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Speakout

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.

Sep 20

Citizen’s United (A Poem)

By Hakim Bellamy, Be-Side | Poem

If we kidnapped

THEIR children

They would find us

If we put guns

In the hands of those young

They would tag them

"Child soldiers"

But here

We prefer to leave them

Clinically depressed

And decorate them in marine

The current round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership ended today. The trade negotiators were met with a week of protest against the largest trade agreement in history.

"The secret is out, after three years of secret negotiations, except for 600 corporate advisers who participated throughout, people are finally becoming aware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership," said Margaret Flowers, co-director of Its Our Economy who blocked the entrance to the Landsdowne Resort by climbing into a 15+foot tripod where the TPP was being negotiated, see article and photographs here. Flowers explained in an article that she blocked the TPP because "millions will lose their jobs or have poverty wages and slave working conditions, will suffer or die because they are unable to afford necessary medications and that the planet will be poisoned even more by large corporations if the TPP isn't stopped."

Ce. Uno. One: First memories. Through his daughter Raquel, I meet Gustavo Gutierrez in 1992, who by then, is already a legend. In Arizona, his name is synonymous with workers, farm workers, Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers movement and the Arizona Farm Worker's union. Had Cesar not lived, Gustavo would still have organized; he would have still fought for the rights of all workers, with or without documents. This is a man who is truly ahead of his time; before his time. Early on, he recognized the existence of no borders; Un Continente y Una Cultura.

Ome. Dos. Two: Despite all that history, he will most likely be remembered for his work with the Peace and Dignity Journeys. Born of the Prophesy of the Eagle and the Condor, the journeys continue to connect the continent. The Journeys were birthed in Quito, Ecuador at a 1990 gathering of indigenous peoples, convened to counteract the so-called 500-year encounter between Spain and the Americas. There was no encounter; instead there was invasion, land theft and slavery. All the peoples of the continent know this, understand this. Gustavo was no different; those that gathered in Quito, including him, would hear no talk of encounters.

Sep 19

Free Speech or Inciting to Riot?

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

When I finish one of my analyses I usually look forward to a week to ten day hiatus and sometimes even wonder if I will have to hunt around for the next topic. It rarely works out that way. Usually, within three of four days, something happens which strikes me as worthy of attention. Often other commentators have moved more quickly than I to report on the event. However, there are always more questions to be asked and different perspectives to be offered.

So it is with the death of four American diplomats, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, in Libya on Wednesday 12 September 2012. There are two mutually reinforcing parts to this tragedy: one takes place here in the USA, and the other in Libya, Egypt and several other places in the Middle East. Let's take them in sequence.

Sep 19

Tax-Deductible Spin

By Jason Brown, Ledger Enquirer | Op-Ed

Republican strategist Roger Stone reported a few days ago that David Koch (co-founder and co-owner of Koch Industries) may have played a vital role in the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. According to Stone, Koch pledged to give Gov. Romney's Super PAC $100 million if Congressman Ryan would be his V.P. selection. I will not speculate that Governor Romney selected Ryan for such a bountiful donation -- nor should liberal media outlets -- because there is an actually a more substantive problem at hand.

Super PACs are defined under our tax codes as 501(c)(4) organizations, which are classified as charity or social welfare groups. An organization classified by the IRS under this section is essentially impervious to disclosure laws in regards to donors and donation amounts...

I am not trying to pick on Mr. Koch, or any Republican candidates, because the Democrats have their power brokers and Super PACs as well, making them no different from their opponents. My problem is that these Super PACs are responsible for publishing, producing and financing many of these distasteful, libel-ridden advertisements we see on TV or the Internet every day. Yet they operate under a tax-exempt status, with little to no regulation, and can in layman's terms be called "charity."

On May 23rd, 2012, President Obama announced his nomination of New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to serve on the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute.

Opponents of judicial corruption in New York State, were shocked by the announcement, having witnessed Lippman's relentless, corruption-ridden rise to power in the New York State Judiciary, culminating in his illegal ascension to Chief Judge in 2009.

The object of this report is to inform the President, the Congressional Oversight Committees, and the FBI of Judge Lippman's legacy of corruption, in order to convince them that the confirmation of Judge Lippman would be detrimental to justice for all Americans.

Sep 18

Is Life Without Parole Worse Than Death?

By James L Knoll IV, SpeakOut | Opinion

As for me, I am a so-called psychiatrist who witnessed society deposit its "patients" inside of a prison, transporting me back in time to the era of the alienist. Thus, the knot of causes in which I am entangled" has recurred and created me again. I am the recurrence from the past, sending a message into the future. I am an alienist reincarnated, and poetry keeps me sane.

Sep 17

Late Night Liberalism

By Richard Lichtman, SpeakOut | Opinion

The self-indulgent imbecility of Mitt Romney is having the effect of encouraging a set of very stupid and horrendously misleading comments by the MSNBC evening staff.  So, we were informed on Thursday, September 13 that the United States does not restrict free speech (Maddow) - a comment that would be easily belied by simply reading the first amendment decisions of the Supreme Court and reflecting on the current fates of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange; "the president is the person we trust with foreign policy." Has the speaker heard of "weapons of mass destruction" or the Gulf of Tonkin? Finally, we are informed that the current decision of the Federal Reserve to expand the money supply will act to the advantage of the stock market and so to the population as a whole.  No evidence is offered for this assertion and so the implication is that capitalism can solve its very profound problems through the use of capitalist means.  No evidence is offered.

Sep 17

Chicago Teachers Built This

By Danny Katch, SpeakOut | News Analysis

After months of partisan name-calling, it's heartwarming to see politicians of both parties coming together against a common enemy: teachers.

The strike by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has led the Republican presidential ticket to publicly support that city's Democratic mayor and President Obama's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

"Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children," Mitt Romney announced, "and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet."

Yes, if anyone's interests are in perfect synch with America's children, it's Mitt Romney. After all, the reason he has fired so many people over the years is so they could spend more time helping their kids with homework.

Sep 17

Why Are We Occupying?

By Mike David, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Of course, most of us know what's wrong with the world. We know about the poverty, war, violence and disease. We're conscious of the injustice, but not fully conscious of it, because frankly, we have enough to worry about in our own lives. As such, we've come to accept these injustices as simple facts of life – prepackaged side effects of the human condition, as natural and intertwined with our existence as water to a stream, beyond our capacity to effect in any significant way. This collective sense of powerlessness and default apathy is why we're occupying.

Our growing sense of isolation and disconnection, whether from ourselves, from those next door to us, or from those producing our food and products halfway across the globe, is why we're occupying. Our forced support of perpetual war waged for and by the 1% - whether explicitly with speech, or implicitly with inaction and tax dollars - without ever paying mind to the true causes and motives behind it, is why we're occupying. Our failure up till now to connect the dots and realize that the benefits of a cheap iPod, lovely as it may be, would be far outweighed by the benefits of a truly just world free of exploitation, is why we're occupying.

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Speakout

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.

Sep 20

Citizen’s United (A Poem)

By Hakim Bellamy, Be-Side | Poem

If we kidnapped

THEIR children

They would find us

If we put guns

In the hands of those young

They would tag them

"Child soldiers"

But here

We prefer to leave them

Clinically depressed

And decorate them in marine

The current round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership ended today. The trade negotiators were met with a week of protest against the largest trade agreement in history.

"The secret is out, after three years of secret negotiations, except for 600 corporate advisers who participated throughout, people are finally becoming aware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership," said Margaret Flowers, co-director of Its Our Economy who blocked the entrance to the Landsdowne Resort by climbing into a 15+foot tripod where the TPP was being negotiated, see article and photographs here. Flowers explained in an article that she blocked the TPP because "millions will lose their jobs or have poverty wages and slave working conditions, will suffer or die because they are unable to afford necessary medications and that the planet will be poisoned even more by large corporations if the TPP isn't stopped."

Ce. Uno. One: First memories. Through his daughter Raquel, I meet Gustavo Gutierrez in 1992, who by then, is already a legend. In Arizona, his name is synonymous with workers, farm workers, Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers movement and the Arizona Farm Worker's union. Had Cesar not lived, Gustavo would still have organized; he would have still fought for the rights of all workers, with or without documents. This is a man who is truly ahead of his time; before his time. Early on, he recognized the existence of no borders; Un Continente y Una Cultura.

Ome. Dos. Two: Despite all that history, he will most likely be remembered for his work with the Peace and Dignity Journeys. Born of the Prophesy of the Eagle and the Condor, the journeys continue to connect the continent. The Journeys were birthed in Quito, Ecuador at a 1990 gathering of indigenous peoples, convened to counteract the so-called 500-year encounter between Spain and the Americas. There was no encounter; instead there was invasion, land theft and slavery. All the peoples of the continent know this, understand this. Gustavo was no different; those that gathered in Quito, including him, would hear no talk of encounters.

Sep 19

Free Speech or Inciting to Riot?

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

When I finish one of my analyses I usually look forward to a week to ten day hiatus and sometimes even wonder if I will have to hunt around for the next topic. It rarely works out that way. Usually, within three of four days, something happens which strikes me as worthy of attention. Often other commentators have moved more quickly than I to report on the event. However, there are always more questions to be asked and different perspectives to be offered.

So it is with the death of four American diplomats, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, in Libya on Wednesday 12 September 2012. There are two mutually reinforcing parts to this tragedy: one takes place here in the USA, and the other in Libya, Egypt and several other places in the Middle East. Let's take them in sequence.

Sep 19

Tax-Deductible Spin

By Jason Brown, Ledger Enquirer | Op-Ed

Republican strategist Roger Stone reported a few days ago that David Koch (co-founder and co-owner of Koch Industries) may have played a vital role in the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. According to Stone, Koch pledged to give Gov. Romney's Super PAC $100 million if Congressman Ryan would be his V.P. selection. I will not speculate that Governor Romney selected Ryan for such a bountiful donation -- nor should liberal media outlets -- because there is an actually a more substantive problem at hand.

Super PACs are defined under our tax codes as 501(c)(4) organizations, which are classified as charity or social welfare groups. An organization classified by the IRS under this section is essentially impervious to disclosure laws in regards to donors and donation amounts...

I am not trying to pick on Mr. Koch, or any Republican candidates, because the Democrats have their power brokers and Super PACs as well, making them no different from their opponents. My problem is that these Super PACs are responsible for publishing, producing and financing many of these distasteful, libel-ridden advertisements we see on TV or the Internet every day. Yet they operate under a tax-exempt status, with little to no regulation, and can in layman's terms be called "charity."

On May 23rd, 2012, President Obama announced his nomination of New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to serve on the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute.

Opponents of judicial corruption in New York State, were shocked by the announcement, having witnessed Lippman's relentless, corruption-ridden rise to power in the New York State Judiciary, culminating in his illegal ascension to Chief Judge in 2009.

The object of this report is to inform the President, the Congressional Oversight Committees, and the FBI of Judge Lippman's legacy of corruption, in order to convince them that the confirmation of Judge Lippman would be detrimental to justice for all Americans.

Sep 18

Is Life Without Parole Worse Than Death?

By James L Knoll IV, SpeakOut | Opinion

As for me, I am a so-called psychiatrist who witnessed society deposit its "patients" inside of a prison, transporting me back in time to the era of the alienist. Thus, the knot of causes in which I am entangled" has recurred and created me again. I am the recurrence from the past, sending a message into the future. I am an alienist reincarnated, and poetry keeps me sane.

Sep 17

Late Night Liberalism

By Richard Lichtman, SpeakOut | Opinion

The self-indulgent imbecility of Mitt Romney is having the effect of encouraging a set of very stupid and horrendously misleading comments by the MSNBC evening staff.  So, we were informed on Thursday, September 13 that the United States does not restrict free speech (Maddow) - a comment that would be easily belied by simply reading the first amendment decisions of the Supreme Court and reflecting on the current fates of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange; "the president is the person we trust with foreign policy." Has the speaker heard of "weapons of mass destruction" or the Gulf of Tonkin? Finally, we are informed that the current decision of the Federal Reserve to expand the money supply will act to the advantage of the stock market and so to the population as a whole.  No evidence is offered for this assertion and so the implication is that capitalism can solve its very profound problems through the use of capitalist means.  No evidence is offered.

Sep 17

Chicago Teachers Built This

By Danny Katch, SpeakOut | News Analysis

After months of partisan name-calling, it's heartwarming to see politicians of both parties coming together against a common enemy: teachers.

The strike by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has led the Republican presidential ticket to publicly support that city's Democratic mayor and President Obama's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

"Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children," Mitt Romney announced, "and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet."

Yes, if anyone's interests are in perfect synch with America's children, it's Mitt Romney. After all, the reason he has fired so many people over the years is so they could spend more time helping their kids with homework.

Sep 17

Why Are We Occupying?

By Mike David, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Of course, most of us know what's wrong with the world. We know about the poverty, war, violence and disease. We're conscious of the injustice, but not fully conscious of it, because frankly, we have enough to worry about in our own lives. As such, we've come to accept these injustices as simple facts of life – prepackaged side effects of the human condition, as natural and intertwined with our existence as water to a stream, beyond our capacity to effect in any significant way. This collective sense of powerlessness and default apathy is why we're occupying.

Our growing sense of isolation and disconnection, whether from ourselves, from those next door to us, or from those producing our food and products halfway across the globe, is why we're occupying. Our forced support of perpetual war waged for and by the 1% - whether explicitly with speech, or implicitly with inaction and tax dollars - without ever paying mind to the true causes and motives behind it, is why we're occupying. Our failure up till now to connect the dots and realize that the benefits of a cheap iPod, lovely as it may be, would be far outweighed by the benefits of a truly just world free of exploitation, is why we're occupying.