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.
Everyone following the Democratic presidential primary race almost certainly heard about the Big Letter. Four former heads of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) under Democratic presidents signed an open letter condemning an analysis of Bernie Sanders' platform by University of Massachusetts economist Gerald Friedman. The letter asserted that Friedman's analysis made "extreme claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence."
Like a dry Christmas tree, social media spaces exploded on news of the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Immediately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called upon Republicans to draw battle lines against any nomination coming from President Obama. Within hours of Justice Scalia passing, the unseemly speed of McConnell's announcement was reflective of the polarization that has consistently put partisanship before the legislative work of the nation, plaguing both terms of Barack Obama's presidency.
Last month, as US border patrol agents began rounding up Central American women and children denied asylum, asmall group of international peace activists from Voices for Creative Nonviolence boarded a plane for Helsinki, Finland, to visit two longtime Iraqi friends who fled Baghdad last summer and somehow completed a perilous seven-week journey over land and sea to reach this northern seaport.
There was a barbaric massacre in Turkey last week. There might be another one this week. It's the latest in a series of shocking crimes to which the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has subjected members of Turkey's Kurdish minority population since the end of the summer. It's becoming increasingly clear that the Turkish state is engaged in ethnic mass-displacement and other forms of ethnic cleansing.
In October 2015, I had the privilege of teaching an intensive one week seminar on US politics and campaigns at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) in Medellín, Colombia. UPB is one of the largest Catholic universities in the Andean region with an enrollment of over 26,000 and a strong outreach program to students from Colombia's many indigenous groups.
As Bernie Sanders builds up support among African-American voters, he is putting a dent in the perception that Hillary Clinton has a lock on the vote of the people of color. Clinton still has the lead in states with a high percentage of African Americans, but Sanders is chipping away into that lead, making the final outcome of thevote in these states anything but certain.
Now that Bernie Sanders has brought forward his progressive agenda, including real health care reform through a single-payer universal Medicare for all program, the knives are out from the Republicans as well as Hillary Clinton to distort and discredit this option with false information. Going forward, we have three basic alternatives to further reform our health care system.
After a breakdown in mediation between the State of Israel and the Palestinian villages of Massafer Yatta, Israeli authorities destroyed 24 homes in the South Hebron Hills. The homes lie within an area which Israel claims as Firing Zone 918, in which approximately 1000 Palestinian civilians live in eight villages.
That evening some of the fifty-nine women in our Pod rushed up and knocked on my cell door. They reported the six o'clock news had shown twelve drone resisters handcuffed, sitting on a roadside curb, waiting to be taken into custody. I just started my six-month sentence on January 19, for photographing protestors of the drone warfare directed out of Hancock Air Base in nearby Syracuse, New York. These eight protestors, many of whom are Catholic Workers, were later acquitted.
The "pharma-bro," Martin Shkreli, who founded the company that purchased the rights to the AIDS drug Daraprim and dramatically increased the price, has disgusted Americans with his arrogant and self-righteous behavior while showing no remorse or accountability for his actions. However, when looking at US foreign policy, it is easy to find similarities between the perception of his actions and attitudes and international views of the US as a whole.