Tuesday, 26 May 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.

Philosopher Thomas Pogge in his seminal book on World Poverty and Human Rights asks a deceptively simple and ultimately moral question on the nature of what he calls the "global institutional order": can authentic reform be made of this international order, and can any proposed reform better align with our moral values in order to alleviate the suffering of the global poor?

By Global Institutional Order (GIO), Pogge refers to the architecture of global economic, financial and political governance, for example the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and increasingly private actors such as multinational corporations and financial investment instruments; private equity and hedge funds for example.

Apr 28

Earth Day on the River of Grass

By Grant A Mincy, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Everglades are among the last sub-tropical wilderness areas in the United States. Their Floridian air is thick with humidity, but a cool breeze is commonly felt from both the fresh and saltwater systems that spread throughout the landscape. Open prairies provide relief from the dangers of the swamp. A mosaic of forest, from pinelands nourished by ancient limestone, to tropical hardwoods, coral reef communities and mangroves, supports an incredible array of wildlife. These unique systems are habitat for numerous endemic species including aquatic birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians — of which many are endangered or threatened.

Hard to think of a landscape quite like the fragile Everglades, but it is politics that brought US President Barack Obama to such splendor on Earth Day. In the backyard of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, both GOP presidential contenders (with checkered environmental legacies), Obama talked of climate change impacts on the imperiled wetland community. He went on to highlight the 100 year anniversary of the Park Service, coming up in 2016, and a new report that notes National Parks store 14 million tons of carbon each year. Point after point was made for conservation.

The unique approach of Boston School Bus Union, Steelworkers Local 8751 offers a much needed new blueprint for building power within poor and working class communities. This particular union marks the spot where organized labor meets oppressed and marginalized people where they are. During my travels to Boston, it was quite inspiring to see a local union work hand in hand with neighborhood youth against police violence. It was quite encouraging to see the rank-and-file of the Boston school bus drivers work with parents and community members to organize against school closings and badly timed budget cuts to public education.

UN independent human rights experts on migrants, Francois Crépeau, and on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, react to the announcement made at the end of the emergency European Union summit on migrants yesterday.

The decision made yesterday by EUleaders overwhelmingly continues to focus on the securitization of borders. Increasing repression of survival migration has not worked in the past and will not work now.

This is Dan Falcone's letter to a teacher named Marilyn Zuniga. Zuniga's students apparently wanted to write Mumia Abu-Jamal "get well" letters after learning he had fallen ill. The students knew of him from a Black history lesson on the topic of civil rights. Zuniga was disciplined for the activity and suspended without pay. Since the suspension, the students' rights to be facilitated by the instructor has received support from the dean of the University of San Francisco's School of Education, Kevin Kumashiro; world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky; professor and social commentator Marc Lamont Hill; and Baruch College history professor Johanna Fernandez.

Apr 27

Nepal Qualifies for Debt Relief

By Staff, Jubilee USA | Press Release

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing at least 1,500 people and prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. The tremor caused avalanches on Mount Everest and destroyed buildings across the capital city of Kathmandu. Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 145th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index. Nepalowes $3.8 billion in debt to foreign lenders and spent $217 million repaying debt in 2013. Nepal is one of 38 countries eligible for assistance from the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) new Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR). 

"Nepal could qualify for immediate relief," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "Nepal's earthquake is why the International Monetary Fund created a new rapid response relief fund."

Governor Jerry Brown has finally admitted what most Californians have known all along - the "conservation" and "habitat restoration" components of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan have been nothing but window dressing for the twin tunnels water grab, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history. 

On April 13, Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition of anti-tunnels organizations and individuals, and theCenter for Biological Diversity responded to the governor's abandonment of the pretense of "conservation" and "restoration" and move to permit a "tunnels only" Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as reported in the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and other media outlets. 

Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al Sisi'iron grip on dissident is likely to be put to the test with the sentencing to death of 11 soccer fans for involvement in a politically loaded football brawl three years ago that left 74 militant supporters of storied Cairo club Al Ahli SC dead.

The brawl and the subsequent sentencing to death in an initial trial two years ago of 21 supporters of the Suez Canal city of Port Said's Al Masri SC sparked mass protests by Al Ahli fans demanding justice in the walk up tothe court hearings and a popular revolt in Port Said and other Suez Canal cities once the verdict was issued that forced then President Mohammed Morsi to declare an emergency and deploy military troops tothe region.

Apr 24

Gradual Injustice

By David Swanson, Let's Try Democracy | Op-Ed

Chris Woods' excellent new book is called Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars. The title comes from a claim that then-President George W. Bush made for drone wars. The book actually tells a story of gradual injustice. The path from a U.S. government that condemned as criminal the type of murder that drones are used for to one that treats such killings as perfectly legal and routine has been a very gradual and completely extra-legal process.

Drone murders started in October 2001 and, typically enough, the first strike murdered the wrong people. The blame game involved a struggle for control among the Air Force, CENTCOM, and the CIA.

Patent monopolies provide the pharmaceutical industry with incentives for innovation and research. However, they can also encourage a range of rent-seeking behaviors that impose significant costs.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research assesses the cost associated with one form of rent-seeking, the mismarketing of drugs. This can occur when a drug company seeks narrow Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug then promotes its use for other purposes. In addition, companies may conceal evidence that their drugs are less effective than claimed or possibly even harmful. The authors of the report find that in the case of just five drugs, this form of rent-seeking has resulted in cumulative costs of morbidity and mortality of $382 billion.

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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.

Philosopher Thomas Pogge in his seminal book on World Poverty and Human Rights asks a deceptively simple and ultimately moral question on the nature of what he calls the "global institutional order": can authentic reform be made of this international order, and can any proposed reform better align with our moral values in order to alleviate the suffering of the global poor?

By Global Institutional Order (GIO), Pogge refers to the architecture of global economic, financial and political governance, for example the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and increasingly private actors such as multinational corporations and financial investment instruments; private equity and hedge funds for example.

Apr 28

Earth Day on the River of Grass

By Grant A Mincy, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Everglades are among the last sub-tropical wilderness areas in the United States. Their Floridian air is thick with humidity, but a cool breeze is commonly felt from both the fresh and saltwater systems that spread throughout the landscape. Open prairies provide relief from the dangers of the swamp. A mosaic of forest, from pinelands nourished by ancient limestone, to tropical hardwoods, coral reef communities and mangroves, supports an incredible array of wildlife. These unique systems are habitat for numerous endemic species including aquatic birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians — of which many are endangered or threatened.

Hard to think of a landscape quite like the fragile Everglades, but it is politics that brought US President Barack Obama to such splendor on Earth Day. In the backyard of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, both GOP presidential contenders (with checkered environmental legacies), Obama talked of climate change impacts on the imperiled wetland community. He went on to highlight the 100 year anniversary of the Park Service, coming up in 2016, and a new report that notes National Parks store 14 million tons of carbon each year. Point after point was made for conservation.

The unique approach of Boston School Bus Union, Steelworkers Local 8751 offers a much needed new blueprint for building power within poor and working class communities. This particular union marks the spot where organized labor meets oppressed and marginalized people where they are. During my travels to Boston, it was quite inspiring to see a local union work hand in hand with neighborhood youth against police violence. It was quite encouraging to see the rank-and-file of the Boston school bus drivers work with parents and community members to organize against school closings and badly timed budget cuts to public education.

UN independent human rights experts on migrants, Francois Crépeau, and on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, react to the announcement made at the end of the emergency European Union summit on migrants yesterday.

The decision made yesterday by EUleaders overwhelmingly continues to focus on the securitization of borders. Increasing repression of survival migration has not worked in the past and will not work now.

This is Dan Falcone's letter to a teacher named Marilyn Zuniga. Zuniga's students apparently wanted to write Mumia Abu-Jamal "get well" letters after learning he had fallen ill. The students knew of him from a Black history lesson on the topic of civil rights. Zuniga was disciplined for the activity and suspended without pay. Since the suspension, the students' rights to be facilitated by the instructor has received support from the dean of the University of San Francisco's School of Education, Kevin Kumashiro; world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky; professor and social commentator Marc Lamont Hill; and Baruch College history professor Johanna Fernandez.

Apr 27

Nepal Qualifies for Debt Relief

By Staff, Jubilee USA | Press Release

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing at least 1,500 people and prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. The tremor caused avalanches on Mount Everest and destroyed buildings across the capital city of Kathmandu. Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 145th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index. Nepalowes $3.8 billion in debt to foreign lenders and spent $217 million repaying debt in 2013. Nepal is one of 38 countries eligible for assistance from the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) new Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR). 

"Nepal could qualify for immediate relief," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "Nepal's earthquake is why the International Monetary Fund created a new rapid response relief fund."

Governor Jerry Brown has finally admitted what most Californians have known all along - the "conservation" and "habitat restoration" components of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan have been nothing but window dressing for the twin tunnels water grab, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history. 

On April 13, Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition of anti-tunnels organizations and individuals, and theCenter for Biological Diversity responded to the governor's abandonment of the pretense of "conservation" and "restoration" and move to permit a "tunnels only" Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as reported in the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and other media outlets. 

Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al Sisi'iron grip on dissident is likely to be put to the test with the sentencing to death of 11 soccer fans for involvement in a politically loaded football brawl three years ago that left 74 militant supporters of storied Cairo club Al Ahli SC dead.

The brawl and the subsequent sentencing to death in an initial trial two years ago of 21 supporters of the Suez Canal city of Port Said's Al Masri SC sparked mass protests by Al Ahli fans demanding justice in the walk up tothe court hearings and a popular revolt in Port Said and other Suez Canal cities once the verdict was issued that forced then President Mohammed Morsi to declare an emergency and deploy military troops tothe region.

Apr 24

Gradual Injustice

By David Swanson, Let's Try Democracy | Op-Ed

Chris Woods' excellent new book is called Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars. The title comes from a claim that then-President George W. Bush made for drone wars. The book actually tells a story of gradual injustice. The path from a U.S. government that condemned as criminal the type of murder that drones are used for to one that treats such killings as perfectly legal and routine has been a very gradual and completely extra-legal process.

Drone murders started in October 2001 and, typically enough, the first strike murdered the wrong people. The blame game involved a struggle for control among the Air Force, CENTCOM, and the CIA.

Patent monopolies provide the pharmaceutical industry with incentives for innovation and research. However, they can also encourage a range of rent-seeking behaviors that impose significant costs.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research assesses the cost associated with one form of rent-seeking, the mismarketing of drugs. This can occur when a drug company seeks narrow Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug then promotes its use for other purposes. In addition, companies may conceal evidence that their drugs are less effective than claimed or possibly even harmful. The authors of the report find that in the case of just five drugs, this form of rent-seeking has resulted in cumulative costs of morbidity and mortality of $382 billion.