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.
Today, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that would end the NSA's indiscriminate collection of Americans' phone records, by a vote of 338 to 88. The vote comes on the heels of a decision by a federal appeals court last week holding that the bulk collection program violates Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Following the court's ruling, the Obama administration issued a statement in support of the USA Freedom Act, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared his intent to pass legislation allowing the bulk collection program to continue.
"This vote sends a clear signal to the Senate that NSA reform is inevitable," said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. "Senator McConnell wants to put his head in the sand and go forward with the NSA's mass surveillance of Americans. That goes against the will of the people, the Congress, the administration, and the courts. In light of the clear mandate for reform, the Senate should not only take up the USA Freedom Act, it should strengthen it by limiting how long the NSA can keep records and by filling the many loopholes in the bill's transparency provisions."
The editors at Democracy Watch News (I am a contributing editor) are very concerned about the treatment of members of the press by police during the MayDay protests on Capitol Hill. Even reporters with clearly visible press credentials were blocked, herded and subjected to crowdcontrol devices.
Following a collaboration between the Amazon Indian Nixiwaka Yawanawá and British painter John Dyer to create a series of paintings at the U.K.'s Eden Project, the twoartists will invite children around the world to submit their artworks inspired by the rainforest.
Nixiwaka Yawanawá and John Dyer are currently creating a series of paintings collectively called "Spirit of the Rainforest" to emphasize the need to protect the rainforest and tribal peoples that live in them for future generations. Their residency at Eden's Rainforest Biome – the largest captive rainforest in the world – will end on May 15, 2015.
In a western capital far away from Gaza and Cairo, I recently shared a pot of tea with an "Egyptian refugee".
The term is familiar to me, but never have I encountered an Egyptian who refers to himself as such. He stated it as a matter of fact by saying: "As an Egyptian refugee..." and carried on to talk about the political turmoil in his country.
An Appeals Court has vacated the sabotage convictions of peace activists Greg-Boertje-Obed, of Duluth, Min., and his co-defendants Michael Walli of Washington, DC, and Sr. Megan Rice of New York City. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that federal prosecutors failed to prove - and that "norational jury could find" - that the three had intended to damage "national defense."
In July 2012, Greg, Michael and Megan clipped through four fences and walked right up to the "Fort Knox" of weapons-grade uranium, the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility inside the Y-12 complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Uranium processed there puts the "H" in our H-bombs. With three hours before they were spotted, the nuclear weapons abolitionists painted "Woe to an Empire of Blood" and other slogans on several structures, strung banners, and celebrated their luck in catching the nuclear weapons system asleep at the wheel. When a guard finally confronted them, they offered him some bread.
A cross-party delegation of MPs will next week hold talks in Washington DC to lobby for the return of the last remaining Briton in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker Aamer.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and Conservatives David Davis (a former Shadow Home Secretary) and Andrew Mitchell (a former Chief Whip) will hold meetings with Senators and Obama administration officials.
We submit these letters as mothers, advocates and organizers in solidarity with Shanesha Taylor. Shanesha is a mother who was convicted in Arizona last year for child abuse, for being homeless and having no childcare available to her while she interviewed for a badly needed job. She got the job, and her children were unharmed in the car, (their home at the time), but still she faces a decade of probation, payment to the state of thousands of dollars in what is being called "restitution", and the threat of jail. Shanesha returns to court Friday, May 15th.
Employee turnover costs businesses millions of dollars each year. However, many employers don't accurately track this expense, which could be reduced by improving workplace conditions. To help business owners understand the cost of turnover, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) have released an updated turnover calculator. This dynamic tool allows employers to calculate turnover costs by responding to 10 simple questions.
When employees leave or are laid off, companies incur numerous expenses searching for and on-boarding their replacements; these include advertising, recruiting, background checks, benefits administration, training, and lost productivity while new employees become proficient at their jobs.
Today, the House of Representatives will vote on a blatantly unconstitutional nationwide ban on abortion care after 20 weeks (H.R. 36), which is a threat to women's lives and health, and at odds with medical standards of care.
This bill was introduced in January 2015 and pulled from floor consideration at the eleventh hour because its extreme policies caused controversy even among anti-choice politicians. Now, its sponsors have put forth a new version of the bill – purporting to "fix" the bill's most dangerous clauses. However, the new version of H.R. 36 is even worse than the prior version, revealing that there is only one thing that extreme anti-choice politicians can agree upon: denying women accessible medical care.
We in the NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement are glad to stand with you as we make the moral case for environmental justice.
I am pleased to welcome you to Raleigh to the People's House. We are especially pleased to have Robert Kennedy, Jr. here, who has been a long-time fighter for environmental justice.
We must stand together to fight to protect our land, water, air - every part of our environment.