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.
This year I attended both the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association Convention with a keen interest in supporting resolutions initiated to support Palestinian human rights. The ASA resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the National Council and ratified by 66 percent of the record-high number of voting ASA members, supported the call by Palestinian civil society to boycott Israeli academic institutions (not individuals). The MLA resolution, supported by the Organizing Committee and passed by the Delegate Assembly, calls for the US State Department "to contest Israel's denials of entry to the West Bank by US academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities."
IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Bringing its leadership position in the US food industry to the widely-acclaimed partnership for social responsibility taking root in Florida's tomato fields, Walmart today joined with its Florida tomato suppliers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to strengthen and expand the groundbreaking Fair Food Program.
"We are truly pleased to welcome Walmart into the Fair Food Program. No other company has the market strength and consumer reach that Walmart has," said Cruz Salucio of the CIW. "Through this collaboration, not only will thousands of hard-working farm workers see concrete improvements to their lives, but millions of consumers will learn about the Fair Food Program and of a better way to buy fruits and vegetables grown and harvested here in the US."
Video of a press conference held January 10, 2014 at the United Nations Plaza announcing an International Solidarity Hunger Strike for Syria, a major global campaign to demand the lifting of the starvation sieges of dozens of Syrian towns that are preventing hundreds of thousands of Syrians from eating or getting medical treatment. Among the speakers were Dr. Annie Sparrow, an expert on complex humanitarian emergencies at Mount Sinai Global Health Center, Mohja Kahf of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement, Kenneth Roth ofHuman Rights Watch, Dr. Zaher Sahloul of the Syrian American Medical Society, Syrian civil society activist Qusai Zakarya (via Skype from Syria) & Leila Zand of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
I. RECOGNITION OF UNIVERSAL RIGHT TO PRIVACY A WELCOME CHANGE.
The President acknowledged the privacy concerns of people in other countries who are the subject of NSA surveillance and suggested he will consider curtailing wholesale international data collection. He appeared to recognize that this country is not entitled to subject other populations to dragnet surveillance. This restriction is based on Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which establishes the international right to privacy. The United States is a signatory nation to the declaration.
Last night Congress passed a 2014 funding bill, restoring significant cuts that had been imposed through sequestration last year. The measure commits increased resources to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) shelter funding.
“This is a welcome relief after the devastation caused by sequestration cuts,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). “Sequestration jeopardized access to safety for victims, and now local domestic violence programs will begin to rebuild some of their services in an effort to meet the need. But the funding crisis continues for most local programs.”
Washington, D.C. – It has been one week since Senator Max Baucus, Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Dave Camp introduced the long-awaited fast-track trade promotion authority legislation. This outdated version of trade promotion authority would strip Congress of its Constitutionally-granted role on trade agreements in favor of a “take it or leave it” stamp of approval on the massive and secretive 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
With the introduction of fast track authority (also known as "trade promotion authority") in Congress, by which Congress abdicates its constitutionally-granted sole power to regulate foreign commerce, the USTR (which gains that power) is out in force, spreading all sorts of lies about what this means. It's not exactly encouraging when the organization that has been hiding all the details of the TPP agreement for years is now trying to push it forward by directly lying to the American public. It's almost as if the USTR can't be honest or people might realize that it's spent the last few years pushing forward on an agreement designed to prop up old legacy businesses at the expense of the public and new innovators.
The Wall Street Journal's description of the actions of Governor Christie's aides with regard to the traffic problems in Fort Lee, New Jersey (Emails Raise New Questions for Christie in Bridge Spat, January 9) paints a frightening picture of abuse of power by senior officials in the New Jersey state government. Without presupposing the guilt or innocence of any of the officials, the emails and texts reflect individuals without appropriate concepts of right and wrong conduct. Replying to one text expressing concern for the school buses affected by the snarled traffic, Governor Christie's childhood friend David Wildstein replies "They are the children of Buono voters," as if the political opinions of their parents justifies intentional mistreatment of the children. How can we explain a group of otherwise intelligent high-achievers justifying their bad deeds in such a callous manner?
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision January 13 in the landmark federal lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto. Farmers were denied the right to argue their case in court and gain protection from potential abuse by the agrichemical and genetic engineering giant Monsanto. Additionally, the high court decision dashes the hopes of family farmers who sought the opportunity to prove in court Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed patents are invalid.
West Virginia legislators are currently faced with deciding if the state should ship prisoners across state lines to for-profit private prisons. To do so would not only twice punish incarcerated West Virginians and their families, it would also represent an irresponsible use of taxpayer money.