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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.

Feb 11

Nationwide Response Planned for McCutcheon Ruling

By Public Citizen, SpeakOut | Press Release

Hundreds of activists nationwide are planning rallies, protests and other events in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which could be decided as soon as the week of Feb. 24. More than 100 events are being organized in some of the largest cities around the country, to take place on the day of the ruling.

For the State Department to suggest that the Keystone XL pipeline will not have a negative impact on the environment is like Walter White telling Phillip Seymour Hoffman that heroin is as healthy as kale.

If one reads the Obama administration State Department’s Final Environmental Study on the KXL pipeline it is almost as if the State department subcontracted the study to a company with vast financial ties to the oil and gas industry.

Almost three weeks ago, all three of the major Sunday network news shows --- NBC's Meet the Press, CBS' Face the Nation and ABC's This Week --- allowed very powerful elected officials, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), to come on the air and claim, without evidence, that they'd seen "clues" suggesting former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden was, somehow, a Russian agent.

The officials were required to offer absolutely no evidence for their extraordinary claims on the three major broadcast networks. Snowden was subsequently forced to strongly rebut the scandalous charges, which are apparently straight out of the Nixon/Cold War era playbook.

Feb 11

War on Iraq: Open Letter to John Kerry

By Ross Caputi, SpeakOut | Open Letter

Like you, I felt betrayed that my country sent me to fight an unjust war, though my war was several decades after yours, and in Iraq. I have spoken out against that war to the best of my ability, as you once did against your war before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In recent years you have found yourself on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but your attitudes towards war have changed drastically.

It was late evening July 15th, 2013 when 19 year old North Carolina Central University sophomore, Lewis James Little was finally released after a month of incarceration for a murder he did not commit.  Several charges against Little including first degree burglary, first degree kidnapping, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and felony conspiracy have all since been formally dismissed as an honest mistake.  Lewis Little, however, has been left to pick up the pieces of an experience truly worthy of a Lifetime Hardship Award.

There was an astonished reaction today in Kentucky and in Washington, D.C., to recent TV footage of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) telling reporters that Republicans support increasing the deficit to renew a package of more than 60 tax breaks, most of which benefit corporations. This comes just weeks after he proclaimed his opposition to passing an extension of emergency unemployment benefits unless they could be offset by cuts in other spending. The U.S. Senate likely will vote Thursday on an extension of unemployment benefits that meets McConnell’s conditions.

Feb 10

Famous First Words: "I Have Been Unfaithful to My Husband"

By Leslie Thatcher, SpeakOut | Book Review

The stunning directness and immediacy of the opening line of Sigrid Unset's first novel, Marta Oulie, in this new and first English translation by Tiina Nunnally are sustained throughout its pages. Set in Kristiania (now Oslo) in the early Twentieth Century, the novel surprises and delights with its sensitivity to changes we continue to experience –human encroachment on the natural world, urban sprawl, the challenge of single motherhood, the threats career demands and childrearing pose to human and family relationships. At the same time, the arc of betrayal of self and love, the traps of vanity and boredom, the anguish of paradise lost are timeless themes conveyed in the same fresh, unsentimental, unself-pitying voice with which Marta Oulie opens her diary. There is nothing overtly political in this exquisitely spare novel except for some references to the author's interest in women's and intellectual issues, but like all great literature Marta Oulie, A Novel of Betrayal informs us about the present political moment and the human condition.

Feb 10

Iraq Near Implosion: The 'Bad Years' Are Back

By Ramzy Baroud, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hurried to his helicopter ready to take off at the end of a visit to Iraq last year, it was becoming clearer that the Americans have lost control of a country they wished to mold to their liking. His departure on March 24, 2013 was the conclusion of a ‘surprise’ visit meant to mark the 10th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. Ten years prior, the US had stormed Baghdad, unleashing one of the 20th century’s most brutal and longest conflicts. Since then, Iraq has not ceased to bleed.

Teflon is, I believe, an apt metaphor for the protective veneer of privilege and power. As Mullainathan  and Shafir detail, individual behavior tends to reflect powerful contexts such as abundance and slack or scarcity, and thus, those living in abundance and experiencing slack live much as Reagan lead since nothing sticks to the Teflon of privilege and power.

Feb 08

The Day We Fight Back Against The NSA

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Popular Resistance | Video Report

Members of the New York City Light Brigade, The Illuminator Art Collective and other allies turned the Verizon building in downtown New York into a large billboard to project the all seeing “NSA eye” along with text stating “you will never be alone”, “our eye is on you”, and “Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are under surveillance.”