Lee Fang On How A Little-Known U.S. Libertarian Think Tank Is Remaking Latin American Politics

Brazil’s president forced to rescind order calling out the army against protesters

by Bill Van Auken, WSWS

Brazil’s President Michel Temer Thursday was forced to rescind an executive order he had issued the day before calling the army into the streets and giving it powers of arrest for the period of one week.

The measure was ostensibly taken to quell a protest Wednesday in the capital of Brasilia called by the unions and social movements to oppose pension and labor “reforms” attacking basic social rights and to demand Temer’s ouster and replacement through the calling of direct elections.

Calling out the army, however, had the air of an act of desperation on the part of a president who is facing multiple corruption charges and is viewed as illegitimate by the majority of the Brazilian population.

The most recent opinion polls indicate that Temer, the former vice president who was installed in the presidential palace through the impeachment of his predecessor, Workers Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff in August 2016 on trumped-up charges of budgetary irregularities, is opposed by 95 percent of the population, with 85 percent favoring the immediate convening of new elections…

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Brazil General Strike to Protest Temer’s Neoliberal Reforms

from TeleSur

Friday’s general strike comes amid a dismal disapproval rating for the Temer administration — a staggering 87 percent.

Dozens of labor unions and grassroots organizations in Brazil have called for a general strike on Friday in protest against President Michel Temer’s neoliberal reforms.

The strike was called immediately after Temer’s administration pushed through a controversial labor reform bill on Wednesday in Brazil’s chamber of deputies. The reform would undermine workers’ rights by eliminating payment for their commute from their contracts, reducing compensation for employer abuse, and most importantly, allowing employers reduce workers’ salaries while increasing their work hours.

The bill, which proposes to end mandatory union dues, must still be approved by the Senate. It was approved by Brazil’s lower house by 296 votes to 177…

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Lying Ryan Lochte and the Rio Robbery that Wasn’t – Brave Brave Sir Gunnar, Sir Gunnar Ran Away

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE: The two swimmers pulled off the plane have admitted to authorities that Ryan Lochte lied to police and then fabricated a story to tell NBC News that Sunday morning. They said they all went around to the back of the gas station to use the bathroom but the door was locked so they broke it to get in to take a piss and the security guard walked up to them telling them they had to pay for the door. He was armed according to ESPN’s version of those two swimmers’ story, but he never pulled out his weapon. The owner of the station showed up, they paid approximately $70 US for the door and were allowed to leave.

UPDATE: X-ray images of the men returning to the Olympic Village through security screener appears to show wallets in their pockets. That would be their stolen wallets.

One sleazy self-absorbed sellout to another

Do you remember that story coming out of Libya in the early days of Hillary Clinton’s bloody regime change operation about the woman who claims to have been kidnapped and gang raped by scores of Gaddafi’s soldiers over a two day period? She said she escaped from them and then ran straight to a hotel where all the embedded press was staying so she could “tell her story” prior to getting medical attention, taking a shower or sitting in a corner in the fetal position crying herself to sleep.

Her story was bullshit. It never happened. She now lives in the US from what I understand, enjoying a comfortable life after being the focus of a phony “hearts and minds” campaign which sought to further demonize the beloved leader of a beautiful country so Hillary Clinton could murder him in cold blood and decimate Libya to the point where it isn’t recognizable anymore.

I can’t help but think about that story when I hear about Ryan Lochte and the Rio Robbery that wasn’t.

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Brazilian Senate Study Clears President Rousseff of Wrongdoing: Wall Street Journal Says “So What?”

by Scott Creighton

In a 224-page report put together by a three-member group of high ranking Brazilian Senate budget technicians, it seems the accusations which resulted in the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff last month (aka the “impeachment coup”) were unfounded. This is the conclusion of Telesur:

“TeleSUR said Monday that Senate’s analysts prepared a report, showing that Roussef did not participate in the fiscal wrongdoing directly and could not bear personal responsibility.

The report, saying that there were no reasons to continue the impeachment process against Rousseff, should be analyzed by the Senate Impeachment Commission in a three-day period, the broadcaster added” Sputnik International

The Wall Street Journal, forever the supporter of all things neoliberal, tried to put a positive “class half full” spin on the release of the official study. But even they had to admit the core of the impeachment charges have been exposed as hollow at best:

“…But the group also said Ms. Rousseff wasn’t personally to blame for the fund-transfer delay.

There was not any identified act by the president that would have contributed directly or indirectly to the delays,” the report said.

The group also found no fault with a fourth presidential budget decree that had been questioned by her accusers because it didn’t impact fiscal targets and therefore wasn’t illegal, the report said.” Wall Street Journal

So, according to the report and Telesur’s and the Journal’s reporting on it, Dilma Rousseff had nothing to do with the 3 delays which formed the basis of the impeachment process and the fourth charge they leveled against her, “wasn’t illegal”

The Brazilian Senate is expected to vote on her final impeachment on Aug. 8th. according to the Wall Street Journal, the lack of evidence against President Rouseff will have little to no impact on the outcome.

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Brazil’s media ‘incited protests,’ favored Rousseff’s impeachment from start – Greenwald

(This is why Erdogan of Turkey put restrictions on those three Gulenist newspapers. The ruling elite get their companions in the publishing business to stoke the flames of regime change. Erdogan was taking steps to counter the attack. Steps Dilma should have taken. Of course they will always scream about democracy and tyranny when leaders they are undermining make moves to combat their regime change agenda which is why it’s such a despicable scheme. The regime change operation itself is the real attack on democracy considering the fact that the people voted for these leaders and by and large, still support their elected leaders, the same ones these globalist are trying to remove from office.)

from RT

Brazil-based US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, said Brazilian media is owned by a few families that have a clear political interest in pushing President Rousseff out by “inciting street protests.”

“What makes Brazil so different in terms of its media is that the largest media organizations are almost entirely owned by a very small number of families. It was for a long time. Three, four, now it is five,” Greenwald told RT’s agency Ruptly during an event in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

“They all have the same interests, they have very close ties to the political class, they have clear political interests that are not the interest of the overall population. There is very little inhibition about using the media outlets for political activism.”

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Temer Convicted of Breaking Election Laws As Thousands March for Democracy in Brazil

by Nika Knight, from Common Dreams

Upheaval in Brazil continued this week as a court handed down a conviction against right-wing president Michel Temer, who took over after the ouster of leftist president Dilma Rousseff, and banned him from running in elections for the next eight years.

A regional elections court in Temer’s hometown of São Paulo on Thursday “issued a formal decree finding him guilty and declaring him ‘ineligible’ to run for any political office as a result of now having a ‘dirty record’ in elections,” Glenn Greenwald reported in The Intercept.

The decision came less than three weeks after Temer oversaw what has widely been described as a “coup” to overthrow Rouseff, the recently re-elected Workers’ Party president.

“In the scope of the scheming, corruption and illegality from this ‘interim’ government, Temer’s law-breaking is not the most severe offense,” Greenwald notes. “But it potently symbolizes the anti-democratic scam that Brazilian elites have attempted to perpetrate. In the name of corruption, they have removed the country’s democratically elected leader and replaced her with someone who—though not legally barred from being installed—is now barred for eight years from running for the office he wants to occupy.”

As interim president, Temer has swiftly and openly transformed the formerly left-leaning and diverse Brazilian government into one pushing neoliberal, right-wing policies, helmed by an all-white, all-male cabinet. In the New Yorker, Jon Lee Anderson summarized a few of Temer’s decisions that have raised eyebrows worldwide:

He got rid of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights, ordering it to be subsumed into the Ministry of Justice—which he promptly handed over to Alexandre de Moraes, a former security official from São Paulo who is accused of deploying death squads to fight crime in that city. (His former office has denied the accusations.) This came at the same time as news of a horrifying case in which a sixteen-year-old girl in Rio de Janeiro was gang-raped by as many as thirty-three men, some of whom filmed their abuse and posted it to social media.

[…] Temer’s choice for agriculture minister, meanwhile, was a portly billionaire senator named Blairo Maggi, who cast the deciding vote in the Senate to unseat Rousseff. Maggi, the former governor of the state of Mato Grosso, made his fortune by cutting down millions of acres of Amazonian wilderness. In a 2007 piece for National Geographic, the journalist Scott Wallace wrote, “Maggi is ‘O Rei da Soja, King of Soy, the world’s largest single producer. Maggi acquired a less flattering honorific when Greenpeace gave him its Golden Chain Saw award in 2005.” For a number of years while he was governor, Mato Grosso led Brazil in deforestation. In 2010, Maggi was elected to the Senate, and, with the support of the powerful bancada ruralista, Brazil’s agribusiness lobby, he became the head of the environmental committee, where he helped push through a set of environmental regulations known as the Forest Code. Among other things, the Forest Code gave amnesty to landowners who had previously engaged in illegal wilderness clearances.

“The oozing corruption of Temer’s ministers has sometimes served to obscure his own,” Greenwald writes. “He, too, is implicated in several corruption investigations. And now, he has been formally convicted of violating election laws.”

On the same day Temer was convicted, suspended president Dilma Rousseff joined 5,000 women marching for women’s rights and democracy in Rio de Janiero

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