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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.

Jan 20

Reaping What We Sow

By Stephen Tryon, SpeakOut | News Analysis

The Wall Street Journal's description of the actions of Governor Christie's aides with regard to the traffic problems in Fort Lee, New Jersey (Emails Raise New Questions for Christie in Bridge Spat, January 9) paints a frightening picture of abuse of power by senior officials in the New Jersey state government. Without presupposing the guilt or innocence of any of the officials, the emails and texts reflect individuals without appropriate concepts of right and wrong conduct. Replying to one text expressing concern for the school buses affected by the snarled traffic, Governor Christie's childhood friend David Wildstein replies "They are the children of Buono voters," as if the political opinions of their parents justifies intentional mistreatment of the children. How can we explain a group of otherwise intelligent high-achievers justifying their bad deeds in such a callous manner?

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision January 13 in the landmark federal lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto. Farmers were denied the right to argue their case in court and gain protection from potential abuse by the agrichemical and genetic engineering giant Monsanto. Additionally, the high court decision dashes the hopes of family farmers who sought the opportunity to prove in court Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed patents are invalid.

West Virginia legislators are currently faced with deciding if the state should ship prisoners across state lines to for-profit private prisons. To do so would not only twice punish incarcerated West Virginians and their families, it would also represent an irresponsible use of taxpayer money.

Jan 20

You Are Not One but Many

By David Krieger, SpeakOut | Poem
Your deep voice still hangs in the air,
Melting the cowardly silence.
You are the one standing solidly there
Looking straight in the face of violence.
 
You are the one who dreams
That this nation will honor its creed.
You are the one who steps forward.
You are the one to bleed.

January 15, 2014 (Washington, DC) - Today, citizens marked the 85th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. byrisking arrest to stop the scheduled Jan. 22 start-up of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma. They are calling on President Obama to exercise his executive powers to permanently shut the pipeline down, starting with ordering the Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration to re-inspect the pipeline's anomaly-plagued 485-mile southern leg.

Jan 18

GroKo Politics: No Change of Key in Germany

By Victor Grossman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Some suggested the German "Word of the Year" should be "whistleblower" -- in the Denglish language here breezily called "Neu-Deutsch" ("New German").  But chosen instead was "GroKo," headline shorthand for "Grosse Koalition," a term used constantly during three months of wrangling between Germany's two biggest parties, once seen as "irreconcilable foes," to form a nice joint government.  (NB: in German, gross or grosse does not mean gross, it means big or grand!)

Elementary school children are being taught how wonderful hydro-fracking is from the most outlandish source. If this doesn't infuriate you, nothing will.

Jan 16

TPP v. Democracy

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV | Op-Ed

Last week, legislation to fast track a vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership was introduced in Congress.

President Obama, who, along with advisors from several hundred corporations, has built the TPP in secret, away from the prying eyes of Congress or the public, desperately wants this fast track authority. The grant of that authority is,  according to prevailing wisdom and the pro-neoliberal agenda Forbes magazine contributor Dan Ikenson describes as something being “widely considered necessary to complete and ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific-bordering nations, as well as other prospective trade agreements."

Jan 16

Yes, Indeed, San Francisco Is Made of Gold

By Andrew Lam, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Recently I said goodbye to a friend who left San Francisco for greener pasture. We have been friends for many years and it was sad to see her go.

But like many artist friends of mine who loved the city, the bay, its beautiful hills and blue sky, she felt it had somehow betrayed her. Once home for bohemians and artists and poets, San Francisco has increasingly become a city for the rich and high-tech workers.

The tension between the haves and have-nots in fact is rising fast where the high-tech workers buy up real estate in droves and leave those in the middle class floundering.

Army efforts to disrupt, neutralize peaceful protests are compared to the COINTELPRO-era tactics of the FBI

Tacoma, WA -- Former Army intelligence officer, Church Committee investigator, and professor of constitutional law Christopher Pyle has provided an expert witness report in a widely-watched federal lawsuit brought by antiwar activists who were infiltrated and spied on by the military.