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Speakout

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.

In our country, the average annual income for the top 1% is $27,342,212. The bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, make an average of $31,244. There is a division in quality of life for these two groups. These numbers mean the difference between owning cars and having to take public transportation; between being able to afford private tutors and having to work jobs while in high school; and, ultimately, between whether or not you have access to opportunity. The socioeconomic class you are in significantly and directly impacts what opportunities you have access to in educational, occupational and familial roles.

Oct 30

Living Under the Metal Osprey

By Buddy Bell, Speakout | Op-Ed

Okinawa - In late October 2015, I was with three Okinawa peace activists and a British solidarity activist on a tour of local resistance to US military bases. After an hour of driving north from the city of Nago, crossing deep ravines and shimmering blue bays, we approached a dense forest, where the US military's only jungle warfare training center is situated, way up in the northernmost section of the island of Okinawa.

Fruitvale BART Station is where I begin and end my day. The infamous platform in Oakland, California, where BART police murdered Oscar Grant, a fully restrained, unarmed African American who was celebrating New Year's Day with his friends and girlfriend. Johannes Mehserle, the police officer involved in the shooting, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to the minimum two years in prison, but being that he had "time served," he would only spend seven months in jail with possible bail. For murder.

Lajos Zoltan Jecs survived October 3 in the Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, which the US bombed for well over an hour, at 15 minute intervals. The bombing continued, despite frantic communication by the hospital staff who told US, NATO and Afghan officials that their hospital was under attack. Afterwards, Jecs reported the indescribable horror of seeing patients burning in their intensive care unit beds. 

Many supporters of the ACA look to its record of reducing the numbers of uninsured over the last five years as solid evidence that it is working. Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate in economics, has been in that group foryears, recently touting the drop in uninsured numbers as sufficient evidence to declare the ACA a success. Much as I have admired his work in economics over many years, I remain surprised that he still gets it wrong on US health care.

My first stop, after living for 22 years in a refugee camp in Gaza, was the city of Seattle, a pleasant, green city, where people drink too much coffee to cope with the long, cold, grey winters. There, for the first time, I stood before an audience outside Palestine, to speak about Palestine.

Here, I learned, too, of the limits imposed on the Palestinian right to speak, of what I could or should not say.

Lawyers are showing a lot of love for Hillary Clinton, while Wall Street is investing most heavily in Jeb Bush.

Outside of retirees, a traditional and unsurprising donor base for most candidates, the 2016 presidential candidates looked to a variety of industries in their quest for campaign money from individuals in 2015's third quarter, a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of Federal Election Commission data shows.

Oct 26

The DOJ's Plan to Empty (and Refill?) US Prisons

By Jeronimo Saldaña and Marisa Franco, Speakout | News Analysis

The Department of Justice recently announced a decision to release 6,000 people from federal prison. As part of that announcement, agency officials noted that one-third of the people released are immigrants who will be quickly deported. There is a clear and troubling pattern where policy reforms in the criminal legal system do not extend to immigrants in the criminal justice or immigration enforcement systems. The glaring question is: Why not?

Oct 26

The West's Great Game: "He Named Me Malala"

By Dan Falcone, Speakout | Film Review

Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, much like Malalai Joya of Afghanistan before her, is a remarkable person with an important critique of US warlords, invasions and bombings in the Middle East. But if you saw He Named Me Malala you'd never know it. With animated pastel, Disney-styled paintings and illustrations, the film opens with a scene from one of the Anglo-Afghan wars. "It is better to live like a lion for one day, then to be a slave for 100 days," voices over the artistic and captivating drawings. The film claims a "documentary" genre and label, but somehow I sense that is a generous and loose description.

Oct 23

Academic Freedom Under Attack

By David Shorter, Speakout | Op-Ed

Higher education's contribution to society rests upon the ability of educators to wrestle with challenging topics, no matter how complex or difficult to discuss. Such is the case with food safety, income inequality, institutionalized racism and a wide range of matters pertaining to public policy, just to name a few. Universities have historically expected the educators themselves to know how best to foster critical thinking about these issues in their classroom; hence we have come in the US to recognize the importance of academic freedom.

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Featured On Speakout

Speakout

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.

In our country, the average annual income for the top 1% is $27,342,212. The bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, make an average of $31,244. There is a division in quality of life for these two groups. These numbers mean the difference between owning cars and having to take public transportation; between being able to afford private tutors and having to work jobs while in high school; and, ultimately, between whether or not you have access to opportunity. The socioeconomic class you are in significantly and directly impacts what opportunities you have access to in educational, occupational and familial roles.

Oct 30

Living Under the Metal Osprey

By Buddy Bell, Speakout | Op-Ed

Okinawa - In late October 2015, I was with three Okinawa peace activists and a British solidarity activist on a tour of local resistance to US military bases. After an hour of driving north from the city of Nago, crossing deep ravines and shimmering blue bays, we approached a dense forest, where the US military's only jungle warfare training center is situated, way up in the northernmost section of the island of Okinawa.

Fruitvale BART Station is where I begin and end my day. The infamous platform in Oakland, California, where BART police murdered Oscar Grant, a fully restrained, unarmed African American who was celebrating New Year's Day with his friends and girlfriend. Johannes Mehserle, the police officer involved in the shooting, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to the minimum two years in prison, but being that he had "time served," he would only spend seven months in jail with possible bail. For murder.

Lajos Zoltan Jecs survived October 3 in the Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, which the US bombed for well over an hour, at 15 minute intervals. The bombing continued, despite frantic communication by the hospital staff who told US, NATO and Afghan officials that their hospital was under attack. Afterwards, Jecs reported the indescribable horror of seeing patients burning in their intensive care unit beds. 

Many supporters of the ACA look to its record of reducing the numbers of uninsured over the last five years as solid evidence that it is working. Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate in economics, has been in that group foryears, recently touting the drop in uninsured numbers as sufficient evidence to declare the ACA a success. Much as I have admired his work in economics over many years, I remain surprised that he still gets it wrong on US health care.

My first stop, after living for 22 years in a refugee camp in Gaza, was the city of Seattle, a pleasant, green city, where people drink too much coffee to cope with the long, cold, grey winters. There, for the first time, I stood before an audience outside Palestine, to speak about Palestine.

Here, I learned, too, of the limits imposed on the Palestinian right to speak, of what I could or should not say.

Lawyers are showing a lot of love for Hillary Clinton, while Wall Street is investing most heavily in Jeb Bush.

Outside of retirees, a traditional and unsurprising donor base for most candidates, the 2016 presidential candidates looked to a variety of industries in their quest for campaign money from individuals in 2015's third quarter, a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of Federal Election Commission data shows.

Oct 26

The DOJ's Plan to Empty (and Refill?) US Prisons

By Jeronimo Saldaña and Marisa Franco, Speakout | News Analysis

The Department of Justice recently announced a decision to release 6,000 people from federal prison. As part of that announcement, agency officials noted that one-third of the people released are immigrants who will be quickly deported. There is a clear and troubling pattern where policy reforms in the criminal legal system do not extend to immigrants in the criminal justice or immigration enforcement systems. The glaring question is: Why not?

Oct 26

The West's Great Game: "He Named Me Malala"

By Dan Falcone, Speakout | Film Review

Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, much like Malalai Joya of Afghanistan before her, is a remarkable person with an important critique of US warlords, invasions and bombings in the Middle East. But if you saw He Named Me Malala you'd never know it. With animated pastel, Disney-styled paintings and illustrations, the film opens with a scene from one of the Anglo-Afghan wars. "It is better to live like a lion for one day, then to be a slave for 100 days," voices over the artistic and captivating drawings. The film claims a "documentary" genre and label, but somehow I sense that is a generous and loose description.

Oct 23

Academic Freedom Under Attack

By David Shorter, Speakout | Op-Ed

Higher education's contribution to society rests upon the ability of educators to wrestle with challenging topics, no matter how complex or difficult to discuss. Such is the case with food safety, income inequality, institutionalized racism and a wide range of matters pertaining to public policy, just to name a few. Universities have historically expected the educators themselves to know how best to foster critical thinking about these issues in their classroom; hence we have come in the US to recognize the importance of academic freedom.