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.
Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.
The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.
The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.
During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic socialism - democratic control of the economy - had substantial popularity in the United States. At the time, the Socialist Party of America was a thriving, rapidly-growing political organization, much like its democratic socialistcounterparts abroad - the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and numerous other rising, working class-based political entities around the world. In 1912, when the United States had a much smaller population than today, theSocialist Party had 118,000 dues-paying members and drew nearly a million votes for its candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the great labor leader, for President.
A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology overhis relatives'deaths.
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed.
Some of the things I learned in class about race includes that race is taken seriously in this nation as long as it's about white people. This nation is ruled by powerful white men who repress the lower class, such as the Black and Brown communities. This white system fears the Black and Brown communities as shown today and in the past. For instance, in the past, the government tried getting rid of some groups like the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, and other groups. The government feared what these groups could have done, so they did everything in their power to neutralize the groups and make them look bad. Nowadays, with everything the police has been doing (i.e. taking away the lives of Black and Brown people), the two most feared black gangs in America have been making peace. The Bloods and the Crips have joined forces because they noticed they had a common enemy and they know the police are the ones who are supposedly there to "protect the people," but are killing innocent people and actually getting away with it. Not to mention that the [mainstream] news has not brought this topic up.
Santa Barbara County is legally required to reject Exxon's dangerous new plan to use a massive fleet of oil trucks to transport a million gallons of crude a day though coastal communities, the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch warned today.
In a letter to county officials, the groups explained they'll likely take legal action if Exxon is allowed to use 192 oil truck trips a day to carry oil previously transported by the ruptured pipeline that caused the Santa Barbara oil spill. "These ultra-hazardous trucks do not belong in California's coastal environment — they are inherently dangerous, and carry significant risk of accidents, fiery explosions, injuries, deaths and environmental destruction," the letter states.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) just submitted a request for rule-making regarding several standards to the Board of Corrections (BOC), including minimum standards for visiting.
A collective letter from 17 New York advocacy groups, including the Osborne Association, urges the BOC to deny the request because the standards are too broad, sweeping, and subjective. They are very concerned about the effects of these restrictions on the children and families of incarcerated individuals, arguing that the restrictions are unfair and will have the opposite effect as desired, cutting incarcerated people off from their families will only increase violence.
More than 1,770 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, and the peak season of North African immigration to Europe has just begun. The horrors of April this year - first the drowning of 400 people off the coast of Libya, and then 900 more near the Italian island of Lampedusa - exposed the inhumanity of Fortress Europe. When austerity is mixed with a large scale demonization of The Other, it creates emotional barrier that is almost as strong as the physical one.
When these catastrophes occurred, the EU was spending a third as much money and less than a tenth of the manpower into rescue operations compared to 2014, according to The Economist. The professed reasons for this drastic decrease were not only economic in nature. Some within the UK government had argued that the rescue operations served as a "pull factor." According to this line of reasoning, when some of the immigrants survived, many others were inspired to take the same hazard-filled illegal journey. So the implicit solution was to simply let them drown, in the hope of turning the pull-factor into a deterrent. It didn't take too long for the results of this abhorrent logic to come in, and they are: 1) a death toll that is 30 times greater compared to 2014 and 2) no decline in the number of people coming into Europe.
The Center for Biological Diversity today warned the federal government not to allow the pipeline behind the Santa Barbara oil spill to resume pumping crude without a legally required analysis of threats to California's environment and endangered wildlife.
In a letter to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Center says shutting down the pipeline "was essential to protect public health and the environment" and urges the agency to comply with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act before letting thepipeline restart operations.
Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4.
DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state's oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere.
No matter what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does, his popularity is declining. In some ways, Abbas' threshold for popularity was really never impressive to begin with, a trend that is unlikely to change in the near future.
But now that a power struggle in his Fatah party is looming, and his two-decade investment in the 'peace process' scheme has proven to be fruitless, Abbas is doing what he should have done a long time ago: internationalize the Palestinian struggle, and break away from the confines of American influence and double-standard "diplomacy."