Wednesday, 10 February 2016 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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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.

The ongoing debates within Europe about whether migrants, refugees or exiles should be welcomed or the morally dubious debates about how many are acceptable, bearable or sustainable have been widely reported in the media. To some extent there is a similar debate in the US about Syrian refugees.

Sep 17

Finding Sacagawea in El Salvador

By Anna Ochoa O’Leary, Speakout | Op-Ed

Sacagawea was a Native American (Shoshone) who in 1804 made history by guiding the Louis and Clark expedition that helped establish trade with the Native Americans in the West, and advanced America's transcontinental expansion to the Pacific.The coin was unpopular and it disappeared from circulation.

However, on a recent trip, I found where Sacagawea went. She is in El Salvador where she is ubiquitous in the daily and constant exchange between vendors and customers. 

It's no exaggeration to say that we live in a corporate state, where the country, the states and our local communities are indirectly governed by those who control wealthy corporations. But belief in the myth of an American Way of Life based on the authority of self-governing people and the consent of the governed has deep roots. What will it take to convince the skeptics that those roots have been torn up and that democracy is withering on the vine?

This summer I made several trips to Ferguson and Baltimore, not only as one in great solidarity with protesting efforts but as a researcher, too. My several trips to both locations have impacted me tremendously as a criminologist. Though I have had perfect training in critical theory and, not to mention, my biography, which informs me (as it does anyone else), I have been more enriched by stepping into the intersectional realities of others whom are like myself (in racial heritage, etc.), but who exist in different social categories and spaces.

By issuing its new memorandum the Justice Department is tacitly admitting that its experiment in refusing to prosecute thesenior bankers that led the fraud epidemics that caused our economic crisis failed. The result was the death of accountability, of justice, and of deterrence. The result was a wave of recidivism in which elite bankers continued to defraud the public after promising to cease their crimes. The new Justice Department policy, correctly, restores the Department's publicly stated policy in Spring 2009.

Private control over public goods (i.e., privatization) comes in many forms. Higher education is a classic example of a public good - it shouldbe available to as many people as possible. Yet, as Adam Davidson reveals in an article published last week in The New York Times Magazine, rising tuition, reduced public spending, and market logic are increasingly reshaping our higher education system.

Sep 14

Will Monsanto Launch another "Sneak Attack" in Congress?

By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association | Op-Ed

So we were told recently by a Senate staffer, during one of the many meetings we've held with Senators to urge them to reject HR 1599, or what we refer to as the DARK - Deny Americans the Right to Know - Act.

Could that comment mean Monsanto is cooking up another "sneak attack," similar to the one it conducted in 2013, that led to passage of the Monsanto Protection Act?

With criminal legal system reform figuring prominently in the early stages of the 2016 presidential race, its national moment has undeniably arrived. And with it, our country's march - or rather grueling slog - toward a system of greater humanity is rightfully celebrated. After all, we stand at the brink of repairing an institution that violently mocks US rhetoric about justice and equality. Excitement naturally flows from the near reversal of a policy hellscape that's claimed the lives of so many.

After decades of self-destructive business-as-usual - empire-building, waging wars for fossil fuels, selling out government to the highest bidder, lacing the environment and the global food supply with GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, toxic sweeteners, artery-clogging fats and synthetic chemicals,  attacking the organic and natural health movement, brainwashing the body politic, destroying soils, forests, wetlands, and biodiversity and discharging greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere and the oceans like there's no tomorrow - we've reached a new low, physically and morally. 

I was seven when Mount Saint Helen's - a beautiful peak 90 miles from our home - erupted. My sister and I were playing outside as ash and soot began to fall around us like soft snowflakes. We stared in wonder as inches turned to drifts, and our young imaginations led us to ask if maybe it was the beginning of the end of the world.

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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.

The ongoing debates within Europe about whether migrants, refugees or exiles should be welcomed or the morally dubious debates about how many are acceptable, bearable or sustainable have been widely reported in the media. To some extent there is a similar debate in the US about Syrian refugees.

Sep 17

Finding Sacagawea in El Salvador

By Anna Ochoa O’Leary, Speakout | Op-Ed

Sacagawea was a Native American (Shoshone) who in 1804 made history by guiding the Louis and Clark expedition that helped establish trade with the Native Americans in the West, and advanced America's transcontinental expansion to the Pacific.The coin was unpopular and it disappeared from circulation.

However, on a recent trip, I found where Sacagawea went. She is in El Salvador where she is ubiquitous in the daily and constant exchange between vendors and customers. 

It's no exaggeration to say that we live in a corporate state, where the country, the states and our local communities are indirectly governed by those who control wealthy corporations. But belief in the myth of an American Way of Life based on the authority of self-governing people and the consent of the governed has deep roots. What will it take to convince the skeptics that those roots have been torn up and that democracy is withering on the vine?

This summer I made several trips to Ferguson and Baltimore, not only as one in great solidarity with protesting efforts but as a researcher, too. My several trips to both locations have impacted me tremendously as a criminologist. Though I have had perfect training in critical theory and, not to mention, my biography, which informs me (as it does anyone else), I have been more enriched by stepping into the intersectional realities of others whom are like myself (in racial heritage, etc.), but who exist in different social categories and spaces.

By issuing its new memorandum the Justice Department is tacitly admitting that its experiment in refusing to prosecute thesenior bankers that led the fraud epidemics that caused our economic crisis failed. The result was the death of accountability, of justice, and of deterrence. The result was a wave of recidivism in which elite bankers continued to defraud the public after promising to cease their crimes. The new Justice Department policy, correctly, restores the Department's publicly stated policy in Spring 2009.

Private control over public goods (i.e., privatization) comes in many forms. Higher education is a classic example of a public good - it shouldbe available to as many people as possible. Yet, as Adam Davidson reveals in an article published last week in The New York Times Magazine, rising tuition, reduced public spending, and market logic are increasingly reshaping our higher education system.

Sep 14

Will Monsanto Launch another "Sneak Attack" in Congress?

By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association | Op-Ed

So we were told recently by a Senate staffer, during one of the many meetings we've held with Senators to urge them to reject HR 1599, or what we refer to as the DARK - Deny Americans the Right to Know - Act.

Could that comment mean Monsanto is cooking up another "sneak attack," similar to the one it conducted in 2013, that led to passage of the Monsanto Protection Act?

With criminal legal system reform figuring prominently in the early stages of the 2016 presidential race, its national moment has undeniably arrived. And with it, our country's march - or rather grueling slog - toward a system of greater humanity is rightfully celebrated. After all, we stand at the brink of repairing an institution that violently mocks US rhetoric about justice and equality. Excitement naturally flows from the near reversal of a policy hellscape that's claimed the lives of so many.

After decades of self-destructive business-as-usual - empire-building, waging wars for fossil fuels, selling out government to the highest bidder, lacing the environment and the global food supply with GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, toxic sweeteners, artery-clogging fats and synthetic chemicals,  attacking the organic and natural health movement, brainwashing the body politic, destroying soils, forests, wetlands, and biodiversity and discharging greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere and the oceans like there's no tomorrow - we've reached a new low, physically and morally. 

I was seven when Mount Saint Helen's - a beautiful peak 90 miles from our home - erupted. My sister and I were playing outside as ash and soot began to fall around us like soft snowflakes. We stared in wonder as inches turned to drifts, and our young imaginations led us to ask if maybe it was the beginning of the end of the world.