Thursday, 26 May 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.

Apr 15

A Shirt With a Heart Seized in a Heartless UN Building

By Malú Huacuja del Toro, Speakout | Op-Ed

After a nine-day hunger strike in front of the United Nations headquarters for the kidnapped Ayotzinapa students and against crimes of the state, Mexican activist Leobardo Santillán was almost arrested when trying to mail a letter to the General Assembly president about the massacres happening in Mexico. I was forced by the UN officers to delete the video of his being handcuffed. I was photographed and banned from returning to the United Nations.

I've tried to tell these stories through six photo essays. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did in putting them together. They depict the #Enough! GENeration I'm privileged to be working with, tender human beings who wish to nurture Green, Equal and Nonviolent relationships. These green, equal and nonviolent relationships can change our politics, economy, environment and our understanding of safe and secure spaces. They have been changing me by laughing, crying, worrying, healing and shivering with me.

Apr 14

Why Donald Trump Needs Empathy Training

By Joan M. Cook, Speakout | Op-Ed

Research suggests that bullies are deficient or completely lacking in the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing. Clearly, Donald Trump has his pulse on the thoughts and feelings of an element of the electorate. But many political pundits, academics and health care professionals like me are shocked by his inability or unwillingness to be empathetic to large segments of our population. 

Under the banners of Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, we will be sticking our necks out to demand an end to the destructive influence of big money on our politics and the need to enfranchise all people. I have signed up to risk getting arrested on April 13. Why that day? I want to show my support for the worker advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United as they take on one of the prime examples of excessive money in politics: the National Restaurant Association.

Public debate around the avalanche of corruption stories propagating from the recently publicized internal documents of the Panamanian law firm, Massack Fonseca is warranted in the current presidential elections. Labeled the Panama Papers, this anonymously leaked trove of 11.5 million legal and financial records exchanged with the large German newspaper Sϋddeutsche Zeitung reflects the global practices of a rigged system crafted for world leaders and the wealthy to cover up their dealings and hide money.

During the throes of a two-month white supremacist standoff-turned-FBI confrontation in Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge and the dawning reality of an increasingly legitimized Donald Trump candidacy, Portland Community College announced it would observe "Whiteness History Month." In what college officials promise to be an annual event each April -- not a "celebratory" project -- this observance seeks to become part of a conversation that explains how whiteness and privilege function in society.

Apr 12

Portland Tenants Rally for Rent Control and a Halt to Evictions

By Daniel Vincent and Shane Burley, Black Cat Films | Video Report

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, Portland Tenants United (PTU), the Portland, Oregon, based tenants' union, descended on the Multnomah County building with hundreds of supporters. Since the City of Portland declared a renter state of emergency six months ago, organizers argue that the rental crisis in the hip urban areas of Portland has only gotten worse, with the city standing out with the fastest rent increases in the nation.

The formal signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in New Zealand on February 4, 2016, inaugurated a two-year window of ratification for the largest trade deal in history. Encompassing 12 countries and 40 percent of the global economy, it has polarized the US presidential elections and kindled a vigorous debate on the merits of international trade for the United States. In Peru, a similar debate is playing out.  

Even as the US is on track to spend a trillion dollars -- a thousand billion -- for a new generation of nuclear weaponsand their delivery systems, there is encouraging news from the disarmament movement. In March, a combination of conscientious university professors, student researchers, local peace activists and organizers won the unanimous support of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Council to divest the city's pension funds and other investments from corporations and financial institutions involved in the production of nuclear weapons.

Places of worship burn to the ground and families threatened with violence flee their homes. Sounds like something out of Iraq or Syria, yet this was actually Philadelphia during the Bible Riots of 1844. Fear and hatred of Irish Catholic immigrants in 1844 follows an all too familiar narrative. During this period, Irish Catholic immigrants, and even Irish-American citizens, were viewed as lazy, uneducated, dirty, disease-ridden, criminals who stole American jobs and threatened the American way of life.

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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.

Apr 15

A Shirt With a Heart Seized in a Heartless UN Building

By Malú Huacuja del Toro, Speakout | Op-Ed

After a nine-day hunger strike in front of the United Nations headquarters for the kidnapped Ayotzinapa students and against crimes of the state, Mexican activist Leobardo Santillán was almost arrested when trying to mail a letter to the General Assembly president about the massacres happening in Mexico. I was forced by the UN officers to delete the video of his being handcuffed. I was photographed and banned from returning to the United Nations.

I've tried to tell these stories through six photo essays. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did in putting them together. They depict the #Enough! GENeration I'm privileged to be working with, tender human beings who wish to nurture Green, Equal and Nonviolent relationships. These green, equal and nonviolent relationships can change our politics, economy, environment and our understanding of safe and secure spaces. They have been changing me by laughing, crying, worrying, healing and shivering with me.

Apr 14

Why Donald Trump Needs Empathy Training

By Joan M. Cook, Speakout | Op-Ed

Research suggests that bullies are deficient or completely lacking in the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing. Clearly, Donald Trump has his pulse on the thoughts and feelings of an element of the electorate. But many political pundits, academics and health care professionals like me are shocked by his inability or unwillingness to be empathetic to large segments of our population. 

Under the banners of Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, we will be sticking our necks out to demand an end to the destructive influence of big money on our politics and the need to enfranchise all people. I have signed up to risk getting arrested on April 13. Why that day? I want to show my support for the worker advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United as they take on one of the prime examples of excessive money in politics: the National Restaurant Association.

Public debate around the avalanche of corruption stories propagating from the recently publicized internal documents of the Panamanian law firm, Massack Fonseca is warranted in the current presidential elections. Labeled the Panama Papers, this anonymously leaked trove of 11.5 million legal and financial records exchanged with the large German newspaper Sϋddeutsche Zeitung reflects the global practices of a rigged system crafted for world leaders and the wealthy to cover up their dealings and hide money.

During the throes of a two-month white supremacist standoff-turned-FBI confrontation in Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge and the dawning reality of an increasingly legitimized Donald Trump candidacy, Portland Community College announced it would observe "Whiteness History Month." In what college officials promise to be an annual event each April -- not a "celebratory" project -- this observance seeks to become part of a conversation that explains how whiteness and privilege function in society.

Apr 12

Portland Tenants Rally for Rent Control and a Halt to Evictions

By Daniel Vincent and Shane Burley, Black Cat Films | Video Report

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, Portland Tenants United (PTU), the Portland, Oregon, based tenants' union, descended on the Multnomah County building with hundreds of supporters. Since the City of Portland declared a renter state of emergency six months ago, organizers argue that the rental crisis in the hip urban areas of Portland has only gotten worse, with the city standing out with the fastest rent increases in the nation.

The formal signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in New Zealand on February 4, 2016, inaugurated a two-year window of ratification for the largest trade deal in history. Encompassing 12 countries and 40 percent of the global economy, it has polarized the US presidential elections and kindled a vigorous debate on the merits of international trade for the United States. In Peru, a similar debate is playing out.  

Even as the US is on track to spend a trillion dollars -- a thousand billion -- for a new generation of nuclear weaponsand their delivery systems, there is encouraging news from the disarmament movement. In March, a combination of conscientious university professors, student researchers, local peace activists and organizers won the unanimous support of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Council to divest the city's pension funds and other investments from corporations and financial institutions involved in the production of nuclear weapons.

Places of worship burn to the ground and families threatened with violence flee their homes. Sounds like something out of Iraq or Syria, yet this was actually Philadelphia during the Bible Riots of 1844. Fear and hatred of Irish Catholic immigrants in 1844 follows an all too familiar narrative. During this period, Irish Catholic immigrants, and even Irish-American citizens, were viewed as lazy, uneducated, dirty, disease-ridden, criminals who stole American jobs and threatened the American way of life.