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Member since: Tue Dec 30, 2014, 06:11 PM
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Uber launch in Uruguay sparks opposition.

According to an announcement made on the company’s official site yesterday, Uber is launching its service in Uruguay’s capital city despite protests by local cab operators. The move would potentially impact the livelihoods of the approximately 3,000 registered taxi drivers in Montevideo, who pay expensive permits and other costs Uber drivers would mostly be exempt from.

Uber, for its part, invited residents of Montevideo, a city of 1.5 million, to download its ride-sharing app. It also published a list of prices that are below tariffs regularly charged by local taxi drivers.

Last week, local cabbies belonging to the CPATU union blocked Uruguay’s first training session for Uber drivers by cutting traffic in downtown Montevideo outside the hotel where the class was scheduled to be held.

Uber drivers have also faced angry protests in Mexico City, Paris and other cities.

At: http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/203349/uber-launch-in-uruguay-sparks-opposition

Scenes from the taxi drivers' protest outside Uber's lair in Montevideo:


Pope Francis tacitly endorses Scioli in Argentine election; "you already know what I think," he said

In the traditional Wednesday audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis urged Argentines "vote their conscience" in the presidential runoff next Sunday.

"You already know what I think," said the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Moments after the phrase began to circulate through the mainstream media, Daniel Scioli highlighted His Holiness' message, with a reading which was supported by Francis' repeated criticism of capitalism.

In an interview with Antonio Laje of A24, the Front for Victory nominee spoke of the plans for austerity and shock devaluation promoted by Mauricio Macri. "Pope Francis' words will be very important to Argentines as they vote their conscience," Scioli said. "They should give us all pause with respect to the actions of the kind of savage capitalism that wants to bring Argentina to its knees."

"His call to vote our conscience is a deep message: it asks that people support those who they believe will defend them," said Scioli. "You can be for or against me; but I don't say one thing today, and then another the next day as (Mauricio) Macri does."

Scioli was careful not to directly attribute to himself the Supreme Pontiff's support; but it is known that the two share a relationship of respect and affection that goes back a long way.

"We talk about universal themes. His main concern is the struggle against savage capitalism and its consequences, against social injustice, and to make the world more aware of all this," said Scioli two years ago. The criticism of savage capitalism referred to by Scioli was in fact reiterated by Pope Francis in his statement this morning.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.infobae.com/2015/11/18/1770607-daniel-scioli-interpreto-el-mensaje-del-papa-francisco-el-ballotage&prev=search

Nobody that has followed Pope Francis in the news for any length of time can doubt this.

Though he's somewhat to the right of the outgoing President Cristina Kirchner, Daniel Scioli is to Mauricio Macri what Bernie Sanders or Martin O'Malley is to Narco Rubio (whose owner, GOP megadonor and TARP baby Paul Singer, supports and, in fact, funds Macri's party).

Industrial Hemp Now Legal in North Carolina.

Thanks to a completely game-changing move, North Carolina has just passed a bill providing for the legalization, manufacture, and cultivation of hemp for industrial use.

The city of Spring Hope, North Carolina, has one of the only huge hemp decortication facilities in the entire United States. What is Decortication exactly? It is the process in which the bark or (long fiber) is stripped from the stalks, which in turn allows this crop to be better utilized for production.

This facility in North Carolina has been able to process hemp due to the obvious mounting legal issues with hemp. Though now being legal in North Carolina, this facility is able to pump out 40 million pounds of hemp each and every year, helping to then pave the way for the production and employment opportunities that this simple legalization of hemp will bring.

Governor Pat McCrory passed Senate Bill 213 on October 31, 2015, that would allow farmers in North Carolina to have a brand new option for growing various crops. At the stroke of midnight, the production of industrial hemp thus became legal.

This new bill passed the House and Senate both in late September by a landslide vote of 101-7 and 42-2, respectively; it has been awaiting the approval of Governor McCrory to sign it turning into a law.

The North Carolina General Assembly:

“…finds and declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the State in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production.

The purposes of this Article are to establish an agricultural pilot program for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the State, to provide for reporting on the program by growers and processors for agricultural or other research, and to pursue any federal permits or waivers necessary to allow industrial hemp to be grown in the State.”

Currently, the United States stands as the number one importer of all hemp products in the world, due to its being illegal to cultivate in most states. The United States thus spends millions a year to import hemp products from other countries who have not banned this highly valuable crop.

Known industrial uses of hemp include:

Building materials
Cooking (hemp oil)
Food (seeds, Hempola for bread, etc.)
Skin care products
Animal and bird feed
Animal bedding
Water and soil purification
Weed control
Clean fuel

At: http://www.healthfreedoms.org/win-industrial-hemp-now-legal-in-north-carolina/

G20 endorses anti-vulture debt guidelines.

Source: Buenos Aires Herald

The Argentine Economy Ministry celebrated yesterday another international acknowledgement of the importance of the country’s long-standing legal saga with the so-called “vulture funds” as the G20 group of developed economies made references in its final document to the importance of promoting new rules for debt restructuring processes.

“We welcome the progress made to strengthen the orderliness and predictability of the sovereign debt restructuring process,” the final document agreed in Antalya, Turkey, says under a section dedicated to “building a stronger, more resilient global economy.” It also praises recent efforts by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to regulate banks in order to avoid a financial crisis such similar to that of 2008.

According to Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, the issue will now be key to other countries because “almost US$900 billion worth of debt were issued under previous rules, including Argentine notes issued under the Alianza government” from 1999 to 2001. Kicillof said that half of the existing debt restructurings are under risk of being attacked as Argentina’s was by Paul Singer’s NML Capital and other hedge funds, and praised the outgoing administration of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for being a pioneer in a matter of global consequences.

In another section of the document focused on “Issues for Further Action,” the G20 said that the new contractual clauses that protect sovereign debt restructurings from aggressive minority bondholders aiming to move matters to courts should be applied to all new bond issues. “Given the challenges litigation poses and in order to strengthen the orderliness and predictability of the sovereign debt restructuring process, we welcome the international work on strengthened collective action and pari passu clauses. We call for their inclusion in international sovereign bonds and encourage the international community and private sector to actively promote their use,” the G-20 said.

Read more: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/203105/g20-endorses-antivulture-debt-guidelines

Ah. To be a fly on the (Cayman Islands) wall and be able to hear Paul Singer chew his personal senator, Narco Rubio, out. I hope that runt remembered his water bottle!

Scioli, Macri face to face in historic debate ahead of runoff in Argentina.

Source: Buenos Aires Herald

Victory Front presidential candidate Daniel Scioli and Let's Change coalition hopeful Mauricio Macri faced each other off tonight in a historic debate just a week out from a winner-takes-all runoff scheduled for November 22. Tonight marked the first time that final round candidates ever participated in a formal debate in Argentine history.

At the beginning of the debate, Scioli affirmed that Mauricio Macri's ideas "are a danger to the whole of society." "I feel his ideas are dangerous. When he's said things he hasn't exposed here, like the lifting of dollar restrictions, that means austerity. Who will pay the cost of that?"

Macri said in response: "I believe you are the ones afraid, those who are ruling the country. I am asking you to stop being my spokesperson, to tell us your proposals instead." "We must expand the economy; I never said I will implement austerity," Macri said, despite statements to the contrary by his economic policy team.

The two presidential candidates discussed key topics that are part of the social agenda, divided in four different segments: one devoted to economy and social development; another to security and human rights; another focused on education; and the fourth based on strengthening democracy.

The debate began at 7:30 p.m. EST, and lasted 75 minutes. It was held at the main auditorium of the University of Buenos Aires Law School.

Read more: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/203036/scioli-macri-face-to-face-in-historic-debate-ahead-of-runoff

The headline moment was probably Scioli's:

"I come to echo the wishes workers have for their future, of the students whose access to free education Macri questions. I stand with the oil industry, when Macri's economists say Argentina does not need energy sovereignty and instead want to put a Shell executive at the head of (the state energy firm) YPF."

Argentine human rights groups endorse Daniel Scioli for President.

Human rights organizations in Argentina are preparing to issue an explicit endorsement of Front for Victory (FpV) presidential candidate Daniel Scioli ahead of the November 22 runoff, warning about the possible consequences of a victory by Mauricio Macri of the right-wing "Let’s Change" coalition.

The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, Relatives of Forcibly Disappeared Persons for Political Reasons, and HIJOS (the organization that represents children of state terror victims) will issue a statement endorsing Scioli on Tuesday.

“While one candidate (Macri) vows to forget the past, open prison doors for dictatorship-era criminals, and push austerity plans, the other (Scioli) represents the continuity of a political project that has done much to help the poor,” Estela Barnes de Carlotto, the head of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, told the Herald.

Barnes de Carlotto’s support for Scioli was lukewarm earlier in the campaign. Scioli has worked to gain Barnes de Carlotto’s confidence, however, vowing to create a Human Rights Ministry if elected.

“We want to make it clear that although we aren’t afraid, we’re concerned about a Macri victory,” Taty Almeida, an iconic leader of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo told the Herald, echoing Barnes de Carlotto’s words. “The right-wing is gaining and we needed to express our concern; but also to defend a project that means more rights and more democracy,” Giselle Tepper, of HIJOS, also told the Herald.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel was one of the first human rights leaders to endorse Scioli’s bid, though he will not be signing the statement that the other groups will be releasing days before the runoff. Pérez Esquivel also pointed out that Scioli represented a project that seeks to give the state a central role, whereas Macri favors "pro-business" positions. “I’ve always been critical of Kirchnerism; but the differences are clear,” he added.

Although Macri has long had a distant relationship with the human rights organizations since he became Buenos Aires City mayor in 2007, it worsened last year when the PRO leader said he wanted to end the “human rights scam.”

“He said we were a scam. He did not offend us, he offended the 30,000 forcibly disappeared people,” Taty Almeida said. “That is what he thinks about human rights.”

HIJOS has also taken Macri to court for failing to protect witnesses in human rights trials. “Macri does not represent Memory, Truth, and Justice,” she said. “He represents impunity.”

Other groups have also been critical of Scioli but don’t see it as an obstacle for endorsement. “We’ve criticized Scioli; but we’ve been much more critical of Macri,” Tepper acknowledged yesterday. “We, the human rights groups, will have to be the safeguards of human rights in any government.”

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/202989/rights-groups-for-scioli

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel supports Daniel Scioli in Argentine elections.

The 1980 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the human rights organization Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, expressed his support for Front for Victory (FpV) nominee Daniel Scioli for the November 22 runoff against his right-wing rival, Cambiemos ("Let's Change" nominee Mauricio Macri.

"Today we face a crossroads that in a few days will define the direction the country will take. No one can be indifferent, be like a bear and go to hibernate," said Nobel laureate in dialogue with Radio América.

"My position is always the same: we need to analyze the beneficial things for the people and support them. It's a defining moment. You know, I criticize things about the current government; but one must see the perspectives at the national level," he said.

In his personal blog, Pérez Esquivel warned that "beyond the many similarities, these elections confront two different management models. One of them, with a State that seeks to be ever more present in the economy and to make social policies a priority; and the other wanting to leave everything to the market and the fate of millions of Argentines to the mandate of external consultants."

"A government that does not control the assets and resources of the people, and instead delivers them to the greed of foreign companies, is a country that loses its sovereignty - the leaders become mere managers of transnational corporations," added Pérez Esquivel. He recalled that 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the rejection of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Mar del Plata. "this election also defines continental and international alliances," he highlighted.

He also suggested that Unasur should be strengthened to protect against coup attempts in the continent and to lay foundations for the further defense of democracies. "Only one candidate is speaking about Latin American regional integration. Only one suggests strengthening Mercosur, Unasur and Celac, as well as future projects like the Southern Bank," he writes in his blog referring to the FpV candidate, Daniel Scioli.

"I am a pessimist with hope, and I believe I am not alone. I, like many other Argentines, am willing to study the choices and vote the best I can. So I will vote for Daniel Scioli with the commitments he has made," Pérez Esquivel concluded.

At: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4324751&Itemid=1

Allies of dictatorship-era repressers in Argentina hail ‘winds of change’ if Macri is elected.

A group created to battle against trials for dictatorship-era crimes against humanity says end of Kirchnerist era raises hopes.

"Justice and Concord" — a group created six years ago to wage battle against the trials of dictatorship-era torturers and their leaders — yesterday closed its annual meeting by honoring María Elena Vázquez de Astiz, an elderly woman who in 2013 was indicted with the appropriation of a child during the 1976-83 dictatorship. Her daughter, Lucrecia Astiz, stood up. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she told the group of lawyers: “I want to thank you for all your efforts. We couldn’t do it without you.”

Mrs. Astiz is, however, probably best known on account of her son: Alfredo Astiz, the young Navy officer with blonde hair and blue eyes who in the late 1970s operated as an undercover agent and abducted numerous members of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. They and other human rights organizations have long referred to him as "the angel of death."

For some, their tears were also of hope, as the former executive secretary of Justice and Concord, Mariano Gradín, said as he explained his decision to step down from his post; “there is a wind of change,” he said. Some of the participants laughed, because it was a clear nod to the "Let’s Change" coalition that nominated right-wing Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri; Macri is currently campaigning in a runoff with the ruling Victory Front (FpV) candidate Daniel Scioli.

“As there are winds of change, I will have to pave the way for the next generations,” Gradín added in a cheerful tone.

He was not the only one to smell that change is in the air. Take Ricardo Saint Jean — son of the late General Ibérico Saint Jean, the governor of Buenos Aires Province during the dictatorship who was himself indicted in 2007 for crimes against humanity (he died before sentencing). “For the first time in 12 years, we now have a ray of hope,” Saint Jean said in reference to the end of the Kirchnerist era. Saint Jean quoted the late dictator Jorge Rafael Videla: “We faced our worst moment with the Kirchners.”

“Much of our victory depends on our persistence. I urge you to raise the ante, not to leave our struggle until the rule of law is restored for everyone,” Saint Jean added, sitting next to the Alberto Solanet, who was confirmed yesterday as the head of Justice and Concord. Videla’s former lawyer, Alberto Rodríguez Varela, was also in agreement.

Their resentment against Kirchnerism and their progressive allies dates from the late former President Néstor Kirchner's first year in office in 2003, when he succeeded in having lawmakers declare null and void the Due Obedience and Full Stop Laws that prevented those who committed crimes during the 1976-83 military regime from being taken to court. Two years later, the Supreme Court ratified that decision, reopening the trials for crimes against humanity. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti has repeatedly stated that trials for dictatorship-era crimes are part of the Argentines’ social contract.

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/202716/allies-of-repressors-hail-%E2%80%98winds-of-change%E2%80%99

The presence of General Ibérico Saint Jean's son in what was basically a Macri rally was especially appropriate, given that his father coined the dictatorship's unofficial credo:

"First we will kill all the subversives; then we will kill their collaborators; then their sympathizers; then those who remain indifferent; and finally we will kill the timid."

Increasingly, the world sees Republicans as the greatest threat to America.

It has always been a curiosity that most Americans understand less about America’s government, its society, and its flaws than most citizens of foreign nations. It is not that foreigners have better access to news coming out of America, they just pay attention to what is happening to a country they at one time thought of as exceptional despite some of its history. It's no secret that the world’s opinion of America worsened drastically after the nation started invading and occupying Muslim countries; but the world’s opinion began shifting with the election of Barack Obama.

President Obama has elevated America’s status and reputation around the world as he attempted to clean up eight years of Bush Administration abominations. But after the past two midterm elections, and the extremist field of candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, people around the world are increasingly convinced that the greatest threat to America is the Republican Party itself. It is important to note that although many around the world specifically cite GOP politicians by name, they also understand that those Republicans threatening America are as much the religious and racist base, as are the politicians. This little fact eludes many Americans who focus on a personality and not who puts them in the spotlight and position of power and influence (the voters).

An opinion piece in a New Zealand newspaper a few months ago gave particular attention to the extremism being displayed by the GOP presidential candidates and actually cited the support they have from voters. The authors wrote that Republicans “are now essentially a party of religious fundamentalism.”

A citizen of Uganda and regular commuter to the United States recently noted that,

“The U.S. Constitution says the government’s responsibility is to provide welfare, security and safety to its population allowing every person the opportunity to live in a dignified manner; Republicans believe otherwise and have created a system that has become a rich man’s plaything.”

A resident of an EU nation remarked that,

“I am completely flabbergasted by what has become of America. In the Republican Party stupidity is admired and encouraged, intelligence and education are viewed as ‘elitist’, money is their God and fear is their motivator. If more people outside the U.S. continue to speak very loudly about this situation, it might help them turn things around. The hate and fear that Fox promotes helped the Republican Party create and fuel the atmosphere threatening America.”

An Australian opinion writer added that

“Donald Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America; racism, crass materialism, relentless self-aggrandizement, vulgarity on an epic scale. He is the Ugly American.”

Actually, the Republican base is the Ugly American and GOP presidential candidates and politicians are simply saying exactly what the base demands. They are, without question, the greatest threat to America.

At: http://www.politicususa.com/2015/11/09/increasingly-world-sees-republicans-greatest-threat-america.html

Meet Macri's pick for Health Minister should he win the runoff in Argentina.

Dr. Abel Albino, in a meeting with right-wing presidential candidate Mauricio Macri, signed a commitment to join the Macri administration should he win, and to make fighting malnutrition a state policy (Argentina, according to the WHO, already has one of the lowest rates of malnutrition in Latin America http://archivo.losandes.com.ar/notas/2011/4/19/argentina-escala-baja-desnutricion-563162.asp).

Dr. Albino, however, also holds very critical views of sex education and birth control.

The doctor's best-known book, To Govern Is To Populate, shows opposition to any contraceptive practice because, in Albino's words, "natural methods" such as the highly unreliable rhythm method long advocated by conservative Catholics "are the only ones without side effects." Additionally, Dr. Albino opposes the current government policy of free delivery of morning-after pills and condoms as "assisted fornication plans" and considers that "malnutrition is a cultural disease that occurs in places where sex takes place compulsively."

Albino advocates replacing Argentina's comprehensive assistance programs with an "Integral Program Against Malnutrition" - led by Albino and operating as an autonomous quasi-public body funded by the Ministry of National Social Development. The program would be implemented nationwide with volunteers.

The idea was originally promoted by Dr. Albino through his CONIN Foundation, a non-profit institution he founded in 1993 with the stated goal of fighting malnutrition (childhood malnutrition rates in Argentina were high during the 1990s). In its official website, however, the CONIN Foundation explains the issue of poverty in terms of "genetic potential" and "the mental weakness of the malnourished."


Paging Dr. Hitler! Sounds like the good doctor - like conservatives everywhere, it seems - wishes he could have some "assisted fornication plans" of his own.
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