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.
Over the past ten years, Ecuador has achieved major economic and social advances. We are concerned that many of these important gains in poverty reduction, wage growth, reduced inequality, and greater social inclusion could be eroded by a return to of the policies of austerity and neoliberalism that prevailed in Ecuador from the 1980s to the early 2000s. A return to such policies threatens to put Ecuador back on a path that leads not only to a more unequal society, but to more political instability as well. It is important to recall that from 1996 to 2006, Ecuador went through eight presidents.
When ISIS (also known as Daesh) swept into Sinjar to begin a genocidal campaign against the Yazidi ethnoreligious minority on August 3, 2014, those who managed to escape fled to the mountain in search of safety. More than two years later, Yazidis are on the run again, this time seeking to avoid being caught in the crossfire of an intra-Kurdish conflict that has flared up in their homeland.
Here's how this veteran feels about the $54 billion military budget increase demanded by our new so-called commander-in-chief: it's bullshit. In fact, calling it bullshit is too kind, because that would insinuate that it's useful in some way -- bullshit actually makes excellent compost. Unlike genuine bullshit, this military budget increase cannot assist anyone in growing food. But at the risk of offending any bulls, whose shit legitimately benefits the Earth, I'm going to go ahead and label Trump's budget proposal as bullshit, because it's truly the first and only thought that came to my head when I read it.
From FBI investigations to the halls of Congress to the pages and screens of US media, questions are being asked and accusations are being made about Russia and North Korea. Russia has been accused of interfering in US elections, and because North Korea is "irrational," diplomatic efforts to end its nuclear weapons program were pronounced dead simultaneously with the birth announcement of a new approach to the problem that put "all options on the table." However, allegations of Russian interference in US elections and North Korean irrationality preventing a nuclear agreement require historical amnesia on the part of the accusers.
The recent release from the White House of the proposed budget, including its $9 billion or 13.5 percent cut to education, reminds us that public schools need more than episodic waves of support. They need a sustained, people-powered swell of support, particularly in this policy climate, which promises to starve public programs while privileging private interests.
Brazil's recent rotten meat scandal once again puts a spotlight on the untrustworthy, underhanded methods of agribusiness -- the industry will do anything for profit, and it will use money and political clout to get away with it. Such cases make it clear that this industry cannot be trusted; who knows how many other cases go on unnoticed. If we are serious about our loved ones' and our planet's well-being, then we must not only regulate the meat industry, but actively replace it by local and healthy alternatives that people can trust.
As 2017 moves along, reproductive health care in Texas and the US South promises to make as many headlines as in 2016. Under the Trump administration and a Conservative congress, more restrictive laws related to abortion are on the horizon. Only 19 abortion clinics remain in the state of Texas, with its population of more the 14 million adult women. One team has been working to document reproductive health care access in South Texas for the past two years. Under the direction of Maya Cueva and Leah Galant, 3 Point Pictures produced the SXSW hit The Provider. Following that success, the filmmakers are continuing to follow these stories as a documentary series called The Last Clinics.
Yemen is now beginning to host the world's worst humanitarian crisis. What's more, the country is regularly targeted by Saudi and US airstrikes. We are planning a week of fast and action related to the tragic circumstances Yemen faces, and were astounded when we realized Yemen is a path of escape for Somalis fleeing the Horn of Africa, refugees of one conflict, stranded in their flight, and trapped in a country where deadly conflict is precipitating into deadlier famine.
No one can predict the future and the title of this piece is incendiary. Nevertheless, I believe it is true: Humans are facing a one-two punch, from environmental devastation and nuclear holocaust. As environmental conditions worsen, nations are likely to turn inward and lash outward, causing increased conflict and wars that will likely end in the unthinkable: nuclear weapons being used for the first time since World War II.
What does it mean to stand with Palau? There is more than meets the eye to this question, and this calling. I once had the honor of traveling to the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of South Africa. Where one expects to see the meeting of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, one sees only ... ocean. Searching for north or south, for the southernmost point, for the meeting point, or any point, is futile. The world does not know such markers and borders, and the ocean least of all.