Friday, 31 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

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.

I would not have guessed that people cared so much and so well about US prisoners. The Governor of Pennsylvania is expected to sign into law a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a quick stop to. In the first day since posting the following petition, over 10,000 people have signed it and added quite eloquent reasons why. It can be signed here

Imal, a 7 year old Afghan student in the 2nd grade, came to visit us in Kabul.

As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.

If you could see Imal in this video, you would want to hug Imal immediately.

From March to August Under de Blasio/Bratton, NYPD Made More Marijuana Possession Arrests than Bloomberg/Kelly in Same Period of  Previous Year

New York: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance shows that, despite campaign promises, marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under Mayor Bloomberg. As under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations, these arrests are marked by shockingly high racial disparities. The report, Race, Class & Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio’s Two New Yorks: the NYPD’s Marijuana Arrest Crusade Continues in 2014 draws on data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and shows that despite a change in mayoral administrations and police commissioners, the NYPD continues its practice of making wasteful, racially biased, and costly marijuana arrests.

Naomi Klein's book THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING has provoked a wide spectrum of reviewer reaction by arguing that fighting back capitalism is the only real climate change solution.

Especially interesting has been the criticism by those that agree with Klein that climate change is an emergency requiring urgent action but view the path to needed mitigation much differently.

Recently, 78 civil society leaders from around the world released an Open Letter in Support of the Marshall Islands' Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. I am proud to be among the signers of that letter supporting a courageous small Pacific Island country, one with only 70,000 inhabitants. The Marshall Islanders are seeking to make the world a far more secure place, free of the nuclear threat that has hung over the collective head of humanity for some seven decades.

The Open Letter was addressed to Christopher Loeak, President of the Marshall Islands; Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands; and the People and Parliament of the Marshall Islands. They all deserve credit for their courage. They are much like David in "David vs. Goliath," but they carry court papers rather than a slingshot.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has dismissed concerns over the abuse of British cleared detainee Shaker Aamer, in a letter to his lawyer at human rights charity Reprieve.

In August 2014 Clive Stafford Smith wrote to the Foreign Secretary after a fellow detainee had described what he called a new 'standard procedure' of abuses at the prison. Yemeni Emad Hassan, cleared for release and detained without charge since 2002, wrote that "an FCE [Forcible Cell Extraction, where a team of guards in riot gear manhandle a detainee] team has been brought in to beat the detainees [...] On Sunday, Shaker ISN 239 was beaten when the medical people wanted to draw blood."

Greece, the land of mystical beauty and tzatziki dips, is also home to some of the worst corruption in Europe, tying with China for the 80th place in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, and arriving below most recent EU newcomers Bulgaria and Romania. While the Greek state suffers from the usual suspects of public corruption, bribery, tax evasion and lack of transparency, many have shied away from exposing how deep the problems truly run. Just like that famous image of a snake devouring its own tail, Greek society has allowed the profligacy of certain powerful individuals to seep even into the favorite pastime of many contemporary societies: soccer.

Corruption in Greek soccer is having a field day. Following the initial 2011 match fixing scandal, Koriopolis, club owners, officials, players, referees and police were charged with creating a violent criminal organization in Greek soccer. The scandal, labeled by Deputy culture minister Giorgos Nikitiadis as "the darkest page in the history of Greek football," was prompted by a report issued by the European soccer governing body UEFA, which flagged over 40 rigged games in the 2009-2010 period. The director of the think tank Forum for Greece, Andreas Andrianopoulos, bitterly remarked that this wasn't news to many in Greece, referring to the "widespread bribing of referees by clubs to boost their chances of winning the championship going unpunished."

Cluj Napoca, Romania - Deva Gold, a subsidiary of the murky Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold, illegally started construction works for the development of the cyanide based Certej mine, despite not having acquired any of the relevant permits from the appropriate institutions. Thus the process of cyanide leaching in Romania is on its way.

The Mining Watch Romania network denounces the total lack of vigilance of both regional and national authorities. One of the largest gold mining projects in Romania, subject to Eldorado’s plans, began its first phase. The concerned authorities took absolutely no notice whatsoever of the construction works undertaken. Deva Gold’s impudent action to start the Certej mine is only surpassed by Romanian institutions’ failure to spot and sanction these illegal acts.

Oct 20

Competing with Capitalism to Maximize Well-Being

By John Boik and Lorenzo Fioramonti, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

What would you do to reinvent capitalism, to make it less destructive and more focused on what people really need? Not many years ago, one would have hesitated to ask that question in polite company. But the 2008 global financial crisis was a hard blow to the hull and the damage has set off alarms and attracted scrutiny.

French economist Thomas Piketty offers a grim prognosis in his bestseller, Capital in the 21st Century. He builds the case that capitalism makes the rich richer and the income gap wider, and eventually leads to plutocracy. It's not that the benefits of capitalism are undesirable - jumbo jets and smart phones are sheer wonders - it's that the collateral damage is growing untenable. Democracy and the commons are being sold off to the highest bidders. Activist Naomi Klein hit the nail on the head with her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate - the global environmental catastrophe is a consequence of capitalism.

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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.

I would not have guessed that people cared so much and so well about US prisoners. The Governor of Pennsylvania is expected to sign into law a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a quick stop to. In the first day since posting the following petition, over 10,000 people have signed it and added quite eloquent reasons why. It can be signed here

Imal, a 7 year old Afghan student in the 2nd grade, came to visit us in Kabul.

As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.

If you could see Imal in this video, you would want to hug Imal immediately.

From March to August Under de Blasio/Bratton, NYPD Made More Marijuana Possession Arrests than Bloomberg/Kelly in Same Period of  Previous Year

New York: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance shows that, despite campaign promises, marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under Mayor Bloomberg. As under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations, these arrests are marked by shockingly high racial disparities. The report, Race, Class & Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio’s Two New Yorks: the NYPD’s Marijuana Arrest Crusade Continues in 2014 draws on data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and shows that despite a change in mayoral administrations and police commissioners, the NYPD continues its practice of making wasteful, racially biased, and costly marijuana arrests.

Naomi Klein's book THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING has provoked a wide spectrum of reviewer reaction by arguing that fighting back capitalism is the only real climate change solution.

Especially interesting has been the criticism by those that agree with Klein that climate change is an emergency requiring urgent action but view the path to needed mitigation much differently.

Recently, 78 civil society leaders from around the world released an Open Letter in Support of the Marshall Islands' Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. I am proud to be among the signers of that letter supporting a courageous small Pacific Island country, one with only 70,000 inhabitants. The Marshall Islanders are seeking to make the world a far more secure place, free of the nuclear threat that has hung over the collective head of humanity for some seven decades.

The Open Letter was addressed to Christopher Loeak, President of the Marshall Islands; Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands; and the People and Parliament of the Marshall Islands. They all deserve credit for their courage. They are much like David in "David vs. Goliath," but they carry court papers rather than a slingshot.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has dismissed concerns over the abuse of British cleared detainee Shaker Aamer, in a letter to his lawyer at human rights charity Reprieve.

In August 2014 Clive Stafford Smith wrote to the Foreign Secretary after a fellow detainee had described what he called a new 'standard procedure' of abuses at the prison. Yemeni Emad Hassan, cleared for release and detained without charge since 2002, wrote that "an FCE [Forcible Cell Extraction, where a team of guards in riot gear manhandle a detainee] team has been brought in to beat the detainees [...] On Sunday, Shaker ISN 239 was beaten when the medical people wanted to draw blood."

Greece, the land of mystical beauty and tzatziki dips, is also home to some of the worst corruption in Europe, tying with China for the 80th place in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, and arriving below most recent EU newcomers Bulgaria and Romania. While the Greek state suffers from the usual suspects of public corruption, bribery, tax evasion and lack of transparency, many have shied away from exposing how deep the problems truly run. Just like that famous image of a snake devouring its own tail, Greek society has allowed the profligacy of certain powerful individuals to seep even into the favorite pastime of many contemporary societies: soccer.

Corruption in Greek soccer is having a field day. Following the initial 2011 match fixing scandal, Koriopolis, club owners, officials, players, referees and police were charged with creating a violent criminal organization in Greek soccer. The scandal, labeled by Deputy culture minister Giorgos Nikitiadis as "the darkest page in the history of Greek football," was prompted by a report issued by the European soccer governing body UEFA, which flagged over 40 rigged games in the 2009-2010 period. The director of the think tank Forum for Greece, Andreas Andrianopoulos, bitterly remarked that this wasn't news to many in Greece, referring to the "widespread bribing of referees by clubs to boost their chances of winning the championship going unpunished."

Cluj Napoca, Romania - Deva Gold, a subsidiary of the murky Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold, illegally started construction works for the development of the cyanide based Certej mine, despite not having acquired any of the relevant permits from the appropriate institutions. Thus the process of cyanide leaching in Romania is on its way.

The Mining Watch Romania network denounces the total lack of vigilance of both regional and national authorities. One of the largest gold mining projects in Romania, subject to Eldorado’s plans, began its first phase. The concerned authorities took absolutely no notice whatsoever of the construction works undertaken. Deva Gold’s impudent action to start the Certej mine is only surpassed by Romanian institutions’ failure to spot and sanction these illegal acts.

Oct 20

Competing with Capitalism to Maximize Well-Being

By John Boik and Lorenzo Fioramonti, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

What would you do to reinvent capitalism, to make it less destructive and more focused on what people really need? Not many years ago, one would have hesitated to ask that question in polite company. But the 2008 global financial crisis was a hard blow to the hull and the damage has set off alarms and attracted scrutiny.

French economist Thomas Piketty offers a grim prognosis in his bestseller, Capital in the 21st Century. He builds the case that capitalism makes the rich richer and the income gap wider, and eventually leads to plutocracy. It's not that the benefits of capitalism are undesirable - jumbo jets and smart phones are sheer wonders - it's that the collateral damage is growing untenable. Democracy and the commons are being sold off to the highest bidders. Activist Naomi Klein hit the nail on the head with her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate - the global environmental catastrophe is a consequence of capitalism.