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March 31, 2008

Who needs the stinkin' DEA?

Not Venezuela, apparently. They kicked 'em out a while back, and now we're seeing a number of dramatic results. Like, oh, say, this:

Combat helicopters and F-16 fighter jets opened fire at a clandestine airstrip in Venezuela's remote southern plains on Friday as part of a government counter-drug effort.

Smoke rose from the bombed airstrip as helicopters hovered above the savannah.

Army Gen. Jesus Gonzalez told state television that so far this year, the military has demolished 67 airstrips used by drug traffickers to smuggle cocaine from neighboring Colombia to the United States and Europe. Another 90 are to be destroyed next week.

"We are carrying out this operation to reaffirm the conviction and commitment of our military in the fight against the drug problem," Gonzalez said.

Would it be tasteless to point out that Venezuela has been seizing record amounts of cocaine since it booted out the DEA? And that Colombia, despite being on good terms with the DEA (and receiving mucho dinero), is just not holding up its end of the anti-drug effort?

Well, shoot, that's nothing. Ever wonder what role the DEA plays, not in fighting drug trafficking, but promoting it? They've a ways to go before they catch up with the CIA, which has been at it for as long as it's been...well, the CIA--but trust me, they're in like Flynn in Colombia.

Thank Chavecito, they're out of Venezuela.

Someone's ass needs kicking again

Y'see, there's this fella named Thor

Who is more than a bit of a whore.

He shouts and he screams

And he pouts and he preens--

The rest of us wonder what for.

Noam Chomsky states the obvious

Obvious to you, me, and Noam Chomsky, obviously. But to the hawkish disaster-capitalist types, maybe not so:

"Aggressors have no rights. Responsibilities, maybe, but no rights."

I wonder what PNAC, BushCo, Halliburton, etc. will all do when they find out that they have no right to be in Iraq. Something tells me they will only find it out the hardest possible way.

March 30, 2008

So, there's no press freedom in Venezuela, eh?

Oh, the poor IAPA. They claim freedom of expression is under fire in Venezuela. What a pity that the very streets outside their hotel contradict this media-owners' organization's every whimper:

You want freedom of expression, IAPA? You got it. Radical Bolivarians, demonstrating against the UNfreedom of expression that reigns amid the IAPA itself. This Radioaporrea video's in Spanish, but the placards, street theatre, and brainwashing machine (yes, they really have one!) speak for themselves.

Headline Howler: UPI, the Moonies, and bortherhood

You know the brotherhood of humankind is in big trouble when the Moonie-owned UPI service can't even spell "brother" correctly.

So, what is a "borther"? Animal, vegetable or mineral? Perhaps it's extraterrestrial and plans to assimilate us? (No, wait, that would be Scientology. With the Moonies, the ass-imiliation is strictly terrestrial in nature.)

March 29, 2008

Greeted as liberators?

Two Iraqi expats--journalist Ali Fadhil, working out of London, and professor/author Sinan Antoon, of New York, talk with Charlie Rose about the invasion/occupation of Iraq.

They also dispel some of the popular myths prevalent in the media here. Not least of which is the idea that everything has been better in Iraq since Saddam is gone.

Oh, and they dare to tell the truth: "The oil sector is the only thing that is working well."

I shall leave it to your imagination as to for whom.

March 28, 2008

Look who blinked...

Well, here's one in the eye for El Narcopresidente Uribe. Looks like what Chavecito and the FARC have both been insisting on all along, may just finally come true after all!

Colombia has offered to suspend the sentences of jailed guerrillas if rebels first free hostages including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo said late Thursday that the liberation of some captives could jump-start the process of exchanging guerrillas for dozens of hostages, including three U.S. defense contractors.

"It is enough that Ingrid Betancourt be immediately freed for us to consider this humanitarian exchange is moving forward, and to begin delivering the benefits of suspended sentences to (jailed) members of the guerrilla group," Restrepo told reporters.

In return for the hostages' release, rebels would have to promise not to return to the ranks of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been fighting for decades to topple the government.

Family members of Betancourt, a French-Colombian citizen who has spent more than six years as a hostage in the jungle, are increasingly raising concerns over reports of her failing health. Betancourt's husband, Juan Carlos Lecompte, has warned that she has "just months" left to live.

Her ex-husband, Fabrice Delloye, said the Colombian government's offer represented "a positive step — the first time the Colombian government is talking about Ingrid's release and also the opportunity for a humanitarian agreement."

But he said it was still "just a step."

"Restrepo must be more specific ... telling FARC, we are ready to talk to you, we are ready to make a humanitarian agreement through a meeting in a free zone or a demilitarized zone in the southwest of Colombia," he told The Associated Press in France.

Gee, I wonder what brought about this sudden case of the blinkies. Surely not this? Or perhaps this damaging, embarrassing revelation about the imperial overlords?

Freedom is on the march!

Well, at least on Iraqi TV...where the local chapter of the Flat Earth Society is finally free to speak its mind:

...and you are finally free to laugh your ass off at them. Especially when you consider what great strides in astronomy were made in the Muslim world, by people who kept their scriptures in perspective and didn't treat them as scientific gospel.

Ain't freedom grand?

Oh, too bad! Oh, so sad!

Now they can't go blaming exploding oil prices on their favorite Venezuelan scapegoat...

OPEC nation Venezuela is not interested in a further rise of oil prices although a credit crisis in the United States is making stability difficult, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Thursday.

Chavez told a news conference with his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that the war in Iraq had put an end to a balance on the oil market and exporters like Venezuela were not to blame for the rally.

"We are not interested in prices rising further, but the crisis in the United States can affect the world," Chavez said. "May the prices not rise, but we are not the ones responsible."

Chavez has said recently he viewed $100 per barrel as a fair price for crude, which fetched around $107 a barrel in New York on Thursday.

Oh well. I'm sure they'll find something else to blame on him soon enough. (I suggest hiccups, pinworms, earwax and toe jam.)

Meanwhile, it's always instructive to see who Chavecito himself is blaming for the crisis.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Meow!

Who's the more gorgeous of these two green-eyed cats...this LOLtabby?

A cute LOLtabby

Or the similarly-posed president of Ecuador?

A gorgeous shot of Rafael Correa

Rrrrrrrrrrowrrrr.

March 25, 2008

Burn, baby, burn...

Disco Inferno? Nope...just the yearly Venezuelan custom of Burning the Judas.

Exxon as Judas

In a political take on a popular Easter ritual, hundreds of Venezuelans cheered at the burning of an "Judas" effigy symbolizing oil giant Exxon Mobil, which last week lost a battle with the South American nation.

With a pink face, sculpted hair and wearing a pair of aviator-style sunglasses, the model packed with fireworks was hoisted up a pole and set ablaze with a flaming torch on Sunday while African-inspired dancers swayed to fast drum rhythms.

Pinned to the effigy's gasoline-soaked two piece suit a sign read "Mister Exxon."

A British judge last Tuesday lifted a $12 billion freeze on Venezuelan assets awarded to Exxon, dealing a blow to the oil giant in its fight with the OPEC nation over President Hugo Chavez's nationalization crusade.

"They under-estimated our country," said Jorge Loaisa, 67, who headed a committee that organized Sunday's event in the Caracas neighborhood El Cementerio, which was sponsored by the mayor of Caracas, an ally of the socialist Chavez.

It was part of a widespread Venezuelan Holy Week tradition where mainly poor neighborhoods burn effigies to represent Judas Iscariot, who the Bible says betrayed Jesus Christ. The effigies are often modeled on political figures.

And of course, Reuters just couldn't resist pulling out a canard which has long been disproved but is still floating free through cyberspace:

Judas effigies are burnt in villages and towns in several Latin American countries and in parts of Greece. Anthropologists say the practice serves a symbolic function to overcome divisions and unite communities around a common enemy. The tradition has sometimes been described as anti-Semitic.

Of course, they don't say by whom or why. Why should they? As long as they get it out that the burning of Judas is "political" (which it long has been anyway, although the Judas burned is usually a crooked local politician in effigy) and they can insinuate that this rite is antisemitic and that antisemitism has something to do with Chavez, well...Mission Accomplished.

I got your gratitude right here, Pat...

Pat Buchanan is always good for shits 'n' giggles, if your idea of shits 'n' giggles is blatant racism, ethocentrism, xenophobia and general kookoobananarama. It's a mystery to me why this guy gets any media play at all, but I've come to the conclusion that the US mainstream media is just basically a Barnum & Bailey bigtop without the sawdust, greasepaint, and tutu-clad girls doing handstands on prancing Percherons. How else to explain the fact that a sucker there is born every minute, and a clown who says things like this gets no laughs?

In a March 21 syndicated column headlined "A Brief for Whitey," conservative commentator and MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan asserted, "America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known." Buchanan was discussing Sen. Barack Obama's March 18 speech addressing race and controversial comments by his former pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright. He continued, "Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American." Buchanan then asserted that "no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans." Later in the column, Buchanan added: "We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?"

No gratitude? Well, how do you like that--Pat thinks those uppity niggruhs are ingrates. Hey Pat, since none of them will thank you, maybe a white Soviet Canuckistani can do it in their stead. So, I got your gratitude right here:

Thank you, slavers, for bringing Africans to the Americas in chains!

Thank you for inducing their own people to betray them and sell them to abusive strangers who didn't even speak their language!

Thank you for letting so many of them die in the Middle Passage!

Thank you for working them to death!

Thank you for breeding them like cattle!

Thank you for selling them like livestock!

Thank you for claiming they weren't even human, that is when you weren't too busy claiming they were only 3/5 human! (And thanks for abusing science to validate the claim in modern times, too!)

Thank you for splitting up their families!

Thank you for denying them literacy, medical care, and enough food to live on!

Thank you for making a profit on their backs at every turn!

Thank you for forcing your alien religion down their throats!

Thank you for using said religion to justify what you were doing to them!

Thank you for keeping them, who once were free, in abject servitude until someone else forced you to do otherwise!

And thank you for subsequently forcing Jim Crow upon them!

Thank you for sending Hitler's biggest inspiration, the KKK, out to lynch them--I'm sure they meant no harm! After all, stringing up those uppity ingrates is just good clean fun, right?

Thank you for segregating everything from buses to water fountains. After all, we can't have no slave-germs fouling up our nice, lily-white environment.

Thank you for segregating the armed forces, too--after all, what good is freedom if you can't get killed, separately and unequally, defending it?

Thank you for killing Dr. Martin Luther King, as well--that uppity ingrate had it coming.

Thank you for denying equal wages, promotions and educational opportunities to anyone who looks like they might not be quite white.

Thank you for all these freedoms and the prosperity they have wrought for the wealthy few, who are overwhelmingly white.

Thank you for wages even a dog couldn't live on.

Thank you for the lack of any semblance of a social safety net. The impoverished people of color are all sobbing with gratitude for living in the best country in the world, and they owe it all to the magnanimity of the slavers who brought their ancestors to these shores in chains!

And, oh yeah: Thanks for keeping it going. Really.

Will that gratitude do ya, Pat?

John Gorenfeld hangs a Moon

Guess what, America...you're a monarchy. And your king is a crazy old Korean with the weirdest sexual hangups ever.

The question is, why did elected officials (and the Bush Crime Family, who are not actually elected, though they pretend to be) bow down to him and participate in this insane mummery?

March 23, 2008

Headline Howler: Dueling Republicans

Cue up the banjo music. Here comes some inadvertent hilarity from a party that once marched to war on Iraq in lockstep.

First, Sen. Lindsey Graham, on Face the Nation, claiming a "breakthrough in Baghdad" thanks to Dubya's "surge":

Then, Sen. Chuck Hagel on This Week, saying nuh-unh to all that:

The surge is working! Oh no it ain't! Sheesh, guys, willya make up yer minds?

And remember, kiddies, it's all fun and games until US troops and Iraqi civilians get killed and nobody fucking knows why anymore.

(Hat tip: VideoCafeBlog's channel on YouTube.)

March 21, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Maradona's back!

And ooooooooh yeah, Evo's knees!

Evo and Maradona: a pair of 10s!

Who's the perfect 10? Both of them, of course. They faced off at a recent charity game. Who won? The people of flood-ravaged Bolivia. And South American solidarity didn't fare too badly, either.

March 20, 2008

EU gets a phone call from beyond the grave

Ring-ring. Osama calling. Yeah, so I'm dead. So what? If you could resurrect a bunch of shitty Danish 'toons in time for the Prophet Mohammed's birthday, I guess I can come back from Hades to haunt you and taunt you.

And pay no attention to the fact that this bit of blatant scaremongering comes right in time for the fifth anniversary of Operation Royal Fuckup. Which, BTW, is STILL based on a pack of lies...

Booga, booga, booga.

ExxtortionMobil is simply pathetic

And they should fire their corporate spinmeister, too. Here's what he said in response to yesterday's decision against his company:

Exxon Mobil spokesman Alan Jeffers said the company has no plans to appeal the ruling and that the judge based his decision on jurisdictional issues.

"The important thing, from our perspective, is the court did not question the merits of our underlying claim," he said.

And here's proof that he's talking out his ass:

Judge Paul Walker noted that such freezing orders are rare and occur in cases where there is "usually compelling evidence of serious international fraud."

"In the present case there is no suggestion whatever of fraud on the part of (Petroleos de Venezuela SA) or any entity or person associated with it," Walker said in a summary of conclusions released by the court.

During the court case, Walker also signaled that he agreed with PDVSA's argument that the case didn't fall under British jurisdiction since it isn't a British company and has no assets, businesses or bank accounts there.

No, that doesn't sound like he's questioning the merits of ExxtortionMobil's case at all. Actually, it sounds an awful lot like he's just saying they're a pile of shit.

March 18, 2008

Lynndie England's Nurnberg Defence

I see that somebody has the same sense of unaccountability as her Commander in Thief does.

Lynndie England, the public face of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, told a German news magazine that she was sorry for appearing in photographs of detainees in the notorious Iraqi prison, and believes the scenes of torture and humiliation served as a powerful rallying point for anti-American insurgents.

In an interview with the weekly magazine Stern conducted in English and posted on its Web site Tuesday, England was both remorseful and unrepentant — and conceded that the published photos surely incensed insurgents in Iraq.

"I guess after the picture came out the insurgency picked up and Iraqis attacked the Americans and the British and they attacked in return and they were just killing each other. I felt bad about it ... no, I felt pissed off. If the media hadn't exposed the pictures to that extent, then thousands of lives would have been saved," she was quoted as saying.

Asked how she could blame the media for the controversy, she said it wasn't her who leaked the photos.

"Yeah, I took the photos but I didn't make it worldwide. Yes, I was in five or six pictures and I took some pictures, and those pictures were shameful and degrading to the Iraqis and to our government," she said, according to the report.

"And I feel sorry and wrong about what I did. But it would not have escalated to what it did all over the world if it wouldn't have been for someone leaking it to the media."

England, who was a private first class, was in several images taken in late 2003 by U.S. guards at Abu Ghraib. One showed her holding a naked prisoner on a leash, while in others she posed with a pyramid of naked detainees and pointed at the genitals of a prisoner while a cigarette hung from the corner of her mouth.

Asked by the magazine if what happened at Abu Ghraib was a scandal or something that happens during wartime, England said it was the latter.

"I'm saying that what we did happens in war. It just isn't documented," she was quoted as saying. "If it had been broken by the news without the pictures it wouldn't have been that big."

She told the magazine that there are other photographs that have not been released that contain more graphic images than those that were seen on television, in newspapers and on the Internet.

"You see the dogs biting the prisoners. Or you see bite marks from the dogs. You can see MPs (military police) holding down a prisoner so a medic can give him a shot," she said. "If those had been made public at the time, then the whole world would have looked at those and not at mine."

Link to the Stern interview added. I'll summarize that briefly here:

Fog of war. Media's fault. Just following orders. Rumsfeld (who called the perps in the photos "bad apples") knew. Bush is accountable because he was the headman. Dunno what I saw in Charles Graner. Just following orders. Not sorry for what I did. Even if it WAS torture. Didn't witness waterboarding, but did hear screams. Won't say who killed the "Iceman". Angry at others who got away with doing the same things but who didn't take photos, because they never made the news. Paranoid and on antidepressants, seeing a therapist. Feel like a puppet, been used by everybody--military, media, government. But still not sorry. Just following orders.

Will someone please school her on the meaning of responsibility, and the fact that "just following orders" was not an acceptable excuse for war crimes during World War II, and still is not now?

Memo to the US: This is how you handle bad presidents!

My American friends, it's time to take yet another lesson from Venezuela. This one, in particular, may interest you...

Venezuelan prosecutors have summoned former President Jaime Lusinchi to appear in court next month to face accusations in the 1986 killings of nine people.

The attorney general's office said in a statement Friday that Lusinchi has been called to appear in court on April 1 "for presumably being linked to the act."

It said 13 other former officials from his government are also being summoned.

The killings in the western town of Yumare on May 8, 1986, were carried out by security forces. The interior minister at the time, Octavio Lepage, described it as a clash with guerrillas — remnants of leftist rebel bands that largely had put down their weapons by the early 1970s.

But critics have since said evidence suggests the victims were executed without a fight.

Prosecutors reopened the case in 2006 after a court accepted pleas from the victims' families.

[...]

Venezuela is also seeking the extradition of former President Carlos Andres Perez, who is living in the United States, to face accusations of abuses committed by security forces during bloody street protests in 1989. Perez also faces separate charges of embezzlement.

So, what are YOU doing about your bad past presidents? And past-presidents-to-be? There are plenty of war criminals among them. Shouldn't they be prosecuted for crimes against humanity? Or is that just for OTHER countries?

Hmmm, maybe it's time to think again about joining the International Criminal Court, yes? Because there is one in particular I would so LOVE to see in The Hague.

Uncle Jay talks dirty!

Ahem. Now that I have your attention:

As usual, you learn a lot from your ol' Uncle Jay.

ExxtortionMobil fails!

Exxon holding up Venezuela

(Translation: "Gimme everything you got under your belt." The belt in question is the Orinoco Belt, a region rich with extra-heavy crude oil.)

Pardon me for the Schadenfreude, but this is just too sweet...

The High Court in London has suspended an order that froze $12bn (£6bn) of the assets of Venezuela's state oil firm, PDVSA, in a dispute with ExxonMobil.

Exxon is seeking $12bn in compensation from PDVSA, after its interests were nationalised last year.

Venezuela has settled with other international oil firms, but says Exxon exaggerated the value of its assets.

[...]

Presiding Judge Paul Walker said he would publish the reasons behind his judgement later in the day.

The assets were originally frozen pending arbitration on the value of Exxon's former holdings.

Venezuela's ambassador in the UK, Samuel Moncada, hailed the result as "the beginning of the end" of what he called Exxon's "campaign of harassment against PDVSA around the world".

"The English judge rejected Exxon's intention to use an English court as an instrument of coercion against a Venezuelan company," he added.

Gloat, gloat.

UPDATE: And that's not all...they've also been ordered to pay Venezuela's court costs. PLUS damages. This is gonna get muy interesante, kiddies.

March 17, 2008

Why does Dubya not want you seeing this?

Yes, you read that correctly. Dubya, that great champion of freedom, is a would-be censor, making sure the people of the United States stay in the dark about what's really happening in Iraq. Here's the video:

Ahahaha...I think I know why he doesn't want you to see this. The Iraqis want the Dems to win, and they like both Hillary Clinton AND Barack Obama. They have nothing good to say about the situation the war has plunged their country into. And it is SO OBVIOUS from this that the Iraqis are not the backward stupidheads BushCo wants us to believe they are.

March 15, 2008

They were no angels, so we killed them

Can you believe this bit of breathtaking logic?

The Colombian defence minister, Juan Manuel Santos, justified at a press conference on Friday the killings of four Mexican students during the attack by Colombia on Ecuadorian territory.

The minister assured that these young people "were no little angels", and attempted to link them to the FARC guerrillas in order to defend the murders.

"They knew perfectly well where they were going and whom they were interviewing, and with whom they were sleeping in the same encampment," Santos added.

Five students from the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) were in the FARC encampment which was bombed by Colombia. 24 persons were killed, including civilians and the rebel commander Raul Reyes. Four of them, Juan Gonzalez del Castillo, Fernando Franco Delgado, Veronica Natalia Velazquez Ramirez and Soren Ulises Aviles Angeles, died in the bombing, while another, Lucia Morett Alvarez, was injured and is still in military hospital in Quito, along with two other women of Colombian nationality who were also caught in the attack.

The students' families said that the students had been conducting an academic investigation, and announced that they would take legal action against the Colombian government, calling this tragedy "a state crime".

For his part, minister Santos confirmed that the Colombian government also in effect paid off Pablo Montoya, alias "Rojas", the assassin who killed FARC secretariat member Ivan Rios. Montoya received 5 million Colombian pesos ($2.6 million US). Santos claimed that "we were paying for the information" the killer provided to the Colombian government, not the killling.

Translation mine.

So...to summarize: In Colombia, if you don't want to get your ass killed, you have to be a real little angel and never so much as say boo to anyone from the FARC. Same goes for if you're in Ecuador, which is technically outside of Colombian jurisdiction. But to killers of little Mexican non-angels, all that is just a technicality. Point being, if the Colombian military and paramilitary thugs want blood, and you're no angel, you're fair game no matter where your ass is at.

Oh, and the government of Colombia is willing to pay good money for "information" (cough cough) so it can kill more political rivals non-angels. Just don't ask where they got that money, 'kay?

Uribe's thugs are on the Internets

And they've committed two hacks. One on the website of a certain Ecuadorable president:

The official website of the Presidency of Ecuador (www.presidencia.gov.ec) was blocked today for the second time by a hacker who left it out of service.

The info-pirate left a message, "Don't mess with Colombia", and blocked all access to infromation on the portal, which remained disabled for several hours until, around 2 p.m. local time (7 p.m. GMT), it came back online but with error messages.

And the other, a death threat to a liberal Colombian senator who's best known for her work for peaceful, humanitarian release of FARC hostages along with Chavecito:

A note on the portal www.colombiaparatodos.net announded that the website, www.piedadcordoba.net, belonging to Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba, had been hacked.

"Ideas must be combatted with ideas, not spurious and mean-spirited actions. Senator Piedad Cordoba will be able to write in our periodical, since all messages and archives published here are kept in a backup database", the note went on to say.

On the front page of the senator's website, this message appears:

"We apologize, the website of Senator Piedad Cordoba remains out of service since a hacker named Kamilo Leyton, whose e-mail address is elpillino@hotmail.com, entered illegally and erased all archives, portal configuratoins, and left the message, 'LET'S ELIMINATE PIEDAD CORDOBA.'"

The technical team of Senator Cordoba is still working to restore the configurations and archives maliciously erased, as well as all e-mails.

Translations mine.

You know that Alvaro the Arrogant and his peons are out of hand when shit like this happens. But don't count on BushCo to classify either of these events as terrorism, even though they certainly qualify as such in any reasonable person's book.

Correa to Bush: Porque no te jodas?

Okay, so he didn't quite put it THAT graphically. But the fuck-you-very-much was pretty unambiguous just the same:

My translation follows:

The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, responded this Friday to his US counterpart, George W. Bush, saying he should send troops to the border with Colombia to control the zone and, if he would not do so, to "shut up" rather than give credence to any declarations from Bogota that link him (Correa) with the FARC guerrillas.

[...]

"Enough of the double standards, the hypocrisy. Send your forces. Mr. Bush, send your soldiers, so that it will be your soldiers that die on the southern Colombian border. Let's see if the citizens of the United States will accept such a tremendous barbarity. Otherwise, shut your mouth and understand what is happening in Latin America", Correa said.

Linkage added.

Please note that this comes not only on the heels of the illegal, obviously US-backed incursion of Colombia into sovereign Ecuador, but also one year prior to the planned closing of the last official US military base in South America--which just so happens to be in Ecuador.

You really have to admire the cojones of this man, even if this obviously means that John Perkins's heavy warning is in ever greater danger of coming true.

Oh look, the world's #1 terrorism sponsor is projecting again

Chavecito Kitty is taunting Dubya

Does this sound like the behavior of anyone you know?

"A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits."

"The externalisation of internal unconscious wishes, desires or emotions on to other people. So, for example, someone who feels subconsciously that they have a powerful latent homosexual drive may not acknowledge this consciously, but it may show in their readiness to suspect others of being homosexual."

"Attributing one's own undesirable traits to other people or agencies, e.g., an aggressive man accuses other people of being hostile."

"The individual perceives in others the motive he denies having himself. Thus the cheat is sure that everyone else is dishonest. The would-be adulterer accuses his wife of infidelity."

"People attribute their own undesirable traits onto others. An individual who unconsciously recognises his or her aggressive tendencies may then see other people acting in an excessively aggressive way."

"Projection is the opposite defence mechanism to identification. We project our own unpleasant feelings onto someone else and blame them for having thoughts that we really have."

All righty then. Now that we have a working clinical description of Freudian projection, let's take a look at who's doing it. First, there's Weak 'n' Stupid:

The Bush administration has launched a preliminary legal inquiry that could land Venezuela on the U.S. list of nations that support terrorism, following reports of close Venezuelan links with Colombian rebels, a senior government official has confirmed.

The investigation is the first step in a process that could see Venezuela join North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran as countries designated by the State Department as supporters of terrorism.

U.S. laws give some leeway on what economic activity is subject to such sanctions, but experts say adding Venezuela to the list would force U.S. and even foreign firms to sever or curtail links with one of the world's largest oil producers.

Pardon me while I laugh hysterically. If this little foray into Cloud Cuckoo Land actually goes through (and even Chavecito rather doubts it will), it will certainly put a crimp in the champagne wishes and caviar dreams of ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips. After all, if they have to "sever or curtail links" with evil, terra-ist Venezuela, that means no contracts for either one--and no $12 billion for greedy-ass Exxon. Oh well. That just leaves more for those oil corps that do play nice. And, bonus: some of them will be paying in euros--worth more, please note, than the plummeting Yanqui greenback.

Of course, the people who were shut out when Chavecito halted the creeping privatization of PDVSA are crying foul in their own way...by projection, of course. These same discredited old-order politicos tried the same strategy in the run-up to the 2002 coup; unfortunately, they enjoyed no more success then than they will this time.

Which reminds me...isn't there another practical definition of insanity floating around out there?

March 14, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Another awwwww-some shot

Cristina Kirchner and Chavecito have an endearing moment

No matter how tense the official occasion (in this case, Argentine president Cristina Kirchner's recent visit to Venezuela, during the days when Colombia attacked and then menaced Ecuador), Chavecito knows how to lighten things up and make everybody go awwwwwwww.

Oh, and did you know he brokered the peace at the summit that ensued? That's pretty awwwwww-inspiring, too.

March 12, 2008

Exactly what was Eliot Spitzer paying for, anyway?

My guess is, it was the slick advertising. I mean, have you ever seen so much horseshit as this?

The Emperor's Club is naked...

Golly gee, oh gosh wow...you'd almost dare swear it wasn't really about sex for pay, eh?

Sadly, it is. And here's what it would cost you to partake:

What it costs for high-end horseshit

You may want to compare it to the reality as cited by The Smoking Gun; the majority of that money doesn't go to the ladies. You really are just paying for the fancy-ass rhetoric there, fella. Lord knows you're not really getting anything special in the girls.

And to prove it, here's a sampling of their profiles. First up, one considered top of the line:

Meet Maya. Seven whore diamonds!

Mind you, this isn't the one Spitzer picked. No one seems to be able to track down her profile; the site went dark before it could be done.

But still--look at that resume. Assuming it's true (and who can know, since the site has a policy of not showing their FACES?), one really has to ask: Why would such a successful young lady be selling sex for a rather pricey living? Shouldn't she, um, not have to if she's a real professional model? And why would any guy pay for the privilege of being "introduced" to a model, anyway? Why not just hang out at the spring and fall shows in Milan?

And more to the point: Miss Hawaiian Tropic is considered a seven-diamond whore?

Duuuuuude.

Here's another, just for good measure:

A real girlfriend experience--NOT.

The irony of this one just makes me smirk. (That, and the fact that they misspelled "Cavalli" and think a penchant for motorbike shows, skunk-striped hair, too-dark lip liner, and visible bra straps count as "glamour".)

Look: Any guy who wants a REAL "first-class girlfriend experience" isn't going to go shopping for it at an online whorehouse. The sad fact is, girlfriend experiences of any class can't be bought with wire-transfers totalling in the thousands per "date"; no, sorry, fella, you gotta expose your vulnerables and lay down all your love and trust at her feet. You might have to look at her in the unforgiving early morning sun without makeup, or maybe feed her chicken soup when she's sick and phlegmy, or hold her and see her all messed up with crying when her cat just died. And no, I can't quote you a rate for those in 'ho-diamonds.

But back to Spitzer: The rates cited in his case are an awful lot for what I'm guessing is really just blowjobs and smalltalk. (And travels to and from his pied-a-terre via Amtrak. Classy! That's a girlfriend experience for you--a flat-broke college girlfriend experience.)

Say, you don't suppose it was that much just for going condomless? Ewwwww. Girlfriend, don't go there. That's just skanky at any price.

PS: The Washington (Whore) Post just confirmed my deepest darkest suspicions. You really ARE only paying for the sizzle, not the steak, if you're forking over more than $50 a pop.

PPS: The New York (Whore) Times has just profiled Spitzer's hooker. She's plainer than I expected her to be. Her story is also unfortunately typical of girls in the Oldest Profession, and definitely NOT happy horseshit fantasy material. She could just as easily be selling $50 BJs out on the highway as $4300 "fantasy" encounters on the Infobahn, sadly.

March 10, 2008

Dubya desecrates Johnny Cash's grave

It's hard to imagine anything more offensively asinine than the legendary WMD pub crawling incident, but Dubya has finally outdone himself:

The only thing left for him now is to mimic this guy. (Warning: do not click that link if you're at work, or easily grossed out.)

The rich are about to get poorer...

Well, some of them are.

Carlyle Capital shook financial markets last week after missing margin calls from banks on its $21.7 billion portfolio of residential mortgage-backed bonds. It said some $5 billion in securities held as collateral may have already been sold.

The fund, an affiliate of the U.S.-based private equity firm Carlyle Group, warned that if it fails to reach an agreement with remaining lenders, all of its securities may be liquidated.

"While these talks continue, the company has discussed and requested a standstill agreement whereby its lenders would refrain from foreclosing and liquidating their collateral, and we are awaiting responses," the fund said in a statement.

Okay. I'm gonna clench my eyelids here, chop some onions, think of kittens getting their cute widdle fuzzy mewy heads bitten off by Alvaro Uribe, and just try really really REALLY hard to squeeze out a few crocodile tears.

Nope, sorry, can't do it. Here's why:

The Carlyle Group is a private global investment firm which originates, structures and acts as lead equity investor in management-led buyouts, strategic minority equity investments, equity private placements, consolidations and build-ups, and growth capital financings. Carlyle is the eleventh largest defense contractor in the US because of its ownership of companies making tanks, aircraft wings and other equipment. It is also heavily invested in telecommunications. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the firm serves a diverse base of nearly 425 Investors -- mainly large pension funds and banks -- in 50 countries worldwide. The Carlyle Group does not provide investment or other services to the general public. Carlyle has ownership stakes in 164 companies which employed more than 70,000 people and generated $16 billion in revenues in the year 2000.

Granted, that piece is a little dated. They only have info up to the year 2001. And John Major is not the only former British PM to have joined Carlyle; Toady Blair, BushCo's English poodle, has also since joined the fold.

Still, just look at the sums of money they've played with in the past.

And don't those words, "The Carlyle Group does not provide investment or other services to the general public", just jump right out at you? That's right, folks, they provide absolutely NO SERVICES TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. They do, however, have a lovely way of helping themselves to the public purse (via the spoils of illegal war). And they also provide cushy sinecures to crappy ex-public servants.

Nope, I'm not at all sorry to hear that disaster has finally come home to roost on the disaster capitalists themselves. I'm only sorry the door isn't hitting them in the faces nearly hard enough.

A former FBI interrogator on torture

Yes, Foreign Policy is a smelly rag with some pretty horrible biases and outright distortions. (Their blog also sucks because it can't keep the most basic facts straight, such as the identities of non-white supermodels.) But Jack Cloonan's words to them on the subject of torture are well worth hearing:

BTW, he totally shoots down the "24" scenario of the "ticking bomb" that can only be defused by a torture-obtained confession. He also points out that torture victims tend to become martyrs to their supporters, even if they are "the bad guys" to those on the other side. Not to mention that it really, REALLY makes the torturers look like shits.

March 8, 2008

Stupid Sex Tricks: ...and the right to lie

What's worse: Screwing around on your spouse...or lying about it?

Um, how about lending your boyfriend your cellphone, only to have him call up your estranged hubby to insult him?

In a predominantly Catholic country you might expect the courts to take a dim view of lying and adultery.

But not in this case.

The woman who brought the appeal was from Porto Ercole on the Tuscany coast, and named only as Carla.

She had lent her telephone to her secret lover, Giovanni, who then used it to call Carla's estranged husband, Vincenzo, and insult him.

Giovanni, the lover, was convicted of abusive behaviour in a local court, and Carla convicted as an accessory.

But the Court of Cassation found that having a lover was a circumstance that damaged the honour of the person among family and friends.

Lying about it, therefore, was permitted, even in a judicial investigation.

It is not yet clear whether the ruling might also apply to men who have secret mistresses.

As I understand it, men with mistresses have always had an unwritten, "understood" right to lie about it. In fact, lying about it is the EXPECTED thing to do.

The fact that this ruling is the subject of a controversy just tells me that double standards are still alive and well.

March 7, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging: A new power couple?

Um...not really. But you must admit that the presidents of Ecuador and Argentina, respectively, look absolutely divine together.

Correa and Cristina, two great looking presidents who look great together

And if you want to know what was really going on when this was taken--relax, no one's cheating on their spouse. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was simply showing support for Rafael Correa in a time of crisis during a meeting in Venezuela. She was far from alone in this, by the way.

March 5, 2008

Colombia: Even deeper in it than originally thought

And if you have to ask what "it" is, here's a hint: It's brown, it steams, it smells bad, and you don't want it all over the bottom of your shoe. Unfortunately, that's exactly where Alvaro Uribe is wearing it right now, in light of the following:

One of the three female FARC guerrillas wounded in the Colombian military operation in Ecuadorian territory last Saturday said today that there had been two bombings against the clandestine encampment in the border region of Angostura.

The Mexican, Lucia Andrea Monett, currently in the Quito Military Hospital, related that in the early hours of Saturday, as she was waking up in the guerrilla camp in the jungle around midnight, she heard and felt the explosions of the bombs and that about three hours later, there was another round of explosions.

"There were planes, helicopters, I don't know--they started to fire bombs and it lasted quite a while, I could hear screams and then it let up a bit, and then there were no more planes or helicopters overhead; and then, around three in the morning, I heard bombs," the Mexican told an interviewer from the Teleamazonas channel.

Another of the injured women, Martha Perez, said that she had only been with the guerrillas for one year, but she too had been surprised by the Colombian military attack, which created a grave diplomatic crisis between Colombia and Ecuador, as well as Venezuela.

"I had only been in for a year, not much time to be a guerrilla," Martha said. "When we heard bombs around midnight, I was in bed and I felt the bomb blasts, they were falling on us, I threw myself on the ground. I was trying to get my boots on, but then a bomb went off nearby and I crawled out as best I could."

Translation mine.

Yes, that's right--they bombed the FARC encampment in the dead of night. TWICE. And there was no exchange of fire, as was claimed by Colombia. The guerrillas were taken completely by surprise, and never fired a shot even in self-defence--because they were asleep.

Funny how often Chavecito is right when he says something rude but honest, eh? This certainly is looking more and more like cold-blooded murder AND bald-faced lying.

March 4, 2008

Dueling Crapaganda

Chavecito vs. Alvaro the Arrogant...the Cage Match. At least, that's how the Crapagandisti of the Lamestream Media are playing the latest Venezuela/Colombia dispute (over Ecuador, no less).

Just for shits 'n' giggles, here are some of their contradictory headlines, as grouped by subject matter:

Who's Funding Whom?

Reuters: "Colombia says FARC documents show Chavez funding"

The Miami Herald: "Colombian police: Rebels sent Chávez money"

The Sword Dance

Philly.com: "Chavez rattles sabers at Colombia"

El Universal: "COLOMBIA TO FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST CHÁVEZ IN INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT"

Lawyer Up! Lawyer Down!

Canada.com: "Uribe to denounce Chavez in court in Andes crisis"

Prensa Latina: "Colombian Accusation Disallowed in Chavez Case"

Oh wait. That last one wasn't crapaganda, it was actually fact-based. Can't imagine how it landed in Google Alerts. They usually vet their "news" stories for extreme pro-Washington and/or anti-Chavez bias. Prensa Latina possesses neither. Sorry about that; it won't happen again.

Now, on to more dangerous factuality...

Prensa Latina: "Colombian raid was meant for Venezuela". See also, "Uribe Accused of being Bush puppet". (And no, Chavecito was not the accuser; that was a Peruvian journalist. Just imagine, even Peru isn't backing Colombia on this!)

Venezuelanalysis: "Venezuela: 'The Colombian government has lied blatantly'"; "Latin American governments condemn Colombian attacks, defend territorial sovereignty"; "Venezuela: troop deployments are preventative"; "Plan Colombia: The Real Destabilizing Force in South America", and "Uribe's Colombia is destabilizing a new Latin America". (Would someone please set up a mirror site or two for Venezuelanalysis? I have a sneaking suspicion the State Dept. is going to try hacking it, soon.)

And of course, BoRev is always toothsome and newsworthy.

Moses was trippin' on Mount Sinai!

Sorry--just thought I'd share.

Quotable: Alice W. Flaherty on politicians and brain damage

"The neurologist Oliver Sacks tells of a ward of aphasic patients listening to President Reagan giving a speech on television. Although unable to fully understand his words, the patients compensated by being particularly sensitive to his tone and inflections, which they found farcical. A patient with a right hemisphere lesion who could not judge tone was also present. She concentrated on Reagan's exact words--which she too found ridiculous. Sacks concluded from this that it takes a fully working brain to be deluded by politicians."

--Alice W. Flaherty, The Midnight Disease

So this is what John Perkins warned Rafael Correa about...

In yer country, stealin yer oils!!!

...and of course, it would have to be Colombia, deciding to repeat not-so-ancient history and once more, conduct a raid on foreign soil without having the common decency to identify that soil's government about its intentions ahead of time.

This isn't the first time Colombia has served as Washington's pawn in its proxy wars. Remember how I mentioned history repeating? Well, what would you have called it when Colombian commandos swooped on the capital of Venezuela and kidnapped Rodrigo Granda, another high-ranking FARC man, without so much as an "Oh, by the way, there's a FARC guy hanging out illegally on your soil, could you please hand him over to us"? A major violation of sovereignty? Shyeah. It was also highly illegal, and designed to provoke an international incident that would justify Washington in authorizing an invasion of Venezuela.

Only, alas, things didn't turn out quite that way. After a brief diplomatic scuffle, Venezuela and Colombia kissed and made up.

And of course, then as now, the US media was anxious to spread all kinds of cockamamie stories (heavy on accusations, light on truth) about alleged "links" between Chavecito and the FARC. Only this time, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has also been drawn into the cock-and-bull ring. The murder of Raul Reyes isn't the doing of the Colombians, oh nooooo...it's Correa's fault for "harboring" the FARC, even if he did nothing of the sort. Same shit, 'nother outhouse...

Oh, and before I forget, the FARC's status has been changed, from a guerrilla insurgent army (which sounds too legitimate for some people's liking) to the terrifying designation of "narco-terrorists". Which is yet another lame excuse for Washington to extend the War on Terra to two more oil-rich countries, and "intervene" (translation: invade with guns a-blazing.) But there's a snag: According to international law, the FARC in fact qualify as belligerents, since they do control some territory within Colombia. And Chavecito is well aware of this; hence his emphatic designation of the FARC as "a real army".

What's really disgusting is that all this is going on while Chavecito is doing his damnedest to find a peaceful solution to the Colombian conflict. (And according to two recently released hostages, he has been succeeding in persuading the FARC, at least.) As he was posted to the border regions for a number of years during his military career, he was in an excellent position to see just how dangerous a raging Colombian civil war was for Venezuela. His job, as a young military officer fresh out of training academy, was to try to contain that civil war within the borders of Colombia, and prevent both right-wing paramilitaries AND left-wing guerrillas from spilling over into Venezuela and making life miserable there. So naturally, as president now, he's still interested in peaceful resolutions. Hell, who wouldn't be?

Um...you know who! And they've been very, very busy.

Here's a scary find: the "El Salvador model" as an option for Plan Colombia. Oh great, paramilitary death squads with US backing, AGAIN! Lovely! We all know who they tried to take out, not so long ago--don't we, kiddies? (And no, it wasn't just campesinos trying to get some land back from the lazy latifundistas, either.) The "Salvador Option" has been implemented in Iraq, and the results speak for themselves. Of course the US is interested in keeping the Ecuador/Colombia/Venezuela corridor unstable, you jackass! By invoking the spectre of an insurgency, they have an excuse to send death squads steal oil send death squads to steal oil heroically battle communism for the soul of the Free World!

And talk about your strange coinkydinks: Both Rodrigo Granda and the late Raul Reyes had been negotiating, at various points, over the possible release of Ingrid Betancourt, the prominent Colombian/French ex-politician. And then, as now, Betancourt's relatives have accused Alvaro the Arrogant of being obstructionist and a saboteur to the peace process. Hmmm, whatever could that mean?

And if you want to know why the shit is flying so thick and fast over Ecuador this time, here you go: a clue or two.

March 2, 2008

Bolivia's constitutional project advances

Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera announces that there will be a popular referendum on May 4 to approve or reject the newly written Bolivian constitution. The indigenous people celebrated in the street with music and a spiral dance. (Warning: This gets a bit loud in places, so turn down your audio and don't blow your eardrums like your silly Auntie Bina.)