El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws Are a Miscarriage of Justice

"We are here to speak for them, to call for their release. When there is an injustice, silence is complicity," said Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of the Americas Watch and a decades-long advocate for human rights in Latin America. He was referring to the 17 women, known as Las 17, who are currently serving 30-year sentences in prison for having miscarriages in El Salvador.

International Election Monitors: Agents of Free Elections

The violent presidential election in Burundi highlights the need for UN election-monitoring services. On the eve of the July 21st presidential election, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs warded that “The grave danger the country faces should not be underestimated, given the increasing polarization and the apparent choice of Burundian leaders to put personal interest before those of the country.”

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Slavoj Zizek: How Alexis Tsipras and Syriza Outmaneuvered Angela Merkel and the Eurocrats

Source: In These Times

The rebels in Greece are waging a patient guerrilla war against financial occupation.

Giorgio Agamben said in an interview that “thought is the courage of hopelessness”—an insight that is especially pertinent for our historical moment when even the most pessimist diagnostics finishes with an uplifting hint at the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. True courage, however, is not to imagine an alternative, but to accept the consequences of the fact that no discernible alternative exists. Indeed, the dream of an alternative is a sign of theoretical cowardice, it functions as a fetish that prevents us from thinking to the end the deadlock of our predicament. In short, true courage is to admit that the light at the end of the tunnel is most likely the headlight of another train approaching us from the opposite direction. There is no better example of the need for such courage than Greece today. read more

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Did ISIL Arise Partly Because of Climate Change?

Source: The Nation

Democratic presidential contender Martin O’Malley sparked controversy this week by saying that the conditions for the rise of ISIL (ISIS, Daesh) were set by the impact on Syria of climate change, which drove farmers from their land into slums around cities and created extreme poverty. O’Malley’s assertion was immediately ridiculed on Fox News Channel and by Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, who called the allegation a “disconnect from reality.” Who is right in this debate? read more

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Everyone Has the Right to Mouth Off to Cops

Source: City Lab

“Fuck tha police!” The protest refrain provokes feelings of sympathy, ambivalence, or dismay, depending on the listener. It is also a song by the rap group N.W.A., and a young man named Cesar Baldelomar was blasting it from his car last Thanksgiving when Hialeah, Florida, police officer Harold Garzon took offense.

“Really?” Garzon allegedly said to Baldelomar. “You’re really playing that song? Pull over.”

Police response to perceived disrespect is not unusual, as the tragic case of Sandra Bland, who died of a reported but disputed suicide in a Texas jail, has reminded us this week. Bland was driving when she was pulled over on July 10, and a video from arresting State Trooper Brian T. Encinia’s dashcam released this week shows that the officer appears to have escalated a simple traffic stop into a violent arrest—all because he didn’t like that Bland admitted that yes, she was annoyed at being pulled over. read more