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.
During the current drought, the state and federal water agencies systematically drained Trinity, Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs, imperiling salmon and steelhead runs on the Sacramento and Klamath/Trinity River systems and bringing Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species closer and closer to the abyss of extinction. This subsidized water was exported to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating toxic land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods.
The state of Ohio is trying to kill my friend. On October 21st, Keith LaMar, who I know as Bomani Shakur, lost his final appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He's got ninety days from the 21st to convince The US Supreme Court that his case should be part of the one percent of cases they will hear. After that, the State of Ohio is free to give him an execution date. While few of us are optimistic about finding justice within the US Prison System, Bomani's friends and family were actually struck by the Circuit Court's rejection of Bomani's appeal.
As Americans click their way toward a third presidential election even more dynamic and interactive than our last two data-driven presidential elections, personalized social media and socially-embedded campaigns are changing our culture, social structures and political self-determination.
The origins of Armistice Day, also known as Remembrance Day, were all about ending war, marking the signing of a ceasefire to begin to halt the destruction of World War I. That signing occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. Since the vast majority of war dead in World War I were military, it was inaugurated as a commemoration of their service and sacrifice.
Perhaps you've never heard of "The Resident," or the Russia Today network for that matter. The Resident is Lori Harfenist, a counter cultural news personality that delivers quick and insightful assertions during the late afternoon on the Russia Today (RT) network. Harfenists argues that "society pushes people to be mindless."
Israel is not alone in its military occupation of Palestine and blockade of the Gaza Strip. While the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confine and represses Palestinians on the ground, the US government provides both the military aid and the international political support that allows the illegal occupation to endure in the face of broad international opprobrium. The US has become complicit in the Israeli occupation.
The United States is indisputably the strongest economy in the world. With the one of highest gross domestic product of any nation, the quality of life for each citizen should be astounding. Why is it then, that there are still people suffering from starvation, poverty and discrimination? The answer lies within the idea of "trickle-down economics," and the economic policies which have been created tostrengthen it in the United States.
The mass pro-democratic movement referred to as the "Arab Spring" has become a nightmare for millions of citizens in the Middle East and North Africa and has once again destabilized a traditionally volatile region.
In the past, authoritarian regimes in this region upheld a certain stability and cohesion to have their illegitimacy sustained (like in Libya or Syria), while dictators relied on the support of the United States and other Western governments in unmasked economic exploitation and political oppression (like in Egypt or Tunisia).
Polls conducted through various countries suggest the majority of the public (albeit a slim majority) would support military action against the group commonly referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This is not surprising, given the ruthless, frightening and relentless terror that they have been spreading across an entire region. Mass executions, slavery, suicide bombers and the torture and execution of journalists will raise no doubt in people's mind that ISIS is a group of people who need to be stopped for the protection and safety of the region and potentially the entire world.
On November 9, youth activists plan to organize a day of action for racial justice, immigrant justice, and climate justice called "Our Generation, Our Choice," which will include a gathering in Washington, DC to demand that our political leaders address these issues. The growing list of supporters includes organizations such as Million Hoodies, Working Families, 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Hip Hop Caucus. While this may seem like a hodgepodge of different social movements, they are, in fact, inextricably linked.