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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
July 31, 2022

Chile is updating its constitution for the 21st century. The US should follow its lead

David Adler

The US constitution used to be considered a model for democracies around the world – but its antiquated institutions and absence of rights have guaranteed its declining influence

Thu 28 Jul 2022 06.22 EDT

“Every constitution,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in a 1789 letter to James Madison, “naturally expires at the end of 19 years.” Two centuries after its expiration date, citizens of the United States are suffering the consequences of a constitution drafted by 55 men who owned hundreds of human slaves, thousands of acres in landed estates, and millions of dollars in inherited wealth. Fundamental rights denied, foundational institutions paralyzed and existential crises ignored: these are side-effects of a legal framework that has not been meaningfully amended in over a half-century.

The US is not alone. Scores of constitutions around the world were written by dictators, colonizers and military occupiers to enshrine institutions that are undemocratic by design and unfit to cope with crises like a rapidly heating planet. In some cases, like the UK, the constitution was never actually written at all, setting the political system on a precarious foundation of norms and conventions that leaders like Boris Johnson have proven all too eager to discard. When a cross-party committee convened in 2013 to review the UK’s constitutional chaos, its recommendation was nothing short of radical: that the government should consider “preparations for a UK-wide constitutional convention”.

But while both the US and the UK remain trapped in constitutional deadlock, the Republic of Chile has just concluded its own nationwide convention to replace the 1980 decree by the dictator Augusto Pinochet and his military government. The product of the convention is a visionary document that would not only update, expand and advance Chileans’ basic rights – to health, housing, abortion, decent work and a habitable planet – but also set a new standard for democratic renewal in the 21st century.

Like that of the United States, the current Chilean constitution was written under extremely undemocratic conditions. Pinochet came to power in a bloody coup to overthrow President Salvador Allende, and set to work designing a constitution that would consolidate executive power, constrain democratic representation, and enshrine free market fundamentalism. Along with a clique of economists known as the “Chicago Boys” for their training at the University of Chicago, Pinochet set the country on a path of such extreme neoliberalization that Chile would become the only country in the world with a constitutionally privatized water system.


July 28, 2022

Yucatan archaeological site has been abandoned, residents claim

It's believed the impressive ancient Maya city was at one point part of a trade network with other cities like Chichén Itzá.

Touted in 2018 as a potential tourism magnet, restoration was never finished and only the intrepid visit

Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2022

An archaeological site in northeastern Yucatán that state authorities believed would spur tourism has been forgotten, according to residents of nearby communities.

The Yucatán government announced in early 2018 that the commencement of the final stage of restoration work at Kulubá – an ancient Mayan city set amid jungle in the municipality of Tizimín – was imminent. The site opened to the public later the same year, but more than four years later, not all of the planned work has yet been completed.

. . .

This image of Kulubá was a Photo of the Day on INAH’s website in 2020, but otherwise, it’s not well promoted. Few people know it exists. INAH

. . .

The site opened to the public in 2018, but more than four years later, not all of the planned restoration work has yet been completed and access is difficult. INAH

Adventurous tourists who make it to Kulubá will find plenty to explore. There are some 400 structures at the site, which was once within the sphere of influence of Chichén Itzá, the imposing ancient Mayan city near Valladolid. They include 15-meter-high pyramids and a palace east of the main plaza that was discovered just three years ago.

The palace was likely used by the elite of Kulubá, INAH said in late 2019, adding that relics found in and near the structure suggest that it was occupied between the years 600 and 1050 AD. Some of the other structures are still covered by vegetation, including large trees.

July 27, 2022

Fox Seeks Allies Across the Political Spectrum to Shill for Bolsonaro

JULY 25, 2022


“Particularly since the 1930s, the connection of PSYOP with ideology and mass communication has made it a constant strategic element of international politics.”

An Overview of Psychological Operations (PSYOP), Federal Research Division, Library of Congress (1989)

It is no secret that, since the 2016 legislative coup against President Dilma Rousseff and 2018 arbitrary imprisonment of front-running presidential candidate Lula da Silva, multinational corporations have made billions of dollars from environmental deregulation, dismantlement of labor rights and privatization of Brazil’s natural resources. It’s also now known that corporate media outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post normalized the breakdown of Brazil’s rule of law and rise of fascism by ignoring crimes committed by high-profile Judge Sergio Moro that were widely publicized in Brazilian media.

Some people in the US even know how Anglo media outlets like the Washington Post and Guardian misrepresented Lula’s conviction for receiving a nonexistent apartment upgrade by unethically associating it with an alleged multi-million dollar graft scheme in state oil company, Petrobras. Analysis of US media coverage over the last seven years shows systematic bias against Lula, president of Brazil from 2003-10, and his Brazilian Workers Party, even in many left-leaning outlets (Brasilwire, 12/12/18).

However, this year’s Brazilian presidential election appears to have the media in a quandary. Opposing frontrunner Lula, whom they smeared for years (FAIR.org, 12/14/19), looks like public support for neofascist incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, as no other candidate has hit double digits in the polls. On the other hand, supporting Lula implies support for his proposed policies, such as reversing the post-coup labor, pension and environmental reforms that made billions of dollars for their corporate advertisers.

Despite his commitment to austerity policies, however, Bolsonaro is clearly not the right kind of neoliberal for news organizations like CNN or the New York Times. As the old saying goes in Brazil, the bourgeois prefer to support the kind of fascist who eats with a knife and a fork. With the elections looming less than three months away, and Bolsonaro trailing by nearly 20 points in polls, it seems late in the game to revamp his image to make any kind of clinging to power more palatable to an Anglo public.


July 22, 2022

Socialist President Xiomara Castro Is Trying to Revive Democracy in Honduras


Honduras's new leftist president, Xiomara Castro, was inaugurated in January. In her first few months in office, she's prioritized dismantling the decade-long right-wing dictatorship’s anti-labor, pro-capital agenda.

President of Honduras Xiomara Castro during a press conference on November 28, 2021 in Tegucigalpa. (Aphotografia / Getty Images)

In January 2022, Xiomara Castro became Honduras’s first woman president, restoring electoral democracy to the country after more than a decade of dictatorship. Running with the leftist Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) party, Castro’s election breaks with the century-old two-party system that traded power between elites in the establishment National and Liberal Parties. With a mandate for transformation and high popular expectations, Castro faces significant challenges in a context of profound systemic crisis.

The 2009 military coup that ousted Castro’s husband, democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya of the Liberal Party, plunged Honduras into chaos. The ensuing far-right regime was sustained by military force and brazen electoral fraud. The original “Banana Republic” became a laboratory for radical new modes of appropriation and enclosure, with public services and resource-rich territories auctioned off to the highest bidder. Social movement leaders met escalating repression, including the high-profile execution of renowned indigenous activist Berta Cáceres in 2016. The private interests of public officials, extractive capital, and narcotraffickers became indistinguishable. In the face of mounting displacement, insecurity, and inequality, impoverished Hondurans fled to the United States in unprecedented numbers.

LIBRE was formed in 2011 out of the National Popular Resistance Front, which was forged in the anti-neoliberal struggles of the previous decade and challenged the dictatorship in the streets. Militant peasant, indigenous, and labor movements were essential to LIBRE’s victory, but Zelaya’s liberal faction is the dominant force in the governing coalition. Popular organizations must now navigate the pitfalls of demobilization and co-optation as they seek to hold the new government to its promises while fending off destabilization from the Right.

Castro inherits an indebted, ransacked state apparatus, an export-dependent economy in crisis, and a dangerous oligarchic opposition. The judiciary and security forces remain profoundly corrupt and beholden to the old regime, such that the government preferred to extradite her predecessor Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) to the United States for drug trafficking rather than try to enact justice domestically. The administration has requested UN support for an international, anti-corruption commission in the style of the body that was expelled from the country under JOH.


July 21, 2022

Kamala Harris Delivered Evidence To Capture Caro

Sol Prendido 7/18/2022 10:24:00 AM

There is a version, which emerged from the circle close to President López Obrador, that during the visit to Washington last week, Vice President Kamala Harris informed the Mexican president that a DEA team had located drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero in Choix, Sinaloa.

After a tense meeting, in which the concern of the United States was put on the table regarding the attitude that the AMLO government has adopted with respect to the persecution of drug traffickers who have introduced significant amounts of drugs into the United States, Harris offered to hand over to the Navy information that a DEA team —which the head of that agency, Anne Milgram, has operating in San Diego, California— had managed to collect for three months.

The condition imposed by Harris, according to sources from the National Palace, was that the Navy, the only Mexican security body in which the United States trusts, would operate the detention.

. . .

Until August 8, 2013, Rafael Caro Quintero, who had spent the last 28 years in prison responsible for the torture and murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena, seemed like a figure from the past.

. . .

Thus began the second wind in the life of Rafael Caro Quintero. According to the history kept by the Mexican State, partners and relatives of the drug trafficker, sheltered even by the Beltrán Leyva brothers, preserved and increased the fortune of a man who in the 1980s offered to pay Mexico's foreign debt. From prison, Caro Quintero continued to operate his plot. His emporium encompassed hotels, restaurants, gyms, car dealerships, real estate companies.


July 16, 2022

Evo Morales: UK Role in Coup That Ousted Him

July 15, 2022

Matt Kennard interviews the former president of Bolivia about a range of subjects — including the British-backed coup of 2019, Julian Assange, NATO and transnational corporations — at Morales’ house deep in the Amazon rainforest.

When Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, was overthrown in a British-backed coup in November 2019, many believed his life was in danger. Latin America’s history is littered with liberation leaders cut down by vengeful imperial powers.

Legendary resistance leader Túpac Katari, like Morales from the Aymara indigenous group, had his limbs tied to four horses by the Spanish before they bolted and he was ripped apart in 1781.

Some 238 years later, Bolivia’s self-declared “interim president,” Jeanine Áñez, appeared in Congress days after the coup against Morales brandishing a huge leatherbound Bible. “The Bible has returned to the government palace,” she announced.

Her new regime immediately forced through Decree 4078 which gave immunity to the military for any actions taken in “the defence of society and maintenance of public order.” It was a green-light. The following day, 10 unarmed protestors were massacred by security forces.


July 16, 2022

Colombia's war crimes tribunal inquiring about Uribe's alleged paramilitary ties

Former governor ordered to provide information over AUC's political and business contacts

by Adriaan Alsema July 15, 2022

Colombia’s war crimes tribunal JEP ordered a convicted former governor to provide information about former President Alvaro Uribe’s alleged ties to paramilitary death squads.

The former governor of the Magdalena province, Trino Luna, was sentenced to prison for his ties to paramilitary federation AUC in 2007.

The JEP said on Wednesday that Luna’s case was transferred to the transitional justice system, which would allow the former politician to leave prison early if he cooperates.

The former governor was convicted by the Supreme Court in 2007, but failed to provide information that would help identify the businessmen and politicians that made the Bloque Norte and its commander “Jorge 40,” as powerful as they were.

. . .

Uribe was charges with fraud and bribery by the Supreme Court in 2018 over apparent attempts to conceal his alleged ties to the Bloque Metro, the now-defunct AUC that controlled much of Medellin and the surrounding Antioquia province.


~ ~ ~

Oh, surely there's been a mistake! After all, Pres. George W. Bush did give Álvaro Uribe the U.S. Medal of Honor! How do ya like them apples?

July 13, 2022

Lula Supporter Marcelo Arruda Is the Latest Victim of Far-Right Violence in Brazil


Over the weekend in Brazil, a leftist official backing Lula’s presidential bid was killed by a supporter of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. It’s a chilling reminder of the far right’s willingness to use violence to fight the Left.

Last weekend, a man named Marcelo Arruda held a party in the southern Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu. Arruda was celebrating both his fiftieth birthday and the leftist candidacy of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president and front-runner in the October presidential election against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Images of Lula blanketed the party, adorning everything from the walls to Arruda’s T-shirt. The outpouring of love for the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores, the Workers’ Party) wasn’t just for show — Arruda was the treasurer of his local PT branch and the party’s deputy mayor candidate in 2020.

But Arruda’s celebration was cut short by a visit from a pro-Bolsonaro prison guard named Jorge José da Rocha Guaranho. Enraged at Arruda’s ardent support for Lula, Guaranho confronted him at the party, only leaving after a heated argument. Twenty minutes later, wielding a gun and still ranting about Bolsonaro, Guaranho returned. A shoot-out between the two men ensued. Arruda died; Guaranho is currently in the hospital.

In response to this politically motivated killing, the PT has demanded a federal investigation into the murder and its perpetrator, whose social media is littered with right-wing memes. For his part, Bolsonaro has denied any responsibility for the killing and even took the opportunity to claim the Left is more violent than the Right, seemingly hoping people will forget his comments during his first run for president urging supporters to kill PT members.

Brazilians are unfortunately familiar with political violence. From the 1960s through the 1980s, the country’s right-wing dictatorship murdered thousands of people and forced many others into exile. Since Lula’s presidency ended in 2011, a major wave of partisan violence — overwhelmingly committed by the Right — has plagued the country. At least eighty-two candidates were killed in the 2020 election cycle alone.


July 13, 2022

'I'm Going to Kill You': Congresswoman Jayapal Targeted in Alleged Hate Crime

"The right-wingers crying over protesters often won't talk about their deranged supporters threatening to kill lawmakers with an ounce of care or concern," said Rep. Ilhan Omar in response to the attack on her colleague.


July 12, 2022

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal reiterated Tuesday that she and her family are safe after being verbally attacked at their Seattle home by an armed area man who told her to "go back to India" and threatened to kill her.

Police arrested a 48-year-old man—who lives about half a mile from the Washington Democrat and Congressional Progressive Caucus chair—on Saturday night at 11:25 pm, according to The Seattle Times.

When officers arrived at the congresswoman's home, they encountered the man standing in the street with his hands in the air and a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol holstered on his waist. According to a neighbor, the man told Jayapal to "go back to India" and "I'm going to kill you."

"Congresswoman Jayapal confirms that incidents occurred at her Seattle home on Saturday night when she was present. The congresswoman and her family are safe and appreciate the many calls and good wishes she is receiving from constituents," spokesperson Siham Zniber said Monday.


July 7, 2022

Crisis in Cuba Requires End of US Blockade Now

JULY 7, 2022

Friends of socialist Cuba like good news about that country. Now bad news has its use. Grief and hardship currently are such that, clearly, the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba must end at once. The harsh details, appearing below, testify to potential destabilization in Cuba, danger to Cuba’s socialist project, and the nefarious role of the blockade. A major mobilization against the blockade is due. The need for action is obvious.

The blockade, a 60-year-old relic of history, places few heavy demands on the U.S. public. No governmental funding is required. The Treasury Department issues fines and presidents make ritualistic declarations. People dodge travel restrictions. It’s a slow-motion affair. Distracted pro-Cuba activists may lose track of harassment details. Here they get a refresher course, for motivation toward action. It emphasizes blockade effects on people’s lives

In the Beginning

Cuba’s vulnerability is the result mainly of U.S. policies directed at “denying money and supplies to Cuba … to bring about hunger, desperation, and overthrow of government.” The words are those of a State Department memorandum of April 6, 1960.

The flow of money to Cuba – international loans and export income –has long been feeble. International banks, financial institutions, and corporations handling dollars on Cuba’s behalf risk big U.S. Treasury Department fines. U.S. legislation blocks Cuba from importing the products of multi-national companies with branches in the United States – even food and medical supplies. For almost 30 years third-country ships docking in Cuba have been prohibited from entering a U.S. port for the following six months. Since 2019 the U.S. government has sanctioned Venezuelan ships carrying oil to Cuba.


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