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.

Nov 20

A Zionist Worldview and the Slaughter in Gaza

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Soon after my analysis, "In Defense of Richard Falk" (4 November 2012) was published by Media with a Conscience (MWC), the site editor forwarded to me an unusual chastising response. Unusual because it came from a relatively well-known scholar and writer by the name of Fred Skolnik. Mr. Skolnik is the editor in chief of a 22 volume Encyclopedia Judaica (second edition), a work that won the Dartmouth Medal in 2007. He is also the author of numerous works of fiction all concerning life in Israel. It is not rare for Zionists to take me to task, and Skolnik is most certainly a Zionist. Yet it is rare that those who chastise are of Skolnik's stature. And so, a reply is in order.

In light of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, we can arrive at one conclusion: in order to support it one must show a complete and total disregard for the lives of Palestinians, or at the very least believe them to be worth less than that of their Israeli counterparts. Proponents of the bombing, including the Israeli government, maintain that they are merely defending human life from the unacceptable assault of the rockets. Yet, their own actions in just a few weeks have already taken far more human lives than the rockets have in over a decade. Even more jarring is the topsy-turvy world the Israeli government and their supporters seem to inhabit.

Nov 20

The Death of Twinkie

By Dream Hampton, MomsRising | News Analysis

Today's news about the demise of Twinkie and other Hostess snacks is a complicated story of big business versus labor. But it's also about an unhealthy snack, whose shelf life is rumored to be nonexistent, refusing a makeover.

Though most media outlets let CEO Gregory Rayburn write their headlines, Hostess is not simply closing because of striking workers. In the beginning of the year Hostess Brands, which also makes lunchbox snacks like Ding Dongs and Ho Hos filed for Chapter 22, because they'd just emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy the previous September.

This week: What do corporate media get wrong about the "cycle of violence" in Gaza? Is there really such a thing as a "fiscal cliff"? And David Gregory says Obama's big mistake was not having an economy-boosting event with CEOs. You mean like the one he had a week after being inaugurated in 2009?

In certain corners of the electorate, there is joy. The tidal wave of cash that threatened to sink the ship of democracy did not. The power of grassroots democracy—ordinary citizens making small donations to the candidates they supported, combined with a well-organized ground game—beat fat cat billionaires with money to burn. But the plain fact as we approach a new season of national politics is that the victory was only a partial one.

True, money alone couldn't buy a presidency for Mitt Romney. But SuperPac America did accomplish, to a large degree, a big part of what it set out to do. It focused a huge number of voters on trivial issues, political gaffes, and misinformation, and by doing so, prevented a substantive discussion on issues that are truly critical to the United States and its citizens.

We are a community of concerned citizens in British Columbia, including Amanda Todd's mother. As you may know, Amanda was contacted and blackmailed through Facebook by an adult predator who impersonated local teens to enter her circles of friends.

We write imploring you to lead change in the social media industry by correcting the security failures that made such victimization possible.

As shocking as Amanda's story was, there is still much cause for worry. A YouTube channel, The Daily Capper, openly celebrates and promotes the sexual exploitation of many young girls, fueling traffic to a dark web of under-age sex sites. Meanwhile, reports out of Indonesia document that predators use Facebook as a key tool enabling them to abduct under-age girls into human trafficking.

Long before coming to America, the first English phrase I ever uttered was, oddly enough: "No money, no honey." The painted girls in impossibly tight, colorful miniskirts who strutted on the sidewalks near my school in downtown Saigon said it shamelessly, and loudly, as they plied their trades with the American GIs during the Vietnam War. It became an expression among us pubescent schoolboys.

"No money, no honey" was sometimes followed by this false, if ironic advertisement now popular in America as well: "Me love you long time!" Ironic since neither side, knowingly, could possibly keep to that promise, romantically or geopolitically speaking.

The political winds are changing when it comes to legalizing marijuana in America.

Now that voters in Colorado and Washington have decided to legalize marijuana, it's clear the political winds are changing in the War on Drugs. Politicians have traditionally run scared of anything that could label them "soft on crime." But Americans are catching onto the fact that criminalizing people is neither a humane nor a cost-effective response to drug use.

Nov 16

Will an Artist Please Render That Scientific Fact?

By Jill S Schneiderman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
As a follow-up to my op-ed yesterday, "Science Fiction Science Fact," I'd like to call to readers' attention the Op-Ed in today's New York Times by Orrin Pilkey. Orrin of course hits all the salient points. Blessings to him for never tiring of trying to get people to face the reality of beach erosion.
Nov 16

Three Strikes and It's Out!

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Occupy Washington DC | Press Release

While there has been suspicion that the 'Grand Bargain' being put forth by the White House to Congress was instead a 'Grand Betrayal,' nobody had the details until they were leaked.

Now we see that huge cuts are intended to all of our important social programs: Social Security, Medicare, TriCare, unemployment benefits, the Post Office, education and more, while there are hints at cutting corporate taxes further. And all of these cuts will be marketed to the American public by the "Fix the Debt" campaign created by Bowles and Simpson with their 80 CEO friends and a starting budget of $60 million for lobbying and public relations