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December 31, 2008

Underreported fact of the year: TIME is no Project Censored!

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Isn't it pathetic when the major lamestream news outlets start trying to usurp indie, leftist and blogospheric territory? Case in point: TIME magazine's lame-o "Top Ten Underrated News Stories". Let's dissect them in the order they come. Gloves, please...

1. The Pentagon's Latest Nuclear Snafu. Not a bad place to start, but the real story, according to TIME, was how "In March, seven months after the Air Force lost track of six nuclear warheads that were inadvertently flown over the U.S., the Defense Department was informed that the batteries it meant to deliver to Taiwan had actually been fuses used to trigger nuclear warheads." Well, at least they didn't send the warheads to China proper, but TIME still thinks this situation was "potentially explosive". Why? Is it such earth-shattering news in China, or 'scuse me, TAIWAN, that the US uses fuses to trigger bombs? Any Chinese or Taiwanese nuclear scientist probably could have figured that out already. Why not report how those much more dangerous six nuclear warheads wound up airborne in the first place, and to what end? No, the big news is fuses, people. Because the Yellow People of Kuomintang Country saw them, don'tcha know.

2. Civil war displaces a million Congolese. This is underreported news? The latest Congo war is ten years old. And it's left at least five million dead. I've seen it all over the Canadian news. Maybe the US media doesn't report it because there's no oil in the Congo? Or maybe because they just don't care about black people? How about reporting those angles? Now THAT would be news.

3. Sri Lankan conflict deadlier this year than Afghanistan. So that means that the war in Afghanistan is okay, then? Or is it simply not news because no Tamils have threatened to blow up the White House? Actually, I suspect it's because Unocal has no designs on building a pipeline through that little island country, as it has on Afghanistan. (Remember who Hamid Karzai was before he was installed as president? Underreported news, baby.)

4. A victory for mental-health advocates. Wow, is this a cynical sell job for corporate bailouts or what? "Buried in October's financial bailout package was a landmark provision, 12 years in the making, that for the first time requires insurance companies to provide equal coverage for mental and physical health." Yes, but what about universal single-payer healthcare? A solid majority of US citizens would like what Canada got under Tommy Douglas, and are hoping for Barack Obama to bring it on. Once again, the REAL story flies below the radar here.

5. Genetically modified meat: coming soon to a grocer near you? I don't disagree that this one's underreported. This is actually one worth exploring in depth...much more depth than the single, superficial paragraph TIME devotes to it, unfortunately.

6. Southern Baptists decide against pedophilia database. This one, too, is worth reporting in greater depth, I agree. The blogosphere has done a better job on this one than anyone, including TIME. (Google the terms "Southern Baptist pedophilia" and see what comes up.) That's the OTHER unreported side of this story.

7. More Mexican immigrants move home. This is underreported news? Again, not where I sit--I've seen it on CBC, the BBC, the whole alphabet soup. Hell, it's just an inevitable end result of the US economic crisis. What's truly underreported? The fact that NAFTA plays a major part in this crisis, from more ends than one. It's what drove the Mexicans to seek jobs to the north, and its fallout is what's sending them home. Among many, many, MANY other underreported things.

8. A gap in genetic nondiscrimination law. Again, the big US insurance-industrial complex gets its sneaky way at the expense of human health. This one definitely deserves more coverage than just one paragraph in a throw-away end-of-year top-ten in TIME. So, why isn't it getting it? Anyone care to inform?

9. U. S. ships sand from Kuwait to Idaho. Kuwait? Great! Now, how about the much greater amount of radioactive dust in Iraq? (Crickets.)

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And finally, a really, REALLY underreported doozy:

10. Venezuela's potty-mouth President. This is "underreported news". Uh-huh. How many US-based, English-language news reports were screaming blue murder about the rhetoric of Chavecito? ALL OF THEM. Yet this somehow qualifies as "underreported". Actually, what's underreported is that they got the English translation of his remarks all wrong--he said "crappy Yankees", not "fucking Yankees". And the fact that it came in response to the exposure of a real, live, US-backed coup plot against Evo Morales in Bolivia. And most of all, the fact that the US major media--TIME magazine being a major, CIA-connected outlet--have a constant drumbeat of anti-Venezuela propaganda going on.

Let's face it, TIME is no Project Censored. The latter covered not 10, but 25 actual underreported stories--and covered them thoroughly. Go look.

Another odious end-of-year top-ten list?

Yep, this one's mine, all mine. I call it "Ten things I will never for the life of me comprehend...at least not THIS year." All of them having to do, one way or 'nother, with the Hardcore Stupid...the world's most incomprehensible people.

10. Truck Nutz. Especially when dangling right below an anti-abortion bumper sticker. Even more pathetic: they're not real chrome, but they charge you extra for the falsies painted chrome. Hey, if you REALLY wanna be a macho badass, go hump a Hummer.

9. How the hell anyone could think the Coultergeist is sexy. Dude, she had to buy her boobs!

8. What the hell those Palin women were thinking when they named their kids.

7. For that matter, what they were thinking when they conceived them with those guys.

6. How anyone gay can also be a totally pathetic right-wing nutter. Granted, it defies the gay-guy stereotype of impeccable taste...but still.

5. How anybody can seriously believe that a war on an emotion is possible, let alone winnable, let alone that Dubya is winning it.

4. Why anyone is still bothering with those stupid virginity pledges.

3. The bizarre and mysterious allure of those $10-a-pop blue boner pills, particularly when deployed as a secret weapon.

2. The persistence of a pathetic parody like "Barack the Magic Negro", let alone that anyone would get a chuckle out of it in the first place. Actual black people don't find it funny, and neither does Peter Yarrow.

1. How anyone can still claim, with a straight face, that capitalism works.

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2008

Evo vindicated, again

Why is this man smiling?

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From Aporrea, a little end-of-year gloat from a good-looking guy who's got plenty to gloat about. Along with full literacy for Bolivia and the turfing of the worse-than-useless DEA from his land, Evo also managed to singlehandedly knock down the opposition's house of cards...and this is the card he pulled that toppled it all:

President Evo Morales affirmed on Tuesday that he was not wrong when he declared the US ambassador, Philip Goldberg, to be persona non grata, because his departure from Bolivia unraveled a conspiracy against the government.

"After putting up with that interference by the right, by the empire, I was not wrong when I decided that Ambassador Goldberg had to go. When the ambassador went, down went the opposition. Clearly, someone was in charge of the conspiracy against democracy and against our national government," Morales said.

On September 10, Morales declared Goldberg persona non grata, accusing him of having conspired against his government and aiding a failed coup d'état which took place in August and September with the taking of various public institutions, airports and the murder of several campesinos in the department of Pando.

Translation mine.

And what happened on September 11? Call it the Wrath of Goldberg. The timing could not be more interesting.

Some of us could smell this conspiracy brewing long before it bubbled over; others are still reluctant to call it by its right name.

Whatever. Evo's still vindicated, as the continued crumbling of the opposition's cake is proving rather nicely.

Cops Behaving Badly: Why didn't he just call the fire dept.?

Some cops are so bad you want to pelt them with stale doughnuts until they die. How bad is that? Well, try being this SOB, who tortured a cat that had the bad luck to get stuck up a tree in his yard:

Brutis the cat is back home with his owner after going through a bit of a pickle. He had been stuck in a neighbor's tree for nine days, according to the owner.

And the cat's owner says a police officer may have been partly to blame.

The cat got away from his owner, Michael, last Sunday at a home near 12th Street and Bell Road. When Michael finally tracked Brutis down, he was stuck in the branches, two stories in the air, on his neighbor's property.

The neighbor is a Phoenix police officer.

Michael had tried to get the cat out with no luck. Animal Control told him they don't handle cats due to limited resources.

On Christmas morning, the Humane Society tried to rescue Brutis but said its ladders were not tall enough to reach him.

They also suggested Michael leave food and water at the base of the tree, something Michael said he couldn't do because his police officer neighbor would not let him back on the property.

"He said he wouldn't let us go back there and try and rescue the cat," Michael said.

Michael said the officer told him he was concerned that if someone got hurt while trying to get the cat on his property, he would be liable.

"He said no because of insurance," explained Michael.

How much insurance does one need to put a dish of cat chow at the base of a tree? How many injuries can result from setting down a bowl of water? Jeezus.

But wait, it gets better...

Toni Smith and Terry Toman are with Citizens for North Phoenix Strays.

"There's some friction here between these neighbors and I said I could care less about the people I just want to go up and get the cat," said Smith.

Smith and Toman said they chose to go behind the home on a public sidewalk and lean a 25-foot ladder against his back wall.

In this way, they figured they were not on his property.

Just as they were about to get the cat, Smith said, "This guy comes barreling out of his house, flashed his gun and his badge, and started screaming and freaking out."

Lemme guess: Insurance too?

Never mind a lawsuit, I think he should be charged with cruelty to animals. "Defending his property", indeed. Would it have killed him to call the fire department and get them to rescue that cat, so the owner could go away happy--or just go away? Was he so intent on tormenting his neighbor (with whom there was "tension", that lovely euphemism) that he felt a burning need to punish an innocent cat, too?

And aren't there laws against police departments keeping psychopaths on the payroll?

Dear Big Publishing: You suck!

And do you know why? Salon.com does:

Thanks to conglomeration and corporate distribution models, some of publishing's biggest houses were laid very low by the current stock market collapse. And scary holiday book sales figures compounded the industry's woes, with recent news of a 20 percent drop in sales in October from last year's book market. Even worse, Nielsen Book Scan reported a 6.6 percent drop in unit sales during early December. Not even the holiday season could bolster book sales.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was particularly vulnerable to the Wall Street crash. Since the turn of the 21st century, investors have struggled to spin gold out of the different companies that now make up the conglomerate. In 2001, Vivendi Universal bought Houghton Mifflin (which has been publishing literary and educational books since the late 1800s), but then sold it to private equity firms a year later. In 2006, an Irish firm bought Houghton Mifflin; within a year, they had merged with one of Houghton Mifflin's largest rivals, Harcourt. The publisher's parent company is now saddled with billions in debt.

"There were hedge fund guys with no background in publishing buying up publishing houses," says André Schiffrin, founder of the New Press and author of "The Business of Books: How the International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read." He explains that corporate owners of major publishing houses expected impossible 15 to 20 percent profit margins in an industry with traditional margins of 3 to 4 percent. "They were part of that whole feeling that you could make money by buying and selling companies, rather than by selling books. At some point it comes to a dead end."

Free us, oh, please FREE us from the "free market"!

Tom Tomorrow speaks for us all

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December 29, 2008

Phil Gunson now definitively full of shit

Sez who? Sez 11,000 contract workers whom Grandpa Munster is not paying:

More than 11,000 Metropolitan Caracas contract workers are demanding payment of their last paycheques and social benefits from the new mayor, Antonio Ledezma.

Translation mine. You can see a video of the protesting contract workers here.

Do they look like thugs to you? They don't look so bad to me...

Oh Phil, could you please explain to me how all these secret hirelings of armed thuggery would have the nerve to show their faces, when, as has already been noted, actual Tupamaros wear masks?

Teh Stoopid: Phil Gunson haz it!

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Yes, Phil...the Interwebz iz laffing at yew. Especially a certain auburn-haired lady in THIS widdle corner. And here is why.

The surprise electoral defeat last month of Hugo Chávez's candidate for mayor of Caracas -- and the consequent change of city government -- has helped cast light on some of the more unsavory activities that went on under outgoing Mayor Juan Barreto.

One result is that a large, though so far undetermined, number of hired gunmen may suddenly be out of a job.

The gunmen, belonging to armed political organizations loyal to the leftist government, are thought to be among some 4,000 city employees who have failed to show up for work since the new mayor, Antonio Ledezma, was sworn in two weeks ago.

''Altogether, we've found more than 9,000 employees on short-term contracts,'' said Richard Blanco, a top city official. "We're carrying out an investigation to find out who and where they all are."

Oh me, oh my. Sure smells to me like Philsy-wilsy has been smoking the wacky tobacky. Or something more crack-y. I'm not the only one to have noticed how quick he is to reach for the glass-pipe-o-stoopidity. Here's a key snippet from Narco News about him...

...Gunson has an undisclosed conflict of interest, or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest (all journalistic codes of ethics prohibit such nondisclosure), with the key source that he quoted last April 11th to blame the still unsolved sniper assassinations of that day on supporters of the government of President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela: His source for that uncorroborated statement - part of the justification for the coup d'etat - was Eurídice Ledezma, who Gunson has told sources (but did not disclose in his article) was his former girlfriend; a rapidly pro-coup reporter in Venezuela, also - coincidentally? - a vocal defender of Dictator-for-a-day Pedro Carmona.

You really MUST read the whole piece; it's hilarious, and Gunson (egotize much?) gets hung out to dry big-time. I wonder if this Ledezma woman he was boinking back then could be one of his "undisclosed" sources for this one, too. Seeing as she shares a surname with the new mayor of Caracas, whose alias among locals is "Grandpa Munster" (or, less kindly, "The Vampire"), the likelihood is high. Certainly the political proclivity is the same; both are putschists. As is, for that matter, Phil Gunson!

BTW, it's also ever so nice of Phil to mention that there are criminals in the Metro Caracas police. Yes, there certainly are...and were on April 11, 2002, as well, when an opposition mayor (i.e., one of the same political persuasion as the current mayor-elect) was in control of the force. He ordered them to fire on people demonstrating peacefully. As luck would have it, those peaceful demonstrators were Chavistas...demonstrating on and below Llaguno Bridge. In fact, most of the casualties of that day's violence were Chavistas. A fact I'm sure Phil Gunson finds too inconvenient to be worth mentioning, since he is a known partisan with known partisan ties.

Oh dear, was that a pwnage? Yes, dear reader, it was. And there's more to come, too...

If Gunson is serious about his crack-brained contention that there were "armed thugs", i.e. Tupamaros, on the police force in Caracas, maybe he should read this piece in Venezuelanalysis. It seems that the actual Tupamaros are not actually cops on the payroll of city hall; they're freelance vigilantes, unaffiliated with any gummint, defending and policing areas where the uniformed cops won't go, namely the po' folks part of town. (Maybe it's no surprise that uniformed cops won't go there; those are the same parts that said cops used to go into and beat people to death with impunity, back in the good ol' "democratic" days of the Fourth Republic. They can't get away with that shit there anymore, especially not with Tupamaros keeping an eye on things.)

I found this passage particularly instructive. See if you can tell me why, dear reader:

Among Chavez opponents, the Tupamaros are viewed as Chavez's armed thugs who indoctrinate residents at political meetings. But most observers agree that the Tupamaros have their own agenda and are difficult to rein in. Chavez's loosely-defined "Bolivarian" movement is inspired by South American liberator Simon Bolivar. Chavez has focused on U.S. imperialism, Latin American integration and peaceful social justice. The Tupamaros, on the other hand, prefer a rapid and radical nationalization of the country's resources.

"We are Marxist-Leninist. He is Bolivarian," said Chino, in describing their differences.

To be sure, the Chavez government maintains an ambiguous relationship with the Tupamaros and other ultra-leftist groups. Far-left views have often been criticized by Chavez for their lack of "revolutionary discipline," which he says feeds the media images that help the political opposition.

At the same time, there are signs of rifts between the Tupamaros and the government over their illegal role as neighborhood vigilantes.

Since the slums are overrun with crime and the police force is too ineffective, corrupt and overstretched to control them, the government has tolerated vigilantism, observers say. But the government has recently showed the willingness to send in the military when Tupamaro members clash with the police.

Oh, fuck. I think I just blew Phil's whole thesis right out of the water there with that one.

Pwnage accomplished. 'Bina calls it a night!

December 27, 2008

The Bastards of Boxing Week

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So, whose chimney did Santa poop down this week? I don't know, but I sure hope these people got some of his turds, and I hope they're NOT made of chocolate:

1. Rick Fucking Warren. Just imagine if the next president of Iran were welcomed into office by a rabid jihadist advocating for, say, the assassination of the president of the United States? It would cause an international diplomatic incident, would it not? Well, guess what: it's going to happen on January 20. Only--my whoopsie!--the inauguration in question is not gonna be that of a new Iranian president, but a new US president. And the assassination-monger in question isn't a Muslim jihadi, but a so-called Christian. One from the same ranks as those who accuse the soon-to-be President Obama of being a Muslim and in league with terrorists. Makes you think, doesn't it? Well, DOESN'T IT???

2. Pope Ratzi von der Hitlerjugend. For Gawd's sake, how much more embarrassed can we Germans of the world get? Yeah, the gays are the real cause of global warming--it's all those hot guys having the hots for each other. And overpopulation (a logical result of being against birth control) and overconsumption (a logical result of thinking mankind is the centre of the Universe) have nothing to do with it. Uh-huh. This is the calibre of the brain that's sitting on the Throne of St. Peter, my friends--fear it. I'm not Catholic, so I thank heaven for THAT small mercy...but remember, this guy is trying to control members of MY country's parliament, and those of many others, too. Not to mention there's that Nazi-collaboration thing in my ancestral country. They may order priests and Catholic politicians not to get politically involved (in progressive causes), but I think it's the popes who really need to get the fuck out of politics.

3. Marjorie Fucking Dannenfelser and Team Fucking Sarah. Stop smearing the honorable name of Susan B. Anthony with your stupidity, hate, racism and skirt-wearin' sexism, you Palinite bitches.

4. All those fucking bailed-out execs. Hey, here's an innovative idea: instead of asking for more money from Washington, how 'bout you guys kick back into your respective businesses the 1.6 BILLION you received last year?

BTW, some of us would really like to know where the current cash bailouts are going. It's a safe bet that it won't be to the hard pressed workers producing your obscene profits, salaries and bonuses for you, if the Republic Doors and Windows case is any indication.

Trickle-down, my ASS.

5. Ollie Fucking North. Say, weren't you still supposed to be rotting in federal prison? What the fuck are you doing on the FUX Snooze channel? Oh yeah, now I remember...same thing as you were doing during the Iran-Contra hearings. Never mind!

6. Fucking Alberta, particularly Fort McFuckingMurray. A whole town, a BASTARD? Hell, yeah. It's the fucking oilpatch, and they're already sworn to serve the big oil companies, not the people. When the jobs don't pay enough to put a roof over someone's head (and those prairie winters are a BITCH), something is wrong with the picture. But you see, that's where the province of Alberta deserves a fat thump on the head: they believe in letting the "market" take care of things, while getting government to stop helping people off people's backs. Or at least, that's what all their right-wing demagogues politicians say. Behind their rosy blah-blah, however, lies a long and sordid list of poverty stats. Would it kill them to build affordable social housing, so that all those job-seekers from out east have someplace to stay where a drunken Ralph Klein won't stagger in, flinging money at them and telling them to get jobs?

7. Bernard Fucking Madoff. Was there ever a more singularly appropriate surname? He made off with over $50 billion in what's got to be the biggest Ponzi scheme since Wall St. (which I often think is just one big Ponzi scheme anyway) was founded. But what really galls me is that he is responsible for the suicide of one man whom he took for over a billion. I bet he has not the grace to be ashamed even of that.

8. Dick Fucking Cheney. Finally, the truth comes out: The Big Dick DID leak Valerie Plame's identity to Novakula. Go fuck yourself, you Big Dick.

9. Jackson Fucking Diehl. BoRev wonders if he gets his "facts" from the Great Gazoo; I say he pulls them from his big wazoo. Or that of the Venezuelan opposition. Same shit, interchangeable assholes.

10. Bruce Fucking Pardo. Okay, all you bitter divorced males out there, this one's for YOU, too. If you can't pay your divorce settlement, take it up with the judge. Explain your situation in detail, and keep your fucking cool. Get the payments postponed until you are in a position to make them. And if you're emotional, do the primal-scream thing until your rage dies down. And if you can pay, but just plain don't want to? Go fuck yourself. But whatever the case may be, do NOT do what this fucker did, which is dress up as Santa, shoot a little girl and set a house afire in an elaborately planned bombing, killing nine people. Not only that, but he booby-trapped a rented car, which could have blown up the police who investigated the crime (and was probably meant to.) And the kicker? He was found in possession of $17,000 when the police turned up his remains. That would have paid his $10,000 divorce settlement and then some. He was also in possession of an airline ticket to my home and native land, but apparently changed his mind and just decided to off himself. Good, because we don't fucking WANT the likes of him. Give us your Iraq war resisters instead. They don't want to kill, which makes them the polar opposite of this mo-fo.

11, 12, and 13. Stores that rely on holiday sales to make up the deficit for the rest of the year, stores that hold post-holiday door-crashers, and most of all, the people who are dumb/greedy/assholish enough to run to such sales and get into fights just because they think they can get a big bargain on big-ticket merchandise.

Which leads me to 14. Anyone who'd shoot each other or trample store workers to death during a door-crasher, be it pre- or post-holiday. You people are sick fucks and beyond saving.

Merry Christmas, you filthy animals...



...and a happy New Year, too.

I'm just sayin'...

Day before yesterday, I made some off-the-cuff observations:

I once worked, briefly, in a retail mall that had one major thing in common with [the Sambil La Candelaria]--no windows. Only the corridors had a poor semblance of windows--skylights, badly constructed ones shaped like prisms or pyramids, their glass sides set at a steep angle that grabbed a lot of sunlight but didn't soften it. The glass was not polarized or filtered in any way. This made for a nasty, stinging glare in the eyes--a glare you could only get relief from by ducking out of the middle of the hallway, and moving closer to the storefronts. I'm sure that was no coincidence!

Well, here's a picture of the inside of a Sambil. Not the one under construction in La Candelaria, but its upscale cousin in a "better" part of Caracas. I found it on Aporrea in an article appropriately titled "San Vil" ("Saint Vile"):

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Makes you go "hmmmm", don't it?

December 26, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Merry 'Cito to all!

Chavecito celebrates Christmas Eve with his children, grandchildren--and the children of the barrios. Feliz Chavidad!

December 25, 2008

The latest poop for the manger scene

For those whose god was born in a barn--or anyone with a scatological sense of whimsy--I proudly present the latest Catalan caganers (found here):

Caganer Angela Merkel...

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Caganer Cristina Kirchner...

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Caganer Barack Obama...

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Caganer Evo...

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And last, but certainly not least, Caganer Chavecito!

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"The caganer is a very loved and respected figure on the typical Catalan nativity scene. It is not a joke, but totally the opposite, it is a tribute to the person, trade, or activity it represents."

Who knew that poopy-doo could be so darn cute?

Never mess with a mother!

I knew this was coming, but it's still good to see it announced internationally:

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo call on the public to join them denouncing corrupt judges on Thursday, as they release red balloons on a public street in front of the Casa Rosada (the government building), in protest of the release of certain militaries accused of crimes against humanity.

"Everyone who knows a corrupt judge, come out and denounce them at the meeting-place of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Because if the justice system doesn't condemn them, we will remove them from office," said the president of the human-rights organization, Hebe de Bonafini.

The demonstration will take place during the traditional march the Mothers have been holding every Thursday for over 30 years at the Pyramid of Plaza de Mayo. This one will be the 1600th one since the Mothers lost their children, "disappeared" during the military dictatorship of 1976-83.

Translation mine.

This has already been mentioned in another context on this blog, but here's a link to the story on Memory in Latin America. This is the release of abusers that the Mothers will be protesting.

Never mess with a disappeared person's mama!

You have been warned.

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Please, don't drink and dress your cat.

Happy Holidays!

AP: Lazy, disparaging "reporting" on Bolivia and Venezuela...AGAIN.

The Dissociated Press really needs a truckload of coal dumped on its head tonight. They call THIS reporting?

Chavez orders halt to construction of Caracas mall

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez says he was heading through downtown Caracas when he was shocked by the sight of a huge, nearly finished shopping mall amid the high-rise offices and apartments. "They had already built a monster there," Chavez said. "I passed by there just recently and said, 'What is this? My God!'"

Or THIS?

Top officials from Morales' government said on Monday that "extreme right" elements hoped to take advantage of Morales' frequent visits to rural areas, where the socialist leader is often swarmed by large crowds of admirers under only minimal security.

However, Luis Vasquez, senator for the opposition party "Podemos", said he did not believe any details of the assassination plot, suggesting that it had been made up in order to attract attention away from other issues.

They're making it sound like Chavecito and Evo are both nuttier than a tree full of squirrel nests. The former for impulsively ripping down shopping malls (oh, the poor beleaguered crapitalists, where will they peddle their overpriced garbage now?); the latter, for squawking again and again about how the oppos, with help from Uncle Sam, are trying to kill him, like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. And of course, they get an opposition member to back their lazy, disparaging "reporting" up, instead of phoning up the Bolivian military and police authorities to get a word of confirmation or denial from THEM!

Meanwhile, here's the real truth...which, as usual, you can only get if you know some Spanish, and if you visit alternative media sites.

The 'Cito is not the only one who wants the Sambil dead. Local residents turned out en masse to protest it. See these videos:

The centre, which has parking space for 3500 cars, would cause even MORE traffic problems in an area which is already congested. Three of Caracas's busiest avenues--Urdaneta, Libertador and Andrés Bello--intersect around this monster. It's also ecocidal: local historian Johny Acosta says that they cut down ten mijao (Anacardium excelsum) trees. These trees can live for over a century and would make excellent trees for a park--something the residents of this highly-populated neighborhood have been denied, although they could undoubtedly do with some green space that would help to get the car crap out of the air and make the city, which is surrounded by mountains, more breathable.

Aside from that, as you can see from the picture, the building is just deathly ugly--less impressive than oppressive. It's a huge brick-and-concrete cube, with no windows. I once worked, briefly, in a retail mall that had one major thing in common with it--no windows. Only the corridors had a poor semblance of windows--skylights, badly constructed ones shaped like prisms or pyramids, their glass sides set at a steep angle that grabbed a lot of sunlight but didn't soften it. The glass was not polarized or filtered in any way. This made for a nasty, stinging glare in the eyes--a glare you could only get relief from by ducking out of the middle of the hallway, and moving closer to the storefronts. I'm sure that was no coincidence! It was a depressing, dispiriting place to work, and I didn't last long there. That place was BORING. It wasn't much more satisfying to shop in, either. What shopping mall is, really? You feel like you have to rush for everything; you are funneled this way and that by the movements of the confined crowds. Even when you CAN sit down in places like that (usually only in a food court), there are no windows to look out of and relieve your eyes. There is nothing there but metal chairs, plastic tables, greasy food, and staring, anesthetized people. There aren't even any real plants. The trees are plastic, too. You feel squirrely in places like that--inadequate. Like you won't fit in unless you buy something, some cheap, disposable "fashion" you really don't want. Which, I'm sure, is no coincidence either.

So I can't honestly say I blame the people of La Candelaria for wanting this mall gone. I used to live across the road from the mall I mentioned above, and the congested traffic, the increasing alienation and the lousy view were what ultimately drove me away. Malls seem convenient and choice-laden on the surface of things, but deep down, they are fascist: far from being convenient, they compel you against your true free will, by forcing you to drive, by forcing you to move in ways you don't want to move, to buy things you really don't want to buy, to spend money you can ill afford to spend. The fact that what's offered for sale is not a ticket to true freedom, but to conformity, is conveniently glossed over. Fashion as self-expression? Phooey. When's the last time you saw a one-of-a-kind, hand-made, fair-trade garment being sold in a mall? You are more likely to get sweatshop goods there than anywhere else, and those turn a profit only for a very few. And those few do not produce or sell them by hand; the many who do, are paid too little to live on. At a hard economic time like this, the last thing anyone needs is one more fucking mall. But of course, the AP is bound not to inquire deeply into nuances like that; they equate the concept of "freedom" to that of "markets".

And of course, according to the AP's line, the 'Cito is a "tyrant" because he's against the "free market", which exploits the many for the benefit of the few. Surely, dear reader, you can see what's wrong with this picture.

Meanwhile, his good buddy, Evo, is also a target for ridicule...even though his complaints about being a target for assassination are all founded in fact. He's been a target for a long time, as this account at ABI reveals:

President Evo Morales revealed on Tuesday that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) planned to assassinate him when he was head of the coca-growers' union.

At an international press conference, Morales said that he had learned this information thanks to certain officials in the Armed Forces and the National Police, and that when he was a union leader, they enabled him to escape with his life on five occasions.

"I salute these police and Armed Forces officials who sought me out and communicated what the DEA planed at what time, what day, in what place. I'm impressed that they told me the truth in time, and in detail," said the president, who decided to suspend the DEA's operations in Bolivia on November 1.

Morales related that when he came to power, the security organisms of the Quemado presidential palace began to investigate these same denunciations. He commented on how a police officer revealed recently in the Cochabamba newspaper Opinión, that "the assassination of President Morales was planned on instructions from out of the country, from the north (i.e., the US)."

Gee, do you suppose the Dissociated Press could be persuaded to ferret out a copy of that article in Opinión? I probably could if I were a reporter in country; in fact I'd have no trouble finding it on the Internet from where I currently sit. (I found the paper's site; its police report section, alas, is broken, or I could have given you a link to that, too.)

But then, doing a little fact-checking like that would lend some legitimacy to all Evo's crackpot claims of being the object of a sinister plot orchestrated from Washington. We can't have that at the AP!

But then again, I'm not the AP. I don't have an editorial line to follow (or else.) I'm just a humble bloguera who can't resist ferreting...and look what else I ferreted out of the ABI piece:

In 2005, according to Morales, the conservative sectors of the country wanted the then-president of the senate, Hormando Vaca Díez, to become president upon the resignation of Carlos Mesa.

"Everybody said, 'You have to abandon La Paz, they're going to kill you.' I said I was going by plane. 'You can't go there by plane, you'll fall into the hands of the putschists', they said, 'because they're preparing a coup d'état', that's what they were saying to me, and now the officials have confirmed it," Morales said.

At that time, he opted to travel by car, and was pursued by two vehicles without licence plates when he tried to leave La Paz for Cochabamba by way of Río Abajo with a fellow MAS member, now a parliamentary deputy, Gustavo Torrico.

"We couldn't leave La Paz, and ended up taking refuge in the Cuban embassy. At that time they were talking of a coup d'état in favor of Hormando Vaca Díez (against the government of Carlos Mesa), and the authorities warned me that there was a plan to kill me," Morales added.

Translations mine, as usual.

Gee, y'know, that sounds a LOT more detailed than the AP's derisive little non-report. Don't you agree?

December 24, 2008

Bolivian whore media want Evo dead

See for yourself:

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"They want to kill me."

Who's "they"? Well, the magazine that used this cover shot is based in the department of Santa Cruz--a major stronghold of anti-Evo fascism. And Evo recently revealed that he was the intended target of a murder plot. You do the math, kiddies.

December 23, 2008

Christmas: the untold story

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That was last year. This year, "Santa" will be throwing himself off a window ledge over Wall Street. I can hardly wait!

So much for the joys of Rugged Individualism and Family Values

Oh, conservatards, I feel so sorry for you...science has just pwned you yet again:

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego have found that "happiness" is not the result solely of a cloistered journey filled with individually tailored self-help techniques. Happiness is also a collective phenomenon that spreads through social networks like an emotional contagion.

In a study that looked at the happiness of nearly 5000 individuals over a period of twenty years, researchers found that when an individual becomes happy, the network effect can be measured up to three degrees. One person's happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only their friends, but their friends' friends, and their friends' friends' friends. The effect lasts for up to one year.

The flip side, interestingly, is not the case: Sadness does not spread through social networks as robustly as happiness. Happiness appears to love company more so than misery.

"We've found that your emotional state may depend on the emotional experiences of people you don't even know, who are two to three degrees removed from you," says Harvard Medical School professor Nicholas Christakis, who, along with James Fowler from the University of California, San Diego co-authored this study. "And the effect isn't just fleeting."

Astonishingly, money has nothing to do with this, and neither does the trickle-down theory of economics.

And neither, more astonishingly yet, do "family values"--friends, rather than family, are the real happiness-makers, it seems. (Stands to reason: you get to pick your friends. Your family? 'Nother story.)

Now, when do you suppose science will get around to analyzing the happiness that comes to do with having not only a strong social network, but a stronger social safety net? That might just explain Venezuela, might it not? (I know that if Chavecito were MY head-of-state, I'd be pretty damn pleased...)

December 22, 2008

Quotable: Frantz Fanon on neoliberalism

"But when decolonization occurs in regions where the liberation struggle has not yet made its impact sufficiently felt, here are the same smart alecks, the sly, shrewd intellectuals whose behavior and ways of thinking, picked up from their rubbing shoulders with the colonialist bourgeoisie, have remained intact. Spoiled children of yesterday's colonialism and today's governing powers, they oversee the looting of the few national resources. Ruthless in their scheming and legal pilfering they use the poverty, now nationwide, to work their way to the top through import-export holdings, limited companies, playing the stock market, and nepotism. They insist on the nationalization of business transactions, i.e., reserving contracts and business deals for nationals. Their doctrine is to proclaim the absolute need for nationalizing the theft of the nation. In this barren, national phase, in this so-called period of austerity, their success at plundering the nation swiftly sparks anger and violence from the people. In the present international and African context, the poverty-stricken and independent population achieves a social consciousness at a rapidly accelerating pace. This, the petty individualists will soon find out for themselves."

--Frantz Fanon, "On Violence", from The Wretched of the Earth, 1961

(Plus ça change...)

Stupid Sex Tricks: Ah-ah-ah-AHCHOO!!!

Guess what, folkies, this might not be as much of a joke as we thought!

A simple sneeze may be a tell-tale sign of sexual arousal for a select few, research suggests.

Two British doctors investigated the phenomenon after reading of a middle-aged patient who had uncontrollable sneezing fits when he thought of sex.

They unearthed evidence, via internet chat rooms, of 17 others - of both sexes - with the same problem.

The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine study suggests it may be down to a mix-up in brain circuitry.

The researchers, Dr Mahmood Bhutta and Dr Harold Maxwell, also uncovered three people who claimed to sneeze after orgasm.

Dr Bhutta, a specialist in ear, nose and throat medicine at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, said the phenomenon could be more widespread than thought and might even be inherited.

He said: "It certainly seems odd, but I think this reflex demonstrates evolutionary relics in the wiring of a part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system.

"This is the part beyond our control, and which controls things like our heart rate and the amount of light let in by our pupils.

"Sometimes the signals in this system get crossed, and I think this may be why some people sneeze when they think about sex."

Sigh. And to think that MY sneezes are just a sign of allergies.

Hmmm, how does one go about re-wiring the brain for that other thing...?

December 20, 2008

Wankers of the Week, Special Holiday Edition

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The weekend is here, and the bile is boiling. Here's who gets a potful of what I got cooking, dumped on their oh-so-worthy heads this week...

1. Barbara Fucking Kay. Yes, folks, the National Pest's resident Christianist culture warrior is hyping the "war on Christianity" meme, right in time for the holidays! Only, of course, she cleverly wraps it in fear of Marxists and Raelians, with a pinch of the standard islamophobia. And her brain-dead fans, who can also go fuck themselves, eat it up like candy canes. The fact that she's hypocritical about "heritage", however, did not go unnoticed by one perspicacious commenter:

So, when we try to teach children cultural relativism, we commit the sin of being anti-heritage. But when Québécois are pro-heritage, we are depicted in your columns as xenophobic anti-anglos.

You are hard to please, Ms Kay.

But seriously, I can't believe a textbook would say that Raelians are 25,000 years in advance... I'd like to get the exact citation, page and book...

Heh. Rightard pwnage achieved.

2. Dana Fucking Perino. The Valley Girl of the White House, Moonunit Perino, thinks the US is not an occupier but a "guest" in Iraq. Like omigawd! Like tooootally! Since when are guests allowed to trash the house and beat up those who live there with impunity? That's, like, totally grody.

The ORIGINAL Moonunit, on the other hand, is like totally bitchen.

3. Abitibi-Fucking-Bowater. Not only are they environmental poison, they're also shameless. They shut down a plant in Newfoundland, costing hundreds of jobs, but they still want timber rights and the right to profit from a power generation plant in the town and province they fucked over? Premier Danny Williams (my new hero!) decided to make like Chavecito, and said "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya, because we're taking back everything you took from us and we're leaving you with the same you left us--NOTHING. And if you try to sue, you're in for a helluva fight, because WE make the laws around here, and you'll lose even MORE money!" Happy New Year!

4. Jim Fucking Flaherty. Proof, if anyone ever needed it, that conservatives--big C or small--should not EVER get their fat little fingers on the purse strings of a nation. Flip-Flop Jimbo promised us a surplus shortly after the farce that was our last election; now he springs a deficit on us. Say what you will about Paul Martin (and I could say plenty), but he never gave us a holiday surprise of THAT nature. I say we take the lumps of coal out of Jimbo's stocking, and lob them at his head like a pair of Iraqi shoes.

5. Whoever the fuck is in charge of Russia's economy. One thing hasn't changed since the Berlin Wall fell, and that's the way reality keeps getting swept under the rug over there. Only now, the rug's not red anymore. But maybe, once more, it soon will be, at the rate things are going. Conditions are about ripe for a second revolution, and maybe this time, it really WILL be communist:

...instead of more fucking state capitalism as usual.

6. Any Sarah Fucking Palin apologists out there (say, in Toronto) who think that it's acceptable around here to change the subject to Barack Obama, instead of answering my perfectly reasonable and fact-based questions about her. Next time you try that, it's this for YOU, my little fuglies:

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...because what you're doing is called trolling, and it stinks the joint up.

7. All you dumbfuck white supremacists who'd saddle your kid with a name like Adolf Hitler or Aryan Nation. It's bad enough that you're passing on your mentally defective genes and preaching perversion, but do you have to compound the curse with a monicker like that? What has your child done to deserve such abuse?

8. Human Rights Bee-yotch. No further pwnage necessary here, though, since better researchers than myself have already done the job rather nicely.

9. Rick Fucking Warren. Throw him under the bus NOW, Barack. I don't care how much he tithes or who endorses him. Bigots, homophobes and right-wing hatemongers have all got to GO, if you are serious about change we can believe in. Never mind this "reaching out" crap. When have the Religious Reich-tards ever reached out to the gays, other than to hit them over the head with brickbats, or to try to convert them into something they are not? Fuck Warren--go with Barry Lynn, who doesn't give away insane amounts of money because he doesn't MAKE insane amounts of money. But he does walk his talk, and more importantly, his discourse is always sane and civilized. Can your theo-con megachurch leader do that?

10. All the Intelligent Fucking Design freaks out there. If there really IS an Intelligent Designer, then please explain to me why things like fetus in fetu tumors exist. Seems to me a REAL Intelligent Designer wouldn't inflict weird shit like that on an unborn baby. I seem to recall all you theocons saying that the unborn are innocent and therefore must be "defended" from medico-surgical abortion. Well? What do you say to this, eh? You can't have it both ways!

11. Karl Fucking Rove. What are you, a shoe queen? Go join Auntie Condi in the closet, she needs help sorting out her Ferragamos. Maybe she can spare a few old pairs for me to hurl at Dubya's gut--forget his head, I'm gonna aim too low for him to duck, and too high for him to jump.

12. Fucking Argentine human rights abusers. Otto and Lillie have the details of how several prominent pieces of shit have been let go by the lame-o Argentine "justice" system because their due process isn't processing duly.

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Auntie 'Bina isn't surprised, because she knows that a lot of judges from the bad old days are still around and still ordering their old brothers-in-abuse released, using every dumb-ass legal loophole and technicality you can imagine. If any of these fuckers actually DO get pinched, Auntie 'Bina predicts they'll pull a Mario Ferreyra and get lifelong impunity.

13. Sherry Fucking Johnston. What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? No, NOT lipstick. It's OxyContin! No shit, they found a whackload of Rush Limbaugh's drug of choice on Bristol Palin's baby-daddy-momma, the woman who brought that self-confessed "fuckin' redneck" into the world. Granted, it IS Wasilla, the meth capital of Alaska. And it became that way during Sarah Fucking Palin's tenure as mayor. But still. Is there no shame anymore in a governor's daughter getting first knocked up out of wedlock, and THEN shotgunned into marriage--to a drug-lord's son? Or is that normal there, too?

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Oh, BTW, if this is anything to go by, it's possible that Palin's own son was one of Johnston's clients. Before he got shipped off to Iraq, of course.

14. Norm Fucking Coleman. Just concede, already.

15. And as always, anyone who spells things with asterisks. Fuck off!

Let them eat shoes!

Venezuelan students and journalists demonstrate outside the US embassy in Caracas in support of Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist jailed and beaten for letting Dubya know how Iraq really feels about him. They toss shoes at the sign and the shoes remain hanging. Some gringos from the embassy come out and take the shoes away; the demonstrators jeer at them: "How about that economic crisis? Now you'll have to eat shoes!" (Or words to that effect.)

Bolivarian student leader Osly Hernández says, "We came to the embassy to give them a Christmas present. This is a serious request to the United States to free the Iraqi journalist who was only saying what most of the world wants to say to the US government, and especially Bush. We came to leave them our shoes."

"This is how the left takes embassies, not like the right, who tried to starve them out and make them eat cables," Osly says, referring to the events of the coup of April 2002, when a right-wing mayor, Henrique Capriles Radonsky of Baruta, allowed vandals to storm the Cuban embassy, where they thought the vice-president was hiding. One of the vandals appeared on the opposition news channels, vowing to those inside the building, "We'll starve you out. We'll make you eat the carpets and chairs!" Then they proceeded to cut the electrical cables and shut off the water supply. After pointing out this contrast, Osly goes on to say, "We're sending a message to all the world, of solidarity with those who resist US interference." (The failed coup she refers to is a prime example of that.)

We also see documentary journalist Liliane Blaser, whose films of the events at Llaguno Bridge on April 11, 2002, served to expose the lies of Venevisión, an opposition channel blaming Chavistas for a massacre actually perpetrated by anti-government snipers. Blaser lends her support as a journalist, saying that soon this will be Barack Obama's problem, and he seems to be on the same course as Dubya. "If that's the case," she says, "he will meet with the same rejection."

December 19, 2008

"Deep Throat" is deep-sixed

This just in...

The man once known to the world only as "Deep Throat" has died at the age of 95.

W. Mark Felt, the one-time anonymous source behind some of the key news stories that forced late president Richard Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal, passed away in Santa Rosa, Calif. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure for several months, a family friend said.

Felt, a top FBI commander in the 1970s, provided Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward some of their most significant leads in a series of stories following what appeared to be a low-level break-in of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.

With Felt's help, the reporters were able to trace the origins of the 1972 crime to the Republican White House and Nixon.

Allan Lichtman, a political historian at Washington's American University, said Felt played an indisputably important role in bringing a difficult truth forward to the American people.

Without Felt's efforts, "it's quite possible that the worst scandal in the history of the country may never have been fully probed, may never have been fully understood and Richard Nixon may have gotten away with crimes of Watergate and even served a full second term," Lichtman told CTV Newsnet in a phone interview from Washington.

If there is no reason other than this to mourn for Mark Felt, who was J. Edgar Hoover's #2 man and, like all FBI, very far to the right of normal, at least we can thank him for deep-sixing Tricky Dick's career. Some say he was bitter at not being promoted to #1 after ol' cross-dressing J. Edgar kicked the bucket in his high heels. I'm not so sure that was his motive; it seems rather petty considering the dangers he ran in collaborating with Woodward and Bernstein in exposing the true nature and extent of the Watergate burglary and the ensuing cover-up. He risked his life, his safety, that of his family, and yes, his job--and yet never publicly cashed in on his fame (or notoriety, if you will.) He very nearly took his secret to the grave, and might very well have done so if he had not chosen to reveal himself a few years ago.

Thanks, man.

The wide, wacky world of sports fashion

German "Bundesliga" soccer fashions of the 1970s. The designer explains how he wants to make our colorful world even more so. Looks like he succeeded.

(BTW, can someone please explain to me why the models are dancing samba? And why their socks have no FEET?)

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Boffo in Bahia

Plenty was said at a certain Rio Group summit this week. Here are the highlights (and the hottitude, for all you jonesing junkies):

Evo calling for solidarity with Cuba, and for the US to lift the blockade. (Barack Obama, are you paying attention?) The money quote: "Cuba must be allowed into the Organization of American States, or else there should be an OAS without the US."

Here ya go, your dose of Ecuadorability. With a little Cristina and a healthy hunk of Chavecito thrown in just for good measure.

December 18, 2008

HOW many signatures in favor of that amendment, again?

At this juncture, over 5 million. 4,760,485 of them were collected IN JUST ONE WEEK. This in Venezuela--a country of under 30 million. Which doesn't allow a president to run for office more than twice--YET.

Video in Spanish, joy in universal body language.

An early holiday gift for the antifascist in all of us

Paul Weyrich has, at last, gone back to Satan his lord.

At his death, Weyrich was chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank. His latest commentary, posted on the foundation's Web site with Thursday's date, was titled: "The next Conservatism, a Serious Agenda for the Future."

In it he wrote: "It is the worst of times because conservatives appear lost and without a serious agenda or a means of explaining such an agenda to the public." But he also "it is the best of times" because conservative thinkers are generating ideas and proposals for a 'Next Conservatism,' which will lead to substantive debate about the nation's core principles and its future direction.

Weyrich, who lived in northern Virginia, was one of three founders of the Moral Majority, and later had a hand in creating the Christian Coalition.

Hallelujah, good riddance, and may all his works soon follow him.

December 17, 2008

Quotable: Arundhati Roy on anti-terror laws

"Anti-terrorism laws are not meant for terrorists; they're for people that governments don't like. That's why they have a conviction rate of less than 2%. They're just a means of putting inconvenient people away without bail for a long time and eventually letting them go."

--Arundhati Roy, "The Monster in the Mirror"

December 16, 2008

Don't they know it's Christmastime at all?

Remember when Boy George still had hair? (Okay, EXTENSIONS?) Or when Simon Le Bon was still cute, and George Michael was still in the closet? Sure you do:

Happy holidays, bankers. Don't all throw yourselves off the ledges at once, or I'll have no one left to make fun of anymore.

How to turn a fascist into a cuddly teddy bear

Why, how else? Open a museum dedicated to "humanizing" a monster:

Visitors to the museum can see the late general's office, desk, uniforms, medals - even his large collection of toy soldiers, representing all the divisions of the Chilean army in which he served during his long military career.

There is a bronze bust of Pinochet alongside those of the other members of his four-man military junta, which seized power in 1973 by violently overthrowing the democratically elected Socialist government of President Salvador Allende.

The items on display include Pinochet's black military beret, swords, coins and gifts from former US Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

"We want to allow Chileans to get to know Pinochet, the man, the general, the president, and what better way to do that then by opening a small, boutique display of his personal effects," said Major General Luis Cortes Villa, executive director of the President Pinochet Foundation which oversees the museum.

"Foreigners often think that his government ruled in isolation, that the people didn't love him. Well, here's the proof to the contrary."

Well, if by "the people" you mean ravening beasts like Nixon, Reagan and Henry Kissinger, then yeah, "the people" loved him. But the people of Chile have many, many reasons to loathe him, and among them is that he wrecked the Chilean economy. To this day, it has never recovered to the levels of prosperity that it had achieved under--are you sitting down for this, kiddies?--SALVADOR ALLENDE. Yes, that's right, the socialist guy. His economic policies were actually quite sound, and were it not for deliberate sabotage on the part of the Chilean rightards and their US backers, the country would be in better shape today. It's still limping, and laws Pinochet left on the books are what crippled it.

And let's not even get started on what he did to human rights. The one, as Naomi Klein has pointed out, ties directly in to the other. Economic abuses necessitated human-rights abuses to make the "lessons" stick.

Meanwhile, I've been re-reading Piers Paul Read's book, Alive, the true story of the Uruguayans whose plane crashed in the Andes. There are a number of things relating to Chile that really strike me, every time I read that story. Not everyone on the chartered Uruguayan air-force plane, for instance, was a rugby player on the way to a match in Santiago; some of them were socialist students of ecnomics, eager to see Allende's Chile for themselves. That hope, unfortunately, was crushed when the plane hit the side of a mountain and broke up, landing in a snowy valley near the Tinguiririca volcano and Cerro Sosneado on the border between Chile and Argentina. One of the things that severely hampered the rescue efforts of both Chile and Uruguay was the run-up to the right-wing coup. Airplane fuel had become prohibitively expensive, thanks to the economic blockade; the Chilean military, as a result, dragged its heels on the search-and-rescue effort, to the dismay and disgust of the victims' families. An international convention requiring countries to search ten days for air-crash survivors on their soil was broken as a result; the Chileans gave up their official search after just eight days; the Uruguayans ended up having to mount a private search effort, at considerable expense. The rich were so hell-bent on installing a dictator that they not only waged an economic blockade, they also laid nails and other tire-piercing junk on the roads, so that a car carrying the Uruguayans' loved ones in their efforts to rescue them was badly slowed down. The survivors could have been rescued within two weeks; instead, they stayed up in the mountains for ten. They were rescued in the end, but only due to the valiant efforts of their own, and several of those who had survived the crash and a subsequent avalanche ended up dead of slow starvation and infected wounds. The story is littered with incidents of frustration and sabotage.

And if the Uruguayans were outraged and stymied during the few weeks they were in Chile, how must the people of Chile have felt, having to live amid such insanity for months and years on end--before, during and after the coup?

Are the "people" who did those ugly deeds the same "people" who found Pinochet cuddly--the ones who now have a museum preaching to the choir? It's guaranteed to convert no one, because most Chileans already know all too well what kind of a man Pinochet really was. And how can anyone claim that the ones who did this are in any sense representative of Chile or the Chilean public will, when in fact the elected president was Salvador Allende and not Augusto Pinochet, who NEVER won a free and fair election in all his unnatural life?

Allende didn't need no "humanizing", because he was human already. And a damn fine human he was, too. Anyone with eyes could see it. The same cannot be said about the monster who illegally supplanted him--and who required repression, murder, torture and disappearances to get and keep the "love" of the "people".

Or a museum to whitewash all that.

December 15, 2008

Haha. Miami Herald funny!

Get a load of the Miami Whore's latest headline on the 'Cito:

"Raúl Castro may not maintain ultra-close ties to Venezuela's Chávez"

Gee, I'm so glad they used the word "may" in there. It's a weasel word, sure, but it covers their butts in case of proof to the contrary, such as the following:

This is Raúl Castro's first trip abroad as head honcho of Cuba. Guess who's the first guy he visits? Yup...big bro' Fidel's best buddy, Chavecito. And they sure seem to be getting along great. Like a house afire, even.

But of course, the Miami Love-For-Sale isn't gonna tell you about THAT, noooooo. Leave it to us humble bloguer@s to bring you the facts. And we do it for so cheap, too...we won't go bankrupt in these bad economic times because we don't have big budgets, expense accounts, prima donnas, or glittery headquarters to maintain. You'll notice I don't even carry blog ads. There's a reason for that. Figure it out, fellas.

BBC: The first B is for BIASED

Axis of Logic reports:

In a note published on the web site, BBC News invites users living in Venezuela to share their experiences about the past ten years of government of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez.

The invitation is being published in English language and is not being reproduced in the Hispanic version of the important British news portal BBC Mundo; thus, the experiences that are being provided are being restricted merely to those persons living in Venezuela who do speak English, omitting the major portion of those who are most interested: the Venezuelan people.

Although it is true that some Venezuelans speak the English language and that this is the most studied foreign language in Venezuela, Shakespeare's language is certainly not del dominio (the dominant language) of the great majority who are satisfied with the achievements of the national head of state.

Regarding the BBC request that asks the users of the news service if President Chávez "a good advocate for the poor" or if, to the contrary he "becomes increasingly autocratic".

"Increasingly autocratic" is biased language in and of itself; it implies that the 'Cito was autocratic in the first place. Practically every article on the Beeb about him uses the A-word. I'm hearing a definite drumbeat here, kiddies...

But now, about that A-word thingy. Where's the evidence? A constitutional reform to put Venezuela in line with, oh, say, Great Britain, whose prime-ministerial terms also have no re-election limits? If THAT makes him "autocratic", then Merry Old England has been a dictatorship for quite some time now. As it is, it's been a monarchy for longer than anyone can remember.

Only, of course, you'll never see the Beeb asking the Brits if they think THEIR system is "autocratic". Even when their PM was someone as clearly tyrannical as Maggie "Milk Snatcher" Thatcher, who hated the Beeb (and the feeling, according to some, is more than mutual), the system was A-okay.

So...fair for England is foul for Venezuela, where white people are a minority and a disproportionately rich, English-speaking one, at that? Gee, Beeb, old bean, your commitment to fairness and accurate reporting never ceases to impress me.

December 14, 2008

Surprise THIS, Dubya!

On a surprise visit to Iraq, Weak 'n' Stupid got a surprise of his own at a press conference:

An Iraqi journalist lobs not one, but both of his shoes at the puppeteer-in-chief. I'm only sorry he missed!

December 13, 2008

Peruvian campesinos march against water privatization

Heh. So much for neoliberalism:

Story from Aporrea, translated by Your Humble:

On Friday, campesinos from different regions of Peru converged on Lima, the nation's capital, to protest the privatization of water approved by the government of Alan García following the passing of Decree 1081.

With this decree, the management of Peru's water will be privatized. The union of irrigation users, consisting of thousands of Peruvian peasants, say they would control the use of water in an organized, conscientious manner.

They say that along with the irrational use of water that would be provoked by privatization of its management, this would increase the cost of agricultural production.

Oh, but of course more expensive goods aren't a problem for capitalists. After all, they won't starve to death for lack of money.

Cassez-vous, cons de merde...

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Who's so shitty they could piss off Hello Kitty? Read on, and find out who gets flipped off this week...

1. Michael Fucking Ignatieff. Shit, what do we have democracy for in this country if a man who LOST a Liberal leadership race still gets awarded the crown, sceptre and keys to the city? Never mind that he's an Intellectual and an Acclaimed Author of Erudite But Incredibly Boring Books. Intellectualism is fine with me; Pierre Trudeau had it too, and used it to patriate our Constitution and give us a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is more than any of his conservative critics could ever do. (Especially since they HATE rights and freedoms.) No, what really rubs ME the wrong way about Iggy is his incredible arrogance, which is out of all proportion to his substance. Comes, I guess, of being descended from Russian aristocracy (no, I shit you not.) And also from being the product of private schools, the Ivy League and Oxbridge. How can someone with so little actual CanCon become PM? I don't know, but I have a feeling he won't stop until he gets the keys to the hallowed halls of Parliament, and its most coveted executive washroom, any which way he can. After all, it's his teenage ambition. But if he thinks he's on course to become the new Trudeau, I have sad news for him.

2. Any of the Tory voters out there who love Iggy--because of his remarkable Machiavellian resemblance to Harpo, and because he's no Trudeau. Fuck off, the lot of you.

3. Bob Fucking Rae. Or should I say, Rae Finkle:

Laces out!

4. Stéphane Fucking Dion. Just because.

5. Branko Fucking Marinkovic. Or should I say...

6. Sarah Fucking Palin, again. This impersonator stands a better chance of being president than you:

...so suck on that. And shut up about Canada; you can't see us from where you squat, either.

7. The fruit-bat from Funchal, Madeira, IP# 85.241.109.112, who thinks Venezuela is ruled by a communist, despite a massive heap of evidence to the contrary. Mmmmmmm, Kool-Aid.

8. The creepy cretin who's been plying Otto with requests for personal info that he's not entitled to. Lamest. Menace. EVER.

9. Mario Fucking Vargas Llosa. Those who can, win elections fair and square and keep on winning them; those who can't, fuck off to Spain in a huff. Then they keep their names in the news by kvetching about the winners of other countries' free and fair elections, and meddling where they're not wanted. I'd like to see him try that schtick here in Canada--he'd be laughed out of the country. We, like Venezuela, have constitutional and parliamentary provisions in place for the removal of any truly bad leader. (It's also worth noting that Chavecito is NOT proposing any alteration to those parts of the Bolivarian constitution, nor is anyone in the Venezuelan national assembly.)

Of course, if this sore loser (to the stupendously crooked "El Chinito" Fujimori, no less!) had managed to win election--not that he ever could--he would probably feel very differently about constitutional amendments. But this presupposes that he would have run on something other than the discredited neo-con/neoliberal shit he still espouses, the same that's fucked the world (and his own neglected country) up to where it is now. See why I say he couldn't win an election?

10. Mark Fucking Belling. Not only a racist, but a victim-blamer. And about as fugly a specimen of white malehood as I've ever seen. But of course, white kids don't EVER join gangs. Let alone make the news for doing so.

11. The stupid fucking London police--first for not being able to tell a Brazilian electrician from a hairy, scary terrorist, then for lying about their own misconduct. And the fucking coroner, for trying to bar a full public inquiry--because it would embarrass the cops. Nail their heads to the wall--it's the only place where they'll serve a purpose anymore.

12. F.W. Fucking de Klerk. He spent 20 years of his life enforcing apartheid in South Africa; now he's "worried" about Venezuela. Why? Apparently, they're just not racist enough there anymore; they even have a tri-racial president who, after 10 years in power, is still hugely popular. Yup, apartheid has failed in Venezuela--the sky is falling! Personally, I find it just amazing that anyone could award a Nobel peace prize to someone responsible for...well, things like this. Or that anyone would invite him to speak anywhere, instead of burying him in the dustheap of history where he belongs. But no, he just had to open his mouth about a country making more progress on every front than his, and spout lies about it. I do believe this merits a "fuck you very much", no?

13. RAI Fucking 2, the Italian state channel (owned by Berlusconi the booty-humper), which sanitized the gay out of Brokeback Mountain. Excuse me, what was the whole storyline, again? And talk about timing--this happened right after the Vatican contended that universal human rights don't extend to Teh Gheyz. The Vatican is right in the heart of Italy. You do the math!

14. John Fucking McTernan. Someone please explain to all these brain-dead religio-nutters that real fascists style themselves as ultra-Christian, and for that reason, basically HATE the homos. (Remember what the heterosexual Hitler did to his gay follower, Ernst Röhm?) Someone please also inform them that it's quite possible to be a Christian, fascist, heterosexually married, AND a closeted queen. Jörg Haider certainly was all of those. I respectfully suggest that the Christofascists quit projecting, stop beating on the homofascists (real or imaginary), and recognize how much they have in common with those they claim to loathe. It may be more than you think, folkies.

And that concludes this week's barrel-o-bile. Tune in for more next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.

December 12, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging Too: Chavecito makes amend(ment)s

Plaza Bolívar, Caracas: scene of yet another democratic socialist rally that's got the oppos running scared. And of course, it was standing room only for those who came to hear the 'Cito speak.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Because one can never have too much Evo!

Say cheese...

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Evo was in Achacachi recently, inaugurating a dairy plant...and opening a community centre:

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He's been a busy boy on other fronts, too. Here he is, handing out wheelchairs to disabled people:

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...which undoubtedly makes this little guy very happy.

But you know what makes ME want to celebrate? This. Next year, the UN will declare Bolivia to be fully literate. Oh hell, next week Evo will beat them to it.

Can YOUR savage capitalism do that? If not--why?

December 11, 2008

Reuters sucks up to Venezuelan corrupto, as expected

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Oh boy. Looks like poor widdle insanely rich mush-mouth Manuel Rosales didn't get to flee to Colombia or Panama, as was anticipated (and here translated) that he might. But that doesn't stop him from buying blowjobs from the media whores...and Reuters, bless its crapitalist heart-o-pyrite, is more than happy to oblige...

Venezuela indicted opposition leader Manuel Rosales on corruption charges on Thursday, possibly weakening adversaries of leftist President Hugo Chavez as he seeks to deepen his self-styled revolution.

The indictment, which had been expected, came after the government this year blocked several opposition politicians from running for office, sparking criticism that Chavez was using the state to silence his political enemies.

The indictment opens the possibility that Rosales, who says the charges are trumped up, could be unable to run for president in the 2012 election. Chavez is opening a campaign for a constitutional amendment allowing him to stay in office after his current term ends.

"Today we've come to confront this political lynching that they are trying to do, a terrorist trial, a political trial," said Rosales, a former presidential candidate who last month was elected mayor of Maracaibo, Venezuela's second-biggest city.

"The only thing missing is for them to investigate me for the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy," Rosales told a news conference.

My, what a lot of bang he got for his buck. That media whore has a heart of pure gold! That's more than half of the article right there, and it gives you to see exactly where Reuters's not-so-objective sympathies lie. (Tip: Always look for what they begin and end a piece with, especially what they begin with, because they count on readers to only skim the unsensational bits lower down--namely, the part where Rosales is accused of buying 11 ranches with embezzled funds. Oh wait, they didn't report THAT--just made the charges against him sound trivial and ridiculous. Thanks again, Reuters!)

It also shows you what they think (or at least, want YOU to think) of Chavecito, even though he cannot (and DOES not) order the judiciary body to indict anyone, let alone for ulterior political motives. It's independent of him, a fact which the whore media can't be bothered even to mention, never mind check. But I can, and it took me under a minute to find this for them. All I had to do was input the search terms "judiciary, independent" at Venezuelanalysis. (You're welcome, guys.)

What's funniest, though, is that JFK reference. Figures that Burusas couldn't resist the urge to spew hyperbole, even though he's no good with metaphor. Ask him about how one goes about "getting pears from an oven", sometime. The actual Spanish saying he mangled is "You can't ask for pears from an elm tree." Meaning, you can't get blood from a turnip. Or, in this case, a clear and unmutilated sentence out of Burusas. Or an unbiased article from Reuters, that capitalist presstitute par excellence.

PS: Speaking of media whores with the hots for Venezuelan crooks, guess what: The "International" Herald Tribune, based in New York, loves Eduardo Manuitt long time!

PPS: Bloomberg has also bent over and grabbed its ankles for Burusas, along with some COPEI dinosaur I'd never heard of. Oh Bloomie, you SLUT.

The Harper Dictatorship

Also known as Harpo Marxism.

December 10, 2008

Two Cuban doctors brutally attacked in Carabobo, Venezuela

...by persons unknown, at a Barrio Adentro II clinic in the state capital city of Valencia:

Carabobo, incidentally, was one of the states that went to opposition gubernatorial candidates in the last election. Don't expect much in the way of law or justice intervening on this one, at least not at state level. The locals have had to turn out in the streets to defend the Bolivarian Revolution there since the 23rd of last month.

December 9, 2008

One for Simon Romero, wherever he is tonight...

Oh Simon...I've got something to put in you!

Bwahahaha.

December 8, 2008

Iggy's palace coup

Via Montreal Simon, I just learned that the worst possible thing could have happened, and one that will drive a stake through all hopes of a coalition faster than anything else: Iggy the Warmonger has staged his palace coup.

Now, a few words about Iggy, so you'll understand why this is not a good move.

Michael Ignatieff should have stayed at Hahvud; its ivory tower was a better fit for him and his out-of-step attitudes, and he did less damage there. The man couldn't get his ass elected democratically at last year's Liberal leadership convention. He was for the war on Iraq before he was against it (and it took the extreme unpopularity of that war, not the extreme stupidity of it, to make him change his mind.) His position on Afghanistan is still the same, whereas a clear majority of us want our army out of there, so even unpopularity isn't a reliable indicator of which way he'll swing. His "principled" stance is absurd and unbuyable. Plus, notwithstanding Iggy's misplaced "idealism", there's the inconvenient fact that Afghanistan will never morph back into anything even vaguely resembling what it was before the US and its "Grand Chessboard" strategies eated it. Facts? What are those to Iggy's so-called towering intellect (which is really just rank stupidity expressed in a nifty, shifty way) and his so-called idealism (which is just plain cock-eyed)?

The only thing about him one can definitively nail to the wall is his lust for power. He will say or do anything to get into power, which is not good for those of us who want a coalition leader who will think first of the good of the country, and not how to muscle his own egotistical ass into the PMO. If we wanted that, we'd be out there rah-rahing with the other brain-deads for Harpo, or maybe for that other autofellator, Jim Karygiannis. When you get past the whole "intellectual" thing, there's not a dime's worth of difference between Iggy and Harpo in terms of attitudes or strategy. And I'm not fooled by the color of the respective ties.

Oh, don't worry--I'm still for a coalition. I'm just against having this neoliberal freak-scene in charge of it. Iggy's naked power-grabbing can only take him so far before he, too, is subject to a non-confidence vote. (Thank heaven for parliamentary systems.) But if you see a lot of typos here from now on, have pity--I'll be writing this blog with one hand clamped to my nose.

So much for right-wing turns making journalism "lively"

I've been reading a number of newspaper writers (or former ones) diagnosing What Went Wrong at their respective (ex-)rags lately, and go figure, a lot of them are saying things remarkably like what the guy at Whap! Whap! said in October:

About 10 years ago, The Columbian hired a former Gannett editor who quickly stripped the paper of its local character, turning it into a clone of every corporate franchise in the country.

At the same time, the editor and publisher took a hard turn to the right politically.

Also at the same time, the company (which had been a pioneer in digital media) turned newsprint-centric, crippling the website while greatly expanding its print product.

So this newly right-wing, ink-on-paper dynasty did what every right-wing entity does: Go deeply in debt, mortgaging its future for short-term pleasure.

Today, the once-proud institution is a journalistic and business disaster.

Did you catch that second-last paragraph, kiddies? It said "...what every right-wing entity does: Go deeply in debt, mortgaging its future for short-term pleasure."

That "short-term pleasure", I think, is what used to be referred to, a little over ten years ago, as "lively journalism". I was in j-school at the time, and I got to witness this ugly transformation first-hand. That was about the time when formerly respectable newspapers began to jazz themselves up in a big way with dodgy political and economic pundits, and began sacrificing the real news (which was perceived to be suffering from Liberal Bias) in the name of "balance" or, worse, "liveliness". Such hard-to-starboard rolls didn't cause me to take more interest in the papers, but rather a whole lot less, for a simple reason: More often than not, they simply suck out whatever lifeblood was left at a once-readable paper and replace it with candy-scented embalming fluid.

Up here in the Great North, the apotheosis of this euphoric neo-conservative lunacy was the National Post, founded by Conrad Black (once Lord of Crossharbour, now Inmate 18330-424 in a Florida penitentiary.) Basically, it was the chief tout of hardcore Friedmanism with a boob job (come to think of it, so was Black's wife, who was eulogized in the National Post as a paragon of style long after her husband's pride-and-joy had been sold off to finance his high-living fraud habit.) And as long as the economy was booming, this model could point to itself and crow that This Was The Way Things Should Be Done. Profits were through the roof! Costs were below the sub-basement! Local reporting was replaced by wire-service pap! Unions were busted, and shareholders were salivating! Whoopee!

Of course, now that the "booming" bubble economy that financed all this flummery has gone poof, so has that model. And everything that relied on it for a semblance of success is in freefall, including media outlets (newsprint and other) that relied on right-wing nuttery to "liven" them up. Lord Black is in jail, and Lady Babs is a social pariah (O horrors!), and frankly, their fall from grace--and that of their ex-newspaper--ought to have been a harbinger to someone besides myself.

But then again, I'm not the sort of person to be fooled by "lively" trash.

December 7, 2008

Venezuelan elections: Sore losers bitch to Miami Herald, get coverage

Aren't they lucky they have the whore media of Gringolandia to indulge them?

Venezuela's government distributed electronic appliances, food and cash totaling tens of millions of dollars in an effort to secure the loyalty of voters in poor sections in advance of recent elections, according to evidence and testimony obtained by El Nuevo Herald.

Pro-government officials in the municipality of Sucre alone handed out $10 million in cash on Nov. 22 and the day of the balloting, Nov. 24, offering each person between $140 and $480, according to campaign workers who spoke to El Nuevo Herald. Their candidate nevertheless lost.

President Hugo Chávez' allies won 17 of the 22 state governorships and most of the municipal elections, though opposition candidates captured the other five governorships and enough municipalities to claim a victory over the leftist president.

Documents seen by El Nuevo Herald showed that several companies associated with the government, primarily the state-owned oil company PDVSA, purchased the items distributed during the campaigns with the assistance of businesses located in Panama and South Florida.

The goods included mattresses, water tanks, small appliances, food and even cellphones and vehicles, according to the documents. Some of the electronics and small appliances were obtained from the Panamanian free-trade zone and distributed to prospective voters throughout Venezuela, as part of the campaigns.

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Gee, I hope the public gets to see more of these "documents" than they did of the FARC Magic Laptop in all its bomb-blasted glory.

And no, they're not the least bit fabricated politically motivated, either:

The massive loyalty-buying schemes were denounced prior to the vote by opposition leaders, including José Albornoz of the Patria Para Todos (PPT) party, who had backed Chávez up until recently.

Hmmmm, how much did the rump of PPT (that is, those who didn't defect to the PSUV) get in terms of votes? Less than 2%, if I recall correctly. Pitiful, but hardly surprising: The PPT party was a split-off of another leftish party to begin with, and then split again when the PSUV formed. But as Eva Golinger has found, the PPT rump is not only a bunch of sore losers, it's downright treacherous--and has received dinero from, shall we say, some very un-Venezuelan sources (with my emphasis added):

There is a lack of understanding within the revolution about the importance and about the impact of subversion and the interference of foreign agencies in the country. We aren't just talking about the financing of opposition political parties - something that should be strictly prohibited by law - but a complex web of different actors, entities, front groups, and agencies that have managed to infiltrate the ranks of the pro-Chavez movement, and have been able to snag and remove political parties like PPT (Homeland for All) and Podemos (We can), which previously sided fully with the revolution. This web - which I call the Empire's Spider Web - also penetrates communities and barrios and promotes alternative projects and programs to those proposed by President Chavez that may be more attractive in the short term, providing instant satisfaction to these needy sectors.

These foreign agencies, like the aforementioned USAID and the NED, and others such as Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Germany), FAES (Spain), FOCAL (Canada), Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Germany), among others, have been working in Venezuela for years, advising and financing parties such as Primero Justicia (Justice First), Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Era), and Podemos to help them create political platforms and strategies that reflect the needs and wants of the Venezuelan people, but maintain a hidden agenda that promotes a neo-liberal, anti-socialist vision. Remember that we are in a battle of ideas and in this war without a battlefield all weapons within reach are employed to neutralize the enemy.

Including, as luck would have it, the totally-for-sale whore media of Miami. Which have undoubtedly been very helpful in the magic-lantern show of oppo projections.

Now, all that remains is to find out how much the PPT rump-roast has been trying to pay people to vote against Chavecito. But don't expect to see any mention of proof or documentation of those in El Nuevo Herald, eh?

10 years of Hugo Chavez. How does Venezuela feel?

Video in Spanish, 1 hour and 40 minutes. If it doesn't tell you all you need to know, I don't know what will.

(Oh, here--have a Gallup poll. And have a nice day!)

December 6, 2008

Les fouquetarderies de la semaine passée

And now, a message from our sponsors:

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All right...down to business, and beatings to be administered until morale improves. Here's who needs to fuck off this week:

1. George Fucking Dubya Bush. For continuing to blame the "intelligence failures" for the nonexistent Iraqi WMD he didn't find under his fucking desk, either. Why can't he just fucking admit that he told them to cook up a pretext for his "pre-emptive" war on a country that he KNEW was disarmed, that he KNEW couldn't fight back (not in conventional warfare terms, anyhow, although it's still keeping up a remarkable guerrilla effort), that he KNEW had nothing he wanted, except a fuckload of OIL? Oh, I know...it's like trying to get the Fonz to admit that he was "wr-r-r-r"...

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...only, the difference being that the Fonz was actually cool, and decent to boot. And he never started any rumbles, although he sure as hell finished them. Dubya? Snort, snort. I like YVKE Mundial's characterization of his blatherings: "George smoked some crack." Sounds about right.

2. Grover Fucking Norquist. Hey, I have a terrific idea: How about we keep governments the size they are, and drown all the loony capitalist ideologues in the bathtub instead?

3. Saxby Fucking Chambliss. Remember how this chickenhawk coward screwed Max Cleland, a triple amputee and Vietnam vet? Seems this dipshit's dipped in Teflon. He should have lost, especially on account of his perverted creepiness. Spare me the talk of how feeling up your own pre-adolescent granddaughter is just a good ol' southern custom. This man is the walking embodiment of conservative hypocrisy. Lucky for him he chickened out of 'Nam, or he'd have been fragged.

4. Speaking of people who should be fragged, how about that Sarah Fucking Palin? Doesn't she have a state to govern, and a knocked-up teen daughter to shotgun into an ill-advised marriage, or something? Oops, wait, she's doing a piss-poor job up there, or rather her puppet-mastering separatist hubby is; maybe it's better for the people of Alaska that she's ho-ing around the Deep South for her ol' buddy Saxby instead. Still, one wishes she'd spare a thought for her kids, instead of just hauling them out to parade around when it's convenient for her to be seen as a "loving mother". Could she at least do that, please, before the youngest three also turn out badly?

5. and 6. Andres Fucking Oppenheimer and Simon Fucking Romero. Whenever you two little narcissist-lemonists decide to start actually reporting news instead of pulling it randomly out of your butts while snockered, let us know, 'k?

7. Perez Fucking Hilton: For catching Teh Stoopid about Venezuela. They've been having gay pride events ever since Chavecito got elected. And not a single one has been banned. There are also plenty of LGBT Chavistas. Stands to reason, since the Bolivarian constitution grants implicit protection to LGBTs, even if it doesn't (yet) green-light same-sex marriage. I guess it's asking too much for a skanky gossip blogger to do his homework, so he can just fuck off. (BoRev, bless his soul, thinks so too.)

8. All those dumb fucking people out there who claim that the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition is "illegal" and that the Harperites won a "mandate". No, it isn't, and no, they didn't. Did you kids sleep through Social Studies class? Here, let James Laxer set you straight. And then, you all can just fucking SHUT UP, ALREADY.

9. All those OTHER dumb fucking people on the "business news" channels who keep pushing the myth of the $70/hr Detroit autoworker. How much are these fuckers being paid per hour to spout junk about people who actually work for a living, i.e. people most unlike themselves? More than most anyone in Detroit, I'm sure, with the possible exception of the CEOs who flew in on private jets to beg for bailouts. All of THEM can fuck off, too.

10. Michael Fucking Weiner, a.k.a. "Savage". For advocating genocide on the "tribal" areas of Pakistan in light of the Mumbai attacks. And this is supposed to resolve WHAT, exactly, especially considering that the Indian authorities managed to kill all the fuckers in Mumbai? I have a better idea, albeit in a similar vein (which I hope will illustrate the imbecility of the man by turning his own argument right back on him): How about wiping out, with nukes, all the Red States rednecks who listen to this piece of shit polluting the airwaves with his fuck-headed racist diatribes? No audience means no revenue means no more "Savage Nation". Don't like my modest proposal? Hey, it's identical to his, but it might actually bring better results. Just think of how much nicer the United States would suddenly be if he and every last one of his noxious little penile polyps fans just all fucked off at once. In a big puff of radioactive smoke, no less.

11. That also goes for Jim Fucking Quinn and all his "peaceful" listeners. Hey, I don't wanna live with that kind of people. Wipe 'em the fuck out! Let "their" God sort them out, right?

12. All those fuckheads who STILL keep claiming Obama is not a US citizen by birth. Look, I know Hawaii isn't on the mainland, and that it was the last state to join the union--but it's still unquestionably, and legally, US soil. If you people are going to question who was born on US soil, how about looking closer at John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone--which is not, and never has been, legally US soil? And if you're not gonna do that--FUCK OFF.

13. Robert Fucking Novak. For being such a conscienceless, self-centred prick. Just shut the fuck up and kick the friggin' bucket, already, Novakula.

14. Bill Fucking Kristol. Put down the crackpipe, old boy. And step away from the Kool-Aid pitcher, too.

15. Jim Fucking Karygiannis. For reasons already noted.

16. Sean Fucking Avery. $3 million a year to talk trash about his ex-girlfriends and others? Hell, for that kind of money, I'll put on hockey gear and mouth off on the ice without even touching a puck. I'll even throw in some extra spicy language for free about Sean Avery, God's gift to women! Whaddya say, NHL? Do we have a deal?

17. Last, but not least, Stephen Fucking Harper. Got all night? Neither do I. Just google for what he did during the past week, if you still don't know why I am so fucking sick of him.

And have a lovely week, y'all.

December 5, 2008

Economics for Dummies: Trickle-Down Economics in a Nutshell

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"Milton Friedman should come and explain this to me! I've been waiting here for years and nothing's trickling down!"

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo's guardian spirit

Who else would it be but Tupac Katari?

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BTW, on a related uppity-natives note, I couldn't resist this shot either--taken from a social movement march in Tarija:

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The oppo prefects may want to rethink their whole "autonomy" schtick, because according to ABI, these campesinos, unionists, etc. were all marching against the prefect of Tarija, demanding real autonomy--and for the resources of the state to find their way down to the provincial and municipal levels. Not exactly what those greedy oppo prefects had in mind!

And for those in the mood for a little Schadenfreude (in Spanish), you may enjoy this one. Oppo prefects are keeping low profiles outside the country, too. Mario Cossío got booed as a "racist" in Quito, Ecuador; two others, Rubén Costas and indigenous turncoat Savina Cuellar, didn't dare show their faces. Cossío had to hide behind the local police. This all follows hot on the heels of the findings of the Unasur commission that the Pando massacre at Porvenir was indeed ordered by the prefect of that department, and oh yeah, did I mention that Branko Marinkovic, the biggest turd in the poopy punchbowl that is Santa Cruz, is looking at an arrest and trial for his part in violence there, too?

All in all, a bad showing for the oppos...but Evo? Tupac's got his back, and so do the majority of Bolivians. Meanwhile, land reform proceeds apace. No worries. Evo's got 'em whipped.

December 4, 2008

So when do we get a Canadian PSUV?

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I've been saying it (not too loudly around my formerly Conservative dad) for years--if Reform and the Tories could unite the right in this country, why couldn't the rest of us unite the left and doom those turds to permanent nonentity status?

Canada is not, and never will be, a far-right nation, even after all the Reform-a-Tories' efforts to drag things that way. But they will go on trying as long as the left is disjointed, and they might even succeed in skewing the notion of where the "centre" lies. Which is why my big hope for this Yuletide is the Canadian equivalent of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Yes, that's right. I want Canada to learn from Venezuela, which means I want our left to learn from theirs. They united not two or three, but oodles of leftist parties within a year to create that PSUV, and they've just won big in the regional elections down there, too. Proof, if ever anyone needed it, that uniting the left works wonders for a country. Proof, too, that where the need exists, along with popular will, it can be done.

And yes, I think it's possible to do it in Canada. Just look at the numbers: Harpo had just 38% of the popular vote in the last election, and less than half the parliamentary seats. That means there's already a good 60% of us, at least, on the left. That's actually even better support than the PSUV got in the latest election, where it won a healthy 53% of the popular vote and a rock-solid majority of mayoralties and governorships.

Now, just imagine if we channeled that energy in the proper direction. Go on. As John Lennon sang, it's easy if you try...

All right, so Stéphane Dion is no Chavecito. He's Mr. Meek and Mild; the 'Cito is Mr. Big 'n' Bombastic. This is Canada; that's Venezuela. We have a blandly nasty, fundie-neocon Ken doll currently in charge (nominally!); they have a big red-hot socialist chili pepper (out in front of an equally fractious bunch of socialists that the lamestream media never deign to show us because they want us to believe he's a dictator and a one-man band).

But hey, a girl can still hope for a unified left, especially since Dion finally showed his 'nads the other day to set that lyin' Harpo straight. I voted NDP in the last election, but I couldn't help liking the man who named his dog Kyoto; he struck me as fundamentally decent, even if he was more wonkish than charismatic. Had there been a coalition then, I'd have voted for it gladly, without holding my nose. Charismatic leaders can wait (but not too long, Justin!), as long as we have a committed coalition at least.

Well, now, we're on the verge of actually having one--I think. The reason I put it so tentatively is because Parliament has been pro-rogued until January 26, in a lame attempt by Harpo to try to save his power-hungry ass. Worse, the newly-born coalition is supposedly shaky, according to all the media whores; the basis for this contention is but a single story, the drama-queenery of one Jim Karygiannis, a back-bencher Liberal MP from Toronto, who whines that he can't work with the NDP, because they supposedly are "vicious".

Please, try to keep the beer from shooting out your noses, my fellow lefties. Remember, we're polite to a fault up here, and beer-snortzing is poor form. Especially from those of us who voted for the Party of Niceness...

Oh, fuck it. Where does Karygiannis get off pulling shit like that? This is not about him, it's about Canada. Can he please pull his head out of his own not-so-important ass and make an effort to save his constituents, along with the rest of my home and native land, from another three years* of Harpocrisy?

No, of course Karygiannis can't--because this is all about him and his massive ego, not national unity and the salvation of our economy and social services from more right-wing ideological disasters. Shit, parliamentarians aren't public servants, they're the kings of the Hill and they get to do what they want on the taxpayers' dime, and they are not obligated to be answerable to the rest of us. Didn't you get the memo, peon?

So, Jim...FUCK YOU VERY MUCH. If all you want is attention, why not stand up on your back bench, turn your rear to the cameras and pull down your pants instead? But if what you want is to serve your public, sit down, shut up, and work with the "vicious" NDP. You need them to give your party a parliamentary majority now.

And we need a united left yesterday to undo the damage of Harpo. Even if it's currently nowhere near the Venezuelan PSUV for success. As Venezuelan leftist journalist and PSUV member Gonzalo Gómez says, unity on the left is essential to stop the right. We need every seat in Parliament that we can get.

Preferably without a head stuffed up it.

* The "usual" parliamentary term here is roughly four to five years between election calls, but Harpo is so greedy for a majority that he couldn't wait four. So he did it in three, and still got a minority, but he thinks it's a mandate because he's an egomaniac, too.

Prop 8, the Musical

And you'll never guess who plays Jesus!

The Massacre of Pando

Video in Spanish. Essential documentary about how the fascists of the Bolivian opposition tried--and FAILED--to oust Evo through violence in September (on the 11th, no less. What timing!) Shows the direct involvement of prefectural officials of Pando in the murders of campesinos at Porvenir.

December 3, 2008

Latest Reuters meme: Chavecito as crazy gambler

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Another constitutional amendment referendum for Venezuela. Should it be treated with any semblance of seriousness? Nah. Roll da bonez, sez da 'ho media...

Socialist President Hugo Chavez wants Venezuelans to vote on a constitutional referendum in early 2009 that would allow him to run for the top office again, even though he lost a similar vote a year ago.

A defeat would be devastating, possibly ending his dream of staying in the top job for another decade and giving opponents new hope of winning the presidency.

The former soldier has shown a penchant for high-stakes political gambling. Here are some of his previous political adventures.

Then it launches straight into what Chavecito did after his 1992 rebellion failed. Uh-huh--the whole "por ahora" thing was just a big, fat, lucky gamble on his part. They're leaving out the whole other part of the equation here--namely, who seized on the phrase and ran with it. Wasn't the 'Cito; he was in jail, and likely to remain there unless somebody pardoned him, which he certainly hadn't bet on. That somebody was Rafael Caldera, who ran partly on a platform of "Okay, I'll pardon him, since all you peons like him so much." Yet strangely, no mention of this from Reuters, let alone of the fact that this would make Caldera a crazy old gambling fool, too.

Hilariously, they also mention the UN speech in which Chavecito called Dubya the devil. That's "gambling"? Hell, by then, it was a safe bet for most of the world; he was just saying what others were thinking but didn't have the 'nads to utter. The fact that the speech got the expected laughs should have come as a surprise to no one, but apparently it shocked Reuters, that agency with a finger on the carotid pulse of every corpse.

And then there's how he responded to the March 1 incident, in which Colombia illegally bombed Ecuador. He sent tanks out to guard the Venezuelan border, which was not the "dangerous" move Reuters makes it out to be; it's only common sense when you consider that it was Colombia acting like the loose cannon, threatening its neighbors wantonly with bombings and violence. Shit, who'd want a Colombian army or paramilitary raid on their turf? Last time Colombia sent its people unilaterally into Venezuela after a FARC guy, it didn't go over well--not because of any great sympathy for the FARC in Venezuela, but because it was a violation of Venezuelan sovereignty, duh. They could have said "Heads up, you got Rodrigo Granda, and we want him"--and Venezuela would have handed him over. But noooooo, they just had to make an international incident out of it, the better to shove the blame on the usual suspect. A real crazy gamble, but on whose part?

But wait! Even the big guy's astute response to the PDVSA lockout of '02 is characterized as a gamble. If ever an oil company was ripe for a purge, PDVSA was it--and the fact that the move paid off was really a no-brainer. Privatizing, traitorous greedheads have no business being at the helm of a state industry, and neither does the CIA.

Looks to me like someone at Reuters is betting on their readers being majorly stupid. Feel lucky, punks?

December 2, 2008

Yet another Magic Laptop story you won't see in the whore media

Here you go. First the video, in Spanish...

...and then, I translate the story for you:

A captain and antiterrorist investigator of the DIJIN, the Colombian equivalent of the FBI, Ronald Ayden Coy Ortiz, who wrote the report on the computer which the Colombian army claimed to have found in the encampment of Raúl Reyes, declared under oath before the Inspector General that he did not find any e-mails in the said computer. "Only Microsoft Word documents", according to a report by Canal Uno, a Colombian TV station.

Upon being asked to "inform the office if you (the DIJIN) find any archives corresponding to e-mails sent or received by Raúl Reyes", Capt. Coy responded, "We have not found any e-mails up to now. We have found a great many e-mail addresses, but Reyes stored the information in Microsoft Word format."

The government of Colombia has maintained until now that the computer contained thousands of e-mails sent by the FARC leader, who died in an illegal bombardment of his encampment in Ecuador, in March.

The computer was the basis of charges against parliamentarians Piedad Córdoba, Wilson Borja and Gloria Inés Ramírez; former peace advisor Lázaro Vivero; the director of the weekly magazine Voz, Carlos Lozano; Telesur journalist William Parra; the director of an NGO, Liliana Patricia Obando; the former presidential candidate, Alvaro Leyva; US investigator James Jones; and Amilcar Figueroa, a Venezuelan citizen.

"This declaration could derail the investigation" against those incriminated by the contents of the computer, because "Word documents do not prove that there were e-mail exchanges between the guerrilla chief and those under investigation", according to Canal Uno.

The attorneys representing those persons have asked that the "e-mail evidence" be declared null and void, because according to the captain's statement, there is no way of telling whether any e-mails were sent or received, since Word archives cannot prove that there was an exchange of communications.

But of course, this rather obvious "no duh"-er will be ignored by the Colombian authorities as they move to persecute prosecute anyone who gets in the way of El Narco and his reign of terror. Including, as you may have guessed, a certain rather well-known Venezuelan president in a red shirt.

December 1, 2008

Vive le Canada!!!

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Where else would you get things like this happening?

The Liberals and NDP have reached a deal to bring down the federal Conservative government and form an unprecedented coalition to take its place that would last 30 months and include cabinet seats for both parties.

Sources confirmed Sunday night that the two sides have ironed out an agreement that would see a cabinet of 24 members -- 18 Liberals and six NDP.

The two parties called emergency caucus meetings Monday to lay out the plan under which the Tories would lose power to Canada's first coalition government in 91 years.

91 years. Think of that, people, and savor it. This is how a parliamentary system works. Last time this happened, Canada was in the depths of a long and bitter war. Well hey howdy, aren't we now? Our army's been in Afghanistan for longer than World War TWO, if I don't miss my guess.

And this coalition, unlike the conservative/conscriptionist Borden Union Government (which provoked riots in Quebec with its pro-draft stance), won't be such an odious compromise, either. It'll be a PROGRESSIVE one. You know what this historic news calls for?

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Now, with that off my chest, here's a little nitty-gritty wonkery from yer ol' Auntie 'Bina:

The key question of who would lead the first coalition government of modern times remained unsettled Sunday night, as Liberals differed over whether Stéphane Dion should take over as interim prime minister, or a new leader be chosen -- and leadership contenders Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc met to discuss how to proceed.

Dion is stepping down as Liberal leader, but he might be persuaded to postpone that, IF anyone is really so inclined. Iggy the Warmonger is no choice of mine (everything about him just rubs me the wrong way, plus there was all that time he spent at Hahvud). And I don't even know what Dominic LeBlanc looks like, let alone much about his leadership style.

On the other hand, Bob Rae is very familiar to this Ontarian. He's a Liberal now, but used to be NDP, and in those days he was premier of my fair province, too, so to me he seems a natural choice to oversee a Liberal/NDP coalition. His French is decent. He's also tactful and conciliatory enough to make things work. To me he seems like an obvious pick, even if I would much prefer Jack Layton (whom I met in Toronto more than a decade ago, along with his wife Olivia Chow, and instantly liked both of them--which is a very unusual reaction for me to any politician).

All right, people, get to work and hammer out those details. Give this fair land the government it deserves, and let's hope it's a reasonable facsimile of the one the majority of us voted for.

Okay, I can't resist the urge to let out one last whoop. Harpo is finished. And for that, I paraphrase Charles de Gaulle:

Vive le Canada...LIBRE!!!