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August 31, 2009

Debunking the myths about Chappaquiddick...and Mary Jo

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Left: Senator Ted Kennedy, age 37, attends Mary Jo Kopechne's funeral. Note the neck brace inside his collar. Right: The scene of the accident at Chappaquiddick, showing the direction Kennedy's car was travelling on Dyke Road just before it skidded off the bridge.

One of the not-so-guilty pleasures of being a true-crime buff (along with all the other persons I am) is that it compels me to take an interest in the actual particulars of a story, not just what the media circus has chosen to make of them.

I've seen the blogosphere, like the media, dissect this drunk-driving accident nine ways till Friday. Lots of passion, little coherence, and all too often, facts get beaten out of shape before being sacrificed on the pyre of ideology. End result: Huge disservice done not only to the memory of the late US Senator Ted Kennedy, but also to the memory of Mary Jo Kopechne, the young woman who drowned in Kennedy's car that night. Can you stand to see one more wingnut masturbating over Mary Jo's grave? No? Then how about self-styled feminists and progressives--usually too smart to do such things--falling into the selfsame 'winger trap, slamming Ted Kennedy as just one more rich bastard who threw a not-so-rich young woman (metaphorically speaking) under the bus?

No, I don't want to go there, either. So let's go back to that unlucky night on purely factual grounds this time, with Mel Ayton's excellent Crime Magazine piece, The Bridge at Chappaquiddick. I think it will go a long way toward debunking a lot of persistent myths, innuendos, rumors, and just plain lies.

MYTH: Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne were having an affair.

FACT: Not bloody likely. According to Ayton:

An RFK aide described Mary Jo as "an unworldly girl." Others who knew her said she was a young woman with a good character who had been committed to her work, full of high idealism, and excited that the Kennedys would regain the White House in the 1968 presidential election.

Mary Jo called herself a "novena Catholic." Her friends described her as a young woman who was seriously committed to her faith. She did not smoke and rarely drank. Everyone who knew her testified to the fact that she was a woman who was almost prudish in her dislike of obscene language and sexual impropriety.

Furthermore, at the time of the incident, Mary Jo Kopechne had been unofficially engaged to be married to a career foreign service officer -- a fact overlooked by those authors who tried to blemish her character by insinuating she had been single, free and willing to engage in a sexual relationship with Sen. Ted Kennedy. There is no evidence that this allegation is true. The only person who can answer it is Ted Kennedy and he has stated on numerous occasions that nothing happened between them.

It is significant that, while other details of Kennedy's recollection varied (we'll see why in due course), that one in particular did not. He categorically denied it every time, and so did anyone else who knew the both of them. Nobody has ever been able to offer concrete proof of an affair, because there was none to be had. Doesn't stop the wackaloons from speculating, though.

MYTH: Ted Kennedy murdered Mary Jo Kopechne to cover up an affair and/or pregnancy.

FACT: See above, and add "why the hell would he dirty his own hands (and risk his own life) to kill her if he was rich enough to pay a hitman?" The doctor who examined the body at the scene found no evidence of a pregnancy, either. There was no autopsy, which might have put the final kibosh to this rumor, but this was not Ted Kennedy's doing; her own parents asked that there not be one. Ironically, they made this request because they had heard that the autopsy would be done only to determine whether Mary Jo was pregnant!

However, someone else in Ted's life at the time was pregnant: his wife, Joan...

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...who went with him to Mary Jo's funeral, as we can see in the picture above. Sadly, she miscarried soon after--probably as a result of stress from the incessant media hullabaloo about the accident.

MYTH: Ted Kennedy didn't care that Mary Jo was killed.

FACT: Since only he was privy to what was going through his own head that night, we have to rely on eyewitness accounts of his behavior in the aftermath of the accident. And all of them suggest that not only did Ted Kennedy care very much, he was badly broken up about it--to the point of hysteria. According to Ayton:

During their post-accident journey to the ferry, Kennedy kept saying to Gargan and Markham that he expected to see Mary Jo walking down the road. According to Gargan, Kennedy was rambling and verbalizing irrational thoughts - behavior that is consistent with individuals who are suffering from shock. Gargan said, "Sen. Kennedy was very emotional, extremely upset, very upset and he was using this expression... "Can you believe it, Joe, can you believe it, I don't believe it, I don't believe this could happen. I just don't believe it." Markham told the inquest that Kennedy was, "sobbing and almost of actually breaking down and crying. He said, 'This couldn't have happened, I don't know how it happened...What am I going to do?'"

[...]

On the Monday before Mary Jo's funeral, Kennedy telephoned the Kopechnes a second time. Joseph Kopechne said, "I could see he was trying to tell us about the accident but I still couldn't understand him. He was still sobbing, still so broken up he couldn't talk."

The shock was physical as well as emotional; Kennedy sustained a concussion and neck injury when the car flipped onto its roof. After emerging from the vehicle (he could never remember how he had done it, a probable sign of amnesia), he momentarily reoriented himself and made several attempts to rescue Mary Jo, but was forced to give up. The current in the pond was just too strong, and he was injured and exhausted, as well as emotionally labile and confused. Only then did he begin to make his way back to the cottage to seek help.

But here's the main thing: would a guy who didn't give a shit attempt "seven or eight times", in the Boston Globe's words, to rescue Mary Jo, whom he did not even know all that well? And would he be upset and crying, as Kennedy was? Would he have attended her funeral, as Kennedy was photographed doing (see top of this entry)? According to several accounts, Ted Kennedy even went so far as to approach Mary Jo's parents, offering to pay for the funeral. They turned him down, preferring to do it with savings they'd set aside to pay for her wedding. The one thing he did that was even remotely suspect was not to call them with the news right away. Given that he was in a state of shock and confusion, as well as horror and remorse, it's not surprising that it took him several hours to work up the nerve.

Oddly, though, her parents seem to have understood this, because they didn't appear to harbor any rancor toward him:

As Mary Jo's mother stated, "No matter how you look at it, it was an accident. What hurts me deep is to think that my daughter had to be left there all night. This is why we had so bitter a feeling toward Markham and Gargan...I think Kennedy made his statement when he was still confused. In the state he was in, I do believe he couldn't think clearly. I think he was taking all this bad advice, and it just continued for days."

Notice she said "Markham and Gargan"--Kennedy's aides, not himself. She blames them for giving him bad advice, but not him for taking it, because he was in a confused state.

And if he really didn't give a shit about Mary Jo, doesn't anyone suppose her parents would have noticed--and been extremely bitter toward him? She was, after all, their only child.

MYTH: Ted Kennedy just walked away from the scene of the accident. He should have been charged with leaving the scene, at the very least.

FACT: See above; he did remain for as long as it took him to realize that he could not get Mary Jo out of the car. After that, he had to rest a moment; then he made his stumbling way back. He was so confused that he did not see the Dyke House along the road he had just driven down. Ayton again:

Kennedy's lawyers were remiss in not challenging the prosecution's charges that Kennedy was guilty of leaving the scene of an accident. They failed to make reference to Kennedy's injuries and the inevitable mental confusion that usually follows because they believed a plea of mental impairment would have damaged Kennedy's political career. James E.T. Lange even ventures that the sworn testimony of two doctors could have been used to clear Kennedy. He does, however, believe that Kennedy was guilty of the "wrongful death" of Mary Jo and "reckless driving."

What injuries did Ted Kennedy suffer that might have impaired his mind?

Dr. Robert Watt, trauma specialist at Cape Cod Medical Centre, examined Kennedy and reported that the senator had suffered, "a half-inch abrasion and haematoma over the right mastoid, a contusion of the vertex, spasm of the posterior cervical musculature, tenderness of the lumbar area, a big spongy swelling at the top of his head." Dr. Watt diagnosed concussion.

When a person is hit on the head hard enough, the soft brain tissue collides with the hard inner surface of the skull creating a brain injury. Invariably, this disrupts electrical activity in the outer areas of the brain where memories are stored. And this disruption prevents memory from forming not only of the traumatic event itself but also of the time before that event.

Later Kennedy was examined by Dr. Brougham at Cape Cod Hospital where he underwent X-ray examination that showed a straightening of the cervical vertebrae. Dr. Brougham diagnosed acute muscular spasm, confirming cervical strain. Both doctors said that Kennedy's mental confusion had a definite physiological basis.

The medical reports state that Kennedy had suffered from traumatic amnesia that includes retrograde amnesia and post-traumatic amnesia, both of which are nearly always present in head injuries. Retrograde amnesia covers the period before the trauma and the trauma itself. Post-traumatic amnesia is a period of confusion and memory loss following the trauma.

Kennedy's head injuries, which caused his befuddlement, would account for his later testimony and confusion about the timing of events when he left the cottage. It would also account for the numerous witnesses who testified to his depressed, confused and forgetful state of mind in the days and weeks following the accident. His father's nurse, Rita Dallas, believed he should have been given psychiatric help.

This would undoubtedly also explain why Kennedy had so much trouble keeping his story straight. Which leads us to...

MYTH: Ted Kennedy lied.

FACT: When you can't remember in precise detail what happened because you've been thumped on the head and had your neck badly wrenched, not to mention that you're in shock and confused, would it be fair to call you a liar? NO? Well, then, think of how Ted Kennedy must have felt, being hounded by the media on this point every time he was up for re-election. He recollected the night's events to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, his ability was impaired by the head injury he received. Not receiving proper psychiatric care at that crucial moment can't have helped much, either.

MYTH: Ted Kennedy tried to cover up Chappaquiddick.

FACT: Actually, if anyone was guilty of a cover-up, it was his aides, Markham and Gargan; Mary Jo's own mother felt that they gave him bad advice. And so did Rose Kennedy, Ted's mother, according to Ayton:

Kennedy became distraught; his behavior during the next few hours strongly suggests a man who was confused, frightened and in shock. As he later confessed in his television broadcast his thoughts were jumbled. And this is entirely consistent with the injuries he suffered. [...]

But it was Gargan and Markham who had the faculties to make a rational decision in the early hours of the morning. Despite their positions as subordinates of the senator, they should have taken complete charge. Instead they retired to the cottage after Kennedy jumped into the water at the ferry landing. In any event, reporting the accident to the police would not have saved Mary Jo's life. The time span was too short.

Kennedy believed he did everything in his power to save Mary Jo and, given his medical condition, he was probably correct. He placed full blame upon himself for his recklessness. And he never blamed Gargan and Markham who had been in a much better position, both physically and mentally, to handle matters. As Ted Kennedy's mother Rose was to say, "I didn't understand why Joey Gargan or Markham did not report the matter to the police even if Ted did not have any sense enough or control enough to do so -- especially when the body of the girl was in the car... That is what seems so unforgivable and brutal to me..."

Failing to report the incident immediately? Sounds like the sort of thing two solicitous subordinates would do to keep their already controversial boss out of trouble, and his name out of the papers. They did not do so at his request, however, and his self-blaming behavior suggests that far from wanting to cover anything up, Ted Kennedy was prepared to take full responsibility even when he was in no fit condition to do so. Perhaps this is why their effort to downplay the incident backfired so spectacularly. His physical and mental state at the time was not good, but his willingness to take responsibility suggests to me moral strength, rather than the moral weakness more typically ascribed to him. He knew he'd made a mistake, and was man enough to own up to it.

And again: Mary Jo's parents can't be left out of the equation. Their reluctance to speak ill of Ted Kennedy speaks volumes as to how they saw the situation. They steadfastly maintained that he had bad advice from Gargan, in particular. All the shrieking wingnuts who scream about "poor forgotten Mary Jo", oddly, forget who her parents held to blame more than anything for the shambles--and it wasn't Ted Kennedy.

Strangely, though, the media and the wingnuts all give the parents of the deceased woman the shortest shrift of all. Partisan? Yep. But they sure weren't biased in favor of Ted Kennedy. Which leads me to my final myth of the night:

MYTH: The liberal media covered up for Ted Kennedy.

FACT: According to the March 1980 Reader's Digest, here are the "liberal" media's actual editorial positions on the issue of Chappaquiddick:

The Boston Globe: "The most famous traffic fatality of the century will almost certainly play a part in the selection of the next President of the United States. It should. Chappaquiddick was not just an auto accident. Many Americans suspect, not without reason, that Kennedy's handling of its aftermath is another case of a politican stonewalling. And they wonder whether Kennedy would lie to the American people in a more public crisis."

The Wall Street Journal: "...his ability to function as President depends no little on whether the nation feels he is a man it can trust to explain his actions fully and frankly. Without this trust, national leadership is ultimately impossible."

The New York Times: "There ought to be no hesitation to rake over this puzzling affair. If Mr. Kennedy used his enormous influence to protect himself and his career by leading a cover-up of misconduct--and the known facts lead to that suspicion--there would hang over him not just a cloud of tragedy but also one of corruption, of the Watergate kind. And as we know from Watergate, there is no graver question for a President than whether he can be trusted to respect the law."

And that's how the "liberal" media saw it in the year that plaster saint, Ronald Reagan--accused rapist and known philanderer--won the White House. Yeah, they really covered up for Ted Kennedy just great, didn't they? So much that they were leading the bayonet charge against him and his reputation. They even went so far as to accuse him of "Watergate corruption"!

Unfortunately, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes there's no "there" there, and sometimes an accident...really is just an accident. Chappaquiddick was an accident--terrible, tragic, painful for all those involved--but it really was just an accident. There is nothing to be inferred from it. But the fact that it cost Ted Kennedy his larger political ambitions, and relegated him to becoming an undignified sideshow even in death, is without a doubt the real scandal of Chappaquiddick.

Jesus wept

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And with a bunch of meshugah anti-choice "followers" like these, can you blame him?

h/t Unrepentant Old Hippie

August 30, 2009

Roy Romanow's message to Barack Obama

A former (NDP!) premier of Saskatchewan, Canada's first province with single-payer healthcare, speaks out, along with others in the medical and nursing fields:

US visitors, please spread this message. Grab the YouTube and put it on your blogs, or link to it in forums. The advice in it is very important, especially the part about "trying to cross a chasm in two steps". Right now, that's exactly what Obama is trying to do--and it's exactly why his plan is in so much jeopardy. Learn from Tommy Douglas--do it all in one, and play hardball if you have to. The end result is worth it!

Music for a Sunday: Remembering Katrina

Ray Nagin and Led Zeppelin--a duet made in hell on Earth.

"Wonder why I got my middle finger up down here?" I don't. After four years, it's still not fixed. And the racists are still gloating. So, when is Cthulhu coming for THEM?

Yay

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I would argue that this guy should never have gone to prison at all (he's a hero for doing what he did!), but hey--at least he's getting out:

An Iraqi journalist jailed after hurling his shoes at former President George W. Bush will be released next month after his sentence was reduced for good behavior, his lawyer said Saturday.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi's act during Bush's last visit to Iraq as president turned the 30-year-old reporter into a folk hero across the Arab world amid anger over the 2003 invasion.

He has been in custody since the Dec. 14 outburst, which occurred as Bush was holding a joint news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

He was initially sentenced to three years after pleading not guilty to assaulting a foreign leader, then the court reduced it to one year because the journalist had no prior criminal history.

Defense attorney Karim al-Shujairi said al-Zeidi will now be released on Sept. 14, three months early.

"We have been informed officially about the court decision," al-Shujairi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "His release will be a victory for the free and honorable Iraqi media."

Off early for good behavior? Sentence reduced for having no priors?

Well, shit.

What he did was nothing but good old-fashioned freedom of speech. In the Arab world, it's customary to show the bottom of your feet--or the soles of your shoes--to anyone you hold in absolute contempt. This gesture was less an assault than it was a harangue, especially since neither shoe hit its target. I think he was being jailed to send a message to anyone else who might be considering telling King George the Dubya, in no uncertain terms, where to get off. And the message was: Don't even think about it.

This ruling, while welcome, is just a good end to a bad situation. It would have been a real victory for press freedom in Iraq if he had never been taken into custody in the first place, but of course, nobody--not even the "War President" and self-styled liberator--was willing to let Iraq's supposed newfound freedom actually go that far!

August 29, 2009

Why have we not heard of Marwa al-Sherbini?

First, a bit of backgrounder, courtesy of al-Jazeera--the only major English-speaking network to have given this shocking murder story ANY coverage:

And now, I weigh in.

When I googled for Marwa's story, to find out the particulars, I got this blog post at the top of my search. The post is excellent in itself; I have no problems with it. What bugs me is that the very first comment it got...is THIS:

All hate crimes are horrible. Yet you perceive this with blinders on. Most Muslim women murdered in Europe are murdered by their father's or husband's in honor killings. How many women have been murdered for wearing a veil? One. How many have been killed for refusing to? Hundreds if not more. Also, hate crimes like this have happened in Europe and the USA where it was the Muslim who was the perpertrator. I live in Seattle where a Muslim opened fire on a Jewish Center last year killing one and seriously wounding four. Why didn't the Muslim media report on it?

...which sounds to me like it's just a hair away from justifying the exact racism and bigotry that led to Marwa's death in the first place. "They do it to (fill in the blanks), so tit for tat." The "why didn't the Muslim media report on it" bit is also a sweeping generalization: How does this "jane doe" know they didn't? Can she read Arabic? Has she scoured the "Muslim media" for the report she claims did not exist? My educated guess is that she doesn't know, can't read Arabic, and hasn't done a damn thing except fire off at the keyboard to diminish the impact of a death that should not be minimized under any circumstances. Very slick work on the part of "jane" to deflect people's attention from the horrific facts of Marwa's death. (Happily, lots of other readers--including Muslims who DO follow the Arabic-language media--take her to task for her lies.)

This tendency to minimalize the violent deaths of those who don't blend in with Western society fits right in with what I blogged two days ago, about the Canadian government being willfully and selectively blind to the abuse perpetrated against Muslim Canadians abroad. It amounts to undeclared institutional racism. In Germany, similar things are happening, and on local soil. Since I am the daughter of two German immigrants myself, this touches me where I live. I cannot afford to be blind to this sort of thing. After all, I blog the news that goes unreported or underreported here.

And yes, Marwa's death is big news. I am ashamed to say that it is news to me, totally unknown until today. A full two months after it occurred. How could this be?

Marwa's murder occurred in eastern Germany. That's significant in itself, because the "Eastzone", as it's called, has lingering socio-economic problems dating back to before reunification. Ingo Hasselbach, an East German who used to be a leading neo-Nazi in the area, wrote extensively on those problems in his memoir, Führer-Ex. Kids disaffected by the failures of sovietism (not to be confused with socialism, or even communism) and further disenchanted by the failed economic promises of capitalism, have a high risk of becoming the very thugs their parents and grandparents were rightly taught to abhor. Eastern Germany still lags behind the western three-quarters in terms of jobs, education and health. It is, in short, a perfect storm of the circumstances that breed fascism and xenophobia. And it has the violent crime statistics to prove it.

Moreover, Marwa's murderer was a Russian national (claiming German ethnicity). No doubt he came to Germany in hopes of finding better prospects than were in store for him back home (post-Soviet Russia is in even worse shape than East Germany.) He landed in the depressed Eastzone--and, predictably, found nothing. Meanwhile, there was Marwa, right next door. Another immigrant, but with a difference: She had a job, an education, a growing young family. She had much to live for; she had, in short, a future. Something the murderer did not have.

But what really galled him, I'll bet, was that Marwa was a Muslim. She wasn't acting like a "proper" second-class citizen. She wore her headscarf openly and didn't try to look assimilated. How dare someone like that behave as if she belonged? (Which she did?) To his twisted reckoning, she must have been a terrorist--someone out to impose Islam on the west. The sort of people the shitty racist "anti-jihad" pundits, like Mark Steyn, are always "warning" us about.

Or maybe not; maybe he just called her that because of pure spite and resentment. Possibly it was the product of all this and more. Whatever it was, she took him to court for it. And right there, in the courtroom, in front of everybody, he stabbed her to death. 18 knife-thrusts in all.

Marwa's death caused a huge outcry in Germany as well as in Marwa's native Egypt (and throughout the Arab/Muslim world), but news of it somehow failed to make it across the big pond. Meanwhile, the media here were all over the death of Neda, the Iranian woman killed during protests against the Ahmadinejad government, literally like flies on a carcass. Why was Neda's story so much hotter than Marwa's?

Maybe it's because the anti-jihadis were quick to seize on Neda's death as proof that Islam is inherently evil and murderous. After all, those who killed her were believed to be agents of the so-called Islamic Republic. Visibility is also an issue, albeit a secondary one; Neda's death was caught on camera and broadcast via Internet, but Marwa's wasn't. The anti-islamists therefore had more graphic "evidence" to exploit. But most of all, I think it's because Marwa was killed by an obvious islamophobe, while Neda was killed by an alleged islamist. Apparently, a Muslim who kills is a worse person than a killer of Muslims--so runs the logic, no?

Now, why is it worse for a killer to be Muslim than white, presumably Christian, etc.? The antis would probably justify their unequal consideration by saying it's because those people are all violent, all terrorists, all out to impose their religion on the west by force. The fact that nothing of the sort has happened makes no nevermind to them. "They're just lying in wait", is the standard response you're likely to hear. "They're still plotting it, still waiting for all you dhimmis to fall in line before dropping the hammer."

Well, there's a fine bit of projection. And you're just as likely to hear it coming from the slimeballs at Stormfront, where the lying-in-wait, the plotting, and the hope that conditions will ripen into favorability are all running rampant...among the very people who are out to exterminate anyone who doesn't "breed" correctly.

What makes all these rightard bloggers and pundits any better than those neo-Nazis? What makes them any better than the kind of person Ingo Hasselbach was before he saw the light and left the movement? The fact that Mark Steyn used to be Jewish (he's now a Catholic)? Gimme a fucking break. Adolf Hitler probably had Jewish ancestors too, and he was definitely a practicing Catholic. Does that make him any less of an antisemite, any less a murderer of Jews?

As far as I'm concerned, if you're on the right-hand side of the political spectrum and you subscribe to or defend this kind of beliefs, this attitude that "they" are out to oubreed "us", you fit right in with the neo-Nazis. Why not go on over there and join them in earnest? They're looking for recruits. I'm sure they'll be happy to have you. And it will be easier for me to identify you if I can see a swastika tattooed right there on your big dumb forehead.

But if you're really NOT a racist, and NOT a bigot, and you find those swastika-wearing thugs abhorrent, then you'd better wake up and speak out. Wake up to the death of Marwa al-Sherbini. Speak out against bigotry. Wake up to the fizzing brew of insanity and inhumanity that got into the killer's blood. Start using free speech for its true purpose--denouncing--and stop defending racist and fascist blather on the grounds of freedom of speech simply because they're "unpopular". They're not, in fact. They're very popular indeed, as anyone who's been on the receiving end of the brutal end product of such speech could tell you...assuming s/he lived to tell the tale.

Marwa al-Sherbini did not.

Wankers of the Week: Ted Kennedy memorial edition

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This week, we honor a man who, like his brothers before him, made a career of public service. And who better to show what a public DISservice is, than those who dishonor him? Yes, folks...here are this week's public fappers, and here's this week's public thwap:

1. Andrew Fucking Breitbart. Please, people--don't get any "news" off his website, boycott his sponsors, and stay the fuck away from his Twitterings. You are feeding a booze-addled, pop-eyed, dough-bellied, frowsy-haired TROLL. Or, to quote Bitefart himself, "a special pile of human excrement". Class? Decorum? Compassion? Any virtue at all? Him no haz it.

2. Joseph Fucking Farah no haz any, either. Hairball remedy, Joe? You sound like you could use it. Also, heh.

3. And Joe, when you're done with the bottle of Hairball-B-Gone, don't forget to pass it around to these fucking conservatwits. Meghan McCain (who DOES haz class, and to spare) didn't spank those flying monkeys NEARLY hard enough.

4. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Figures the Pigman would gloat about Sen. Kennedy dying before the healthcare reform he advocated would pass. Guess what, OxyMoron--nobody's gonna visit your grave except maybe to dance and/or piss on it. Ted, like his brothers, will get pilgrims. Dust THAT on your stinky cigar and smoke it! We wanna hear you cough and wheeze your last REAL soon. (Better still, blow an artery on the air, you fat sack of shit. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a bottle of champagne waiting just for THAT occasion.)

5. Sarah Fucking Palin's Facebook "friends". Trollops one and all. Won't be missed when THEY are gone, either.

6. Andrew Fucking Klavan. Until now, I had never heard of this dickhead. I wish that were still the case. Oh well, another one who won't be missed when it comes time. Too bad that time won't come nearly soon enough.

7. Bob Fucking Owens, alias Confederate Yankee. Basically, shitty used-car salesman with a whiny accent, living in the North, bitter that the South ain't risin' agiiiiiiiin (and that he still ain't got hisself a brand-new barby-cue), takes out all his bilious ire on a corpse from Massachusetts. Once more, with feeling: Will not be missed, etc.

8. The Fucking Wankeress--er, sorry, I meant to type Anchoress. Say, aren't nuns supposed to take vows of poverty, chastity, and all that crap? What, then, is this one doing with a computer, ho'ing around in the wingnut blogosphere? Oh yeah: Chappafuckingquiddick. Self-righteousness blogged large. Jesus appropriately pissed. Have I said "won't be missed" yet?

9. Nick Fucking Gillespie. Someone please tell him that he just blowdried his own already feeble brains out. Ah well, won't be missed...but that vegetative state IS rather disturbing.

10. Jonah Fucking Goldberg. Srsly, who cares what the illegitimate spawn of LBJ "thinks" about anything? Won't be missed!

And in closing, I reiterate the mean thing "mauser" said at Dr. Dawg's blog. The only true bad thing anyone could say about Ted Kennedy, in my humble estimation. Sleep well, old lion.

August 28, 2009

Another nail for the imperial coffin

Or should that be a screw? You know, the kind they put to people when torturing them?

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Moral high ground: guess who no haz it.

According to the report, written by the CIA's former inspector general, John Helgerson, one CIA interrogator told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks that "We're going to kill your children" if there was another terror strike on US soil. Another interrogator allegedly tried to convince Abd al-Nashiri, who allegedly devised the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, that his mother would be sexually assaulted in front of him, a claim that the operative has denied.

[...]

US laws on torture forbid threatening a detainee with death. The report said that at least Mr al-Nashiri was hooded, handcuffed and threatened with a gun and a power drill. Another detainee was forced to listen to a gunshot in a nearby room, with the aim of making him think that a fellow detainee had just been executed.

Emphasis added.

The nice part is, this is all happening because citizens who believe in human rights for everyone did a little screw-putting of their own:

Mr Holder's decision was bolstered by a recommendation from his Justice Department's ethics office to reopen nearly a dozen alleged abuse cases. "I fully realise my decision ... will be controversial," Mr Holder said last night.

As Mr Holder reopens investigations into the actions of CIA interrogators, human rights groups and many Democrats are urging him also to focus on the Bush-era officials who, they claim, authorised the abusive methods. They are particularly focused on the Bush-era Justice Department lawyers who wrote legal guidelines for the CIA in 2002, redefining torture to allow techniques such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning, and severe physical abuse.

"The important thing now is that any action doesn't focus solely on the people who carried out the torture, but on the people who gave the orders and who wrote the legal memos which facilitated torture," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU.

Of course, they did it without torture.

There's a valuable lesson or two in here. Let's see if those who need it will learn it.

Colonel Benavides, terror of the Venezuelan oppos

Meet my newest hero:

His name is Antonio Benavides Torres, and he is a colonel in the Venezuelan national guard. Chavecito recently awarded him the country's highest honor--the Medal of the Liberator.

So what did Col. Benavides do to deserve it? Have a look:

What? No battle? No blood? No drama?

That's right. Col. Benavides kept the public peace. He played the music of Venezuela's most popular folk singer, the late Alí Primera, to counteract the ugly crap being blasted at the recent oppo demo. And when the oppos tried to provoke the national guard and the metropolitan Caracas police into starting a riot, the colonel wasn't having any of it. He grabbed a mike and told his troops not to fall into the trap--that this was an oppo strategy to generate violence and try to force the expulsion of President Chávez. When a reporter from oppo channel Globovisión tried to get in his face and provoke a direct confrontation, he headed her off and told her to get back and record her "ambient sound" from a respectful distance. Result: No drama--and no excuse to get rid of the president. And no satisfaction whatsoever for Globoterror's crew, who went away with their tails between their legs.

Peace, democracy and socialism win again. The End.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: The last man on horseback?

Chavecito's famous revolutionary ancestor, Maisanta, was the subject of a biography called The Last Man on Horseback. Well, looks like his great-grandson is following in his footsteps...er, better make that hoofprints:

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Looks like he's more than comfortable leading the cabalgata, himself:

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¡Arriba Chavecito!

August 27, 2009

Shaming us all as Canadians

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I have this shirt, BTW. And there is a very good reason why I have it...

As a Canadian, I am deeply ashamed.

I am ashamed of how, for all that we pride ourselves on our multiculturalism, when push comes to shove--when people from a culture the rest of us barely understand (if we understand it at all) are mistreated abroad--we, as Canadians, seem all too happy to shrug our shoulders and let it happen--that is, until the mistreated ones are forced to fight back to the point where we are all, collectively, embarrassed. And only then do those with the power to do something about it finally do the right thing. But they tend to do it in a too-little-too-late sort of way. And it's all because of the culture--or more correctly, cultures--of the mistreated ones.

Yes, people, I'm talking here about Canadian Muslims. People with names like Suaad Hagi Mohamud, or Abousfian Abdelrazik, or Maher Arar, or even Omar Khadr. They are all very different from one another, but they all have one thing in common: they are Muslims.

Well, actually, they have something else in common, too: They were neglected and/or shat upon by our own government precisely because they are Muslims.

Ever since 9-11, it's been hard to talk about Islam--what it really means, what it doesn't. It shouldn't be. There are over a billion Muslims in the world, and how many of them are hardcore, far-right, plane-smashing-into-buildings jihadists? As I recall, it only took 19 of them to pull off the infamous events of that day in 2001, plus a couple of paymasters wiring cash back and forth.

And there was not a vast conspiracy of the entire world of Islam behind them, no matter what any scaremongering turd from the punditocracy (or any screeching fruitbat from the blogosphere) says. Out of a billion or more people, only a few hundred or thousand have gone in for terror training; fewer still actually pulled off an attack. A great many one-time terror trainees have chickened out, and some have even informed on their erstwhile comrades.

But even these (who far outnumber the actual suicide bombers) are a very small subset. The majority abhor all terroristic behavior, calling it un-Islamic, and rightly so. Most of the world's Muslims in fact live by the laws of the land, even when those laws are secular, and they have no interest in imposing Sharia on non-believers--through terror or otherwise. Here in Canada, there was widespread misinterpretation of some proposed changes to Ontario's faith-based divorce arbitration law--changes that would have been inclusive of Muslims, but definitely did not impose "backdoor Sharia", as the screamers all feared it would. (The point later became moot when the Ontario goverment scrapped the proposal, mainly in response to pressure from all the screamers.)

Who was the real terrorist in Ontario's divorce-arbitration kerfuffle? Surprise: Not the Muslims. It was the screamers. They hijacked the debate with fear, loathing, and ultimately, sabotage. How very civilized, humanistic and Western of them! What a great example to the Muslims of the world...in how NOT to do things. It also must have confirmed every one of their suspicions that we are just as xenophobic and bigoted up here as any redneck south of the 49th Parallel. Not exactly a point of pride for any of us, unless you're a screamer--in which case you're chronically oblivious to how much of a shit you look to everyone else.

And all this screaming came out of the woodwork after 19 men crashed some jets on a bright September day. Just 19 of them, and what a panic they unleashed. It's crazy! The truth should be head-thumpingly obvious: The overwhelming majority of Muslims are not terrorists. But they are all being treated as terrorists by our government, and 9-11 is to blame. The fires of 9-11 have blinded half the world to what the other half is really thinking.

It doesn't help, either, when our government or its agents, in their zeal to root out terror plots, actually end up helping to foment them. They have done it either directly, as in the case of a group of misguided young men who planned a local 9-11, or indirectly, as when they agreed to go along with NATO and fight Unocal's pipeline wars in Afghanistan (thereby putting us on the shit list of precisely such groups as the one I just mentioned). Whether as entrappers or entrappees, our government just embarrasses the hell out of me whenever it pulls this thoughtless crap.

But what embarrasses me most is when our government willfully permits Canadian citizens, who just happen to be Muslim, to be abused abroad. Every one of the four Canadians I mentioned earlier was subjected to maltreatment ranging from unlawful imprisonment to torture. And had they been white Christians, it is very doubtful that they would have gone through any of that. Whatever one thinks of Islam (and I for one am very uncomfortable with the brand subscribed to by Omar Khadr's bat-shit crazy family, and relieved to know that it is actually very uncommon), one ought to realize that tolerating the imprisonment and torture of others simply because they're of a different religion is to perpetrate the same form of persecution that you are accusing that religion of doing!

And when you start with the persecution of one religion, where does it all end? You'll notice that on the t-shirt I posted above, there are symbols of not only Islam, but most of the world's other religions as well. There's a good reason for that.

Shortly after 9-11, the Hindu Samaj Temple in Hamilton, Ontario, was fire-bombed. Apparently the vandals who bombed it mistook it for a Muslim mosque. The fact that Hinduism and Islam have very little in common was no deterrent to the bombers--they saw brownish people in baggy clothing wandering in and out, and since the place looked faintly "exotic" and Eastern, well, what more reason did they need? Any religion that didn't conform to the Judeo-Christian canon was automatically suspect. A clearer case of panic-driven religious persecution would be hard to find.

And Hindus were not the only non-Islamic religious group to suffer. Sikhs also bore the brunt of the hysteria, thanks to the fact that traditionalist Sikh men wear turbans. And Jerry Falwell blamed pagans--uh, that would include little red-haired Wiccan ME--for angering God into "letting" 9-11 happen! I have icons and scriptures of many different religions kicking around my place. So you can kind of see why I'd get touchy enough to buy a shirt like that, eh?

And of course, me also being a Bad German, I'm rather keen on what Pastor Niemöller said. It was true then, and it's still true now; just substitute "Muslim" for "Jew".

Have we really progressed so little since the Middle Ages that we let this prejudice blind us to the rights of Muslim Canadians? I hope not. But with the way my own government has been acting (or NOT acting) toward them, I think you could forgive me for not holding my head as high as I'd like to (even when I'm wearing my bad-ass shirt). This selective blindness to injustice against Canadians abroad shames us all. And it shames us all as Canadians.

PS: Great minds, etc.

Most racist country in Latin America is...

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...PERU! Where shit like this gets published in "respectable" newspapers, no less:

So now you know. For those of you who still think of these 'ethnic groups' as 'good', 'naïve' and 'pure', I'll remind you that it was these same people who perfected the art of shrinking the heads of their enemies and wearing them on the belts holding up their loincloths. They couldn't do that with Congress. Their heads couldn't be shrunk any more than they already are. Anyway, if the 'natives' didn't shrink the heads of the policemen they killed and eat their remains, it was only because there wasn't time.

Not only that, these chunchos - who I've seen wearing well-made Lacoste t-shirts and polo shirts, as well as Adidas trainers - say that oil - which belongs to all Peruvians - shouldn't be exploited if it lies under what they call 'their' land. What a cheek! They're against logging for the same reason. And to cap it all, they don't want to pay taxes. Perfect! What do these policeman-murdering wretches think that the factories whose products they wear run on? Water? How do they think the medicines and hospitals, which you demand free-of-charge, are produced? As far as I'm concerned, they can get f**k*d, loincloths and all!

BTW, this isn't Correo's first offence. Check out what they had to say about a Quechua member of the Peruvian parliament. (They also have a history of printing their racist drivel without bylines, I see. Bad form, par for the course of bad journalism!)

Yep, they've really come a long way in Peru. The government has no qualms about driving people off their own land if there's oil underneath it; the murder and highway robbery gets excused with blahblah like "The oil belongs to all Peruvians" (except the indigenous, whom the tyrant president himself says are not real people.) The indigenous no longer shrink heads; now, the shrunken heads all sit on the shoulders of white so-called journalists who write blatantly racist EXCREMENT like the excerpt above, and they are shrunken by other whites who seriously believe that the native tribes know no more than 80 words apiece. (I'm not shitting. You can read the whole thing here; it gets no better as it goes along.)

Muchas gracias to Matt H. for the heads-up (no pun intended). As for the unnamed writer of the dreck, there's a special award for you, pal:

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Or if you can't do that, man up and put your name to it, so readers can see whose head to call for. (Pun very much intended.)

Mark your calendars for September 4, folks...

...because you won't want to blink and miss the latest farce the CIA and the Venezuelan oppos are cooking up:

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Oh look, there's a gun in that little plus sign. Do you think they're tipping their hand as to how they mean to "minus" him?

August 26, 2009

Harpo tries to gut Canadian democracy...AGAIN

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While everybody is screaming about Chavecito and his perfectly democratic and constitutional law reforms down in Venezuela, a sneak thief of Torydom up here is doing his damnedest to cut the guts out of ours without anyone knowing. And if it hadn't been for the Internets, and a Facebook group called I Support Public Campaign Financing, I'm sure fewer of us would know about this:

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attempt to cut off political party subsidies last year led to a very close brush with defeat, one might have thought the vote-tax debate would be dead and buried.

Think again.

It appears Manitoba cabinet minister Steven Fletcher has been tasked with promoting the idea all over again.

Fletcher -- the minister of state for democratic reform -- has been talking about gearing up to take on the vote tax again. He has indicated it is something his government still plans to pursue.

"We believe that political parties should support themselves with people who voluntarily donate to whichever party they wish to support," said Fletcher.

Of course, this bland logic completely skips over the fact that the Tories tend to woo the rich corporatist types, who count on them to push through "reforms" that benefit only one small sector of society--THEMSELVES.

It also ignores something else:

A year ago, the Liberal Party was absolutely reliant on the money from that allowance. The Liberals raised a little over $5.8 million in direct contributions but received $8.7 million in the per vote subsidy.

The Conservatives, in comparison, raised $21 million in donations and $10.4 million came from the vote tax. Losing $10 million would hurt but they would still have had four times as much money as their nearest opponent.

But with a new leader, a new fundraising plan and at least the appearance so far of a wider appeal with voters, the Liberals' financial fortunes have improved. In the first two quarters of this year the Liberals already surpassed their 2008 fundraising totals, registering $5.9 million in donations with Elections Canada.

Added to that, with the Liberals' 2008 elections showing so dismal, they are bringing in far less in the per-vote subsidy because they got 800,000 fewer votes. In 2009, they will raise $7.2 million in the vote tax subsidy. If they raise another $4 million in the third and fourth quarters, they will no longer be as reliant on the vote tax money.

Meaning, guess who would stand to LOSE the next election?

Now, I should come clean--I am not a Liberal voter. The current party is not the party of Pierre Trudeau, who patriated the Constitution and gave us our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These Liberals smell too much like Tory Lite. They are too centrist for me; too much talk and too little action on the social-issues front, and weak on the environment too (except for maybe Stéphane Dion, bless him and his dog, Kyoto.) I've been voting NDP for the past decade or so because they're the ones with the best combo of red and green. And yes, I've done it with the full awareness that they tend to split the progressive vote (oh, like the Greens don't?) and enable the Tories, as vote-splitting in Germany did for a certain Austrian PFC in Germany during the 1930s, to be first past the post despite losing the popular vote. If nothing else, voting NDP gives me a chance to say "Look, this Lib/Con duopoly is a farce--and here are the alternative votes to prove it."

Besides, I've voted Lib before--holding my nose the entire time. They still lost. That was it for me. Ever since then, I've voted my conscience.

And if you think that protest-vote element is a waste, you're missing more than just a few screws. The NDP have gained popularity, seats and even a new provincial government recently, and for anyone to claim they are only useful as a vote-splitter is to ignore the huge disaffectation that decade upon decade of red/blue spit-swapping and general inaction is generating. Add to that the ballooning Harper deficit, plus a recession (generated on Harpo's watch, while he and his fundie-fruitcake parliament were busy hitching their wagon to Dubya's death star), and the rising cost of living (gee, do you think privatization had anything to do with that?) and the poor quality of services received (ditto) and I'd say there's something very important for Jack Layton and Co. to capitalize upon. It could be the 1930s all over again, when hard times turned a lot of minds not-so-lightly toward socialism. If they can firm up their progressive agenda beyond vague talk, they'd have a real fighting chance. They might even surprise everybody by collecting lots of mom-and-pop donations, Obama style (remember, Obama's campaign folks were at the recent NDP convo in Halifax) and if that happened, it would be even worse news for the Tories--and Iggy, too, who is just Harpo Lite at the end of the day.

So, what is to be done in the meantime? Well, if this bad penny comes up in Parliament again, I think we'll be seeing something like this, only this time, in earnest:

Last November, you might remember, Conservative plans to cut off the per-vote subsidy which parties get led to a near meltdown of Parliament. The opposition parties accused the government of trying to use the threat of a recession to kill off its opponents by bankrupting them. Then the Liberals, NDP and Bloc banded together to form a coalition and were prepared to vote down the government and take over.

And this time, I don't think our lovely and talented Governor-General will be in any mood to prorogue. Especially if hundreds of thousands of angry Canadians converge on Parliament HIll to ask, not so rhetorically, where the hell their votes have gone.

Debunking the profiteers' lies about healthcare

First, The Real News does an excellent job (as does Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the man who should have been president) of debunking those who claim Canadians are suffering under "state-mandated wait times":

Now, a little something courtesy of Public Values:

A new poll conducted by Nanos Research points to overwhelming support (86.2 percent) for strengthening public health care rather than expanding for-profit services. "With more than eight in ten Canadians supporting public solutions to make public healthcare stronger, there is compelling evidence that Canadians across all demographics would prefer a public over a for-profit healthcare system," said Nik Nanos, President of Nanos Research. Nanos Research was commissioned on behalf of the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) to conduct a random telephone survey of 1001 Canadians between April 25th and May 3rd. The margin of accuracy for a sample of 1,001 is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

As well, the federal government just released its report: Healthy Canadians - A Federal Report on Comparable Health Indicators 2008. Its findings identically mirrored the CHC polling results. In that report, a leading indicator pointed to the fact that, "Most Canadians (85.2 percent) aged 15 years and older reported being 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied' with the way overall health care services were provided, unchanged from 2005."

"Throughout our campaign, Canadians have told us they want to keep our health care system public and to improve it with made-in-Canada solutions. They also have told us they flat-out reject Dr Ouellet's proposal to provide us with American-style two-tier medicine. This poll certainly underlines that for us. Eighty-six percent is a significant portion of the population," said Michael McBane, National Coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition. "It is striking that Dr Ouellet could be so out-of-touch with the pulse of most Canadians."

If a doctor can't even take a patient's pulse correctly, is that not grounds for him to lose his medical licence? If not, I don't know what is.

Maybe Canadians need to be allowed to vote for who gets to head the CMA, too.

Guns don't kill people, pillows do!

Especially if they're in the hands of someone a serious gun collector misguidedly trusts:

Retired attorney Carl Kuhn was 82 when he died at home, so no one doubted his sons when they said for public consumption that he had died of natural causes.

But all the while, they knew that DuPage County detectives thought something was suspicious and had opened a homicide investigation. The house, near Bartlett in unincorporated DuPage County, appeared to have been ransacked, Assistant State's Atty. Robert Berlin said.

Sheriff's investigators were interested in a phone call that Kuhn received earlier that day from Terry Bratcher, 43, an ex-con who had become close friends with his former attorney, often visiting the much older man's house, working on his cars and taking him out to movies.

Kuhn had become so close with his former client that Bratcher was welcome to enter Kuhn's home without knocking, said Kuhn's son Eric.

On Tuesday, Bratcher and Keith Allen, 21, were facing murder charges, accused of smothering Kuhn with a pillow. The victim was an avid gun collector, and Allen and Bratcher took 43 guns during the home invasion Friday, officials said. The weapons were later found in Bratcher's garage in West Chicago, authorities said.

"My dad trusted him," said Eric Kuhn, 47, the oldest of three sons. "The hardest part of this whole thing is this wasn't someone who just wanted to steal my father's guns or someone who just wanted money. ... They didn't kick open the door; my father opened it and let them in."

So much for the notion that owning guns, lotsa guns, will protect you against robbery and murder. In the case of poor old Mr. Kuhn, guns were the motive for the murder. Since he knew and trusted his own killer, he never thought to use one against him. And now, that pricey gun collection is out there on the streets, wreaking God only knows how much havoc.

Somehow, though, I just can't see the NRA putting that on a bumper sticker.

Chavecito welcomes Noam Chomsky

Video in Spanish, but you can hear the English translation if you listen with earphones.

He calls him "one of the greatest defenders of peace in the world." Chomsky's response is characteristically modest. But his analysis is as astute as ever--Venezuela is indeed showing what kind of better world is possible--and it's confounding even the expectations of the bizmedia, who keep hollering that it's going to collapse. And who keep having to eat their words while watching "model" economies tanking again and again, while Venezuela keeps going steadily upwards.

I wonder if they're going to misreport what Chavecito said about Galbraith again, and claim that he must be unstable because Chomsky is obviously alive and well and standing right next to him. If they do, it will be proof that THEY are unstable and not to be trusted to shape public opinion, because they can't even report the facts accurately. (Not that you and I didn't suspect as much already, eh reader?)

August 25, 2009

Stupid Sex Tricks: German announcer professionalism fail

He makes a bad double entendre and grabs at her boobs. She calls him a "total idiot" on camera. And that's not all she does.

Atta gal!

Stupid Sex Tricks: Woohoo, Back to School!

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Actually, these could come in handy for high school sex ed, assuming it's not abstinence-only. (That would be an Epic Fail. Abstinence-only always is.)

PS: And this is why those condoms should be on the agenda for sex ed:

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...along with a lengthy lecture on why pregnancy at 14 is NEVER a good idea.

Quotable: Soseki Natsume on bullies

"It is of course true that the human creature characteristically prides itself on its self-reliance. However, it would be more exact to say that the creature, knowing it can't rely upon itself, would very much like to believe that it could and is consequently never at ease with itself until it can give a practical demonstration to some other such creature of how much it can rely upon itself. What's more, those endowed with the least intelligence and those least sure of themselves are precisely those who seize upon the least opportunity to demonstrate their entitlement to some sort of certificate of prowess. One can observe the same phenomenon in the world of judo, whose devotees, every so often, feel the need to heave someone or other over their buttocks and smack them down on the ground. The least proficient of these dedicated cross-buttockers wander about their neighborhoods looking for someone, even someone not of their quaint fraternity, upon whose weaker person they can demonstrate their superiority in using their bottoms to sling the upright flat on their backs."

--Soseki Natsume, I Am a Cat

I can haz sk8brd, pls?

Mmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeoooooooooowwwwwwwwww...

Just be thankful they don't have opposable thumbs, people. Just be thankful.

Because if they did, this is what would happen:

I can haz sk8brd skillz like kitteh, pls?

August 24, 2009

Fun with Wikileaks: US Nazis get popped

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Wikileaks has received a cache of "private" e-mails from a white-supremacist mailing list. There's no shortage of hilarity on it (Book club night, anyone? How about a Nigerian-style scam e-mail from Bahrain?) and scary shit (they're breeding! Alert Children's Aid!) I see they also do an awful lot of infighting, which is good, because at least if they're too busy feuding amongst themselves, their energy is dissipated and their danger to society is greatly reduced. But what got my attention is what gets tagged onto the bottom of all their sludge:

The information in this email is confidential and may be legally privileged. Furthermore, the NSM is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the NSM's views or opinions. Access to this email by anyone other than the intended addressee is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, any review, disclosure, copying, distribution, retention, or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this mail in error, please destroy the copy in your possession and notify: commander@newsaxon.org

Now, why would they issue this "legal" disclaimer that urges people to destroy the message (which is ludicrous in light of the fact that hard drives tend to retain them unless the entire disk is expertly scrubbed)? And why the bogus "prohibition" language? This must be what's known as Plausible Deniability. Which no doubt, comes in handy when you're coyly calling for a coup:

This email is not a calling for a putsch, revolution, or violence of any type, those types of actions will not be necessary; nonetheless, certain events will naturally occur and will need to be taken advantage of by all of us. (...)

Gentlemen, for too long only one race has made gains in their freedom and survival. That race has not been ours. If you look at things objectively, you will see that all of you have been fighting a good fight but our race is losing ground at a very fast rate; Obama running for President is evidence of that. We have a great opportunity in front of us and we need to ensure it is recognized for what it is and can be. The Fuhrer made great strides by knowing when and where to put his foot down, what moves to make and we need to follow his example.

Ha, ha--yeah, RIGHT. In yer dreams, fellas. You forget just what the crappy PFC from Braunau was really made of. His "example" began in violence and ended in suicide, remember?

I hope you enjoy explaining it to the FBI. Assuming they haven't got their hands full with Hal Fucking Turner. The SPLC is all over you guys already.

In any event, this "privacy" disclaimer is useless. It's a mailing list that anyone can join (and scammers can post to!), therefore you can assume it has about as much "privacy" attached as one of those notices with the tear-off phone numbers that one often finds stapled to hydro poles.

In other words, the NSM88 is so toast. And I am so laughing.

August 23, 2009

Search called off for Ryan Jenkins

...onaccounta he's dead, Jim:

Fugitive Ryan Jenkins, wanted in the murder of his swimsuit model ex-wife, has been found dead in British Columbia, RCMP confirmed Sunday evening at a news conference in Surrey, B.C.

Sgt. Duncan Pound, spokesman for the RCMP's federal border integrity program said the police force "is able to confirm that a deceased person that was found in a motel in Hope, B.C., is in fact Ryan Jenkins." He said it appears as if Jenkins took his own life.

Hope is 135 kilometres east of Vancouver.

I could make all kinds of puns about that aptly named town, but I won't. One dead sleazebag isn't going to change the culture much.

Still, I'm honestly not sorry to hear about this.

Especially in light of this video I just found, posted by the suicide to his MySpace page on August 9:

Ugh. Yeah, I bet he "loved" both. To death.

The comments on this video are awesome, too--a lot of them are guys blaming HER. See why I say the sexist culture needs to die?

Quotable: Glenn Greenwald on Lanny Davis and political sleaze

"Lanny Davis is just a face that reflects the grime and sleaze that lies at the core of our political culture. But it's a rather vivid face for what is typically meant by Centrism (i.e., it's shrill and irresponsible to suggest there's anything fundamentally wrong with our political culture); Civility (it's rude and disrespectful to highlight the oozing conflicts of interests and paid whoredom which animate our leading political luminaries); and Bipartisanship (the same narrow set of corporate forces always prevail no matter which party is in "control" by constantly paying those who control those parties). As unpleasant as it is, that's why there's value in casting one's eyes on how Lanny Davis functions."

--Glenn Greenwald, at Salon.com

Foreign Policy finally says something vaguely un-sucky

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Quick, hide all the rapturists! I do believe the world is coming to an end, and I don't want them to know that Jesus is about to disappoint them. Foreign Policy, Moises Naim's neoliberal rag-o-shite, has actually blogged something vaguely (a) coherent, (b) sane, and (c) that doesn't totally suck. Because (d) it actually has something to say in (modest) defence of a country and president it usually only attacks.

As El Duderino has found, the Guardian is moving steadily to the Stoopid, particularly with this throwaway travel piece by a Brit with wayyyyyy too many euros on his sticky little hands. And waaaaayyyyyy too many drugs on his sticky little brain.

Apparently, the Guardian's correspondent, Jonathan Franklin, doesn't care for what's really going on in Bolivia right now, such as the big deal Evo signed with his Brazilian buddy Lula to jointly build a new highway joining the departments of Cochabamba--a deal worth $330 million US. Lula also had some rather nice things to say about Evo and Bolivia--something about people struggling all their lives for the liberation they are realizing now. Something Jonathan Franklin couldn't be bothered to listen to, probably because it was in Portuguese and that's for wogs. There was also a lot of talk about regional integration--again, not interesting because it was in Spanish, and that too is for wogs. (And wonks.) And definitely, DEFINITELY to be avoided was all talk of the great success the Bolivian anti-drug police force, the FELCN, have been having against illegal coca growing operations and cocaine production labs (all, apparently, run by either well-known baddies of the Bolivian bourgeoisie, or foreigners--mainly Colombian and Peruvian.) The FELCN's success has skyrocketed since the DEA was kicked out, something Mr. Franklin couldn't be bothered even to google. I guess that stuff is just too boring. (Especially when cheap coke is on the menu and the tourists are just snarfing it up, eh?)

And let's not even get started on that bunch of foreign mercenaries the federal police killed in Santa Cruz before those terrorists got a chance to kill Evo. That's not boring, but because the "wrong" cops succeeded--and that pesky little coca-chewing Injun is still alive and chewing coca, just like his ancestors all did--this story, too, is off limits.

But hey, it's not like there's any shortage of other excitement in the region! He could have picked any number of colorful cultural things going on in Bolivia, like the catfight over the Diablada dance that's broken out between Bolivia and neighboring Peru, or maybe something quirky which locals and tourists alike are lapping up, like cholita pro wrestling. But noooooo. Jonathan Franklin apparently thought the whole cocaine-bar story was just too sexy to pass up, and who is he to pass up such a line? (Oops, bad pun.) Hey, if it's told to you in nudges and winks by a red-eyed gringo with powdery nostrils and a hyperactive tongue, it must be good, right? Right? Right???

Um, no.

This is the sort of story anyone staying in a luxury hotel could pick up. Just because a place is clandestine doesn't mean it's hard to find. And if it caters specifically to Eurotrash tourists with too much money and too few brain cells, how hard can it possibly be? Sure, it's word of mouth, but talk is cheaper than coke. It flows faster when someone's high on coke, too. This is not crack journalism. (Pun again!) This little fluff piece is as disposable as the packets the bar's "menu" came in.

But what really proved the final straw (bad pun again!) for Foreign Policy's blogger was the insinuation that Evo's "coca yes, cocaine no" policy was actually helping, not hurting, the local Colombian marching-powder industry. So he wrote this response which, while not exactly kick-ass, was nonetheless rather decent. It could have gone into more depth, but hey--it's blogging. And for Foreign Policy, it's a start. Maybe one day they'll get off their Kool-Aid trip altogether.

As for Jonathan Franklin, I have but one thing to say to you...

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Pls n thx.

PS: Don't miss T'anta Wawa's beeyooteeful takedown of the nonsense of the Guardian piece.

Another day, another march in Venezuela

Venezuela's got a new education law in the works--the Organic Law of Education ("organic", in this sense, refers to any law with a direct constitutional basis). To hear the screaming lamestream media up here tell it, there is widespread opposition to it. But what they keep neglecting to say is that the support for this new law is at least twice as widespread, as this march in favor (photographed by Arturo Alejandro for Aporrea) demonstrates:

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Just to give you some idea of the size of the crowd.

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Uncle Sam was there!

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So were these Peruvians, carrying their flag.

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This guy told the photographer he used to be an Adeco (supporter of the old Acción Democrática party, which is now but a shadow of its former self, thanks to four decades of corruption, murder, torture and toadying to the bankers.) He has since seen the light, as his appearance demonstrates. He's even got a pocket-size Chavecito figure!

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"Ask the DEA and you'll see--Uribe, the empire's fool, is the US's Narcotrafficker #82."

No shit, the lamestream media up here has even reported that.

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Simón Bolívar ¡PRESENTE!

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And of course, no Chavista march would be complete without a larger-than-life cut-out of Chavecito. This one has arms that move, doing his signature palm-punching victory salute.

Finally, here's some video to show how peaceful this demo was:

So what were the oppos up to, you wonder? Well, they too turned out for their own little march. But they weren't having nearly as much fun, though apparently not for lack of firecrackers:

They threw rocks and bottles at the police, who were not carrying guns. Funny how those people just can't ever seem to have a march without violence breaking out. And even funnier how the lamestream media up here can't seem to report that part for shit.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
--attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

Music for a Sunday: A little breeze from Cuba

A lively yet understated version of a great classic by Carlos Puebla.

And one sent to me by a friend who, like me, is waiting for another revolution of conscience and justice, this time on mainland North America. Since torture has happened/is happening at Gitmo (though not at Cuban hands!), it still relates to Cuba, too.

May the winds of change get blowing in earnest, now.

August 22, 2009

Wankers of the Week: Fascists and Apologists edition

First, a little keynote address by the Reverend Keith Olbermann:

Big breath. Yes, kiddies, Auntie Bina has a big, bad, UGLY mad...and these people are it this week:

1. and 2. Hal Fucking Turner and his (as yet unnamed) FBI paymaster(s). Why in hell would you pay someone to spout Nazism, racism and hate, hate, hate? In a word, ENTRAPMENT. I would sure love to see how many actual flies their sticky paper has caught. The current round of loonies cropping up at town-hall meetings with guns strapped to their legs tells me one thing for sure: They haven't caught nearly enough. And I wouldn't be surprised if they've actually created a few fresh ones where none existed before. Good luck catching them, FBI, you're gonna need it.

3. And while we're on the subject of hate speech, all those freedom-of-screechers who defend hate speech as "free", but don't want to do a thing about it. Or its consequences. Other than defend it, that is. (I'm looking at you, Michael Fucking Orozco. BTW, you're contradicting yourself when you say it was his job to get others acting out so the FBI could bust 'em, but at the same time, that he wasn't telling them to take a gun and go shoot. Wha...?)

You people, you free-speech absolutists, absolutely sicken me. When you defend the propagation of hate, you defend murder. How many lynchings do there have to be before you people wake up to the fact that hate speech is oppression, not freedom? Auntie Bina is German, you see, and a bad one, too, so she knows from family experience about these things and what they can lead to.

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Weimar Germany had freedom of speech, too. Wonder what happened to it? One thing's for sure: they never got it all the way back. Today, human rights trump the individual right to babble like an idiot, and that is as it should be. Now, if the government would only enforce the law properly (and the police would stop protecting the neo-Nazis!), there'd be no need for the anti-fa to do the job for them.

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3 1/2. And yes, the ACLU is absolutely wrong on this issue, too--this week, any week. When will they learn that it's worse than useless to go to bat for anyone who only ever plays foul? The neo-Nazis are forever biting the ACLU hand that just goes on feeding them. Kindness hasn't killed that monster yet.

Nice historical revisionism you got going there, too, ACLU. And would you kindly explain this to me? I thought you guys were about freedom. Why is it okay to be a Nazi in the US, but not a commie? Probably for the same reason it's okay for the ACLU to get Weimar Germany's well-known history of free-speech absolutism and weak commitment to democracy so terribly wrong. And why it's also okay for the ACLU to go back on its noble tradition of free-speech-defending when its own members get too critical of, you guessed it, the ACLU.

4. This crazy teabagger bitch right here:

She yelled "Heil Hitler" at an Israeli Jew praising Israel's national healthcare program. (Which, incidentally, is one of the few things Israel still has to be proud of.) Even more bizarre, she's wearing an IDF t-shirt! Yes, folks, there's now really such a thing as Jewish Nazis. And they have no idea how fucking cuckoo they are. (Someone please pass them a copy of Vonnegut's Mother Night, wouldya? Or better still, remind them that free state healthcare also applies to the mental kind.)

5. And while we're on the subject of crazy teabagger bitches:

Project much, Little Sister of Wanker #4? Fortunately, we've got Barney Frank to put you in your place. Well done, Barney.

6. And speaking of projectors, how about Glenn Fucking Beck? Basically, this is Hal Fucking Turner with a high-visibility job and a slightly more weaselly way with words. He may be losing sponsorships, but that's nothing; he's still got his job. He, too, is an inciter, and worse, he's got a vast national news network behind him. Firing's too good for him, unless you're talking about the squad kind.

7. Tom Fucking Ridge. "Just following orders" didn't work at Nürnberg, either, Rainbow Ridge. You and Dick and Tater all need to take your lumps the way you did everything else: TOGETHER.

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8. This blogging birther handjob right here. Newsflash: The more you love and support Sarah Fucking Palin, the more you're wasting your fucking time. I don't know why anyone would be supporting quitters who've done nothing but wasted public money, racked up ethics scandals, and spouted reams of fascist stupidity. And the more I see of blogs like yours, the more I'm glad I fired all popes of organized religion two decades ago. As I recall, Hitler and Mussolini were Catholics in a secular world, too...and threatened by it...and never, not even posthumously, excommunicated by the Vatican that still secretly loves them to this day.

And, BTW, Nanook of the Nazis is not Catholic, she's a fundie who'd burn you guys at the stake because you're not the "right" kind of Christers, and she'd probably crucify Jesus all over again if he came back because, let's face it, he's a socialist. How much support can you waste? Gawd, how sad to be born without two working brain cells to rub together.

9. and 10. The Fucking CIA and Fucking Blackwater. In bed together--what did you expect? The CIA has long been Corporate Amurrica's enforcement arm in the world, and with the privatization of its functions by Blackwater (however inept), the snake has truly bitten its own tail. Most inadvertently revealing quote of the entire piece? Step right up, Jack Fucking Devine:

Jack Devine, a 32-year veteran of the CIA's clandestine operations office, said Thursday that the government should be extremely cautious about outsourcing lethal and sensitive CIA operations--in part because those are important capabilities the spy agency should be developing in-house, but also because it looks bad if the operation becomes public.

"If it won't pass the giggle test, you don't want to be involved in it," Devine said.

Yeah, why let the private sector go around covertly killing people for profit when the CIA can do it just as well for at least an equally big bite out of the public purse? I mean, what have they been doing since their inception, anyway? And they've been doing it for the private sector's benefit, to boot.

Why does the private sector hate Big Fucking Brother? Why does Big Fucking Brother hate himself? Buncha fucking ingrates.

11. The Fucking Dissociated Press, yet again. Christ, five reporters on a story, and none of them managed to get out there and interview some oppressed Hondurans who miss having an elected president and a working democracy? No word on the rising death count from the roving death squads, either. But they DO think it worthwhile to regurgitate fascist drivel from Bolivia's second-ugliest douchebag, Rubén Costas--to demonstrate that there was a (nonexistent) "legal precedent" for the coup, or perhaps to create one for a bunch of Bolivian putschists who currently have nada? One might start to get the impression that the AP is being an apologist for something...

12. Betsy Fucking McCaughey. Who she? Oh, only the bitch who gave Sarah Fucking Palin that "death panel" meme in the first place. Seems she's had a little conflict of interest between her pose as a neutral policy reseacher and her true nature, as a rabid right-wing shill for a drug company. From the relevant press release:

CANTEL MEDICAL CORP. (NYSE: CMN - News) announced that on August 20, 2009 it received a letter of resignation from Ms. Elizabeth McCaughey as a director of the Company. Ms. McCaughey, who had served as a director since 2005, stated that she was resigning to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest during the national debate over healthcare reform.

Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE: CMN - News) is a leading provider of infection prevention and control products in the healthcare market. Our products include specialized medical device reprocessing systems for renal dialysis and endoscopy, dialysate concentrates and other dialysis supplies, disposable infection prevention and control products primarily for the dental industry, water purification equipment, sterilants, disinfectants and cleaners, hollow fiber membrane filtration and separation products for medical and non-medical applications, and specialty packaging for infectious and biological specimens. We also provide technical maintenance for our products and offer compliance training services for the transport of infectious and biological specimens. For more information please visit http://www.cantelmedical.com.

Emphasis added.

Yeah, I can kind of see a conflict there. I mean, it's very easy for one to appear like a right-wing shill for the for-profit health sector when one IS one. She should have been made to resign BOTH positions. Instead, she's still in the one where she will end up doing the most damage.

And finally, to "Erin", who expects an apology from me (ain't gonna happen, because there's nothing to apologize for): WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM, GIRL? If you don't understand yet that what happened in Santa Cruz was the unravelling of a murder plot orchestrated by Branko and Co., do yourself a favor: Just shut the fuck up and read this blog first, THEN comment--when you have an INFORMED opinion. Till then, you're nothing but a fascist apologist. And a damned sorry piece of racist human waste. (Figures your IP shows you're at Regent University--the worst and most racist unaccredited brainwashing hole in the US of A!)

And that's it for this week. I'll let Bart here have the final word, since he knows what freedom of speech really is, and how to use it correctly:

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Ugh

Ryan Jenkins is even more grotesque than I had originally thought. Get a load of this:

When Jasmine Fiore's body was found in a Dumpster in Buena Park, Calif., Aug. 15, her fingers had been cut off at the second knuckle and all of her teeth had been pulled out. But authorities were still able to identify the swimsuit model from the serial numbers on her breast implants.

"We actually have had several cases where we identified the victim or the defendant in that way," Orange County District Attorney spokeswoman Susan Schroeder tells PEOPLE. She says implants carry serial numbers "because of the potential for recalls."

Yeah, in Orange County just about every female over 16 has a boob job, so I can see how that would happen.

But--ugh!--the mutliation of the body is something you could only call sadistic--or, if you're acquainted with criminal minds, you might call it sadistically devious. The killer seems to have taken great pains to make sure his ex-wife couldn't be identified by the more usual means--fingerprinting and dental charts. Unfortunately, he forgot all about her gazongas. Those are a lot harder to rip out, especially if you're in a hurry to get across the 49th Parallel.

But still, point taken: Ryan doesn't like women, no matter how much he likes to schtup them. (He was in treatment for sex addiction, but they somehow missed the misogyny that was fueling the rush.) I'm sure he got a perverse pleasure out of disfiguring a pretty girl who had the audacity to deny him his every want and whim, all the more so since she was safely dead and unable to stop him anymore. Do I need to remind you that with misogynists and thrill killers, it's the power, not the sex, that is the real addiction? And that rape, killing and dismemberment are the ultimate demonstrations of power and control?

BTW, if this is to be believed, the killer is apparently having a killer time in the clubs somewhere, most likely in Vancouver. Which is just a double ugh. So, ladies, here's his picture again:

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And here's another, so you can know just what expression you're likely to see when you encounter him:

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Would you buy a used car from him? No? How about a new condo? Look into his eyes, and ye shall know all.

And if he approaches you ANYWHERE, politely excuse yourself and CALL. THE. POLICE!!! If it's him, there could be a nice reward in it for you. (Besides the satisfaction of knowing you've helped save other women from a similar fate, of course.)

PS: Big boos to the Dissociated Press for misreporting that Jenkins was chased by the US coast guard. Only halfway down the piece do they finally get to the critical part where coastal authorities on both sides of the border say no, there was NOT a chase. Come on, guys, can't you get even THIS story right?

PPS: No, he wasn't arrested in Toronto, either. But word is his dad owns property in Honduras. I wouldn't trust the putschists currently in charge there to put much effort into extraditing him, though, if he does show up--treaty or no treaty. They've kind of got their hands full trying to make out like they, too, are not sadistic killers.

August 21, 2009

Michael Moore is at it again!

This one promises to be even more explosive than the last...which was more explosive than the last...which was...

Jeez. Where is there left for this man to go? He's taken the mick out of the Big Three, out of gun nuts, out of 9-11, out of the insurance industry, and now, capitalism itself.

And have I told you lately how much I love him?

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Sorry, still no word on El Ecuadorable...

...because as far as I know, he's still under observation after his security chief came down with the flu. (Sorry, Otto, I'm tryin', but that studly muffin ain't showin'!)

However, there's plenty of other adorable out there today. Evo, as always, doesn't disappoint:

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Who's cuter, the little girl...or the Little Injun That Could?

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(I know. It's quite the conundrum, isn't it?)

August 20, 2009

"I am not dumb now!"

A 1930 newsreel of Helen Keller and her teacher-companion, Annie Sullivan, explaining in brief how Helen went from a blind-deaf-mute to a woman with the power of vocal speech, the means of expression--and a remarkable eloquence that turned her into one of the foremost feminists and socialists of the day. The use of the word "dumb", here, is the old one--meaning speechless, not stupid.

As one can see by her writings and speeches, Helen Keller was formidably intelligent. Many biographers now prefer to focus on the individualistic "miracle" aspect of her learning to communicate without sight or hearing, rather than the logical outcome of it--namely, Helen's free and progressive mind. Her politics are often bowdlerized or misrepresented, if they are mentioned at all, because they are so unfashionable--and so threatening to corporate interests, now more than ever.

One wonders what she'd have said about the way the 'wingers are now doing their stupid best to derail all hope of universal, publicly funded healthcare in the states. What would she say to their corporate-backed fascist "tea parties", which are so contrary to what the REAL Boston Tea Party was about? I suspect she'd have blasted them.

How we need the likes of her today!

August 19, 2009

Another innocent woman killed by sexism and sleaze

The word "ladykiller" has taken on a very literal meaning:

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Meet Ryan Jenkins...skeezy rich dude, wannabe "player", and reality show contestant. And tonight, a wanted man for all the wrong reasons.

A former Calgarian being sought by California police in the death of a model pleaded guilty to assault in his hometown three years ago.

Police in Buena Park, a city southeast of Los Angeles, are looking for Ryan Jenkins, 32, as a "person of interest" in the death of Jasmine Fiore, 28.

A man looking for recyclable materials in a metal trash bin found Fiore's naked body in a suitcase on Saturday morning. Police said she appears to have been strangled.

Fiore's mother, Lisa Lepore, said the couple got married in Las Vegas in March but got the union annulled in May. She said Jenkins convinced Fiore to take him back.

Jenkins reported Fiore missing to the Buena Park Police Department on Saturday evening. Police said she was last seen with Jenkins in San Diego on Friday.

Lt. Gary Worrall said investigators have not been able to contact Jenkins, and they fear he may be headed back to Canada before they can question him.

"We find it suspicious that with all the media coverage that he has not made himself available to us," he said.

Suspicious? Yeah, I should say so. If he were innocent, he'd have nothing to hide. Instead, his ex-wife's body was found hidden in a trash dumpster, and Ryan himself is in hiding God knows where. Plus, there are a lot of hinky details, like a nasty text message he is believed to have sent to Jasmine's former boyfriend, whom she had a date with the night she vanished. Somehow, I just can't believe he's innocent of anything.

BTW, here's the late Jasmine Fiore, Ryan's ex:

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Jasmine Fiore must have been the sweetest person on Earth, and I don't doubt that she was, but it's hard to see the humanity when you're looking at someone in a profession that objectifies women quite literally, turning them into props rather than people. (Especially if the one looking is a certain type of male.) It may not have been her idea to look like that, but someone probably told her she'd get more modelling jobs if she did; she was in a very conformist industry, where women are often interchangeable as far as their looks go. She didn't deserve to die, but that look, that artifice, must have made it all too easy for someone to think that she was just a doll to play with and then cast aside. It's a look that a certain type of guy gravitates to. A certain type of guy you wouldn't normally take home to meet your parents no matter how rich and prominent he appears to be. In fact, a certain type of guy that most women rightly avoid taking home anyway, not to meet their parents but for whatever reason...because he's one of those:

According to court records in Calgary, Jenkins pleaded guilty to assault in 2006. There are reports the victim was his girlfriend at the time. Jenkins was given a conditional discharge which he fulfilled with 15 months of probation and court-ordered counselling.

Aha, so Ryan has a record. It figures; men who kill women have a prior history of violence. None of them ever do it just out of the blue.

It also appears that his court-ordered counselling didn't "take". Too bad. If it had, he wouldn't have gotten all these grandiose notions:

Jenkins moved from Calgary to Los Angeles to appear as a contestant on a reality TV show called Megan Wants a Millionaire.

The show features 17 wealthy men, each with a net worth of more than $1 million, competing for the affections of model named Megan Hauserman. It had aired three episodes by this week, and Jenkins had emerged as a fan favourite on the show's online discussion boards.

"The show completed production at the end of March. Given the unfortunate circumstances, VH1 has postponed any future airings," said the network in a statement on Wednesday.

"This is a tragic situation and our thoughts go out to the victim's family."

In addition, VH1 pulled Jenkins' biography and photo from the show's website.

Fiore's mother said Jenkins had his eyes on stardom.

"He had stars in his eyes," Lepore said. "He was totally jazzed, like, being a star."

I don't wonder that this show was pulled. Not only that, but this creep was a contestant--and reportedly a winner--of another reality show as well, called I Love Money 3. He had a meteoric rise to wealth, piggybacking on the coattails of his dad, a pricey Calgary architect and condo developer. (He's still apparently listed here, too, although he's lost his licence. Hmmm.) That, and his apparent lust for fame (and multiple women) made him a "natural" for these grotesque shows. It's the skanky "player" ethos writ large: get as many pretty girls as you can, and don't let a little thing like their humanity and their rights stand in your way. You're a rich guy, so of course you deserve it--women are just trophies anyway, right?

Ugh.

I don't go in for "reality" shows, precisely because of that nauseous blend of vapidity and voyeurism; it's the same thing that turns me off of porn. It's not sexy. It's sad. It's like orchestrating a car wreck just so you can see the blood.

And it's saddest because of the effect it tends to have on people--an effect no one even seems to notice until it's too late. That's because the effect is deeply embedded in our society, and in our culture. It was this way long before any of these glorified game shows ever aired.

Back in my early teens, there was a huge hoopla up here over the death of another beautiful, blond model who wasn't exactly a fashion icon either, because her brand of modelling involved very little clothing, and wasn't designed to sell anything but magazines. She was a Playboy centrefold girl named Dorothy Stratten. She, too, was killed by her estranged husband, who was a sleazeball to end them all. He was so sleazy that Hugh Hefner himself characterized him as "a hustler and a pimp". Stratten got tired of her ex's abuse, separated from him, and moved in with movie director Peter Bogdanovich, and that's when her troubles spiralled out of control. Her ex, livid that he couldn't have her anymore, decided that no one else would, either. After he shot her, he turned the gun on himself, probably to evade capture and punishment. It was the ultimate objectification of a sweet girl who'd already become a sex object in record time.

And yes, Dorothy's ex, too, had a prior history of violence and abuse. Here's an account by a former girlfriend, who is undoubtedly thankful she got away.

Dorothy Stratten's death was the subject of two hit songs, both written by Bryan Adams: "Cover Girl", recorded by Vancouver rock group Prism, and "The Best Was Yet to Come", by Adams himself. Here's the latter, which I'll dedicate to Jasmine Fiore:

As with Dorothy, Jasmine Fiore is the human being who was lost and discarded amid all the phony glitz and self-serving sleaze. May the truth come to light, and may Jasmine get the justice she deserves. May her family find comfort and may they not grieve her loss alone. For they are not alone. All around the world, every day, women are being killed by men, never deserving it--except, of course, in the deranged minds of their killers, who were made that way by being told, somewhere, somehow, that it was okay to treat a woman as chattel. All the more so if she is pretty, as these two ladies were.

No woman should be abused because of how she looks, and no woman--no matter what she does for a living--deserves to die in this way, objectified, degraded, then dumped in the trash. Let's stop pampering that big fat male ego and demolish the social norms that make this sort of murder so sickeningly common. In other words: Let's kill sexism so that sexism never kills again.

This one's just for you, Carl...

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A couple of days ago, a flying monkey 'winger calling himself Carl pooped on this entry here. I had written out a nasty little reply, but I've had sober second thoughts, and what's more, I've a hell of a lot more to say today. Since that entry's about to roll off the front page with the posting of this one, I'll copy out for you exactly what he crapped so you can see for yourself how ridiculous it is, even just on the face of it:

I honestly hope that fucking thug Chavez tires to invade Colombia or incite some kind of border skirmish. Having trained and operated with Colombian forces from 1990-2004, I can guarantee you that they would kick the living shit out of Chavez's hollowed out army.

Carl, are you a masochist? Because you sure sound like you WANT to have your ass soccer-dribbled by a female civilian peacenik.

I don't normally indulge stupid men's death wishes, but I guess I can make an exception, because in a remarkably compact form, you've just encapsulated all the collective stupidity of your ilk. So, here goes...

First of all, the fucking thug here is Uribe, not Chávez. Tattoo it on your forehead if you have trouble remembering this simple declarative sentence, Carl: ALVARO URIBE IS A FUCKING THUG.

All of South America has a problem with Uribe. Venezuela and Ecuador do because they're right on Colombia's border, and they're sick to death of having to mop up the bloody spillover from Colombia's civil wars. (They're also sick to death of being bombed and invaded by Colombia, with gringo "help".)

And they're not the only ones. Uribe took a whirlwind tour of South America lately, to no avail. It didn't matter that he wasn't giving press conferences, and that his motorcade managed to evade the huge mass protests everywhere he went; he wasn't feeling any love. Evo actually smacked him around in Bolivia, which took some serious cojones. Even the big ABCs--Argentina, Brazil and Chile--aren't buying what the gringos' puppet dictator is trying to sell.

So, Carl, I bet you're wondering what their probem is? Well, in a nutshell, it's the sovereignty, stupid! When one country just pisses on all its neighbors by saying it's gonna let the US build bases there, and it's going to collaborate in spying and terrorizing, nyaaaah--what did you expect? Imperialism isn't welcome there anymore (not that it ever really was, except to the idle rich, who were more than happy to have a US-backed death squad killing the uppity peasants so that they wouldn't have to dirty their own aristocratic hands at it.) There are any number of good reasons why the locals have been yelling "Yankee go home" for over a hundred years now. Some of them are dead now, but others could still go before The Hague, assuming that a local tribunal doesn't get to them first.

Colombia, incidentally, is rife with trial-worthy human rights abusers who are unlikely to face justice at home because the system there is deeply corrupted. Every administration since the Bogotazo, at the very least, has peasants' blood on its hands. There are corruptos in every cabinet, and Uribe himself is the biggest one of all. Hey Carl, have you heard yet that he was good friends with Pablo Escobar, and even rubber-stamped the pilots' licences for the latter's flyboys? It's true!

And that's not even touching the paramilitaries. If those aren't fucking thugs, I don't know who is. And Uribe's doing nothing to rein them in; in fact, he's actively linked to them. What does that say about him?

Now, about your fond little hope, Carl...that Chavecito will "tire" to initiate a border war. (How the hell does one tire to initiate wars? Dyslexics of the world, untie!) Sadly, you're not gonna get your widdle wish, because Uribe is now whimpering around with his tail between his legs:

Last Friday the president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, said his government was interested in repairing relations with Venezuela and Ecuador. On the same day he also said that the Colombian government had sealed negotiations with the United States to allow U.S. troops to be deployed on seven of its bases in Colombia. Chavez responded that for such actions, the mending of relations was impossible.

[...]

Chavez, speaking on his weekly TV show on Sunday, said it would be impossible to renew relations with Colombia because of Colombia's verbal attacks on Venezuela and the threat posed by the US military bases on its territory.

Venezuela also froze its relations with Colombia after hearing about the planned US bases, and then being accused of selling weapons to the FARC by the Colombian government. It withdrew its ambassador to Colombia on 28 July, reinstalled it on 7 August and is seeking alternative trading partners.

"Uribe said extremely cynically that he wants to repair relations. They are attacking us, they are slandering us, and then he says that he wants to mend relations between Colombia and Ecuador. But how? He can't. It's already impossible, there's no way to repair this," Chavez said.

That's not war talk; that's diplomatic and trade talk. It's also a plain, bald statement of facts. He's not saying "We're gonna bomb Colombia", because there's no interest in throwing good blood after bad. He's an intelligent man, disinclined to quarrel with an obvious stooge because it's undignified--and, it bears repeating, he is NOT a fucking thug.

Now, I know you're more than a little hard of thinking, Carl, because you obviously didn't comprehend a word of my earlier entry. Since you claimed to have spent 14 years in Colombia, you ought to know at least enough Spanish to watch and understand the video I posted on the entry you defaced with your puerile war-mongering gibberish. I call bullshit on your claim, Carl--if you had spent that long in Colombia, you would understand not only Spanish, but local issues, a lot better. Your grasp of the news is that of a typical armchair general from Freeperville. You haven't "trained and operated" with anyone, in other words.

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I also call bullshit on the notion that Uribe and his gringo backers would "kick the living shit out of Chavez's hollowed out army". First off, the Venezuelan armed forces are not "hollowed out", they've been purged of their SOA-trained putschists and cash-diverting bloodsuckers. That's good for morale, as well as patriotism and loyalty--all of which they have in abundance. They're also newly equipped with matériel that actually works. Venezuela has replaced its old FAL rifles with Kalashnikovs, and even has a Kalashnikov factory or two now. They've also been phasing out their dying F-16s, replacing them with some very capable Russian-built fighter planes. Perhaps you've heard of the Sukhoi, Carl? If not, let me show you it.

Venezuela don't need no stinkin' gringo hardware. These Sukhois (and the others still to come) are perfectly capable of bombing the shit out of any military base in Colombia, including the gringo ones, if Venezuela or Ecuador is attacked. If not, the planes will keep on flying just for show, as they're doing above. There won't be any border war, at least not one started by Chavecito, although he seems more than capable of finishing it. The one who will provoke the border skirmish--and who has already tried it more than once--is that fucking thug Uribe, and no other.

BTW, Carl, I'd really like you to explain to me how a "hollowed out" military could be capable of doing this:

180 clandestine drug-running airstrips destroyed, according to this EFE report from last year. They're still hard at it, too. That's why you're paying so much more for all that crack you're smoking lately, Carl--Venezuela's not playing nice with your DEA smugglers anymore. (Pretty soon you won't be able to afford any, and that's fine with me. If you wanna see "hollowed out", try googling the search terms "US economy".)

Like I said, they don't need no stinkin' gringo hardware, or no stinkin' gringo "help" combatting drugs! What they need, Carl, is for the US and Colombia to get the fuck off their turf and leave them the hell alone. Is that so hard to understand?

You can "honestly hope" whatever you like, Carl, but at the end of the day, you're just another dumbass whose hopes will, thankfully, never be realized. You need to STFU...and find better things to hope for, "honestly" or otherwise.

Personally, I honestly hope you stop smoking crack.

Quotable: Eduardo Galeano on terrorists

"Is justice right side up?

"Has world justice been frozen in an upside-down position?

"The shoe-thrower of Iraq, the man who hurled his shoes at Bush, was condemned to three years in prison. Doesn't he deserve, instead, a medal?

"Who is the terrorist? The hurler of shoes or their recipient? Is not the real terrorist the serial killer who, lying, fabricated the Iraq war, massacred a multitude, and legalized and ordered torture?"

--Eduardo Galeano, "Is Justice Right Side Up?"

Comma comma down dooby doo down down...

First, a little mood music from Neil Sedaka:

And now, the story:

The de facto government of Honduras, headed by Roberto Micheletti, announced on Tuesday that it was breaking off relations with Argentina, a country that openly expressed itself in opposition to the coup d'état in Honduras.

The Secretary of Exterior Relations for the dictatorship of Honduras released a communiqué in which it demanded "respect for sovereignty" and "no interference in internal affairs"--in response to the Argentine government of Cristina Fernández and its support for the exiled president, Manuel Zelaya.

The Micheletti goverment decided that relations with Argentina would be channeled through the Honduran embassy in Israel, according to the Telam news agency.

On August 13, the Argentine government requested that the Honduran ambassador to that country, Carmen Eleonora Ortez William, leave because she declared her support for the Micheletti dictatorship.

Translation mine.

Looks like somebody wasn't joking when she told the putschist Honduran ambassador to pack her bags.

I predict this is gonna hurt Gorilletti a lot more than it's gonna hurt Cristina. How much? THIS much:

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PS: YVKE Mundial reports that Argentine diplomats in Honduras will be staying put--disobeying orders from the putschists to leave. Aunt Bina predicts there will soon be refugee claimants seeking asylum there.

August 18, 2009

So, Afghanistan is "free" and "democratic" now, eh?

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That's what all the nutters keep telling us the GWOT is about--freedom, democracy, and oh yeah, an end to the burqa for Afghan women. So, I would love to hear them explain this:

Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands' sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation which President Hamid Karzai had promised to review.

The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.

[...]

Islamic law experts and human rights activists say that although the language of the original law has been changed, many of the provisions that alarmed women's rights groups remain, including this one: "Tamkeen is the readiness of the wife to submit to her husband's reasonable sexual enjoyment, and her prohibition from going out of the house, except in extreme circumstances, without her husband's permission. If any of the above provisions are not followed by the wife she is considered disobedient."

The law has been backed by the hardline Shia cleric Ayatollah Mohseni, who is thought to have influence over the voting intentions of some of the country's Shias, which make up around 20% of the population. Karzai has assiduously courted such minority leaders in the run up to next Thursday's election, which is likely to be a close run thing, according to a poll released yesterday.

So...Unocal's man in the 'stan has been sucking up to some very unsavory but influential mullahs for votes, it seems. And yet this guy is supposed to be the answer to the Taliban and its brutal repression? Seems to me that it's just the same old shit from a different asshole.

My best friend, who sent me the link to this article, attached a commentary I think is worth quoting:

In one of Sheri S Tepper's novels (I can't remember which one) when first contact came with aliens the aliens were a galactic confederation that told Earth they had an opportunity to join the confederation. In order to join, they had to meet specific criteria -- basically ensure human rights for all citizens and prove they were being enforced.

They were told that if humans couldn't get their act together by a given deadline, then not only would they be rejected for membership in the confederation, but they would also lose any protection from being considered "open season" hunting grounds for any of the predatory species in the confederation. (The predator species were not permitted to hunt any species that was a member of the confederation.)

I wish I could do something like that to people like those who would deny others basic human rights. Like magically change their genders, so that the men would have to live under the very restrictions they are putting on women.

I don't remember which Tepper novel it was either (I suspect I haven't read it), but I can totally get behind that idea, as terrifying as it sounds. If this is what it takes to whip humanity into shape, then let the aliens have at it. This planet has lagged behind on human rights long enough!

Stupid Sex Tricks: Bare Naked Idiocy, Classified

OMG. You have to go read this. NOW.

(Warning: Very NSFW, but hilarious commentary.)

Back from the dead yet again

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Nope, kiddies, your Auntie Bina isn't a zombie...yet. (She just feels like one. Braaaaaaains!)

I've just had more computer issues--this time, actually, DSL line issues. Brand new wiring, brand new modem, yadda yadda yadda. Your patience appreciated, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Heat and humidity are fucking with my connection--it was 32 C yesterday with a humidex of 40.

(Dang, four days offline and 76 messages? When you're hot, you're really hot--humidex be damned!)

(PS: Anyone got ice cream? Bina no like eating brains.)

August 14, 2009

Economics for Dummies: Great Moments in Capitalism

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Translation:

"The problem is that people are buying too much!"

"But wasn't that the original idea?"

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"We used to be afraid that communists would destroy capitalism, but now the brokers are doing it!"

August 13, 2009

Argentina expels Honduran putschist ambassador

For anyone who doubts if Argentina is truly committed to democracy, doubt no longer. The proof is in:

Argentina has expelled the Honduran ambassador over her support for a coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, the foreign ministry announced Thursday.

"At the request of the constitutional President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya the Argentine foreign ministry ordered the cessation of functions of the Honduran Ambassador to Buenos Aires, Carmen Eleonora Ortez Williams", it said in a statement.

Ortez voiced support for interim leader Roberto Micheletti, who is not recognized by the international community, the Argentine statement added.

Argentina said it would communicate with Honduras through the Honduran embassy in Washington.

Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner has been among the staunchest defenders of Zelaya's right to return to power unconditionally.

And may I remind you that she's not the only president of a big LatAm country to recognize only Zelaya as the legitimate president?

Colombia gets cut off; Argentina gets cut in

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Chavecito may have sent an ambassador back to Bogotá, but that doesn't mean Colombia is off the hook. Chavecito simply found a better way to punish his worst neighbor, one that hits hard in the pocketbook:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Argentine counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, signed a $1.1 billion bilateral accord to promote trade between their respective countries during a visit by Fernandez to Caracas on Tuesday. Trade between the two countries was estimated at $1.4 billion last year.

Chavez is aiming to replace imports from Colombia and vowing to reduce trade with his neighbour over its decision to grant the United States the use of five additional military bases. Venezuela is Colombia's second biggest trading partner after the U.S. The two countries shared an estimated $7 billion in bilateral trade last year.

Emphasis added.

So, what does it mean? Well, in addition to boosting Argentina's auto sector (and hitting Colombia's hard), there's this:

Among the 22 cooperation agreements signed, the Venezuelan Agrarian Corporation (CVA) and Verandemi of Argentina agreed to carry out a feasibility study for the development of various projects related to the exploitation and production of soybeans.

As part of the push to substitute Colombian food imports with those from Argentina and other countries, Venezuela also agreed to purchase 80,000 tonnes of beef from Argentina. Last year Venezuela imported 200,000 tonnes of beef valued at $755 million - a third of its annual consumption - from Colombia.

Venezuela's state importing agency SUVINCA also signed a deal to purchase $100 million in textile imports from Argentina's textile makers association, Fundacion Pro Tejer, this year.

A cooperation agreement on the mutual recognition of quality certificates in the textile and auto parts sectors was signed, as well as other agreements in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals , purchase of drilling equipment, leather goods and poultry products.

Finally, Venezuela's Food Ministry and Argentina's Production Ministry signed a letter of intent to guarantee a steady supply of a range of basic food items in Venezuela.

During the meeting, Fernandez said the relations between Venezuela and Argentina are "an example of the struggle for unity on the continent."

Unity? Boy, I'll say it is. It's evidence that the entire continent is united against Colombia and its brash, stupid president's mickeypants move of letting the US station troops at five Colombian bases (to replace the now-shut-down Manta, in Ecuador). When you've got an economic biggie like Argentina stepping in to fill the breach, and benefiting in turn from Venezuela's prosperous and growing domestic economy, well...let's just put it this way: Socialism really IS good for capitalism, after all.

(Just not US and Colombian corporate interests, natch. Ha, ha.)

PS: Colombia didn't attend the recent Unasur meeting, but they won't be able to weasel out of a presidential summit later this month in Argentina. El Narco and his foreign minister will be attending, and you can be sure they'll get a hot earful from everyone, particularly Cristina and Lula. Oh, to be a fly on the wall...

August 12, 2009

Dame Vera commits a heresy! Oh noes!

She's most famous for "We'll Meet Again", as well as the translation of the German song in the video above. She's 92 years old, and still clearly in possession of all her faculties--including an important and underestimated one called critical thinking. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dame Vera Lynn, singing a song you've never heard from the veteran wartime entertainer before:

Dame Vera Lynn has questioned Britain's role in Afghanistan.

The 92-year-old is critical of the campaign which has cost the lives of 196 personnel, saying: 'I don't know what Afghanistan's all about, I don't know what we are doing there.'

Dame Vera, who entertained troops as far afield as Egypt, India and Burma during the Second World War, said: 'At one time, our soldiers would fight for the country they came from to stop the enemy invading, but now they are involved in other countries' problems.'

She was less than complimentary of the Government, which has been criticised for seeking to challenge the amount of compensation for wounded soldiers.

Dame Vera told The Times: 'I don't know why there should be a problem. I mean, they are out there fighting, helping other people.

'They are our boys and they should be looked after. The money that is wasted on stupid things and then they quibble about this.'

That, my friends, is the heresy: Dame Vera supports the troops, but not the war. In an age when "Support the Troops" is often another way of saying "get behind the war, you unpatriotic wimp", she is brave enough to challenge the conventional belief that the war in Afghanistan has anything to do with protecting the West's "freedom". And to utter what the younger and cockier of us seldom find the nerve to say when some raging wingnut is in our faces doing his best to shout us down.

Headline Howler: The Lede catches Teh Stoopid

Quick, everyone, tell me what this is a picture of:

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If you said "two leading Cuban revolutionaries proving that golf isn't as bourgeois as Hugo Chávez says it is", go straight to the corner and put on your dunce cap. And while you're at it, say hi to the dunce who's already there--a poor soul who blogged this for the NY Whore Times, thinking he could make a fool of Chavecito with a slice of Cold War trivia. His name is Robert Mackey, and he ended up having to correct himself a little over an hour ago, hilariously:

...So we have Mr. Castro's word that the round was staged for the cameras for the purpose of mocking the American President who refused to meet with Mr. Castro when he visited Washington in 1959, soon after taking power. On that occasion, President Eisenhower refused to meet with Mr. Castro -- who had to settle for a chat with his Vice President, Richard Nixon, instead. According to several versions of the story, Mr. Castro was unhappy to learn that the important business that kept President Eisenhower from meeting him was a round of golf. So that would seem to explain the subsequent photo-op mockery of the game back in Cuba.

Meanwhile, if you want to know what prompted this little quiz-bang (and the trainwreck that followed), here ya go. Turns out that it's not so much the "bourgeois" nature of the world's most unathletic sport that pisses off Chavecito--it's that the slums of Caracas are growing out of control, on unstable ground; the city sits in the bottom of an Andean mountain valley. Meanwhile, what have the rich turned the stable ground in the heart of the city into? Fucking golf courses. Chavecito aims to change that by legally nullifying all those land-grabbers' claims, and building affordable public housing there, instead of letting manicured turf go on stinking the place up with Monsanto chemicals. All this so that poor folks won't have to go on constructing shacks with scavenged material on hillsides that are likely to wash away with the next heavy rain, as they did early on in Chavecito's tenure as president.

Funny how the facts just totally change the picture, eh Robert?

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(Memo to Simon Romero: No Cuban cigar for you, either.)

A picture Lanny Davis is hoping you won't see

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Manuel Zelaya (in cowboy hat), the real president of Honduras, arrives in Brasilia for a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Lula--who still, for some odd reason, sees nothing legitimate about the coup in Honduras, no matter what crazy language the mongers (like Lanny Davis, and others) try to wrap it up in.

Hey Lanny (who may be well reading this, because someone at the State Dept. certainly is), here's a question for ya: If he's no longer a legitimate president, why are those men in uniform saluting him?

EDIT: Oh look, Lanny sent a response, in picture form:

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Guess that answers MY question.

Word to Toby Harnden: It's the RACISM, stupid!

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Portrait of the crap artist as a not-so-young man. Shamelessly stolen from Sadly, No!

Sigh. Poor Toby Harnden. You would think that, given his being stationed in Washington on behalf of the UK Telegraph, and his access as an accredited reporter, that he would be able to do better than this when it comes to reporting the staggering number of terrorist threats against Barack Obama:

Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service.

Some threats to Mr Obama, whose Secret Service codename is Renegade, have been publicised, including an alleged plot by white supremacists in Tennessee late last year to rob a gun store, shoot 88 black people, decapitate another 14 and then assassinate the first black president in American history.

[...]

According to the book, intelligence officials received information that people associated with the Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabaab might try to disrupt Mr Obama's inauguration in January, when the Secret Service co-ordinated at least 40,000 agents and officers from some 94 police, military and security agencies.

So, basically, Toby's "journalism" on this appalling matter boils down to a glorified book review...which places emphasis not on the white supremacists (a much clearer and more present danger to His Barackness) but on one very little-known Islamist group from Somalia. The overwhelming majority of the teabaggers and town-hall gun nuts currently threatening Obama may not talk the Hitler-talk, but they certainly walk the brownshirt walk. Even a cursory glance around him should have revealed as much to Toby, but it didn't.

Notice, too, that the very splashy, well-known white-supremacist plot was merely "alleged" here, but the more obscure al-Shahaab one is presented, ever so subtly, as the more credible threat. (The rather crucial word "alleged" is nowhere in evidence, as you can see.)

I've done some googling on al-Shahaab, as their name has never crossed my radar till now. Apparently they are becoming an increasing presence (and problem) in Somalia. Coincidentally, the US is about to ratchet up its troop presence there, which should provide no small inflammation for tensions already prevalent in the region. Not a wise move, and sure to provoke more embassy bombings. Toby doesn't mention that, either. Odd, considering that the white-supremacist threat is far more unprovoked than any retaliatory attacks from al-Shahaab would be. (Unless, of course, one considers the mere complexion of Barack Obama to be a provocation in and of itself.)

Have you noticed, too, that Toby seems to have forgotten all about his own earlier reporting on those icky-ass white supremacists? Of course, it puts the p-word in quotation marks--as though white supremacists couldn't possibly be bad enough to hatch something as sinister as a PLOT. Islamists, however, don't get so much benefit of the doubt from Toby of the Telly.

Now, you may want to ask yourself just why that is. Especially in light of how many very white, very racist Obama-haters out there are referring to him by his middle name, Hussein, as if it meant something.

And then, ask yourself just why the UK Telegraph got someone as blinkered, amnesiac and crappy as Toby Harnden to "report" this whole story in the first place.

August 10, 2009

One more oppo kvetching-point gets shot down in Venezuela

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Yep, it's that old "insecurity" thing. The opposition claims Chavecito isn't doing enough about violent crime, especially in the densely-populated lower-class neighborhoods of Caracas. (Never mind that some of them elected oppo mayors, supposedly to address this problem. Said mayors have yet to get around to it. Hell, they have yet to clean up the garbage--another problem they said they would tackle.)

Some even accuse him of fomenting it himself, absurdly--and even more absurdly, this quack-pot theory gets picked up by the English-language media abroad (Rory Carroll's impotent little spit-take for the UK Guardian being a typical case in point.)

Well, Chavecito's done something about THAT particular, seemingly intractable problem--and after just one week of implementation, it seems to be bearing some remarkable fruit:

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in 21 neighborhoods in the capital, no homicides took place, thanks to the national-guard troop deployment called Caracas Segura 2009.

So said the chief of Regional Command No. 5, General Alírio Ramírez, during a press conference on Monday, in which he gave a report of the progress of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) participating in the security mission.

"Of the 28 neighborhoods of Caracas, there were zero homicides in 21 of them on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And in other neighborhoods, homicides were down 40%, compared to the previous week," said the general.

The deployment consisted of 2,200 members of the GNB spread out over 28 neighborhoods.

Translation mine.

Zero homicides in 21 neighborhoods. This in a city where dozens used to die in street fights or domestic violence, often drug-, gang- and alcohol-related, on any given weekend. In fact, Caracas used to register more homicide victims on any given weekend than there were in any given year in Toronto!

Think of that the next time you hear some oppo-monkey screeching and flinging feces over supposed "violence", "insecurity" and "kidnappings" burgeoning under Chávez in Venezuela--there have been rashes of the latter recently, to hear some people tell it. Something tells me, though, that as long as the national guard is on patrol in those neighborhoods, we're gonna be seeing a helluva lot less of all the above--unless the oppos get better at lying!

Oh Rory, have I got a story for you...oops, I forgot. I've already scooped you, and I'm not even stationed in Caracas, nor am I boozing it up with the traditional ruling classes on the Guardian's dime. I'm just literate--and not blinded by pro-corporate or elitist political prejudices. How embarrassing!

Blackwater head accused in child prostitution ring

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I always knew Erik Prince (above) was a seriously hinky character, and now we're seeing yet another side of him, a seriously kinky aspect, which should surprise no one given the hypocrisy rampant among "Christian crusaders". Grab a barf bag before proceeding with this story:

New disturbing charges have emerged against XE, the infamous private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, whose operations came under spotlight after its 2007 carnage in Baghdad.

According to a report by MSNBC and based on alleged sworn declarations by two Blackwater employees in federal court, the firm used child prostitutes at its compound in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

The declarations added Iraqi minors got involve in sexual acts with Blackwater members in exchange for one dollar and Erik Prince, the firm's owner, "failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men."

Based on other statements, the firm was involved in another sex scandal; "Prince's North Carolina operations had an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring, which was participated in by many of Mr. Prince's top executives."

And these are the people who would prescribe the morals by which the rest of the world is supposed to abide? And their job is to enforce those "values" at gunpoint?

No wonder the Iraqis lost no time killing those four mercs and stringing their mutilated bodies up on the bridge at Fallujah:

BTW, for those who want to know all the background on Blackwater, Jeremy Scahill wrote the book. I recommend it highly, but be warned: it will cost you several hours' worth of sleep, and will haunt you long after you put it down.

And I'll bet this latest finding will be a chapter all unto itself, to boot.

El Ecuadorable takes possession, again

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, was inaugurated for the second time with an indigenous ceremony. El Ec received a red poncho symbolizing the Earth Mother, Pachamama, and a staff of office from indigenous spiritual leaders, who prayed that his second term would "light the fires of love". Guests of honor were a very serious-looking Evo, and Rigoberta Menchú of Guatemala.

August 9, 2009

Music for a Sunday: Find a bar, avoid a fight, show your papers, be polite...

Three to brood on, all Canadian:

"Listen to the Radio", by the Pukka Orchestra.

"Tokyo Rose" by Idle Eyes.

"Eyes of a Stranger", by the Payola$.

Stupid Sex Tricks: So you think you're hot shit?

Well, you're halfway there, bud. But you ain't hot till someone does this to you:

A 26-year-old woman is being hailed as a national hero after belying the conventional wisdom that revenge is a dish best served cold.

The unidentified female from the Mediterranean island of Crete set fire to a drunk 23-year-old Briton's genitals after he allegedly tried to sexually assault her in a crowded bar, London's Daily Telegraph reports. She earned further accolades from her countrymen for turning herself over to the police following the incident.

According to a police report, the intoxicated party-goer had taken down his pants and was waving his genitals at women in the bar. He then "forcefully fondled" the 26-year-old woman and asked her to take hold of his genitals.

She responded by soaking his genitals in a liquor. When this failed to cool off his advances, she reportedly grabbed a lighter and set his nether-region on fire.

The alleged sex assailant is hospitalized with what the Telegraph describes as "considerable damage" to his penis and testicles.

Ooooo, la-la...Revenge Flambé! I've never had that. Bet Jack the Lad wishes he hadn't, either.

Maybe this'll make all those boozing Brits think twice--and drink half as much if ever they're in Crete. Otherwise, they too might end up the main course at a wienie roast.

BTW, for all you history buffs out there: Greek Fire was Byzantium's secret weapon. Nice to see it hasn't fallen completely out of use. I say we make it purse-size and bottle it!

August 8, 2009

Wankers of the Week: Diary of a Madman edition

Oh lord, I didn't think I was gonna do another "Wankers" post this week, but then some totally fucking insane shit happened, and now look what it's gone and made me do, ha-ha...

1. George Fucking Sodini. For his racism, his sexism, his right-wing politics, and his just plain old downright fucking creepiness. With a track record like that, it's amazing that the ladies didn't come flocking! I doubt very much that he even met "30 million women", as he claims, but I can well believe that every woman he ever met rejected him; I would, too, and I'm twice the age of the chicks he was looking for. Good riddance to the loser--too bad he had to kill three innocent women before turning his gun on himself. All you downer dudes out there, please do us a favor--if you want to die, just die, already, and don't try to take anyone else with you. Especially if "anyone else" is female. If they reject you in life, what makes you think they'd embrace you in death?

2. and 3. George Fucking Sodini's "dating" and "seduction" gurus. Who's the bigger loser of the two? Hard to say. Both fit any thinking woman's definition of "icky-poo". And if any man came on to me with the ludicrous arrogance that these two poseurs recommend, I'd laugh right in his face. I'd have done so in my teens, too--in fact, I did that to my share of high-school creeps with similar "can't-miss" tactics. If it doesn't work on high-school girls, what makes anyone think it will work on women barely past high-school age? Again, a few helpful hints for you guys out there who still don't get it: Misogyny is not a chick magnet. If you can't handle a real relationship with a grown woman, go talk to your hand. Our faces ain't listening anymore, and guys like these are the reason why. Don't be like them unless you wanna end up being rejected by 30 million women, too.

4. The Dissociated Fucking Press, AGAIN. Srsly, what's to "be understood" here? The guy hated everyone he saw as being out to take away his white male privileges. Human rights, to him, were about something being taken away from his small minority of humanity, and given to the unwashed brown masses and the uppity wimmin. Don't waste our time with drivel about how sad and misunderstood the guy was. We don't want to feel sorry for him, and we already understand plenty. Address the racism and the misogyny that made him so fucking repulsive--sorry, "misunderstood"--in the first place!

5. Fucking "Roissy in DC". Put your real name to your misogynous maunderings, douchebag. And post a nude picture of yourself so we can see what a prize we're getting in the form of wonderful you and your ineffable patronage. More likely, we'd see what you've got against us females in general, though; I'm sure we wouldn't give your dick the time of day. We couldn't find it without a scanning electron microscope!

6. And that goes for all Roissy's little fucktard hangers-on, too. Justifying a murderer's acts on the basis of the shithead "not getting any" is just...ugh. Do the women of the world a REAL favor...please, just tattoo a big ornate capital L on your foreheads so we won't have to bother with you or your mind-fucking "game".

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7. These fucking dickweeds too, please. Getting "game" and getting real are two different things, and they're diametrically opposed. To think otherwise is to have a brain even smaller than your already pathetic widdle pee-pee.

8. R. B. Fucking Thieme. For providing this killer with a theological underpinning. A misogynous one, natch.

9. Erin Fucking Micklow. How clueless can a girl get? If Sodini were really trying to improve himself, he'd have gone to a shrink, not a sexist bullshit huckster like your boss. He didn't need dating skills, he needed counseling and probably meds as well. Learning how to chase chicks young enough to be one's daughter is NOT "self-improvement"--and didn't he squick you out just the least little bit with those dead snake eyes of his? Sheesh. You need to find a better job, dudette.

10. Naomi Fucking Lakritz. Nice straw-feminist argument you got going there, Ms. Lackwits. I understand that this is the kind of thing that a cowgal needs to say in order to get a date in the misogynist meat-market that is Calgary, but really--must you be such a clue-challenged contrarian douchette about the god-damned Montreal Massacre and its obvious parallel to this one? And haven't you questioned just what kind of "favorable" male attention this cutesy crap is likely to draw? Here, have a clue-by-four, dear:

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You catch more flies with "honey" than vinegar, indeed. But what kind of woman wants to have flies all over her?

11. And speaking of flies, let's hear a rousing Bronx cheer for all those scat-munching outhouse denizens whose Sodini-admiring comments are listed here. What is this "tax" shit, anyway? You whiny wimps really need to get your peepees whacked. No, make that whacked off--and jammed down your throat or up your rectum, so you know how it really feels on the other side of the gender divide. Don't like how that makes me sound? Well, what a coinkydink--that's exactly how you sound to women! And they don't like it any better. (The get-a-life implications of all this should be blindingly obvious by now, shouldn't they, boys?)

12. All the phony fucking "nice guys" out there. They not only write drivel like what one finds on Georgie's blog, but also whine-o-rhea like this. Or they act like the guy in this toon:

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Which makes me think they're not really nice after all, and just makes me so totally relate to all the women who reject them. Oh hell, I'm one of those women. And no, I don't feel guilty or responsible for what it's done to poor Georgie, because it's not women's fault that some guys are repulsive, entitled, passive-aggressive, hate-oozing losers. I just wish he'd fucked off and died alone, is all.

And finally: anyone who identifies with this sick bastard, or who doesn't like what I said here, you can go do the same. Don't bother commenting--I've already seen your splooge, and I don't want it all over my blog, too. Here, have a candy:

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And have a nice day.

August 7, 2009

Festive Left Friday Blogging: I love a man in uniform

Chavecito may have been out of the army lo these many years, but...

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...that doesn't mean he can't still don a uniform from time to time.

Or look muy sabroso in it.

August 6, 2009

Headline Howler: The Beeb fumes at Chavecito

Honestly, what can you say about a headline like this...

Chavez fumes at neighbour Colombia

...other than that it's just pure dumbassery, since nowhere in the piece that follows is there even a suggestion that the president in question is "fuming" at anyone?

But don't take my word for it. Or even the (increasingly dubious) word of the Beeb. Here's a video of the press conference in question, where Chavecito addresses, very patiently and at length, the questions of the foreign press about recent accusations from Colombia (totally unfounded) that he was arming the FARC. The Big Guy points out that the weapons in question are (a) old, having been purchased from the US during the 1980s; (b) incapable of being fired more than once (they were designed for single use); (c) incapable of reaching targets more than one kilometre away; and (d) stolen as of some 14 years ago. Meaning, he can't possibly have handed them to the FARC--they were plundered from the Venezuelan arsenal, probably by a greedy officer looking to make extra cash in his spare time by selling what wasn't his, during a time when Chavecito was already out of the army (he retired from it in 1994 with the rank of lieutenant colonel, in order to pursue a career in politics). Now, watch the video and see for yourself whether he's "fuming" at anyone or over anything:

Mind you, this is in Spanish. But as my German mother says, it's the tone that makes the music, so pay attention to the 'Cito's tone. Does it strike you as "fuming"? No, he's pleasant as can be. The reporters he's addressing are women, so he's on his best behavior. He's explaining, as well, Venezuela's historic relationship to Colombia, and emphasizes that Simón Bolívar, Venezuela's national hero, was Colombia's liberator, and its first president as well. In short: he's got nothing against Colombia; it's the government of Colombia with whom he's got a legitimate bone to pick. (Oh hell: try a whole carcass.)

He also produces a piece of weaponry confiscated from a Colombian paramilitary captured on Venezuelan soil, likely in one of the Venezuelan opposition's many attempts at a putsch. (They like to hire Colombian paramilitaries to do their dirty work.) The stamp on the weapon indicates that it is "Property of the Colombian Army"! Now, how did THAT get into THOSE hands? The Colombian army has some 'splainin' to do. But of course, they'll never explain anything. They prefer to lob accusations at an innocent man, an elected leader, popular throughout the region--and they like to make their shit stick, using such useful idiots as whoever writes the headlines for the BBC.

So, Beeb, congrats--you win the Dumbass of the Day award. Feel special!

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Venezuela: What? No new media law? Then why all the fuss?

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So here I am, sifting through the junk in my inbox, still stupidly wondering why I'm getting garbage like this, or this, or this. When I know full well that the truth about Venezuela's alleged "new media law" is this:

In response to private international and national media claims that Venezuela is discussing a media law which denies freedom of expression and punishes journalists, National Assembly members said that no such law proposal exists, only a discussion around how to combat the "media dictatorship" and "media terrorism."

The president of the media commission in the National Assembly, Manuel Villalba, said on Tuesday that a proposal for a law with 17 articles, as claimed by some media, doesn't exist and that rather, the Attorney General, Luisa Diaz, had presented ideas to the National Assembly, which are being debated, but that there is no consensus around her proposals.

"It's not official," Villalba said, explaining that no law had been formally presented or proposed. "All this just confirms that there are media owners who are systematically disseminating false opinions," he said.

"No such law proposal exists."

What? You mean Hugo Chávez is not gagging the media? And he's not ruling by decree on this one? That means the Committee to Protect Journalists is lying to us, too!

"Only a discussion around how to combat the 'media dictatorship' and 'media terrorism'."

A discussion? Gee, that sure sounds a lot like someone is using freedom of speech!

"There is no consensus."

What? Pluralism?? In Venezuela??? Holy fucking shit! That means it must be...gasp...shudder...A DEMOCRACY!!!

"It's not official."

But...but...but...the Associated Press keeps telling me it is! Why would they do that? Do they not know that lying, like libel, is illegal--and unethical?

"There are media owners who are systematically disseminating false opinions."

Oh. Oh. OH! Now I get it. This isn't really about free speech, is it? No, of course not. It's about media ownership of the airwaves--which by their very nature are actually public, not private--and with them, the ownership of people's minds. That changes the debate considerably, wouldn't you say?

Hang on, there's more:

Legislator Rosario Pacheco said that so far the draft that they have of the law considers media crime the publication of false, manipulative or distorted information that causes "harm to the interests of the state" or that threatens "public morale or mental health." The assembly has discussed a maximum penalty of four years prison.

Journalist Asalia Venegis told Venezuelan Television (VTV), "This law project... incorporates everything that is unequivocally expressed in the Law of Journalist Practice and the Code of Ethics, which establish a series of perspectives over what the treatment of the news and the role of the journalist should be."

Diaz also suggested the law should focus on protection for journalists who are coerced into putting their name to, or writing articles that they don't believe. Therefore, she said, rather than going against freedom of expression, the law should "promote safe and true freedom of expression that reaches everyone and doesn't attack the peace of the citizens."

Further, she said in Article 20 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to freedom of expression, so long as they don't violate the rights of others or attack the state, the health of other people, or the public morale.

"Incorporates everything that is unequivocally expressed in the Law of Journalist Practice and the Code of Ethics."

Meaning, this proposed (not yet official!) bill not nearly as new and restrictive as it's been made out to be. That law and code both predate the Bolivarian Republic, by the way.

"Should focus on protection for journalists who are coerced into putting their name to, or writing articles that they don't believe."

Now who could those be? Surely not those who were told, as Andrés Izarra was by his bosses at RCTV during the coup of '02, "nothing pro-Chávez on screen"? (Izarra quit his formerly cushy job, rather than practise shitty journalism.)

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, so long as they don't violate the rights of others or attack the state, the health of other people, or the public morale."

I wonder if the media barons know that. Because it seems to me that THEIR notion of freedom involves an awful lot of violating the rights of others, attacking the state, injuring the health of others, and wrecking the public morale.

Especially those at Globovisión, which has come under fire, and deservedly so. Their presstitutes have done everything from stealing confidential documents to deliberate provocation to...well, shit like this:

A small group of people identified with Lina Ron's pro-Chavez United for Venezuela Party (UPV) were filmed firing tear gas into the Globovision offices and clashing with police in La Florida, before making their getaway on motorcycles early Monday morning.

The attack occurred a day after Diosdado Cabello, head of Venezuela's telecommunications agency (CONATEL), announced the closure of 34 private radio stations for operating illegally or violating regulations.

Globovision, a virulently opposition television channel is loathed by grass-roots Chavez supporters, particularly for its involvement in the 2002 coup that briefly ousted the democratically elected Chavez from power. Many groups call for the channel to be taken off air.

While making clear that the government is willing revoke Globovision's broadcasting license due to its continuous violation of Venezuelan law, Chavez said, "These types of actions do damage to the socialist revolution, because they are counter-revolutionary."

Is Lina Ron merely a hot-headed would-be revolutionary suffering from an excess of zeal, as she appears, or is she something worse--a ringer for the opposition? Many Bolivarians think that Lina Ron could be an infiltrator; she's been called up on the carpet more than once for her "undisciplined" actions. It's amazing that she could have received so many prior warnings (from none other than Chavecito himself!) and still keep doing what she's doing; such "activism" on her part plays right into Globoterror's hands. (They insist that it was Chávez himself who sent her and her band of brigands to tear-gas them, which is a blatant lie. He would have to be an idiot to give orders of that nature, and anyone who's observed him in action, even if they don't like him, would still have to admit that the man is far from being dumb.)

Whatever Lina may be, it is not her right, or that of any other street-level activist, to provoke or intimidate even the worst TV station in Venezuela; it is the government's job to revoke its license (an action which is more than warranted, even under pre-Chávez laws) and turn its signal over to another station that will use it more responsibly. The last thing that anyone needs is to try to put out Globoterror's fires with gasoline.

In the meantime, the debate over whether there should be a new media law, and what it should entail if proposed, is still going on. As is Globoterror's on-air régime, which is still untouched--for now. You won't get that from anyone in the major media up here, and I leave it to you to guess why.

August 4, 2009

Avigdor Lieberman under fraud investigation

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Avigdor Lieberman tells us the exact size of his member.

Well, well, well...what have we here?

Israeli police today recommended that the hardline foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, be indicted on corruption charges.

A police statement said that having completed their inquiries, detectives believed there was sufficient evidence to bring Lieberman to trial on charges of receiving bribes, fraud, deception, breach of trust by a public servant, money laundering, obstruction of justice and tampering with a witness.

According to the Ha'aretz newspaper, Lieberman and his associates are suspected of establishing several companies, some of them shell companies, in order to launder millions of shekels and funnel them into his pockets.

One of those companies was allegedly headed by Lieberman's daughter Michal. Police have investigated whether Lieberman continued running these alleged operations even after becoming a public official. In April ‑ days after being sworn in as foreign minister ‑ Lieberman was questioned for more than seven hours over the allegations against him.

The attorney general must approve the recommendation from the police before Lieberman is formally charged and it could be weeks or months before a decision is made. Police say the investigation began in 2006 and covered events going back to 2000. The combined maximum sentence for the alleged crimes would be 31 years in prison.

Oh, nice. When the right-wing fuck up, they really fuck up, don't they.

And this is the schmuck who presumes to tell us that Venezuela and Bolivia are full of terrorist infiltrators, drug smugglers and other assorted scum? And the media just blindly believe him? What else is this putz going to say in his monumental arrogance?

Well, check out the purty mouth on him:

"For 13 years the police have conducted a campaign of persecution against me," he said. "Only an appeal to the high court, which demanded a halt to the judicial torture of me and my family, obliged the police to conclude the investigation."

But of course, right-wingers are never criminals. Oh noooooooo.

Except, of course, as the passage I cited above this one shows, the investigation has concluded, all right--with the recommendation that charges be pressed. Meaning, Avigdor's not off the hook. In fact, all his troubles are just barely beginning. At the very least, it means he will have to step down as foreign minister in order to stand trial.

For Latin America, meanwhile, the implications are that they won't have to put up with any more false accusations out of him, because he's got some pretty damn real ones against himself to contend with. It can also only hurt his party in the next election, and I rather hope it does.

And I'll bet the Iranians and Palestinians would sleep a lot more soundly, too, knowing that the man with the most power to hurt them is going to be out of commission for as long as 31 years.

Does this guy remind you of anyone?

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Honestly, Alvaro Uribe is like someone out of Shakespeare. Macbeth, say:

Is this a dagger which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible

To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but

A dagger of the mind, a false creation,

Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?

I see thee yet, in form as palpable

As this which now I draw.

Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;

And such an instrument I was to use.

Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,

Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,

And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,

Which was not so before. There's no such thing:

It is the bloody business which informs

Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one half world

Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse

The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates

Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd Murder,

Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,

Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,

With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design

Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,

Hear not my steps which way they walk, for fear

Thy very stones prate of my whereabout

And take the present horror from the time

Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:

Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

--Macbeth, Act II, scene i

If I were a director at Stratford, I'd strongly consider casting El Narco to play Macbeth. He's definitely got the chops, if you'll pardon the pun...

Of course, Macbeth was egged on to commit murder too--just like El Doptor Varito, who did it in Venezuela and Ecuador. Heaven only knows where he'll pull his knife next, but a word to Bolivia and Brazil--watch your backs!

August 3, 2009

Wankers of the Week, preemie-um edition: We don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no 'bamas!

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If that 'toon doesn't say it all, I got several more that do, and I'm gonna try really hard to work them all into this week's post. Yes, this is an early edition, on account of it's my birthday today, and His Barackness's tomorrow (and my blog-buddy Anthony really REALLY wanted me to sock it to our first one last Saturday). So, on with it...

1. Orly Fucking Taitz. I don't know who's the stupidest here: the assclowns she "represents", the harpy herself, the law school that "graduated" her (and what is this "Dr., Esquire" shit? She's a former dentist, not a doctor of laws. Shades of "Dr." Laura!), or the parents who named her after a Paris airport--and a seriously toxic-smelling brand of nail polish, whose fumes I'm sure she huffs everytime she has to get out there and squawk about Barack. Oh, but wait, I haven't gotten to the best part of all: She's not a natural born US citizen herself! Hmmm, what do you suppose this is a case of?

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Yep, you guessed it. Only I suspect that for "Dr." O RLY? et al., the problem is precisely that the "kettle" is, in fact, a schwartzer. Albeit, alas for their whole cause, a natural-born US citizen and legitimately elected president.

Sorry, O RLY, you shoulda stuck to dentistry. You don't have the legal or the moral standing to do what you're doing. After this, though, I doubt you'll find any sane people wanting your fingers in their mouths.

2. and 3. Ryan Fucking White and C.M. Fucking Route. A background check? What, you guys think the FBI hasn't done it and cleared him already--like, right about the time when he first ran for local office in Chicagoland? Figures that you Keystone Kops are from Georgia, where the odds are much higher that you'll find birthers (among other assorted racists and dumbasses). No doughnuts for you!

4. Lou Fucking Dobbs. When even a FUX Snooze whore like Chris Fucking Wallace--and a flat-out racist like Don Fucking Imus--thinks you're whack, you're fucking WHACK, dude.

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5. and 6. Bernie Fucking Goldberg and Bill O'Fucking Reilly. Yeah, right, this whole "birther" thing is some kind of left-wing conspiracy to make all you 'wingers out there look bat-shit crazy. Like you needed any help!

7. Jason Fucking Hommel. Keep your ill-gotten money, Mr. "Silver Stock Report". What I want to know is, what makes you think anyone who uses biblical "prophesy" (that's a verb, dumbass!) as a basis for his daily decision-making is anyone to go to for a reward for a real birth certificate that the Obama campaign already released long ago? Admit it: your "offer" is null and void. (That's legalese for "ain't gonna happen!")

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8. Wiley Fucking Drake. First this unholy roller prays for Obama's death, now he's trying to invalidate his birth. O, sweet Jesus--what the hell is wrong with your so-called followers who claim to be "pro-life", and then turn around and do shit like this? Figures that he's a Southern Baptist--they broke with the mainstream Baptists onaccounta they started lettin' the niggruhs in! PS: Imprecation isn't "praying", nor is it "agreeing with God", it's cursing. Don't take God's name in vain, y'all!

9. Mark Fucking Joseph. This Neville Chamberlain of the Internets has a sooooooper-genius answer to the whole Birther problem (and the bigger problem of the anti-Birthers, who have the temerity to yell bullshit when they've had a bellyful). Namely, that the anti-Birthers should join forces with the Birthers to demand that Obama produce what he has already produced! I would have devoted more rantspace to the silly fuckwit than this, but alas, Tom at Thump and Whip has already, well, thumped and whipped him over it.

10. Tommy Fucking Seno. See above, and add "blaming Obama" to the list of soooooper-genius fuckwitteries.

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And that's it for today. It's now official: Obama was born in Hawaii, I was born in northern Ontario, and all those Birthers were born in a barn. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some serious grogginess to attend to. Cake, ice cream and homemade pasta, anyone?

August 2, 2009

Music for a Sunday: Bina's summer shimmers

Throw down that trashy romance novel! Let's go chase some sandpipers with the tide.

I know it's out of fashion...and a trifle uncool...but I can't help it...I'm a romantic fool.

Carry me down, carry me down...carry me down into the river...

...and walk me back to life again.

August 1, 2009

Ode to some (would-be) modern Crusaders

O, what can ail ye, wretched "knights",
Alone and whitely loitering?
500+ years out of date,
And no bards sing.

--special thanks to Bartholomew's Notes for the inspo, and apologies to John Keats.

Wankers of the Week: Trillion Dollar Babies edition

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What can a trillion dollars buy? Well, I know one thing it can't: BRAINS. Too bad for these people, eh?

1. The Young Fucking Republicans. For thinking that an online game combining massive spending, prudery, homophobia and racism is a hot idea. Uh, since when is "vagina" a "bad word" or a "profanity"? It's what brought you gormless dickweeds into this world, and you call it obscene? Show some respect for your mothers! And if you're gonna get down on Obama spending in the trillions, just remember which party started the trillion-dollar wars on Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention all that Ownership Society crapola) that led to this current economic crisis, you whiny little ankle-biters.

2. Larry Fucking Proctor. For trying to patent Mexican yellow beans, thereby raking in a mint off hungry Latin Americans (who, incidentally, have been growing this crop for generations). Fortunately, this wanker was denied his easy, unearned cash--AND his biopiratical patent. Repeat after Aunt Bina, kiddies: Nothing that is alive--be it a gene, a plant or an animal--should EVER be subject to patenting. (Auntie Bina thinks vaccines and drugs should also be exempt, because so many people depend on them to help them stay alive, and it is a scandal that any company should be allowed to profit off THAT.)

3. The Associated Fucking Press. Not only do they plan to spy on everyone who uses their articles over the Internets, they also plan on charging search engines (and probably you and me, eventually) for reprinting their (essentially worthless) content. I'm sick of these corporate greedy-guts and their ridiculous schemes. Right now, the only time I cite any of their pieces is to criticize their lies, inaccuracies, falsehoods and howlers. Which falls under the rubric of fair use, BTW. And now they wonder why they're not making any money? Hey bozos, first you need to put out a product WORTH buying, and then maybe people will WANT to pay. Until then, your little Rube Goldberg money-trap will be an Epic Fail.

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4. The Fucking East Hampton Village Board of Zoning Appeals. I don't know how many people are on it, but they're all shits. How could anybody be opposed to poor kids becoming literate--and coming into a posh neighborhood library to borrow its oh-so-posh books, in the hopes of maybe one day bettering their lives? No, better not let that happen. Better just do away with the entire children's section instead. Better still, never build one, so that those poor kids never even get the notion of walking in those hallowed and pluperfectly posh doors. These guys remind me of Sarah Fucking Palin, only more so.

5. Donald Fucking Wildmon. He doesn't yet know Obama's plans for healthcare reform (no one does, because they're still being formulated), but that hasn't stopped him from opining (idiotically and crypto-racialistically) on them. I wonder how much the Big Pharma and Big Insurance industries are paying him to blow that ol' dog whistle.

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6. Same goes double for Bill O'Fucking Reilly.

7. American Fucking Idol. Remind me again: Why do people watch this show? It's crap. All so-called "reality" shows are crap.

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Oh, silly me. Of course. And if big bucks are somehow attached to it, it must somehow be good, right?

8. Karl Fucking Rove. If 84% of US citizens with health insurance are happy with what they get, why are they dropping like flies? Answer: Ask Bill O'Fucking Reilly. He knows.

9. Fucking record industry greedheads. Fortunately, to shame them, we'll always have the awesomely creative, always compelling Annie Lennox. Like my best friend says: "Some artists truly let the Muse rule, rather than the dollar." Amen!

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And that's it for this week. Brought to you by the "anything for a buck" guys from Newhart.