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.
From FBI investigations to the halls of Congress to the pages and screens of US media, questions are being asked and accusations are being made about Russia and North Korea. Russia has been accused of interfering in US elections, and because North Korea is "irrational," diplomatic efforts to end its nuclear weapons program were pronounced dead simultaneously with the birth announcement of a new approach to the problem that put "all options on the table." However, allegations of Russian interference in US elections and North Korean irrationality preventing a nuclear agreement require historical amnesia on the part of the accusers.
The recent release from the White House of the proposed budget, including its $9 billion or 13.5 percent cut to education, reminds us that public schools need more than episodic waves of support. They need a sustained, people-powered swell of support, particularly in this policy climate, which promises to starve public programs while privileging private interests.
Brazil's recent rotten meat scandal once again puts a spotlight on the untrustworthy, underhanded methods of agribusiness -- the industry will do anything for profit, and it will use money and political clout to get away with it. Such cases make it clear that this industry cannot be trusted; who knows how many other cases go on unnoticed. If we are serious about our loved ones' and our planet's well-being, then we must not only regulate the meat industry, but actively replace it by local and healthy alternatives that people can trust.
As 2017 moves along, reproductive health care in Texas and the US South promises to make as many headlines as in 2016. Under the Trump administration and a Conservative congress, more restrictive laws related to abortion are on the horizon. Only 19 abortion clinics remain in the state of Texas, with its population of more the 14 million adult women. One team has been working to document reproductive health care access in South Texas for the past two years. Under the direction of Maya Cueva and Leah Galant, 3 Point Pictures produced the SXSW hit The Provider. Following that success, the filmmakers are continuing to follow these stories as a documentary series called The Last Clinics.
Yemen is now beginning to host the world's worst humanitarian crisis. What's more, the country is regularly targeted by Saudi and US airstrikes. We are planning a week of fast and action related to the tragic circumstances Yemen faces, and were astounded when we realized Yemen is a path of escape for Somalis fleeing the Horn of Africa, refugees of one conflict, stranded in their flight, and trapped in a country where deadly conflict is precipitating into deadlier famine.
No one can predict the future and the title of this piece is incendiary. Nevertheless, I believe it is true: Humans are facing a one-two punch, from environmental devastation and nuclear holocaust. As environmental conditions worsen, nations are likely to turn inward and lash outward, causing increased conflict and wars that will likely end in the unthinkable: nuclear weapons being used for the first time since World War II.
What does it mean to stand with Palau? There is more than meets the eye to this question, and this calling. I once had the honor of traveling to the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of South Africa. Where one expects to see the meeting of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, one sees only ... ocean. Searching for north or south, for the southernmost point, for the meeting point, or any point, is futile. The world does not know such markers and borders, and the ocean least of all.
Donald Trump has made two moves that will intensify the refugee crisis, but only one is on the public's radar. The first high-profile move is Trump's controversial ban on many Muslim refugees who seek asylum in the United States. But the second move exacerbating the plight of refugees came earlier in Trump's first week in office, when he blindfolded and handcuffed the Environmental Protection Agency and shoved it in a closet under the guard of climate change denier Scott Pruitt.
With threats to blow up Jewish community centers and the overturning of Jewish cemetery graves, true anti-Semitism has reemerged in the US. Yet it bears absolutely none of the hallmarks of pro-Palestinian activism, which critics often decry as "anti-Semitic." Despite the West's historical anti-Semitism, it has created conditions for the Jewish state to be legitimately opposed due to Israel's oppressive policies. In turn, the West projects its own historical anti-Semitism onto those who oppose Israeli state oppression, namely Palestinians, and Palestinian rights supporters in the Arab world and across the globe.
Earlier this month, the state of Michigan announced that it will be cutting its assistance program for the citizens of Flint. Since lead was originally discovered in a Flint home's water supply on February 25, 2015, the people of Flint continue to be left without a clean water source. Instead, they are forced to travel to city centers to receive bottled water or water filters so that they can bathe and drink. And now, the government of Michigan has declared that it will be eliminating the already inadequate compensation program currently in place.