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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.

Jan 11

Call for Immediate Aid to Syrians Dying of Starvation Due to Siege

By Staff, Syrian Nonviolence Movement | Press Release

TOMORROW -- Friday, January 10, at 10:00 a.m. -- a working group of leaders representing the Syrian American Medical Society, the Syrian Nonviolence Movement and the Minnesota-based Friends for a NonViolent World will hold a press conference in the United Nations Plaza to announce an International Solidarity Hunger Strike for Syria, a major global campaign, and to demand the lifting of the starvation sieges of dozens of Syrian towns that are preventing hundreds of thousands of Syrians from eating or getting medical treatment.

Jan 11

Corporate Political Disclosure Rule Effort Applauded

By Staff, Corporate Reform Coalition | Press Release

The Corporate Reform Coalition applauds the 79 members of Congress, led by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), who today sent letters from their respective chambers urging Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White to reinstate the corporate political spending rule on the agency’s agenda. The agency also should do significant work in the interim by doing such things as holding roundtables on the topic.

New York - After making national headlines for his support of medical marijuana, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State only briefly mentioned his medical marijuana plan. Cuomo administration officials said that the program would involve distributing medical marijuana through 20 hospitals statewide, and the Department of Health would be charged with promulgating regulations.

After losing a lucrative job in 2001 in San Francisco, Ted decided, instead of moving home, to live in Hong Kong, where he fell in love.

“I come home, but not frequently,” said the 34 year old, who hails from Minnesota. “My life is here now.” (Ted didn’t want his last name to be used because of privacy concerns.)

Leading scholars, peace advocatesand artists from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia today released the attached statement opposing the construction of the new U.S. Marine base at Henoko, Okinawa, planned by the US and Japanese governments as a replacement facility of Futenma airbase located in the middle of Ginowan City. Their statement urges “support for the people of Okinawa in their struggle for peace, dignity, human rights, and protection of the environment.”

A lot of crucial stories got ignored this year. Here are perhaps the most important ones.

1) Unarmed man killed by FBI -   http://huff.to/1h9WcGV
2) AG Holder not going after big banks -   http://bit.ly/1cRb3UT
3) Big banks are just a money grab -   http://bloom.bg/147N3UQ
4) The pie chart that destroys climate change denial -   http://bit.ly/1fWFhnu
5) More about the TPP and TTIP corporate coup -   http://www.flushthetpp.org/
6) Outro music by Sierra and The Nomads -   http://www.sierraandthenomads.com/

Jan 09

"Cruzing" Past the True Meaning of Citizenship

By Dallas Darling, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

When U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced he had hired lawyers to denounce and get rid of his Canadian citizenship, it made one wonder if the Republican Party is not only the party of death, but an extremely exclusionary, reactionary sect within a state.

The same gloomy political party that vilified the estate tax, calling it “death taxes,” and that is warning of an Obama-apocalypse, by continually referring to “death panels” and a “death spiral,” has now pressured Senator Ted Cruz to forgo his dual citizenship.

The very first societies were actually families, then the tribe, then the village, and then the state. The concept of citizenship, or belonging to a state, did not exist and evolved only in relation to draconian leaders and oppressive institutions that seized “natural” liberties.

“One of the strange things about our politics is the disconnect between what sorts of things lead us, collectively, to express outrage and what sorts of things we don’t notice,” David Kaib begins in an examination of outrage centering on a marijuana Op-Ed by David Brooks, adding:

I’m thinking specifically of how a statement can set off outrage while the background behaviors, activities or policies that the statement expresses or seeks to justify do not….

I think this dynamic is a product of two things.  First, a great deal of our politics concerns people’s motives and character, which are largely unknowable, as opposed to assessing their actions on their own terms.  So when someone says something, potentially revealing their intentions, it seems powerful.  Second, and I suspect more importantly, it’s hard to get upset about long-standing, entrenched conditions.  We do better trying to oppose some deviation from the norm, or at least, things that are understood that way.

You are in a unique position of leadership to influence today's youth to achieve a better tomorrow for America and the world. I am writing to enlist your help in educating young people to understand the survival challenges that face humanity in the 21st century.

Education is driven by values. Young people must learn to live with reverence for life, as did Albert Schweitzer, and to support equitable and nonviolent solutions to social problems, as did Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Young people must be imbued with compassion, commitment and courage. They must learn to use their imaginations to find creative and cooperative solutions to the great issues of our time. And they must find joy in the process and take time to celebrate the miracle of living on the only planet we know of in the universe that supports life.

Jan 08

Ways & Means to Americans: Get Lost

By Gerald E Scorse, Daily Kos | Op-Ed

When the Republicans took control of the House, they also took control of all the House committees and the websites for those committees. At the Ways and Means website, one of the first things the GOP did was to cut off email contact between ordinary Americans and possibly the most powerful tax-writing committee in the Congress.

Back when the Democrats and chairman Sander Levin ran Ways and Means, the "Contact" dropdown included email contact to the committee. Once Dave Camp and the Republicans took over, they elected to go back to the 20th century: if you want to get in touch with Ways and Means nowadays, you'll just have to use the telephone or snail mail. (Or you could pay to send a fax, as I did today and several times before.)