Sunday, 04 December 2016 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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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.

Oct 24

This Is Bigger Than Freedom of the Press

By Bishop Dwayne Royster, Speakout | Op-Ed

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, was among the first journalists to cover the impact of an 1,110 mile pipeline that would carry barrels of oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The oil route intersects with the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation at Fort Yates, North Dakota, and rightly generates passionate concern. More than 300 tribal groups have formed a peaceful resistance to protect ancestral land and Standing Rock's sole water source.

This October, the Labor Department put out a report on state-based workers' compensation rules. The report calls for an increased federal role in workers' comp to ensure that injured workers are provided with adequate insurance benefits to keep them afloat while they heal -- the original intent of workers' comp. "Recent years have seen significant changes to the workers' compensation laws, procedures, and policies in numerous states, which have limited benefits, reduced the likelihood of successful application for workers' compensation, and/or discouraged injured workers from applying for benefits," the report reads.

Oct 21

The Art of Prison Writing

By Michelle Pressé, Speakout | Op-Ed

"Like many other prison sentences, mine begins with a poor choice. I drove under the influence and someone was killed." This was the first description I read of many in my search for what I like to call a "committed friendship." I was surprised at the honest (and sometimes humorous) descriptions of prisoners looking for someone to talk to on the outside world.

Have we ever needed radical humor more than now, when the anticipated defeat of a blustering racist/sexist will bring a hawkish neoliberal into power? Actually, there has been a need for bitter irony as well as good hearty laughter as long as there has been organized society -- in this case, the US. I admire greatly a little book published in 2015 that didn't get enough play, Socialism… Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation, by Danny Katch. It instantly reminded me, at least on some pages, of that forgotten socialist bestseller, Life and Deeds of Uncle Sam, by the "Socialist Mark Twain," Oscar Ameringer (1909), a satirical history of the nation. Here he is on Puritanism: "After landing at Plymouth Rock they held a prayer meeting to thank the lord for deliverance ... Next day they caught a Quaker and burned a hole through his tongue ... Witchburning was their only amusement and when other folks put a stop to this practice, they invented Thanksgiving and got even."

If Donald Trump loses the election, political solidarity among women will win. But interestingly, the desire to elect another woman for president is not the main force driving this solidarity. Rather, resistance to Trump and his exceptionally toxic attitudes toward women is the major force propelling women in droves toward Clinton.

Two journalists reporting for Democracy Watch News were ejected from World Food Prize (WFP) events in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 13, after they were observed by police filming anti-GMO protesters. Karri Marks and Kaylynn Strain were covering the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium scheduled at the Des Moines downtown Marriott October 12-14. Both are livestreamers living in Iowa. Marks is a former resident of Hawai’i, where she is a member of the Big Island Press Club. 

 

Just a minute inside Victor Johanson's single-wide trailer at the Oak Leaf Mobile Home Park on NE Killingsworth in Portland, Oregon, and three things became clear. First, mold spores in the air were at a level so high as to be unhealthy to breathe, and possibly dangerous. Water was actively dripping through his tarp-covered roof into plastic bins on his living room couch. Second, Johanson, 57, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, is doing his best to maintain his dignity in the face of overwhelming odds. He said he couldn't smell the mold himself due to his vulnerable medical condition.

For the entire 21 years that I have been living in Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigrant official who calls Donald Trump his "political soulmate," has been in office. Throughout my childhood, I never knew that a role of community organizer or human rights activist existed, that it was a thing, or that people like me could be part of making a change. But two events changed that.Ten years ago, immigration authorities deported my uncle. And now my young cousin, his son, goes to sleep in a cell, after spending the past year in one of Arpaio's cold juvenile detention facilities.

At the 69th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared that Pakistan, in order to match India's military "stockpile" (most likely referring to recent deals with Israel, Russia and the United States, totaling to upwards of $10 billion in sales), would "take whatever measures are necessary to maintain credible deterrence." Of course, such a dialogue between two states that share infamous rivalries is expected. That both of these states are part of the world's eight nuclear powers should spring no surprise either; coincidentally, the most bitter disputes in global geopolitics (from a historical perspective, anyway) seem to unanimously share the narrative of parties involved in acquiring -- or at least attempting to acquire nuclear arms/weapons -- at some point in time. The real crisis is that these similarities are blatantly ignored by the international community at large and this cycle of dull-minded competition continues, despite warnings from foreign policy analysts and scientists alike that such events could mean utter catastrophe.

For millions of American workers across the country, the cool air of the fall season promises to bring relief from intense heat on the job. In California, however, the persistent autumn heat wave brings along with it dangerous wildfires and also dangerous working conditions. Of the 35 million low-wage workers in the nation, many must contend with the elements of extreme heat in environments such as fields, factories, and construction sites often while earning sub-minimum wages in abusive conditions. And while the worst may be over for 2016, it will return again in 2017.

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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.

Oct 24

This Is Bigger Than Freedom of the Press

By Bishop Dwayne Royster, Speakout | Op-Ed

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, was among the first journalists to cover the impact of an 1,110 mile pipeline that would carry barrels of oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The oil route intersects with the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation at Fort Yates, North Dakota, and rightly generates passionate concern. More than 300 tribal groups have formed a peaceful resistance to protect ancestral land and Standing Rock's sole water source.

This October, the Labor Department put out a report on state-based workers' compensation rules. The report calls for an increased federal role in workers' comp to ensure that injured workers are provided with adequate insurance benefits to keep them afloat while they heal -- the original intent of workers' comp. "Recent years have seen significant changes to the workers' compensation laws, procedures, and policies in numerous states, which have limited benefits, reduced the likelihood of successful application for workers' compensation, and/or discouraged injured workers from applying for benefits," the report reads.

Oct 21

The Art of Prison Writing

By Michelle Pressé, Speakout | Op-Ed

"Like many other prison sentences, mine begins with a poor choice. I drove under the influence and someone was killed." This was the first description I read of many in my search for what I like to call a "committed friendship." I was surprised at the honest (and sometimes humorous) descriptions of prisoners looking for someone to talk to on the outside world.

Have we ever needed radical humor more than now, when the anticipated defeat of a blustering racist/sexist will bring a hawkish neoliberal into power? Actually, there has been a need for bitter irony as well as good hearty laughter as long as there has been organized society -- in this case, the US. I admire greatly a little book published in 2015 that didn't get enough play, Socialism… Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation, by Danny Katch. It instantly reminded me, at least on some pages, of that forgotten socialist bestseller, Life and Deeds of Uncle Sam, by the "Socialist Mark Twain," Oscar Ameringer (1909), a satirical history of the nation. Here he is on Puritanism: "After landing at Plymouth Rock they held a prayer meeting to thank the lord for deliverance ... Next day they caught a Quaker and burned a hole through his tongue ... Witchburning was their only amusement and when other folks put a stop to this practice, they invented Thanksgiving and got even."

If Donald Trump loses the election, political solidarity among women will win. But interestingly, the desire to elect another woman for president is not the main force driving this solidarity. Rather, resistance to Trump and his exceptionally toxic attitudes toward women is the major force propelling women in droves toward Clinton.

Two journalists reporting for Democracy Watch News were ejected from World Food Prize (WFP) events in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 13, after they were observed by police filming anti-GMO protesters. Karri Marks and Kaylynn Strain were covering the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium scheduled at the Des Moines downtown Marriott October 12-14. Both are livestreamers living in Iowa. Marks is a former resident of Hawai’i, where she is a member of the Big Island Press Club. 

 

Just a minute inside Victor Johanson's single-wide trailer at the Oak Leaf Mobile Home Park on NE Killingsworth in Portland, Oregon, and three things became clear. First, mold spores in the air were at a level so high as to be unhealthy to breathe, and possibly dangerous. Water was actively dripping through his tarp-covered roof into plastic bins on his living room couch. Second, Johanson, 57, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, is doing his best to maintain his dignity in the face of overwhelming odds. He said he couldn't smell the mold himself due to his vulnerable medical condition.

For the entire 21 years that I have been living in Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigrant official who calls Donald Trump his "political soulmate," has been in office. Throughout my childhood, I never knew that a role of community organizer or human rights activist existed, that it was a thing, or that people like me could be part of making a change. But two events changed that.Ten years ago, immigration authorities deported my uncle. And now my young cousin, his son, goes to sleep in a cell, after spending the past year in one of Arpaio's cold juvenile detention facilities.

At the 69th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared that Pakistan, in order to match India's military "stockpile" (most likely referring to recent deals with Israel, Russia and the United States, totaling to upwards of $10 billion in sales), would "take whatever measures are necessary to maintain credible deterrence." Of course, such a dialogue between two states that share infamous rivalries is expected. That both of these states are part of the world's eight nuclear powers should spring no surprise either; coincidentally, the most bitter disputes in global geopolitics (from a historical perspective, anyway) seem to unanimously share the narrative of parties involved in acquiring -- or at least attempting to acquire nuclear arms/weapons -- at some point in time. The real crisis is that these similarities are blatantly ignored by the international community at large and this cycle of dull-minded competition continues, despite warnings from foreign policy analysts and scientists alike that such events could mean utter catastrophe.

For millions of American workers across the country, the cool air of the fall season promises to bring relief from intense heat on the job. In California, however, the persistent autumn heat wave brings along with it dangerous wildfires and also dangerous working conditions. Of the 35 million low-wage workers in the nation, many must contend with the elements of extreme heat in environments such as fields, factories, and construction sites often while earning sub-minimum wages in abusive conditions. And while the worst may be over for 2016, it will return again in 2017.