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December 31, 2009

Stupid Sex Tricks: Evidence of drugs? You betcha!

Because ALL drug dealers keep big floppy toy penises just hanging around the house, don'cha know?

Updates to the Herrera child-stealing case

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Marcela Herrera, suspected to be an illegally adopted child of the Dirty War, preparing to submit to DNA testing to help determine her true parentage. Story from Telesur, via Aporrea:

The federal police of San Isidro, Buenos Aires province, Argentina, raided the homes of the two adopted children of Ernestina de Noble Herrera on Wednesday.

Herrera is owner of the Clarín media corporation, one of the largest in Argentina.

With this operation, the police attempted to collect "scattered cells from the bodies" of Felipe and Marcela, the children of the businesswoman. According the the news agency Telam, quoting judicial sources, the procedure was performed on Wednesday morning, in accordance with the order of the judge presiding over the case, Conrado Bergesio.

The same sources stated that the samples would serve to "establish bases of compatibility."

This was confirmed by the attorney of the two young people, Jorge Anzorreguy, who added that the authorities removed "toothbrushes and hairbrushes" from the homes of his clients.

[...]

Ernestina Herrera, the widow of the founder of the Clarín newspaper for some 30 years, said that in 1976, she found two abandoned babies on the doorstep of her house. In 1985, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo began to receive the first denunciations that the list of children stolen from prisoners of the junta should also include Felipe and Marcela.

The mothers of the disappeared, Estela Gualdaro and Mara Amelia Herrera de Miranda, submitted demands to try to get back their kidnapped grandchildren, suspected to have been taken by the Noble Herrera family. But the case did not become active until, in 2001, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo entered themselves as plaintiffs.

A year after that, the federal judge Roberto Marquevich detained Herrera de Noble for 66 hours on a charge of falsification of documents for the adoption of her children. Businesspeople, journalists, politicians, unionists, bishops and judges exercised pressure over the detention. In 2003, the jurist was removed from the case and 12 months later, dismissed by the Council of the Magistrature, which allegedly found irregularities in the detention of the most powerful media owner in Argentina.

After the arrest of their adoptive mother, Felipe and Marcela agreed to submit to a DNA test in 2003.

In 2009, the Congress approved a law that made it possible for DNA tests to be performed in the National Genetic Data Bank. However, on Monday, Judge Bergesio ordered that the genetic compatibility tests be done by the Medical Forensics Body.

Translation mine.

Notice that the story seems to have changed a bit from the other day. Now Ernestina Herrera claims she found both babies on her doorstep? And all these powerful individuals "intervened" on her behalf, to the extent of getting a judge fired just for detaining her? The hinkitude is strong in this one.

Watch your back, Judge Bergesio.

December 30, 2009

Economics for Dummies: Capitalism + golf + scandal = ?

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O Eldrick*, what hast thou wrought, forsooth?

The sex scandal that engulfed Tiger Woods may have cost shareholders of companies endorsed by the world's No. 1 golfer up to $12 billion in losses, according to a study by two economics professors from the University of California, Davis.

The study, released on Monday by researchers Victor Stango and Christopher Knittel, gave an estimate for damage to the market value of Woods' main sponsors caused by revelations of alleged extramarital affairs that surfaced after he was involved in a minor car accident outside his Florida home on November 27.

"We estimate that shareholders of Tiger Woods' sponsors lost $5-12 billion after his car accident, relative to shareholders of firms that Mr. Woods does not endorse," the researchers wrote, adding that millions of shareholders were affected.

Linkage added.

Millions of shareholders.

Sit back and let that sink in for a bit.

Done soaking? All righty then:

In their study, the two professors said they looked at stock market returns for the 13 trading days after November 27, the date of the car incident that ignited the Woods scandal.

They compared returns for Woods' sponsors during this period to those of both the total stock market and of each sponsor's closest competitor. They also reviewed returns for four years before the car accident to build up a comparative picture of the sponsors' market performance.

[...]

Overall, Knittel and Stango concluded that the scandal reduced shareholder value in the sponsor companies by 2.3 percent, or about $12 billion.

They called the results statistically significant and said the overall pattern of losses at the parent companies was unlikely to stem from ordinary day-to-day variation in their stock prices."

"...unlikely to stem from ordinary day-to-day variation in their stock prices."

Once more, sit back and soak that up, kiddies.

And when you're done with that, ask yourselves: Is it wise to "let the markets decide"? Especially if you're one of the millions who lost money thanks to the indiscretions of the all-too-priapic Mr. Woods?

I can't tell you exactly what to do next (that, as always, is up to you, kids), but it may be prudent to reconsider two things held dear in Conservolandia: One, the reliance on markets for your well-being, instead of a proper social safety net; two, belief in the whole "family values", squeaky-clean image thing. Obviously, neither of them has served certain parties here.

And for the record: I divested myself of both stocks long ago, folkies.

*Tiger's real name, according to Bartcop. Bartcop also calls him "Tiger Woo", and now we can see why.

December 29, 2009

Economics for Dummies: The truth about the "recovery"

Let The Real News explain it all to you...

No surprise here: If you have a lot of money to play with, you can make a lot of money in the "free" market. But that doesn't mean it's right. And it doesn't mean that the economy is grounded in reality. Even those who made a lot of money in it say it's time for a change. Time to bring back Glass-Steagall; time, too, to learn from the ALBA countries, none of which was "crashed" by the events of '08.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Time to get a new roommate, dude...

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I suggest moving in with your girlfriend. At least, if SHE watches two dudes going at it, she's not likely to leave evidence.

Oh, and give the burnt TV to your roommate. Along with a bill for the replacement.

(You're welcome!)

December 28, 2009

Remember, you heard it here first

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"President Uribe...who killed the governor of Caquetá?"

"The FARC."

"Who massacres Colombian campesinos?"

"The FARC."

"Who brought down the Twin Towers?"

"The FARC."

"Who is making Colombia miserable?"

"The FARC."

Okay, actually, if you understand Spanish and can spare approximately 8 minutes to watch a video of Chavecito addressing his troops, you'll have heard it here first. I'll just translate a few key bits for ya:

The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, denounced on Monday that the government of Colombia, supported and directed by the United States, is preparing a "false positive" to justify a military action against his country.

[...]

The president said that the plan is to create local and worldwide public opinion that Venezuela is supporting the presence on its soil of FARC guerrilla camps, and that the Colombian government, with US backing, is fabricating the "proofs" to justify the attack.

"It shouldn't be strange that [the government of Colombia], who are killing so many people in Colombia, will kill I don't know what people, or how many people, on Venezuelan territory in the mountains. They'll build some huts, an improvised encampment, then bring in some guns and propaganda, and then say 'there is the camp'," Chávez said.

And for those who think the government of Colombia is above doing such things in Venezuela, remember: They do it at home all the fucking time.

And it's not as if they (or the whore media, acting on their behalf) haven't run around squawking like Chicken Little about you-know-whose imagined aggression against Colombia, either.

But yeah, let's just pretend that Colombia isn't being furnished with fully armed drones. Or that the bombing of Ecuador in March of 2008 didn't happen, much less that it couldn't have happened without a lot of help from their gringo friends. I mean, that's what the whore media is doing, right?

Goodbye, Blue Monday...

Excuse me, the Internets have an announcement to make:

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Damn. I never even knew there WAS such a thing, and now it's been cancelled on me!

I think I need a drink.

Oh, and speaking of "need a drink", read this and weep in thy beer, O my friend and neighbor to the south of us:

Here are a few truths: First, we've been living in a one-dollar, one-vote corporatized democracy for a long time. If this is news to you, then you're probably also shocked to learn that the U.S. Constitution, by awarding two senators to each of what H.L. Mencken called "the cow states" -- no insult to the cows in my own barn -- was deliberately crafted to make fundamental change difficult. Who made "moderates" like Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Joe Lieberman of Aetna mini-presidents? Alas, the founding fathers did.

Living in such a polity, anybody who thought entrenched interests like the insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries weren't going to find ways to make money off healthcare reform probably wasn't paying attention back at the beginning, when Obama said that despite the abstract appeal of a Canadian-style single-payer system, it was a political non-starter.

Really, Gene? Really, Barack? Our single-payer system up here, which is popular with nine out of ten of us, and which could bring down even a majority Conservative government if it ever foolishly tried to gut it, is just an "abstract" one? You "free", "independent" Yanks are that powerless against the corporations down there? Or are you just that cowardly? What do you have a government for, if not to put a leash on those snarling, dog-eating dogs, and muzzle them?

Oh, I get it. The dogs are the ones holding the leash in the United States of Amnesia, and with a wad of Benjamins, they muzzle YOU.

Spare us the old Soviet Union jokes, we've heard them all before.

Good thing Tommy Douglas is a-moldering in his grave, or he'd chew your asses up so badly, you'd never sit down again. He faced as much pressure from the forces of "free market medicine" as any US president ever could, but he didn't back down. Even when doctors went on strike in Saskatchewan, he just brought in doctors from elsewhere who were willing to take up the slack until those misguided MDs realized their mistake and came into the fold.

In Venezuela, it was so bad that Chavecito brought in Cuban doctors, as did Evo in Bolivia. Both of them had the gonads to go up against the oligarchs of their respective countries and do it, just as Tommy Douglas had the gonads to do here.

So, Barack, where are YOUR 'nads at?

And sorry, Gene, but imperfection is NOT a start...except to an even bigger débâcle down the road. Forcing fellow-citizens to buy insurance they couldn't afford in the first place is not going to provide them with the care they need. It will, however, help ensure that they can't afford a house, or a car, or maybe even food and clothing. All of which they're gonna need before they need a doctor or a hospital.

No, this gradualist approach is NOT going to lead to gradual improvements. It's going to lead to people avoiding care for as long as they can, until an emergency drives them to it.

And you can never underestimate the stupid stubbornness, or the stubborn stupidity, of a conservative, either. They WILL hold out until an emergency, or death, whichever comes first. They will spend the duration of their nasty, brutish and short lives muttering under their breath about how hard they work for their money, and about the dangers of relying on Big Government.

And for once they may be right, although not the way in which they think they are. In the US, government is beholden to Big Money. All US governments, Democratic or Republican, are conservative that way. Even FDR didn't make good on his early impulse to de-fang Wall Street! And a government beholden to moneyed interests is a government doomed to the distrust of its own citizens no matter their political affiliations. That distrust, of course, is richly deserved, because the citizens are the ones who will be left out in the cold. Unless, mirabile dictu, the government grows a spine and tells Big Money to go screw. And understands that it will have to fight--REALLY fight--for what's right.

Tommy Douglas saw that coming when he took the plunge in Saskatchewan, and did what the progressives of that province elected him to do. No gradualism for him; he knew what was right. He didn't go halfsies, and neither should anyone else whose intention it is to provide universal healthcare.

Now, I REALLY need a drink.

What child is this?

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Ernestina Herrera de Noble, flanked by adopted son Felipe and adopted daughter Marcela. Both adoptees' natural parentage is now under suspicion.

Or should we say, Whose children are these?

A tribunal has ordered DNA testing on the adopted children of the president and shareholder of the daily newspaper, Clarín, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, to determine whether the children are from parents who "disappeared" during the last military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983).

According to adoption facilitators, Herrera found her adopted daughter, Marcela, on her doorstep in May of 1976, while her adopted son, Felipe, was given up by his biological mother two months later.

"However, we have found many irregularities in the adoption process," said Alan Iud, attorney for the association of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. "In the case of Marcela, two 'witnesses' came forward claiming to be neighbors, but who turned out to be Herrera's chauffeur and a woman who did not live in that neighborhood."

The woman said to be the biological mother of Felipe, on the other hand, "is a nonexistent person", said Iud. "The identity card number given was that of a man, and the name given is false."

Clarín alleged yesterday on its own pages that the case corresponds to a request filed privately by Marcela and Felipe in 2003. Iud denies this. "These tests have been ordered by the Federal Chamber of San Martín in response to a suit filed by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and the public prosecutor's office."

[...]

Herrera has been implicated since 2002 in an investigation over falsification of public documents in the process of the adoption of her children. The case was paralyzed because there was not enough evidence to prosecute her or to close the case.

The Clarín director's children must now submit to DNA testing. If they refuse, the Supreme Court has ordered that genetic samples be obtained from their personal effects.

Translation mine.

Certainly the timing of these adoptions alone makes them hinky. The Argentine military coup happened on March 24, 1976; any adoption taking place between then and 1983 has the potential to be a case of child-stealing (as well as murder, since the natural parents of all known stolen children have never been found; the dictatorship "disappeared" them permanently.) Since the two children in question were "adopted" in May and July of 1976, both under highly questionable circumstances, the odds are strong that they, too, are children of the disappeared.

Or to put it another way: Isn't it interesting that the same rich, well-connected, right-wing woman would just so happen to find a "foundling" on her doorstep less than two months after the military coup--and then, two months after that, become an adoptive parent for a second time, to a son whose natural mother had a fake name and a man's ID card? Lightning may strike twice in the same place, but all of that is just a little too coincidental to be a true coincidence.

Legal obstruction of the case pressed by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, along with the public prosecutor's office, only serves to compound the general smell of rotting fish about the whole affair. The son and daughter--possibly acting on the "advice" of their adoptive mother--have previously refused to come forward and let a doctor swab their cheeks for a few epithelial cells, claiming instead to have had their DNA privately tested. But then there's another catch: They didn't release those purported private test results. Why not, if there is nothing to hide? Wouldn't they be eager to lay this case definitively to rest, instead of obstructing and obfuscating matters further? Such transparent delaying tactics are not exactly a convincing show of innocence.

In the meantime, compulsory DNA testing is now required of all orphans and adoptees generated by the Argentine Dirty War. There are about 500 of them in all, and so far, 98 have been conclusively identified, all with the help of DNA tests. One such adoptee has sued her adoptive parents over the deception in which they participated. It's very likely that she endured psychological trauma as a result of growing up amid what she knew to be a pack of lies. Many Dirty War stolen children have been emotionally and physically abused by their strict, fascistic adoptive parents, and it's very possible that we will hear of other suits like this one.

It's not likely that the Herreras will do the same to their wealthy and powerful adoptive mother, but it will be interesting to see what other bugs shake out of this very creepy family tree.

December 27, 2009

You can never trust those feckin' old ladies...

...except to make you laugh until you wet yourself.

Gawd, I hope they put this on the telly.

Music for a Sunday: Best jazz tune EVER.

Seriously...isn't it just?

December 26, 2009

Economics for Dummies: A winter soldier speaks out on war and racism

Mike Prysner of Iraq Veterans Against the War hits the nail on the head:

"Our real enemy is not the ones living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; the real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the insurance companies who deny us health care when it's profitable, the banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us."

Thanks to David Blomstrom for sharing that link on Facebook!

Since when does Santa's sleigh come with missiles?

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Kiddies, help your weak-eyed Auntie Bina out. Does that look like a sleigh to you? Nope...no reindeer. But what are those black things under the wings? Sure look like missiles to me...AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, if I'm not mistaken.

Respected Venezuelan journalist Eleazar Díaz Rangel picks apart the Colombian defence minister's snippy comments about another big, red-clad, real-life Santa Claus. Story from Ultimas Notícias, via Aporrea:

After the declarations of Colombian defence minister Gabriel Silva, and those of General Freddy Padilla, who denied all responsibility for the denounced incursion of an unmanned military plane over military targets in the Venezuelan state of Zulia, news agencies reported: "Neither Silva nor Padilla clarified whether any Colombian military bases had equipment like that described by the President of Venezuela, nor whether they received it as part of the co-operation agreements with the United States."

The two high-level functionaries did not dare to deny the existence of unmanned planes in any of the seven bases now controlled by the US, nor did they make any reference to whether Colombia had received any such aircraft.

Among unmanned drone planes, the RQ-1/MQ-1 Predator, built by General Atomics to replace the F-16 Falcon in 2001, stands out. The plane weighs about 500 kilos, can stay aloft for up to 24 hours, and cover thousands of kilometres.

This new craft, along with carrying out reconnaissance missions, "has the offensive capacity of carrying two Hellfire missiles", which it can fire with great precision.

According to the manufacturer's promotional material, on one occasion, in Iraq, in response to an attack by Iraqi rebels in a zone where US forces could not enter, a Predator plane located the target and, in order not to destroy the building where the sniper was hiding, fired a missile through a window and thus hit its mark.

Planes like these are currently being used in Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq, and were also used in Bosnia, Serbia and Yemen in the past. Their missiles have a range of up to 7 km. Germany has the Luna X 2000 drone; in Spain several models are being tested (Alba, Alo, Diana and Siva); Ecuador acquired several Searchers, with 20 hours of flight time at 200 km/h.

Former Venezuelan defence minister Gen. Raúl Baduel announced on January 31, 2007, that since the US embargo on military sales to Venezuela, "military aviation advanced a project on unmanned planes". In Argentina, the "Guardian" is currently under development.

With Predator drones, which are surely controlled and directed by US militaries from the ground, if it were true that Colombian intelligence knew the exact location of guerrilla chiefs alleged to be in Venezuela, they would not have had to use an air attack like the one on March 1 of 2008, when a FARC camp in Ecuador was bombed using an air-launched missile, whose advantage was surely that it did not leave behind any "footprints" to betray its origins.

It is said that those which Colombia has can only fly up to 40 kilometres.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

Kiddies, your Auntie Bina is gonna go waaaaaaayyyyy out on a limb here and conjecture that if you believe in the 40-kilometre-range of Colombian missiles or drones, especially in light of those seven gringo bases, you might as well believe in Santa Claus.

And ditto if you think this is all harmless, or just part of the War on Drugs.

Wankers of the Week: Boxing Day edition

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Or in the case of the faildude above, should that be boxer shorts edition? Whatever--here's this week's list of people who hung a bit too far out of their pants and frightened Santa's reindeer. I have just the lumps of coal for YOU, my uglies...

1. Tom Fucking Coburn. With "prayers" like his, who needs satanism? PS: Watch out what you pray for, teabaggers, you just might get it.

2. Ted Fucking Klaudt. No way am I respecting the supposed trademark on the name of this wanker. You rape foster kids, you don't get to keep your name out of the news, much less force people to pay for the privilege of using it to identify you as a child abuser. Oh, and get this: He was elected in South Dakota on a "family values" campaign. Nice values you got there, Ted!

3. Katherine Fucking Cole. Shit, who cares if Hispanic kids are being born with fatal defects? Why not expand that toxic waste dump? Of course your toxic waste dump is "safe"--for Anglos!

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4. The entire fucking Harper SupposiTory gummint. While Afghan prisoners are being tortured--by OUR troops as well as Afghan ones--guess who's swilling eggnog from the federal trough?

Man, would I ever love just ten minutes alone with Harpo. I'd feed him some 'nog, all right, but there wouldn't be any eggs in it. Just milk of magnesia. And castor oil. Ah yes, good ol' ugh-nog. Just like Great-Grandma used to do when the kids were behaving badly.

5. Lorne Fucking Gunter. Another humanity-hating grinch I'd like to feed ugh-nog to. Only in his case, I'd feed it to him up the back way, if you know what I mean.

6. Tyler Fucking Bridges. Not only does he have trouble spelling Lula's name, he also has trouble telling who's a former guerrilla in Latin America, and above all, tying all that into some contorted point or other he's straining to make. Now we know why the Miami Hairball bounced him. A picture of Tyler's logic follows...

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7. Stephen Fucking Harper. The Fail is strong in this one. And it's the only thing that is. In all other respects, Little Stevie Blunder is a gormless wimp. And nowhere was that more in evidence than in Copenhagen.

8. Sarah Fucking Palin. To all her other wanks, we can now add a new one, and the most scandalous of all: Abortion cover-up FAIL! No wonder she's scared shitless of bloggers. They have a funny way of ferreting out just what she does not want found.

9. Mike Fucking Francis. Harnessing Santa to the "War on Christmas" and "let's kill Hugo Chávez" memes? I don't care if it was done in jest, it's still a wank from where I sit. Colombia and the US are the aggressors against Venezuela, and that's no laughing matter. And only a dipshit would try to make it out to be funny.

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10. Bart Fucking Stupak. His name lends itself to "stupid" plays so well, does it not? Well, here's something else it will soon lend itself to: Being equated with that of Benedict Arnold.

11. The Fucking US Treasury Department. Do you seriously think a blank cheque to Fannie and Freddie is such a good idea when it's the people being foreclosed upon who are hurting the most, need the money more, and are asking for much, much less? Somebody in Washington does. That somebody, whoever he is, needs a whole sack of coals--dumped over top of him till he smothers.

12. Whoever the fuck is responsible for putting this dude on a terrorist watch list--and then not watching him closely enough, much less preventing him from flying. Way to defeat the purpose, ya fuckin' wankers.

13. Monica Fucking Crowley. Whine, whine, WHINE. First this dumb blonde and all her fellow FUX Snoozers pump the biggest Miserable Failure EVER, and now they complain about the guy who's tasked with cleaning up after him--and Katie Couric (who is hardly a liberal, by any but the loosest definition) for accurately pegging the teabaggers as rude, whiny, whipped-up louts? Where the hell were they when the same uncivil crowd was calling every leftist a terrorist? Oh yeah, I forgot...they were kneeling in front of Dubya's open fly, doing for him what the other Monica, the not-so-dumb brunette, did for Dubya's predecessor. And whipping up the rude, whiny louts. AND calling every leftist a terrorist.

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And finally, to the Wankin' Yank of Bremen, IP # 92.228.147.32. I don't know what possessed him to jerk off on not one, but two of my entries. And on Christmas Day, yet. Maybe Wanker #13 inspired him. Or maybe he thinks he has to do his part in the Fictitious War On Christmas, and that wanking over strangers' blogs is it. But it's clear from the splooge that this one's a racist, an anti-intellectual, a polluter, a teabagger and a moron (did I just repeat myself? I think I did. Oh well.)

I also don't know what the hell he's doing in my ancestral country, and in the fair Hansastadt (although I have a fair idea of what he does there in his spare time--something involving lots of beer, trenchcoats, parks and little kids, no doubt.) He's exactly the kind of Scheiß-Ami my German homefolks deeply despise, and one of these nights, on his way back from the beer hall, he just might get his ass deservedly kicked by the Town Musicians. But just in case they don't come through, here's his male-supremacist e-mail--as you can see, he's all talk and a small cock.

Good night, John Boy--and get fucked.

December 25, 2009

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Chavecito's Christmas message

And there's a new "Baby Jesus" being born in Venezuela this holiday season--a mission to promote maternal and child health.

The original Jesus would approve.

Feliz Chavidad, mis amigos.

PS: Here's a little something for everyone--a gift of music from a gifted young Venezuelan woman who died recently, much too soon. But she left a legacy worth keeping. RIP, Solimar Cadenas.

December 24, 2009

Meowy Catmas!

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My best friend just sent me this, and I just had to share. Happy LOLidays!

Grandma got WHAT?

BTW, this one's got a nifty back story. Who knew that an eggnog-swilling grandma could be so profitable?

And no, this is NOT Pee-Wee Herman:

...although he DOES have that kind of vibe going on.

BTW, this song's got a fun back story, too.

Have yourselves a campy little Xmas, kiddies. Aunt Bina is off to take a long winter's nap.

December 23, 2009

Copenhagen flops, Evo is tops

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Hey Barack, how's it feel to get pwned by the Little Injun That Could?

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced today that a world conference of social movements is to take place in Bolivia, as a response to the failure of the 15th Summit on Climate Change, recently held in Copenhagen.

"The problems of climate change are directly linked to the irrational development of industry," said the president at the celebrations for the 49th anniversary of the foundation of the Culpina municipality, in the region of Chuquisaca.

Morales said that he has requested technical and scientific arguments to support a large-scale international mobilization to defend the environment, especially water.

The meeting will take place on April 22, which is the International Day of Mother Earth.

"It will be a great meeting where we'll be able to come up with solutions for the problem of climate change," the leader said.

He regretted that the summit held in Copenhagen had concluded without reaching any important agreement. However, he noted that the event was an opportunity to break the hegemony of industrialized countries attending the gathering.

"If we don't make important decisions now, our children and the generations to come will be faced with serious problems," warned the president.

He pointed out that the Bolivian world conference of social movements will be aimed at finding options for guaranteeing food for the peoples, in view of the famine that is affecting different parts of the world.

Notice that this is not a summit of heads-of-state, who, as we've seen all too clearly from Copenhagen, are prostrate to moneyed interests and are thus in no position to take leadership on this key issue. Instead, Evo is calling for social movements and scientists from around the world to come together and come up with actual working solutions, not just more non-binding wimpy "agreements" that don't even look good on paper.

And if you wonder why this was called by Evo and not, say, his bigger, louder pal Chavecito, consider one of the things he himself mentioned: water. It's been a hot-button issue in Bolivia for many years now, and no wonder: first the moneyed interests (the same that are sitting on Washington's neck right now) privatized Bolivia's water, right down to the rain; then, a coalition of social movements, including the coca farmers led by Evo back when he was just a shit-disturbing union leader, booted Bechtel out of Bolivia (and their pal Goni the Gringo, too); and now, with global warming destroying the glaciers the indigenous people rely on for water, once more they can't afford to take this life-sustaining resource for granted. (Remember, we're talking about a landlocked country, and half of it is in the relatively arid Andes.)

Evo, who comes from the Altiplano himself, knows as well as anyone how precious water is in Bolivia; they can't just pump it out of the sea, and they can't rely on reservoirs because it doesn't rain heavily enough to sustain them in all parts of the country. In the Altiplano, their lakes are fed by Andean glacial meltwater, and that source is rapidly draining away! So, now we understand Evo's urgency on this matter, don't we?

Looks like Evo is taking a leadership role yet again. Some people could learn a lot from this guy...and not just on how to dress, either.

Short 'n' Stubby: Christmas Eve Eve edition

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Merry Not-Quite-Christmas! Here's what's blipping on Aunt 'Bina's ol' radarscope tonight...

Oh noes, that evil Chavecito just decided to "rename" Angel Falls--with its original, indigenous name! Horrors! Why must these nasty brown Venezuelans get so uppity and insist on being all sovereign and insubordinate to the anglo foreigners? Is that any way to treat your ex-overlords?

Matt Taibbi gives David Brooks an atomic wedgie. Yeow!

Aw, the ooky corruptocratic paraco-government of Colombia believes in Santy Claus. Isn't that cute?

The Inter-American Press Barons' Association is getting nowhere in Venezuela and Bolivia, so now it's training its crosshairs on Ecuador. No, they NEVER learn.

Oh noes, Venezuela has signed another oil deal with China! BTW, China/Venezuela trade has increased 13-fold since 2003 but guess who's misreporting that as a mere threefold?

And just as I thought he would be, boli-bourgeois bankster Eligio Cedeño has been sprung. Of course they're not interested in deporting him, any more than they would the CubanaBomber; he's bringing "home" all that ill-gotten dinero he stole from the people of Venezuela. So of course the only charges against him are the usual illegal-immigration wrist-slaps. (What--did you think he was gonna get the impoverished-Mexican treatment? Silly gringos.)

"Holy shit! Oh my God!"

A once-in-a-lifetime sighting, caught on camera from an Air Canada flight to the Bahamas. The space shuttle can't be seen, but the fireball from its engines, and the smoke trail, are clearly visible.

BTW, some moron left this comment on the site:

the space program is a cinical ploy by desperate big government liberals who want to push their science onto our children in their public schools. WAKE UP AMERICA. real americans everywehre are realising america's days are numbered now that an islamic marxist is our president. TIME TO SUCCEED FROM THE UNION

...thus proving just why more public education is so desperately needed by our neighbors to the south--to combat the McCarthyite idiocy (and the plague of bad spelling) that's so rampant among the teabaggers. Yeah, the space program--which has been in place since Eisenhower signed NASA into existence in 1958--is all Obama's doing. He's out to warp your mind and destroy you with science! Unga bunga inga binga bunnnnnggggga...

December 22, 2009

Teh Heterostoopid: Epic Traditional Marriage Fail

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Epic Fail for Steven (and his mistress), Epic Win for Emily!

Economics for Dummies: Socialism really IS good for capitalism!

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Unfortunately, this is all too true.

December 21, 2009

Stalinists: No criticizing Dear Leader on his birthday

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Y'okay, I take it humor is out of the question as well?

Whatever is to be made of this?

The Russian Communist Party asked the nation Monday for a daylong moratorium on criticizing Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as they celebrate his 130th birthday.

Despite overseeing political purges and widespread famine that killed millions of Soviet citizens, Stalin is still embraced by many Russians nostalgic for Soviet times.

[...]

"We would very much like for any discussion of the mistakes of the Stalin epoch to be silenced today, so that people could reflect on Stalin's personality as a creator, a thinker and a patriot," Communist deputy parliament speaker Ivan Melnikov said on the party's Web site.

[...]

Stalin - born as Josef Dzhugashvili on Dec. 21, 1879 - was among the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution, and maneuvered to discredit his rivals and consolidate control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after the 1924 death of its first leader, Vladimir Lenin. Stalin ruled with an iron fist until his own death in 1953, having unleashed brutal purges which killed millions of people. Millions more died in a famine triggered by his brutal collectivization of agriculture and confiscation of grain to fund the frenetic industrialization drive.

His legacy of repression and persecution, however, only became fully known in Russia after the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, lifted the taboo against criticizing Stalin as part of the 1980s perestroika campaign of political and economic reforms that precipitated the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse.

A core of followers, mainly elderly people educated before perestroika, nevertheless upholds that Stalin was a valiant leader whose iron grip on the nation was needed to ensure security and industrial growth.

Funny, that's just what the Repugs say about Dubya. Everyone else, however, thinks he's a dangerous buffoon about whom the best thing to say is "Thank God he's out of power now!"

However, Stalin wasn't a buffoon, and certain salient facts reflect that:

Most Russians - 54 percent - have a high opinion of Stalin's leadership qualities, according to a survey released Friday by state-run polling agency VTsIOM, while only 23 percent rate his personal character traits as below average. The survey questioned 1,600 people nationwide Dec. 5-6 and gave a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Putin, like the Communists, has made efforts to rehabilitate Stalin's image, lauding his drive to industrialize the Soviet Union and his victory over the Nazis as deserving of respect despite the human cost.

"In my view, you cannot make one gross assessment," Putin said during his annual live radio and TV call-in show on Dec. 3. "Any historical events need to be analyzed in their entirety."

True enough. And yet, the Stalin years of cold war and famine were a driving force for Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev, both of whom lost family members to it, according to Richard Rhodes. Not only in terms of perestroika (economic reform), but also glasnost (openness, specifically freedom of speech.) Both were deeply upset by the needless starvation of millions, and also by the Stalinist régime's hush-hushing of the fact. One good outcome of glasnost is the following, which we certainly would not have heard back in the day:

Some have criticized Putin's drive as an effort to whitewash history and paint Stalin in a positive light in order to justify the Kremlin's own growing power and retreat from democracy.

Even President Dmitry Medvedev has taken a more critical stand against Stalinism - a sign that the issue is still debated both among Russia's political elite as well as its populace.

"It is impossible to imagine the scale of the terror inflicted on the people of our country," Medvedev said in his video blog on Oct. 30, the day commemorating the victims of Stalinist repression. "I am convinced that no national development, no success, no ambitions can be achieved at the price of human suffering and death."

The remarks represent perhaps the Kremlin's strongest condemnation of Soviet repression since Putin, Medvedev's predecessor, became president almost a decade ago.

The leader of the opposition Yabloko party, Sergei Mitrokhin, warned against reading too much into Medvedev's more liberal rhetoric. "This statement had appeal on the day of remembrance, but he has never followed with any actions or a united program of de-Stalinization in the government," Mitrokhin said Monday.

Not only Medvedev's critical stand on Stalin, but Mitrokhin's criticism of Medvedev's more-talk-than-action approach, would have been impossible to imagine back then, right?

Maybe Putin is right about Stalin deserving respect for defeating the Nazis, although I'd say it was Russia's harsh climate, more than anything else, that stopped Operation Barbarossa cold. But I will give credit where it's due: Stalin knew when to stop being buddy-buddy with the crappy PFC from Austria, and to switch allegiances in due course.

And let's face it, the Allies would probably have lost if the Soviets hadn't been on side. Which makes me scratch my head all the more at the whole Cold War rationale that began its machinations even before the shooting war was over. Does anyone seriously still believe that Fat Man and Little Boy were only built to wring a surrender out of Japan? I've got another Richard Rhodes book to recommend that blows that notion clear out of the water, if you want to know the awful truth...

In the meantime, I think I'll stick with democratic socialism, where the decision making is bottom-up rather than top-down. And I'd advise y'all to keep an eye on this dude, who seems to have his own rather Stalin-like traits...

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Teh Heterostoopid: This is a job for Planned Parenthood

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Some people are so stupid they shouldn't reproduce...but that's exactly how they get to reproducing in the first place!

Short 'n' Stubby: Shortest 'n' stubbiest day of the year

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It's Yule, and here's the news of the day...bttttteep beep beeeeep...

Arkansas fundies, suck it: Freethinkers got the okay to put up a nondenominational display in honor of the Winter Solstice. I'm cool with all of it except the inclusion of Bill Gates. (He's not a scientist, and he is definitely out of his league next to the very socialist Einstein.)

Did you know that in ancient times, solar cults were the vehicle of science? No? Now you do.

Ancient English folk were celebrating Yule at Stonehenge as early as 4500 years ago, according to the Guardian. The dead giveaway? Pig and cow bones found at the site. The Henge is already known for helping ancient people keep track of equinoxes and solstices. Now we also have proof that they feasted to mark the day.

Similar things probably also happened at Newgrange, in Ireland. Nowadays, though, you need to get lucky in a lottery to visit the site.

Yogis in Bangor, Maine, are also celebrating, even though it technically isn't a Hindu festival.

A young atheist asks some penetrating questions about capitalism vs. spirituality, and wonders how this holiday got so fucked up. Yeah, me too.

Need some spiritual refreshment? Read this. And this. And have a good Yule.

Blessed be!

Spies and lies flying over Venezuela

Chavecito denounces the unmanned US drone spotted flying over Venezuela, clearly launched from Colombia.

It's worth noting how he (and his audience) stress that this is not a fight against Colombia, because there is a large Colombian immigrant community in Venezuela, and there are close ties between the two countries. The fight is against the sender of the spy plane, and the Uribe government which allowed this blatant violation of sovereignty.

And no, he's not paranoid. Eva Golinger reports that anti-Venezuela activities are escalating.

There is also evidence that the Dutch government is also involved since it granted permission for the US Fourth Fleet (which Obama has not recalled!) to use bases in the Dutch Antilles, lying just off the Venezuelan coast. Why would the Dutch government do such a thing? Three words, people: Royal Dutch Shell. Do you seriously think one of the world's largest oil companies doesn't stand to profit immensely from conflict with one of the countries where it's doing business, and on terms not so favorable to itself anymore? Shell is still butthurt over the back taxes it was forced to pay if it wanted to go on doing business. It's also not above murdering anyone who gets in its way. Does anyone seriously believe the Dutch government would not jump at the chance to force unwanted regime change upon Venezuela? They've done so in the past. I think you can guess why.

That's why we should all be very skeptical when we hear the Dutch goverment acting all injured about things like this. It is not the injured party at all. It is an aggressor. As is the Colombian government, which is openly corrupt--and, like the Dutch, stands to profit from its own prostration to US and corporate interests.

And that's why we have this ultra-cynical campaign of spying, crying, flying and lying going on over Venezuela.

Any questions?

December 20, 2009

Short 'n' Stubby: Copen-ragin'

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The climes, they are a-changin'...but denial ain't no river in Egypt, Cleo. A random sampling of stupidities about the just-ended summit in the city of the Little Mermaid (who will be underwater soon if we don't stop this insanity):

Sarah Palin: Twit or tweet? Both.

Meet Gregory D. Lee, another conservatard douchebag who would probably love to suck Sawah's perma-tanned toes. Assuming he ever gets his own foot out of his mouth first.

"Free market analysis" also haz Teh Stoopid. But what did you expect from the genii who got us into this whole mess in the first place?

The Amurrican Stinker wakes up and smells the sulfur, but doesn't realize that a lot of the fumes are coming from itself.

Roger L. Simon, the fool in the fedora, has a medieval mindset. This, of course, comes as a surprise to no one.

Surprisingly, a Filipino bizmedia page gives Copenhagen the best and fairest coverage I've seen so far, at least in English. It doesn't even call Chavecito a "dictator", like all the other bizrags like to do. Dare we hope?

Deseret News thinks natural gas is some kind of panacea for saving the US economy, smashing OPEC and bringing "democracy" to Venezuela. Hi, I'm the Queen of Sheba.

One good thing about all these morons with their heads in the sand: When the sea levels rise, they'll be the first to drown. With any luck, we can then get to work on cleaning up the shit-pile they left behind.

Honduras: Shit you couldn't make up if you tried

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Two lovely items about Central America's luvverliest faux-democracy I simply had to share with you. First, this one from Aporrea, by Jean-Guy Allard:

The putschist Honduran leader, Roberto Micheletti, was declared a "national hero" on December 18 by the Civic Union for Peace and Democracy of Honduras for "his search for peace", according to putschist media.

The far-right politician, who directed the expulsion from the country of the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya, and ordered the army to open fire on defenseless protesters, was pleased about the award and publicly thanked the organization.

The "Unión Cívica Democrática de Honduras", or UCD, is a creation of the "civil society participation" arm of USAID, the US State Department agency which subsidizes political interference through covert intelligence operations and destabilization efforts.

With the title of "national hero", the organization presented a metal plaque to the dictator in a special ceremony held at the presidential palace. The plaque was inscribed: "For our national hero, president Roberto Micheletti, with admiration and affection."

"Today we recognize Mr. Micheletti, who assumed with much dignity the role of national hero of Honduras and defender of peace, freedom and democracy," said the co-ordinator of the UCD, deputy Armida Villeda, who personally benefited from the favors of the putschist leader on multiple opportunities.

Giving thanks for the "prize", Micheletti thanked "the people and the friends who thought I deserved a recognition of this nature".

A few hours before the coup, demonstrators from the UCD, led by the same Armida Villeda, demanded the removal of OAS observers assigned to the referendum called by President Zelaya over the question of constitutional reform.

Immediately after the coup, on June 28, the UCD took the "initiative" to organize a demonstration in favor of the military and Micheletti, while a campaign of terror unfolded against the supporters of the expelled president.

Ironically, the UCD defines itself as "a group of social organizations with one thing in common: to detect, analyze and expose threats to the rule of law in Honduras".

According to investigator Eva Golinger, the UCD is a coalition which unites, among others, right-wing organizations, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP), the National Federation of Commerce and Industries of Honduras (FEDECAMARA), the Association of Communications Media (AMC), and the student group, Generation X Change.

For the fiscal year 2009, USAID contributed some $47 million US to organizations and groups in Honduras. Strange as it seems, the country with the most incoherent electoral system in the world provides technical assistance, among other things, to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Honduras, "for effective and transparent carrying-out of its responsibilities." The TSE has been one of the most loyal supporters of the usurper Micheletti in the operation that made a mockery of public opinion upon his illegal assumption of power.

Translation mine.

Then, this one from Spain's Público:

If you ever wondered how to win a Nobel Peace Prize, this is a good year to get an answer to that question. You can choose between waging a war, or bringing down a government by way of a coup d'état. Ever since the president of the United States, Barack Obama, won this award, it seems that any candidate is a valid one.

That's what they must be thinking in the Honduran Francisco Morazán Organization and Americas Democracy Watch, who have begun a signature-collecting campaign in support of the candidacy of the putschist "de facto president" of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The activists of this Latin American community in Miami, Florida, have already informed of their intention to present the signatures formally to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, an institution named by the Norwegian parliament.

Micheletti has been occupying the presidency of Honduras since the coup d'état of June 28 of this year, when he ousted the elected president, Manuel Zelaya, who still remains in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

If they agree to the petition of these organizations, the Norwegian parliamentarians will place Micheletti at the level of the only four Latin Americans to have won the prize: Carlos Saavedra Lamas (Argentina, 1936), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina, 1980), Oscar Arias (Costa Rica, 1987) and Rigoberta Menchú (Guatemala, 1992).

Again, translation mio. Linkage added, so that you can see just what august company would be sullied by the inclusion of Gorilletti among the ranks of Nobel Peace prizewinners. BTW, Pérez Esquivel and Menchú have both come out in favor of a much worthier recipient, who's been snubbed at least twice now: Evo Morales of Bolivia.

I wonder, too, if USAID had anything to do with this astroturfer who flung bat guano at me on Facebook. The "group" it mentions certainly has that odor about it...

Whoever's behind it, though, I have to say that this really is the height of arrogance and absurdity. Prizes for crowning himself king of Honduras? Hmmm, where have I seen that before?

Actually, never. But this guy from Venezuela might well have been in the same boat, had he not lasted a mere 48 hours in power:

(Yes, the audio is fake. It's a spoof, using the coronation of the king of Spain by the dictator Franco for a soundtrack.)

BTW, the dictator from Venezuela is squatting in Miami right now, along with all those people who think the Honduran putsch was just groovy and worthy of a Nobel nom. Nice place, Miami; all the scum of Latin America has a funny way of washing ashore there sooner or later. Must be those ocean currents...

Oh look! Pundit Kitchen has finally discovered Canada...

A little late, as you can see:

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Jack Layton (left) is still the leader of the NDP, just as Gilles Duceppe (right) is still heading up the Bloc Québécois. But sadly, Stéphane Dion (middle) was usurped by a Russian boyar who is considerably less popular than he, for reasons still unknown. (The "reasons still unknown" refers to the usurpation, not the unpopularity. Iggy's unpopularity owes to the fact that he's Harpo Lite, with a dollop of ivory-tower snootiness thrown in. Dion's was due strictly to poor timing.)

Music for a Sunday: Best untrained voice EVER.

And really, if it were professionally polished, would Astrud's voice still have that lovely understated wistfulness?

And if there were more to the lyrics, would this play on rhythms (of women's swaying walks, no less!) be as much fun?

And would this song be ruined by those who forget that often, less really is more?

December 19, 2009

Wankers of the Week: Wankin' around the Xmas tree

First, a little mood music, to get us in the proper holiday spirit...

(And doesn't Billy Idol still look great for his age? Well, maybe a little stiff. And cartoony...)

Ah, Yuletide. 'Tis the season to be jolly, for most of us; for wankers, it's the most wonderful time of the year...to demonstrate how un-Christian they really are. And we got more of them than Santa has coals in his sack, kiddies. So here we go, with this week's dimmest-bulbs-on-the-ol'-green-tree:

1. Ray Fucking Comfort. Plagiarizing an evolutionist opponent to "refute" Charles Darwin with fundamentalist hogwash? The mind boggles.

2. Matthew Fucking Spalding. The Nobel Peace Prize is a "title of nobility"? Dude, if you're gonna style yourself a "constitutional scholar", the least you could do is learn the difference in spelling (and pronunciation!) between "noble" and "Nobel". You might also learn how to disentangle a cash award from a title (there is none attached to the million-dollar prize). And above all, when it comes to needing the consent of Congress in order to receive such an award, you might want to ask that other undeserving US Nobel winner, Henry Fucking Kissinger, if he had to go begging Congress for it!

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3. The fucking racists of Verona, Italy. I'm not sure what's so terrible about a non-white Nativity scene (hell, one of the Three Kings in the German ones my parents and grandparents had was always black!), but apparently a whole dang shebang with no white faces threatens some people terribly.

4. John Fucking Bolton. So, humans are "hard-wired for conflict"? Better not read what RickB has posted about the evidence for genetic altruism, then. After all, "Peace on Earth" is such an unnatural notion to Ol' Milk Mustache Man, who has made quite a lucrative career out of pursuing its polar opposite.

5. Fucking TIME magazine. Ben BernWANKe, Person of the Year. Srsly. I know, you're thinking "WTF, dude?" But srsly. They've picked a lot of wieners over the years, so this is actually par for the course. Doesn't make them any less wankish at any other time of the year, either, since they consistently get the majority of their foreign news wrong. But since it's practically an annual tradition for them to make piss-poor choices for their persons-of-the-year, let's just make it an annual tradition to piss on them here, eh?

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6. Joe Fucking Lieberman. Fortunately, Al Franken was on hand, taking time out from his Hanukkah dreidel-spinning to gavel this oh-so-deserving fucker down.

7. John Fucking McCain also gets a dishonorable mention--for blatant hypocrisy. I guess it's different when it's a turncoat Arschlecker like Lieberman, eh?

8. Larry Fucking Summers. So, women can't do math? That's funny, we're not the ones who "misplaced" a billion dollars at Hahvud by playing the debt-swapping markets. So glad I never bothered with that Ivy League MBA shit--it clearly stands for "Master of Bugger-All"!

9. Daniel Fucking Petit. Because "patriotism" and "supporting the troops" are clearly synonymous with turning a blind eye to human rights abuses and stonewalling in Parliament.

10. Stephen Fucking Harper. Because the best way to boost Canada's profile in the world is to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in Afghanistan AND climate change both, instead of boldly facing them head-on and NOT toadying to the Yanks.

11. In fact, the entire fucking Conservative party are wankers and deserve the following fate:

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...and if it reminds you of anything, fellas, take a lesson from the sad fate of your historical antecedents now, and quit the wanking while you still can.

12. Adrian Fucking MacNair. Wanna talk about Canadians who hate Canada, Adrian? Look in the mirror and describe what you see. You must not value our country very much if you vilify a fellow countryman as a commie just for telling the unhappy truth (and doing a better job of it than you with your shit, if truth be told). Our collective dependence on fossil fuel and crapitalism is losing us sovereignty over our own Arctic as the polar ice melts, and melts, and melts. Even your beloved Tories have a problem with this. Yeah, go right ahead and deny global warming, too, but just remember: Capitalism can't save you from the effects of it--WANKER.

13. James Fucking Inhofe. Another wanker who thinks denial is a river in Egypt. He was too much even for the journo from Germany's oh-so-crapitalist Der Spiegel to take. Unnamed journo called him "ridiculous", right in Der Inhofe's face. Whoever that Krazy Kraut was, he's my newest hero. Vielen Dank!

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14. Alexander Fucking Cockburn. Sorry, dude, but when you drink the conservative Kool-Aid on global warming, you get to stand in the same corner as all the other wankers up there in front of you, and you get to share the same dunce cap. Tell the people of Bolivia they have nothing to worry about when man-made global warming is robbing them of a major source of their water--I'm sure they'll be happy to hear your "scientific facts", assuming they stop laughing long enough to hear you out. Maybe, if you're extra-convincing, they might even take you skiing on the Chacaltaya Glacier!

15. Jeff Fucking Valletine. So, Sarah Fucking Palin "is a strong personality who brings out lots of opinions from lots of folks"? That's a mighty curious thing to say about a batshit-crazy woman who says, in all seriousness, that Canada should "dismantle" its healthcare system and let the profiteers in. And who also claims that our "socialized" single-payer system is mandating "death panels" at hospitals caring for senior citizens...hospitals like the one Jeff Fucking Valletine just happens to be speaking for. The same that dropped her like a hot cowpie, probably for that very reason. And probably also for the salient fact that her $200,000 speaker's fee would have consumed all the funds (1000 plates @ $200 apiece; do the math!) they were trying to raise for the new equipment they need, which our oh-so-socialist federal (Conservative) and provincial (Liberal) governments aren't forking out the money for. But yeah, let's just go with the "strong personality" theory, and assume that Canadians are idiots who can't do basic math, never learned history, and don't consider Tommy Douglas the greatest of us all.

16. Laurie Fucking Hawn. For urinating all over the intelligence of the Canadian public. This public understands full well that the federal Conservatives have been covering up evidence of torture in Afghanistan--torture in which our troops have been made complicit by handing over prisoners of war to the local authorities. Perhaps we should hand MP Hawn over too, and see what he says then.

EDIT: Oh shit, it gets worse!

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17. Jim Fucking DeMint. File under "not clear on the concept", the concept in question being "good faith".

18. Jason Fucking Kenney. Same drawer; concept being what constitutes antisemitism.

19. Barack Fucking Obama. Same drawer also; concept being PEACE. How's about handing that million-dollar Nobel over to the Taliban, along with all the other cash going along with that 30,000-troop "surge"? You might as well, because that's where it all ends up.

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20. Ben Fucking Nelson. Because the "true meaning of Christmas" is keeping women under the bootheel of the male-dominated state, and the people without single-payer healthcare. For "moral reasons", natch.

21. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. See above, and add loud barnyard noises. And drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

22. Tom Fucking Coburn. See #20, and add copy of US constitution stained with fecal matter and vomit. Meanwhile, the GOP has just lost one of its own over the very "mission" of which the lunatic speaketh.

23. Chris Fucking Matthews. Because the progressive netroots "get their giggles from sitting in the backseat and bitching." As opposed to himself, who gets his by sitting in front of a camera and doing the exact same--FOR MONEY. But since he does it on behalf of the establishment, who are staunchly anti-progress, why, that makes it all dignified, decorous and right!

24. Sarah Fucking Palin. Honestly, why anyone still thinks this woman is smart is beyond me. Why not just tattoo a huge red FAIL on her forehead?

25. Christopher Fucking Monckton, a.k.a. the Third Viscount de Bumfucque and Buggery-on-Thames. Nice to know that good old English class snobbery is alive and well, and that there is still some outrage to be mustered at those horrible, gauche Danish police, who beat on the titled and the untitled alike. Now where's the G and T, His Lordship has the vapors! Pip, pip...

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And finally, to Mikey the Moron at 24.129.188.34, for the following lovely (and charitable!) Yuletide sentiment, which I've put in my spam filter. See if you can guess why:

Damn right, I work for my money and got an education, I see people in poor hoods with cars better than mine, and $2,000 dollars worth of gold in and on thier bidy that they paid for with my tax dollars called welfare. I think everyone should pay taxes, even if you earn $1.00 a year. But it goes for all races and la razas

He dropped that on this entry, which, as you can see, has fuck-all to do with black people and Hispanics. I deleted his racist Reaganite rant from there because it's totally off topic and sounds like it came from some bum strung out on meth, typing from a dumpster behind the 7-11. (Probably did, at that.)

You can e-mail him here, or visit his shitty blog and drop a little mistletoe on his head--tied to a solid gold brick, of course.

Hey Mikey, here are my holiday greetings to you:

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The sincerest one, of course, comes from the cat.

Good night, and get fucked.

Headline Howler: No, they do NOT all look alike...

...even if the AP thinks so:

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But hey! They're both black, and they're both in showbiz one way or the other, so Will Smith and Barack Obama are interchangeable, right???

December 18, 2009

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Heating up Copenhagen

Denmark has come down in the world a bit since it stood up to protect the Jews during Nazi times. Now it's become more than a little Nazified itself, thanks to its happy joining in the War on Terra (and the eager crapagandistic participation of the Jyllands-Posten, that bastion of hateful, unmitigated bullshit.)

But it's not totally hopeless. There was a summit on climate change there recently, well attended by activists (including the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, no less). There was also a cool prank by the Yes Men. Those were the good bits.

And the bad? Well, the peaceful protests turned into riots at the predictable moment the stormtroopers showed up to bust heads. The violence was on the part of the cops, not the activists, and CBC had the decency to report it as such. (Anarkismo also has some good analysis.) Still, that part sucked. Most of the world leaders who showed up (late!) and then did nothing also sucked.

The only ones I can think of who didn't are these two, because they stood with the protesters rather than toadying to the usual suspects:

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Look at the faces of the journos. They know they caught the good guys. Evo and Chavecito are the ones that matter; they're the ones determined to set an example. Anyone lucky enough to be in the same airspace as these two, caught the hot ones and heard words worth publishing.

The rest, poor sods, just heard a lot of hot air.

UPDATE, 3:20 pm: Chavecito got doubleplusbadass with the organizers, telling them to throw tear gas if they wanted, he and Evo are giving their press conference--unplugged, if necessary. That's right--pay 'em back for that cheap 45-minute stunt they pulled at the airport the other day, guys!

Doubleplusgood: Evo got applause from Danish social movements. That's one thing NOT rotten in Denmark right now...

UPDATE #2: 4:48 pm: Chavecito's blockbuster speech translated, here.

December 17, 2009

Short 'n' Stubby: Backwards 'n' forwards...

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Venezuela looks back 10 years to the Vargas tragedy, when heavy rains led to mudslides that killed tens of thousands in the coastal region. Video here, in Spanish, tells how the locals recovered and rebuilt the stricken zone with the help of the government. The results (very pretty) speak for themselves.

Moving forward: Brazil has voted to let Venezuela into Mercosur. Paraguay's right-wing dominated senate is still holding out. That makes them the backward ones. Argentina and Uruguay, meanwhile, have already moved forward.

Another funny little Venezuelan video looks back at recent comings and goings (mostly goings) of the busy, busy travellers of the local opposition. It also asks the musical question: Are they doing all this flying because they're in cahoots with foreign interests, or could it just be because no one at home likes them?

Looking forward: Canadian Xmas cards haz Teh Ghey! Looking backward: Lots of idiots out there haz Teh Phobia. Guess two cute guys (one of them a Member of Parliament) and their dawg are somehow a threat to a lot of loons...

Helicopter Canada: a centennial documentary

A little treat from our commie-pinko National Film Board for all you documentary buffs out there:

"Helicopter Canada", by Eugene Boyko, 1966. Made just in time to celebrate Canada's 100th birthday the following year. Hands-down one of the most charming documentaries you'll ever see; shows my home and native land from coast to coast to coast. And barely dated, to boot.

Honduran dictator says he won't leave no matter what the world thinks

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"Nobody can be above the law. Repeat: Above MY law."

Sorry I couldn't come up with a more clever headline than that, but just so's you all know, Gorilletti is still in power and means to stay even though the world has told him he's not welcome. Maybe he'll even usurp the power of the man allegedly elected to replace him (or legitimize his fake presidency); one never knows, based on what he says:

The de facto ruler of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, once more defied the international community on Tuesday, saying that "even if the world wants it", he would not leave power, much less allow the legitimate president of the country, Manuel Zelaya, return to power.

"Even if the world were to ask me, even if those countries which have been intransigent view us with hatred, without justification, even then, I wouldn't do it," exclaimed the leader installed after the military coup of last June 28.

Micheletti asked: "And what do a few days matter when we have practically six months under our belt? What does it matter for the international community if I stay one or two days more before January 27?"--the day on which Zelaya's rule constitutionally ends.

"I don't see what could be the issue for any country in the world that I go one day, two days, seven days or 11 days before" January 27, "because what difference does it make?" he added.

Micheletti said he would not step down until the end of the period "allowed to me constitutionally", and assured that Zelaya is no longer president of Honduras, but "a common citizen".

Translation mine.

Gorilletti, of course, is talking out of his ass on every word. That's nothing new. Here's what the real, and still legitimate president of Honduras--Mel Zelaya, that is--says:

Dictator Roberto Micheletti, who still heads the de facto government in Honduras, defied the world in imposing a "democratic transition" despite having no moral or juridical authority to do so, says the legitimate president, Manuel Zelaya.

"It's absurd, after all the global rejection this coup d'état has faced, that now the author of the same imposes an illegal 'transition'," said Zelaya in a communiqué from the Brazilian embassy, where he remains, surrounded and assailed by putschist forces, as of September 21.

Zelaya, removed from office by the military on June 28, called Micheletti's attitude "a juridical aberration and an antidemocratic practice, which incriminates the presidents of Central America in inviting them to participate in this disgrace," a reference to the government's planned change-over on January 27 of the coming year.

[...]

Zelaya's ouster, approved by parliament on June 28 after his forcible expulsion from the country by the military, and the ratification of that decision on December 2, are "unconstitutional acts, illegal, in violation of the Tegucigalpa-San José accord, which the national congress resolved was in accordance with the law", he said.

Zelaya also says that he is in communication with the presidents of the continent, and the OAS, "to see to it that these crimes do not go unpunished, and that the material and intellectual authors of these violations of human rights and crimes against the Honduran people are sanctioned."

Again, translation mine.

Whose word do you trust? When in doubt, go with the man who was actually elected, and who did not commit crimes against humanity in order to impose his régime and make it stick. In other words, NOT Gorilletti.

Who, incidentally, remains illegitimate, and who passes his illegtimacy on to the puppet designated to succeed him on January 27. That is, if he doesn't end up snatching power from HIM, too.

One never knows, with Gorilletti...

December 16, 2009

Short 'n' Stubby: Booby prize edition

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And today's prize boobies are...

Matthew Yglesias of Think Progress, for getting Honduras and Ecuador mixed up. Just because they both grow bananas for the Yew Ess of Ay, is no reason for a so-called foreign policy expert to flunk geography. Or to misspell "daft", come to that, because a coup in Honduras IS a big deal to Hondurans and their friends abroad, and to handle it (or mishandle it) as Obama & Co. did, is daft as a Bush. At this rate, Think Progress will be called Stink Progress.

Rory Carroll, for also having Teh Stoopid about the Honduran coup. Well, at least he named the country correctly...

Olay and Virgin Media, in Britain, for badvertising.

The UN's so-called human-rights "experts", for not understanding the unsubtle differences between political prisoners, common crooks and corrupt judges. (The freed criminal was a bankster, and guess who paid the judge to let him go.)

The Miami Hairball, which is now asking its online readers to cough up cash to read its trash. Shouldn't they first produce something accurate, informative--in other words, worth reading?

The Beeb, for providing a platform for murderous homophobes.

Congrats, guys, here's your trophy...

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...because you SUCK.

How Venezuela sees Obama, part II

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No word from Aporrea on where this mural was painted, but apparently it's also from downtown Caracas. Like I said earlier, gotta work on that image...

And if you can't spot the reason the Venezuelans are so unimpressed, let Aunt Bina help you. Holiday jeers to the Wall St. Urinal for that blatantly racist bullcrap about the "Venezuelan military-industrial complex". What's one crappy Kalashnikov factory when you're sitting in the country whose own arsenal is bigger than that of the next dozen countries combined? And who you tryin' to kid with this "dangerous for Asia" shit? Your country is not just the biggest global menace there is, it's the ONLY one. And it's doing nothing to improve that image. Especially in Afghanistan--which, last time I looked, was a pretty sizable chunk of Asia.

Funny how the man just picked up that Nobel and still doesn't know what the hell to do now that he's got it...

December 15, 2009

Oh crap, the world DIDN'T end, after all.

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Dang, dang, walla walla bing bang.

Another Great Disappointment! I have a feeling 2012 will be no better when it comes...

PS: What ass-ugly sites all these rapturists have. Guess they think it won't matter because they're not long for this world anyway. No wonder Jesus isn't rapturing them--he's afraid they'll redecorate Heaven, and badly.

Sexual harassment is a constant problem, say Arab women

This Al-Jazeera report is two years old. So what's changed in the meantime? Apparently, nothing:

Activists from 17 countries across the region met in Cairo for a two-day conference ending Monday and concluded that harassment was unchecked across the region because laws don't punish it, women don't report it and the authorities ignore it.

The harassment, including groping and verbal abuse, is a daily experience women in the region face and makes them wary of going into public spaces, whether it's the streets or jobs, the participants said. It happens regardless of what women are wearing.

With more and more women in schools, the workplace and politics, roles have changed but often traditional attitudes have not. Experts said in some places, like Egypt, harassment appears sometimes to be out of vengeance, from men blaming women for denied work opportunities.

Men blaming women? That sounds awfully familiar. We already know what extreme behaviors that can lead to.

But even in its less extreme forms, sexism is a constant, life-ruining problem--and for the very women who cover themselves up the most, at that:

Amal Madbouli, who wears the conservative face veil or niqab, told The Associated Press that despite her dress, she is harassed and described how a man came after her in the streets of her neighborhood.

"He hissed at me and kept asking me if I wanted to go with him to a quieter area, and to give him my phone number," said Madbouli, a mother of two. "This is a national security issue. I am a mother, and I want to be reassured when my daughters go out on the streets."

So much for the assertion that hijabs protect the virtue of a modest woman. I've long known (from experience, yet) that the worst threat to a woman's safety isn't immodesty on her part, but harassment on the part of a man who thinks he's entitled to whatever he can grab. And that sense of entitlement runs deep and wide in the very countries where women are the most covered-up. Covering isn't protecting them; if anything, it's like a beacon proclaiming to harassers who feel that women have no place in public life: Hey! There's a woman here!

How bad is the problem? Here are some stats:

As many as 90 percent of Yemeni women say they have been harassed, while in Egypt, out of a sample of 1,000, 83 percent reported being verbally or physically abused.

A study in Lebanon reported that more than 30 percent of women said they had been harassed there.

Notice that the stricter cultures have higher rates of reported harassment than those where veiling is less common. Not quite what you might expect if you think modesty is the Great Defender, eh?

Rape and other overtly lewd acts are criminalized, but that doesn't mean much when it comes to "lesser" harassments. And often, culture facilitates things for the harasser, while placing burden after burden on the woman:

Abul Komsan described how one of the victims of harassment she interviewed told her she had taken on the full-face veil to stave off the hassle.

"She told me 'I have put on the niqab. By God, what more can I do so they leave me alone,'" she said, quoting the woman. Some even said they were reconsidering going to work or school because of the constant harassment in the streets and on public transpiration.

Where segregation between the sexes is the norm and women are sheltered by religious or tribal customs, cases of sexual harassment are still common at homes and in the times when women must venture out, whether to markets, hospitals or government offices.

In Yemen, where nearly all women are covered from head to toe, activist Amal Basha said 90 percent of women in a published study reported harassment, specifically pinching.

"The religious leaders are always blaming the women, making them live in a constant state of fear because out there, someone is following them," she said.

If a harassment case is reported in Yemen, Basha added, traditional leaders interfere to cover it up, remove the evidence or terrorize the victim.

In Saudi Arabia, another country where women cover themselves completely and are nearly totally segregated from men in public life, women report harassment as well, according to Saudi activist Majid al-Eissa.

His organization, the National Family Safety Program, has been helping draft a law criminalizing violence against women in the conservative kingdom, where flirting can often cross the line into outright assault. Discussion of the law begins Tuesday.

"It will take time especially in this part of the world to absorb the gender mixture and the role each gender can play in society," he said. "We are coping with changes (of modern life), except in our minds."

And that's precisely where the change needs to happen. In the minds of the men. It had to happen here, and it's still very much a work in progress, as my most recent "Wankers" list confirms. Progressives combat the problem; conservatives protect and entrench it. The obvious answer, then, is not more conservatism in dress or actions; it's progress and social change. And the men are the ones who need to change the most.

Meanwhile, women's self-defence classes (I suggest Wen-Do) are a must. Men tend to think twice about doing it again if a woman lashes back. That alone is a good start to the mind-changing thing. If martial-arts classes for women were offered in Arab countries, I bet they'd be very well attended.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Berlin police demonstrate proper birth control

Or...something:

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A good thing I could never stand on my head, is all I can say.

December 14, 2009

Paranoid product fail

Because sleeping with your rifle is not the least bit ridiculous...no, not in the slightest:

And yeah, it'll totally save your life. Just ask this guy.

Bolivia terror plot: Another Irish connection comes to light

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A heavily armed Michael Dwyer poses with some of his stash in a hotel in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Looks like this Irish cowboy wasn't the only one from his country involved in this...

Via Bolivia's Erbol news service, the latest installment in a continuing saga:

Yasser Mohammed, an Irish citizen detained in Brazil this week by that country's security forces, will be extradited to Bolivia to be processed, says César Navarro, the president of the Multipartite Commission of the Chamber of Deputies which is investigating the terror and separatism case.

In a secret operation co-ordinated by Interpol, involving the intelligence services of Brazil and Bolivia, the Brazilian federal police detained Mohammed on Wednesday in the airport in Brasilia. Mohammed was wanted for his ties to the late Eduardo Rózsa Flores, presumed leader of the terrorist cell dismantled on April 16 of this year.

According to Navarro, the information the Irishman could give is highly important to confirm the terrorist and separatist actions which the Rózsa group had planned to execute.

"This man could be an important link for this criminal group. The declarations he made before Brazilian authorities and his extradition to Bolivia could allow us to reach a new level of fundamental information," Navarro told Erbol.

He said that the foreigner had not been included in the initial investigation, but now, once extradited to Bolivia, the Bolivian Public Ministry could take statements from him to establish his complicity with the Rózsa Flores group.

According to the legislator, the investigation will continue on many fronts, once it was established that the group commanded by Rózsa Flores was not one of just a few persons, but included an "army" of mercenaries.

"Rósza Flores was a mercenary who had many people at his service, with whom he planned the actions to take place in Bolivia," Navarro said.

According to preliminary investigations, the detained Irishman is the one who was in charge of providing large-calibre armaments to the group, whose financing is also under investigation. He was detained in Brasilia as he was about to board a commercial flight bound for Lisbon, Portugal.

Mohammed is also accused of being tied to drug-trafficking and money-laundering.

Early in December, the Brazilian federal police were informed by Bolivian intelligence of the possible presence of the extremist in their country. He remains in detention in Brasilia until his extradition can proceed.

Translation mine.

Interesting. I wonder if he also had ties to Shell, I-RMS and the infamous Corrib gas project, like the other Irishman in the plot, the late Michael Dwyer. Wouldn't surprise me if he did, but so far I've found very little on this dude. There are a lot of terrorism-accused Yasser Mohammeds in the world, and a lot of irrelevant gunk in the Google as a result.

I've a hunch we're about to see some innnnteresting monsters coming out of the woodwork. If these guys were a veritable army, as Mr. Navarro says, there will probably be quite a slew of them coming in the weeks and months ahead. Who, and where they're all from, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, if any friendly souls reading me in Ireland, Bolivia or Brazil know this chap or know of him, or just have relevant news articles to share, your feedback would be much appreciated.

December 13, 2009

Short 'n' Stubby: Uppity Latin@s, everywhere you look

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La Hojilla brings together Venezuela's two best curmudgeons in time for Yule! Much pwnage of oppos, corruptos and El Matacuras (who is both) ensues. Video en español--go curmudge to your heart's content.

And speaking of corrupto-pwnage in Venezuela, Chavecito is sticking it to bad bankers, even ones who profess support for him. So much for the media myth that the boli-bourgeoisie can get away with murder.

Havana is wise to the corruption Washington is trying to sow among would-be oppos in Cuba, too, reports Eva Golinger. Wonder if this is the same bunch that supplied the expensive set-up that enables Yoani Sánchez to moan to the world (in more than a dozen languages, translated by hand, not Babelfish!) about how oppressed she is in evil, evil Cuba.

Incidentally, evil-evil Cuba is currently playing host to the ALBA summit. Funny coinkydink dat!

Uh oh, Venezuela just exported its uppitiness to Nigeria! What happens when they nationalize THAT oil industry? Dare we hope to see no more of those scam-spam e-mails from there?

Rafael Correa of Ecuador also haz Teh Uppity. He told a bunch of foreign oil companies operating in country to ante up or fuck the hell off. Which do you think they'll do in the end?

Uh oh, Evo wants a referendum in which all of South America gets to decide whether or not the gringos get their seven bases in Colombia. What do you think the final vote tally would be if that were held?

Headline Howler: Ha ha ha--I'm sorry, what did you say again?

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I couldn't hear you over the sound of my own laughter. I thought you said something like:

US seeks 'positive' dialogue with Venezuela

That couldn't be right. As far as I know, no one is seeking dialogue, only trying to dictate to Venezuela "the way things are supposed to be done". Dialogue, you see, implies listening-to, not just talking-at. And we all know just how good Washington is at the former as compared to the latter...

Perhaps someone at the Laredo Sun realized this, because that news article is no longer up, and the only thing you get if you clicky the linky is an error message. Which is also quite the howler when you think about it...

Music for a Sunday: Because 'Bina's feelin' badass today

Two from the badass-est band of the '80s:

This feast is an orgy. There's even a couple of pussies on the table.

This one's got everything: sharp social commentary, motorbikes--and a sax player in groovy horn-rims.

Hey look, everybody...

...I found Rush Limbaugh's lost high-school football photos! Here he is, taking one for the team:

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Sure was a lot thinner back then, wasn't he?

December 12, 2009

Wankers of the Week: Misogynists and Enablers edition

Yes, kiddies, this week is special. In memory of the Montréal Massacre 20 years ago, and its ongoing fallout today, I decided to devote an entire wank-list to those who hate women, and those who enable the woman-haters to injure and kill. It's not enough to remember one mass murder just because it was so dramatic; it's also important to remember the sneaks, skanks and skunks who enable all kinds of misogynistic violence, because the Massacre was anything but an isolated event--it was the product of a culture geared toward the degradation of women, and denial of that same. Here they come, in no particular order:

1. Helena Fucking Guergis, again. Not content to make a mockery of the Massacre with her cheap, mealy-mouthed spectacle in Parliament, Helena Handbasket has decided to take it one wank further with a letter to the editors of the Toronto Star, in which she further cheapens and demeans the memories of the dead by using them and other victims of violence for clearly partisan purposes. Gee, Helena, what happened? I thought you were supposed to be above "partisan gamesmanship". Oh--I get it. You're above OTHER parties' supposed partisan gamesmanship. Yours? That's different. You're a Conservative, so that doesn't count!

2. Norman Fucking Spector. No, murderous gynophobic rampages aren't in the genes. They don't have fuck-all to do with "race". Nor are they the product of any single culture, unless you're talking about patriarchy, which is a cultural element as common as dirt throughout the world.

3. William Fucking Gairdner. Ah yes, the founding father of Reform-a-SupposiTorydom has decided to croak up bilge at us from his bed in the nursing home for the decrepit criminally insane. Why isn't he dead yet? Probably because he still has too much bile and blame to vomit all over us bad, bad feministas. Of course, you can guess who HE blames for the Montréal Massacre.

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4. Hiram Fucking Monserrate. What's wrong with this unevolved DINO? Oh lord, what isn't? He's a homophobe, a proponent of "traditional marriage". So it comes as an interesting surprise to hear that he beat the shit out of his common-law partner about a year ago--for merely having another man's business card in her bag (which he was NOT entitled to snoop through, incidentally). What? He's not traditionally married to the woman he battered? Well, not to worry: He plans to make it all up by marrying her. If I were in her shoes, I'd be running the other way screaming, not begging to be allowed back into his clutches. It's not a question of whether he'll abuse her again, but WHEN.

5. The Fucking Blogging Tories. I wonder: would they be so indifferent to the murders of 14 women if those women were the last 14 left on Earth? Oh, probably. Because everyone knows that happiness is a warm gun...snuggled up right next to your big blue balls, eh boys?

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6. Margaret Fucking Wente. Excuse me, what is this "death cult" of which you write, Ms. Wente? Do you seriously believe that just because you got yours, there is no misogyny for the rest of us to fight against? Fuck you, Margaret. And fuck your fucking smugness. Fuck your denials. Fuck your Fifties mentality. But most of all, fuck you.

7. The Fucking Perth County Council. No flags at half-mast, because women don't count for shit in Perth County. Never mind that the excuse is stupid. Never mind that it doesn't cost more than a minute's time to lower them. Women aren't even worth that teeny, tiny token gesture. Isn't it lovely to know that, O ye women of Perth County?

8. Barbara Fucking Kay. Excuse me, what is this "moral pogrom against men" of which you write, Ms. Kay? And why is it "time to end" that nonexistent pogrom? Kind of strange to declare an end to a nonexistent thing, isn't it? Why are you so fucking stupid as to think that being pro-woman automatically means being anti-man, Ms. Kay? Janet Bagnall gets it, so why not you? So does this unnamed editorialist for your own news service. So, why not you?

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9. Sylvie Fucking Boucher. For not understanding that gun control IS law and order. For enabling killers. And for playing self-serving, partisan politics over the corpses of 14 women. Thanks a lot for the injustice, madame.

10. Kelly Fucking McParland. So, the opposition protest against the Tory wank is a "cheap stunt". You wanna know what's really a cheap stunt? Your shots at those who really understand the issues. Figures that you write for the National Fucking Post--that entire paper is one big fat cheap stunt. Can't wait for it to die, and I hope you for one stay out of work.

11. Dennis Fucking Pakkala. Google his name, and you'll find all the stupid, wankish comments you could possibly want. And then some. The fucker is all over the place, proving feminists right every time he tries to prove them wrong. I don't know who he is, but I get the feeling he's bitter and a misogynist. No wonder he feels such a compulsive need to masturbate in public.

12. Jean-Claude Fucking Rochefort. Uttering death threats via your sick-ass blog dedicated to a murderer, then trying to pass it off as a "joke"? That has got to be the ULTIMATE wankery.

And finally, anyone who thinks that feminism is dead, or that feminists should be. Your karmic destiny? Exactly what you think it should be for us uppity wimmin.

Good night, and get fucked!

Teh Heterostoopid: Traditional Marriage really works great!

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Oh dear. Looks like Governor Cheaty-Pants is getting his comeuppance:

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford may be keeping his office, but he is losing his marriage.

First lady Jenny Sanford capped a tumultuous week by filing for divorce Friday, two days after state lawmakers stopped short of recommending her husband's removal for a top-secret June rendezvous with his Argentine mistress. He will not say whether he is still in contact Maria Belen Chapur, the woman he famously called his "soul mate."

Jenny Sanford, a former Wall Street executive who helped launch her husband's political career, said Friday their 20-year marriage could not be repaired.

[...]

Earlier this week, Jenny Sanford said in a television interview that it was a simple decision to not stand with the governor when he publicly confessed the affair.

"Certainly his actions hurt me, and they caused consequences for me, but they don't in any way take away my own self-esteem," the 47-year-old told ABC's Barbara Walters, who named her one of the most fascinating people of 2009. "They reflect poorly on him."

And the Appalachian Trail will never be the same again for hikers, either.

Economics for Dummies: My kind of stock exchange

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Yes, let's exchange the former (which aren't worth shit) for the latter (which swindlers used to be clapped into, back in the Good Olde Days.)

December 11, 2009

Stupid Sex Tricks: I love a man in tighty-whities...

And gee, don't they go GREAT with Hot Chocolate? LOL!

Teh Heterostoopid: Who needs gay marriage...

...when straight marriages like this are sufficient unto themselves for the wrecking of traditional holy matrimony?

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PS: Nice homonymic Freudian slip there in the response, too.

Teh Heterostoopid: Epic Homophobia Fail

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And trust me, it takes a gay guy to point out THAT fashion faux pas...

Need feedback, please...

Hey, all. I'm hearing some complaints from regular commenters that their feedback isn't getting through. Would everyone who's commented here before please drop something in the slot below (can be just "test" if you can't think of anything else to say) and help me figure out what's wrong?

Those who also know my regular e-mail address can drop a line there to let me know they "tested", so we'll see how many of those got missed.

Thanks...and here's hoping everyone gets through!

EDIT, 8:07 pm: Cort writes in that he commented. So far, no notification and nothing on my comment management page. Hmmm.

EDIT #2, 8:11 pm: Going through my "spam comments" and finding a lot of non-spams from my friends in there. Clearly resetting my spam threshold for more aggression is trapping a lot of wheat with the chaff. Anything less than 5 days old should still be in there, however...just a matter of time sorting it out. Hang in there, folks!

(And if you commented more than five days ago, feel free to re-comment on the entry in question. I'm gonna try resetting my spam filters to see if that doesn't make a difference, now that the troll I wanted to be rid of is perma-blocked.)

EDIT #3, 9:08 pm: Rescued all the legit comments I could find. If one of yours got lost in the process due to being posted more than 5 days ago, let me know--or just try, try again. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Can we call Colombia a failed state yet?

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I mean, this many dead, in one grave, this year alone...it's kind of telling, isn't it?

During a visit by a British delegation of parliamentarians and union leaders, the remains of 2,000 persons were found in a mass grave in La Macarena.

According to current information, it is impossible to identify any of the victims.

Jairo Ramírez, spokesman of the Permanent Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, told Caracol Radio that forced disappearances are still occurring in Colombia.

According to Ramírez, several of those found in the mass grave were killed this year.

Translation mine.

Just to put things in a bit of perspective, three thousand desaparecidos were killed in Chile during the reign of Pinochet. That's just one thousand more than were found in this one grave in Colombia. An estimated thirty thousand is the number most commonly attributed to the Argentine military junta of 1976-83. How long has Colombia's civil war (and its offshoot drug-gang wars) been raging now? Five decades at least.

Two thousand is an awful lot for one mass grave alone in Colombia, and it's not the only one.

Meanwhile, for a further bit of perspective, let's look at a neighboring country...namely Ecuador, which got the Colombian treatment in March of last year:

"The strategic intelligence processed from the Manta base was fundamental for the pursuit and location of Raúl Reyes, who was a priority target for the government of Colombia," reads a report from the Truth and Transparency Commission created in Quito this past March.

According to the document, the treaty between Ecuador and the United States concerning the Manta base "for control of narcotrafficking, overstepped its stated ends". The investigation also found that the US financing of Ecuador for the presumed co-operation in the War on Drugs "determined the submission" of its security organisms.

On the other hand, the commission ruled out all relations between President Correa and the FARC, in contradiction to the Colombian government's claims. Last weekend, Correa responded to the contents of a book written by the Colombian ex-minister of defence, Juan Manuel Santos, assuring that Santos lied about the alleged ties between the government of Ecuador and the FARC.

"The ex-minister Santos, poor man, keeps lying to us," said Correa of Santos' book, "Checkmate to Terror", which tells the tale of the Uribe government against the armed group.

Again, translation mine.

Isn't it funny how intelligence processed at a US base in Ecuador--was used in a bombing of Ecuadorian turf? And isn't it funny how the bombers came from Colombia, where the US is now installing the seven bases it "needs" to replace the one that bad, bad Rafael Correa, damn his Ecuadorable little ass, isn't letting them use anymore to arrange further bombings of Ecuador, along with Venezuela and assorted peasant villages in the Colombian jungles?

And yet, Colombia is supposedly a model democracy, and Venezuela and Ecuador are the regional bad guys.

Go figure.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Just plane great

Peanut butter and chocolate: Two great tastes that taste great together.

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Chavecito and Sukhoi plane, celebrating 89 years of military aviation in Venezuela: same thing.

December 10, 2009

Stupid Sex Tricks: Guess that answers THAT question...

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Yeah, that would be MY reaction, too.

How very convenient...

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Why are these mothers still marching? Because justice has not been served...and their children are still missing.

Isn't it funny how many repressors from the dictatorial age of the Argentine junta are getting away with murder--literally? Look who's going to miss his own trial:

The repressor Alfredo Astiz was admitted to the Naval hospital in Buenos Aires, 24 hours before the beginning of the trial for the Task Force which operated in the Navy Mechanics' School (ESMA) during the last military dictatorship.

Astiz was transferred from the Marcos Paz penitentiary, where he was in preventive custody, due to an apparent complication of a kidney tumor.

The hospitalization of Astiz makes it unlikely that he will be present for the opening of the trial which Oral Tribunal No. 5 (TOF 5) will begin on Friday for 19 repressors, for crimes against humanity committed at the ESMA.

Among the 19 who will be tried, along with Astiz, are Jorge "El Tigre" Acosta, Antonio Pernías, Jorge Rádice, Juan Carlos Rolón, Carlos Capdevilla, and Ricardo Miguel Cavallo.

Among the crimes for which they will be tried are the kidnapping and disappearance of the journalist Rodolfo Walsh, and the French nuns Léonie Duquet and Alice Domon.

The trial against the ESMA torturers has already been suspended twice. The first time, it was postponed due to proceedings for crimes committed in the Campo de Mayo jurisdiction, in which life sentences were handed out to ex-subcommander Jorge Olivera Roverre and ex-colonel Bernardo Menéndez. Three other chiefs were acquitted. Later, the trial was again postponed because one of the tribunal judges had to be replaced.

This Thursday, from noon to midnight, several human-rights organizations will be holding a Resistance March, which takes place every December 10, at the Plaza de Mayo, in memory of the 30,000 disappeared persons.

The 29th march will be headed by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, HIJOS, families of the disappeared and political prisoners, and Siblings. Among other things they are calling for the living reappearance of Julio López, the witness who disappeared just before the trial of the repressor, Miguel Etchecolatz.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

The comments at the site are full of anger, as well they might be. Alfredo Astiz is one of the most infamous of the ESMA's many foul repressors. Along with the murders of the French nuns, who had worked with the poor in the farming province of Corrientes, he is also known to have infiltrated the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, pretending he had lost a brother to the dictatorship. It was a lie, of course. As was Astiz's later claim that he was "just following orders". One of the leading Mothers wound up being "disappeared" herself; that was Astiz's doing.

Up to now, Astiz has gone largely unpunished. What justice has found him, has been at the hands of ordinary citizens taking revenge the only way they could. According to Marguerite Feitlowitz's A Lexicon of Terror,

The first assault was in the ski resort of San Carlos de Bariloche. Astiz and a female companion were waiting for the bus to take them to the slopes, when the Blond Angel [Astiz] was recognized by a former detainee in the camp called Vesuvius. "All I could see were [the Mothers'] white kerchiefs," said the assailant, Alfredo Chávez, a witness at the trial of the ex-commanders. "Son of a bitch! Killer of adolescents!" he yelled, and punched Astiz in the nose. [...] Encouraged by the [navy], Astiz filed suit. For counsel he retained Pedro Bianchi, the lawyer who was defending Erich Priebke, the Nazi who, until his extradition, lived close to the Bariloche ski resort. The next attack took place in greater Buenos Aires; the assailants this time were two brothers, age nineteen and twenty, taking their dog to the vet. [...] En route, a car pulled in front of them, blocking their way. From behind his window, the driver, Astiz, taunted the boys with an obscene gesture. The captain was recognized by the younger brother. Though this attack was worse, neither Astiz nor the navy reported it to the police. No one came to the captain's defense as the brothers pulled him from his car, hit him so hard in the mouth his dental plate popped out, then bashed in the hood of his vehicle. "Good boys! Kill him!" yelled a woman through the open window of a bus. [...] The boys' father, a devoutly religious man, did not defend his sons' behavior, but offered an explanation that struck a chord with many parents with whom I spoke: "This is what happens after you're obliged to tell your children that justice here doesn't function as it should, that the courts refused to castigate the most horrendous crimes of a horrendous dictatorship."

What the father said explains a lot, does it not?

This is why, in Argentina, there is still so much unresolved. The courts are often stacked with old repressors or their sympathizers; the police and military ranks likewise. Corrupt politicians are as common as dirt. With "authorities" like that, is it any wonder that ordinary citizens are reduced to hauling known repressors like Astiz out of their cars and beating the shit out of them?

And is it any wonder that the HIJOS, the Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, the "reappeared" ones, and so many others, hold these big annual protest marches?

Until there is real change in Argentina, this seems to be the form that justice will take--a combination of angry, impulsive outbursts and dignified organized protests that make so much noise that no one could miss them.

(Muchas gracias to Otto for drawing my attention to this story.)

December 9, 2009

When will the fetus fetishists start claiming ones like this?

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Honestly...you couldn't make this up if you tried:

For nearly five days, police said, Veronica D. Deramous kept the pregnant woman, bound with duct tape, inside her Suitland apartment, giving her food and drink to keep her alive. Deramous wanted the woman's unborn baby girl, police said, and was willing to get it by any means.

Sometime over the weekend, police said, Deramous turned up the volume on the TV, shoved a rag in the woman's mouth and put a piece of tape over it. Then she uttered a chilling warning.

"You're strong," Deramous told her victim, according to police. "You can handle what I'm going to do to you."

Using a few box cutters and a razor blade, Deramous cut into the woman's abdomen, police said. When the woman, 29 and homeless, escaped sometime in the next 24 hours, her placenta, stomach and intestines were still exposed.

Incidentally, the victim had to have an emergency c-section; she and her daughter, aptly named "Miracle", are both doing fine.

But really, doesn't this behavior just sound like something out of Butterbox Babies, or perhaps an extreme version of a Christian "shepherding home"? Bit of both, maybe--in this case, the unlicensed fauxtetrician and the "shepherder" were one and the same.

Whatever it is, I think the anti-choice movement should own up and claim this crazy woman as one of their own.

Economics for Dummies: All you need to know about the US healthcare reforms

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December 8, 2009

This is why I do it, people

A few days ago, I wrote a letter to three members of Parliament--three women who had the courage to vote against the Tories' shameful motion to scrap the long-gun registry, and to protest the mere lip service paid to the victims of December 6. Here's what I wrote to them:

Just wanted to say thank you...

...for not supporting the Tories' mockery of women on Tuesday. I was a student at Queen's University at the same time the Montreal Massacre occurred, and it shook me to my core. It also confirmed for me that there is still a crying need for feminism, and that women's rights are by no means a done deal.

It also confirmed for me that we need gun control--MORE, not less. If residences and motor vehicles are all registered, there is no reason why firearms, whose sole purpose is to be used for killing, should not also be.

Once more, THANK YOU!

Today I heard back from one of them:

Dear Sabina,

Thank you so much for your email message. As I'm sure you understand, the day of the vote was very diificult. Your kind words helped and I appreciate that kindness very much. You are the next generation of activists; we will need you in the struggle for equality and justice.

In Solidarity,
Irene

Why do we do these seemingly futile things? Because we know they are not futile even if there is a momentary setback. Notice has been served to other members of Parliament: The gun registry is popular with ordinary Canadians. Especially the women over 40, who, like me, have personal memories of what it was like to be terrorized in the wake of the Montréal Massacre--a terror that went deeper than 9-11 ever could.

Smart on crime means tough on Tories

Don't know who made this video, but I can totally get behind it. It's bang-on...on every point.

Short 'n' Stubby: Montréal memorial edition

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CBC devotes an hour of its Sunday radio edition to voices of the Montréal Massacre. Among the interviewees are gun-control activist and engineer Heidi Rathjen, who was a student at the Polytechnique at the time and heard the gunshots from another room; also Brian Vallée, Francine Pelletier, and many more. It's the second hour of the program; scroll down for the sound link.

CTV's interview with Monique Lépine, the mother of the killer, is a don't-miss one. She lost two children to the Massacre; her daughter also committed suicide, seven years later. She herself decided to live, tell her story, reach out to survivors, and stop suffering in silence. Her quest for truth helped her to survive the unimaginable. Her worst memory of her son is that he was "too secret"--a telling fact. Secretiveness means something to hide. She herself has nothing to hide anymore, and her courage is amazing.

So, feminism's work is done? Not according to the findings of this professor, who finds that women's enrollment in engineering programs at university is dropping. It's not that women can't do the work--many can, do, and love it. They are disproportionately ahead of the males, marks-wise. So what is it? Nobody wants to confront the fact that a terrorist act of 20 years ago has a long shadow, so it's still being treated as a mystery. Which is for me the worst legacy of the massacre--the constant silencing of its true impact.

So, misogyny isn't a problem? Read this right through to the end and then tell me it's not. Every woman who ever voices an unconventional opinion will sooner or later get referred to--inevitably, by a male--using derogatory terms for her own genitalia. It's happened to me, and it sickens me every time. Of course, it's meant to. It's meant to drive home the notion that you, a woman, are dirty, disgusting and disposable. If that's not woman-hating, I don't know what is.

So, gun owners are inconvenienced by having to register their weapons? They feel stigmatized and demonized? Boo fucking hoo. The families of gun violence victims have something much bigger to cope with than a mere momentary inconvenience. Wendy Cukier takes on the need to defend gun control. Her arguments hold a lot more water than those of her detractors. That's because she doesn't believe in loopholes, duh.

Are there men out there who understand this whole business? Yes, yes, and yes. More like them, please!

Barb Gustafson asks a pertinent question, and fights other people's stereotype of what a feminist is. So does Angela McIsaac, who asserts that no, we haven't forgotten the lessons of that day--and yes, she's still fighting for women's equality. As we all should be.

Nathalie Provost, a survivor, thought she wasn't a feminist back then. Now she's changed her mind--and helping other women change theirs, too.

Judy Rebick dares to call the Massacre by its right name: terrorism.

December 7, 2009

Honduras: "Clean" elections officially a fraud

The Real News explains it clearly and in great detail. Less than 40% participation is NOT a flood of support--it is massive abstention!

Shame on Graeme Clark for falling for the sham. Shame, too, on anyone who gave this farce a moment's credence. Especially the English-language mainstream media, who are all so damn lazy and such piss-poor reporters that they take Gorilletti's claims at face value even when they are phony on the face of them!

For some more interesting details on just how democratic this whole process wasn't, check out the latest from Honduras Coup 2009 and BoRev.

December 6, 2009

Remembering the Montréal Massacre, 20 years later

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The fatal victims of the Montréal Massacre of December 6, 1989. Top row, left to right: Anne-Marie Edward, Anne-Marie Lemay, Annie St.-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Daigneault, Barbara Maria Klucznik, Geneviève Bergeron
Bottom row: Hélène Colgan, Maryse Leclaire, Maryse Laganière, Maud Haviernick, Michèle Richard, Nathalie Croteau, Sonia Pelletier

20 years ago, I was a student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I was also a volunteer at the university women's centre.

I say "volunteer", but truthfully, there wasn't much to do there, even if there was a lot of will to do things on the part of that one little clutch of women. The late 1980s were something of a black hole for feminism. A lot of people thought that the main goals of the movement had been achieved, and that what was left of the movement had to be nothing but a bunch of radical, man-hating lesbians who didn't shave their legs.

We knew it wasn't like that. We had some lesbians, yes--and some radicals, yes. But we weren't all lesbians, or even all that radical. And man-haters? Definitely not. I'm straight, and my best friend is a gay man; my radicalism was then a work in progress (still is). For the most part, we were just women, trying to raise awareness of the issues and to gain full justice for our gender. Leg-shaving wasn't even an issue with us. There was too much else going on, most of it flying completely under most people's radar.

Access to safe legal abortions was and still is under fire from the far-right here in Canada. AIDS, too, was fast becoming an issue for heterosexual women; today, they are the fastest-growing group of HIV-infected persons. And domestic violence hadn't exactly gone away, either. Date rape, usually involving alcohol and/or drugs, was a growing problem, particularly on university campuses (it's even worse now.) And working women had yet to earn more than 65 cents to a man's dollar (they still haven't come anywhere near 65 cents today, either). Male students on our campus mocked an anti-date-rape campaign with window signs reading "NO MEANS MORE BEER", "NO MEANS SHE'S A DYKE", "NO MEANS KICK HER IN THE TEETH", and other equally charming sentiments. These were the things we concerned ourselves with, back in the dying days of the smug, complacent 1980s.

But that smugness and complacency were all-enveloping, even stifling. Apathy was about the only thing that ran rampant on our campus, other than hordes of drunken, purple-dyed engineers during Frosh Week. For that reason, we felt isolated. (Isolation is an oppression unto itself.) There wasn't much to do at the centre, other than log the occasional incoming phone call, or help a rare visitor check out a book from the centre's tiny library. Most of my time there I spent reading those books myself, contributing to my informal education with an undeclared minor in women's studies. Often I found myself wondering when and if I would ever get to put this newfound knowledge to use. More often, it felt like just a small group of women, maybe a dozen in all, that got together to socialize now and then, and talk politics rather than family over the dinner table.

I remember one potluck dinner we had, when I drank too many glasses of wine and walked euphorically home in minus-20 weather without my hat and gloves, and with my coat undone, thinking what fun it had been, what amazing women they all were, and how great and strange it was that I couldn't feel the cold. I walked alone, not the least bit scared--it's easy to take back the night when the streets are deserted anyway! Later, when I got into bed, I had something worse than the bed-spins: I found myself unable to breathe in the warm, stuffy room. I kept myself awake that night with gruesome thoughts, reminding myself to breathe, and breathe, and breathe. Not so euphoric, after all.

But that night paled in comparison to something else that happened later on.

In the early morning hours of December 6, 1989, I had a particularly vivid and baffling dream. In it, I was with a group of women, and we were all wearing beautiful dresses in various bright colors, with beaded trim, and wreaths of silk flowers in our hair. We were dancing in circles around a silver fountain in some indoor atrium, to electronic pop music. Suddenly, the record stuck. Then came a rapid-fire banging noise, that at first sounded like part of the song's beat, but wasn't. It was gunshots. The women scattered in panic and hid. Then another song began to play--"The First Noel". The women came out of hiding again, but this time, very solemnly, they gathered around the fountain in little clusters, with their arms around each other. I looked and saw that some of the women were wearing badges of a purple fabric with some indistinct crest embroidered on it in gold and silver thread, and was told that this was the symbol of feminist mourning.

Then I woke up.

I wrote the dream down in my diary, then promptly forgot about it and just went on with my day as usual: breakfast, classes, lunch, more classes, supper. By that time I was so caught up in my end-of-semester essays (ah, the joys of being an English major!) that I had completely forgotten my dream. I settled down on the couch to read a bit and scratch out some notes before heading to my typewriter.

Then the phone rang. It was Bridget, a fellow volunteer at the Women's Centre. She told me something that ran through me like a lightning bolt: A gunman had opened fire at a Montréal university, and fourteen people were dead. All were women. Apparently the man had separated the people in the room by gender before opening fire, claiming he was at war against feminists. Those were his words, in French. Je lutte contre les feministes!

I walked to my bedroom in a daze. I lit the candle on the little goddess-altar I had built on my dresser, then sank to the floor in shock. Fourteen women dead--for being "feminists"!

And it had happened at a university.

I was in university.

It could have happened anywhere.

It could have happened here.

It could have been any woman.

It could have been me.

I walked around in limbo for several days after that. I don't remember much of what I did then, only that I attended a vigil in one of the big lecture halls. There was a space down in front that was women-only, and I sat there. It wasn't some radical separatist thing; it was a need for the comfort of my own, my sisters. Someone tied a scrap of purple fabric--sweatsuit fleece, by the looks of it--around the sleeve of my coat.

The badge of feminist mourning.

The woman next to me was young and pretty, a student too. I knew her only vaguely as the friend of a friend; her name, I think, was Robin. She was rather short and plump, with honey-colored hair and a friendly, roundish face; she wore glasses. She took my hand, and then she said something surprising, innocent and utterly heartbreaking all at once: Your hands are so small!

I began to cry. And I thought, irrationally but still relevantly: Yes, my hands are so small--and that's just the problem, isn't it?

A muted soprano chorus rose up from the crowd: We are sad and grieving women, and we are singing, singing for our lives...

I joined the singing.

She held my hand throughout the service, and in the end it was strange, if small, comfort. A comfort to know that I wasn't so alone in the struggle now, that even the most complacent had been shocked awake, but a sad, cold comfort too, because fourteen women had to die in order to prove that we feminists were right--there was still so much to do!

And yes, there still is. Twenty years later, it's an ugly thought that we still have so much fighting left to do. Tiring, depressing--haven't we been through all this shit? Why aren't we done with it yet? Why so much more, still, now?

The Spanish word for struggle is lucha. More accurately, la lucha. It's feminine. In some parts of Latin America, Lucha is even a woman's name. Struggle, in other words, is a woman.

Es larga, la lucha. The struggle is long.

This, then, is our struggle, and that of all women:

Fourteen women died just because they were women, at the hands of a violent loser who was pissed because he couldn't make it into engineering school, 20 years ago. He wasn't smart enough, but he blamed women for his own failure. We hold memorial services, very lovely ones too, but do we really remember what it's all about?

Or do we do this to silence what we really ought to remember?

Not enough has changed since then, and what has changed, is constantly under fire--literally--from the forces of conservatism. There is now talk of scrapping the long-gun registry, which women fought for in the wake of the Montréal Massacre. Never mind that police chiefs like it, and even a lot of gun owners understand that it's no worse than a motor-vehicle registry. No, the conservatives think it's too much of a bother to keep it, just as it's too much of a bother to keep the Status of Women committee properly funded (and run by someone other than cock-sucking toadies). The conservatives are always out to fuck us over, and who gets it in the neck first? Yep--women. Same as it ever was...

Conservatism is a luxury, affordable only for the complacent, the apathetic, the ignorant. The ones who are doing all right, because they've got theirs, jack. It's telling that men go that way a lot more than women as they get older. That's because they can afford to. They still make 40 cents more on the dollar than we do! It might as well be 1959, from where we women sit. At least, back then, a dollar--or a woman's 60 cents--went further. Thanks so much for the phony liberation, capitalists! You can keep your fucking Virginia Slims, this "baby" hasn't come a long way at all.

Yoko Ono was right; we are the niggers of the world. Black, brown, yellow, white--whatever our color, we women are the underclass in every class we occupy. We've gone from slavery to sharecropping, and even now, we're still stuck in the ghetto, making less than a man but paying more. Can anyone honestly say we are not worth 3/5 of a man when they remember that we're just making 61 cents to a man's dollar after all this time? That's negritude for ya, baby.

We got the vote, but do we get what we vote for? And when we get it, do we get to keep it? And can you believe that here in Canada, we were not even considered persons until 1929? And that after all this time, there are still a shitload of crabby old coots--conservatives, in other words--who think that what little we get is entirely too much for us?

When a man gets beaten up, chances are that it's by another man, and that there is nothing sexual or gender-based in the violence. Women? Well, let's put it this way--it's rarely another woman who beats them up. Just as it's rarely a woman who beats up a man. The bulk of violence women face is distinctly gender-based, and it is directed against them, just because they are women. Worse, our culture glorifies it even more now than it did back then. In fact, a lot of people--some of them women!--will even say we had it coming, because we supposedly got too damn uppity for our own good. If only we'd stayed home, baking cookies and popping babies out of the oven like we women are supposed to (according to the female misogynist group called R.E.A.L. Women), none of this would happen...

Except it does happen to women who stay home. In fact, those are the worst-abused ones of all. Their submission grants them no protection from the violence, the misogyny and often, the alcoholism of their men. This kind of "traditional" family plays hell on the children. Just ask Patrick Stewart. Yes, TV's super-rational Captain Picard is the son of a battered housewife and an alcoholic father! Who knew?

Oh, only the world's long-suffering millions of women. We know all about that. But who listens to us? Whenever we say something about it, even if we're polite and apologetic and not offensive in the least, we get beaten down with derisive cries of "man-hating lesbian bitch". Even our own sisters shout us down!

Well, fuck that shit.

Nothing will ever get done about anything if no one raises hell. So why not us women? After all, we live in it every day. I'm getting more radical, not less, with age--and I don't care how many wimps and losers I scare off with it. The revolution, la revolución, oh look, another woman--is not for wusses. My hands may be small, but they're full of rocks, and I can hurl them a lot better now. I've had lots of time in which to do it.

Es larga, la lucha. The struggle is long. But I'm just getting started.

It's been twenty years now, and my tears are still not dry.

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Music for a Sunday: A beautiful song for Bolivia

I thought this was only fitting, since today's election day down thataway. This should capture the festive spirit nicely, no?

Viva Bolivia, viva Evo, viva Alvaro.

December 5, 2009

Economics for Dummies: What Chavecito's bank moves really mean

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"Let's get outta here, buddy--now Chávez is starting in on us, the honest bankers!"

And for those who wanna know what they're referring to, here ya go. Enjoy!

Yes, we CAN...haz torture inquiry

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If you wanna know why I'm happy, read what Jack Layton sent me today:

Parliament passes NDP motion for an Inquiry on torture allegations

Thank you for your email concerning the recent allegations of prisoner
torture in Afghanistan. I am providing this update on our efforts to get
to the bottom of the allegations.

On December 1, Parliament agreed to pass the motion by New Democrat
Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar calling for a public inquiry over the
torture allegations. From the start, our Party believed that a public
inquiry was needed. We welcome the support of the other opposition
parties who agree with our position.

It's now up to the Harper Conservatives to do the right thing. In
opposition, Mr. Harper spoke of a government's moral responsibility to
respect the will of Parliament, because it was ultimately the democratic
will of Canadians. We want his government to be guided by these words
and to set-up this public inquiry.

Please find attached my speech in Parliament in support of my
colleague's motion and you can visit the following link to read the text
of the full debate:

LINK 1

Canadians are understandably upset that there is a reluctance to take
responsibility for these allegations. Transferring detainees to those
whom are likely to torture them is a violation of international law.
However, the Conservative government continues to dodge and dismiss all
concerns about the treatment of prisoners. They've concealed evidence,
intimidated witnesses and obstructed the Military Police Complaints
Commission inquiry. We even heard from three Generals who told the
Afghanistan special committee that it wasn't their job to follow up on
the condition of detainees after they were handed over to Afghan
authorities.

It is clear that an inquiry is needed. Mr. Colvin's revelations deserve
to be fully examined. And, if required, the appropriate people should
be held responsible.

New Democrats have been raising concerns about prisoner transfers in
Afghanistan since 2006. For more information, please refer to:

LINK 2

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Feel free to share my response
with anyone who may be interested. All the best.

Sincerely,

Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada's New Democrats

There you have it. A little triumph for real Canadians today.

Wankers of the Week: Hands Off edition

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Yes, kiddies, it's that time of the week again...the time where we tell people to take it off the street and stop scaring the horses. Here's who needs to unhand their genitalia this week, prontissimo:

1. Ian Fucking Kelly. Not only is he a wanker, he's delusional. And he really needs to stop sharing his sexual fantasies regarding Honduras. They're squicking the real Hondurans out!

2. Helena Fucking Guergis. Making a mockery of the Montreal Massacre in Parliament while depriving the Status of Women office of funding? Stay classy, Helena. Better still, just keep your fingers off the trappings of feminism. You're not worthy to talk about what's "above partisan games", especially when your own party is the one playing the game so dirty.

2 1/2. Candice Fucking Hoeppner is also worth a dishonorable mention.

3. The entire fucking Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Disrupting the due process of justice by faking sick on days they have to appear in court, of all times? That's a major, major wank. That's also contempt. I say they should do time the way Sheriff Joe Fucking Arpaio makes prisoners do!

4. Ann Fucking Coulter. Yeah, I know: The Coultergeist is a wanker all the time. What makes her a particularly noteworthy one right now? Take your pick of all the countless dumb-bombs she drops during the interview at the link. My personal fave was the moronic assertion that all presidential assassins were liberals. Oh yeah, because liberals just love to play with guns at tea parties where they wave threatening placards, eh Ann?

5. and 6.Rush Fucking Limbaugh and Glenn Fucking Beck. Most influential conservatives? Biggest fucking wankers EVER, is more like it.

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7. Javier Fucking Lozano Barragan. So queers won't enter heaven, says yet another queeny old man in a red gown? How the fuck does HE know? Too busy making life on Earth hell for them to even see them as human, I guess. PS: nice job of crediting other sources for your homophobia, bub.

8. Tiger Fucking Woods. A "wholesome" phony all along? Say it ain't so! Never mind who he's screwing in private, he's fucking with everyone in public. Suddenly, we have an inkling of why Chavecito, Fidel and Che mocked the world's most bourgeois (and grossly overrated) "sport", eh?

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9. Jacob Fucking Zuma. It takes a village to renovate a house...at least if you're a polygamist masquerading as a president in South Africa. And while fellow South Africans are forced to do without such basics as electricity, water, phone service and affordable healthcare, he makes the taxpayer foot the bill, too. There just are no words for the ineffable charm...

10. Silvio Fucking Berlusconi. He wuz mobbed up all along? I'm shocked. SHOCKED, I tellz ya...

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11. Lanny Fucking Davis. His latest bloviation is blatantly inaccurate and stupidly self-serving. Suffice to say he doesn't know where the centre is, much less the left. Both he AND Obama are now plainly on the right, and they are the only ones who don't know it yet. (Suddenly we all know why Bill Ayers is protesting, eh?)

12. Sarah Fucking Palin. How many wanks this week? I've lost count, again. Even bigger wankers, however, are those who want this idiotess to run in 2012. At that rate, the world WILL end, no doubt about it.

13. Rudy Fucking Giuliani. Rio wants him to come down and help them fight crime? They forget on whose watch 9-11 happened. Remember that day when police and firefighters died because they simply couldn't talk to one another--they didn't have an effective radio system? That death came courtesy of their cheap-ass mayor. Who now shamelessly exploits that day to deflect criticism over everything from his own character flaws to those of his mafia pals, such as Bernie Fucking Kerik.

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14. Glenda Fucking Stone. Anyone besides me find it ironic that "Labour's ambassador for women at work" gives her (female) assistants such a hard time that their desk is referred to as "the revolving door"? Surely there aren't that many bad personal assistants in Britain. Must be the boss, then. PS to Glenda: Don't wear glittery strapless dresses, they don't suit you.

15. Manuel Fucking Rosales. Oh look, Burusas the Bandit is masturbating before the Hudson Institute in Washington! Why, oh WHY am I not surprised that he'd whip it out in there?

And finally, the Pest from Buda. Take a hint and stay away if you don't like what's being said here. Don't come back to play with your privates. I'm not interested in your drama.

Good night, and get fucked.

December 4, 2009

Short 'n' Stubby: Subversives-R-Us

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Interesting (and disturbing) truths have come to light about CBS and McCarthyism. Who knew that a blacklister could win a civil rights award? This is right up there with Elia Kazan being honored after naming names. (Thanks to King Daevid for that one.)

Víctor Jara finally received due honors in his native Chile today. Cause of death: "Subversion". Jara, a card-carrying communist, supported socialist president Salvador Allende (also murdered for "subversion"). 44 bullets and two destroyed hands--that's a lot of hate for one man's freedom of speech.

Human rights observer Lisa Sullivan commits the ultimate subversion: she reports truthfully on what's really going on in "democratic" Honduras.

Oh noes, Chavecito has called for a fifth Socialist International! Gonna take a lot more than an ice-pick murder to stop this one...

And how's this for subversive and communistic? FEDECAMARAS, the Venezuelan bosses' federation that conspired with the military high command and corrupt trade unionists in 2002 to topple Chavecito...has come out in support of his interventions in the banking sector. Chavecito called for intervention in four banks, and liquidation of two more, for failing to comply with Venezuelan legal norms--and FEDECAMARAS is okay with that? Sky falling, film at 11!

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo is definitely on his feed

As his re-election campaign closes, a critical question looms: Is Evo corny?

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Or is he just full of beans?

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You decide...

December 3, 2009

Chávez says basta to bad bankers; warns of banker-generated coup

Video in Spanish. Aporrea has more:

President Hugo Chávez called upon bank customers yesterday to maintain calm and not give in to rumors which, according to him, are meant to generate a run on the banks with the end purpose of "toppling Chávez".

"Pay no attention to those attacks, because what they're trying to do is create alarm [...] It all came out on the Internet, by phone, and so on. They're looking for what's known as a run on the banks, and they think they'll topple Chávez with that. I repeat, the only thing that's going to fall here is the private banking system, not Chávez. Don't be fooled, it will backfire on them," said the president during the graduation ceremony for the eighth cohort of Mission Ribas, broadcast from the Teresa Carreño theatre.

Chávez reminded listeners that the government is acting "against a group of banks whose owners could not show where they had gotten all that money. Right up to now they couldn't do it, and that's their job," he said, referring to the liquidated Banco Canarias and BanPro, and the also bailed-out Bolívar and Confederado banks.

Chávez warned that "we have another banking chain on our radar [...] and you may be sure that if I'm obliged to intervene in all the private banks of Venezuela, I'll do it. Let there be no doubt."

Chávez called on private bankers to take care and comply with the law. "I'm keeping an eye on them, because private banking has degenerated into a chain of mechanisms and instead of doing their jobs, the banks are specializing in financial speculation."

The president decreed an end to the hegemony of private banks, and announced the creation of a "real public financial system", although he did not give more details.

Translation mine; linkage added.

Well, let's see if Chavecito doesn't improvise something nifty on the fly. He's very good at that; the ALBA, among other things, was an improvisation of his, which he came out with at the spur of the moment during a speech about the need to kill the ALCA (the Spanish acronym of the FTAA, or Free Trade Area of the Americas) during the 2005 summit at Mar del Plata, Argentina. ALCA is now officially DOA, so we know he wasn't talking out his ass on that one. (Sorry, Otto, but you're a little off base when you say the man doesn't do finance well. He does; he just doesn't do it the capitalist way. He certainly knew how to kill a bad done deal dead!)

Swami 'Bina predicts that Chavecito will probably turn the recuperated banks into credit unions once the depositors get their looted money back. Meaning, citizens will be actual shareholders and managers of their own cash, instead of just victims "customers" like they've been until now. If they can do it with local water councils and co-op businesses, they should be able to do it with banks, no problemo.

She also predicts that Chavecito will stand firm, and it will be the bankers who finally back down when they see he means business. And the bucks-to-bolivars exchange rates will drop right back to their old levels when that happens (and the warned-of putsch doesn't).

BTW: That other man in the video is Jorge Giordani, Chavecito's planning minister. This is how Swami 'Bina comes by her assertion that Chavecito is serious this time. Giordani is a serious man, and he's been Chavecito's right hand on a lot of key things. Look for him to be heading up the committee to get 'er done.

Just for fun, and further proof, here's another video:

...in which Chavecito puts his childhood business experience as a papaya-candy seller to good illustrative use.

We'll see who's more right on this one, Otto or me...all in good fun, of course. This won't be about money, but just to see who's the better prognosticator. Get your turban on, amigo!

PS: Further interesting viewing here. Mario Silva dissects it all rather nicely. David Icke you can ignore if you like, or just take him with a grain of salt. But Mario's analysis is the real thing, and it's especially good in the second segment, where he rips El Matacuras a new one.

Short 'n' Stubby: Bummerama

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Maybe I should have used a pic of a Rumpy Manx instead of this Stumpie? You tell me...

The UK Sun is all agush with the "news" that oil has been "discovered" (again!) in the Falklands/Malvinas/whatever those little rocks in the South Atlantic are really called. The Financial Times puts the kibosh on that bosh, pointing out that it's not really worth drilling for. Bummer.

It's getting harder to be a homophobe in New York State when senators like this awesome woman are making such brilliant speeches that just totally take the piss out of you. At this rate, they WILL get same-sex marriage, and soon.

It really must suck, though, to be married to Tiger Woods. Why is nobody hounding him for singlehandedly wrecking traditional marriage? Oh yeah, I think I know...

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Or in this case, a whole gaggle of little idiots. "Traditional" marriage, in short, is a real bummer.

It must also really suck to be Lou Dobbs. Old, hateful, petulant and grumpy--and ever more in the wrong. Oh dear!

Afghanistan's bummer elections have changed Cenk Uygur's heart. Better late than never, I suppose!

Ad photos retouched? Say it ain't so! And, bummer for those who would deceive us in order to sell us overpriced crap: A French legislator wants to make sure everyone knows it.

And finally, a rude awakening for those who idolize Victoria's Secret models: Yep, they're retouched too. Diet, exercise, surgery--and that ain't all. They have 20 layers of makeup all over everything, including their tushes. Bummer!

No great harm without some gain

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Well, it looks like Amy Goodman's run-in with our meshuga border goons has not been a total bust. Her book, which she was in BC to promote, is now a bona-fide bestseller, if this note from her publisher (Haymarket) that landed in my mailbox is any indicator:

Featuring overflow audiences, as covered by the Los Angeles Times and Mail Tribune, hundreds of people across the country have been "Going Goodman" instead of "Going Rogue," listening to stories from Breaking the Sound Barrier, that put in the place of the usual suspects, voices and viewpoints the corporate media exclude and ignore -- a model which clearly caught the attention of the Canadian Border Patrol, who outrageously detained, questioned, and searched Goodman for over 90 minutes this Thanksgiving, over fear of what she may say about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

And unlike the Paliness's poo-pile, Amy's book will not be a "daggered" entry on the bestseller lists. Nor will it become a "featured" giveaway with any book club's introductory offers. It's gonna go on selling steadily on the basis of its own considerable merits.

Congrats, Amy, it couldn't happen to a more deserving soul!

December 2, 2009

Short 'n' Stubby: Hell on Wheels edition

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Wanda Sykes takes on Tiger Woods. He better be thankful she doesn't play golf, because this smart funny lady never misses.

A certain Canadian mining company claims to be in business to benefit the indigenous people of Mexico, but a dead anti-mining organizer could tell you very differently, if he'd only lived. Y'see, he was shot by goons--hired by said company. Oh yeah, and he's indigenous, if his photo's anything to go by. Muchas gracias to Otto for that one. (All the more reason for Parliament to require Canadian companies doing business abroad to export the social responsibility we expect of them here at home, no?)

Wanna see Chavecito get adorable? Watch the first minute or two of the second segment here. Spanish only, but the adorability requires no translation.

For the Sally Ann, it seems that "illegal" kids are less needy than others, and therefore less deserving of a toy. Never mind that the US economy would have collapsed sooner if not for the virtual slavery of these kids' parents. No, they don't deserve anything, just because their folks crossed the Rio Grande without puppy-papers...and rich capitalists are taking advantage of that very fact.

Anti-farcist Hondurans are flashing the finger to demonstrate that they didn't vote. (It's the LITTLE finger, gutterminds!) Muchas gracias to Cort G. for that one.

The National Security Archive in Washington, DC, has presented several evidentiary documents, including a verified "death squad diary", to the Spanish courts for use in the trials of several Guatemalan military thugs. Looks like impunity's about to end for the genocidal leaders of the 80s, at least the local ones. Now, how about their gringo handlers?

The new puppet of Honduras talks tough at Chavecito, but remains suspiciously silent toward the real troublemaker, namely Lula.

BTW, there was NO legal basis for removing Mel from office. Are any of the apologists out there aware of that? It means the Honduran "election" was illegitimate. Period.

Teh Heterostoopid: Stupidity outwits natural selection, for now

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Please, stop him before he makes another one!

December 1, 2009

Short 'n' Stubby: Snips, snaps and snark

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It's World AIDS Day, and to celebrate, Uganda's government is mulling a bill to mandate the death penalty for gay sex. The driving influence? "Evangelicals from abroad", according to one Anglican bishop. These same evangelicals and their parliamentary buddies are no doubt the same ones who are screaming about Hugo Chávez for not bad-mouthing Idi Amin. Hypocrites much?

BTW, Gwynne Dyer's piece on prudishness in Africa, and how it's costing lives, is a must-read.

It's now official: Dubai is in deep doodoo. (Literally--among other things, they're awash in their own shit. Despite all their expensive building projects, sewage treatment plants were rather low on the list of priorities.) They're claiming that their debt crisis (soon to become a default) is really a "standstill", but who's fooling whom? The only way they're gonna pay this one off in the end is by taking on more debt elsewhere when Abu Dhabi gets sick of sinking money into this bottomless pit. Where are the IMF and the World Bank when you need 'em? This sort of thing is right up their alley.

Oh, and get this: Dubai also claims it's not responsible for running up its huge debts--the creditors are, for lending them the money! Chutzpah--it's an Emirati thing, apparently.

Truthdig gets to the bottom of the US's stupid celebrity "reality" obsessions, and comes up with a real nugget. Hint: It's not about reality at all, unless you're talking about the evasion thereof.

(All the same, I can't help wondering if Tiger Woods really did crash his car at low speed because he was banging this human trainwreck. Embarrassing, but can it be helped when the episode is getting saturation coverage and even in Canada, you can't get away from it? And WTF is this mytho-poetic shit?)

Finding Dulcinea waffles a bit about Chavecito's sinister Maoist cloud-seeding plan, while conceding that Venezuela IS suffering from an El Niño-induced drought, and also managing not to blame that on Big Red You Know Who OR ridicule his admonitions to conserve water and hydro power. Progress nohow contrariwise, I guess.

Only in Italy do the police drive Lamborghinis--and crash them. Too much espresso, I guesso.

Argentine same-sex wedding denied! The would-be cock-blocker: A federal judge. Undeterred, the happy couple say they'll try again tomorrow.

John Demjanjuk is trying to use his failing health to get out of being tried for crimes against humanity. One wonders if he granted any such clemency to those whom it was his job to kill on behalf of Hitler. One guesses not. (One also notes that Augusto Pinochet used a similar strategy, to great effect; he died unpunished in 2006.)

Brazil still categorically refuses to recognize the bogus election in Honduras. Lula clearly doesn't give a shit for that old good left/bad left distinction anymore.

A former Miss Argentina gives her life to illustrate why the best thing a woman can do with her butt is buy flattering clothes and leave it the hell alone. RIP, Solange Magnano.

Welcome to Reality, Chuck...

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You know things are getting bad for fascism when prominent rats start leaving the ship.