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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 137,867

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Bolsonaro, a danger to Brazil: 'Staying home is for cowards'

Even O Globo, which played such a large role in his election, said Jair Bolsonaro didn't care about the welfare of Brazilians.

written by Claudia Fanti

Published on
March 28, 2020

The fact that Bolsonaro was a danger to public health was already clear enough, but his latest statements have truly shocked the country. On Tuesday evening, speaking on live TV, while the main cities were ringing out with the deafening noise of the banging of pots and pans in the seventh consecutive panelaço protest, Brazil’s president once again compared the COVID-19 pandemic to a gripezinha, “a little cold,” accusing the press of generating hysteria and calling for a return to “normality.”

“Our lives must move forward,” he said, demanding that the governors should “abandon the concept of scorched earth,” by which he meant the shutdown of commercial activities and “mass confinement.” He rejected out of hand any comparison with Italy, which he dismissed as a “country of old people,” and also spoke out against the closure of schools: “The group at risk are people over the age of 60. So why suspend classes, then?”

On Wednesday morning, heedless of the deluge of indignant reactions pouring in, the Brazilian president, whom the well-known American political scientist Ian Arthur Bremmer has called the most inefficient head of state in the world in the fight against the pandemic, doubled down as usual, announcing his intention to ask the Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, to adopt a policy of nothing more than “vertical isolation,” i.e. isolation limited exclusively to the elderly or people suffering from other diseases, and calling the quarantine measures enacted by the governors of Rio and São Paulo, Wilson Witzel and João Doria, “a crime.” And that wasn’t all: in absolute opposition to the rest of the world, he went as far as to say that “staying at home is for cowards.”

The backlash from these statements could not have been stronger. Even the newspaper O Globo, which contributed so much to his election, pulled no punches: for Bolsonaro, the main editorial reads, “the welfare of Brazilians is of no importance at all, most of them low-income and often living in favelas or communities vulnerable to the coronavirus, dependent on the action of a government whose president insists on minimizing the crisis.”


'Mafia planning to assassinate journalists who revealed ties between narco and Colombia's ruling par

‘Mafia planning to assassinate journalists who revealed ties between narco and Colombia’s ruling party’
by Adriaan Alsema March 21, 2020

Colombia’s mafia is allegedly planning the assassination of three journalists who revealed that the country’s ruling elite conspired with narcos to rig the 2018 elections in favor of President Ivan Duque.

Press freedom foundation FLIP sent out an alert after a senator shared evidence that members of criminal organizations met on Saturday last week to plot the assassination of journalists Gonzalo Guillen, Daniel Mendoza and Diana Lopez.

The audio additionally revealed a plot to assassinate Beto Coral, a popular pundit on Twitter who has frequently clashed with Uribe over evidence the former president has been in bed with the mafia since the 1980s.

. . .

Despite the “imminent threat” of assassination, the National Protection Unit (UNP) has refused to provide protection to the journalists who published the evidence of Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party’s ties to the organization of jailed drug trafficker Marquitos Figueroa.


Killing Colombia's human rights defenders has never been this easy

by Adriaan Alsema March 27, 2020

. . .

Fearing that quarantine measures in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus could trigger an increase in assassinations, multiple international human rights and religious organizations asked the government of President Ivan Duque to step up protection measures on Wednesday.

With most people inside their homes, no witnesses on the street and police trying to enforce the quarantine, social leaders are feared to be more vulnerable than ever.

A new wave of killings
Less than 24 hours after the organizations sent the open letter, two indigenous leaders and one women’s rights defender were assassinated and one gay rights defender survived an assassination attack in Medellin, the country’s second largest city.

Since March 19, when governors and mayors decreed curfews and quarantine drills in their territories, six human rights defenders have been killed.


Also posted in Editorials and other articles:

An ancient ball court sheds light on a game made famous by the Aztecs

A mountain site in Mexico suggests an ancient ball game didn’t originate in coastal lowlands

Partial ballplayer figurines such as this (shown from the front and side) were unearthed at a mountain site in southern Mexico that also contained a ball court from around 3,400 years ago.


By Bruce Bower

MARCH 13, 2020 AT 2:00 PM

A roughly 3,400-year-old ball court in the mountains of southern Mexico has scored surprising insights into a game that later played a big role in Maya and Aztec societies.

Excavations at a site called Etlatongo revealed the ancient ball court — the second oldest found to date. The discovery shows that, at a time when societies in Mexico and Central America were growing larger and more politically complex, population centers in the mountains contributed to ball court design, and possibly to early rules of the game, researchers report March 13 in Science Advances.

Until now, most evidence pointed to coastal settlements in southern Mexico’s Gulf and Pacific lowlands as the developers of a ball game that assumed ritual and political importance throughout the region.

“Multiple regions and societies were involved in developing a blueprint for the ball court used in a formal ball game across Mesoamerica,” says anthropological archaeologist Jeffrey Blomster of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Mesoamerica was an ancient cultural region running from central Mexico through much of Central America.


3,400-year-old Mesoamerican ball court sheds light on origins of the game

The site suggests highland communities played a role in developing the game.
KIONA N. SMITH - 3/25/2020, 9:23 AM

Millennia ago, a stone court would have hosted teams of players wearing belts and loincloths using their hips to knock a hard rubber ball toward goals at either end of the court. The ball game, which re-enacted a creation story recorded in the Maya religious text Popul Vuh, was a major part of political, religious, and social life for the Maya and the Aztec, and for the Olmec before them. But archaeologists don’t yet know much about where people first started playing the game or how it became a cultural phenomenon that spread across the area that now includes Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Layers of ball courts
The ball court—a stone-floored alley about 50 meters (165 feet) long, bounded by steep stone walls and earthen mounds—once occupied a place of honor in the heart of the ancient city. But sometime between 1174 and 1102 BCE, the people of Etlatongo dismantled parts of the court and ritually “terminated” its life. That ceremony left burned bits of plant, mingled with broken Olmec-style pottery, animal bones, shells, and a few human bones (which may or may not have come from a later cemetery) scattered on the carved bedrock floor of the court and atop the earthen mounds that ran the length of its sides.

But beneath that 12th century BCE ball court lay another, even older one, dating to 1374 BCE. That's roughly when (as far as archaeologists can tell from the available evidence) the formal version of the game—the one played on elaborate stone courts for crowds of wealthy, high-ranking spectators in major urban centers—was still being developed. Archaeologists Jeffrey Blomster and Victor Salazar were surprised to find a ball court so old in the mountainous highlands of Mexico instead of the Olmec-dominated tropical lowlands, where archaeologists have assumed the game got started.

The oldest known Mesoamerican ball court, which dates to 1650 BCE and has a floor of compacted earth rather than stone, is at Paso de la Amada in Chiapas, on the Pacific coast of Mexico just northwest of Guatemala. Until now, it looked like people didn’t start building formal stone ball courts in the Mexican highlands until almost a thousand years later. By then, the game had been fully developed and exported all over Mesoamerica—or so it was widely thought.


Canadian Media Advocate Continued Domination of Indigenous Peoples

MARCH 25, 2020


Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) began raids on the territory of the Wet‘suwet’en Indigenous nation on February 6—arresting as many as 80 Indigenous land defenders in the first days of the incursion—to dismantle camps that the Wet‘suwet’en had established on their land to prevent construction of a $6.6 billion liquid natural gas pipeline being built by Coastal GasLink, which is owned by TC Energy.

The police were enforcing an injunction from the British Columbia (BC) Supreme Court, though the Wet‘suwet’en have never ceded control of their land to Canada. Under Wet‘suwet’en law (Canadian Observer, 2/7/20), hereditary chiefs have authority over their territory. They opposed the pipeline, though it has support from the elected Wet’suwet’en band councils that were created under the Indian Act, which Canada unilaterally imposed on Indigenous peoples in 1876.

Coast-to-coast solidarity actions by Indigenous peoples and their supporters began in response to the RCMP raids, most notably in the form of road, highway and rail blockades, including a shut-down of the country’s principle east-west rail link. Blockades led to significant service halts by VIA Rail, Canada’s main rail passenger rail service, and disruptions in the operations of CN Rail, a major freight railway and the country’s only transcontinental railway.

A pickup truck with a Confederate flag on its dashboard drove through a highway blockade in BC (Global, 2/11/20). In Saskatchewan, a man drove into people blocking a highway (Global, 2/12/20). Indigenous peoples faced a deluge of racism (Al-Jazeera, 3/2/20), including death threats (Al-Jazeera, 3/1/20)


Cuba's coronavirus response is putting other countries to shame

By Jacobin Last updated Mar 25, 2020

By Ben Burgis / From Jacobin

Last week, the MS Braemar, a transatlantic cruise ship carrying 682 passengers from the United Kingdom, found itself momentarily stranded. Five of the cruise’s passengers had tested positive for the coronavirus. Several dozen more passengers and crew members were in isolation after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The ship had been rebuffed from several ports of entry throughout the Caribbean. According to sources in the British government who spoke to CNN, the UK then reached out to both the United States and Cuba “to find a suitable port for the Braemar.”

Which country took them in? If you’ve paid attention to the Trump administration’s xenophobic rhetoric about “the Chinese virus” and its obsession with keeping foreign nationals out of the country, and you know anything about Cuba’s tradition of sending doctors to help with humanitarian crises all around the world, you should be able to guess the answer.

The Braemar docked in the Cuban port of Mariel last Wednesday. Passengers who were healthy enough to travel to their home countries were transported to the airport in Havana. Those who were too sick to fly were offered treatment at Cuban hospitals — even though there had only been ten confirmed cases in the whole country, and allowing patients from the cruise ship to stay threatened to increase the number.

Cuba Mobilizes Against the Virus
Despite being a poor country that often experiences shortages — a product of both the economy’s structural flaws and the effects of sixty years of economic embargo by its largest natural trading partner — Cuba was better positioned than most to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.


It was late in coming, but I finally heard about a hip-hop group from Sao Paulo, Racionais MC's.

They've been around a very long time. They are the most famous hip-hop artists in Brazil. I'm glad to have learned about them, and watched some of their videos today.

This video concerns the vicious Brazilian military dictatorship, and has images from news clips of that time added.

- Mil Faces De Um Homem Leal (Carlos Marighella) O CLIPE OFICIAL

Mexican city rejects plans for giant US-owned brewery amid water shortages

Vote in border city of Mexicali is unlikely win for farmers and activists over wealthy maker of Corona, Modelo and Pacifico

David Agren in Mexico City
Mon 23 Mar 2020 15.20 EDT

Voters in a Mexican border city have rejected the construction of a massive, US-owned brewery in an arid region rife with water shortages – an improbable victory for a collective of farmers and activists over a deep-pocketed company backed by state and local officials.

In a weekend plebiscite in the city of Mexicali, 76.1% of voters cast ballots against the $1.4bn brewery, being built by Constellation Brands to brew beer for export – including Corona, Modelo and Pacifico.

“There’s been an intense campaign [against the brewery] by a resistance movement for two years … protesting in the streets and going to the courts to hold a plebiscite,” said Daniel Solorio, a lawyer who has worked with the opposition.

“It’s surprising the president called a plebiscite on such short notice,” he said, “but we’ve been demanding a vote for two years.”


Also posted in Environment and energy:

Colombia's chief prosecutor implicated in plot to rig Duque's 2018 election

by Adriaan Alsema March 23, 2020

Colombia’s chief prosecutor closed his Twitter account on Sunday after evidence tied him to a mafia conspiracy to rig the 2018 elections in favor of his friend, President Ivan Duque.

Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa closed his account after El Espectador columnist Yohir Ackerman published an image of him campaigning with Priscilla Cabrales, who conspired with the organization of Marquitos Figueroa, the jailed narco’s late money launderer said in a wiretap.

The photo Ackerman pulled of the Instagram account of far-right Senator Sergio Araujo was taken on April 18, 2018, while Cabrales with conspiring the rig the elections with money launderer Jose Guillermo Hernandez, who was murdered in Brazil last year.

The latest evidence implies Barbosa does not only have a conflict of interest, but could be complicit in the election fraud plot he is supposed to be investigating.

The chief prosecutor was asked to recuse himself last week after he lied about not receiving key evidence that proved Hernandez was coordinating vote-buying with Maria Claudia Daza, the personal assistant of Duque’s political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe at the time.

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