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November 30, 2008

Separated at girth?

Oops, I meant to say "birth":

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Federal transport minister John Baird, Harpo's right-hand man, and...

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...Squealer, Napoleon's right-hand pig?

Colombia, the subversive narco-protectorate

If there's any doubt still in your mind as to whether the Venezuelan opposition are really traitors, or that Colombia's diplomats are really imperialist cats'-paws trying to foment an illegal separatist movement, you can now put your doubts to rest. Alberto Nolia, host of the VTV show "The Devil's Papers", has uncovered some definitive proof that the answer to both questions is a resounding YES:

Here's the story, translated by your humble and obedient one:

Venezuelan chancellor Nicolás Maduro Moros said he had conversed with his Colombian counterpart, Jaime Bermúdez Merizalde, who confirmed to him that he would "retire the Colombian consul in Maracaibo", Carlos Galvis Fajardo, "which I thanked him for. He acted with extraordinary speed. I hope that this will not be repeated with any other diplomatic functionary from any other country", and that there would be respect for international norms.

The measure took place after the VTV program, "The Devil's Papers", revealed a conversation between Galvis and an advisor to Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, José Obdulio Gaviria, in which he expressed his happiness at the victory of opposition candidates in the gubernatorial elections of the states of Zulia and Táchira, the "marvellous" part being that it was "our work there", and that they would soon meet with the governors "to take actions at government level."

Maduro said that this recording "confirms information we have been receiving that certain opposition members in the border regions were trying to get involved in a foreign plot against the unity of our nation."

President Chávez has been denouncing for months the separatist intentions of the border states, including Táchira and Zulia, to create a separatist "Media Luna" with the aid of oligarchs from neighboring Colombia.

[...]

The conversation between Maduro and Bermúdez took place before a speech by President Chávez, who indicated, without referring to the call, that if the Colombian consul had not been voluntarily removed, he would have to be expelled from Venezuela.

[...]

Addressing chancellor Maduro, Chávez asked, "Nicolás, have you spoken with the Colombian chancellor already? Because the only way that I will not expel this consul-general is if the Colombian government withdraws him quickly, now! If not, I'll expel him. Either they remove him now, or I'll throw him out of the country. I'll expel him! I hope the government of Colombia makes the decisions it has to make."

So now the treacherous Colombian consul is gone, withdrawn by his own government. Problem solved?

Don't bank on it just yet. At best, this is only a stopgap. Until Colombia is no longer the loyal servant of you-know-where, and someone other than Alvaro Uribe (or anyone else equally crooked) is president of Colombia, we can expect to go right on hearing of incidents like this in Venezuela. Don't forget that the Colombian consul was talking to no less a personage than Uribe's own advisor (who, so far as I know, has suffered no consequences). Uribe is involved right up to his beady little eyeballs in this plot. He's going to replace a few people and go right on pulling the self-same shit, all over again, and again and again, until it succeeds or he blows an artery trying.

That is assuming, of course, that the people of the border states that went to opposition governors last Sunday don't take matters into their own hands and get rid of those vendepatrias. Unfortunately, if they follow strict constitutional procedures, they're going to have to wait awhile. But if there's not a recall vote a couple of years from now in every single one of those states, and every one of those governors isn't subsequently ousted by popular will, I'll be seriously surprised--and disgusted.

In the meantime, there's always the criminal justice system, which is also as speedy as molasses at the South Pole. But who knows, maybe the federales will surprise us by taking a few newly-minted governors into custody yet. Stranger things have happened in Venezuela...

November 29, 2008

It's that time of the week again

Yep, it's that time when I get PMS--Pissed at Morons' Shit.

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You know you want it. I know I need it. So, with no further ado, here's my list of all the people who really need to fuck the hell off this week:

1. The 200-some-odd fucking morons who stomped a Wal-Mart worker to death today. I don't know what the urgency was--full bladders and a need to use the WallyLoo, maybe? Whatever it was, it couldn't have been the goods; WallyWorld is full of crap. No, I don't shop there, partly on principle and mainly onaccounta I hate the atmosphere. Big boxes give me the willies. Especially when things like this happen.

2. Stephen Fucking Harper. For playing politics like a cheap fucking fiddle. First he threatens to pull federal funding to the parties (his own being the only one that can survive currently without it, go figure), then, when the Liberals, NDP and Bloc threaten a nonconfidence vote and a coalition government on that basis, Harpo sez "j/k, haha--friends?" Frankly, I hope they find their 'nads and shit-can him. Hell, I'll even put up with another annoying election call if it gets him off our backs for good. Two minority parliaments in a row, and he still thinks he gets to play Napoleon with a bad French accent? Va baiser ma fesse, Harpo!

3. The fucking Venezuelan opposition parties. For acting just as dictatorial and immature and tantrum-y as Harpo, and considering that their poll numbers are about as bad as his, maybe that explains everything. But still, is it any excuse for threatening to burn a community centre, sending biker gangs to beat up poor folks in a PSUV-supporting neighborhood of an oppo-controlled state, and murdering three Chavista union leaders? Do they seriously suppose that violence and intimidation will do for them what democracy won't? Have they forgotten so soon that these same people that they love to stomp on, are far more numerous than they, and they have long memories? Apparently, yes. For that, they deserve to get fucked--legally and constitutionally, of course. When's the middle of the gubernatorial term again? That's when they can get hit with a recall vote.

4. The fuckheaded fucking fucks who shot up Mumbai. Don't know who they are, don't know what they want, don't care a shit. What I do care about is that innocent people died and a beautiful landmark hotel got torched for no good reason. And that fucking burns me.

5. The fucker known only as "the British Josef Fritzl". This creep goes his Austrian counterpart several "better" (or worse, rather) by impregnating not one but two of his own daughters--19 times in all. Not only is he a pervert, he profited off it by stealing the welfare money that the daughters got to help them care for their deformed children. And you want to know what's most sickening about him? The things he says in his own defence. Castration's too good for him, and so's hanging. Hmmm, what do you suppose that leaves?

6. Glenn Fucking Beck. How the heck does a hatemonger who has "violence fantasies" about Michael Moore...end up writing a sticky, gooey Christmas book? No shit, I saw it in the drugstore today; put me in a very un-holiday mood to see his ugly, hemorrhoidal mug on the inside back cover flap (yes, I checked to make sure it was really him). If this is supposed to be some kind of image makeover, it's an epic fail. Bound for the remainder bin in 5...4...3...2...

7. Lori Fucking Drew. The bitch who harassed a sensitive, depressed teen to death on MySpace is getting off mighty lightly, considering what she did. Isn't she old enough to know better? I'm younger than she is, and having been bullied myself, I definitely do!

8. Anyone who still has the gall to say "Support the Troops" after hearing what the US has done to Afghanistan. I don't care how much "care" they take to avoid "collateral damage"--it still fucking happens, and what's more, the reason behind it is not clear, nor is it just. Why don't they question the validity of their mission? I do all the time.

9. David Fucking Frost. Do I believe he should have been acquitted? Hell no. His crass conduct throughout his sexual exploitation trial is an indicator of his true character. Plus, there's the whole creepy Mike Danton thing. Why would Danton try to kill this thug unless there was something seriously perverted about him? There have even been recorded phone conversations indicating seriously hinky doings in their relationship. Frost needs to fuck off in the worst way!

10. Lou Fucking Dobbs. Admit it, asshole, you're a racist. And once you're done that--FUCK OFF!

11. Anyone who objects to my choices of persons who should fuck off--or, as usual, my saying so.

November 28, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Shiny happy leaders shaking hands

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Chavecito welcomes Manuel Zelaya of Honduras aboard the ALBA train, while Evo gets caught in the middle of things. He seems to have a habit of doing that:

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But who am I kidding? I just like to post pictures with cute guys in the middle.

November 27, 2008

Someone in Ecuador is thinking what I'm thinking...

And he's even more Ecuadorable than usual:

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Don't you love it when great minds think alike? From Aporrea:

The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, congratulated his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, for the electoral victory on the 23rd, in which the PSUV won 17 of 22 governorships and 265 mayoralties in Venezuela.

"Thank you, Hugo, for the invitation to the ALBA summit, for the usual hospitality which we received; you know how much we love the people of Venezuela and support them in the struggle for a new Venezuela. I congratulate you for the victory on Sunday."

Correa also questioned the attitudes of the international media in their efforts to minimize the PSUV victory in the regional elections. "I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of the media, who want to minimize or disguise such a complete victory. The headlines in Ecuador go more or less like this: 'Opposition gains ground, Chávez retreats'," said Correa, who was unable to help guffawing.

"Yes, this might make us laugh now, but the level of ridiculousness in the media is dangerous because now they are a major power. The power of information is very great in Latin America and we know what function it serves: a small group of big-business interests. This should bring us to political conclusions and decisions we need to make to promote public media like TeleSur, which inform and don't distort," said Correa.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

I think Rafecito must have been reading this blog, because I said the exact same thing just the other day. Either that, or there's some weird Jungian synchronicity going on here.

BTW, speaking of weird Jungian synchronicities, look who else is saying things the big ugly whore media don't want you to hear about Venezuela:

A group of more than 130 international election observers praised the organization, fairness, and efficiency of last Sunday's regional and local elections in Venezuela, and also gave constructive suggestions for how to reduce lines at polling booths in the future.

The National Electoral Council of Venezuela (CNE) "has achieved credibility, efficient and transparent processes, and as a consequence of this, Venezuela has new legitimate authorities," said Joaquin Vives, an observer from Colombia's CNE, during a press conference Monday evening.

The well-audited electoral machinery makes the Venezuelan electoral process "a pioneer in the world, leading the way down the correct path," said the Colombian delegate.

Vives also expressed admiration for the electoral spirit of the Venezuelan people. "Many things dazzled us about the process that the Venezuelan people lived [Sunday], especially its attitude. We observed voters who were willing, decided, patient, and in their great majority respectful and with great desire to construct democracy in Venezuela," he said.

[...]

An observer from the United States, Anthony Gonzalez, pointed out that the voting centers were well equipped and well secured by the National Guard, and that by having election day on the weekend, Venezuela facilitated working class suffrage.

Gonzalez expressed concern about long lines at voting stations, but expressed confidence that the CNE "has the capacity to respond effectively" by opening more voting stations in the future. He also suggested keeping more voting machines on reserve at each center.

Costa Rican activist María Elena Salazar Alvarado said she observed the Venezuelan electoral process to be "beautiful, participative, of which all Latin Americans should feel proud." Salazar added that she plans to share her experience with social movements in her country.

Salazar was "filled with emotion" upon observing the participation of indigenous communities in the elections of the eastern Anzoategui state, where "women and men walked with enthusiasm from far away zones. They participated happily and expressed their satisfaction because now they are indeed taken into account," she said.

An observer from the US, praising "working-class suffrage" in Venezuela? Whoa nelly, that's commie talk! What next? Will the Russians be coming?

Too late; they're already here. And, more unnerving, Chavecito's not the only one welcoming them; El Ecuadorable and Lula are both all hail-fellow-well-met with Dimitri Medvedev. (What? Brazil isn't scared of the Russian navy? Nope. Clicky da linky, ye unbelievers.)

After all this, I think El Ec might just want to rethink his original decision not to join the ALBA. It's clearly the coolest party on the block.

Outrage, please. We need outrage NOW!

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While all the whore media scream and shout about Venezuela and Russia's joint naval exercises (and remain curiously mum about the role that Dubya's revival of the Fourth Fleet plays in it all), this strange little item on Peru happened to cross my line of sight:

Russian President Dimitry Medvedev agreed Monday to send technicians to train Peru's military to repair Russian-made helicopters.

Medvedev and Peru President Alan Garcia announced the program after a weekend summit of Pacific Rim leaders in Peru's capital.

The technicians will work in military hangars in Lima and could lend their services to nearby countries that have Russian choppers, according to Peruvian Defense Minister Antero Flores-Araoz.

A large part of Peru's helicopter fleet was purchased from Russia in the 1970s by Peru's military government. Peru previously sent helicopters to Russia for maintenance.

The defense minister said the two sides still have to work out the cost, financing and launch date for the program.

It digresses a bit with a predictable mention (screech! SCREECH!!!) of Chavecito and the Russian navy, before segue-ing (or non-sequitur-ing) into this odd passage:

Flores-Araoz said Peru is not and has never considered hosting a U.S. military base on its territory. The U.S. lease on the Manta air base in Ecuador, its only base in South America, expires in 2009.

Now why would he say that? Strange. (Perhaps Colombia would also like to enlighten us, since its dinky little president was also at the APEC summit, cadging "free" trade treaties with Canada--uninvited.)

Yo, whore media? Could we have some outrage here, please? A little monkey-screeching and feces-flinging and tossing of the T-word and the D-word would be in order, yes? Especially since Alan García is a lot closer to actually being a tyrant and/or dictator on his best day than Chavecito is on his worst. Don't you think?

(Muchas gracias to BoRev for the linky.)

Horton hears a foo'

No shit...Lou Engle thinks Dr. Seuss wrote scripture:

What the hell is that movement he's making? Is he davening, or is he humping the lectern in a frenzy of thwarted homoerotic lust?

Yeah, right, Dr. Seuss wrote that just so a wingnut like Engle could misinterpret a CHILDREN'S STORY. In terms of racism, sexism, and all the other evil 'isms out there.

What the hell kind of God would inspire Dr. Seuss to do that, anyway?

November 26, 2008

An open letter to Bruce Sterling

Dear Sir:

You said that a certain item from the Foreign Policy blog was "infinitely delvable", and I heartily concur--though perhaps not from the angle you would like me to.

I presume you wanted to know how a certain soap opera in the Venezuelan mayoral elections of Sunday last would end.

Well, Sir, I have an answer, courtesy of Aporrea.org. I hereby translate:

The ex-first lady of the Republic, Marisabel Rodríguez, saw her chance to be mayor of Barquisimeto evaporate upon obtaining a lamentable 2% of Sunday's votes.

According to results released by the National Electoral Council's website, in the municipality of Iribarren, which contains the capital of the state of Lara, Marisabel Rodríguez obtained third place in the regional election, receiving 6,696 votes, or only 1.97% of total electors.

The mayoralty went to Amalia Saéz of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), who received 187,741 votes. Second place went to Alfredo Ramos, who represented diverse parties and organizations of the opposition with 139,816 votes. Meanwhile, Marisabel Rodríguez, as representative of Podemos, COPEI and UNT, took third place. The remaining five candidates came in with less than 1%.

Iribarren municipality has a total of 618,863 voters.

Well, Sir, there you have it. Not only did she lose, she lost big-time. Who knew that campaigns based on false accusations won't impress voters who aren't stupid?

Unfortunately, since you didn't allow commenting on your blog, I decided to comment on your "infinite delvability" here. Looks to me, Sir, like you have an infinite amount of delving to do. Best to start your delving by learning Spanish, and from there, progress to reading alternative and independent Latin American websites. You may also want to read books by Richard Gott, Gregory Wilpert and Steve Ellner, all of whom provide useful backgrounders into the general political situation of Venezuela. That way, you can see how it's a foregone conclusion that an ex-first lady, who threw in her lot with the most discredited of the old parties, could lose so badly.

Of course, that all entails a rather deeper understanding of Venezuelan politics than your average US-American is likely to get, especially from right-wing sites like Foreign Policy. But you did say it was "infinitely delvable", and I did say I concurred.

Please carry on writing science fiction, it's your true métier. But you may not want to say too much about Venezuela from now on, lest you get pwned.

Best regards,

Sabina C. Becker.

November 25, 2008

RIP Kenny MacLean

"Somebody Somewhere", the hit written by Kenny MacLean for Platinum Blonde, a Toronto band, in the mid-1980s. Kenny, the band's bass player from their second album onward, was found dead today of a probable heart attack. He was 52.

Venezuelan elections: Let the spinning begin

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Hooboy, kiddies, grab your Gravol, 'cause here we go. The anglo whore media took one look at the mondo-bongo victory scored by the PSUV (that's Chavecito's party) and decided it had to do something to minimize the impact of the awful truth--that Venezuelans still really, really like Chavecito. So, here's what they did:

The Dissociated Press sez that Chavecito "faces new challenges", whatever that is supposed to mean. Actually, it reads more like a tacky new repackaging of "same old, same old".

UPI (the Moonie Press Agency) resorts to frank sloppiness, saying "Chavez parties claim victory". Um, there's only one of them--the PSUV, perhaps you've heard of it?--and for a mere "claim", it sure smells like a thorough trouncing, at least from where your Auntie Bina sits. Would Sun Myung Moon kindly stop dallying and just kick the friggin' bucket already, so UPI can return to reporting news, again?

The Washington Post plays coy and admits that the PSUV won, but that the oppos "secured key posts". Um, yeah. Suddenly Grandpa Munster Ledezma is perfectly positioned to set the Metropolitan Caracas police on Chavistas from the barrios again, just like Alfredo Peña did in 2002. And of course, when that happens, the WaHoPo will be cheering once more for the triumph of "democracy". Just like it did back then. Woohoo, key post! Too bad it's not the presidency, and won't lead there, either.

The UK Guardian's Richard Gott, who should understand this situation better, misses the mark and says Chavecito is putting on a "brave face". Did someone tell him to tone down the victory whoops there? Sure sounds that way; he's claiming these small victories of the oppos are a threat to the whole project, which is ridiculous. The project goes on regardless of who is governor or mayor wherever. Plus, you'd think that the gain of two states for the PSUV was a miserable failure. Shouldn't it be the oppos who are putting on their brave face right now, considering they've just lost bigger?

Reuters India claims the oppos are "gaining ground". Again, losing two states to the PSUV is somehow "gaining ground". The mind boggleth!

And finally, bringing up the rear (or rather, dragging its ever-sorry ass), BusinessWeek says the opposition is "making inroads". Um, yeah. Suddenly the presidency is, like, so much more assailable just because Grandpa Munster ate Caracas, and a few "contentious" states went, predictably, for well-worn clowns from the old guard. Let's see if they can at least do a better job of crime control and garbage collection. Somehow, I doubt it.

But hey! Even in the midst of a pyrrhic defeat, we Chavistas will always have BoRev to keep us sane by laughing off everyone else's sudden attacks of Teh Stoopid. And of course, there's Venezuelanalysis, which is one of the blessed few English-language news sites that consistently get to the real meat of an issue where Venezuela is concerned. Charlie Hardy's most recent entry there (on Grandpa Munster, no less!) is interesting and instructive:

Mr. Ledezma is the principal candidate of the Venezuelan opposition to President Chávez's PSUV party for the office of "alcalde mayor," the mayor of the greater Caracas area. He was once governor of the federal district, which was basically the same position as that of "alcalde mayor" today.

What is forgotten by some people is that in 1993, when he was the governor, he prohibited all demonstrations in Caracas. However, since the election of President Chávez he has repeatedly called for people to go out into the streets and march in protest against the government.

I would like to see the streets leading into Antonio Ledezma Corner filled with statues of Mr. Ledezma with signs in his hands indicating all the dates he has marched down the streets of Caracas in the last nine years. If there would be one statue for each moment, I doubt there would be room on the sidewalks for pedestrians. Therefore, each sign would have to have multiple dates. It is incredible that a person, who prohibited demonstrations when he had power to do so, has so frequently called upon others to join him in what he forbade.

Heh. Kiddies, Auntie Bina is putting on her psychic swami turban and predicting that Grandpa Munster will probably soon have his hands full of fractious Chavistas from the hillsides, marching against him. And midway through his term, the microsecond he becomes legally eligible, he'll face a recall vote--bank on it. He better get cracking on that garbage-collection thing, and if he's smart, he'll watch where he sends the cops.

Congratulations, Grandpa, on your big victory--from whose jaws you are about to snatch defeat. Heh, heh, heh.

Who is Peter Schiff, and why is he pwning all these people?

He's an economist who knows his onions, and he's pwning them because they're all fucking idiots. Duh.

Bank Eat Bank: Why bailouts are making a bad thing worse

The untold story behind the use of taxpayer money to prop up big, bad banks as they carry on business as usual.

November 24, 2008

Venezuelan elections: a referendum on WHAT, again?

Courtesy of Aporrea, I have some maps for anyone who's interested on what went down in Venezuela yesterday. These are for state governorships. First, the "before":

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Now, the "after":

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You'll notice not much change in state governorships between the two, other than that the map is slightly redder (more PSUV, or Chavista) than it was before. The opposition hold on the country is now down by two states.

If this election was a referendum on Chavecito, as the whore media have told us over and over and over again that it was supposed to be, guess what? HE WON.

Yes, media whores, sit back and let that sink in. Once more, you've been playing the fool and trying to sensationalize what was really a bit of a snoozer with a foregone conclusion. Once more, you've made grand predictions that proved hilariously wrong. Once more, the Big Red One has waltzed all over his opposition, and by extension, YOU. And this even though he wasn't a candidate. Duh, this was for governors and mayors, not the presidency.

I'm sorry, media whores, what were you saying about this being the "fight of his political life", again? I couldn't hear you over the peals of my own laughter.

November 23, 2008

Where in the world are you reading me from?

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Hidey-ho, international neighbors. Just been checking my ClustrMap, and found the following statistics, which I hadn't noticed before, but which are sure interesting:

Current Country Totals
From 19 Oct 2008 to 23 Nov 2008

United States (US) 331
Canada (CA) 211
United Kingdom (GB) 52
Peru (PE) 46
Greece (GR) 38
Bolivia (BO) 37
Spain (ES) 36
India (IN) 29
Sweden (SE) 18
Australia (AU) 18
Germany (DE) 14
Switzerland (CH) 12
Chile (CL) 10
Mexico (MX) 6
France (FR) 6
Venezuela (VE) 5
Ireland (IE) 5
Brazil (BR) 4
Ecuador (EC) 3
Japan (JP) 3
Hong Kong (HK) 3
South Africa (ZA) 2
Senegal (SN) 2
Costa Rica (CR) 2
Netherlands (NL) 1
Iceland (IS) 1
Portugal (PT) 1
Bulgaria (BG) 1
United Arab Emirates (AE) 1
Philippines (PH) 1
Thailand (TH) 1
Panama (PA) 1
Colombia (CO) 1
Puerto Rico (PR) 1
New Zealand (NZ) 1
Lebanon (LB) 1
Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR) 1
Israel (IL) 1
Korea, Republic of (KR) 1

Welcome, y'all. Don't be strangers, drop a comment and let me know where you're from if you come here often. And I'm curious, too, as to how you got here, so if you don't mind sharing...you know where the comment slot is.

We now have "free" trade with Colombia. How the hell did THAT happen?

From Aporrea, here's one for the scratch-yer-head-till-it-hurts files:

Even though Colombia is not a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum, its president, Alvaro Uribe, travelled to Peru to meet with a group of leaders from various parts of the world and to take advantage of the opportunity to establish contacts with China, Japan, Canada and others, with the objective of increasing trade.

Uribe arrived in Lima on Friday afternoon and a few hours later signed a free-trade agreement with Canada, his country's ninth. This Saturday, he signed an agreement to promote and protect investments with China.

According to Uribe, the agreement with Canada will generate some 120,000 agricultural jobs and 97% of Colombian exports will have free access to that North American nation.

Translation mine.

Fuck, shit, shuck fit.

How the hell did this happen? El Narco wasn't even invited, yet he got in AND wangled a free-trade agreement with my home and native land--most of whose citizens don't want free trade, let alone with a narco-terror state like the current, unhappy Colombia. (We get a lot of imports from there already--most of them refugees! In fact, before Harpo, Colombia was our #1 source of refugee claimants.)

Now, don't get me wrong. We don't want "free" trade with anyone, but we would love fair trade. I'm sure Colombia, the part of it that has no truck with Uribe, has something to offer us besides cheap bananas, flowers grown with dangerous chemicals, and former narcoterrorist paramilitaries looking to avoid getting killed by their ex-bosses (who, go figure, are mighty close to El Narco).

But here's the rub: We want to see Colombia get its house in order before we do business with it, because we don't believe doing business with it is enough to put said house in order. Why is it so hard for certain people to comprehend this? Why do they keep pushing for an agreement which would only deepen a current disaster?

"No" is the same word in English and Spanish, and spelled slightly differently, but pronounced the same, in French. So why can't our respective so-called leaders seem to hear it when we're all screaming it at the top of our respective lungs?

Live like a bastard, die like a coward

On the one hand, this is definitely good riddance to bad rubbish. On the other, it's also a case of justice delayed--and now, with the suicide of the criminal, DENIED. From Argentina via Aporrea:

My translation follows:

BUENOS AIRES, November 22. The Argentine repressor, Mario Ferreyra, killed himself with a gunshot to the head moments before prison officials arrived to take him into custody for crimes against humanity during the junta dictatorship of 1976-83.

Ferreyra, known as "El Malevo" (The Ruffian), was a commisar of the northern province of Tucumán, where he was accused of taking part in a clandestine torture centre.

The Tucumán police informed that this afternoon a group of officers arrived at the accused's house to detain him, but he, upon seeing them, climbed onto the roof and shot himself. He died shortly after being taken to hospital.

In various previous interviews, Ferreyra had made clear that he would never hand himself over, nor permit anyone to take him to jail, and that he would do whatever it took to avoid it.

In 1993, Ferreyra was sentenced to life in prison for the shootings of three men, with whom he had gotten into a bogus "confrontation". The investigators demonstrated that the ex-commissar had arrested the men illegally, abducted them, and killed them. Upon sentencing, Ferreyra staged a movie-like flight from justice, but later turned himself in and was soon set free thanks to a reduction of his sentence awarded by another repressor, Antonio Bussi, former governor of Tucumán.

You can see from the video that Ferreyra really fancied himself as a macho. Yet he died as a coward. What a coincidence, considering that he also lived as one.

November 22, 2008

How to spend an ill-gotten million or two

Remember Raúl Baduel, the former defence minister of Venezuela, erstwhile noble constitutionalist and loyal Chavista? Remember how he suddenly morphed into Raúl Baduel, the $1.2 million traitor? Don't you wonder what happened to him, and what he did with that gringo dinero that was paid out to him at such a strangely opportune time to disrupt a constitutional reform vote? Well, YVKE Mundial has a possible answer to where at least some of that dough went:

The 17th national military prosecutor, the Directorate of Military Intelligence and 65 members of the National Guard carried out a raid at a country estate, apparently property of Raúl Isaías Baduel.

The raid was carried out in the peasant settlement of Las Madrinas, Calabozo, in the co-operative "Doña Marcela y Don Braulio", whose name used to be "Finca María de Dos Caminos", presumably property of Raúl Baduel, who sold it in a doubtful manner to Haudi Josefina Varela Hernández. "The people who were there said the sale was for a ridiculous price", said the prosecutor.

[...]

The neighbors said that the hacienda was frequented by Baduel, and that helicopters were frequently seen flying over it. They said there used to be more than 600 head of cattle, but that trucks came to take them away, and that there were now only about 200.

Translation mine.

Man, just when I thought he could hardly sink lower in my estimation--he done SUNK. How deep IS that quicksand, anyway?

And what's this about helicopters? Kind of an odd thing to be flying around a supposedly innocent co-op cattle farm, no? Especially when you consider that the not-so-former owner used to be a top general, and has been accused of trying to stage a coup of his own.

But hey, the timing on this one is impeccable. Tomorrow's the regional election in Venezuela. Guess who just so happens to be a candidate? Oh, how awkward for him.

OMG, there goes Honduras!

Jayzus, what is it with all these little Latin American countries suddenly getting the itch to rewrite their constitutions--democratically? It all started with Venezuela, a little under a decade ago. Then Bolivia and Ecuador saw what good things happened and said "Gimme som'a dat!", and before long, they had caught constitutional fever too. Now the epidemic is spreading to...HONDURAS? No shit, folks, it's happening:

The president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, announced today that there would be a plebiscite held in conjunction with the general elections in 2009. The plebiscite concerns the possibility of convening a Constituent Assembly in 2010.

The Assembly will write a new constitution to replace the one dating back to 1982, "without dissolving the National Congress" (parliament) or changing the executive faculties during the process, Zelaya explained in a press conference shortly before travelling to the Dominican Republic.

The president, whose rule runs from 2006-2010, said he had discussed his initiative with directors of the governing Liberal Party and the opposition National Party, the two largest in the country, but clairified that these had only been conversations.

He explained that the first step will be a decree which he will deliver to the parliament, in the coming January, which will convene the plebiscite at the same time as the elections of November 29, 2009. At that time, Hondurans will elect a new president, three presidential designates (vice-presidents), deputies and mayors, and will vote over constitutional reform.

Should the "yes" vote win, said Zelaya, the convening of the assembly will correspond with the government to be installed on January 27, 2010, when the handover of power is to take place.

Zelaya said that his government will promote the "yes" and argued that it is necessary to "revise the juridical framework of the Constitution of the Republic, and put the country in order."

"What we want are clearer laws, mandates totally congruent with the reality that will allow the country a juridical, political, social, economic, and cultural order in which we all know the rules of the game," he remarked.

Translation mine.

Of course, the opposition claims that this is Zelaya's way of trying to stay in power past his allotted term, which expires in 2010, and that he's imitating Chavecito. Well, what if he is? He also added Honduras to the ALBA, which may be why you don't hear a lot of gloom and doom economic stories coming from there lately. The Honduran economy stands to benefit hugely from economic integration and co-operation with Venezuela's, which is doing pretty damn well lately, even with the cost of oil supposedly falling (heh, heh--not for long, ye gloaters, winter is coming to the Northern Hemisphere, and guess who is still Venezuela's Numero Uno customer?)

So, if Honduras wants to take a leaf from Venezuela's political playbook, too, why not? By the sounds of things, they need a new constitution anyway--to help them investigate those human rights abuses of the Reagan era--committed, with John Negroponte's "help", around the time the old constitution first came into effect.

And in any case, it should get under the old Cold Warriors' skins to see yet one more Latin American country get too autonomous for their liking. When is that ever a bad thing?

Someone is a little behind...

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They call themselves analysts, and the Beeb publishes this as if it were news. As in, NEW news:

US economic, military and political dominance is likely to decline over the next two decades, according to a new US intelligence report on global trends.

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicts China, India and Russia will increasingly challenge US influence.

It also says the dollar may no longer be the world's major currency, and food and water shortages will fuel conflict.

However, the report concedes that these outcomes are not inevitable and will depend on the actions of world leaders.

Alas, this is all rather OLD news, this thing about a multipolar world. Chavecito's been talking about it for HOW many years now? But of course, when HE talks about it, he's a populist dictator crackpot. When some US "council" says it's gonna happen, it's suddenly serious.

And of course, they make out like it's gonna be a BAD thing. Funny, but the rest of the multipolar world doesn't seem to think so.

November 21, 2008

Does this qualify as "terrorism", I wonder?

I mean, it DOES involve "Islamist insurgents", and we know that the US has characterized their Iraqi counterparts as such. But what happens when the "bad guys" start acting--well, like Peter Pan to Captain Hook?

Somali Islamist insurgents have begun searching for the pirates who hijacked a giant Saudi-owned oil tanker last Saturday, reports say.

A spokesman for the al-Shabab group, Abdelghafar Musa, said hijacking a Muslim-owned ship was a major crime and they would pursue those responsible.

The pirates are thought to be trying to obtain a multi-million dollar ransom.

The ship, the Sirius Star, is believed to be be anchored off the Somali port of Haradheere.

It has an international crew of 25 people and is carrying $100m (£67m) worth of crude oil.

"We are really sorry to hear that the Saudi ship has been held in Somalia," Mr Musa told the Associated Press.

"We will fight them."

"Hijacking a Muslim-owned ship was a major crime". Well, shyeah, I'd hope to shout--hijacking ANY ship is a major crime. It's also terrorism.

So what do we call it when a group normally seen ONLY as terrorists--decides to counter the terrorism with an attack of their own?

And, more to the point: How are these insurgents going to do the job, I wonder?

My heart bleeds. Bwahahaha...

Oh, poor CanWest Global. The poor, poor National Post. Look at what's happening to them now. Don't you feel sorry for them?

Weighed down by debt, media giant CanWest Global Communications Corp. isn't ruling out possible asset sales after buying itself some wiggle room by renegotiating debt covenants and cutting 560 jobs across the company.

[...]

CanWest yesterday posted a loss of $1 billion, or $5.73 a share, for the three-month period ended Aug. 31.

The loss was attributed in part to a $1.01 billion non-cash writedown on the goodwill and broadcast licences related to the company's Canadian conventional television business - a move Asper said had been taken by other big media companies.

Revenue, meanwhile, rose to $725.9 million from $678.4 million a year earlier as the company benefited from last year's acquisition of specialty TV-operator Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc.

CanWest, which also owns the Global television network and big city newspapers across the country, has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks as an economic recession threatens to further sap advertising revenue.

Analysts have expressed concern that the company is in danger of running out of cash to service its $3.7 billion worth of debt obligations.

"Given the high degree of operating and financial leverage across CanWest's operations, we believe a deteriorating economy will remain a major headwind for the company," said Drew McReynolds, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

A "deteriorating economy"? That's not their biggest problem. Their biggest problem is that all of CanWest's products, without exception, STINK. Their TV network has long been consistently the worst in Canada (with ratings to prove it), and the National Post--Convict Black's old vanity rag--has been trying (and failing) to drag us to the far fringe of the rabid right since its inception in the late neo-con 1990s. With pompous know-nothings like, for example, this one pontificating on Venezuela, the National Pest is doomed by its own putrescent innards, not its external environment. It will fold; it's a question of when, not if. (And frankly, I hope none of its so-called journalists ever find a job in the field again, because they've done nothing but lie, mislead, misdirect, lie, lie, lie, and did I mention that they lie?)

And of course, here's what they plan to do about their general lacklustre suckiness and the money pit it's dug for them:

In a bid to fix its balance sheet, CanWest said this week it is cutting 560 jobs, or about 5 per cent of its global workforce. The company said the move would save $61 million a year.

As well, CanWest took steps earlier this month to improve the performance of the National Post, its flagship newspaper, by focusing more on profitable markets and cutting back on deeply discounted circulation.

Notice that NONE of this involves actually improving their product. They could fire all their drivellers and dreck-writers and replace them with real journos who know what they're talking about, but of course that means losing the far-right slant that's made them so infamous and inedible (and indebted) in the first place!

See why I say it's doomed, and why I won't miss it when one more stinking media empire collapses?

Yo Panama, BOLO...

...major Venezuelan corrupto, INCOMING...

The PSUV mayoral candidate for San Francisco, Omar Prieto, alerted yesterday that next Sunday, November 23, the day of the regional electinos, the UNT mayoral candidate for Maracaibo, Manuel Rosales, will be leaving for either Panama or Colombia, right after exercising his right to vote.

Prieto added that "Rosales intends to operate from the exterior with the hope of returning to Venezuela, but only if his candidate, Pablo Pérez, wins the governor's seat, which won't happen.

"Our intelligence services have found that Rosales intends to vote around 9:00 in the morning, and will take a flight to Panama or Colombia. There are certain media outlets that mean to transmit some recordings to give the impression that he is still in Zulia, but that will be totally false," Prieto said.

Translation mine.

You'll notice, of course, that I only mentioned Panama in the header. Why not Colombia? Simple. That country has never handed over a single fugitive from Venezuela to face justice at home. Why would they? They have a right-wing chokehold on power, and those guys LOVE crooks. They've made Colombia a well known haven for all the scum de la scum of Venezuelan oppositiondom. Pedro Carmona, the two-day dictator of 2002, fled thither before washing up, equally predictably, in Miami, along with the big military traitors who collaborated in his failed coup.

Panama may not sound a whole lot better than Colombia, but at least they imprisoned Luis Posada Carriles, the terrorist I call the CubanaBomber, for a time--before one of their pitiyanqui toadies, Mireya Moscoso, let the old fucker go. However, Panama's management has changed since then, and the son of Omar Torrijos is now in power. He's on good terms with Chavecito. The odds are somewhat better that if Chavecito says "You've got Rosales, hand him over", Martín Torrijos will comply.

At the very least, he should be on high alert now for an incoming stinkbomb. With 11 large estates purchased with stolen Zulia state lottery money (and that's just for starters), I'm sure Mr. Rosebush gives off an unmistakable odor of...some sort. Shouldn't be a bit of trouble to nab him as soon as his plane lands in Panama, eh?

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Just a bunch of happy Spanish ska-punks...

...saluting Chavecito:

More people who need to just fuck off NOW, if you please

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1. Focus on the Fuckery. They showed their "family values" by spending moocho dinero on Proposition Hate. Now they're laying off staff. I should be grateful, I suppose, that they aren't converging on Washington in private LearJets to beg for a bailout. But what I really wish is that they would (a) focus on their own fam-damnily for a change (i.e. the workers they're screwing) and (b) JUST FUCK OFF!

2. All you fucking fuckheads in Freeperville who fucked Dan Rather. Guess what, y'all: He had your boy's number all along. Aren't you ashamed? No? Well, then FUCK OFF! You wouldn't know good reporting if it bit your ass off, and I hope it bites off more than that.

3. Newty Fucking Gingrich. As if it wasn't enough that he fucked over not one, but two former wives to marry his respective mistresses (watch out, #3!), now he's accusing gays and secular humanists of "fascism". He's a fine one to talk; he's the one that made up that fucking fascist word list to smear innocent people and decent politics out of existence. Hey Newt:

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4. Evita Perón Marisabel WHO? A threat to WHOM? I don't know who should fuck off first, the soap-opera queen or the anglo media who keep touting her as the antidote to that evil, toxic Chavecito. Does anyone take her prospects seriously, besides these clueless anglos? The big guy is doing his due diligence. What's SHE doing? Going around shaking hands, kissing babies--and uttering forgettable platitudes, when not turning around and accusing Venezuela's most pro-woman president ever of being a machista. Yeah, that's a winning strategy. Oh well, on Monday morning, reality will dawn, and she will have to go home to her tennis pro and STFU about Chavecito again.

5. Ayman al-Fucking Zawahiri. Excuse me, what did you call Barack Obama again? A "house negro"? For what--acknowledging the pluralistic politics of his country, instead of trying to convert it all to Islam against its will? People like you give a venerable faith a bad name. And just who the fuck are you, old man, to call up the name of Malcolm X? There's a word for what you're doing, and it is HERESY. Or, if you want to put it in Arabic, fitna. Fuck off, already, and let the Americans heal their own religious divisions without resort to your absurd vision of theocratic monoculture.

6. Conrad Fucking Black. I know that concepts like justice and accountability are foreign to the filthy fucking rich (who got that way by filthily fucking everything and everyone in sight), but could Lord Convict please try to understand the meaning of the words, even if they're not as polysyllabic as he can get? And failing that, would he kindly refrain from asking for undeserved clemency, and just FUCK OFF?

7. The little fucking godbags who went to the Castro District in San Francisco to rub the gays' noses in it when Proposition Hate passed. If y'all are so all-fired Christian and all, why don't you go show you really do love your neighbors--your GAY neighbors--by refraining from preaching bullshit at them? And if you don't like them, or what they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, fine--be that way if you want, but just stay out of the neighborhoods where they live. No one asked you to bring your fraudulent, false gospel of bigotry in there. Straights are welcome in the gay community; I know that from experience, because everytime I've ever been in the Church/Wellesley area of Toronto, I was made welcome regardless of my orientation. Maybe that's because I didn't go in there to preach at them and deliberately incite violence. I went to socialize, to shop, and to just soak up the friendly atmosphere without fear or judgment. Can y'all do that too? And if you can't, then just FUCK OFF.

8. Roger Fucking Stone. He doesn't regret dirty politicking, but he DOES regret helping Bush get elected via...that very thing? Gee, talk about regrets that ring hollow. And then he makes the lame excuse that he was doing it because he owed some other Repug fucker a favor? No excuses, Roger--you know you wanted to do it. You know you liked it. You would still do it in a heartbeat if anyone else tapped you for a "favor". Why? Because you're just plain perverted that way. You get off on it. And that makes you culpable. Go fuck yourself, you freak.

9. The entire fucking Prince/De Vos clan. For funding hate and spreading war throughout the world. May the demons play soccer with their heads in hell, if a hell there is. (Personally, I don't believe in hells, but for people like this I'll cheerfully make an exception--or nine.)

10. The fucking CIA. There are more reasons for this than you can shake a stick at, but let's just say this one really takes the biscuit. Shootdowns of innocent aircraft over South America, all with CIA "help"? This ain't the gang that couldn't shoot straight, it's the gang that can't fucking stop shooting! Too bad they aren't doing it in their own mouths.

11. This bunch of fucking ex-Bolivian racists in Washington, DC. Not only can they not accept that Evo won legitimately, they also can't accept that he's doing a better job in his sleep than a dozen of them could do hopped-up on triple espresso. And how do they express their "disagreement" with his politics? By lobbing racist insults at some indigenous dancers who happened to accompany Evo to the event. Srsly, people, what the fuck is wrong with you? Besides the obvious, that is?

12. The fucking DEA. Bugging Evo's phone? What were they expecting to accomplish with that? I have no idea, but they haven't accomplished anything--other than get their worthless drug-smuggling asses kicked out of Bolivia. And about fucking time. Now, if only all the OTHER countries where they operate could tell them to fuck off, too.

13. The Big Three Fucking Auto Execs. For showing up to beg for bailouts...in private fucking LearJets. Meanwhile, who's bailing out their "downsized" employees, who've had to rely on subprime mortgages to furnish for them what the Big Three Profiteering Bastards could and would not? This is right up there with the big AIG bailout bash at that fancy resort, BTW.

14. The rich fuckers at the so-called National Review, or as I like to call it, the National Re-Pew. They want MONEY for their stinkin' crap? They should give all their readers and sponsors their money back. And just go fuck themselves already.

15. That motherfucking fucker who beat up two lesbian moms outside their kid's school in Oshawa (and in front of the kid!) right after Prop Hate made the news. Was he emboldened by the passing of the worst bill of the year? You fucking betcha. I hope he gets a cellmate who really likes him, if you know what I mean.

16. And finally, any fouquetards du jour whom I happen to have missed. Including, once again, those who object to my use of le mot juste.

November 20, 2008

"Ah'm dead sexy"--no, you're NOT!

Not that I would ever buy anything by Microsoft these days anyway--being the proud momma of a PowerBook G4 has the immense advantage of not only having a very elegant, powerful, long-lived and user-friendly 'pute, but also--and this is much more important--virtually never crashing. Which is more than one can say for a butt-fugly WinDoze PC of any stripe.

But if you really have any lingering doubts about who makes an MP3 player you would NEVER want to buy, take a gander at this ad for the Microsoft Zune:

Not only do the colors look like something pulled out of somebody's ass, they apparently ARE just that. And worse, the ass belongs to a Fat Bastard.

Now, all that remains is for him to squirt the words "EPIC FAIL", and the cycle will be complete.

(PS to Santa: I can has iPod, pls?)

November 19, 2008

The Trap, Part 1

Subtitled "Fuck You, Buddy". (No, I won't spell it with asterisks, as the Beeb has done. Hey Heddy, is this that "FUCK" movie you mentioned in the comments? If so, brilliant choice--thanks!)

How fear and self-interest created capitalist tyranny in the name of "freedom".

This might also be a clue as to why the Iraqis reject "freedom" as "offered" at gunpoint by US soldiers.

Headline Howler: When did Chavecito switch nationalities?

Just now, apparently:

Former Wife Of Brazilian President Hugo Chavez To Run As Mayor In Barquisimeto

I'm sure Lula will be very surprised to learn that Chavecito has suddenly usurped him. They may be good friends, but they're not THAT close!

November 18, 2008

One more for the "strictly imaginary" files

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"It's all in your head. You just have no idea how big your head is."

--Lon Milo DuQuette

I wonder how many Gulf War I vets have died for them to find this out:

A report released on Monday concluded that Gulf War syndrome is a legitimate illness suffered by more than 175,000 U.S. war veterans who were exposed to chemical toxins in the 1991 Gulf War.

The congressionally mandated report could help veterans who have battled the government for treatment of a wide range of unexplained neurological illnesses, from brain cancer to multiple sclerosis.

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses concluded that Gulf War illness is a physical condition distinct from the mental "shell shock" suffered by veterans in other wars. Some earlier studies had concluded it was not a distinct illness.

"Scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans," said the committee, which has been looking into the problem since 2002.

The committee, composed of independent scientists and veterans, said Congress should boost funding for research on Gulf War veterans' health to at least $60 million per year.

"This is a national obligation, made especially urgent by the many years that Gulf War veterans have waited for answers and assistance," the committee said.

Of course, if the general pattern of the Veterans' Administration holds true, this report, like the thousands of sick vets it documents, will be malignly ignored by the Congress at the behest of the Military-Industrial Complex. (Ike was right, it IS a military-industrial-congressional complex.)

Remember Agent Orange? That was at least 40 years ago. They're still dragging their heels on THAT one, too. That is, they're waiting for all those exposed to it to die before admitting that it was toxic and carcinogenic, so the manufacturers won't have to pay out damages to their victims or their families.

I hope President Obama will change this pattern, but I'm not exactly bubbling over with wild optimism. Who knows, maybe he'll pleasantly surprise me--but given how corporations have hijacked US politics, I don't hold out much hope. Remember, the Congress has to okay the payouts. And given how much corporate lobbyists, especially those linked to the MIC, are tied to the Congress--what do you suppose the odds are?

Welcome back, random stranger--we love you!

I guess I should start a new category here for things like this:

The Improv Everywhere folks get together at JFK Airport in New York. Their mission: To find an airport limo driver holding up a client's name on a sign in the arrivals area, and then make that random ride recipient's day by welcoming him or her.

As you can see, this stunt was a big hit. After the shock and disbelief wore off, the smiles came on. Even the drivers were impressed, and in their line of work, it's very hard to be impressed. (Don't believe me? Ask one sometime.)

Random acts of kindness and senseless fun. Gotta love 'em.

November 17, 2008

Another head-scratcher weapons cache in Venezuela

Hmmmm, who do you suppose put all these guns and bullets in this warehouse, and why?

Story from Aporrea:

The Scientific Criminal and Penal Investigations Body (CICPC) discovered a large stockpile of undeclared weapons on Friday night in Baruta, Miranda.

The CICPC director, Commissioner Marcos Chávez, informed that these weapons consisted of automatic pistols, revolvers, long guns, rifles and numerous projectiles, among other things, and were found during an intelligence raid on a warehouse in Baruta.

According to Commissioner Chávez, the cache came from an arsenal, presumably belonging to an old armory which is now in disuse. All the same, the raided site only had permission to store food, not weapons.

Translation mine.

I wonder if all this was as innocent as it seems. An awful lot of old weaponry has done a sudden disappearing act in Venezuela, and for some strange reason, it always ends up having the pawprints of anti-Chavecito escualidos all over it. Remember, there are a lot of old army types who are looking to foment a coup against you-know-who, and they are precisely the sort to have access to these "old", "disused" weapons.

Plus, Baruta is opposition territory, so don't anyone give me guff about how the Chavistas are going to be using this for their intimidating militias.

Funny, too, how this find just happens to turn up shortly before the local elections, slated for the 23rd. But then again, given the oppos and their distaste for democracy that doesn't go their way, can we honestly say we're surprised?

November 16, 2008

The wiki-wacky way to talk Argentino

So there I was, last night, googling around for silly stuff. I think I was looking for something on that perverted old freak Carlos Menem and his horrible facelift. (I suspect he had more than just his cheeks done, because his lips look like overstuffed frankfurters, and they hardly move when he talks. Gortex implants anyone?)

Well, I found something else. Did you know there's this place called the Uncyclopedia, and its entry on Argentina is hilarious?

Here's a sample:

Argentina is mostly purple and large areas of it are injection-moulded from polypropylene. Argentines are very proud of their national sport of selling their daughter´s asses, which contrary to popular belief, is more popular than football (or soccer as those no good, un-civilized, ignorant, down-syndromed americans would call it).

It is not advised for small children (under 3 years) as small parts of Argentina may easily be swallowed. Do not immerse Argentina in water and do not feed it after midnight. It is strongly requested that you do not cry for it.

Argentina is equipped with three USB ports, a full-colour monitor, and a small shovel. Aforementioned shovel is usually employed by Argentines to bury themselves in cow excretement for ritualistic purposes. Argentina also has periodic cameo appearances on the critically acclaimed soap opera, Boat de Love, where she plays the deadly foreign half-robot sex slave of the aristocrat, Dobby the house elf of Harry Potter II: Return to the Thunderdome. Only £39.99 from all good pet shops*.

All of which is good to know, but the really priceless part is the lesson on how to talk Argentino. I just recently got a copy of The Motorcycle Diaries (the film, which is beautifully shot--and, unusual for an adaptation, is very nearly as good as the book). And I could not make head nor ass of what the Ches were all saying. This REALLY cleared it up for me.

Let it never be said that wiki-pages aren't good for SOMETHING.

November 15, 2008

Would all of the following people just please FUCK OFF?

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1. and 2. Sarah Fucking Palin and Joe the Fucking Plumber. Both of you--scram. Your 15 minutes are over, and your country doesn't need you. If you really want to save it, just shut the fuck up and go the hell away. Do NOT run for president, do NOT pass Go, do NOT collect $200. Just get lost, preferably in a thawing muskeg bog.

3. Osmel Fucking Sousa. Considering that your ideal woman is a cartoon, who the hell are you, a wrinkled old man, to tell lovely young women that they aren't lovely enough? Oh, that's right--you're the beauty pageant king of Venezuela, that country whose many exportable commodities happen to include (surgically enhanced) female flesh. And of course, victory in beauty pageants is a prerequisite to female success, or at least in getting an oil tanker named after oneself. Because heaven knows, our gender has nothing to offer other than looks, and even those are not good enough. I hereby cordially invite you to drink yourself to death on cheap Scotch in an atmosphere of plush, salmon-pink irrelevance.

4. Dennis Fucking Miller. Yes, we know you're a washed-up, unfunny has-been. Why do you keep insisting on reminding us? Even in your glorified-fratboy salad days, you weren't all that, Ms. Thing. Jumping on the "9/11--Never Forget!!!eleven!!!" bandwagon won't give you talent. So please, Dennis...just go away, go away, go away.

5. George Fucking Dubya Bush. Yes, I know we have to wait until January. But the world is weary, and January is a long way off. And nobody misunderstimates the damage you and your executive orders can do in the meantime. Or the pardons you can hand out to all your felonious friends. Or all the embarrassing photos you can appear in. So, Dubya...go choke on a pretzel. Go crash a million-dollar fighter training jet. Go get terminal road rash. Or whatever. Just GO, already.

6. Gonzalo Fucking Sanchez de Fucking Lozada. Why the double "Fucking"? Because that's what Bolivia got from you, you big gringo corruptocrat-with-a-bad-accent. So go do it to yourself for a change, preferably in two orifices...and if that ain't enough, Goni, I'll rip you a new one and lend you a broomstick.

7. And that goes double for your lawyer, Greg Fucking Craig. I do NOT want to see that scummy shyster advising Barack Obama on what kind of relations he is to have with the future White House dog, never mind Bolivia.

8. and 9. and 10. Speaking of advisors, I strongly advise the future President Obama to get rid of Austan Fucking Goolsbee, Jason Fucking Furman, and Kenneth Fucking Griffin. Financial "advice" such as theirs is the last thing he needs if he is to get his country out of an economic crisis created by neoliberals and neo-cons promiscuously swapping saliva with one another. (They can all do that in prison, when they're not squabbling over the dropped soap.)

11. Alvaro Fucking Uribe. Has Colombia not suffered enough for the past 50-odd years? Does this crooked little tyrant really need a third term? Does the world really want to see how much more crack and yuppie nose-powder one country is capable of producing, at the cost of another couple thousand murders and now, investor riots? Or will the man on whose watch it all took place just please fuck off?

12. Felipe Fucking Calderón. All the drug-war grandiosity notwithstanding, we know he stole the Mexican election. And we know with whose help he did it. We even know why. But all of that might makes nothing right, because a criminal cannot restore law and order in a country that has never truly known it. Fuck off, Felipe, and let AMLO finally take his rightful place--cleaning up the Augean Stable you seem hellbent on leaving behind.

13. Alan Fucking Garcia. Under his lardy gut, Peru is so fucked. And sadly, the Peruvians know it and can't do shit about it. In a mountainous land of geologic instability and frequent earthquakes, one can hardly be blamed for wishing the Earth would open up and swallow him. Could it do that, please?

14. Angela Fucking Merkel. Why? Because. And where does she get off criticizing Chavecito, considering who she pals around with? Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas, Angela...now go lie someplace other than the Bundestag. You're an embarrassment to German women all over the world, including me.

15. Nicolas Fucking Sarkozy. For singlehandedly turning France uncouth. Casse-toi, pauvre con.

16. Stephen Fucking Harper. For reasons too numerous to enumerate here at this unholy hour.

And finally,

17. Anyone who objects to my use of the fuck-word here. Who asked you? Fuck off.

And to the rest of you, a very pleasant good night.

November 14, 2008

Death of a President

Video in Spanish, 1 hr. A special presentation at the Teresa Carreño Theatre in Caracas, of Argentine playwright Rodolfo Quebleen's dramatic monologue. Starring Roberto Moll as Salvador Allende, the martyred president of Chile, who died defending the presidential palace, La Moneda, during the coup d'état of September 11, 1973. Stick around for the last 4 minutes and you'll see "Allende" get a hug from a living president, one of his biggest followers in both socialism and constitutional democracy.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo again? Yup...

Why not? He's worthy.

Ahem--make that WAY WORTHY.

And look! He's back in his cute, cozy striped sweater, that famous fashion statement:

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This time, he accessorizes it with a floral garland...and the kind of cowboy hat all the good guys wear. Perfect for handing over land titles to the indigenous (here, at Tiwanaco on the 13th):

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He's a sight for sore eyes, especially if you're a landless campesino--or any other Bolivian looking to beat the global economic crisis.

November 13, 2008

Stupid Sex Tricks: How not to get a divorce

Rule #1: Don't accuse your estranged spouse of anything you aren't sure s/he actually did. Especially if medical testing is involved:

A Manhattan lawyer who sued his estranged wife for allegedly giving him herpes didn't get it from her, court papers say.

White-shoe attorney Frederick Tanne, 47, filed suit against his wife of 22 years, Amy Tanne, 46, earlier this year, charging her straying had left him with Herpes Simplex Virus 2, an STD that caused him to suffer "pain, suffering, emotional, mental, psychological and physical injuries and loss of enjoyment of life."

In court papers filed yesterday, Amy's lawyer, Thomas Mullaney, said his client had a blood test last month and "presented as 'negative' for HSV-2, more commonly known as genital herpes, with which Mr. Tanne is allegedly infected."

BTW, this is why no-fault divorce (or the term "Irreconcilable Differences") was instituted. Basically, it was designed to save the divorcees a lot of heartache, headaches--or in this case, acute pains of the wallet due to major stupidity.

November 12, 2008

Dr. Strangewhoops, or How Greenland Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb

Where the hell is Major Kong? Looks like he now has a real-life counterpart or two. Brace yourselves, kiddies, it's a hot one.

What burns me is how close the Thule base is to our own Arctic. I guess this means that to the Nuclear-Industrial Complex, a bunch of Canadian Inuit are disposable, eh?

Quotable: Keith Olbermann on same-sex marriage rights

November 11, 2008

A few (heretical) thoughts on Remembrance Day

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If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

-- Lt.-Col. John McCrae, "In Flanders Fields"

Today is the 90th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I, which at that time was known simply as "The Great War".

Nobody back then thought that it was only a FIRST world war, let alone that there would be another (or others, as is now an idea rapidly gaining traction among progressives.) It was known, popularly, as "the war to end all wars"--partly because it was so horrendously destructive, with loss of life on an unprecedented scale, but more, I think, because of the sheer psychological effect of all that destruction on the people who witnessed it at close hand. It caused an enormous distaste for war itself, as well as for the lies that lead to war, and the empires that demand wars in order to perpetuate and sustain themselves. At the Armistice, 90 years ago today, millions of exhausted people sincerely believed that war itself was exhausted--that there could simply never be another, because people would take one look back at the one that had just ended, shudder and decide it wasn't worth it.

How soon they forgot. Just 20 years later, another war was about to begin. Or had begun already, if you accept Hitler's theft of power (and I, for one, do) as the true opening salvo of World War II. The second world war turned out to be an even greater war than the so-called Great War, with more loss of life and more psychological destruction still. By the time Little Boy and Fat Man fried Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, it was clear that the forgetful leaders and peoples of the developed countries had learned absolutely nothing from history, let alone its most horrible prior chapter--which, for many of them, was a vivid, living memory.

Nor, it turns out, would they learn from the second one, either. Fat Man and Little Boy were not the end of their line, but merely the progenitors of a vast and ruinous nuclear-industrial complex. All manner of militarism was so popular and profitable with the US congresses of the 1950s that retiring president Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell speech, very nearly made reference to a military-industrial-congressional complex. Was it only the unwieldiness of the terminology that dissuaded him, or was some other, darker force at work?

What I know is this: Eisenhower, as the general who accepted Germany's surrender at the end of the European phase of WWII, had acquired a personal distaste for war, having seen enough of the shooting kind at close hand to last several lifetimes. A cold war--which I consider to be World War III, since it in fact encapsulated many highly destructive shooting wars, particularly in Latin America--was also repugnant to him, but it seems that talk of the communist menace won out. He mentions that, in the same "military-industrial complex" speech, as a menace "greatly to be feared". Never mind that Soviet Russia had never fired a shot at the so-called Free World, and was in fact its ally during the war against Hitler. Suddenly, at WWII's end, Russia was The Enemy, and Germany was the toy over which the superpowers squabbled, just as Yugoslavia had been some 20 years previously. It made no sense, and still makes no sense, that former allies could so quickly turn on each other for something as abstract as mere ideology--and in fact, ideology really isn't the reason for the sudden turnaround at all.

I've come to an heretical conclusion about the world wars, one that will undoubtedly sit ill with traditionalists and "respectable" historians, who like to tout such pious, abstract notions as freedom, honor and gallantry as the driving forces behind them. But still, mine is the only explanation that makes sense, since a great many free-thinking, honorable and gallant people have never had the least stomach for war, and it does no justice to sweep them under the rug simply because they don't fit a certain "accepted truth". My heretical conclusion is this: The world wars were, and are, all and always, about imperialism, and specifically, imperialism of an economic nature.

Sit back for a moment and let that sink in, dear reader.

Are you shocked? Horrified? Sputtering with rage? Ready to string up the red-headed witch for an unholy blasphemer?

Wait.

And think, for a moment, about why nations go to war against each other in general. What is it that motivates them? A mere hatred by one leader of another leader's guts? Ridiculous. If that were the case, why did Winston Churchill express, early on, admiration of Hitler and Mussolini? And if it was really about democracy versus tyranny, why was he himself a monarchist--and one with bloodthirsty tyrannical tendencies of his own? The fact is, he didn't hate the tyrants' guts or even their grotesque ideologies; he actually admired those. No, the real reason he hated them is that they threatened his beloved British Empire economically and territorially.

And since the territories of empire are acquired for economic reasons above all, it stands to reason that the economic imperative was, however unspoken, paramount. The Boer War, I'm sure, would never have been fought if vast deposits of gold and diamonds had not been found in South Africa. If it were for all the reasons conventionally given, it would have been fought much sooner. Ideology alone was not enough to do it. Neither was geographical unity of the British empire in Africa. And certainly the flaming racism of the Boers was not the real problem; the British were scarcely any better. Winston Churchill himself was a flaming racist; he just wasn't such a country bumpkin about it as the Boers. Class snobbery also counts here, kiddies. Had the agrarian Boers had a Cecil Rhodes to call their own, Britain would surely have lost and its colonists would have ended up toiling like slaves in the mines rather than owning and profiting from them.

Let's face it: Wars fought over political ideology alone tend to be lost by the idealistic ideologues who launch them; wars fought for economic reasons, however, tend to be won by the most avaricious, regardless of who fired the first shot, or of what pretended ideological grounds they claim. This is one field where economic incentive really does shape the outcome. Greek nationalism hit a wall in the 1920s, and Anatolia remains Turkish to this day; perhaps, if cold hard greed rather than nostalgic idealism had been a driving force behind it, and if Greece had been the richer at the outset, the outcome of the Megali Idea would have been very different.

Ideology was, of course, a very convenient pretext for getting the public, especially in the US, to accept the unacceptable: an arms race on which billions of dollars were squandered that would otherwise have gone towards healthcare, education, and social welfare of every kind. Shit, who needs to invest in the peons when their lives are cheaper than the ammo for those highly profitable cannons? Better to scare them with the menace of communism; that way, they'd buy anything. Including stock in the war machine.

Of course, the communist "menace" is still being fraudulently touted today, but it's been largely replaced by the twin spectres of drugs and terrorism, since people have grown largely skeptical that communism was ever such a threat to begin with. Where did they get that idea? Gee, you tell me. How did the Berlin Wall crumble, again?

And what kind of capitalism grew up in its rubble? Something that looks an awful lot like the pre-crash conditions of the late 1920s, you say? Something that looks a lot like history repeating itself, but in a messier, less distinctly staged form, with all the lessons neither learned nor absorbed?

BINGO.

So here we are, drearily slogging through yet another long, ugly, economically motivated world war. For those keeping count, this is World War IV.

Doesn't look like it, you say?

True, the million-scale deaths necessary for a truly spectacular global conflict are not talked about (although, in Iraq, surely more than a million people have died by now.) And no, there's been no spectacular footage of nuclear explosions, either (although radioactive weapons have been deployed, to the tune of 4.5 billion devastating years of half-life.) Talk of ideology, too, is strangely muted, although there are still incoherent mumblings from the US right about some dodo-bird called "Islamofascism", which never existed but once--namely, when Moroccan Moors helped Franco win the Spanish Civil War. (And we all know what side the US right would have taken in THAT one, eh kiddies?)

But economic reasons for the current global cut-and-thrust? Oh, they're there, all right. The biggest one is spelled O-I-L; it's the reason why a funny, lovable democratic socialist leader in Venezuela is being painted as a tyrant (the better to depose him undemocratically). It's also why Ecuador, with its handsome US-educated wonk-in-chief, is being slapped upside the head with an absurd, unwarranted debt rating. It's why the cute, mild-mannered guy in charge of oil-and-gas-rich Bolivia is being satanized as an Indianist racist, despite a total lack of evidence that he is one. It's why right-wing nuts in South Florida are making noises again about the need to annex Cuba, pronto (though, if asked, they will swear up and down that it's that old boogerbear, communism, and nada más). It's also why the war in Iraq is still a long way from over, even though everyone actually fighting it is sick to death and wishing with all their might that it would end this instant. There is talk of that theatre of battle going on for at least another four fucking years!

If this protracted bloodletting isn't a world war, then tell me--what is it?

And tell me, too--if the saying behind our beloved Remembrance Day poppies, dating back to the end of the Great War, is "Lest We Forget"--why the hell have we forgotten, again and again and again?

One would think, after 90 years (and more), that someone besides me would have seen the repetitions of the overall pattern and understood what it all meant.

November 9, 2008

Chavecito gets punked!

Ahem. Make that SKA-punked. A Spanish anarcho-socialist bandleader learned how to see through the media lies, and now he's a Bolivarian. Aporrea has the story:

The program "Skaravan, the Caravan of Ska", broadcast on RNV Activa, Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., interviewed Pulpul, the leader of the band Ska-P, who was in Switzerland on tour supporting the band's latest CD, "Lágrimas y Gozos". Ska-P will be coming to Venezuela to give a concert in Caracas on Saturday the 15th, and in Valencia on Sunday the 16th, along with the "Caravan of Happiness" which the youth wing of the PSUV is staging in advance of the regional elections.

The leader of the Spanish ska-punk band, whose lyrics are profoundly socialistic and libertarian, said that he wrote the song "El Libertador" in honor of the revolutionary process, after having researched Hugo Chávez and his revolution on the Internet.

Interviewed by Freddy Clark, Pulpul said, "Here in Spain, Chávez is seen as a dictator who is generating poverty. I started to investigate a bit, and got into more depth on the Bolivarian Revolution thanks to a friend of mine, a Frenchman, who told me that I had to look to the Internet, which is the only information source that could show me the truth." He added, "I started to read, saw the work of the missions and how they got rid of illiteracy in only two years, the agrarian reform, the Lands Law, the distribution of land to peasants. I got to know more and more, and saw that this demon they were selling us was not such a demon. I told the rest of the band about what was happening over there, and together we investigated, got into more depth, and decided to write a song in honor of this process, which is so important to all the people of the left in the world. It might be the most improtant revolutionary movement of the century."

Translation mine; MP3 of the song at the link (give it a listen, it's good).

Pulpul goes on to say that he still doesn't believe in leaders, but "when there is a good leader, you have to recognize him." Like many other Spanish leftist punkers, he's linked to the anarchist movement, which has much in common with the socialists but doesn't believe in vertical hierarchies of power. Venezuelan anarchists, on the other hand, largely support the Boliviarian Revolution, because it has enabled them to create their own non-hierarchical communities. (Yeah, find a REAL dictator who not only WON'T crack down on anarchists, but actually aids and abets them, ye oafish oppos.)

Here's the band playing one of their hits, "El Vals del Obrero" (The Workers' Waltz):

"Yes sir, yes sir, we are the revolution, your enemy is the boss."

November 7, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging: La Paz is literate

And Evo saw fit to proclaim it loud and clear:

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His suit speaks for itself, too:

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I read one smart goodlooking between the lines!

November 6, 2008

Quotable: Mark Morford on the whole Obama thingy

"Hell yes, this is a time for screaming. For dancing, crying, celebrating with a rare feeling of renewal. It is a time for feeling it fully. A great thing has been done. A great shift has just transpired. Best news of all: There is no going back.

"Forget what I said before. Gloating is allowed, a great joyous I-told-you-so straight in the scowling faces of the racists and the warmongers and those so horribly terrified of the new and the different and the possible. Please feel free to let those rivers of gratitude course through you like molten joy coupled to the train of possibility pulled by the giant hand of hell yes.

"Above all, it is a time to exhale, to relax a little, to get the hell on with it. I know I speak for roughly five thousand fellow media lackeys when I say, sweet Lord, I am just so glad this damnable beast of an election is finally over. It's like a combination of the day after Christmas and post-coital orgasm and giving birth. You can only sit in the wobbly afterglow, warm and buzzing and dizzy, insanely grateful you didn't get a stocking full of Satan and Alaskan moosemeat and dirt, or a baby with three tiny heads and a nail gun where his arm should be.

"This, I think, is perhaps the most important sentiment of all. Not merely relief, not liberation, not even unadulterated joy.

"It's gratitude. Deep and satisfying and good. A sense of profound thanks that, well, we made it through. The hopefulness prevailed. That Obama not only survived and flourished, but appears more determined and assured than ever. What's more, our massive, ungainly democratic system? That hugely flawed beast of burden, gutted by eight solid years of the worst kind of abuse and misprision? It still seems to work. Well, mostly. How astonishing is that?

"And now, here we are. What a time it has been. What a time it shall be. There is no turning back. And for that, we can only say, thank you. Thank you, thank you, oh sweet God, thank you.

"Now pass me that damn champagne. "

--Mark Morford, "Yes We Did"

November 4, 2008

It's an Obamarama!!!

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324 electoral votes and STILL counting. Can you say LANDSLIDE, baby?

BushCo Death Watch is now officially over. And so are eight years of unmitigated HELL.

HALLELUJAH!

Stupid Sex Tricks: The Reverend Mr. Potato Bum

There are times when I'm glad I never became a doctor, and this is one of them. Especially not an emergency surgeon. How many of them have seen cases like this, I wonder?

A VICAR turned up in agony at a hospital -- with a potato stuck in his bottom.

The clergyman told stunned casualty nurses he fell backwards on to his kitchen table while hanging curtains.

He happened to be nude at the time of the mishap.

The embarrassed reverend, in his 50s, had to undergo a delicate operation to extract the offending vegetable.

The spud was yesterday revealed to be among a litany of objects medics in Sheffield have removed from people's nether regions.

Others include a can of deodorant, a cucumber, a Russian doll -- and a carnation.

Like most of the other patients, the red-faced vicar insisted to staff at the city's Northern General Hospital that his predicament was NOT the result of a sex game gone wrong.

A & E nurse Trudi Watson said: "He explained to me, quite sincerely, he had been hanging curtains naked in the kitchen when he fell backwards on to the kitchen table and on to a potato.

"But it's not for me to question his story.

"He had to undergo surgery to have it removed."

I don't know about you, but I'd be questioning his story, and questioning it pretty hard. Who hangs curtains while nude--especially a vicar? And who just leaves potatoes lying around on a kitchen table before scurrying up--nude--to hang curtains?

If I were a member of the ER staff, I'd slip him the address of a nice sex-toy boutique. They sell things there that ARE made for insertion...and if they're at all responsible, they also tell you how to use them safely.

Lech Walesa: Sad sell-out still slamming socialism

Just after the Berlin Wall fell, I wondered what would become of Poland, and now I know the answer: NOTHING GOOD. The country sure has gone to hell in a capitalist handbasket. It has all the hallmarks to go with it, from a pair of fascist twins who were, until recently, in power, to a decline in marriage and fertility rates (and this in spite of the fascist twins so staunchly opposing abortion, birth control, homosexuality and all the other "traditional" enemies of family life.) The promises of democracy have only partly been kept; there are still a slew of human-rights problems, including (though the State Dept. report doesn't mention it) CIA torture centres. Polish women, finding their rights trampled at home (where joblessness is also still a major problem), are seeking work abroad, mainly in Sweden and the British Isles. Shit, the authorities there don't even care if a woman goes blind as a result of pregnancy. Presumably God and the Free Market will look after her betwixt themselves.

Ironically, in the early post-communist days, it looked as if this massive fuck-up wouldn't have happened. Even though the Catholic church immediately pushed for a strict anti-abortion law, the majority of Poles were against it. For that matter, they were against a lot of the so-called "free market reforms", too. But all of this got pushed down their collective throats, and incredibly, there has not been a revolt.

And for the human embodiment of what a mess this acceptance of the unacceptable has made of Poland, one need only look at what happened to the man who was once a national hero, the champion of freedom in Poland...Lech Walesa. He, too, is someone who struck all the wrong compromises at all the crucial moments.

I remember the fuss that was made about Walesa and his union federation, Solidarity, in the early 1980s. A union that was, in its own words, all about "socialism, yes--its distortions, no"--behind the Iron Curtain? Unthinkable. And yet, there it was. It was a new, organically evolved, hybrid form of socialism, one that embraced religion rather than dismissing it as doctrinaire Marxists do (as the Opiate of the Masses.) It wanted, among other things, a new, more open relationship between Poland and the West. And yet, it was not inherently a right-wing, capitalist movement. It was simply a broad-based movement, incorporating political tendencies from all across the spectrum, for greater workers' freedom--or so it began.

It did not remain what it was at the outset.

Perhaps it was inevitable that this would happen. Even in its first year, Solidarity was an unstable coalition, vocal about its goals but less definite about how to attain them. Colin Barker, writing for International Socialism, gives us an insight:

Everyone looked to Solidarity for a lead. This was a dilemma for a movement that did not aspire to power. The union leaders' response was to seek to stem the onward march of their own side.

In March a massive crisis erupted in the city of Bydgoszcz. Solidarity members occupying an office went to the local prefecture to negotiate with party representatives. A couple of hundred police invaded the room and systematically beat up the Solidarity men, among them a national leader of the union, Jan Rulewski. This was the first time open force had been used against the union. Half a million workers across the whole Bydgoszcz area erupted into strike. By the time a national delegate meeting, 300-strong, was held on 23 March, the pressure coming from the grassroots for national action was overwhelming. A highly successful national four-hour strike was accompanied by preparations for an unlimited general strike which would begin on 31 March if the union's demands were not met.

The atmosphere in Poland was electric, as both sides prepared for a decisive confrontation. Strike headquarters were designated in the largest factories in each region, fortified with barricade materials.

The premier, Jaruzelski, turned to the church for support. Direct pressure was applied to Lech Walesa through an hour's private meeting with the cardinal, and at the last moment Walesa appeared on TV to announce the strike was called off.

The general strike's sudden cancellation was a serious setback, throwing the union back on itself. The aftermath saw a partial demobilisation of the membership. For more than three months there were no strikes. Attendance at union gatherings declined.

The economic crisis deepened in the spring and summer of 1981. The supply of everyday goods was steadily worsening. Meat rations were cut, and soap, detergent, toilet paper were all in short supply. The crisis provoked a new eruption of working class protest. The response of the leadership was cool and sometimes hostile. When the regime alleged that Solidarity was sabotaging the economy, the leadership called for a two-month moratorium on strikes. At one point in late September two thirds of Poland's provinces were affected by strikes. These upsurges from below remained fragmented and incoherent, isolated from each other. No section of the leadership attempted to link them together, showing how they might be combined in a new assault on the regime. Eventually, from mid- November, the strike wave died down--the membership was increasingly exhausted, turning away in disappointment from the union.

Was Lech Walesa a strong leader, as the press here liked to lionize him as being? I don't get that impression, reading this. The willingness to basically fall down and compromise was visible in him from the start--and he did this even as the Solidarity membership was chomping at the bit! So he ended up losing credibility and support, right at the moments when he could have been doing his damnedest to justify the immense faith the Polish people had in him at first. He choked, he coughed, he fell down. And so, in the end, did Solidarity, though it would spend the next several years going up and down like a malaria victim's fever chart.

I admit I wasn't much interested in Solidarity's ups and downs. I was in my teens at the time; I'm Canadian and of German, not Polish, descent. The intricacies and subtleties of it were lost to me, because I couldn't speak the language. I knew SOMETHING significant was happening, because that's what the media all said it was, but they did not explain to me or anyone what the hell was so all-fired significant about it, beyond the fact that it was, in their eyes anyway, a pure revolt against communism. And also that there was a big counter-coup going on at the institutional level; Reader's Digest pointed the finger at the Polish authorities when a popular priest, Jerzy Popieluszko, was brutally murdered. Father Jerzy, or "Jurek" as his friends called him, was the chaplain to Solidarity members at the Warsaw steelworks. He was beaten unconscious, thrown in the trunk of a car belonging to the secret police, and not seen again. Ten days later his body was pulled from a reservoir, bound, gagged, and showing signs of the most horrific tortures imaginable.

Except for these moments of high drama, the Polish situation remained opaque to me. Only the grossest simplifications, as pushed by the mainstream media, filtered through to my fickle, preoccupied adolescent and post-adolescent consciousness. All I heard was a steady refrain of "capitalism good, socialism-which-is-really-communism bad". After nearly three decades of being unable to make real sense of things in Poland, I'm on a steep learning curve here. I feel today that I have been misled and betrayed by the media, and so do a great many Poles, no doubt.

What's obvious now, is that everyone started out having high expectations of Solidarity, and that everyone except a power-mad few ended up with nothing real to show for all the work and all the tears. Naomi Klein, in The Shock Doctrine, documents how Poland's democratic hopes were hijacked by neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism both; her work explained the inexplicable to me better than anyone else's could.

Which brings us back to Lech Walesa. This is the man who fell down, REPEATEDLY, on the job of leading Poland out of--no, not communism (which has never truly existed, outside of a few Israeli kibbutzim), but state capitalism, and into what should have been (but never did become) socialist democracy. He lost an election to a former communist, which should tell you something about him. And he is now presuming to pronounce on the situation in Venezuela. Get a load of it:

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa on Monday criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's left-wing brand of leadership.

"The ideas of the ruling team (in Venezuela) are very bad ideas," Walesa said in a television interview.

"I am the best proof that communism fell because it was a bad system," Walesa said. "And introducing it there (in Venezuela) is the biggest mistake of the region."

Uh, Lech? He's not a communist, and Venezuela's new system is most emphatically NOT communism. The PCV, the actual communist party of Venezuela, is not the PSUV, which is the United Socialist Party of Venezuela--the party of Chavecito--although, in all elections since 1998, the PCV has supported Chávez or candidates associated with him. But they would be the first to admit that communism--real communism, not state capitalism--has not happened under him, even as they hope he will help them to make it happen.

After all this time, Lech, you still don't understand the difference between communism and socialism, let alone between two leftist parties in a South American country that was rising up against neoliberalism before that shit even hit yours? I pity you, man. You're not the "best proof" of anything, other than that it doesn't pay to sell out.

And boy, did you ever. First to the Polish secret police, then to the capitalists. Helluva a track record you got there, Lech. That makes you a uniquely UNqualified man to comment on the political situation in Venezuela, though happily (or unhappily, for your credibility), you are still not persona non grata there.

Now, a few corrective words about Venezuela. Or rather, a few pictures. This is how pure capitalism went down in that country, a few months before the Berlin Wall fell:

...and that's how Chavecito got democratically elected to power. It was a rejection of the neoliberal model that had been antidemocratically imposed from above and without, NOT a rejection of democracy. In fact, this was all about sweeping capitalism away so real democracy could take hold.

That, in a nutshell, is why things like this ring so hollow and preposterous to those who are truly informed:

Walesa, 65, dropped plans to attend a pro-democracy forum this week organized by anti-Chavez university students in Venezuela after the country's authorities said they could not guarantee his security.

Walesa took it as a sign that he was not welcome there.

"They have elections coming up there and some people are afraid of me," Walesa said, noting that his voice "counts there" because many opposition members are his friends and extended the invitation to him.

I notice the article (extremely vague, superficial, and thus, poorly written) doesn't name those "many opposition members" who are Walesa's "friends". I have my own suspicions as to who they are, though. A man who is capable of selling out to not one, but two brands of spooks, is entirely capable of being seduced by a third contingent. No doubt they thought they'd scored a propaganda coup by getting a Nobel Peace Prize winner on side, but that's not saying much; Henry Kissinger is one too, and what the hell did that man ever do in the name of peace?

My advice to Lech Walesa is to go right ahead to Venezuela and give his little talkie, even if they can't guarantee him the security he wants. Hell, since he's so into neoliberalism now and all, he can just bring his own little private army, or his hosts can supply one (made in the USA, like Blackwater) if they really want him there. After all, isn't privatization of public services what they're all about? They're rich enough, God knows; let them pay for it out of their own deep pockets. Why so stingy, guys? Why are you expecting the Venezuelan government, the same one you hate so much, to do it all for you? Isn't that SOCIALISM?

November 2, 2008

Bad news for conservatards...

This pilot can fly just fine without a right wing. Scared yet?

November 1, 2008

F.U. DEA, CIA, FBI...

El Ecuadorable, as usual, ain't mincin' no words...

The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, assured on Saturday that his country will absolutely not lose anything with the departure of the US military from the anti-drug airbase at Manta.

In his weekly radio address, Correa said that of 81 recent murders in Manta, eight were common crimes, and the rest were fundamentally linked to narcotrafficking.

The Ecuadorian leader recently told the United States that he had decided not to renew their 1999 concession to use the fishing port of Manta to intercept drug-trafficking flights.

Washington announced that in response to the decision, it would withdraw its forces, but warned that its retreat from Ecuador would leave a hole in the fight against narcotrafficking.

"We will lose absolutely nothing when they leave the US base at Manta. Some have said that we'll have a resurgence of drug trafficking. These are farces that we've lived through," said Correa.

Correa questioned what was really going on at the US centre of operations at Manta: "They were controlling the rest of America, but in Manta there was more drug trafficking and more deaths and crimes related to drug trafficking than ever. What a paradox!" He insists that "in Manta, the city where there's a North American base to control narcotrafficking, there are more deaths, due to the War on Drugs."

Translation mine.

For those who think he's just theorizing wildly and doesn't know what the fuck he's on about, take a look at what Otto's dug up on the way the anti-drug war is progressing in Bolivia. Evo decided to take matters in his own hands and turf out the DEA, and now Bolivia is doing a better job of fighting cocaine production on its own than it did when the US was running the show!

Meanwhile, that nice, co-operative Colombia? The one that still plays ball with the Yanks? Producing and exporting more coke than ever. (More dead people, too.)

Yeah, figger THAT one out. And try not to break yer head.