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.
Two Norwegian Members of Parliament (MP) have nominated ex-NSA contractor EdwardSnowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Citing his efforts to contribute to a "more stable and peaceful world order," Baard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen have submitted a formal nomination to the Nobel Committee, signaling a growing international consensus towards the Snowden disclosures that began in June 2013.
In a recent radio interview with a National Public Radio affiliate in Juneau, Alaska, I was asked if I had advice for a 16-year-old Palestinian student, Haitham. He had just arrived in the US as part of a school exchange program, and, admirably began reaching out to his peers in his and other schools to teach them about Palestine, its people and its ongoing struggle for freedom and rights.
It is not often that many 83-year-olds like myself have the chance to have someone older than themselves to look up to and to spend time with, as well to as collaborate with musically. Now I won't have a chance to play with Pete Seeger any more but I will still continue to look up to him every day of my life.
I first heard Pete 65 years ago when my mother took me to a Henry Wallace rally in 1948 when I was about to turn 18.
All the hundreds of times I have played with him over the years since then have always been a joy as well as an honor.
Note: In some alternative universe, not only am I the speechwriter for President Obama, but I’ve actually convinced him to deliver the following as the 2014 State of the Union. - Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow citizens- 60 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his annual State of the Union Address to the Nation as a Fireside Chat from the White House in which he outlined a proposed second bill of rights that would to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known.
A vigorous US citizen movement can force Congress to pass strong climate laws. Then, the rest of the world will fall in line. Such a US movement can be built to a politically-effective size within 24 to 36 months. US action within 36 months is a “necessary but insufficient condition” to bring about a relatively-benign 2C/3.6F (average surface temperature rise) scenario, avoiding a disastrous 4 to 6C / 7.2 to 10.8F scenario.
I never knew Martin Luther King, Jr., but I grew up politically in his America. My personal awakening to nonviolence came one day in Greenwich Village when I happened to listen in to a radio broadcast covering a Civil Rights rally going on somewhere down south. A justifiably angry African American man said to the rally organizer, “They beat us, they hit us: why don’t we use violence back?” The leader, whoever it was, calmly said, “Because that is not who we are.” From that moment on I lived with the vague feeling in the back of my mind that not only is nonviolence a key to what I want to be, it’s what we are as human beings, nonviolence is the destiny toward which we have to strive – if the human experiment is to go on on planet Earth.
On Jan. 9, the US House of Representatives passed HR 2279, which would gut the nation’s hazardous waste regulations. This bill, called the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act, would amend both the Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (commonly known as Superfund). It would remove requirements that the Environmental Protection Agency periodically update and review solid waste disposal regulations, and would make it harder for the government to require companies that deal with hazardous substances to carry enough insurance to cover cleanup. The bill would also require more consultation with states before the government imposes cleanup requirements for Superfund sites — places where hazardous waste is located and could be affecting local people or ecosystems, Kate Sheppard reported at HuffingtonPost.com.
. . . are excess optimism and Citibank."
That’s a saying that someone, probably Simon, repeated to me a few years ago. Crash of 1929, Latin American debt crisis, early 1990s real estate crash (OK, that wasn’t a financial crisis, just acrisis for Citibank), Asian financial crisis of 1997–1998, and, of course, the biggie of 2007–2009: anywhere you look, there’s Citi. Sometimes they’re just in the middle of the profit-seeking pack, but sometimes they play a leading role: for example, the Citicorp-Travelers merger was the final nail in the coffin of the Glass-Steagall Act and the immediate motivation for Gramm-Leach-Bliley.
Schumer, the senior U.S. Senator from New York and the third ranking Democrat in the Senate, made the statement just days after similar comments by Texas Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Perry, defended the right of Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana and said that Texas had implemented “policies that start us toward a decriminalization.” Perry was speaking on a panel about drug policy along with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, who both spoke out in favor of significant drug policy reform.
About one hour south of the wealthy Silicon Valley, and twenty minutes east of the affluent Monterey/Carmel area, home of the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, sits the agricultural town of Salinas. The city of Salinas is at the head of a fertile valley – a part of the country brought into America’s consciousness through the stories of John Steinbeck. Along with an abundance of other crops, 80% of the nation’s lettuce and artichokes are grown here. Every day, Americans eat produce that is handpicked by immigrant farm workers in this area, but few understand the challenges the farm workers and their children face.