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.

Online merchant must retract its reports to consumer credit agencies concerning a phony $3,500 debt it has sought from customer John Palmer since late spring of 2012, Public Citizen wrote the company today in a demand letter.

In December 2008, John attempted to make a purchase on the site, but the order was never delivered. His wife Jen then wrote a critical review on In 2012, the company contacted John demanding $3,500 pursuant to a non-disparagement clause prohibiting "any action that negatively impacts [or] its reputation," a clause that it claimed was included in its online Terms of Use. However, the website found that this clause did not exist when Jen wrote her review.

Nov 28

Pilgrim's Regress and the "Hand of God"

By Dallas Darling, SpeakOut | News Analysis
When climbing aboard the Mayflower and learning that his young wife, Dorothy, had fallen overboard and drowned, more than likely committing suicide, William Bradford called his tiny flock of English Separatists (Pilgrims) together for another prayer. He attributed his wife’s death to the “hand of God,” as another test of faith. 
Days earlier, Bradford had insisted on setting out with a small group of men in search for a place to establish a colony. He did this regardless of Dorothy’s sickness and her bouts of severe depression, which were caused by weeks of being confined to a small ship (the Mayflower) while enduring fierce storms and a near mutiny.
Nov 28

Iran Nuclear Deal as Geopolitical Global Warming

By Julie R Butler , SpeakOut | News Analysis

The Cold War may have officially ended when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, but conflict defined by the US's obsession with thwarting communism and the USSR's responding measures throughout the post-WWII world have proven to be a glacial force – a reservoir of brooding anger that has carved out valleys of hostility and strife in the global geopolitical landscape. With Iran holding the dubious honor of being the CIA's first adventure in the overthrow of a foreign government in 1953, the blowback for that and every other insidious incident of the Cold War has been so forceful that the deal reached in Geneva in the early hours of Sunday, November 24, 2013, matches the scale of the cracking off of the Singapore-sized iceberg (and that's just the tip of it!) from Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier on November 13, 2013.

In the United Sates, One out of every three women has had an abortion. If you are a women living in Texas, that state has passed hundreds of laws in the last several years that strip a women's right to privacy, limit access to abortion and shame women into thinking that their choice about what to do with their bodies is wrong.

Recently, Lizz Winstead and Sarah Silverman decided to do something about the war for female reproductive rights and served as co-hosts of the "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can Choose" telethon, which raised over 50 thousand dollars to benefit groups that provide funding for women seeking abortions.

During the Atlantic Slave Trade Squanto, the Amerindian credited for helping the Pilgrims survive a harsh winter and their “starving time” which led to the first Thanksgiving, was captured in 1605 and placed in chains by Captain George Weymouth. Tisquantum, Squanto’s real name, was forcibly taken to England where he learned to speak English. After nine years and longing to return to his people, the Patuxets on Cape Cod, he finally traveled home on Captain John Smith’s ship.

The Burlington College Community was notified of a series of restructuring decisions on the part of the current administration including the gutting of many of the art programs. A fixture of the Burlington College experience for many years, the school's Film and Cinema Studies department is being reduced to less than one third of its current full time size. Also targeted are the Fine Arts department and the innovative Media Activism program.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an apology is worth a thousand interpretations, at least in the United States. Such was the case when President Barack Obama issued an apology over the struggling Affordable Care Act (ACA) and fledgling website, something he had hoped would be an indelible part of his legacy. Despite assurances to Americans that "if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan," millions have been dropped by insurance companies. Since the summer of 2010, President Obama was well aware of how the new law would cause millions to lose their insurance. In a recent interview on NBC News, President Obama said, "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me."

From the picture window of our family's eighth floor apartment at the intersection of 23rd Street and Avenue C, we have a view of the inhuman currents of the East River and the dehumanizing, vehicular currents of the FDR expressway. The tenor of the river is timeless while the FDR's voice is mindlessly urgent - an addict on a dope run evincing the urgency of an errand undertaken to relieve distress, on a trajectory that hurtles towards annihilation.

Nov 26

Aftermath - The Vulgarity of Empire

By Kieran Manjarrez, Woodchip Gazette - Journal | News Analysis
The sting of Stone's portrayal gives it a taste of truth and he was true in his prediction that the "level of literacy and civilization will fall again, as it did after F.D.R."

But it is a tad unfair to subject public figures to too much light.  Men do not accomplish anything without power and do not get into power by being poets. Politics is the art of the sordid.

If Kennedy was -- as his ghost writer once put it -- the author of his poetry, it was only because his father, Joe Sr.,  had authored all the sordid deals for him.  Jack was untouchable because he hadn't touched a damn thing.  Johnson, a true nobody from nowhere, had to claw his way in and clawing is never pretty.

A new, powerful coalition of Latino, social justice, green, progressive Democrats, student, civil liberties, peace, and other groups has emerged in Sonoma County, California. The killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22 unites them.

Over forty members of diverse groups met--many who had never been in a room together--on November 19 to strategize about how to keep the strong momentum going in response to the slaying of Lopez. Many of those who spoke identified themselves as mothers or fathers, who felt the pain of the parents whose son was taken from them.