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 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.

WASHINGTON, DC - The Supreme Court will review a lower court's order for banks to give information onArgentine assets, including those assets held outside of US jurisdiction, to a group of hedge funds seeking to collect from Argentina's 2001 default. Additionally, the High Court will review if it is legal for these predatory hedge funds to target assets for collection outside of a US jurisdiction.

While we were lucky—the lobby of the hotel collapsed by not our room—many thousands of Haitians perished from the natural disaster, which was compounded by the U.S. and U.N.’s neglectful and exploitative response to the quake. On this fourth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, I am thankful to be alive, thankful to have awonderful family, and thankful for the never-ending resistance of the Haitian people.   In the aftermath of the earthquake we did everything we could to help in the medical care and relief effort, while the U.S. and U.N. acted as if Haiti was a war zone and the people needed to be contained and controlled.

Jan 15

Groups Protest 12th Anniversary of Guantánamo

By Staff, Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release

January 11, 2014, Washington, D.C. – Today marks the 12th anniversary of the arrival of the first men to be detained without charge at Guantánamo.  Human rights and civil liberties groups gathered opposite the White House at noon to demand President Obama honor his many promises to close the prison. They then proceeded to the National Museum of American History to indicate that Guantánamohas become a part of the American landscape, but must become relegated to the American past.

Jan 15

The Abuse of Laughter

By Ben Barker, DGR News Service | Op-Ed

People laugh at anything and everything these days, and they expect you to laugh along. In this age of utter cynicism, little is sacred, little is off-limits from humor, little is safe from the cultural tide of callous abuse. What’s worse: you laugh along. You may not want to, but you do.

Laughter is a beautiful thing—until it meets abuse. Like a spoonful of sugar with a stab in the back, it attempts to cover for abuse. Or like pouring salt in the wound, it can be the abuse itself. “Come on, it’s just a joke,” say abusers, as they mock you to the core, as they target any trace of sensitivity—read: humanity—for utter ridicule.

When it comes to war, the American public is remarkably fickle.

The responses of Americans to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars provide telling examples.  In 2003, according to opinion polls, 72 percent of Americans thought going to war in Iraq was the right decision.  By early 2013, support for that decision had declined to 41 percent.  Similarly, in October 2001, when U.S. military action began in Afghanistan, it was backed by 90 percent of the American public.  By December 2013, public approval of the Afghanistan war had dropped to only 17 percent.