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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.

Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez was killed by sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22, as the boy walked home in his Latino neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California. The Iraq War veteran claims he mistook the eighth-grader’s toy rifle for a real one.

A month later, another Army vet, Paul Duffy, took his own life nearby. Duffy, as some friends called him, was found by his wife hanging from a rope in the writer’s cabin he had built outside his Tomales home by the Pacific Ocean. Far more veterans of the American wars on Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan committed suicide than were killed in combat. The number of suicides by vets increases.

How might these two deaths be related?

The film was produced and written by Dr. Robert Zarr, a pediatrician in Washington, D.C., and directed by Kaylen Larson, an undergraduate student from Sioux Falls, S.D., who interned with Dr. Zarr in the fall. (More detailed biographies and contact information appear below.)

The video comes at a time when a growing number of prominent voices have expressed support for single payer, sometimes called “an improved Medicare for all,” including Colin Powell, former secretary of state; Dr. Steven Nissen, chief of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic; John Podesta, the former chief of staff under President Clinton who is now joining the Obama administration; and Dr. Donald Berwick, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Dec 16

Masculinity Question Still Missing Post Newtown

By Rob Okun, Truthout | Op-Ed

There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down 

— Stephen Stills

As we prepare for the gut-wrenching first anniversary of Newtown on Saturday, I teeter back and forth between sadness and anger. Sadness that 20 six and seven year-olds were murdered—along with a half-dozen Sandy Hook Elementary School educators—and anger that public officials and most of the media still largely ignore the missing component in the Connecticut tragedy—the gender of the shooter.

When it comes to American politics, most people think of two parties: the Republicans and the Democrats. Now everyone knows we have third parties, but usually people only think independents, and after the 2000 election many will reference the green party that Ralph Nader ran under.
 
One party that is fighting to make an impact however is the Libertarian party. However, they are not doing so as a true third party. Sure, Gary Johnson ran for president as the Libertarian candidate, but his campaign was an underfunded joke and he did not even manage to make a dent in the national election and failed to even make it on all 50 state ballots.
Dec 14

You Don't Even Know You're a Slave

By Lee Camp, Moment of Clarity | Video Report

Most of us are enslaved in our neo-feudal system, but most don't even know it. The first step to freedom and awareness. This episode features special guest Raoul Martinez!

Dec 14

What Iranians Think

By Dr James J Zogby, Arab American Institute | Op-Ed

We've heard what Israel Prime Minister and members of the U.S. Congress think about the interim nuclear deal the Iranian government concluded with the P5 + 1. What we don't know is how the Iranian people will react? What do Iranians want from their newly elected government and how will this deal play at home?

On the 16th of November, 2013, eight-year-old Hashim s/o Abdul Hamid and nine-year-old Zukoom s/o Abdul Majid were on the streets of Kabul polishing boots when a suicide bombing (in opposition to the U.S./Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement) killed them.

Johnny Barber, a peace activist from New York, and Ronya, an independent, freelance journalist from Germany, accompanied the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs)  to Hashim’s and Zukoom’s funeral in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp two days later. We had a conversation with Hashim and Zukoom’s classmates, Kahar and Naseem, which you can view at “At least 13 Afghan civilians killed, including Hashim & Zukoom”

Bucharest/Romania 10. December 2013 – After lengthy debates inside parliament and widespread demonstrations throughout the country, Romania's deputies today rejected a series of amendments designed to kick-start the hugely unpopular Rosia Montana mine development. This decision presents an unprecedented victory to Romania's civil society and a heavy if not mortal blow to Gabriel Resources, the mine project owner. Ahead of today's vote shares of Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU) had risen by 20% over the weekend.

Dec 13

Authenticity

By Laura Finley, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Authenticity is one of the most important qualities to teach young people. To be truly who you are, to be comfortable in your own skin and to walk your talk, is essential to not just personal happiness but is also requisite for building a better, more just and humane world. Unfortunately, teaching authenticity is challenging in a society that is dominated by hypocrisy. Politicians manipulate, deceive and outright lie with such regularity it is almost amazing when one does not do so. Celebrities demonstrate to children and youth that it is acceptable to say one thing and do the complete opposite Below is a short list of recent hypocrisy by leaders and celebrities.

Washington, DC - Representatives from a broad coalition including over a hundred peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups called upon Congressional leaders Tuesday to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs by cutting runaway, dangerous military spending by 25 to 50%. In addition to a letter, the groups also delivered petitions signed by thousands of individuals.