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 New York Times, the most respected newspaper in the world, evidently remains unpersuaded of the illegality of American drone strikes, and continues to take a bizarre, tortured approach to discussing the matter in its news articles. That launching drone strikes in a foreign country whose government does not consent to said strikes is a violation of that country's sovereignty is hardly in dispute. As Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism who led an investigation into U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan said in March, the drones "involve the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent and is therefore a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty." If attacking a country's residents with missiles fired from flying robots against that country's will does not constitute a breach of sovereignty, then nothing does.
When you are born black, brown, red, yellow, or female in America no one tells you that you are destined to rule, to become king of the mountain. But if you are a white man, the echoes of colonialism and domination are pervasive and shape an expectation of supremacy that our current culture is failing to fulfill.
Women are fighting openly for autonomy. Racism, though still prevalent, is no longer welcome in the public square. Economic power resides in unreachable corporate castles that may themselves be male and white, but admit only the rare few. LGBT citizens are demanding the right to live full lives that reject the basics of gender politics and male domination.
The struggle of Texan women against dangerous anti-choice legislation - the struggle that made Senator Wendy Davis an overnight hero for the reproductive health movement - suffered a blow on Thursday, July 18 when Governor Rick Perry signed the notorious HB2 into law. The law which has inspired such passionate opposition from Texas' "feminist army" places restrictions that would shut down most abortion clinics in the state, depriving countless women, especially poor or minority women, of access to services that could save their lives. While advocates of reproductive freedom in Texas will continue to oppose these measures, conservatives in other states also strive to make legal abortions expensive, if not impossible. Virginia, in the midst of a heated gubernatorial election between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, may be the next battleground state to gain such national attention.
A Picket Line for Civil Liberties: Activists Target Nancy Pelosi for Supporting the Surveillance StateBy Christopher Fisher, SpeakOut | Report
A group of over seventy Sonoma, Marin, and other Bay Area citizens, activists, and community leaders recently took House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to task for supporting the National Security Agency (NSA) domestic spying programs exposed in early June by whistleblower Edward J. Snowden. The protesters staged a peaceful, boisterous picket outside a Democratic Party fundraiser in the upscale Marin community of Belvedere.
A group of hyper-capitalists, including Sir Richard Branson and Arian Huffington recently launched the "B-Team." As Huffington describes it, the global business leaders come together to form the B-Team in order to "introduce a Plan B that will prioritize people and planet alongside profit and to move beyond our obsession with quarterly earnings and short-term growth."
Don't be duped. Looking to the B-Team to solve wealth inequity and is like someone going Vegan and following the lead of McDonalds for dietary advice.
Sexual violence is rampant in youth detention facilities. We know this because many kids who were victimized while in custody have bravely spoken out. We also know this because of the overwhelming evidence provided by new government research.
The government's latest study on youth in detention was released in June 2013. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the agency that conducted the research, found that nearly one in ten youth detainees reported being sexually abused in the past year.
You and I consume; we are consumers. The global economy is set up to enable us to do what we innately want to do—buy, use, discard, and buy some more. If we do our job well, the economy thrives; if for some reason we fail at our task, the economy falters. The model of economic existence just described is reinforced in the business pages of every newspaper, and in the daily reportage of nearly every broadcast and web-based financial news service, and it has a familiar name: consumerism.
Consumerism also has a history, but not a long one. True, humans—like all other animals—are consumers in the most basic sense, in that we must eat to live. Further, we have been making weapons, ornaments, clothing, utensils, toys, and musical instruments for thousands of years, and commerce has likewise been with us for untold millennia.
What's new is the project of organizing an entire society around the necessity for ever-increasing rates of personal consumption.
My dream is to publish a memoir. A degree in investigative journalism led me on a non-linear path to directing and producing an internationally-acclaimed documentary instead. Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Ellen Page, (www.vanishingbees.com) focuses on the reasons why our prime pollinators are disappearing all over the world.
When the bees flew into my life in 2007, I was looking for purpose. I needed a change from working in Reality TV and for shallow productions devoid of substance. I was still recovering from the aftermath of my injuries after being hit by an SUV and dragged 50 feet. I'd broken several bones and had recently removed a titanium rod from my left femur. I could have died but I didn't.
My son is 39 years old at this writing. Travyon could have been my grandson.
My son will be 40 years old in November. He could feasibly have a 17 year old son, after all when I was 40 my son was 19 years old. Since I was 40 with a 19 year old son, this means to me my 40 year old son could have a 19 year old of his own.
The race and black thing is only the superficial issue. Trayvon Martin became an international cause not because of the color of his skin but because of the purity of his heart.
The campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel has often been the subject of ridicule and criticism, but rarely for the right reasons. The most common accusation is that the movement is inherently anti-semitic because it singles out Israel, the only democracy in a region ruled by Arab despots. Needless to say, no sensible person would make the claim that the decision to boycott white rule in South Africa but not the repressive black African regimes on its doorstep was racist. But you can imagine an apologist for apartheid saying exactly that: why single us out, when others are worse? We would know immediately what to think of such an argument, namely that it is a transparent attempt to avoid discussion of your own human rights violations by shifting attention onto the more serious human rights violations of others.
Nonetheless the charge of hypocrisy persists, with critics asking why BDS campaigners do not boycott worse regimes? But since when is it necessary to actively oppose every bigger injustice in order to justify campaigning against smaller ones? The Civil Rights Movement never called for a boycott of the US government for its wars in Indochina, but happily organised boycotts against segregation in the South. But you would of course just be laughed off any news programme and disregarded as a serious commentator for attacking, say, the Montgomery Bus Boycott on these grounds.