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.

Did you know there is a soon-to-be-passed trade deal that's being called "NAFTA on steroids"? Did you know over 600 corporate lobbyists are being giving the keys to a backdoor around our laws? You probably didn't know about it because it's being kept top secret.

So much has been lost to the hubris and cupidity inherent to the hyper-industrialization and commercial hustler that defines the Anthropocene Epoch. To take it all in, to allow oneself to feel the full implications of the dire situation, of the ecocide and humanity lost to endless war and economic exploitation, one would be knocked to one's knees with sorrow or compelled to give voice to bursts of full-throated rage.

Therefore, as the grid-decimating tide of Sandy recedes and the power and lights have been restored to our East Village, fifth floor walk-up flat, I sit at my writing desk, and I am staring down the scope of my cerebral cortex, desiring to unload both barrels into the delusional asses of climate change deniers.

Currently, in Turkey 10.000 Kurdish political prisoners are in hunger strike. 64 of them have entered their 65th day while 79 more have passed their 54th day. Also, 5 days ago 7 Peace and Democracy Party parliamentarians and the mayor of Diyarbakır have started hunger strike once it became clear that the Turkish prime minister has no intention to negotiate with the prisoners.

Many people in Turkey are deeply concerned that death due to this hunger strike will cause irreparable damage in the country leading to an ethnic strife. Such a result will have far reaching consequences in the Middle Eastern region where Kurds live in four different countries including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

As Congress reconvened Tuesday for its lame duck session, small business leaders from the Main Street Alliance network sent a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other congressional leaders outlining a small business agenda for the fiscal showdown coming in the lame duck session of the 112thCongress. Main Street business owners called for an end to the top-bracket Bush tax cuts, urged Congress to protect middle class programs that strengthen the small business customer base, and pushed for additional revenue options.

Nov 14

Science Fiction and Science Fact

By Jill S Schneiderman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Long before teenagers were imbibing dystopian fiction with unquenchable gusto, my teenage cohort was captivated by Planet of the Apes, the 1968 sci-fi film in which a crew of astronauts crash-lands on an unknown planet in the distant future. More recently, a photograph of a person walking by the remains of a roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, demolished by Hurricane Sandy reminded me of the final scene of the film; two human beings along the shore in the "Forbidden Zone"—a region outside of "Ape City" that has remained quarantined for centuries subject to an ancient taboo—stumble upon the charred and buried remains of the Statue of Liberty.

The most important aspect of the proposed plan for the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) – to get out of its desegregation order – is that beyond individuals, the community is coming together to respond, both as a local and national community.

Perhaps soon, we will hear of El Plan de Tlamanalco (Tucson) or something similar that our community is putting together. And why Tlamanalco? Because the fire and the drum have been there at every step of the way.

Dear Mr. Bill O’Reilly,

On election night, as it became increasingly clear that Mitt Romney was going to lose the election to Barack Obama, I watched Fox News host Megyn Kelly ask you, “How do you think we got to this point?”

Nov 13

James on Hurricane Sandy

By Matthew C. Levy and Francesca Coppola , SpeakOut | Video

We met James while walking around the East Village. Video by Francesca Coppola and Matthew C. Levy.

So for a while the political placards will no longer litter our streets and lawns. The commercials on TV and radio will for awhile be devoid of political commercial lies. And we won't have to listen to often disingenuous banter between candidates, or watch them pander shamelessly to those they may not care a whit about but for their votes.

So what of value might we learn from the elections in America?

Washington, D.C. - Policy makers often claim that marriage is a way out of poverty for Americans striving for the middle-class. As Governor Mitt Romney said during the second presidential debate, “…to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that's a great idea because if there's a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically.” A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that marriage alone does not ensure economic security and that most parents with below-poverty incomes who are raising children are, in fact, married.