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.
In certain corners of the electorate, there is joy. The tidal wave of cash that threatened to sink the ship of democracy did not. The power of grassroots democracy—ordinary citizens making small donations to the candidates they supported, combined with a well-organized ground game—beat fat cat billionaires with money to burn. But the plain fact as we approach a new season of national politics is that the victory was only a partial one.
True, money alone couldn't buy a presidency for Mitt Romney. But SuperPac America did accomplish, to a large degree, a big part of what it set out to do. It focused a huge number of voters on trivial issues, political gaffes, and misinformation, and by doing so, prevented a substantive discussion on issues that are truly critical to the United States and its citizens.
We are a community of concerned citizens in British Columbia, including Amanda Todd's mother. As you may know, Amanda was contacted and blackmailed through Facebook by an adult predator who impersonated local teens to enter her circles of friends.
We write imploring you to lead change in the social media industry by correcting the security failures that made such victimization possible.
As shocking as Amanda's story was, there is still much cause for worry. A YouTube channel, The Daily Capper, openly celebrates and promotes the sexual exploitation of many young girls, fueling traffic to a dark web of under-age sex sites. Meanwhile, reports out of Indonesia document that predators use Facebook as a key tool enabling them to abduct under-age girls into human trafficking.
Long before coming to America, the first English phrase I ever uttered was, oddly enough: "No money, no honey." The painted girls in impossibly tight, colorful miniskirts who strutted on the sidewalks near my school in downtown Saigon said it shamelessly, and loudly, as they plied their trades with the American GIs during the Vietnam War. It became an expression among us pubescent schoolboys.
"No money, no honey" was sometimes followed by this false, if ironic advertisement now popular in America as well: "Me love you long time!" Ironic since neither side, knowingly, could possibly keep to that promise, romantically or geopolitically speaking.
The political winds are changing when it comes to legalizing marijuana in America.
Now that voters in Colorado and Washington have decided to legalize marijuana, it's clear the political winds are changing in the War on Drugs. Politicians have traditionally run scared of anything that could label them "soft on crime." But Americans are catching onto the fact that criminalizing people is neither a humane nor a cost-effective response to drug use.
While there has been suspicion that the 'Grand Bargain' being put forth by the White House to Congress was instead a 'Grand Betrayal,' nobody had the details until they were leaked.
Now we see that huge cuts are intended to all of our important social programs: Social Security, Medicare, TriCare, unemployment benefits, the Post Office, education and more, while there are hints at cutting corporate taxes further. And all of these cuts will be marketed to the American public by the "Fix the Debt" campaign created by Bowles and Simpson with their 80 CEO friends and a starting budget of $60 million for lobbying and public relations
It is no surprise that in the Hypercapitalist world we live there exists a market for everything. Right now, somewhere in cyberspace, a debt collector is bidding on medical debt, student debt, mortgage debt, you name it. They buy this bundled debt for pennies on the dollar, then your phone starts ringing and you get harassed while you take on the midnight shift and play the pay Paul and borrow from Peter game all the way to the grave join and the growing ranks of the overworked under paid stressed out workers shouldering increasing debt or filing for bankruptcy.
Did you know there is a soon-to-be-passed trade deal that's being called "NAFTA on steroids"? Did you know over 600 corporate lobbyists are being giving the keys to a backdoor around our laws? You probably didn't know about it because it's being kept top secret.
So much has been lost to the hubris and cupidity inherent to the hyper-industrialization and commercial hustler that defines the Anthropocene Epoch. To take it all in, to allow oneself to feel the full implications of the dire situation, of the ecocide and humanity lost to endless war and economic exploitation, one would be knocked to one's knees with sorrow or compelled to give voice to bursts of full-throated rage.
Therefore, as the grid-decimating tide of Sandy recedes and the power and lights have been restored to our East Village, fifth floor walk-up flat, I sit at my writing desk, and I am staring down the scope of my cerebral cortex, desiring to unload both barrels into the delusional asses of climate change deniers.
Currently, in Turkey 10.000 Kurdish political prisoners are in hunger strike. 64 of them have entered their 65th day while 79 more have passed their 54th day. Also, 5 days ago 7 Peace and Democracy Party parliamentarians and the mayor of Diyarbakır have started hunger strike once it became clear that the Turkish prime minister has no intention to negotiate with the prisoners.
Many people in Turkey are deeply concerned that death due to this hunger strike will cause irreparable damage in the country leading to an ethnic strife. Such a result will have far reaching consequences in the Middle Eastern region where Kurds live in four different countries including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.