Sunday, 26 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.

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.

Washington, DC -The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released new proposals for preventing predatory hedge funds and hold-out investors from blocking debt restructurings. The paper proposes a series of reforms to debt contracts, including strengthened collective action clauses and a modification of the pari passu clause that hold-out hedge funds used to sue Argentina.

"In the wake of debt restructurings in Argentina and Greece, the IMF is incredibly concerned about vulture funds," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "The IMF is advocating a market approach, but we also need a statutory approach. We need to change both the contracts and the laws." 

22 veterans take their own life every day in the USA. On 17th September 2014, Jacob David George was one of those veterans. And today, 7th October 2014, we mark thirteen years since the invasion of Afghanistan – an occupation with no end in sight, despite the promise of withdrawl by 2014.

We continue to witness new eras of the US-led Global War on Terror, and with it, a persisting conveyor belt of new generations of veterans, too many of whom will become another "one of 22."

In 2008, the Obama Administration made eye-popping headlines by announcing a 10-year, $80 billion nuclear weapons development program. In 2009, Mr. Obama promised to pursue a “world without nuclear weapons,” but that was then.

By 2010, new warhead plans had grown to an estimated $355 billion, decade-long cash cow that amounts to a cool $1 trillion over 30 years. The colossal expense has already been generally adopted by the House and Senate in military authorization bills -- according to the Sept. 22 New York Times.

Kabul - “I woke up with the blast of another bomb explosion this morning,” Imadullah told me. “I wonder how many people were killed.” Imadullah, an 18 year old Afghan Peace Volunteer, (APV), from Badakhshan, had joined me at the APVs’ Borderfree Community Centre of Nonviolence.

The news reported that at least three Afghan National Army soldiers were killed in the suicide bomb attack, in the area of Darulaman. Coincidentally, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) had planned to be at the Darulaman Palace that same morning.  To commemorate Gandhi’s birthday and the International Day of Nonviolence, we wanted to form a human circle of peace at the Palace, which is a war ruin.  But the police, citing general security concerns, had denied us permission.

Oct 06

The Smart Bomb

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Poem

My brother frequently picked on me

 

Last week he even ditched me with his friends,

All older by several years,

And I waited an hour at the park

For nothing

Oct 06

Humpty-Dumpty and the Fall of Berlin's Wall

By Victor Grossman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
“Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. “                                 
 
The children’s rhyme and its words Wall and Fall came to mind in connection with commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall - actually its opening up. Is such an allusion frivolous? Maybe. For millions that event twenty-five years ago was marked by genuine, understandable euphoria. But unceasing ballyhoo in the German media, weeks and weeks ahead of the anniversary, and plans for 8000 white helium balloons lit up by 60,000 batteries along the ten-mile length of the former wall, to be released in the evening with triumphant trumpet blasts, jubilant church bells or something similar while Angela Merkel, Lech Valesa, Mikhail Gorbachov, Berlin’s departing mayor and other celebrities cast their eyes gratefully heavenward, may perhaps justify my somewhat different approach.  
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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.

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.

Washington, DC -The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released new proposals for preventing predatory hedge funds and hold-out investors from blocking debt restructurings. The paper proposes a series of reforms to debt contracts, including strengthened collective action clauses and a modification of the pari passu clause that hold-out hedge funds used to sue Argentina.

"In the wake of debt restructurings in Argentina and Greece, the IMF is incredibly concerned about vulture funds," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "The IMF is advocating a market approach, but we also need a statutory approach. We need to change both the contracts and the laws." 

22 veterans take their own life every day in the USA. On 17th September 2014, Jacob David George was one of those veterans. And today, 7th October 2014, we mark thirteen years since the invasion of Afghanistan – an occupation with no end in sight, despite the promise of withdrawl by 2014.

We continue to witness new eras of the US-led Global War on Terror, and with it, a persisting conveyor belt of new generations of veterans, too many of whom will become another "one of 22."

In 2008, the Obama Administration made eye-popping headlines by announcing a 10-year, $80 billion nuclear weapons development program. In 2009, Mr. Obama promised to pursue a “world without nuclear weapons,” but that was then.

By 2010, new warhead plans had grown to an estimated $355 billion, decade-long cash cow that amounts to a cool $1 trillion over 30 years. The colossal expense has already been generally adopted by the House and Senate in military authorization bills -- according to the Sept. 22 New York Times.

Kabul - “I woke up with the blast of another bomb explosion this morning,” Imadullah told me. “I wonder how many people were killed.” Imadullah, an 18 year old Afghan Peace Volunteer, (APV), from Badakhshan, had joined me at the APVs’ Borderfree Community Centre of Nonviolence.

The news reported that at least three Afghan National Army soldiers were killed in the suicide bomb attack, in the area of Darulaman. Coincidentally, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) had planned to be at the Darulaman Palace that same morning.  To commemorate Gandhi’s birthday and the International Day of Nonviolence, we wanted to form a human circle of peace at the Palace, which is a war ruin.  But the police, citing general security concerns, had denied us permission.

Oct 06

The Smart Bomb

By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Poem

My brother frequently picked on me

 

Last week he even ditched me with his friends,

All older by several years,

And I waited an hour at the park

For nothing

Oct 06

Humpty-Dumpty and the Fall of Berlin's Wall

By Victor Grossman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
“Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. “                                 
 
The children’s rhyme and its words Wall and Fall came to mind in connection with commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall - actually its opening up. Is such an allusion frivolous? Maybe. For millions that event twenty-five years ago was marked by genuine, understandable euphoria. But unceasing ballyhoo in the German media, weeks and weeks ahead of the anniversary, and plans for 8000 white helium balloons lit up by 60,000 batteries along the ten-mile length of the former wall, to be released in the evening with triumphant trumpet blasts, jubilant church bells or something similar while Angela Merkel, Lech Valesa, Mikhail Gorbachov, Berlin’s departing mayor and other celebrities cast their eyes gratefully heavenward, may perhaps justify my somewhat different approach.