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Montevideo, January 28th 2023 - 06:25 UTC



Conditions in Venezuelan prisons are “beyond monstrous” claims UN human rights office

Thursday, October 11th 2018 - 08:58 UTC
Full article 33 comments

Conditions in Venezuela’s prisons are “beyond monstrous”, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said, before calling for an independent and transparent investigation into the death of a leading political opponent of the Government. Issuing the alert in Geneva, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that there were specific concerns for the well-being of 59 Colombian nationals, who’ve been held for more than two years without being charged. Read full article


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  • Patrick Edgar

    Now explain this to me;
    If this IS NOT a British interest political propaganda to do with undermining any South American government that would not be friendly or oppose the expansionist usurpation policy of Britain through the human shield that the Falkland Islands are, against Argentina's rightful claim to these islands, and all it supposedly seeks is economic area journalism ridding on the unrequited coat tails of Mercosur (as it is not actually part of Mercosur) ...what the h**l does it care what is happening in Venezuelan prisons?

    Oct 11th, 2018 - 01:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Chicureo

    Patrick Edgar

    Welcome back! Unlike yourself, Terrence Hill and Enrique Massot have lacked the rich intellectual content contributions to this news site that covers many subjects throughout the Americas. (Especially Terrence needs a lot of support.)

    came to power, people cheered because he was going to help the poor and make everyone equal. But governments can't plan things efficiently without the prices and constant individual decision-making that free markets provide. The result in Cuba was economic stagnation and horrible loss of freedom.

    Venezuela voted in Hugo Chavez when he said that “capitalism is the realm of injustice” and promised wealth would be distributed equally. When he came to power, people cheered because he was going to help the poor and make everyone equal. The country he took over has the largest petroleum reserves in the world yet his country's oil production fell over 60%. But when there was no more money left to take from his own state owned petroleum company, he did what many governments do: He printed more. That's caused inflation over 1 million percent. When business owners raised prices to try to keep up, Chavez and his successor Maduro just seized many of them. People now wait in long lines to buy a scarce small bag of rice or rare roll of toilet paper. Now many people are very unhappy. An astounding amount of people have fled the country due to the economic collapse. Some countrymen have proposed an overthrow of the government and Maduro has been less than friendly to his opposition...

    Again, welcome back

    Oct 11th, 2018 - 02:08 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Jack Bauer

    Of course, “undermining” a South American government, that is a model of democracy for the world to copy....If I were you, I'd get on a plane and take advantage of this wonderful democracy before some foreign power conspires to turn it into a socialist, populist and authoritarian regime...forcing 100s of thousands of venezuelans to flee to neighbouring Colombia and Brazil...that WOULD be nasty...

    Oct 11th, 2018 - 07:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Believe it or not, UK foreign policy doesn't revolve around the Falklands. Maduro is anti-capitalist and anti-business, so naturally the UK government would like to see him gone. Plus there's the whole human rights thing.

    If the Falklands are a human shield, what are they shielding?

    Oct 12th, 2018 - 07:21 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT (cont. of “Chile can't be forced...”

    Lying ? don’t think so...just that when his expectations dwindled, thought the best chance of survival was Haddad.

    Suffices for Maduro, like in the USSR, to declare his adversaries enemies of the State, accuse them falsely ‘n jail them. Thought you’d realized by now that the chance of being put on trial in VZ is non-existent. Maduro decides his opponents’ fates.

    If you can, give up doubting why Lula is in jail...I’ve posted enough, showing where the evidence is, ‘n I am not about to start another round of unproductive discussions.

    Here, the MST ‘n other lefties have incited violence, destroyed farms…None are in jail. If the PT didn’t sympathize with Maduro, why openly support him ? because they like his govt.

    “it’s democracy as long as it works for them”…inevitable conclusion after seeing what they have fits over…Exs: one, FHC ‘bolsas’: hypocritical, until the PT expanded them to become the BF; two, it was anti-democratic (by Temer) to stop teaching gender-identity to young children; three, ok to try to impeach FHC, but called Dilma’s impeachemt anti-democratic.

    Brazil & US, despite roughly same age, were colonized by different ‘powers’, with totally different intentions…’n are in very different stages of social progress (altho are both experimenting social turbulence), that’s why Brazil is not ready for what works in the US.

    I never said you’d “agree” with me (100%) IF you lived in Bzl…implied you’d be aware how things work, ‘n might see it differently to how you see it now.

    Not on me “personally”, but on society - don’t take everything I say so ‘literally’.

    If you don’t believe what the PT’s capable of - you obviously believe they had nothing to do with the 3 mayors’ ('n witnesses) assassinations, that they didn’t buy the police to play along - no point discussing ‘this’ further.

    Threat of nuclear war in Bzl, no, but of a communist takeover, yes. You saw the CW ‘end’, when it was already fading out.

    Oct 12th, 2018 - 08:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “Thought you’d realized by now...”

    That's not my opinion, I was repeating what Think said. LL did have a trial - it was dodgy as hell, but he had one. So I suppose people who believe he and the others are guilty anyway can decide there is no problem and Vz is not a dictatorship... I dunno. And I didn't mean to reopen any question about Lula, don't worry about that.

    Do you know if the PSDB voted in favour of the BF, since it was based on a program they started? And why did the PT want to impeach FHC? Teaching gender-identity?

    “Brazil is not ready for what works in the US”

    That's what I thought. But then surely the US should be able to afford a health care system of some sort that covers everyone, like European countries? And how come Brazil can afford to provide free university education, even to non-citizens, while in the US (and UK) you must pay?

    ”I never said you’d “agree” with me (100%) IF you lived in Bzl“

    Well sure I'd see things differently, but you also implied I wouldn't be a liberal, which I think is highly unlikely. I'm sure if you were born and brought up in the UK you'd still be conservative, though you wouldn't be A-OK with death squads, I hope.

    Speaking of which, random question: what accent do you have? British, American, something else?

    ”Not on me “personally”“

    So the dreaded 'minorities' haven't actually imposed anything on you? I just want an example so I know what it is you object to.

    ”you obviously believe they had nothing to do with the 3 mayors’ assassinations“

    I'm not going to believe it without seeing any evidence, or even knowing the facts, no. That doesn't mean I'm sure it wasn't the PT; I doubt there is enough evidence for more than a suspicion, but I could be wrong.

    ”Threat of nuclear war in Bzl, no, but of a communist takeover, yes.”

    Better dead than red? But yes, I only saw the end. After that we had the Gulf War, then Yugoslavia, then Afghanistan, then Iraq, Libya, Syria... are things better now?

    Oct 12th, 2018 - 10:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    “..what Think said”…OK. VZ trials are for show, not serious.

    Re BF, searched but unable find specifics how parties voted in 2013, but I’m prepared to believe parts of the PSDB voted against it - perhaps they thought the PT was usurping their initiative ? However, 2013, PSDB, in an attempt to de-politicize the BF, proposed extending it 6 months after getting a job, to allow them to settle in…another, transform BF into State Policy (gteed by Nat’l Fund for Social Assistance), I/O being ‘govt’ or ‘party’ policy’ …PT voted against both projects. Btwn ‘95/03, PT tried to impeach FHC 4 times. Accusations go fm corruption to electoral fraud. Congress found nothing to back them up.

    The PT introduced gender-ideology in schools for children – it’s not important how you’re born, yr acts define you – eventually true, but hardly a subject for children (deconstruction of trad’l family values ?); parents got furious. If when older, you want to switch sides, be my guest.

    US health system – to start with, the US has 4 times the population of Germany, ‘n 10, 20, 30 times of many others, so in EU it’s obviously easier, and by what I heard, but can’t remember why, medical costs in the US are much higher.

    If you lived in Brazil, I don’t know what you’d be, but try imagining yourself brought up in a country that is neither organized, nor knows what 'tested', moderate socialism is, as in EU.

    Although personality is innate, IMO your views/attitudes are molded by your surroundings.
    In the US people say my accent is British, in Britain they get confused.

    Ex: gender-less bathrooms, special laws to give those who declare themselves other than male/female, privileges others don’t have.

    It’s far too complicated/extensive to even try to explain circumstances of (what I ‘n millions believe were) PT assassinations. But let’s forget it, you think PT is saintly.

    The wars you mention were/are regional. Better ? no, where did I imply that ?...and at least no nuclear threat.

    Oct 13th, 2018 - 08:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I looked up the attempt to impeach FHC, it said Lula did not support what his party was doing, because he was already becoming less radical and moving to be closer to business, and hoped to win at the polls instead. It also says they found out FHC received donations from banks for his campaign, but Paulo Okamoto told them they couldn't use it against him because they had also received donations from bankers. Seems some things never change.

    I don't understand what the difference is between state policy and govt policy?

    Re US health system, I don't think the size is an issue. Germany has no more problems than Belgium or other countries only a fraction of its size. I've heard a lot of reasons why medicine costs so much in America, but that would be a whole post in itself...

    “The PT introduced gender-ideology in schools”

    Do you mean they made it compulsory to teach it, or allowed schools to do so? And did Temer make it optional or ban it completely? I should think it might be useful to explain *if* the kids will be encountering a transexual person. In the UK, when I was at school there was a law called Section 28, which banned 'promoting homosexuality' and teaching 'the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship'. It wasn't repealed until 2003, but I don't think it achieved what they hoped for.

    And what privileges do you get by declaring yourself other than male or female? I never heard of any.

    If I lived in Brazil I'd probably be a lot more radical because (AFAIK) there is more prejudice there. As for attitudes, the same view could be considered conservative in one country and liberal in another, so obviously surroundings make a big difference, but I think the tendency to be conservative or liberal is largely innate. Though education does seem to make people more liberal, maybe because it exposes you to lots of new ideas and people, making the strange become familiar.

    Run out of space again...

    Oct 13th, 2018 - 11:55 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Voice


    Oct 14th, 2018 - 12:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Thanks, Voice.

    “you think PT is saintly”

    Because if I don't believe they're the devil incarnate, that's the only alternative? I think they're a political party that did some good things and some bad, and unfortunately got involved in corruption just like the others. Carrying out assassinations is a big step beyond that, so the evidence would have to be pretty convincing for me to believe it. If I claimed the Republican party had assassinated someone and hushed it up, what evidence would convince you?

    “where did I imply that ?”

    You didn't, I was just wondering. After the CW ended there was a lot of optimism and the world seemed to generally be getting richer, freer, and more democratic. But now with all this Islamic terrorism, the failure of America's attempt at 'nation building' in Iraq and most of the Arab Spring revolutions, and countries like China and Russia becoming more repressive again, it seems everything is going backwards.

    As for Putin, what makes you think he really believed in communism in the first place? I assume kids were indoctrinated at school, but people must have had some idea of what was going on outside the USSR, and how much richer and better off the capitalist West was.

    Oct 14th, 2018 - 04:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Just about every politician in this country is guilty of what Lula accused FHC…including Lula…the hypocrisy behind it was obvious, even Okamoto realized that...but, it was just the PT being itself.

    State policy : to make it law, I/O leaving it as a simple (government/party in power) policy, which could be discontinued at any time.

    Gender-ideology : yes, obligatory part of the curriculum...some teachers/schools objected, but nothing was done about it until Temer took a decision to stop it.
    Explaining to kids, ‘if ‘n when’ encountered, is one thing, another is to place doubts in kid’s minds as to what sex they really are. IMO, not the time, nor place to discuss it.

    One of Haddad’s proposals, going one further after the ‘quotas’ in universities : declare yourself a transvestite, or a transgender person, and gain the right to a scholarship. When will it stop ?

    I’m well aware that the same things can be seen differently in different countries, ‘n the way they are seen, presumably depends on the stage of social development/clarification.
    Of course education opens yr mind, but after being exposed to the 'new' ideas, it’s up to you to want to embrace them or not.

    “PT saintly” v. devil incarnate? of course not, but more times than not you defend them, question my experience with them as if invalid…I don’t like them, and it’s not gratuitous.

    Looks like you’re not familiar with political assassinations…they happen here quite a lot, but the 3 mentioned were very conspicuous, given the circumstances 'n especially the threats Celso Daniel’s brother received. Plus, the police dragged their feet…at a time justice was extremely inefficient.
    The defendant’s and the defense witnesses' accounts of what happened where contradictory, they claimed the car had a malfunction, proved by Mitsubishi to be a lie…and other things.
    Without a smoking gun, you gather up circumstancial evidence…'n believe it or not.

    Putin was the KGB in the USSR…not enough ?

    Need space...

    Oct 14th, 2018 - 09:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Voice


    Oct 14th, 2018 - 10:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Thanks, and do feel free to weigh in if you want to.

    “Temer took a decision to stop it”

    Did he just make it optional, or ban it like our Section 28? Kids may not understand the subject, but I doubt they'll get confused about something like that.

    “O Transcidadania garante bolsas de estudos para transgêneros em situação de vulnerabilidade social para que possam concluir o ensino médio e fundamental, articulado com a formação profissional.”

    “Ensino médio e fundamental” is school up to age 18? I wonder what situation of social vulnerability means? Thrown out by their parents onto the street, perhaps. Education is free in Brazil, so what does the scholarship pay for?

    “Just about every politician in this country is guilty of what Lula accused FHC”

    Yes, and according to the news just about every President was guilty of what Dilma was accused of, and the guy who allowed her impeachment is now in jail for corruption himself. It's hypocrisy all the way.

    “more times than not you defend them”

    I defended LL to Think, too. But I'm more inclined to sympathise with the PT because to some extent I share their aims (helping the poor, making Brazil more equal). Anyway, it's not like you believe everything I say about British politics; you told Conqueror you would have voted for Brexit.

    The only political assassination I've seen in Brazil was Marielle Franco's, and EM thinks Temer had something to do with that. Should I believe him without question, too?

    “Putin was the KGB in the USSR…not enough ?”

    Nope. Maybe he used to believe in it, maybe he was only ever there for personal power. There must have been a whole range of attitudes among KGB agents.

    Re views in different countries, it also depends on culture/religion, the latter being a big difference between the US and Europe, and Japan and China are vastly more different. And I think educated people are less likely to reject ideas simply for being unfamiliar, but to consider them seriously before deciding.

    Oct 14th, 2018 - 11:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Afaik, Temer banned it. Confused ? “later” on, expect not.
    Haddad’s proposal :“gtee scholarships, socially vulnerable trans-genders, so can finish fundamental/medium school, allied to professional qualification”. Fundamental : 6 -14, medium:15 -18 yrs;
    Social vulnerability ? perhaps what u suggest.
    Scholarships ? don’t know, as public schools ARE free, but his propaganda suggests for university matriculation…quotas ?

    “…accding to news just abt every Prez was guilty of what Dilma was accused of…” Technically yes, but w/ 3 distinctions : 1) amounts involved, peanuts compared to Dilma’s, 2) Congress authorized them, 3) accounts were back in the black by end of each fiscal year….very different to Dilma who obliged the fed bks to lend, w/o Congress’ approval, no register of loans by the bks, hide them, lie abt them ‘n the deficits, carry them over 2 years running…presume even you can tell the difference. Hypocrisy ? sure, but it’s the law.

    Sharing – to some extent – the PT’s ‘declared’ aims, quite natural…BUT, the PT did NOT deliver...14 years in power show that. The BF, while put enough food on the table, raised NO ONE “out-of-poverty”. Lula’s 18 Fed Univs, an enormous farce.

    By what I heard ‘here’, I’d have voted for Brexit…IF I lived in GB, would’ve been better informed/more interested, “may” have been against it, dunno.

    Re political assassinations, Marielle was just a high-profile one, becos : In Rio, fighting to improve conditions for the poor, being black. Just fyi, there are dozens. It’s how many disputes are settled here. By all the evidence, Marielle’s death points to local dispute w/ a direct political opponent ‘n the militia….Temer’s no saint, but to involve him (w/ a local alderwoman) is just conspiracy.

    Putin, right-wing ? NOW, you ARE being naïve…what about the assassination attempts of ex-Russian spy ‘n his daughter in England ? The USSR/KGB way of eliminating enemies. Being educated doesn't necrlly mean acceptance, perhaps tolerance.

    Oct 15th, 2018 - 07:05 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “Temer banned it.”

    You said you're a libertarian; what do you think the law should be?

    University is free in Brazil too, I thought? So why does anyone need a scholarship? And are there no social services for kids thrown out by, or running away from their families, whether transgender or for any other reason? Judging by the number of kids on the street, I guess not.

    Re Dilma, even if she did do more 'creative accounting' than previous presidents, we know that wasn't why she was impeached, it was because they didn't like the way she was handling the economy. Temer admitted as much. I doubt the PT had any better reasons when they tried to impeach FHC.

    “The BF, while put enough food on the table, raised NO ONE “out-of-poverty”.”

    It got people out of extreme poverty, it was the growth of the economy due to the boom in exports that did most to get people out of poverty altogether. And with the recession, they're slipping back into it again, with seemingly no end in sight. I only hope it doesn't last as long as the financial crisis has in Europe, but your government seems to following a similar path to the one that has only perpetuated the sickness here.

    ““may” have been against it, dunno.”

    I very much doubt it. Seeing your antipathy for the UN and it's 'interference' with Brazil, and sympathy for the anti-immigrant crowd in America, it's almost inevitable you would have voted out. Besides which, no one was very well informed here either, because the campaigns were crap, and the leave campaigners told people not to listen to the experts and instead believe whatever they wanted to be true.

    Suppose I'll have to stop being lazy and look up those assassinated Mayors...

    Re Putin, Saudi Arabia recently assassinated a journalist in their own embassy in Turkey. Pinochet ordered the assassination of the former Chilean ambassador in the US, during Operation Condor. You're not going to tell me Pinochet, or the king of SA, were/are communists?

    Oct 15th, 2018 - 09:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Why have a law ? if lessons are available, the parents should have the right to decide if want their kids attending them, or not.
    “Public” univs are free in Bzl, but there are entry exams…or not, if you’re are poor ? black ? trans-gender ? Social services for those kids DO exist, however not very efficient - besides, many prefer the streets.
    Dilma’s ‘creative accounting’ WAS the “cause” of her impeachment…what motivated Congress was political. Rightly condemned - for the wrong motive ? Temer’s admission is irrelevant to the cause. The PT’s attempts to impeach FHC were only to cause trouble.

    Raising someone “out-of-poverty”, if defined as giving them food, is miles fm actually getting them “out” of poverty…they carry-on living in shitty homes, w/o decent public health svcs or security ; the BF kept them alive, no more.

    The economic boom, exports, were not Lula’s to claim. He passed no laws which contributed to ‘sustainable economic growth’. Of those he did, none were responsible for higher/better employment, salary mass, consumption…or, the virtuous circle.

    “ ‘may’ have been against it, dunno ”…Presuming the UN’s interference takes on different characteristics in each country, and IF I lived in the EU, I might have a different view of them…but I live here, analyze their interference, in Bzl.

    IF I wasn’t who I am, obviously I’d have different views etc…So, if no one was well-informed re Brexit -’n that was in the UK – even a supposedly ‘clarified’ population can be duped. No use comparing ‘ifs and ands.

    Today, if Putin heads Russia ‘n has allowed it to move to the centre, just shows he’s a savvy politician…he wouldn’t have been head of the KGB, if he didn’t believe in communism ; he was forced to, and adapted well to the new reality, but deep down he’s the same old Putin. Like FHC :exiled communist, came back under different circumstances, did what he did…but underneath, still a left-winger.
    Pinochet, right-winger. SA, a very different system, no L or R.

    Oct 16th, 2018 - 12:50 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Well, lessons aren't available anymore. Much like the US where parents could always withdraw their kids from sex-education classes, but now in many areas they've banned the 'education' part completely, with the expected results in teenage pregnancies and STIs.

    “many prefer the streets”

    Social services must be pretty dire if kids prefer the streets. And it's still a mystery what the scholarships are paying for. School supplies, text books? Transport to get there? In England we no longer got a free bus to school after age 16 (and from where I lived there was no practical public transport to the sixth form, either). Do poor children get free school dinners in Brazil, too?

    “Dilma’s ‘creative accounting’ WAS the “cause” of her impeachment”

    I think you're splitting hairs. If the rest of Congress had been happy with the way she was running the country, they would have continued looking the other way.

    Re Lula, putting more money in the hands of the poor does tend to benefit the economy, increase consumption etc, since they usually spend it locally, creating more jobs. Same with increasing the minimum wage, up to a point. Brazil benefited from the export boom, which had more to do with China's economic policies than Brazil's, but previous export booms didn't raise people out of poverty, presumably because the workers never saw much of the profits.

    Putin wasn't head of the KGB; he was made head of the FSB, its successor, by Yeltsin, several years after the end of communism. Putin had previously been a KBG agent, and according to him: “In intelligence at that time, we permitted ourselves to think differently and to say things that few others could permit themselves.” When he became president, he brought back some of the government control/authoritarianism of communist times, but following a right-wing ideology instead. SA is right-wing, like Pinochet, but what was your point in bringing up the Skripals?

    Run out of room to talk about the EU...

    Oct 16th, 2018 - 01:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Voice

    You two are always running out of space...
    Carry on...

    Oct 16th, 2018 - 07:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    IF G-I lessons are indispensable (which I think they aren't), no doubt they'll eventually be reincorporated in to the curriculum.

    Social svcs : don't think of them as they are in the, they're 'different'.
    Rgrdng scholarships 'n what they entail, maybe you should ask any case, privileging trans-genders on account of sexual option, is nuts
    Maybe Haddad's way of bringing them to the PT.

    Splitting hairs ??? Nooo...breaking the law is breaking the law...period. Sure Congress could have let her off the hook (as they did Lula in 2007, when the PMDB managed to bury the movement to impeach..) but I am talking of the 'cause' which led to her impeachment... and you carry-on trying to find some excuse to pardon her. Give it up please, there's nothing more to say about it.

    Agree that BF funds being funnelled into the economy as 'consumption' would have a positive effect - to the economy, and to the recipients' stomachs - but to claim it lifted them 'out-of poverty', (and into a higher social class ?) in a 'sustainable' fashion ? Don't think so.

    “workers never saw much of profits”...many Cos, besides paying a 13th salary (obligatory, by law), adhered to profit sharing, (law passed in 2000), but obviously depended on company profitability. Jobs 'n salaries get people 'out-of-poverty'.

    Re Putin : KGB agent for 16 years (6 of which in Dresden); in '89, when the USSR imploded, he was (37 yrs old and) a Colonel in the '94 he went into politics 'n was elected mayor of St. Petersburg. FSB, founded '95, substituted the KGB. In '98, Boris Yeltsin made him head of the FSB... KGB, or FSB, same thing. Re Putin's “we permitted ourselves to think differently...” different ? not much. But if you want to believe he's right wing, go ahead. SA, a wahhabist monarchy...L or R not applicable, imo.

    Skripals:.ex-double agent; frowned upon by Russia; poisoned, method usually used by KGB/FSB to eliminate enemies...and what did Scotland Yd conclude ?

    Oct 16th, 2018 - 08:38 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “privileging trans-genders on account of sexual option”

    Well, I agree. If they need help because they are on the streets, or because schools won't let them attend, or whatever other problem it might cause them, they should get help because of that, not simply for being transgender.

    I'm not trying to find an excuse to pardon Dilma, I'm saying Congress did not impeach her because they cared about the law (as if!) It was just politics, same as the PT's attempts.

    “breaking the law is breaking the law”

    What's the penalty for bribing a traffic cop in Brazil?

    Re the BF, studies show it did improve the economy, which means more jobs, which can get people out of poverty or into a higher social class. It wasn't necessarily the recipients who got the jobs or got out of poverty, but someone did.

    What is the point of the 13th salary? Why not just increase the normal pay by the same amount? And maybe if profit sharing was passed earlier then workers would have got more benefit from earlier booms.

    “Jobs 'n salaries get people 'out-of-poverty'.”

    Tell that to all the people in the world who have jobs and still live in poverty. Jobs, salaries, and economic growth are all necessary to get people out of poverty, but they aren't sufficient on their own.

    “KGB, or FSB, same thing”

    Except you don't need to be a committed communist to head up the FSB. And all the evidence points to Putin ordering the Skripals' poisoning, but what has that got to do with him supposedly (still) being a communist?

    Anyway, perhaps it's not important. If we both agree on disliking those forms of government, and wouldn't want our own countries to become more like either of them, then does it matter if they are left, right, or neither? Only in that we could be guarding against the wrong thing, if you believe only left-wing governments become authoritarian, and I think it's only right-wing ones.

    But what exactly do you object to in Russia and SA? I'm curious if it's the same things I do.

    Oct 16th, 2018 - 09:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Put it this way, Dilma was incompetent as hell, deserved to be kicked out. End. PT's attempts at impeaching FHC had no substance, merely to throw sh*t in the fan. Fine for trying to bribe a cop ? no idea, but think today it might lead to yr arrest.
    Look, I’m not saying the BF was bad, because it wasn’t, but it contributed very little (or nothing) to overall and permanent reduction in poverty.
    13th salary, was a bonus…taxation on it was lower than on one’s regular salary, which reduced govt ‘n corporate costs on payroll - IF ‘ifs ‘n ands’ were pots and pans…they weren’t.
    “Tell that to all the people in the world who have jobs and still live in poverty”…first, I’m not talking about the world, second is it preferable to not have jobs ‘n salaries, but instead, the BF ??? you are arguing against yrself..
    Re Putin : sure, 16 years in the KGB as an agent…and not committed ? I’d loved to have seen how that would turn out. The Skripals were just a reference to what the KGB might do, and Putin’s mindset while he was an agent…nothing more. Why does a country need ideology to get ahead ? it needs a system of government, one that allows freedom and that does not screw its people. Either extreme, once implemented, is authoritarian, but first you have to be able to characterize the country being one thing or the other, or neither…(i.e, the middle ?).
    Have nothing against present-day Russia (other than the still only ‘relative’ freedom) ; my opinion is that Putin, who had to be a committed communist to serve – and survive - 16 yrs in the KGB, adapted himself to a new reality after the USSR ended, but does not act like a communist now, because he’s realized it’s gone (hopefully 4ever), but he’s still in control, in a similar fashion to what he’d be if the USSR still existed…with which, imo, he’d have no problem. Object about SA ? I did not bring it into the discussion – you did – but I think wahhabism goes a bit too far, not to mention the (still) lack of freedom for women.

    Oct 16th, 2018 - 11:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “ifs ‘n ands”

    My point was, this law couldn't do much to help people benefit from profits pre-Lula, because it was only passed 3 years before he took over. Maybe it was part of the reason they benefited more afterwards, and that's fair enough.

    “is it preferable to not have jobs ‘n salaries, but instead, the BF”

    No. Why would you even think that? I said jobs were necessary, but not sufficient. Just having a job does not inevitably get you out of poverty, it has to pay enough, and you have to get enough hours. The BF could be a top-up for those who don't get enough pay, or to tide over the unemployed until they find a job.

    “Why does a country need ideology to get ahead ?”

    I don't know, but most people believe in something, and base their system of government on that. Re Russia, you don't have a problem with them invading Ukraine, or Putin murdering dissidents in other countries, and journalists and political rivals in his own? Those things plus the fact that freedom in Russia is reducing, not increasing, as Putin tightens his grip, are what I mostly object to. As for SA, that's much worse - no elections, the royal family run everything so if you're not a member you have no chance of advancing, sharia law complete with beheading for political 'crimes', ridiculously strict religious traditions, and woman literally treated like children, legally. It's the fact it's an absolute monarchy, and the support for tradition, religion and hierarchy that make me think it's right-wing if it's anything. But regardless, I certainly wouldn't want to live there - I'd even prefer Venezuela. While I'm sure you wouldn't go that far, I would think you'd still find plenty to object to?

    Oct 17th, 2018 - 12:06 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Profit sharing: even before regulated, companies I worked for embraced the idea…bonuses could be as much as 5 salaries, as the better the performance, the more generous they'd usually be…but it depended on having a profit…after paying shareholders.

    Me: “is it preferable to not have jobs ‘n salaries, but instead, the BF”;
    You : “No. Why would you even think that? I said jobs were necessary, but not sufficient”….
    Well, in a prosperous economy, having one full-time job should be enough…if not, get a 2nd, part-time…many people do. But if what they earn is insufficient, may I suggest they study, or get a better job ? reason why a “minimum” wage exists…but what do you suggest, in a country where public finances are usually subject to pernicious influences ? where continuity of policy is usually hampered by change of administration ? in other words, government that has not yet realized the people come first.

    When I asked “Why does a country need ideology to get ahead ?”, presume you unstood what I meant : NOT necry…when government promotes ideology, in detriment of competence and/or honesty, it usually ends up derailing the economy, in that it no longer sustains itself…to prosper, an economy needs a free-market, allowing the market forces to interact, without excessive restrictions. Maintaining law ‘n order, allowing people to get on with their lives is not solved through ideology. People need to be able to believe in a better future, the chance to better themselves individually …it’s a simple objective that most people strive for, which has nothing to do with ideology.

    It’s not that I “don’t have a problem w/ Russia invading Ukraine” etc….of course I don’t condone it, but there isn’t enough space on here to list everything…assassinations etc... Reduced freedom as Putin tightens his grip, is his instinct for survival, ingrained in him while in the KGB.
    Re SA, ok, but L or R means nothing to them, just being the absolute authority.
    Prefer VZ ? Careful.....

    Oct 17th, 2018 - 04:49 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “bonuses could be as much as 5 salaries”

    I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds pretty generous? Which workers would get these bonuses?

    “if what they earn is insufficient, may I suggest they study, or get a better job ?”

    That's what I'd suggest to a friend who is unemployed. However, someone has to do those jobs, so if they find a better one it will just pass the problem on to someone else. And it's hard enough to get one job in a recession, let alone two.

    Looking at history, 150 years ago in Britain people used to work 12 hour shifts in factories and down mines, men, women and even children in dangerous conditions, and they still lived in poverty. Things are very different now, and it's not because we work harder than our ancestors, so what changed? Child labour was banned, laws on safety were passed, and workers formed unions and demanded higher pay.

    Brazil can't afford to be as generous as the UK, but they could have eliminated hunger long ago. Like you say, the governments haven't put the people first.

    “NOT necry”

    But it is. How can you have a government without ideology? Those things you mentioned ARE an ideology, tho most of it is a pretty uncontroversial one. There's two aspects to ideology, one is what sort of country you are aiming for, which people will never agree on, and the other is the means to get there, where everyone has their own theory (eg what restrictions are excessive). It becomes a problem when people are so attached to their ideas that they won't admit they are not working.

    Re Russia and SA, I thought maybe you just didn't want to admit that right-wing regimes can be authoritarian (which seems strange to me, seeing all these Islamic regimes and the religious right in America, but you grew up with communism). But maybe growing up in the Americas, you have a different idea of left and right. I would say support for monarchy, religion, and 'traditional' values and hierarchies are all major right-wing characteristics.

    Oct 17th, 2018 - 08:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Bonuses for floor workers in industry, not sure (as never was one), but pretty sure not as high as I sometimes got, 18 salaries p/ yr. With tough competition, the quality of one's Commercial/Sales team ‘n the service given was where you made the difference…full ships round-trip, meant big profits. The higher up, the bigger the bonuses.

    In a competitive market, people move on 'n up, and others (usually less qualified) take their place. That’s what I did when I felt I was ready 'n wanted more money. In a recession, it’s obvious things get harder...for most.
    Here, 100 years ago, work conditions weren’t much better….long hours, low wages, no rights…Unions eventually were formed to change that.

    ”…very different now, and it's not because we work harder than our ancestors, so what changed?”…enormous variety of products, competition, specialization, technology, productivity ?

    What I’m saying is that ideology, left or right-wing, is not essential for government to function properly – expertise, competence, common sense 'n honesty are, which are not ideological factors. A government should aim for sustainable prosperity, quality of life for the people etc (where's does 'ideology' come in to that objective ?)…who wouldn't want that ? probably only someone who (for personal gain or group interests) would introduce ideology to influence people...

    ”…people are so attached to their ideas that they won't admit they aren't working.”...that, in itself, has nothing to do with ideology, nor will ideology ‘make’ ideas work. Most politicians preach ideology as a means to attract people, but good ideas are not a privilege of the left or right.

    Both L ‘n R regimes can be authoritarian, but authoritarian regimes don’t necessarily have to be L or R to maintain absolute power.
    Afaic, Islam is a totally different cup of tea…traditionally, a way of life above everything else, with a very conscious and unquestioning respect for authority, but neither L or R as I know it.

    Oct 18th, 2018 - 05:55 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    What does 18 salaries mean? 18 x the minimum wage? And does salary mean monthly, so your bonus was 1.5 x a minimum wage worker's whole annual salary? That seems pretty damn generous, even with Brazil's low minimum wage. And you get a tax break on it too! We have to pay tax on bonuses; you would surely have been higher rate, so 40%, and anyway companies have been stingy since the financial crisis, which happened right after I got my first proper job (but at least I had one).

    Besides, it's the sales people who get the big bonuses, while we have to work overtime to clean up the mess because they told the client that our product can do all kinds of things it can't.

    “enormous variety of products, competition, specialization, technology, productivity ?”

    Definitely, those things were also essential. If a country doesn't generate wealth, then no one can be better off. But productivity gains aren't automatically passed on to the workers. From what I have heard, things were different in the 60s and 70s, before increasing the profits of shareholders became the be-all and end-all for company directors.

    “sustainable prosperity, quality of life for the people etc... who wouldn't want that ?”

    Some leaders don't, or they want other things more: to conquer other countries, stay in power, or just buy a diamond-encrusted Mercedes-Benz. Or they want people to follow their religious laws, or to achieve ethnic homogeneity by murdering a whole race of people. That's extreme, but those are uncontroversial goals. You only have to look at the US to see how much people can disagree on the purpose of government.

    “Both L ‘n R regimes can be authoritarian”

    Yes. And you are part of a minority that often suffers under communism, so not surprising you'd be more afraid of them than of the military. As for the Islamists, I think their beliefs are similar in essence to those of the US religious right, or Brazil's bullets, beef and bibles caucus, but way more extreme.

    Oct 18th, 2018 - 09:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    18 salaries means, if I earned $ 10,000/month, then I received $ 180,000 in that year (12 regular salaries, one 13th salary, and 5 salaries as a bonus). Of course we paid tax on the bonus, but better to pay 27,5 % income tax at source, than not receive the other 72,5%..... and even better to get it tax-free, under the counter.

    I don't know what sort of mess your Sales people usually make, but in my line of work, Sales was the driving force behind the business, presuming the other depts (operations, documentation) did nothing to screw that letting the container fall off the ship into the sea, like issuing the documentation with mistakes, causing problems with Customs, local or at destination....there was so much that COULD go wrong, but it was a matter of avoiding it, and damage control when it did.

    Here, where profit-sharing is practised, it's based on yearly productivity.

    “Some leaders don't, or they want other things more”....that's exactly my point....“those” leaders think the people are just a means towards an end (theirs).

    “Yes. And you are part of a minority that often suffers under communism”,...
    Yes, I was part of a minority, that had communism taken over, would no doubt have been screwed, but at the time, we did not know what would happen, so it wasn't a matter of being more afraid of the communists than the military. We went to sleep with Jango in power and woke with the military in power.

    While the US's “religious” right , might go overboard every now and again, I have not seen them promote terrorist attacks (or blow themselves up), aimed randomly at people they don't even know. Afaic, I try not to get involved with fanatics, religious, political or otherwise.

    Oct 18th, 2018 - 10:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Oh, so you got 5 months' salary as bonus, plus 1 month just because. Alright for some! My company offers 10% of your yearly salary, but it's nearly impossible to get the full amount. At $180,000 you'd be in the 40% tax band here, and you can forget about getting it under the counter.

    Imagine if your sales guys regularly told customers you could ship their goods in 10 days, when it usually took 12, or promised them only two containers would be lost a year, when the average was 20, or signed a big contract to ship goods to a new destination - which would be fine, you could get it set up in a few weeks - but the contract says you must do it tomorrow. And when you work all night and somehow get it done, the sales guy wins a trip to Vegas for bringing in a valuable customer.

    But not their fault in reality, it's the company leadership who tell them to say whatever they need to to make the sale, even if it's totally unrealistic or a flat out lie.

    Re the communists, didn't you say you kept your bags packed so you could get out of the country if they took over? You weren't doing that under the military, though some other people did have to flee.

    I don't know about right-wing terrorists in America, but we have had a couple here. One drove a car into a bunch of people outside a Mosque in London, killing one man and injuring several others; another stabbed and killed a Remain-supporting MP just before the Brexit vote, and wounded a pensioner who tried to save her. That Norwegian who murdered 77, mostly children, also claimed to be trying to preserve a 'Christian Europe', and his manifesto included a lot of stuff about 'cultural-Marxism' and quotes from US anti-Islam activists and right-wingers, as well as the Unabomber.

    I still think the Islamists are worse, but the far-right aren't so far behind.

    Oct 19th, 2018 - 05:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    In my line of work (shipping), most owners had one vessel per week, per route, operations were more or less defined by the few available terminals, so it came down to our sales people to keep customers happier than the competition’s.
    I remember I had one very profitable service under me…one medium-sized break-bulk vessel per month, that called max 5 ports, 1 or 2 in the FE and 3 in Brazil…in ’95, roundtrip freight averaged US$ 1,5 million…good profit.
    When problems would arise, I usually told customers what they didn’t always want to hear…but in the end, they appreciated it.

    Beginning 64, we had the essentials ready packed for a quick getaway, but luckily nothing happened. Until a few days before the military took over, no one – in the general public – could anticipate what would happen, if at all, but we were ready for the worst.. Our plan was to go to BA.

    Your terrorists were the so-called ‘home-grown’ ones, right ? presumably most, or some of them were under the radar of the anti-terrorist agencies…but still couldn't stop them. Amongst the religious fanatics, imo, Islam is by far, the worst.
    Fanatics can be found in the L, in the R, but other groups, generally speaking don’t even come close to Islamic fundamentalism.

    Oct 19th, 2018 - 08:05 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I guess it's just not comparable. Sounds like in shipping there are limited choices, and everyone knows what's available, which is not the case in software. Theoretically we could build nearly anything, whatever the client wants, but it all takes time and money. Plus they never know what they want anyway. We had different problems with our Brazilian customer, turns out the thing we sell is pretty much unknown in Brazil and they weren't using the product correctly. But at least our little team there actually attend the presentations, so they know what they are selling, and they found us two new clients in SP in the last few months. (That was the reason my friend flew out there.)

    It's obvious that whatever Terence says, and the benefit of hindsight, you and your family really were afraid of a communist takeover.

    Yeah, the terrorists were home grown. Even most of the Muslim ones have been. It's very hard for the police to catch someone who acts alone, and doesn't try to build a bomb or get hold of a gun, but simply hires a van or attacks people with a kitchen knife.

    It's a shame, we all hoped terrorism was over after the Good Friday agreement. I remember as a child seeing on the news that kids like me had been killed by IRA bombs, and once on a school trip I accidentally left my bag behind. Just a child's rucksack, but when I went back for it they had cordoned off the area and called security.

    “Amongst the religious fanatics, imo, Islam is by far, the worst.”

    That does seem to be true, at least right now (don't think Islamists were on many people's radar in the 60s and 70s?). Obviously it's not true everywhere (in Burma it's Buddhists persecuting Muslims, Muslims were massacred in the Balkans), but in general they seem to have by far the most crazies. The religion lends itself to extremism - Christians have to ignore large chunks of the bible to get all fundamentalist, and plenty do, but for Muslims the violent, intolerant stuff is right there in the Koran.

    Oct 19th, 2018 - 09:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    You have plenty of choices in shipping (as far as the various services are concerned), although, I expect, it’s far easier to distinguish the advantages of one service over the other than to choose software.
    “Theoretically we could build nearly anything…”…I can believe that. After technology opened the doors to almost anything, I’d say that the limitation is one's imagination, because if you can visualize it, there's a way to do it.
    Yeah, it’s practically impossible to avoid ‘lone wolf’ terrorists from carrying out their intentions. Regarding your rucksack episode, every precaution is never enough.

    Seems that after the Arabs realized they would never defeat Israel militarily, they opted for terror ….but it was 9-11 that brought it to our doorstep, and has caused radical changes in habits and security measures. Aside from the nefarious effect of terrorism , I still don’t know what they expect to achieve by it.

    In 2001, I arrived in NYC on 7th Sept…went to see my friends at the PANYNJ in their WTC offices on the afternoon of the 10th, to arrange a meeting with my owners, which was then set for next morning at 9am…as we were all packing up, at about 4:30 pm, the phone rang, and it was my owners cancelling the meeting…just as well.
    All my friends but one, managed to get out in time, their office being on the 64th floor of the Southern Tower. It was difficult to believe it had actually happened. Went back to the city a few days later, and although blocks around ground zero had been cordoned off, the sight and the smell was impressive…everyone just looking on, in silence.

    Oct 20th, 2018 - 05:19 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    At least your sales team probably had a good idea what the options were, and weren't trying to sell things you didn't or couldn't offer. There *are* limitations in SW; what companies really want is something that does all the work for them so they can fire all their human employees, but AI isn't there yet. When it does get good enough, the results won't be pretty.

    The fact the police reacted like that to my bag shows how high the alert was back then, and that was during the IRA days. But they still can't catch everyone.

    I don't know you were in NY during 9/11. You were very lucky that meeting was cancelled. And I'm glad most of your friends got out. I remember watching it on TV, and how terrible it was when the towers collapsed, knowing there were still hundreds of people trapped on the upper floors.

    AFAIR people said at the time Osama Bin Laden wanted to start a war between Muslims and the West, and if that's so, I guess he succeeded. :(

    What do you think of all the conspiracy theories about the WTC attack?

    Oct 20th, 2018 - 08:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Lie to customer he'll never forgive you ; tell him the truth, no matter how bad, he will.

    Maybe people will need to migrate from the cities to rural areas and start subsistence farming again....if you have land and water, and are willing to work, you'll be ok. We once tried this on the land we have, and if we'd been persistent, as if it were the only option, it would've worked quite well.

    When I saw the first WTC tower burning at 08:50 am (on TV), everyone thought a small plane that had hit it....just an accident...10 minutes later, we saw a large jet flying towards the towers, that's when the penny dropped.

    We immediately got the car and drove to Hoboken (22 miles from where we were staying), just on the other side of the Hudson, of the the time we arrived, both towers had fallen and you couldn't even see the south of Manhattan due to all the thick smoke. After a couple of hours we drove back and started trying to find out if our friends were ok....eventually we located them, in a bar called Jeremy's, virtually under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn bridge....they were drunk, but ok. The worst was that on the 10th (day b4) I had avised my office I was going to the meeting next morning at all the communication lines were clogged, I couldn't tell them I was ok....finally after lunch, my brother managed to get through to me from Brazil, and I asked him to call my office. it was bloody hectic.

    I don't believe the conspiracy theories....I read a book on the attack a few years later, chronologically detailing all the plans by the future terrorists (learning how to fly etc), the months of preparation, and how , although several incidents raised isolated red flags, on the whole, the attack stayed under the radar..until it was carried out.
    Similar conspiracy theories appeared after the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, in 1941, that the US knew it would happen, but let it, in order to have an excuse to attack Japan...

    Oct 20th, 2018 - 10:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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