Friday, 04 September 2015 / 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.

"A man who has committed a mistake and does not correct it is committing another mistake." -Confucius

Half a trillion dollars. With that kind of money we could buy Facebook, Scandinavia, General Motors (again), the Chinese Politburo and all the good bits of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. And, with luck, Taylor Swift. Instead, we’re getting a trouble-plagued new fighter jet that is running $163 billion over budget and close to a decade behind schedule. Worse, by the time it is finally put into service, it is quite possible that it will not be able to perform the missions for which it was intended. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the King-of-All-Jackass-Defense-Programs, the F-35 Lightning II.

It looks like individual choice is not supposed to get in the way of corporate profits in the world of Michael Froman and US trade policy. In a Washington Post article on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP), US Trade Representative Michael Froman is quoted as saying:

"We’re not trying to force anybody to eat anything ... we do feel like the decision as to what is safe should be made by science."

WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) will publicly release a report Thursday showing that Burger King’s planned “inversion” will allow the company and its leading shareholders to dodge an estimated $400 million to $1.2 billion in US taxes between 2015 and 2018. This contradicts the assertion by CEO Daniel Schwartz that Burger King’s plan to become a Canadian company “is really not about taxes.”

The report is especially topical because Tim Hortons, the Canadian corporation with which Burger King is merging, has announced shareholders will vote on the deal on Tuesday, Dec. 9, and that it expects the deal to close Friday, Dec. 12.

Dec 11

We are Quicksilver, We are Water

By Michael Nigro, SpeakOut | Photo Essay

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Less than a week ago, this Unarmed Civilian (me), became a One-Armed-Unarmed-Civilian. Nothing broken, thankfully, just a torn up shoulder. December 8, 2014, (Day 1 of the Week of Outrage) was the first night back on the street for me after being injured. Below is the story of that first night, written from the ER in Brooklyn, NY.

Thousands took to the streets of NYC on December 3, 2014, the night after a grand jury voted not to file any charges against NYPD officer David Pantaleo - the cop who took the life of Eric Garner by putting him in an illegal chokehold

On Dec 10, 9 mothers who have lost children to police terror will come to Washington to demand justice and accountability.  Join the mothers, CODEPINK.com, Hands Up Coalition, DC. Com and #DC Ferguson for a vigil at the Department of Justice at 5 pm on December 10th to commemorate the lives of their sons and all others who have been lost to police brutality.  President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have ignored thousands of e-mails asking to meet with the African-American mothers coming to Washington, DC whose sons have been murdered by police.

An arrest will occur during the demonstration. Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is the author of: No FEAR: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. She is considered the “mother of the 21st century civil rights and whistleblower law: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR.)  The No FEAR law was unanimously passed by Congress in 2002.  Time Magazine said “Inside Marsha Coleman-Adebayo there’s a streak of Rosa Parks.”

On International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, two peace activists, charged with criminal trespass, will be tried in Jefferson City, Mo. The charge is based on an action at Whiteman Air Force Base last June 1st protesting US use of weaponized drones which are remotely piloted from the base. The trial testimony is expected to reflect a Nov. 24, 2014, report that for every intended target of a US drone strike, 28 unidentified persons are also killed.  Drones change the nature of warfare, turning whole regions into battlefields where merely suspected militants, often uninvolved in combat, are identified and executed, without trial, from obscuring distances and with no chance to surrender.

The activists are Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and Georgia Walker, director of Journey to New Life, which helps former prisoners obtain jobs and housing in Kansas City, Mo.

Geneva, Switzerland 10 December 2014 – On the Occasion of Human Rights Day, the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) draws global attention to the fundamental human right to education, which directly enhances sustainable development and is a critical means to combat poverty. The right to education is unequivocally enshrined in core international agreements and treaties including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Discrimination in Education, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Despite the widespread global recognition, the international community as a whole is not on track to meet the most fundamental education target of achieving universal primary education – as set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 58 million children are still out of school,[1] the majority of whom are girls. [2] IFUW urges all stakeholders and policy makers, especially within the fields of education and international development, to adopt, implement, accelerate, and adequately finance measurable plans of action to increase access to, and completion of, all levels of education for all people. IFUW calls for particular commitment and support for at-risk groups, especially girls and women with disabilities, those of rural, indigenous or migrant background, and those displaced by war. 

Dec 09

Itchy Fingers

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Poetry

It seems that hate
When mixed in equal parts
With fear for centuries
Will cause the body politic
To suffer from a rash

Which may explain
Why the long arm of the law
Has itchy fingers

Dec 09

Red-Red-Green Is Triumphant!

By Victor Grossman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Yes, "red-red-green" squeezed through to victory - by one single wavering vote.
Political parties in the USA have animal symbols, donkey and elephant. In Germany they have colors: the Christian-Democrats (CDU), due to clerical ties, are black, the Greens of course green, the Social Democrats (SPD) traditionally red. When the redder LINKE (Left) party came along critics said the SPD should switch to "pink". But it didn't, so the new government in the eastern state of Thuringia is a "red-red-green coalition" - the very first in Germany with the LINKE on top! A true sensation!

Were the SPD and Greens really willing to be junior partners with those scorned LINKE pariahs? They were, but in an almost exactly split legislature every vote was needed to beat possible maneuvers by the CDU, now very bitter at getting pushed out after ruling Thuringia since 1990. In the first (anonymous) vote count, one deputy broke ranks; if this happened again it might throw the whole coalition plan into question. But whoever it was fell into line in a second vote and the LINKE leader, Bodo Ramelow, 58, a West German union leader who had moved east, received 46 Yes votes (out of a total of 90) and thus became premier. On taking the oath of office, although a practicing Lutheran, he chose to omit the "so help me God" conclusion. A new cabinet was sworn in, with four LINKE ministers, three from the SPD and two from the Greens (despite their meager election results). Three of the LINKE and one each from the other parties were women.

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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.

"A man who has committed a mistake and does not correct it is committing another mistake." -Confucius

Half a trillion dollars. With that kind of money we could buy Facebook, Scandinavia, General Motors (again), the Chinese Politburo and all the good bits of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. And, with luck, Taylor Swift. Instead, we’re getting a trouble-plagued new fighter jet that is running $163 billion over budget and close to a decade behind schedule. Worse, by the time it is finally put into service, it is quite possible that it will not be able to perform the missions for which it was intended. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the King-of-All-Jackass-Defense-Programs, the F-35 Lightning II.

It looks like individual choice is not supposed to get in the way of corporate profits in the world of Michael Froman and US trade policy. In a Washington Post article on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP), US Trade Representative Michael Froman is quoted as saying:

"We’re not trying to force anybody to eat anything ... we do feel like the decision as to what is safe should be made by science."

WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) will publicly release a report Thursday showing that Burger King’s planned “inversion” will allow the company and its leading shareholders to dodge an estimated $400 million to $1.2 billion in US taxes between 2015 and 2018. This contradicts the assertion by CEO Daniel Schwartz that Burger King’s plan to become a Canadian company “is really not about taxes.”

The report is especially topical because Tim Hortons, the Canadian corporation with which Burger King is merging, has announced shareholders will vote on the deal on Tuesday, Dec. 9, and that it expects the deal to close Friday, Dec. 12.

Dec 11

We are Quicksilver, We are Water

By Michael Nigro, SpeakOut | Photo Essay

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Less than a week ago, this Unarmed Civilian (me), became a One-Armed-Unarmed-Civilian. Nothing broken, thankfully, just a torn up shoulder. December 8, 2014, (Day 1 of the Week of Outrage) was the first night back on the street for me after being injured. Below is the story of that first night, written from the ER in Brooklyn, NY.

Thousands took to the streets of NYC on December 3, 2014, the night after a grand jury voted not to file any charges against NYPD officer David Pantaleo - the cop who took the life of Eric Garner by putting him in an illegal chokehold

On Dec 10, 9 mothers who have lost children to police terror will come to Washington to demand justice and accountability.  Join the mothers, CODEPINK.com, Hands Up Coalition, DC. Com and #DC Ferguson for a vigil at the Department of Justice at 5 pm on December 10th to commemorate the lives of their sons and all others who have been lost to police brutality.  President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have ignored thousands of e-mails asking to meet with the African-American mothers coming to Washington, DC whose sons have been murdered by police.

An arrest will occur during the demonstration. Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is the author of: No FEAR: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. She is considered the “mother of the 21st century civil rights and whistleblower law: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR.)  The No FEAR law was unanimously passed by Congress in 2002.  Time Magazine said “Inside Marsha Coleman-Adebayo there’s a streak of Rosa Parks.”

On International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, two peace activists, charged with criminal trespass, will be tried in Jefferson City, Mo. The charge is based on an action at Whiteman Air Force Base last June 1st protesting US use of weaponized drones which are remotely piloted from the base. The trial testimony is expected to reflect a Nov. 24, 2014, report that for every intended target of a US drone strike, 28 unidentified persons are also killed.  Drones change the nature of warfare, turning whole regions into battlefields where merely suspected militants, often uninvolved in combat, are identified and executed, without trial, from obscuring distances and with no chance to surrender.

The activists are Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and Georgia Walker, director of Journey to New Life, which helps former prisoners obtain jobs and housing in Kansas City, Mo.

Geneva, Switzerland 10 December 2014 – On the Occasion of Human Rights Day, the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) draws global attention to the fundamental human right to education, which directly enhances sustainable development and is a critical means to combat poverty. The right to education is unequivocally enshrined in core international agreements and treaties including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Discrimination in Education, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Despite the widespread global recognition, the international community as a whole is not on track to meet the most fundamental education target of achieving universal primary education – as set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 58 million children are still out of school,[1] the majority of whom are girls. [2] IFUW urges all stakeholders and policy makers, especially within the fields of education and international development, to adopt, implement, accelerate, and adequately finance measurable plans of action to increase access to, and completion of, all levels of education for all people. IFUW calls for particular commitment and support for at-risk groups, especially girls and women with disabilities, those of rural, indigenous or migrant background, and those displaced by war. 

Dec 09

Itchy Fingers

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Poetry

It seems that hate
When mixed in equal parts
With fear for centuries
Will cause the body politic
To suffer from a rash

Which may explain
Why the long arm of the law
Has itchy fingers

Dec 09

Red-Red-Green Is Triumphant!

By Victor Grossman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Yes, "red-red-green" squeezed through to victory - by one single wavering vote.
Political parties in the USA have animal symbols, donkey and elephant. In Germany they have colors: the Christian-Democrats (CDU), due to clerical ties, are black, the Greens of course green, the Social Democrats (SPD) traditionally red. When the redder LINKE (Left) party came along critics said the SPD should switch to "pink". But it didn't, so the new government in the eastern state of Thuringia is a "red-red-green coalition" - the very first in Germany with the LINKE on top! A true sensation!

Were the SPD and Greens really willing to be junior partners with those scorned LINKE pariahs? They were, but in an almost exactly split legislature every vote was needed to beat possible maneuvers by the CDU, now very bitter at getting pushed out after ruling Thuringia since 1990. In the first (anonymous) vote count, one deputy broke ranks; if this happened again it might throw the whole coalition plan into question. But whoever it was fell into line in a second vote and the LINKE leader, Bodo Ramelow, 58, a West German union leader who had moved east, received 46 Yes votes (out of a total of 90) and thus became premier. On taking the oath of office, although a practicing Lutheran, he chose to omit the "so help me God" conclusion. A new cabinet was sworn in, with four LINKE ministers, three from the SPD and two from the Greens (despite their meager election results). Three of the LINKE and one each from the other parties were women.