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.
The response by gun advocates and religious fanatics to the murder of children in a Connecticut school is by itself another tragedy. Forget the search for motives, the arguments assigning blame, and the inevitable "God moves in mysterious ways" and begin legislation to ban assault weapons and high capacity ammunition. Require background checks and ID from gun owners. If we don't find a solution we're going to lose our humanity.
It is a fool's errand to search for the cause of extremes in deviant behavior of Americans. Under the best of conditions, human behavior has more variables than any other problem faced by science. The best of conditions have come and gone, never to return. In the past century Americans, in the pursuit of wealth, have subjected themselves and their children to so many man-made toxins and mutagens that it is not possible to determine if bizarre and self destructive behavior is a result of nature or nurture.
As a British Secret Agent famously afforded a "license to kill," Bond routinely carried out the most impossible of missions with a flair unmatched by his fictional peers. My uncle, on the other hand, patrolled the streets of his working class hometown, excelling at his job through a combination of street savvy and an uncanny ability to put even the most hardened criminals at ease. In two decades on the force, he never drew his gun.
Like most superheroes, Bond never seemed to lose a step, even as he aged. Real life, of course, doesn't play out that way. Even if you're the original 007.
U.S. policy makers reacted strongly to North Korea's launch of a long-range missile on December 12. U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor called it "another example of North Korea's pattern of irresponsible behavior."
U.S. officials had a similarly strong response to North Korea's nuclear test in 2009. At that time, President Obama said, "North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a grave threat to the peace and security of the world, and I strongly condemn their reckless action."
Sen. John Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said after North Korea's 2009 nuclear test, "North Korea's leaders have yet to realize that the only way for them to achieve genuine security is to abandon their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction."
Grappling With Phantoms: The Financial Cliff, the War on Christmas, and Other Dim Tidings of Political DisconnectBy Phil Rockstroh, SpeakOut | News Analysis
As we draw near to the Winter Solstice and the days shorten, one's thoughts are drawn inward.
Bright lights, fragrant spices and sprigs of evergreen are appropriated to induce one back into the Eros of life. Otherwise, daylight-bereft, in the half-light between the land of the living and the domain of the shades of memory, one can become stranded in impersonal despair or toxic nostalgia.
Countless generations of combat veterans have warned us that if you cannot spread and maintain peace at all costs then you will soon discover your capability to become used to anything. Absolutely anything. While none of us will ever admit to getting used to the images of murdered children or adults this is not to say the murderers won't. What we can admit is that a very clear and traceable pattern of mass murder in our society is upon us. These murderers tend to be young and come from our own ranks and not some foreign land. It hasn't always been this way so something has changed.
The Sandy Hook Shooting, like all mass killings has sparked debates on
gun control, popular culture and accessible mental health care.
Saner gun laws and better mental health services would no doubt help
our country. But the unifying problem—the one that is wholly missing
from this discourse is gender, the fact that nearly without exception
violent crimes and mass murders are committed by men.
Legislation to prevent the Isle of Man being used by 'vulture funds' to exploit the debts of some of the world's poorest countries has this week received Royal Assent.
The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (Limitation on Debt Recovery) Act 2012 outlaws a practice that undermines international debt relief efforts.
The legislation prevents vulture funds from buying up poor nations' debts for a fraction of their original amount and then using the courts to sue for the full value, plus interest and penalty charges.
Last Thursday I joined students at the UIC Forum to sing pro-worker holiday carols while handing out candy canes with petitions attached to them. We did this in an effort to pressure Chancellor Allen-Meares to step in and offer campus workers a fair contract. Workers have been in negotiations for more than 7 months. Our newly formed UIC student organization, USAS (UIC Students Against Sweatshops), is mobilizing students on campus as part of the larger Campus Worker Coalition, which includes unions like SEIU and AFT.
From our professors to those who clean our buildings, UIC workers are fighting for a fair contract and dignity in the workplace. According to a financial audit, completed by Eastern Michigan University professor Howard Bunsis, campus workers are struggling just to maintain their basic benefit standards.
The US military is saying that Adnan Latif, the young Yemeni at Guantanamo who recently died, committed suicide by overdosing on medication he smuggled into his cell. The US military's storyline does not add up, and crucial questions are unanswered. The Yemen government is helping the US hide the truth.
"Evil visited this community today," is how Governor Molloy described the awful events that occurred at a Newtown Connecticut Elementary school. Whenever a "terrorist" attacks and innocents are slaughtered, we begin referencing religious concepts and asking the inevitable questions. Why do they hate us? Why would someone commit such an atrocity? Why was a flawed, obviously insane individual allowed access to weapons? The 24 hour cable "news" networks voyeuristically "report" firsthand accounts and "talking head experts" speculate regarding motive and intent. But yet we ignore the obvious, and refuse to look at who we are, better, what we've become, as a nation, a people, that makes such awful events not an aberration, but an all too common occurrence of slaughter and mayhem.