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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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‘Bone Rooms’: Where scientific racists stored their ‘evidence’

‘Bone Rooms’: Where scientific racists stored their ‘evidence’
By Barbara J. King April 15 at 11:18 AM

Skeletons and mummified remains of nearly 30,000 people dwell in the vaults of the Smithsonian Institution. Though their voices have long been silenced, what we say about them speaks volumes. In “Bone Rooms,” biological anthropologist Samuel J. Redman describes the cutting-edge technology brought to bear on these remains and the ethical issues Smithsonian scientists grapple with as they consult some of the descendant communities of the individuals represented in the vaults.

Redman’s primary focus is the years between the Civil War and World War II, a period when anthropologists collected these remains — and thousands of others that lined the shelves in places like Chicago’s Field Museum and Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum — with no regard for ethics. “Bone Rooms” tells the story of “the worst legacies of colonial anthropology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” The bodies of women and men who were loved by their families and might have been honored by them in death became mere objects for study. A strong motivating factor for the extensive research Redman undertook to write “Bone Rooms” was this haunting question: “Given the centrality of death and burial in the human experience, how could seemingly sacred principles be violated so directly and systematically?”

The book’s subtitle clues us in to part of the answer: scientific racism. Interest in the “exotic bodies of nonwhite races” drove research for decades. At the Army Medical Museum in the second half of the 19th century, for instance, “the number of American Indian and African American bodies that the museum acquired vastly outpaced the number of European American remains” collected. In the case of Native Americans, skeletons were simply grabbed up from battlefields such as Little Bighorn and, as the American West opened up, from archaeological sites such as the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in Colorado. And if “indigenous bodies were considered to be commodities,” the same was true of African American bodies, Redman explains.

(‘Scientific’ racism is creeping back into our thinking. )

An effort to classify our species by race lay behind much of the earliest work in U.S. bone rooms. The notion that humans across the globe could be carved up into a discrete number of races — the tripartite scheme of white, black and yellow-brown was popular — was taken for granted. Visitors to large exhibitions, such as San Diego’s “Science of Man” in 1915, were treated to exhibits implying that some nonwhite races still maintained primitive features, and assumptions of white supremacy were veiled thinly, if at all.

In the mid-20th century, questions of human prehistory and evolution slowly began to replace those of racial classification in the museum world. A central figure in this evolving story is Ales Hrdlicka, a Czech-born anthropologist who in 1903 was named the Smithsonian’s first curator of physical anthropology. Hrdlicka’s personality was as acerbic as his ethics were rocky; he essentially encouraged looting of human remains and aligned himself with the eugenics movement.


Honduras foreign minister resigns over police murder scandal

Source: Agence France-Presse

Honduras foreign minister resigns over police murder scandal

By AFP 2 hours ago.

Honduran Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales resigned on Friday after being mired in a scandal in which a cabal of corrupt top police officers reportedly ordered hits on anti-crime officials.

The office of President Juan Orlando Hernandez said the head of state "has today (Friday) accepted the resignation of the secretary for foreign affairs and international cooperation, Arturo Corrales."

Corrales was Orlando's security minister during an alleged cover-up of the police involvement, which came to light through recent reporting by the Honduran newspaper El Heraldo.

The daily cited a security ministry document revealing that senior police officers ordered the assassination of Honduras' top anti-drugs official, Aristides Gonzalez, in December 2009.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/honduras-foreign-minister-resigns-over-police-murder-scandal/article/462942#ixzz45w0UUq4I

Galaxy Cluster Gathers Inside a Cosmic 'Furnace' in New Video, Images

Galaxy Cluster Gathers Inside a Cosmic 'Furnace' in New Video, Images

By Christine Lunsford, Space.com Contributor | April 13, 2016 05:49pm ET

The Southern Hemisphere constellation of Fornax, which means "The Furnace," contains a mass of galaxies known as the Fornax Cluster, which takes center stage in these striking views from a telescope in Chile.

A new Fornax galaxy cluster video and image, which were unveiled today (April 13), were captured by astronomers with the European Southern Observatory using the Very Large Telescope. Researchers used the VLT's Survey Telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert. The observations reveal that the Fornax cluster is home to a host of galaxies of various types and sizes.

Galaxy clusters demonstrate gravity's power over long distances, with the gravitational influence of dark matter and the visible galaxies themselves leading to the cosmic groupings. These cosmic clusters typically contain from 100 to 1,000 galaxies at a width of 5 to 30 million light-years across. (One light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles or 10 trillion kilometers). (When Galaxies Collide: Amazing Photos of Galactic Crashes)

The Fornax Cluster, at roughly 65 million light-years from Earth, includes about 60 large galaxies and about as many dwarf galaxies. The centerpiece of this cluster is NGC 1399, which is known as a cD galaxy — a type often considered as a "galactic cannibal," according to ESO officials.



VLT's Survey Telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert. [/center]

Please take a glimpse of Google's images of this amazing installation in Chile:


Mystery of Nazca, Peru's Puquios: Purpose of Ancient Holes Finally Solved By Satellites

Mystery of Nazca, Peru's Puquios: Purpose of Ancient Holes Finally Solved By Satellites

By Anna Swartz April 13, 2016

For years, spiral-shaped holes, called puquios, that dot the dry landscape in Nazca, Peru have confused archaeologists. But now, using satellite images, a team of researchers has finally solved the mystery of the holes once and for all, reports the BBC.

The holes are actually part of a "sophisticated hydraulic system constructed to retrieve water from underground aquifers," Rosa Lasaponara of the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, in Italy, who conducted the research, told the BBC. "What is clearly evident today is that the puquio system must have been much more developed than it appears today."

Lasaponara and her team used satellite images to analyze the placement of the puquios and realized the extent to which they moved water throughout the region. There is a system of tunnels underground, connecting the puquios. Each spiral hole pulls air down into the canals, moving the water through the network and bringing it to people who would have used it for both agriculture and domestic life, Lasaponara told the BBC.

To design such a system would have meant that the ancient Nazca people who built them had extensive knowledge about the geography of the area, Lasaponara said. The irrigation tunnels may also be connected to the Nazca lines, giant geoglyphs of animals, people and shapes carved into the Nazca desert, Lasaponara told the BBC.


Macri-nomics: Argentina’s Fast and Furious Return to Neoliberalism

April 12, 2016
Macri-nomics: Argentina’s Fast and Furious Return to Neoliberalism

by Alan B. Cibles

When on October 25, 2015, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s (CFK) designated presidential candidate, Daniel Scioli, won the first round of elections by a 3% margin, many viewed it as a defeat. There are good reasons for this.

Most polls had predicted Scioli would obtain at least an 8% lead over Mauricio Macri, the pro-business, pro-US neoliberal candidate. Some had even predicted a wider lead, fueling hopes that a runoff election could be avoided.

Also, few considered Macri would ever get enough votes to become president and yet, there he was, very well positioned for the runoff election a month later.

Finally, many of CFK’s supporters remembered her 54% victory in the 2011 presidential elections and believed that a similar outcome was possible for her candidate in 2015.


Over half of Brazilian committee that voted for Rousseff's impeachment face corruption charges

Over half of Brazilian committee that voted for Rousseff's impeachment face corruption charges


April 12, 2016 · 4:30 PM EDT
By Will Carless

A congressional committee in Brasilia has recommended that impeachment proceedings continue against President Dilma Rousseff, another bleak sign for her administration. But after one look at the committee members, you might wonder who’s in worse trouble.

On Monday, the committee voted 38-27 for impeachment proceedings. That committee includes no fewer than 37 politicians who themselves face charges of corruption or other serious crimes, according to an analysis by The Los Angeles Times. Indeed, more than half of the committee members who voted in favor of the impeachment process are being investigated for corruption.

What’s remarkable about the dramatic efforts to oust Rousseff is that, by contrast, the president has not been directly implicated in corruption for her personal financial gain. Rousseff is accused of a lot of things — from ineptitude to plain arrogance — but stealing money is not officially one of them.

Rather, she’s accused of manipulating government accounts — shifting public money around in a sort of shell game — to cover budget shortfalls, and shore up votes, in the run-up to her re-election in 2014. She has never been charged for this and says she’s done nothing wrong.


The Cuban-American hard-line bravado banishes into thin air

The Cuban-American hard-line bravado banishes into thin air

Max J. Castro • April 11, 2016

“Left out of the conversation,” read the Miami Herald headline.

Gloating is a base emotion but one entirely called for in this instance. They ignored us, our Cuban-American members of Congress. For decades, those of us in the Cuban community who traveled to Washington to try to get them to have a conscience, see reason, understand what they were doing to the Cuban people ran into a stone wall.

They humiliated us by sending the most junior staff to meet with us. They called press conferences to vilify us, to red-bait us. Back home they tried to intimidate us. They retaliated. Not openly but effectively. Some pressured our employers, made us lose jobs, careers. They were fanatical and ferocious.

In my case I ended up having to leave Miami to get a job. Lucrative but lonely, and not what I wanted to do either. I fell into a profound and prolonged disabling depression. Stage 4+, if depression were measured like cancer. My family, medicines, Miami, the sun and the water, eventually healed me. I feel stronger than ever.

If I am happy with the Herald headlines, it’s not out bitterness. I have a hard time holding on to grudges. The main reason is that that sorry bunch, the Cuban Mafia, Havana calls them, the Cuban Con Artists, I call them, because everything they sold as solid, their vaunted power especially, suddenly vanished into thin air. Happy because they no longer can automatically veto change. Happy because they can no longer dictate a policy based on allowing the Cuban people to go blind in order to try to poke out the eye of Fidel or Raul.


WATCH: Exclusive Interview by Glenn Greenwald with Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva

WATCH: Exclusive Interview by Glenn Greenwald with Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva

Glenn Greenwald
Apr. 11 2016, 3:12 a.m.

The life trajectory of Brazil’s former President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) has been extraordinary. Born into extreme poverty, Lula left the presidential office in 2010, after serving two terms, with an unprecedented 86 percent approval rating, seemingly destined to enjoy almost universal respect on the world stage and to be remembered as one of modern history’s greatest statesmen. Similar to the post-office path of Tony Blair and Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lula, since his term ended, has amassed great personal wealth by delivering speeches and providing consulting services to global power centers. The moderately left-wing party he co-founded, the Worker’s Party (PT), has now controlled the presidency for fourteen straight years.

But all of that, the entirety of Lula’s legacy, is now seriously threatened. A grave, widespread corruption scandal involving the national oil company, Petrobras, is engulfing Brazil’s economic and political elite, with PT at its center. His protégé and handpicked successor, the former anti-dictatorship Marxist guerrilla and current President Dilma Rousseff, faces a credible impeachment threat (now supported by a majority of Brazilians) and widespread unpopularity due to an intractable, severe recession. Senior members of PT have been arrested and imprisoned. Massive street protests, both in favor of and against impeachment, have recently turned ugly, with physical altercations becoming increasingly common.

Lula himself has recently been implicated in the criminal investigation (known as “Operation Car Wash”), briefly detained by the federal police for questioning, accused by the former Senate leader of his party (turned informant) of “commanding” a massive bribery and kickback scheme, eavesdropped on by judicial investigators who publicly released recordings of his telephone calls, and charged formally with receiving and hiding improper gifts (including a house and a farm). As a result, his approval ratings in Brazil have dropped precipitously.

But thanks to entrenched support from Brazil’s ample poor population, those ratings are still higher than most other nationally prominent politicians (most of whom are fighting off their own corruption allegations), and it is widely believed that Lula will run for President again at the end of Dilma’s term: whether that’s in 2018 as scheduled or earlier if she’s impeached or resigns. Nobody who has watched Lula’s career – including those who want to see him imprisoned – can be dismissive of the prospect that he will again be Brazil’s president (a new poll released today shows Lula leading the 2018 presidential race along with the evangelical/environmentalist Marina Silva).


2 sentenced to prison in forced labor case on Ohio egg farm

Source: Associated Press

2 sentenced to prison in forced labor case on Ohio egg farm

John Seewer, Associated Press

Updated 4:03 pm, Monday, April 11, 2016

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge sentenced two men to prison on Monday for taking part in a scheme to smuggle teens into the U.S. and keep them as virtual slaves at an Ohio egg farm, but he delayed sentencing for the ringleader after learning he had not given up properties taken from the victims' families.

In 2014, federal agents raided a dilapidated trailer park near Marion where the 10 young Guatemalans had been living with no heat and little food. Some said they were lured with the promise of attending school in the U.S. or plucked out of custody at the Mexican border. Eight were under age 18.

The teens and young men were forced to work at the egg farm and turn over most of their earnings to pay for their passage to the U.S., investigators said.

One of the young men spoke in court Monday, revealing he was 17 when he was smuggled over the border and thought he would be attending classes.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/crime/article/Sentencing-set-for-3-in-forced-labor-case-on-Ohio-7240874.php

Newsletter: The Unfolding Story Of Latin America

Newsletter: The Unfolding Story Of Latin America

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, www.popularresistance.org
March 27th, 2016

A very strange piece of legislation was introduced by the right wing Parliament in Venezuela this week; a bill providing amnesty for crimes the oligarchs and their operatives have committed since Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999. This bill provides a catalog of their political offenses over 16 years. In 45 articles, it covers all manner of crimes committed from misdemeanors at a public rally to felonies like terrorist acts involving explosives and firearms. They are essentially admitting exactly what Chavez/Maduro have claimed — crimes to overthrow the government by undermining the economy and creating political havoc. The bill will very likely be vetoed by Maduro and if they override his veto, it may be ruled unconstitutional by the court.

Latin America has been a key battleground in the conflict between neo-liberal capitalism and US hegemony against the growing people power that is demanding a more equitable economy that builds from the bottom up and is more democratic. Venezuela has been the focal point of the campaign against the progressive cycle. The amnesty bill shows the extreme actions the US and oligarchs are willing to take to wrest power from the people and return it to the wealthy business interests. The wealthy have made progress in some key countries leading to people ask whether the progressive cycle has come to an end and what lies ahead for the region.

Return to Neoliberal Oligarchy

Many recognize that Venezuela is the cutting edge that defines the progressive cycle in Latin America. The landslide December 6, 2015 victory of the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable, winning two thirds of the seats in Venezuela’s National Assembly elections, was a major turning point in Venezuelan politics. The legislature is now targeting President Maduro for recall, a lengthy process involving collection of signatures and a vote, or they may seek impeachment as is currently being pursued in Brazil. Other countries are also experiencing problems. In “Is South America’s ‘Progressive Cycle’ At An End?” Claudio Katz writes:MesoAmerica Resistance

The year 2015 ended with significant advances of the Right in South America. Mauricio Macri was elected President in Argentina, the opposition gained a majority in the Venezuelan parliament, and Dilma Rousseff is being hounded relentlessly in Brazil. Then there are the conservatives’ campaigns in Ecuador, and it remains to be seen whether Evo Morales will obtain a new mandate in Bolivia.

Add to that the recent visit of President Obama to Cuba and what that means for the future of the Cuban Revolution and the political situation in Honduras; and it is evident that the region is undergoing a major transition. In addition to the US pivot to Asia, there has also been a pivot to Latin America by the United States. The region had been breaking free of US domination, but US intervention in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Cuba, as well as in Ecuador and Bolivia is having an impact.

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