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.
For the more than 40 million Americans in poverty, everyday life is a struggle — buying food, going to school, getting a job. And for a great many of them, what most people think of as simple tasks are also difficult. Let’s explore the picture of poverty in the U.S. and the psychological and physical toll it takes.
The following is a quote from Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center:
"Women’s union membership held steady in 2013 after dropping sharply the year before, and that’s a relief for women seeking better wages and equal pay. The wage gap among union members is half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers. And female union members earn over $200 per week more than women who are not represented by unions—an increase that represents a larger union premium than men receive. But a case pending in the Supreme Court challenges the right of home care providers—an overwhelmingly female and very low-wage workforce—and potentially the right of all public employees—to be represented by unions. Today’s data make it clear that this case has high stakes for working women and men."
There are a million qualifications that need to be put on that statement. None of them render it false. A bill looked likely to move through Congress that would have imposed new sanctions on Iran, shredded the negotiated agreement with Iran, and committed the United States to join in any Israeli war on Iran. This would be a step toward war and has become understood as such by large numbers of people. Efforts to sell sanctions as an alternative to war failed. Tons of pushback has come, and is still coming, from the public, including from numerous organizations not always known for their opposition to war. And the bill, for the moment, seems much less likely to pass.
Heads of state, financial ministers, celebrities and representatives from many of the worlds most powerful corporations are meeting in Davos, Switzerland for the 2014 World Economic Forum. This year's theme of the forum is "The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business." The Forum has focused on income inequality, the impacts of low economic growth and climate change. In advance of this year's forum Oxfam International released a report that noted that the world's 85 richest individuals have as much wealth as 3.5 billion people or half the world's population.
Washington, DC – An independent bipartisan agency within the Executive Branch has issued a landmark 238-page report that concludes the bulk metadata telephony program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) has provided only "minimal" benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal, and should be closed down.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) report further confirms the whistleblower status of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who made significant revelations to the media in June 2013 of NSA surveillance programs he reasonably believed to be unconstitutional.
Three remarkable items in Thursday's Charlottesville Daily Progress. First, a football player explaining that when he proclaimed his superiority to his opponent after a game he was caught up in the game's passion, and that the overblown reaction to his obnoxious comments seems racist. Indeed it does, but it seems to reflect another type of willful ignorance as well.
There have been similar stories before but the one that came from India in December of 2012 of a 23 year old medical student who, after getting on a bus with her male friend, was attacked, raped and tortured by a gang of men on the bus. After their initial crimes the men threw her and her male companion, who had been beaten by the thugs, out of the
bus and onto the road. The young woman died two weeks later from her injuries. The rapist murderers were arrested, four received harsh sentences but one was given only three years in a juvenile prison, he is in his late teens. Despite the obvious evil nature of this kind of conduct it appears to have had little impact in reducing the numbers or nature of attacks against women and girls. While the above mentioned attack outraged millions in India and around the world less than a month ago another took place with equally despicable, if not worse characteristics.
It’s heartening to see that an agreement has been reached to ensure that Iran honors its commitment, made when it signed the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to forgo developing nuclear weapons.
But what about the other key part of the NPT, Article VI, which commits nuclear-armed nations to “cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” as well as to “a treaty on general and complete disarmament”? Here we find that, 44 years after the NPT went into force, the United States and other nuclear powers continue to pursue their nuclear weapons buildups, with no end in sight.
Christie is renowned as a “control freak.” Even so, as Richard Nixon learned to his sorrow, events often have a way of eventually taking control. With “Bridgegate,” events have forced the initiative from the Governor’s office into the hands of the investigating committees of the New Jersey Legislature and the United State Congress. Perhaps for the first time in his incumbency, Chris Christie is on the defensive. Not an enviable position for a controlling bully.