Wednesday, August 31

Coup in Brazil 2016: Democracy Is Dead in Brazil

Democracy Is Dead in Brazil
By: Maria Luisa Mendonça on Telesur.

The successful execution of this coup, which masqueraded as a legitimate impeachment trial, sets a dangerous precedent for Latin America.

The impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff represents a parliamentary coup by right-wing politicians who face serious corruption charges and have not been able to win presidential elections since 2002.

The alleged basis for the impeachment was her use of a common financial mechanism of borrowing funds from public banks to cover social program expenses in the federal budget.

Recently, the federal prosecutor's office concluded that the budget deficit served to subsidize interests rates in governmental loans in order to provide credit for low-income housing and agriculture.

The federal prosecutor stated that this mechanism cannot be considered a crime.

Other national and local administrations have used this same mechanism, including her predecessors Lula da Silva and Fernando H. Cardoso, as well as 16 current state governors.

The senators who voted for the impeachment ignored the decision of the public prosecutor, who should be the main authority to determine if the accusations had legal basis. The main strategy of the interim government of Michel Temer, who is banned from running for office for eight years due to violating election laws, was to create a de facto situation, so the result of the trial against President Rousseff was a foregone conclusion, even before she presented her defense.

The impeachment votes in the Senate and in the Lower House were predictable, since most lawmakers expressed their opinions previously. Most House members declared that they were supporting the impeachment in the name of God, or their families. One member even praised a former military commander who tortured Rousseff during the military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 until 1985.

These are key facts to understand why Brazil is experiencing a parliamentary coup.

Several Congress members in favor of the impeachment face serious corruption charges. Former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who initiated and conducted the impeachment vote on April 17, has since been forced to step down on charges of corruption and maintaining illegal Swiss bank accounts. The Supreme Court had received evidence against Cunha at least six months before the vote in the lower House, but conveniently let him orchestrate the impeachment approval.

De facto President Temer, along with seven ministers appointed by him, are also under investigation for corruption charges. Temer has been acting very fast to push neoliberal reforms and austerity cuts to social programs, including education, health care and retirement plans, which will create more economic and social instability. These austerity measures will increase economic inequality and unemployment. His cabinet consists of the most conservative sectors of the political spectrum, representing an agenda that has been rejected by Brazilian voters in consecutive elections since 2002.

Mainstream media in Brazil has played a major role in the impeachment process by creating the idea that Rousseff's removal from office was needed to solve the economic crisis. For more than a year, the main television stations called for demonstrations against her government. At the same time, the demonstrations in defense of the democratic process that re-elected Rousseff in 2014 were mainly ignored by mainstream media.

The international community needs to support democracy in Brazil. Before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Brazil for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, 43 House Democrats sent him a letter expressing serious concerns about the US role in undermining democracy in Brazil. At that time, Secretary Kerry avoided a meeting with Temer, but met with the interim minister of foreign relations, Jose Serra, who has been accused of receiving millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions.

Latin American countries have experienced traumatic regime change coups in recent years, in Honduras, Paraguay and now in Brazil. Acceptance of an illegitimate government sets a dangerous precedent for the whole region, and the risk of undermining democracy can have traumatic impacts for many years.

Maria Luisa Mendonça is co-director of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights) in Brazil. She has a PhD in Philosophy and Social Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo (USP).

Jim Brandenburg's "Horse Spirit"

Photography by Jim Brandenburg. "Horse Spirit".
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Its loveliness increases; it will never.” John Keats"

Sunday, August 28

Dilma Rousseff’s suspension is an insult to democracy in Brazil

Dilma Rousseff’s suspension is an insult to democracy in Brazil
The Guardian, Thursday 26 May 2016

"We condenm the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. It is thoroughly wrong that a few parliamentarians trample upon the political will expressed at the ballot box by 54 million Brazilians. The new government has shown its true colours by appointing a non-representative, all-male, cabinet and launching neoliberal policies that will hurt millions of working and poorer people. The interim government has no mandate to implement policies that reverse the social programmes that took 40 million people out of poverty. We join Brazil’s progressive political and social movements, and groups from across global civil society including the trade union movement, in condemning this attempt to overthrow democracy in Brazil."
Richard Burgon MP (Labour)
Ruth Cadbury MP (Labour)
Jim Cunningham MP (Labour)
Andrew Gwynne MP (Labour)
Kelvin Hopkins MP (Labour)
Ian Lavery MP (Labour)
Clive Lewis MP (Labour)
Rachael Maskell MP (Labour)
Angus MacNeil MP (SNP)
Grahame Morris MP (Labour)
John Nicolson MP (SNP)
Liz Saville Roberts MP (Plaid Cymu)
Tommy Sheppard MP (SNP)
Lord Jeremy Beecham (Labour)
Lord Martin John O’Neill (Labour)
Jenny Rathbone AM (Welsh Assembly, Labour)
Claudia Beamish MSP (Labour)
Neil Findlay MSP (Labour)
Iain Gray MSP (Labour)
Elaine Smith MSP (Labour)

Saturday, August 27

Brazil's Banana Scoundrels Will Now Win Their Olympics by Pepe Escobar

Image: Yet another US coup d'état in a latin american country. Dilma Rousseff's terminator, Michel Temer, was an embassy informant for US intelligence by Miguel Villalba Sanchez.

Brazil's Banana Scoundrels Will Now Win Their Olympics
by Pepe Escobar* first published on Strategic Cuture.

"The Rio Olympics are gone – Bolt, Phelps, Neymar, the green pool, the Ugly American Lochte and all – but a global audience may have been spared a shameful last act.

Mediocre incompetent opportunist, corrupt coward traitor, and certified political usurper, interim President Michel Temer, refused to go to the closing ceremony, afraid of being booed out of a packed Maracana stadium. According to the latest polls, 79% of Brazilians want Temer The Usurper out. Now.

Thus Temer The Usurper was not able, according to protocol, to pass the baton (for Tokyo in 2020) to visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Team Temer offered a meeting later on in the capital, Brasilia. Japanese diplomats flatly refused; who wants your Prime Minister to meet a coward in hiding?

Former President Lula lobbied hard to bring the Olympics to Rio, and preparations went on under President Dilma Rousseff. Coupled with Temer The Usurper’s primal fear of being booed just as in the Olympics opening ceremony, which led to his subsequent diplomatic humiliation, a noxious, pathetic political propaganda campaign was deployed right to the end of the games, trying to diminish or even extinguish Lula’s and Dilma’s role. Quite a few Brazilian athletes with great performances at the games benefited from government-supported sport programs.

Now the Scoundrel Games are back in Brazil – with a parliamentary junta disputing gold medals with an institutional racket involving big banks, big business, corporate media and sectors of the Judiciary and the Federal Police. The farce is being sold as a trial in the Senate of President Rousseff, accused – without proof – of financially embellishing the state budget.

Unlike the cowardly usurper, Rousseff is going to the Senate to stare all 81 members in the face; these are the people who by the end of this month will for all practical purposes save or bury Brazilian democracy for good. Rousseff, in case of – miraculously – not being impeached, proposes a referendum leading to new elections.

As it stands, it does not look good. The late, great Jean Baudrillard – a great lover of Brazil – would characterize Rousseff’s impeachment drive as a simulacrum, obliterating the real crime; the parliamentary/institutional coup orchestrated by a notorious bunch of scoundrels, Temer included.

The multi-layered coup, with modified Hybrid War elements, comes with a prearranged finale. It does not matter that even Brazilian Public Ministry experts have repeatedly admitted there’s no juridical basis for Rousseff’s impeachment. Even the federal prosecutor on the case concluded a few weeks ago that she did not commit a crime – «responsibility» or otherwise.

The prosecutorial gang includes two of every three members of the Brazilian Congress who are facing an array of scandals. The overall institutional farce points to the Legislative, the Judiciary and the Public Ministry dragging their feet on indicting the legislative scoundrels while accelerating the procedure against Rousseff. That’s the definition of organized crime.

The endgame, from the point of view of the coup plotter galaxy, is to criminalize and finish off with the Workers’ Party for good – from Lula and Rousseff downwards – under an upcoming barrage of hazy «obstruction of Justice» allegations.

And the Obama administration loves it

The president of construction company giant Odebrecht, incarcerated for months now, accused Temer The Usurper of pleading for – and receiving – undeclared «electoral help», in cash, for his party, the PMDB. Temer has already been convicted for violating election finance laws and banned from running for office for eight years.

Interim Foreign Minister Jose Serra also received «electoral help» for his presidential campaign in 2010; part of the loot was paid overseas, something that properly investigated could lead his party, the PSDB, to lose its registration.

In these past few weeks, Temer The Usurper took no prisoners to turbo charge the impeachment timetable farce, at the same time preventing Dilma to mount a detailed defense. His excuse; he needs to go to Hangzhou, China, for the G20 summit starting on September 4. And he needs to go as president-in-charge – not as «leader» of an unelected caretaker government acting like they’ve earned their mandate in the polling booth.

The real reason for the rush, though, is that Temer feared the serious Odebrecht corruption charge like the plague. Other charges may be imminent. Yet he’s protected – at least for now; the Mob – as in the Goddess of the Market, Brazil’s big banking and their shills in corporate media – is on his side.

Brazil remains totally paralyzed by the political/institutional farce. The 8th largest economy in the world, second largest exporter of food products, and largest industrial platform in the developing West is bleeding, badly. Oil workers are accusing the Mob for 1.5 million lost jobs. Huge infrastructure projects are stalled. Large construction companies are virtually broke; Odebrecht by itself fired over 70,000 workers.

In parallel Temer The Usurper’s «government» has already started to enact its masterplan – straight from disaster capitalism’s playbook. One of the key «policies» is to sell out Petrobras – and the pre-salt reserves – to foreign, as in US corporate, interests. Lula correctly identified the pre-salt reserves – the largest oil discovery in the 21st century so far – as the privileged source for a new development drive for Brazil.

But there are way more disasters in store; selling out indigenous Brazilian industrial development via hardcore privatization, abandoning the defense of Brazilian engineering know-how; severe cuts on education, health, science and technology; «flexibilization» of workers’ rights, as in attacking them on all fronts; a regressive attack on pensions; and sabotaging Mercosur – the South American common market – to the benefit of vassal subordination to US interests.

The – legitimate – Uruguayan Foreign Minister, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, was even compelled to denounced the – illegitimate – Brazilian Foreign Minister, the lowly Serra, for trying to buy Montevideo’s help to prevent Venezuela from stepping up to the temporary presidency of Mercosur. In a little over three months, Serra managed to reduce Brazilian diplomacy to a heap of rotten bananas.

And then, of course, there’s the cherry in the cheesecake; the lame duck Obama administration’s full support for the coup and the impeachment farce.

Obama did not have the balls to say it upfront. That came in the form of Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with the repellent Serra in a trip to Brazil in early August. Kerry even issued a long statement – for all practical purposes legitimizing the coup.

Kerry did not have the balls to meet Temer The Usurper. So what; the whole Global South now knows where Washington stands. Parliamentary / institutional regime change is of course OK. As long as it prevents BRICS integration and Chinese trade/commercial advance in Latin America.

Move on, nothing to see here – as Washington proceeds to the serious business of negotiating two crucial military bases with Argentina’s neoliberal vassal Mauricio Macri; one in resource-rich Patagonia, the other smack into the Brazil / Argentina / Paraguay triple border, right by the largest aquifer on the planet.

And there’s all that pre-salt oil about to go to Chevron! How not to love the smell of regime change in the morning? Definitely smells like victory. And you don’t even need to send the Marines for it."

*Independent geopolitical analyst, writer and journalist

Thursday, August 25

Brazilian coup 2016: First Senate Session of the Coup Trial

I have been following since this morning the first session of the impeachment trial in Brazilian Senate. It is exhausting and overwhelming watching this badly cast farce.
I'll put myself together but, for the moment, I'll leave this comment Pepe Escobar wrote on his Facebook account:


"Today the scoundrel-infested Brazilian Senate starts a monstrous farce with a fixed endgame; the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff by next Wednesday – with no juridical base whatsoever.
My column about it is already with Strategic Culture – should be published, ideally, before the weekend. Title: “Brazil’s Banana Scoundrels Will Now Win Their Olympics.”

Good to know that Chomsky, Brian Eno, Naomi Klein, Tom Morello, Arundhati Roy and Oliver Stone, among others, urged in a statement for “Brazilian senators to respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”

"The corrupt politicians leading the effort to unseat president Dilma Rousseff should be aware that there is an international spotlight shining down on their actions. If they follow through with their plan, they will be remembered in history as the ones responsible for the most damaging assault against democracy in Brazil since the 1964 coup."
"Brazil: The Provisional Banana Scoundrel Republic" by Pepe Escobar is a good start.

Aw! Drag Dog

Isn't she lovely...

Monday, August 22

Rajee Rajindra Narinesingh transgender activist, actress and great human being

Rajee is most known because of the black market injection, and lately the result of the transformation on Botched.
This is a tiny little aspect of Rajee's life. Please, listen to what she has to say about herself.
Read her books and open your mind for this activist and great human being.

Wednesday, August 17

Fraud in Brazilian 2016 Impeachment: In Defense of the Democratic Rule of Law in Brazil

I would like to write about what is going on in Brazil but I confess I'm too emotional to do so. Brazil is going backwards and every day I feel afraid to watch the news, This article "Wall Street Behind Brazil Coup d’Etat" approaches the US intervention that has been destabilizing the nation.
A manifesto signed by German philosophers Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth and Rainer Forst, American philosopher Nancy Fraser, Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor and more than one hundred intellectuals from all over the world not only helps explaining what is going on but is also shows that this impeachment is a fraud.


On the 31st of March 1964, a coup d’état installed a civil-military dictatorship in Brazil, inaugurating a dark 21-year period of suspension of civil and political guarantees. Today, 52 years after, the Brazilian people face once more a break of the democratic order. As a result of the acceptance by the Senate of an impeachment process based on accounting irregularities, Dilma Rousseff, who had been elected in 2014 for a mandate of 4 years, was forced, on the 12th of May 2016, to stand down as President of the Republic. Even though this removal is supposed to be temporary, lasting up to 180 days, period during which the senators should reconvene to evaluate the motives that have resulted in the impeachment process, it is unlikely that Dilma should return to office.

Dilma Rousseff’s temporary removal from office is the culmination of a process characterized by unprecedented arbitrariness and polarization in democratic Brazilian society, perceptible at least since her re-election in 2014. By attributing the recent corruption scandals exclusively to the Worker’s Party’s (PT) administrations (although they were the only ones who had the courage to investigate them through, even when investigations turned against their own) and by manipulating  public opinion against the supposed risks of a left-wing takeover of the country, the right-wing opposition to Dilma Rousseff’s government took advantage of the economic crisis that emerged after years of stability and growth and led a violent media campaign against it. It managed to aggregate against the Workers’ Party (PT) and Lula’s and Dilma’s governments large sections of business elites and conservative middles classes, as well as authoritarian sectors represented in Congress and in the Judiciary, evidently aiming the hammering down of the social rights secured by Dilma’s government and the deregulation of economy. Besides, once in power, they will probably decline to further investigate corruption as it is likely to involve their own people, as opposed to Dilma Rousseff, whose probity in the administration of public affairs is not doubted, as corruption charges are not part of the impeachment process.

The impeachment is a juridical tool of extremely restricted scope in Brazilian presidentialism. It is regulated by Art.85 of the Brazilian Constitution of 1988, and its use is restricted to cases involving serious offenses (crimes de responsabilidade, “responsibility crimes”) carried out by the President. As the accounting irregularities in the administration of public funds that Dilma Rousseff is accused of are not serious offenses in the sense prescribed by the Constitution, it is evident that this impeachment is not legitimately grounded. Furthermore, the whole process was full of questionable aspects, which contribute to add further illegitimacy to its results. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to consider the present impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff a white coup, which will yield long-lasting consequences to the democratic Rule of Law in Brazil."

Sunday, August 14

The doorway therapy

I did read this study by Professor Gabriel Radvansky about the hypothesis that when we pass through a doorway we have memory lapses.
 "Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized."

As a mental health advocate, thus seeing all kind of strange therapies and treatments, I tend to see these hypotheses and their experiments as funny and I cannot help thinking that a new therapy is born: the patient that suffers from a trauma will pass through X number of doorways and will be healed.
The number of doorways will be stipulated after some experiments but we can already give a chart:

- trauma caused by divorce: 10 doorways a day for a period of three months;

- trauma caused by lost job: 5 doorways a day for a period of one month because if one is traumatized by job problems in a era where there are no jobs it makes no sense;

- trauma caused by child abuse: depends on the age of the person but usually 50 doorways a day for two years;

- trauma caused by being in the battlefield: same as for child abuse.

If you have any doubt or want to make your own schedule please contact Dr Embromation Schapiro, M.D., PhD, member of APA, AMA, AACAP, FDA, Harvard researcher, and shareholder of many labs, by sending an e-mail to embromation@hotmail. com but don't forget to take your pills.

First published at my tiny blog Audacious Shalott

In wonderland

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Friday, August 12

Beware: New Computer

I've been away because my two computers decided to get out of order at the same time.
I've no idea why they did it to me.
The new one arrived today. Problem solved? Nope.
I don't know if it is only me but a new computer means that I have to fight the machine and the operating system that changed, and, according to the brand, the stuffs they add require an extra effort.
As soon as I learn how to deal with it all - Lord! The fonts are tiny! - I'll be here again.