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.
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.
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.
"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.
The anti-heroes of rock and rap, Prophets of Rage, are set to galvanize Brooklyn, New York, this Saturday, August 27. Comprised of members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, their nationwide "Make America Rage Again" tour touches directly on the complex topic of politics and how it is used to push people around.
In 2016, the financial sector (comprising of finance, insurance and real estate) has contributed as much as $637 million in 2016 to candidates, candidate committees and outside spending groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The startling statistics reveal that this sector has dominated the list of largest campaign contributors across 13 sectors since 1990. A bulk part of this money has been raised in the form of soft/outside money, which has increased 17 times since 2010. The increase from $17.9 million in 2010 to $309.41 million in 2016 has largely been a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010.
Drug prices in the US are already approaching a crisis point for many patients unable to afford their prices, often despite being insured. These examples indicate how serious this problem has become. Now enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive, pro-corporate "free trade" agreement negotiated mostly in secret by large corporate players in the world economy. It was negotiated over seven years in closed-door sessions excluding the press, policy makers, and the public.
A few years ago, when California was going through a major budget crisis and money for education was being cut back dramatically, many students protesting the cuts claimed that education was a right. Conservatives shot back that education wasn't a right, it was a privilege. If education is a right, then how did we get that right? And if I have a right to an education, who has a duty to give it to me?
Twenty years ago today, President Bill Clinton "ended welfare as we knew it." In practical terms, this roughly doubled the number of those in extreme poverty. Philosophically, the move signaled that the Democratic Party believed that the "war on poverty" was a battle best fought by "the market." Yet the promotion of equal opportunity -- and especially racial integration -- has always been a task that we have entrusted to our elected officials.