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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Argentine Teachers' Strike Against Macri Massive Success

Argentine Teachers' Strike Against Macri Massive Success

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Teachers' unions hold massive strike. | Photo: @EdgardoRovira

Published 4 April 2016
President Macri and his government faced yet another protest against their very unpopular austerity measures, among other issues.

Teachers from public and private schools in Argentina held their first national strike Monday since Mauricio Macri became president in December to protest the government's failure to comply with agreements reached with teachers' unions in February regarding salaries and working conditions.

The demonstrators, who gathered early in the morning, marched to the Ministry of Education, while across the country college professors from all national universities were expected to join the strike to demand the government begin salary negotiations and talks on other work-related issues.

The Education Workers' Confederation and the Union of Private School Teachers, the two unions that bring together elementary and high school teachers in Argentina, said they will also protest against the massive layoffs in the public sector.

María Laura Torre, secretary of the Education Workers' Confederation, said that the observance of the national strike was very high and that the call had proved very successful.



Whoopee! [/center]

El Salvador’s State of Emergency Threatens Activists

By Juliana Britto Schwartz • @JulianaBrittoS • 3 days ago

El Salvador’s State of Emergency Threatens Activists

In the face of record-breaking rates of violence, the government of El Salvador is considering declaring a state of emergency in the country’s most violent municipalities, suspending certain constitutional rights for residents of those cities.

The crisis in El Salvador has reached such horrific proportions that more homicides were registered in 2015 than any year during the country’s civil war. Today approximately 116 out of every 100,000 people are murdered, and women and children are disproportionately targets of that violence. Unsurprisingly, emigration from El Salvador is becoming increasingly gendered as well, as thousands of women are choosing to make the journey North and seek a safer life in the United States.

Now as government security efforts have failed, President Salvador Sánchez Cern is considering the use of a state of emergency to curb the violence. However activists have expressed concern that this would be just another step within the government’s hardline strategy, one which has only delivered no positive results, only more murders. Perhaps worse, it would allow the government to regulate or ban public meetings, monitor mail, phone, and digital communications of its citizens, and even restrict their freedom of movement.

I’ve written before about the effects that states of emergency can have on communities of color. In Guatemala, a government-imposed state of prevention stopped indigenous women opposing the construction of a cement factory from organizing or even safely walking to work. In Ferguson, Black Lives Matter activists fighting police brutality were faced with increased policing of their community when the National Guard was sent in to “keep the peace.” I wrote about how gender and policing came together in two communities that might seem quite different:

“For black protestors in Ferguson or indigenous residents in San Juan Sacatepequez, the enemy is the same. The police serve as an arm of the state, which represents capitalism and white supremacy, and sees gender-based violence as a tool of war. Knowing that, ultimately, the enemy remains the same across region, language, and culture, how can we work collectively to demand justice for all of us?”


Guatemalan Women’s Claims Put Focus on Canadian Firms’ Conduct Abroad

Guatemalan Women’s Claims Put Focus on Canadian Firms’ Conduct Abroad

APRIL 2, 2016

LOTE OCHO, Guatemala — Her husband was away in the fields, she said, when the truckloads of soldiers, police officers and mining security officials arrived. A half-dozen armed men swarmed into her one-room house, blocking her exit and helping themselves to the meal she had made for her children.

For a long time, the woman, Margarita Caal Caal, did not talk about what happened next that afternoon. None of the women in this tiny village high in the hills of eastern Guatemala did, not even to each other. But that day, Mrs. Caal said, the men who had come to evict her from land they said belonged to a Canadian mining company also took turns raping her. After that, they dragged her from her home and set it ablaze.

“The fear is not over,” she said recently, staring down at her hands while her daughter served coffee to visitors. “I still fear, all the time.”

Mrs. Caal has taken her case to the courts, but not in Guatemala, where Mayan villagers like her, illiterate and living in isolated areas, have had little legal success. She has filed in Canada, where her negligence suit, Caal v. Hudbay Mineral Inc., has sent shivers through the vast Canadian mining, oil and gas industry. More than 50 percent of the world’s publicly listed exploration and mining companies had headquarters in Canada in 2013, according to government statistics. Those 1,500 companies had an interest in some 8,000 properties in more than 100 countries around the world.

For decades, overseas subsidiaries have acted as a shield for extractive companies even while human rights advocates say they have chronicled a long history of misbehavior, including environmental damage, the violent submission of protesters and the forced evictions of indigenous people.


A Deaf Man From Minnesota Rescues Doe From Icy River (Video)

A Deaf Man From Minnesota Rescues Doe From Icy River (Video)

January 1, 2016
by Zara Zhi

A video (below) has been uploaded showing a deaf man in Minnesota who jeopardized his own life to save a deer he saw writhing in an icy river.

The anonymous man hiked through woods and crept over ice to rescue the deer, which he affectionately named Miss Ice River.

The video, which was posted on video-sharing site Vimeo, shows the man petting the doe after he saved the animal at Kettle River in Minnesota as he cautiously tries to eliminate icicles from its pelt, Daily Mail reports.

He describes in sign language that he was driving along when he witnessed the doe struggling to survive, according to Inside Edition.


Hope his kindness will be returned to him, although there's no doubt he felt rewarded in saving this doe. What can be done to clone this man a million times?

Colombia’s elite hiding more than a quarter of country’s GDP in fiscal paradises

Source: Colombia Reports

Colombia’s elite hiding more than a quarter of country’s GDP in fiscal paradises
Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Apr 4, 2016

Colombia’s wealthy have $100 billion, more than a quarter of the country’s GDP, stashed in offshore accounts, the country’s former tax chief estimated Monday.

In an interview with Caracol Radio, former DIAN director Juan Ricardo Ortega said that, based on research, the tax evasion practices of the wealthy makes the Colombian state lose out on billions of dollars in revenue every year.

Tax evasion became a global hot topic after 11 million documents from Panamanian law company Mossack Fonseca were leaked.

According to newspaper El Espectador, more than 800 Colombians are client of the discredited law firm that has helped the world’s wealthy hide their assets from their respective countries’ tax authorities.

Read more: http://colombiareports.com/colombias-rich-hiding-100b-wealth-fiscal-paradises/

(Very sad realizing the US has dumped more than $10 billion into Colombia since 2000, yet none of it has gone to aid the poor, and the cocaine trade is still flourishing.)

Las Malvinas Son Argentinas: Return to the Falklands?

April 4, 2016
Las Malvinas Son Argentinas: Return to the Falklands?

by John Wight

The longstanding dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic between Britain and Argentina is once again in the news; this time as a result of the recent findings of a UN commission that has adjudicated that Argentina’s existing maritime territory in the South Atlantic be expanded by 35%, thus bringing the Falklands within Argentine territorial waters.

Known in Argentina and throughout Latin America as Las Malvinas, the Falklands, which lie 300 miles off the coast of Argentina and over 8,000 miles from Britain, have long been the subject of territorial dispute. At the beginning of the 19th-century Spain held sovereignty over the islands, occupying them for 40 years up until 1811, after which its former colony of Argentina asserted sovereignty. The islands came under British control in 1833, when they were seized by force, and have remained a British territory ever since.

Various British officials have, over the years, even admitted to the indefensibility of Britain’s act of colonialism in seizing control of the islands in the early nineteenth century. In 1936, for example, John Troutbeck, then head of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s American department, outlined the problem surrounding Britain’s control of the Falklands in a memo to his superiors. He wrote that our “seizure of the Falkland Islands in 1833 was so arbitrary a procedure as judged by the ideology of the present day. It is therefore not easy to explain our possession without showing ourselves up as international bandits.”

In 1982 the war between Britain and Argentina, which ensued when the then Argentinian government attempted to seize back the islands by force, cost the lives of 258 British and over 600 Argentinian servicemen. It proved a turning point in the fortunes of the nascent and up to then deeply unpopular Tory government led by Margaret Thatcher. Jingoism swept the country, allowing Thatcher to press ahead with the structural adjustment of the UK economy, which in the process devastated working class communities and delivered a resounding defeat to the trade union movement over the course of a series of hard fought strikes and industrial disputes throughout the early and mid 1980s.


Parrot population thriving in cities in California, Texas

Parrot population thriving in cities in California, Texas

April 2, 2016
|Updated 7:20 p.m.

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In this Wednesday, March 30, 2016 photo, parrots interact at SoCal Parrot, a parrot-rescue center, in Jamul. U.S. researchers are launching studies on Mexico's red-crowned parrot – a species that has been adapting so well to living in cities in California and Texas after escaping from the pet trade that the population may now rival that in its native country.

crowned parrot – a species that has been adapting so well to living in cities in California and Texas after escaping from the pet trade that the population now may rival that in its native country.

The research comes amid debate over whether some of the birds flew across the border into Texas and should be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Parrots in U.S. urban areas are just starting to draw attention from scientists because of their intelligence, resourcefulness and ability to adapt.

There is also a growing realization that the city dwellers may offer a population that could help save certain species from extinction.

Parrots are thriving today in cities from Los Angeles to Brownsville, Texas, yet in the tropics and subtropics, a third of all parrot species are at risk of going extinct because of habitat loss and the pet trade.


Is a Silent Coup in Democratic Disguise Taking Place in Brazil?

Is a Silent Coup in Democratic Disguise Taking Place in Brazil?

by Ted Snider, April 02, 2016

After the first phase of overt military regime changes in Latin America, the 1954 CIA overthrow of Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz ushered in the era of covert coups. The list is well known: Arbenz in Guatemala, Allende in Chile. Much less well known is the 1964 Kennedy administration coup that removed Brazil’s João Goulart from power. Noam Chomsky calls Goulart’s government “mildly social democratic.” Its replacement was a brutal military dictatorship.

Latin American coups are no longer commonly overt military actions or covert CIA actions. Since Obama came to power, coups, including Latin American coups, are silent coups. Unlike the earlier coups in Iran, Guatemala and Chile, these coups never take off their masks and reveal themselves as coups. They involve no tanks nor guns. They are coups that are silently disguised as domestic current events.

The new coups are cloaked in one of two disguises. In the first, the same minority who lost in the polls moves its message to the streets disguised as the voice of mass democratic expression; in the second, the minority executes its defeated desire in the disguise of the legal or constitutional workings of the legislature or the courts.

Brazil today is showing signs of both.

In 2002, the Workers’ Party’s (PT) Lula da Silva came to power with 61.3% of the vote. Four years later, he was returned to power with a still overwhelming 60.83%. In Brazil, a two term president must sit out a full term before running again. So, in 2010, Dilma Rousseff ran as Lula DA Silva’s chosen successor. She won a majority 56.05% of the vote. When, in 2014, Rousseff won re-election with 52% of the vote, the right wing opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) went into panic.


Venezuela’s Right Wing Confesses to 17 years of Political Delinquency: The Amnesty Bill

Venezuela’s Right Wing Confesses to 17 years of Political Delinquency: The Amnesty Bill

 03/08/2016 06:39 pm ET | Updated Mar 08, 2016


“A confesion de parte, relevo de prueba”
(Spanish legal expression: “When there is confession, no evidence is required”).

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes could not imagine how correct he was when he said that the challenge a Latin American writer faced was to produce fiction that was more extraordinary than reality itself.

Venezuela’s Right Wing Opposition has just managed to perform an event that surpasses Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magic realism: On 18th February 2016, making use of their majority in the National Assembly, they have passed an Amnesty Bill that seeks to provide legal impunity to acts of political delinquency they and their supporters have perpetrated for 17 years. Venezuela’s Right Wing majority in the National Assembly’s ‘amnesty’ bill is not only an admission of guilt for, but also a well organised catalogue of, the political offences they and their supporters have perpetrated since 1999.

The Bill is upfront about what it seeks to amnesty: “acts defined as crimes, misdemeanours or infringements ... and other acts provided for herein.” (Art.1) This Bill is an Opposition’s colossal Freudian slip since with it they, unwittingly, have admitted their guilt of more than a decade and a half of illegal, violent and undemocratic political felonies.

The Amnesty Bill is not yet law, since it needs to go through several constitutional procedures, including being vetoed by President Nicolas Maduro, who has condemned the Bill in the strongest terms. In the highly likely event of President Maduro vetoing it, the Bill will then be referred to the Supreme Court (TSJ) to get it to issue a ruling on its constitutionality. The TSJ can declare the Bill unconstitutional regardless of the size of the Right Wing majority in the National Assembly (for details of what the Opposition majority in the National Assembly can and cannot do read my article in the Huffington Post, Right Wing Majority in Venezuela’s National Assembly: The Constitutional and Political Stakes).


Hillary’s Complicity in Colombia’s War on Unions

April 1, 2016
Hillary’s Complicity in Colombia’s War on Unions

by Patrick Carr

Hillary Clinton’s flip-flopping on NAFTA and the TPP have garnered justified criticism from left-wing progressives. While the Clinton free trade flip-flop is approaching the point of ubiquity, the mass majority of trade agreements end up enacted, regardless of how her position switches or “evolves”. The Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which was passed in 2011 when Clinton was Secretary of State, is no exception to this pattern.

During the 2008 campaign, Hillary denounced the plan, stating: “As I have said for months, I oppose the deal. I have spoken out against the deal, I will vote against the deal, and I will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.”

Come 2011 however, the tune had changed. In an email regarding a call to Democratic congressman Sandy Levin (one of many in which Clinton makes clear her wish that the agreement is passed), Clinton wrote: “I told him that at the rate we were going, Colombian workers were going to end up w the same or better rights than workers in Wisconsin and Indiana and, maybe even, Michigan.”

Clinton must have made a sight miscalculation, because between 2000 and 2010, Columbia has accounted for about 63% of murdered unionists globally and killed over 120 between 2011 and February of 2015 (only six of which have resulted in convictions). Dubbed the “union murder capital of the world” by multiple journalists and nonprofits, Columbia “has made little progress” on improving labor conditions since the passing of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement according to advocacy group Justice for Colombia. The agreement’s human and labor rights obligations have been virtually ignored, as paramilitary groups linked to the Colombian security forces continue to kill with impunity.

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