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.

A diverse array of organizations today launched a campaign to enact major cuts in wasteful military spending, as part of the December 13 federal budget resolution. The groups include peace, human service, economic and environmental justice organizations, food sovereignty and green energy groups, and grassroots community organizations. They are calling for long overdue reductions in military spending in order to meet dire needs at home and reinvest in our future.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on November 19 sent a memo to the State Water Contractors stating that their initial allocation is going to be just 5% of their requests for water, just 208,628 acre-feet of the 4,172,536 acre-feet of "Table A" water that they requested.

"This allocation is made consistent with the long-term water supply contracts and public policy," said Carl A. Torgerson of the Department of Water Resources. "DWR considered several factors, including existing storage in SWP (State Water Project) conservation reservoirs, SWP operational constraints such as the conditions of the recent Biological Opinions for Delta smelt and salmonids and the longfin smelt incidental take permit, and 2014 contractor demands."

Nov 23

The US is Not a Democracy and Never Was

By E. Douglas Kihn, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Democracy is one of thosedoublespeak words that is thrown around willy-nilly by just about everyone, without a thought or a care as to what it really means.Democracy is one of the five most misunderstood political terms today, and might even be the most usefully confusing from the point of view of the democracy-hating billionaires and millionaires who own the United States – useful for maintaining their power over the rest of us.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) urges the media to cover domestic violence accurately.

With high profile cases of domestic violence in the news, such as George Zimmerman's most recent arrest November 18, 2013 on aggravated assault and battery-domestic violence charges, the media has the opportunity to debunk myths and set the record straight on the realities of domestic violence.

He was always there at every activist meeting.  A quiet, rather quirky, middle-aged man who rarely spoke, but was eager to assist with hooking up the projector or making sure the microphones didn’t squeal.

Periodically, group members would get a nightly phone call as Peter urged us to watch a particular informative program, or told us he was battling a computer virus that invaded our group’s list serve.  In fact, he would spend every Saturday night – all night! – perusing through radio and television schedules, then assemble and send out an email titled “Shows for Thinkers”. 

Most people did not really know Peter – he was just always there.  And suddenly he wasn’t.

(Albuquerque, NM) – New Mexico’s largest county is bucking the state’s medical marijuana law by prohibiting any use of marijuana by county employees, following a new policy issued on November 12 by Bernalillo County Manager Tom Zdunek. The county memorandum cites federal prohibition and county policy as the reason for prohibiting the use of marijuana.

More than 10,000 New Mexican residents are actively enrolled in our state’s Medical Cannabis Program and nearly 4,000 of them live in Bernalillo County. Many are military veterans, patients living with disabilities, and victims of serious trauma and violent crime. New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is considered a nationwide model – in 2007 New Mexico became the first state to develop and implement a state-licensed medical marijuana production and distribution system.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “the world’s most influential Jew,” Bernard Henri Levy is number 45, according to an article published in the Israeli rightwing newspaper the Jerusalem Post, on May 21, 2010.

Levy, per the Post’s standards, came only two spots behind Irving Moskowitz, a “Florida-based tycoon (who) is considered the leading supporter of Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and hands out a prize for Zionism to settler leaders.”

It’s important to try to understand the global economic and financial system – the banks, corporations, central banks, economic policies (and effects) of governments, trade agreements, the creation and value of currencies, the function of the oft-heard ‘markets’ – as daunting as the task may seem. One might think that they need a degree in Economics in order to understand the complexities of the global economy, to comprehend the correct choices and policies which achieve the desired results. One might think that this is true, but it isn’t. The truth is that if most economists understood the global economy, and knew the ‘correct’ choices to make, we wouldn’t be where we currently are.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, the Respect ABQ Women campaign declared Albuquerque voters’ sound rejection of the anti-abortion ballot measure a huge victory for Albuquerque women and families. The ballot measure, introduced by out-of-state anti-abortion groups, would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, regardless of a woman’s circumstances.

“Today’s election makes it crystal-clear that Albuquerque voters understand that the complex, extremely personal decision about abortion needs to remain between a woman and her doctor,” said Micaela Cadena with the Respect ABQ Women campaign. “Albuquerque families sent a powerful message today--they do not want the government interfering in their private medical decisions. Dangerous, unconstitutional laws like the one we rejected today have no place in Albuquerque, no place in New Mexico, no place anywhere in our nation.”

Vancouver-based investigative journalist Alan Clements recently returned to Burma (aka Myanmar) to document a country unravelling from decades of totalitarian tyranny. Un-blacklisted from Burma after 17 years, and following the personal advice of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Clements filmed for three months, gathering 250 hours of footage that includes 100 feature length interviews with Burma's leading voices of freedom. A former Buddhist monk in Burma for nearly five years and author of a number of books on the country's 25 year long struggle for democracy, including The Voice of Hope, the acclaimed book of conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi (endorsed by US President Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and numerous other Nobel Peace laureates), Burma: The Next Killing Fields? (with a foreword by the Dalai Lama) and Burma's Revolution of the Spirit (including essays by eight Nobel Peace laureates), Clements, also one of the world's leading authorities on Burma's unique form of Buddhism, provides a fresh and powerful insight into the country's tenuous transition from dictatorship to democracy, with access to the words of the people at the heart of its struggle.