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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 group of prominent U.S. peace activists, civil rights attorneys and human rights activists have signed an Open Letter to the people and government of Iran. The Open Letter is being circulated online in the next days. Thousands of people, enraged by the unprecedented action of the 47 Senators to sabotage the negotiations with Iran, are expected to add their names. The campaign was initiated by the anti-war ANSWER Coalition. 

The letter states, "Their real aim in scuttling and sabotaging the current negotiations between the United States and Iran, perhaps unprecedented in the form they have chosen, is to create more conflict including the danger of military action against Iran."

A man who was tortured into a "confession" for manslaughter aged 14 has been handed a second execution warrant – just two months after his first warrant caused an international outcry that resulted in a stay.

Shafqat Hussain was charged with the kidnap and murder of another local child and convicted on the strength of one piece of evidence: a forced confession made after nine days of police torture. An execution warrant was issued for Shafqat in December, but after serious concerns over his age and the safety of his initial conviction were raised, the execution was stayed.

Today, Thursday March 12 the Post 2015 Women's Coalition will launch their Vision Statement for feminist alternative approaches to sustainable development.  The Coalition made up of feminist, women's rights, women's development, grassroots, peace and social justice organizations from around the world have come to attend the 59th Annual Commission on the Status of Women to call in a collective voice for real progress in the lives of women.

The launch of the Vision Statement comes at a critical time in history, demanding a new development agenda that strengthens gender equality for all and is deeply concerned that 20 years after the Beijing Platform for Action, so many commitments on gender equality and women's human rights are not fulfilled.

"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect." Audre Lorde

As a member of the Afrikan-Canadian community in the city of Toronto, I am quite puzzled by the exuberant display of irrationality and misplaced expectations over the possibility of the appointment of either Deputy Chief Peter Sloly or Deputy Chief Mark Saunders as the next police chief of the Toronto Police Service (TPS). These two cops are both Afrikan-Canadians.

After Venezuela accused the United States of plotting another coup, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki rejected the claim as "ludicrous." She said, "As a matter of long-standing policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means." The response from reporters may surprise you. 

On Democracy Now!, we get reaction from Miguel Tinker Salas, professor at Pomona College and author of "The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela" and the forthcoming book, "Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know."

Wall Street bonuses rose 3 percent last year, despite a 4.5 percent decline in industry profits. The size of the bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage.

The 2014 bonus pool is so large it far exceeds the amounts needed to lift the wages of all 2.9 million restaurant servers and bartenders, all 1.5 million home health and personal care aides, or all 2.2 million fast food preparation and serving workers up to $15 per hour.

Mar 12

Getting Past the Issue of Being Jewish - an Analysis

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | News Analysis

On 5 March 2015 the New York Times (NYT) carried a front page story about a second-year student at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) named Rachel Beyda. Ms. Beyda, who is Jewish, was seeking appointment as a member on the university's Judicial Board - a student committee that considers judicial questions in reference to the activities of student government. 

As the story goes, Ms. Beyda's application was originally rejected because a majority of the board felt that her association with organizations such as Hillel, a group that uncritically supports Israel's apartheid-style culture and maintains anti-democratic rules and procedures of its own, would represent a conflict of interest and result in possible bias on her part. Given the tension on many campuses, including UCLA, between those who support and oppose Israeli policies and behavior - tensions which occasionally result in student organizations being disciplined - it was not an unreasonable assumption. Unfortunately, the student board members who questioned Ms. Beyda's affiliations made it appear that their concerns flowed from her religion and ethnicity. 

Mar 12

Expert Global Commission Responds to One-Sided Tax Debate

By Staff, Fact Coalition | Press Release

(New York) Responding to widespread anger about corporate tax avoidance, the impacts of such avoidance on inequality and poverty, and concerns that current tax reform processes are inadequate, a new nonpartisan body— the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT)—has been established to propose reforms from the perspective of the public interest.

The inaugural meeting of the Commission will take place in New York on March 18-19, 2015. The Commission's Chair, former UN Under-Secretary-General José Antonio Ocampo, says: "The world has changed but the international tax system has not. Corporations play governments against each other, for example, in encouraging race-to-the-bottom tax incentives, and the public loses out. There are billions of dollars at stake. This Commission will shed light on where the rules of the game, and the institutions that govern them, need to change."

Mar 11

Libya, ISIS and the Unaffordable Luxury of Hindsight

By Ahmad Barqawi, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

"Who are you?" the late Muammar Gaddafi once rhetorically asked in a famous speech of his towards the end of his reign; (rightly) questioning the legitimacy of those seeking to over-throw his government at the time, calling them extremists, foreign agents, rats and drug-addicts. He was laughed at, unfairly caricatured, ridiculed and incessantly demonized; a distasteful parody video poking fun at the late Libyan leader even went viral on social media; evidently the maker of the video, an Israeli, thought the Libyan colloquial Arabic word "Zenga" (which means an Alleyway) sounded funny enough that he extracted it from one of Gaddafi's speeches, looped it on top of a hip-hop backing track and voilà... he got himself a hit video which was widely (and shamefully) circulated with a "revolutionary" zeal in the Arab world. We shared; we laughed; he died.

But the bloody joke is on all of us; Gaddafi knew what he was talking about; right from the get-go: he accused the so-called Libyan rebels of being influenced by Al-Qaeda ideology and Ben Laden's school of thought; no one had taken his word for it of course, not even a little bit. I mean why should we have? After all, wasn't he a vile, sex-centric dictator hell-bent on massacring half of the Libyan population while subjecting the other half to manic raping sprees with the aid of his trusted army of Viagra-gobbling, sub-Saharan mercenaries? At least that's what we got from the visual cancer that is Al Jazeera channel and its even more acrid Saudi counterpart Al-Arabiya in their heavily skewed coverage of NATO's vicious conquest of Libya. Plus Gaddafi did dress funny; why would anyone trust a haggard, weird-looking despot dressed in colorful rags when you have well-groomed Zionists like Bernard-Henri Lévy, John McCain and Hillary Clinton at your side, smiling and flashing the victory sign in group photo-ops, right?

Mar 11

Domestic Workers From Across Globe Urge Inclusion at United Nations Women's Summit

By Staff, National Domestic Workers Alliance | Press Release

March 8, 2015 - New York, NY: For the next two weeks, the United Nations will be the central site for any effort to address gender equality as world governments attend the Commission on the Status of Women: Implementing the Beijing Platform of 1995. At the events, domestic workers from multiple countries will push for adoption of international labor standards and labor projections for domestic workers  as central components of any plan for women’s rights in the next twenty years.  

In a rare opportunity, representatives of the International Domestic Worker Federation, a global network formed in 2006 representing the 53 million member workforce with 47 affiliates in 43 countries, will take the stage at the historic event to speak to the phenomena of forced labor and common abuse within domestic and care work.

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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 group of prominent U.S. peace activists, civil rights attorneys and human rights activists have signed an Open Letter to the people and government of Iran. The Open Letter is being circulated online in the next days. Thousands of people, enraged by the unprecedented action of the 47 Senators to sabotage the negotiations with Iran, are expected to add their names. The campaign was initiated by the anti-war ANSWER Coalition. 

The letter states, "Their real aim in scuttling and sabotaging the current negotiations between the United States and Iran, perhaps unprecedented in the form they have chosen, is to create more conflict including the danger of military action against Iran."

A man who was tortured into a "confession" for manslaughter aged 14 has been handed a second execution warrant – just two months after his first warrant caused an international outcry that resulted in a stay.

Shafqat Hussain was charged with the kidnap and murder of another local child and convicted on the strength of one piece of evidence: a forced confession made after nine days of police torture. An execution warrant was issued for Shafqat in December, but after serious concerns over his age and the safety of his initial conviction were raised, the execution was stayed.

Today, Thursday March 12 the Post 2015 Women's Coalition will launch their Vision Statement for feminist alternative approaches to sustainable development.  The Coalition made up of feminist, women's rights, women's development, grassroots, peace and social justice organizations from around the world have come to attend the 59th Annual Commission on the Status of Women to call in a collective voice for real progress in the lives of women.

The launch of the Vision Statement comes at a critical time in history, demanding a new development agenda that strengthens gender equality for all and is deeply concerned that 20 years after the Beijing Platform for Action, so many commitments on gender equality and women's human rights are not fulfilled.

"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect." Audre Lorde

As a member of the Afrikan-Canadian community in the city of Toronto, I am quite puzzled by the exuberant display of irrationality and misplaced expectations over the possibility of the appointment of either Deputy Chief Peter Sloly or Deputy Chief Mark Saunders as the next police chief of the Toronto Police Service (TPS). These two cops are both Afrikan-Canadians.

After Venezuela accused the United States of plotting another coup, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki rejected the claim as "ludicrous." She said, "As a matter of long-standing policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means." The response from reporters may surprise you. 

On Democracy Now!, we get reaction from Miguel Tinker Salas, professor at Pomona College and author of "The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela" and the forthcoming book, "Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know."

Wall Street bonuses rose 3 percent last year, despite a 4.5 percent decline in industry profits. The size of the bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage.

The 2014 bonus pool is so large it far exceeds the amounts needed to lift the wages of all 2.9 million restaurant servers and bartenders, all 1.5 million home health and personal care aides, or all 2.2 million fast food preparation and serving workers up to $15 per hour.

Mar 12

Getting Past the Issue of Being Jewish - an Analysis

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | News Analysis

On 5 March 2015 the New York Times (NYT) carried a front page story about a second-year student at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) named Rachel Beyda. Ms. Beyda, who is Jewish, was seeking appointment as a member on the university's Judicial Board - a student committee that considers judicial questions in reference to the activities of student government. 

As the story goes, Ms. Beyda's application was originally rejected because a majority of the board felt that her association with organizations such as Hillel, a group that uncritically supports Israel's apartheid-style culture and maintains anti-democratic rules and procedures of its own, would represent a conflict of interest and result in possible bias on her part. Given the tension on many campuses, including UCLA, between those who support and oppose Israeli policies and behavior - tensions which occasionally result in student organizations being disciplined - it was not an unreasonable assumption. Unfortunately, the student board members who questioned Ms. Beyda's affiliations made it appear that their concerns flowed from her religion and ethnicity. 

Mar 12

Expert Global Commission Responds to One-Sided Tax Debate

By Staff, Fact Coalition | Press Release

(New York) Responding to widespread anger about corporate tax avoidance, the impacts of such avoidance on inequality and poverty, and concerns that current tax reform processes are inadequate, a new nonpartisan body— the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT)—has been established to propose reforms from the perspective of the public interest.

The inaugural meeting of the Commission will take place in New York on March 18-19, 2015. The Commission's Chair, former UN Under-Secretary-General José Antonio Ocampo, says: "The world has changed but the international tax system has not. Corporations play governments against each other, for example, in encouraging race-to-the-bottom tax incentives, and the public loses out. There are billions of dollars at stake. This Commission will shed light on where the rules of the game, and the institutions that govern them, need to change."

Mar 11

Libya, ISIS and the Unaffordable Luxury of Hindsight

By Ahmad Barqawi, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

"Who are you?" the late Muammar Gaddafi once rhetorically asked in a famous speech of his towards the end of his reign; (rightly) questioning the legitimacy of those seeking to over-throw his government at the time, calling them extremists, foreign agents, rats and drug-addicts. He was laughed at, unfairly caricatured, ridiculed and incessantly demonized; a distasteful parody video poking fun at the late Libyan leader even went viral on social media; evidently the maker of the video, an Israeli, thought the Libyan colloquial Arabic word "Zenga" (which means an Alleyway) sounded funny enough that he extracted it from one of Gaddafi's speeches, looped it on top of a hip-hop backing track and voilà... he got himself a hit video which was widely (and shamefully) circulated with a "revolutionary" zeal in the Arab world. We shared; we laughed; he died.

But the bloody joke is on all of us; Gaddafi knew what he was talking about; right from the get-go: he accused the so-called Libyan rebels of being influenced by Al-Qaeda ideology and Ben Laden's school of thought; no one had taken his word for it of course, not even a little bit. I mean why should we have? After all, wasn't he a vile, sex-centric dictator hell-bent on massacring half of the Libyan population while subjecting the other half to manic raping sprees with the aid of his trusted army of Viagra-gobbling, sub-Saharan mercenaries? At least that's what we got from the visual cancer that is Al Jazeera channel and its even more acrid Saudi counterpart Al-Arabiya in their heavily skewed coverage of NATO's vicious conquest of Libya. Plus Gaddafi did dress funny; why would anyone trust a haggard, weird-looking despot dressed in colorful rags when you have well-groomed Zionists like Bernard-Henri Lévy, John McCain and Hillary Clinton at your side, smiling and flashing the victory sign in group photo-ops, right?

Mar 11

Domestic Workers From Across Globe Urge Inclusion at United Nations Women's Summit

By Staff, National Domestic Workers Alliance | Press Release

March 8, 2015 - New York, NY: For the next two weeks, the United Nations will be the central site for any effort to address gender equality as world governments attend the Commission on the Status of Women: Implementing the Beijing Platform of 1995. At the events, domestic workers from multiple countries will push for adoption of international labor standards and labor projections for domestic workers  as central components of any plan for women’s rights in the next twenty years.  

In a rare opportunity, representatives of the International Domestic Worker Federation, a global network formed in 2006 representing the 53 million member workforce with 47 affiliates in 43 countries, will take the stage at the historic event to speak to the phenomena of forced labor and common abuse within domestic and care work.