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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 149,880

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Not Here To Behave: What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Shirley Chisholm Have in Common


Like Shirley Chisholm and Ella Baker, when candidates like Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib enter the halls of power, they bring their people with them.


The elections of Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) were victories for social movements, and two progressive “outsiders” are now on the inside. But what can the Left expect from these insurgent Democrats? The lives of Shirley Chisholm and Ella Jo Baker, two 20th century political figures who challenged the establishment of their day while maintaining strong movement ties, offer us insight.

When outsiders are allowed into the inner sanctums of power, the first condition is that they assimilate. Shirley Chisholm, a tough-talking former school teacher from Brooklyn with Caribbean roots who became the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968, recalled how her colleagues, believing she didn’t “understand politics,” tried to “educate” her about Washington’s horse-trading ways.

. . .

The second condition for outsiders is that, once admitted, they distance themselves from the movements that got them elected. “When I first came to Washington, I would sometimes confide to other members how I wanted to help the people of my community,” Chisholm writes in her memoir, Unbought and Unbossed. “It became embarrassing. I was talking a foreign language to some of my colleagues when I said ‘community’ and ‘people.’ ”

. . .

Like Chisholm and Baker before them, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib are not dazzled simply to be in the club nor intimidated by the threats of marginalization lobbed at them. When Tlaib called for Trump’s impeachment, she used gritty language from the street, not the parlance of the elite. In response, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted to Tlaib that “I got your back” and the “GOP lost entitlement to policing women’s behavior a long time ago. Next.”


Another Failed Coup in Venezuela?

MARCH 6, 2019

The Venezuelan opposition and its backers in Washington may have underestimated the Chavista grassroots.


Venezuelan opposition leader and declared acting president by the National Assembly Juan Guaidó meets foreign allies including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) in a meeting of Lima Group on February 25, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia. (Photo by Luis Ramirez/Vizzor Image/Getty Images)

If you repeat your own lies enough—so goes the apocryphal Goebbels quote—you start to believe them yourself. For two decades, the Venezuelan opposition and its supporters in Washington have smeared Hugo Chávez and now his successor, Nicolás Maduro, as despotic strongmen kept in power solely through military force and paltry payouts to the poor. So it’s no surprise that they are once again underestimating both Chavismo and the resilience of its supporters today.

Underestimating the People

We’ve seen this all before: On April 11 of 2002, the Venezuelan opposition—according to the most credible accounts—unleashed snipers on its own supporters and used the ensuing deaths to justify a coup against Hugo Chávez. But the opposition dramatically overplayed its hand and underestimated the Chavista grassroots, who it routinely smeared as the blind followers of a populist strongman. When coup leaders abolished all branches of government and scrapped the constitution, hundreds of thousands of poor Venezuelans poured into the streets demanding, and eventually forcing, Chávez’s return to power.

Much has changed since 2002. A perfect storm of Chávez’s death, collapsing global oil prices, a mismanaged system of currency controls, ferocious aggression from the opposition and—more recently—U.S. sanctions, has thrown the Venezuelan economy into a tailspin. Many of the impressive accomplishments of the Bolivarian Revolution—in health care, education and poverty reduction—have quickly evaporated, producing frustration, confusion and desperation among even Chavismo’s most hardline supporters.

So when opposition backbencher Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president of Venezuela on January 23, he and his co-conspirators thought the military would quickly fragment before eventually falling in line behind the self-proclaimed president. Things didn’t work that way: Aside from a handful of soldiers and the U.S. military attaché, the Venezuelan armed forces remained solidly behind Nicolás Maduro. And despite large demonstrations both for and against the government, there have been no signs of sustained, mass resistance in the streets in favor of the coup either.

Why? In part because the frustration many poor Venezuelans feel today is just that: frustration. They are fed up with the economic crisis, and many place at least a share of the blame on Maduro. But as in the past, most don’t see frustration as justifying undemocratic regime change, much less foreign intervention—which the majority of Venezuelans oppose. What’s more, wanting the economy to improve has not led many to identify with opposition parties that still represent the most elite sectors of Venezuelan society and have offered no credible solutions to the economic crisis.


Bribery charges make FARC leader's extradition case even weirder

by Adriaan Alsema March 4, 2019

Colombia’s prosecution arrested two politicians and a prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal on bribery charges on Friday, claiming they sought to “influence” the extradition case of an important former rebel leader.

The arrests were announced hours after the United States government said it would not surrender evidence to support its vague claim that the FARC‘s long-time ideologue “Jesus Santrich” tried to smuggle drugs after his demobilization in 2017.

The bribery claims and the American government’s refusal to cooperate with the war crimes tribunal are only the latest plot twists in a mystery-ridden extradition process that has devastated Colombia’s peace process.

. . .

The DEA evidence, or lack thereof

The US government’s refusal to surrender evidence to the war crimes tribunal fuels doubts about the veracity of the claim that Santrich agreed to export drugs in a meeting with an undercover DEA agent.


Colombia's war crimes tribunal opens case on extermination of leftist party

by Stephen Gill March 5, 2019

Colombia’s war crimes tribunal on Monday opened a case to investigate the virtual extermination of the leftist political party Patriotic Union (UP) by paramilitary groups and state forces, which began in the 1980s.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which was set up as a key element of a peace deal with the now-demobilized FARC guerrillas, will pursue the case that relates to the genocide of more than 3,000 people that has already been condemned by international courts.

The case entitled “Victimization of members of the Patriotic Union (UP) by agents of the State” will aim to find those responsible as “three reports point to a systematic practice at national level,” according to Judge Catalina Diaz of the JEP.

Systematic murder and state responsibility
The UP was a political party formed by the FARC and non-violent leftist forces after a peace agreement was reached in 1985 and sought the transition of the guerrilla group into a political party.


Why Won't Maduro Let US Humanitarian Aid Into Venezuela? History.

Why Won’t Maduro Let US Humanitarian Aid Into Venezuela? History.
by Ted Snider Posted on March 05, 2019

The mainstream media is full of images and stories of Venezuela’s inhumanely authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro pushing American offerings of humanitarian aid away from Venezuela’s border with Columbia.

The mainstream media serves us up our offerings of news as if each headline story was an isolated event, floating alone on an ahistorical sea, unmoored from the events that came before it. Severed from its causes and context, the event can be created for the public in an original, but misleading, way. Restoring the history can clarify the story and prevent its misappropriation.

In the current case of U.S. aid to Venezuela, the restoration of the picture requires at least four pieces of history being painted back into the picture.

The Bridge: Pictures Don’t Lie. People Do.

The story of Maduro’s neglect of his people and his rejection of American aid begins on the Francisco de Paula Santander bridge that connects Venezuela to Columbia.

US officials and the mainstream media cried the same complaint in unison. America had tried to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Venezuela, and their illegitimate ruler had blocked the bridge and kept it out. But the cry and the photos of the bridge had been manipulatively severed from history. Maduro didn’t block the bridge because it was already blocked, and he couldn’t close the bridge because it had never been opened. Most of the barriers have been there for years because, after the bridge was built in 2015, it has never been opened.


Also posted at Editorials and other articles:

Democrats and other progressives, keep looking for the truth. It's harder to see buried under the mountains of truculent lies designed to influence the natural idiots among us to hate whoever the current target of our right-wing death machine. You just have to search for it. The easy "information" concerning the Americas is usually dumped out through manufactured baloney handed to the corporate "news" media. Eventually you'll spot the bogus ones on first reading.

An amnesty for crimes against humanity? Guatemalan proposal stirs outrage.

An amnesty for crimes against humanity? Guatemalan proposal stirs outrage.

Guatemalans protest the proposed immunity law in Guatemala City in January. (Esteban Biba/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

By Sandra Cuffe and
Mary Beth Sheridan February 24

GUATEMALA CITY — For years, it was dangerous to speak of the horrific abuses by security forces during this small country’s 36-year civil war. The army and its allies remained powerful well after the conflict that had claimed 200,000 lives. But then Guatemala stunned the world by starting to prosecute former military officers for genocide and other crimes.

Now the Guatemalan Congress is considering a bill that would grant amnesty to perpetrators of crimes against humanity. It would free more than 30 convicts, mostly former military officers, and invalidate current and future trials for crimes linked to the 1960-1996 war.

The bill, which is expected to be back on Congress’s agenda next week, has prompted outrage from Guatemalan civil society groups and organizations representing the indigenous, who make up 40 percent of the population but more than 80 percent of the victims of wartime abuses.

The measure has also alarmed the United Nations and the U.S. government. Robert Palladino, deputy spokesman at the U.S. State Department, said last week that Washington was “deeply concerned” about the measure.

The legislative push comes as other Latin American countries are finally reckoning with the counterinsurgency tactics used by military forces against civilians during the Cold War. In Argentina, hundreds of human rights abusers have been convicted in the past 15 years. In El Salvador, where an amnesty law was struck down in 2016, 18 military officers are on trial for the massacre of nearly 1,000 people in El Mozote in 1981 — one of the worst atrocities in Latin American history.

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