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Speakout

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.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Twenty-four corporations that voluntarily disclosed information about their donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave the trade association $6.5 million in non-tax-deductible contributions last year, which is significant because that money can be used to influence elections. This money represents less than 4 percent of the U.S. Chamber’s average annual spending, revealing how little information is available about the giant trade group, which has spent more than $1 billion on lobbying since 1998, a new Public Citizen report shows.

In a historic decision five Catholic Worker activists were acquitted earlier this evening of disorderly conduct charges for blocking the main entrance to Hancock Air Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard, Syracuse, New York.

Hancock is a Reaper drone hub whose technicians pilot weaponized drones over Afghanistan. The five went “pro se,” defending themselves in the De Witt town court of Judge Robert Jokl.

In his closing statement Fr. Bill Picard said, “We pray for you, Judge Jokl, to have the courage to do the right and courageous thing.”

Oct 28

Occupy Sandy: One Year After The Storm

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV | Video

The Occupy Sandy community has changed the face of disaster relief. Our network of more than 50,000 volunteers provided over 300,000 meals, remediated over 1000 homes, and provided over a million dollars' worth of donated supplies by working with our neighbors to provide mutual aid throughout the rebuilding process.

Some folks have returned to their normal lives, but many remain affected by Hurricane Sandy. Our people-powered movement built something incredible, but we need your help to continue to move residents back into their homes, assist them in rebuilding their lives, and amplify the voice of communities in their own recovery. We need your help to support our ongoing work.

Oct 28

Hymn to the Koch Brothers

By David McDannald, Counterpunch | Op-Ed

Dear Esteemed Brothers,

On the way back from my father’s village, I’ve decided to take time to think over topics connected to our common interests. News of your conquests in America first reached us here in the backwater like word of a distant storm. It was in the mouth of Yoweri Museveni that I first heard your name. My friends, I beg you. Listen well. The goat with the keenest ears never ends up with okra in the village stew.

Washington D.C. – Three years ago, newly elected governors in several states decided to outsource economic development functions to “public-private partnerships” (PPPs). Together with a handful of other states’ PPPs, these experiments in privatization have, by and large, become costly failures characterized by misuse of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest, excessive executive pay and bonuses, questionable subsidy awards, exaggerated job-creation claims, lack of public disclosure of key records, and resistance to basic oversight.

The primary problem with weaponized drones is that the weapons murder people.  And they murder people in a way that looks more like murder to a lot of observers than other forms of military murder do — such as murder by indiscriminate bombing or artillery or infantry or dropping white phosphorous on people.  When President Obama looks through a list of men, women, and children at a Tuesday terror meeting, and picks which ones to murder, and has them murdered, you can call it a war or not call it a war, but it begins to look to a lot of people like murder.

Oct 28

No Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety

By Staff, ENSSER | Press Release

As scientists, physicians, academics, and experts from disciplines relevant to the scientific, legal, social and safety assessment aspects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we strongly reject claims by GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators, and journalists that there is a “scientific consensus” on GMO safety and that the debate on this topic is “over”.

We feel compelled to issue this statement because the claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist. The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue. Moreover, the claim encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigour and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment.

"'Til death do us part," that age-old marriage vow, has always sounded a little, well, non-committal to Confucian ears. In Vietnam, for instance, where I come from, death is not the end of relationships, it only deepens them.
A traditional Vietnamese worships his ancestors. He talks daily to ghosts. Every morning, every night, he lights incense and offers food and drinks to the spirit of his ancestors, prays for protection and asks for advice. If he claims to have seen his grandfather's ghost the night before, few would question him. More likely they would help decipher the meaning of the visitation.

Oct 27

Knowing One's Place

By Leslie Thatcher, SpeakOut | Review

When a young Norwegian tourist is found murdered in the forest of Lake Superior's north shore in Vidar Sunstøl's "The Land of Dreams," one character asks, "Who would want to murder a Norwegian?" The haunting rugged country of the Arrowhead region is the true protagonist and most finely rendered character in this first volume of the mystery writer's Minnesota Trilogy.

With the interim 'debt ceiling/government shutdown' agreement reached last week between the Obama administration and the Teaparty-driven U.S. House of Representatives, the real negotiations on deficit cutting—aka Austerity American Style—are about to begin again.

A long campaign peddling falsehoods around social security and medicare has created a myth that they are facing a budget and fiscal crisis. This claim will be rolled out by Democrats and Republicans alike, to justify cutting programs for the poorest Americans, while handing tax breaks to the richest corporation.