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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 137,878

Journal Archives

How Slaves Built American Capitalism

December 18, 2015
How Slaves Built American Capitalism

by Garikai Chengu

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in America and contrary to popular belief, slavery is not a product of Western capitalism; Western capitalism is a product of slavery. The expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American Independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States.

Historian Edward Baptist illustrates how in the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy.

Through torture and punishment slave owners extracted greater efficiencies from slaves which allowed the United States to seize control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and become a prosperous and powerful nation.

Cotton was to the early 19th century, what oil was to the 20th century: the commodity that determined the wealth of nations. Cotton accounted for a staggering 50 percent of US exports and ignited the economic boom that America experienced. America owes its very existence as a first world nation to slavery.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/how-slaves-built-american-capitalism/

The human rights crisis in Honduras

The human rights crisis in Honduras

Journalists are amongst those being killed for speaking out in the country with the highest murder rate in the world
Vicky Baker |

5 hours ago|

Journalists, gay-rights activists, student protesters, indigenous campaigners and farmers on disputed territories all have something in common in Honduras: speaking out about their work puts them in extreme danger.

“Impunity, threats, attacks, harassment and criminal defamation charges are all risks faced by those who try to work in sensitive areas, exposing corruption, militarisation, human-rights abuse and narco-trafficking,” says Dina Meza, an investigative reporter in the country, who has also seen a rise in threats made against her this year.

Meza, a renowned reporter started her own news site in April, Pasos de Animal Grande (Steps of a Big Animal), which seeks to give a platform to the issues often overlooked by mainstream media. Many stories go unreported in Honduras and self-censorship is rife. The country’s murder rate was the highest in the world, discounting war zones, in 2014. It looks set to take the title again this year, or be a close second to El Salvador. Last week a footballer for the Honduras national squad, Arnold Peralta, was gunned down in a shopping centre, and although this high-profile case is currently being investigated, the vast majority aren’t.

Meza says she has personally tallied 36 security incidents against her between January and October this year. On the eve of her visit to London earlier this month – where she met with UK human-rights campaigners and briefly met with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – she says she was being followed by a black-windowed vehicle. She has also received multiple death threats, and her children have also been followed and photographed. Once, just minutes after posting a story on Facebook about the murder of a political activist, she received an anonymous phone call warning her “not to mess around”. Her colleague, a young journalist Cesario Padilla, has had armed men turn up to his house.

More:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/campaigns/voicesindanger/the-human-rights-crisis-in-honduras-a6778551.html

The fascists who approved the coup will see this as the height of fascist glory, but it's utter degredation and filth to human beings.

Venezuela: A Revolution That Will Not Die

December 18, 2015
Venezuela: A Revolution That Will Not Die

by Eric Draitser

This is not a revolution that can be undone with one election, nor can it be simply legislated out of existence.

Much has been written about the outcome of Venezuela’s Dec. 6 legislative elections, with many of the analyses justifiably focusing on the shortcomings of the Socialist Party (PSUV) and the difficulty of the current state of affairs in the country. Indeed, even before the political body was cold, post-mortem examinations abounded in the corporate and alternative media, with dissections of seemingly every aspect of the Bolivarian Republic’s political, economic, and social life.

But what these journalists and political analysts often overlook is the determination of the core of the Bolivarian Revolution, the radical base that is committed to preserving what Hugo Chavez began building more than 17 years ago. This is not a revolution that can be undone with one election, nor can it be simply legislated out of existence. This Revolution will not, as some cynics have argued, be brought down by the weight of its own contradictions, or by internal rot and corruption, or by external forces such as assassinations and economic destabilization. Instead, the Revolution will survive. It will be resurgent. It will be reborn thanks to the commitment of millions of dedicated Chavistas.

While one may take this as an article of faith, it is instead a conclusion born of experience in Venezuela, one that is informed by dozens of conversations with activists and organizers whose words of love and dedication to the revolution are matched only by their actions to build it.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/venezuela-a-revolution-that-will-not-die/

Assessing Venezuela’s Elections: The Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent

Assessing Venezuela’s Elections: The Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent
December 15, 2015

by Eric Draitser

The streets of Caracas were eerily quiet late Sunday evening (December 6) as the city, and indeed the whole of Venezuela, anxiously awaited the results of the critical legislative elections. Everyone knew the vote would be close: the polls had indicated as much in the weeks leading up to the elections, with many experts predicting a victory for the right wing opposition party Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

Traveling throughout the capital, and especially in the poor and working class neighborhoods, however, the mood was optimistic, with most Chavistas fully expecting to carry the day and maintain their control of the National Assembly. In the 23 January neighborhood, a stronghold of the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) and a hotbed of radical activism and resistance, local party and community leaders were upbeat as they showed me around, pointing out the gains made in the years of Chavista rule: every house now having a cooking gas connection, improved sewage systems, guaranteed government pensions, low-cost government housing, among many other tangible gains.

In El Valle, another solidly red working class district, I visited two of the many punto rojos (red points) – Socialist Party tents manned by volunteers who helped organize voter turnout for their respective neighborhoods – where the mood was festive, something between a block party and a local community meeting. The punto rojos, interestingly enough, were almost always opposite from MUD tents (a recent phenomenon as the right wing opposition has adopted the PSUV organizing strategy), and all was peaceful and quiet, no confrontations to be seen. Indeed, it seemed everywhere I went that these elections were a model of a peaceful democratic process, precisely what Venezuela’s government has long prided itself on, and precisely what the western media has always denied.

After having met with a number of community leaders, including PSUV candidate Jesús Faría who welcomed me with a handshake and a hug, thanking me for coming to his country to watch democracy in action, I went (along with my delegation from the US) to Tiuna el Fuerte, a cultural center and communal outdoor meeting space financially supported by the Venezuelan government. With intricate graffiti murals adorning the walls of shipping containers transformed into living quarters, computer labs, and other important resources, Tiuna el Fuerte looked like something out of hipster Brooklyn or Oakland, a meeting space where hip hop and reggae music blared from the speakers, and sancocho (a traditional soup dish) was ladled into bowls for anyone who wanted it.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/15/assessing-venezuelas-elections-the-good-the-bad-and-the-indifferent/

The Struggle Continues: Garifuna Land Defender Shot in Honduras

The Struggle Continues: Garifuna Land Defender Shot in Honduras
Saturday, 12 December 2015 00:00
By Sandra Cuffe, IC Magazine | Report

"This is where the first bullet grazed me," says Vidal Leiva, pointing to the side of his face.

Shot three times outside his home on Nov. 27, the Garifuna community leader survived and is now recovering from the gunshot wounds to his torso. However, since the attack, members of Leiva's family and of the Land Defense Committee he heads report receiving threats.

Sitting up carefully, Leiva lifts his shirt. On his right shoulder, front, and back, stitches mark bullet entry and exit points. A bandage covers the middle of Leiva's abdomen, where a bullet pierced internal organs before exiting through his back. His liver, intestines, and right lung all suffered damage in the shooting.

Leiva is president of the Land Defense Committee of Cristales and Rio Negro, two Indigenous Garifuna communities at either edge of the town of Trujillo, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. He is also a candidate in the local elections later this month for the leadership of the community council (patronato) of Cristales and Rio Negro.

The outspoken Garifuna land defender believes his three attackers were hired to kill him due to his involvement in the local struggle to recuperate and defend Garifuna lands. Collective lands belonging to Cristales and Rio Negro and to other Garifuna communities along the Trujillo Bay are being taken over by Canadian developers for tourism projects.

The Garifuna people and language arose on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in the early 17th century, when people being trafficked into slavery from several regions of Africa survived a shipwreck and mixed with local Indigenous Arawak and Carib populations. In 1797, the British forcibly expelled the Garifuna from Saint Vincent, dropping them off on an island off the coast of Honduras. After forming the first mainland community in Trujillo, the Garifuna spread out along the Caribbean coast of Central America between Belize and Nicaragua.

More:
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33976-the-struggle-continues-garifuna-land-defender-shot-in-honduras

[center]

Randy Jorgensen and former Honduran president Porfirio Lobo. [/center]

Can a Canadian Porn King and the Cruise Lines Keep Cruise Passengers Safe in the Banana Coast in Honduras?

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Jim Walker

One of the principal developers of the mega-tourism project in Trujillo is Randy Jorgensen, general manager of Grande Trujillo Authoridad. He's a Canadian multi-millionaire who reportedly became wealthy in the pornographic video business. Several publications call him the "Canadian Porn King" (photo below with former Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa). He created Adults Only Video (warning XXX). Canada's Macleans magazine reported in 2001 that Jorgensen had been "accused of making X-rated films with underage girls in his vacation home in Honduras," according to Media Lens organization.

Jorgensen and others are accused of converting the beautiful Honduran coast into a large scale tourism project that includes vacation condominiums and the cruise ship facility, which have displaced and destroyed the indigenous Garífuna communities. The developers are accused of illegally obtaining the land and expelling the Garífuna people from the Bay of Trujillo.

Travel Pulse says that cruise tourists will be "welcomed by local Garifuna performers . . . and dancers in colorful attire." Sounds to me like a faux Disney World recreation of the displaced local inhabitants for the amusement of the arriving U.S. cruise passengers.

More:
http://www.cruiselawnews.com/tags/randy-jorgensen/

Social media helps drive historic Cuban exodus to U.S.

Social media helps drive historic Cuban exodus to U.S.

Originally published December 12, 2015 at 8:00 am | Updated December 11, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Cheap smartphones, data plans and Facebook allow Cubans headed to the United States avoid corrupt border guards, criminal gangs and human traffickers who make life hell for so many other Latin American migrants.


By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN

The Associated Press

PEÑAS BLANCAS, Costa Rica — As summer began to bake the central Cuban city of Sancti Spiritus, Elio Alvarez and Lideisy Hernandez sold their tiny apartment and everything in it for $5,000 and joined the largest migration from their homeland in decades.

Buying two smartphones for $160 apiece on a layover on their way to Ecuador, they plugged themselves into a highly organized, well-funded and increasingly successful home-brewed effort to make human traffickers obsolete by using smartphones and messaging apps on much of the 3,400-mile overland journey that’s become Cubans’ main route to the U.S.

Some 45,000 Cubans are expected to move by bus, boat, taxi and on foot from Ecuador and other South and Central American countries to the Texas and California borders this year, afraid that the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba will mean an imminent end to special immigration privileges that date to the opening of t0he Cold War.

. . .

The overland exodus has caused a border crisis in Central America, set off tensions in the newly friendly U.S.-Cuban relationship and sparked rising calls in the U.S. to end Cubans’ automatic right to legal residency once they touch U.S. soil.

More:
http://www.seattletimes.com/business/social-media-helps-drive-historic-cuban-exodus-to-us/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=Referral&utm_campaign=RSS_business

Many Mexicans are going home

Many Mexicans are going home

By Karthick Ramakrishnan

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 4:04pm

The Pew Research Center released a report in November on Mexican migration to the United States that should give us pause. It did not address Donald Trump's claims that Mexico is mostly sending violent criminals to the United States; other studies, including a comprehensive report by the National Academy of Sciences, have systematically shown lower crime rates among immigrants than the general population. Instead, the Pew report focused on a phenomenon that most of us have not seen in our lifetimes: net outflow. In lay terms: More Mexican immigrants are leaving the United States than coming to work here.

The net outflow of Mexican immigrants follows a decade of "net zero" migration from Mexico, and also includes a significant reduction in unauthorized migration from Mexico. These trends show how dangerously outdated our political conversations about immigration have become. Just three years ago, several Republican governors and at least one presidential candidate were calling for the "self-deportation" of undocumented immigrants. This year, some are calling for mass roundups, forced deportations and a gigantic, no-doubt-costly wall along the southern border. Setting aside humanitarian concerns, such measures amount to fighting old battles.

In Mexico, pressures to migrate have declined over the last decade as fertility rates have dropped and young adults have found more job opportunities at home than were available before. U.S. policies have also played a significant role in contributing to the net outflow of Mexican immigrants. Immigration enforcement and country caps on visas have made it more difficult for Mexican immigrants to bring family members to the United States or to keep them together.

Indeed, according to recent surveys in Mexico, the desire for family reunification and immigration enforcement are by far the biggest drivers of Mexican return migration, with lack of job opportunities in the United States playing a considerably smaller role.

More:
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/many-mexicans-are-going-home/2257131

Dangers and opportunities in Venezuela

Dangers and opportunities in Venezuela

Juan Carlos Monedero • December 7, 2015

First obvious reflection: If Venezuela is a dictatorship, how come the opposition won?

All those who have been questioning Venezuelan democracy should apologize today (that’s a rhetorical comment; they’ll never do it. Those who think that power belongs to them because of their family and wealth believe that they have permanent carte blanche.)

President Maduro came out immediately to acknowledge the result. That’s how it should be. The opposition has invariably ignored all the election results it has lost since 1998, the year of Hugo Chávez’s first victory. Sometimes as a bloc, others splitting themselves.

The least loyal to the Constitution have always been Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado, whose attitude has not been followed by Capriles, who has always opted for the ballot box.

The PP, much influenced by the Opus Dei in its relations with Venezuela (the other influence is solely economic, such as when Felipe González gave Galerías Preciados to Gustavo Cisneros), has always been closer to the putschists. Remembrances of the origin of the Spanish right.

Venezuela has stayed above the fray: clean elections and unquestioning acknowledgment of the results. Would that Mexico or the United States did the same.

More:
http://progresoweekly.us/dangers-and-opportunities-in-venezuela/

WaPo Attacks Unions for Seeking Higher Wages for Their Members

WaPo Attacks Unions for Seeking Higher Wages for Their Members

By Dean Baker
Dec 05 2015

The Washington Post has long expressed outrage over the fact that unionized auto workers can get $28 an hour. Therefore it is hardly surprising to see editorial page writer Charles Lane with a column complaining that “the United Auto Workers sell out nonunion auto workers.”

The piece starts out by acknowledging that the AFL-CIO opposes tax provisions and trade agreements (wrongly called free trade agreements — apparently Lane has not heard about the increases in patent and copyright protection in these pacts) that encourage outsourcing. He could have also noted that it has argued for measures against currency management and promoted labor rights elsewhere, also measures that work against outsourcing. And it would be appropriate to note in this context its support for measures that help the workforce as a whole, like Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

But in spite of this seeming support for the workforce as a whole, Lane decides he is going to prove to his readers that the United Auto Workers supports outsourcing. His smoking gun is the argument that if the union had agreed to lower pay for its workers at the Big Three, then they might shift fewer jobs to Mexico.

Lane’s water pistol here is shooting blanks. As he himself notes in the piece, even the non-union car manufacturers are shifting jobs to Mexico. They have cheaper wages there; companies will therefore try to do this. Essentially, Lane is arguing that unions sell out non-union workers by pushing for higher wages for their workers because if unionized workers got low pay in the United States, there would be less incentive to look overseas for cheap labor. That may be compelling logic at the Washington Post, but probably not anywhere else in the world.

More:
http://fair.org/home/wapo-attacks-unions-for-seeking-higher-wages-for-their-members/



Uruguay makes dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy

Uruguay makes dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy

In less than 10 years the country has slashed its carbon footprint and lowered electricity costs, without government subsidies. Delegates at the Paris summit can learn much from its success

Jonathan Watts in Montevideo
Thursday 3 December 2015 05.57 EST

As the world gathers in Paris for the daunting task of switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, one small country on the other side of the Atlantic is making that transition look childishly simple and affordable.

In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to the country’s head of climate change policy, Ramón Méndez.

In fact, he says that now that renewables provide 94.5% of the country’s electricity, prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts.

It was a very different story just 15 years ago. Back at the turn of the century oil accounted for 27% of Uruguay’s imports and a new pipeline was just about to begin supplying gas from Argentina.

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/uruguay-makes-dramatic-shift-to-nearly-95-clean-energy?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Version+A&utm_term=141575&subid=7496110&CMP=ema_565a
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