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.

Nov 05

Everything That's Happened Since Supreme Court Ruled on Voting Rights Act

By Mike Tigas and Kara Brandeisky, ProPublica | News Analysis

Last year, we wrote extensively about photo ID laws and the Supreme Court's decision to strike a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now, with gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, and the debt ceiling and healthcare debates already shaping the 2014 midterms, we're revisiting voting policies to see which states have enacted tougher restrictions since the Supreme Court ruling in June.

Nov 05

Eisenhower's Drones

By David Swanson, War Is a Crime | News Analysis

President Dwight Eisenhower is often admired for having avoided huge wars, having declared that every dollar wasted on militarism was food taken out of the mouths of children, and having warned -- albeit on his way out the door -- of the toxic influence of the military industrial complex (albeit in a speech of much more mixed messages than we tend to recall).

But when you oppose war, not because it murders, and not because it assaults the rights of the foreign places attacked, but because it costs too much in U.S. lives and dollars, then your steps tend in the direction of quick and easy warfare -- usually deceptively cheap and easy warfare.

Nov 05

NAPF Congratulates Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

By Staff, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation | Press Release

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) congratulates the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for receiving the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

OPCW is the body that enforces the Chemical Weapons Convention, the international treaty that prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons. Since the Convention came into force in 1997, it has been ratified by 189 states and the OPCW has conducted more than 5,000 inspections in 86 countries. According to its statistics, 81.1 percent of the world's declared stockpile of chemical agents has been verifiably destroyed.

Nov 05

We Won't Go Back!

By Alexandria Petersburg, Stop Patriarchy | Op-Ed

Why is unrestricted and unapologetic access to abortion rights a critical front for the war on women?

Reactionary movements led by Christian fundamentalists, or the Catholic Church -- like the March for Life -- are working on the very concrete and attainable agenda of redefining life in the Constitution so that abortion is illegal on the federal level. So that women's lives are legally defined as less important than the potential life of a fetus. condemns in the strongest possible terms the outrageous ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 31st which will have the effect of immediately closing down abortion services at as many as 13 clinics throughout Texas! That this ruling came just three days after a federal judge had blocked the implementation of a new Texas law that would require abortion doctors to have arrangements to admit patients with local hospitals shows how extreme and intense the fight is right now over the direction of abortion rights – and the lives of women – throughout this country.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a Senate briefing today, lawmakers, prominent pension fund leaders, investors and securities law experts built a robust case for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue a rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who sponsored and keynoted the briefing, said, “Investors have a right to know how corporate executives are spending investors’ money. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United that corporations are people and can spend unlimited money to influence elections has triggered a flood of secret money that undermines our democracy and often occurs without shareholders’ knowledge or consent. Basic disclosure would bring much needed transparency and accountability and help ensure that corporations’ political spending accurately reflects the will of the shareholders who own them.”

Nov 04

America's Tar Baby

By Les Adler, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Problem solved: Why not detonate a series of small nuclear bombs underneath the bituminous tar sands in northern Alberta to vaporize the rock and create large caverns into which the heavy crude oil, now heated and separated from much of its surrounding sand, would naturally drain for easy drilling and extraction?  

Preposterous as it now might sound, this proposal by a Richfield Oil geologist, L.M. Natland, and strongly supported by Edward Teller and numerous high-ranking American proponents of "peaceful" uses of atomic energy, was seriously discussed at the highest levels of the Canadian government between 1958 and 1962. Project Cauldron, or as it was subsequently renamed for better public consumption, Project Oilsand, was actually approved in April 1959 by the Canadian Federal Mines Department with the initial explosion planned for a remote Alberta test site.  

Nov 04

The Death of a Giant

By Jack A. Smith, Foreign Policy Journal | Report

Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, who helped defeat Japan, then France, then the United States in a 35-year war for national independence, died in Hanoi on Oct. 4 at the age of 102. He had been ailing and living in a military hospital for the last four years.

Giap’s extraordinary generalship drove French imperialism out of the three countries of Indochina — Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia — in the mid-1950s. At the time, he declared that the anti-French struggle “was victorious because we had a wide and firm National United Front… organized and led by the party of the working class — the Indochinese Communist Party, now the Vietnam Workers Party.”

Nov 04

The Tea Party Setting: A Longer View

By Stafford Smith, Truthout | News Analysis

How will future historians characterize our curious era? It seems to be, above all, a time when appearances have become particularly deceptive. As suggested below, such may especially be the case with the factors influencing the more ominous escapade of our recent giddy romance with national economic suicide – the debt ceiling default melodrama.

"The society that loses its grip on the past is in danger, for it produces men who know nothing but the present, and who are not aware that life had been, and could be, different from what it is."

— Aristotle, Politics

The title is an unapologetic P.T. Barnum hook. The three reasons? Why not a sacred ten? Or 350 million? Doesn't everyone have his or her own take on Twitter? Isn't reason what is behind our opinions, or my"whatever" about your reasons? And "doomed"? This is shameless trickery in a title signaling the apocalyptic in a country nervously nudging the notion of The Rapture. At some point, the Roman Empire was doomed but even Gibbon's three volume history couldn't nail three reasons why. And it seems Shelley's Ozymandias went to his grave without suspecting that his kingdom was doomed.