Sunday, April 22

Brazil's Former president Lula is a political prisoner

Lula in the centre on the day he presented himself to the police. In the arms of the people.
Photography by Francisco Proner 

Why Lula is a political prisoner, not a criminal
by Mariana T Noviello       9 April 2018

Brazil's former and most popular president is now serving a long jail sentence. Mariana T Noviello offers context she argues international media has failed to provide

Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, affectionately known as ‘Lula’, is in prison. He surrendered Saturday evening to begin serving a 12-year sentence.

But it is necessary to clarify something that the foreign media has either not understood or has deliberately decided not to explain to their non-Brazilian audience.

Lula’s support is not just part of a ‘populist trend’.

It is true that he is the most successful and popular president Brazil has ever had.

It is also true that the international media has reported on the Workers’ Party’s successful ‘left of centre’ policies, such as lifting millions of people out of poverty and Brazil out of the UN’s Hunger Map.

And it is precisely because of this success (translated into four presidential mandates) that a significant portion of the Brazilian population remembers the Lula years with fondness – especially when compared with Michel Temer's turbulent post-impeachment regime.

However, what is hardly ever mentioned, is the fact that many in Brazil are extremely alarmed and concerned for democracy, the Brazilian constitution and the rule of law.

Since president Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, the country has had to endure escalating violence and worrying trends. The recent murder of Councillor Marielle Franco is one example highlighting the rise in violence which spreads to vulnerable populations, community leaders and activists among indigenous, former slave communities, landless peasants, young black people in the favelas, and prisoners. The gun attack on Lula’s bus exemplifies the rise in fascist and extreme right views and attitudes.

Within this scenario, Lula’s trial and conviction is the most emblematic.

That is why a considerable number of renowned Brazilian legal experts (both academics and practising professionals) have consistently flagged up flaws at all levels of Lula’s proceedings: from the unnecessary bench warrant that led to his forceful arrest by the Federal Police, to his appeal at the second level court in Porto Alegre and Federal Judge Sergio Moro’s order for his imprisonment, even before the Supreme Court had officially issued its ruling on Lula’s Habeas Corpus or his recourses to justice had been fully exhausted.

These events have prompted more than 100 jurists to write the book Comments of a Notorious Verdict: the Trial of Lula, which has been translated into English and made freely available online.

The Supreme Court also vented its own concerns, featured, for example, in Justice Ricardo Lewandowski’s justification in granting the Habeas Corpus. He cited that courts are fallible and, in this particular case, the appeal court that upheld Judge Moro’s ruling failed to provide adequate reasons for its decision.

Many believe that the speed of proceedings against Lula is a sign that those in power do not want him to run in the October presidential elections.

And the lack of due process in Lula’s case has managed to achieve a very rare thing, not only in Brazil, but in the world: unite the left, left of centre, progressives and democrats in general.

That is why it was not just the ‘usual suspects’ who surrounded Lula in the city of his ‘political birth’, São Bernardo do Campo, just before he gave himself up.

Progressive politicians of all hues were there to show solidarity to the former president, including the other two left wing presidential hopefuls, Manuela d’Ávila, of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCdoB) and Guilherme Boulos, leader of the Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST), running for the Socialism & Liberty Party (PSOL).

That is also why many now consider Lula not a criminal, but a political prisoner.

Friday, April 20

Brazil after US backed coup: Former president Lula convicted with no evidence

I don't know from where to start. 

#LulaInocente means "Lula is innocent". Our former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva was convicted after a fraudulent lawsuit without any evidence by a judge who was trained in US.
We are fighting to free Lula. 
I don't have energy to explain anything at the moment. I just wanted to make an update and wish you all peace.
#FreeLula #LulaLivre

Friday, December 22

Merry Christmas 2017

Xmas  again!
I don't want trees, I don't want Santa,I don't want socks on the fireplace... no.
I was watching it and felt like sharing it as  
Merry Christmas!!!!


Friday, December 15

Grey rocking in animal kingdom

In case you need to grey rock a narc you can chew a gum. Have you noticed that chewing a gum gives the air that the person doesn't give a fuck to what is happening?
Ask teachers. 

Tuesday, November 28

After Brazilian US backed coup: Millions return to poverty in Brazil, eroding ‘boom’ decade

Millions return to poverty in Brazil, eroding ‘boom’ decade
Oct. 23, 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — When Leticia Miranda had a job selling newspapers on the streets, she earned about $160 a month, just enough to pay for a tiny apartment she shared with her 8-year-old son in a poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.

When she lost her job about six months ago amid Brazil’s worst economic crisis in decades, Miranda had no choice but to move to an abandoned building where several hundred people were already living. All of her possessions — a bed, a fridge, a stove and some clothes — have been jammed into a small room that like all the others in the building has windows with no glass. Residents bathe in large garbage cans filled with water and do their best to live with the stench of mountains of trash and rummaging pigs in the center of the building.

“I want to leave here, but there is nowhere to go,” said Miranda, 28, dressed in a bikini top, shorts and sandals to deal with the heat. “I’m applying for jobs and did two interviews. So far, nothing.”

Between 2004 and 2014, tens of millions of Brazilians emerged from poverty and the country was often cited as an example for the world. High prices for the country’s raw materials and newly developed oil resources helped finance social welfare programs that put money into the pockets of the poorest.

But that trend has been reversed over the last two years due to the deepest recession in Brazil’s history and cuts to the subsidy programs, raising the specter that this continent-sized nation has lost its way in addressing wide inequalities that go back to colonial times.

“Many people who had risen out of poverty, and even those who had risen into the middle class, have fallen back,” said Monica de Bolle, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The World Bank estimates about 28.6 million Brazilians moved out of poverty between 2004 and 2014. But the bank estimates that from the start of 2016 to the end of this year, 2.5 million to 3.6 million will have fallen back below the poverty line of 140 Brazilian reais per month, about $44 at current exchange rates.

Those figures are likely underestimates, de Bolle said, and they don’t capture the fact that many lower-middle class Brazilians who gained ground during the boom years have since slid back closer to poverty.

Economists say high unemployment and cuts to key social welfare programs could exacerbate the problems. In July, the last month for which data is available, unemployment was close to 13 percent, a huge increase from 4 percent at the end of 2004.

Lines of job-seekers stretching several blocks have become commonplace whenever any business announces openings. When a university in Rio this month offered low-skilled jobs paying $400 a month, thousands showed up, including many who stood outside in the rain a day before the process began.

Meanwhile, budgetary pressures and the conservative policies of President Michel Temer are translating into cuts in social services. Among those hit is the Bolsa Familia — Family Allowance — program that gives small subsidies each month to qualifying low-income people. It’s credited with much of the poverty reduction during Brazil’s boom decade.

Non-labor income, including social programs like Bolsa Familia, accounted for nearly 60 percent of the reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty during the boom decade, said Emmanuel Skoufias, a World Bank economist and one of the authors of the report on Brazil’s “new poor.”

Now, even as job losses have been pushing more people toward the program, fewer are being covered.

“Every day is a struggle to survive,” 40-year-old Simone Batista said, tears streaming down her face as she recounted being cut from Bolsa Familia after her now 1-year-old was born. She wants to appeal, but doesn’t have enough money to take buses to the administrative office downtown. Batista lives in Jardim Gramacho, a slum in northern Rio where she and hundreds of other destitute residents find food by rummaging through garbage illegally dumped in the area.

An Associated Press review of Bolsa Familia data found coverage declined 4 percentage points between May 2016, when Temer became acting president, and May of this year. Part of that may be due to a crackdown on alleged fraud that started late last year. Temer’s administration announced it had found “irregularities” in the records of 1.1 million recipients — about 8 percent of the 14 million people who receive the benefit. The infractions ranged from fraud to families that were earning above $150 a month, the cutoff to receive the benefit.

“The government shouldn’t lose focus on the priority” of keeping people out of poverty, said Skoufias, adding that Bolsa Familia represented only about 0.5 percent of Brazil’s gross domestic product and the government should be looking to allocate more, not fewer, resources to it.

Still, any discussion of increased spending is likely doomed in Congress, where a spending cap was passed earlier this year and Temer is pushing to make large cuts to the pension system. The fiscal situation is even worse for many states, including Rio.

A year after hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio is so broke that thousands of public workers are not being paid, or are being paid late in installments. Many budget items, from garbage collection to a community policing program, have been sharply reduced.

For many who live in Rio’s hundreds of favelas, or slums, an already hardscrabble existence feels increasingly precarious.

Maria de Pena Souza, 59, lives with her 24-year-old son in a small house with a zinc roof in the Lins favela in western Rio. They want to move because the home sits on a steep hill that is prone to deadly mudslides. But her son hasn’t been able to find work since finishing his military service a few years ago.

“I would leave if there was a way, but there isn’t,” said de Pena Souza, who added: “When it rains, I can’t sleep.”

The economic doldrums are clearly fueling the political comeback of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who from 2003 to 2010 presided over much of the boom. After leaving office with approval ratings over 80 percent, da Silva’s popularity plunged as he and his party were ensnared in corruption investigations. Da Silva is appealing a conviction and nearly 10-year sentence for corruption. But he still consistently leads preference polls for next year’s presidential election.

On the campaign trail, da Silva promises both a return to better economic times and refocusing on the poor.

“Lula is not just Lula,” da Silva said at a recent rally in Rio, using the name most Brazilians call him. “It’s an idea represented by millions of men and women. Prepare yourselves because the working class will return to govern this country.”


Associated Press writer Peter Prengaman reported this story in Rio de Janeiro, AP writer Sarah DiLorenzo reported from Sao Paulo and AP writer Daniel Trielli reported from Washington. AP video journalist Diarlei Rodrigues in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.

In this Oct. 20, 2017 photo, Simone Batista, holding her baby Arthur, looks into the camera as tears roll down her cheeks while she recounts being cut from the "Bolsa Família' government sudsidy program for low-income people, at her shack home in the Jardim Gramacho slum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Batista wants to appeal the government cutting her from the program, but doesn’t have enough money to take buses to the administrative office downtown. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Monday, November 20

UK lobbying with British tax payers money to steal Brazilian oil

The Guardian
UK trade minister lobbied Brazil on behalf of oil giants

by Adam Vaughan 

Sunday 19 November 2017 16.38 GMT Last modified on Sunday 19 November 2017 22.00 GMT

Britain successfully lobbied Brazil on behalf of BP and Shell to address the oil giants’ concerns over Brazilian taxation, environmental regulation and rules on using local firms, government documents reveal.

The UK’s trade minister travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo in March for a visit with a “heavy focus” on hydrocarbons, to help British energy, mining and water companies win business in Brazil.

Greg Hands met with Paulo Pedrosa, Brazilian deputy minister for mines and energy, and “directly” raised the concerns of UK-based oil firms Shell, BP and Premier Oil over “taxation and environmental licensing”.

Pedrosa said he was pressing his counterparts in the Brazilian government on the issues, according to a British diplomatic telegram obtained by Greenpeace.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) initially released an unredacted version of the telegram under freedom of information rules to Greenpeace’s investigative unit, Unearthed, with sensitive passages highlighted. Shortly after, the department issued a second version of the document, with the same passages redacted.

Greenpeace accused the department of acting as a “lobbying arm of the fossil fuel industry”.

The UK government denies it was lobbying to weaken the environmental licensing regime, although the lobbying drive appears to have borne fruit. In August, Brazil  proposed a multibillion-dollar tax relief plan for offshore drilling, and in October BP and Shell won the bulk of deep-water drilling licenses in a government auction.

Rebecca Newsom, senior political adviser at Greenpeace, said: “This is a double embarrassment for the UK government. Liam Fox’s trade minister has been lobbying the Brazilian government over a huge oil project that would undermine the climate efforts Britain made at the UN summit in Bonn.

“If that wasn’t bad enough, Fox’s department tried to cover it up and hide its actions from the public, but failed comically.”

The document also reveals that the UK pressured Brazil to relax its requirements for oil and gas operators to use a certain amount of Brazilian staff and supply chain companies.

British diplomats described the weakening of the so-called local content requirements as a “principal objective” because BP, Shell and Premier Oil would be “direct British beneficiaries” of the changes.

The UK’s drive to soften the requirements continued on the day after the meeting between Hands and Pedrosa, with a senior DIT official leading a seminar on the subject at the headquarters of Brazil’s oil and gas regulator.

The UK government has come under fire in the past for providing hundreds of millions of pounds of support for Brazil’s scandal-hit state oil firm Petrobras via the UK’s credit export agency.

The UK’s continued oil lobbying efforts in Brazil emerged days after British ministers were touting the UK’s leadership on cutting carbon emissions at international climate talks in Bonn.

Claire Perry, the climate change minister, told the summit: “we are taking our commitments under the Paris agreement very seriously and we are taking action.”

A DIT spokesman said: “DIT is responsible for encouraging international investment opportunities for UK businesses, whilst respecting fully local and international environmental standards. The UK oil and gas industry and supply chain supports thousands of jobs and provides £19bn in goods exports alone.

“However, it is absolutely not true that our ministers lobbied to loosen environmental restrictions in Brazil – the meeting was about improving the environmental licensing process, ensuring a level playing field for both domestic and foreign companies, and in particular helping to speed up the licensing process and make it more transparent, which in turn will protect environmental standards.”

Brazilian congressman Lindbergh Farias denounces the presence of a Shell lobbyist during
Brazilian Commission. 
"This is s scandal! A Shell representative talking to the rapporteur in the commission?  I'm indignant as a Brazilian. The explicit Shell lobbying. This is a scandal! It is a party for the multinationals! Destroying jobs in our country... "
Lindbergh Farias Brazilian congressman.

I'm also indignant as a Brazilian citizen. 

Sunday, November 19

Lee Kang-bin's miniature paintings in a cup of coffee

I would never drink drink this coffee. Yes, it is art on a cup of coffee done by the South Korean artist Lee Kang-bin.

"SEOUL: South Korean barista Lee Kang-bin is taking coffee art to the next level, creating miniature imitations of famous paintings on foamy cups of java at his central Seoul cafe.

With meticulous strokes of tiny brushes and spoons, Lee, 26, recreates the likes of Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night" and Edvard Munch's "The Scream" using thick cream stained with food coloring atop a cup of coffee.
Take a look at  Lee Kang-bin's Instagram pages to watch his work.

Source: Sunday Chronicles.

Sunday, November 12

Viral pictures: Boeing 727 house in the woods

This is intriguing.
Where is it? you might be asking:

"Although not in plain sight, it is a plane to see; buried deep within 10 acres of woods just outside Portland, Oregon is a retired Boeing 727 that has been transformed into an unearthly living space.

The aircraft’s owner, Bruce Campbell (unfortunately not of “Evil Dead” fame), has been living in the airplane 6 months each year since purchasing the plane in 1999 for $100,000. Equipped with water, electricity, and sewage plus 1,066 square-feet of interior space, Campbell’s airplane home is pretty plush for all its eccentricities"

To watch more pictures of the airplane and the house: here.

Friday, November 10

Stealing Africa: The Glencore scandal

I'm watching this video and I felt like sharing. I came across with the Glencore multinational that steals copper from Zambia. 
The numbers are striking. The company buys the copper in Zambia for a symbolic price in relation to the profit they make. From The Guardian:

Glencore denies allegations over copper mine tax
Jamie Doward
First published on Sunday 17 April 2011 00.07 BST
A UK subsidiary of the world's largest commodities broker helped one of its African mining operations avoid paying tens of millions of pounds in tax, according to charities who have analysed a leaked review of its accounts.

The findings of a draft report into internal controls at Zambia's Mopani Copper Mines plc have been categorically rejected by its owner, Glencore, the giant fuel, metals and cereals trader based in the Swiss tax haven of Zug. The report, seen by the Observer, was carried out in 2009 by a Norwegian subsidiary of Grant Thornton, one of the world's largest accountancy firms, at the request of the previous Zambian government.

Its authors alleged the mine's owners "resisted the pilot audit at every stage", a claim denied by a spokesman for Glencore, which owns a 73% stake in Mopani through a company based in the British Virgin Islands, another tax haven.

The report claimed there had been an "unexplainable" increase in Mopani's costs between 2006 and 2008 that allowed it to minimise its stated profits and lower its tax bill. "We suggest the ZRA [Zambian Revenue Authority] does a new tax assessment based on the results of the audit," the report claims.

Glencore, which is preparing a £37bn listing on the London stock market, the capital's biggest ever flotation, said the auditors had failed to factor in rising fuel and labour costs over the period. The audit also suggested Mopani sold copper at artificially low prices to Glencore in Switzerland under a deal struck with the firm's UK subsidiary in 2000. The metal was then sold on, allowing Glencore to take advantage of Switzerland's ultra-low tax regime.

There are claims that the transactions breach international rules ensuring there has to be an arm's-length principle when it comes to sales between related parties. Glencore said all transactions were conducted at an arm's-length basis and at internationally agreed prices.

When asked by the Observer for a response to Glencore's criticisms of the draft report, Grant Thornton International declined on the grounds of client confidentiality.

But charities said the report suggested Glencore had questions to answer. "Based on the Grant Thornton analysis, we estimate that the company's practices potentially cost the Zambian government up to £76m a year in lost corporation tax," said Anna Thomas, head of tax policy at ActionAid. She pointed out the amount was significantly more than the £59m the UK government gives Zambia each year in aid.

The claims have surfaced as Glencore prepares for a listing that will make multimillionaires of the firm's 485 partners. City analysts were astonished to learn the extent to which the company dominates the commodity markets in documents published ahead of the listing. Glencore revealed it controlled 60% of the traded zinc market and 50% of copper. Development charities have contrasted the impending wealth of the company's management with the poverty of Zambians, around two thirds of whom live below the recognised poverty line, according to the United Nations.

The leaking of the report is potentially embarrassing for European governments. Mopani received a €48m development loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help bring prosperity to Zambia. But the report states: "The pilot audit has shown there is a high need for a determined effort at collecting the taxes that are assessed under the laws implemented by the Zambian government." The EIB has informed OLAF (the European anti-fraud office) of the report's allegations and launched an investigation.

Emmanuel Mutati, CEO of Mopani, has described the audit as "flawed and incomplete" saying it did not include a series of third-party transactions that would affect its accounts. "We have also been audited by independent auditors annually," Mutati said. "Every year the independent auditors' report has given Mopani a clean bill of health."

The UK government recently called for new measures to ensure that the poorest people in Africa benefited from mining.

Glencore was founded by Marc Rich, the controversial oil trader who was accused of tax evasion by American authorities but was pardoned by President Clinton on his last day in office. The company, which last year had a turnover of $145bn, is no longer connected to Rich.

The Zambian government has declined to investigate Mopani's tax affairs despite calls from development charities. "We are disappointed with the government's lukewarm reaction," said Savior Mwambwa, executive director of the Centre for Trade Policy and Development, Zambia. "They need to take action and change the whole taxation system."

Watch the video. Make sure you have already eaten for your stomach will be upset if you don't.

Zambian copper miners and their family members got sick
because of the contamination in the copper plant and in the water and environment.
Privatizing, the source or many evils.

Thursday, November 2

Deepest Sinkhole discovered in China

Living in a desert island? No! It is better to live in a sinkhole or a "blue hole" as it was baptised.

The deepest one is in China and it measures 300.89 meters (988ft) in depth and 130 meters in diameter.
I don't know but I have the feeling that soon those speculators will build a hotel chain or something that they can profit the most.

Monday, October 30

Art of coloured sand inside a glass

It requires a lot of patience to make such a beautiful scene made of coloured sand.
It's one layer after another with tiny little spaces where another colour creates a little shadow, a tiny bird, a moon, a bush...
Even though there is a lot of these work in Brazil I always like looking at the places they are sold.
Click on the numbers 1 or 2, to go to the blogs where there are more works of these artists.
Have a great week!

Sunday, October 29

Sophia the humanoid robot and Saudi Arabian citizenship

"I am happy to be around intelligent people who happen to rich and powerful... I know humans are smart and very programmable." Sophia's recorded voice says.

My Two Cents:

Disgusting with a touch of criminal, spiced with arrogance and... ignorance. The robot obsession goes hand in hand with transhumanism and eugenics.
The way this thing is being promotes, not a toy but as something very serious astonishes me.
No future for humans as we know. I've been reading some comments
and some people salute "Sophia" - Greek for "wisdom" - is creepy.
These people didn't play with Barbie and Ken when they were kids.
This robot went to UN and just received a Saudi Arabian citizenship. The American robot being Saudi Arabian is ironic or they mean something.

We need a new humanism.

The robot has a site

Saturday, October 28

9/11 How BBC knew Building 7 was going to collapse?

"An astounding video uncovered from the archives today shows the BBC reporting on the collapse of WTC Building 7 over twenty minutes before it fell at 5:20pm on the afternoon of more 9/11. The incredible footage shows BBC reporter Jane Standley talking about the collapse of the Salomon Brothers Building while it remains standing in the live shot behind her head. How did the BBC know that it was going to collapse? And why did they report the collapse when it is clearly standing in the background?"

We need to keep asking for the truth.

Friday, October 27

Mainstream media and it's main goal in one picture

According to Mark Twain: “If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
The media was not created to inform people.
It was created as a propaganda tool. That is why it is known as the 4th power.
Independent media is the 5th.
PS: If you have a dog click on the video and see if your dog reacts the same as mine.
She started barking to the computer. Spooky Mr. Hitchcock!

Thursday, October 26

Aldous Huxley in 1962 talking about today's third leading cause of death in USA: iatrogenesis

Aldous Huxley, author of ‘Brave New World’, gives his speech “The Ultimate Revolution” at Cal Berkeley, 1962.
Aldous Huxley at UC Berkeley 1962 (transcript)

"And it is of course true that pharmacologists are producing a great many new wonder drugs where the cure is almost worse than the disease. Every year the new edition of medical textbooks contains a longer and longer chapter of what are Iatrogenic diseases, that is to say diseases caused by doctors (laughter} And this is quite true, many of the wonder drugs are extremely dangerous. I mean they can produce extraordinary effects, and in critical conditions they should certainly be used, but they should be used with the utmost caution. But there is evidently a whole class of drugs effecting the CNS which can produce enormous changes in sedation in euphoria in energizing the whole mental process without doing any perceptible harm to the human body, and this presents to me the most extraordinary revolution. In the hands of a dictator these substances in one kind or the other could be used with, first of all, complete harmlessness, and the result would be, you can imagine a euphoric that would make people thoroughly happy even in the most abominable circumstances." (emphasis mine)

This is one topic that I did study a lot and was the reason why I started blogging. My first blog was about it. It still saddens me so much that I rather not touch this subject for a long time.
Maybe when I get older it will be easier for me. Children are being given drugs that will affect their bodies and minds for the rest of their lives.
This is criminal.