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.
Aspects of life can be superficial or aspects of life can be deep. Deep is a synonym for meaningful. The art and science of gardening has had an ancient history of being a deep and meaningful part of human life.
Gandhi has said to forget to dig the earth is to forget ourselves. In the twilight of Thomas Jefferson's life, he mused that although he was an old man, he was but a young gardener.
In an era of high technology and complicated lives, there are practical steps that humans can take that can nurture and aid our journey through life. Gardening is such a practical endeavor. Gardening can enrich the body and soul with nourishment and beauty.
TV is such an integral part of daily life that many cannot see how it could ever become irrelevant.
A Chariot driver if asked about the future of transportation might have replied: "They will have 10 extra horses pulling the cart and it will go twice as fast!"
Hundreds of years before the invention of the combustion engine, the Chariot driver cannot begin to comprehend what a combustion engine is, or how it would be possible to fit hundreds of horses into the size equivalent of 1/5 of a horse.
The reason TV will soon be irrelevant is that every technology ever invented, and every technology yet to be invented, will one day become obsolete.
Let us be clear: the problem of rape and sexual assault on campus is a male problem.
Last week, many newspapers across the country featured an editorial by Dan K. Thomasson titled Academia Needs to Act to Protect College Women. Unfortunately, Thomasson’s comments served to reinforce the antiquated notion that its women’s responsibility to avoid getting raped. Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of sexual assaults and therefore the onus of changing the campus rape culture lies primarily with them. Simply put, men need to not rape.
There aren't many to come to Congress to protest - not nearly enough - and the disparaging comments of chairs of committees and witnesses toward those who do challenge administrations are certainly aimed at discouraging pesky, uncomfortable protests.
It wasn't that anyone liked Sadaam Hussein and his treatment of many in Iraq, but we knew we were being lied into a war with the false claims of weapons of mass destruction and we protested vigorously against it.
No one likes what Assad has done to many in Syria, nor what ISIS is doing to the people in the territory they currently control, but we didn't trust the Obama administration on last year's issue of chemical attacks in Syria, nor do we trust him on arming "moderate" rebel groups in Syria, so we protest.
Washington, DC -US Federal Judge Thomas Griesa scheduled Argentina to appear for a contempt hearing on Monday, September 29. At issue is Argentina's failure to follow a court order to only continue to pay the 92% of bondholders who restructured after the country's 2001 default if Argentina pays a group of hold-out hedge funds. Argentina organized payment to restructured bondholders via an Argentine bank to avoid paying the hedge funds. The hedge funds, popularly known as "vulture funds," are asking the judge to hold Argentina in contempt and fine the South American country $50,000 per day.
"A contempt ruling probably won't help resolve the situation," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious financial reform organization Jubilee USA. "The case continues to highlight how ineffective US courts are at resolving debt disputes."
A former senior US Ambassador and State Department official has described claims made by the British Government in a High Court case concerning the 2004 rendition and torture of Yunus Rahmatullah as “highly unlikely.”
Lawyers for the UK Government had argued that a case brought by Mr. Rahmatullah, who was detained and mistreated by UK personnel in Iraq before being handed over to the US for ‘rendition’ to Afghanistan, should not be heard for fear of damaging British relations with the United States.
New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department on behalf of itself and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium (DU). As the US launches new military actions in the Middle East, the groups say getting information about the military’s use of DU in weaponry and its long-term effects is as urgent as ever. According to “In a State of Uncertainty,” a report by the Netherlands-based organization PAX, Iraq has been subject to the largest use of DU munitions of all areas of conflict and test sites, conservatively estimated to be at least 440 metric tons, though the United Nations Environment Programme has estimated an amount up to five times that based on satellite imagery. Iraqi civilians thought to have been exposed to DU and remaining debris have suffered high rates of cancer and birth defects and U.S. veterans report unexplained illnesses.
On June 21, 2014, the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives (NYC NOWC) hosted the first annual NYC Conference on Worker Cooperatives (videos of most of the conference sessions are posted here.) Two hundred people gathered at the CUNY Law School in Queens. The excitement in the room was palpable. A budding worker co-op movement has been on the move in NYC. Since Occupy Wall Street, there has been increased interest among activists in worker-owned worker-managed businesses as one strategy for workers to take control of their economic life. A coalition of worker cooperatives, community groups and advocates on the new progressive NYC Council, have been working together to develop a plan for growing the worker cooperative sector in NYC. This work culminated in an announcement on June 19, 2014, "The City Council secured $1.2 million in funding to support the expansion of worker cooperatives throughout the City to help low-income and minority New Yorkers become business owners." Moreover, new NYC Mayor, Bill De Blazio declared June 21, “Worker Cooperative Day” in New York.
In the morning, panels addressed “micro” issues such as “What is a worker co-op?” and “How are they organized?” In the afternoon the conference focused on “macro” issues such as how to develop an integrated co-op sector and what is the role of non-profit and government in co-op development.
Washington, DC – Today, US Marine Corps whistleblower Franz Gayl and his attorneys since 2007 at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) praised the Marine Corps and the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for the successful resolution of his seven-year Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) complaint.
Gayl is the Marine Corps science advisor whose disclosures ended delays in delivering the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) to Iraq and Afghanistan. Their absence had accounted for well over half of combat deaths and other casualties in those wars, which dropped by over 90 percent after their delivery. He and another national security whistleblower, Robert MacLean, also proposed reforms that President Obama eventually adopted as Presidential Policy Directive 19. PPD 19 created free speech rights for whistleblowers making disclosures inside their agencies, outlawed retaliation through security clearance actions, and upgraded due process rights to challenge security clearance reprisals.
American officials are hailing the handfuls of European and Arab nations who have belatedly joined the anti-ISIL coalition. Yes, it’s important to defend Yazidis, Kurds, and other populations at risk, and there is no one in their immediate vicinity that needs aerial dismemberment more than ISIL.
Predictably, critics are pointing out that air strikes aren’t sufficient to control the situation on the ground. So the US is sending more weapons to those shy Syrian “moderates,” and will begin training as many of them as it can herd onto bases in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Turkish troops may defend safe havens within Syria.