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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.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and the Civilian Soldier Alliance celebrate the resistance demonstrated by California prisoners at the suspension of their third hunger strike organized to protest the cruel, inhumane and tortuous conditions of their solitary confinement. After growing participation since 2011, 30,000 people on the inside joined this strike and many continued for 60 days (Roughly 23% of the entire prison population of CDCR, according to the CDCR website from June 2013). At the close of the strike, led by the Short Corridor Collective, many of the demands of the organizers still have not been met. The struggle continues, and is far from over. IVAW and the Civilian Soldier Alliance honor the resistance by the prisoners and express our continued solidarity.

Sep 25

A Tale of Two Congress Members

By David Swanson, War Is A Crime | Op-Ed

In 2010 in Virginia's Fifth Congressional District, many people who prioritize peace over war probably voted for Democrat Tom Perriello over Republican Robert Hurt.  I know many who did just that.

Here's what Congressman Hurt said on Tuesday about Syria:

"I have repeatedly stated ... that before the United States should commit any of its precious American lives or military resources to an attack on the Syrian regime, the President must articulate a compelling American national security interest that requires military action. I have attended classified briefings, and I have concluded that, at this time, the President has not demonstrated that a compelling national security interest is at stake. Because of this, I will not be able to support the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution should it come to a vote under current circumstances."

 
Sep 25

Germany Votes - Wins and Losses

By Victor Grossman, Berlin Bulletin | News Analysis

What rejoicing! What a triumph for Angela Merkel, the East German girl who really made good and often called Angie or even "Mutti" (translated "Mama" or "Mommy")! All the world is congratulating her, and she did indeed succeed in winning an awful lot of votes on Sunday. Yes, personalities do count, and the combination of an administration with little tumult or economic crashes plus her homey, unexcited, down-to-earth way of speaking made for her big success.

Sep 24

Two-State Solution or Illusion? An Analysis

By Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses | News Analysis

Peter Beinart is a “liberal Zionist” who has written a piece in the New York Review of Books of 26 September 2013 entitled “The American Jewish Cocoon.” In this essay he laments, “The organized Jewish community [is] a closed intellectual space.” By this he means that most American Zionist Jews (it is important to remember that not all Jews are Zionists) know little or nothing about those who oppose them, particularly Palestinians. They also seem to have no interest in changing this situation. For these Zionists the opposition has been reduced to an irredeemably anti-Semitic “them.”

A new controversy aggravating already strained relations between Washington and Caracas threatens to destabilise relations with other South American countries. On Thursday night Venezuelan Secretary of State Elias Jaua announced that the United States denied the Presidential Plane the right to fly over Puerto Rico on it’s way to China for diplomatic meetings. Outraged at American refusal to grant Venezuelan state leaders authorisation to fly over American airspace President Nicolas Maduro denounced Washington’s decision: “To refuse permission to a head of state to fly over airspace that they colonized in Puerto Rico is a serious offense.” This comes months after the United States refused to recognize the results of Venezuela’s elections in the aftermath of President Chavez’s death. Canadian based Foundation for Democratic Advancement ranked Venezuelan elections number 1 in fairness. The International Elections Report released by the Carter Center for Peace also found Venezuelan elections to be among the fairest in the world.

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration are continuing to push for reforms of draconian drug sentencing policies that have led the U.S. federal prison population to skyrocket over the past three decades. The White House announced that they will curtail federal mandatory minimum drug laws by ordering prosecutors to remove any references to specific amounts of illegal drugs that trigger mandatory minimum sentences. Holder also ordered prosecutors to refile charges against defendants in pending cases and to apply the new policy to defendants who are already in the system but have not yet been sentenced.

Dear members of the press,

The Super-Special Commission for Rosia Montana ignores the protesters'
message and announces fake meetings.

Tens of thousands of people in 36 cities from Romania and 34 from abroad
took the streets on Sunday for the 22nd consecutive day demanding the
rejection of the special law that would allow the destruction of Rosia
Montana. Protesters sent a clear message to Romanian lawmakers reiterating
their claims: the resignation of Prime Minister Ponta and the initiators
of the law, the  rejection of the mining project, the ban on cyanide
mining in Romania and the inclusion of Rosia Montana in Romania's
tentative list for UNESCO. Protests also condemn the hesitation of
Romanian politicians who are looking for solutions to legalize the mining
project proposed by the Canadian company.

Sep 24

Organizing Against Violence

By Curtis Black, Newstips | Op-Ed

As Chicago reeled under a new spate of street violence, community organizers including scores of teens working to prevent violence met Saturday in Little Village — and participants said the problem will require a far more comprehensive approach than just locking up “bad guys.”

“The ‘harsh on crime’ approach simply hasn’t worked,”  said Luis Carrizales, coordinator of the Violence Prevention Collaborative, a collective of community organizations run out of Enlace Chicago.

Public Citizen today called on the IRS to investigate whether Freedom Partners, a relatively obscure group but one of the largest entities to fund political activities in the 2012 election cycle, is a legitimate business league, as it claims on its tax forms.

Freedom Partners is registered as a 501(c)(6) organization. Business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues can be exempt from taxes under this section of the IRS code. Business

"International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Ceasefire would mean to humankind."

I'd like to focus on that last paragraph; that is the only thing you and I have any control of. There are those who will say that there are mean, hurtful, crazy people out there and there is nothing we can do to change them, yet I submit that at the root of whatever we perceive is their behavior or attitude, is a human being, and human beings need love.