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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.

Adding momentum to a national trend of reigning in reckless outsourcing of publicservices to for-profit corporations and other private entities, legislators in Nebraska, Vermont and West Virginia recently introduced transparency and accountability legislation aimed at protecting taxpayersand putting them back in charge of their public services.

Feb 01

Prosperity for Main Street, Not Wall Street

By Rudy Avizius, SpeakOut | Video Report

The key reason that communities are struggling is the huge burden of interest payments that are flowing to the big banks. Think about this, if you buy a home for say $100,000 dollars, typically you will have paid $250,000 once the loan is paid off. This means the typical loan will incur $150,000 in interest charges.

The same concept applies when a community builds an infrastructure project such as school, road, bridge, sewer or other project. That $1 million dollar school could end up costing taxpayers in the community $2.5 million after interest charges.

This week, Grassroots Leadership sent an open letter to prisoners in West Virginia to raise awareness of their constitutional rights that are at risk. State lawmakers continue to debate sending prisoners toprivate facilities run by the Corrections Corporation of America in Kentucky or choosing other options to the state’s overcrowded prisons issues that would keep with the spirit of the state constitution.

Jan 31

"Honor the Treaties" Honored the Celebrity

By Joseph Boutilier, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Mile after mile of voluptuous, gritty black gold is wrought, scooped, sucked, scraped and squeezed from thegreasy desert carcass of stolen boreal forests. Whether or not you think this resembles the charred aftermath of a nuclear blast, there's no denying that the tar sands outside infamous "Fort Mac" mark the ugliest 30,000-square kilometers in Canadian history. No traditional open-pit mine, toxic asbestos dig, outfall refuse site, sewage dump or landfill could compete with this vast wasteland of lifeless, chewed-up grime, broken up only by leeching ponds of poisonous tailings. The whole scene seems to belong more in an ominous Lord of the Rings scene fronting evidence of the evil Sauron's devastating wrath than wrapped between the beautiful Northern ranch-land and crisp wildlife of Alberta Canada, except that it may be too ugly even for Peter Jackson's overblown cinematic sensibilities. No wonder, like this place's most dangerous combatant – thecharismatic country-folk superstar Neil Young and his provocative, articulate mumbles – the tarsands always seem to steal the show.

SPECIAL INVITE TO OBAMA & HOLDER RE OPERATION STREAMLINE: Please sign and share this far and wide... 24 human rights activists put their lives and liberty on the line to end this for-profit scheme called Operation Streamline.

Jan 31

Psychologists for Social Responsibility Raises Serious Concerns About APA Decision in Leso Case

By Staff, Psychologists for Social Responsibility | Press Release

U.S. military psychologist John Leso was involved in the development of the "enhanced interrogation" protocol at Guantánano Bay Naval Base and is documented as directly participating in the interrogation of Mohammed al-Qahtani. This interrogation was described as meeting the legal definition of “torture” by Susan Crawford, the Bush administration convener of the Guantánamo military commissions.

The new episode of the Moment of Clarity Show featuring renowned economist Richard D. Wolff. There's a lot the big banks don't want you to know. In this episode we put on our rubber gloves and dive into it.

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.

Jan 31

Ten Principles to Guide the Young Activist

By Ramzy Baroud, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

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.

Jan 30

For Pete Seeger and His Family

By David Amram, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

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.