Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for September 2nd, 2015

The Mexican civil war simmers on

Posted by Charles II on September 2, 2015

Dan LaBotz, UpsideDownWorld:

Since June Oaxaca has been occupied by thousands of soldiers and police, and only a few days ago it came to light that in late July the governor had officially called upon the federal government to send the Army, Air Force, and Navy to maintain order. Governor Cué has argued that the strength of la CNTE, which has shown that it can put over 80,000 teachers into the streets, makes it impossible for him to govern without the backing of the military.

Oaxaca has been at the heart of the militant teachers movement, and the federal and state governments are determined to break the union’s significant power there. Since 1992 when, under teacher pressure, the state created the State Institute of Public Education of Oaxaca (IEEPO), the Oaxaca state government has been obliged to hire all graduates of the teachers colleges, which are dominated by the same left groups that lead la CNTE.

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The end of impunity in Guatemala

Posted by Charles II on September 2, 2015


In Guatemala, the Legislature voted unanimously to strip President Otto Pérez Molina of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for his arrest. The ruling echoes the decision by the country’s Supreme Court last week and makes it possible to prosecute Pérez Molina as part of a corruption investigation that has sparked protests calling for his resignation. We’re joined from Guatemala City by Allan Nairn, a longtime journalist who has covered Guatemala since the 1980s.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, people were cheering, they were crying, setting off fireworks. This is an example for the world. This is a general we’re talking about, one of the generals—one of the U.S.-backed generals who carried out the massacres that devastated the Mayan population of the northwest highland. I met him in the highlands as he was doing that, and his troops described how they strangled, executed civilians and threw them into mass graves. He then became president. Prior to that, he was placed on the CIA payroll. And now he’s going to be treated like a common citizen, and perhaps a common criminal. He could be taken at any moment by the authorities.

Last night after the verdict, I walked by the Casa Presidencial, the presidential house—it’s the White House of Guatemala—and spoke to a soldier outside who is a member—a corporal of the presidential guard. And I asked him how his unit would react if the Ministerio Público, the justice department, comes and tries to arrest the president, Pérez Molina. And he said they would not resist. They would take their orders from the Ministerio Público.

Our State Department, May 8th is, of course, propping up the corrupt, murderous thug:

The U.S. Government takes note of the decision of Guatemala’s vice president to submit her resignation. We support President Otto Perez Molina and his administration’s efforts to address charges of official corruption in Guatemala. [emphasis added]

Apparently they’ve gone silent since Perez Molina was charged. So I guess they’ve transferred the support to the CIA. Jeff Abbott, UpsideDown World:

Throughout the crisis, the embassy has maintained their support for the embattled president, leading many protesters to claim that the United States is meddling in Guatemalan politics once again. But since the announcement of charges against the President, the embassy has remained silent.

Early on in the crisis US Ambassador Todd Robinson appeared beside the embattled Guatemalan President to announce the United States plan to help “reform” and “modernize” the Guatemalan tax collection agency.

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Tough guy

Posted by Charles II on September 2, 2015

Sarah Everts, C&EN:

Smaller than a finger nail, the marine slug Elysia tuca may not seem like a formidable predator. Yet the tiny gastropod has an unwavering predilection for a rather intimidating prey. The slug hunts Halimeda incrassata, a species of seaweed that packs toxic defense compounds and is more stone than flesh—its body is 85% calcium carbonate, the same mineral found in limestone and coral.

After finding its prey, the slug pierces the seaweed with a sharp saw-like appendage called a radula, and sucks out the seaweed’s cytoplasm, including its chloroplasts, which the slug then uses to make its own energy from sunlight. “It’s a solar-powered slug,” Rasher says, explaining that it gets 60% of its fixed carbon from these stolen photosynthetic organelles. The slug also steals the seaweed’s toxic arsenal of halimedatetraacetate—one of the compounds used by the slug to track the seaweed—for use as its own defense.

While you’re there, read up on a self-cleaning membrane that could help to pick up oil slicks

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Give the man points

Posted by Charles II on September 2, 2015

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian:

Pope Francis has opened the door for women who have had abortions – an act considered a grave sin by the Catholic church – to be absolved if they express contrition and seek forgiveness from their priest.

“The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented,” the pontiff wrote in an extraordinary letter that was released by the Vatican on Tuesday.

“I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal,” he added.

The order, which temporarily allows all priests to grant forgiveness to women who have elected to have an abortion and profoundly regret the procedure, is part of the church’s jubilee year of mercy, which begins on 8 December and runs until 20 November 2016.

Maybe they could extend the jubilee to just do what’s right all the time. But this is a big step forward.

Posted in Good Things | Comments Off on Give the man points

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