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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.

Mar 01

Middle-Out Economics 101

By Heather Boushey, Center for American Progress | Video

For more on CAP’s Middle-Out Economics project, please visit its project page.

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey explains how middle-out economics helps bolster the U.S. economy.

Mar 01

Time for Outrage!

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers , Occupy Washington DC | Op-Ed

“Ninety-three years old. The last leg of my journey. The end is in sight. I am lucky to be able to seize the time I have left to reflect on my lifelong commitment to politics: the Resistance and the program designed sixty-six years ago by the National Council of the Resistance.” 

These are the opening lines from “A Time for Outrage!”(“Indignez-vous!”) a 35 page book written by Stephane Hessel in 2010 which sold 3 million copies in 30 languages and inspired protests like “Occupy” in the United States and The Indignados in Spain. Hassel died this week at the age of 95. 
 
Each week we see reasons for outrage and, thankfully, more and more people are joining the culture of resistance. 

Jim Crow is alive and well — and he has mounted a new attack on the law Martin Luther King dreamed of: the Voting Rights Act.

On February 27, the Supreme Court will hear a suit brought by Shelby County, Alabama, which challenges the right of the Department of Justice to review changes in voting procedure. Example: Attempts to cut the number of early voting days, to expunge "illegal alien" voters without any evidence, refusing Spanish-language ballots, have been blocked by the Department of Justice and Courts because they have stopped Black and Hispanic citizens casting ballots.

In 2011, a Democratic Congressional Investigating Committee determined that 14 leading oil companies used 2500 different toxic fracking liquids. The liquids contained 750 different chemicals, including 270 undisclosed ingredients protected by industry trade secret laws which the oil and gas service companies themselves were unable to identify. Prior to the onset of fracking, and in total disregard of a vast literature of previous work on water ingress, retention and release in deep geological formations, oil and gas industry scientists and environmental officials argued that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the liquid waste for millennia. They were dead wrong and should have known it.

Today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Lebron v. Secretary, Florida Department of Children and Families, upheld a preliminary injunction that halted Florida's law requiring drug testing of public assistance applicants as a condition of receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF").

Florida's drug testing law was challenged by Navy veteran, single father and University of Central Florida student Luis LeBron who applied for TANF but refused to be drug tested. His challenge led to a federal trial court order halting the law from taking effect on the grounds that it likely violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.

Feb 28

Top US Terrorist Group: The FBI

By David Swanson, War Is a Crime | News Analysis

A careful study of the FBI's own data on terrorism in the United States, reported in Trevor Aaronson's book The Terror Factory, finds one organization leading all others in creating terrorist plots in the United States: the FBI.

Imagine an incompetent bureaucrat. Now imagine a corrupt one. Now imagine both combined. You're starting to get at the image I take away of some of the FBI agents' actions recounted in this book.

As part of a larger documentary project about the influence of Money and politics in the post Citizens United era, Dennis Trainor, Jr sat down with Rep. James McGovern and talked about money in politics, Citizens United, Civil Disobedience, Money as Free Speech, Corporate Personhood and a potential Constitutional Amendment.

Special interest spending dominated this week's primary for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, with the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth spending more than $300,000 on television advertisements in support of incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack. The Club for Growth was responsible for more than 75% of the nearly $400,000 in TV spending in the primary race, and more than 80% of the total ad spots, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG estimates released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.

Television spending data for the Wisconsin race, ads, and storyboards, are available at the Brennan Center's Buying Time: Wisconsin 2013 webpage.

This evening I want to talk about Bigger Thomas. I'm teaching a course this semester entitled "Race and Existence," in which I include the work of the ingenious African American novelist and essayist Richard Wright.

Wright created the character Bigger Thomas in his 1940 novel Native Son, which portrays how the racism and cruel criminal justice system of the United States gave birth to Bigger Thomas's personified brutality as its mirror image. Wright's famous introduction to the second edition concluded with a warning of Bigger Thomas being created wherever there are houses built on human degradation.

As we approach the self-immolation known as "The Sequester," I find myself thinking about a woman in West Africa, asking people, "Would you like to buy a pen?"

She was a middle-aged woman, wearing a bright-colored dress. Judging by wear and tear, it may have been the only dress she owned.

She was standing on the steps in front of a small department store, which was selling pens by the dozen. She repeated softly, in French, to passers-by, "Voulez-vous acheter une plume?" And she held up a pen.