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.
I, like all of us, have been hearing about the California drought for months. But as with most issues that are not present outside the window, I became hardened to the front-page stories - showing depleted reservoirs and poverty-stricken families in the Central Valley.
So it wasn't until I went back to my hometown of Oakland, California, at the beginning of summer that the drought, in all its omnipresence and urgency and sadness, became real to me.
El Salvador is struggling with a growing health epidemic among its rural residents: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). In 2008, the country registered the world's highest mortality rate from kidney failure. Over 3,000 people died from CKD between just January 2010 and July 2014. Doctors diagnose 60 new cases each month.
Traditionally, CKD is a secondary effect of diabetes or hypertension. In the early 2000s, Central Americans began noticing significant numbers of CKD cases among otherwise healthy agricultural workers and rural residents.
Back on May 1, 2015, I wrote an analysis on "Changing Alliances and the National Interest in the Middle East." In this piece, which can be found on my website, tothepointanalyses.com, I made the argument that, at least since September 2001 and the declaration of the "war on terror," the defeat of al-Qaeda and its affiliates has been a publicly stated national interest of the United States. This certainly has been the way it has been presented by almost continuous government pronouncements and media stories dedicated to this "war" over the years.
"Are We Winning the Drone War?" This headline from a recent syndicated column falsely frames the issue. Let's take it apart. This formulation implicitly restricts its concern for "winners" to the US. But other lives - combatant and non-combatant - also matter.
And what sort of war is it talking about, anyway? There was a time when war was declared and mutually visible, sometimes symmetrical, forces clashed. Does robotic "drone war" bear any resemblance?
On Thursday, September 3, 2015, South Carolina state prosecutors announced their plans to seek the death penalty for Dylann Storm Roof, who has been charged with nine counts of murder for his killing spree at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church early this summer. As Solicitor Scarlett Wilson put it, "This was the ultimate crime," and as such, "justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment."
On August 29, over 20,000 people reportedly marched in Birmingham, Alabama, led by conservative pundit Glenn Beck as part of reactionary response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The march touted the slogan, "All Lives Matter."
Any illusion to embracing of diversity led by Glenn Beck should be called into question. He has built his career on making outrageous accusations and comparisons on his nationally syndicated radio show, his books and as a pundit on CNN and Fox News.
The ongoing debates within Europe about whether migrants, refugees or exiles should be welcomed or the morally dubious debates about how many are acceptable, bearable or sustainable have been widely reported in the media. To some extent there is a similar debate in the US about Syrian refugees.
Sacagawea was a Native American (Shoshone) who in 1804 made history by guiding the Louis and Clark expedition that helped establish trade with the Native Americans in the West, and advanced America's transcontinental expansion to the Pacific.The coin was unpopular and it disappeared from circulation.
However, on a recent trip, I found where Sacagawea went. She is in El Salvador where she is ubiquitous in the daily and constant exchange between vendors and customers.
It's no exaggeration to say that we live in a corporate state, where the country, the states and our local communities are indirectly governed by those who control wealthy corporations. But belief in the myth of an American Way of Life based on the authority of self-governing people and the consent of the governed has deep roots. What will it take to convince the skeptics that those roots have been torn up and that democracy is withering on the vine?
This summer I made several trips to Ferguson and Baltimore, not only as one in great solidarity with protesting efforts but as a researcher, too. My several trips to both locations have impacted me tremendously as a criminologist. Though I have had perfect training in critical theory and, not to mention, my biography, which informs me (as it does anyone else), I have been more enriched by stepping into the intersectional realities of others whom are like myself (in racial heritage, etc.), but who exist in different social categories and spaces.