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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.

Feb 25

We Know How to Live

By Christine Baniewicz, New Clear Vision | Op-Ed

Cinema 2 of the New Parkway Theatre in Oakland is deserted. I take a seat against the arm of a cushy brown couch on the third tier upfrom the floor. The place is lousy with sofas and retro red vinyl chairs. They're flung about the room, clustered around off beat end tables like so many hipsters in a beer garden.

Two more folks enter, separately. We smile thin greetings at one another before they choose their seats in distant corners according to that awkward geometry of strangers. A fourth patron glides in. I recognize him from solidarity demonstrations in the city. I wave him over.

A new bill by state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer would restore due process in Montana and counter the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in December 2012, the NDAA codifies indefinite detention for those accused of supporting al-Qaeda and its "associated forces," a very broad term. Even American citizens could be held indefinitely in military custody without due process.

If passed, the bill would "prohibit state cooperation with federal officials regarding indefinite detention." LC 1810 would ban indefinite detention within the state of Montana. In addition, the state attorney general would be instructed to report any efforts made by federal agents to implement the NDAA. So far, the bill has garnered two cosponsors: state Rep. Mike Miller and Daniel Zolnikov. Both are Republicans, as is Schwaderer.

Feb 22

One Thousand Days Too Many

By Kevin Zeese, October2011.org | Op-Ed

Think of that, count it off . . . 1,000 days; that is how long Bradley Manning has been incarcerated without a trial.

Even though he has been incarcerated for nearly three years most Americans have no idea what he did, why he did it or how he has been mistreated coming from the commander-in-chief to the courtroom at Fort Meade.

The mass media has made sure to keep Americans ignorant about what is going on and why it is important. But many do see through the misinformation and are standing with Brad. We take action because like Brad, we want the truth to be told, the truth to be known and understood so we can improve the country.

One of the most hypocritical corporate PR campaigns in decades is advancing inside the beltway, attempting to convince the White House, Congress, and the American people that another cataclysmic economic crisis is around the corner that will destroy our economy unless urgent action is taken. Soon this astroturf supergroup may be coming to a state near you.

Move over David Koch and George Soros! The effort is being bankrolled by one of the wealthiest men in the nation. Peter G. Peterson made a fortune at the Blackstone Group on Wall Street. He conveniently cashed out with $2 billion shortly before the 2008 financial meltdown and now has pledged to spend $1 billion of that payout to convince Americans -- who overwhelmingly want to keep and strengthen Social Security and Medicare -- that these programs threaten our very existence as a nation.

The Board went to court today with our two fearless lawyers, Buck Davis and Cynthia Heenan. They only recently received the right to payment for representing us and we speak with them frequently, especially on Sundays. The Board members do not get paid and meet very often and are in constant communication with our community members and teachers. Students and teachers and parents bring problems they cannot address because of the Emergency Manager imposition, which has dismantled most of the avenues of the most simple issues and redress. Suspensions, teacher evaluations, seniority, all have been destabilized by the State's imposition of the little emergency manager.

The District has countless lawyers who work hours all day while we are at work and at meetings finding ways to defend their behavior, which is criminal in so many ways. Finding ways to keep the general public from following money ( refusal to share information about district expenditures, vis a vis People Soft, which itemizes every dime).

For several thousand years, Arizona was a great place to live. Then Gov. Brewer became governor... joining Sheriff Joe Arpaio as the undisputed rulers of this now, godforsaken desert... Actually, Arizona is still a great place to live, primarily because it is the home of numerous human rights organizations, including Tucson's Derechos Humanos, perhaps the premier immigrant/human rights organization in the nation. And now, Derechos needs our assistance.

The Tucson/Arizona desert is where migrants die horrific deaths; this is where the fences and walls are. It is la cuna de la migra. This is where all the high-tech wizardry is deployed, including drones and all kinds of military troops and vehicles. Here is where migrants – Mexicans, on either side of the border – are also shot with impunity. When people think of militarization of the border, this is ground zero.

Tens of thousands of climate activists marched in Washington D.C.on February 17. Did the corporate media notice them?

The main focus for the activists was the White House's pending decision on the Keystone pipeline, a project that would deliver tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to U.S. refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. The activists argue that the carbon-intensive project would only exacerbate the climate crisis, helping to extract and burn some 170 billion barrels of oil, not to mention threatening other environmental catastrophes in Canada and the United States.

Feb 22

Tipping Point, 2

By Lee R. Haven, Jack and Jill Politics | Op-Ed

White people know that you're—generally speaking—tired of them.

They know, in fact, what you suspect.

They do—at least most of—the hiring, or grant the home loans, or compose or allow the publicity of the negative punditry besmirching your very essence, or target you for frisking, or mete out the unequal sentencing, or justice.

A meteor estimated to be 10 tons by NASA exploded Friday morning over Russia's Ural region and its shockwave caused injuries to over 1,000 people. It took out windows and walls in the city of Chelyabinsk. And it temporarily shifted the conversation here on earth to talks of the heavens.

"We can find these objects, we can track their motions, and we can predict their orbits many years into the future," noted Robert Naeye of Sky and Telescope in an essay called, Lessons from the Russian Meteor Blast. "And in the unlikely event that we actually find a dangerous object on a collision course with Earth, we might actually be able to deflect it if given sufficient warning time. Now, every government in the world is keenly aware of the possibility of meteor explosions over its territory."

Canadian National Railway: please stop delaying Amtrak passenger trains with your freight trains. By ending your delay of Amtrak passenger trains, you'll help make the use of passenger rail in the United States more attractive and help us reduce our carbon emissions and our contribution to climate chaos.

Petition Background

One easy thing we could do to reduce U.S. carbon emissions that contribute to climate chaos would be to get more Americans to take trains more often. When you take the train, your marginal contribution to carbon emissions is basically zero.