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.
October 8, 2014 - At a City Council hearing about the treatment of adolescents in New York City jails, the New York Civil Liberties Union will today testify about ways to improve the brutal conditions suffered by minors incarcerated at Rikers Island, particularly those in solitary confinement, and the need for educational services critical for rehabilitation.
“Adolescents are growing and need support to become healthy adults and productive members of our community,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Solitary confinement is the harshest punishment in this country apart from the death penalty, and vulnerable adolescents are especially likely to suffer lasting consequences. The young people at Rikers will one day be released back to our neighborhoods. For their good and for the city’s good, we must ensure that they get the tools they need for healthy growth, education and development.”
It is easy to forget that there are no maps of the world, only maps of worldviews. And even though blind materialism and economic utility seems to reign in many parts of the world, there still exist sacred geographies: places of perceptual beliefs and traditions that feature geopolitical realities which provide meaning. Turkey is no exception to this universal principle. A principle in which the seeker encounters historical identities, purposeful living, and a sense of belonging to a larger integrated community.
It was to be expected, then, when Turkish lawmakers voted to authorize military force against the Islamic State in Syria and Levant (ISIL). At issue was ISIL's fatal mistake of threatening to overrun and destroy the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of Osman I who founded the Turkish-Ottoman Empire. As part of the 1921 Treaty of Ankara, which ended the Franco-Turkish War, Turkey kept Suleyman Shah's tomb, making it a Turkish enclave guarded by elite Turkish troops.
A major supplier to the NHS is at risk of becoming involved in American executions, after Alabama altered its lethal injection ‘cocktail’ to include a drug for which they are the only US supplier yet to put in place sufficient distribution controls.
Mylan pharmaceuticals, which describes itself as a “leading developer and supplier of generic medicines [to] wholesalers and throughout the National Health Service,” is a US Government-approved manufacturer of rocuronium bromide, a paralysing agent which Alabama now plans to use as the second part of a three-stage lethal injection process.
New York City, New York – Two citizen activists were arrested on Monday, October 6th at a Republican National Committee fundraiser in an act of civil disobedience protesting the undue influence of big money in American politics. Kai Newkirk and Curt Ries of 99Rise locked themselves to a banister in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower where the $32,400-per-person reception and dinner was being hosted by New York City billionaires Woody and Suzanne Johnson, owners of the New York Jets and heirs to the Johnson & Johnson Co. The high-dollar fundraiser comes just weeks after Senate Republicans unanimously filibustered a proposed constitutional amendment that would have given Congress the ability to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.
Let them come
There are great holes
In the heart of America
Maybe the children can fill them
Let them come
Their mothers and fathers and
Sisters and brothers
Maybe they can clear
Our ears with the music
Of their languages not yet dead
Part I - State Legitimacy and Human Rights
The traditional criterion for state legitimacy was very simple. If a state and its government could hold and govern territory, it was legitimate, at least in the eyes of other governments. The form of government and its behavior did not matter in this definition - Stalin’s USSR, Mussolini‘s Italy, Hitler’s Germany - these regimes held territory and ruled as surely as did the ones in Britain, France and the United States. And, in each other’s official eyes, one state was as legitimate as the other.
This outlook began to change in 1945. Just before and then during World War II, fascist behavior in general and Nazi behavior in particular was so shocking that many post-war governments became convinced that state legitimacy required well-defined codes of national behavior enshrined in international law.
The Possibility At Hand
Gar Alperovitz writes extensively about deep economic changes slowly taking place across the country, region by region. He is one of many doing this here and abroad. Such as: Massimo DeAngelis, deSousa, Ethan Miller, Ana Margarida Estevez, and scores of others. This shared vision of abundance and solidarity at the core of these emerging local and regional dynamics will probably take about a generation to root firmly, if it does. In three or four generations these changes could possibly become a substantial part of the political economics in the US. Possibly.
These thinkers and observers are not envisioning a significant increase in “jobs,” even good ones. Rather, they are envisioning a new kind of economics that fosters cooperation, abundance, and solidarity on a broad scale. That fosters a lot of caring rather than a lot of gouging or co-opting. That is grounded in ordinary people developing a rainforest of opportunity and relationship as a replacement to the scorched earth dynamics of neoliberalism.
Washington, D.C.- The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is supporting proposed reforms outlined in a recent IMF report that are intended to prevent disruptive and costly debt restructuring fights – like the one ongoing between the Argentine government and vulture funds – from occurring in the future. Noting that “the existing legal framework may not be sufficiently robust to prevent ‘holdout’ creditors from undermining the restructuring process,” the Fund has suggested that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) in the United States could be “clarif[ied]” to ensure that a foreign country’s overseas assets are immune from US courts’ jurisdiction.
In describing how the FSIA could be amended, the IMF has cited an open letter to members of the US Congress signed by over 100 economists who warned of harmful consequences for Argentina, the international financial system, and the US as a financial center from the recent decision by US District Court Judge Griesa against the government of Argentina. Griesa’s ruling effectively prevents Argentina from paying the majority of its creditors if it does not pay NML Capital and other vulture fund holdouts the full value of their bonds, plus interest (giving holdouts profits as high as over 1,600 percent).
Washington, D.C. — On October 10, 2014, NGOs, farmers' groups, and indigenous organizations from across the world are coming together as part of the Our Land Our Business campaign to denounce the World Bank's Doing Business rankings. The campaign, endorsed by over 235 organizations, will be staging "creative resistance" events at the Bank’s annual meetings in Washington D.C. and nine other cities around the world. The D.C. event is drawing support from a wide range of activist communities, including Occupy groups who will join representatives of impacted communities from Kenya, Mali, and Ethiopia.
“Under the banner #WorldVsBank, this movement is calling for the end of the Doing Business rankings and the new Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture project. They are tools of a pro-corporate, anti-poor, environmentally unsustainable model of development. If the World Bank keeps promoting economic activity that destroys biodiversity and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, and indigenous communities, they should not have a mandate to exist,” said Alnoor Ladha of /The Rules.
Money Talks, and Climate Action: "What do we want?" "Climate action!" "When do we want it?" "Now!" What does climate action look like? Marching out on a life - if only for an afternoon - that's inextricably bound to fossil fuels? In Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? author Mark Fisher posits that "it's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism." Again, what does climate action look like? Strolling into a nonbinding climate summit? With respect to global climate change, the difference between "inextricably bound" and "nonbinding" is life and death.