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February 28, 2010

Quotable: Johnny Weir on homophobia and freedom of speech

Need I say that this flamboyant but level-headed guy impresses me a lot more than his oh-so-macho critics ever could? (Plus, I think he looked adorable in his roses!)

(Thanks to Jim for the link.)

Stupid Sex Tricks: Believe it or not...

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And then some people wonder why divorce rates skyrocketed once the laws were liberalized? If this was the "norm" that women had to live up to when marrying in the 1960s, I'd say the '70s were just ripe for a divorce epidemic.

Music for a Sunday: In the rain or on a winter's night...

Ottawa isn't known for its great bands, but this is one of them, and of course, like so many other things Canadian, it's underrated. I had forgotten all about this song until flipping through a bunch of other old faves.

February 27, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Shorter but not sweeter

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February is the shortest month of the year, but certainly not the sweetest; it's the dead of winter, and the weather's mean. The only good thing you can say about this month is that it ends quickly! And so do these shorter (but not sweeter) tributes to this week's wanktards:

1. Otto Fucking Odonga. "Private parts do not belong in the anus", but heads apparently do. Now we know where Alan Fucking Keyes' ancestors came from. UGANDA, where else?

2. Helena Fucking Guergis. Wow, does SHE have great timing, or what? My money is on the square marked "or what". PS: Happy fucking birthday to you, indeed, you entitled bitch.

3. Steve Fucking Ellis. Basically, it was "you gimme fuckee, I let you become Canadian citizen-ee." But she was all like ewwwwwww, gross-ee. Then she turned him in-ee. So he didn't get to take advantage of the pretty Korean refugee claimant after all-ee.

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4. James Fucking Lunney. He makes the list again this week because he's still a whiny chickenshit afraid of a little opposition. Which will soon turn into a LOT of it, if he doesn't cut the crap.

5. Sarah Fucking Palin, for the umpty-ump hundredth time. While she's out there prattling on about imaginary death panels and other evils of socialized medicine, her own grandson is benefiting from...wait for it...socialized medicine. And the death panels? Well, those are real, but only in capitalized medicine.

6. Charles Fucking Van Zant. It's not enough for him to force his own wife to squirt out the babies at lightning speed. No, now he wants to do the same to other women, too--under the guise of "compassion". He'll try to bring back the Baby Scoop Era singlehandedly if they let him. Pray they don't!

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7. Lauren Fucking Ashley. If you're gonna quote Fucking Leviticus under the false rubric of "loving" the "sinners", sweetie, you may as well stop eating shellfish and wearing mixed-fibre clothes. Otherwise, you too could be put to death under THAT "law". Also, God hates liars.

8. The Fucking State of Utah. Nice lawmakers you people have! Better pray that none of your female nearest and dearest ever have a miscarriage, or you might not ever see Mom again. PS: Please address your ongoing polygamy problem if you REALLY care about women and children.

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9. Rush Fucking Limbaugh, AGAIN. Far be it from me to defend Glenn Fucking Beck (and believe me, I'm not about to do it here); I just love it when right-wingers eat their own. It saves the rest of us having to do it. Now get a room, you two!

10. John Fucking Yoo, AGAIN. How sharp a cleaver do you need to split hairs this finely: Nuking civilians okay, crushing kids' testicles NOT okay? Dude, IT'S ALL BAD!!!

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11. Peter Fucking Shurman. Christ, dude, learn some Canadian history. This nation has been around a lot longer than the modern-day (apartheid!) state of Israel.

12. and 13. Brad Fucking Trost and Maurice Fucking Vellacott. Such a cute couple they make. Such a pity they're both such lying sexist wanks.

14. Danny Fucking Williams. Paying for luxurious extras out of pocket does NOT make it the best healthcare, only the priciest. You could have had all that in Canada, except maybe the fancy furniture, the plush rug, the steak on the menu, and the private-duty nurse who gives blowjobs. Would sure be funny if he developed complications, would it not?

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And finally, since we have no personal wankers this week (¿Qué pasó?), let's send out a pre-emptive tribute to Pat Fucking Robertson, who's expected to pronounce at any time about the Chilean earthquake and the tsunami due to hit Hawaii: God don't work that way, asshole.

Good night, and get fucked!

Never again!

The Caracazo, remembered:

With music by Lloviznando Cantos.

VTV also has various documentaries on the Caracazo and the events that led up to and came after it. Two short spots on the 4th Republic reveal the degree of corruption and misspending that various administrations later sold out the country to pay for at the hands of the IMF; Alberto Nolia, newly returned to The Devil's Papers, tells how Carlos Andrés Pérez ordered the massacres of early 1989; and witnesses tell in their own voices their memories of those five frightening days of late February and early March. All videos in Spanish.

Oh, Alvaro. Too bad. So SAD!

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"The inexecutable...of inexecutability...of the nonexistent...of that which can't be done, had or brought to effect....(not even with traps)...in other words, NO is NO!"

The wall behind him says "Varito (his nickname), be a man!"--which is what he said to Chavecito the other day, when he rudely accosted him at a summit and bitched about the ongoing embargo of Colombian imports to Venezuela, and Chavecito, after repeated futile attempts to calm him, finally lost patience and told him to get fucked.

But if you're wondering what this cartoon is really about, here's a synopsis: "Varito" is fucked. He can't run for a third term in office. The Colombian Constitutional Court ruled against him yesterday, 7 to 2. As Raúl Bracho points out here, that's one judge against for every gringo base Uribe allowed in Colombia. And Rodrigo Quijada notes with some glee that "Chávez sent him to hell, and the court paid the passage!"

And just to add insult to injury, people in Bogotá were actually celebrating the fact--in a square that happens to be named in honor of Simón Bolívar.

Meanwhile, the 'Cito stays on, in accordance with the will of his people.

I don't think he's snickering, but I certainly am.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Somebody's spidey-sense is tingling

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Too bad it couldn't have picked up on the fact that this is not the time or the place for such tingles.

February 26, 2010

Economics for Dummies: Manifestoon

Marx and Engels meet Warner Bros. Uncanny how well old cartoons illustrate certain key concepts, eh?

(Thanks to CK for pointing me in the direction of that excellent video.)

Stupid Sex Tricks: Another reason to leave the kids at home while shopping

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"Hey, where's the coin slot on this thing?"

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Lula in Havana

Lula had lots of good things to say about Fidel...

...and oh yeah, Your Barackness, he wants you to lift the blockade on Cuba. (Watch this get ignored and swept under the rug by the lamestream media.)

Teh Ghey: SO not repenting.

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And man, does that make me GLAD.

So does this:

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You know, I've often asked myself the same thing.

Quotable: Albert Einstein on zionism

"I would much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state...my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will suffer--especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks."

--Albert Einstein, 1938, as cited by Mordecai Richler

Keith Olbermann just tied a knot in my trachea

If you wanna know what it takes to make me cry, you're about to see for yourself:

Part I (click through for Part II) of a VERY special commentary.

If this doesn't make you damn the devils--Sarah Fucking Palin and Betsy Fucking McCaughey--I don't know what will. The US needs its Tommy Douglas, and IT HASN'T GOT ONE.

Good night and good luck, indeed.

February 25, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: I thought you guys were supposed to be celibate...

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And wasn't the G-spot supposed to serve as a justification for that whole missionary position thing? Now I'm all confused.

Chavecito on CNN

Videos in Spanish...

Chavecito talks with Carmen Aristégui about Alvaro Uribe's rude interruption at the summit, and how embarrassing it was for everyone involved. He also talks about Fidel, the revolution in Cuba, the importance of anti-imperialism, and the dangers of the Gringo Empire and its attempts to divide and conquer Latin America, and why it is therefore important to have an "OAS without North America".

In the latter half of the interview, he talks about the dangers Barack Obama faces at home. If he were to dismantle the military-industrial complex, he would be killed, says Chávez. He makes clear that he himself is anti-imperialist, not anti-US or anti-Obama. He also talks about why he gave Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America, and about the coup in Honduras. He says it's possible that Obama didn't know it was going to happen, but it was accepted--a grave error. There's also a cute moment where he describes running into Uribe in the washroom after the infamous "al carajo" incident. Chavecito proposes Lula to head up the new LatAm-Caricom organization he and Evo are advocating, citing Lula's being on good terms with everyone, and able to hear everyone out.

February 24, 2010

Quotable: Harriet Fraad on sex and dirty politics

"It is tragic that we, as a nation, are reduced to holding our leaders to sexual standards while giving up on holding them to their promises for social justice. So many of us feel helpless. Only money seems to talk. Those who have no money and at the moment have no organized mass voice are effectively silenced. When people are or feel that they are helpless, they may save themselves the pain of consciousness and create escapes. Those escapes provide a kind of freedom that is its own prison. Perhaps our national investment in our hero's sexual fidelity to the promise of marriage absolves us of the very difficult struggle to hold our leaders accountable for fidelity to campaign promises and stated human values. Maybe we need to have a national fearless moral inventory of our war crimes and our criminal economic system and its impact on America and the world. Maybe the fascination with Tiger Woods' transgression and confession is a sad symptom of weakness and a fear of the road to recovery which begins with the truth?"

--Harriet Fraad, at AlterNet

Lo siento mucho, España...

I'm told that this is the latest fashion in Spanish hombres' wear:

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I knew that machos could be surprisingly insecure about their packages, but this is ridiculous. This is gonna be the first fully dressed man ever arrested for indecent exposure. If you're gonna bring back the codpiece, can you please make it without the twig and berries?

PS: My best friend wonders if the "wongydoodle suit", as he calls it, was copied from this. The artist responsible for that particular bit of wackiness is interviewed about her creations here.

February 23, 2010

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

Soooo...Mr. Inca-Kola Dude thinks he can get away with calling figure skating some kind of pansy sport?

Well, blame him for what I'm about to do here, folks...

Ahem.

Plushy may not have taken gold at the Olympics this time 'round (and what's up with the trash talk, anyway, macho man?) But if skating doesn't pan out for him, I bet he'd clean up at Chippendales. Even without the muscle suit, he's got a mean little booty-shake.

And no, any guy who can hold a spread-eagle squat for several seconds while a girl plants a skate blade on his thigh and balances one-legged that way ain't no pansy, either.

Um. Nice president you got there, Colombia.

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Discord at the Cancún summit. An unexpectedly revealing photo of three leaders, only two of whom get along well all the time? Sure looks like. Guess which...

So, Chavecito's the regional troublemaker, is he? Not even hardly. Guess who came to Mexico just to blow snot all over everything. Story from Aporrea:

The president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, picked a nasty fight with the Venezuelan president during lunch at the Rio Group Summit.

Uribe, who arrived late, provoked a heated discussion and was almost beside himself when he interrupted President Chávez as he was explaining how commerce between Venezuela and Colombia had increased eightfold since he (Chávez) had come to power in 1999. Trade between the two nations rose from 1.6 billion dollars that year to 7.9 billion in 2008. It was then that Uribe interrupted, comparing the recent shut-down of trade with Colombia to the US blockade of Cuba.

Uribe continued interrupting the Venezuelan leader as he was defending his position. Chávez asked him to let him finish his speech, and when he saw it was impossible to get Uribe to calm down, he told him to "go to hell".

Other sources who attended the luncheon explained that the Cuban president, Raúl Castro, who was attending the Rio Group Summit for the first time, tried to mediate between the two leaders to put an end to the argument.

Uribe was the last president to arrive at Playa del Carmen, a seaside resort on Mexico's Caribbean coast. There, he incorporated himself in sessions that had already begun, attended the official photo session, and later the luncheon offered by the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón.

Translation mine.

The cause of all this altercation? Chavecito doesn't appreciate the fact that Nasty, Brutish & Short is letting the gringos use Colombia for a staging ground to spy on, intimidate, and commit acts of aggression against, the sovereign nations of South America. Chavecito also didn't take kindly to Uribe's lies that he was supporting the FARC. The issue came to a head last year when Chavecito ordered the borders closed and all imports from Colombia stopped. The borders soon reopened, but trade did not. That's what's got Uribe all hot under his too-tight collar. He's losing money and credibility daily, and the longer this goes on, the more Colombia's gonna be hurting. (Yeah, surprise, Colombia's most important regional trading partners, in terms of impact on the lives of smaller producers, aren't the guys who buy their blow and their bananas, but those who buy their beef. That's spelled V-E-N-E-Z-U-E-L-A. And if the latter keeps boogying with Argentina on that one, well...)

Long story made short: Uribe picked the worst possible way to try to lance this festering sore and reopen trade talks. His petulant attitude is gonna cost him. Worse, it's gonna cost Colombia. Which can ill afford to lose the goodwill of its neighbor, when all's said. You can't make up for that by any amount of toadying to Washington, no matter what anyone says.

The question is now open as to who will get the blame from the lamestream anglo media for this undiplomatic incident. Place your bets, ladies 'n' gents...

PS: For extra shits 'n' giggles, hear Mario Silva's take on it all (in Spanish) here.

February 22, 2010

Teh Heterostoopid: Department of Unnecessary Tattoos

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I don't think this guy has anything to worry about there, do you?

Oh noes! Axis of Evo creeping closer to our borders...

Just south of the Río Grande, to be specific:

Indigenous leaders of Mexico held a special ceremony this week, complete with the handing over of a staff of office, recognizing Evo Morales as a moral leader.

February 21, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Japanese invent cure for nerd loneliness!

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Yes, they really exist. Unfortunately, they're not anatomically correct, and they make lousy conversation partners. But hey...whatever floats ya. I just hope they're washable.

Music for a Sunday: Classic wonderful weirdness

Mike Malloy uses this one on his radio show a lot:

And no, I don't even want to speculate how many drugs you'd have to be on to do what the frontman does here. But I do salute him!

February 20, 2010

Wankers of the Week: You know you are one when...

...you make like this dude:

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Well, that's one way of being a wanker. Here are some others, brought to you by this week's winners (pronounced wieners):

1. You can't resist a photo-op, even when you should...like Stephen Fucking Harper. The last thing the quake-stricken Haitians want is to get their picture taken with this cynical, opportunistic wank, who's not content to trample only their democracy, but Canada's as well. I'm with JimBobby--the media should stay home and not bolster Harpo's fortunes for one minute longer!

2. You can't even pretend to show a little sportsmanship...like Dale Fucking Begg-Smith. You want to know what's wrong with the whole Silicon Valley vision of late 20th-century über-capitalism? I'll tell you: It's an entitled teen millionaire who buggered off for Australia out of disdain for Canadian ski program rules. Loyalty to hometown and country? Not for him. The Aussies are also complaining about his lack of loyalty, so it's not just a Canada thing. True to type, he made his fortune by questionable means. And then, when Alex Bilodeau very deservedly bested him, guess who iced over on the podium. What, is all that other gold not good enough? Some of us (like me, for one) would be grateful just to make it down the bunny hill without sitting on our skis.

3. You can't even meet and talk with constituents who disagree with you...like James Fucking Lunney. Did I mention that he's a Tory? Do I need to mention that he's a coward? And that cowardice is true to Tory form?

4. You are completely dissociated from all sense of reality, both past and present...like Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Dubya drags his country into two wars which have now BOTH been raging longer than World War II...and whom does the Pigman blame? Yup, you guessed it...the black guy from Hawaii. Even funnier, he claims "there's no war on right now". Oh yeah? Tell that to all those guys and gals stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the latter case, some of them came from my home and native land, and would be quite surprised to hear that what they're doing over there isn't a war. Why, next thing you know, Rush will be claiming that the US was in World War II before Canada was...all those little acolytes of his with whom I've had the pleasure of wiping a floor certainly did.

But hey. Sometimes, if you listen really hard, you might just hear the Pigman tell the truth for a change:

Ah, that was lovely. I can never hear that song often enough...

5. You don't even have the most basic idea of how your own country's justice system works...like Monica Fucking Crowley. Military tribunals "didn't exist until late 2001"? I'm sure the US military will be very surprised to hear THAT one.

6. You don't know shit about climatology and can't be bothered to learn...like James Fucking Inhofe. Congratulations on your national igloo, Mr. Senator. And sorry to hear about your sub-freezing IQ.

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7. You ride a loser's coattails to nowhere, then bitch about it...like Sam Fucking Wurzelbacher. Next time you get the urge to reach for the dough, dude, just get your plumbing licence, keep your head down, and actually do something real for a living.

8. You conflate all criticism of the Israeli government with "an attack on Canada"...like Peter Fucking Kent. This inveterate wanker (whom I've already excoriated on two occasions) is Harpo's junior foreign affairs minister. A less competent man for the job could hardly be imagined, unless your idea of reality happens to coincide with CanWest Global's hard-right pro-Israel editorial line.

9. You don't care a damn about your country, its people, or what they want...like Jorge Fucking Castañeda. Canada and Mexico don't want to be part of a US hegemony disguised as a "union", but you'd never know it according to Jorge the Apátrido. And that may well be the only thing those two countries actually have in common. As far as most Canadians are concerned (and the Apátrido isn't), Mexico belongs to Latin America. And as far as most Mexicans are concerned, the US is just the place where you go to recoup a little of the cash that was stolen from your country, and send it back home. But hey, we could make common cause with the Mexicans anyway to defeat this rotten "union" idea, if it by some strange misfortune fails to defeat itself. What say, Mexico?

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10. You are so steeped in teabagger lunacy that you can no longer tell your own madness from the voice of God in your ear...like Gregory Fucking Girard. Yep, another crazy-eyed militant armageddonist for Jeezus has been caught stockpiling guns and ammo in advance of what would undoubtedly be either an attempt at terrorism or one upon the life of an elected president. God sure does work in mysterious ways! Why else guide the hand of a wanker to be one's instrument...?

11. You are so steeped in teabagger lunacy that you're willing to fly a plane into an IRS building...like Joseph Fucking Stack of Austin, Texas. Of course, the wanker forgot that his state DOES have representation in Washington, meaning all the taxes he had to pay in his apparently worthless life were, in fact, 100% LEGAL. But of course, he didn't even think to say boo about it till now, when, by coincidence, the head of state happens to be a brownish guy. He also forgot that the bailout he blamed on the brown guy, was actually the doing of the brown guy's white predecessor--and he never complained about HIM. And he also picked a damn stupid way of complaining--which included trying to kill his nearest and dearest, as well as innocent random strangers. Do me a favor, all you suicidal wanks out there--just gas yourselves with car exhaust in your garage if you really MUST, and leave others the hell out of it. They will NOT appreciate the political points you're trying to score with your own death, believe me.

12. You are so steeped in teabagger lunacy that you're willing to celebrate the wanker above...like this fucking Facebook circle jerk.

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13. You rag on Barack Obama for his admitted, but minor experimentation with cocaine, but forget that your boy Dubya spent the better part of two decades with a rolled-up Benjamin affixed to his nose...like Jason Fucking Mattera. Lemme guess, Jason...you're more a crack-smoking kind of guy? Or maybe crystal meth is more your speed? That would explain why you think all those helmet-haired, glassy-eyed, diet-deranged, Botoxed-to-death Stepford wives in your crowd are "beautiful". It would also explain why you think tea-partiers speak in complete sentences (they can't even spell, do math, or dress themselves!), and why you have nothing of real substance to say anywhere about anything. And afterwards, I'll bet you went to the washroom to do a few lines of some unspecified substance off the Coultergeist's bony ass, too!

14. You're still going on about Bill Clinton's BJ after all this time...like Newt Fucking Gingrich. Whose third wife is the extracurricular chick who used to blow him in the Capitol's parking garage while he was after Bubba like a hound on a raccoon.

15. You never let facts get in the way of a good piece of bombast...like David Fucking Broder. Yeah, sure, Sarah Fucking Palin knows how to sell herself, all right. The question is, who but a complete idiot would buy this bimbo? And the answer? David Fucking Broder, for one. Because he is a complete and pluperfect idiot. Duh!

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16. You are trying to rewrite Canadian immigration law to its original form as a law of exclusion...like Jason Fucking Kenney. Will it keep REAL undesirables out? Hell, no; everyone knows, or should, that the world's worst criminals all happen to be white, rich and prominently situated. This law will do nothing about those multinational motherfuckers. But it will keep top-notch Mexican chefs from ever darkening our doorstep again. Nice work, Jason.

17. You are so religiously insane that you would kick a sick woman out of your church just because she sought medical attention...like David Fucking Valdez. The Joho preacher-man kicked out Maribel Perez when she received a blood transfusion as part of her double-lung transplant. This anti-blood stance is based solely on a misinterpretation of a scriptural passage concerning blood sacrifice, and has nothing to do with medicine. But it certainly points out that Jehovah's Witness anti-blood doctrine is not only confused, but when it comes down to cases like this, it is also profoundly un-Christian, in that it directly violates what Jesus himself said is the right thing to do for the sick, the needy and the suffering. Since when is it godly to cast out a sick person just for seeking treatment for her illness? And does this wank seriously believe God will favor him for doing that to her?

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And finally, you know you're a wanker when...you show up late to the party, stoned to the gills and making zero sense, like this wanker did here. Dude, if you don't yet understand why gun control IS crime control, or why the majority of Canadians loathe the Tories with a righteous passion, or why an onion ring gets more fans than Harpo, then you really need to spend less time with your record collection and your drugs, and even less time making excuses for those whom you claim not to support. BTW, there's no such thing as an "amero", no matter how fervently YOU believe in it. What you posted was nothing but a photoshop, based upon a phantasm created by some other drug-addled wank (see #9, above). Life is so much easier when your head's not stuck in a tube of model-airplane glue, so kindly get yours out and join the REAL party, please.

Good night, and get fucked!

PS: Boy, it's been a banner week for personal wankers here at Casa Bina. I should also mention the loon from Liguria, IP #82.52.128.184, who wanked here. You know you're a wanker when...you spam my blog with pro-Palin crap (which I removed the link to), gratuitously attacking socialism, on an entry not dedicated to it. From ITALY. Where, if I'm not mistaken, some socialist aspects of society exist, no?

Buonanotte, e vaffanculo!

Padre Nuestro Latinoamericano

Cuban actor Héctor Quintero recites Mario Benedetti's great poem to a capacity crowd in Havana's Revolution Square. Orchestra directed by Leo Brouwer.

Translation (mine) follows:

Our Father who art in Heaven
with the swallows and the missiles
I pray you return before you forget
how we came to the south of the Río Grande

Our Father who art in exile
almost never do you remember mine
of all the ways wherever you are
hallowed be thy name
not those who hallow in thy name
closing one eye so as not to see the dirty
fingernails of misery

in August of nineteen hundred and sixty
already it's no use asking you
thy kingdom come
because thy kingdom is also down here
in the midst of rancors and fear
amid vacillations and filth
amid disillusion and somnolence
in this eagerness to see you in spite of everything

when you spoke of the rich man
the needle and the camel
and we all unanimously
voted you into Glory
at the same time the silent Indian raised his hand
who respected you but resisted
to think thy will be done

but once every so often
your will melds with mine
dominates it
inflames it
duplicates it
it is much harder to know which is my will
when I believe for sure that which I say I believe
in your omnipresence as in my solitude
on Earth as it is in Heaven
always
I will be more sure of the earth I tread
than the sky that ignores me

but who knows
I won't decide
whether your power makes or unmakes
your will the same when creating in the wind
in the Andes of snow
in the bird who fertilizes his mate
in the chancellors who murmur yes sir
in every hand which turns into a fist

of course I'm not sure if I like the style
in which your will choses to assert itself
I say it with irreverence and gratitude
two emblems which will soon be the same thing
I say above all thinking of our bread
of every day and every little piece of the day

yesterday you took it from us
give it to us this day
or at least the right to give ourselves our bread
not only that which was the symbol of Someone
but that of crumb and rind
our bread
now that we have few hopes left and debts
forgive us if you can our debts
but don't forgive us our hope
and don't ever forgive us our credits

later tomorrow
we will collect what is owing
tangible and smiling foreigners
those who have claws for the harp
and a pan-American earthquake with which to wipe away
the last spit-wad hanging from the face

it doesn't much matter if our creditors pardon
like ourselves
once
by mistake
let us pardon our debtors

still
they owe us like a century
of lost sleep and beatings
like three thousand kilometres of injuries
like twenty medals for Somoza
like a single dead Guatemala

lead us not into temptation
to forget or sell off this past
or rent a single hectare of its forgettance

now that it is time to know who we are
and having crossed the river
the dollar and the repaying love
let us take heart to the last beggar
and free ourselves from all pangs of conscience
Amen.

Two quick announcements

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Your attention, please...

A commenter on my Open Letter to Peter Kent, Sofia Ramirez, writes:

*Please distribute widely* People in Toronto, Montreal and Caracas, Venezuela will be demonstrating in support of the democratic people's movement in Venezuela and exposing the hypocrisy of the Harper Conservatives who are waging war in Afghanistan while avoiding public accountability at home. Conservative Minister for the Americas Peter Kent has publicly criticized Venezuela as 'undemocratic' for applying its laws to TV and radio broadcasters. Kent and his fellow Harper Conservatives shouldn't speak about democracy at the same time as closing our parliament for months to avoid being investigated for complicity in handing over detainees to torture in Afghanistan. Thursday, February 25th @ 5pm 365 Bloor St. East (at Sherbourne) In front of Venezuelan Consulate For more information see/contact: Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=319821343005&ref=nf Latin American Solidarity Network (LASN): cca_toronto@hotmail.com Barrio Nuevo: barrionuevo.canada@gmail.com

Also, Cort G. e-mailed me this:

Saturday, 27 February 2010, 09:30 - 16:00 Pre- registration: vzteachin@hotmail.com Saturday, Feb 27, Registration 9:30 Sidney Smith Building, Room 2117 100 St.George St. (North of Harbord St.) The Challenge of Solidarity: Attend these events to participate, to learn and to help all of us to rise to the challenge of solidarity -- building a movement against imperialism.

Registration: 9:30 a.m.
Donation: $10 or what you can

Opening Session 10 a.m. -- 11 a.m.

Greetings by Venezuelan consul.

Opening address: Ten years of the Bolivarian revolution, covering Venezuelan history, the current context, and the challenge that Venezuela poses.

Speaker: Maria Paez


Workshops for the morning, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
1. Communal councils and grassroots organizing and the new state.
2. Imperialism's economic crisis and Latin America.
3. Workers' Control and the Unions.
4. Colombia/Venezuela/seven U.S. bases and more.
5. People-to-people solidarity.

Vegetarian Lunch 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

Workshops for the afternoon from 2 p.m. -- 4 p.m.
1. ALBA and Its Challenge to Neoliberalism.
2. Venezuela and World Solidarity.
3. Women and the Venezuelan revolution.
4. Endogenous development and oil
5. Alternative media in Venezuela and Canada
Final plenary: Latin American Solidarity and the Canadian Left

Organized by: OPIRG, Centre for Social Justice, Barrio Nuevo, Hands Off Venezuela/Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle, Latin America Solidarity Network--Toronto, Socialist Project, Venezuela We Are With You Coalition/Coalicion/Venezuela Estamos Contigo. Co-sponsored by Toronto, Bolivia Solidarity,Toronto Haiti Action Committee

For further information, email vzteachin@hotmail.com
Location : Sidney Smith Building, Room 2117, 100 St.George St. (North of Harbord St.), University of Toronto

Contact : vzteachin@hotmail.com

Anyone who can make it, please do attend. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

And have a grrrrrreat day.

Quotable: Abraham Lincoln on labor vs. capital

"Capital is only the fruit of labor [...] Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

--Abraham Lincoln, December 3, 1861

(Gee, sounds to me like Honest Abe was a bit of a socialist!)

February 19, 2010

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Watch out, empire...

...because Chavecito's peasant militias have something to say to your nefarious plans:

And militia members like Adriana are not going to stand for any nonsense. Especially not since the discarded FAL rifles of the Venezuelan army are now in their hands, and they know how to use them.

Stay classy, Aznar!

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How does a fascist rebut the criticisms leveled against him? With ineffable style, eloquence and grace, of course!

The ex-prime minister of Spain, José María Aznar was received today in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Oviedo with cries of "fascist", "assassin" and "terrorist" from a group of a dozen or so students.

As he exited the building, surrounded by bodyguards, Aznar responded to the shouts with a raised middle finger and a smile.

Aznar attended the event as an invitee of New Generations of Asturias, to give a conference on current events in Spain.

The young people demonstrating against him gained entry to the faculty building 20 minutes before the slated start of the conference. Security personnel kept them out of the room where the conference was to take place. The demonstrators carried placards and chanted slogans such as "Aznar should go to jail, like Vera and Barrionuevo". They also shouted insults at him.

As Aznar was giving his speech, in which he expressed harsh criticism of the government of José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, two or three students, hidden in the crowd, stood up every ten minutes or so in protest, and were expelled by security agents.

"These gentlemen supposedly in charge of Spain today have ruined the country," Aznar said. "They have no moral authority to say to the rest of us, who will be the majority, how to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

"The man at the head of the government of Spain did not have and does not have the qualifications to head the government," Aznar said.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

Yep, Aznar's an asshole. Was there ever any doubt? This IS the not-just-spiritual heir of General Franco we're talking about here.

This is also the guy who let the train bombings of Madrid happen on his watch, and then blamed them on ETA, when in fact they were retaliation for Spanish involvement in Gulf War II. He was caught in the lie, and the outrage resulted in his ouster, and Rodríguez Zapatero's win (on the grounds that the latter would pull Spain out of Iraq, which he promptly did. Spanish trains have been safe ever since.)

This sort of thing is, in short, perfectly in character for the Az-hole!

Oh surprise, surprise...Haiti has OIL!

And lots of it. All unexploited as yet. Does this explain the militarized US "aid" response to the earthquake? You bet...

William Engdahl explains how Haiti's unique geological situation--the same that makes it so vulnerable to earthquakes--also makes it minerally rich. If Haiti had not been chronically starved of cash for the last 200 years or so, the country could easily have had the technology and the personnel to develop those resources on its own, instead of being ripe prey for imperial predators.

Venezuela, just a stone's throw from Haiti, is just now in the position to make itself independent that way, as it has begun graduating homegrown, university-trained engineers and geologists specializing in mineral resource development. That's Bhad Nhews where foreign capitalism is concerned. They have an active interest in keeping the locals underdeveloped, undereducated, and thus dependent. This is probably what Engdahl means by "strategic denial", along with the oil corporations' active interest in keeping the price of their product artificially elevated by creating artificial shortages whenever the price drops too low for their liking. There are literally miles of full tankers idling at anchor in the Persian Gulf, under orders from head office not to sail until the price starts jumping. There are others, anchored at their ports of destination but not unloading, for the same reason. This market manipulation has been going on for quite some time already. It looks superficially clever, but is really profoundly stupid--what could be a more seductive target for a terrorist firebug than a great big boatload of crude? But of course, that risk also plays into the artificial price elevation...as does the mind-boggling cost of storing all that unused oil. Someone is benefiting from this, but it's not the people of the oil-producing nations, much less the First World consumer.

And shhhh, don't even mention Cuba...or Haiti. Both, like Venezuela, are sitting on top of heaven only knows how much of the black stuff.

Haiti's unexploited mineral wealth could well be the biggest untold economic story of the century. It could also be the biggest untold tale of slavers' vengeance ever.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Yeah, I'd say so...

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Now, the big question: Is it the drinking or the sex that's the problem here?

February 18, 2010

Let's see Peter Kent explain THIS.

Since this report was filed, it's been confirmed that the assassins are, indeed, Mossad agents, and they were traveling under false passports. And there's an even weirder twist:

The Foreign Office was investigating how the identities of six innocent Britons -- at least three of whom lived in Israel -- came to be used by the alleged hit team.

[...]

As police in Dubai released CCTV footage of the suspects, some of the Britons whose identities were stolen voiced their anger after waking up to discover that they had been named in the plot.

"I have not left Israel for two years and I certainly have not been to Dubai recently," said Kent-born Paul Keeley, 42, a builder who has lived on a Kibbutz in northern Israel for the past 15 years.

"When I first heard about this I immediately looked to make sure my passport was still there and it was. It has not been stolen, so I don't know what on earth has happened.

"I woke up this morning and suddenly my life is like an espionage movie. It is all very worrying but I know I have not done anything wrong."

Mr Keeley's mother, Joan, of Yalding, near Maidstone, said the picture released by the Dubai police of a suspect named as "Paul Keeley" was similar to her son, suggesting that his identity had been used because of his resemblance to the alleged assassin.

[...]

The Foreign Office said the British passports were "fraudulent", while the Irish foreign ministry said it had issued "no such passports" in the names used. A spokesman for the government in Berlin said the passport number on the German document was also fake.

Another of the suspects named in Dubai was Harrow-born Melvyn Mildiner, 31, who lives near Jerusalem, and who said he was "angry, upset and scared" to discover that his passport had been forged.

"It's not me, which is one silver lining to this entire story because at least I can point to it and say, 'Look, that's not me.' It's not the picture that I have in my passport and it's not the picture that I have on my face that I walk around with every day," he said.

"I have my passport. It's in my house, and there are no Dubai stamps on it because I've never been to Dubai."

Mr Mildiner, who bears a resemblance to the picture on the forged passport used by the alleged assassin, added: "I don't know how this happened or who chose my name or why, but hopefully we'll find out soon."

The other Britons named in Dubai were Salford-born Stephen Hodes, 37, who works as a physiotherapist at a hospital in Jerusalem; Michael Lawrence Barney, 55, originally of north London, who is also understood to live in Israel; Jonathan Louis Graham, 31, of north London; and James Leonard Clarke, 47, who until recently lived in Brighton.

But what really leapt out at me was this bit near the bottom:

Mossad hit squads were known to have used forged foreign passports. Canada and New Zealand have both had disputes with Israel in recent years over suspected Mossad agents trying to use forged passports on operations.

Even Canada, eh? Pity.

And it's not just Canada. The Emerald Isle is also full of questions now:

The Irish government says the trio of alleged passport-holders identified on Monday in Dubai as Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron do not appear in Ireland's records of legitimate passport-holders.

"We are unable to identify any of those three individuals as being genuine Irish citizens. Ireland has issued no passports in those names," the department said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The Irish government says the passport numbers publicised by Dubai authorities also are counterfeits, because they have the wrong number of digits and contain no letters.

Things that make you (and France, and Germany) go "hmmmm", eh?

There is literally no blow too low for the Mossad to strike, it seems. Interpol also wants a piece of these guys now.

And yet, Peter Kent said just the other day that an attack on Israel is an attack on Canada. Well, Peter? Let's see you explain this. And please, make it a good one. I want to know just how Interpol could possibly be tarred as "anti-Canadian".

Especially since they're going after an Israeli spy organization with a known history of forging Canadian passports.

Teh Heterostoopid: Always set a good example...

...because little pitchers have big ears:

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And because it's always important to teach them early.

February 17, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Caution

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Don't you love how they gave the silhouette a super-obvious boob job?

Short 'n' Stubby: Haiti roundup (and ripoffs), part quatrième

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Ms. Manx likes the fact that there's a "quat" in the title. All punning aside, however, the news out of Hispaniola is still not good...

First up, remember those child traffickers hapless Christian do-gooders out of Idaho? Well, their "attorney" is apparently not a lawyer, unless under legal experience, you count evasion of the law. Specifically, regarding child sex slaves.

And he's not the only shady "legal representative" this group has used, either. Another "attorney", a Haitian named Edwin Coq, was dismissed after offering $60,000 US in bribes to the authorities. Who fired him? None other than the bogus lawyer from above! (Link in Spanish.)

But don't feel too sorry for them and their poor choice of representation...eight of the ten are now out of jail.

Next, US ambassador to Haiti, Ken Merten, has some strange ideas of what constitutes "working well".

Meanwhile, Jamaica Observer columnist John Maxwell offers a harsh corrective, and a well-deserved roundhouse punch to the lazy, smug, complacent foreign media types who refuse to get the story right.

Sarko is in Haiti right now, announcing an "aid plan" that is chump change compared to all the blood money France extorted out of those uppity niggruhs over the last two centuries. Money which, had it been left in Haiti, would have elevated that country to first-world status by now.

Also, Harpo is a militaristic, opportunistic dick. But we already knew that.

Finally, here's a song by Alí Primera, Venezuela's greatest folk singer. He died 25 years ago today, but this song might have been written only yesterday. It's about Haiti's struggles, and it's called "The Night of Jabali".

Is the History Channel turning into FUX Snooze?

The reason I ask is because they're putting together a documentary of the Kennedy clan which sounds positively atrocious:

Fixating on JFK banging some floozy in a swimming pool while "Secret Service Man #2" looks uncomfortably on? Twisting timelines on crucial events? Virtually excluding the Bay of Pigs invasion (and its inevitable fallout, the Cuban Missile Crisis) from the story, while obsessing over how Jack, Bobby, Ted and their old man Joe were constantly chasing tail? That's a history FAIL. One might as well just make a "Kennedy" porno and release it on the Playboy Channel instead.

Oh yeah, and if you're as pissed about this travesty as I am, go here and sign the petition.

Juanes: Schooled on the tweeter

So...Juanes thought he could get away with insults, bullshit and lame excuses (not to mention facile sloganeering) under the rubric of "free expression"? Looks like the joke's on him...

Colombian singer Juanes, on his Twitter page, tried to play the jester of the social networks and drew a series of irate comments from followers of the Venezuelan president.

Last Saturday, Juanes wrote the following comment on Twitter: "They gave me Chávez's PIN, anyone want it so you can send messages to his Blackberry?" He responded in his next entry: "Here you go, S0N0F4B1TCH". (The Blackberry PIN is a type of e-mail address to which one can send short messages.)

Juanes, trying to defend himself, said that "Twitter is a place where there's freedom of expression, and I'll write whatever I want." But he forgot that whatever you say, be it on the Internet or whatever place, you have to be responsible for the consequences those expressions could generate.

What is certain is that on Twitter, Chávez isn't alone. Not so long ago, his opponents opined freely, and in many cases in an offensive manner, and did not receive any contrary opinions. Now, things are very different, and Juanes, who is a public figure, should not forget it.

Recently, the Venezuelan president recommended using all available Internet tools, such as social networks, and specifically Twitter. In his opinion, these "also are battlefields, we have to get involved and learn to use all these instruments, and fight the battle on all fronts."

Translation mine.

Juanes: Funnyman FAIL. If you have to explain that you were "only joking", it wasn't funny to begin with. No funny, no joke.

Also, internationalist FAIL. Real internationalists respect other countries' choice of leaders, even if they don't like him personally. They don't go around preaching peace and love on the one hand, and then turn around and piss on the neighbor's lawn while drunk on a Saturday night. If you're gonna go around saying that "a country is its people, not its president", you'd best be remembering that it was the people of Venezuela who elected him president. They have ratified his reign at every turn. His stay in power hinges on them, not him. When you insult him, you insult them.

And since Chavecito recommended to his people--his electors--that they use the tweeter...

...to counteract the big media campaigns against him, well...don't expect your "free expression" of hatred for a people's president to go quite so free and unpunished anymore.

February 16, 2010

Economics for Dummies: Woo woo woo woo...

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So who said we didn't live in Bizarro World already? There are plenty of people who think an economy abounding in well-paid jobs IS a Bad Thing. That's why we no longer have one.

February 15, 2010

Juanes: Douchebaggery confirmed.

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Once more, via the tweeter, we glimpse an ugly truth about a pretty boy who sings very bland, mediocre music and preaches what we now know to be a false message of peace. From Aporrea:

Young Venezuelans, who support the process of change in their country, demanded on Monday that the Colombian singer, Juanes, show more respect to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez Frías, whom he attacked on his Twitter page.

Juanes wrote over the weekend that he had the PIN of the Blackberry belonging to Chávez. He used a combination of numbers and letters that spelled out an insult.

Hundreds of Venezuelans reacted, expressing their disgust via the same network.

Venezuelan singer Roque Valero wrote on his Twitter page: "A person who believes in peace and love, doesn't call a President a 'son of a bitch', no matter who he is."

"I don't understand how someone who preaches peace could be so insulting in public. I don't know why he didn't do the same when he was in Havana," Valero said.

On the Colombian singer's Twitter page, the PSUV youth wing demanded respect for President Chávez and the Venezuelan people: "Pueblo venezolano le exige respeto a @juanes por twitter."

Another youth, identified as angelito2009, said: "If you really love my country, you won't mess with our government, led by our President, Hugo Chávez. Dude, we're sovereign."

And another user, GuillermoC, wrote: "If that's Chávez's PIN, Uribe's is N4RC07R4F1C4N7E."

Translation mine. I don't think I need to translate GuillermoC's alphanumerics, do you? (BTW, that's not an insult to Dictator Uribe. It is the truth.)

Here's a screen-grab of the offending message string:

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In it, we can see Juanes remonstrating with the Venezuelans, accusing them of not having a sense of humor, and soliciting further "bad jokes" in typical weasel fashion. The passage circled in red is the one where he lets slip what he really thinks of the 'Cito.

No, it's not insulting to call Juanes a douchebag, either. It is the truth.

(Muchas gracias to Slave Revolt for the heads-up.)

Stupid Sex Tricks: And that's why comprehensive sex ed matters.

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Another happy ending, cut tragically short. Please, people, don't keep your budgies in the dark!

February 14, 2010

What is love?

Well, for me it looks a lot like this:

Three hot twinks dancing around in their Speedos. What's not to love?

Happy V-day viewing, y'all.

Music for a Sunday: Deep in a moment's overflow

...I hear a voice from long ago:

And if the synths in this one don't give you goosebumps, you probably don't have a pulse:

Yep, your humble queen is one die-hard romantic. So shoot me!

February 13, 2010

Oh noes, Chavecito is now in the supermarket business!

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Cue the screamers of the Dissociated Press, the WaHoPo, and the NY Slimes. Communism is on the march once more! Aporrea has the deets:

At the end of his speech during the opening of the Bolivarian Hypermarket, President Hugo Chávez expressed the willingness of the government to acquire 80% of the shares of CATIVEN, the consortium which manages the Cada supermarket chain.

"The group wants to reach an amicable agreement because the expropriation will be an amicable agreement, they want to sell to [the government of] Venezuela 80% of the shares of CATIVEN, so that they will belong to the government and the people of Venezuela.

President Chávez directed vice-president Elías Jaua to start talks with the consortium in order to reach agreements as to the price, form of payment and labor contracts.

The Cada chain has 35 stores and the purchase agreement will include distribution centres, transportation fleet, and of course, the 5,000 workers who have been wearing red for quite some time already.

Translation mine.

It's instructive to note that the Bolivarian Hypermarket (don't you love that exaggeration in the name? It's not super enough to be merely super in Venezuela, you gotta be HYPER!) is a case of workers asking the government to expropriate and buy out the chain so that they can become self-governing. This is another case of the same thing. Red is not only the color of the chain logo (see photo at the link), it's also a state of mind.

And, oh horrors, it's one that the workers in Venezuela actually LIKE being in. Three guesses as to why that is.

(Muchas gracias to Utpal for the linky.)

Wankers of the Week: Crappy Valentine's Day!

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Some say it with flowers. This week, I say it with clerihews:

1. Chris Fucking Briles
Pushes Christ with sinful wiles.
Someone tell this fine upstanding guy
That Jesus hates it when you lie.

2. Sarah Fucking Palin
Should knock off the whiny wailin'.
She won't be in clover
When her tea party's over.

3. John Fucking McCain
Doesn't feel gay soldiers' pain.
One might ask what his stance is good for
In light of his helping lose a war.

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4. Jason Fucking Kenney
Cut many a penny
From groups promoting human rights
With the lame accusation that they're anti-semites.

5. Stephen Fucking Harper.
Was there ever such a carper?
Equal rights for others sure do seem to threaten
The uncool dude in the sweater vest and cowboy hat who just ain't gettin'.

6. Arnold Fucking Kling
Thinks that DC is Beijing.
The Chinese are not amused--
Would you be, as the object of an odious comparison so over-used?

7. Jim Fucking DeMint
Has not the brains of a wad of lint.
"Global warming" doesn't mean
That there's no cold weather, or anything in between.

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8. James Fucking Moore
Excused taste that's piss-poor
Hoping that we'll ignore
That $10 million more.

9. Nancy Fucking Elliott
Deserves a one-way ticket to helliot.
What earned her this frightful ungodly hex?
Her unholy obsession with gay butt sex.

10. Gerard Fucking Alexander
Thought it commonsensical to slander
His intellectual superiors
And elevate their distant inferiors.

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And finally, to the chickenshit phony from Washington, DC, IP # 216.164.62.93, who wanked (twice!) on my open letter to Peter Kent. You're a fine one to talk about embarrassing oneself--you just did it big-time. Since you're not brave enough to sign yourself with anything but obscenities, you're not important enough to merit anything but prose. But if I knew your real name, I'd be sure to find a nice, obscene rhyme for YOU, cabrón.

Good night, and get fucked!

Economics for Dummies: Toyota vs. Too Big To Fail

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Any questions?

February 12, 2010

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Yes, he IS a fashion icon.

Was there ever any doubt? Check out Evo's latest threads:

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Yep, that's another new jacket he's wearing; that aguayo inset doesn't look at all familiar.

Neither does this one:

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Goes great with flowers, coca-leaf garlands, and streamers. Cholita approved, too!

Leftist hottitude: Kicking the crap out of conservatism on all fronts. Including THAT one.

February 11, 2010

Short 'n' Stubby: Ms. Manx eats the tweeter

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Well, what did you expect of Ms. Manx? She's a kitty. They eat shredded tweet for breakfast. And so do I, today...as we delve into just how important Twitter is NOT when it comes to Venezuelan politics.

If you've read this earlier post of mine, you'll have a fair idea just how full of shit the lamestream media are when reporting the "latest" goshwow crap going on in Venezuela. Ooh, ahh, the Twitter Revolution is going to unseat the evil 'Cito!

Only, alas, no.

In fact, Twitter isn't even really news down there, and certainly not for serious observers of Chavecitolandia. Counterpunch and Chronically Clueless both ate the tweeter's lunch MONTHS ago, both pointing out in detail just how and why the oppos will never tweet their way into power (or tweet the 'Cito out of it, same diff). And the lamestream media are just kinda-sorta latching onto this non-story now? From the wrong angle, yet? FAIL.

Well, here's something else they'll never report: Following Chavecito's recommendations, Chavistas are now countertweeting the oppos. The popular alternative media site, Aporrea, has its own twit-stream now. As does La Hojilla, the popular current-events show. Only they are using the tweeter the way it works best, as a quick way to get little newsy items out and onto people's radars. And as a rapid-response system to counteract the oppo lies.

In other words: Big Corporate Media can't even get little birdies right. It would be funny if it weren't so damn pathetic.

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February 10, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Render unto Caesar...

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Wow. FUX Snooze really IS as old as empire itself!

Economics for Dummies: Of Haiti and major league baseball

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Hmmm. You don't suppose this callous attitude has anything to do with jock culture, do you?

An open letter to Peter Kent

Dear Mr. Kent:

On your recent official trip to Venezuela, in the name of Canada, you made some remarks that embarrass us as a country, and disgust me as a Canadian. They are as follows:

"Canada is concerned over the Venezuelan government's recent suspension of broadcasting of [three] television stations and the death of two students in protests related to this action. These events are further evidence of a shrinking democratic space in Venezuela."

Mr. Kent, Canada is NOT "concerned" about the Venezuelan government's legitimate actions regarding broadcasters in violation of its laws. And for that reason, Canada would appreciate you not rudely fobbing off your personal views as those of an entire nation when you are the guest of a foreign leader. You were the guest of President Chávez, were you not? And if you were not there as his guest, whose guest were you? Were you in fact a guest of the putschist opposition, and was that the reason you didn't show your face there for very long--or present it to the president himself, at Miraflores Palace?

The reason I ask is because you made those uncalled-for remarks in your official capacity as a minister of state. Just as you made the following remarks in your official capacity on the shameful occasion of the military coup against the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya:

"Canada condemns the coup d'état that took place over the weekend in Honduras, and calls on all parties to show restraint and to seek a peaceful resolution to the present political crisis, which respects democratic norms and the rule of law, including the Honduran Constitution.

"Democratic governance is a central pillar of Canada's enhanced engagement in the Americas, and we are seriously concerned by what has transpired in Honduras."

Now, that's all very right and proper. No one could fault you for saying that. But when that legitimately elected leader attempted to return to his country, from which he was unceremoniously ousted, and regain his rightful seat, you said:

"We urge restraint. We view his initial and subsequent attempts to re-enter the country as very unhelpful to the situation."

What a strange thing to say! Somewhere between the coup and the attempt at return, your sense of what constitutes an American democracy underwent a rather odd shift. You went from being against the coup to being, in effect, for it. Why else would you oppose an elected leader's efforts to regain what is rightfully his, and restore his country to normality?

It's nonsensical and incongruent remarks like these that make me seriously question your credentials as a diplomat and a democrat, Mr. Kent. And they also make me question your moral right to pronounce on the situation in Venezuela. Especially when you do it in the name of Canada.

You see, I don't think Venezuela happens to be suffering from a "shrinking" of its "democratic spaces" at all. I can understand Spanish, and I have been following the RCTV situation (as farcical as it is), along with the rest of the Venezuelan media situation. And I don't see a "shrinking" at all; in fact, I see quite the opposite. The media in Venezuela are still overwhelmingly in corporate hands. Public and alternative media are still a minority there, albeit a vibrant and growing one, and increasingly popular with ordinary Venezuelans. That's an expansion of democratic spaces, not a "shrinking"!

But then, you are a fine one to talk, sir, are you not? After all, you made your official remarks in the name of a minority government, at a time when Parliament has been prorogued out of a very antidemocratic combination of sheer spite and irresponsibility. Canada's democratic space has been closed off altogether under the watch of your party, Mr. Kent. Where is your moral authority to say anything about the media situation in Venezuela?

Ah, but I suppose you may be speaking in your capacity as a former broadcaster. I vaguely recall that you used to work for CanWest Global, a private media conglomerate, before you entered politics. I can well imagine that the arch-conservative CanWest Global corporate editorial line, which you also represented for a time in an official capacity, would have colored your outlook on non-conservative, non-corporatist governance somewhat.

Still, that doesn't excuse your remarks, which were supercilious, ignorant, and totally inaccurate. And it doesn't excuse what you said in response to Venezuelan ambassador Roy Chaderton, after he quite rightly rebuked you for your disrespect before the OAS. Far from being the "rhetoric of desperation", as you called them, Mr. Chaderton's remarks were based entirely on fact. And if you, Mr. Kent, were worth your salt as a journalist, you would appreciate that. After all, journalism is supposed to be about reporting facts, not opinions-disguised-as-facts.

It is awfully hard for a former reporter to be bested at his own game by a diplomat from South America, is it not, Mr. Kent?

But of course, I forget to whom I am writing. CanWest's stock in trade has been opinions-disguised-as-facts for so long that of course, as an old loyalist to the company line, you would have difficulty distinguishing the one from the other. Poor judgment is a known occupational hazard at CanWest Global; it may be why that once prosperous corporation is now teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Still, ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. And ignorance of the real situation in Venezuela is no excuse for sticking both feet in your mouth. As long as you work in an official capacity, representing all of Canada--or claiming to--you are obliged to seek the fullest picture of the situation abroad, and not rely on the narrow viewpoints of a corporatist few as you have done. Our parliament is not the CanWest news desk. Our nation is not a corporation.

Mr. Kent, you are an ignorant man; you may be an ignorant man as a matter of profession. Certainly you are a partisan of the arch-corporatist party of ignorance. But we Canadians are not an ignorant people, nor are we corporatists. We are well aware of how much our democratic spaces have shrunk under the reign of your party, just as we are aware of how much the overall quality journalism has declined in Canada thanks in no small part to CanWest's hard-right editorial line.

Your ignorant remarks embarrass us all before the world.

El Ecuadorable is da man, again

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"Don't worry, René, we got your back!" Ah oui, c'est très Ecuadorable, non?

This does my heart some good...

On Tuesday, at the Unasur summit, the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, signed an executive decree legalizing all citizens of Haiti who have been in Ecuador before January 31, 2010.

The proceeding, which also benefits spouses and minor children who entered the country under the same conditions, grants a non-immigrant visa, valid for five years, free of charge.

This is one of the decisions taken by the government of Ecuador as part of its humanitarian-aid plan for citizens of Haiti affected by the earthquake of January 12.

Translation mine.

Let's hope it does some good for Haiti, too.

(And hey, Raffy...let some more of 'em in if they need a place to stay, y'hear?)

A certain country song comes to mind...

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Originally seen here.

And the answer? Clicky da linky, kiddies.

February 9, 2010

War + male gaze = ?

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There are just some prices no one should pay to count as "hot" in a sexist world. War is one of them.

February 8, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Wholesome family viewing fail

"Busty Secretaries" and "College Sex Tryouts". As Amurrican as apple pie!

Gaza in Plain Language

A short documentary that lays out what really happened there, and dares to ask why:

No matter how one feels about Israel's right to exist (and I for one think it has one, as does Palestine, in equal measure)--in light of the full facts about the attack on Gaza last year, no one who is truly honest can say it was "self-defence", much less measured.

And isn't it ironic how a nation composed of people who survived one holocaust, has turned around to become a perpetrator of the very crime--genocide--it once swore never to let happen again?

I should also add that what happened in Gaza is deeply un-kosher. And there is no shortage of Jews, in and outside of Israel, who condemn it for that very reason.

Short 'n' Stubby: Haiti roundup (and ripoffs), part troisième

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In lieu of Ms. Manx, a little something to (hopefully) make you laugh. Now, on to the not-so-funny...

VTV has a short documentary out about the "humanitarian" invasion of Haiti, in which several Venezuelan professors discuss the militarization of aid, the intent to intimidate the ALBA countries (which have been at the forefront of relief efforts), and the stupidities of Pat "Kill Hugo Chávez" Robertson and his racism.

To date, Venezuelan medical relief teams have treated 11,896 Haitians and counting.

Fidel Castro praises the Venezuelan relief effort. Hey, you're not doing so badly yourself, old man.

A mob of Dominicans has assaulted a Puerto Rican ship carrying relief supplies to Haiti. Police and the Dominican military intervened, but some of the cargo still walked off in the hands of the looters. The motive? Poverty and hunger are also major problems in the Dominican Republic.

Lula won't be attending the UNASUR special summit in Quito, Ecuador, on Haiti. The problem: high blood pressure. Lula hasn't travelled out of Brazil all year, on medical advice. He will, however, be sending his international-affairs advisor, Marco Aurelio García.

Johann Hari takes hope from the fact that the IMF backed down on its latest attempt to further mire Haiti in debt, corruption and general misery.

Wade Davis, probably the foremost foreign expert on Haiti, talks to National Geographic about Patwa's bigoted idiocies, and what Haitian Voudou is really all about. Don't miss it!

Meanwhile, Dominican troops have arrested a Venezuelan on suspicions of child trafficking at a checkpoint near Montecristi. No word yet on his associations (if any), but I smell an escualido.

February 7, 2010

Music for a Sunday: Whatcha gonna do when everybody's insane?

So who said only men could be guitar gods? Nancy Wilson kicks ALL their asses...with an acoustic guitar in the intro here:

BTW, this has got to be one of THE most sensuous songs of all time. This one's also right up there, IMO:

And yeah, they're Canadian. Who knew?

February 6, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Unsexy Times edition

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Ah, February...the month of love? Not for these unsexy wankers, and not for me...I have no love for them!

1. and 2. Gwen Fucking Landolt and Jim Fucking Hughes. How can anyone be happy that sexual health care for women is being de-funded? Well, it helps if your name ends in "dolt". How else would Gwen be dumb enough to think that half the human race is a "special interest group", while her teensy anti-feminist organization--one dozen strong and not counting--is not?

As for Jim, he forgets that our "demographic crisis" is only a "crisis" if you're (a) a closet white supremacist, and (b) a sexist ass who thinks it's women's sacred duty to shit out white babies for Jeezus. The rest of us understand the value of i-m-m-i-g-r-a-t-i-o-n. Hey, it's how my parents got here...

3. Deborah Fucking Vinnedge. Who's dumb enough to think vaccines are made from aborted fetal tissue? She is. Unfortunately, she's got the species all wrong. But thanks for being so concerned about unborn baby chicks, Debbie!

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4. John Fucking Baird. Dude, you'd feel so much better OUT of the closet. You'd probably look it, too. Don't you wonder why Scott Brison left the party, BTW?

5. Tony Fucking Blair. The Poodle is still making excuses after all this time about why he bent over and let Dubya bugger him with an imaginary WMD. I don't know whether to be touched by his loyalty, or just vomit.

5 1/2. Oops, scratch that last sentence. Thanks to Richard Fucking Madeley and HIS touching loyalty (a poodle to The Poodle? Blimey!), my mind is made up. In favor of VOMIT.

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6. Charles Henry Fucking Bennett. Yeah, he's exactly the kind of person you'd want policing an airport, peering through a "naked scanner" at YOU. Or worse: your teenage daughter. Eeeeeeeeeeek.

7. John Fucking Boehner. So, when WILL it be the "right time" to "debate" a stupid, homophobic military regulation? Here's an idea I'm sure has never occurred to Mr. Boner: HOW ABOUT ENDING ALL THE WARS? Then the time will be perfect...for scrapping that damn ridiculous thing and ending this bogus "debate" once and for all. And the army will never have to fire another Arabic-speaking translator again.

8. Pam Fucking Tebow. Lying: Not sexy. Lying in an ad to be seen during the Super Bowl: Downright repugnant. Also not likely to make Jesus pick you to be the babymama of his second coming...which your son ain't, Heisman Trophy notwithstanding.

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9. Mark Fucking Steyn. Why does he hate Muslims? Probably because the latter get more chicks than he does. (And that's NOT counting those who take the Prophet up on that whole polygamy thing--or those who lust after the 72 white raisins martyrs get in Paradise.)

10. Fucking Harpo. Nothing like dropping poll numbers (all self-inflicted, natch) to make Stevie Peevie do what all dicks do when hit with a sudden wave of cold water...that is, make like an extra belly button.

11. Barbara Fucking Kay. Ignorance may well be bliss, if only because it keeps Babs moaning in an endless loop of wank-gasm while she pulls pearls of unwisdom out her ass. The rest of us, however, are squicked out by the whole obscene spectacle of a woman hating on her own gender SO. DAMN. HARD!!!

12. Glenn Fucking Beck. He had precious few charms to begin with, and now they're getting OLD. Plus, his hemorrhoid surgery failed to remove a rather large and lumpy object from his rectum--his HEAD.

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13. Roger Fucking Ailes. Fatal Attraction, anyone? I'm expecting to hear any day now that White House security has arrested him in the kitchen, having caught him just as he was about to drop Bo into a stockpot and boil him up for a presidential surprise.

14. Maurice Fucking Vellacott. He really needs to get laid in the worst way, but who'd do the honors? No woman with even a scrap of self-respect, that's for sure. And Maurice is doing his damnedest to make good and sure that women have not even a scrap of self-respect left, much less the respect of the law. Don't be too surprised if he tries to get the Personhood amendment of 1929 scrapped while he's at it.

15. Stephen Fucking Phelan. Not content to meddle with women's wombs, now he's fucking with Toys-R-Us. For the record, I own a Ouija board, and it's never done me a lick of the irreparable spiritual harm these assclowns say it does. All it does is sit on my shelf, gathering dust. That's because I happen to believe that it's a tool, not a toy, and I don't "dabble" with anything--I believe in full immersion. And also that you should never hand your soul over to any evil entity, especially a woman-hating preacher-man.

16. James Fucking O'Keefe, AGAIN. Why do I get the feeling he dressed up as his stereotypical notion of a black pimp because he himself fits the stereotype of a weeny white nerd whose dick is smaller than a little girl's pinky? All that hate must come from SOMEWHERE, and all signs point in the direction of his crotch. Envy: SO unsexy!

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Even these guys make more convincing pimps, BTW.

17. Fucking Ratzi. Giving everyone equal rights under human law violates natural law, which gives us all equality. So says Pope Hitlerjugend. Illogic: Not sexy either.

18. Sarah Fucking Palin. A retard. No, make that a FUCKING retard. There, somebody finally told the unsexy truth about the Quitbull. Let the baby-shit-flinging begin. (PS: I actually studied Old Norse at university. I can tell you this with absolute certainty: There is no "Trig" in the Norse pantheon, or anywhere else in the nomenclature. If she had actually gotten the name from there, it would have been spelled "Tryggr" or "Tryggur"--and pronounced to almost rhyme with n-i-g-g-e-r.)

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19. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Also a fucking retard. Three failed marriages and countless clueless comments: VERY unsexy. (Dressing up like a Russian mafia pimp and swilling Viagra won't help him there, either.)

20. Bill O'Fucking Reilly. Why do I get the feeling that when he says he's not "comfortable with openly gay people in the barracks", Billo is actually standing in his shower with his cock in a loofah, wanking wildly at the mental image of two hot 'mos in uniform bent over a footlocker together while the rest of the troops look on, also wanking?

21. Mackubin Thomas Fucking Owens. Aw, go join Billo in the shower...he's lonely. It's not easy being of the unfounded opinion that homophobia is essential to military morale, is it? But hey, at least you guys could have a good wank together and FEEL like The Troops, even if you don't actually support them.

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And finally, to the crocodile-teary wanker who jacked off on my latest FLFB post, accusing progressives of being as hateful as the conservatives we love to excoriate, and thus responsible for wars and holocausts: Thanks, dude. No, really. Thanks! I sincerely thank you for the effort you expended making that tortured argument. Very thoughtful, since I haven't had a personal wanker all week until today, and was wondering what I'd do to close out this post on a high note. I appreciate that it's very hard for you to type more or less correctly while intoxicated. But it doesn't make you any less of a wanker, when all's said.

Good night, and get fucked!

February 5, 2010

"I was assigned to kill Hugo Chávez", says a former sergeant

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Meet Ivan Freites, former technical sergeant, military rebel, and reluctant assassin.

From YVKE Mundial, a very special story about a man who could have adversely changed the course of Venezuelan history, had his own integrity not prevented the worst:

At just 22 years of age, Iván Freites joined the ranks of an army of valiant men who set out on February 4, 1992, to join a revolutionary movement which would change the course of a country that had succumbed to the abysmal political and economic rule of the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez. However, this young man had been manipulated to carry out a mission that could well have changed the political destiny of Venezuela.

Even at that age, Freites had courage enough to face the risks that went along with a military rebellion, but at the same time, very little of the political maturity needed to recognize whose hidden interests and personal ambitions were at work, seeking to nip a revolution in the bud: the Bolivarian Revolution.

"I was a technical sergeant when, a few days after February 4, one of the leaders of that movement assigned me the mission of assassinating Lieutenant-Colonel Hugo Chávez," confessed Freites, in an exclusive interview with YVKE Mundial.

It was in 1987 that the sergeant was contacted by Captain Ronald Blanco La Cruz to join a group of dreamers who had dedicated themselves to studying history in such a way as to change the future of the country.

Already as early as 1984, there were meetings between the commanders Yoel Acosta Chrinos, Francisco Arias Cárdenas, Hugo Chávez Frías, and the late Felipe Antonio Acosta Cárlez. Freites commented that those meetings were more illustrative than conspiratorial. "They talked to us about the situation of the country, read us books like The Open Veins of Latin America, and showed us what Venezuela could have been, and what it was thanks to the political leadership of the day," Freites said.

However, there was known corruption in the highest ranks of the military, unmeasured repression of the unrest of February 27, 1989, and negotiations going on as to the delineation of the border with Colombia; these were some of the causes behind the idea that it was time for a military rebellion. Meetings that began with just six or eight persons, became gatherings of between 20 and 40.

"The events of the Caracazo caught us unawares, and we saw with pain what happened, but couldn't do anything. That was practically the starting point for the Bolivarian Revolutionary Army (EBR) to begin taking seriously the alternative of an insurrection in order to take power," said Freites, recalling the violence to which the Venezuelan people fell victim at that time.

The group of militaries, disgruntled with the political and social situation of the country, began to make plans for a military insurrection. Sgt. Freites says that between 1989 and 1992, there were various dates set for the attempt, but because some officers were removed from their barracks, the dates changed constantly. Freites says that as of the end of 1991, there was pressure to set the date, which was changed from February 3 to early on February 4.

One of the strongest leaders, who, according to Freites, maintained contact with the civilian organizations Bandera Roja (Red Flag) and Tercer Camino (Third Way), among others, was Captain Antonio Rojas Suárez, who, along with Ronald Blanco La Cruz, was responsible for the operation in Caracas.

"Suárez was a high-ranking member of a freemasons' lodge. I have to say there were occult interests related to this religious movement. Interests different to those we had, who were dreamers, including Comandante Chávez," says Freites.

He adds that, just two weeks before the rebellion of February 4, there was a meeting between Cpt. Ronald Blanco La Cruz, Cpt. Rojas Suárez, and himself, where Rojas said that the commanders Chávez and Arias were the principal traitors to the revolutionary movement, cancelling the date of the rebellion on several occasions.

"Since Rojas Suárez was a leader at that time, his words could not be taken lightly. He proposed to us a pact in which as soon as they (Chávez and Arias) had decided the date of the insurrection, we would have to decide to assassinate them, a pact which was accepted. Since I was just a subaltern, 22 years old, they assigned me the mission of killing Chávez," Freites confesses.

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Hugo Chávez and fellow rebel Francisco Arias Cárdenas, the targets of the intended murder plot.

On February 3, when the operation had been set in motion and there was no turning back, because the officers had all been contacted, Sgt. Freites received a phone call from Cpt. Ronald Blanco La Cruz. "Sgt. Freites, what we talked about over eliminating Comandante Chávez, that won't go ahead, I'm convinced that they are the real leaders of this revolution and everything we talked about, forget it and let's just concentrate on the military operation," was the instruction Cpt. Ronald Blanco gave.

"It was a moment of patriotic emotion, having received that call from Cpt. Ronald Blanco," said Freites, recalling how two hours later, another phone call would destroy that feeling of peace.

"Two hours later, I was looking for some rifles a captain had entrusted to me, because it would not be easy to take the military stations. But right away I received a call from Rojas Suárez, who said to me: 'Ivan, I heard that Captain Ronald Blanco told you that what we talked about wouldn't go ahead, so let me tell you that was more important than any other thing. Your mission is to kill Chávez'," recalled Freites.

Hugo Chávez called the operation "The Night of the Centaurs", in memory of the warriors who went on horseback with the generals, Ezequiel Zamora and José Antonio Páez. The starting point was at Ft. Tiuna. Seven people attended the meeting: Captains Ronald Blanco La Cruz, Antonio Rojas Suárez, Joaquín Suárez Monte, Carlos Aguilera, Majors Carlos Díaz Reyes, Pedro Pérez López, and Sgt. Iván Freites.

"We met at Ft. Tiuna on February 3, at 7 p.m., specifically in a street near the infantry school, I had the rifles with which we'd decided to take the tank battalion there. We assaulted the barracks, took the officers there prisoner, met with the troop, and explained to them what was going on. That helped us," said Freites.

Once Ft. Tiuna was taken, the next objective was to take Miraflores Palace and the three infantry battalions stationed there. Other units were to take the television channels to transmit a message recorded by Comandante Chávez, but which never came to light, because that attempt failed. At the same time, in other parts of the country, some objectives were reached and others not.

"For us the most important thing was the taking of public power, which could only be done by taking prisoner the then president, Carlos Andrés Pérez. From a military point of view, we succeeded in the complete takeover of Miraflores Palace. As well, Lt. Porras Echesuría was in charge of directing operations against the presidential mansion, and I must emphasize that he did an excellent job, but the president wasn't there," says Iván Freites.

Three factors stood in the way: Lack of communication, betrayal, and the indecision of some officials and sub-officials.

"There was much indecision on the part of the middle-ranking officers. Military rebellions don't take place everyday in Venezuela, and I think we did fairly well. Sadly, some comrades dedicated themselves to sabotage, and gave away the operation to the commanding general of the army. It's very hard to bring a plan to fruition when the enemy knows everything that's going to happen."

As well, there were constant failures in communication, owing to an order to remove the batteries from the radios with which the rebels were supposed to remain in contact with one another. "We were practically taken by surprise by the message of Chávez, telling us to hand over our weapons, an order we immediately followed, because the information that got to him was that all the military objectives had failed, so that he decided to avoid more bloodshed," comments Freites.

Iván Freites emphasizes that while some have criticized the attitude of Comandante Chávez that day when he ordered the troops to lay down their arms, and defends the act as one of bravery.

"The decision of Comandante Chávez was not one of cowardice. Quite the contrary--it was an act of courage to order the men to lay down their weapons, believing that the objectives had eluded us, so he thought once more of the future, and that it would mean an unnecessary bloodbath [to continue the assault]."

Freites says that to call Hugo Chávez a coward is nothing less than an act of "dirty warfare" on the part of those who have dedicated themselves to sabotaging the revolutionary process in Venezuela. "Calling Chávez a coward is dirty warfare, because his valor not only shone through on February 4, but has been tested many times over the years before all he has had to face in order to be where he is today, and with the acceptance he he has from the Venezuelan people," Freites says.

Freites also emphasizes the qualities of Chávez and the values which have placed him as the great leader of the Bolivarian revolution. "The Comandante has always been a good leader, very disciplined, honest, a tireless worker, very socially aware, always trying to do things well and be a good example. All those values made, and still make, many people believe in him, and the fact that on February 4, he assumed responsibility for the military operation, ended up giving him the leadership role which he still plays today," Freites says.

Iván Freites explains why the February 4 revolt was a military rebellion, not a coup: "A coup d'état is a military option for taking power without caring why it is being done, but February 4 was a military rebellion, because it had historical antecedents, among them the events of February 27, 1989, when the hopes of an oppressed people were in the Armed Forces, and those then turned out to massacre them."

For Freites, that military rebellion was so crucial that it divided his life in to a before and an after. "It was a very enriching experience, and gave me the opportunity to say to my children that I was one of those who took part in what started this revolutionary process from which they will all benefit, and future generations as well. Also, it marked the beginnings of a different course for Venezuela, which we can see statistically in the economic and social spheres, and above all, the consciousness of human beings."

"It's very hard to hold an opinion about something you suspect. I believe, with the experience I have today, that what happened was for the best, because from the political viewpoint, if the taking of power by the military had been achieved and I had killed Chávez, the ambition to power would have been so great that had I not done it, some other person would have, maybe the same Rojas Suárez. Venezuela is much better today with Chávez at the forefront, but I don't know what it would have been like without him," says Freites.

Among the men which Iván Freites named in this revelation, history granted them the opportunity, ten years later, during the coup of April 2002, to once more demonstrate their loyalty to Hugo Chávez. But once more, Antonio Rojas Suárez, then governor of the state of Bolívar, was one of those who spoke out against the president, and chose to recognize the coup government of Pedro Carmona Estanga. For his part, Ronald Blanco La Cruz, who was governor of Táchira, was the first to demonstrate his unconditional loyalty to the president, and to denounce to the world that a coup had taken place.

Translation mine.

I wonder, where is this treacherous Antonio Rojas Suárez today? Surely not in any position of power in Venezuela. Is he hiding out in Miami? Wouldn't surprise me a bit if he were also under investigation for corruption or the like. In any event, it's a good thing that his murder plot was aborted by Ronald Blanco La Cruz...and Iván Freites, who was relieved not to become a triggerman in what could have been the most tragic assassination in his country's history.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Vrrrrrrrmmm, vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmm...

So who said being a president had to be all dull photo-ops? Not Evo:

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Here he is, handing the Bolivian army a shipment of all-terrain vehicles. And of course, he just had to take one for a spin...

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Ah, a boy...with a toy. What could be cuter than those dimples?

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And yeah, why not give those suits a run for the money. They could use the exercise!

February 4, 2010

Venezuela: Who haz Teh Stoopid?

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Oh lordy, lordy, good Gordie. I have about a week's worth of stupid Google alerts in my e-mail box right now, burning a hole in my head. All of them concern Venezuela, and if they weren't so damn commonplace, they'd be egregious. But there's nothing egregious about the anglo media getting Venezuela and Chavecito wrong, so let's just give the most classically stupid ones a quick rundown before I delve into the hot stuff:

First up--FUX Snooze, with "'Terrorist' Twitter Threatens Hugo Chávez's Stranglehold on Media. Only, of course, it doesn't, because there isn't any stranglehold. In fact, if any of these FUX Snoozers could read Spanish, they'd realize that Chavecito has actually advocated using Twitter. (A half-assed and snotty "fair and balanced" English account can be found here.) Perhaps the Chavistas will start an anti-FUX campaign once they're done polishing off what's left of RCTV!

Next, we have the LAHT, parroting a discredited "national college of journalists", who in turn are parroting the media owners' line about Venezuela being a "disaster zone for free speech". Note: Not one of these shameless palangristas has been killed, as they would be in Colombia for breathing a word of boo about Alvaro Uribe (or any lesser right-wing corrupto). Neither has a single one been arrested for lying to the people, as they do all the time in Venezuela. And meanwhile, the majority of Venezuela's media remain firmly in the hands of crapitalists who dictate--yes, DICTATE--to their "journalists" the same old editorial line: Chávez has a stranglehold on the media here! Your free speech is under attack from the state!

Following that, we have some "analysis" by the Dissociated Press via the WaHoPo, claiming that Chavecito's "socialist project" is "badly hobbled". Only, of course, they, too, are parroting the silly oppos with their dimwitted slogans (which are pure wishful thinking, or perhaps a projection of where they themselves stand). Something's hobbled, all right, but it's not the 'Cito. He at least has a coherent (and popular!) electoral platform for the coming September. And that's just what the oppos are trying to stage yet another boring coup d'état against--they got NADA.

Next, a shitty little fascist blogger tries hard to convince us that he has a finger on the pulse of Venezuela. Sorry, dude, but you've got it up your own rectum, and what you feel is nothing but your own peristalsis. You know nothing about Che, either, and all your flatulent free-form musings won't convince us that what you do is "journalism", not even the ultra-crappy kind that the Dissociated Press and the Venezuelan "college" favor. Face it, Humberto, you're just another brownshirt hack. (And don't ask me where that brown came from; if you can't smell it, I shan't enlighten you.)

Then, some twit from Tulsa thinks that TV stations are being "shut down". No, they're not. They're being held accountable. Horrible as it sounds, Venezuela has media regulations and standards, and they must be complied with by all domestic stations broadcasting there. Shockingly, other democracies also have 'em, and most are comparable to Venezuela's. Eeek, creeping socialism! (PS: RCTV is NOT "International". Its programming is 90% domestic. Get your facts straight, or risk looking a complete idiot.)

And speaking of twits, here's a little more derivative twaddle about the Twitter non-revolution that will most certainly NOT topple 11 years of successful Bolivarianism, to the utter disappointment of the derivative twit who twaddled it. See you in September, "Business Insider" dude. You may want to borrow my crystal ball, it works better than yours.

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BTW, the same publication is a veritable fountain of mirth for this entry, too. Petro-economy in Venezuela deteriorating? Not even hardly. Needless to say, the 'Cito is not "backtracking", either. He's doing business with China and India, whose demand is growing. And he's a caution to the Saudis!

The Jamaica Observer can't even spell his name right, much less grasp the fact that these "former loyalists" of which it speaks are all crooked, back-stabbing coattail riders who thought they could use his popularity for a springboard and then overthrow him when the time was ripe. Needless to say, they are all wrong. And at least one of them is facing corruption charges! Funny dat.

The Moderate Voice sounds very shrill, and not at all moderate. Srsly, comparing the 'Cito to that weirdo from Libya? You may want to get to a vet, it sounds like you're about to hork up a big-ass hairball there.

Even the CBC haz Teh Stoopid, since they open and close with RCTV's viewpoint--which is a tacit endorsement of it, in other words. That's Bhad Nhews! (But perhaps symptomatic, since they've been in a state of degeneration ever since Harpo kept cutting their funding or threatening to do so. Maybe they're currying favor?)

Okay. Enough with Teh Stoopid, it could go on all night and I'm getting sick of it. Here's the straight dope, and it comes from no less a figure than Roy Chaderton, Venezuela's ambassador to the OAS:

Part one of two; click through to hear it all. Here's what he said:

February is the month of carnivals. I refer to Rio de Janeiro, Port of Spain, Barranquilla, New Orleans and Québec City, among others. Yes, there is a carnival in Canada, but there's a difference; not because the winter carnival of Québec occurs under extreme low temperatures. The difference is that when in other countries they start to put on carnival masks, in Canada the ultra-right starts to take off its mask.

I speak of diplomacy and respect for freedom of expression; I had the opportunity to tell the story of a far-right journalist who recently visited Venezuela. He asked for interviews with the Foreign Minister and other official functionaries who could not fit him into their schedules. In reality, he was not interested in speaking to my Government, but with the opposition, in order to motivate them and offer them support, among others, to putschists and destabilizers. He met with two important government deputies whose opinions were irrelevant to him.

The recent media censoring of a speech by President Hugo Chávez, by the putschist station RCTV, was supported by this journalist, who on his return dared to say that in my country democratic spaces have been reduced. Who is this gentleman? Anyone with moral authority, or a journalist who, like any other, can opine whatever brings him gain without greater consequences than a democratic polemic? NO!! His name is Peter Kent, Minister of State for Latin America in the Canadian Foreign Ministry. So, who has seen a person of such high rank, who could not and did not seek a meeting with his potential host, impose his presence in a country, abusing his diplomatic flexibility? What a lack of democracy, what a lack of respect!

Canada has long been the country that has functioned the best on our continent; however, there are new little details:

For its intromission, I denounce the violation of the no-intervention norms on the part of the current Canadian minority government. This is not the Canada of Lester B. Pearson, posthumous Nobel peace prizewinner, who universalized healthcare rights for his people; nor is it that of John Diefenbaker, the conservative Prime Minister open to socialized medicine. Neither is it that of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the leader who took no orders from Washington, and was one of the most brilliant western statesmen of the 20th century, steeped in the ideas of Christian socialism. Nor is it that of Jean Chrétien, Liberal leader, elected several times by his people, who had a cordial relationship of mutual respect with President Hugo Chávez. I am speaking of a Canada governed by a far-right, which closed Parliament for several months in order to halt an investigation over the violations of human rights by its soldiers in Afghanistan; which censors protests in Ontario and the criticisms of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver; which has flirted with the Honduran putschists; which is preparing for an offensive in favor of the media dictatorship in Latin America, and to destabilize leftist governments. However, I must thank the Government of Canada for its concern over the two students who were killed, and inform them that they were leftist militants, murdered by gunmen of the opposition.

Oh, Canada! What crimes are being committed in your name!

In this ultra-right-wing circus, an embarrassing Inter-American Human Rights Commission participated, which kept mum about the Caracazo massacre in Venezuela and supported the coup against President Chávez along with the inter-American mafia of human-rights bureaucrats which have infiltrated the OAS, with the complicity of its highest authority, such as a Secretariat of Freedom of Expression which believes that the private initiative to defame, censor and destabilize is a freedom deserving of protection.

In the face of the media dictatorship, the Empire and its partners, under the Bolivarian Revolution we enjoy extreme freedom of expression and are developing to the fullest all the human rights, such as those of the indigenous peoples, a mater in which we offer our advice to Canada in order to rescue its impoverished indigenous from the claws of exclusion and extreme poverty. It is very easy, just treat them as equals.

The Axis of Evil is trying new tactics. Knowing that the ultra-right cannot win popular support against President Chávez, it is doing its best to sabotage Venezuelan democracy with the hope of winning the presidential elections in September and, from there, repeating the operation in Tegucigalpa and after that, the one in Jakarta, such as that mounted at the time by the CIA and the media star Henry Kissinger against the Chilean democracy.

This is not an anecdote. The agenda of the Republican Party continues unabated in Latin America. Behind the curtain is the most violent power in history, which violates all human rights in the name of democracy and security; so historically aggressive that if I were to seek a show of hands from all ambassadors whose countries were dismembered, invaded by marines, or whose democratic governments have been brought down by US intervention, a forest of arms would rise, and of course, immediately the Secretary General would leap up to visit all the affected countries, to build bridges of straw and in the process gather some small votes for his re-election.

The law is the law; for this reason we protest before the governments of the United States and Canada for inciting RCTV to disobedience. Mediocre, racist, violent and vulgar, accustomed to transmitting adult programming during children's hours, while during the coup against President Chávez in 2002, they broadcast only children's programs (The Jungle Book, Tom and Jerry, etc.) during adult hours, in order to conceal the popular rebellion against the coup. Five years later, the concession, property of the state, was not renewed, and RCTV was relegated to cable. Now, with 90% Venezuelan programming, it pretends to be an "international" station in order not to classify its programming, play the National Anthem, or transmit required official messages. Other suspended stations returned to air on complying with the law. For TV Chile, it was enough to register and prove that it was not Venezuelan; the same happened with the Televisa stations.

RCTV is a station with a long-standing media criminal tradition. Since 1984, it has been a leader in the silencing by the private media of the former president Luís Herrera Campíns. He was castigated for prohibiting the advertising of liquors and cigarettes in the media, and for imposing the playing of a Venezuelan piece of music on radio for each imported one played. This sanction lasted until the day of his death in 2007. It's a curious fact that the radical opposition station, Globovisión, transmitted freely because it accepted this norm. RCTV is the spoiled brat of the dregs of the international media, and did not abide by the law.

So it can be said that the Axis of Evil relies on the support of RCTV, El Nazional, and Globovisión in Venezuela, and on that of FOX News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, the Miami Herald, CNN in Spanish, the Grupo de Diarios América, El Tiempo (owned by the Santos family of Colombia), El Universal (owned by the Ealy family), El País de Madrid, the Inter-American Radio Association, the Inter-American Press Association, the representatives of media terrorism, the Southern Command, and the Fourth Fleet in this witches' sabbath of the inter-American demons.

Translation mine.

Those are harsh words, but I agree with them absolutely. I am not one of those "my country, drunk or sober" morons who call themselves patriots. I'm one who believes that any Canadian with an honest sense of pride in our country, as well as a conscience, can only agree that this is no longer the healthy, progressive, democratic Canada of Lester B. Pearson, Tommy Douglas, and Pierre Trudeau. Our parliament is fucking prorogued, and all decision making is now going on over our heads and without question or scrutiny. Ambassador Chaderton is right--we used to function the best of all, and now we no longer do. As he says, we have lost our political virginity. We are dysfunctional.

Our parliament is in an advanced state of degeneration, and our media are in grave danger of going the same way. Many of them, since they go along with the lies about RCTV, are already there. And yes, CBC, I'm glaring at YOU. I expect such crap from CTV and CanWest Global, because they are private broadcasters who favor the side their bread is buttered on, but you are a PUBLIC network. You have the resources and the means to do a whole lot better. In case you forget, you too have a responsibility to the public, and you're not meeting it adequately.

Especially not with regard to our sister nation, Venezuela, which IS a functioning democracy and deserving of all the respect due to one.

Headline Howler: Oops, Angus Reid did it again

..."it" being, you guessed it, screwing the pooch.

My friend Anthony, from Sweden, writes:

During the Uruguay campaign last year, I went into Angus Reid a lot to get the latest poll numbers. Today, while trying to find some other poll numbers, I noticed some really stupid things. First of all, an article about Evo Morales on the front page, refering to him as "Despotic Evo". Oh yeah, 'cause trying to save Bolivia from Nazi terrorists from Hungary and Croatia is evil! How dare he go after terrorists...I call outrage! Oy vey..

And then I was searching for "Argentina", trying to find the President's latest poll numbers, after some of the business stories I've read about. And this made me crack the fuck up: "Most Argentines Reject Same-Sex Marriage" and "Most Argentines Support Same-Sex Marriage" - on the same page! I'll give you a screencap, no alterings or whatever.

Here's the pic:

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And here, for those who are curious, is "Despotic Evo". No mention whatsoever of the fact that he was up against a bunch of wanking crooks who were themselves too cowardly to debate, and whose "campaign" consisted mainly of whining and dumb-fuck publicity stunts, nada más.

Yep, Angus Reid is officially full of fail as a "global monitor". It is nothing but a stinking crapaganda sausage factory.

Any further questions?

It was 18 years ago today...

...that a military uprising in Venezuela, against an elected president turned tyrant, failed. A group of army officers, tired of the abuse their country had taken for over three decades at the hands of "democratic" opportunists, decided to take matters into their own hands. The rebellion failed, but just one minute's TV time launched the rebel leader on what would become a career in politics. Perhaps he looks familiar?

Yep, that's Lt.-Col Hugo Chávez, commander of a paratroop regiment--turning himself in before the TV cameras, and asking his comrades to give themselves up as well. Two words--"Por ahora", "for now"--were all it took to give the country new hope. Chávez spent two years in prison before being pardoned by the late Rafael Caldera, and promptly began touring the country, hearing people out as to what they really wanted from their democracy. He formulated a platform based on constitutional reform and on getting the boot of international capital off Venezuela's neck. In 1999 he became president, as a civilian.

He's been wildly popular ever since.

February 3, 2010

Quotable: John Perkins on the Haiti disaster

"We are encouraged to believe that USAID, the World Bank, and other institutions are truly philanthropic, there to serve the best interests of the people and the country. However, the reality is that, in previous cases -- such as the Asian tsunami -- much of this aid is employed to help huge multinational companies gain a strangle-hold on resources (including cheap labor) and markets. Instead of helping local fisherman, farmers, restaurant, and bed and breakfast owners rebuild their devastated businesses, the money is invested in projects that benefit the Krafts, Chiquitas, Monsantos, Marriotts, and big box restaurant chains of the world.

"In the case of Haiti, we also must not forget history. In the early 1800s the country declared its independence from France and proclaimed itself "slave-free." The French sued the new nation, stating that the loss of the slaves had negatively impacted the French economy. It was just one in a series of actions taken by foreign powers to subjugate Haiti. US Marines invaded in 1915 and occupied the nation for 19 years; ever since Haiti has been the haunt of corporate executives and government officials who have corrupted one leader after another.

"While the earthquake happened in an instant, it took years of corporatocracy actions to create such a poverty-ridden country. There was no way Haiti could respond to a 7.0 earthquake because the misguided policies and interventions stripped it of any potential it might have had for surviving such a major traumatic event."

--John Perkins, "The Tremor Felt Round the World"

February 2, 2010

Venezuela's "peaceful" oppos strike again...

And look! They love playing Laser Tag...or is it AirSoft?

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Real story here.

Seems a bit excessive considering they're fighting for a trashy profiteer's cable-TV channel, not their own freedom of speech. Doesn't it?

The Washington Post lies--Haitians want foreign military troops out!

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The other day, I noted that the Washington Post was full of shit regarding Haiti. Today, an item in Aporrea confirms what I suspected: Haiti's poor may want and need aid, but they don't want it at gunpoint...from anywhere:

The opposition to the international military presence in Haiti consists mainly of followers of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted in 2004 and 1991 in coups attributed to the influence of Washington, and is based in neighborhoods such as Cité Soleil or Bel Air, where murals of Aristide's face reside alongside graffiti of Bob Marley and Martin Luther King.

"Aristide built everything here, and the Brazilians destroyed it," says a man named Jean, in one of the ruined streets of Bel Air, to a correspondent of the Brazilian newspaper, Folha de São Paulo. The Brazilians form the main contingent of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

One of the main tasks of MINUSTAH has been to disarm groups loyal to Aristide between 2004 and 2007. The Brazilian soldiers "are not our friends. They killed our people," said a director of Popular Masses, Vanel Louis Paul.

Other sectors of the population are more favorable to the presence of MINUSTAH, whose military direction comes from Brazil, but the Folha correspondent underscored that a "radicalized sector" exists, which the international mission is well aware of.

"We will not stop watching closely and with concern the actions of the partisans of Aristide, in spite of the weakness of their position", said the communications chief of the Brazilian battalion of MINUSTAH, Colonel Alan Santos.

Every year on the 28th of February, in Port-au-Prince, Aristide supporters demonstrate, recalling the coup d'état of 2004 and calling for the departure of MINUSTAH. This year, they will be joined by some 5,500 former members of armed groups, who were able to escape from prison in the earthquake of January 12.

The former president is exiled in South Africa, and has demanded to return to Haiti, promising not to run for office in the next presidential elections. However, his party, Fanmi Lavalas, still holds much influence, particularly among the poorest Haitians. "We're all over the country. We are the majority party," asserts the party president, Maryse Narcisse.

The former minister is diplomatic when speaking of the Brazilians, but still has asked for a timetable for their departure, something the UN says will not happen "for many years".

"We can't believe that MINUSTAH will be staying forever. We need international solidarity, but we must have dignity for ourselves," Narcisse said.

Translation mine.

Recall that MINUSTAH has suffered its own blow as a result of the earthquake; the building that housed its headquarters was levelled, and the leader of the mission was killed. Little wonder, then, that Washington decided to send in the Fourth Fleet...to "stabilize" and "secure" Haiti, of course. (And also to make sure that the Cuban/Venezuelan/Dominican/etc. relief efforts are stymied and limited, so that their own star can shine all the brighter. Never mind how little of the cash spent on it actually goes to Haiti.)

Meanwhile, some other foreign invaders--religious, rather than military--are also facing rejection by the Haitian people:

A woman claiming to be the mother of five of the 33 children taken by a US church group intending to remove them illegally from Haiti last Saturday, came to the local police on Monday and said she was sorry for having handed over the children.

The woman, who gave her name as Magonie, made the statement at the Judicial Police Centre (a provisional seat of the Government of Haiti) in the company of others who also said they were mothers of some of the children, and told journalists they thought their children would be better off with the US citizens.

"I gave them to the pastor (who headed the group) so he would give them a better life, but now I'm sorry I did it," said the woman, moments before police officers took her inside to make an official statement.

Translation, again, mine.

The article goes on to note that Haiti's judicial system is still in place (shocking, eh?) and that a government minister demanded that it be respected. Also that the children being taken had no official documents, and therefore were definitely being removed illegally from the country (and, it turns out, their still living parents.)

There are all kinds of hinky things about this account of supposed do-gooders trying to give poor kids a better life, but the one that leaps out most at me is the claim that they were supposedly being taken to an orphanage--still under construction--in the Dominican Republic. Why house homeless kids in an unfinished compound in another country, especially if they're not really orphans?

Again, it's just one more example of "aid" that really isn't. And that isn't anything except shameless opportunism in disguise. The sort of thing, in short, that deserves loud boos from everyone, even in the US itself.

Especially there.

Q. Why does Evo Morales have such nice, shiny hair?

A. He's always brushing it. Otherwise, the confetti would build up to unbearable levels and crush him:

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BTW, he's also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize...again. If he ever wins it, he will undoubtedly deserve it more than the last guy before him.

Facebook: So much weird shit, so little time

So my friend Ryan puts this up on his Facebook page:

Go to urbandictionary.com, type in your first name, copy and paste this as your status, and put the first entry for your name under comments: A name, which is commonly both a first or last name, which is very often confused with Brian. Its Irish roots define the name as "little king".

Well, I went to the site in question, put in my first name, and here's what I got:

Bosnian bush wacker who brings people to their knees. One who hails from the country of Sukkalotadik.

Beautiful, yet strong. Never stand in a Sabina's way, or she will kick your ass, especially if you have gathered multiple STD's by having sex with many girls (i.e. Kaylees, Karis, etc.) Stunningly gorgeous, boys fall to their knees as a Sabina walks by begging for her approval. Few actually gain her approval, and the rest are shunned as though they're black and have AIDS.

Never fuck with a Sabina.

A: oh shit, I can't hide this woody in front of the Sabina

I'm sorry, I can't post that to Facebook. I'm laughing too hard.

February 1, 2010

One hundred thousand words...

...and all is well. I think.

I just hit a major milestone on my novel today, and what happens? I lose the word count indicator at the bottom of the page. This happened on my last draft, too, as soon as I hit the 100,000 word mark. Poof! 100,000 words, and I don't get to see the counter tick over, because it's apparently only five digits long.

It's very disorienting to see that happen.

To some extent I rely on word count to let me know when I've done enough for one day; if I'm really stuck, I can at least see that my count has gone up, and take heart from that.

Now I can't do that, unless I choose "Word Count" from the Tools menu. Which is something I don't like to do, because it breaks the flow of writing too much.

Maybe this is just another lovely "feature" of Microsoft Word, but I prefer to call it a bug. Because it sure as hell bugs ME.

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Short 'n' Stubby: Haiti roundup (and ripoffs), part deuxième

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How are things in Haiti? Here's a small sampling of the news...

Rafael Correa's cojones are hangin' out all over the place. He was in Hispaniola recently, first pledging aid to Haiti, then crossing to the Dominican Republic and showing support for Mel Zelaya, who's now a guest of president Leonel Fernández. He also appears in the following video:

...in which a Haitian government spokesman confirms that the first foreign aid to Haiti came from Cuba, and the first foreign head of state to visit was Dominican president Fernández, who showed up the day after the temblor. Sean Penn also makes a special guest appearance.

The Washington Post is full of predictable, disgusting crapaganda. Did they talk to any Haitians who didn't want a US invasion, or did they just not feel their voices should count? (For some real perspective on the issue, read this piece in the Jamaica Gleaner.)

John Pilger has nothing but scathing words for how this whole relief business has been handled by those who took over the effort. And who can blame him when the evidence is mounting that this effort is (a) stingy and (b) geared toward putting the bulk of the aid money back in the US's own pockets? Medevac airlifts have resumed, but no one apparently knows for how long. Somehow, this all just makes me doubt the WaHoPo's revolting dreck all the more.

The UN's World Food Program has hit upon a unique way of making sure aid gets to families in need: issuing food coupons to women only. (The National Pest, predictably, takes a panic-stricken, near-racist tone covering the same story--note how high up in the article they mention gangs.)

NASA has flown planes over the quake zone to survey the damage aerially and scan for more danger; the scientific findings, so far, here.

One more reason for Canadians to be pissed off at the prorogation of Parliament: Haitian immigrants desperate to make a home here and reunite with family following the quake are being stymied by our too-tight immigration laws. Don't look for amendments anytime soon, folks.

Haitian orphans whose adoptions were already in process before the quake, have been fast-tracked for entry to Canada. These youngsters are the lucky ones; those less lucky might find themselves in the clutches of child traffickers. Such as, say, a "personal shopper" website owner from Idaho (!), who has been caught shopping through the rubble for orphans of the quake, on whom she apparently expected to make a tidy profit while convincing herself and everyone else that she was doing the poor little tykes a favor.

And, get this: She was with a group of bible-thumpers looking to convert the little hoodoo heathens*. Nothing like a little opportunism to show the benevolence of Christian capitalism, eh?

*This one's satire--I think.