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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 145,914

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New Right-Wing Government Cedes Argentina’s Sovereignty to Wall Street

New Right-Wing Government Cedes Argentina’s Sovereignty to Wall Street
March 18, 2016
by Pete Dolack

Argentina’s new right-wing president, Mauricio Macri, pledged to put an end to the country’s sovereignty, and on that he has been true to this word. The capitalist principal that windfall profits for speculators is the raison d’état for the world’s governments has been upheld.

Or, to put it in a different way, the government of Argentina will again be allowed to borrow on international financial markets — so that it can borrow money for the sole purpose of paying billions of dollars to speculators.

Argentina had been one of the few countries that refused to bleed its population to pay off odious debt under the 12-year husband and wife rule of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández. Their left-wing populism has been overstated — they left capitalist relations untouched and at best merely tolerated the movement of recovered factories — but they did consistently put the interests of Argentine working people ahead of international financiers. The election of the right-wing President Macri has put an end to that, along with his introducing the repression that austerity requires.

Argentina’s difficulties have a long history. The fascistic military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 laid waste to the Argentine economy while unleashing horrific human rights abuses, and subsequent civilian governments sold off state enterprises at fire-sale prices while imposing austerity until the economy crashed at the end of 2001. Upon assuming office, President Kirchner suspended debt payments that would have impoverished the country. He offered to negotiate with bond holders, 93 percent of whom ultimately agreed to accept 30 percent of their bonds’ face value.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/18/new-right-wing-government-cedes-argentinas-sovereignty-to-wall-street/

Human Rights Hypocrisy: US Criticizes Cuba

Human Rights Hypocrisy: US Criticizes Cuba
March 18, 2016

by Marjorie Cohn

In advance of President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba on March 20, there is speculation about whether he can pressure Cuba to improve its human rights. But a comparison of Cuba’s human rights record with that of the United States shows that the US should be taking lessons from Cuba.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains two different categories of human rights – civil and political rights on the one hand; and economic, social and cultural rights on the other.

Civil and political rights include the rights to life, free expression, freedom of religion, fair trial, self-determination; and to be free from torture, cruel treatment, and arbitrary detention.

Economic, social and cultural rights comprise the rights to education, healthcare, social security, unemployment insurance, paid maternity leave, equal pay for equal work, reduction of infant mortality; prevention, treatment and control of diseases; and to form and join unions and strike.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/18/human-rights-hypocrisy-us-criticizes-cuba/

Shine the Light of Truth on Poor Honduras

OpEdNews Op Eds 3/20/2016 at 13:12:31
Shine the Light of Truth on Poor Honduras

By John Grant


[font size=1]
Murder victim Berta Caceres, co-founder of COPINH, fought for the rights of the poor
(image by unknown) DMCA
[/font]

Since the coup, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous places in the world.


- Amy Goodman

Since a June 2009 coup in Honduras, violence beneficial to rightist power brokers and international corporations -- violence directed against activists for the poor and indigenous -- has skyrocketed. News of this rarely reaches mainstream America. The real story is that the US government, as in the past, talks pretty but is an accessory in Honduras' descent into murder. "The NGO Global Witness declared Honduras the 'worst country to be an ecologist,' having 'a climate of near total impunity' that contributed to the killing of 109 environmental activists between 2010 and 2015, the highest per capita rate in the world," according to Andrea Lobo, one of many out-of-the-mainstream observers of Honduras' decent into oppressive violence.

On March 3rd, Berta Caceres, 44, co-founder of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize was assassinated by killers who broke into her home in La Esperanza (in English, Hope) at 1AM. Gustavo Castro Soto, a Mexican environmental activist who witnessed the murder and was himself shot twice, has been refused permission to return to Mexico and is hiding out in the Mexican embassy in Tegucigalpa. The financial officer of COPINH has been interrogated four times at length by police; she told Amy Goodman it's an effort to suggest the murder was due to internal COPINH politics. A COPINH member was briefly arrested by the police as a suspect, then released. Then, another COPINH activist, Nelson Garca, was killed last week. Police say Garcia's killing was an "isolated" act.

"Hundreds of activists have been killed. It's just a nightmare in Honduras," says Greg Grandin, a history professor at New York University, referring to the period since the 2009 coup. "The NGO Global Witness declared Honduras the 'worst country to be an ecologist,' having 'a climate of near total impunity' that contributed to the killing of 109 environmental activists between 2010 and 2015, the highest per capita rate in the world," says Andrea Lobo, one of many out-of-the-mainstream observers of Honduras' decent into oppressive violence. (See Amy Goodman and Democracy Now for more on the story.)

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was President Obama's secretary of state at the time of the 2009 coup. At dawn on June 28th, a military unit invaded the home of duly elected President Manuel Zelaya, a timber baron, woke him from his bed at gunpoint and flew him to Costa Rica. Ms Clinton and President Obama expressed obligatory regret over the coup, then did absolutely nothing to turn it around. Rumors spread of secret US involvement on a direct or indirect basis. After a brief hiatus, military aid was reinstated in full to the Honduran military. Secretary Clinton publicly called for nations around the world to support the government installed by the coup and pushed preparations for new elections. Ms. Clinton is very skilled at working this kind of political knife-in-the-kidney operation with a bright PR smile, all the time counting on the American people to have little interest in the comings and goings of a place like Honduras. Unlike the SNAFU in Benghazi, her Republican enemies have no interest in criticizing her for running cover for a coup that removed a left-leaning president in Honduras.

More:
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Shine-the-Light-of-Truth-o-by-John-Grant-America_Assassination_Change_Coup-160320-745.html

Venezuela gov't says miners' massacre due to disputes among paramilitaries

Venezuela gov't says miners' massacre due to disputes among paramilitaries

Published March 19, 2016/
EFE

Venezuela's Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez said that the massacre of a number of miners in the southeastern town of Tumeremo was sparked by disputes among paramilitary units attempting to exercise political and economic control over the mining region.

"The collection of criminal evidence allows us to associate the people responsible for the murders with paramilitary-style attacks, aimed at taking economic and political control of the mining region," Gonzalez said in reporting the results of security forces' investigations into the mass murder since last March 4, when the miners were first reported missing.

Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega said the 17 missing miners' bodies were discovered last Monday in a common grave.

Interior Minister Gonzalez also announced the capture Friday of Francisco David Carache Zambrano, alias "Goliat," one of the operators closest to the mafia headed by Ecuador's Jamilton Andres Ulloa Suarez, alias "El Topo," whom the authorities identify as leader of the group that killed the miners.

More:
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/03/19/venezuela-govt-says-miners-massacre-due-to-disputes-among-paramilitaries/

This article, reprinted by Fox "News" was published by Spain's E.F.E.

A Modest Proposal: President Obama, While in Cuba, Check in on Julio Antonio Mella

March 17, 2016
A Modest Proposal: President Obama, While in Cuba, Check in on Julio Antonio Mella

by W. T. Whitney

Mr. President, please think about this: pay your respects to Julio Antonio Mella. Your doing so would be a courtesy to President Raul Castro, your host. Julio Antonio was a founder of the Cuban Communist Party and at the time was a mere student. In Cuba, he is a hero. And his birthday, March 25, coincides with your visit, almost.

I am assuming you and your advisors want to know all you can about the political orientation of leaders in places you visit. Julio Antonio contributed greatly to the outlook of Cuba’s leaders now, so let me explain.

Mella’s political activity in the 1920s became a reference point for rebellion in Cuba well into the 1930s. He is the symbolic link between revolutionaries led by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and José Martí in the 19th century and those who’ve guided Cuba since January 1, 1959. Mella adapted the teachings of José Martí to the 20th century and beyond. He emphasized the revolutionary potential of working people and those who’ve been left out.

Mella thus shows us that the course of revolution in Cuba has been long. Many of our compatriots mistakenly think that the Cuban revolution only began about the time your host was a young man.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/17/a-modest-proposal-president-obama-while-in-cuba-check-in-on-julio-antonio-mella/

[center]





Julio Antonio Mella



Dictator Gerardo Machado



Presidente de Cuba Gerardo Machado y Morales en union del
Sr Frank B. Kellogg, Secretario de Estado de los Estados Unidos en 1925.



Machado, walking with US President Calvin Coolidge,
& the missus, last United States President to visit Cuba.[/center]
Good Reads:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1016147607

‘Prime Minister’ Lula: The Brazilian Game-Changer

March 17, 2016
‘Prime Minister’ Lula: The Brazilian Game-Changer

by Pepe Escobar

Compared to the political/economic rollercoaster in Brazil, House of Cards is kindergarten play.

Only three days after massive street demonstrations calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, and less than two weeks after his legally dubious four-hour detention for questioning, former Brazilian President Lula is about to spectacularly re-enter the Brazilian government as a Minister, actually a Super-Minister.

This is Rousseff’s one and only chess move left amidst an unprecedented political/economic crisis. Predictably, she will be accused on all fronts – from comprador elites to Wall Street – of having abdicated in favor of Lula, while Lula will be accused of hiding from the two-year-old Car Wash corruption investigation.

Lula and his protégé Dilma had two make-or-break, face-to-face meetings in Brasilia, Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, discussing the detailed terms of his re-entry. At first, Lula would only accept a post in government if he becomes Government Secretary – in charge of political articulation; he would then be part of the hardcore hub that really decides Brazilian policy.

But then, according to a government minister, who requested anonymity, surged the suggestion of Lula as Chief of Staff – the most important ministry post in Brazil.

What’s certain is that Lula is bound to become a sort of ‘Prime Minister’ – implying carte blanche to drastically change Dilma’s wobbly economic policy and forcefully reconnect with the Workers’ Party’s large social base, which is mired in deep distress under massive cuts in social spending. If Lula pulls it off – and that’s a major “if” – he will also be perfectly positioned as a presidential candidate for the 2018 Brazilian elections, to the despair of the right-wing media-old elite-economic complex.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/17/prime-minister-lula-the-brazilian-game-changer/

The Promotion of US Law in Cuba: Some Issues to Consider During the US Presidential Visit

The Promotion of US Law in Cuba: Some Issues to Consider During the US Presidential Visit
March 15, 2016
Nelson Valdes

As we know well, the government of the United States wishes that the Cubans who live on the island have the same rights as the citizens of the United States. Therefore, it is desirable and necessary to know some of American laws that could be applied in Cuba. Perhaps it would be interesting and educational if the North American delegation that accompanies the President of the United States answers three basic questions that foreign and national journalists could investigate further. The three questions are related. The following queries are respectfully presented:

QUESTION 1

Since the United States Government wishes to promote a civil society in Cuba and democratic rights: Is the United States government ready to explain to the Cuban people the workings of some United States legislation? For example:

The US Code 18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948] – better known as the Logan Act reads in part, “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Note: In this particular case all that would be necessary is for the Cuban government to replace the phrase “United States” and include “Republic of Cuba.”

QUESTION 2

The United States Government also has in the law books another piece of legislation that might be very pertinent. That is, the Internal Security Act of 1950. One could suppose that the government of Cuba could emulate the US legislation and apply it to those persons who – according to US law –could be considered “agents of a foreign power”? Should Cubans who receive financial resources from the US government and its agencies be required – as in the US – to register as an “agent of a foreign power”? We understand these same issues are addressed in: U.S. Statutes at Large, 81st Cong., II Sess., Chp. 1024, p. 987-1031

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/15/the-promotion-of-us-law-in-cuba-some-issues-to-consider-during-the-us-presidential-visit/

Argentina and the Vultures: the Political Economy of the Settlement

March 16, 2016
Argentina and the Vultures: the Political Economy of the Settlement
by Mark Weisbrot

After 15 years of court battles, injunctions, smear campaigns, lobbying, and other interventions, the vulture funds have finally won a tentative agreement with the new Argentine government. Vulture funds — the name preceded this particular dispute — are so called because they buy up defaulted debt for a very small fraction of its face value, then sue (and use other tactics) to collect an exorbitant return. In the case of Argentina, the chief vulture, American billionaire and major Republican campaign donor Paul Singer, will get an estimated 370 percent return; another vulture fund in the settlement did even better, with a return of 950 percent.

The agreement is tentative because President Mauricio Macri of Argentina still has to get the nation’s Congress, in which he does not have a majority, to change some laws in order to finalize the deal. And he will also have to reach agreement with some remaining “holdout” creditors. And now the vulture funds are appealing the judge’s order that would allowed Argentina to issue new debt, presumably in an effort to extract even more concessions. But assuming it all works out, though, there are some important lessons to be learned from this long war over sovereign debt.

Argentina arguably had no alternative but to default in 2002, but the government also did the right thing by standing up to the IMF and its international creditors until it reached a deal (in 2003 and 2005) that would allow the economy to recover. International lenders — in this case a creditors’ cartel headed by the IMF — often succeed in getting a settlement that keeps thefailedweisbrot country trapped in recession, depression, or very low growth with an unsustainable debt burden; as well as numerous conditions (cuts to social spending, public pensions, public employment) that harm the majority of the debtor country’s citizens. Some of the worst recent examples of these abuses can be seen in countries like Greece and Jamaica, and will likely include Puerto Rico if there is a debt restructuring there.

By taking a hard line with its foreign creditors, Argentina reached an agreement with 93 percent of them that allowed the country to do very well over the ensuing 14 years. Instead of a prolonged depression as in Greece, or limping along from one crisis to the next, Argentina began an extraordinarily robust recovery just three months after its default and enjoyed very high growth — more than 90 percent in real GDP from 2002–2015. (There is some dispute over the exact number but it does not change the story.) This enabled Argentina to reduce poverty by about 70 percent and extreme poverty by 80 percent, in the decade 2003–2013.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/16/argentina-and-the-vultures-the-political-economy-of-the-settlement/

CIA Motto: “Proudly Overthrowing the Cuban Government Since 1959.”

March 15, 2016
CIA Motto: “Proudly Overthrowing the Cuban Government Since 1959.”

by William Blum

Now what? Did you think that the United States had finally grown up and come to the realization that they could in fact share the same hemisphere as the people of Cuba, accepting Cuban society as unquestioningly as they do that of Canada? The Washington Post (February 18) reported: “In recent weeks, administration officials have made it clear Obama would travel to Cuba only if its government made additional concessions in the areas of human rights, Internet access and market liberalization.”

Imagine if Cuba insisted that the United States make “concessions in the area of human rights”; this could mean the United States pledging to not repeat anything like the following:

Invading Cuba in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs.

Invading Grenada in 1983 and killing 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.

Blowing up a passenger plane full of Cubans in 1976. (In 1983, the city of Miami held a day in honor of Orlando Bosch, one of the two masterminds behind this awful act; the other perpetrator, Luis Posada, was given lifetime protection in the same city.)

Giving Cuban exiles, for their use, the virus which causes African swine fever, forcing the Cuban government to slaughter 500,000 pigs.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/15/cia-motto-proudly-overthrowing-the-cuban-government-since-1959/

Rubio's Top Finance Guy is the "Vulture" Who Soaked Argentina for $4.65 Billion

Rubio's Top Finance Guy is the "Vulture" Who Soaked Argentina for $4.65 Billion


Meet Paul Singer.

By Joseph B. Atkins / Labor South
March 15, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has tapped as his national finance chairman the “Vulture” who put the squeeze on Argentina for a $4.65 billion payback on his $50 million investment, according to investigative journalist Greg Palast, The Guardian, and other press reports.

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, known as “The Vulture”, is set to become Rubio’s top money guy in a campaign that may reach its demise soon if the Florida senator can’t win the primary in his native state.

Singer, long a huge supporter of Rubio’s campaign, has been criticized around the world for his aggressive wheeling and dealing, both on Wall Street and in political circles, including his financial backing of neo-liberal Mauricio Macri’s rise to the presidency in Argentina.

Macri came into office vowing to respond to Argentina’s indebtedness to international lenders, which has led to major financial crises in the South American country. According to reports, Singer was able to score a $4.65 billion payment from Argentina out of a $50 million investment in old Argentine bonds.

More:
http://www.alternet.org/labor/rubios-top-finance-guy-vulture-who-soaked-argentina-465-billion
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