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.
A lot of crucial stories got ignored this year. Here are perhaps the most important ones.
1) Unarmed man killed by FBI - http://huff.to/1h9WcGV
2) AG Holder not going after big banks - http://bit.ly/1cRb3UT
3) Big banks are just a money grab - http://bloom.bg/147N3UQ
4) The pie chart that destroys climate change denial - http://bit.ly/1fWFhnu
5) More about the TPP and TTIP corporate coup - http://www.flushthetpp.org/
6) Outro music by Sierra and The Nomads - http://www.sierraandthenomads.com/
When U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced he had hired lawyers to denounce and get rid of his Canadian citizenship, it made one wonder if the Republican Party is not only the party of death, but an extremely exclusionary, reactionary sect within a state.
The same gloomy political party that vilified the estate tax, calling it “death taxes,” and that is warning of an Obama-apocalypse, by continually referring to “death panels” and a “death spiral,” has now pressured Senator Ted Cruz to forgo his dual citizenship.
The very first societies were actually families, then the tribe, then the village, and then the state. The concept of citizenship, or belonging to a state, did not exist and evolved only in relation to draconian leaders and oppressive institutions that seized “natural” liberties.
“One of the strange things about our politics is the disconnect between what sorts of things lead us, collectively, to express outrage and what sorts of things we don’t notice,” David Kaib begins in an examination of outrage centering on a marijuana Op-Ed by David Brooks, adding:
I’m thinking specifically of how a statement can set off outrage while the background behaviors, activities or policies that the statement expresses or seeks to justify do not….
I think this dynamic is a product of two things. First, a great deal of our politics concerns people’s motives and character, which are largely unknowable, as opposed to assessing their actions on their own terms. So when someone says something, potentially revealing their intentions, it seems powerful. Second, and I suspect more importantly, it’s hard to get upset about long-standing, entrenched conditions. We do better trying to oppose some deviation from the norm, or at least, things that are understood that way.
You are in a unique position of leadership to influence today's youth to achieve a better tomorrow for America and the world. I am writing to enlist your help in educating young people to understand the survival challenges that face humanity in the 21st century.
Education is driven by values. Young people must learn to live with reverence for life, as did Albert Schweitzer, and to support equitable and nonviolent solutions to social problems, as did Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Young people must be imbued with compassion, commitment and courage. They must learn to use their imaginations to find creative and cooperative solutions to the great issues of our time. And they must find joy in the process and take time to celebrate the miracle of living on the only planet we know of in the universe that supports life.
When the Republicans took control of the House, they also took control of all the House committees and the websites for those committees. At the Ways and Means website, one of the first things the GOP did was to cut off email contact between ordinary Americans and possibly the most powerful tax-writing committee in the Congress.
Back when the Democrats and chairman Sander Levin ran Ways and Means, the "Contact" dropdown included email contact to the committee. Once Dave Camp and the Republicans took over, they elected to go back to the 20th century: if you want to get in touch with Ways and Means nowadays, you'll just have to use the telephone or snail mail. (Or you could pay to send a fax, as I did today and several times before.)
TRIANGLE, VA. - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against Cobalt Coal and two other entities, charging that the companies failed to bargain in good faith with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and illegally contracted out operation of its Westchester mine in McDowell Co., W. Va., after the union won an organizing drive at the mine.
The mine was featured in a reality television show on Spike TV in 2011, when it was cited multiple times by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration and the West Virginia Office of Miner's Health, Safety and Training for safety violations that were caught on tape and aired during the program's one-season run. In 2012, the miners voted to be represented by the UMWA.
"American Hustle," the hit comedy/caper film loosely based on ABSCAM, is currently showing in theaters nationwide. For those who haven't heard of the movie or who don't remember the late 1970's, ABSCAM was a sting operation organized by the FBI featuring operatives dressed up like Arab sheikhs. The FBI videotaped the fake "sheikhs" offering envelopes of cash to Senators and Congressmen seeking their assistance with a range of illegal activities. The Congressional culprits were arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prison terms for bribery and conspiracy.
Christmas came early this year for police unions and business interests when Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio announced that Bill Bratton would once again be the police commissioner of New York City on December 5th.
The appointment of Bratton may have not been surprising for those who had followed media reports the last few months that had De Blasio hinting at Bratton as his man. What was perhaps more surprising was the lack of a strong and unified response to the Bratton appointment from some of the more visible police reform groups and erstwhile progressives that had loudly and publicly denounced the Bloomberg administration and its police commissioner, Ray Kelly.