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.
With the interim 'debt ceiling/government shutdown' agreement reached last week between the Obama administration and the Teaparty-driven U.S. House of Representatives, the real negotiations on deficit cutting—aka Austerity American Style—are about to begin again.
A long campaign peddling falsehoods around social security and medicare has created a myth that they are facing a budget and fiscal crisis. This claim will be rolled out by Democrats and Republicans alike, to justify cutting programs for the poorest Americans, while handing tax breaks to the richest corporation.
Special-interest groups and political parties spent an unprecedented $24.1 million on television ads and other election materials in state court races in 2011-2012, according to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Justice at Stake, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
The report, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011-12: How New Waves of Special Interest Spending Raised the Stakes for Fair Courts, provides a comprehensive look at 2011-2012 state Supreme Court elections. In the first full election cycle since Citizens United, an explosion of independent spending helped fuel the costliest election cycle for TV spending in judicial election history and posed grave new threats to fair and impartial justice in America.
The news has been buzzing lately about a recent CDC report that confirms a link between the routine use of antibiotics for livestock and growing bacterial resistance. Surprisingly, about 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given in low prophylactic doses to farm animals in an effort to ward off rampant disease on our mega feedlots. If the CDC is right, this practice is causing people to die in increasing numbers from infections that simply won't respond to treatment anymore. The bacteria have evolved and become resistant to our drugs as fast as we can develop them.
Two road blockades have been erected to prevent the construction of the 1,200 MW Baram Dam. One blockade has been erected near Long Lama, on the shores of the Baram River, with a second blockade near the proposed dam site.
The Baram dam is the fourth dam planned as part of the Sarawak government's plan to build 12 mega-dams. The dam would displace up to 20,000 people and submerge a rainforest area of over 400km2.
Indigenous activists are demanding the immediate halt to planning and construction at the Baram dam and its access road.
I am a veteran – of the Vietnam era, as are my friends and my brothers. My father, uncles, and an aunt were veterans of World War II. A great uncle was stationed on a battleship during World War I. A great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, an immigrant in an Illinois regiment who suffered the rest of his life from his bullet wound.
Veterans Day on November 11 was formerly Armistice Day, celebrating the end of the Great War. But it has turned from a celebration of peace to a celebration of the false glory of war. War damages everything associated with it, not only the sailors and soldiers but the civilians including the children, not only the body but the mind and the spirit. Glorification of war becomes support for more war, for accepting the easy violence of war instead of the difficult peaceful resolution of human problems.
At a massive rally to "Take Back Chicago," thousands of Chicagoans backed an agenda for economic justice -- and a challenge to the policies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Members of dozens of community groups and labor unions rallied Tuesday, October 15, roaring their approval for policies to end corporate subsidies and strengthen public services and neighborhood schools.
“Oh the Muslims… you know they are a coming… they’re gentle and they’re friendly so open up your arms and give’m a hug…”
— Opening Song from The Muslims Are Coming
Captain Phillips is a movie about the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama commercial container ship by Somali pirates. Pirates, one of Americans’ most beloved figures—consider the popularity of the recent Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy—are loathsome savages in this film. They kill their own, abandon their own, don’t aid their own when they are injured, and are portrayed as generally lacking in even the most rudimentary forms of human compassion. By contrast, Tom Hanks, who plays the eponymous Captain Phillips, urges the Somali pirates to treat their wounded; expresses paternal concern for his captors—“What are you, sixteen, seventeen? You’re too young to be out here doing this”; conveys indignation over the pirates’ conduct—“Is this how you do business? By shooting people?”; and repeatedly tells the hijackers that they could leave, right now, with $30,000, no questions asked—evoking a smarmy game show host (I kept picturing Regis Philbin).
In the eighteenth century the West shifted from mercantilism to capitalism. Mercantilism was an economic system that gave governments wide-ranging regulatory powers over commerce, mostly to ensure a positive balance of trade. It also allowed for strong guild structures and protection for domestic industries. However, the Industrial Revolution ended mercantilism and brought to power a business class that wanted to be free to operate without government oversight.
Monday morning I woke at dawn and drove an hour from Phoenix to the small town of Eloy, Arizona. It was pretty warm already and I knew the Arizona sun would only grow hotter. I grabbed my bandana and prepared to chain myself to the entrance of one of the largest detention centers with the worst reputation in the United States. There were six of us in all — two men and four women. One was 16-year-old girl named Sandy Estrada. Her brother was detained inside.
“I am doing this so he and everybody else in there knows that we support them,” she said. “Obama has the power to keep families like mine together. He hasn’t done a thing.”