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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 146,706

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Brazil’s Revolution Starting to Reveal its True Colors

March 23, 2016
Brazil’s Revolution Starting to Reveal its True Colors

by Pepe Escobar

As we approach High Noon in the savage Brazilian politico-economic western, here’s what is at stake following my previous piece on RT.

For the past five days, all hell has broken loose. It started with judge Sergio Moro, the tropical Elliott Ness at the head of the two-year-old, 24-phase Car Wash corruption investigation, crudely manipulating an – illegal – phone tapping of a Lula-Dilma Rousseff conversation, which he duly leaked to corporate media and was instantly used as “proof” that Lula may be back in power as Chief of Staff because he’s “afraid” of Elliott Ness.

As a crucial instance of the total information war currently at play in Brazil – with the hegemonic Globo media empire and the major newspapers salivating for a white coup/regime change more than ever – the shaky “proof” turbocharged the Rousseff impeachment drive to a whole new level.

The conversation

The appalling politicization of the Brazilian Judiciary is now a fait accompli, with many a judge moved by opportunism and/or corporate interest/shady political agendas. That implies a “normalization” of illegal procedures such as phone tapping of defense lawyers and even the President (Edward Snowden, in a lightweight aside, commented that Rousseff is still not using cryptography in her communications).

Supreme Court ministers – at least so far – have not punished Elliott Ness for his illegal tapping of the President’s phone and for his illegal leaking of the Lula-Rousseff conversation (there’s nothing in it to implicate them in any wrongdoing, as Elliott Ness himself admitted).

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/23/brazils-revolution-starting-to-reveal-its-true-colors/

Cuba Evokes the History of American Imperialism in Latin America

March 23, 2016
Cuba Evokes the History of American Imperialism in Latin America

by Cody Cain

As President Barack Obama makes history as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928, we find ourselves reflecting upon our historic relationship with Latin America.

We were all taught in school that America is a great and kind nation that promotes freedom and democracy around the world. And many still drink the Kool-Aid of how America can do no wrong.

History, however, paints a rather different picture.

Latin America has suffered grievously as a result of the unfortunate circumstance of being located in the same neighborhood as the mighty empire of the United States. This is really no different from subjugated territories of other empires in history, such as the Roman Empire, or the Ottoman Empire. It is no fun living in the shadow of imperial domination because the empire exploits you. And if you step out of line, you are crushed like a bug.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/23/cuba-evokes-the-history-of-american-imperialism-in-latin-america/

Rainbow-colored bird draws bird watchers to Vermont town

Rainbow-colored bird draws bird watchers to Vermont town

Lisa Rathke, Associated Press

Updated 7:48 pm, Wednesday, March 23, 2016


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Photo: Kent P. McFarland, AP

In this March 18, 2016 photo provided by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, a rare painted bunting sits on a fence in Pittsfield, Vt. The bird, sometimes described as a "flying rainbow," normally does not fly north of the Carolinas on the East Coast. It's the sixth time a painted bunting sighting has been recorded in Vermont. (Vermont Center for Ecostudies via AP
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Bird watchers have flocked to a small town in Vermont hoping to catch a glimpse of the painted bunting, a rare bird described as a "flying rainbow" that normally doesn't fly north of the Carolinas on the East Coast.

It's the sixth time since 1993 a painted bunting has been recorded in Vermont, said Kent McFarland, a conservation biologist with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, who photographed the colorful bird on Friday.

"It's a flying rainbow. It's a really bright bird," he said of the tennis ball-sized bird that has appeared in a yard and at a feeder in Pittsfield.

McFarland said the painted bunting really sticks out in Vermont's early spring brown landscape.

More:
http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/Rainbow-colored-bird-draws-bird-watchers-to-6988790.php

[center]



Male and green female painted buntings. [/center]

Story of cities #6: how silver turned Potosí into 'the first city of capitalism'

Story of cities #6: how silver turned Potosí into 'the first city of capitalism'

The discovery of a mountain of silver (and a new way to extract it) transformed this remote Incan hamlet into the economic centre of Spain’s empire – larger than London, Milan or Seville. But then the silver ran out …

Patrick Greenfield
@Greenfpa
Monday 21 March 2016 06.00 EDT

“For the powerful emperor, for the wise king, this lofty mountain of silver could conquer the world.” So read the engraving on an ornate shield sent by Spain’s King Felipe II in 1561 as a gift to the city of Potosí, in what is now southern Bolivia.

Felipe was all too aware of the vast riches hidden beneath this remote Andean settlement. The conquistadors may never have found El Dorado, but they did find a mound of silver so large it would turn an isolated Incan hamlet into the fourth largest city in the Christian world in just 70 years, fund the creation of the most advanced industrial complex of its era, and define economic fortunes from China to western Europe.

At its peak in the early 17th century, 160,000 native Peruvians, slaves from Africa and Spanish settlers lived in Potosí to work the mines around the city: a population larger than London, Milan or Seville at the time. In the rush to exploit the silver, the first Spanish colonisers occupied the locals’ homes, forgoing the typical colonial urban grid and constructing makeshift accommodation that evolved into a chaotic mismatch of extravagant villas and modest huts, punctuated by gambling houses, theatres, workshops and churches.

High in the dusty red mountains, the city was surrounded by 22 dams powering 140 mills that ground the silver ore before it was moulded into bars and sent to the first Spanish colonial mint in the Americas. The wealth attracted artists, academics, priests, prostitutes and traders, enticed by the Altiplano’s icy mysticism. “I am rich Potosí, treasure of the world, king of all mountains and envy of kings” read the city’s coat of arms, and the pieces of eight that flowed from it helped make Spain the global superpower of the period.

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/mar/21/story-of-cities-6-potosi-bolivia-peru-inca-first-city-capitalism

Guardian LTTE: Hypocrisy over Cuba’s human rights record

Hypocrisy over Cuba’s human rights record
Tuesday 22 March 2016 15.25 EDT

Your front-page report on Obama’s visit to Cuba (22 March) ends with the claim that Cuba has “challenges” in the area of democratic and human rights, noting that “police arrested dozens of pro-democracy protesters”. Dozens, and we are not sure if these were peaceful protesters or not. How much more of a challenge do our supposedly democratic countries have, then, when they routinely kettle and arrest hundreds of peaceful protesters?

I still remember the shameful caging in inhuman conditions of more than 1,000 protesters arrested at the Toronto G8/G20 meetings in 2010. The city had been put into lockdown to try and prevent protest, and a massive warehouse was hired and equipped in advance with stacked cages to hold arrested protesters. Police and military outnumbered the protesters by two to one, and used rubber bullets and pepper spray against the demonstration. The hypocrisy of Washington and its ilk defies belief.
Professor Helen Colley
Honorary professorial research fellow, Institute of Education, University of Manchester

• You report that there is “virtually no evidence of American culture” (apart from 1950s cars) in Cuba, advancing as evidence that “there are no fast-food chains, no Starbucks and no Coca-Cola”. If that’s your idea of American culture, Cuba has done supremely well to keep it – and the mafia, who ran the country in US-supported dictator Batista’s time – out of the country since 1959.
Dr Richard Carter
London

• “Cuba’s dismal human rights record … Cuba’s repressive internal policies … the president will meet dissidents today” (Editorial, 22 March). This is an outrageously unfair slant – and without any comparative basis. Cuba’s Central American neighbours enjoy favourable political and economic relations with the US despite their devastating murder rates and gangster economies. Nor is this anything to do with human rights or democratic values, as US relations with Egypt, China and Saudi Arabia make crystal clear.

Cuban education and public health policies put those of the US to shame and even the US Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council grudgingly reports that “violent crime is not common” in Cuba. Nevertheless, the blatantly illegal US trade embargo is still in place – and so is Guantánamo Bay. No – it is not yet “Havana’s turn”.
Kevin Bannon
London

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/22/hypocrisy-over-cubas-human-rights-record

The Crusade in Favor of GMO: Falsehoods and Vilification Will Not Fool the Public

March 22, 2016
The Crusade in Favor of GMO: Falsehoods and Vilification Will Not Fool the Public

by Colin Todhunter

Pro-GMO campaigners often attack critics of the technology by claiming their negative views of it emanate from well-funded environmentalist groups or commercial interests in the organic food sector. The assertion is that such bodies promote falsehoods and scaremongering about GM to protect their own interests and that the GMO agritech sector has fallen victim to this.

Another claim is that critics rely on quackery on the internet or on some form of discredited science that is only carried out by those whom the ‘scientific community’ has seen fit to marginalise due to ‘bad’ science and a perceived political agenda.

The gist of the argument is that pseudo-science and a powerful ideologically motivated group are holding the world to ransom by conspiring to mislead the public and prevent the spread of GM, which according to pro-GMO activists, is denying the poor and hungry of the world access to food.

In a recent piece on Huffington Post, Jon Entine followed a similar line of attack to denigrate Rachel Parent, her family’s business interests and the campaign which she heads, Kids Right To Know (KRTK). He calls Parent a well-polished ‘crusader’ against GM food. He also argues that on the KRTK website, there is a stream of studies cited that raise concerns about GM, but which, according to Entine, are predictably and conveniently labelled as being mostly a combination of fringe research and a collection of discredited, misconstrued and biased studies.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/22/the-crusade-in-favour-of-gmo-falsehoods-and-vilification-will-not-fool-the-public/

Gustavo Castro Soto and the Rigged Investigation into Berta Cáceres’ Assassination

March 22, 2016
Gustavo Castro Soto and the Rigged Investigation into Berta Cáceres’ Assassination

by Beverly Bell

The sole eyewitness to Honduran social movement leader Berta Cáceres’ assassination on March 3, 2016 has gone from being wounded victim to, effectively, political prisoner. Now Gustavo Castro Soto may also be framed as the murderer of his long-time friend.

Both the Mexican Ambassador, Dolores Jiménez, and Castro himself are worried that he will be charged by the government for the killing, they told the National Commission of Human Rights of Honduras on March 16.

A writer and organizer for environmental and economic justice, Castro has been forbidden by local authorities from leaving the country to return to his native Mexico until April 6, at least. Since being released from several days in Honduran government custody, he has been forced to take refuge in the Mexican Embassy in Tegucigalpa. The protection of the Mexican Embassy “does not mean that my life is no longer in danger,” Castro wrote to some friends and colleagues on March 4. As long as he is on Honduran soil, he remains in peril. Ambassador Jiménez called the risk he is running “an objective fact.”

Castro – who is able to identify Cáceres’ killer – is an impediment to the plan that the Honduran government is clearly advancing, which is to pin the murder on members of the group which Cáceres founded and ran, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH). It could help the strategy of the fraudulently elected regime to dispense with Castro by charging and arresting him.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/22/gustavo-castro-soto-and-the-rigged-investigation-into-berta-caceres-assassination/

Multinationals abandon operations in Colombia amid economic slowdown

Multinationals abandon operations in Colombia amid economic slowdown
Posted by Stephen Gill on Mar 22, 2016

Several multi-nationals have terminated operations in Colombia since 2015 amid an ongoing economic downturn in the South American country. Changes in their market strategies and the rise in the cost of raw materials for the manufacture of products were specified by some companies as the reasons for abandoning the country.

The general slowdown in the economy of the country however is said to be a major factor for the multi-nationals’ withdrawals, according to Colombian news agency Colprensa.

During 2015, the multinational Apex Tool Group Colombia, PayPal, and banks Lloyds TSB Bank and Banistmo decided to withdraw their services from the Colombian market.

In addition, the high costs of raw materials to manufacture its products forced Mondelez, the maker of Chiclets Adams, Trident, Sparkies, Certs and Bubbaloo, to move to Mexico, from where their products are now being shipped to Colombia.

More:
http://colombiareports.com/multinationals-abandon-operations-colombia-amid-economic-slowdown/

Cuba-US Relations: the View from the Other Side

Cuba-US Relations: the View from the Other Side
March 21, 2016
by John Kirk – Stephen Kimber

On Dec. 17, 2014, President Barack Obama went on television to declare the United States was unilaterally ending America’s “outdated approach (to Cuba) that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests.”
So why do so many American politicians and commentators still persist in arguing the U.S. has been “giving and giving” in dealings with Cuba, and insisting the Cubans reciprocate by… well, changing their government to suit American demands?

Let’s start with simple truths. Cuban did not impose a stifling, 55-year economic embargo on the United States that has failed to advance anyone’s interests. Cuba did not put the United States on a list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuba did not try to assassinate American presidents. Cuba did not attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.

During President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba this week, Americans need to at least consider the perspective from the Cuban side of the Florida Straits divide.

The U.S. embargo — the Cubans call it a blockade — is still the law of the American land. According to the United Nations, the embargo, which has been virtually universally condemned internationally, has cost the Cuban economy over $116 billion.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/21/cuba-us-relations-the-view-from-the-other-side/

Leaked Diplomatic Cable Shows that Argentine Presidential Candidate Mauricio Macri Asked US Governme

Leaked Diplomatic Cable Shows that Argentine Presidential Candidate Mauricio Macri Asked US Government for Help Against Kirchners

Accused US Officials of Being “Too Soft” on Argentine Government, Encouraging their “Misbehavior” and “Abuse” of the United States

November 19, 2015

Washington, D.C. - A leaked diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Argentina states that current presidential candidate Mauricio Macri accused U.S. officials of being “too soft” on the government of Argentina.

Reporting on a meeting between the U.S. Ambassador and Macri in November 2009, the cable, published by WikiLeaks, and previously analyzed in the book "Argenleaks: Los cables de Wikileaks sobre la Argentina, de la A a la Z" by Santiago O'Donnell, states:

Macri reprised an earlier conversation with [the then Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Thomas Shannon, the State Department’s top official for Latin America] regarding the need to set limits on the Kirchners' misbehavior and the USG's supposed "softness" on the Kirchners. He argued that the USG's "silence" on the abusive mistreatment it suffered at the hands of the Kirchners (such as at the 2005 Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas) had encouraged more of the same.

The leaked conversations are likely to be noticed in a heated presidential race where Argentina’s national sovereignty, especially with regard to Washington, has been raised as an issue. The Argentine economy was restructured in the 1990s and fell into a deep depression from 1998–2002, under the tutelage of the Washington-dominated International Monetary Fund. And last year a New York judge ruled in favor of “vulture funds,” blocking Argentina from paying its creditors. Many Argentines have become wary of U.S. influence as a result of these and other interventions from Washington that had negative outcomes.

More:
http://cepr.net/press-center/press-releases/leaked-diplomatic-cable-shows-that-argentine-presidential-candidate-mauricio-macri-asked-us-government-for-help-against-kirchners







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