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Speakout

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.

Sep 07

Looking Toward the End of US Empire

By Kathy Kelly, Speakout | Op-Ed

It seems that some who have the ears of US elite decision-makers are at least shifting away from wishing to provoke wars with Russia and China. In recent articles, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Thomas Graham, two architects of the US cold war with Russia, have acknowledged that the era of uncontested US global imperialism is coming to an end. Both analysts urge more cooperation with Russia and China to achieve traditional, still imperial, US aims. Mr. Graham recommends a shifting mix of competition and cooperation, aiming toward a "confident management of ambiguity." Mr. Brzezinski calls for deputizing other countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to carry out the combined aims of the US, Russia and China so that this triumvirate could control other people’s land and resources. 

This has been the uncompromising view of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), who as chairman of the key Senate Finance Committee in 2008 and 2009 played a leading role in shaping the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As described in my 2010 book, Hijacked: The Road to Single Payer in the Aftermath of Stolen Health Care Reform, he and his committee kept a single-payer option off the table, and even called the police to arrest eight activists who showed up for a hearing before his committee on health care options. ElizabethFowler, a former health insurance industry insider as vice president for public policy for WellPoint, was the lead author of the Senate Finance Committee bill that made sure that the industry would be well served by the legislation.

When it comes to the criminal legal system, some situations are so unique there exists no means for judicial relief. It is as if a bizarre, hypothetical case presented to law students to highlight the limits of due process suddenly came to reality -- in Washington State. For years, Kenny Kozol has fought for his brother Steven's exoneration, believing as the Supreme Court long ago maintained in Marbury v. Madison, that "every right, when withheld, must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress."  

Sep 02

"Greek Art": The Present Through the Past

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, Speakout | Op-Ed

In every visit to Greece, I spent lots of time in the country's museums. My hunger for the sculpture and architecture of ancient Greece remains constant and complements my interest in Greek philosophy, history and science. It's hard to explain, but being close to a Greek temple like the Parthenon is an experience of pleasure and satisfaction

Sep 01

Playing With Fire in Eastern Europe

By Edward Hunt, Speakout | News Analysis

In recent months, a number of former and current US officials have indicated that the United States has played a central role in raising tensions in Eastern Europe. Although many observers in the United States identify Russia as the main problem in the region, both former and current US officials acknowledge that the US government has acted in ways that have destabilized the area.

Police violence is at the heart of a perpetual crisis in the United States. Today military-grade equipment and training is broadly available to officers. Such developments are especially distressing given the impunity American police have always enjoyed when terrorizing or attacking racialized communities. The tendency to wage violence of this kind -- essentially to target Black and Brown people -- implicates American police in a history of imperialist violence. This is why War Resisters League has been campaigning against those amongst the private sector and federal agencies that sustain police militarism.

Aug 30

Cuomo's Flint

By Bill Kitchen, Speakout | Op-Ed

Legislative hearings have begun about the water crisis in Hoosick Falls, New York, and many people have been dropping the F word: Flint. We should find out if the state mismanaged the situation in Hoosick Falls, but in a very fundamental way, it is different than Flint, Michigan, where the water contamination itself was created by the state. At least New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his agencies don't have to worry about that accusation. However, if they don't do their homework, they could easily create a true Flint-like crisis at Seneca Lake, the biggest of the Finger Lakes and the drinking water source for 100,000 people.

A common myth among opponents of single-payer national health insurance (NHI) is that it would cost too much and break the bank. This belief is based in part upon an assumption that patients would overuse health care if they gained access to it without any cost-sharing when they seek care. Cost-sharing has been a lynchpin of consumer-directed health care (CDHC) since the early 1990s, which assumes that patients who have more "skin in the game" -- through deductibles, co-payments, and other out-of-pocket costs -- will make more prudent decisions about their own health care. But that policy and assumption have been discredited by actual experience over the last 25 years.

Aug 29

What Makes a Hate Group?

By Brian Terrell, Speakout | Op-Ed

"As a matter of fact, you have had a person attend your protests in Camp Douglas who has threatened to kill our Deputies." This piece of startling news was revealed to me in a letter from Juneau County, Wisconsin, Undersheriff Craig Stuchlik dated July 25. I had written to the sheriff's department requesting documents under the Open Records Law and for an explanation of the department's response to a demonstration at Volk Field, a Wisconsin Air National Guard base near the town of Camp Douglas, where my colleague at Voices for Creative Nonviolence Kathy Kelly and I had been arrested onFebruary 23.

Last week, NASA released a follow-up study on its 2014 report that exposed a huge methane hotspot looming over the Four Corners. In the original report, NASA did not know what was causing this highly unusual density of methane pollution. The agency's latest report drilled deeper to find the source of the pollution: the oil and gas industry.

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Speakout

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.

Sep 07

Looking Toward the End of US Empire

By Kathy Kelly, Speakout | Op-Ed

It seems that some who have the ears of US elite decision-makers are at least shifting away from wishing to provoke wars with Russia and China. In recent articles, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Thomas Graham, two architects of the US cold war with Russia, have acknowledged that the era of uncontested US global imperialism is coming to an end. Both analysts urge more cooperation with Russia and China to achieve traditional, still imperial, US aims. Mr. Graham recommends a shifting mix of competition and cooperation, aiming toward a "confident management of ambiguity." Mr. Brzezinski calls for deputizing other countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to carry out the combined aims of the US, Russia and China so that this triumvirate could control other people’s land and resources. 

This has been the uncompromising view of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), who as chairman of the key Senate Finance Committee in 2008 and 2009 played a leading role in shaping the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As described in my 2010 book, Hijacked: The Road to Single Payer in the Aftermath of Stolen Health Care Reform, he and his committee kept a single-payer option off the table, and even called the police to arrest eight activists who showed up for a hearing before his committee on health care options. ElizabethFowler, a former health insurance industry insider as vice president for public policy for WellPoint, was the lead author of the Senate Finance Committee bill that made sure that the industry would be well served by the legislation.

When it comes to the criminal legal system, some situations are so unique there exists no means for judicial relief. It is as if a bizarre, hypothetical case presented to law students to highlight the limits of due process suddenly came to reality -- in Washington State. For years, Kenny Kozol has fought for his brother Steven's exoneration, believing as the Supreme Court long ago maintained in Marbury v. Madison, that "every right, when withheld, must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress."  

Sep 02

"Greek Art": The Present Through the Past

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, Speakout | Op-Ed

In every visit to Greece, I spent lots of time in the country's museums. My hunger for the sculpture and architecture of ancient Greece remains constant and complements my interest in Greek philosophy, history and science. It's hard to explain, but being close to a Greek temple like the Parthenon is an experience of pleasure and satisfaction

Sep 01

Playing With Fire in Eastern Europe

By Edward Hunt, Speakout | News Analysis

In recent months, a number of former and current US officials have indicated that the United States has played a central role in raising tensions in Eastern Europe. Although many observers in the United States identify Russia as the main problem in the region, both former and current US officials acknowledge that the US government has acted in ways that have destabilized the area.

Police violence is at the heart of a perpetual crisis in the United States. Today military-grade equipment and training is broadly available to officers. Such developments are especially distressing given the impunity American police have always enjoyed when terrorizing or attacking racialized communities. The tendency to wage violence of this kind -- essentially to target Black and Brown people -- implicates American police in a history of imperialist violence. This is why War Resisters League has been campaigning against those amongst the private sector and federal agencies that sustain police militarism.

Aug 30

Cuomo's Flint

By Bill Kitchen, Speakout | Op-Ed

Legislative hearings have begun about the water crisis in Hoosick Falls, New York, and many people have been dropping the F word: Flint. We should find out if the state mismanaged the situation in Hoosick Falls, but in a very fundamental way, it is different than Flint, Michigan, where the water contamination itself was created by the state. At least New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his agencies don't have to worry about that accusation. However, if they don't do their homework, they could easily create a true Flint-like crisis at Seneca Lake, the biggest of the Finger Lakes and the drinking water source for 100,000 people.

A common myth among opponents of single-payer national health insurance (NHI) is that it would cost too much and break the bank. This belief is based in part upon an assumption that patients would overuse health care if they gained access to it without any cost-sharing when they seek care. Cost-sharing has been a lynchpin of consumer-directed health care (CDHC) since the early 1990s, which assumes that patients who have more "skin in the game" -- through deductibles, co-payments, and other out-of-pocket costs -- will make more prudent decisions about their own health care. But that policy and assumption have been discredited by actual experience over the last 25 years.

Aug 29

What Makes a Hate Group?

By Brian Terrell, Speakout | Op-Ed

"As a matter of fact, you have had a person attend your protests in Camp Douglas who has threatened to kill our Deputies." This piece of startling news was revealed to me in a letter from Juneau County, Wisconsin, Undersheriff Craig Stuchlik dated July 25. I had written to the sheriff's department requesting documents under the Open Records Law and for an explanation of the department's response to a demonstration at Volk Field, a Wisconsin Air National Guard base near the town of Camp Douglas, where my colleague at Voices for Creative Nonviolence Kathy Kelly and I had been arrested onFebruary 23.

Last week, NASA released a follow-up study on its 2014 report that exposed a huge methane hotspot looming over the Four Corners. In the original report, NASA did not know what was causing this highly unusual density of methane pollution. The agency's latest report drilled deeper to find the source of the pollution: the oil and gas industry.