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.
One would think that that a certain troubled country seeking absolute security from the possibility of a terrorist attack - by trashing its constitution and giving its president the power to execute at will, breaking its own laws with illegal wars and the use of torture, abandoning all but the pretense of protecting civil liberties and human rights - that such a country would at least have found a modicum of hard-security peace. In fact, of course, like anaphylactic shock, this country's overreaction to the tragic lashing out of a few individuals driven to desperation by yes, this same country's previous intrusive overreactions (in supporting dictators, despots, thugs, etc.) has simply ramped up the level of carnage and extremism: all in support of yet higher levels of feedback-howl paranoia.
The Department of Energy has said they may start allowing radioactive waste metals to be reenter the consumer market. But that's okay, what could possibly be near your belt buckle that you wouldn't want to be radioactive?? Source article here.
My primary identity is nerd, but my moon is in geek and I have a dork ascendant. These days, everyone wants to be a geek. They want the pseudo-geek chic lifestyle, complete with thick framed glasses, a passing familiarity with comic books and science fiction, and last but not least, more money in the tech industry. Or maybe they want to spice up their OKCupid profile with Neil Gaiman references in the hopes of snagging someone in the tech industry. But whatever way you look at it, geek is now mainstream.
The first-ever analysis of the taxpayer-subsidy to the Wall Street mega-banks finds that this subsidy accounts for virtually all their profits. Applying figures from a path-breaking study by two IMF economists, Bloomberg News has calculated that the annual subsidy received by America's mega-banks, from our Government's special treatment of them as "Systemically Important Financial Institutions" (i.e., fully guaranteed by U.S. taxpayers, irrespective of the normal $250,000-per-account limit in savings and checking accounts), is $83 billion, of which $64 billion goes to just the five largest banks.
The signing season has begun.
Look through your local newspaper for the next few weeks, and you'll see a lot of posed pictures of high school athletes.
Everyone will be at a desk or table.
Around each one will be their parents and their coach. In some cases, add in an athletic director, a principal, and someone representing a college the young athlete is planning to attend.
The gun lobby likes to say "outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns." The fear mongering drives gun sales which is the NRA's purpose. (Why else would Wayne LaPierre's make $970,300 a year like the "elites" he rails against?)
But a quick look at England shows what really happens when only "outlaws" have guns. Handguns are illegal in England and police officers are not armed. Private citizens are limited to long guns for hunting which only shoot two bullets at a time. That means that in England, only "outlaws" have guns, though Brits hunt, collect guns and value marksmanship like we do.
We have a little bit of a debt problem here in the USA.
Thankfully for us, a group of concerned citizens, leaders, and patriots understand just how we got into this mess in the first place and they have a plan to get us out. The group Fix The debt has gathered 350,000 signatures promoting a solution the impending disaster of Armageddon like proportions that will befall us if we don't take common sense steps towards putting American on a better path towards economic growth. According to Fix The Debt that means that the gravy train is over for entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, for there is no way that the Wall st. companies that Fix The Debt is fronting for can continue to pay ZERO in taxes if the elderly and the poor want to see a doctor. Just aint gonna happen.
Now that Bradley Manning has admitted to giving classified documents to WikiLeak, the government insists his crimes are tantamount to support for al-Qaida and international terrorism. These leaks, I would like to suggest, are analogous to somebody violating a jaywalking law in an attempt to save a pedestrian from on oncoming Mac truck. Joining me today by phone from New York to discuss the wide area in between those two extremes is Alexa O'Brien. Alexa is a journalist, researcher, and social activist. She is a co-plaintiff, along with Christopher Hedges in the NDAA suit against the Obama administration trying to overturn the National Defense Authorization act, which states that US citizens can be indefinitely detained without charge or trial. She is currently investigating the Bradley Manning trial and the US government's pursuit of WikiLeaks. And if you have read the 10,00 word plus transcript of Bradley Manning's statement to the court last week, you have Alexa to thank because she is the journalist who transcribed it.
If history is messy and you nonviolently change and revolutionize society with the movement you have, then things look ever so bleak in the United States. One reason for this lack of participatory history and absent minded imagination can be observed in how Rosa Parks and Black History month is currently memorialized and celebrated. There is much more to Rosa Park's refusal to give up her segregated seat to a white man when a bus driver ordered her too do so in December 1955. But in a consumer oriented and profit-driven society, in an era that egregiously reflects the Me Generation, and in a time in which the "individual sphere" has replaced the "public sphere" with bouts of flash mob frenzy and passive bouts of digital entertainment, the genuine and historical Rosa Parks and Black History Month is missing, as is the goal to transform and remake society.
Some images move us, or at least should move us, to sudden insight into the consequences of our actions. Images of innocent victims of violence, particularly children, should have the capacity to penetrate the most hardened defenses and touch our hearts. However, the truth is that this does not always occur. Skewed information environments, operating over time, may condition us to react with compassion only to images depicting the suffering of our own community. When many of us see the anguish we have caused an "enemy," we feel not compassion or regret but annoyance. The reaction is: "Why are you showing me that? Don't you know it is their (the other's) own behavior that made us hurt them? It is their own fault." That we react this way to the horrors we are capable of causing is a sure sign that those same actions have dehumanized us.