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May 29, 2007

The airwaves are hotting up in Venezuela

RCTV is off the public airwaves (ding, dong!), but don't cry for it...there is nothing on it worth saving, if Stephen Lendman's latest excellent report on Venezuelanalysis is any indication:

Along with the other four major corporate-owned dominant television channels (controlling 90% of the nation's TV market), RCTV played a leading role instigating and supporting the aborted April, 2002 two-day coup against President Chavez mass public opposition on the streets helped overturn restoring Chavez to office and likely saving his life. Later in the year, these stations conspired again as active participants in the economically devastating 2002-03 main trade union confederation (CTV) - chamber of commerce (Fedecameras) lockout and industry-wide oil strike including willful sabotage against state oil company PDVSA costing it an estimated $14 billion in lost revenue and damage.

This writer explained the dominant corporate media's active role in these events in an extended January, 2007 article titled "Venezuela's RCTV Acts of Sedition." It presented conclusive evidence RCTV and the other four corporate-run TV stations violated Venezuela's Law of Social Responsibility for Radio and Television (LSR). That law guarantees freedom of expression without censorship but prohibits, as it should, transmission of messages illegally promoting, apologizing for, or inciting disobedience to the law that includes enlisting public support for the overthrow of a democratically elected president and his government.

In spite of their lawlessness, the Chavez government treated all five broadcasters gently opting not to prosecute them, but merely refusing to renew one of RCTV's operating licenses (its VHF one) when it expired May 27 (its cable and satellite operations are unaffected) - a mere slap on the wrist for a media enterprise's active role in trying to overthrow the democratically elected Venezuelan president and his government. The article explained if an individual or organization of any kind incited public hostility, violence and anti-government rebellion under Section 2384 of the US code, Title 18, they would be subject to fine and/or imprisonment for up to 20 years for the crime of sedition.

They might also be subject to prosecution for treason under Article 3, Section 3 of the US Constitution stating: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort" such as instigating an insurrection or rebellion and/or sabotage to a national defense utility that could include state oil company PDVSA's facilities vital to the operation and economic viability of the country and welfare of its people. It would be for US courts to decide if conspiring to overthrow a democratically government conformed to this definition, but it's hard imagining it would not at least convict offenders of sedition.

Any further questions as to why that channel is really being barred from the public airwaves, O lazy, antagonistic mainstream media? You keep acting as though it were simply a matter of Chavez not brooking any opposition. Actually, he's brooked more than any head of state should have to stomach, and certainly more than a US president would ever have to. The law of the land is clear, and it dates to long before Chavez even contemplated a run for office.

Moreover, Venezuela is far from being the first country to revoke a broadcast licence for non-compliance, or to refuse to renew one when it expired. In Canada, for example, the CRTC has the authority to do exactly what the government of Venezuela has done--and it has exercised just that authority, with NO cries of censorship from the international community! The only complainers were a few silly logic-twisters like George Jonas, who have a strange notion of what free speech is, and really just hate to see their piddly widdle political-incorrectness party pooped. But then again, since when has the US State Dept. financed our nutters up here--and who listens to them in the event that it does?

Back to Venezuela: Charlie Hardy, the Cowboy in Caracas, points out that Marcel Granier, the owner of RCTV, may be whining about censorship now, but he had no problem complying in the past--even at the request of a truly rotten government that, as luck would have it, also pre-dated Chavez:

As I write this, I am looking at a Venezuelan newspaper, El Diario, from February 10, 1992. The editorial that would have occupied half of page 2 is missing. Page 4 is completely blank. The contents were censored by the government of the then president Carlos Andres Perez.

[...]

However, today, May 27, the Venezuelan government will not renew the license of RCTV, a television station that has been on the air for over 50 years. The owner, Marciel Granier, has been running around the world crying because he is about to loose his license. Even the millionaires in the U.S. Senate feel he should get to keep the license. Interestingly, Granier was president of the censored El Diario in 1992. He didn't complain then. I bought his newspaper. He got his money.

[...]

Granier is no saint and his channel hasn't been an example of the heavenly kingdom on earth either. RCTV was taken off the air five times by Venezuelan administrations before Chavez ever entered the presidential palace. In 1981, for example, it was taken off the air for 24 hours because of airing pornographic scenes.

In 2002, RCTV actively encouraged Venezuelans to march toward the presidential palace in order to participate in a coup that was taking place to overthrow the democratically elected president. Marciel Granier gave clear instructions to the managing producer of Venezuela's most watched news program on the day of the coup that he should not give any information about President Chavez. Actions like this would not be tolerated by the FCC in the U.S.

Hardy also wants us to know that RCTV is not being censored. It can still broadcast via satellite, cable, internets...and oh yeah, other commercial broadcasters, which may opt to buy programming from the inordinately rich tin-pot media dictator, Granier.

Although not many of them may want to, since, as Aporrea reports, several infamous media organizations are all on notice now for their various offences:

"We firmly support the request for an investigation placed before the Public Ministry by the Popular Power minister for Communications and Information, William Lara, concerning the media campaigns of private station Globovision, the US network CNN, and the website Noticiero Digital, to determine whether they carried a message which was tendentious and had implications of treason."

So said the president of the Subcommission on Media in the National Assembly, Deputy Rosario Pacheco.

Pacheco stated "We perceive that in some private media, such as Globovision and Noticiero Digital, there are messages inciting [violence] disguised as news and opinion."

[...]

The parliamentarian also rejected the declarations of spokespersons of the Inter-American Press Association and Reporters Without Borders, saying that they were "a cynical interference in the internal affairs of this country on the part of organizations which have no moral standing, since in 2002 they did not condemn the coup d'etat, nor the oppressive silence imposed by the private media during a moment of national emergency."

Pacheco added that all these institutions, which claimed to be "independent", had received money from the US State Department and, as a result, the positions they took were in line with the interests of the US government, in opposition to the will of the Venezuelan people.

Translation mine.

CNN has already backed off from its repeated blunder (if indeed it was a blunder, and not deliberate disinformation!) of using footage of a Mexican antigovernment demonstration in its reporting on the RCTV situation. Let's see what Globovision (nicknamed Goebbelvision by those in the know) and Venezuela's own little Freeperville do next; I predict some comical contortions in the days and weeks to come, especially on Basurero Digital, which looks to me like the kind of sanatorium where bad disociados in the last stages of rabies go to die. It should be especially funny in light of the dirt which Eva Golinger has recently dug up.

Finally, here is what is replacing the audio-visual dungheap that was RCTV:

The earliest moments of TVes, the new social TV station. It looks great; I love the opener, a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by a youth orchestra and choir. (The conductor is adorable, too; looks like he's having the time of his life up there.) There's an inspiring speech by the new station's president, Lil Rodriguez, and a folk-dance troupe from Zulia performing what looks like a very traditional circle dance. The programming preview looks enticing, too. Definitely a step up from lame soap operas, badly dubbed Hollywood action movies, pornographic ads, and that crazy hibberjibber that passed for news reporting.

All in all, the airwaves over Caracas just got a lot cleaner, and that fresh smell in the air is better than Febreze.

Bien hecho, Chavecito. Como siempre.

May 25, 2007

I love this 'toon

Jerry Reincarnates!

And on a related note, here's an audio file for you audiophiles: Jerry Goes to His Lord.

Enjoy!

Festive Left Friday Blogging: The hottest boy of summer

Who else would it be but Chavecito?

Chavecito throws out the first pitch at the ALBA games

Here he is, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the ALBA Games. I bet he's got a smoking fastball.

Keith Olbermann hits it out of the park

This is what it sounds like when the system breaks down utterly and altogether. One voice cries in the wilderness while those who are in a position to do something...do nothing. No, worse than nothing: they do the exact WRONG thing.

Good night, and good luck. You're gonna need it.

May 24, 2007

Quotable: Evo Morales on capitalism

"The transnational corporations always provoke conflicts to accumulate capital, and the accumulation of capital in a few hands is no solution for humanity. And so I have arrived at the conclusion that capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity."

--Evo Morales, speaking in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Yoohoo, press freedom squawkers...

...I've got another Latin American president for you to call a tyrant!

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has ordered all the country's TV and radio stations to carry government propaganda for two hours a day.

He says that the short-term measure is necessary because of unfair coverage of his government.

Mr Zelaya recently accused the owners of the country's news media of exploiting political and social problems in Honduras to get rich.

He won elections in November 2005, but has poor relations with the media.

Last month, Mr Zelaya unsuccessfully tried to get Congress to ban the publication of reports on violent crime - a massive problem in Honduras.

[...]

From Monday, 28 May, hundreds of TV and radio channels will be forced to broadcast simultaneous interviews with him and with government ministers.

The aim, said Mr Zelaya, was to allow them to explain a series of projects and measures which are underway, and in so doing counteract what he called misinformation about his government.

No word on what partisan affiliations Zelaya has, or what the media's partisan leanings are. Tsk, tsk.

But bless the Beeb for at least noting the following:

President Zelaya's measure comes as press freedom in Latin America is being closely scrutinised.

On Sunday, an opposition TV channel in Venezuela is due to be taken off the air as its licence to broadcast expires.

President Hugo Chavez has refused to renew the licence as he accuses the channel of supporting an attempted coup against him in 2002.

Meanwhile, for the real context, we have to turn to another source.

May 23, 2007

Who's the real dictator?

Contrary to what know-nothings like this right-winger may contend, it's NOT Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

It's George Bush of the US, and Global Research has the proof that he is literally fixin' to be one, if he isn't already:

The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, signed on May 9, 2007 declares that in the event of a "catastrophic event", George W. Bush can become what is best described as "a dictator":

"The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."

This directive, completely unnoticed by the media, and given no scrutiny by Congress, literally gives the White House unprecedented dictatorial power over the government and the country, bypassing the US Congress and obliterating the separation of powers. The directive also placed the Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of domestic "security".

Lee Rogers sums it up:

The language written in the directive is disturbing because it doesn't say that the President will work with the other branches of government equally to ensure a constitutional government is protected. It says clearly that there will be a cooperative effort among the three branches that will be coordinated by the President. If the President is coordinating these efforts it effectively puts him in charge of every branch. The language in the directive is entirely Orwellian in nature making it seem that it is a cooperative effort between all three branches but then it says that the President is in charge of the cooperative effort.

[...]

This directive on its face is unconstitutional because each branch of government the executive, legislative and judicial are supposed to be equal in power. By putting the President in charge of coordinating such an effort to ensure constitutional government over all three branches is effectively making the President a dictator allowing him to tell all branches of government what to do.

[...]

The directive itself recognizes that each branch is already responsible for directing their own continuity of government procedures. If that's the case then why does the President need to coordinate these procedures for all of the branches? This is nothing more than a power grab that centralizes power and will make the President a dictator in the case of a so called "Catastrophic Emergency".

Emphasis added.

Actually, this document simply codifies what has been the case since 9-11: one unprecedented, dictatorial power grab after another. It introduces nothing new; it only attempts to legitimize the very illegitimate status quo.

But what do I know?

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." --Dubya.

And don't forget the 14 points of fascism. Bush meets every one of them. Chavez? He's actively fighting them all. And Venezuela, of all Latin American countries, has the highest sense of pride in its own democracy.

Who's a dictator, again???

May 21, 2007

Sky falling all over Wingnuttia!

Film at 11.

President Bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show.

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp., a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler, whose Nazi party Thyssen believed was preferable to communism. The documents do not show any evidence Bush directly aided that effort. His position with Union Banking never was a political issue for Bush, who was elected to the Senate from Connecticut in 1952.

Reports of Bush's involvement with the seized bank have been circulating on the Internet for years and have been reported by some mainstream media. The newly declassified documents provide additional details about the Union Banking-Thyssen connection.

Trent Duffy, a spokesman for President Bush, declined to comment.

Union Banking was owned by a Dutch bank, Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaardt N.V., which was "closely affiliated" with the German conglomerate United Steel Works, according to an Oct. 5, 1942, report from the federal Office of Alien Property Custodian. The Dutch bank and the steel firm were part of the business and financial empire of Thyssen and his brother, Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the report said.

The 4,000 Union Banking shares owned by the Dutch bank were registered in the names of the seven U.S. directors, according a document signed by Homer Jones, chief of the division of investigation and research of the Office of Alien Property Custodian, a World War II-era agency that no longer exists.

E. Roland Harriman, the bank chairman and brother of former New York Gov. W. Averell Harriman, held 3,991 shares. Bush had one share.

Both Harrimans and Bush were partners in the New York investment firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Co., which handled the financial transactions of the bank as well as other financial dealings with several other companies linked to Bank voor Handel that were confiscated by the U.S. government during World War II.

Union Banking was seized by the government in October 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

No charges were brought against Union Banking's American directors. The federal government was too busy trying to fight the war, said Donald Goldstein, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

"We did not have the resources to do these things," Goldstein said.

Fritz Thyssen broke with the Nazis in 1938 over their persecution of Catholics and Jews, and fled to Switzerland. He later was arrested and spent 1941 to 1945 in a Nazi prison. His brother lived in Switzerland from 1932 to 1947 but continued to operate businesses in Germany.

The new documents were first reported by freelance writer John Buchanan in The New Hampshire Gazette.

Yeah--FOUR YEARS AGO. Where was FOX then, I wonder? And Buchanan was harassed by Bush's minions for it too, as I recall. Naturally, they weren't saying boo about that, either.

Where, oh where are all those boastful wingnuts I smacked all over Mike Malloy's board back then, who pooh-poohed and minimized this--a connection anyone with ANY claim to morality at all should be deeply ashamed of? I have something I want to rub your noses in, fellas.

Nice Work!!!

Meanwhile, speaking of, er, stuff hitting the fan...

The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called "repulsive."

The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.

The site is credited to and includes many photographs of Deryk Schlessinger, the 21-year-old son of the talk radio personality known simply as Dr. Laura. Broadcast locally on 570 KNRS, "Family Values Talk Radio," the former family counselor spends three hours daily taking calls and offering advice on morals, ethics and values.

[...]

"Yes . . . F---ING Yes!!!" said one blog entry on the Schlessinger site. "I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it . . . and some that don't."

Deryk Schlessinger joined the Army in 2004, telling a crowd of Santa Barbara, Calif., Army reservists gathered for an appearance by his mother that he resented the way Americans criticize the war without recognizing soldiers' sacrifices.

"Real people were fighting, and I wanted to be part of that," the younger Schlessinger said, according to The Associated Press.

[...]

Laura Schlessinger's appearance in Utah last week included a visit with Army families at Fort Douglas. In an interview with The Tribune, she said, "We raised our son to be a warrior."

After her Utah visit, Schlessinger received criticism for telling The Tribune that she didn't want to hear the complaints of military wives whose husbands are deployed. "He could come back without arms, legs or eyeballs, and you're bitching?" Schlessinger said. "You're not dodging bullets, so I don't want to hear any whining."

Schlessinger later wrote on her Web site - www.drlaura.com - that she was trying to communicate her belief that military spouses shouldn't complain to war-deployed family members, who have more pressing concerns. "I never whine to my son when he is able to call between missions," she wrote.

Gee, I wonder if she'll whine to him about THIS. Go on, Laura--you know you wanna!

Folks, remember, this woman is a class-A right-wing hypocrite. She preaches about family values all the time, but she falls more than a little short on the practice thereof. Remember how touchingly she looked after her own mother? Mom was dead of heart failure for two months before her remains were found. Not by Laura, mind you, but by a concerned neighbor who hadn't seen the elder Ms. Schlessinger for several weeks.

Are we really so surprised that her son turned out to be one of those Bad Apples we're always hearing about? The ones who, funnily enough, landed up at Abu Ghraib?

Oh, but of course, we're not supposed to believe the son of "Dr." Laura is really such a bad guy...

Mike Paul, spokesman for Laura Schlessinger, released a statement which said, in part, "We hope all news media outlets will respect his privacy for his safety and the safety of those serving with him." In an interview with The Tribune, Paul suggested that the page could be a fake.

That was a contention echoed by Army spokesman Robert Tallman, who said "it may be possible that our enemies are actually behind this.

"Our enemies are adaptive, technologically sophisticated, and truly understand the importance of the information battlespace," Tallman continued. "Sadly, they will use that space to promulgate and disseminate untrue propaganda."

MySpace is an online social network in which users link pages together through like interests and shared friendships. The Deryk Schlessinger page included nearly a dozen "friends," including a number of soldiers in Afghanistan, several of whom were linked back to Schlessinger's page and some of whom had additional photos of, and comments from, Schlessinger on their sites.

Deryk Schlessinger's Web site indicated the 21-year-old soldier is stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where, the site's author writes, "godless crazy people like me," have become "a generation of apathetic killers."

The site indicated Schlessinger's team has survived numerous mortar, rocket and roadside bomb attacks. It also included several graphic cartoons. In one of the stick drawings, a top-hatted man laughs as he rapes a bound and bleeding woman in front of her family. In another depiction, a man forces a boy to perform oral sex at knifepoint as the child's mother pleads for her son's life.

It's unclear who created the cartoons, but Army spokesman Robert Tallman said the drawings "are repulsive and not anywhere near being acceptable," for a soldier's personal Web page.

The Tribune learned of the Web page earlier this week from a former schoolmate of Deryk Schlessinger. Army officials said they were unaware of the site until alerted to its presence by the newspaper Thursday.

Emphasis added.

Yep, you know you're up against a very clever and adaptive enemy when they not only know who Laura Schlessinger's son is and where he's stationed, but they also post authentic links on that "fake" page to his army buddies AND his old schoolmates. And then they get one of those schoolmates to contact the Salt Lake Tribune. My God, what won't they stoop to?

Well, I've a strange hunch they wouldn't abandon their own mothers and leave them to rot for a couple of months. But I guess it makes me the Enemy to say so!

Oh, crapola...

...I just sprayed beer all over my monitor.

Through my NOSE.

Fuck, where was THIS on Festive Left Friday? I could have used it.

This was the "Big" march, a bid to rescue RCTV's public signal from its fast-approaching date with the evil government axeman. As you can see, it's got a few little gaps in it. (You wouldn't see any in a pro-Chavez demo; they stretch for miles. Chavecito routinely requires binoculars to see to the back of the crowd during his speeches, and those are the SMALLER ones.)

Now I'm gonna have that Hampsterdance song earworming through my head all night. Along with the sound effects from the Insanity Test (which no one can take without laughing, so I guess we're all fucking nuts).

Oh well, time to give the video another spin.

May 20, 2007

Rachel Maddow kicks a deserving corpse

Yes, the late unlamented Mr. Falwell was, among other things, a staunch racist. Oh, pardon me, was that a rude thing to say about the dead? Well, then, let's just call him a segregationist (same shit, but with a spritz of eau de cologne.)

What Rachel doesn't get into here, although she could have, is Falwell's association with the very anti-American cult of Sun Myung Moon (who is also about due for his date with the Lords of Karma, if I'm not mistaken). Fortunately, there's always Robert Parry for that.

And in other corpse-kicking news, get a load of this Gallup poll. Even religious conservatives overwhelmingly favor extending hate-crimes protection to gays. Looks like Falwell's life mission has failed to capture public opinion. And the announcement comes right before his mortal coil is buried. How fitting!

May 18, 2007

Appy polly loggies

Sorry, folks, no Festive Left Friday Blogging today. I had nothing prepared, and worse, I had my first moment of pre-senile dementia. I forgot what day it was in my state of general discombobulation. Must be all that negative Falwellian karma reverting on itself that's got the Earth's magnetic field flipflopping, or something.

Quotable: Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell

Yes, this IS a case of a stopped clock being right for all of two seconds out of a given 24 hours. Savor those two seconds, kiddies. For as soon as they're over, Hitchens will, like Cinderella's coach, revert to pumpkinhood once more.

BTW, Hitchens shares an obnoxious trait with Falwell (besides the fact that if you gave him an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox, too)--both of them made it their mission to bring down Bill Clinton and, as a result, elevate an unholy alliance of theocrats and PNAC warmongers to the White House.

Thanks a lot, Hitch, you drunken louse.

May 16, 2007

Who's the deepest in the hole?

From the CIA World Factbook, some startling news on national account balances in 2006.

Top of the list is China, at $179,100,000,000 (US).

Evil, wicked Venezuela is #11 at $31,820,000,000.

Canada, my home and native land, is #16 at $20,560,000,000.

Even Ecuador and Bolivia are currently ahead, in 50th and 51st place respectively; they are at $727,000,000 and $688,000,000.

Who is dead last?

The United States. At $-862,300,000,000.

Wave that made-in-China Stars 'n' Stripes proudly, people--you've got the biggest deficit in the world!

Maybe that's why this film was made, hey?

May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell has gone to hell

Ding dong.

May 13, 2007

You Can't Make It Here Anymore

This video was posted on UNN by Buddy Georgia (who also goes by the alias "drummerboy"), a military vet and peace activist. He's in here somewhere, according to his post:

This is a link to a music video on youtube. While it isn't a particularly flattering photo of me, it was a shock to see my mug in the video. [...] Plus it's a pretty cool tune. P&L, Buddy

That it is...cool, very Buffalo Springfield, and all too true.

Good to see you in there, Buddy!

Welcome to capitalism! Sorry you got beat up!

From the UK Guardian, a little news item from not-so-red-anymore China:

China unveiled plans yesterday to deploy police in hospital wards and outpatient clinics to protect medical staff from the public, amid growing instances of physical violence meted out by patients furious at charges and dubious treatment.

The government is concerned about increased attacks on doctors, nurses and administrative staff as the healthcare system becomes the focus of resentment about the gap between rich and poor.

According to the China Daily, 5,500 medical workers were injured last year in assaults and protests, causing more than 200m yuan (£13m) damage.

One of the most prominent disputes was sparked in November by reports that an infant in Sichuan province was denied life-saving treatment because his guardians could not afford the £50 fee. According to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy 2,000 demonstrators tore through the Guangan City No 2 People's hospital, smashing equipment and forcing doctors to stop work. About 100 police broke up the crowd, injuring 10 people and detaining five.

Staff at Shanxia hospital in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, started wearing hard hats on their rounds after being harrassed and spat on by relatives seeking compensation for a patient's death.

According to the domestic media, several hospitals have already hired police to patrol wards and maintain order. Health ministry spokesman Mao Qunan told the China Daily that the security services should cooperate with hospitals to "halt the violent trend" and improve service to patients. "Bringing about a harmonious medical service environment is not just down to hospitals," he said. "The police should be more involved in safeguarding hospital staff and the facility itself."

China's healthcare system - once almost free - is now one of the most market-oriented in the world. Since market reforms in 1979 the government's share of healthcare costs has declined from 54% to 17%. According to the World Health Organisation China ranks 188 out of 191 nations in terms of the equality of financial access to health.

Wow. Is there a more underwhelming testimony to the "virtues" of pay-to-play capitalized medicine than that last statistic?

Well, wait. It gets better.

For hundreds of millions of poor farmers, all but the most rudimentary care by "barefoot doctors" is unaffordable. A peasant saying has it that a pig must be taken to market every time an ambulance siren wails, a year's work is ruined as soon as you sleep in a hospital bed, and if you are struck with a serious disease, 10 years of savings go up in smoke. In 2004 a report said 75% of rural patients who declined recommended hospital treatment did so because of financial reasons.

With little support from state coffers, medical institutions have to find new ways to generate income. Drug sales account for half of hospital incomes, which has led to widespread accusations of overprescribing. Many ailments are unnecessarily treated with drips - which require hospital stays and monitoring by nurses - rather than pills that could be taken home.

Money also explains why half the babies in Chinese hospitals are now delivered by caesarean section. According to Li Ling, an economics professor at Beijing University's China Centre for Economic Research, hospitals can charge more for caesareans because they are billed as surgical procedures, whereas the fee for natural births is set at a low rate by the government.

I'm guessing there are a lot of "complications", too...the sort of thing resulting in still more needless hospitalization.

For anyone who still believes that privatization is the answer to everything, and that economic growth must happen at any cost--look at China, and you'll see "any cost" in action. Unnecessary hospitalizations, needless medical procedures, overprescribing of expensive drugs--much like in the good ol' US of A (whose foreign debt China shares ownership of with Saudi Arabia). So much for the idea that a capitalistic system can do things better or cheaper. Any country where a truly socialized medical system exists, such as, oh, say, Cuba or Sweden--is curiously devoid of such a mess. It has a cheaper, more efficient system, better access to care, and a healthier populace. In short: It looks nothing like China.

China's "socialism" is all lip service; in reality, it's totalitarian capitalism under a corporate-tame dictatorship. How else to explain the chutzpah of daring to call it a People's Republic while it becomes more and more apparent that precious little in said republic is actually working for the people?

It's also apparent that market reform has not done squat for China on any front.

It hasn't gotten rid of censorship and repression, for starters; the student uprising at Tiananmen Square is still unmentionable nearly twenty years later, and a large portion of the Internet is inaccessible to most Chinese, while free speech is likewise severely restricted--thanks to corporate collusion. Yay, capitalism!

It hasn't brought democracy to China; free elections aren't happening, nor will be anytime soon. No matter what the "new" China may call or style itself, it is still a one-party state.

It has, as we've seen, done nothing for healthcare; certainly nothing for public safety, either. The waves of corruption the newly capitalized system has unleashed are even being felt on shores half a world away. The recent Menu Foods scandal, in which melamine (a toxic agent used to make plastics) was found contaminating wheat gluten intended for pet foods, points to another side of the "at any cost" economic miracle-that-ain't; so too does the mushrooming concern among Chinese rural dwellers about environmental contamination. After all, it's their children who are dying from all the toxic sludge in the rivers, not those of the distant tycoons running the horrible puppet show.

Poor and ill-educated a large number of rural Chinese may be, and their own government and the big corporations may be doing their damnedest to deprive the people of the People's Republic of the free and complete access to information they deserve, but stupid they most certainly are not. They know from all too personal experience that "any cost" means they are the ones who will pay, while the authors of their misfortune get off scot-free and never have to look at the mess they made. This is why the Chinese erupt in anger so often--and why the Western media, whose job is mainly to tout the bogus benefits of unfettered capitalism, barely says boo about it.

May 12, 2007

Quotable: John Kenneth Galbraith on conservatism

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

--John Kenneth Galbraith

May 11, 2007

CubanaBomber Death Watch: You have a right to be informed!

From Aporrea, we have this little item on just how far the Bush Crime Family is willing to go to conceal the evidence of its misdeeds:

The Venezuelan documentary, "Posada Carriles: Terrorism Made in USA", which tells the history of this terrorist and his connection to the CIA, has been confiscated by US security services at the airport of Miami. The film, in DVD format, was found in a parcel of mail from Caracas, bound for El Paso, Texas, where a social organization was to receive it today, Friday, May 11, to be shown as part of a program of activities there against the release of the terrorist Posada Carriles.

The film is now in the hands of the Bush government, and the US mail services report that it will be "held for inspection". This occurred yesterday (Thursday) at 1:30, and the film is being held in custody, which is to say that the showing slated for today will be suspended, as the documentary will not arrive on time. The only information we received from Miami Airport is that the inspection "will take 8 days or more".

Is the White House so desperate in the case of Posada Carriles that it would order its agents at the airport to confiscate a DVD? Why is the Bush government "inspecting" this documentary? Eight days to "inspect" a 90-minute film? Do they suspect that the DVD is concealing some kind of WMD? Will the DVD pass the lie-detector test in an interrogation? Will it be re-edited? Or will they send it to terrorist groups in Miami so that they include us on their hit list? Is this some kind of test of the limits of people's patience for absurdity, since BushCo chose to liberate the terrorist Posada Carriles, but take into custody the documentary "Posada Carriles"?

It's clear the Bush is an imperialist clown, but that bad??? It's clear that he's afraid of history, but to the extent of confiscating a documentary???

Today, in El Paso, the CENSORSHIP of the Bush government kept the North American public from viewing a historical documentary on the terrorist Posada Carriles, but whatever way this documentary will reach its destination, it will reach it. Take that, Bush. The motto of the entrance to your CIA reads "The truth shall set you free", and the truth is the patrimony of the people and will not be confiscated at any airport, nor stopped by censorship.

There are hundreds of voices of torture victims and relatives calling for justice, and thousands of declassified documents giving testimony to the crimes of Posada Carriles as a CIA agent, and there is much evidence of the involvement of Bush with these and other terrorists of that calibre. Every day more voices join the protest, because it is not just an extradition order from the government of Venezuela, it is the yearning of a people fed up with the abuse of power and offences against human rights. These voices, these pieces of evidence, this clamor for justice and against terrorism, will not be silenced by censorship nor by the manipulations of the White House, because it is a global clamor.

PRISON FOR THE TERRORIST POSADA CARRILES!

NO MORE SUPPORT FROM BUSH FOR MIAMI TERRORIST GROUPS!

LET THE TRUTH BE KNOWN ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP OF BUSH-POSADA-CIA!

FREE THE CUBAN FIVE!

NO TO TERRORISM!

DOWN WITH CENSORSHIP!

PS: Go ahead, Bush, burn this video--no problem, we have thousands more copies to send to the people of the US, who have a right be informed.

Translation mine.

Here is the homepage of the documentary; you can get in touch with the filmmakers via e-mail there.

And here is a site where you can read the declassified files on the CubanaBomber.

And now, in the name of circumventing censorship and upholding your right to be informed, I present:

"Posada Carriles: Terrorism Made in USA". In Spanish. Thanks to Aporrea and VTV.

Headline Howler: Don't we just wish?

Bush resigns???

Screen grab courtesy of Raw Story.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: What are they saying?

Chavecito and Evo, always hot stuff!

"Pssst, Evo...that curvy redhead up there in Canada thinks we're hot stuff!"

Mom, Dad...

Guenther has something he needs to come clean about...

BTW, the song he putters around to is by Heino, Germany's #1 Schlager-singer. Translated, it means:

The prettiest in the world is my Barbara;

What I like best about her is her black hair.

She has such heaven-heaven-heavenly blue eyes,

And a scarlet-red mouth.

Yes, yes, the prettiest in the world is my Barbara,

What I like best about her is her black hair.

Yes, yes, she is so wonderful,

Is my Barbara...

And that yellow wig? That's Heino's hair.

I just want you to know I feel incredibly schmutzig for even knowing who Heino is.

May 10, 2007

Breaking Ranks: US soldiers resisting war in Canada

My home and native land has a long, proud history as a place of refuge for the persecuted, the downtrodden, and the people of conscience. When black Americans fled slavery on the Underground Railroad, Canada was the end station. They followed the North Star to get here, literally. A hundred or so years later, the Vietnam War drove tens of thousands of men to flee the United States yet again--this time from the non-racial slavery that was the military draft. Many of these war resisters became permanent citizens.

Today, our country's reputation as a refuge is under attack. While the people of Canada are as open and welcoming to war resisters as ever, our government is not. There is craven cowardice in Ottawa as politicians seek to tie their fortunes to Dubya's foul star. Why they are doing so, heaven knows; I suspect greed and corporate graft. This is a corporate war, not a war of liberation or against terror, that is being fought over Iraq. Yet too many of our members of Parliament are too cowardly, too deluded, or just too stupid to speak out. They underestimate the true nature of the Canadian people, who are staunchly opposed to this war--and who welcome the soldiers who have said no to it as well.

May 9, 2007

Oh yeah, that's inspiring all right...

NOT.

Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton is backing an online petition seeking a pardon of her 45-day prison sentence because she enlivens "mundane" lives.

The petition to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also claims she was being used as a scapegoat to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

Hilton was sentenced after being found guilty of violating her probation for a drink-driving conviction.

She must start her jail term by 5 June or risk a doubling of her sentence.

In a message on a MySpace website, Ms Hilton apparently endorsed the online appeal, saying: "My friend Joshua started his petition, please help and sihn it (sic). I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!"

The petition paints Ms Hilton as a role model who "provides hope for young people all over the US and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives".

Um, Paris's "beauty" is mostly fake, and as far as my life goes, the excitement she provides is nil. I get more out of watching paint dry than hearing about her latest stupid move, to be quite frank.

What's truly outrageous here, though, is the "I'm rich and famous for no good reason, therefore you have to pardon me or my poor little witless fans will simply DIE of boredom" defence. How stupid is that?

Young lady, go to jail, pay your debt to society, and set a REAL example for your peers!

And meanwhile, for REAL entertainment, here's Pink.

While the Miami Mafia kvetches about RCTV's lost licence...

...look what is flying totally under the radar down yonder:

Cable television subscribers who have been able to rely on their local governments to regulate service, may soon be calling Tallahassee for help.

A bill that was passed by the Florida House and Senate late last week would take control away from local governments and turn it over to the state. Supporters believe it will help increase competition among television, telephone and Internet companies. That could lead to reduced customer rates.

The bill, called Consumer Choice Act of 2007, only needs Governor Charlie Crist's signature to become law. That could happen next week.

The bill comes at a time when Comcast, the primary cable TV provider in Lee County, has been under fire the past several months for service outages, interruptions and complaints about customer service. The major problems occurred, primarily in Cape Coral, when service was changed in February from Time Warner.

The bill had mostly negative responses from local governments that have their own contracts with Comcast.

And yet, strangely, I don't hear anyone calling Gov. Crist a tyrant or a dictator for this...do you?

May 8, 2007

Quotable: Hugo Chavez on mixed-economy socialism

"We do not have a statist model [of socialism], that everything will be of the state. Is it possible that there are private businesses in socialism? Yes. Even I would say that in Venezuela it is not only possible, but necessary."

--Hugo Chavez, putting the lie to those who say he's out to commit state capitalism

That explains everything

Secret Gay Life

And of course, lack of mental healthcare and lax gun laws had nothing to do with it.

Guns don't kill people, gays do!

What can YOU get for $456 billion?

Funny you should ask.

Shit-Faced Dubya

You can get all kinds of goodies...or you can get one no-good-fer-nuttin', shit-faced, sorry excuse for a preznit.

Incidentally, having flubbed it so completely, Dubya is now in the market for a war czar to hand the blame heavy responsibility off to. Still no takers. (Say, aren't czars some kind of imperial Russian thing? You know, really oppressive-like? So bad that the serfs chose to go with Lenin instead?)

America: these are your tax dollars at work. When will you impeach this tool?

May 7, 2007

Forbes: Commie pinko rag!

Communism--it's a PAR-TAY!

I mean really...how else to explain this?

A few conclusions can be drawn:

--Although it is possible that Fidel's nonappearance means he is more ill than had been thought, he will probably resume some of his official duties, though not necessarily in the near future, or in a hands on way.

--It is clear that Cuba has not undergone a systemic crisis as a consequence of his withdrawal from day-to-day management.

Whether Fidel is performing vital functions behind the scenes may not matter much:

--The system clearly is working.

--It does not depend on a single figure and did not collapse in his absence.

Or this?

Since Chavez came to power in 1999, Washington has either dismissed him or, alternatively, regarded him as a serious threat. Neither categorization is realistic; Chavez represents a challenge that could become more serious. This demands a more subtle and constructive response:

--Venezuela supplies some 14% of U.S. oil imports.

--Recent nationalizations of telecommunications and electrical companies with major U.S. interests came with adequate compensation packages.

Of greatest concern for U.S. policymakers is Chavez's determination to build a coalition and alliances running counter to Washington's economic and security agenda:

--Chavez has consistently opposed U.S. free-trade proposals. By proposing the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), he has sought to construct and fortify a counterweight to U.S. influence.

--In April 2006, he left the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) because two of its members had negotiated free-trade agreements with Washington. He argued that those agreements were incompatible with the CAN trading system.

--Venezuela's incorporation as a Mercosur member was aimed at further enhancing its political position in South America.

My gawd. First they admit that Cuba's system is working fine even without Fidel out in front, and therefore it is more than just some personality-cult thing. Then they come right out and say that Chavecito deserves to be taken seriously as a LatAm policymaker! What next--red berets and Che Guevara shirts?

Kiddies, you know the sky is falling over Washington when even the notoriously far-right financial rags are forced to admit that the commies have a workable system going (hey, it outlasted the fall of the Iron Curtain!), and the pinkos have more power in Latin America than the neo-fascists favored by Washington.

There's more at both links, and surprisingly, it actually makes an effort to be fair and balanced. Go read it--you'll fall smack on your ass. I sure did.

May 6, 2007

The Future of Food

A scary but utterly important film on the dangers of genetically modified foods and what we can do to stop their deadly encroachment on our tables, our fields and our lives. More information can be found at the filmmaker's website.

May 4, 2007

Festive Left Friday Blogging: A Bolivarian May Day

Chavecito's big speech on the International Day of the Worker, at the PDVSA plant of José Antonio Anzoátegui, celebrates the end of the petro-privatization drive of the 1990s as Venezuela gains sovereignty over its oil. No wonder the huge crowd of oil workers is cheering: The Orinoco region is now estimated to be the richest oil field in the world; its heavy crude oil will come into heavier demand as the Middle East's supplies rapidly deplete. So this is a big, BIG day for Venezuela; its economic sovereignty, along with the Bolivarian project, hinges on it.

About 10 minutes in, three of the new Sukhoi fighter jets arrive for a fly-by. The squadron leader breaks away and gives a small demonstration of the aerobatic ability of the metalbirds that you won't want to miss, at 12 minutes. This is what BushCo can expect to face if it tries to wage a war for that oil--a well-prepared military with spiffy new planes. (Currently there are eight; there will eventually be 20 Sukhois in all.)

Here's part II of his speech, half an hour long.

May 3, 2007

Stop me before I laugh again!

I can't help it. I really, REALLY can't.

President George W Bush has urged the US Congress to ratify a free trade deal with Colombia, as part of a wider plan to back democracies in Latin America.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha, oh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha....

Shit, that's funny. Bush backing democracies in Latin America? Um, what? Anyone remember what he got behind on a certain day in April five years ago? I'll give you a hint: its perpetrators called it democracy, but Venezuelan voters had a very different impression.

He was speaking after talks at the White House with Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe who is on a three-day trip to lobby Congress support for the deal.

A scandal linking Mr Uribe's political supporters with right-wing paramilitary groups is threatening the agreement.

Mr Uribe said the deal was integral to the fight against drugs trafficking.

Woooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha! That's a hot one. How on Earth an exploitive "free" trade deal is supposed to do shit about drug trafficking, I don't know, and I'm sure Chucklenuts doesn't either. But bless Alvaro's little heart, he never stops flogging that ol' dead horse. If Juan Valdez and his mule were any good against cocaine and, er, ITS mules, don't you think all that Colombian coffee you faithfully chug down every morning would have kicked in by now?

After being signed by Mr Bush in November, the free trade deal has stalled in Congress.

The Democratic Party, which controls Congress, is concerned about Colombia's links to the militias, as well as the country's human rights record.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the White House, Mr Bush said: "The president is here to speak strongly about his record, and it's a good solid record.

"I thank the members of Congress for giving him a hearing. We expect them to be open-minded," he said.

Translation: Open skull wide, bend over, let brains fall out with a wet plop.

That "good solid record", as I've blogged several times, is awash in child labor, organized crime, corruption, and murder.

But oh, whateverrrrrr...

President Uribe will spend the next three days meeting top US officials to try to persuade them to sign the deal and also maintain a strong military aid package from the United States.

He has full support from the US president. Mr Bush asked Congress to consider the implications of the deal with Colombia and two pending pacts with Peru and Panama.

"It is very important for this nation to stand with democracies that protect human rights and human dignity, democracies based upon the rule of law.

"So the free trade agreement with Colombia, Peru and Panama - these agreements are more than just trade votes."

George, stop! Stop! You're killing me.

And that's not all you're killing.

Many in Congress oppose the trade deal out of concern for potential US job losses and Colombia's poor record of protecting union leaders, our correspondent says.

They are also against the military focus of the anti-narcotics programme, Plan Colombia, that has cost US taxpayers billions of dollars since 2000, she says.

Boooooooo! Party-pooping Democrats! Get 'em off the stage. Don't they realize they're cutting off the coke for Chucklenuts, the Coultergeist, and heaven only knows how many other prominent Republicans?

And how dare they interfere with all that union busting Coca-Cola is doing in Colombia! Shame on them! Have they no respect for human rights? After all, corporations are persons too. Says so right in legal precedent!

Mas dinero, Jorge, para democracia mi, mi, mi!

Yup, that War on Drugs is working GREAT in Colombia!

You know you're on a roll when...you have to "revise" your figures by half after a much-touted cocaine bust.

The authorities in Colombia have revised the total of drugs seized in a haul on Monday from around 25 tonnes of cocaine to just over 13 tonnes.

It was found in 1,000 separate packages near the town of Pizarro, west of the capital, Bogota, buried in an estuary accessible only by sea.

Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos had said on Monday the haul was the "biggest in the history of Colombia".

The confusion was blamed on errors made in the initial sight count of the drug.

Uh-huh. Must have been some awfully weak eyes among that police force:

The drugs were discovered when the Colombian navy intercepted several speedboats off the Pacific coast near the border with Panama.

A navy statement said that traffickers usually carry the drugs in packages weighing 20kg-25kg. However, when weighed, the packages in Monday's haul were found to be considerably lighter. The final total was 13.2 tonnes.

I wonder how many other impressive "sight counts" of this nature have happened lately? Talk about a flop.

Oh, but of course, it's still Mas dinero, Jorge, por favor!

Gotta fight that drug war, or the terrorists will win, don'cha know?

May 2, 2007

What does it take...

...to turn a "law abiding gun owner" into a plain old gun NUT?

Four magic words: I want a divorce!

Johnny Lee Johnson of rural Coon Rapids was charged Monday with two counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths Sunday night of Johnson's wife, Kimberly, and her friend, Gregory Alan White.

Kimberly Johnson and White were shot to death in Kimberly Johnson's apartment in Bayard, where she had lived while going through divorce proceedings from her husband.

[...]

Described as a self-proclaimed gun enthusiast, many who knew Johnson described him as a nice guy willing to help people out, despite his gun-toting reputation. Johnson worked for the local sanitation company and also did maintenance work.

"They're a nice family," said Shelly Davis, a nurse from Bayard. "No one ever really had any problems with him. In fact, we had hired him to fix our roof."

But those who lived in the apartments near Johnson's estranged wife, such as Ann Madsen, knew him to be, in her words, a "jealous husband" who had a temper.

According to the Guthrie County sheriff's office, Johnson, of rural Coon Rapids, drove to his wife's apartment at about 10:25 p.m. Sunday, broke in and shot and killed Kimberly Johnson and White after discovering the two together.

Jealousy and guns...always a marriage made in hell. Especially in light of things like this:

Guthrie County court records show Kimberly Johnson had filed for a dissolution of marriage, which was pending.

"Johnny was a gun collector, which was one of the reasons for the divorce," said Madsen, adding that she knows Johnson's mother, Nancy Johnson, also of rural Coon Rapids, who once cared for her ill sister.

White's mother, Diana Sheer of Bayard, described her son as a "caring person" and said her son and Kimberly Johnson "were very happy and were making plans for their future."

Sheer said her son and Kimberly Johnson had been seeing each other for several months. She said Kimberly had told her that she had tried to leave her husband about two years ago, and would have been married 18 years.

"She said she had problems with him in the past, but didn't elaborate, and I didn't ask," Sheer said. "She said she thought they could make it work again."

"It's disbelief. It's just disbelief. It was, like, this can't be happening," she said. "Your children are not supposed to go before you. If he was so dissatisfied, he didn't have to take two lives. He's a troubled man."

Yep, I should say so. Anyone who says "If I can't have you, no one will" has, er, issues.

And guns don't actually improve that situation any. He will now be troubled for the rest of his life with the knowledge that killing her isn't going to bring her back to him.

The great get-even sale!

Hello, what part of sovereignty do you not understand?

Oh lordy, here we go again. One Delores Williams, writing for Associated Content, horks up a hairball composed of some of the most poorly reasoned propaganda I've seen yet:

At Midnight, President Hugo Chavez took control of privately run oil fields in order to gain control over the four Orinoco Belt crude projects. These oil fields were held by American companies such as Chevron, Exxon mobile, BP PLc and ConocoPhillips. This means that Chavez's government can decide tomorrow not to send any more oil to America, and there would be little these companies could do.

Well, well. Only one paragraph in, and already the urge to shout BULLSHIT! overcomes me. That's gotta be a new world record.

Hey Delores, that oil is under Venezuelan soil; that makes it Venezuelan oil. Not the oil of US corporations--got that? That means that it is Venezuela's to SELL to whomever Venezuela deems to be an acceptable customer, one who is willing to trade in good faith. It does not mean "Chavez's government can decide tomorrow not to send any more oil to America, and there would be little these companies could do." That's just absurd, considering how much unearned, untrammelled power they've enjoyed ever since oil was first discovered in Venezuela.

So's this:

Americans should be concerned with about a man that hates this country controlling our oil companies.

Once more, with feeling: BULLSHIT! He's not controlling your oil companies, Delores! He's refusing to let them control his country as they have done to date. There's a big difference there.

And then there's that "hate-America" charge. Isn't that old, boring refrain getting tired yet? Or are you people simply not capable of thinking past the ends of your noses? Chavez has repeatedly said, and SHOWN, that he does not hate the US; he hates the way its president is waging wars all over the world for profit and corporate gain, at the expense of its own people and those of every other country. And unless you're completely benighted or cognitively impaired, you have to admit he has a point. Bush has no good intentions for Latin America, as his choice of policymakers has repeatedly made clear. So Chavez is right to denounce him.

But if Chavez really hated the US, he wouldn't negotiate joint ventures with US companies, not even with Venezuela holding the controlling interest over its own oil. He'd simply refuse to do business with them at all. That hasn't happened. And it won't happen. Why would Chavez stop selling oil to a customer, let alone his richest one? He's not being dictatorial by making those oilfields sovereign and insisting on Venezuela's terms rather than those of the oilmen; he's simply asserting a legal right that has long been there and was simply ignored by the greedheads who preceded him in office. That oil has always belonged to Venezuela, by rights, and was actually nationalized in 1976. It's just that US oil companies basically took for granted that the oil was theirs for the sucking, while PDVSA, the state oil company, was on the verge of being illegally privatized just before Chavez came to office. Chavez halted the privatization and has basically taken back Venezuela's right to decide who buys the oil, and at what rate, and oh yeah, he's also making them pay their taxes. If you think that's an oil cutoff, let alone evidence that he hates America, you've had way too much Kool-Aid.

And here's another tidbit that insults the intelligence--not only of the unwary reader, but of the Venezuelan people themselves:

One of the problems for Chavez is will the people with the know-how stay to help him build, or will they take their money and run?

Now, that's really dumb. Delores, do you seriously believe US oilmen are the only ones with "know-how"? You forget that one of the Bolivarian projects all that oil money is funding is free PUBLIC education--and Chavez has made science and engineering special priorities. Before long, they won't need the "know-how" of foreign oil people at all.

And speaking of "take the money and run"--what do you suppose the foreign oil people used to do before Chavez put the kibosh to that, hmmm? It's hardly likely they'll get away with that anymore.

And then there's this:

"Although Venezuela claims output of more than 3 million bpd, analysts reckon it strains to pump 2.6 million bpd. U.S. data peg it as the world's No. 8 exporter."

Good thing you put that in quotes, Delores--it's bullshit too, and Oil Wars has the proof.

And this sentence is simply laughable...

The New York Daily News referred to him as an "oil pimp,"

...not merely because it ends with a comma (what's a period, Mommy? Do I only get to use it once a month?) but because it irresponsibly gives no source link. I had to wade through some real raw sewage to find it. Here it is--grab your nose plugs, folks, it's a stinker. Overwritten, overwrought, and--phew!--overripe. It claims (falsely) that those nations whose delegates side with Chavez at the UN are paid cronies, but overlooks utterly the fact that the US is the true guilty party in that arena, and has long been rigging things there in its own favor. Who's the pimp, again?

One expects nothing better from the editorials of a paper which is mainly a gossip rag, and which is shamefully guilty of burying its real news in the back pages just because BushCo doesn't like it. (And speaking of buried real news, here's a gem from the pages of the same paper. Juan Gonzalez seems to be the only true journalist the paper has on staff!)

But an editorial is not real news; it is one person's unsigned opinion, and in this case, the person is a misinformed, far-right lunatic. If you want real facts, you'd better start looking somewhere else.

I suggest that you start here. Read, read, and read some more. Do your homework, Delores.

Then tell us with a straight face that you still believe that Hugo Chavez is some kind of anti-American menace, worthy to be the object of Pat Robertson's death threats. The fact that you can repeat such murderous words but that they don't seem to trouble you, tells me something about you that troubles me greatly.

May 1, 2007

Hell freezes over in Paraguay!

Looks like something very interesting is happening on the frontier between Brazil and Argentina...something which could prove ominous for the Bush Crime Family and its planned ranch in Paraguay.

The convention of the Colorado Party, which has governed Paraguay for 60 years, yesterday approved a new political orientation defended by president Nicanor Duarte, in tune with other nations in Latin America.

In his more than two-hour-long speech, Duarte called neoliberal doctrine "idiotic", rejected protectionism and declared himself in favor of "humanist socialism", which he defined as "connected to ideas and actions in favor of those who have the least."

[...]

Indicating that "ideologies are changing in the world", Duarte rejected "all forms of totalitarianism and imperialism, no matter their origin or their geographical location", and exhorted his audience to be inspired "in the struggle which is developing the concept of autonomy."

From Aporrea; translation mine.

Granted, Duarte's shocking move could be as easily due to the presidential ambitions of ex-bishop Fernando Lugo, who resigned his post within the Catholic Church to run for president (and is enjoying considerable popularity in the polls). But it could also be due to his own friendship with Chavecito. After all, it's hardly a secret that the two are pals, as well as political allies:

Los Cuatro Amigos Presidentes

That's Duarte on the right. His amigos (L-R) are Nestor Kirchner (Argentina), Chavecito and Evo Morales (Bolivia).

Any way you look at it, this spells trouble for Rancho BushCo. Socialism was supposed to be dead (according to fools like this, anyway), and now here it is, rearing its head anew in the strangest places!

Happy May Day!