There’s a World Out There: Colombia

colombian

Gustavo Petro won over 41% of the vote in Colombia’s most recent presidential election.  This was called by Miguel Salazar of the Nation Magazine, “an unprecented electoral feat for Colombia’s left after decades of isolation and political assassinations – his candidacy became the most successful leftist campaign in modern Colombian history.”

“There is no defeat here,” Petro tweeted shortly after the election results were announced.

But, the election of Ivan Duque, the candidate hand-picked by former President Alvaro Uribe and described by some as a political nobody a short time ago, is no cause for celebration.  Duque, according to Salazar, “…supports a return to harsher measures for combating drug production and consumption in Colombia, including the recriminalization of minor drug offenses and a return to aerial spraying of coca crops, a hazardous practice that was halted under president Santos despite pressure from Washington. Over the past few months, Duque has also supported partnerships between the private sector and the government’s educational branch, and he has vowed to continue the mining and oil drilling operations that have contributed to global warming and perpetuated violence across the country. He’s allied with ultra-conservative politicians such as Alejandro Ordoñez, a former seminarian who opposes LGBT rights, and Marta Lucía Ramírez, a staunch opponent of women’s reproductive rights who will serve as the first female vice president in Colombian history.”

The election of Duque demonstrates once again the strength of Colombia’s conservative elite.

“Politically, Iván Duque is a nobody,” said Sandra Borda, a political scientist at Los Andes University in Bogotá and quoted by Salazar. “He owes every single vote to (former president) Álvaro Uribe.”

See:  Salazar, Miguel (6/20/18) Once again, the right wing wins in Colombia, Amid divisions on the left.  The Nation Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Collins: Indictment

Chris collins official photo

You can read the full indictment of Chris Collins and his co-defendants.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4639631-U-S-v-Christopher-Collins-Et-Al-Indictment-18-Cr.html

As Richard Painter tweeted this morning: You can either be a public servant or you can play the stock market.  You can’t do both.  We must have laws that prevent those in public service from profiting off their positions.  Donald Trump and his family are primary offenders.

 

 

 

Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

“The cult of self dominates our cultural landscape.  This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity, and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception, and manipulation, and the inability to feel remorse or guilt.  This is, of course, the ethic promoted by corporations.  It is the ethic of unfettered capitalism.”

emire

This Is How We Got Trump

emire    “Functional illiteracy in North Ameria is epidemic.  There are 7 million illiterate Americans. Another 27 million are unable to read well enough to complete a job application, and 30 million can’t read a simple sentence.  There are some 50 million who read at a fourth-or fifth-grade level.  Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate – a figure that is growing by more than 2 million a year.  A third of high-school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives, and neither do 42 percent of college graduates.  In 2007, 80 percent of the families in the United States did not buy or read a book.”

Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion.

IN 2007, 80 PERCENT OF THE FAMILIES IN THE UNITED STATES DID NOT BUY OR READ A BOOK.

 

Let’s Get Rid of All the Trees: Georgia

clear cut georgia

This photograph doesn’t begin to give you an impression of what is happening on 2,200 miles of Georgia roadway.

The Department of Transportation is in the midst of a clear cutting project that is only half-way through.  We noticed it around our house in Coastal Georgia.  Trees were being clear cut off land that formerly was wooded and beautiful.  What was left was a hideous swamp.  I can’t imagine the effect this had on wildlife.  And, land that previously only had to be maintained by keeping the undergrowth out of the highway, now has to be completely maintained, costing God knows how much money.  This project to make Georgia hideous, hazardous to wildlife, and expensive, is most certainly a boondoggle for the company who has the contract to clear land that didn’t need clearing and the Congress members who no doubt were paid back with favors and deals.  This little project is going to cost Georgians $62.5 million dollars.

Now, you want me to tell you what the DOT and the Federal Highway Administration have to say about this?

Quote, Doug Hecox, spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration:  “Trees are pretty and aesthetically pleasing, we understand that, but there are a variety of reasons why they’re an unsafe choice.”

And, according to the Riverkeeper in Savannah, Simona Perry, the state ignored the impact this little project would have on erosion.  One of the first things we noticed was that what had formerly been a lovely wooded area was turned into a muddy swamp.

“The state disregarded…good environmental practice by doing it this say…There wasn’t a barrier to stop sediment from running into those waterways and that was alarming,” Said Perry in an Associated Press story.

Oh, and Department of Transportation officials quoted to the Associated Press, statistics that 472 people died over the past three years from hitting trees.

I think we should get rid of them all.  After all, how many children get hurt every year from falling from trees and elderly people tripping over their roots.  Clear cut the state.

According to figures from the CDC, 96 people are killed every DAY with guns.  In Georgia, between 2014 and 2016, 4,413 people were killed with guns (Atlanta Journal Constitution).

Here are the rankings for Georgia compared to the rest of the country.

  • In 2014, Georgia ranked the 4th highest state with a total of 1,394 deaths.
  • In 2015, Georgia ranked 5th highest state with a total of 1,448 deaths.
  • In 2016, Georgia ranked 4th highest state with a total of 1,571 deaths.

Your Republican Legislature at work for you in Georgia.

 

“The State is Just Something to Sell.”

Sarah Kenzior

sarah kenzior  This is the best, the very best tweet of the day, the week, maybe forever.

“There are parallels to past authoritarianism, but what’s happening with Trump, in the digital age, is new and transnational.  The president’s loyalty is not necessarily to a state, but to foreign leaders and multinational criminal alliances.  The state is just something to sell.”

Sarah Kenzior, author of Flyover Country