cause I still hadn't made a sale.
In the continuous acquiescence of local government municipalities mixing church with state, the Jefferson County Police Department of Illinois has recently elected to place the words, "In God We Trust" on their police vehicles. This act, among many like it across the country, is a stark contradiction to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
No religion or its rhetoric should be promoted by a government agency. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow the promotion of God to infiltrate public services.
On behalf of the Organic Consumers Association, which represents more than 1 million Americans, I ask that you take the lead in protecting the right of consumers to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by issuing a public statement opposing HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, and by urging your fellow senators to oppose a Senate version of this bill.
On July 23, 2015, the US House of Representatives passed HR 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states' rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs.