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August 31, 2010

Strange case of serial murder in Argentina

You want more creepy? You got it:

A young man of 22 was arrested last weekend in Buenos Aires, accused of killing six persons in four weeks to fulfill a promise to "San La Muerte" (St. Death), a "saint" venerated in prisons and rural parts of Argentina, according to a police source on Tuesday.

"The killer made a pact with 'St. Death', in which he promised a death a week in exchange for the protection of his family," said the source.

Marcelo Antelo was arrested on Saturday, August 28, accused of having killed a philosophy student, 27 years old, who was found with a bullet wound to the chest in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Flores, south of the Argentine capital, near the accused killer's home.

Upon his arrest after an intense gunfight, the police confiscated a .38 calibre pistol, similar to those used by federal police officers.

At the moment, "Marcelito", as he was known in the barrio, is in custody for the murder of the philosophy student, but the police suspect that he may be the killer of five others, including a double homicide on August 15, five days before he celebrated the day of "St. Death".

"A half-dozen witnesses have already come forward. One of them gave us details of the pact with 'St. Death'," said an investigator in the case.

"St. Death" is a traditional figure of folk worship in the rural northeast of Argentina, particularly in the provinces of Corrientes, Chaco, and Formosa, and is also venerated in many prisons. His devotees invoke him for ordinary favors, such as to protect a harvest, but he is also sometimes called upon to bring death to an enemy.

In routine raids on the homes of suspects, the police have often found the image of "St. Death", in the form of a tiny human skeleton.

Translation mine.

The veneration of "St. Death" under various names (La Muerte, La Santa Muerte, San La Muerte, etc.) is not limited to Argentina. Mexicans, too, are known for their veneration of the unorthodox "saint", particularly on the Day of the Dead. He (or sometimes, she) is commonly invoked by members of crime gangs, for fairly obvious reasons. When even St. Jude, the patron of lost causes, won't do, St. Death seems the natural choice for drug-dealers locked in endless turf wars, or battles with the police (or both, simultaneously).

Of course, invoking Death brings karma down on you like a duck on a junebug, as this one unlucky Argentine found out. The elaborate tombs of Mexican drug-gangsters are also testimony to how well the double-edged sword of "St." Death can slice. Just something to consider, if ever you're tempted to make a pact with Death.

A climate-change denier comes in from the cold


Hello and welcome to reality, Bjørn Lomborg. What took you so long?

Bjørn Lomborg, the self-styled "sceptical environmentalist" once compared to Adolf Hitler by the UN's climate chief, is famous for attacking climate scientists, campaigners, the media and others for exaggerating the rate of global warming and its effects on humans, and the costly waste of policies to stop the problem.

But in a new book to be published next month, Lomborg will call for tens of billions of dollars a year to be invested in tackling climate change. "Investing $100bn annually would mean that we could essentially resolve the climate change problem by the end of this century," the book concludes.

Examining eight methods to reduce or stop global warming, Lomborg and his fellow economists recommend pouring money into researching and developing clean energy sources such as wind, wave, solar and nuclear power, and more work on climate engineering ideas such as "cloud whitening" to reflect the sun's heat back into the outer atmosphere.

In a Guardian interview, he said he would finance investment through a tax on carbon emissions that would also raise $50bn to mitigate the effect of climate change, for example by building better sea defences, and $100bn for global healthcare.

His declaration about the importance of action on climate change comes at a crucial point in the debate, with international efforts to agree a global deal on emissions stalled amid a resurgence in scepticism caused by rows over the reliability of the scientific evidence for global warming.

Not that I'm not glad to hear that he's had a change of heart, and not a minute too soon. The solutions he proposes (other than the iffy cloud-tinkering one) are also sound, if this brief summation is true. I only wonder if it's actually already too late.

Well, anyway, welcome to the fold, Bjørn. I'm sure your namesake animals are glad to hear it, too.


August 30, 2010

This is what the real Canada looks like

This is what it looks like when real, ordinary Canadians from all walks of life turn out to take back OUR streets from the thugs of the G-20 crime cartel. It's no coincidence that the national anthem was sung, and that its most-repeated phrase "We stand on guard for thee" sat ill with the transnational oppressors. When a government takes 2 billion dollars away from the people and spends it on thuggery, it is up to the people to stand on guard...and not let their country get sold out to the transnationals for a profit that most of us will never see.

August 29, 2010

Crow is on the menu in Colombia lately


First it was Chavecito, now it's El Ecuadorable heaping something black and feathery onto the plates in Bogotá. No, it's not the chickens coming home to roost, it's another bird entirely...

The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, announced on Saturday the re-establishment of normal relations with Colombia, as a sign of dignity, justice, sovereignty and respect, on his weekly program called "Citizen Link".

"We will re-establish relations with Colombia for the good of our countries and our peoples," said the Ecuadorian leader, in response to an invitation to a bilateral meeting with the new president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, who was inaugurated on August 7.

It is worth emphasizing that while demonstrating goodwill in re-establishing bilateral relations, the Ecuadorian president has not forgotten the reason for which the two countries became estranged, since in his estimation, an "illegal bombardment" is not to be so easily forgotten. At that time, Santos was the defence minister of Colombia, who authorized the military action of March 1, 2008, without informing or receiving permission from the government of Ecuador.

Correa pointed out that at the root of this event that violated the sovereignty of his nation, there were members of the FARC, and reiterated that he had never met a member of the FARC, "but they accuse us of being accomplices in order to justify an absolutely illegal bombing, disloyal and unjust."

Correa also maintained that there are illegal FARC camps in the rainforests of Peru, which are much more inaccessible than the equatorial rainforests of the Ecuador/Colombia border. "But no one has accused Alan García of being in league with the FARC," meaning that "the truth is self-evident", and now the whole world knows it, since his government and country enjoy great prestige. "We have an immense credibility at the national and international level," Correa concluded.

Translation mine.

And of course, Santos and his magic laptop have ZERO credibility. That may be a reason why things are suddenly warming up between him and his two alienated neighbors. Colombia stands to lose a lot more than Venezuela or Ecuador if things stay in the deep-freeze much longer. Hence, out comes the old crow, thawed and ready to eat.

Karma, babies.

Short 'n' Stubby: Remembering Katrina


I recall Hurricane Katrina only too well, as it happened on my dad's birthday five years ago. It was a surreal day, to say the least. As my folks and I sat in front of the TV and watched the storm roll inland on a traffic camera, and the traffic lights in the foreground began to swing wildly, we knew in our guts that this was going to be a horror. And it was: More than a thousand people drowned in the storm surge, most of them poor and black.

What followed was even worse: We learned that it was not the storm itself that had done the most damage, but bad BushCo policy and plain old human neglect. Levees that should have been shored up and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers, were not; FEMA, which should have helped the survivors evacuate and put their lives back together, ended up both neglecting them and, bizarrely, imprisoning them in trailer-park camps as if they were common criminals, and not merely poor folks in need of a home and the basic necessities of life. (And we haven't heard the last about those infamous trailers yet. Or "Heckuva Job" Drownie Brownie, either.)

And then the real horror of it hit home. Pictures of floating corpses leaked out, one by one. Stories emerged, too: people seeking help being shot by local police and the National Guard, presumably for "looting" goods that had become unsaleable anyway; the Superdome stadium and the convention centre, meant to shelter storm refugees until they could be evacuated, being neglected and filled with filth and desperation (and rumors of rape gangs that turned out to be false, although there were a handful of deaths inside, only one of them violent); a hospital forced to euthanize its sick and elderly patients because it could no longer keep them alive; a flooded prison, locked down and its inmates abandoned to a hideous combination of sweltering heat, hunger, and water-borne diseases. And then there were people like Miss Vera, who survived the storm only to get mown down by a hit-and-run driver, some random asshole who just didn't give a shit. Every Katrina death seemed somehow emblematic of what happens when people in a position to do something just stop caring and let things go to hell. It got so bad that I developed a Pavlovian nausea that acted up every time someone uttered the K-word.

And I wasn't even physically there. Can you imagine what life must have been like for those who were?

Life is still hard for the storm's displaced survivors. But it does go on, and pockets of hope have been slowly appearing between the wreckage and the tacky "rebuilding" so touted by whites of the privatize-all persuasion. Here are some of the hopeful stories.

Truthout tells the Katrina story in poignant black-and-white cartoons. The hero of the story is New Orleans itself, "a city where people not only ask how you are, they wait for an answer."

Yes! Magazine has a positive account of the spirit of that city. No, it's not dead yet, in spite of corporatism's best efforts to kill it. In fact, it seems to be catching; those who came as volunteers to help rebuild, keep coming back. There is no shortage of need for their help, and no shortage of love, either.

Ann Beeson finds some hints as to how and why that spirit continues to survive. The secret, it seems, lies not in the "experts" trucked in from without to whiten and restructure the place, but in the local people, most of them black, who stuck around and picked up the pieces when no one else cared.

Sarah Jaffe relates the old wound of Katrina to the new one of the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe, and reminds us of why we must not succumb to "disaster fatigue", but keep on fighting for what we love, wherever it may be, no matter what. New Orleans has been battered and abused, but its people aren't giving up. Nor should we give up on them.

And on that note, I really love Rachel Maddow for stating the painfully obvious.

And on a final note, Color of Change is raising funds to help the (still very ongoing) rebuilding process. Kick in what you can.

Stay classy, haters.

This is what passes for discourse on the right, concerning the Cordoba community centre at Park 51, Lower Manhattan:


Thanks to a little birdie on the tweeter who spotted this.

And no, I'm not going to conceal any of those names. They felt they could post this publicly, so more publicity they and their insanity shall get.

FBI, consider this a heads-up. NYPD, same goes for you. Do your duty, coppers.

PS: That guy who says he did it before? Maybe this was his handiwork. Srsly, FBI, read Facebook. Innocent people's lives are depending on you, and this is better intel than you'd get through waterboarding.

UPDATE: It now appears that shots were also fired near the site this afternoon. Yeah, this shit is serious.

Music for a Sunday: Chuck a can, chuck a can, chuck a can...

Silly schlock: We haz it.

And if you wonder where the "chuck a can" bit really came from, here:

Flashy keyboards and a funky bassline. What more does a soulful diva need? (Besides a funky hunk, that is?)

August 28, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Bad eggs edition


Pee-fucking-yew--what IS that smell? Looks like salmonella's not the only thing that can turn your stomach, and it's not the only thing stinking up the joint of late. These bad eggs--of the human variety--are making me wanna puke:

1. Kim Fucking Tran. With an attitude like that, she deserves to lose ALL business at her nail salon, not just that of the overweight. Or does she think those extra pounds come stuffed with extra cash?

2. Roy Fucking Blunt. You know what's REALLY inappropriate? Comparing the Cordoba Centre to "Dr." Laura Fucking Schlessinger's "nigger-nigger-nigger" rant. Why is it okay to discriminate against Muslims, and not all the other religions whose believers died on 9-11?

3. Erik Fucking Prince. If you're not a fraudster, what the fuck are you doing in Abu Dhabi--knowing you'll never be extradited from there?


4. Conn Fucking Carroll. The burden of proof is still on the accuser. Prove to us that Julian Assange is responsible for even ONE death in Afghanistan as a result of publishing what Bradley Manning gave him on Wikileaks. Just one. Can't do it, can you? Oh, surprise.

5. Mary Fucking Bale. Cats are beautiful creatures (I would argue the MOST beautiful); cat haters are ugly (and in the case of this one, downright hideous). Fortunately the mistreated tabby survived, but it's a testament to the ugliness of this hag's soul that she first acted friendly toward it, then dumped it in a garbage can without even pausing. That's just beyond words.

6. T. Boone Fucking Pickens. He stinks up the Huffington Post slandering Chavecito, and now we know why. His real agenda isn't green energy, it's OIL THEFT!


7. Randy Fucking Kuntz. Constable is out of line; police chiefs SUPPORT our long-gun registry. And no wonder. Of the last 16 police officers shot to death in Canada, 14 were long-gun homicide victims. And the registry is consulted more than 10,000 times a day--BY COPS. It's an effective crime-fighting tool. Gun control IS crime control, people!

8. BTW, Shelly Fucking Glover is a wanker for the same reason as #7. It's bewildering that a woman could support abolishing something that's saved so many of her sisters from a grisly, untimely death.

9. Ditto Candice Fucking Hoeppner. Why do you two wankers hate your own sex so much? PS: Nice junket, Candy.


10. These fucking homophobes here. Seriously ugly wanktardery there, folks. God did not tell you to do it, you did it off your own bat and then claimed it was God. You are not God, no matter how much you might think you are (or claim to speak for Her.)

11. Rocco Fucking Rossi. Really, defending the homophobes' "right" to annoy a neighborhood? I hope that costs you votes, jackass. Nobody has the "right" to harass others! And if you want to see what "the people have spoken" looks like, may I remind you that the community came together to kick out the 'phobes from their quiet street? Yeah, that's right...gay or straight, NOBODY likes self-righteous wanktards, and no one thinks they have a right to disturb the peace with it!

12. Anna Fucking Ardin. Ain't sayin' she's a gold digger, but between that skeevy Wikileaks "scandal" and her own antisemitic fringe-right (not left!) leanings, there's just something majorly unattractive about her.


13. Alan Fucking Simpson. Oh, the social safety net--"310 million tits" and one big fat BOOB.

14. Michael Fucking Enright. Funny or Die? Definitely DIE. Should have stuck to filmmaking, nerdy boy--attempted murder does NOT look good on a résumé unless you're trying out for CIA covert ops.

15. Chris Fucking Young. Ever wonder why so many people have trouble finding Jesus? It's because he's hiding from wankers like this one.

16. Brian Fucking Williams. Dude, if you're gonna talk dick, do it on Chatroulette.


17. Stephen Fucking Harper. He thinks he makes the rules? Um, no, Stevie, you're just a bad employee of the Canadian public. You may also think you're a wit, but you're only half right.

18. Nathan Fucking Herbert. Stalking and lewdness: is that some kind of Mormon thing? Or is it a governor-of-Utah's-son thing? Whatever it is, your magic underwear isn't going to protect you from the consequences, y'know.

19. Joe Fucking Miller. Lisa Murkowski may be what you say she is, but what does that make you? My vote is on the box marked "wanker". PS: Pathetic excuse does not wash.

20. Rob Fucking Ford. Among all else, form letters--quite possibly his classiest move to date.


21. Peter Fucking Thiel. Want to cancel your PayPal account? Can't say I'd blame you if you did. It's not Teh Ghey, or even the conservatardery, it's the Coultergeist Cooties that're the problem here. Aside from the cognitive dissonance that goes with being both gay and conservative, there's this little conundrum: If you're gonna throw a HomoCon, shouldn't your guest speaker be somebody other than a rabid homophobe?

22. Ben Fucking Stein. Dull as tofu, and nowhere near as useful. But hey, at least he's fact-free! I hope he lets us know when he decides to step out of his own little world and rejoin the rest of us in the bigger one. And until then, I hope he STFUs.

23. Pamela Fucking Geller. Have I mentioned yet today how very loathsome this hate-mongering idiotess is? No? Well, consider it done.

24. Dennis Fucking Miller. Unfunny fratboy has been to one kegger too many. Sure does put the ASS in class, though.


25. This fucking racist middle school. Naturally it's in Mississippi GawdDAMN. But still--what the fuckity-fucking FUCK?

26. "Dr." Laura Fucking Schlessinger, AGAIN. She has a black friend! And a gay one! Big fucking whoop, so did Renee Fucking Baio. Must sure make them feel good to know they're just tokens, eh? I wonder if she tells THEM not to be so hypersensitive about other people's racism and homophobia, too. Because hey, she suffers from both, and if it doesn't bother her, why should it bother THEM?

27. Laura Fucking Ingraham. So hateful and dumb, she can't see the OTHER hateful dumbasses even when they're right under her nose. Because to her, hate and dumbassery are normal!

28. Michele Fucking Bachmann. You know you're a bad egg when you have to tell shaggy-dog stories to impress the voters, and you can't get the dates (or any other relevant data) straight. Someone please tell Ms. Batshit that the U-2 wasn't a German submarine (that was the U-boat, U being short for Undersea), it was a US SPY PLANE. One of them got shot down over Russia. Hell, Lee Harvey Oswald used to track them on radar for the US Marines from Atsugi! I bet she doesn't know any of that, much less how the Dorchester really went down. And yet she uses that wartime incident shamelessly for her own gain--and abuses it in the process. How does someone this smug and stupid even make it through school, never mind into politics?


29. Sarah Fucking Palin. She was at Glenn Fucking Beck's Wankfest in Washington today, and sure enough, some creep in the crowd decided it was the perfect opportunity to rock out with his cock out while she was up there squawking. How anyone could get turned on by that grating voice, I don't know, but it happened. They should both have been arrested for public indecency. (And the anonymous diddler should be thankful he didn't do it in front of the Fucking First Dude, who I hear has a wicked bad temper.)

30. Luis Fucking Bonilla. Sexual abuse and alienation of a teen: bad. Sexual abuse leading to teen pregnancy: worse. Sexual abuse of teen caught on tape: horrifying. All of the above, while presumably celibate and in a position of trust: GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL, YA FUCKING BASTARD.

31. Paris Fucking Hilton. Pots of unearned money + unearned fame = Shit Girl. When will the media learn to stop glorifying this talentless twat?

32. Rod Fucking Blagojevich. I don't know how he managed not to be convicted, but I'd say it's just more evidence of how crooked he is. His hair alone is worthy of a ten-year sentence. The jurors who failed to convict him are wankers too.


And finally, to Glenn Fucking Beck. Today was his big, bull-goose loony day--the national day of backlash by self-righteous whites against them evil, uppity blacks. With unmistakable fascist overtones. Of course this would never be happening if one of Them had not "invaded" the White House (thus tinting it a subtle, yet strangely becoming shade of coffee brown.) Let us now enumerate the ways in which this "reclamation" (which sounds suspiciously Civil War-ish) is a wank...with a little help from Charles, Bob, Zaid, Monica and anyone else who has written something nasty but true about him today. He usurped a day that was about equal rights, trying to take it over in the name of white supremacy. All that was missing was the burning cross and the hooded sheets. Frankly, Glenn, I hope your hemorrhoids burst...and that no doctor will be able to stem the hemorrhaging (or want to).

Good night, and get fucked!

August 27, 2010

Another day older and deeper in debt, for sure

A little mood music, Maestro Ford...

And now, the story.

I saw on the CBC news this evening how they've brought up a hydraulic borer to help start the rescue effort for those 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground in Chile. A NASA psychologist is also on the way to them now, to make sure their mental health withstands the strain that lies ahead. There are concerns that some of the men are more isolated than the rest, because they didn't appear in the video sent up to confirm that they are all still alive; these "isolated" ones, trapped in a less than 500 square-foot space, are the ones most likely to crack under the strain of the long wait ahead. With some four months to go before they're free, it's incredible enough already; it's unprecedented.

But you haven't heard the worst of it yet. If you wonder how the miners wound up in such an awful predicament in the first place, you can stop wondering now and just read this:

The owners of the mine in which 33 workers remain trapped since August 5 have said that they don't know whether they can continue to pay the salaries of their employees.

Alejandro Bohn, one of the proprietors of the San Esteban mine, admitted as well that his company did not buy insurance for its workers, and lamented the economic deterioration of the company, according to the DPA press agency.

"Due to prolonged closure, we have experienced a significant economic deterioration and to date, we have not been able to remedy it," said Bohn. "The company is calm considering that there has never been a precedent for a catastrophe of this type."

The Chilean minister of mines, Laurence Golborne, reacted with immediate "indignation" to the declarations of the businessman, and said that the government would prosecute those responsible for the incident. "These declarations are incredible to me. I heard them and found them really surprising," said the minister.

Golborne added that the incident showed a "lack of concern for safety," pointing out that if there had been an emergency exit, the country would have been "spared this drama". "We can forget the possibility that the government will bail out this business, which has comported itself this way."

Translation mine.

Lax and shitty workplace conditions, and now this. No salaries. How are those miners and their poor families supposed to live?

You can really see how little has changed since Che Guevara and Alberto Granado wrote their respective angry analyses of the Chilean miners' situation. And how current Tennessee Ernie Ford's song is, not to mention universally applicable to miners throughout the Americas, whatever they dig up from the dirt.

If the right one won't get you, then the left one will...

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Socialized medicine, epic fail?

Don't tell it to Chavecito's Venezuela. They just graduated another big class of new doctors...


...meaning that 90% of Venezuelans now have access to public medical care, up from less than 40%, which it was when Chavecito was first elected in 1998. In another year or two, it should be 100%. Chavecito really is the Tommy Douglas of Latin America.

But in case all that factual stuff about the abject failure of privatization (which is really a form of privation) bores you, here you go. The obligatory adorable shot:


August 26, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Arrive alive...


...don't do this when you drive:

Officer Ross Gilbert said the driver, Colondra Hamilton, a 36-year-old Downtown resident, was sitting with her pants unzipped and a sex toy in her lap.

He said Hamilton told him she was using the toy while watching a sex video on a laptop computer that a passenger in the front seat held up so she could see it.

Gilbert charged her with "driving with inappropriate alertness" and having illegal tinted windows, according to the traffic ticket.

I always did find dark-tinted windows somehow sleazy. Way to justify that uneasiness, lady.

(thx Jezebel)

Put your hands up now...

...for a Beyoncé parody that's way better than the original:

Pride, not plastic surgery. That's the spirit, ladies!

August 25, 2010

What really lies behind those trapped Chilean miners

A little insight, courtesy of Telesur reporter Alejandro Kirk:

The culprit, say miners and the family members of the trapped men, is the greed of Big Copper industrialists in Chile.

Working conditions have always been atrocious for that very reason in the copper mines, as Alberto Granado attested in his book, Travelling With Che Guevara: The Making of a Revolutionary:

Of course the tour we had today only served to confirm the opinion we formed when we went round yesterday--that is, that the whole place is incalculably rich.

The countless pieces of machinery, the perfect synchronisation and the way they get the maximum use out of every element certainly inspire admiration, but this is eclipsed by the indignation aroused when you think that all this wealth only goes to swell the coffers of Yankee capitalism, while its true owners, the Araucanian people*, live in abject poverty.

The first place we visited was the gallery of what's called an open-pit mine. it consists of a number of terraces about fifty or sixty yards wide and two or three miles in length. Here they drill and place the dynamite, blow up bits of the hill, and then use universal shovels--a kind of bulldozer--to load up the dump cars hauled by an electric engine. From there the ore goes to the first crushing mill, where a dumper tips it out.

After the first crushing, automatic conveyors take the ore to a second mill and then a third. When the rock is finely crushed it is treated with sulphuric acid in large tanks. All this solution of sulphates is taken to a building, which houses the vats of electrolyte for separating out the copper and regenerating the acid.

The copper obtained by electrolysis is smelted in large furnaces at a temperature of 2,000 degrees centigrade, and then this torrent of liquid copper is tipped into large moulds dusted with calcined bone. It goes on into a unit that solidifies and cools it down almost instantaneously, and then electric cranes carry the moulds to a mill, which planes them to a uniform thickness.

All this is done with such precision that it reminded me of the Chaplin film . The impression grew even stronger when we tried to familiarise ourselves with various aspects of the technological process. Each worker or machine operator knows only what goes on in his section, and sometimes only part of it. There are many who have been working here for more than ten years and don't know what goes on or what gets done in the next section down the line. Of course this is encouraged by the company, which can more easily exploit them this way, as well as keep them at a very low level culturally and politically. The striving trade-union leaders have a titanic struggle to make the workers see the pros and cons of the agreements that the company tries to get them to sign. The company also employs other subtle means to combat the union.

The bloke acting as our guide, who is nothing but a filthy mercenary, told us that whenever there's an important union meeting, he and some of the administrator's other assistants invite a large number of miners to a brothel, thereby robbing the meeting of a required quorum. To give some idea of this character's mentality, it's enough to say that at one moment he was telling us that the workers' demands were excessive, and a little later he informed us that if the mine stood idle a single day the company lost a million dollars. With amounts like that at stake, this born slave dares to say that 100 pesos--a dollar--is an excessive demand. How we itched to throw him into one of the acid vats!


When we came down we met one of the members of the union. He explained to us that the company pays low daily wages, but attracts workers by holding out the illusion that the company store sells goods at lower prices than those of other establishments in the area. But it turns out that there is only a limited number of cheap articles, and essential foodstuffs are not always in stock, so the men have to buy them at fabulously high prices elsewhere from establishments that operate hand-in-glove with the company. Of course once a worker has settled here he stays on, hoping his demands will be heard and his needs met in the next contract. Time goes by, there's a wife, then children, and in the end, against his will and knowing he's being exploited, he remains until his eldest son takes his place, once he's been rendered useless by the passing years and privations--assuming he's not been killed in a blasting accident, or by silicosis or by the sulphuric vapours.

Afterwards, we went over the western part of the town, where a plant makes prefabricated houses. This kind of building could solve the housing problems not only of Chuquicamata but also of the rest of Chile if the technique were properly applied, with a proper finish, nicely painted, and so on. Here everything is done on the cheap, just to igve the workers housing that fulfils the minimum requirements--and sometimes not even that. Besides, they group the houses together in a distant part of town and don't provide any drains. Of course the Yankees and their lackeys have a special school for their children, as well as golf courses, and their houses aren't prefabricated.

We also visited the area scheduled to be mined over the next ten years, when the sulphide processing plant is finished. When we saw that they would get millions upon millions of dollars a day out of this area too (they are currently extracting 90,000 tons of ore a day) Fúser [Che] and I remembered that when we had read a book on Chile's copper we thought the author was exaggerating when he said that forty days' work could pay off all the capital investment. Life is certainly a great teacher and shows you more than a hundred books.

*Araucanians is the catch-all term for the indigenous peoples of Chile.

Fúser, or Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Alberto Granado's friend, writes more neutrally about the mine itself, but his brief politico-economic analysis of what he and Granado saw at Chuquicamata (in The Motorcycle Diaries) is as chilling as it is clear:

Chile produces 20 percent of all the world's copper, and copper has become vitally important in these uncertain times of potential conflict because it is an essential component of various types of weapons of [mass] destruction. Hence, an economico-political battle is being waged in Chile between a coalition of nationalist and left-wing groupings which advocate nationalizing the mines, and those who, in the cause of free enterprise, prefer a well-run mine (even in foreign hands) to possibly less efficient management by the state. Serious accusations have been made in [the Chilean] Congress against the companies currently exploiting the concessions, symptomatic of the climate of nationalist aspiration which surrounds copper production.

Whatever the outcome of the battle, it would be as well not to forget the lesson taught by the mines' graveyards, which contain but a fraction of the enormous number of people devoured by cave-ins, silicosis and the mountain's infernal climate.

Both of these Argentine travellers wrote their accounts in 1952, long before Salvador Allende finally won election (in 1970) as the first socialist president of Chile--significantly, on a platform that included nationalization of the copper mines. The atrocious conditions of the mines were already an old problem even by then, and as Che's account makes clear, the Yankee war industries--by that time, given to the production of nuclear weapons--had become a major culprit in the miseries of Chile. That same year, incidentally, Allende campaigned for the presidency for the first time, and lost. Considering what he was up against (the same problems that the miners' union leaders were facing), it seems hardly surprising that he had to campaign in three more presidential races before finally succeeding. By 1970, political consciousness among miners had apparently reached the necessary critical mass. But the mine owners didn't take the nationalization drive lying down, and three years later, Allende was murdered in the coup that brought fascist dictatorship to Chile for the first time in the person of Augusto Pinochet.

And yes, the coup was copper-colored.

At the overt level, Washington was frosty, especially after the nationalization of the copper mines; official relations were unfriendly but not openly hostile. The government of President Richard M. Nixon launched an economic blockade conjunction with U.S. multinationals (ITT, Kennecott, Anaconda) and banks (Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank). The US squeezed the Chilean economy by terminating financial assistance and blocking loans from multilateral organizations. But during 1972 and 1973 the US increased aid to the military, a sector unenthusiastic toward the Allende government. The United States also increased training Chilean military personnel in the United States and Panama.

Kennecott and Anaconda were major US copper-mining concerns in Chile. The Chuquicamata mine, which so infuriated Che and "Mial" Granado, was owned by Anaconda at the time of their visit. Chuquicamata's Wikipedia entry closes on a bland note that probably reveals something of its author's class viewpoint:

These mines were mainly self-contained and self-sustaining settlements. They were complete with their own cities to house the workers, their own water and electrical plants, schools, stores, railways, and even in certain cases their own police forces. These mines were extremely beneficial in an economical sense, for they provided steady jobs and a steady income for the nation of Chile.

Note the complete absence of mentions of the terrible working conditions, the poor pay, the company stores that fleeced the workers, who were forced to live in substandard, prefabricated housing without sewers, and who often made their way to the company graveyard at a shockingly early age. "Extremely beneficial in an economical sense" they may well have been, if Alberto Granado's account of million-dollar-a-day ore extraction is anything to go by, but not for the majority of those who worked there! As Che wrote in The Motorcycle Diaries:

Yet the guide, the Yankee bosses' faithful lapdog, told us: 'Stupid gringos, they lose thousands of pesos every day in a strike so as not to give a poor worker a couple of extra centavos. That'll be over when our General Ibañez comes to power.' And a foreman-poet: 'These famous terraces enable every scrap of copper to be mined. People like you ask me lots of technical questions but I'm rarely asked how many lives it has cost. I don't know the answer, doctors, but thank you for asking.'

Linkage added.

The aging General Ibañez was elected soon after that, but he didn't nationalize the copper mines. Nor did his policies do much that was actually felt at the workers' level, other than for one thing: he legalized the Chilean Communist Party, which was a leading force in the struggle for nationalization and workers' rights. That party would become a component in the Popular Front coalition that supported Salvador Allende.

Ironically, after Pinochet's copper coup, the copper industries of Chile remained nationalized (a process that had begun in 1969 under Allende's immediate predecessor, Eduardo Frei). But the appalling working conditions were never ameliorated, thanks to Pinochet's iron fist. His earliest military posting, not coincidentally, was to the mining regions of northern Chile, where his duties included squelching "communism"--that is, union organization among the miners.

Now Chile has a Pinochet sympathizer as president, one who no doubt is looking at selling off the copper industries or handing them back to their original Yankee dueños. And the mining conditions? Well, they speak for themselves. It's estimated that the rescue of these trapped miners will take another 120 days--four whole months. A fact which should argue strongly against privatization and in favor of serious reforms and drastic new workplace safety measures, but it's not at all certain that Sebastián Piñera will heed these dire warnings. After all, he is a businessman first and foremost, and his attitude is that all of Chile should be run like a business, even when that business is as blatantly inhumane as the copper mines of Chuquicamata.

The Bush Crime Family's tentacles in Cuba


Thought you'd seen the last of Dubya when His Barackness kicked him oh-so-politely out of the White House, and hustled him and his minions onto that chopper to take him back to Crawford where he belonged? Think again. As long as there's a Bush family, there will be an evil empire of crime and greed. That empire is unbelievably vast, and its tentacles reach all over the place, sucking wealth out of remote locations and leaving the locals impoverished unless they fight back. And one of those places, as strange coincidence would have it, is CUBA--where the locals fought back successfully, and against which, it seems, the BFEE still bears a grudge:

The obsession of the Bush family with Cuba, and its determination to make life difficult for Cubans, begs the question: Is there some secret or "black hole" in the relations of the Bushes with this Caribbean isle?

In reality, there's no cat to let out of the bag, because the hidden skeleton left the closet some time ago, when there was an investigation and a recounting of the links between the Bush family name and Cuba, conducted by Marcelo Pérez Suárez, doctor of political science, of the Foreign Ministry of Cuba.

From one of his works, we draw the following revealing data:

George Herbert Walker, maternal great-grandfather of George W. Bush, member of the wealthy family headed by Prescott Bush, was a director of seven companies operating in Cuba since 1920. These were dedicated to the production of sugar, distillation of rum, and railroad infrastructure. They were called The Cuba Company, The Cuban Railroad, Cuban Dominican Sugar, Barahona Sugar, Cuba Distilling, Sugar Estates of Oriente, and Atlantic Fruit and Sugar.

These were merged in 1942 into the West Indies Sugar Company, which was nationalized in 1960 by the Cuban revolutionary government [of Fidel Castro].

In 1953, George H. Walker died, but his namesake son, George H. Walker Jr., the uncle of George Bush, took up the reins of those seven companies. That same year, George Bush, father of George W. Bush, entered the oil business and founded the Zapata Oil company in Houston, Texas, creating Zapata Offshore as a subsidiary.

In 1958, Zapata Offshore signed a contract to exploit petroleum deposits 40 miles off the Cuban shore, north of Isabela de Sagua in the province of Las Villas. This venture was cut short by the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.

However, even with the possibility of business and investments with Cuba ruled out, George Bush Sr. remained president of Zapata Offshore until 1966.

Zapata Offshore and its head, George Bush, are both linked to the CIA, as was shown by declassified documents from the US Secret Service. Also because the records of Zapata were destroyed. A good while after 1960, the Secret Service moved to protect George Bush when he began his political career and destroyed all the records between 1981 and 1983, when he began his term as vice-president. There were motives.

What is true is that regarding West Indies Sugar and Zapata, it is very likely that the Bush family, as well as being hurt in its business relations and investments in Cuba, may have maintained some "right" to reclamation after the nationalizations of the Revolution. Recall that many companies have continued to maintain these "rights" up to now, hoping to recuperate the properties or a higher compensation [than originally received], under the complicity of the government and laws of the United States.

Fletcher Prouty, an ex-CIA officer, confirmed in his 1973 book, The Secret Team, that two of the ships used for the Bay of Pigs invasion--the Barbara and the Houston--were renamed and repainted by Agent Bush in the naval base of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, before being sent to Cuba, and that his company, Zapata Offshore, was used as a front.

In summation, there is no "black hole" in the relationship between the Bush family and Cuba. Everything is clearer than water, and there is nothing hidden to investigate.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

Of course, if you've been following the BFEE in more recent years (as this site has), you'll already know that they've fallen on harder times since those glory days when they snapped up trouble-ridden Cuban corporations at fire-sale prices and proceeded to profiteer obscenely from the investment. Dubya's oil companies, Harken and Arbusto, were most notable for drilling dry holes, for losing money, and in Arbusto's case, for being sold, at a ridiculous profit, to none other than one of the Bin Ladens (another rich and powerful family, this one distinctly Saudi in character. Perhaps you've heard of them?) It's awfully tempting to put two and two together between that connection and 9-11, and a certain CIA daily briefing that Dubya--oddly, considering that he is the son of a former CIA director--brushed aside, not to mention how badly the US military, under Dubya's orders, flubbed the battle of Tora Bora (the one where a certain tall turban-man named Osama got away.) Don't you think so?

If you do, you won't have any problem seeing why Dubya strove so hard (and in vain) throughout his term to starve Cuba out. Actually, his old man came closer to it, which is why you may have seen that brief rash of Cuban boat-people during the so-called "Special Period" between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the mid-1990s, when the Cuban economy began to recover and the trickle of economic migrants ceased. That period of hardship eased, not due to foreign investment (for there was none), nor by any buyouts or reclamations of nationalized corporations (there were none of those, either), but by the Cuban people's pre-existing self-sufficiency drive, established in the wake of the Revolution. The Special Period deepened and intensified it, and Cuban ingenuity won that day.

The Cuban recovery happened during Bill Clinton's tenure--at a time when the BFEE, and indeed the entire US right-wing, was doing its damnedest to force that popular, and largely peace-minded, president out of office. Ken Starr and his panty-sniffing, pornographic impeachment drive failed. Even the Elián González kerfuffle could not spark the undoubtedly desired conflict that might have brought things to a head in Cuba. There was nothing for the BFEE to do there, and not later, either. Dubya missed his own window of opportunity when Venezuela struck up the ALBA treaty, with Cuba as its first co-signer. (He had struck out earlier, too, when his oily widdle coup against Venezuela failed in '02.)

Two rich Caribbean oil treasure troves, and he fucked up in his efforts to get them, as my mom would say in German, under his fingernails. That's gotta hurt. But it's quite par for the course; Dubya has the reverse of the Midas touch. Everything he sticks his hand into turns to shit.

Let's hope that no subsequent Bush gets into the Oval Office, or, in the event that one does, let's hope he fails as badly as all his predecessors at undermining the sovereignty of Latin America for nefarious BFEE corporate purposes.

August 24, 2010

I wouldn't call it unpredictable

I would, in fact, call this simply shameful:

Canada's position on human rights issues is becoming harder and harder to predict, says Amnesty International's newly appointed boss.

Salil Shetty said Monday that Canada is now taking drastically different positions in areas such as torture and the death penalty where it has traditionally been progressive.

"Generally speaking if you talk to most Canadians, there's a big gap between what they believe Canada does and what the reality is in terms of government policy and actions," Shetty said in an interview.

"It's a G8 country, it's a major world power and it has produced so many leaders on these issues, so it has (had) a trendsetting or agenda-setting role."

Amnesty's new secretary general said it's hard to know where Canada stands on many issues.

"You could predict where Canada stood on many of the issues in the past and now you can't be sure," Shetty said before delivering a speech at the CIVICUS World Assembly, a gathering of civil society groups.

Salil, it's not so bewildering when you consider who's in charge of us here:


Just take the most noxious right-wing positions you find kicking around to the south of us, transpose them up here, give them a sweater vest and a bland non-accent, and voilà! Instant explanation for what's been ailing us up here in Beaverlandia.

Most of us are perfectly capable of grasping why Omar Khadr needs to be repatriated and stand a fair trial here. We're Canadian, we like justice. But Harpo is US Repug Lite, and he doesn't.

Most of us are in favor of refugee claimants, whatever their origins, getting a fair hearing from immigration. We're Canadian, we remember how many of us (or our forebears) came as immigrants and/or refugees. But Harpo is US Repug Lite, and he doesn't.

Most of us are in favor of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. We're Canadian, and we cherish those rights. But Harpo is US Repug Lite, and he doesn't.

Most of us are in favor of basic human rights as set forth by the United Nations. We're Canadian, and we take pride in our long-standing record as UN supporters and peacekeepers. But Harpo is...

...well, you get the picture.

Harpo is un-Canadian, and it's time to haul him the fuck out of office. That is all.

August 22, 2010

Quotable: Tony Judt on language

"Cultural insecurity begets its linguistic doppelgänger. The same is true of technical advance. In a world of Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter (not to mention texting), pithy allusion substitutes for exposition. Where once the Internet seemed an opportunity for unrestricted communication, the increasingly commercial bias of the medium--'I am what I buy'--brings impoverishment of its own. My children observe of their own generation that the communicative shorthand of their hardware has begun to seep into communication itself: 'people talk like texts.'

"This ought to worry us. When words lose their integrity so do the ideas they express. If we privilege personal expression over formal convention, then we are privatizing language no less than we have privatized so much else. 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.' 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' Alice was right: the outcome is anarchy.

"In 'Politics and the English Language,' Orwell castigated contemporaries for using language to mystify rather than inform. His critique was directed at bad faith: people wrote poorly because they were trying to say something unclear or else deliberately prevaricating. Our problem, it seems to me, is different. Shoddy prose today bespeaks intellectual insecurity: we speak and write badly because we don't feel confident in what we think and are reluctant to assert it unambiguously ('It's only my opinion...'). Rather than suffering from the onset of 'newspeak,' we risk the rise of 'nospeak.'"

Tony Judt, "Words", in The New York Review of Books

More Music for a Sunday: The entire hip-hop genre, explained...

...by the world's lamest rapper:

Every hip-hop meme is in there. Every. Single. ONE.

(Thanks to the tweeterriffic @gameandpc, whom you are hereby commanded to follow. Queen's orders!)

Music for a Sunday: One of those "just because" songs

This one just seems to flow, doesn't it? Straight from a sad place where we all have been at one point or another (yes, even you, the smug twit there at the back, pretending it's never happened to YOU...)

Crank it and sing along. You know you wanna.

August 21, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Cordoba House edition


Ah, the non-mosque that's not going to be built on Ground Zero--what is there to say about it that hasn't been said already? It's been the subject of a lot of wankage this week, and so by default, it's my theme this week (among others). What's most hilarious is how some say it would be insulting to build a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbor. There isn't any, but there IS a Japanese cultural centre not so far away, and nobody's shrieeeeeeking about that. A mosque, if it were one, would be a vast improvement over this. But it's not a mosque, it's a community centre. So, why worry about a bunch of friendly moderate Muslims building their own equivalent of a YMCA?

Well, wankers being wankers, they find their own "reasons" to wank their willies off about whatever's got them all hot and bothered. So here they are, in no particular order...

1. Nick Fucking Newcomen. He drove all that way just to give his country the world's biggest piece of shitty "advice". Guess that makes him a mega-wanker. Hey Nick, whose ideology do you think is RESPONSIBLE for all that wrack and ruin that the US is going through right now? I don't understand how anyone can recommend such a complete and pluperfect psychopath, let alone go to this length to do it:


See how easy it is to pwn Nick the Nutjob and nullify all his haaaaaaaaarrrrrd work? All *I* needed was the Internets--which happen, by chance, to be the collaborative work of many geniuses, not the sole doing of a mythical (and utterly fictional) John Galt who could pull the plug on us all at any time, on some mad egotistical whim.

2. Laura Fucking Ingraham. Pair of flipflops for you, dear? Or perhaps a coat that's easy to turn without anyone else noticing? Yes, people she was FOR the so-called Ground Zero Mosque before she was against it. Interesting how a fist full of Rupee Murdoch's dollars could turn her head, just SNAP, like that!

3. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Yo Pigman, Barack Obama is not "post-American", nor is he "anti-American". He's a better American than you, although believe me, at the rate he caves in to your whack-ass lunatic side, that's not saying much.


4. Pamela Fucking Geller. Yes, she's the main driving force behind the whole anti-mosque "movement" (a movement, no doubt, of the bowel kind.) Did you know she's also in league with Nazis? It's true!

5. Bill O'Fucking Reilly. Really...attacking Jennifer Aniston just for stating that women have tons of options today that they didn't a generation ago? I've never been a fan of hers, but I suppose it's not too late to start. Anyone who can pwn Billo is hail-fellow-well-met with me.

6. and 7. Orly Fucking Taitz and Connie Fucking Rhodes. Too bad, so sad--you know you're a loser when even Dubya's most right-wing appointees rule against you.

8. Newt Fucking Gingrich. Godwin's Law has not only been violated, its corpse has been sodomized. By a two-time adulterous preacher of family values, no less. Since Newty's reared his pudgy little head yet again, it can only mean one thing: He's cheating on his third wife, and he needs cover in the worst way. And he's generating it...in the worst way. When you go around comparing 9-11 survivors and victims' families to Nazis, you've not only scraped the bottom of the barrel--you've gone straight through it. I sure hope Mrs. Newty #4, whoever she is, is worth this, because it's a fucking disgrace.

9. Maggie Fucking Gallagher. Why?


That's why.

She is not only a liar (check it out, Maggie, most of Europe does NOT have same-sex marriage, and its birthrates aren't so low either), she also has no neck. With spokespeople like this, it's no wonder "traditional" marriage (between a man and a woman and his mistress, for money and status and reproduction and appearances--but not love) is in trouble.

10. Tom Fucking Frazier. Well, at least his handwriting is legible.

11. Bill Fucking Kristol. A bag of salted dicks is entirely too good for him. Throw in some lightly roasted dog turds, dammit.

12. Juan Fucking Sandoval Fucking Iniguez. Christ, what is it with Mexico City's asinine cardinals lately? Last week it was a screaming Mary-in-the-closet getting his 'phobe on over same-sex marriage, this time it's another one, slandering the mayor over gay adoption (which is also on its way to legality in all of Mexico). Nojoda, this is stoopid shit. Look, you two--if you don't want to perform gay weddings, that's fine. Nobody's holding a gun to your skullcapped heads. But isn't it time you took your hands off the kids? Has the whole Marcial Maciel thing not taught you anything? Oh, yeah, that's right...gay adoption would deprive predatory churchmen of more victims, just as gay marriage would deprive the church of closet cases seeking refuge. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

13. This stupid fucker right here:


I don't care if this was a joke or not, it's not funny. I hope you get it hard up the ass with a splintery broomhandle for that, motherfucker. Haha, just kidding! Ain't I funny? No? Well, there you go, then.

14. and 15. Matt Fucking Drudge and John Fucking Bolton. Oh look, the Eggman also has the hots for Pamela Fucking Geller's milk-mustachioed crushboy! Srsly, you two guys should lay off Iran and just get a room. And invite Pam, too, I hear she's mega kinky.

16. Laura Fucking Schlessinger. No, "Dr." Laura, your First Amendment rights were NOT "usurped" by anyone else. They were ABUSED. By YOU. The people you're whining about merely called you on your shit. And considering how much you've babbled about personal responsibility on your hate-mongering show over the years, one might think you could finally learn to exercise a little of your own for a change, instead of cultivating a victim mentality and blaming "groups"--such as the NAACP, no doubt, the same you ATTACKED on your goddamned show. You should have been kicked off the air long ago on the grounds that you are a FRAUD who is not qualified to dispense advice on the radio or anywhere. Next time you say you're sorry, apologize for REAL.

17. Sarah Fucking Palin. Why?


That's why. Very big of her, though, to forget that "Dr." Laura once called her a bad mother (a point on which she may have been correct, seeing how Sawah's kids are turning out. Of course, "Dr." Laura too has a skeleton in the motherhood closet.)

18. Juan Fucking Pereda Fucking Asbun. Aside from the fact that I'm glad Bolivia has a president now who looks like the average Bolivian, and who is popular and democratically elected (and re-elected), and who has made real and positive changes to the way things get done around there, I'm especially glad when I compare and contrast Evo with his right-wing predecessors. Especially the pedobear types.

19. Jacob Fucking Sullum. Only an anti-science flibbertigibbertarian airhead would lionize an epidemiologist who "proved" that particulate matter in the air does not cause lung disease. Try telling DOCTORS that they're just being "politically correct" when they diagnose a smoker with lung disease CAUSED by smoking. Or all those 9-11 first responders now dying of lung diseases caught from inhaling particulate matter in the toxic air around the remains of the WTC! Go on, I darez ya. Sick as some of those guys are, they could still tie your ass into a pretzel for that.

20. Rob Fucking Ford. I reiterate: Unfit for mayor of Toronto. Could go postal at any time. Plus, isn't he disqualified by the string of criminal incidents he's been in? He should be. PS: There's now a Facebook group dedicated to making sure he doesn't end up bullying City Hall. Go see.

21. Maury Fucking Davis. A convicted murderer who has the gall to put his own words in Christ's mouth? How did this one even get to theological college, much less graduate as a minister? Granted that he may have had a conversion experience in prison, but his right-wing tendencies argue against that. He should know his bible by heart, and that means no excuses for failing to realize that Jesus said nothing about Muslims. Islam was still six centuries in the future then, anyway.


22. And speaking of those "Christians" who cast the first stone, how about SUZANNE FUCKING ALL CAPS NITOUCHE? Jesus never said anything about gays, either.

23. Ron Fucking Johnson. His name is Ron Johnson, he comes from Wisconsin, and he thinks its workers are "losers". Or should that be "looters"? He thinks Atlas Shrugged is the bible, after all. Guess who's gonna lose the next election to the very fine Russ Feingold? Yup, Randian Ronny. Hey nonny nonny.

24. Rick Fucking Lazio. The non-mosque at Park 51 is a non-issue. Tricky Ricky's shady business dealings, on the other hand...well, I can see why he would use a non-issue to cover THOSE up. They are quite the issue indeed.

25. Randy Fucking Brown. Your "humor" is--how to put this delicately?--NOT FUCKING FUNNY. A truly enjoyable alternative to your crude video would be one of actual, lovely quotes from Republican "ladies" (see below.) And even better, Tom Jones wouldn't be going after you for abusing his music!


26. Allen Fucking West. What size is the shoe that I see sticking out of his mouth? Here's a tip, Allen: if you're trying to shake off someone who's out to catch you in lies, exaggerations, and other assorted whoppers, don't resort to hyperbole. Especially not of the Godwin kind.

27. Whoever the fuck is responsible for the nation's weirdest fucking grow-op.

28. Tasha Fucking Kheiriddin. I'm sure Harpo enjoys a BJ as much as the next dude, but a remora? Really, dudette, that's just so undignified. Let go of him, already.


And finally, to this week's up-close and personal wanktards: Corny Fucking Black ("Corny" is right, you sure as hell are!), "Dr." (of what, autoproctology?) Carter Fucking Kolodny, and Chris Fucking Kemp (one dumb shit, two dumb piles). And to all you other oh-so-valiant anonymous trolls who felt compelled to defend the nonexistent honor of Christopher Hitchens, which is certainly more than he ever did. The fail is strong with all of you, and it's the only strong thing about you (other than, of course, the stench).

Good night, and get fucked!

August 20, 2010

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo, at work (with the workers)

There's a lot of highway repair work going on in Bolivia lately...


...and Evo was right out there, watching the work crews on the highway between Cochabamba and Villa Tunari. Andean roads are notoriously dangerous, but they're getting safer on his watch, and the view is unparallelled. Love the mountains behind him!

August 19, 2010

The true face of the IDF

Here you go, people...this is what the Middle East's One True Beacon of Democracy™ really looks like:


Meet Eden Abergil, the Lynndie England of Israel. She's a piece of work, but she's far from alone in her nastitude; apparently it's commonplace for IDF soldiers to take trophy pictures of themselves with their victims.

And that's not all it's commonplace for them to do:

No one deluded himself that the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, which takes up five of the eight floors of a new building in the center of El Bireh, would be spared the fate of other Palestinian Authority offices in Ramallah and other cities - that is, the nearly total destruction of its contents and particularly its high-tech equipment.

After all, Israel Defense Forces troops were deployed in the building for about a month.

Armed vehicles were always parked in front of the building, around which the familiar pictures of destruction accumulated; crushed cars, banks of earth, deep ditches in the roads, broken pavements, dismantled stone fences, toppling electricity poles, loose cables and clouds of dust and dirt enveloping every vehicle, tree and roof in thickening layers.

The Ministry of Culture is located in the large residential area the IDF kept under curfew, even after its partial withdrawal from Ramallah on April 21 and its focus on the siege of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's headquarters.

Every night the neighbors, who hid in their houses, heard the sounds of objects smashing as they were hurled through the windows of the Ministry of Culture.

Shades of Kristallnacht, anyone?

Wait, it gets "better":

In other offices, all the high-tech and electronic equipment had been wrecked or had vanished - computers, photocopiers, cameras, scanners, hard disks, editing equipment worth thousands of dollars, television sets. The broadcast antenna on top of the building was destroyed.

Telephone sets vanished. A collection of Palestinian art objects (mostly hand embroideries) disappeared. Perhaps it was buried under the piles of documents and furniture, perhaps it had been spirited away. Furniture was dragged from place to place, broken by soldiers, piled up. Gas stoves for heating were overturned and thrown on heaps of scattered papers, discarded books, broken diskettes and discs and smashed windowpanes.

In the department for the encouragement of children's art, the soldiers had dirtied all the walls with gouache paints they found there and destroyed the children's paintings that hung there.

In every room of the various departments - literature, film, culture for children and youth books, discs, pamphlets and documents were piled up, soiled with urine and excrement.

There are two toilets on every floor, but the soldiers urinated and defecated everywhere else in the building, in several rooms of which they had lived for about a month. They did their business on the floors, in emptied flowerpots, even in drawers they had pulled out of desks.

They defecated into plastic bags, and these were scattered in several places. Some of them had burst. Someone even managed to defecate into a photocopier.

The soldiers urinated into empty mineral water bottles. These were scattered by the dozen in all the rooms of the building, in cardboard boxes, among the piles of rubbish and rubble, on desks, under desks, next to the furniture the solders had smashed, among the children's books that had been thrown down.

Some of the bottles had opened and the yellow liquid had spilled and left its stain. It was especially difficult to enter two floors of the building because of the pungent stench of feces and urine. Soiled toilet paper was also scattered everywhere.

In some of the rooms, not far from the heaps of feces and the toilet paper, remains of rotting food were scattered. In one corner, in the room in which someone had defecated into a drawer, full cartons of fruits and vegetables had been left behind. The toilets were left overflowing with bottles filled with urine, feces and toilet paper.

Yep, they really have a lot of respect for the West Bank Palestinians in the IDF. A lot of respect.

And this is who Harpo supports in all kinds of gungy, nefarious ways.

And this is who some people are standing by with xenophobic, racist, bigoted and just plain unfunny cartoons.

And then some have the gall to shriek about "delegitimization"? Israel seems to be doing a good enough job of that on its own; it doesn't need any help from without, heaven knows.

Short 'n' Stubby: Ms. Manx is being watched...


No, the Stump-Tailed Kitty is not paranoid. She caught wind this morning that HitchensWatch is very pleased with this blog that she calls home, and has drawn a few new readers to it. That makes her purr. As for the Hitch-sucking trolls, be warned: Ms. Manx is not declawed, and she will cheerfully take your gonads off if you come here to snipe.

And in other things Hitchens, did you know that he has a brother? And that the two are sort of the same, and yet sort of different too? It's true! Peter Hitchens is, like his bro, on the right politically; both are ex-Trotskyists who, apparently, switched after they realized the extent to which it would limit them career-wise. But while the one is a militant atheist who makes dubiously reasoned arguments to the effect that religion is responsible for the evils of Sovietism (that's right, blame Jesus--he WAS the original socialist, after all), the other is C of E and says he was drawn to it for its cool rationalistic approach to faith. Ms. Manx is still scratching her ears over that one; she seems to recall her ancestors being burned for witchcraft back in the early days of Protestantism. But hey, whatever floats yer boat, Peter--as long as you don't monger for war, you're a more welcome sight than the other Mr. Hitchens.

August 18, 2010

Bet this never happened to the REAL Judy Garland


This should happen more often, though...because it shows the wingnuts in their true colors:

A few months ago, right wing firebrand Ann Coulter reacted to words of advice from a Canadian University official with stringent claims that she was being silenced and was the victim of a "hate crime." But how will Coulter respond now that her own fellow conservatives have dumped her from a "Taking Back America" conference for agreeing to speak her piece at a gay conservative group's event?

Anti-gay religious news site WorldNetDaily announced in an Aug. 17 article that Coulter had been disinvited from the WND event, which is slated to take place on Sept. 17, because Coulter has accepted an offer to speak at Homocon, an event scheduled for Sept. 25 that is sponsored by conservative gay group GoProud. Coulter had previously been scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker at WND's "Taking Back America" event, but that invitation was rescinded by WND.

WorldNetDaily describes its "Taking Back America" conference as being "about freedom, the freedom the founding generation of leaders fought for in establishing the United States." By "freedom," WND seemed to mean a legal curtailing individual choices, based on a specific notion of morality: "It is time to choose the kind of country in which we want to live--whether we want to live under the rule of law or under the rule of man," text at the WND site read.

"The choice is simple: the world of standards and morality, self-government and accountability to God or the world of tyranny and ever-changing moral codes enforced by government," continued the text. "The only way we can reestablish our freedom--our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--is to break the hammerlock of statism and the notion that moral relativism holds the answers to ordering people's passions and behavior." The text did not indicate what agency, if not government, would enforce this brand of freedom.

Ha, ha...who's the REAL freedom-of-speech party again? Big hint: it's NOT over there on the right.

And check this out. I always thought that being a far-right "libertarian" capitalist meant that you could literally do anything for a buck. Well, maybe not:

WND condemned GoProud's sponsorship of a conservative conference earlier this year, and the site's editor and CEO, Joseph Farah, said that dropping Coulter was the only thing to do given that she was, he suggested, lending credibility to the gay conservative group.

"Ultimately, as a matter of principle, it would not make sense for us to have Ann speak to a conference about 'taking America back' when she clearly does not recognize that the ideals to be espoused there simply do not include the radical and very 'unconservative' agenda represented by GOProud," Farah told his own news site.

"Earlier this year, GOProud was permitted to sponsor the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, the biggest event of its kind," Farah noted, going on to recall that various anti-gay groups dropped out of the conference rather than attend an event that had been partially underwritten by a gay organization. "GOProud is about infiltration of the conservative movement and dividing it from within with twisted and dangerous ideas way out of the mainstream of American public opinion," Farah continued. "Ann Coulter is, I'm afraid, validating this effort for money."

"Validating this effort for money"--I thought that was supposed to be GOOD, at least to those guys. I guess it's not good when those guys are GAY. And even a flippant 'phobe like the Coultergeist gets her convictions tied in more knots than her panties.

Speaking of knots, how's this for tortured logic?

The article stated that Coulter would be welcome to continue as an op-ed writer for the site, and Farah drew a distinction between allowing people of differing political views to publish at WND and allowing people who speak to other groups to speak also at a WND event. "There is simply no room there for compromisers or for people who accept money from those determined to destroy the moral fabric required for self-governance and liberty," said Farah of the event's roster of speakers.

Shorter Farah: We'll still pay you to spout crap on WingNutDaily because we could sure use the eyeballs, but it has to be OUR uptight, conservative brand of crap. But we can't let you bring those gaywad cooties to our conferences. Freedom isn't free, y'know.

And how's this for a bitchy widdle slap-fest?

To Coulter, Farah directed pointed questions about her appearance at GoProud's Homocon event. "Do you not understand you are legitimizing a group that is fighting for same-sex marriage and open homosexuality in the military--not to mention the idea that sodomy is just an alternate lifestyle?" Farah asked.

"That's silly," Coulter rejoined, going on to tell Farah, "I speak to a lot of groups and do not endorse them. I speak at Harvard and I certainly don't endorse their views. I've spoken to Democratic groups and liberal Republican groups that loooove abortion.

"The main thing I do is speak on college campuses, which is about the equivalent of speaking at an al-Qaida conference," Coulter continued. "I'm sure I agree with GOProud more than I do with at least half of my college audiences. But in any event, giving a speech is not an endorsement of every position held by the people I'm speaking to. I was going to speak for you guys, [even though] I think you're nuts on the birther thing (though I like you otherwise!)."

Shorter Coultergeist: You're nuts, but I like you. And I give speeches for al-Qaida. Yeah, I'm nuts too. But those crazy faggots like me!

And speaking of nuts:

Coulter's response to Farah was markedly different from the thrashing she gave last March to University of Ottawa's provost for what Coulter characterized as his attempt to "silence" her by cautioning Coulter about the legal differences in what is considered to be hate speech in Canada, as opposed to the U.S.

"Since arriving in Canada I've been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution for speeches I hadn't yet given and denounced on the floor of the Parliament (which was nice because that one was on my 'bucket list')," Coulter wrote in a March 24 column at Conservative News. "Apparently Canadian law forbids 'promoting hatred against any identifiable group,' which the provost, Francois A. Houle advised me, 'would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.'

"I was given no specific examples of what words and phrases I couldn't use," Coulter continued, "but I take it I'm not supposed to say, 'F----you, Francois.' " Coulter went on to declare herself the victim of a hate crime due to Houle's note. In the event, Coulter's appearance had to be canceled due to safety concerns when a mob of students--described by Coulter as "rioting liberals"--became increasingly unruly before Coulter's speech.

I can't believe this bullshit version of the story is still circulating out there. Once more, with feeling: The Coultergeist was too busy boozing it up at a pricey fundraiser. Of course she couldn't be bothered to show for a FREE appearance. She thinks independent-thinking, leftist students are Randian "looters" for al-Qaida, remember? Plus, she had to make herself out to be the martyr, after all, and we nasty-wasty Canadians weren't obliging her with any serious reasons. She was not forced to cancel anything--she CHOSE to. And saps that we are, we supported her right to choose, even if it meant that she could open her big yap and accuse us of all sorts of horrible things that we did not and never would do!

But the most tortured bit of logic is this, at the end:

Homocon has drawn sponsors from the rightward end of the political spectrum, noted Christopher Taylor in an Aug. 17 op-ed piece at the Washington Examiner. Taylor questioned the purpose of Homocon and GoProud, promoting a version of conservatism that the rightward fringe might not have recognized. "One of the most basic principles of conservatism as opposed to the modern left is that we treat everyone as Americans in America, not as any form of hyphenated-American," wrote Taylor. "Conservatives shouldn't care what color you are, how tall you are, if you're male or female, they don't care if you are left handed or ambidextrous, it simply doesn't matter."

Taylor went on to write, "Having a Homocon for gay conservatives is a slouch toward this identity group-politics, where we focus on the ideas and interests of each specific specially split off group, as if you can really take human beings and jam them into little boxes of like-minded and like-cultured people."

For gay conservatives, the principle values of conservatism still apply--a catalogue, as defined by Taylor, that includes "limited government, individual responsibility, love of liberty, suspicion of government power, free market capitalism, and equal justice," all of which conservative gay rights proponents say dovetail with GLBT equality.

It's always so funny to see concepts like "limited government" and "suspicion of government power" touted by the same people who voted for Dubya, he of the warrantless wiretap, the search-and-seizure, the spying on dissident groups, the Free Speech Zones, and all those other things that we don't have up here in the Great Unconservative North (or didn't, until Harpo decided to emulate his crushboy).

And since when do conservatives REALLY not care what color you are, or if you're female, or what? They are the MOST discrimination-prone people on the planet! Of course they care. If they didn't, they wouldn't be so blatantly racist in their protests against Barack Obama. Nor would they elect a single anti-choicer. Black people would not still be agitating for their rights, nor would women, nor would queerfolks, in a country that blats loud and long about liberty but is really bristling with laws and statutes and state constitutional amendments and oh yeah, "free markets" geared at taking it all away.

Maybe what these homo-contards really mean is that everyone should be equally repressed and discriminated against, albeit in different ways, but turn themselves inside out trying pretend they're really, truly equal and that nothing's wrong. That's conservofascism as I understand it.

Good thing I'm a socialist and don't have to tie my brain in so many knots. I believe in struggling for equal rights and freedoms for everyone--no exceptions--until you get 'em, for holding politicians accountable in order to hang onto 'em, for being free and able to seek redress for governmental and corporate violations of those rights, for redistribution of wealth (hey, it enables a LOT more freedoms than it inhibits!), and for keeping the environment clean--and that includes kicking the dirty-minded conservatives out of the bedrooms of the nation. My ideology is clear, straightforward and just plain makes sense, which is more than I can say for theirs.

And now, a little musical dedication...

...to "Dr." Laura, in honor of her non-apology apology and I-quit pity party. Take it away, boys:

So long, you evil wench. The airwaves will smell better when your voice is off them.

August 17, 2010

Best damn news I've heard all day...

...and I couldn't have heard it from a nicer guy. Thanks, Otto.

BTW, these two posts also rock. Remember what I said about Chavecito coming out on top from his meetings with his neighbor-president? It happened. Se dió.


And when ordinary Colombians such as these schoolkids like a certain Venezuelan better than they do their own leader, well...it was kind of a foregone conclusion, no?

Teh Heterostoopid: Well, I guess it beats having a crack baby...


...but still, this is NOT responsible parenting (duh).

The mother of a baby who appeared to be smoking a bong told a detective she thought it was funny that her 11-month-old son put the bong into his mouth and looked like he was smoking pot, according to court documents released Thursday.

Rachel Stieringer, 19, of Keystone Heights, was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia following the infamous photograph that attracted so much attention on the Internet.

Detectives said Stieringer admitted to having the bong in her bedroom. She told investigators she was cleaning her room one day and her young son crawled in and put the pipe up to his mouth, according to the documents.

Stieringer said that's when she snapped a picture of it on her phone, detectives said.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Stieringer admitted to sending the pictures to a few friends but told detectives she had no idea how it got posted to her Facebook account.

The affidavit says Stieringer failed a drug test and had traces of marijuana in her system.

Gee, you don't suppose it got posted to Facebook while she was zonked, do you? And unless she was in the habit of giving her password to friends, I'd say it was she herself who posted it, and just doesn't want to admit it for fear of looking worse than she already does. An understandable reaction, but still, when you're on the road to motherhood, it's time to put your bong-smoking days behind you, lest you end up with a kid who repeats all your juvenile mistakes.

Lady Gaga comes to Venezuela!


Actually, this is the current Miss Venezuela, Marelisa Gibson, wearing her "national costume"--which looks NOTHING like the traditional dress of any Venezuelan region, but sure does look an awful lot like a shattered disco ball. Or one of Lady Gaga's rejects. It's hard to tell, eh?

August 16, 2010

Quotable: Carol King on abortion rights in Argentina

"I've often heard anti-choice mourning about the prevented birth of another Einstein or Gandhi. But what about the loss of a talented woman who dies from an illegal abortion? Or what happens to a young woman who can't continue her education due to an unplanned pregnancy and is doomed to a life of poverty or trapped in a violent relationship because she's economically dependent on a man? How many of these women could have been president (albeit with better politics than [Argentine president Cristina] Fernandez), doctors, ministers of health, teachers, composers or scientists? Of course they couldn't have been priests, but that's another issue."

--Carol King, at Ms. Magazine

Short 'n' Stubby: Ms. Manx goes to Afghanistan


Lately, so many stories on Afghanistan have been landing in my tab bar that it's getting hard to keep track of them (not to mention scroll past them all!) So, Ms. Manx has obligingly meowed at me, urging me to make 'em as short as her tail so I can share them with y'all:

The Nation takes on the infamous TIME cover, the one showing the noseless Afghan woman who's become a posterchild for warmongers. Key sentence: "It's all part and parcel of a campaign, by some well-meaning people and some not so well-meaning, to justify America's failing counterinsurgency policy in that devastated nation by raising the banner of women's rights..." BINGO.

The Calgary Herald also (surprisingly) attacks this propaganda campaign, and exposes the CIA's role in it. The source of the info? Wikileaks, and the brave leaker, Bradley Manning--whom Eric Margolis devoted his last Toronto Sun column to, correctly calling him a hero. Margolis, too, notices something: "WikiGate provoked a flood of bombastic pro-war propaganda from America's mainstream (read: Government guided) media, its rent-a-journalists, and Canada's wannabe Republican neocons." Surprise! Guess where that awful TIME cover fits into all this. I'll give you a hint: Project Mockingbird never died.

Rethink Afghanistan digs deeper into the CIA aspect of things, showing how the Taliban (those evil woman-mutilators!) rose from the loins of the CIA-sponsored mujahideen. If anyone is to blame for the Afghan women's suffering and suicidality, guess what--it's the good old freedom-and-democracy-bringin' US of A.

Another Nation article criticizes the whole TIME premise, pointing out that there has been a "creeping Talibanization" of Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai, and that Bibi Aisha lost her nose (and earlobes) literally under the nose of the US, Canadian, British and European troops who have been in Afghanistan nonstop, supposedly fighting for her freedom not to be disfigured by a Taliban-crazed husband. The last paragraph is absolutely key, so read it all and realize that war is not a feminist act.

But you know what IS a feminist act? Making art that explicitly links female exploitation with acts of war. Since so much war is perpetuated on the bodies of women (and beautiful women are shamelessly exploited in pro-war propaganda as well), a female artist, Rosemarie Romero, thought it worthwhile to explore the subject by making montages of models in seductive poses, with parts of their bodies replaced by scenes of war. The response of viewers to these pictures seems to indicate that her efforts are paying off: "Romero, who's 24-years-old and an MFA student at the University of Florida, says that when people first see the photomontages at a distance, they're titillated and drawn to the women's faces or spread legs or exposed breasts. When they get closer and realize what they're looking at, the party's over. They're disturbed, repulsed." A good and logical response, I'd say.

And while we're on the subject of things disturbing and repulsive, be warned of the next front in the War on Terra: the use of human rights as (bogus) grounds for the ultimate in human rights abuses. Actually, it's already happening, and if you've been following what I blogged on Venezuela and Bolivia in particular, you'll see that there's been quite an expanse of Astroturf already unrolled there as pretext for the staging of fascist coups. But hey, why should the women of Afghanistan have all the "fun"?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry...


...but reading this makes me glad I'm not married:

Study author Christin Munsch, a sociology PhD candidate at Cornell University, wrote the paper to explore the factors related to infidelity for both sexes. In the paper's abstract, she argues that for men, making less money than their female partner may be a threat to their gender identity "by calling into question the traditional notion of men as breadwinners."

The study relied on the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth which includes questions about work status and experience, income, dating and marital history and sexual behaviour.

The research drew on data from 2002 to 2007 and examines respondents aged 18 to 28 who were married, cohabitating and in the same relationship for more than a year.

There were a total of 1,098 men in the sample, of which 6.73 per cent reported cheating at least once during the six-year period. Of the 1,559 women in the sample, 3.33 per cent reported being unfaithful at least once during the same period.

The study found men who completely relied on their female partner's income were five times more likely to cheat than those who contributed an equal amount of money in the relationship. Men were also more likely to cheat if they made significantly more than their female partners.

Men were least likely to engage in infidelity when their partners made about 75 per cent of their incomes.

As for women, those who were economically dependent on men were less likely to cheat than those who made the same or more than their partners.

"The data seems to show there is a relationship between economic dependency and infidelity for both men and women," said Munsch in an interview from Skaneateles, N.Y.

"For men, it appears like the relationship is prevalent or U-shaped, meaning at one end of the spectrum if you're extremely dependent on your partner, you're more likely to engage in infidelity. At the other end of the spectrum, if your partner is extremely dependent on you, you're also more likely to engage in infidelity."

So, ladies, it seems we're damned if we do make more money than our men, and damned if we don't. The odds seem best if you make a measly 75 cents to his dollar. Either way, it seems to give them the power to cheat on us, AND to trap us in a relationship where we're forced to accept his shenanigans because we can't afford to strike out on our own.

Sadly, this research was done by a woman. But at least she gives us a caveat:

Munsch cautions that this is what the relationship dynamic is like without controlling for things like highest grade completed, age, income and relationship satisfaction.

"You put some of these other controls in the model, the economic dependency -- particularly on the side where men are dependent on their spouses -- that relationship is no longer significant."

It would be interesting to see this study repeated, this time with controls for the factors mentioned. I have a sneaking suspicion that younger couples, those with more education, and whose relationships have more give-and-take, will probably fare better than older, less educated and more traditional ones as far as relationship satisfaction and fidelity go.

But what really saddens me most is this part:

But why is there a gender divide when it comes to female and male breadwinners and their fidelity?

"I think one of the things is it's not threatening for women to make less than her partner. That's the status quo," Munsch said.

Even if it was threatening to a woman, it's very unlikely that she would compensate by engaging in sex with other people, she noted.

"I think gender identity operates in both sexes, but the way that gender is threatened is different for each, and the way that men and women compensate is different," Munsch said. "It's based on our sort of cultural idea of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman."

Registered marriage and family therapist Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem said for men, a lot of their sense of personal power comes from their sexual prowess.

Belleghem said she's had many clients where the woman either earns more money than the man in the relationship or inherits it. Since money is power, a woman having it can give the man a sense of powerlessness, she noted.

"She can buy things, she can make decisions about what happens, and for him, how does he get power and feel potent and manly but by doing something that's manly," Belleghem said from Burlington, Ont. "And what's more manly than seducing a woman?"

Well, I can think of a thing or two, but those things aren't built into our collective culture, and therein lies the rub. Our culture shames unfaithful women (even when they have every good reason to be) as sluts, and glorifies men who do the exact same things (and worse, and more) as studs. There is no sense bending over backwards, forwards or sideways to accommodate this, because women will lose out no matter what psychological contortions are currently trendy. Until our culture changes, women are going to be stuck not only earning less for equal (or greater) amounts of work, we're also going to be stuck married to ungrateful wankers. Guys who don't know how good they have it...until we work up the collective backbone to walk out and never look back.

Just leaving one individual man is hard enough, but how about an entire culture?

It's not enough to not marry a wanker; women have got to band together and change our culture, instead of clawing each other's eyes out over a conceited-but-worthless man.

In other words: Feminism isn't dead yet, because the need for it most certainly is not. And at the rate things are going, who knows when it ever will be?

Surprise! G20 "security" law is nothing of the sort!

How on Earth does an anti-German war-measures act from 1939, which effectively became null and void at war's end, get dug out again for use against peaceful protesters--nearly 30 years after our Charter of Rights and Freedoms was formally enacted to prevent just such things? Well, apparently it's just for show, because any charges laid under it go poof when it's time to take it to court!

I guess Pierre Trudeau's good old Charter trumps Harpo and his sneak-thievish drive for supremacy after all (and along with him, Dalton "The Enabler" McGuinty.)

Be sure to watch it all. You'll get a chuckle out of the flustered police spokesman, who clearly wasn't expecting any reporters to challenge the official version of the bullshit--much less forearmed with the facts, as Paul Jay clearly was.

August 15, 2010

In which a persistent hasbara troll gets pwned...again.


Hey! Remember how a few weeks ago, a wanker calling himself Jamie, and using a spoofed hotmail address, outed himself here? Well, he's ba-ack...and seeing as he's apparently also a masochist, I think I'll play with him a bit before I feed him to the spam eater for good:

An unapproved comment has been posted on your blog News of the Restless, for entry #2928 (Surveillance society tug-of-war in Berlin: a small but significant victory). You need to approve this comment before it will appear on your site.

This is also the Germany where police stood idly by as pro-Palestine
protesters broke into a house to rip down an Israeli flag in the

Palestine is an apartheid society towards Jews and women -
pro-Palestinians are supporters of apartheid. Long live Israel!

Commenter name: Jamie
Commenter email address: binathebith@hotmail.com
Commenter URL:
Commenter IP address:

Needless to say, I'm not approving any more comments from this chicken-shit troll; after this, you'll never hear from "Jamie" again. Anyone who doesn't have the guts to post a real e-mail address doesn't deserve the dignity of being treated like a real commenter. But since he thought to "educate" me earlier about things I already know (and frankly don't give two shits about), I think it's time we educated HIM, yes?

So, with that in mind, I googled for the incident which he claimed took place. I wasn't expecting it to be real. But apparently, if all the pro-Israel whore media sites are to be believed, mirabile dictu, it was. Only, as you can probably guess, "Jamie" got the details grievously wrong. Here's the JTA on the incident (emphasis added):

Berlin police remove Israeli flags

January 12, 2009

BERLIN (JTA) -- Police removed two Israeli flags from the window of an apartment building along the route of an anti-Israel protest in a German town.

The incident in the city of Duisburg occurred toward the end of the Jan. 10 rally.

Demonstrators, mostly of Turkish background, were on their way home when they apparently spotted the two flags hanging in the fourth-floor window. Until then the two-hour demonstration had proceeded "without incident," the brief police report read.

Demonstrators stopped and "threw snowballs and other objects until the police removed the flags."

The young couple living in the apartment reported the incident in a blog entry. According to Sebastian M., he and his girlfriend hung two Israeli flags out their window, which was along the route where some 10,000 anti-Israel demonstrators were to pass.

"During the demonstration which went through our street, the police broke into our flat and removed the flag of Israel," Sebastian M. wrote, adding that the police said they were concerned that demonstrators would break into the building.

"We both were standing on the other side of the street and were shocked by seeing a police officer standing in our bedroom and opening the window to get the flag," he added.

So...no protesters broke into the house. The police--the same Berlin police whose chief wants to film peaceful protests (including, no doubt, Palestine supporters)!--came and took this little attempt at provocation (and pathetic try at victimhood) down. In so doing, they saved the little idiot provocateurs' necks. The incident was nipped in the bud, and no one got hurt.

And Jamie the ingrate doesn't even thank the Berlin police for doing their job correctly and keeping the peace between two angry factions. Instead he defames them, with the classic (and patently false) "Good German" smear, no less, saying they "stood idly by". Nice, eh? Tells you something very unflattering about his character, and why he feels he has to hide behind a fake e-mail address. Jamie is a crapagandist, and not even a very good one, since even the smelly hasbara-media contradicts him.

Now, about that Palestinian smear. Isn't it funny that Jamie feels the need to claim that Palestinians do...what Israelis themselves do, namely discriminate against Jews and women?

While the Knesset focuses on legislation pertaining to Muslim veils, it ignores processes the continuously reinforce the exclusion and humiliation of Jewish women. We already saw women being pushed to the backs of buses (an ongoing affair despite the High Court's ruling on the case,) women confined to one side of the streets in Jerusalem's haredi neighborhoods, and the humiliation of Mizrahi girls in Emmanuel. Earlier this week, we were told about the violent removal of girls from a go-karting facility at the same community.

At the end of this process we can expect to have a state managed by haredi men who discriminate against and humiliate women.

We've become accustomed to taking for granted political parties who disqualify women from taking office. These parties are nonetheless allowed to run in the elections, join governments, and lead the country despite their discriminatory conduct. Indeed, the State of Israel permits open, explicit, and legal disqualification of and discrimination against women; many women in this country are deprived of the basic civilian, democratic right to be elected.

Note that this is from an Israeli news site also.

BTW, Jamie is also full of shit when it comes to Palestinians in Gaza and their attitudes toward Jews and women:

Edith Lutz, a German Jewish member of the organization, said to Ynet the vessel is already anchored in Mediterranean waters, and that the organization had received many requests from Jews and non-Jews to take part in the flotilla.

"We began in Germany," she said, "but many have called us from England, Sweden and the US. There may also be another boat accompanying us, mainly carrying reporters."

Lutz explained that the Jewish flotilla aims to convey a message: Lift the siege.

"Our vessel can open a window between Israel and Gaza residents," she said. "Two years ago I took part in the Free Gaza flotilla and wore a Magen David (Star of David), and the kids said, 'Look, she's Jewish,' and they all accepted me very well. When we met (Hamas leader) Ismail Haniyeh and they told him about me, he turned to me and said they have nothing against Jews or Israel, only against the occupation."

Emphasis added.

German Jewish women are welcome in "apartheid" Gaza when they come in the name of peace! Who'd of thunk? Bueller?

There's only one bitch here, Jamie, and it's you.

PS: Jamie, I'm serious--post shit like this, and it's no wonder no one will "debate" you:

Oh "kiddie rockets"? Did a "kiddie rocket" cause this, Sabina - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d8/Beersheva_kindergarten_ after_rocket_attack_from_Gaza.jpg/170px-Beersheva_kindergarten_after_rocket_atta ck_from_Gaza.jpg It's some "kiddie rocket" that can do this much damage - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/Grad_Beersheba.jpg/220p x-Grad_Beersheba.jpg Try explaining to this guy of the little "kiddie rockets" that cause this - http://www.allworldwars.com/image/057/Gaza021.jpg It's very annoying when jumped up little trolls like you get blogs and read a few articles on Electronic Intifada, then think you know everything about the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Well get this you piece of pig-shit - YOU DON'T. You don't know jack-shit you stupid whore, so stop pretending you do, give up your stupid commie blog and sink into a life of loneliness and misery like you deserve. It's funny that you always claim any criticism of Israel is struck-down as anti-Semitism (which is, of course, a malicious lie, no doubt invented so you lot could cover up real anti-Semtism), but any debate to the bullshit you blog about is called "trolling" and anyone who dares question of the screed of 'Bina is a "masochist". Go fuck yourself you hypocritical piece of shit. (Oh, PS, that court rulling on the buses has been enforced and the whole situation came about not through state-sanctioned sexism, but from the intolerance of the Orthodox community. As for the women Knesset members - there are many. The State of Israel has no statutes banning women or Arabs from becoming members of the Knesset - it's just that some parties don't run them as candidates and those parties get voted in. Such is democracy. It would be wrong to ban these parties - fascist, even. You've got to stop equating the State of Israel with private establishments.) If you hate that some people say every criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, then why do you actively call every supportive statement of Israel "hasbara"? - That just highlights your inadequacies as a debater.

See why I don't want this turd coming back, and why anything else he writes will not be acknowledged, just flushed? This was his third strike; baseball rules. I have standards, and this is definitely lowering the tone of the discourse. (In fact, his mere presence does that.)

Now, let's get a few things straight: This is MY blog (which I'm definitely NOT giving up), and I don't bow and scrape to fascist idiots of ANY stripe here. I also don't take abuse in the form of ANY "jumped-up troll" (nice bit of projection there, Jamie, that's YOU) trying to "educate" me from the viewpoint of one who only reads rightard crap. As if he had anything of worth to impart. He probably knew he had nothing of value to say. Why else would he come on here all nasty, snotty and aggressive, calling me a bitch from the get-go when spouting his simplistic shit, using his spoofed (and poorly spelled) e-mail address as a vehicle for the limp-dicked insult?

And then he goes on doing it. Not once more, but twice. He comes into my house three times, each time leaving a steaming brown pile on the floor, and still expects me to treat him with tolerance, while not according ME the same dignity. Cognitive dissonance, thy name is Jamie.

And then he thinks he can lecture ME on debating? Bwahahahaha. Check out his masterful screed above--doesn't he have have a brilliant future ahead of him in the British House of Lords? (Whenever his testicles decide to drop, that is?) "Hypocritical piece of shit"--project much, again? Pretending to care about women, and then turning around and calling them ugly names when they don't simper and go "Oh, I'm sorry, you were right, don't mind me, I'll slink back into obscurity now like a good little woman"? Yep, winning gambit there, dude. (Snort.)

No wonder you're anonymous, Jamie--if I were as inept at this debating thing as you, and got my ass kicked good and hard for it by some leftist chick I thought I could batter into submission, I wouldn't want the world to know who I was, either.

And you even got pwned with material from your own side! How painful is that? Pretty damn painful, judging from the venom of the response. I thought using the pro-Israeli press to refute your nonsense would make an impression, but apparently it made no more impact on your little leaden skull than a Hamas rocket.

Free advice, Jamie, not that you're likely to take it, seeing as your reading comprehension is terribly poor: If you want to be respected, be respectful. LEARN TO READ, DAMMIT. (And make it something other than your silly wingnut blogs, fergawdsakes, they're nothing but a godforsaken echo chamber full of feces-flinging howler monkeys and rabid bats.) Stop your infantile whining. Dump your damn hypocrisy. Quit hating women. In fact, just quit hating, period. Use a real e-mail address, learn to apologize when you've been rude and wrong, and keep a civil tongue in your head--how hard is that? I don't think it's too much to ask.

And I don't have to tolerate anyone who "thinks" otherwise. Baseball rules...


Adios, "bith". And don't bother replying on anything else here, either.

Music for a Sunday: Leave a message with the rain

Here's the first Jefferson Starship song I ever heard, back in the summer of '81:

I had forgotten just how gorgeous the instrumentals of this one were. It's been too long since I last heard it!

And here's the second, in an excellent live recording:

Love how everyone is all happy and exuberant at the end, singing together. They used to be Jefferson Airplane in the '60s, and clearly they carried that collaborative, collective hippie vibe forward into the hard-rocking '80s, even if the sound changed quite radically.

Short 'n' Stubby: Ms. Manx's must-reads, a two-fer


Before I decided to knock off for the nochy, Ms. Manx meowed at me. That's a gentle reminder that there's a couple of things she wants you to read, so here they are:

Mi amigo Orwell's Barstid has a thoughtful treatise up on his site about how conservatism--formerly honorable--has lost its mind in the age of crapitalism and corruption. Ms. Manx concurs heartily that it is a shame that right-wing radicals of all stripes have thrown out a lot of babies with the bathwater, and wants you all to know that back in the day, she really liked Ontario Premier Bill Davis--a truly Red Tory who made public education his main priority. Sadly, as far as the HarpoCons are concerned, the Red Tories are Dead Tories.

And then there's this other guy, Alex Himelfarb, whom I don't know from Adam's housecat, but DAMN, he ties together some seemingly unrelated issues in a dynamite post on bargain-basement citizenship. Ms. Manx wants out of the bargain basement; she's seen what's on offer down there, and she says it smells musty and is very ill-fitting and beneath the dignity of man and beast alike.

August 14, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Tea-totaled and no sympathy edition


Oh, what a theme I picked for this week. Just as I'm about to put this entry to bed, wouldn't you know, I come down with yet another summer gut bug. I get two or three of them every year. This one just has me wiped out, running to the bathroom faster than you can say Trotsky. I need tea; sympathy would also be nice (I don't expect it.) But you know what's worse than having the shits? Being one...like these shits, for whom I have neither tea nor sympathy:

1. David Fucking Brown. The Dallas police chief thinks facts are, you know, too intuitive. Dallas has reported a 25% rise in rapes. So instead of being pro-active against men who rape, what does he do? Tells women to quit drinking. Y'know, chief, the problem might be better alleviated by banning sleazy guys from bars, but maybe that's just my two X chromosomes talking.

2. Ann Fucking Coulter. The right's Judy Garland? Sorry, not even close. The Coultergeist can't sing, can't dance, can't act, isn't pretty, and doesn't look that way. Not only that, but with "friends" like her, the gays don't need any enemies. Remember, she's the one who routinely and unironically derides men she dislikes as "faggots".

3. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. How pathetic is the Pigman? So pathetic that William. Fucking. Shatner. can. own. his. fat. sorry. ass. in. a. debate. on. healthcare!

4. Sarah Fucking Palin. She's all wee-wee'd up over being seen as a celebrity, not a political figure.The question is, what's she famous for? Scandals, quitting, more scandals, more quitting, and still more scandals (including two gooey, lie-laden books she didn't even write). Yep, by current US "reality" standards, she's a celebrity, all right. Any serious political figure would be toast with a record like that. But the Ditziest Dame in Alaska is still winkin', grinnin', rollin' her eyes, and droppin' her Gs in true fake down-home celebrity fashion.


5. Ashton Fucking Kutcher. Max Blumenthal calls him a "himbo for apartheid"; I say he called it just about right.

6. Anne Fucking Milton. Yes, Britain still has milk-snatching Tory women. Let's hope this one never makes it as far as Maggie Fucking Thatcher.

7. Rand Fucking Paul. Even at college, he was more than a little bit loopy. A prankish kidnapper who messed with women's heads? Say it ain't so. (And maybe it ain't. Or maybe it is. Who knows, if the victim won't come forward?) And yeah, membership in a liberal secret society is really a great way to burnish those conservative credentials, eh? This guy is so bent, it's impossible to know what's real about him and what isn't. I think it's safe to say he's not a serious candidate for anything except obscurity. (Or is it? See what I fucking mean???)

8. Norm Fucking Coleman. "Who put that charge on my card?" Gee, I wonder. You forgot something, dickweed--DUBYA'S DEFICIT. (And we wonder why you lost to a wrestler, a comedian--and barely beat a dead man? We can stop wondering now.)


9. Paul Fucking Blankfield. Assaulting a father because his son is autistic and makes noises because public places (also noisy) upset him? Hello, toilet bowl, something is circling the drain. Please flush, and don't forget to wash your hands.

10. Melodi Fucking Dushane. Are Chicken McNuggets a breakfast food? No. Are they worth throwing a hissyfit over? Depends who you ask. But if you ask me, the answer is also a big fat resounding NO.

11. and 12. Pamela Fucking Geller and John Joseph Fucking Jay. If they could only fuck each other, instead of messing with people's heads. It sounds like both of them could use a good lay, which, paradoxically, they are unlikely to find in each other. Maybe this crazy-dumb dickweed could help them there, lending his head for use as a dildo and/or buttplug. PS: Scrap the sexology, this pathology goes much deeper. Get this woman to a shrink, stat.

13. Newt Fucking Gingrich. Most hypocritical asshole of the last century, and possibly this one as well, if what his second wife, Marianne, has to say is true:

She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. "'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.'"

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

Yep, that sounds like Newty, all right. And now he wants his country to tolerate his bullshit? I'd say they moved on more than a decade ago and want nothing more to do with him now. Marianne's assessment of his chances there also rings true. (And if I were his current wife, I'd shop for a new husband, and not ask for a divorce until my wedding plans were firm.)


14. Tony Fucking Clement. Some of us eat, sleep and breathe; some of us lie, lie and lie. Guess which category he falls into. BTW, he's also really pig-fucking ignorant.

15. Gary Fucking Korkuc. Who the hell tries to marinate a live cat (his own pet, at that), THEN kill and eat it? A fucking psychopath, that's who. Good thing the cat now has a new family.

16. Trade Fucking Martin. The only thing you've got to stop, dude, is sucking ass. And writing music. But I repeat myself. Gawd, you stink.

17. Chris Fucking Ortloff. Yay, another Republican pervert! Just what the world needs! Because really, who's more entitled to sex with underage girls (11 and 12, in case you wanted to know)?


18. Hal Fucking Turner. A one-man case for handgun (and other gun) bans. Saying judges who uphold the law "should be killed" is reason enough to take away the means for killing ANYONE. Especially from a blatant racist loser like this piece of shit. In fact, this guy should lose all access to the Internet, too...his "free speech" is NOT protected, seeing as it consists mainly of hate and death threats. That's another means to murder that should not be allowed.

19. Norberto Fucking Rivera. Congratulations, Mexico, you have sanity on your supreme court, and thanks to that, same-sex marriage is now legal throughout all 31 of your beautiful states. I'm sure that there will be many happy couples formalizing their relationships there in the weeks and months to come, and I wish all of them the very best. But--lo siento mucho, Mexico City, your cardinal archbishop sure is a regressive dick. I suspect he's pissy not because it's really "aberrant" to be gay (less common, yes, but one person in every ten is hardly an aberration against nature!), but because it means that fewer gay men will be coming to seek refuge in that great drafty closet that is the Roman Catholic priesthood. And if the church doesn't want to recognize their unions, fine--I'm sure the civil authorities will gladly pick up the slack, as they do here in Canada. Where the sky hasn't fallen, and rates of pedophilia haven't risen, since our own supreme court made equal marriage legal in all ten provinces and three territories, five years ago.

20. Terry Fucking Nichols. Spoiled widdle princess wants what? A hot-pink sparkle-pony with a purple tinsel mane and tail? Sorry, pwincess, no can do. You're gonna have to make do with the same prison chow as all the rest of your fellow inmates--most of whom are not in there for "Christian" terrorism like you.


21. Ben Fucking Quayle. The son of the second-worst VP in US history thinks His Barackness is the Worst President Ever? Damn, he's even dumber than his old man, and that's really saying something. Remember that ol' Murphy Brown kerfuffle? This is about on a par with that for idiocy, only Murphy was fictional and this shit is real. Dan can't spell potato, and Ben can't recall who left the mess for Obama to clean up. And some people actually think this dink's throw-away opinion is worth printing. That's what being the stupid scion of unearned privilege does for you, kiddies.

22. Chuck Fucking Colson. Excuse me, but shouldn't you still be in prison, incommunicado? Why does anyone place any worth at all on what a Watergate felon has to say, still, after all this time--much less about a community centre that is not even within sight of Ground Zero? Oh. I get it...you're desperate to maintain some loose semblance of relevance after all this time in obscurity, no decent workplace will hire you, and besides, there's a whole bandwagon-o-stoopid passing by your window, and you've just got to jump on. Makes sense!

23. Lawrence Fucking Cannon. No, of course sanctions against all of Iran won't hurt its people, nor will they strengthen its nasty-wasty government. Perish the thought! Cheap political points are worth scoring at any cost, right?

24. Marg Fucking Baker. The age of concentration camps is once again upon us, thanks to this particularly stinky old teabag from Florida. If these people are trying to convince us they're not Nazis, they're doing a damn poor job of it. (And if prostitution is a problem, Marg, try not letting Glenn Beck pimp you out.)


25. Aryn Fucking Baker. Who stands to profit off the TIME reporter's sensationalistic (and blatantly false) interpretation of female abuse in Afghanistan? Her own damn husband, that's who. Meanwhile, be it known that "What Happens When We Leave Afghanistan" happened while "we" were IN Afghanistan, it happened the whole time unabated, and it's not going to matter a pin whether "we" leave or when. It is happening, and this bears repeating, BECAUSE "we" were in Afghanistan, starting with the CIA financing and training of those cuddly Talibs-in-waiting, the "Arab-Afghan" mujahideen. Remember them? I do, but TIME's editors and reporters apparently don't. And they don't want YOU to, either. Because if you did, you'd want that war to end, and with it would go the profits that certain people stand to make a heap of.

26. Laura Fucking Schlessinger. Now we know--she is a bigot through and through. A RACIST bigot. When she tells a black caller that some clearly racist comments aren't, that's just really fucking asinine. And then she gets bullying in defence of what is clear and obvious racism on her own part. The use of the n-word isn't the real problem here, it's what follows: "Don't NAACP me"--what a hectoring bitch. Oh, and "Don't marry out of your race" isn't RACIST? "Nice try...actually, SUCKY try"--yeah, that was a sucky try on your part, for sure, "Doctor" who-is-not-one. "Hypersensitivity...is being bred by black activists", uh-huh. Actually, it's being confirmed, however inadvertently, by conservatives on the radio, preaching hardcore stupidity to a primarily white, out-of-touch audience. I'm surprised a black woman was unwary enough to bother seeking advice from this one (who is NOT qualified to give it, the most important qualification being CARING, which she lacks); most of the ones I've known are a helluva lot smarter. PS: Your "philosophical" non-apology "apology" doesn't wash, either.

27. Rob Fucking Ford. Srsly, this man should NOT be the next mayor of Toronto. He is not mentally stable. I can just see him going postal.

28. Sharron Fucking Angle. Crazybitch must really not want to get her crazybitch ass elected, because only an unelectable crazy-ass bitch would approvingly cite a miserable totalitarian failure like Augusto Pinochet as making the case for privatizing Social Security. (Item: Social Security--UNPRIVATIZED--has saved at least 20 million US citizens from poverty. Why does Sharron Fucking Angle hate US citizens?)


29. Robert Fucking Gibbs. If there really is such a thing as a "professional left", I wanna know where to go sign up and collect my paycheque. I'm tired of doing it for free. PS: I love you, Alan Grayson.

30. Pat Fucking Buchanan. Evolution just called, Pat...sez your time on this planet is up. Man was just not meant to walk with the dinosaurs, and that's all there is to it.

31. Erick Fucking Erickson. I still can't believe the Chicken Noodle Network lets this idiotic hack wet his bed on their dime. Where was his fear of satanism before the "Islamofascists" came to New York to build a community centre, I wonder? Oh, and Erick: I am a Witch, and I am fully prepared to hex thee. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Boogaboogabooga!


And that's it for this week. I'm off to make myself a cup of stomach-soothing tea and guzzle some Angostura for my beleaguered intestines. If any of you traditional trolls feel like outing yourself here this week, as you've done for the last three, you know the drill. Let me just say to you, in advance of your shenanigans:

Good night, and get fucked!

Surveillance society tug-of-war in Berlin: a small but significant victory


If you need any evidence of how far Germany has come since the end of World War II, and how far by comparison Canada has sunk, look no further than this interesting little report in the Berliner Tagesspiegel ("Daily Mirror"):

Berlin police president Dieter Glietsch wants police agents to go on videotaping the participants of peaceful demonstrations, despite a court verdict.

He will appeal the court decision, he said on the RBB evening newscast on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a panel of judges declared the filming of peaceful protesters to be a violation of the protesters' rights. The police may only make videos in the event that a protest turns violent or results in vandalism. The judges based their decision on the contention that such measures would constitute an attack on freedom of assembly, as well as the right to informational self-determination.

Should his appeal fail, Glietsch plans to urge the Berlin House of Representatives to pass a by-law to allow the police to film peaceful demonstrations.

Translation mine.

This fight isn't over yet. But the fact that the court has ruled in favor of protesters over police indicates something important: The Germans have pulled ahead of Canada in allowing peaceful assembly over the clamor of the police/surveillance sector.

Granted that police are all alike, here and there--this one insists he'll get the law remade in his own favor. But still, the court has ruled in favor of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

Viewed in light of what happened at the G20 summit in Toronto two months ago, this should tell you something, nicht wahr?

August 13, 2010

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Happy Birthday, Fidel!

The venerable old barbudo turns 84 today, and is still going strong. And no wonder: with this much love from his people, how could he not? He's gonna live to be 100, outlasting all his enemies, and when he dies, he'll be thumbing his nose in the general direction of Miami.

Feliz cumpleaños, Fidel.

August 12, 2010

How far would Washington go to defend torture and death squads?

Sometimes, it's just instructive to take a good hard look at the past in order to really grasp what's going on in the present. Take, for example, the fact that Washington has officially sanctioned torture and the use of death squads during the nearly ten years that the War on Terra has been raging. Dubya even went so far as to get some legal beagles to write him some excuse notes, sparking worldwide outrage. Think it's anything new? Think again. Here's the latest declassified bombshell from the National Security Archive, which landed in my inbox yesterday:

Washington, DC, August 11, 2010 - Documents posted by the National Security Archive on the 40th anniversary of the death of U.S. advisor Dan Mitrione in Uruguay show the Nixon administration recommended a "threat to kill [detained insurgent] Sendic and other key [leftist insurgent] MLN prisoners if Mitrione is killed." The secret cable from U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers, made public here for the first time, instructed U.S. Ambassador Charles Adair: "If this has not been considered, you should raise it with the Government of Uruguay at once."

The message to the Uruguayan government, received by the U.S. Embassy at 11:30 am on August 9, 1970, was an attempt to deter Tupamaro insurgents from killing Mitrione at noon on that day. A few minutes later, Ambassador Adair reported back, in another newly-released cable, that "a threat was made to these prisoners that members of the 'Escuadrón de la Muerte' [death squad] would take action against the prisoners' relatives if Mitrione were killed."

Dan Mitrione, Director of the U.S. AID Office of Public Safety (OPS) in Uruguay and the main American advisor to the Uruguayan police at the time, had been held for ten days by MLN-Tupamaro insurgents demanding the release of some 150 guerrilla prisoners held by the Uruguayan government. Mitrione was found dead the morning of August 10, 1970, killed by the Tupamaros after their demands were not met.

"The documents reveal the U.S. went to the edge of ethics in an effort to save Mitrione--an aspect of the case that remained hidden in secret documents for years," said Carlos Osorio, who directs the National Security Archive's Southern Cone project. "There should be a full declassification to set the record straight on U.S. policy toward Uruguay in the 1960's and 1970's."

"In the aftermath of Dan Mitrione's death, the Uruguayan government unleashed the illegal death squads to hunt and kill insurgents," said Clara Aldrighi, professor of history at Uruguay's Universidad de la República, and author of "El Caso Mitrione" (Montevideo: Ediciones Trilce, 2007). "The U.S. documents are irrefutable proof that the death squads were a policy of the Uruguayan government, and will serve as key evidence in the death squads cases open now in Uruguay's courts," Osorio added. "It is a shame that the U.S. documents are writing Uruguayan history. There should be declassification in Uruguay as well," stated Aldrighi, who collaborated in the production of this briefing book.

Who was Dan Mitrione? Oh, just the US's leading torturer in South America at the time. His specialty was the "scientific" use of electroshock as torture, ostensibly for purposes of interrogation. He not only tortured countless innocent people himself (some of them to the point of death), he trained the local police in three countries to do the same. Uruguay was the last; before that it was the Dominican Republic and Brazil. He was portrayed, in a thinly fictionalized form, by Yves Montand in Costa-Gavras's movie, State of Siege. You can read more about him here and here.

What's notable about all this is how long ago it happened. Mitrione met harsh justice in Uruguay 40 years ago, and yet it seems like it was only yesterday. We can clearly see a pattern, a striking similarity between how Tricky Dick did things, and how his ideological scion, Dubya, did them. The use of death threats, death squads (organized by the US's puppet regimes abroad) and torture--can you honestly tell the difference between Uruguay in the late '60s and early '70s, Central America in the Reaganite '80s, and Afghanistan and Iraq over the last ten years? I have difficulty with it, myself.

And no wonder. When it comes to imperialism, not much has changed from one decade to the next, other than the location of the worst manifestations of the disease. For the last 200 years, ever since the cry went up in South America for freedom from the Spanish empire, Latin America has felt that big stick of gringo imperialism coming to supplant the royal sceptre of Spain--here, there, everywhere. Not one country south of the Rio Grande has been immune. Nor, since the discovery of petroleum under its sands, has the Middle East, although it is a more recent target. The brutality has gone through minor variations, but the overall theme is readily recognizable: Whatever Washington wants, Washington gets, and damn the expense--even if the toll is a river of human blood.

And if a more "modern" form of the Spanish Inquisition is required to exact it, so be it. A Dan Mitrione is worth a death squad and the murders of hundreds of local freedom fighters--so runs the reasoning. They will go all the way--literally to the death--to defend their imperial methods.

I wonder what Mitrione-like characters have yet to shake out of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I predict we'll be seeing several, probably in the guise of "civilian contractors" to give plausible deniability to the military and the CIA. Mitrione was, after all, one who operated under the guise of a police chief, not an intelligence officer, although he was attached to the FBI in 1959, and the State Department as of 1960. He was sent on his first foreign assignment that same year. His plausible deniability: he was training local police in Latin America. In what? Well, what else: interrogation. "The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect"--that was his motto. Death of the victim was undesirable only because it meant that the torturer had been inept in getting what he wanted out of the poor soul.

Nowadays, it's waterboarding, not electroshock, that's in vogue. But the purpose is the same, both superficially and underneath it all. Nothing has changed much in 40 years, or indeed 200.

It's yesterday once more. Shooby doo lang lang...

August 11, 2010

A body blow for the Colombia-US military accord

Meet the most odious piece of sneaky-cowardly political interference in the Americas since, well, since the US backed a bunch of putschists trying to overthrow Chavecito:


It's not dead yet, but damned if there isn't blood in the water now:

La W Radio reports that the Constitutional Court of Colombia has declared will declare* the military-cooperation accord between Colombia and the US inexecutable, since it must first be passed by the Congress before being approved.

The court declared the measure inconstitutional, but left it alive for a limited time. It gave the Colombian congress one year to decide whether or not to approve the accord.


The military accord produced a crisis between Colombia and Venezuela, after which [Venezuelan president] Hugo Chávez accused the US government of using Colombian territory to attack his country.

Translation mine.

And the crisis unleashed by this odious accord isn't limited to Venezuela or its uppity, mouthy president. Many Colombians don't like it either:


These people and thousands of others like them have been protesting this accord since it was first announced. Let's hope the Colombian congress hears them and nullifies this bastard agreement, or there will be no peace within Colombian borders, much less between Colombia and its neighbors.

PS: Otto has more, plus some winning snarkage. Go read.

*Translation error fixed, thanx Otto...

A video you simply MUST see

It has everything: The Internet! Keyboard Cat! The Gaza Freedom Flotilla! Hasbara galore! Terrorists of every possible (fake) kind! And oh yeah, stick around till the end, and you even get a little RickRolling. How can you possibly resist?

August 10, 2010

Christopher Hitchens is dying. Big fuckin' whoop!


I guess, given this news...

Hitchens spoke in very stark terms about his mortality.

"I'm a realist, I'm objective," he said. "It's not a good cancer to get. The statistics are very depressing. Mine isn't just in my esophagus, either. It's gone to my lymph nodes. I would be a very lucky person to live another five years."

Goldberg and Hitchens then welcomed Hitchens' "dearest friend," author Martin Amis, as the conversation turned toward religion.

Hitchens, an outspoken atheist, said he will never become religious despite his looming mortality. If any such conversion is ever attributed to him, he said, it would be either a lie propagated by the religious community or an effect of the cancer and treatment that made him no longer himself.

"The entity making such a remark might be a raving, terrified person whose cancer has spread to the brain. I can't guarantee that such an entity wouldn't make such a ridiculous remark, but no one recognizable as myself would ever make such a remark," he said.

...I should regret having written this a few days ago, but I don't.

The awful fact is that Hitchens's brain is already disintegrating; his own writings betray the fact. And it's been doing so for years. He moved from left to right over time; that's a sure sign of degeneration unto itself. But the manifestation of that cancerous phenomenon was particularly grotesque in him. When he devoted so much energy in the latter 1990s to excoriating Bill Clinton on moralistic terms for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and aided the far right from the so-called left, I quickly came to despise him for what he'd done. Hitchens was not the only one who set back progress immeasurably during the Clinton era, but he was a so-called respected voice. I don't know why he wasn't blackballed on the spot by the so-called liberal media, unless they were not really liberal after all. (BINGO!)

And I couldn't believe anyone could consider him anything less than fascist when he supported Dubya's wars. Most hilarious was his insistence that they were "secularist". No, they were capitalist, with a hefty dose of religious fundamentalism thrown in. If Hitch were really serious about secularism, he'd have decried them. Instead, he chose to studiously ignore Dubya's very pointed use of the word "crusade"--a specifically religious term--in his war against Islam. I guess some religious conservatisms are more kosher than others, if you are a brown-nosing irrationalist like Hitch.

Drunken rampages like this one don't help him, either. Nor do drunken brawls like this one. They just make him look like a fucking palooka with piss-poor judgment.

And really, it doesn't matter if he believes in God or not; karma hits you no matter what you believe, and karma is getting back at him now. You don't need to be religious to feel remorse at life's end for what you did wrong; you just need to be halfway human.

If Hitch cares to reflect further on the subject of mortality (and that of morality), I offer him the words of Rudyard Kipling to ponder:

I could not dig, I dared not rob,

And so I lied to please the mob.

Now all my lies are proved untrue,

And I must face the men I slew.

What tale will serve me here among

Mine angry and defrauded young?

--"A Dead Statesman", 1924

That's what karma looks like, people.

Hitch lied to please the mob when it howled for Bill Clinton's blood, and for that of the innocent people of Iraq. He has never expressed an instant's regret for that lethal, life-destroying foolishness. In his own mind, he was justified in doing so. Even now, as his life comes to a close, he's not making amends for his lies, he's making bids to aggrandize himself even further. He is a sociopath.

And the only thing that saddens me about his passing is that it took so damn long. He wore out his welcome on this planet when he joined a band of amoral thugs in taking down a merely mortal man on the grounds of so-called morality. He should not have lived to fart out the bullshit he did about Dubya and his immoral wars.

Happy dying, Hitch, you sick, seedy, disreputable fucking bastard.

Comments now closed. Tough luck.

Chavecito is in Colombia today...

...at the behest of his newly inaugurated local counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos. Will there be crow on the supper menu tonight at El Palacio Narquiño? Well, let's let the photo of the day (tweeted by Andrés Izarra of Telesur) do the talking:


Chavecito wore his flag jacket, not a formal suit. Patriotic, rather than toadying/diplomatic, in other words. He gave a short speech at the airport, basically thanking Santos for the welcome and his willingness to talk peace (which Chavecito has always been for, anyway--never having declared war on Colombia, but rather closing the borders when it became obvious that the previous Narcopresidente of that land was getting belligerent with HIM.)

I don't know what the outcome will be yet, but something tells me the 'Cito will emerge on top.

EDIT: Another tweeted photo from Andrés Izarra...


Chavecito greets a crowd of Colombian well-wishers en route to the meeting place at San Pedro Alejandrino. D'you think they like him, maybe?

EDIT #2: Yup, they like him...they REALLY like him. Chavecito has stopped his caravan twice now to greet his Colombian fans, including this little one:


According to Andrés Izarra (whom you really should follow!), the crowd was yelling "Long Live Chávez!"

According to Venezuelan newspaper Panorama, this took place in the barrio of La Lucha, (appropriately, "The Struggle"), Santa Marta.

August 9, 2010

Quotable: Iain McGilchrist on poetry

"Poetry engraves itself in the brain: it doesn't just slip smoothly over the cortex as language normally does. It has all the graininess of life, as it rips into being from deep within the limbic system, the ancient seat of awareness and affective meaning. Sometimes this is most obvious in a foreign language, because there the smooth, familiar words recede, and the sheer awesomeness of what is meant comes refreshed by the new encounter. As a child I was bewitched by the poems of Heine that my father would recite to me while shaving. Im Abendsonnenschein . . . I remember thinking then that the real word for sunshine was Sonnenschein. So, too, something seemed missing when things disappeared: they only truly disappeared when they were verschwunden. This is odd because my father was a Scot and my mother English. It seems like a sort of latent knowledge."

--Iain McGilchrist, "Four Walls", in Poetry Magazine

August 8, 2010

Music for a Sunday: Two from Dame pa' Matala

Two more consciousness-elevating songs from Venezuela's finest folkies:

First, "Roba Caminos":

Best line: "Shuddup muddafucka!"

Sounds like he's tired of something. Hmmm, I wonder what?

August 7, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Oppressed overclass edition


Cartoon excerpt by Ruben Bolling; see the rest of it here.

Oh, those poor privileged people, nothing's going their way this week. The Cordoba Islamic community centre was okayed for construction by New York City Hall, AND PropH8 was overturned in California, and Elena Kagan has been confirmed in spite of all right-wing slurs and sliming--meaning that their panic buttons aren't going to get any rest. Neither are certain parts of their anatomy; the more the privileged feel righteously oppressed by the uppity underdogs, the more compulsively they masturbate to alleviate the panic. And the more I feel compelled to mock them for it. So, bearing that in mind, here are this week's winning, wanking, overwhelmingly white overclass winners, pronounced wieners (or, alternatively, whiners):

1. Conrad Fucking Black. Yeah, tell us something we didn't know about the US penal system--we already know it's racist, it targets predominantly the poor and jobless, yadda yadda yadda. WE KNOW ALL THAT. What I wanna know is, have YOU learned anything? Or are you still the same greedy, verbose, self-important fuck you always were? Oh wait, lemme guess...

Barbara was in Toronto and it was our 18th wedding anniversary. She couldn't make her reservation on Air Canada because she could see on television the driver she had arranged to pick me up marooned outside the gates of the prison complex. He had no authorization to prove he was ordered for me and not simply a ruse of the press. Faxes flew back and forth delaying her departure.

Finally, the only way to get to Palm Beach that night, just before midnight, which she was able to do, was to charter from a well-wisher at a knock-down rate, (basically the cost of aviation fuel), a very tired and sluggish medevac plane without a washroom.

Oh noes, it's not a LearJet! They probably didn't serve champagne, either. Horrors! How did poor Babs survive the ordeal?

I was delighted to be back in my home, which the prosecutors had tried to seize for years. For the first time since I was last there, I enjoyed pristine quiet, free of loudspeakers, screamed argument, and the snoring of a hundred men. I had a glass of wine, and waited for Barbara, to celebrate the happiest of all wedding anniversaries.

Nope. You haven't really learned anything. No contrition, no admission, just "poor me, victimized by the system", with never a thought to all the people Hollinger Inc. has done out of a decent living over the years. It's still all about YOU, isn't it?

2. Lady Fucking Gaga. Or Stefani Fucking Germanotta, take your pick. You want a "dumb fucking pop star", baby? You're it. You just couldn't forgo the proceeds of a single concert, not even in the name of social justice. You couldn't waste an opportunity to make money, but you COULD waste the opportunity to make a point (the one you thought you were making won't wash--a state whose profit is made on the backs of undocumented workers DESERVES to suffer economically for punishing them. And as several of Pam's commenters point out, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, started by Rosa Parks, took over a year to do ITS work, too.) Bet we'll be seeing you in Israel next, talking about how "dumb fucking pop stars" won't make a difference in the Gaza blockade, either. After all, there are shekels in it for ya.

3. Abe Fucking Foxman. So wrong on so many levels! No one is entitled to be a bigot. And the survivors of holocausts are the ones upon whom it is most incumbent to show the rest of the world that there is a better way. The ADL missed its calling there, although considering its real history, it's hardly surprising that they did so. Hedy Epstein should kick Abe's patookus, but you see, she's more evolved than that. She prefers to show the better way...by LIVING it.


4. John Fucking Boehner. "All I need to do is listen to the American people..." Which he hasn't been doing either, or his party wouldn't have filibustered those people out of jobs. You can start anytime, Cheeto Man.

5. Fucking BP. Bad enough that they're trying to buy their way out of further liability claims; worse that they're carpet-bombing the Gulf of Mexico with toxic shit to make it look like nothing really happened. Fishermen are committing suicide, businesses are shutting due to bankruptcy, and all they care about is protecting their bottom line--and their image. Fuck them, fuck them all to hell.

6. and 7. Fucking Target and Best Buy. How the hell could they support a homophobic asswipe like Tom Fucking Emmer? They claim it's "economic issues". Well, I guess they don't care for the big gay dollar; that's an economic issue too, isn't it? As is the fact that Emmer already got doused with pennies when he claimed that there are waiters taking home $100,000 a year in tips, and therefore they don't deserve to make a basic living wage. In fact, restaurant employers and customers both have a nasty habit of stiffing their servers whenever and wherever they think they can get away with it. That's a serious economic issue, and an insult to working people everywhere.


8. Fucking Microsoft. And they wonder why people hate them so much? Well, if they're trying to reduce us to mere potential customers for advertising, and our privacy means so little to them, what response were they expecting, exactly?

9. Tom Fucking Shales. Christiane Amanpour is not a terrorist sympathizer, she's a competent TV reporter who is, unlike so many others, not in the habit of unfairly slanting her stories. The same cannot be said for this creep, who seems strangely obsessed with her--either because she is female, or because she has an "exotic" middle-eastern name, or both.

10. Tamara Fucking Scott. Um, how exactly does same-sex marriage contribute to the problem of "fractured" (I guess that's the right's new word for "broken") families? It doesn't. The problem is not Teh Ghey, lady, it's the D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Somehow, though, I don't hear anyone campaigning against that. Or against the right-wing economic policies that are killing so many otherwise good marriages, either.

11. Ali Fucking Khamenei. Just because you don't like music, doesn't mean God feels the same way. When did illogical fanaticism become a desirable trait in Iranian religious leaders, anyway? Even the former Cat Stevens, who once famously asked fans to burn his old records, has found out how to reconcile his Muslim beliefs with his musical gifts.


12. Tony Fucking Clement. Fiscal responsibility? What's that? First it was the $2 billion spent on stormtroopers security for the G-20 summit, now it's $30 million earmarked for publicity...for a change to the census that nobody wants. And we won't even get started on those totally unnecessary fighter jets.

13. Liz Fucking Cheney. Yay, another wingtard wench who thinks an Islamic community centre two blocks from Ground Zero is a stab to the heart. Poor oppressed nutters who don't have to live in the vicinity, yet still feel compelled to opine on what doesn't faze the locals in the least!

14. Tucker Fucking Carlson. Yeah, you sure did a great job of defending non-partisan journalism from the right-wing nutjobs who thought of it as "fundamentally corrupt". The entire time you were doing it, you did it from a right-wing nutjob POV. So much easier to do it from the deck of a cruise ship while being wooed by the Paliness, too!

15. Sharron Fucking Angle. The press doesn't want to be your friend. Neither, I hope, do voters. PS: Oh, holy shite!

16. All the fucking racists, nativists and xenophobes mentioned here. Wankers one and all.

17. Glenn Fucking Beck. Why?


THAT's why. For anyone who still thinks he's anti-racist and anti-Nazi, wake the fuck up, he's neither. He is a racist AND a Nazi for promoting this white-supremacist site (complete with obvious neo-Nazi-style logo, even.)

18. John the Fucking Bigamist. There really are no words, so I'll say no more.

19. Michaele Fucking Salahi. Oh noes, someone touched her! Oh noes, it's Whoopi Goldberg! Oh noes, she's BLACK!!! Help, help, racist assault!!!!

20. Fucking Maclean's. On behalf of all feminists, fuck you. And your "trashy daughters" issue, too. Ever think that it's not feminist moms who are to blame for girls turning out trashy, but the trash-promoting media (i.e. YOU)?

21. Fucking Coke. Srsly--you market something as healthy, then claim it's not, and that you're not deceiving anyone? Well, at least no one's fooled that you people are evil. That much we can see straight up.

22. Dan Fucking Maes. All I can say is take it away, Dave:


Yep, even with that LOL of a surname, I'd say that the current mayor of Denver, Colorado is a shoo-in for that gubernatorial seat. With such a fuckheaded opposition, how could he lose?

23. Rick Fucking Scott. Don't look now, but there's a horde of angry snowbirds right behind you, asshole.

24. Kevin Fucking Pezzi. Call me funny, but I don't believe he's a real doctor, much less a sexpert and an inventor. Any med school that would admit such a charlatan, much less graduate him, is not credible; neither is any board that would grant him a licence. (And I bet his penis is still laughably small, too.) But isn't it nice to see that Spitefart's resident hatemonger and pretend stud of the pretend ER is such a master-race titty man?

25. Brian Fucking Lilley. Front-running candidate for Worst Excuse for a Journalist in Canada. Not only is the linked story unbelievable in and of itself (Muslim women in veils NOT getting harassed by security? How fucking stupid do you think we are?), it cites a conveniently anonymous US military man who, oh so conveniently, just happens to be fluent in Arabic and just happened to overhear the supposed women supposedly laughing at the supposed security guard who was supposedly too timid to hassle them. And if you believe that all really happened, I've got some lovely oceanfront property in Saskatoon.

26. Chuck Fucking Grassley. I'm sorry, I just gotta do this. Everybody sing: Chuck Chuck Bo Buck, Banana Fanna Fo Fuck, Chuck is a porn schmuck...Chu-huck!

27. Whoever the fuck wrote this goddamn disgusting editorial in the New York Post. Perpetuating the myth that Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war, just like that? Bullshit. Japan should apologize before the US acknowledges what ghastly things it did there? Also bullshit. Barack Obama and Ban Ki-Moon are bigger men than this one, and now we see how much bigger they really are. I guess it's a good thing for the scribbler that editorials go unsigned as a matter of tradition, but this is one tradition that is open to abuse by virtue that very anonymity. And this is a fine example of such abuses. Shame on you, you bloodthirsty, hateful little shit.


28. Sarah Fucking Palin. You can tell a lot about someone's character just by the following they attract. In the Paliness's case, it seems, the antipathy she holds for journalists has its wee small echo in that her fans just can't take any criticism for their stupidities at all.

29. Goldman Fucking Sachs. Did you know they dealt in high-priced diploma mills? Neither did I. But now we do, thanks to one luckless woman reduced to pole-dancing for a living. Economic ruin laid bare, literally.

30. Tim Fucking Pawlenty. There's paw-lenty wrong with him (ha--I always wanted to say that!), but let's just go with this week's foray into Hardcore Stupidhood. An Islamic centre two blocks away from Ground Zero "disrespects" the victims of 9-11? Oh, sure, Tim, that'll wash...I mean, it's not like any Muslims who worked in the Twin Towers were killed that day.


31. Ann Fucking Coulter. How it's possible to be conservative and gay is a mystery to me. How it's possible to be all that and give a free pass to a horrible harridan who uses the word "faggot" as an insult (and not ironically, either) is an even bigger mystery. Perhaps her Adam's apple holds the answer to that one. Shall we ask it?

32. Cathal Fucking Kelly. Wow, of all the things to reduce an entire, proud little Latin American country to, "plane-crash-related cannibalism" has got to be the lowest common denominator. I'm ashamed to say I graduated the same j-school and in the same year as this doofus, but I'm glad he wasn't in any of my classes. Uruguay just happens to be a two-time World Cup winner--why did he not mention THAT? Shit, I'm not even a sports fan, and I knew it because I just happen to be into all things Latin America! Do your homework next time, dumbass. PS: Those Uruguayan plane crash victims/survivors? They were a RUGBY team, not a SOCCER team. And many of them attributed their solidarity, the real factor in their survival, to that sport. It's far less conducive to prima donnas than soccer, and far more demanding of group effort. Somebody owes those brave survivors, and their country (which is also a brave survivor--of military coups, false democracy and imperialism) an abject apology for this silly, facile heap of mierda.

33. Juan Manuel Fucking Santos. How big a dickweed is the new president-elect of Colombia? Big enough not to invite Evo to his inauguration, AND to launch spurious complaints against Venezuela in The Hague. Yep, he's off to a roaring start already--offending other regional leaders before even taking office! PS: Way to co-opt the indigenous, dickweed.


"I don't believe in Santos" (pun on the Spanish for "saints").

34. Fucking Shakira. Unconditional support for Juan Manuel Santos, fascist war criminal turned president-elect? The world is "looking at Colombia with hope and optimism"? Uh, NO. Actually, the world is doing a facepalm and declaring you irrelevant. Shut up and sing...oh wait, on second thought, don't. We've heard more than enough of THAT, too.

35. The Fucking Taliban. Last week it was TIME magazine, making cheap political points on a grotesque photo of a mutilated Afghan woman; this week, it's them. Both parties are full of shit and need to STFU in the worst way.

36. Tony Fucking Venuti. Blacks "benefitted" from, and were "co-conspirators of this abomination called Slavery"? Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Bet it pulled a lot of non-white comers to the Tea Party, too.


37. Larry Fucking Palmer. Some diplomat--even before he gets confirmed as US ambassador to Venezuela, already the interference and unwanted, unfounded opinions start flowing. Sadly, he'll probably pass his senate confirmation hearings with no problem. Only in Washington could this kind of behavior be considered a qualification for a diplomatic posting.

And finally, to the two short-bus riders who made pit stops here this past week, "Pellanor" and "Sumana". I've already said all I have to say to them, except this one last thing:

Good night, and get fucked!

Economics for Dummies: Dubya's Deficit, the gift that keeps on giving

The question is, to whom? Look at this chart and tell me who you think it could be, benefiting from the atrocity and obscenity of the US federal deficit:


Anyone got an idea? Bueller???

August 6, 2010

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Lula and Kirchner come to Chavecito; Piñera comes to Quito

Nope, Chavecito's not coming to the inauguration of that peasant-killing thug Santos in Colombia. He's got bigger fish to fry, and two of them were in Venezuela today:


And there they are, right behind him. Néstor Kirchner, former president of Argentina, and Lula, outgoing president of Brazil, attended a summit today at the Yellow House in Caracas. The theme: south-south integration, as South America and Africa forge closer political and economic ties. Other topics on the table: Colombia and the shit it's been pulling with Venezuela of late. Because if there's one fly in the ointment of integration, it's bound to be Colombia...

Here's another nice shot of the friendly trio:


And here's a third, just for good measure (and because I couldn't resist the jollity):


And that's not all the meetin' and greetin' going on. The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, was in Quito, Ecuador today, meeting with his local counterpart, Rafael Correa:


This photo is just begging for a caption. Anyone care to have at it?

August 5, 2010

What I learned about Christopher Hitchens's mental health when I visited Slate.com


For starters, he really needs to be waterboarded again. Or something that will sober him the fuck up. He's drinking so much, it's embarrassing to watch his brain deteriorate like this...

Recent accounts of Hugo Chávez's politicized necrophilia may seem almost too lurid to believe, but I can testify from personal experience that they may well be an understatement. In the early hours of July 16--just at the midnight hour, to be precise--Venezuela's capo officiated at a grisly ceremony. This involved the exhumation of the mortal remains of Simón Bolívar, leader of Latin America's rebellion against Spain, who died in 1830. According to a vividly written article by Thor Halvorssen in the July 25 Washington Post, the skeleton was picked apart--even as Chávez tweeted the proceedings for his audience--and some teeth and bone fragments were taken away for testing. The residual pieces were placed in a coffin stamped with the Chávez government's seal. In one of the rather free-associating speeches for which he has become celebrated, Chávez appealed to Jesus Christ to restage the raising of Lazarus and reanimate Bolívar's constituent parts.

Okay. That's a lot of fucking crazy to pack into just one introductory paragraph, but let's have at it.

"Recent accounts of Hugo Chávez's politicized necrophilia may seem almost too lurid to believe..."

That's because they ARE. They are too lurid to be called anything other than rank speculation. There is no "politicized necrophilia". This was a scientific invesitigation, attended (among other august international scientific institutions) by the Smithsonian and the National Geographic Society. Its purpose is twofold: to determine if it is indeed the Liberator in Bolívar's crypt (and not the bones of some random impostor), and, if it is he, what he died of, since historical accounts are troublingly vague. The general consensus seems to be that he died of tuberculosis, but it was strangely sudden; it happened before he could journey into the exile imposed on him by the oligarchy. Therefore, there is reasonable grounds for suspicion that Bolívar may have been murdered. It is by no means settled fact that he died of natural causes. Hence, the need for an investigation. The samples were taken so that two sets of tests could be run on them: one for the DNA markers found in the blood of the descendants of Bolívar's sister (the Liberator himself had no children), and the other, for evidence of disease, and possibly the presence of arsenic and other poisons in abnormally high quantities.

This is "politicized necrophilia"?

"I can testify from personal experience that they may well be an understatement."

No, you bloody fucking can't. You don't understand Spanish, so you had to rely on the burblings of Thor Halvorssen...an oligarch and fascist putschist posing as a human-rights advocate and freedom-loving concern troll. Bad mistake there, Hitch. LSD hallucinations have more veracity than anything Thor dreams up. The poor widdle rich boy is a disociado who can't do an honest day's work for the life of him, so he has to make clumsy, obscure crapaganda films and run a bogus foundation dedicated to preserving the privilege of the least deserving. And its work is to provide a pretext for future coups against democratically elected leaders whom the Latin American and Washington elites can't stand.

"In the early hours of July 16--just at the midnight hour, to be precise--Venezuela's capo officiated at a grisly ceremony."

"Capo"??? You make him sound like a fucking mafia boss, Hitch. He's precisely the opposite. Unlike your little pal Thor, whose technicolor hallucinations you take for gospel...

And no, he did not "officiate" at a "grisly ceremony". The opening of the Liberator's tomb was conducted by scientists, working with the utmost care. It took about 24 hours to complete, so there was not only a "midnight hour", but a noon hour, a sunrise hour and a sunset hour, too. Chávez was not present by the graveside. He was respectfully out of the way, to allow the scientists to do their work. There's a video here, if you're interested. The pictures speak for themselves: Chávez is not even in the room. There are only the scientists, opening the sarcophagus and cutting the metal casing around the Liberator's bones before carefully opening it up. You'll see nothing grisly, other than maybe the respectful removal of an old seven-star Venezuelan flag. But you'll have to learn Spanish if you really want to understand what's going on.

"According to a vividly written article by Thor Halvorssen in the July 25 Washington Post, the skeleton was picked apart..."

No, it was not. And shame on you for mediumistically relying on such blatant crapaganda instead of bothering to see and learn the facts for yourself, you pathetic drunken ass. A camera placed directly above the work area where the scientists cut open the metal casing reveals that the skeleton was left--very respectfully--almost entirely intact, other than the removal of a few small, unobtrusive samples.

"The residual pieces were placed in a coffin stamped with the Chávez government's seal."

Uh, that would be the official coat of arms of Venezuela, you fuckwit. And those "residual pieces" comprised almost the entire skeleton.

"Chávez appealed to Jesus Christ to restage the raising of Lazarus and reanimate Bolívar's constituent parts."

Hitch, do you know what metaphor is? If not, now would be a good time to learn. Chavecito was NOT praying for Bolívar to literally rise from his grave. He was, rather, reciting a famous poem by Pablo Neruda whose most famous line, uttered by Neruda's imagined Bolívar, is "I awaken every hundred years, when the people awaken." THAT is what Chavecito was so mystically reciting over a compilation of key snippets from the exhumation! He was appealing to the spirit of Bolívar, not the flesh.

And the spirit is very much alive in the revolution; it was invoked, in fact, long before Chavecito staged his first rebellion against the puppet-democracy of Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992. During the Caracazo of 1989, protesters didn't merely loot the shops when everything shot up in price and became unaffordable; they did so waving the flag, singing the national anthem, and chanting verses glorifying Bolívar, signifying that their struggle was patriotic in nature.

This is something that the idiots who screamed about the "sacrilege" of the exhumation obviously didn't grasp. Given that Hitchens positions himself as an iconoclastic atheist, he ought to at least understand that this was not religious literalism here, but the language of poetry, recited to honor the memory of Bolívar most fittingly, in the words and cadences of Latin America's best loved poet. But of course, he chooses deliberately not to, going instead for the superstition-and-mumbo-jumbo angle. An easy, ugly, and breathtakingly stupid smear.

Of course, Hitchens doesn't let his loopy stupidities end there; he goes on:

As if "channeling" this none-too-subtle identification of Chávez with the national hero, Venezuelan television was compelled to run images of Bolívar, followed by footage of the remains, and then pictures of the boss. The national anthem provided the soundtrack. Not since North Korean media declared Kim Jong-il to be the reincarnation of Kim Il Sung has there been such a blatant attempt to create a necrocracy, or perhaps mausolocracy, in which a living claimant assumes the fleshly mantle of the departed.

Again, very cheap, very easy, very stupid, very smeary. Hitchens is reduced here practically to babble--to inventing words for what doesn't exist. Chavecito could not be further removed from Kim Jong Mentally Il, whether geographically or politically. Hitchens obviously needs a fat slap up the head to remind him that this man is democratically elected and re-elected, and more popular than any of his predecessors since...well, since Bolívar himself. And of course the national anthem would be played--it was the exhumation of the national hero of not one, but half a dozen Latin American nations! Duh!

There follows a paragraph in which Hitchens pays a sop to the Liberator--one that he doesn't have the moral right to, since he just spent all the foregoing slamming the respectful, scientific exhumation of Bolívar's bones. I'm gonna skip that--it's boilerplate anyway--and go on to the next bit of sleazy slamming and smearing:

In the fall of 2008, I went to Venezuela as a guest of Sean Penn's, whose friendship with Chávez is warm. The third member of our party was the excellent historian Douglas Brinkley, and we spent some quality time flying around the country on Chávez's presidential jet and bouncing with him from rally to rally at ground level, as well. The boss loves to talk and has clocked up speeches of Castro-like length. Bolívar is the theme of which he never tires. His early uniformed movement of mutineers--which failed to bring off a military coup in 1992--was named for Bolívar. Turning belatedly but successfully to electoral politics, he called his followers the Bolivarian Movement. Since he became president, the country's official name has been the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. (Chávez must sometimes wish that he had been born in Bolivia in the first place.) At Cabinet meetings, he has been known to leave an empty chair, in case the shade of Bolívar might choose to attend the otherwise rather Chávez-dominated proceedings.

It did not take long for this hero-obsession to disclose itself in bizarre forms. One evening, as we were jetting through the skies, Brinkley mildly asked whether Chávez's large purchases of Russian warships might not be interpreted by Washington as a violation of the Monroe Doctrine. The boss's response was impressively immediate. He did not know for sure, he said, but he very much hoped so. "The United States was born with an imperialist impulse. There has been a long confrontation between Monroe and Bolívar. ... It is necessary that the Monroe Doctrine be broken." As his tirade against evil America mounted, Penn broke in to say that surely Chávez would be happy to see the arrest of Osama Bin Laden.

I was hugely impressed by the way that the boss scorned this overture. He essentially doubted the existence of al-Qaida, let alone reports of its attacks on the enemy to the north. "I don't know anything about Osama Bin Laden that doesn't come to me through the filter of the West and its propaganda." To this, Penn replied that surely Bin Laden had provided quite a number of his very own broadcasts and videos. I was again impressed by the way that Chávez rejected this proffered lucid-interval lifeline. All of this so-called evidence, too, was a mere product of imperialist television. After all, "there is film of the Americans landing on the moon," he scoffed. "Does that mean the moon shot really happened? In the film, the Yanqui flag is flying straight out. So, is there wind on the moon?" As Chávez beamed with triumph at this logic, an awkwardness descended on my comrades, and on the conversation.

Chávez, in other words, is very close to the climactic moment when he will announce that he is a poached egg and that he requires a very large piece of buttered toast so that he can lie down and take a soothing nap. Even his macabre foraging in the coffin of Simón Bolívar was initially prompted by his theory that an autopsy would prove that The Liberator had been poisoned--most probably by dastardly Colombians. This would perhaps provide a posthumous license for Venezuela's continuing hospitality to the narco-criminal gang FARC, a cross-border activity that does little to foster regional brotherhood.

Actually, it sounds like Hitchens is very close to the climactic moment when he will announce that he is a baked cowflop, and that he needs another gin and tonic before he can pass the fuck out. This is really scraping around the barrel for evidence of nonexistent insanity on the part of Chavecito, and deserves no further dignification, other than to note that Hitchens really is a pathetic old drink-soaked twat who will stoop to anything, including willful misinterpretation, or even putting words in someone's mouth that he obviously never said. Projecting, are we?

Many people laughed when Chávez appeared at the podium of the United Nations in September 2006 and declared that he smelled sulfur from the devil himself because of the presence of George W. Bush. But the evidence is that he does have an idiotic weakness for spells and incantations, as well as many of the symptoms of paranoia and megalomania. After the failure of Bolívar's attempted Gran Colombia federation--which briefly united Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and other nations--the U.S. minister in Bogotá, future president William Henry Harrison, said of him that "[u]nder the mask of patriotism and attachment to liberty, he has really been preparing the means of investing himself with arbitrary power." The first time was tragedy; this time is also tragedy but mixed with a strong element of farce.

No, Hitch, there is NO "evidence" that Chavecito has anything of the sort. I've been watching his broadcasts almost daily since well before he made that joke at the UN (and I have pictures of the laughing audience to prove that it WAS a joke, intended and received as such.) He is most emphatically NOT a mumbo-jumbo man. He is more lucid when out of coffee than you are when stone sober (which I'm guessing is not very often, by what you've written.)

But thanks, all the same, for including that bit by William Henry Harrison. It's proof of one thing that Chavecito, and every other leftist in Latin America, has long said: that the US is out to undermine them, and make sure that they never have true, full self-rule. Yes, the conspiracy against Latin America is that old. And no, its form hasn't changed a hair in 200 years. Bolívar may be a skeleton now, but the ghosts of the past are alive and well, and they are still chasing his successor to this day. Just remember how often a moan arises in Washington about the latest imaginary way in which Chávez is "investing himself with arbitrary power"--strangely, always involving a popular vote, which can always go against him (and on occasion, has done just that. In which case Washington gleefully rubbed its collective hands, predicting a downfall that never came. Venezuelan democracy is more resilient than that, and so is Chavecito's leadership.)

And if anyone is being a necromancer, it's Hitch, chasing the spirits in the bottle to persuade himself that he heard something he did not. I hope Sean Penn punches his lights out for this load of pseudo-intellectual drivel--assuming Hitch hasn't fallen face down in a puddle of his own piss already, mumbling something incoherent about voodoo and necrocracy and mausolocracy.

I love you, Lula!

That is all.

August 4, 2010

Teh Heterostoopid: "Sugarbabe" needs an insulin shot--and a dose of hard reality


So there I was, this dark and stormy, just bopping around the web, when I chanced on this interesting little interview at Lemondrop. Seems that some cute young bit of fluff, supposedly a psychologist, has written a book saying that "women who cross their legs deserve to be cheated on", and arguing in favor of "negotiated infidelity". Also that young women should screw their way ahead at work! (I really wish I was kidding, but I'm not. She went there.)

Oh yeah, and did I mention she is, or rather has been, a professional Other Woman? Anyhow, her sugar-coating of the awful world of hurt that is a cheating husband really could put you into a diabetic coma.

So, here goes. Doctor Bina is gonna put on her white lab coat, snap her rubber gloves, dissect the argument, and inject some reality here, before anyone swallows too much of this latest trend in junk-food psychology...

Lemondrop: Define what you mean by the term "sugarbabe." And what does it take to be a successful sugarbabe?

Hill: For me, a sugarbabe is like a sex worker in many ways, except she only has a single customer. She also provides a lot more services, such as the three C's: cooking, counseling and conversation. The most successful sugarbabes are those who have the wives' permission! It would be lovely to negotiate with "Mrs. Sugar Daddy" and find out how you could complement each others' efforts to ensure the (common) man in your lives is happy and healthy. Personal attributes [of a sugarbabe] should include generosity, high self-esteem, excellent conversational skills, reasonable looks -- if you're a "stunner," you're at a disadvantage, because sugar daddies don't want to attract too much attention -- and you need to be a good lover, of course.

I see. A "sugarbabe" is basically a one-man prostitute who cooks for her one man and provides counselling on the side. But if he already HAS a wife, what does he need another one for? And why does the real wife's permission make the prostitute (let's not mince words here) successful? And if it's counselling he needs, why mix sex into it--why not pay a conventional therapist and get more direct results? This isn't explained in the interview. I should hope that the book goes into much more depth than this, but somehow I doubt it.

Now, as to the attributes of the prostitute: "Generosity" is an interesting term, considering that she's being paid for her favors. Real generosity is about giving it away for free, as the actual wife has been doing (apparently unsuccessfully, if her man feels he must cheat on her) for years. A woman taking money (and other favors) for sex isn't being generous, she's being PAID. The only thing to distinguish her from a callgirl is that she doesn't keep a trick-book.

"High self-esteem": Again, interesting use of words, considering that women who sleep with married men, knowingly or not, generally suffer the opposite. Many of them say that they feel like nobodies unless they're stealing moments with someone already spoken for. Some feel like nobodies FOR stealing moments! But maybe being paid to do it boosts your sense of worth in some perverse way. I dunno. Personally, I'd feel creeped out...and even cheaper if I had to negotiate with his poor, sad, teeth-gritting wife. No, thank you, my self-esteem is high enough that I'd settle for nothing less than a man without marital baggage. Too high, in other words, to be a "sugarbabe". (Or to negotiate with one, come to that.)

As for looks and conversational skills, whatever. I'm sure they come in mighty handy no matter what you're doing or with whom. But good at sex? Well, here's where we hit a snag--and a sexist myth badly in need of debunking. I'll get to that in a bit. I'll just ask you to imagine how ridiculous this whole scenario would look if the genders were reversed, and it were a juicy young gigolo negotiating with a cuckolded husband for the favors of his sex-starved wife...

What about the other term you coin in the book, "negotiated infidelity"? What does this mean, and how many couples can honestly make it work?

Negotiated infidelity is about negotiating some sort of sexual alternative for your partner if you have unmatched libidos. It's about formally establishing a set of rules and boundaries for your relationship. For example, I'm unprepared to share intimacy with other women, so my partner may sleep with every woman in the WMBA for all I care, but he's not permitted to spoon any of them. For his part, I'm not allowed to wear any of the clothes that he's purchased for me when I'm with other men. Every couple is unique and the rules don't have to go both ways -- unless we want them to.

Interesting argument in favor of double standards, eh? And yeah, there's that sex thing again. But she still doesn't go into it in depth, and this "negotiated infidelity" thing doesn't convince me very much. Actually, it sounds like a terrible drag:

Asking all women to be comfortable with open infidelity is a tall order. What suggestions do you have for women not willing to go this route?

Start laying the foundations for negotiated infidelity instead. This means total honesty, open communication, and looking your partner in the eye and asking if they're "getting enough." If he/she says no, it does not mean throwing a fit, but instead saying something like, "I am not prepared for you to break our monogamy vows, but is there something else that could assist? Could we lift the pornography filter from the computer at night, or get some time away from the kids, so you can masturbate without fear of being seen?" If you love someone, you try and meet their needs, not scoff at them and deny they exist.

Okay. I'm all for trying to meet the other person's needs, within reason. Letting him whack off now and then if he feels he must is fine. But suppose I have needs that HE is not meeting, and his whacking off (or worse) is the reason they're not being met, hmmm? What "negotiations" does our "sugarbabe" suggest in that case?

Well, she doesn't suggest any. At least none that I can see actually working for me:

Define "naughty feminism," which also pops up in your book. And how can women who have a sugardaddy really be considered feminists?

Naughty feminism is about exchanging vulnerability for power, so it's definitely a feminist concept! Let's face it -- if life gives you a lemon, you make lemonade. Genetic modification might be OK for fruit, but not for guys. That means we have to use men's biology to work for us, rather than against us. Naughty feminism is walking the dog on a leash rather than letting it escape through a hole in the back fence. It doesn't necessarily mean negotiating other lovers, either -- it could be pornography, a lap dance, or even being allowed to perve himself stupid.

"Exchanging vulnerability for power"? WTF is that supposed to mean, exactly? It sounds to me like she's suggesting that we all bow to the old sexist excuses--that guys have higher libidos than we do, that this is the reason they cheat, and the best thing to do is just bow to it and make fucking lemonade. How is bowing to sexism a "feminist" thing to do?

It isn't. It's not "naughty", either. It's just the flip side of the old "good girl" coin; it's not a whole 'nother coin at all. You're still doing what the man wants, not what YOU want. But I guess, if you can winkle a mink stole out of him in exchange, more "power" to you. Hope it keeps you warm when he moves on to the next one, dear.

Tell us about your tenure as a sugarbabe. How long did you do this, and do you now consider yourself one of those "sluts who make better lovers" you talk about in the book?

The sugarbabe experience lasted about 12 months and was condensed for the book. I'm proud to call myself a slut in that I'm now a sex writer. I couldn't think of anything worse than getting sexual advice or reading sex scenes from someone who isn't doing it a lot. Never trust an unpromiscuous sex writer, I say!

I can just picture all the happily monogamous sexperts out there rolling their eyes at this one. Please, somebody, tell this poor girl what fantasies are, and why you don't have to live them out in order to be able to write convincingly about certain things. Does it take a fiction writer like me to explain imagination? I'm writing a novel about a former Marxist guerrilla, from a masculine point of view, and I certainly didn't feel any need to put on a penis, much less take to the hills of Latin America and get myself shot at!

Why did you focus exclusively on wealthy men? What's wrong with having a fling with a blue-collar guy?

Find me a blue-collar man who can afford $1,000 a week for a sugarbabe, and I'm his gal!

A mere thousand a week? By call-girl standards, that's cheap, honey--just ask Elliot Spitzer's paid "girlfriend".

And please, don't make me pull out my Marxist class analysis on your chirpy response, either. Your bourgeois butt wouldn't be able to take it.

All right, let's skip down a few questions (they're a bit more cotton candy than I can stomach; you can click on the link to read them, and analyze them yourself if you'd like). Here's the part that really set my alarm bells clanging. See if you can tell me why:

One of your statements, "Women who cross their legs deserve to be cheated on," seems to intimate that women who aren't sexually promiscuous are basically asking for disappointment. Do you really believe that?

Women who cross their legs -- and most of us have every right to do this at some time in our lives -- and don't provide some sort of sexual relief for their men WILL be cheated on. We all make jokes about blueballs, but they are real. This means we must negotiate an alternative, which could be pornography -- anything as long as it enables him to get his rocks off.

You say that women shouldn't take infidelity too personally. Yet so many of us do. So, why is this the case?

Women have sex for things like love, cuddling, kissing and so on. Men have it for pressure relief, a cheap thrill or because their wives have crossed their legs. The problem lies in the fact that women project values onto men. Our cheating husbands don't love the people they are having sex with. In fact, half the time, they don't even want to know their name. Nature made men and women this way, and without thousands of years of evolution, we will continue to fail in marriage 50 percent of the time. If you don't change the recipe, the end result will always be the same.

Can you see what's wrong with this picture? If you said "bad biology and worse psychology", pat yourselves on the back, kiddies. That's exactly it.

There is so much unregenerate sexism in this so-called "naughty feminism", and the use of the old blue-balls myth as biological backup is just plain reprehensible. (Especially in a trained psychologist, who should know better!)

Sure, an unresolved erection hurts momentarily (so does unresolved arousal on the part of a woman--surprise). But then it subsides. That's right, it just goes away! It doesn't keep right on hurting and raging until the poor bastard simply must stick it into something or die. This silly woman makes it sound as though committed women have tied men's hands and forbidden their partners to masturbate. In reality, that's not the case. If the guy really needs relief that badly and his wife has rolled over and gone to sleep on him, he can just close the bathroom door and have at it. But even if he doesn't, it's not as though his sperm will just back up on him and stagnate in his testicles. Those wily little wigglers have ways of getting out.

Worse, though, is the way she just wholeheartedly swallowed the myth that men cheat because women deprive them of sex. In fact, most cheaters are getting plenty of sex from their wives; "my wife doesn't understand me" is in fact the oldest, hoariest and most bullshit-stinking pick-up line in the book. And the poor, long-suffering wives willingly cater to and feed the ego-monsters who are hurting them! I know; I was the girlfriend for five years, on and off (mostly off) of a mean drunk who flagrantly cheated on me even though I was more than willing to sleep with him. And, stupidly, I forgave him, and got my hopes up, time and again, for nothing. He was impotent where I was concerned. I guess willingness on my part wasn't the real issue after all. Good thing sexual frustration doesn't do real physical harm, or I'd have died before my 25th birthday.

But don't take my word for it. Irish playwright Peadar de Burca did his homework on the matter. He wanted to write a play on infidelity, and he needed material. So he interviewed literally hundreds of cheating men (and dozens of cheated women), and his findings may surprise you...if you subscribe to the "sugarbabe" philosophy, that is:

I come from a long line of cheating men. Several of my uncles were womanisers and it destroyed their families. Their wives were always at loggerheads with them and their children grew up insecure. Similarly, many of the lads I grew up with have turned into womanisers.

But I wanted to be different. I knew I wanted to settle down and find what seems elusive these days: a happy, committed, faithful marriage.

So five years ago I embarked on my quest to find out what makes men cheat. Are some men programmed to be unfaithful? Is it something in their DNA, an overdeveloped sex drive or irresistible charm?

What I discovered was much more shocking. After meeting hundreds of adulterers, I'm convinced they cheat because they can get away with it.

I talked to more than 250 men from all walks of life - doctors, dentists, lawyers, bankers, footballers, teachers and the odd millionaire.

All had cheated on their wives but, incredibly, only 40 of them had been found out. The others got away scot free and are still at it - as are many of the men who were found out and forgiven.

I also talked to 60 betrayed women. All except three have stuck with their cheating husbands.

When women don't have the courage to stand up for themselves, it's virtually a cheat's charter.

I've been left ashamed by the dirty tricks my fellow men get up to and horrified by the way women let them get away with murder. Quite simply, women deserve better.


The betrayed wives all had one thing in common - a lack of confidence. They were at least as attractive as the mistresses and a great deal more intelligent. But they let their men walk all over them.


The male's capacity to boast about his sexual prowess knows no bounds. Once they started reeling off their conquests, it was impossible to shut them up.

Aged from 25 to 65, some were handsome, some were downright ugly, but most were successful. I imagined they'd be living exciting, glamorous lives. But nothing could be further from the truth.

If one thing's certain, affairs don't make you happy. Once I'd dug beneath the boasting and bravado, I was stunned by just how insecure most of these love cheats were.

Most admitted they weren't even driven by sex. They just wanted something to fill their empty lives.

Emphasis added.

Well. Doesn't THAT just throw cold water all over the cotton-candy fluff from Ms. Sugarbabe? And we all know what spun sugar does when water hits it, don't we, kiddies? That's right...it melts. Just like the Wicked Witch of the West.

One evening, my research took me to a bar, where I met a married man in his 30s and his girlfriend. Like most of the mistresses I met, she barely had two brain cells to rub together. A decade younger, she was obviously attracted by the money and didn't seem to care whether he was married or not.

When she went to the ladies, the man passed me his mobile phone to show me photos of his children. 'I love my family. I know I'm ruining everything, but I can't help myself,' he sobbed.

He was so pathetic I almost felt sorry for him. But having spoken to all these men, I wonder if they're capable of love -- I'm not sure they even love themselves, so how can they love their wives? If they did, would they risk inflicting such pain on them?

And yet, Ms. Sugarbabe would have us believe that it's the woman's duty to cater to her man. Even through gritted teeth, she is supposed to "negotiate" his infidelities, put that dog on a leash, and walk him, lest he slip through the hole in the fence and find a bitch in heat on the other side.

Until I started this project, I hadn't realised how devastating it is for a woman to know her husband has been unfaithful.

The wife of a serial cheat told me: 'You see yourself for the first time through this unforgiving mirror. Suddenly every little fault and imperfection is exaggerated.

'I used to feel good about myself because I thought I had a husband who loved me and was faithful. Now that's all gone. Even though I know he's to blame, I'll never feel as good about myself again.'

Would anybody in good conscience tell THAT woman she should have "negotiated"? I wouldn't. In any case, the man probably wasn't interested in "negotiations"; there was another reason for the fillip, and it wasn't sex:

It's a cliché, but a lot of men start cheating when they hit middle age. They realise they're never going to be David Beckham or Bill Gates, but they can have a fantasy life with another woman.


The simple truth is that most cheats are cowards. They are not brave enough to admit there might be problems in their relationship.

Instead, they embark on affairs that involve secrecy. When they are caught out, it's normally down to something as clichéd as lipstick on their collar or a scratch mark they can't explain.

And if their wife forgives them, they believe they've got carte blanche to carry on.


Having spent years trailing serial philanderers, I can't believe why more women don't read them the riot act. By and large, these men had fantastically attractive women at home who were prepared to be treated like dirt.

And that's the problem. If men think they can get away with cheating, they will.

Now, this rings a lot more true. Peadar de Burca isn't a trained psychologist and Ms. Sugarbabe is, but I'd say he has her beat nine ways till Friday for solid insights. She experimented with the airy-fairy concept of "negotiated infidelity" for just 12 months; he went out and talked in an unsterile real world to hundreds of men and dozens of women afflicted by un-negotiated infidelity over a period of many years.

Who do you suppose understands the subject better?

The secret to keeping your man faithful couldn't be simpler: be confident, demand attention and make it clear he is lucky to have you and won't get a second chance.

Hard and cold as it sounds, this is the only kind of "negotiation" that I'd be willing to do. Why? Because it's not cutesy, it's not material-girly, it's not classist, it doesn't rely on perpetuating sexist patterns, there's no pandering involved, and oh yeah, it just plain WORKS. When the mean drunk who slept around on me kept calling me his "future fiancée", but still proffered no engagement ring and no commitment (and still no sex!), I got sick of his sugar-coated bullshit. I decided that I would be happier alone. And I was! I showed him the door and kept it shut to him, and found myself opening it again--this time to better men. I've dumped and been dumped several times since, but I've never had to hold my nose through another episode of infidelity--"negotiated" or otherwise.

And I am strong and confident enough to fully expect that I never will.

Music, maestro...

August 2, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: No, that's NOT how you get her preggers.


Puts me in mind of a story I once heard (which may or may not be just a joke): "My wife and I prayed for a child for over ten years. Then we went to see our doctor, and found out that's not how it's done. We are now proud parents..."

WTF is the matter with Alberta?


Since I've been getting trolled all over the Internets by a disproportionate number of Albertans lately, I've been wondering what's the problem with them. Apparently, I'm not the only one. (See Jymn's comment here.) The Mound of Sound has also been inquiring into the problem, and offers the following insight:

Years ago the "Rest of Canada" had laws requiring properly installed, properly certified baby seats to be in all cars used to transport infants. Guess who didn't? Full points if you guessed Alberta.

There was a movement in the Alberta legislature to mandate the use of babyseats but it was angrily resisted, with real indignance, by the Conservative government of the day. Their explanation? Why, forcing drivers to have proper car seats for infant passengers would intrude on their rights. Those sphincters actually stood right up on their hind legs and said that and said it again and again and again. Those uber-right mouthbreathers eventually relented but only after being dragged, kicking and screaming, through their own filth. If you ever needed a window into the dark, perverse mind of the far right, there it is.

They're so pro-life out in Alberta, eh? They care so much about the unborn that they won't strap in their already-born infants in car seats--or at least, they won't require people to do so by law, although many of them would like nothing better than to see abortion outlawed. Consistency and logic: Two more things that alienate the West.

Well, that explains their mindset, but still not how it got that way. I wonder: could it be something in the water? Bovine feces has been ruled out; there are more head of cattle being raised in my home province of Ontario (where cowboy hats are, strangely, much scarcer.) That leaves either sour gas, or tailings from the tar sands.

Don't worry, Alberta, science will deal with you yet. You will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century--and even defunding universities in the Rest of Canada to your own advantage won't help you.

August 1, 2010

Music for a Sunday: People gettin' high, people gettin' low...

...people gettin' nowhere 'cause they don't know where to go...

Some of the best damn instrumentals ever. And also some of the funniest, most poignant lyrics.