Thursday, 03 September 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had predicted that if Indian people were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands, "the name of the nation removed would be a stench to the world." After enduring centuries of sickness, near starvation, crippling cold and loss of their ancestral homelands, the Choctaw again faced the very exact "stench to the world" that Emerson mentioned. Moreover, and forced at gunpoint in 1830 to march westward from Mississippi to Indian Territory in Oklahoma without preparation, many thousands died as aresult of the Removal, also known as the Trail of Tears.

I don't know any of the 13 activists who lowered themselves from the St. John's Bridge in Portland, Oregon, nor any of the dozens of kayakers paddling in the Willamette River below them, but they succeeded in a temporary blockade of the Shell-leased Arctic-boundice breaker MSV Fennica. I know that the activists participated in our democracy - they were nonviolent and far more civil than many members of Congress. The ship was in Portland for repairs of damage to the hull, which ironically occurred when it was scheduled tol eave for the Arctic as part of the safety conditions Royal Dutch Shell Oil needed to fulfill for federal approval to drill for oil after a series of accidents in 2013.

Aug 04

Dying From Climate Change While Poor

By Lisa Gray-Garcia, POOR Magazine | Op-Ed

The heat rose from the asphalt beneath me like a snake with no head. It circled around my body and landed in my nose and mouth. I began to have choking sensations. It was at least 111 degrees with heavy smog in downtown Los Angeles that day and I had already been working for eight hours, but me and my mama had no money to eat so I couldn't leave our vendor stand cause I still hadn't made a sale.

In the continuous acquiescence of local government municipalities mixing church with state, the Jefferson County Police Department of Illinois has recently elected to place the words, "In God We Trust" on their police vehicles. This act, among many like it across the country, is a stark contradiction to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

No religion or its rhetoric should be promoted by a government agency. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow the promotion of God to infiltrate public services.

On behalf of the Organic Consumers Association, which represents more than 1 million Americans, I ask that you take the lead in protecting the right of consumers to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by issuing a public statement opposing HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, and by urging your fellow senators to oppose a Senate version of this bill.

On July 23, 2015, the US House of Representatives passed HR 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states' rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Jul 31

Obama's Legacy for Africa

By Foday Darboe, Speakout | Op-Ed

In light of President Obama's 2015 trip to Africa, likely his last trip to Africa as US president, it is appropriate to evaluate his government's foreign policies in Africa since he assumed office. Through this assessment, it is sadly plain to see that Obama's policies have not helped the vast majority of Africans. Instead, the policies have allowed the suppression of the African people's hoped-for democratic reforms, while simultaneously bolstering the power of corrupt African elites.

Compare Hillary Clinton's top donors to Bernie Sanders': 90 percent of the top 20 contributors to Hillary Clinton are corporations or provide services to corporations. 95 percent of the top 20 contributors to Bernie Sanders are unions.

Watchdog NGO Open Secrets monitors donations to US politicians and money in US politics. Open Secrets has compiled a list of the 20 largest donors to Democratic 2016 Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth, answered questions that acTVIsm Munich put to him about the crisis in Greece. He provides his analysis on the voting results of the Greek referendum, austerity and its effects on the Eurozone. 

Last year, San Francisco tenant rights' supporters scored an important victory when voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition K, requiring all new housing developments provide 33% low and moderate-cost units.

The objective was to put a lid on the unregulated, speculative construction boom that earned the city its most contentious distinction of being the country's second most expensive place to live, just after New York City.

Jul 29

Adjunct Professors and Workers' Rights

By Laura Finley, Speakout | Op-Ed

The workers' rights movement has exploded in the last few years, with fast food, agricultural and other workers staging strikes andother nonviolent actions to demand increased wages, benefits, and better working conditions. One group of workers that has received far too little attention is adjunct college professors.

According to data collected by the Chronicle of Higher Education, adjuncts at one college and two universities near my home in Southeast Florida earn between $1,380 and $3,000 to teach a fifteen week, three credit course.

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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.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had predicted that if Indian people were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands, "the name of the nation removed would be a stench to the world." After enduring centuries of sickness, near starvation, crippling cold and loss of their ancestral homelands, the Choctaw again faced the very exact "stench to the world" that Emerson mentioned. Moreover, and forced at gunpoint in 1830 to march westward from Mississippi to Indian Territory in Oklahoma without preparation, many thousands died as aresult of the Removal, also known as the Trail of Tears.

I don't know any of the 13 activists who lowered themselves from the St. John's Bridge in Portland, Oregon, nor any of the dozens of kayakers paddling in the Willamette River below them, but they succeeded in a temporary blockade of the Shell-leased Arctic-boundice breaker MSV Fennica. I know that the activists participated in our democracy - they were nonviolent and far more civil than many members of Congress. The ship was in Portland for repairs of damage to the hull, which ironically occurred when it was scheduled tol eave for the Arctic as part of the safety conditions Royal Dutch Shell Oil needed to fulfill for federal approval to drill for oil after a series of accidents in 2013.

Aug 04

Dying From Climate Change While Poor

By Lisa Gray-Garcia, POOR Magazine | Op-Ed

The heat rose from the asphalt beneath me like a snake with no head. It circled around my body and landed in my nose and mouth. I began to have choking sensations. It was at least 111 degrees with heavy smog in downtown Los Angeles that day and I had already been working for eight hours, but me and my mama had no money to eat so I couldn't leave our vendor stand cause I still hadn't made a sale.

In the continuous acquiescence of local government municipalities mixing church with state, the Jefferson County Police Department of Illinois has recently elected to place the words, "In God We Trust" on their police vehicles. This act, among many like it across the country, is a stark contradiction to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

No religion or its rhetoric should be promoted by a government agency. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow the promotion of God to infiltrate public services.

On behalf of the Organic Consumers Association, which represents more than 1 million Americans, I ask that you take the lead in protecting the right of consumers to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by issuing a public statement opposing HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, and by urging your fellow senators to oppose a Senate version of this bill.

On July 23, 2015, the US House of Representatives passed HR 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states' rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Jul 31

Obama's Legacy for Africa

By Foday Darboe, Speakout | Op-Ed

In light of President Obama's 2015 trip to Africa, likely his last trip to Africa as US president, it is appropriate to evaluate his government's foreign policies in Africa since he assumed office. Through this assessment, it is sadly plain to see that Obama's policies have not helped the vast majority of Africans. Instead, the policies have allowed the suppression of the African people's hoped-for democratic reforms, while simultaneously bolstering the power of corrupt African elites.

Compare Hillary Clinton's top donors to Bernie Sanders': 90 percent of the top 20 contributors to Hillary Clinton are corporations or provide services to corporations. 95 percent of the top 20 contributors to Bernie Sanders are unions.

Watchdog NGO Open Secrets monitors donations to US politicians and money in US politics. Open Secrets has compiled a list of the 20 largest donors to Democratic 2016 Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth, answered questions that acTVIsm Munich put to him about the crisis in Greece. He provides his analysis on the voting results of the Greek referendum, austerity and its effects on the Eurozone. 

Last year, San Francisco tenant rights' supporters scored an important victory when voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition K, requiring all new housing developments provide 33% low and moderate-cost units.

The objective was to put a lid on the unregulated, speculative construction boom that earned the city its most contentious distinction of being the country's second most expensive place to live, just after New York City.

Jul 29

Adjunct Professors and Workers' Rights

By Laura Finley, Speakout | Op-Ed

The workers' rights movement has exploded in the last few years, with fast food, agricultural and other workers staging strikes andother nonviolent actions to demand increased wages, benefits, and better working conditions. One group of workers that has received far too little attention is adjunct college professors.

According to data collected by the Chronicle of Higher Education, adjuncts at one college and two universities near my home in Southeast Florida earn between $1,380 and $3,000 to teach a fifteen week, three credit course.