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May 31, 2010

Cops Behaving Badly: When you're finished there, can you come weed MY garden, too?

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Some remedial education in drug recognition might also be in order.

Quotable: Craig Murray on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla attack

"A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare."

--Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan

May 30, 2010

Humberto sez: Tax the Bastards!

Humberto explains the new "harmonized" sales tax and why it's so OUT of harmony with the way things should be done in this great land of ours.

Music for a Sunday: One of two phone numbers everyone knows

The other, of course, is 9-1-1.

May 29, 2010

Wankers of the Week: No rest for the wanked

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Hooboy! Summer came three weeks early this year, meaning I've been caught scrambling. I got my garden dug, tilled and planted in record time; the wild asparagus is growing so fast that I could be bending over a patch, peering for any shoots still tender enough to pick, and that one rogue spear that was below ground when I started peering would suddenly jump up and jab me in the ass. Yes, it's THAT kind of weather out. Hot, sticky, unforgiving, no rain in the immediate forecast, so no end of the water hose in sight. No rest for the wicked...and no rest for these people who can't get into the garden for playing with themselves, either:

1. Jeff Fucking Owens. Killing fags with a scattergun is okay. So is allowing your own fucking SON to sexually assault kids, as long as the kids are of the other sex. Nice pro-life family values you got there, preacher-man.

2. John Fucking Stossel. He wants the Civil Rights Act of 1964 repealed? I think his job should be repealed instead. Clearly the most useless piece of shit on the tube, after Glenn Fucking Beck and Bill O'Fucking Reilly. If he thinks private businesses should have the right to discriminate, then we as private citizens watching the PUBLIC airwaves should have the right to discriminate, too...against fucking wingnuts like HIM.

3. Rand Fucking Paul. Another wingnut who I hope will face MASSIVE discrimination, this one at the polls...discrimination against racism and stupidity. Canada and Mexico are watching you, Rand...Boogaboogabooga!!!

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4. Fucking Harpo. Ignoring your own minister's advice on funding for maternal-health initiatives in the Third World? That's got to represent some whole, new, as yet unplumbed depth of dumbth. Especially since your anti-choice "base" is a vocal, but stagnant minority, and bound to remain so. Way to shoot your own foot off, Stevie Peevie.

5. Robert Fucking Rodriguez. Using Facebook to slander Iraqi kids (who, fortunately, know no English) with homophobic slurs? Asshole, there's a Facebook group you may want to look at.

6. And speaking of homophobia and militarism, how about that lovely and talented (and deeply closeted) Bryan Fucking Fischer? Nice sophistry there, dude. But in fact, Hitler didn't USE gay soldiers, he PURGED them. Starting with one very high-ranking one who looked likely to challenge his leadership early on. And he did it with the brutality of a straight man. Look up Ernst Röhm if you don't believe me.

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7. Sarah Fucking Palin. A trainwreck with lipstick, that's the Paliness. Accusing Obama of "opium addiction" has got to be a whole new brand of stupid. As has this. If I'm reading it correctly, she's claiming she held Exxon accountable for the Valdez spill. Um, what? This is the "Drill Baby Drill" quitbull we're talking about here. And that spill was before her time even as mayor of fucking Wasilla! She can't even hold herself accountable, much less a big oil company with bottomless pockets.

8. Marc Fucking Ouellet. Yes, he's made the list again, this time on the basis of sheer irony. Not a word to say about REAL moral crimes like pedophilia, but he wants a debate on the nonexistent "moral crime" of abortion. Prepare to lose, Cardinal Ouellet...your side has been on the losing end of history for decades, if not centuries, already. Shit, what's one more defeat?

9. Jim Fucking Prentice. Good God, man, have you learned NOTHING from the BP catastrophe? Nothing at ALL? There should be NO drilling for oil in the Arctic, or any other offshore location, from now on! And no, we don't think your say-so is enough to convince us that there won't be another Deepwater Horizon.

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10. Tony Fucking Clement. How embarrassing is it when you advocate for RIAA-nasty copyright laws here in Canada, only to break them yourself? And how stupid is it to do BOTH? Not only the law is an ass, but he who shills for it (and other things) also is. And then there's the matter of science and sexism, and Tony once more playing dumb. Why is this man sitting in Ottawa, and not selling used cars in the boondocks? It's not as if we don't have enough national embarrassments already.

11. Andrew Fucking Irvine. No, it's not enough that men virtually own and rule the entire planet; whenever someone insists on opening a tiny little door for a female or two, they have to cry oppression, too. Oh, why don't those meddling women go back to their kitchens and just admit that they will never be as good as the men, and that stay-home motherhood is ever so much more satisfying, nay, the only true liberty? That way, at least this inane yelping about "reverse discrimination" will finally stop...yeah, in a pig's ass it will.

12. John Fucking McTernan. Yeah, blowing sugar up Israel's ass for Jeebus is the perfect way to prevent deep-sea oil wells from blowing out. Silly me for not having seen it sooner! Holy Christ, talk about the depth of the dumbth...

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13. Glenn Fucking Beck. Children of political figures are off limits, unless the figures in question have a D after their names. In which case, they're fair game. (And no, I do not believe his apology was sincere. Nothing he says is, unless by sincere you mean bat-shit crazy.)

14. Fucking Dubya. Yeah, no shit, his wankage just never stops wanking. What he said to Néstor Kirchner, back when the latter and not his wife was president of Argentina, is enough to make any sane person's hair turn white. Then crumble. And fall out.

15. Bruce Fucking Walker. Yes, I was tempted to spell that name with an N where the L currently sits. You would too, if you had to sit through this much silly antifeminist-rightard drivel. Someone please inform him that his beloved harpies, the Paliness and the Coultergeist, are not going to have sex with him--the one because she's married, the other because she's undead, and both because he's not in any position to advance their earnings. And also, that their success owes directly to feminism...because if men like Bruce had their way, these sad excuses for "successful" women would have never learned to read or write, much less get to vote and be seen flashing their gams in public. In fact, stupid phrases like "crutch of nebulous patriarchy" and "the left is, at essence, simply vile" make me almost sorry to be literate myself. Whaddya bet his two asinine books are vanity-published?

16. Thomas Fucking Friedman. While we're on the subject of dreck-writers with asinine phraseology and books no thinking person actually reads, how about this one? Not content to slam Chavecito gratuitously (and groundlessly), now he's moved on to Lula--for daring to be nice to the president of Iran. AND he's claiming that Colombia--land of the "false positive", where the president's own brother is a paramilitary narcoterrorist (along with their cousin)--is a model democracy! No wonder Matt Taibbi's always pantsing him. I just wish Matt would give him a swirlie for not only writing poorly, but for being such a nasty shit behind all the pseudo-clever polemical putzery.

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17., 18., 19, and 20. and 21. Craig Fucking Smith, Fucking "Dodo" (hey, she picked that name for herself!), Jojo Fucking Blue, and Fucking "Rightchik" (Christ, learn to spell, bitch!) and Sandy Fucking Crux. Go, I command you, and read what my soul-sister CK has dug up on that circle jerk that is the Blogging SupposiTories. You will laugh, you will cry, you will have enough time left over to make perfect panini. She reads and satirizes their drivel so the rest of us don't have to, and for that, I am eternally indebted.

And finally, to "kevin", who is so pea-brained that he doesn't know how to capitalize his own name, nor how to distinguish between an economist and the world's foremost linguist, much less engage in a reasoned debate on propaganda. Well, surprise--that's because he knows he'd lose. No wonder, then, that he defecated here when my Noam Chomsky quotation had rolled off the front page. "kevin", like all lowercase idiots, is too cowardly to be seen in the full light of day. But don't worry, Kevin, I fixed that for you. And your shift key, too.

Good night, and give it a fucking rest, wouldja?

May 28, 2010

BP, learn from Venezuela!

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This is how you run an oil company responsibly, people...

The US subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), CITGO, has received seven awards for its contributions in safety and environmental protection from the National Association of Petrochemical Refiners at its national conference.

"These awards demonstrate once more our commitment to industrial safety and environmental leadership, in line with the principles of PDVSA, the state oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which promotes environmental protection and is improving the quality of life for communities, said CITGO president Alejandro Granado.

The PDVSA subsidiary received, among other awards, two for safety, recognizing its facilities for operating a million or more hours without any lost workdays or serious worker accidents during 2009.

CITGO refineries operate in Lake Charles, Louisiana; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Lemont, Illinois. They refine 749,000 barrels of crude per day.

Translation mine.

Granted this is just refineries. But it's part of PDVSA's across-the-board commitment: people and environment first, profits later. (And they're not doing at all shabbily in that latter department, either. No oil company is.)

Guess all the CITGO boycotters should be feeling good and foolish right about now, seeing their crapitalist darlings imploding all around them while Venezuela and its state company go right on thriving...AND winning awards, too.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: What's nicer than Evo or Lula?

Why, what else...Evo AND Lula!

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Found at ABI today. Reposted for no reason other than that it's a nice shot of them...and I like it.

Economics for Dummies: All you need to know about the G-8

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Any questions?

May 27, 2010

Men Who Just Don't Get It: Explaining birth control (sorta)

Guys, I love you all to bits, but damn, some of you are SO dense:

Please, PLEASE don't be this dim when it comes to condoms, 'kay?

(Meanwhile, here's the lowdown on all the birth control methods "explained" above. Read and learn.)

May 26, 2010

Chavecito and the tweeter

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From Cubadebate via Aporrea, a little newsy item:

Spokespersons for the Twitter social networking site, Laura Gómez and Jenna Dawn, "are delighted" that presidents, including Hugo Chávez with his @chavezcandanga, are opening accounts.

"Presidents in general, as in the case of Venezuela, generate a lot of traffic; we're happy that President Hugo Chávez uses the platform."

Dawn and Gómez were the two representatives of Twitter who participated in the first congress of the network in Latin America called "Hey, what are you tweeting? #140Mexico", organized by El Universal de México. The conference played host to representatives of the Daily Newspapers Group of America.

The spokeswomen confirmed that Chávez, along with his counterparts Sebastián Piñera of Chile, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and Felipe Calderón, of Mexico, contacted them to verify their accounts.

In Venezuela, there were 3,839 Twitter accounts in January 2009. By December 31 of the same year, there were 225,807.

Translation mine.

And now there are way more than that. And Chavecito currently stands at how many followers?

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(I love his current tweet--it's the local equivalent to "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring!" Only it's an old woman and she's in a cave. I bet it's sung to the same tune, too.)

Compare that to Piñera:

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And El Narco:

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Heh.

I couldn't find one for Calderón yet. I guess he's not tweeting after all? Better get it in gear, Felipe, there are an awful lot of parodists out there impersonating you, and some are downright rude.

May 25, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Anti-choice--so easily pwned with a Sharpie

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Yep, that would have helped her a lot more than laying on a guilt trip about abortion after the fact. Or trying to guilt-trip her out of having one in the first place.

The New Political Correctness: Rules to "live" by today!

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'Afternoon all.

Here's the latest list of all the current dos and don'ts you must obey in order not to be shunned, blackmailed, death-wished and gratuitously insulted by sanctimonious hypocrites today. Be sure to memorize this, as there will be a pop quiz later.

Ready?

Here we go:

1. You must draw Mohammed. In chalk. On a sidewalk, so people can walk all over him (which to Arabs and Muslims is the worst insult possible), thus demonstrating...what exactly? Oh, don't question it--just do it in the name of Free Speech!

2. If challenged as to whether drawing Mohammed has any real point to it, other than gratuitously singling out others on the grounds of religious bigotry, you must clutch your pearls and grandiloquently declare that you are a rationalist atheist, and as such, cannot possibly be a religious bigot. You are an IRRELIGIOUS bigot, thankyouverymuch! And it is not only your right but your DUTY to be one, because if you're not, They are going to come and take your right away from you! So stop questioning and draw Mohammed!

3. Furthermore, you are exempt from any actual consequences your silly actions (which you must characterize as "protest") may reap, especially if they fall on the heads of others in a foreign country.

4. You must also disclaim responsibility if anyone challenges you on this one. Useful catchphrase: "See, what did I tell you? They ARE all fascists!" (Be sure to yell this one good and loud, so that they hear you over in Pakistan.)

5. You must ignore the fact that all of Islam does not, in fact, call for the death penalty on artists who draw Mohammed. Because if you did your homework on this one and realized that all Muslims are not alike in their beliefs, you'd be an accommodationist (that's a PC word, kiddies, memorize it!) to Those People Who Are Trying To Force Their Religion On You.

6. Also, you would be a dhimmi. You don't want to be one of those, do you? No, of course not...that would be the Worst Thing Ever for us free westerners. So just declare your independence and DRAW MOHAMMED, already. Remember, it's your duty.

7. And, if female, don't forget to further show your contempt by flashing your boobs, legs, or anything else that's been deemed to cause earthquakes in Iran. Not doing so shows you are a humorless feminist and a bad sport. And you'll get cancer of the uterus, which will eat a big hole through your bowels, and your cervix will fall out your ass.

8. And just ignore all the Christian fundies over here. After all, they only force their women to rat up their hair (the higher it is, the closer to God, etc.) and wear too much mascara (the greasy old-fashioned kind that runs when you sweat or cry, which they do as a matter of rote in their megachurches, preferably while throwing convulsions or speaking gibberish unto Jeebus). They don't make them wear veils all over everything. Veils are a terribly threatening thing to western freedom!

9. Also, ignore Christian fundie terrorists. Especially those that profess admiration for Hitler. They don't count as fascists or terrorists because they're not brown and they don't bow down five times a day in scary submission to Allah.

10. Never, EVER say "apartheid" and "Israel" in the same breath. If you do, that makes you a criminal against humanity. And terribly unfair to Israel. And an antisemite, particularly if you speak up on behalf of those other Semites, the Palestinians. And worst of all, it means you're probably a Holocaust denier who deserves to get cancer and be run over by a double-decker bus at the same time.

11. If you're queer, especially don't violate #10 at a Pride Day parade. Especially not in Toronto. It's only supposed to be a peaceful, non-political celebration of cheap beer and commercial tourism and musclemen wearing nothing but an artful cobweb of studded leather straps, capisce?

12. If you're Jewish, violating #10 means you're a self-hater and deserve to be shit-listed and cursed to death by some Kahanist greybeard or other. Preferably by stoning.

13. And don't even ask what horrible punishments are in store for being queer, Jewish AND violating #10, all at the same time. You should be making babies for Israel, not criticizing it, you vile Sodomite!

14. Also, don't ever mention that Hamas was once actively funded by Israel in order to undermine Yasser Arafat's PLO. That would be heresy.

15. And not a word about those business dealings with South Africa during the apartheid era, either. Especially not the South African prime minister who was pro-Nazi during World War II (and interned for it), but was happily welcomed by Israel in the name of nuclear warhead sales and other common causes which are, of course, not mentionable here.

16. You must denounce Iran as a fascist menace at every opportunity you get. Preferably by misquoting Ahmadinejad. After all, he's trying to make nukes.

17. And of course, when the subject of Israeli nukes arises, you must clam up and pretend there was no such thing. Ever.

18. AND that it was not being offered for sale to South Africa, of all places.

19. In fact, just ignore all the very real fascism that's going down in Israel, or wherever you are.

20. And just shut up and DRAW MOHAMMED, and be thankful we still let you have free speech. Oak hay?

Teh Heterostoopid: How NOT to find a new daddy for your son

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Step 1: Join an online dating site for single parents.
Step 2: Upload a MILFy photo that shows everything but your face.
Step 3: Include kid in said photo.

This just in...hot off the tweeter...pttttttteeeep eep eep...

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Chavecito has a blog coming out, starting today. Here's the link. Everybody update your blogrolls!

May 24, 2010

Yes, Israel has nukes. Yes, it's an apartheid state. And no, it has no shame.

Surprising revelations, surprisingly revealed by the UK Guardian:

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.

The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.

The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of "ambiguity" in neither confirming nor denying their existence.

The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa's post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky's request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week's nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.

They will also undermine Israel's attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a "responsible" power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.

I predict that Professor Polakow-Suransky will be getting a lot of hate mail. Truth-tellers often do. Just look what happened to Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed the truth two decades ago. He got taken back to jail today, in an instance of very convenient timing. No doubt he'll be duly silenced as part of the conditions of his latest incarceration. But it won't do any good; the cat is already out of the bag (even the Federation of American Scientists is aware of the Israeli nuke program), and the Guardian report only confirms what's already long been known:

South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.

The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. At the talks Israeli officials "formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal".

Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.

The memo, marked "top secret" and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: "In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere."

But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.

The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: "Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available." The document then records: "Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice." The "three sizes" are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.

The use of a euphemism, the "correct payload", reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong's memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.

In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.

Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel's prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.

South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.

Emphasis added.

Looks like those two seemingly strange bedfellows are not so unlikely a pair after all. They were scratching each other's backs rather nicely. Apartheid South Africa providing yellowcake uranium so Apartheid Israel could supply warheads. It stands to reason that they would have such a dandy reciprocal relationship: Israel was (and still is) cracking down on its internal Arab population, trying to starve it out; South Africa did the same to its blacks. Israel wields the nuclear menace over its Arab neighbors; South Africa was hoping to do the same with its black neighbors. The two are far more similar than they are different when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy.

And of course, there's always this:

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Ceci n'est pas un mur d'apartheid. Ceci n'est pas un grand prison.

And if you believe that's not an apartheid wall, enclosing the world's largest existing prison camp, I've got some lovely oceanfront property in Saskatchewan that I'll sell you for a song.

PS to all the hasbara trolls writing me from the safety of London, England and other places totally out of touch with reality:

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Take note that anything you try to spam here, including false "facts" and charmingly futile death wishes for me, will be deleted and reported to your ISP, so that you will learn not to abuse your online privileges in future. Good day, and get fucked.

G-20 summit: Fascism, heads up!

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Courtesy Toronto Media Co-op, a harbinger of nasty things to come at the G-20 summit:

Toronto - The RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit (ISU) of the G20 is refusing to rule out the use of Agent Provocateurs to get protesters to commit illegal acts, the Toronto Media Co-op has learned.

During a G20 forum on April 30th held by Toronto City Councilors, Constable George Tucker, a member of the G20 planning team responsible for Public Affairs, Communications & Corporate Relations, was asked if Agent Provocateurs would be used.

He responded: "I'm not at liberty to discuss security issues in an open format".

Translation: Yes, we're going to use provocs. But we're gonna be coy and ask the media to hold up the mask for us.

And here's why that would be:

Gary Davidson, a retired RCMP officer who was active in VIP security, says they are illegal, although he does not think the RCMP uses them: "I cannot speak for other police forces [such as Toronto Police Services, the Ontario Provincial Police, etc.] but I can say that although the RCMP probably would have plain clothed police mixed in with the crowd, the RCMP has never used provocateurs. Basically, they hope all the protesters just go away. To the best of my knowledge, the use of Agent Provocateurs is illegal in Canada and that the RCMP would not and has not engaged in such practice," he explained in an e-mail.

Illegal in Canada, but it's been used here before. I've blogged previously on this; seems that Québec police have quite blatantly broken this law. It's hard to plant a bunch of burly cops among some scrawny little anarchists, non?

And oh yeah, it's been done at OTHER G-20 summits, too. Most recently in London. It's something of a pattern at any summits starting with the letter G!

During a phone interview with the Media Co-op, Constable Meghan Gray with the TPS G20 Planning Team responsible for Public Affairs, Communications & Community Relations, was also asked directly whether Agent Provocateurs would be used.

Toronto Media Co-op: Can you confirm or deny that you will be using agent provocateurs? Do you think they are illegal?

Meaghan Gray: "Like [my co-worker], George Tucker, those are operational issues, I can't speak to that."

TMC: "A source from the RCMP has told me their use is illegal. Are you saying you can't rule out an illegal activity will be used?"

Gray: "Well...I'd have to ask someone else about that....I'll get somebody to get back to you."

Gray responded via e-mail 2 hours later.

"I have spoken with my colleagues on the Public Affairs Team and as I
stated, with respect to your questions regarding Agents Provocateurs, the
 Integrated Security Unit for the G8-G20 Summits will not discuss
 operational details," she wrote.

Though Gray stated that "all police efforts will be lawful", this is not the first time that an ISU for a summit has been asked about Agent Provocateurs. Nor is it the first time they have refused to respond.

"Lawful", but not legal?

Coyness: Also a fascist strategy. Toronto G-20 protesters, consider this your heads-up. Watch out for guys who look like they have regular access to a gym and steroids, 'kay?

May 23, 2010

San Francisco, California, 1906: An intriguing look at a lost time

My friend Corey, a San Franciscan, sent me the link to this a couple of days ago. Apparently this footage was taken from the front of a streetcar travelling along Market Street (the clocktower at the end of it, near Embarcadero Wharf, is a local landmark, still standing.) It is believed to be the earliest 35mm film in existence and was lost for many years; it is one of the few films depicting San Francisco as it looked before the devastating earthquake and fire. It was made just four days before the disaster and escaped destruction by virtue of the fact that it had been sent to New York by train for processing. Here, it's been set to some very modern, un-ragtime music.

What strikes me most strongly about it is the sheer number of automobiles already on the road at that time. Also the fact that traffic safety laws apparently had yet to be written; motorcars share the road with streetcars, horse-drawn carriages and wagons, bicycles, pedestrians--all with no regulation. The only conveyances not capable of moving about at random are the streetcars. Everything else is higgledy-piggledy. People on foot cross the road at any point they like, without waiting until they are at an intersection, and often perilously close to a passing vehicle. Bicyclists zigzag nonchalantly on and off the streetcar tracks. Cars weave in and out in front of the camera, the drivers apparently completely unconcerned about what side of the road they are on. (Apparently "lanes" were not a concept yet. Neither was there a standard placement for the steering wheel; if you look closely, you'll see that some are on the left, and some on the right.)

It's amazing that no one in this clip gets hit or hurt. I found myself continually holding my breath, waiting for something awful to happen, a terrible pile-up that brings it all to a halt. But everyone and everything goes its merry way, luckily unharmed. In an age when fatalities on city streets were a growing problem and traffic cops would soon become a necessity, that's perhaps the greatest wonder about this amazing old film.

Music for a Sunday: Cruisin' on a sardine boat, loaded with crazy people

Sailing season starts (unofficially) today here in Southern Ontario. Who better than Trooper to herald it?

Well, how about Prism, to get things really off the ground?

"Take me to the Kaptin/and tell him why I'm here/I wanna stay in your world/while my world disappears..."

(I figured, with all the crises going on, a little escapism was in order.)

May 22, 2010

Quotable: Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand

"This odd little woman is attempting to give a moral sanction to greed and self interest, and to pull it off she must at times indulge in purest Orwellian newspeak of the 'freedom is slavery' sort. What interests me most about her is not the absurdity of her 'philosophy,' but the size of her audience (in my campaign for the House she was the one writer people knew and talked about). She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the 'welfare' state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you're dumb or incompetent that's your lookout."

--Gore Vidal, Esquire, 1961

Wankers of the Week: Breakfast of Champions edition

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Avid readers of Kurt Vonnegut may recognize the above as his self-portrait...or more specifically, his drawing of his own asshole, which can be found in Breakfast of Champions. What has that to do with this? Well, this week, I felt like illustrating my Wankapedia entry with Vonnegut's art. And because I think he'd appreciate that. Kurt Vonnegut knew from assholes. So, with no further ado, here's this week's crop of sugar-puffed little shits:

1. Glenn Fucking Beck. Bawk, bawk, the sky is falling! Good, LET it. Maybe it'll hit you on your fat head and squoosh it. And those of all your fucking NRA brownshirts, too. Then maybe, finally, we can get some peace and quiet. And maybe even no more stupid people running around with guns. But definitely peace and quiet, and better smelling air, too. PS: Bwahahaha. You were saying? PPS: No, really. Bwahahaha.

2. Brit Fucking Hume. If he doesn't know where the oil spill is, maybe someone should dunk him in it. Preferably head first. He doesn't know the first thing about nature, much less its capacity to absorb an oil spill (hint: it doesn't have any.)

3. David Fucking Frum. Let's face it, the US is ALWAYS going to be dependent on imported oil. More offshore drilling won't help them a whit. They might as well learn to deal honestly and squarely with their suppliers for a change. But no, of course the originator of the odious "Axis of Evil" phrase can't admit THAT!

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4. Chris Fucking Oynes. Accountability? Oversight? What are those? When you're supposed to be a watchdog but you've grown accustomed to the life of a lapdog, of course you quit when the shit (or the BP oil rig) has hit the fan.

5. Thomas Fucking Olmsted. No, of course a pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness. But pulmonary hypertension is (it is also currently treatable, but incurable). And pregnancy, which increases a woman's blood volume considerably, can turn that treatable but incurable condition deadly. Clearly this bishop is clueless about those things (well, he's not a doctor!), and just as clearly, his "pro-life" stand is pure hypocrisy. Since when is a woman's life worth less than that of a fetus?

6. Bryan Fucking Adams. Believe it or not, his music used to NOT suck. And I used to like it. Like, back in the early 1980s. Now, he's become the Bono of this side of the Atlantic. Or, sorry, the Paul Fucking Hewson--bigger on charity fundraising appearances than on actually doing the right thing. You can't be a rebellious rocker challenging the powers that be when your lips are crazy-glued to their asses, fellas.

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7. Woody Fucking Allen. Um, where has he been for the past 30-odd years? Hiding in Europe? No, wait, that was his buddy, Roman Polanski...who thus AVOIDED paying for what he did to that girl, contrary to Woody's assertions. (And speaking of things done to girls, Woody, there's the little matter of your former foster-daughter...could that be what prompted this bizarre outburst?)

8. Dale Fucking Peterson. Yeah, making like a crazy, gun-toting hillbilly is a great election strategy. When you can't appeal to people's intelligence, why not aim lower--much lower? Hey...it's Alabama, you're a Repug--go for it!

9. Sarah Fucking Palin. Racist d-baggin' teabagger blows the dog whistle yet again. Meanwhile, Mexicans south of the border have a message for Sawah that I don't think requires any translation. PS: Stay classy, Sarah.

10. Bristol Fucking Palin. Unlikely spokeschick for abstinence, or just the best paid Junior Anti-Sex League prostitute, like, ever? Gosh, it's getting so hard to tell. What's clear is that she's a chip off the old easy-money block. Her mother, too, likes to take a lot of money without really putting it where her gooey-lipsticked mouth is.

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11. Jonathan Fucking Katz. Riddle me this: How does a science-challenged, climate-change-denying, homophobic twat get a leading role (even temporarily) on Obama's Gulf oil-spill cleanup crew? I thought putting right-wing incompetents in charge of disaster response co-ordination was the realm of Dubya and Brownie.

12. Marc Fucking Ouellet. Is it fair to say he's pro-death, pro-rape and pro-incest? Hell, why not--he thinks it's fair to say abortion is murder even if it's to save a woman's life, or to expunge the products of rape and incest from her womb.

13. Isabelle Fucking Bégin-O'Connor. Hey, what a brilliant idea--instead of relying on birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancy, let's just all really stress the fuck out! And if we find ourselves pregnant? Let's just worry ourselves good and sick, and that should take care of everything. Why not--it's worked great for women down the ages, right? That's why no one ever resorted to poison potions, back-alley butchers, coathangers or knitting needles...right?

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14. Pat Fucking Buchanan. We always knew he was a Nazi-symp and an antisemite. The fact that he's still on the airwaves is what's truly shocking. Is it just because he kvetches so much about imaginary commies that he still gets a free pass to be a public voice of fascism? Whatever the reason, this Father Coughlin shit is old and putrid--and so is he.

15. Tim Fucking Hudak. I'm sorry, did someone say something? Oh--YOU did. And who might YOU be? The Ontario Tory party leader, eh? Well, isn't that special. Accusing a Liberal premier of being a "nanny" for not further destroying the public services your buddy Mike Harris decimated back in the day? Gosh, it's like 1995 all over again. Only it's not, since decimated public services killed seven people and sickened over two thousand in Walkerton. Remember that? It was ten years ago this week. I'll bet you don't recall any of that, Timmy-boy, but Walkertonians sure do. A lot of them are still ill, and some are on the waiting list for new kidneys, thanks to Tories like you trying to "get government out of our lives". (And things look no better at the federal level, either.)

16. and 17. Mark Fucking Souder and Tracy Fucking Jackson. In this case, the Fucking is absolutely literal. And they made a video promoting abstinence...TOGETHER. In both cases, they should have abstained.

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18. Stockwell Fucking Day. If you want to be taken seriously by your bureaucratic underlings, here's a little tip, Stock: Try not being so goddamn fucking STUPID. Leave out the folksy crap and start e-mailing individual people more substantively and specifically on key points, so that they get the feeling that you actually know what you're talking about, and they understand that you're talking to THEM. Yeah, I know...not as flashy as showing up in a wetsuit on a jet-ski for a photo-op. But it sure would beat being ridiculed for not knowing which way the Niagara River flows, eh?

19. Thomas Fucking Friedman. Proof, in case anyone needed it, that the New York Times is NOT a meritocracy. Why else would someone so elaborately idiotic get a regular gig in that place, and keep it (and all its attendant caviar) in a time of cutbacks and job losses?

20. Sara Fucking Landriault. How pathetic it must be to be so out of touch with reality that you're going to boycott Robert Munsch's delightful children's books just because the author has admitted that he suffered from drug and mental-health problems, and is now undergoing therapy for them. Sure must suck to be you, Sara...but I bet it sucks even harder to be your kid. I guess they won't be learning much about mental health from you, other than how to ostracize and stigmatize those who aren't "perfect". Precisely the kind of lesson NO kid should be learning!

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21. Naomi Fucking Lakritz. Yep, second time wank-listed (or is it third? Been a while. I don't read her very often, for reasons good: Stopped clock, two seconds a day, yadda yadda.) She starts out sensibly enough, criticizing Wanker #20, but then she fucks it all up by yapping nonsense about Robert Munsch, too. Her angle? She's offended that he would bare his soul. She makes out that he's part of some unwholesome new trend in public nudity-of-the-soul. Well, who held a gun to her head and forced her to look at that stark-nekkid soul and all its purplish dangly bits? Nobody. But she still felt she had to pontificate and stigmatize and ostracize Munsch too, which makes me wonder about her unwritten motives.

As for Munsch, he's not a wanker. He is to Kiddie Lit what Kurt Vonnegut is to adult readers--a treasure trove of wild wit and wisdom and slapstick humor. He's also painfully, endearingly human. He has freedom of speech, and he has chosen to exercise it to a good end. His recent gut-spill should be taken as proof that it's possible to be mentally ill and hooked on drugs, and yet still be productive, creative, and deep-down decent in spite of it. (Stephen King, as I recall, did something similar a few years back. As did Kurt Vonnegut in several of his own essays and novels!) Yeah, I know--too complex for the simple minds of conservatards to process. But that's the way it is. And hey, if it encourages even just one mentally ill or drug-addicted parent or child to get help, it will have done its job. It will have saved a life, and a soul, from the torments of the damned. No thanks to the harpyish maunderings of Ms. Lackwits, of course.

22. Mark Fucking Williams. Oh nice, he likened Muslims to monkeys. Not a bit racist, is he? Oh noes, not at ALL! Way to go, insulting Lord Hanuman. Wrong religion, fuck-ass.

UPDATE: He's now apologized to the Hindus, and gone right out and insulted you-know-who all over again. Fine words for someone whose own religion is most definitely a death cult.

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23. Rand Fucking Paul. Epic fail, named after the pseudonym of the worst US writer of all time. And that's no coincidence--every "libertarian" is really a Nazi, just a scratch below the surface. Let the free market take care of racism? Brilliant. Segregated lunch counters (plus guns) forever! Also, his former spokesman was apparently in Deathtöngue. Along with the KKK. And other fun shit.

24. Satoshi Fucking Kanazawa. So, feminism is to blame for modern women's unhappiness, with capitalism and sexism and all those other unhappy-making isms left (as usual) completely out of the equation? So says the "scientist", and he would "know", of course, sitting as he does in a narrow little cubicle in a narrow little room in a narrow little universe, smirking his narrow little face off and congratulating himself on the virtues of his narrow little mind. I was going to wipe that stupid smirk away with my trusty aluminum Louisville Slugger, but then Regina Barreca very happily, very funnily kicked the piss out of him on the same website for me. And then, by even happier coincidence, I also found this article at Salon.com and this one at Cracked.com, explaining to my complete satisfaction why what's being marketed to women as "happiness" is totally fucking overrated anyway. Being pwned by Cracked sure must hurt, eh Satoshi? But wait, it gets better: The Globe and Mail has an excellent piece demonstrating--scientifically--how being politically active is good for you. Feminism is as political an activity as it gets. And I know for a fact that I've been a lot happier--and guys have liked me better--whenever I let my feminist flag fly. So I'm putting my aluminum bat away now, as my work here ("here" being Satoshi's groin) is done.

25. Katilyn Fucking Grishan. Already pwned at the link, but if you like the smell of hasbara burning late into the Victoria Weekend night, by all means, enjoy. I did promise her she'd be wank-listed, and I always keep my word.

PS: Stupid twat got in a parting shot. I decided to let it pass, so you could all laugh at her with me. Katie, I'm rubber, you're glue. What you wished will bounce off of me...and stick to you. Your anger makes me happy.

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And finally, to John Fucking Josephs. It's been a long time since I've had a wanker commit hyperbolic onanism on my site, and I can't say I've missed the experience of being accused of supporting "child murder" very much. For the record, I consider a child to be someone already born, not a fetus in utero. Also for the record, I don't believe anything is murder without malice aforethought. Neither does English common law. Surely you're familiar with that, living in London as you do, eh John?

But if you insist on using such odious terms, you may want to think about the number of abortions your Sky Pixie does, John. (Yes, miscarriages count. So do blighted ova.) Or merely contemplate that lovely little phrase, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away"; it refers also to abortion. Visit your local cemetery, and make note of how many gravestones you see for persons under 18. Then note how many you see for persons under 9 months' gestation (including miscarriages and blighted ova). And think that one over. I'm sure the correct interpretation will come to you by and by.

Good night, and get fucked.

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How the anglo whore media made a smart kid stupid

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Okay. I don't like to pick on kids, because I was bullied myself as a kid. So I'm gonna try hard not to do it here. But one of the things I learned as a bullied kid is that you have to call people out sometimes. It's the only way to make the abuse stop. So when I see things like this, I really can't let the bullshit pass without calling it by its right name. And I don't care if the bullshitter, Sami Kent, is only 19 years old. He was smarter when he was younger, believe it or not:

I was about 13 when I saw the documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and I was utterly taken in. Venezuela's charismatic indigenous leader had been overthrown by powerful vested interests, but came back to power improbably on the strength of his popular support.

For someone who had grown up in Britain during the Blair years, where there was an overwhelming centrist consensus among the parties, the strength of Hugo Chávez's socialist conviction was appealing. As British politicians sought ever-closer ties with the US, Chávez condemned the war in Afghanistan, saying "no se puede luchar contra ningún terror con terror" - you cannot fight terror with terror.

That's about the extent to which he's not messed up. Things degenerate shortly thereafter...

I started to read extensively about the Bolivarian revolution, which seemed to perfectly mix socialism with liberal democracy. This view may seem naive, but I would point to the dramatic increase in literacy, the reduction of poverty, the widespread use of referenda and a new constitution that protected the rights of Venezuela's indigenous communities. I was, however, blind to the creeping authoritarianism of the Venezuelan government.

That's because there wasn't any, Sami. There still isn't any. And to know it for certain, you'd only have to understand a bit more Spanish, and take a look around the Venezuelan blogosphere, where the atmosphere is vibrant and, at least among progressives, anything but oppressive. (The opposition is another story, and a very scary one.)

Of course, if you knew much Spanish and read the Venezuelan blogs, you'd be a lot less naive (good choice of words!), and less given to the kind of wafflings you just put painfully down on the electronic page. But do go on, let's hear what got you so worked up later on, when you were older and presumably "wiser":

When Chávez refused to renew the licence for RCTV in 2006 I felt that I had lost a hero. I had printed his face on a T-shirt, which I have not worn since that day. It was not the dictatorial move as depicted in some of the media, but for me the purity of the revolution had been lost. After that, I have felt increasingly alienated from a political movement and a president I had once adored. Now I cringe when I see him describing Robert Mugabe and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as brothers, or comparing Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler.

Aha. I see what you did there, Sami--you believed what your own whore media told you. I hope you're reading this; you can learn a lot from it. Sit down first, though, because what I'm going to say will shock you.

First off, Chávez had nothing to do with the licence renewal of RCTV at all. He doesn't run CONATEL, the government body that oversees television licencing in Venezuela; it is independent of the office of the presidency. So Chávez did not "refuse to renew" anything. CONATEL did. And given that RCTV, which actively fomented the coup against an elected president, was for many years in violation of Venezuela's organic media laws (including ones that were on the books for decades before Chávez came to power!), the non-renewal of the station's over-the-air licence was a no-brainer. So Sami's complaint about the loss of the "purity of the revolution" comes off as more than a little silly. A more reliable analysis of the situation is available here; read it and learn, Sami!

As for the Mugabe and Ahmadinejad stuff, let's get serious; the whore media have dwelt long enough on the fucking ridiculous, and it's obvious that all Sami "knows" about these two scary monsters, he "knows" only from the presstitutes. And they know nothing. Their job is to make sure we know nothing, too. So here's what Sami should know, but doesn't:

Before Zimbabwe left the British Empire, it was practically the exclusive property of one very rich, very racist Englishman, Cecil Rhodes. All its current troubles can be traced to its time as a British colony, where whites owned land and blacks owned nothing; a time of virtual slavery. Mugabe, at least in the beginning, held out hope for progressives the world over that there would be a reversal of that old injustice. He has since become a disappointment, to say the least. But he's not the disease; he's merely one of its more egregious symptoms. I don't suppose Sami knows nearly as much about his country's colonial-imperialist past as he should, but there it is. When Chávez calls Mugabe brother, he's not condoning, supporting or endorsing Mugabe's bad behavior; he's simply recognizing that someone besides himself is struggling to throw off the colonial-imperial-capitalist yoke. Someone who, like himself, is not a white man.

Ahmadinejad, too, is overblown as a threat, and again, I suspect Sami doesn't know the real reason why he's being made into such a bête noire. Surprise! Iran, too, was once a British colony. Back then, they called it Persia. British Petroleum practically owned the country. But the Iranians fought back, drove the British colonists out, overthrew their satraps, and elected a man who was their own Chávez--Mohammed Mossadegh, a secular, liberal democrat. Mossadegh was popular, not least because he was in favor of Iran controlling its own oil. And he was well under way to making certain that it did. The Brits didn't like that one bit. So they complained to Washington and got the CIA to take back Iran for BP. The CIA installed the Shah, a brutal puppet dictator with a nasty secret police force, the SAVAK, who helped enforce his iron-fisted rule. Murder, torture and permanent disappearance were the order of the day for anyone who defied the Shah; to outward appearances, however, Iran was modern and westernized, so that little flaw was overlooked. That is, until a broad coalition of leftists and religious revolutionaries overthrew the Shah. He died in exile, the leftists were soon edged out, and Iran became the strange theocracy it is today--a theocracy with a veneer of republican democracy. The president of Iran is elected, but the real rulers, the mullahs and ayatollahs, are not. It is they, not little pipsqueaky, mouthy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who should be feared and reviled.

And, for whatever this was worth, Ahmadinejad has been misquoted. Very deliberately so, and for propagandistic reasons--to drum up support for a war against Iran, as was done to neighboring Iraq. To understand this, however, demands that you read Juan Cole, who is familiar with Middle Eastern politics and history in ways you and I can only wish we were. But once you do understand this, you can see, again, why Chávez would call him "brother"--like Mossadegh in one way, if no other, Ahmadinejad seems bound and determined not to let foreign oil interests eat up Iran ever again. In Venezuela, it is the same with Chávez!

Back to Sami, and more sad evidence of how completely he has drunk the Kool-Aid:

Last year I went to a conference on Venezuela's progress after 10 years of revolution, shocked to hear speaker after speaker ignore his treatment of opposition, his expulsion of human rights activists (fittingly, for claiming the country was slipping towards totalitarianism), or his temporary defence of a drug-dealing and murderous Farc.

Um, Chávez didn't "defend" the "drug dealing and murderous" FARC; he simply recognized them as guerrillas in a political struggle, which they ARE. (One of their own prior hostages says the same thing.) And he interceded with them to release some hostages, which they did...in deference to him, out of respect for his Bolivarianism--a philosophy they share, though he openly and repeatedly insists he disagrees with their methods. And indeed, he doesn't USE their methods, so we can safely take his word for that.

Let's not forget, either, that Chávez used to be an army officer. His troops were in charge of patrolling the western border regions in the state of Apure, making sure Colombian guerrillas didn't get into Venezuela or make political messes there. He had ample opportunity to find out, firsthand, that his government was setting him and his men against a leftist menace which, while real, paled in comparison to that of the right-wing Colombian army and its gringo backers--who are making at least as much trouble for him today, if not more! Worse, Colombia now has right-wing paramilitaries, whose job seems to be to augment and take flak for the army. They have infiltrated every level of government, and they are the real murderous drug-dealers of Colombia. They, too, are constantly spilling over the border into Venezuela, where they wreak havoc in the border states and serve as mercenaries to wealthy opposition politicians and land-owners. They have been caught in active campaigns to overthrow Chávez. The media, however, prefer to squawk only about the FARC, because those guys are actively opposed to the US's toy governments. Colombia is widely made out to be a democracy, but it has not been since Jorge Eliecer Gaitán was assassinated in 1948. All the leftist parties of Colombia have been decimated and intimidated into uselessness. It is as much a puppet dictatorship today as Iran was under the Shah. The only thing that really changes in Colombia is the face of the puppet at the head of the conga line!

Sami is only 19 and obviously hasn't done very much reading, or he would have known about all that, and particularly Chávez's time as Venezuela's border cop. I recommend Richard Gott; he wrote the book on Chávez, quite literally, before anyone else could. Read him, Sami, and don't write another word about Venezuela until you're done!

As for the "human rights activists", those were right-wingers using the false front of human rights to conceal their real purpose: to drum up propaganda, portraying Chávez as...

...wait for it...

...A DICTATOR!!! OH NOES!!!1111athousandeleventyone!!! Let's declare war on Venezuela! YeeHAW!!!

But hold on. José Miguel Vivanco is from Chile, and is known to be an apologist for a real dictator and human-rights abuser--none other than Augusto Pinochet. Chávez was within his rights to expel that odious little worm. Human Rights Watch has really compromised its own credibility by hiring the likes of him, and as long as it stands by such choices, it is discredited as a human-rights observer and has no business criticizing anyone anywhere in Latin America.

Compare Pinochet's very real abuses--strikingly similar to those of the Shah of Iran--with the alleged ones of Chávez. Where are the secret detention camps? Where are the soccer stadiums converted to human holding tanks, centres for torture and summary execution? Where is the hand of Opus Dei in Venezuela? Not with Chávez or his PSUV government, that's for damn sure. If it lies anywhere, it lies with his predecessors, who are now the opposition. They are the ones who set up death camps in large fincas on the plains, with stalls too small for horses, but just barely wide enough to hold a man. They are the ones responsible for the death of leftist professor Alberto Lovera, who was found washed up on a beach with manacles and chains from a dungeon still around his death-bloated ankles. They are the ones responsible for the massacres of Cantaura and Yumaré, as well as the Caracazo. Massacres which Sami has obviously never heard of. Else he wouldn't write drivel like this:

Chávez has never been an intellectual or a democrat; he is primarily a soldier. He has shown himself to be extremely aggressive in his confrontation with Colombia, almost bringing the two countries to war. I don't want to sound patronising or bourgeois, but I have come to conclude that a significant shortcoming of the Bolivarian revolution was its lack of intellectual movement - it was based on a military man's charisma and his vague notions of imperialism, rather than a clear philosophy.

It is hard to accept that something you once loved, and something that other people once loved, is no longer a popular idea. My interest in South America recently took me to Chile where I watched several presidential election debates - the candidates were asked which leader in South America they thought had done the worst job and there was almost unanimous agreement that it was Chávez.

Well, duh--that's because Chile hasn't yet shed the vestiges of Pinochetism. It is a broken country, politically and economically, where even the Socialists really aren't socialists. And Chile's political situation has gone from stagnant to downright brackish. Everyone in the political class there is either fascist, fascist-lite, or a doormat. So of course you'll get a meaningless consensus like that there. It's why they sent an outright Pinochetist to work for Human Rights Watch, making a joke of the whole thing. It's also why there are an awful lot of discontented Chileans who admire Chávez...and who are still currently shut out of the race for power. But they haven't forgotten Salvador Allende, and they appreciate the big man in Venezuela who hasn't forgotten him, either. It's only a matter of time before the old embers flare up again down there; I suspect it will all depend on how badly Sebastián Piñera fucks Chile up. And fuck it up he will--depend on it.

As for the "confrontation with Colombia", it's instructive to remember who started it. Colombia did--by bombing Ecuador. Out of solidarity, as well as out of a well-schooled recognition that Venezuela was probably the next target for a Colombian military assault, Chávez closed the borders and sent the army out to secure them. And let's not forget those seven gringo military bases; Chavecito certainly hasn't. But Sami forgets this entirely, and chooses instead to lay the blame on the media's chosen scapegoat.

Most insulting of all is the notion that Bolivarianism has lost popularity. With whom? Sami? He's a Brit; he doesn't count. In Venezuela, it's deepening, and Chávez is now actually more popular, not less, than when he was first elected. His approval rating is now 65%, up from the 58% of the vote that first elected him. Moving further to the left has made him more popular, and it hasn't alienated anyone except for some coattail-riders from the professional political class whom he was better off without. They've basically jumped the fence into oblivion; good fucking riddance.

But "not an intellectual or a democrat"? What kind of bourgeois elitist twaddle is that, Sami? And what does his being a soldier have to do with that? He's the son of two schoolteachers; he is university-educated with two master's degrees (earned when he was in military officers' school!); he's up on history to an extent that shames most professors. He is himself a poet and an artist. If that's "not an intellectual", then what is? Do only doctorates from the Ivy League or Oxbridge count? Does one have to squat in a corporate-funded "institute" to be one, pray? Or does one just have to be white like you?

And "not a democrat"? Bullshit! Everything Chávez has done, in terms of laws and the constitution, has been put to a popular vote. If that's undemocratic, I'll eat my entire vast and funky collection of hats. Even his right to be re-elected was decided by the people of Venezuela, and when the Yes side passed, there was celebration in the streets.

Okay, gentle readers. Get ready. Here comes the final gulp of toxic Kool-Aid:

The Bolivarian revolution has a legacy that leaders actively seek to avoid. It is an especially galling process for someone who believes in the compatibility of democracy and socialism. In fact, when Chávez started to talk about his socialist project in Venezuela, opposed to an anti-imperialist one, he lost his first referendum ever in December 2007. I had misinterpreted Chávez's early support: it had always been nationalist and not socialist.

Now, at the not-very-ripe age of 19, I find my increasing disillusionment with the revolution has had more impact on my personal political development than anything else. I still cling to the hope that in 2013, defeated in an election, he will leave peacefully. History, I feel, would then judge him well, and my early praise of him would have been justified.

I am aware that this process, from idealism to cynicism, is one that many go through in their lives. It is a painful but necessary step to recognise and criticise the faults of our former heroes. I feel it is a journey I have not yet completed. I am still an idealist, I will just need to relearn my lesson to put faith in principles rather than politicians.

And now, the antidote.

Sami claims he's still an idealist. That's the biggest horse-apple of all in this pile. He's a cynic posturing as an idealist, and the sad thing is, he got that way by letting bigger cynics lead him around by the end of his teenage nose. He had it right in the first place, but he got swayed by one willful misinterpretation after another, to the point where he became weak and caved in. He is now a perfect useful idiot--an alienated pretend-leftist parroting the neo-con line--and it's sad as hell to see, especially in one so young.

But at the same time, it's not so surprising that he turned out that way. I know that process all too well, having escaped from it myself.

Maybe it's the fact that I came at all this from the opposite side that enables me to see it; maybe because I'm more than twice Sami's age. Maybe it's both of those and a whole lot of other things besides. But I was an idealist who didn't know it at 19. The side of me that cared and wanted to change the world was there, but it was dormant, stifled by what I kept hearing--that it was useless even to try. I was misled by media and my adult life has been largely an exercise in onion-peeling as a result. I was a conservative kid stuck in the cynical pose, mainly because I didn't know what else to be. And mainly because the mainstream of the media up here in Canada is that way, believe it or not! In my teens, it was the "there is no alternative" conservatwaddle of Thatcher and Reagan that held sway, and the media fed it all to us with very little if any critical examination. Had I not gone to university at that age, and become acquainted with a much wider range of viewpoints (some of them--gasp--socialist!), I might never have questioned the incessant barrage of false messages I got as I was growing up. I would not have realized that there IS an alternative, and it is us. I would not have embarked on political activism, working to change the bad laws and stagnant social mores that we were told were here to stay. And I certainly would not have seen the positive social changes that have come as a result of people working in concert to make the world better.

And I too might have become, and remained, as Sami Kent is right now. The fact that I did not, is something I owe squarely to alternative, independent media. I first became acquainted with indie newspapers at university; I wound up writing, irregularly, for a couple of them myself during that time. It was a beginning, but it was only a beginning. Not until I began reading alternative news on the 'net did I finally realize just how much and how badly we are being lied to.

And the story that brought it all to a head for me...was that of Hugo Chávez. It became impossible to believe anything the anglo mainstream sources wrote about him; at best it was only half true, and a half truth is as bad as flat-out lie. And what made the lie obvious to me is the very story that Sami Kent first adored and then forgot--this one right here:

It was the people who put Chávez in the presidency, and the people who brought him back. It is the people who are keeping him there right now; it is the people to whom he answers. If that is not the perfect example of socialist democracy at work, I don't know what is.

No, Sami, Hugo Chávez did not break your heart. The anglo whore media did. Isn't it time you took it back from them?

May 21, 2010

Heroes for Today: One kick-ass poet

Don't preach at me. LISTEN TO HER.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: It's now official...

A little birdie has informed me that Chavecito's follower count...

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...has now surpassed:

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And that's not all! He's also beaten this guy:

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...who, you may recall, once wore a certain shirt.

Who sucks now, eh? Suck THAT, Alejandro.

May 20, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: More kanga-rudeness

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I would ask what gets into marsupials sometimes, but I think I already know.

Aw. How sweet!

BP is being so lovely putting out all these PR ads for the Gulf Coast states, someone decided to bake them a cake in appreciation:

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BTW, this isn't the first time BP has gone on a PR offensive. You may remember this. Or maybe not. Sarah Palin, I'm sure, remembers nothing, nothing.

May 19, 2010

Heroes for Today: Courage and kindness in Gaza

A young Palestinian improvises inventions to help those disabled by injuries sustained in the repeated bombardments the Gaza Strip has suffered in recent years. Even in the midst of travel and trade restrictions imposed by Israel, he still manages to get materials--sometimes found objects and "junk"--and help others. Ingenuity at work!

(Yup, another new category. Look for lots more entries to come!)

Why Canadian women are being told to STFU

Yes, Harpo IS a radical misogynist. This I know. Because his policies tell me so. And if you don't believe it, watch this video:

Any questions?

The ad the Financial Times wouldn't publish

I don't know what their problem with it is. Perhaps you can tell me:

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Pollution has been linked to allergies. Gee...do you suppose the polluted people at the FT are allergic to facts?

This, BTW, is what lies ahead for everyone and everything in the path of the Gulf oil spill. BP now gets to join Royal Dutch Shell in the Hall of Shame.

May 17, 2010

Teh Heterostoopid (or just Teh HeteroSTRANGE?): Doggone wacky

Never mind a hair of the dog that bit you; how about marrying one? Happily, the "groom" in this bizarre ceremony didn't have to consummate the union in the usual way; tying a string around the "bride"'s neck was enough.

Those who oppose same-sex marriage often claim it's the first slip on the slope toward things like this. And yet, India doesn't have legal same-sex marriage. India, would you please bitch-slap some sense into those homophobes?

Quotable: Humberto da Silva on "Odious Oda" and the Harper anti-woman agenda

Isn't it nice to hear a man who really, truly GETS it? One who's not trying to cram false values down other people's throats? One who can sweep away a veritable Augean stable of right-wing bullshit with clear, incontrovertible facts? And above all, one who does it in his own voice, rather than hiding behind the skirts of a woman?

Promised You a Miracle

Thanks to a friend on Facebook, some music for this fine Monday morn:

Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr teams up with Canada's own Martha Wainwright to remake an '80s classic for Oxfam. The message for G8 leaders is clear: No more promises, time for action. Time to do what it takes to keep women from dying in childbirth or shortly thereafter.

(And yes, abortion SHOULD be included in that plan. Suck it, Harpo, you fundie panderer.)

Eat THIS, Arizona.

Best cartoon commentary I've seen so far on Arizona's fucking ridiculous anti-Latino law:

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You can learn a lot from Lalo Alcaraz, no?

May 16, 2010

The Parable of Marjoe

Meet Marjoe Gortner, child evangelist turned actor and public speaker. He estimates that he brought in at least $3 million, of which he never received a cent (even for bible college!), during his first stint as a preacher, which lasted from age 4 to 15 or thereabouts.

Actually, Marjoe was an actor all along; his childhood "ministry" was carefully stage-managed by his pushy, unscrupulous parents. He ran away from it in his teens, only to re-enter the fold as an adult, with even greater success. He himself never believed what he was preaching, but it took until the early 1970s, when this documentary was made, for him to finally come clean and exit the Pentecostal preaching circuit for good.

Much of what Marjoe says here is painfully frank. But sadly, after making a sensation and winning an Oscar in 1972, this film was all but buried. According to Wikipedia, it "was never screened in the Southern United States due to fears that it would cause outrage in the Bible Belt". Too bad; it might have helped prevent the televangelist scandals of the 1980s, when everything from street-corner hookers and affairs with church secretaries to homosexuality and air-conditioned doghouses became fodder for supermarket tabloids. This film would have been the perfect vaccine against the madness that swept the US during that time; it might have even curtailed the destructive political influence of the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Everything Marjoe says about the "old-time gospel" circuit in here still held true in the age of televangelism.

It still does to this day. Preachers still employ the same old dirty tricks and gimmicks. And the money, as all those megachurches along the highways can attest just by their very presence, keeps a-rollin' on in. It's not God that makes it come; it's the credulity of the "flock". Science has shown that there's a very real form of Pavlovian conditioning at work in those places, but so far, as with any addiction, the best cure for this sickness seems to be prevention.

And that's the hard part, because as Marjoe points out again and again, there's a LOT of social pressure at work to get people not only to join these doubtful churches, but to stay in them and never, on pain of hellfire and eternal damnation, question what they are told.

Music for a Sunday: Let's see the anti-piracy laws catch THIS!

Q. Why are pirates so badass?

A. Because they just arrrrrrrrrrr, matey!

(Or in the case of ones from out West--they just are Métis!)

May 15, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Bees in the bonnet edition

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How's that saying go: May bees don't fly in December? Or something like that. Yes, this man LITERALLY has bees in his bonnet. Lucky him; he can do something about that. Unlike these wankers, whose bees, though figurative, are sadly there to stay:

1. Rocco Fucking Rossi. "City Hall has left God"? Who saw it go? Did the holy door hit its ass on the way out? What kind of a thump did it make, pray tell? Okay, srsly: Since when was Toronto City Hall a theocracy? Since, oh, never. Look, I'm all in favor of working with religious organizations, up to a point; that point means (a) they have to abide by the laws of the land (no hate-promotion allowed), and (b) they don't get to dictate policy. The Catholic Church (or any of its fundie cousins) doesn't get to make public school curricula anti-abortion, homophobic, or birth-control-free as a condition for helping the poor, etc. Letting religion in the door is the first smear of grease on a slippery slope to exactly that, and many another unholy mess that a public institution should be free from.

'nother thing: Religious displays in the rotunda may be all well and good, but which ones will ultimately pass muster? Somehow, I don't expect to see Wicca represented as one of the "faith communities" that Rossi and others claim they'll be opening the doors to. Never mind that the Christians stole the "Christmas" tree from us greenery-worshipping pagans...

2. The Fucking Teabaggers. I won't yell "Leave Roger Ebert alone!"; he can defend himself just fine (and has done so already). I will, however, say only this: Have you motherfuckers no shame? (I'm glaring particularly hard at YOU, Caleb Fucking Howe. You want ugly, just consult your own mirror. Best comment, courtesy "Facebones": "Be sure to tell your grandkids how you fought tyranny by making fun of a man with no jaw.")

3. Sarah Fucking Palin. Shouldn't she first graduate from law school before pronouncing as to what the source of laws should be? Or would that interfere with her (as usual) factually-challenged interpretation of things?

4. Ezra Fucking Levant. Someone please teach this shrieker what reading comprehension is. And how to exercise it on a full book, not just a mildly-erroneous article in the Toronto Star--which, even when mistaken, is still a better publication than anything he ever shat out.

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Time to trade that soggy diaper for big-boy pants, Ezra!

5. Tom Fucking Friedman. Another Johnny who can read but can't comprehend, can't think, and can't write for shit, much less add up two and two. Somehow, no matter how he tries, he always ends up with five. In short, a buttload of neoliberal crapaganda. Big Brother would love him. Too bad nobody else can make head nor ass of what he says.

6. Giorgio Fucking Mammoliti. Another godbag who wants to turn Toronto City Hall into a Catholic outpost. Jesus Christ, you have GOT to do something with your self-professed followers--your fan club has the biggest bunch of dweebs I've ever seen.

7. Steve Fucking King. Don't ask, don't tell--isn't that the gist of his "advice" for Teh Gheyz? By that token, women should all stay home, and blacks should bleach their skin to look whiter, etc. Yeah, "just be quiet" is a great strategy--just ask the Jews how it worked out for them in Nazi Germany.

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8. Tony Fucking Perkins deserves a dishonorable mention, too. Since when are all gays cross-dressers? Most of the ones I know are either butch, or very guy-next-door, and none of them wear women's clothing except at Halloween.

9. Derrick Fucking Snowdy. He kept us in suspense...for WHAT, again? Oh yeah, that's right...NOTHING. No wonder he's $13 million in debt. I'm guessing that as a private dick, one has to rack up a lot of dissatisfied customers to go that deep in the hole. PS: He pooped on CK's blog, too. He's not very forthcoming there, either--guess that was a preview of things NOT to come. Have a few more laughs at his expense here.

10. Mark Fucking Zuckerberg, again. Seems that tricking people into giving up more info than they want to give is nothing new to the Boy Wonder of Facebook. And neither is mocking them or their concerns. Or direct invasion of privacy, come to that! Such a charming kid. (I foresee an early death by bankruptcy, not all of it financial in nature.)

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11. Elliot Fucking Schrage. "If you're not comfortable sharing, don't." Way to NOT address Facebook users' privacy concerns, dude. Explain to us again why we're supposed to trust so much data to you and Mark. And please speak slowly and loudly, so as to be heard over all the derisive laughter and skepticism.

12. Vic Fucking Toews. He wants to reinstate the word "rape" in our Criminal Code. (The word historically has more to do with property theft than sexual abuse, BTW--just read Alexander Pope sometime.) And he wants "sexual assault" done away with...not because the term is vague, as he claims (it isn't), but because it makes clear that sex organs can be weapons or targets of an assault. And because it's just a tee-tiny tad too inclusive for his adulterous liking, one gets the unpleasant feeling. (The woman he impregnated and got divorced over was a flunky on the Hill. Things that make you go hmmm.)

BTW, this should shock Vic, who is obviously pig-ignorant of a good many things: rape and rapture are cognates. Both come from the Latin word for "to take by force".

13. and 14. Bev Fucking Oda and Rona Fucking Ambrose. Watch this and see why:

Two well-programmed fembots, well programmed to betray REAL women everywhere by talking about unrelated subjects when they can't defend the Tory anti-choice line, and they know it. Easily pwned by Gilles Duceppe, who did it in translation, even. That's why.

15. Helena Fucking Guergis. And speaking of well-programmed fembots, isn't it touching how Helena Handbasket just automatically defends her abusers, instead of sticking it to them like a real feminist would? All Tory women must really be from Stepford. Almost lost in the shuffle is her coyly backhanded admission that yes, Rahim Fucking Jaffer--her husband, the ex-MP for some hick-ass riding out in Alberta--DID use her office as a back door to Parliament Hill...and, most likely, free government money for his shady pals and their busty hookers.

16. Ralph Fucking Klein. Yes, I know he's out of power now. But he's still a wanker for privatizing to (he claimed at the time) cut costs, only to have the taxpayers of Alberta fund his bullshit mistakes--by bailing them out at MUCH more than it would have cost to just keep PUBLIC hospitals open. (He's a wanker for having his own TV game show, too.)

17. Stephen Fucking Harper. Surprise! He's a cold, cynical, political calculating machine. (Like we couldn't have guessed just by looking--or watching Craig Lauzon's very apt, robotic parodies of him.) So what's new? Well, all that God-talk, according to Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star. Harpo says it's because he had kids, but that's bunkum; I've got two nieces, a nephew, and another little nevvy (gender as yet unknown) on the way, and I don't talk like that. Neither do my sisters and their husbands, who are the parents of said kids. I guess there must be something wrong with all of us, because we just don't believe in deceiving the little ones. And, tangentially, because we don't govern in the name of the CRAP party.

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And finally, to all the fucking wankers who bussed all those Catholic school kids to Parliament Hill for that "massive" anti-choice rally when the kids should have been in school, learning REAL facts. Maybe Ontario's taxpayers should demand their money back (which should only be going into the public school system anyway) and force Catholic schools to charge fees directly to the parents of their students, like they did in the good old days. Clearly that PUBLIC money is being wasted on the teaching of rank superstition in lieu of science and social studies. While we're at it, maybe all Canadians should demand their tax money back--or withhold next year's payment until Fucking Harpo returns what he gave to all those bible translators and other fucking fundies. There may not be a formal church/state separation in Canada, but neither is there a formal church/state connection. Nor should there be. Some of us remember that. Those who don't, have a geranium in their collective cranium. I have one thing to say to all of you:

Good night, and get fucked!

Chavecito meets oppo governors

Just tweeted in by Luigino Bracci, the popular Venezuelan journo-blogger, this linky. Guess what I found when I clicked on it?

Yep...a whole lot of pics of Chavecito smiling and shaking hands with...the OPPOSITION. Doesn't he look scary and dictatorial? And don't they look threatened?

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Yep, they're just all wetting their pants.

According to the report, Henry Falcón, who "jumped the fence" recently (from supporting Chavecito to opposing him) "did not go near the group".

Meanwhile, Luigino tweets:

Que bolas, @hcapriles también me bloqueó! Y cómo le haré llegar mis quejas y reclamos como habitante del estado Miranda?

Translation: What balls, Henrique Capriles just blocked me, too! Now how will I make complaints as a resident of the state of Miranda?

Ha ha. I guess Capriles (he's the one in the flag jacket) isn't up on this whole responsive-politics thing. Meanwhile, the 'Cito most certainly IS:

Merida, May 10th, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - In response to the huge amount of messages the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has been receiving via his twitter account, he has announced a special mission to be able to respond to them all.

On Friday Chavez announced the creation of the social mission "ChavezCandanga", named after his twitter account, and on Saturday he announced the creation of a special fund for the mission, a fund which would be orientated towards "areas of priority like health or housing".

"Look at this, it's really like an avalanche, so I've decided to create Mission Chavez Candanga to attend to and provide responses to everyone", Chavez wrote on his twitter account, referring to the large number of requests he was receiving. The mission involves a team of 200 people to process the requests, denunciations, and other comments.

ABN reports that in just over a week the president received 54,000 messages, and the news site recounted a number of stories of people who had written to the president's twitter account and quickly been contacted and received a response and help.

Chavez reported that half the "tweets" he received were messages of support, 18.4% were "unfavourable" messages, 13.2% were requests for help, and 9.98% were denunciations of problems. He receives a lot of requests for help related to health, work and study, and even people reporting holes in roads.

Such is life for the most popular tweeter in Venezuela. Maybe that's why Henrique "Commie Shirt" Capriles will never become president...or any of those other oppos, either. They're too busy trying to figure out new ways to wall themselves off from the citizenry and go on conducting old-style politics.

I don't expect to hear anything from the anglo whore media about how they're full of fresh new ideas and enthusiasm; only more monkey-screech about how Chavecito's "Misson Chávez Candanga" is somehow going to do away with Venezuelan democracy altogether.

As though it actually existed before he came along. And as though these old holdovers from that era knew what it was.

Or these silly anglo media whores either, for that matter.

May 14, 2010

Teh Heterostoopid: How NOT to do target practice

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I believe this qualifies as "reckless endangerment". (It certainly would if he were facing down an actual enemy.)

Quotable: Albert Einstein on age, youth and activism

"I believe that older people who have scarcely anything to lose ought to be willing to speak out in behalf of those who are young and who are subject to much greater restraint."

--Albert Einstein, in a letter to Queen Mother Elizabeth, during the McCarthy era. Einstein was the leading public intellectual in the US to take a stand against McCarthy-Hoover witch hunts.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo in Paraguay

Evo's in Asunción today. The occasion? The 199th anniversary of Paraguayan independence from Spain. The cause? Latin American solidarity.

And of course, he got a warm reception from his amigo, Lugo:

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...who, like Evo, knows how to rock a no-collar, no-tie suit.

May 13, 2010

Wouldn't it be great if everybody had a gun?

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Sing along with me!

"Nobody would get shot--cuz everybody'd have a gun!"

Stupid Sex Tricks: That's not what's meant...

...by "going at it like bunnies":

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And srsly, that is a LOUSY method of foreplay.

And it makes perfect panini, too

The iPad: an ideal toy for driving your kitty crazy.

May 12, 2010

Quotable: Noam Chomsky on anti-government propaganda

"Encouraging anti-tax sentiment has long been a staple of business propaganda. People must be indoctrinated to hate and fear the government, for good reasons: Of the existing power systems, the government is the one that in principle, and sometimes in fact, answers to the public and can constrain the depredations of private power.

"However, anti-government propaganda must be nuanced. Business of course favors a powerful state that works for multinationals and financial institutions--and even bails them out when they destroy the economy.

"But in a brilliant exercise in doublethink, people are led to hate and fear the deficit. That way, business's cohorts in Washington may agree to cut benefits and entitlements like Social Security (but not bailouts).

"At the same time, people should not oppose what is largely creating the deficit--the growing military budget and the hopelessly inefficient privatized healthcare system.

"It is easy to ridicule how Joe Stack and others like him articulate their concerns, but it's far more appropriate to understand what lies behind their perceptions and actions at a time when people with real grievances are being mobilized in ways that pose no slight danger to themselves and to others."

--Noam Chomsky, "Rustbelt Rage"

May 11, 2010

We are all Greeks now, or soon will be

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"Arrival of Lord Byron at Missolonghi", by Theodoros P. Vryzakis, 1861. National Gallery of Athens, Greece. The English Romantic poet sailed with his own fleet of ships as an aid agent of the London Committee in December of 1823, and stayed on to fight, eventually leading a Greek brigade. Four months after his arrival, he died of a fever at Missolonghi while preparing to launch an attack.

The isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,--

Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But all, except their sun, is set.

--Lord Byron, "The Isles of Greece"

Lord Byron was either nearly two hundred years ahead of his time with that pronouncement, or else history is now by way of repeating itself, amplified. The struggle for Greek independence of Byron's day looks pale now in comparison to what lies ahead. Back then, it was only the Ottoman Empire the Greeks were up against. Today it's a vaster, more nebulous, and infinitely more bloodthirsty one, that of international capital.

Yeah, hi, it's me again. The pissed-off pedantic dissident of crapitalism has another axe to grind. And it's going to get swung over Greece--as far afield as Germany, France and even a whack or two at the good ol' Yankee military-industrial complex. You may want to grab yourself a big bottle of retsina, or ouzo, and a plate of Kalamata olives before you read on; this one's not for taking on an empty stomach. Plus, you may need something to throw when all this is over, although I doubt you'll be shouting "Opa!"

Y'okay. Let's begin.

Over at Ten Percent, blog-buddy Rick B has some good insights into the situation:

The quote 'inability of the Greek government to live within its means' is such a poisonous falsehood, as if financial institutions did not for years bribe key people into endless debt restructuring not because it helped them but because it made money for the banks. This is a merry game played by elites with the costs passed onto those not allowed to participate, yet the besuited oligarchs have the chutzpah to project their irresponsibility onto their victims. This is a rescue package within the rules of the game, better than what could have happened but ultimately it prolongs the scam. Neoliberalism, does not work, financialisation in place of actual productivity does not work (excuse the pun), capitalism unregulated and unconstrained does not work, Adam Smith was actually very clear on that despite what Randroids and laissez faire fundamentalists prefer to read into his works (by current standards he'd be labeled a socialist by corporate media). What we are seeing is a rolling breakdown of systems of human activity because we are serving the economy not making the economy serve us.

Right on, Rick, and you'll get no arguments from me. For the banksters to call the Greeks, along with the Irish, the Portuguese and the Spanish "PIGS", is gross projection from the overfed slop slurpers at the global trough. It's not the pampered people of those countries who are to blame; it's their lousy leaders, who opened the markets to foreign capital. Alas, it's the citizens who must reap what the politicians sowed, and of course, it's all tares; the banksters have already made off with the wheat. An economy where people serve capital, rather than the other way 'round, is one doomed to fail for all but those who have always had more than they could possibly have known what to do with anyway. A pity capitalism can't die of clogged arteries half as easily as its fat-assed proponents--being inanimate, it's infinitely capable of being resurrected by Victor Frankenstein and his electroshock machine!

I did promise to tell you what the role of the Germans in all this was, and I keep my word. So here's the ugly rotten maggoty meat of the matter, via Defense News:

France and Germany, while publicly urging Greece to make harsh public spending cuts, bullied its government to confirm billions of euros in arms deals, a leading Euro-MP alleged Friday.

Franco-German lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit said that Paris and Berlin are seeking to force Prime Minister George Papandreou to spend Greece's scarce cash on submarines, a fleet of warships, helicopters and war planes.

[...]

"It's incredible the way the Merkels and Sarkozys of this world treat a Greek prime minister," he declared, adding that Papandreou had recently met Sarkozy and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Paris.

"Mr. Fillon and Mr. Sarkozy told Mr. Papandreou: 'We're going to raise the money to help you, but you are going to have to continue to pay the arms contracts that we have with you'," Cohn-Bendit said.

"In the past three months we have forced Greece to confirm several billion dollars in arms contracts. French frigates that the Greeks will have to buy for 2.5 billion euros. Helicopters, planes, German submarines."

Despite its economic woes, which recently deepened spectacularly when its credit rating was downgraded, Greece is one of Europe's biggest arms buyers, seeking to keep pace with its regional rival Turkey.

See why I'm angry? I'm a Bad German; "Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles" is just the old Nazi version of the national anthem, as far as I'm concerned, and I have about as much use for that sentiment as I do for the Nazis. And since my mom's side of the family is from the Rheinland-Pfalz, right next to what's now Alsace-Lorraine, the tiny little soupçon of French blood I got from her means I'm also très fâchée about the whole steaming heap of merde coming from Sarko. This makes me hang my head about my ancestry, and doubt seriously of the goodness of humanity on the whole. Epic internationalist FAIL!

The only Greek I have is two years' worth of the ancient university stuff, just enough to foolishly convince me that I could almost translate Sappho if I wanted to, but like her poetry, it's very fragmentary. Greek history is what I'm now learning on the fly, also by snips and snaps. But it doesn't take a historian to see how stupid this whole arms race is. Greece is in the EU; last time I checked, Turkey was also, or well on its way to it. There is no logical (that's Greek) reason for an arms race between the two countries. And if it came down to it, Canada wouldn't be able to supply peacekeepers to get them off each other's throats, as it did in Cyprus. Our troops are too busy now making the world safe for pipelines capitalism "democracy" (another Greek word, and notice that I put it in quotes) in Afghanistan, don'cha know?

Meanwhile, Truthout has some good stuff on the Greek crisis and the growing resistance thereto. First, a little insight from a French analyst, Maurice Ulrich, of l'Humanité:

There are those who call for political unity in Europe right now, without which, they say, there will be no salvation. But to carry out which policies? What's come to the fore, today is the extreme noxiousness of a liberal Europe for its people. In the race for free and undistorted competition the poorest countries could only keep up with the richest by social dumping. The richest countries could only compete by playing on the same field. The message Europe is giving to Greece today - the same one it will give to Spain and Portugal tomorrow - is that the only way to keep in with a liberal Europe is to shatter salaries, pensions, and public services. But who really believes that tomorrow, or after tomorrow, our very own public services, pensions and salaries will be able resist?

[...]

What's happening in Greece isn't a fluke. Even as the media incriminate, and not without justification, the policies of Greek leaders, we must remember that they were aided and abetted by the very same players who now want to strip Greece of its hide and make a golden fleece. It's only the first of the crises that this capitalist Europe has in store for us. And it's precisely this Europe that we have to change. We want a Europe of cooperation, a different role for the European Central Bank (ECB), and we want the ECB to lend to Greece at 1% interest. It's what our petition calls for, a call that has been widely heard and one that must be amplified.

As Marx himself said: the free worker who goes to the free market to sell his hide 'has to expect to get it tanned.' The same is true for the people on liberal Europe's great competitive market. Yes. Now is the time to start resisting, to start working towards another kind of Europe. Now is the time to call up the people.

Then, sociologist Jean Ziegler, interviewed by the same French publication:

Caramanlis' right-wing government, which preceded the current PASOK (socialist) government, was a machine for systematically pillaging the country's resources. As in a banana republic, Greece's resources were privatized on a large scale even while tax evasion became massive. A reliable estimate by Swiss banks puts Greek tax-evading capitals in Swiss banks alone at 36 billion euro. In addition to this, some of the largest Greek ship-owners transferred their headquarters abroad: first among them, the biggest, namely Latsis, moved its own to Versoix near Geneva.

The scandalous end-result of all this is that the onus of paying heavily for the State's quasi-bankruptcy now falls on the Greek people, on Greek workers, while the ruling classes themselves have taken the precaution of transferring almost all their fortune abroad. The Greek public debt stands at 112% of the country's GDP.

[...]

With the European tax-payers' money (in the euro-area's fifteen countries and in Switzerland), draconian conditions are imposed on the Greek people. Under the guise of rescuing the country, the resources of whose State were pillaged by the previous, right-wing government, the rescuers make them suffer a considerable social backlash (a wage freeze, cuts in social benefits, in the number of public workers) and more privatizations - which has the advantage of bailing out the big European banks that were massively involved. This actually gives Europe and its financial institutions an opportunity to dismantle the Greek social welfare even though PASOK has been voted into office on a social justice platform.

[...]

The Europeans and the ECB could have lent funds to Greece at an exceptionally low rate to enable the country to meet its obligations in a short time. Instead, Greece was forced to choose between either borrowing at very high rates or accepting the EU and IMF's plan and the economic strings attached to it. Greece was reluctant to submit to the unacceptable conditions imposed by the EU and the IMF and had been hoping to get loans by itself on the international market. All it took to prevent this was for Standard and Poors, one of the private rating agencies, to lower its rating of the Greek State's solvency. And immediately Greece was barred access to the free capital market, or only at prohibitive rates of interest (almost 20%). Greece was left with no other choice but to submit to the conditions laid down in the EU and IMF's plan.

What gives me some heart in the midst of this massive Beschiss is the fact that the loudest internationalist voices against it are all, if their names are any indication, Franco-German (or Germano-French) leftists. People who are ethnically and ethically (woo! more Greek!) a lot like me, in other words.

And this leads me to the recent regional elections in Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW). That's the most populous of the 16 German "lands" (states), and it also happens to be where my dad's side of the family hails from. The state recently dealt rightist Angela Merkel a huge bitch-slap by electing the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) to the Bundesrat (upper house of the German parliament; the Bundestag is the lower). The Greens also doubled their percentage of the NRW vote over last time, and the socialist Left party is making its debut in the parliament thanks to this vote. All in all, it's a heavy blow to the CDU/CSU and the so-called "grand coalition", and it's gonna make it that much harder for Merkel to shove anything else filthy down Germany's collective throat.

So what motivated this heavy hitter among German lands to tack portside? The Greek crisis, and the fact that Angela Merkel decided to pillage German social services in order to make that hyper-conditional "bailout", i.e., to force the Greeks to buy all that aforementioned military hardware. Germans like their social services as much as we Canadians, go figure--and they are not at all impressed by international crapital taking a pound of flesh from those who are already skin and bones.

Of course, the major Anglo-Amurrican media (especially the bizmedia morons) deliberately choose to misinterpret the situation as merely a matter of Merkel being a weak sister, missing the overbearing crapitalist tyrant angle entirely (or worse, praising it.) All of them have one thing in common: they blame the Greeks, leaving out entirely the military-industrial angle. And no wonder: if they had to point the finger at the correct culprit, three more accusing fingers would be pointing right back at them in England and the US.

Who do you think started this damn snowball rolling, anyway? France? Germany? Gimme a break. As strong as the German economy has long been, historically, it's been sucked dry by two far bigger leeches than the so-called PIGS. The exsanguination of the German economy is the dirty little secret of London and New York during the Roaring Twenties. Bankers and stockbrokers, not Jews, were the real collective enemy of the Weimar Republic. They were, as Ike Eisenhower found out to his chagrin, also backing the collective enemy of the United States, relying on an endless weapons shopping spree to keep the economy rolling their way. But since it's hard to identify them just by looking, and they're well enough off to laugh at anyone who tries to make them wear a badge of shame, they'll never be rounded up and sent off to get a taste of their own medicine...

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...more's the pity. Because if true justice prevailed, they'd be the ones forced to eternally work off the debt they created, for slaves' wages. Or to put it more poetically, they'd be made to roll that stone endlessly up a hill, like Sisyphus in Hades, never reaching the top.

Meanwhile, Lord Byron is stirring in his grave. And the Greek Resistance is rising, phoenix-like, from its own pyre...I dare to hope. But unless we all join in, it will be as futile as the one Lord Byron tried so bravely to lead.

We are all Greeks now, or soon will be.

'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,

Though link'd among a fetter'd race,

To feel at least a patriot's shame,

Even as I sing, suffuse my face;

For what is left the poet here?

For Greeks a blush---for Greece a tear.


Gee thanks, Dubya--FOR NOTHING. Love, Uganda.

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A typical USAID-sponsored anti-AIDS ad in Uganda; it tackles sex, not ignorance, and certainly not microbes. This is the "miracle" that was touted so highly just a few years ago. Now look how it's falling apart...

Uganda is the first and most obvious example of how the war on global AIDS is falling apart.

The last decade has been what some doctors call a "golden window" for treatment. Drugs that once cost $12,000 a year fell to less than $100, and the world was willing to pay.

In Uganda, where fewer than 10,000 were on drugs a decade ago, nearly 200,000 now are, largely as a result of American generosity. But the golden window is closing.

Uganda is the first country where major clinics routinely turn people away, but it will not be the last. In Kenya next door, grants to keep 200,000 on drugs will expire soon. An American-run program in Mozambique has been told to stop opening clinics. There have been drug shortages in Nigeria and Swaziland. Tanzania and Botswana are trimming treatment slots, according to a report by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders.

The collapse was set off by the global recession's effect on donors, and by a growing sense that more lives would be saved by fighting other, cheaper diseases. Even as the number of people infected by AIDS grows by a million a year, money for treatment has stopped growing.

So much for global capitalism and all its miracles. So much for "letting the market take care of it"! The market hasn't taken care of squat, since it was government money, not the market, that financed the only thing that's staved off a massive die-off--by providing condoms and drugs.

Then, in 2008, just as Dubya's reign of terrorism was drawing to a close, so was his experiment in unregulated capitalism. The markets collapsed, and with them, funding for AIDS drugs in the Third World. Now that governmental belt-tightening is in vogue, expect that massive die-off to start at any time. So, thanks for nothing, Invisible Hand of the Deregulated Market. Some fucking miracle YOU made!

And here's another nothing to thank Dubya for. Even as the markets were being deregulated, hyper-regulation of human behavior was in vogue. Look how that panned out:

And, most devastating of all, old-fashioned prevention has flopped. Too few people, particularly in Africa, are using the "ABC" approach pioneered here in Uganda: abstain, be faithful, use condoms.

Remember that? It was touted out the wazoo just a few short years ago. Here, let me refresh your memory:

After all, it was the ABC approach and a policy of openness inspired by President Yoweri Museveni which helped Uganda perform well in the fight against HIV/Aids compared to other countries.

Many African governments have fared miserably in attempting to counter the HIV pandemic, with devastating consequences.

By comparison, Uganda has performed well in bringing down the HIV prevalence to around 6%. In many parts of the country, it was at least three times as high during the early 1990s.

Alas, that useful message was already being diluted in favor of abstinence (at guess-whose behest):

Until a few months ago, a free magazine promoting safe sex was distributed to secondary schools by a non-profit organisation.

But this recently became controversial and faith-based organisations were concerned the magazine was encouraging sex.

As a result, the magazine has been ditched, and that avenue for getting the safe sex message to the students has now gone.

The head of guidance and counselling at Kitante Hill school, Samuel Along, is concerned that the safe sex message is not getting through.

"I have seen students at the school pairing up. They come and talk to me and I begin realising they have sexually transmitted diseases. And if we have been insisting on abstinence, don't you think there is a very good possibility they have not used a condom?"

I'd say it was virtually inevitable. The abstinence message is "condoms don't work, so don't bother; just don't have sex!" But how realistic is that in a poor country like Uganda, where prostitution is the only way for so many women (and girls) to make a living?

And let's not rule out a lack of education; a lot of people who don't even know what the word "sex" means, are having it. Unsafely, of course. For a living. And their survival job is killing them.

This is a respectable secondary school in the Ugandan capital where there is good access to information.

But the majority of young Ugandans do not make it beyond primary school and in a country where most people live on less than $1 a day, the link between poverty and sex is strong.

Rogers Kasirye works in the slums of Kampala with street children and teenage prostitutes. Poverty has forced many of them into taking risks.

"It is an economic problem. Many of the young people we are working with are surviving on sex, and the only option or barrier they have is the condom."

Naturally, condoms were the first thing that hit the chopping block when Dubya decided to push his fundamentalist anti-sex agenda:

Whilst churches are pushing the abstinence message, not all religious leaders are happy with President Bush.

Reverend Gideon Byamugisha is HIV-positive and he hopes the US will carefully assess the way in which it influences policy in Uganda.

"We are still hopeful that America, being a strong and well-meaning country, will not go down in history as a country which exported ideas at the expense of people's free will to choose."

Unfortunately, five years later, we know the answer. And it is not what the good Reverend had hoped...

Earlier this week the popular American religious fundamentalist Lou Engle took the stage in front of over 1,300 people at Makerere University in Uganda. He was speaking in the country as the organizer of TheCall Uganda, an event billed as "a gathering of fasting and prayer to confess our personal and national sins."

In reality, the event was a rabid defense of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which seeks to make being gay a capital crime.

Engle's organization TheCall -- which first gained national and worldwide fame as one of the loudest proponents of California's Prop 8 -- denied knowing anything about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill when it was first invited to Uganda. Engle even issued a press release before his event promising that he wouldn't promote the measure on the stage.

Of course, that was a lie. And the Ugandans fell for it, hook, line and sinker:

Pastor John Mulinde of Trumpet Church, in his prayer, condemned evils in society done by both homosexuals and heterosexuals. He emphasized that homosexuality is in schools, families, and the entire community. He also pointed out that many children are being deceived with school fees from homosexuals and recruit them into the act.

Pastor Lou Engle from America noted that he didn't know by the time of his invitation to Uganda that there was a homosexuality bill. He went ahead to emphasize that it is the Western World using non-government organizations to promote homosexuality. He warned the youth in the crowd that when America allowed homosexuals freedom it was the end of their nation.

He [Engle] called upon the government of Uganda to be firm and hold on its righteous stand against the evil. He mentioned that homosexuals have penetrated the educational system and Ugandans must be aware of the evil. He also lectured about how God planned marriage only between man and woman and that marriage is for procreation.

Honorable Minister of Ethics Nsaba Buturu was worse. He spoke out against homosexuality, saying that for those who think it's a human right issue 'Uganda cannot listen to that nonsense.' He asked the audience to pray for president Museveni and his government to maintain their firms stand against evil in our society.

Pastor Mulinde then called his fellow pastor to come forward and pray for Buturo and Bahati and the government to continue with their crusade against homosexuality.

US faith-based "aid" in action. See how well that works? While they pray...and prey...people are gonna die either way.

Uganda's efforts against HIV/AIDS were successful as long as A (abstinence) and B (being faithful) were buttressed by C (condoms). When Plan C was axed, A and B also fell apart. And Kill-the-Gays isn't going to work any better, given that the vast majority of Ugandan AIDS cases are the result of heterosexual intercourse.

But hey. Between death by homophobia and death by bean counting, I'm sure they'll have that crisis licked in no time...

According to the Uganda AIDS Commission, the lifetime bill for treating one Ugandan AIDS patient, counting drugs, tests and medical salaries, is $11,500.

Donors have decided that is too much, that more lives can be saved by concentrating on child-killers like stillbirth, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles and tetanus. Cures for those killers, like antibiotics, mosquito nets, rehydration salts, water filters, shots and deworming pills, cost $1 to $10.

Under its new Global Health Initiative, the Obama administration has announced plans to shift its focus to mother-and-child health. The AIDS budget was increased by only 2 percent.

The British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also said they would focus support on mother-child health.

...if only because one way or another, all the victims will be dead. Because new replacements are constantly being born, and they're cheaper too. And scratching a hole in the ground for the corpses is the cheapest "solution" of all.

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Bumper sticker du jour

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Thanks to Tigana Too.

Headline Howler: Holy shit

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The second coming has come...and surprise, he's a mere mortal after all!

May 10, 2010

Short 'n' Stubby: Ms. Manx visits Kent State

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Full disclosure: Ms. Manx was still litter-training when Kent State went down. She was also living in Northern Ontario at the time, and hadn't heard of it till much, much later. But she thinks it's still relevant in light of the times we live in (Free Speech Zones of Muskoka, the Stumpy Cat is glaring at YOU.) So it's with how little has really changed in mind that she would like to bring to your attention the following:

Lots of people still haz a bit of Teh Stoopid about Kent State. To wit, USA Today:

...a campus that unwillingly became synonymous with protest...

Uh, try "synonymous with VIOLENT CRACKDOWNS AGAINST protest", lame writer. Every US university campus, other than the most hardcore conservative, was at that time synonymous with protest against the Vietnam war, and universities in general have been so for as long as there have been foolish old farts who make bad policies for younger, wiser souls to protest against. To single out Kent State as a lone anti-war protest hotspot like this is ludicrous. And if you want to know what the biggest institution in the US to protest the war was, get this: It was the military itself.

More stoopid: Robert C. Cheeks, a hard-right-wing Catholic who praised the Kent State murders in the name of "order". The coward has since deleted his crap, but Beliefnet's pagan blogger, Gus diZerega, sets the record straight and delivers a fab-tabulous spanking.

And speaking of fab-tabulous spankings for craven historical revisionists (and all others touting the discredited line about how the National Guard fired on unarmed protesters and bystanders for the sake of "order"), how about this? Scientific analysis confirms that they were ordered by superiors to prepare to fire, regardless of any lack of aggression on the part of the victims. Nixon was not only escalating the war in Southeast Asia, but also on freedom of speech back home. Alan Canfora, one of the wounded survivors of the massacre, is now using this evidence as basis for a new investigation of the crime. Let's hope he succeeds!

And while you're at it, the Truth Tribunal website is a good place to visit and learn about the ongoing search for facts about Kent State. What's truly appalling is that even now, 40 years after the fact, all the facts are still not a matter of public record. Let's hope that changes, too.

Finally, if your blood is easily boiled, don't click this link. But if you can convert that energy to righteous action, DO CLICK IT.

Quotable: Sir Bob Geldof on NOT shutting the fuck up

"Annoy your friends. And REALLY ANNOY the G-8 Members!! Talk & write & communicate to everyone about the total Maternal Child Health Initiative that must be instituted at Canada's G8 & G-20"

--Sir Bob Geldof

May 9, 2010

Happy Birth Control Pill Day!

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Courtesy of the New York Times, something that isn't whorish, for a change. Gail Collins writes:

This is by way of saying that on Sunday we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill. We live in troubled times. [...]

Like a great many of our anniversaries, this one is a movable feast. The Food and Drug Administration actually gave G.D. Searle the go-ahead to market the first oral contraceptive (not counting bees) on June 23, 1960. But the F.D.A. announced its intention to approve the pill on May 9, which also happens to be Mother's Day this year and, therefore, too good to resist.

I can hear all the fundies screeching already. How can one celebrate, on holy, sacred Mother's Day of all days, a pill that made motherhood merely optional, rather than de rigueur as it had been until then? Sacrilege!

Well, I guess the fundies have their piddling little right to be shocked, shocked! that the pesky thing that's been keeping them from filling their quivers is now fifty years old and still showing no signs of dying. They also have a perfect right not to use it themselves. But they have no right to deny it to others.

And there are plenty of others. Women have been trying to avoid compulsory motherhood, and to plan when and if they had children, since time immemorial. Birth control has saved women's lives, and by limiting family size (meaning more food to divide among fewer mouths), has done wonders for the lives and well-being of children, too. Malthus knew it, and had the temerity to say so. Even in the prissy, motherhood-glorifying Victorian era, birth control was a subterranean industry of remarkable proportions:

American women had been limiting the size of their families long before the pill came along. In the 19th century, the fertility rate was plummeting, and ads for everything from condoms to douching syringes helped keep urban newspapers solvent. My favorite factoid from this period is that a company called National Syringe offered a model with changeable nozzles so it could be used for both birth control and watering plants.

Fertility (for plants) and infertility (for the women who tend the plants) in one device! O, the irony.

But wait, it gets even better--and more deliciously ironic:

The powers-that-be believed that the only appropriate form of birth control was celibacy. "Can they not use self control?" demanded Anthony Comstock, the powerful crusader for the Sexual Purity campaign. "Or must they sink to the level of the beasts?"

Comstock managed to get New York authorities to grant him the powers to both arrest and censor, and he bragged that he sent 4,000 people to jail for helping women understand, and use, birth control. He seemed to take particular pleasure in the fact that 15 of them had committed suicide.

One of his targets was Margaret Sanger, a nurse who wrote a sex education column, "What Every Girl Should Know," for a left-wing New York newspaper, The Call. When Comstock banned her column on venereal disease, the paper ran an empty space with the title: "What Every Girl Should Know: Nothing, by Order of the U.S. Post Office."

Sanger was the first person to publish an evaluation of all the available forms of birth control. As a reward, she got a criminal obscenity charge. She fled to Europe to avoid going to jail, and her husband was imprisoned for passing out one of her pamphlets. In the end, he got 30 days, and Anthony Comstock got a chill during the trial that led to a fatal case of pneumonia.

Ha, ha. Pardon me if I don't have even a crocodile tear to shed for the blessed Anthony of Comstock, the martyred patron saint of sex-hatred and censorship. The man who tried to put a chill on women's efforts to limit their family size without celibacy, dead of a chill himself in the glorious golden age Before Penicillin! Too bad there was no pill to save him. One wonders if he'd have been as zealous about trying to stop research and information regarding antibiotics as he was when it came to contraception.

And here's another irony: it's "the level of the beasts" at which you find sex for procreation only. Humans are the among the few animals who don't have an estrus cycle. Meaning, we can have sex at any time, fertile or not. For us, it must therefore serve a purpose, or several purposes, not linked to reproduction. So Comstock was a bad scientist, among all else. There was no Jane Goodall yet to set him straight.

But Margaret Sanger outlived him, and persisted, and today we have her to thank. I thank her, in particular, for the fact that my period, which had gone haywire after an accident, could be made regular again. And for the fact that I bypassed fertility altogether during the so-called peak of my fertile years (which felt like a nadir to me), and was able to get my tubes tied without incident afterward. My own dear mother had six kids, and used birth control to make sure they did not become a dozen or two (or more, Bog help us all).

So even large families can give some thanks to the early advocates of family planning that they're not larger--or living in a house with its own graveyard of lost babies, as was commonplace not so long ago. In Canada, we know the value of our birth control, and we like it...and those of us who know and like it best, thank that true saint from just to the south of us for doing her time in martyrdom so that we could all be free. Blessed be the name of Margaret Sanger!

Meanwhile, just to the south of us, there's still a war a-waging:

And we lived happily ever after. Except that over the last 20 years, protests from the social right have made politicians frightened of mentioning birth control and school boards frightened of including it in the curriculum.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, remembers getting a pretty thorough grounding in sex and the ways to prevent pregnancy when she was in school -- back in the days when the raciest thing you saw on television was Rob and Laura Petrie waking up in twin beds on the opposite side of the room. "Kids growing up today watch 'Gossip Girl' and all these shows where every teenager is having sex every day -- and now we don't teach sex education in school," she noted.

Even though 100 million women take the pill every day, to the great relief of 100 million or so of their partners, the terror of mentioning birth control is so great that the humongous new health care reform act has managed to avoid bringing it up at all. Advocates are hoping that when the regulations are finally written, they will require health insurance to cover birth control pills like any other drug. But nobody is sure.

"If the administration would announce tomorrow that all birth control would be free for every woman in America, I think the health care plan would gain 30 points in popularity overnight," said Richards.

And the teabaggers and fundies would be out of a job, out of office, out of all real power. Now THAT would be something to celebrate.

Well, maybe if they could learn to stop protecting the drivel of the local Nazis and concentrate instead on protecting and promoting the REAL freedom of speech--the freedom to teach birth control, among other counter-oppressive things--they might just get something accomplished there. Then kids would learn the facts of life straight and undiluted from real teachers, not trashy TV shows...or precocious friends behind the bike sheds...or the hard way, as their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents often had to.

Let us pray...

Music for a Sunday: And all she had to do was step into the light

...and everyone would start to roar:

Genesis's entire Duke album was a gem; it's one I keep coming back to when I'm feeling pensive and in need of understanding. This song didn't chart over here (that honor was reserved for the more conventionally radio-friendly singles, "Misunderstanding" and "Turn It On Again"), but it's a masterpiece both for its instrumental virtuosity and its ability to tell the story of all too many pop stars who start out good, then falter.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Full Moon Fever

There are certain things you really should know better than to announce to the world. This is one of them:

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I think "Mum" forgot just how big the Internets really are.

Happy Mother's Day!

(And try not to get yourself in the family way again when there's a full moon out. Do what I do and just howl back at the coyotes instead.)

May 8, 2010

Oh, rats!

A rat gets stuck in a hole it gnawed in a compost bin. Fortunately, the Germans were there to lend a hand...

So much for the myth that rats can squeeze through any hole, no matter how small. Not when they're full of compost, they can't!

Wankers of the Week: Wank never sleeps

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Uh, dude? Money is an inanimate object. You are not. Besides, as Antonia pointed out this week, sleep deprivation is just plain old bad for you. So get some shut-eye, 'kay?

Meanwhile, here are some others who should also give it a rest...preferably for good:

1. William Fucking Kristol. Oh great! He's a "drill-baby-drill"-er. AND he wants to see rigs closer to shore, fucking everything up even more (and faster, since a spill would make landfall sooner)! It would serve him right if Bloody Pathetic decided to plant a dozen or two of them right by his favorite vacation beach, eh?

2. Gene Fucking Taylor. "Not as bad as I thought", he says. "A lot of people are scared and I don't think they should be", he says. Well, shucky darn, it's only a massive amount of oil, fouling a massive amount of seawater, and a correspondingly massive amount of shore, where a massive amount of fishing goes on. So what if local industries and wildlife habitat are ruined? It's not as bad as Gene Fucking Taylor thought, and that ought to be good enough for everyone. Please tell me this intellectual giant is up for re-election this year, I see someone just fixin' to lose.

PS: He looks just like Dubya, but blond. That might explain everything.

PPS: Bwahahahaha!

3. Fucking Americans for Job Security. Basically, they ARE fucking Americans. Up the ass. With bullshit for lube.

4. The Fucking US Chamber of Commerce. Same shit. Different assholes. Well, actually, it's a sodomizing daisy chain. See #3.

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5., 6. and 7. These three murderous little fucking bitches. Fortunately, their homophobic hate crime was caught on a cellphone cam. Especially heinous: They did it on the National Day of Silence, a day when students protest homophobia and the silencing of queer voices--some of them silenced by bullying unto death. According to the victim's mother, this attack was in connection with that. I'm sure these girls thought they were doing just the "right" thing!

8. And while we're at it, let's give a razz-out to the judge, Hendria Fucking Bailey-Lewis, for reducing the charges against these girls. And WTF is this about a lack of evidence? Are cellphone videos not admissible in court in Kenfuckingtucky?

9. Joe Fucking Arpaio. First, this open ally of neo-Nazis bullies the governor of Arizona into signing the racist legislation he endorses; now, not content or appeased, he's looking to take her seat. Here's hoping Arizonans kick him in his!

10. Nancy Fucking Ruth. "Shut the fuck up" on abortion? LIKE HELL we will! Silence=DEATH, Nancy. Didn't you learn that yet? PS: Awesomest inaugural blog entry EVER. PPS: What Pale and Judy said. PPPS: Now look what you've gone and made someone do.

11. Whoever the fuck thinks skinny jeans can't be torn off by a rapist. Oh yes, they can be removed without help--otherwise, as one of the commenters here points out, "If skinny jeans were impossible to remove alone, then nobody that couldn't afford a personal maid would wear them!" (Important factoid: ALL skinny jeans contain spandex, making them stretchy. In other words: Easy on, easy off.)

12. Jenny Beth Fucking Martin. So, there's no racism in the Teabagger movement, eh?

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Funny, Jenny, but I don't believe you!

13. Thomas Fucking Lukaszuk. "Job creation" apparently comes on the backs of minimum-wage-earning women. I'd like to say "Only in Alberta" (where women don't count for cowpatties), but seeing as our current loathsome government largely hails from thereabouts, I have an ugly feeling that bad strategy is about to be exported from the badlands.

14. Lisa Fucking Murkowski. Yeah, pollution and global warming would be GREAT for Alaska. What could possibly go wrong up there?

15. George Fucking Rekers. The thing to do on vacation, if you want to have a gay old time, is to rent a boy to handle your bag. And the two balls in it, too. Especially if you're a screaming closet case who made his bundle peddling homophobia disguised as pediatrics. PS: Oh my, isn't he cute! Yeah, I can totally see why he was hired to carry the luggage. PPS: Lame excuse is getting lamer. Yeah, I really believe it was only "ministering". Is THAT what the closet cases all call it these days? PS: Bwhahahahaha:

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Sorry, George, no forgiveness for YOU. I can't believe you're charging a dollar a pop for that drivel! Is that where you're getting the money to pay that rent-boy? Shame on you!

16. Victoria Fucking Jackson. Guess what, folkies! She's a native of Miami. That explains so much, does it not? Including her odd penchant for putting the stick on the wrong side of her teabagger protest signs. (See photo at link.) Oh, and Vicki? Your little gusano boyfriend's dad wasn't in Evil Wicked Fidel's jail for mere differences of opinion. Assuming he was real (which I strangely doubt, considering the source), he was in for a REAL crime. Like sedition or treason. A lot of Cuban Miameros' daddies are kinky little buggers who are really, really into that sort of thing.

17. J.D. Fucking Hayworth. "Enforcing federal law" suddenly entails writing your own state's repressive, decidedly non-federal legislation. Golly willikers, who knew?

18. Mary Fucking Landrieu. Yeah, that oil leak isn't such a disaster after all. It looks like shiny, rainbow-colored chocolate milk. Won't kill a single seabird. In fact, they'll probably all thrive on it, won't they, Mary?

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19. Dick Fucking Cheney. We just knew the Big Dick would have a catastrophic impact extending way beyond his time in office, and now we know what it is: "...it was Cheney's energy task force - the secretive one that he wouldn't say much about publicly - that decided that the switches, which cost $500,000, were too much a burden on the industry." Well, Biggus Dickus, they now seem pretty much a bargain compared to the cost of cleaning up all that wasted oil, don't they? Maybe you'd like to chip in to relieve BP's "burden" now, since you, your company and your energy task force are in this up to the eyeballs? And since you made such a tidy profit on Halliburton stock while you were still in office?

20. Tiger Fucking Woods. Making an obscene amount of money at golf apparently means that not only does your shit not stink, but neither does the alcohol on your breath. And it also means the cops can't bust you for driving drunk (and/or drugged). Yeah, tell me crapitalism doesn't have its great performance incentives!

21. David Fucking Vitter. He's found something new to soil his diapers about, and its initials are B and P.

22. John Fucking Baird. Does Squealer ever listen to himself? He moans about how the Liberals are supposedly dividing the country, but in fact, he's projecting his own party's strategy--separate the Western country bumpkins from the Eastern city slickers, etc. Considering how many so-called Liberals from the GTA are practically Conservatives from out West by their voting habits, Squealer may want to rewrite his crapaganda--if he's not man enough to take his damnfool accusations back. And of course, we're supposed to shut the fuck up and let this pigshit pass, too.

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(Apologies to any pigs out there who may be offended by this odious comparison.)

23. James Fucking Moore. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again--this time with a battering ram behind it? HELL NO! If you're so enamoured of US digital copyright draconianism, Mr. Moore, MOVE THERE! But don't try to dictate that we follow suit. And while you're at it, watch this YouTube to see how well that's working out for them down there.

24. and 25. Lisa Fucking Raitt and Christian Fucking Paradis. Aw, isn't it cute how obedient these two good little kids are? When Daddy Harpo tells them what to do--or rather, what not to--they don't even bother to ask how high, they just jump! Even if it means obstruction of the justice that's supposed to be coming to Rahim Fucking Jaffer. Ain't corruption and dictatorship lovely?

26. Karlheinz Fucking Schreiber. Finally we know who to blame for Lyin' Brian Fucking Mulroney's accession to power over the head of a decent man:

January 1983 - Schreiber pays to send delegates to the PC convention in Winnipeg to vote against then-party leader Joe Clark. In June, Clark loses the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party to Brian Mulroney. He later claims that some of the money was given by Franz Josef Strauss, former premier of Bavaria and chairman of Airbus Industrie, an aircraft manufacturer.

[...]

Sept. 4, 1984 - Brian Mulroney is elected Prime Minister of Canada.

Oh yeah, and that was just the BEGINNING of the Airbus Affair. We haven't even touched on the hundreds of thousands ol' Lyin' Brian was paid to keep himself in Gucci loafers--and bribed to buy Airbuses for Air Canada. And can you believe they both, along with the late Frank Fucking Moores, had the nerve to sue reporters for TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM?

One thing I do thank this smug little turd for, though, is showing just how dirty the Tories' underbelly was and still is. Of course, he's a major clump of the dirt that's on it...but he's just one clump. There are others.

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27. Stewart Fucking Rhodes. A right-wing gun nut who thinks he can rally progressives behind him...using a magical blend of fake conspiracy theories and real ones that don't actually apply to the situation as it currently stands? Uh, yeah. Keep dreaming. It's the only political power you're ever likely to reach, dude.

28. Erik Fucking Prince. Just shut the fuck up, and go the hell away. Preferably to die bankrupt and rot in your cracker swamp. Asshole.

29. Joe Fucking Lieberman. "Accidents happen", says he of the BP oil fiasco. Yeah, Joe, I bet your mom said the same thing when she learned she was pregnant with you.

30. Dennis Fucking Prager. It really chaps his ass--and that of all teabaggers--to be called on their collective racism. But hey, if bad presidenting were REALLY the reason they hate Obama, they'd have been calling for Dubya to be tarred and feathered, since he's the one that got this bad ball rolling. Where were they back then?

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Aha. Thought so.

31. Lou Fucking Engle. Srsly, I'm just waiting to hear that he was caught renting a boy in Uganda. Murderous professional homophobes are surprisingly good at that sort of thing.

32. Grover Fucking Norquist. And anyone else out there in the Douchebag Party who thinks that "teabagger" is the new "n-word". Gimme a fucking break--you people were using that term yourselves, BEFORE you knew what it meant in queerspeak. Shall I play it back to you verbatim?

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You used it first. Now stop your fucking whining, you racist douchebags.

33. Dadeus Fucking Grings. Once more, a fascist archbishop feels compelled to blame the victims. Teens are "spontaneously homosexual" and all of society is "pedophile", whatever that means. I think he's trying to blame the young jezebels again, instead of those who rape them. Because we all know priests are celibate until tempted otherwise...and of course, the church can police its own, so it doesn't have to hand its offenders over to that "pedophile" society full of "spontaneously homosexual" teens and cops! (PS: Nice holocaust denial you got there, bud.)

34. Stephen Fucking Harper. This wanker never stops wanking, not even in his sleep. Not ony is he constantly dreaming up new ways to undermine those to whom he is ideologically opposed (ridiculous, potentially disastrous funding cuts being his main method of choice), the goddamned motherfucker has the shittiest taste in music, too.

And finally, to all the above, and to any wankers out there whom I may have missed...Babs here has a lovely little ditty she'd like to sing for all you asshats. Enjoy:

Good night, and get fucked. (Except, of course, for George Fucking Rekers, who really should fall impotent for his god-awful hypocrisy.)

Hay, that could work!

Never underestimate the creative problem-solving skills of bubbas in overalls. These two good ol' boys have a literally homegrown solution that could help mop up the Gulf oil slick without chemicals or booms. You really have to see this to believe it.

And I do.

May 7, 2010

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Chavecito Tweeto

The Venezuelan tweeterverse was very boring...until along came a big red bird in a beret, who now has more followers than any other local personality on the tweeter:

A little TV spot from Venezuela. Enjoy.

PS, circa 10:05 pm: Here's how Chavecito's tweeter currently stands, one week in...

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An avalanche? Yeah, that's about right.

Short 'n' Stubby: Ms. Manx visits BP's Katrina

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Ms. Manx is very concerned about a certain blown-out oilwell in the Gulf of Mexico. To that end, she's been busily following the news by e-mail, tweeter and Facebook to bring you the latest:

A must-read blog. Chock-a-block with videos and photos of the spill. All the stuff BP no doubt doesn't want you to know.

A must-see photo (courtesy Greg Palast.) One of the earliest photos taken of the rig that started the disaster. It looks like something out of a Star Wars battle sequence!

Also from Greg Palast, some interesting links between this disaster and the Exxon Valdez one of 20 years ago.

Don't believe the hype about the Alaskan coastline being "pristine" now, either. It's still far, far from it after all this time. So much for the myth that the oil will disperse, eh?

Whom should you follow if you're on the tweeter? Well, Greg Palast is one; David Hulen is another. The latter is an Alaskan journo who covered the Valdez crisis.

May 6, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Or you can always try Craig's List

Oh look! Sir Mix-a-Lot is on the prowl for laydeez:

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Wow, I'm impressed. Tina Turner's son!

(snurk)

Good luck with the hunt there, dude.

Cops Behaving Badly: How NOT to search for a paltry amount of pot

Warning: What you're about to see is very disturbing, particularly the part where they shoot the poor screaming dog. Don't click the play button if you're highly sensitive to police brutality or ugly language.

And here's what that was all about...

Police arrested Jonathan E. Whitworth, 25, of 1501 Kinloch Court on Feb. 11 on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and second-degree child endangerment.

A police SWAT team entered Whitworth's residence around 8:30 p.m. suspecting a large amount of marijuana at the location, police spokeswoman Officer Jessie Haden said. SWAT members encountered a pit bull upon entry, held back and then fatally shot the dog, which officers said was acting in an uncontrollably aggressive manner.

Whitworth was arrested, and his wife and 7-year-old son were present during the SWAT raid, Haden said. A second dog, which Whitworth's attorney Jeff Hilbrenner described as a corgi, also was shot but was not killed.

And if you're wondering what "second-degree child endangerment" actually means, well, consider what they netted in this ugly sting:

Police discovered a grinder, a pipe and a small amount of marijuana, Haden said. Because the SWAT team acts on the most updated information available, the team wanted to enter the house before marijuana believed to be at the location could be distributed, she said.

"If you let too much time go by, then the drugs are not there," she said.

Or maybe they were never there to begin with, other than the tiny amount that was obviously for personal use, which the cops found. Meaning, maybe this guy wasn't a "distributor" at all, but just an ordinary occasional user.

I would say this raid was a lot more child endangerment that the paltry pot possession in question, wouldn't you?

BTW, here's the latest on that story. It has led to an inquiry, which I would say IS justified. And amply so.

Quotable: Mike Malloy to all the right-wing drillbaggers

Nothing to add, really, except a hearty "What he said!"

May 4, 2010

How they get away with it, again and again and again

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The headline (just one of many such in recent months) reads "Predator priests shuffled around globe".

The story that goes with said headline is appropriately gut-wrenching, heart-scalding, and just plain horrendous.

But if you really want to know how they get away with such god-awful things, you may want to read this.

And also this.

And then you may want to consider the following:

They do not give a rat's ass about the laws of humankind, other than how to bend them so that those who presume to speak for the laws of God will go on getting away with all the things they do.

They oppose abortion and birth control because those might interfere with the steady flow of new Catholic tithe-payers. Excess births mean more guilt, more shame, and more souls to be picked on in ways that benefit the church, but destroy the souls in question.

They oppose homosexuality for pretty much the same reason. Heaven forfend that two people whose love does not lead to procreation should ever be happy, let alone together! What kind of example would that set for all the excess children? Especially if some of them end up being adopted by such couples? Would they then feel the need to "sacrifice" themselves to the church, to "offer up their lives to God", at painful cost? Of course not! No, better to taboo all such contact, except in the closet context of, say, a monastery, a seminary, or some other place where it becomes a furtive, shameful, guilt-ridden thing, to be spoken of only in whispers in the confessional, if at all.

They slut-shame the victims of the abuses that clergymen commit, so that those victims will not come forward in time to get the abuser arrested and carted off to jail. This is remarkably easy to do when the victim is a small, young, malleable child or teenager. It's a lot harder to do to a vocal, self-confident, fully grown adult, which is why you seldom hear about any cases of clerical sexual abuse of persons over 18. Not that they don't happen, only that the victims don't fit an optimal profile: too young to fully comprehend what's going on, often too small to defend themselves, and too mentally malleable to challenge the abuser or the abuser's warning not to tell. The victim will grow up feeling that s/he was somehow to blame, because s/he "tempted" the "celibate" abuser in some vile, abominable, indecent way that caused him to break his vows.

This is all very convenient for the abuser, who can then go on "giving in to temptation" for as long as he wants, and never pay the consequences. By the time the victim is old enough and knowledgeable enough to realize that s/he has been criminally violated and that there is something to be done about that, the violator will be out of the law's reach. And possibly out of country, too, since the most abusive priests are the ones who get moved around the most.

And all of this is facilitated by the church hierarchy, by its prudery and its myriad unhealthy taboos around sex. And also by its preference to hang on to bad clerics and move them to new parishes, rather than purging them. Priests are "ordained priests forever", instead of being granted licence to preach only for as long as they are competent. They are required to be celibate, which covers a multitude of "sins" which are, in fact, crimes. They are not permitted any healthy outlets for their sexual urges, or their spiritual ones for that matter; the authoritarian structure of the church itself sees to that. Anyone who speaks out from a libertarian perspective is reprimanded or silenced; the Liberation Theologians get treated very differently from right-wing cults such as the Legion of Christ (which proved to be a notorious sexual-abuse ring) or Opus Dei (which is overtly fascist). When a right-wing priest like Marcial Maciel or "saint" Josemaría Escrivá can enjoy so much privilege (Escrivá's writings, in particular, have been instrumental in helping to cover up sexual abuse cases), it's safe to say that the church itself enjoys special immunity, considering itself above the law. Sexual abuse is readily facilitated by the church on all fronts.

And above all, it is facilitated by the fact that the pope, the Catholic hierarchy, the Vatican, everyone who has the power to do something, to change something, would rather do nothing and change nothing. Because to do that, to make church doctrine subject to change, would be to admit that they are fallible, and that goes against Pius IX's doctrine.

They cannot and will not mend their ways. All they can and will do is what they are doing right now: shifting blame, and shifting predators around, and sweeping the resultant mess under the rug time and again. The shame of the victims, combined with statutes of limitations, makes it possible for them to get away with it all.

When you realize that statutes of limitation, which they have actively sought to keep in place, are as dear to the church hierarchy as the power to move abusive priests around (rather than defrocking them, which would remove them from ecclesiastical protection, and letting civil authorities deal with them in the truly appropriate way), then you will stop asking how they manage to keep getting away with the murder of young people's souls.

You will, however, have to ask why they are so far above the law as to have the power to change it--or not permit it to be changed--to suit their own agenda.

Stupid Sex Tricks/Headline Howler: Gee, that's an OLD rentboy!

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Actually, that nasty old man on Mrs. Betty Bowers' Facebook page is none other than Luis Posada Carriles, alias the CubanaBomber...the worst terrorist in Cuban history, and a dark chapter for Venezuela as well, since he was once a leading torturer in the DISIP.

But in his own way, he certainly IS a prostitute. Just ask the CIA!

(And if you're wondering about the actual rentboy thing, here you go.)

Headline Howler: Look what happens when you lay off newspaper staff...

You get PENIS everywhere:

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And it will serve you damn well right.

Oh, Cato Institute...look at your golden boy now!

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Poor, poor widdle Yon-Yon...he's out of a party and a job:

The directorate of the Primero Justicia party decided to expel Yon Goicoechea from the party, a source linked to the opposition revealed to Panorama last weekend.

"Yon took an advance position on his candidacy, which didn't sit well with the party. For example, he would say he 'wouldn't accept consolation prizes' when he talked of running for a seat in the Latin American Parliament," said the source.

The aspiration of the ex-student leader was to run for the congressional district of Altos Mirandinos, where, he said, "The polls are calling me the winner."

As part of the negotiations for the candidates of consensus, the parties of the "Unity Table" decided that Alfonso Marquina would run for that seat.

The source also revealed that Goicoechea's televised speech of the past week was "the straw that broke the camel's back". In it, Goicoechea was very critical of the consensus candidates, and said, "There are candidates of the opposition for whom I would not have voted."

Afterwards, he asked the "Unity Table" to make "more sacrifices", and aligned himself with a governor, Enrique Capriles, who showed himself to be in favor of primaries for the selection of candidates.

Goicoechea joined Primero Justicia in 2008, after leaving the ranks of the student opposition.

Translation mine.

This article is as revealing about the undemocratic (and oftentimes, overtly antidemocratic) nature of the Venezuelan opposition as it is about Yon-Yon and his puffed-up ego. The so-called "Mesa de la Unidad" (which I translated as "Unity Table"), a conglomeration of all the parties that oppose Chavecito and his PSUV, can't even decide whether to hold primaries or not, and in many cases, it didn't bother. It just hand-picked the candidates by "consensus" (of whom? reached how? Nobody seems able to say.) And one of the much-trumpeted and -ballyhooed candidates who lost out in the arcane and ricky-tricky selection process...was the Cato Institute's golden boy of democracy!

Is this the same Yon-Yon who won the Milton Friedman Prize? Why yes, it is. And this is how they treat him. This was Yankee capitalism's great white(-handed) hope, and instead, it's yet another blown investment. Half a million gringo dollars down the toilet.

Sob. Sniffle. Boohoohoo.

I'm really trying hard to squeeze out a few crocodile tears for all of them here, but I just can't seem to. That's because I had his number from way back. Only now, somebody--his own party--actually called it. A little late, but still.

My heart bleeds...no, really...bwahahahahahaha.

May 3, 2010

Viacom = Money Grubbing Hypocrites

Let Mike Mozart (normally a toy reviewer on YouTube) explain to you how "copyright infringement" REALLY works:

So, in summation: If you mash-up or otherwise post to YouTube any material copyrighted by Viacom, even if it's just a tribute and you're not making a cent off it, they can shut you down...but if THEY steal YOUR original stuff off YouTube and post it to their "viral video" site, disguising its true origins and gunking it up with ads that make money for them...well...you're fucked. Unless, of course, you make them feel it whammo in the pocketbook. Be sure to watch toward the end of the video, where Mike tells you just how to do that.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Really, REALLY stupid...and deadly

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This is NOT a sex toy, people.

With friends like these, playing "jokes" like this, who needs enemies?

A Chinese man has died after an eel was inserted in rectum by friends as, reports claim, a joke.

Doctors in Sichaun, China, apparently found the creature, a 50cm Asian swamp eel, in the 59-year-old man's rectum after he had died from internal bleeding.

The eel had reportedly done severe damage to the man's intestines.

While doctors were initially baffled as to how the eel could have gotten there, the man's friends allegedly confessed that they had inserted the live creature as a joke after a bout of heavy drinking.

As the saying goes, friends don't let friends drink and drive.

A case could also be made for "Friends don't let friends drink and handle eels."

May 2, 2010

"Awesome" begins to describe it

I have no idea who this dude is, but his stunts simply MUST be seen.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Only in Indonesia...

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I didn't even know this was possible, much less forbiddable...

Forget about getting a job as a police officer in Indonesia's Papua if you have had your penis enlarged. You won't get it, according to local media reports citing the Papua police chief.

An applicant "will be asked whether or not his vital organ has been enlarged," said Papua police chief Bekto Suprapto, quoted on local website Kompas.com.

"If he has, he will be considered unfit to join the police or the military."

Right. Because everyone knows you need a certain something to fill you up with warrior spirit...and a giant wang isn't it.

Music for a Sunday: Our minds say no, but our hearts are talking faster

Great song, despite the video. I don't know what's up with the outfits (culottes? That was cheesy even for 1980!), but watch for the middle part when he briefly strips down and the clothes go flying. Hey, even nerds have sexy times!

May 1, 2010

Wankers of the Week: M'aidez! M'aidez! edition

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Yes, it's May Day...but did you know where the cry of "Mayday!", as a call for help, came from? Well, it's French...and it simply means "Help me!" It seems especially appropriate as an end to such a fucking disastrous week. Here's this week's list of people whose help should come...in the form of a boot to the head:

1. Stephen Fucking Harper (and all the other fucking Tories behind him). Jean Chrétien talked out of one side of his mouth, due to facial palsy. Harpo talks out of both, due to duplicity. His latest fucking lie? He "doesn't want to reopen the abortion debate" in Canada. Well, maybe that's half true--he wants to close the subject without debate, by banning abortion altogether, and the best way to do that (he figures) is to start overseas, on the backs of Third World women whom Canada is supposed to be helping--but now, thanks to his regressive policies, not anymore. PS: Happy Fucking Birthday, you big piece of shit!

2. Jim Fucking DeMint. Those who rely on government aid are, in Jimbo DeBimbo's words, "drug addicts". Um, the man draws his salary as an elected member of government. Does that make him a pusher--or a junkie himself? Jim, whichever it is, if you really believe in what you're saying, go cold turkey and fucking RESIGN! Drive only on unpaved roads in unincorporated areas, live on an unserviced lot, and if your house catches fire, don't expect any socialist firemen to come along and put it out. Or any socialist cops to catch thieves breaking in. You wanna be a rugged individualist? Hell, go live on a desert island, with no help from anyone, and good luck to you! Practice what you preach. Go on now!

3. Jason Fucking Kenney. In the space of two hours, he banned George Galloway from speaking on our soil...for no reason other than Galloway's open support of the Palestinian people. The excuse? He was "supporting terrorism". I wonder how long it took him to decide that the Coultergeist--who is a far more vocal supporter of real terrorism--was admissible, and her dreck suitable for the ears of a young and impressionable university audience.

4. Joseph Sean Fucking McVey. He only wanted to meet President Obama? How touching. It would have been even more touching if he hadn't tried to do so while heavily armed, in a vehicle tricked out like a fake police car!

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5. Joe Fucking Arpaio. It's no secret that the world's worst sheriff hates Mexicans (and anything else Latino, apparently.) Now he wants to make a cottage industry out of it. There just isn't a word in English loathsome enough to fit him, but I can think of a few choice ones in Spanish, starting with cabrón.

6. Rahim Fucking Jaffer. Suddenly, we know why his wife was booted out of Cabinet, and why he bragged of having a back door to the government (and federal money). He was doing private business right out of her office! So I guess he wasn't lying about all that to his slimy bidness associates, after all.

7. Sarah Fucking Palin. Racial profiling in anti-immigrant legislation is a "myth"? Uh no, actually it isn't. But what IS a myth is that this woman is good for anything other than perpetuating stupid right-wing myths. PS: Sarah, FUX Snooze IS "lamestream". Stop using that word, since you don't know what it means. PPS: Aw, how touching. The Paliness is raising money for a pro-lie group.

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8. Russell Fucking Pearce. People wonder why I refer to those right-wing anti-immigrant types as Nazis? Duh. It's because they just fucking ARE!

9. Glenn Fucking Beck. He's on a mission from God...to make an ass of himself. Not that anyone needs a mission from God to do THAT. PS: Shocked, SHOCKED! Oh, give it a fucking rest.

10. Peter Fucking Munk. There's a word for his type in Latin America: Sinvergüenza. How else to explain his arrogance and out-of-touchness with the people whose countries (eg. Chile, Argentina--among others) he's fucking over? But then again, silly me--he can buy their leaders outright, and anyone who doesn't go along, gets mafia-style threats. In fact, he's even doing it in Canada. No wonder he's so full of bluster.

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11. Tony Fucking Hayward. There's a word he's missing in his vocabulary; the word is accountability. Cheaping out on safety and then blaming others for what you yourself failed to insist on seems to be all the rage in crapitalism today. Oh, and they're arguing with the Coast Guard, too. Stay classy, Bloody Pathetic!

12. Thomas Fucking Van Flein. If you must compare Sarah Fucking Palin to George Washington, why not reference how he came by the nickname of "Old Muttonhead"? (Hint: It had to do with him being better at retreating than he was at advancing.)

13. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. He blames environmentalists for what is actually BP's fault--and that of Halliburton, which conducted faulty "repairs" to the sunken rig? Now we know he never came off the drugs. A pity his doctor hasn't put him on antipsychotics instead.

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14. Stephen Fucking Baldwin. No, Hollywood is NOT persecuting him for his religiosity; it's just recognizing a combination of obnoxiousness and lack of talent for what it is. Save your money for a REAL worthy cause.

15. The fucking lawmakers of Oklahoma. Apparently, re-raping a woman is no problem at all for them, even though their stupid ultrasound tearjerker law has not stopped one abortion from happening so far. And how's this for fucked? You're supposed to get a transvaginal ultrasound, and the doctor is supposed to describe it for you, but accuracy is apparently not required if the fetus is defective. Truth is the first casualty in culture wars, too.

16. Goldman Fucking Sachs. "Shitty" doesn't even begin to cover it, but let's savor what Carl Levin had to say to these Sachs-o-shit anyway:

17. And remember, it wasn't Carl Levin saying it; it was a Goldman Sachs motherfucker saying it. Carl Levin is only reading it back verbatim. So all you prissy, virgin-eared fucking flying monkeys out there can shut the fuck up about his shitty language.

18. John Fucking Wilkinson. Way to spring an unwanted surprise tax hike on us. Way to blame everyone but your fucking self for that!

19. Robert Fucking Rubin. Why is this man not behind bars? Too big to jail, perhaps? He should be sharing a cell with Bernie Fucking Made-Off.

20. Mark Fucking Zuckerberg. Nobody cares if you don't believe in privacy, dude. WE do. And we don't care what you think is "not a social norm"; our privacy commissioners up here in Canada have other ideas. (Yes, we have them. Evil government regulators, and all that. What's more, we appreciate the work they do to protect us from scammers and highway robbers, even if it IS socialist. Boogaboogabooga!)

21. Whoever the fuck wrote this piece of class warfare. I realize that Wall St. rewards psychopathy; so does the political culture in the US. But still, I would sooner meet Ted Fucking Bundy for drinks than the guy who wrote that e-mail. You, sir, are an arrogant bottom-feeding asswipe, and I hope you end up in jail for what you're doing with the people's money.

22. Ann Fucking McElhinney. In her own words, "You have to see it":

Did you make it through all that? Is your last meal still in your stomach? Mine is, but only barely. Gawd, what a twat. I wonder how much they paid her for that conversion on the road to an oil-soaked Damascus.

And finally, to anyone who ever shouted "Drill, baby, drill". I hope you enjoy what that's led to. I hope you're paying for it. Better still, I hope you're swimming in it.

Good night, and get fucked. With oozy black crude for lube.

Quotable: Eduardo Galeano on May Day

"Chicago, 1886. May 1. When the general strike paralyzed Chicago and other cities, the Philadelphia Tribune diagnosed: The labor element has been bitten by a universal species of tarantula, and has gone stark raving mad. Stark raving mad for fighting for an eight-hour workday and for the right to organize unions.

"The next year, four labor leaders, accused of murder, were sentenced without proof in a kangaroo court. Georg Engel, Adolf Fischer, Albert Parsons and Auguste Spies marched to the gallows. The fifth condemned, Louis Lingg, blew his brains out in his cell.

"Every May 1, the entire world remembers them. With the passage of time, international conventions, constitutions and laws have proven them right. However, the most successful businesses still refuse to recognize them. They prohibit unions and measure the workday by the same molten clocks once painted by Salvador Dalí."

--Eduardo Galeano, "The Universal Tarantula". Translation mine.