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December 8, 2010

In which we "smear" Julian Assange's accuser

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Yesterday, Julian Assange turned himself in to British authorities for extradition to Sweden, to face a number of sexual-assault charges. Since it's for the court to determine whether or not he actually is guilty as charged, let's wait to see how that shakes out. Meanwhile, I'll address some things that started nagging at me as soon as the first feminist analyses of the situation started cropping up on Twitter yesterday.

It's pretty clear to me that battle lines are being drawn in this whole kerfuffle. The discourse has shifted from Wikileaks and Cablegate to Winkyleaks and Condomgate. And it's clear, too, that women are being used--and abused--atrociously here. No, I'm not talking about Julian Assange and what he's alleged to have done to those two women. I'm talking about feminists as a whole; we are being made into inadvertent pawns in the battle over freedom of information. And it seems to me that we're being expected to turn out against Assange--and by extension, against Wikileaks.

I've noted here before that condomless sex, while prosecutable, is not a jailing offence in Sweden; you pay a fine of a few hundred dollars, and that's it. But this case is strange, owing to the high international profile of the accused: the sex charges were pressed months ago, then dropped, and then reinstated. Awfully inconsistent prosecution for an offence generally remedied by a simple fine! And weirdest of all, why is the United States now looking to get involved, when none of the alleged offences happened on their soil? It seems obvious to me that this is all an effort to entrap the man who, for better or worse, is the public face of the Wikileaks organization.

But no, we feminists aren't supposed to remember all that, much less treat it as relevant to the case against Julian Assange. We're supposed to be righteously indignant at his obvious arrogance, and glad that Interpol was mobilized to catch an accused rapist, and deliver the douchebag to Sweden to be held without bail. Pending his extradition to the US, of course; the world's policeman and all-Amurrican good guy, natch.

But if this is how we're supposed to react as feminists, it is utterly ridiculous and an insult to our wits. As Naomi Wolf has humorously noted, this is a very strange and heavy-handed use of the legal remedies fought for--and, in Sweden, won by feminism:

I see that Julian Assange is accused of having consensual sex with two women, in one case using a condom that broke. I understand, from the alleged victims' complaints to the media, that Assange is also accused of texting and tweeting in the taxi on the way to one of the women's apartments while on a date, and, disgustingly enough, 'reading stories about himself online' in the cab.

Both alleged victims are also upset that he began dating a second woman while still being in a relationship with the first. (Of course, as a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That's what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!).

Well, poor Naomi Wolf--who is serious about issues of rape and withdrawn consent--just can't catch a break for mocking a few of the many absurdities of this case. Other feminists were quick to pile onto her, accusing her of "trivializing rape". Instead of looking at the peculiarities of the Wikileaks timeline and admitting that this is a disproportionate response to a charge formerly considered too weak even to prosecute, they accused her of smearing the alleged victim of one of the alleged attacks.

But what if the alleged victim is not so innocent? What if the alleged attack is part of an elaborate set-up?

We already know that the more prominent woman in question, Anna Ardin, has some very interesting CIA ties. And we know that just around the time the first alleged rape occurred, she tweeted enthusiastically about Assange:

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I screen-capped those from here.

These tweets give no indication that anything untoward had happened. I ran them past my friend Anthony, who lives in Malmö, for a Swede's-eye view. Here's what he said:

The 8/14 tweet caught my attention; Anna wrote that Julian wanted to attend a crayfish party, so she wondered if there were any open seats that night or the following night. A few hours later, she wrote "Sitting outside at 2AM, freezing with the smartest people in the world, it's amazing!"

Ardin later deleted those tweets and locked down her blog.

But let's suppose for the sake of argument that you're convinced that Anna Ardin is just being smeared, and rape trivialized, and so on. The timing? Just a coincidence! The known CIA ties? How dare you play guilt-by-association! Rape is real, how dare "Naomi Effin' Wolf" make fun of it?

No one, least of all Naomi Wolf, is disputing that rape is real, or that victim-smearing is a dirty tactic, a re-victimization on no uncertain terms. What is being disputed here is the case against Julian Assange, which is pitifully weak and certainly doesn't warrant the involvement of Interpol. If it did, legions of human-rights abusers who used rape as a weapon of war would be behind bars by now, rotting deservedly away. You'd think Interpol could easily bust those bastards at Dyncorp, who openly bought child sex slaves in Bosnia and Afghanistan for the raping pleasure of their contractors. (That latter exposé, BTW, comes to the media courtesy of Wikileaks!)

Naomi Wolf was making fun not of rape, but of what is obviously an exceedingly stupid manhunt. And while her tone may be a bit too flip for some people's liking, she's not wrong to laugh at the transparent idiocy of it all. I do too, and so do plenty of other feminists who've been following the Wikileaks saga with interest. Oh, wouldn't it be lovely if Interpol DID chase down every dick who'd ever wronged us? I've got a couple of real lulus for them myself. Let's make a crayfish party out of this shit. You bring the wine, I'll bring the cheese. Share yer stories, girls!

And if that's not ludicrous enough, how about this? We are being asked to believe that two obviously strong women--Anna Ardin, a professed feminist who works for gender equity, and Sofia Wilen, with whom she banded together later to press charges, could not track down Julian Assange to ask him to get tested for STDs. So they were forced to press charges. They apparently had no trouble getting into his pants. So why would he suddenly be too difficult to simply meet for a coffee, like a civilized adult, to discuss blood tests? Gee, what a cad. Maybe he had something to hide?

According to the same Reuters account, Assange claims he had his cellphone turned off for fear that enemies would track him using its signal. Not an implausible reason, since he DOES have enemies in US intel circles, and if they can't track him through technology, ain't nobody can. But he was still in Sweden when the women were allegedly trying to reach him and just urge him to get tested. They could have waylaid him at his hotel, if it was really so urgent. How simple-minded do we have to be to believe that Anna Ardin's blogging about "thinking about some revenge over the last few days" can't be considered evidence that she was up to something more nefarious than simply trying to get him to a clinic?

Okay, you say, that does look bad, but that's still pretty weak. Her blog is now locked down, and it's very likely that she deleted any incriminating bits. Isn't there anything more definite? What about those alleged CIA ties you conspiracy kooks keep nattering on about?

Well, there we have a lot more to go on. A helluva lot.

Via Twitter, I found this article she'd written for the CIA-tied magazine she was working for. Here's Anthony again, translating:

GF's former columnist Anna Ardin has been in Cuba.

Getting to know Cuba is a great political experience and the first thing I would say is that as a foreigner you are extremely discriminated against and constantly pressed for money.

Tourists should always use the hard currency convertible pesos, that is "dollars", which they are called to avoid misunderstandings. All trade with the U.S. dollar was banned in stores in November. A convertible peso is pegged to the dollar and worth 26 Cuban pesos.

Prevented to meet Cubans

You cannot go with the same cheap buses that Cubans use, but must take the tourist taxis, which can cost 20 dollars while the local bus for the same route costs 40 cents of a Cuban peso. Another example is that it is very difficult to live with friends, you always have to pay for hotels or bed and breakfast. The system is almost similar to apartheid!

I'm locked out of the Cuban world and the Cubans are excluded from foreigners - not just financially! Cubans are prevented in many different ways from even visiting the main tourist sites. Foreigners' cars have red registration plates instead of yellow and need not - as the Cubans - to stop and pick up hitchhikers to fill empty seats. In Cuba health care and education are free since the revolution and the Communist takeover in 1959; there are few or no one starving or living on the streets and virtually no need to worry about violence and robbery. But the wages are extremely low.

The salary for the best paid, the police, is $30, a doctor earns about 23, a garbage man 19 and a housekeeper earns seven dollars a month. A beer or a soda costs a dollar, a bottle of oil 2.50, internet for one hour 6, a sports bag 15 and a trip to a neighboring country costs several hundred pesos. Although the prices for most things - except for certain raw materials for food, bus transportation and little else - is in U.S. dollars (that is convertible pesos), the workers get salary in Cuban pesos, which is not always possible to switch.

To survive on these wages seem to be impossible (despite the very minimum required being relatively inexpensive). To save up for a pair of shoes could take half a year, not to mention buying a television or a car, yet many Cubans have this - how? Well, since 1993, it is allowed for Cubans to hold hard currency.

Want to change money

So by drinking or to work with private tourism differs more and more from the crowd. The ones that are excluded from the life you can only live if you have dollars. In that perspective, it is no wonder that in every street corner you are stopped by a so-called jinetero (riders). He asks where you come from, if you want to change money, buy cigars, follow them home to their backyard restaurant or have them as a personal guide to buy them food and clothing. As a woman, you notice nothing of the female counterpart to these, las jineteras, which might more literally ride their tourists for a few days or weeks in exchange for food, clothing and shoes. Or they run around them in their nice cars or pay, to the jinetera or directly to her jineteros - the pimps.

Sex tourism is increasing. Tourism combined with the money that exile Cubans send home accounts for well over half of the currency revenues of the treasury. That the country is so dependent on something that there is not enough of for the whole population, which excludes many and forces people to flee is not sustainable. Cuba needs a new policy. The question is what?

Between Castro or the U.S.

The Social Democratic opposition - Corriente Socialista Democrática Cubana - are trying to show that there is an alternative between the only two clearly presented options, the extremes: that Castro and his gang govern Cuba or the United States does. In a second article I will write more about what the Social Democrats in Cuba think will happen when the now 78-year-old dictator Fidel Castro dies.

Now, this is a load of crapaganda. If you can't smell the CIA's cheap cologne on that, you're hopeless.

Anyone who's really been to Cuba will tell you that it's not as bad as articles like this lead you to believe. The locals are not quarantined from you, or you from them, unless there's some good reason. Working for a CIA-connected crapaganda rag might well be a good reason for the authorities to confine you to your luxury tourist hotel room. But then, if poor Anna Ardin were really so confined, how would she "know" all those appalling details about how the poor oppressed Cubans really live? Unless, of course, she were simply being fed the dubious info by her CIA handlers, in which case she wouldn't even have to go to Cuba to "report" it; she could do it just as easily from home.

And that second-last bit really leapt out at me, too. Interesting focus on sex there for our sex-crimes complainant. Very typical CIA glurge, designed specifically to tweak our most sensitive feminist nerves: Look what that mean old dictator Fidel Castro is making those poor women do! Still more interesting is the lack of hard figures. She claims that prostitution revenues and remittances from "exiles" counts for more than half of the cash in the Cuban treasury. But without numbers and verifiable references to prove it, that all don't mean nuttin', honey.

Of course, it being a CIA rag, hard proof is not really required. Sensationalism is. And the article has that in spades. Just look at the language: "The system is almost similar to apartheid!"--the sky is falling! Oh noes!

Gee, you don't suppose someone who'd write such ghastly goop would have an ulterior motive regarding Julian Assange--whose organization just so happens to have uncovered a lot of embarrassing stuff from US embassies linked to various putsches in various countries allied to Cuba?

Nahhhh. Don't let's connect those dots. Let's just stick to our simple-minded pre-gummed narratives and be good, outraged little bourgeois féministes, huffing at the hacker boogyman and hoping The Hague locks him up for war crimes. Let's accuse those who find odd dirt on Anna Ardin of smearing her, when in fact she seems to have done a fair job of muddying herself. No, no, we can't allow that; let's just view her as a plain and simple victim. And pretend all the Wikileaks stuff is what's extraneous, and that it's not, perhaps, Julian Assange who's really being smeared.

But this feminist can't pretend, and certainly can't ignore the blindingly obvious.

Wikileaks is shining an uncomfortably bright light on things the US doesn't want us to see, and how they are being perpetrated. It's shown incriminating footage of US helicopters firing on innocent Iraqis in Baghdad. It's exposed the way US embassies lie to the citizens of the countries where they are posted, and lie about them as well. Is it really so far-fetched to surmise that Anna Ardin, who lied about Cuba in a CIA rag, just might have been sent by the same CIA to take Julian Assange down, by whatever means necessary? Is it really a smear to demonstrate--not suggest, not insinuate, but DEMONSTRATE--that she is more than a little bit connected to them, just as they are connected to every US diplomatic installation and quite a few seemingly private corporations?

Again, let's look at the timeline.

The first big bombshell Wikileaks dropped was Collateral Murder; this went down on April 5. On July 6, Bradley Manning was charged with leaking the video to Wikileaks. Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen slept with Julian Assange on August 14 and 17, respectively, while the latter, undoubtedly feeling the heat from the US, was hoping to gain residency and whistleblower protection in Sweden. The encounters were consensual according to both women, and uneventful except for the respective alleged condom disputes. Later, both allegedly sought him out, being worried about catching a sexually-transmitted disease. They couldn't find him because his cellphone was turned off. Then they turned to the authorities to press charges, only to be told it was too hard to prove, and saw the charges dropped. Only to have them reinstated now, of all times. While Bradley Manning, surely by malign coincidence, is also already jailed and awaiting trial--facing 52 years of hard time in the federal pen. He is suspected of leaking the Cablegate documents, as well, although he has not been charged with that.

Would this case have gone anywhere if the man in question were anyone other than Julian Assange, who just happened to have humiliated the US government that spring with that ghastly video release? And would he have been sought for prosecution if he hadn't just gone public with the first of many expected Cablegate releases?

The Swedish prosecutors deny that any pressure was brought to bear on them by the US. Yet just last week, the Swedish government was mortified by the revelation that Sweden is no longer neutral. Who announced it? Wikileaks, via Cablegate. The local US embassy had the gall to write as much to Washington! And I reiterate: The US authorities are now looking to extradite Assange from Sweden. Even with no charges of their own against him. They are looking for a way to do it, some hook to hang those charges on. Doesn't matter if it's as flimsy as the anti-Castro tripe Anna Ardin used to write. It doesn't have to be true. It just has to be sensational enough to get public opinion on side...

Yeah, tell me it doesn't all hang together. Denial, river in Egypt. Cleo, you're up the creek!

It's much easier to go into a "good feminist" (or full-on conspiracy nut) tizzy, I grant you, than to follow complex international developments in a more intelligent manner. It's also safer than to do another smart thing: dovetail one's feminism and freedom-of-information advocacy for the common, global good. Unfortunately, it's also the perfect way to divorce feminism from the much larger international issues that we ignore at our peril. It makes us feminists all look like laughingstocks or Limbaughian feminazis. We inadvertently contribute to our own continued alienation from our sisters in the global south if we fall for that narrative. We also end up setting back our own progress, and theirs.

But we don't have to. This radical, left-wing feminist agrees wholeheartedly with Gloria Steinem: The truth will set us all free. But first, it will piss us off.

Let it.

December 6, 2010

Short 'n' Stubby: Ms. Manx dips another paw in the Wikileaks

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My stump-tailed mascot informs me that if she dips any more feet into this ever-growing lake of leakage, she's gonna be swimming. Well, hop in, sez I--the water's turbulent, but so far, it's fine. And here are some of the choice bits I found bobbing around in it today:

Mark Pesce calls Wikileaks "a blueprint of things to come". Ms. Manx's fave quote:

"The mythology of power - that leaders are somehow more substantial, their concerns more elevated and lofty than us mere mortals, who must not question their motives - that mythology has been definitively busted. This is the final terminus of aristocracy; a process that began on July 14, 1789 came to a conclusive end on November 28, 2010. The new aristocracies of democracy have been smashed, trundled off to the guillotine of the internet, and beheaded."

L'état, c'est mort.

At Salon.com, Dan Gillmor comes out with a qualified defence of Wikileaks, arguing--correctly--that it is a use-it-or-lose-it matter when it comes to freedom of speech. Ms. Manx concurs, but thinks the bit about governments needing to have secrets is hooey. Secrecy, the Stumpy Cat reminds us, is what got all the leaked-on governments into such a pickle in the first place. It covers a multitude of sins. Isn't it time the sinning stopped? Then, like magic, all need for secrecy would evaporate. (And so too would all those massive, murderous boondoggles otherwise known as intelligence agencies.)

Also at Salon, Glenn Greenwald takes on the legal angle of the Wikileaks case. Straight from the top, we learn that any legal case against Wikileaks itself would be a shaky one, since the prosecutors would have to prove that damage was done--basically, that someone had died--as a result of the leaks. So far, not a shred of hard evidence exists to that end. Instead, we got a flurry of lawless, panicky (and largely futile) countermeasures taken by feds and corporations in various countries. Lacking the lawful grounds on which to prosecute Wikileaks, it seems that the authorities have decided to go the persecution route against the most famous individual attached to the organization. Which probably explains the singularly strange timing of those sexual-assault charges against Julian Assange.

And speaking of those, feminist lawyer Jill Filipovic takes on that angle at Feministe. She also decries the way the "shoddy, sensationalist reporting" of the media has "muddied the waters" on the issue of withdrawal of consent. Ms. Manx thinks this is right-on.

Lindsay Beyerstein, writing at Big Think, opines that "the case against Assange may be baseless, but that doesn't mean the allegations against him are trivial or nonsensical." True that, and Ms. Manx is content to sit back for now and see how it pans out. Since he has surrendered to the authorities, it remains to be seen whether even those charges--on the face of them, unrelated to Wikileaks--have any merit. Fine, let's have a trial--that's how things work where rule of law is still respected. For all we know, Julian Assange may even clear his name! Given what we already know about the CIA ties of one of his accusers, the odor of hinkitude is strong here. And again, Ms. Manx says--consider the timing. Consider also that the initial warrant against Assange was bungled. And the charges were withdrawn, only to be pressed again. Is something rotten in the state of Sweden? Certainly. And, as a feminist, Ms. Manx thinks it's a damn shame that a decent piece of anti-rape legislation--something other feminists have fought so long and hard to get, and that so many rape victims have to work up the courage to use--should be misused in this way. If this is not a smear campaign against Wikileaks, with the pugmarks of the CIA all over it, Ms. Manx says she will eat my most indigestible hat.

Meanwhile, back to the censorship front. Ms. Manx says she's seen all kinds of disingenuous explanations for why Twitter won't report #Wikileaks or #cablegate as a trending topic. The main one: the mysterious Twitter Algorithm. My gosh, you'd think they were Google or something. There's nothing mysterious about it; if there's a promoted tweet, that means someone is paying to make sure something trends. It's hard to imagine, to use but one particularly irritating example of a bogus trend, Venezuelans being so enamored of Justin Bieber that they would resort to not one but several hashtags to keep HIM trending; at least two of my Venezuelan tweeps (one of them a student in his late teens) say that they know virtually no one down thataway who even likes the kid. And lo! Ms. Manx's suspicions are confirmed. In fact, #Wikileaks and #cablegate ARE getting much more tweetage than the Biebs. Failing to report, the Stumpy Cat opines, is also a form of censorship, especially if it's so deliberate that it requires equally deliberate countermeasures to circumvent.

And finally, Juan Cole, as usual, gets to the real meat of the matter, calling the thing by its right name: McCarthyism. Did anyone seriously believe that smear campaigns and witch-hunts died with the most odious US citizen ever to openly engage in them? In fact, they are just as illegal as a lot of the things being leaked in the diplomatic cables--smear campaigns and political vendettas against foreign leaders, particularly those who don't toe the State Dept. line. As Cole rightly notes, if it were really a matter of treason, or exposing state secrets illegally, there are plenty of books on Amazon--and probably plenty of other PayPal clients--that would be much more worth dropping than Wikileaks.

November 20, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Oh, boys...

A woman whose name ends in A
is said to be quite a good lay
by those who would know.
Does their name end in O?
I'm sorry, I can't rightly say.

October 17, 2010

Pierre Laporte remembered

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Pierre Laporte in April 1970, a few months before his kidnapping and assassination by members of the Québec Liberation Front (FLQ). He was one of two men kidnapped by the FLQ during the October Crisis; the other, James Cross, who was kidnapped before Laporte, was later released. Pierre Laporte was the sole fatality. His son, Jean, has written a tribute to him that I just had to translate and share:

It was 40 years ago, on October 10, that they took my father. It's been 40 years, on October 17, that my father was taken away from me.

For me, the October Crisis is much more than an historic event that the media talk about every 10 years. October 1970 evokes above all the tragic loss of my father, a person I loved and admired. October 1970 completely turned my life upside down, has marked it forever, and the historic recalls continue to haunt the lives of my nearest and dearest.

For the majority of Québécois, Pierre Laporte is the minister who was killed in October 1970. The name might also bring to mind a bridge, a school, a highway...For my family and for me, it's much more. Pierre Laporte was a father, a husband, an uncle, a brother. He was the pillar of the Laporte family. He was also a man much involved in his community, warm and genuine.

Today I'd like to talk about my father, since the historic crisis has had the effect of eclipsing his contribution to our society.

Pierre Laporte was a journalist at the newspaper Le Devoir for 16 years. His work contributed to the defeat of the National Union [party] and the birth of the Quiet Revolution. An ardent opponent to the head of the National Union, Maurice Duplessis, he was the one who revealed the natural-gas scandal and the dubious electoral activities of that government.

Moving from journalism to politics, he was elected four times deputy of the county of Chambly, in 1961, 1962, 1966 and 1970. In the government of Jean Lesage, he was an important member of the team of the Quiet Revolution. He was named minister of municipal affairs and later of cultural affairs.

After the defeat of the Liberal Party in 1966, he became leader of the official opposition. In 1970, he participated in the leadership convention of the Liberal party, which chose Robert Bourassa. He rallied without hesitation around his new chief. After the victory of the PLQ (Québec Liberal Party) in April, he became parliamentary leader and head of the ministry of Labour, as well as Immigration, along with the title of vice-premier.

My father was probably the most nationalistic of the Bourassa cabinet's ministers. He was recognized as a redoubtable parliamentarian, but he was also greatly appreciated by his colleagues, in his own party as well as others.

And then came the October Crisis...

The province of Québec lost a great politician who loved Québec with all his heart, who cherished the French language, who loved action and life. A man who gave years of his life to his province, who fought against social injustices with respect for democracy and who worked tirelessly for the advancement of numerous causes.

The October Crisis led to the useless and sometimes abusive arrests of many citizens. Their families suffered for it. All the citizens touched by these arrests have been able to regain their families, their home lives. But not Pierre Laporte.

Forty years after the October Crisis, is it not time to remember Pierre Laporte as well, the journalist and the man of politics, and to recognize his support for his province and country? It is time to return Pierre Laporte to the place he deserves in history beyond his tragic end, and for that, it doesn't matter what our political allegiances are. In so doing, we say yes to democracy, yes to our freedoms, and no to violence.

It is this which I wish for my father, for my family, and for all those who never want to live through another October 1970.

The October Crisis is uniquely tragic; it is the only time in peacetime Canadian history that the War Measures Act was invoked. The kidnappings of Laporte and Cross were what prompted it. A day after it was formally invoked in Parliament (notably, with the agreement of all opposition parties, including the separatist Parti Québécois), the FLQ announced that they had killed Pierre Laporte.

Would a more peaceful response have saved him? Possibly. But it's hard to know for sure, since the day before the Act's invocation, the FLQ-sympathetic union leader Michel Chartrand had boasted, "We are going to win because there are more boys ready to shoot members of Parliament than there are policemen." The FLQ may well have been planning at least one assassination, a sacrificial murder to show that they meant business; in which case, the pro-Québec but still unity-loving Pierre Laporte's life was probably forfeit no matter what. In an atmosphere of rising pro-FLQ sentiment, with large, well-attended demonstrations in support, it must have looked as though national unity were truly under siege, although the actions of the Parliament (and indeed, of a majority of Québécois, over time) have demonstrated the opposite.

Angry talk is often just that and nothing more. But not so the word of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who famously said "Just watch me" when a reporter asked him what he was going to do. He promised action, and he delivered it.

Unfortunately, so too did the FLQ--in direct response to those words and the actions that followed them. They delivered the body of Pierre Laporte in the trunk of a car, abandoned in the bush near an airport.

The unity of Canada has often been in doubt, but only during October 1970 was it truly in danger.

July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Chavecito...here's the oppos' present to you!

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"The tongue as temple of pleasure". I shit you not, that's what the headline says. Do you want to read the whole thing, in Spanish? Or shall I just spare you that unsafe-for-work stuff?

Yes, it's Chavecito's birthday today, and the laughs and hate from the oppo whore media just keep on rolling, no matter what day it is. From Venezuelan prog-blogger Okrim, who dug the above jewel out a few days ago, I bring you...convulsions:

The obsession many opponents have with President Chávez is endlessly amazing. If you comment on anything to do with international politics, they compare this event with Chávez, even a suicide attack in a country where the average escuálido has never heard anything from before (such as one in eastern Germany). If you talk about how bad the weather is, they think of Chávez, and how "bad" the entire country is. If you talk about your last vacation, they say they didn't enjoy theirs because of Chávez (even if they just got back from a Mediterranean cruise). But I confess I've never found such a twisted example of obsession than the one I'm about to share with you.

On the ground floor of my apartment building, I found several pages of El Nacional the other day, and idly picked one up to read it. The article was about sex, particularly cunnilingus, that is, oral sex performed on a woman. I read it unawares, thinking--oh, in vain--that I would find none of the classic dissociated editorial line of Miguel Henrique Otero. I was wrong. After a series of explanations of the sexual practice in question, in which the use of the tongue is indispensable, I found the following pearl of wisdom:

"True, there are those who use their tongues to insult, and talk a mile a minute in cadenas [televised presidential speeches, required by Venezuelan law to be broadcast on all channels] but the most privileged know that the tongue represents [...] an infallible instrument to offer and achieve pleasure."

WTF? What level of dissociated obsession must a person have when talking about sex in the context of televised speeches by President Chávez? You can be sure that the most Chavista woman in the world isn't thinking of Chávez when the topic of conversation is oral sex. So what strange psychological mechanism is at work in some opposition sexologist mentioning the president in an article on oral sex? Fixation? Obsession? Persecution mania? Common, garden-variety craziness? All of the above?

The strange thing is, this sort of conduct is common in many oppositionists in the most diverse circumstances. They live thinking of the President: on the way to work, at work, at lunch, on the way home, at home, alone, with family, on vacation, and probably--though it's difficult to prove--even in a coma.

I understand them at the bottom of it all, poor bastards. If I thought about the President in each and every instant of my life, at all occasions and moments, in the face of any comment or situation, the way they do, I would surely hate him too.

Translated, in its entirety, by Your Humble One.

Yow. I know Chavecito is a sexy stud (and so do lots of other women, believe you me), and that his mouth is undoubtedly his handsomest (and most active) feature, but this obsession of his enemies with his tongue is just killingly funny. Even in bed, they just can't get him out of their heads! What must their sex lives be like, I shudder to ask?

Okrim is right...I'm the most Chavista woman in my hometown, maybe in Canada, maybe even all of North America, and even I don't think about it that way, at least not by daylight.* Most of the time, when I think about Chavecito's mouth, I think what hilarious truths have come out of it. He has no qualms making fun of his enemies, or denouncing them either. And he does it with wit and comic flair, which is in itself very sexy. He's not afraid to get a little goofy; that's an appealing trait, and no doubt explains a lot of his common touch. He can get along with anyone, and he can make anyone laugh--except maybe those obsessive oppos, who all walk around looking like a chronic case of indigestion, and little wonder.

When I picture myself meeting him, I imagine we'd have a helluva good conversation, in which he ignores my stumbling Spanish and I politely correct his restaurant English (that's what I call it when someone speaks just enough of a language to be able to order a meal.) And of course, I imagine laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. Laughter is a great icebreaker. And it's also a great leveller. I certainly don't think of him as a tyrant; actually, I think of him as someone you could have a beer with, unlike Dubya (who is a dry drunk, and in any case, if you don't belong to his grandparents' country club, you will never have so much as a glass of Coke with him.)

Yeah, I guess you could say that's the secret of Chavecito's sexiness right there. Women actually LIKE him, as a person, because he likes them--and everyone else, too, unless they give him solid reasons not to. Like, say, Dubya and that failed coup eight years ago, for example.

Liking and likability are two things the oppos don't have much of, if they have them at all (I've never seen any evidence that they did); hence their constant exercising of the bile ducts. Even when the topic is tongue-sex technique, somehow they figure out a way to work their hateful obsession with a capable, likable leader in there! Clearly their mothers never taught them that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and gall. That's why I doubt that even a clear, detailed explanation of how to go down on your lady is going to help them much. Either you have it, or you don't, but you can't pick it up from reading a trashy newspaper article. Technique is just no substitute for a certain je ne sais quoi, y'know?

So, Chavecito, happy birthday...I can't give you anything more than my warmest greetings, but that's okay. You already have everything you need anyway. And those who have too much of all the wrong things and too little of the good stuff, well...they'll just go on eternally hating your guts for it.

Poor devils.

*I will confess to having had the odd naughty dream about him, though. And Rafael Correa and Evo, too, although not all in one go. I'm not that greedy!

June 15, 2010

Goaliefail: Cherchez la femme!

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Could a tall Torontonian blonde be the reason for the sudden choking of the goalie above? Some people think so...

Two British tabloid newspapers, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, blamed [Toronto-based model Elizabeth] Minett on Monday for goalie Robert Green's stunning miss on a routine shot that allowed the U.S. to tie in its World Cup match against England on Saturday.

She and Green, 30, met two years ago in Toronto when his West Ham team was touring Canada, the Daily Mail said. They'd lived together in a luxe flat overlooking the Thames on the Isle of Dogs in London until about a month ago, when the relationship ended.

Green's agent Andy Evans was quoted by the Daily Mirror Sunday night as insisting the split has not affected the goalie's focus in South Africa.

He said: "Their relationship was over many months ago. This really is not an issue and Rob has gone into the World Cup prepared mentally and as focused as possible."

Okay, so it's a non-story, right? Right?

Minett herself issued a terse "no comment" Monday through two of the modelling agencies she works for: Next Models of Toronto and Elite Models, which has offices in Toronto and Miami. Minett is on the roster for the Miami TV division of Elite.

But three months ago, she was happily telling a British tab that she was going to South Africa to cheer Green on and would resort to "French or French-Canadian" to thwart the spies who tried to eavesdrop on the couple.

"They will not be able to understand a thing," she was quoted as saying by the tabloid Daily Star. "Even the French media will not be able to understand.

"I will put the Canadian accent on so strong. That's my plan anyway. I started learning French when I was 3 and am pretty much fluent. I even have a cousin living in Paris who is married to a Frenchman."

Zut alors! Cherchez la femme!!! Maybe she was there after all, flashing her tittaes at him from the stands at the crucial moment!!! Quick, scan the crowd footage frame by frame!!! She must be in there SOMEWHERE!!! When all else fails, blame a blonde!!!!!1111athousandeleventyone!!!

Or you can just do what I do, and blame it all on the racket from those fucking vuvuzelas. Who can hear himself think when surrounded on three sides by a swarm of killer bees? Jeez.

May 24, 2010

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

Surprising revelations, surprisingly revealed by the UK Guardian:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emphasis added.

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

And of course, there's always this:

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

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

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

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

May 11, 2010

We are all Greeks now, or soon will be

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

The isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,--

Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But all, except their sun, is set.

--Lord Byron, "The Isles of Greece"

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

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

Y'okay. Let's begin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are all Greeks now, or soon will be.

'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,

Though link'd among a fetter'd race,

To feel at least a patriot's shame,

Even as I sing, suffuse my face;

For what is left the poet here?

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


May 9, 2010

Happy Birth Control Pill Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us pray...

April 26, 2010

Why my boobs aren't quaking today

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Yes, people, you read right: I'm not doing Boobquake today. I'm doing Brainquake instead. I can just hear the chorus already...

"Aw, 'Bina...you party pooper. You spoilsport. You...you...you...HUMORLESS FEMINIST, you. Why aren't you letting your bodacious double-Ds bounce out in the breeze, sticking it to crazy Iranian clerics who are dumb enough to think that immodest women cause earthquakes?"

Well, uh...maybe it's because I don't feel the need to sink to that dirty-minded man's level. He's got Teh Stoopid, and I'm supposed to counter it with more Stoopid? Uh, no. (Besides, I've already mocked him here, in item #5.) How about countering him with a flash of brains instead? You know, like realizing that he might not have been talking about boobs, or legs, but simply showing your hair? That's considered immodest by Iranian mullahs.

Yes, I know. Pathetic.

But it's true. The morals police there can bust you if they think you've got your headscarf on too loose. Or they can make you remove your makeup and/or nail polish if it's deemed too gaudy. Even showing your socks can be a no-no, or at least it was not so long ago. Maybe it is again today, or will be tomorrow; it all depends on the whim of the mullahs.

And that's what's so horrible and scary. The mullahs, not the elected president, are the real rulers of Iran. Even if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (whom I don't care for, BTW) were to be overthrown tomorrow, those guys would still be firmly in place. It is therefore with regard to them that the real cultural battles in Iran will be fought. It's all very well for us over here to show our tits to salivating dudes and call it rebellion (or just a Girls Gone Wild video--same diff); it's something else to rebel over there, where smaller, subtler, but far more concrete acts on a daily basis must constitute a genuine push-back against the mullahtocracy.

But to understand that, you have to use your brains and read up a bit on Iran. I recommend Azar Nafisi's book, Reading Lolita in Tehran, to give you some idea. Or Betty Mahmoody's memoir, Not Without My Daughter. Those books make all this cheeky western girl-talk of immodesty seem downright dumb.

And that's because it IS dumb. It is, as the originator rather sheepishly confesses, a snarky joke that somehow morphed into a "protest". It has now reaped the inevitable crowd of male gawkers that show up whenever free (as in gratis, not liberated) boobies are in the offing. This is way too frivolous to merit being called a political movement. It's just "woo-hoo, look how rebellious we are!"

Yeah, girls, someone's looking, all right...and it's not the person at whom this fauxtest is being aimed; he can't see you. It's a whole lot of other dudes, who are training their telephoto lenses at your neckline and rubbing their hands (or other body parts) with glee. Which is exactly what the misguided mullah was babbling on about, if you leave out the earthquake bit. So there you go; you're proving him right in an effort to prove him wrong. Feel foolish yet?

But hey, the boobquakers protest, this is all for the sake of science! Okay, girls, let's do some science. (You can cover up now if you like. We won't be needing our boobs for this one.)

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that it's true that an unscarfed head is immodest. Therefore, if the hypothesis is that immodesty causes earthquakes, this hypothesis has already been disproved. You can disprove it at any time, with a simple look around you when you're out in public. How many women do you see who have their hair fully covered? How many do you see who don't? If it's a majority that don't, and the ground isn't shaking angrily underfoot, then you can pretty much take it for granted that the immodesty of these women isn't making seismic trouble after all, eh?

And just look at France. This past week, Sarko banned religious headscarves altogether. Has the ground opened up and swallowed the entire country? Are tremors turning the terre into a trampoline? Non? Well, then, there again is your answer. And no tittaes needed to prove the hypothesis false.

Canada doesn't have a nationwide headscarf ban; Muslim women are free to wear their scarves, or not, as they please (except in Québec). Most women here go bareheaded all year round, even when it's foolish to do so (chills and sunstroke can happen, and for these reasons, as well as fashion, I love my hats!) Does Canada have a lot of earthquakes? No. It hardly has even minor tremors! Even "immodest" Québec hasn't been hit with any big 'uns. So, again: Hypothesis false.

Science class dismissed. Now, let's do some Women's Studies.

The best ones to tackle the sexist stupidity of an Iranian mullah are Iranian women. Does anyone know what they're saying and doing about this? Maybe we should start paying attention to them. I will be. I hear that they are an educated and sophisticated bunch, on the whole, particularly the younger ones. I hope they're criticizing this guy as he deserves. He should be feeling thoroughly embarrassed by his superstitious and outdated view of the world, and all the unwelcome attention it's gotten him. It's one thing to urge modesty; it's quite another to do it with ridiculous, easily debunked arguments. If virtue isn't its own reward, then an earthquake-free existence (or the promise thereof, which is ludicrous in a land as seismically active as Iran) isn't going to cut it either.

And speaking of rewards: What, exactly, are we supposed to be getting out of this whole skin-show, as women? In terms of actual feminist advances, we're getting nada. Unless, of course, you count cheap laughs and bulging male eyeballs as feminist achievements. I don't.

Plus, right-wing pseudofeminist anti-Islamist warhawks are taking up the "cause", too. Do I want to be seen flashing my ta-tas with that crowd of cretinesses? Do you?

And in the end, it's not going to shake things up for us here, is it? It's not going to win us an extra ounce of respect. It's not going to earn us wage parity with a man's dollar. It's not going to get bad laws struck down or modified. It's not going to provide us with birth control that works, or abortion services as needed. It's not going to provide working moms with daycare, or divorced custodial mothers with adequate child support. It's not going to ensure that rape victims get a fair hearing in court. It's not going to keep bar-room baddies from slipping roofies in our drinks. It's not going to level the playing field (and believe me, it's not level, girls.) All it's going to get...is guys ogling us. And the only thing in the world it's gonna rock is some stranger's cock.

Call me a killjoy, but I think we can all do better than that.

PS, ca. 4:10pm: And then along came Femquake....and I joined THAT, too. The nice thing about being a feminist is that you don't have to choose between having boobs and having brains--you're smart enough to know that it's all in how you deploy them.

PPS: And say, how's about we do a QueerIslamicane to this Clay Yarborough dude here in Florida? Since he thinks gay people and Muslims bring hurricanes because they're not his breed of folks, I say it might be worth testing the hypothesis. Everybody dress modestly--women in headscarves, men in turbans--and parade past his office in same-sex couples, holding hands. See if the weather starts getting rough. Too silly? Well, now you know why I didn't do Boobquake. Like I said...we can do better.

March 24, 2010

Photo du soir

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Ezra Levant, trying to strike a suitably grim pose and succeeding only in looking like a sanctimonious little putz covered in flop sweat, announces the Coultergeist's no-show...which was planned ahead of time. For what reason, one wonders, as if we couldn't guess?

Captions welcome, BTW. Let's have some fun with the putz. His 15 minutes are now officially up, except for the punchlines.

Ann Coulter really hates freedom of speech. Here's why...

Reason #1: It's very easy to own her bony ass with the facts.

All you have to do is get a word in edgewise, which of course is something this fast-talking nag doesn't want to allow. Fortunately, this CBC reporter didn't have to go all Bill O'Reilly on her and cut her mike. He just had to keep talking. Watch how her confidence turns to deer-in-the-headlights on a dime!

Reason #2: She's afraid of any serious challenge. Especially if it comes in boisterous crowds.

About two thousand noisy protesters is what it takes to get an Ann Coulter speech canceled, apparently.

That's the scene which transpired on Tuesday night at the University of Ottawa, where the right-wing author had planned a talk. Canadian media described the crowd as "boisterous."

"A spokesman for the group that organized the event said there were fears for Coulter's well-being after about two thousand people gathered outside the venue to protest her presence there," The Toronto Star reported.

Two thousand "boisterous" people, merely protesting? Not one weapon, not one death threat in all that crowd? Just people shouting and waving placards denouncing a foreign terrorist invader on our soil? Wow. Some threat to her "well-being". I guess for Ann, well-being is directly tied to her own monstrous ego and her ability to overtalk. You can do that one-on-one, or even one-on-two or -three. But one-on-two-thousand? Yeah, no wonder she felt threatened. One CBC reporter clobbering her with facts; two thousand students clobbering her with free speech. Kind of hard going, that!

But hey, Ann, you shouldn't have any problem standing up to them, I should think. Not if you really believed in free speech (for those other than your scrawny old self, of course). Not after what you said just a few short years ago:

"They better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them," she said on Hannity & Colmes in 2004. "They're lucky they're allowed to be on the same continent as the United States."

Yeah, big brave words. And just like everything else she blats to the four winds, utterly empty of meaning and devoid of fact.

Canadians won the War of 1812; it's the Yanks' best-kept secret and the reason for our so-called "luck". We taught them to show some respect, and we taught it to 'em the hard way. We torched the White House, Ann...and we are the only country ever, in all the world, to have done so.

Maybe that's why we're so "lucky", eh Ann?

Maybe you should count yourselves lucky that the Canucks didn't get greedy 200-odd years ago. We were quite content to merely keep you off our turf; we had no interest in stealing yours. If we were, you might be having to learn French in school today, Ann. And knowing you, with your massive ignorance and incuriosity about anything not immediately under your nose, you'd probably flunk it. Which would put your paltry notion of free speech at a double disadvantage.

As it is, you're an epic fail, and true free speech--which we do have, and exercise up here, as you've no doubt found out to your chagrin (that's French, Ann, look it up!)--has won the day.

C'est la merde.

March 20, 2010

Chavecito: The usual suspect

Regular readers may know of my little contretemps in the last couple of weeks with a particularly dense troll who tried to blame the Venezuelan electrical "crisis" (tempest in a teapot, more like) on a certain big fella in a red shirt, instead of the crapitalists who preceded him, and who lacked the vision to foresee higher demand for electrical power (and a need for better maintenance of the existing infrastructure), what with a growing population and all. For those who wonder who this twit took his cues from, here's a hint:

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"No, honey, what a waste of nothing. This electricity thing is all Chávez's fault, he gave away the rains to Cuba!"

That's right...he took his cues from Globovisión, the biggest waste of electricity in all Venezuela!

Meanwhile, for those who want to know what's really up in the electricity thing, here you go. Someone is doing something. And that someone isn't a privatizer. Which should have Globovisión's rabid demagogues even more up in arms than usual about the lack of "freedom" for millionaires and billionaires to own the country...

February 17, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 10, 2010

El Ecuadorable is da man, again

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

This does my heart some good...

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

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

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

Translation mine.

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

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

January 25, 2010

The Haiti disaster, through Haitian eyes

The Ciné Institute of Jacmel, Haiti, is a young film school, both in terms of its time in operation (only since 2008) and the age of its students. But in spite of the difficult economic conditions in Haiti--and they have never been more so than now--they've been able to produce powerful documentaries of what life is like there since the earthquakes.

I defy any so-called news organization to do better at conveying the human scale of the catastrophe than this.

PS: Speaking of the human scale, read Rebecca Solnit's piece in The Nation. She nails it, too.

January 15, 2010

Haiti: A three-minute primer

Ever wonder why Haiti is poor? Hint: it's punishment for that slave revolt that led to liberty in 1804, the one Patwa calls a "deal with the devil". Turns out, the devil...was France. (Zut alors!) And the deal...entailed a debt that took over a century to pay back, and still has Haiti mired in a cycle of debts, dictatorships and dependency. Only this time, the devil is the IMF. Whaddya know, it turns out that Satan really IS a master of disguise--and no, his name is not Papa Legba! (Legba is actually syncretized to St. Peter. He is likened to Peter because he opens the "pearly" gates to the spirit world, enabling Voudou practitioners to speak with the saintly figures called loa, and also their ancestors. And yes, I've paid him tribute too--and can attest that he is a beneficent old guy who listens. And he doesn't care what color you are, either.)

BTW, the only things in Avi Lewis's otherwise excellent reporting that I'd take issue with is that problematic "some say" bit (who are these "some"? Don't do like FUX Snooze, Avi--let's see "them" say it on camera!) and the part about Toto Constant "claiming" to be on the CIA payroll (uh, he was.)

PS: Far be it from me to not give credit where due. France has just called upon the Paris Club for debt forgiveness for Haiti. A wise move, and good for the karma. Très bien fait!

December 11, 2009

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

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

November 13, 2009

Lou Dobbs photoshop du jour

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Well, if FUX Snooze doesn't take him, he can always go into porn.

November 4, 2009

What is this Israeli general doing in South America?

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Meet Brigadier-General (ret.) B. Ziv, International Man of Mystery...and mercenarism. Prensa Latina (via Aporrea) has some very pertinent questions as to what he's been up to in Colombia...and what he could be up to in Peru:

The possible hiring of an Israeli mercenary, B. Ziv, as an advisor in the war against "narcoterrorism", was decried in Peru by a human-rights activist and a military analyst.

At the same time, the commanding general of the Peruvian army, Otto Guibovich, without denying the hiring of the retired Israeli general, admitted to having contact with persons experienced in contra-insurgent warfare. The daily newspaper, La Republica de Perú, reported that the most recent sightings of B. Ziv "located him in Colombia, where he advised the armed forces of that country in the war against the FARC."

The director of the Association for Human Rights (APRODEH), Miguel Jugo, doubts that a person with the history of Ziv, denounced for massacres of civilian Palestinians, could help bring down narcoterrorism.

Defence expert José Robles said he was surprised at the possibility that Ziv's services would be engaged as an advisor of the repression of a faction of the Shining Path militants operating in the central valley of the rivers Apurímac and Ene (VRAE).

Robles said that contracting the Israeli general would be an affront to Peruvian officials and that the experiences of Ziv in Palestine and Colombia would be of little use in the VRAE region, where conditions are totally different.

Robles added that another inconvenient fact is that the Israeli military is not exactly known for its respect of human rights, but rather the exact opposite.

Former defence minister Antero Flores Aráoz, who was replaced last July, denied any knowledge of Ziv and asserted that during his time as minister, no foreigner was contracted as a repressor in the VRAE region.

Meanwhile, General Guibovich reiterated the promise that the armed forces and police would put down all "narcoterrorism" in the high-risk VRAE region in a "definitive and implacable" manner.

In a televised interview, Guibovich made that announcement in spite of critics who accused officials of having failed in an offensive to control the VRAE, where the military has suffered more than fifty losses in a single year.

On the subject of the Israeli mercenary B. Ziv, the government of Alan García maintains total silence. The chief of cabinet, Javier Velásquez, agreed with the defence minister, Rafael Rey, in arguing "security reasons" for not revealing why the government kept contracting this person.

"In the first place, the strategy we are developing for confronting narcotrafficking and terrorism, for obvious reasons, cannot be made public [...] we can neither confirm nor deny; but it is a strategy which by nature should be absolutely reserved," said Velásquez, when asked by the Peruvian newspaper La Primera about the contracting of B. Ziv and an Israeli military team for $12 million.

The Israeli press confirms that the company run by the retired brigadier-general, B. Ziv, trained troops in the Georgian army, which last year was embroiled in a confrontation (which it lost) with the Russian Federation. In 2002, Ziv directed the Givati Brigade, which invaded the Al Amal refugee camp in Gaza. According to reports, a large number of civilians were injured or killed. Ziv alleged that there were terrorists in that location.

Translation mine.

I had never heard of this Ziv character till now (gee, I wonder why), so I did a bit of googling. It wasn't easy to find anything on him, secretive type that he is, but here's a blog entry that names him as one "Israel Ziv". You'll note that the Colombian connection is confirmed:

Military links between Israel and Colombia date back to the first five years of 1980, when a contingent of the Colombia battalion "... one of the worst violators of human rights in the western hemisphere, received training in the Sinai desert from some of the worst violators of human rights in Middle East," according to the U.S. investigator Jeremy Bigwood (who) observed that the training of young Colombian paramilitaries could not have been done without the express permission of the highest authorities of the Israeli defence forces.

In those years, landowners and ranchers of the Caribbean region of Uraba and Magdalena Medio (among them Uribe) were not satisfied with the "inefficiency" of the army in its fight against the guerrillas of FARC and ELN for which, in 1983, a group of "young idealists" went to Israel, not exactly to study "agrarian socialism" of the chosen people.

Of land-owning family, Carlos Castaño was then 18. Six months later, filled with "patriotic fervour", he returned to Colombia and tried to apply blindly what he had learnt in Course 562 imparted by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). He went back to the Bombona battalion but, disillusioned, concluded that the army was not killing "seriously".

Together with his elder brother Fidel, Carlos organised the death squad Los Tangueros, a name taken from his ranch, Las Tangas. In My Confession he declared: "In fact, I copied the concept of armed 'self-defence' from the Israelis". In his interviews (to Spanish journalist Mauricio Aranguren Molina), Castaño emphasised the relations he cultivated in Course 562 with an Army Colonel, Aflonso Martínez Poveda, and "other men of the Colombia Battalion".

The serial killer comments abundantly about the "firmness of Zionism... that has always been ... defeating terrorism... from there I was convinced that it is possible to defeat the guerrillas in Colombia". Castaño died in 2004 and recent history remembers him like how he was: one of most bloodthirsty Colombian paramilitaries.

Of course, the notion that Zionism is "anti-terrorism" falls apart with just a cursory look at Israeli history--remember Irgun and the Stern Gang? Terrorists all...but since they won, they've been recast as "freedom fighters". It stands to reason that their ideological descendants would be eager to export this successful brand of terrorism to any government with ready cash to spend. Colombia would be one such; another would be Peru, deemed "investment grade" by international know-nothings in pinstripes for its government's obvious willingness to take leaves from the Colombian book, but no useful lessons. Heaven only knows why anyone in Peru would want to import the Colombian civil war (now in its fifth decade--or is it the sixth? I've lost count), but it seems that nothing succeeds like failure, at least in South America:

Not only was Castaño trained in Israel, but also Salvatore Mancuso, the other "historic leader" of the (paramilitary) AUC currently in prison. From about the Nineties, Mancuso organised the paramilitaries of Convivir, financed by Alvaro Uribe, then governor of Antioquia (and now the President). In an interview with Margarita Martínez of Associated Press (13/02/02), the paramilitary boss bragged of "... not executing more than three persons at the same time". The 'security' company Spearhead, headed by the retired Israeli Colonel Yair Klein, started to train paramilitaries in Puerto Boyacá after the ceasefire of May 1984 signed by President Betancur (1982-86) and the secretary of FARC.

[...]

Klein's paramilitary model turned out to be a 'success'. Beyond the brilliant massacres of poor urban and rural people, four presidential candidates were assassinated. Enthused with the results, Klein filmed the training. The broadcast of the film by ABC News led to a global scandal. More than the Israeli professionals, the film showed known Australian mercenaries and British ones of the Special Air Service. The errant operative was getting in the way of the growing importance of the Colombian-Israeli economic relations like the purchase of 14 Kfir combat aircraft in April 1988. In February 1989 the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot recognised the "possible participation" of Israelis in drug trafficking.

But wait! Aren't they supposed to be there to STOP drug trafficking, and put an end to the fighting? Why have they escalated both?

Oh, probably for the oldest reasons in the book. First, there's money in it...LOTS of money. And like all good members of the Military-Industrial Complex, Israeli mercenaries and arms traffickers have no interest in derailing their own gravy train. So it stands to reason that they'd play both sides against the middle: terrorism in the name of anti-terrorism, drug-trafficking in the name of the War On Drugs. It's a brilliant strategy for keeping the cash flowing, and what is cash flow if not a mercenary-terrorist-arms-dealer's raison d'être?

Which brings us neatly back to General Ziv, and what he's doing down there, bungling the jungle:

The official presence in Colombia of Israel Ziv, retired IDF general, represents a qualitative leap in the war plans of Uribe and his Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos. Engaged for the moderate sum of $10 million, Ziv could well have collaborated in the attack against FARC in Ecuadorian territory. His experience gives him away: in October 2002, as head of the Givati Brigade, Ziv invaded the refugee camp of Al Amal (Gaza). Infantry troops, tanks and armoured vehicles caused a massacre in which the old, the disabled, women, children and babies died.

General Ziv is on the payroll of Counterterrorism International and is member of the Task Force on Future Terrorism (FOTFF), created in June 2005 by the Office of Homeland Security of --Israel? No, of the USA. FOTFF operates under the orders of Secretary Michael Chertoff and Lee Hamilton, director of the ultra-conservative Woodrow Wilson Centre, nest of academics, psychologists, businessmen and 'intelligence' experts.

In Colombia, Ziv's operations base is in Tolemaida. He meddles at the highest level. The Defence Vice Minister Sergio Jaramillo described as "precious" the Israeli help. "They are like psychoanalysts to us: they raise issues we had not thought about."

Ah, but of course. There it is again, the real hand pulling the marionette strings in Israel and Colombia: As usual, it's Washington. Home of the MIC and all its subsidiary corporations...including, as it turns out, the Israeli army and all the "security" firms that have been spun off it under the auspices of the private sector.

Let's keep an eye on this one, kiddies, I've a hunch we haven't heard the last of him yet.

October 27, 2009

Ti-Jean tells it like it is

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Actually, I call shenanigans* on dis--the lol-maker forgot to put de h'apostrophes on all de haitch-words, h'as Ti-Jean would.

(Everything else, 'owever, h'is correct!)

*Or should dat be "Shawinigans"?

October 22, 2009

Woe Blight and the Seven Dorks

This is, obviously, a short story à clef.

Once upon a time (the present), there was (is) a little red-headed Canadian princess (ahem--QUEEN!), who lived (lives) on the north shore of Lake Ontario and swore (swears!) she could see across it to Western New York on a clear day.

Well, just today, this little princess, or queen, or whatever, woke up feeling fine. Nothing wrong, which is funny because she has had rheumatism ever since she was hit by a car at 14, which was neveryoumind how many years ago, and ever since then she has been prone to joint and muscle pains on cold, damp autumnal days like today. Especially first thing upon waking. So let's just call her Woe Blight, because really, you have no idea how much of a woe and a blight such a condition can be unless you've lived with it since you were a teenager, okay?

Anyhow: Woe Blight woke up, for once, feeling less woeful and blighted by her chronic condition. Which surprised and pleased her, and which she ascribed to having worked out the night before, right before bed. (She lifts weights. Her arms look almost as good as Michelle Obama's by now. By next summer, she should have some spectacular guns.)

Unfortunately, Woe Blight's well-being was not to last. By the time she had prepared her humble lunch (bacon-and-zucchini quiche, which real men DO eat--just ask Woe's grumpy old German dad!), Woe was feeling more than a little under the cold, damp, drizzly weather. She was feeling nauseated and dizzy, and suspected she was running a temperature.

Still, being a cheerfully persistent and ever optimistic little thing, Woe Blight figured her problem was probably hunger. So she downed two tablespoons of Angostura, ate a hearty wedge of zucchini quiche, washed it down with a bottle of Moosehead.

Unfortunately, that didn't do the trick. If anything, she was feeling even worse; the nausea had spread to her chest, which felt tight and congested. So, still optimistic, Woe Blight then went out to roam the hills of her colorful little county, determined to see if a bit of fresh air couldn't cure whatever the hell was ailing her.

Well, it couldn't.

By the time she was halfway up the road to the woods, Woe was feeling every bit as woeful as she'd ever been in her life. She was hugging the shoulder and clutching her umbrella, wondering at every step whether this would be the moment when she lurched into the hawthorn bushes across the ditch and lost every last bite and swallow of quiche and Moosehead to the demon that was ransacking her little belly. (She would have blamed a poison apple, but Woe's parents are happily married for lo these past neveryoumind how many years, there is no wicked stepmother, and besides, Woe is fed up to the eyeballs with perfectly wholesome apples, living as she does among endless Ontario orchards.)

Well, about this time, somewhere between the train tracks, a cedar swamp, the hawthorn bushes, and a very surprised herd of Charolais cattle, Woe Blight met the Seven Dorks.

Their names were Grok, Woozy, Hinky, Murky, Pukey, Feverish, and of course, Dopey. They advised her to stop roaming around the hills like a maniac, and promptly get her little white butt back up the road, across the train tracks, and into her humble cottage, where the bottle of Angostura was patiently waiting on the kitchen shelf.

Now, Woe Blight usually doesn't take advice from dorks. But she knew enough to know that she was in no condition to argue. The cold felt colder and the wet felt wetter, and her innards were fast turning into a messy, curdly soup. So she got her cute little butt back home and onto the trusty cot in her toasty warm study. She slept there for the better part of the afternoon and woke up, still plagued by the Seven Dorks.

The Itty-Bitty Shitty Committee, as she had by now taken to calling them, were still there when she ate supper, and they did their level best to make the tasty quiche seem rancid and her evening tea, insipid and cloying. A couple hours later, the Angostura needed reinforcements, and Woe Blight got out her trusty angelica tincture, a true rotgut which tastes so horrible that it makes one forget, at least for a little while, whatever it is that's ailing one. Even diluted one-to-three in water, it's scary shit; it turns the water grey-green and cloudy, like a pastis gone terribly wrong. If absinthe is la fée verte, this stuff is la fée morte. But it is, or is supposed to be, a sovereign remedy for gut bugs, according to her trusty herbal guidebook, so Woe poured herself a couple of fingers of it, then topped up the glass with cold filtered water, and downed the swamp soup, cringing at every evil-tasting mouthful.

Well, apparently the scary shit is good for something, because Woe is typing her fingers to the bone and feeling no pain. Wish her luck for the morrow, kiddies, she suspects she's gonna need it...and she really hopes not to have to drink any more angelica tonight.

EDIT, the next morning: Holy moly!!!

October 20, 2009

A bizarre dream I had the other night, or, L'esprit de l'escalier

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Staircase/bookshelf designed by Tim Sloan, featured in Marie Claire Maison. Now this is what I call a dream worth having!

I've been debating with myself about whether or not I should blog this, because it's so embarrassing and personal and silly, and I've decided--oh, what the hey.

Yesterday morning, just before waking, I had the most peculiar dream. I was in a swimming pool, doing what I thought was a very good backstroke. Really in the rhythm, perfectly co-ordinated, all limbs in sync, no self-consciousness as I circled around and around, lap after lap, never tiring. It was the sort of thing a cerebral klutz often dreams--and always dreams of it going wrong just as it's going great. Which of course is what I dreamed!

Suddenly I found that there was no water in the pool, and that I was just windmilling my arms in the air, feeling like a total jackass. People walked by and snickered. That's when I realized that someone else was responsible for this.

So I set out to find the person. I found her sitting by the side of the pool, studying me with an amused expression. She was a friend--or someone I had thought was a friend. I knew that the pool would stay dry unless I got back into her good graces, so I just hung out with her, liking what she liked, disparaging whatever she didn't.

Well, that was a bad approach, as you can imagine. She told me she didn't like ME!

Why? I asked her.

So she named all kinds of ridiculous, trivial, embarrassingly personal reasons. The more she rambled on, the sorrier I felt for her. I thought her self-esteem was obviously down in the dumps, which was why she was taking it out on me. I was a vulnerable target, no doubt: solitary, introverted, self-sufficient, and damn, I really thought I was doing so well at the backstroke, there!

Then a group of young guys, in their teens or early twenties by the looks of them, strolled by. One of them tossed off another casual, yet horribly personal insult at me, a slang term I'd never heard. Called me a "Bigelow wife". Meaning, some nerdy single chick who's married to her teapot. (This insult does not exist in the "real" world, as far as I can tell. And yes, I googled.)

Just as I'd figured that out, I began to wake up. I tried to get back to sleep, but it was no use--I was wide awake, full of excitement because I'd come up with the perfect come-back for all this negativity and shit. I was going to say something like:

"Oh yeah? Well, I know your flavor--Constant Cruelty!"

In short: A perfect case of l'esprit de l'escalier, foiled by wakefulness. (Just call me Treppenwolf!)

Is this what it takes to stop the bleeding?

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From France, something mightily disturbing about where privatization of formerly public companies goes if taken to the crapitalist extreme...

France Télécom today shelved its restructuring programme after the suicides of 25 workers whose deaths have been linked to a modernisation drive at the group.

The former state monopoly said it had called-off its controversial corporate shake-up until next year.

The announcement follows a wave of deaths at the group and a further spate of attempted suicides since February 2008. The deaths, which have shocked the country, have led to calls for the resignation of Didier Lombard, France Télécom's chief executive.

A spokesman said: "We will suspend all restructuring until December 31, 2009."

And after that, all bets will be off, the "modernization" drive will be on again, and so will the suicides. Brilliant!

And after that, the Deluge...of government intervention:

The French Government summoned Mr Lombard to a crisis meeting last month about the deaths, which unions blame on a deep malaise caused by the restructuring. He was asked to produce an urgent action plan.

Critics say staff at the company, two thirds of whom were taken on when the group was a state monopoly and, as such, considered themselves unsackable, had become desperate after being asked to overhaul working practices. The shake-up was aimed at making the Gallic group more competitive in the international market.

A total of 10,000 employees have changed jobs in the past three years.

And if you think it's easy to change jobs in France, where positions have until recently tended to be full-time, decently paid and career-long, or that American-style ultracapitalism would cut the fat, may I remind you that (a) the French have lower obesity rates by far than the Yanks, and (b) the US capital crisis--still happening!--is a direct result of that ultracapitalism.

And so, it turns out, is something like this:

One of the most recent deaths occurred last month when a 51-year-old employee killed himself in the French Alps. The man, who was married with two children, left a note blaming the "atmosphere" at work before throwing himself off a motorway bridge in Alby-sur-Cheran.

He had recently switched jobs to a call centre where he faced performance objectives.

Call centres are notoriously stressful, with jobs directly dependent on a quota of sales, and poor remuneration to boot--which is not much improved even on the off chance that you exceed your quota. The last thing anyone in my neck of the woods dreams of being is a call-centre employee, and for reasons good. It's a shitty job, with rejection being a daily norm (seeing as the job basically entails cold-calling people who don't want to be called, and annoying the hell out of them.) It is, from a psychological standpoint, a sheer nightmare. That's something no amount of money can make good, much less the lousy pay (barely above minimum wage) that a telemarketer makes. The turnover is high, and no wonder: Ditch digging is less of a hassle, and better paid!

So I hope you'll pardon me for laughing (sardonically, and with little mirth) at things like this:

Mr Lombard had already announced an end to the programme of compulsory job changes for managers and suspended staff performance indicators at the call centre as he sought to end what he called a "death spiral" at the group.

He has also hired 100 additional advisers in human resources and launched negotiations with unions on workplace stress.

It's going to take a hell of a lot more than piddling measures like those to stop the bleeding, Monsieur Lombard. It will take nothing less than a candid admission that capitalism does not work, and a return to the days when phone service was publicly provided and cheap--and a source of steady, secure employment that didn't see middle-aged family men hanging themselves en masse.

PS: This article in the Spiegel is also surprisingly good, as it points the finger in all the right directions. Sarko's pronouncement at the end pleasantly surprised me, but perhaps it shouldn't. After all, it's France, and happiness is sacred there.

PPS: And for a look at some real assholes who prescribe capitalism but don't make the connection between it and suicide, click here. (Warning: raw sewage!)

September 30, 2009

O Irony, where is thy sting?

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Bwahahahaha. Where else? Planted firmly, barbed-end-first, in the ass-cheek of a woman who thought she could take the shortcut to queen-bee status:

SARAH Palin is said to have pocketed a $7 million advance for the 400-page memoir she turned in four months early, but she might not have such an easy time on the lecture circuit.

After quitting as governor of Alaska in July, Palin signed with the top-notch Washington Speakers Bureau, which also reps George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger, LA Dodgers manager Joe Torre and magician David Blaine.

Palin's bookers are said to be asking for $100,000 per speech, but an industry expert tells Page Six: "The big lecture buyers in the US are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because they think she is a blithering idiot."

Oh noes! Why do you suppose that is? Oh, probably only because she IS one.

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And why do you suppose THAT is? Hmmm...

"Palin is so uninteresting to so many groups -- unless they are interested in moose hunting," said our insider. "What does she have to say? She can't even describe what she reads."

Does she read? I know Dubya read ONE book, or at least pretended to read part of it--one far below what's par for a man his age. Judging from what her daughter's ex has to say, the woman who talked of banning books as mayor of Wasilla is probably no great reader herself; why else would she try to usurp the local librarian and impoverish the public bookshelves?

But don't take my word for it. Here's Levi:

I actually never saw Sarah reading much at all--once in a blue moon, I'd see her reading a book, and I've never seen her read a newspaper. The Frontiersman and the Anchorage Daily News were always there in the morning, but the only one who looked through them was Todd.

Hmmm. Does she at least hunt moose? Oh, deer:

Sarah Palin has said she's a hockey mom and a hunter, but that's really not the case. She pays no attention to her kids when the cameras aren't around. Track and I grew up playing hockey together, and I only saw her at about 15 percent of his games. People think that Sarah likes hunting, fishing, and camping, but she doesn't. She says she goes hunting and lives off animal meat--I've never seen it. I've never seen her touch a fishing pole. She had a gun in her bedroom and one day she asked me to show her how to shoot it. I asked her what kind of gun it was, and she said she didn't know, because it was in a box under her bed.

People would send Sarah big painted portraits of herself. Most of them went in the garage, but she once asked me to help her put one up in the house. So I put the little tab in the back and she told me she could handle it from there. But when I came back, it was sideways. About the only thing she knows now is Gucci and Prada.

Sounds like she wasn't really as much in touch with the huntin' and fishin' crowd as she made herself out to be.

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I'm guessing that she was also rather out of touch with the news, and thus, collectively speaking, the people. Which is kind of sad when you consider that she had an entire state full of 'em to govern, and a governor's job, among other things, is to be aware of issues in the local news, the better to be able to address what needs doing, competently and in a timely manner. Not just to provide lip service and window dressing, but action on the people's behalf.

But clearly, all of that was not even on Sarah Palin's radar. Levi Johnston again:

Sarah was always in a bad mood and she was stressed out a lot. Sometimes she would wonder why she took the job as governor. It was too hard, she said; there was so much going on.

[...]

Sarah was sad for a while. She walked around the house pouting. I had assumed she was going to go back to her job as governor, but a week or two after she got back she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book or do a show and make "triple the money." It was, to her, "not as hard." She would blatantly say, "I want to just take this money and quit being governor." She started to say it frequently, but she didn't know how to do it. When she came home from work, it seemed like she was more and more stressed out. It seemed like she couldn't handle the job anymore. I think that she was just through with it all or that she'd become used to getting everything she wanted handed to her. She'd rather take the money and keep that kind of lifestyle. When a magazine offered six figures to be at the hospital when Bristol gave birth, she said yes at first but then told us not to do it.

No consistency of word or deed; no consistency between word and deed; nothing consistent at all, except the overarching theme: "Gimme money, lotsa money, yum yum yum more money." Greed, ambition and self-promotion: Check. Work ethic: Um, what work ethic?

In everything she has ever done, Sarah Palin is the embodiment of attention deficit disorder; a Jill of all trades, and a mistress of none. Need I bring up her dubious academic record to underscore the point? She ended up, after six years, with one journalism degree, which she invoked at every opportunity during her VP campaign, but at the same time, she no longer reads newspapers. Well, duh; she never wrote for them, either, even at school. Makes sense when you consider that she was originally shooting for TV. Maybe she figured that was the easiest way to fame and fortune, as well as to capitalize on those Miss Wasilla looks!

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For someone like that to aspire to writing a book--well, it doesn't surprise me that she had help. A lot of it. How else to explain the fact that she pooped the seven-million-dollar manure pile out in such record time? And indeed, there is a "collaborator". This is one of those "as told to" stories, although it's doubtless not being billed as such.

I'm gonna go wayyyyy out on a limb here and say that judging from the overall pattern of things, the "collaborator" did the grunt work, transcribing the Paliness's semi-coherent burblings into some semblance of a readable narrative. I do hope she's being paid well for her time and efforts, although I suspect she's probably not being paid nearly as well as the woman for whom she's ghosting.

But meanwhile, there is the question of whether this book will even earn out that very fat advance. The lecture circuit thing's early flop is, along with all those other plot twists, something of a foreshadowing. I'm an English major, as well as having studied journalism; in six years, I earned two degrees from just two schools. I know how to recognize familiar patterns and well-worn storylines. I already know how this will go:

First, I see bookstore clerks grumbling over having to stock this parvum opus front and centre, at the expense of real literature. Sales will seem brisk at first, then drop off dramatically as word goes out that it's a damp squib, rather than the firecracker the media hype has led us to expect.

Then, to save face, there will come a last-minute bulk buy order from a certain familiar Mr. Mellon Scaife, who has so kindly subsidized the wingnut-welfare cottage industry lo these many years.

And soon after that, the Conservative Book Club (!) will be making this one of their featured "3 for $1" introductory offerings. The chattering classes will chatter away, and so, alas, will Sarah--doing the talk-show circuit in lieu of lectures, and carefully skirting the hard questioners, of course. FUX Snooze will talk her up, and everyone else will courteously pretend neutrality and wish her well, while cringing inwardly at having to go through the whole Palin rigamarole yet again.

Meanwhile, cheaply-purchased but unread copies of The Book will be propping doors open and gathering dust on coffee tables before making their shambling way to the used-book market, along with the various tomes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and Jonah Goldberg.

Finally, remainder tables will be groaning under the weight of hundreds of unsold copies of Going Rogue, deeply discounted. After even that fails to unload very many of them, the covers will be torn off all the unsold copies, and the remainder returned to sender to be pulped. The rest, as they say, is toilet paper.

Et voilà! Another Great American Mavericky Success Story (TM) is born. You betcha!

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August 9, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 9, 2009

Wankers of the Week: Dicks 'n' Taters edition

It's time to plant potatoes...and pray none come out looking quite like this:

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So, how do this week's candidates rate? As dicks, taters, or both? Read on, and judge for yourselves...

1. Orson Scott Fucking Card. Who is he to be blatting on about the gay-rights movement "dictating" public policy to the married when his own Mormon church is at it far more blatantly and repressively? And who is he to talk about what kind of marriage is "natural" when the Mormons were founded by a man who was not only a dictator, but a polygamist? A screaming closet case, most likely. If he wants the law to dictate what people can do in the privacy of their bedrooms, he should be aware that it can also dictate what's done in the less-private space of churches--and maybe the very profitable Mormon cult, which also backed Prop Hate, would like to start paying taxes on its tithings, hmmm?

2. The fuckhead or fuckheadess who signed him/herself "M. Maloney" at the end of this dumbest-ever letter to the editor. Perhaps you should change your name to "B. Baloney", sir or madam, because it's YOU who are "full of bull", as you so quaintly put it. I would put it less quaintly: You are full of shit. I don't believe for an instant you've been to Venezuela even once, much less "multiple times over the last eight years". Why else would you claim that Hugo Chávez "was elected by the people of Venezuela, but only once, in 1996. Every 'election' since then has been rigged." Funny, but not only the people themselves, but a whole raft of international observers think you're full of shit too--and not only because the elections show NO signs of rigging, but because he was elected for the first time in 1998, not 1996. Oh, and the constitution hasn't been "dissolved", either; it's been rewritten BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, which the US constitution certainly wasn't; it was also amended to allow multiple re-election for ALL candidates, BY POPULAR VOTE. Maybe it's B. Baloney who needs to do some homework--if only to lie more convincingly in his/her LTEs.

3. Gary Fucking Hensley. When did killing people in Afghanistan become somehow "saving" them? When this dick of a lieutenant-colonel decided it was as good as converting them to Christianity. No shit, he really said it: "The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down." And then some people wonder why fundamentalist Christianity is scaring people away? And that the Muslims of Afghanistan are not only resisting the evangelists' efforts, but many have also sworn to put them to death for it? Yeah, I wonder too.

4. and 5. Michael Fucking "Savage" Weiner and Fred Fucking Phelps. Congratulations, your incessant demagogic hatemongering got you two shits banned from Britain.

6. Alvaro Fucking Uribe. Using public money and public defenders to protect soldiers accused of taking public money to kill innocent members of the public? Man, that's...just...LOW.

7. and 8. Carrie Fucking Prejean's stupid fucking parents. How did Miss Implants California become such a flaming 'mo-hater and spokeswoman for the sacrosanct institution of Opposite Marriage? Lemme put it to you this way: She learned by imitation from two very Christian divorcees. Bonus wanker points to the 'rental units for letting her pose topless as a teenager in skimpy pink lace panties.

9. Pat Fucking Robertson. Same-sex marriage means that child molestation, bestiality and polygamy will be legal next? Well, no doubt in Patwa's wet dreams (and those of Mormon Orson, too). BTW, how's that assassination plan of yours working out, Marion?

10. Kiefer Fucking Sutherland. Dude, your show is fiction. FICTION. Got that? Now sober up and knock off the tough-guy shit.

11. and 12. The original Dick and Tater, of course:

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Nice faces! Just like those of true war criminals.

And finally, anyone who comes on here accusing me of not having my facts straight. Au contraire, mes petits frères, I have them all lined up like neat little duckies in a shooting gallery. 'Tis you, 'tis YOU who do not know squat, be it about Hungarian "Szekler" terrorists (yes, TERRORISTS--and oh boy, is THAT grist for a future entry) or those homegrown (though not indigenous) to Santa Cruz. Get your heads out of your own butts, stop being apologists for fascism, and perhaps you won't wind up pwned with potatoes down your pants in the future. Or, as in the case of my Szekler heckler, spam-canned and BANNED (with your nasty, abusive e-mails saved in case the Hungarian federal police come calling, heh heh).

Thank you, and good night.

February 12, 2009

Conquest of the East

A study in "soft" imperialism. A French documentary with subtitles in Spanish:

Presented on VTV by journalist Erika Ortega Sanoja, with commentary and discussion by US/Venezuelan author-attorney Eva Golinger, and French sociologist Romain Mingus.

This doc is particularly relevant for Venezuelans right now, because the so-called "student groups" agitating against the government are financed and trained by the same US-based groups who backed the "Color Revolutions" in Eastern Europe. These US imperialists think they can simply import the same strategies to Venezuela to get rid of a leader they don't like, but there's a problem: For one thing, Venezuelans aren't stupid. Nor are they amnesiac. They've seen 40+ years of the glories of "democratic" capitalism and rejected it by democratically electing a man sworn to drive a stake through it. For another, Chavecito is neither weak in power, nor unpopular, as were the leaders the "Color Revolutions" (colorful coups d'état, really) overthrew. And above all, they have alternative and public media dedicated to exposing "soft" imperialism, and drawing the obvious lines between the "White Hands" movement and the "nonviolent" student groups ginned up by the colorful coups.

January 24, 2009

Human Enema Nozzles: That was the week that was...

Ahem. Before I get into this week's barrel-o-bile, I just thought I'd share a little something that Jim wrote at The Scarlet Pimpernel. Something that made me sad, and made me rethink the whole notion of trying to be noble:

Sorry, I had to do 'Bina's Snarkiness of the Week since she went an got all serious on us. I really liked the cat that told people how to go away, too. And, since Otto went all Hollywood on us trying to get an Oscar....Oh, it wasn't an Oscar?...Oh, I get it, People's Cholce... NO? ..But they said something about the best analyst in a supporting role!...Well, whatever... I wanted to get some snarkiness in of my own. BoRev has been having too much of a free ride since 'Bina and Otto went and got all serious and respectable on us. :)

Serious? Respectable? Moi??? Non, non, NON!!! Ceci n'est pas un blogue respectable! Ceci n'est pas un blogue sérieux! Ceci n'est pas le snarque, ceci est la fouquetarderie!!! Tabernac!!!!11onze!!!

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Ahem. Now that I've got THAT off my chest, here's who's in dire need of a flip-off this week.

1. That fucking whiny-ass little right-wing cretin who refers to himself as "Ace of Spades". He's not an ace of anything, except maybe self-pitying sexism, and trust me, that shit don't go down well with the ladies, any more than that other shit, namely Ace himself, will go down (well or otherwise) ON them. If you scroll down well into the comments, to about #237 or so, you'll see I have some sound advice for guys like him. But really, it would do the ladies far more favors (sexual and otherwise) if "Ace" and all the rest of his unsexy ilk simply fucked off.

2. Krishna Fucking Urs. If you don't want someone like, say, the president of Bolivia saying nasty things about how your country has been interfering in his country, the logical thing to do would be to stop the interfering, no? Well, no. Not according to this Krishna dude. To him, the logical thing to do is walk out and not listen to the unattractive truth. If you're gonna be that way, pal, the best thing to do is just fuck off out of the country and quit the diplomatic corps too. DIPLOMACY--Urs doin it rong!

3. Abe Fucking Foxman. Another one who can't handle even a little truthiness. Especially where Israel's actions in Gaza are concerned. Someone please remind him that human rights are for everybody, not just those who fancy themselves a Chosen People. And if he can't handle the reminder, he can fuck off.

4. Shitfuck and his fucking cronies. A whole rogues' gallery in one little item? Shit, yeah. And doesn't the air smell cleaner now that they're FINALLY in the process of fucking off?

5. Those fucking Venezuelan oppo leaders (they know who they are) who went to meet with a certain US diplomat in Puerto Rico. How much did he pay them to interfere with the upcoming referendum on February 15, and what exactly was he paying them to do? I'm sure we'll find out when Eva Golinger files the FOIA request. And she might just get it back sooner under Hopey's new directives. If so, it's gonna be extra sweet to watch their feces hit the fan. Meanwhile, they too can fuck off. (Especially the one who told off that cute journo-dude from Avila TV. Is that any way to talk to one's betters?)

6. Larry Fucking Kudlow. And all you other fucking supply-siders and John Fucking Galt wannabes. Your time is OVER. Your credibility is SHOT. Your pontifications are hereby consigned to whatever circle of Dante's hell is dedicated to liars, damned liars, and bad statisticians. Now fuck off!

7. Lisa Fucking Schiffren. So, Rev. Lowrey's benediction reminded her of the kind of rhymes posted over California's potties during a water shortage? Well, here's a rhyme for Lisa: If the 'winger bitch is white, she's a big fat piece of shite. Pee-pee, ca-ca, doody-oody-doo. Please flush, and don't forget to wash your hands. And fuck you very much, Lisa.

And finally, to all the usual suspects--namely, those whose virgin eyes I've gouged out here. If you don't like it, I have nothing to say to you that these folks can't say better.

January 5, 2009

Quotable: Michael Zuckerman on neo-cons

"In French slang, the word con means jackass or imbecilic wuss. So when the néo-cons--the néo-cons as the French read the term--went ahead with the ill-considered invasion and imperialist occupation of Iraq, the French thought that this was just the sort of thing that néo-cons--incompetent fools, milksop morons--would do."

--Michael Zuckerman, "American Conservatism in Historical Perspective"

December 22, 2008

Quotable: Frantz Fanon on neoliberalism

"But when decolonization occurs in regions where the liberation struggle has not yet made its impact sufficiently felt, here are the same smart alecks, the sly, shrewd intellectuals whose behavior and ways of thinking, picked up from their rubbing shoulders with the colonialist bourgeoisie, have remained intact. Spoiled children of yesterday's colonialism and today's governing powers, they oversee the looting of the few national resources. Ruthless in their scheming and legal pilfering they use the poverty, now nationwide, to work their way to the top through import-export holdings, limited companies, playing the stock market, and nepotism. They insist on the nationalization of business transactions, i.e., reserving contracts and business deals for nationals. Their doctrine is to proclaim the absolute need for nationalizing the theft of the nation. In this barren, national phase, in this so-called period of austerity, their success at plundering the nation swiftly sparks anger and violence from the people. In the present international and African context, the poverty-stricken and independent population achieves a social consciousness at a rapidly accelerating pace. This, the petty individualists will soon find out for themselves."

--Frantz Fanon, "On Violence", from The Wretched of the Earth, 1961

(Plus ça change...)

November 21, 2008

More people who need to just fuck off NOW, if you please

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1. Focus on the Fuckery. They showed their "family values" by spending moocho dinero on Proposition Hate. Now they're laying off staff. I should be grateful, I suppose, that they aren't converging on Washington in private LearJets to beg for a bailout. But what I really wish is that they would (a) focus on their own fam-damnily for a change (i.e. the workers they're screwing) and (b) JUST FUCK OFF!

2. All you fucking fuckheads in Freeperville who fucked Dan Rather. Guess what, y'all: He had your boy's number all along. Aren't you ashamed? No? Well, then FUCK OFF! You wouldn't know good reporting if it bit your ass off, and I hope it bites off more than that.

3. Newty Fucking Gingrich. As if it wasn't enough that he fucked over not one, but two former wives to marry his respective mistresses (watch out, #3!), now he's accusing gays and secular humanists of "fascism". He's a fine one to talk; he's the one that made up that fucking fascist word list to smear innocent people and decent politics out of existence. Hey Newt:

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4. Evita Perón Marisabel WHO? A threat to WHOM? I don't know who should fuck off first, the soap-opera queen or the anglo media who keep touting her as the antidote to that evil, toxic Chavecito. Does anyone take her prospects seriously, besides these clueless anglos? The big guy is doing his due diligence. What's SHE doing? Going around shaking hands, kissing babies--and uttering forgettable platitudes, when not turning around and accusing Venezuela's most pro-woman president ever of being a machista. Yeah, that's a winning strategy. Oh well, on Monday morning, reality will dawn, and she will have to go home to her tennis pro and STFU about Chavecito again.

5. Ayman al-Fucking Zawahiri. Excuse me, what did you call Barack Obama again? A "house negro"? For what--acknowledging the pluralistic politics of his country, instead of trying to convert it all to Islam against its will? People like you give a venerable faith a bad name. And just who the fuck are you, old man, to call up the name of Malcolm X? There's a word for what you're doing, and it is HERESY. Or, if you want to put it in Arabic, fitna. Fuck off, already, and let the Americans heal their own religious divisions without resort to your absurd vision of theocratic monoculture.

6. Conrad Fucking Black. I know that concepts like justice and accountability are foreign to the filthy fucking rich (who got that way by filthily fucking everything and everyone in sight), but could Lord Convict please try to understand the meaning of the words, even if they're not as polysyllabic as he can get? And failing that, would he kindly refrain from asking for undeserved clemency, and just FUCK OFF?

7. The little fucking godbags who went to the Castro District in San Francisco to rub the gays' noses in it when Proposition Hate passed. If y'all are so all-fired Christian and all, why don't you go show you really do love your neighbors--your GAY neighbors--by refraining from preaching bullshit at them? And if you don't like them, or what they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, fine--be that way if you want, but just stay out of the neighborhoods where they live. No one asked you to bring your fraudulent, false gospel of bigotry in there. Straights are welcome in the gay community; I know that from experience, because everytime I've ever been in the Church/Wellesley area of Toronto, I was made welcome regardless of my orientation. Maybe that's because I didn't go in there to preach at them and deliberately incite violence. I went to socialize, to shop, and to just soak up the friendly atmosphere without fear or judgment. Can y'all do that too? And if you can't, then just FUCK OFF.

8. Roger Fucking Stone. He doesn't regret dirty politicking, but he DOES regret helping Bush get elected via...that very thing? Gee, talk about regrets that ring hollow. And then he makes the lame excuse that he was doing it because he owed some other Repug fucker a favor? No excuses, Roger--you know you wanted to do it. You know you liked it. You would still do it in a heartbeat if anyone else tapped you for a "favor". Why? Because you're just plain perverted that way. You get off on it. And that makes you culpable. Go fuck yourself, you freak.

9. The entire fucking Prince/De Vos clan. For funding hate and spreading war throughout the world. May the demons play soccer with their heads in hell, if a hell there is. (Personally, I don't believe in hells, but for people like this I'll cheerfully make an exception--or nine.)

10. The fucking CIA. There are more reasons for this than you can shake a stick at, but let's just say this one really takes the biscuit. Shootdowns of innocent aircraft over South America, all with CIA "help"? This ain't the gang that couldn't shoot straight, it's the gang that can't fucking stop shooting! Too bad they aren't doing it in their own mouths.

11. This bunch of fucking ex-Bolivian racists in Washington, DC. Not only can they not accept that Evo won legitimately, they also can't accept that he's doing a better job in his sleep than a dozen of them could do hopped-up on triple espresso. And how do they express their "disagreement" with his politics? By lobbing racist insults at some indigenous dancers who happened to accompany Evo to the event. Srsly, people, what the fuck is wrong with you? Besides the obvious, that is?

12. The fucking DEA. Bugging Evo's phone? What were they expecting to accomplish with that? I have no idea, but they haven't accomplished anything--other than get their worthless drug-smuggling asses kicked out of Bolivia. And about fucking time. Now, if only all the OTHER countries where they operate could tell them to fuck off, too.

13. The Big Three Fucking Auto Execs. For showing up to beg for bailouts...in private fucking LearJets. Meanwhile, who's bailing out their "downsized" employees, who've had to rely on subprime mortgages to furnish for them what the Big Three Profiteering Bastards could and would not? This is right up there with the big AIG bailout bash at that fancy resort, BTW.

14. The rich fuckers at the so-called National Review, or as I like to call it, the National Re-Pew. They want MONEY for their stinkin' crap? They should give all their readers and sponsors their money back. And just go fuck themselves already.

15. That motherfucking fucker who beat up two lesbian moms outside their kid's school in Oshawa (and in front of the kid!) right after Prop Hate made the news. Was he emboldened by the passing of the worst bill of the year? You fucking betcha. I hope he gets a cellmate who really likes him, if you know what I mean.

16. And finally, any fouquetards du jour whom I happen to have missed. Including, once again, those who object to my use of le mot juste.

October 27, 2008

Scary Thought #12: Would you hit it?

strauss-kahn.jpg

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head honcho at the International Monetary Fund. So studly, no?

There are some things no honorable woman would do for love, let alone money. Which means that a certain Hungarian blonde is no honorable woman. But then again, she worked for the IMF...and according to this report at the HuffPost, such things are A-okay at an organization whose entire raison d'être, after all, is fuckery...

The head of the International Monetary Fund will keep his job despite having an affair with a married subordinate, the agency's executive board concluded.

The IMF board issued a statement late Saturday saying that the actions of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn were "regrettable and reflected a serious error of judgment."

However, the 24-member board of directors decided that Strauss-Kahn's relationship with the former IMF employee was consensual and did not involve any type of sexual harassment, favoritism or any abuse of authority.

[...]

The incident involving Strauss-Kahn occurred 15 months after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as president of the World Bank amid controversy over a pay package for his girlfriend, a bank employee. The World Bank is a sister lending institution to the IMF.

Ugh. Why is it always the guys you don't want to picture in their saggy old boxers and gartered socks (in Wolfie's case, the socks are full of holes) doing the Ugly Bump with these ladies? Could it be that Henry Kissinger, himself no slouch in the repulsive department, was onto something? Or are women in the international hi-finance sector simply not squicked out by smelly old men who groom using saliva instead of gel?

At this rate, I'm thankful that I still have my gag reflex.

August 11, 2008

Letters from the Evil Dead

Strange things dead paramilitaries write...and stranger things they reveal. From Aporrea, a little note that will make you believe that there IS life after death, especially for crime and scandal in Colombia:

The ex-colonel of Colombian police, Danilo Gonzalez, who was assassinated in 2004, ordered the murder of former presidential candidaate Alvaro Gomez Hurtado, and the kidnapping of Venezuelan businessman Richard Boulton.

This, according to a letter from the late paramilitary chief Carlos Castaño, which was revealed today.

The letter from Castaño, also killed four years ago, and published by the weekly magazine Semana, also accuses Colonel Gonzalez of planning the kidnap of architect Juan Carlos Gaviria, brother of the former Colombian president and ex-secretary of the Organization of American States, Cesar Gaviria.

Continue reading "Letters from the Evil Dead" »

June 3, 2008

Brigitte Bardot, phoquez-vous!

I'm always amazed that the same people who bawl over baby seals in some other part of the world have so little regard left over for abused humanity coming to their own shores. Take (please!) the example of Brigitte Bardot, recently convicted of racist hatemongering:

A leading French anti-racism group known as MRAP filed a lawsuit last year over a letter she sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. The remarks were published in her foundation's quarterly journal.

In the December 2006 letter to Sarkozy, now the president, Bardot said France is "tired of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts."

Bardot, 73, was referring to the Muslim feast of Aid el-Kebir, celebrated by slaughtering sheep.

Continue reading "Brigitte Bardot, phoquez-vous!" »

May 30, 2008

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz--STING!!!

Remember all those stories about mysteriously dying honeybee populations? Looks like we've got the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder all figured out, kiddies. Or at least, one very unsurprising chief suspect:

Germany has banned a family of pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has suspended the registration for eight pesticide seed treatment products used in rapeseed oil and sweetcorn.

The move follows reports from German beekeepers in the Baden-Württemberg region that two thirds of their bees died earlier this month following the application of a pesticide called clothianidin.

"It's a real bee emergency," said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeepers' Association. "50-60% of the bees have died on average and some beekeepers have lost all their hives."

Tests on dead bees showed that 99% of those examined had a build-up of clothianidin. The chemical, produced by Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of the German chemical giant Bayer, is sold in Europe under the trade name Poncho. It was applied to the seeds of sweetcorn planted along the Rhine this spring. The seeds are treated in advance of being planted or are sprayed while in the field.

Continue reading "Bzzzzzzzzzzzz--STING!!!" »

May 27, 2008

L'affaire Couillard--c'est le Maxime!

Ah oui, cher(e) ami(e), Tante Bina a trouvé beaucoup d'histoires bien scandaleuses pour toi!

Ahem. En anglais:

Maxime Bernier, our beleaguered and blundering foreign-affairs minister, has finally resigned. The reason? His ex-girlfriend, the erstwhile biker babe Julie Couillard, is in fact something of a security risk--a fact that Bernier and the Harper Tories repeatedly denied. When questioned (very politely) on the matter of her questionable ties by the opposition, the Tories cried salaciousness.

And considering that Bernier left confidential documents at her house, there seems to be some validity to the line of questioning on her potential for security risks. Meanwhile, we find out that somebody bugged her bedsprings.

She also accompanied him to his swearing-in spilling major cleavage. And she's now spilling her story.

Who's salacious again?

Now, for a scary thought: I called Bernier on his cowardly putziness regarding torture earlier this year. He's also well known for his out-of-line remarks on Afghanistan. Now I wonder if he and his ex-GF were actually the official conduit for Afghan heroin--the only cash crop Afghanistan is actually cashing in on--to the Hell's Angels. You have to admit Julie's credentials are ideal for the job.

Meanwhile, Maxime is going down in history--like a sack of solid lead bricks.

Quel fromage.

May 10, 2008

Don't breathe the air, don't drink the water...

Stop Mad Cowboy Disease

...and whatever you do, don't eat the fuckin' burgers. You never know what could be in 'em, especially at the rate inspections are going.

The Bush administration on Friday urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease, but a skeptical judge questioned whether the government has that authority.

The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.

Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines. The agency argues that more widespread testing does not guarantee food safety and could result in a false positive that scares consumers.

"They want to create false assurances," Justice Department attorney Eric Flesig-Greene told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Mmmmm, all-American beef. Just watch out for the Mad Cowboy Disease.

A little music with your dinner, monsieur?

May 6, 2008

On behalf of all Canadians, I apologize...

...for the rude, snotty dickweed we have for a prime minister. Canadians are a polite lot in general, but you'd never know it to look at our PM. The Harper Index, a progressive news site that follows the foibles of the Stiffy, has a list of folks he's snubbed (which is sure to grow as time keeps on slipping-slipping-slipping into the future), and there are some doozers on it:

Bono, the international rock star and AIDS activist, was snubbed by Stephen Harper at the G8 summit, who said he was too busy to discuss the African AIDS crisis with him. "Meeting celebrities isn't my shtick," Harper said. "That was the shtick of the previous guy."

Continue reading "On behalf of all Canadians, I apologize..." »

April 30, 2008

Sacrebleu de merde! What is this?

Oh, it's just France kissing both the dimpled cheeks of Chavecito...again.

France's top diplomat sought help from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday to press for the liberation of rebel-held hostages in Colombia.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is aiming at restarting talks to free hostages who include French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

"We spoke about the liberation of the hostages, all of the hostages, of course Ingrid, but also all of the others," Kouchner said after emerging from the presidential palace. He revealed few details of the conversation.

Kouchner has said he believes Chavez can play an important role. The leftist rebels express an ideological affinity with the socialist president and have freed six Colombian hostages to his government so far this year.

Heh. Looks like all those France-haters left over from the run-up to Gulf War II can now join all the Venezuela-haters in screaming over this. (Why do you people hate the freeing of hostages, people?)

And, bonus! The AP has had a moment of correctitude in saying that the FARC are sympathetic to Chavecito, rather than the other way 'round as usual.

April 16, 2008

They were accomplices, so they had it coming

Yep, Alvaro Uribe really IS a lawless, psychopathic little thug. Get a load of his latest bons mots:

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Wednesday that he doesn't regret ordering a cross-border raid on a rebel camp in Ecuador, despite the death of four Mexican students there.

Uribe told Mexico's Televisa network that the students were seen in a video with the guerrillas, indicating they were in league with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

"They were not doing humanitarian work. They were not hostages. So why were they there?" Uribe said. "They were there as accomplices of this activity. They were there as agents of terrorism."

Continue reading "They were accomplices, so they had it coming" »

April 8, 2008

Well. That didn't take long.

Seems like only yesterday they were announcing that France was getting involved in getting Ingrid Betancourt back from the FARC. (All right, it was the day before yesterday. But still.)

And now, all of a sudden, France is out again.

Well, at least we know Ingrid is not in imminent danger of dying. But she's still a prisoner, and still probably despondent as hell--especially if she knows about this latest turn of events.

Too bad El Narco has been sabotaging Chavecito's efforts and killing Raul Reyes, or maybe Ingrid would be free now instead.

C'est la merde, non?

April 2, 2008

The French are, 'ow you say...

...très different from the Americans when it comes to public-service ads. They take health a lot more seriously than they do censorship, and they certainly believe in making sure the kiddies are thoroughly informed. Le voici, c'est le gai:

The bit at the ends says: "Live long enough to find Mr. Right. Protect yourself. AIDES."

Et bien sûr, it's always a good idea to use condoms faithfully when you're looking for love in all the wrong places. Unfortunately, they won't protect you from one thing here: the sappy earworm, which made Your Humble Scribe cry (almost as much as all the horrible misadventures our cute hero has before he finds Dr. Le Bon.) Consider yourself warned.

March 12, 2008

Exactly what was Eliot Spitzer paying for, anyway?

My guess is, it was the slick advertising. I mean, have you ever seen so much horseshit as this?

The Emperor's Club is naked...

Golly gee, oh gosh wow...you'd almost dare swear it wasn't really about sex for pay, eh?

Sadly, it is. And here's what it would cost you to partake:

Continue reading "Exactly what was Eliot Spitzer paying for, anyway?" »

February 25, 2008

Ah, que c'est magnifique!

Un grand salut to a French supermarket chain for its efforts in going after the corporate greedheads...je vous admire, chers messieurs et 'dames!

The French supermarket chain Leclerc, one of the most important in the country, has decided to punish the big brands for raising the prices of their products too high, according to the daily Le Monde.

As of Friday, February 1, the chain plans to remove the following articles from its shelves: the 12-pack of the cheese "La vache qui rit", by Fromageries Bel; Ajax cleanser, made by Colgate-Palmolive; L'Oreal and Nivea facial creams; Orangina soft drinks; and Brossard cookies.

These products had raised their prices between 8.29% and 20.63% in recent months, which the chain does not consider justifiable in light of inflation.

"These items will not return to our stores until the suppliers agree not to raise their prices above the average of others of their kind," stated one of the owners of the chain, Miguel Eduardo Leclerc.

Translation mine.

Yowie zowie, that's positively shades of Chavecito!

As much as I love that Laughing Cow cream cheese, I've been finding it prohibitively expensive here in Canada, too. We could use this kind of price-fighting here.

Dis donc, Miguel Eduardo, ne pouvez-vous aller à faire la même chose ici?

January 9, 2008

Reuters still hot for Chavecito's bod

Come on, Reuters guys, admit it...you just wanna see Hugo Chavez naked. First you were obsessed with his genitals, and now you make THIS your lede?

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in an interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell predicted that the U.S "empire" is about to fall, called Jesus Christ history's No. 1 revolutionary -- and offered to pose topless.

"Why not? Touch my muscles!" the burly, 53 year-old former paratrooper said, when asked if he would follow the example of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who caused a stir last year with a series of shirtless pictures.

Continue reading "Reuters still hot for Chavecito's bod" »

January 7, 2008

So that's why Sarko got divorced...

Zut alors. He's just proposed to Mick Jagger's old mistress (and Eric Clapton's sloppy seconds).

Nicolas Sarkozy will marry his supermodel lover Carla Bruni next month - in time for the two to enjoy a state visit to Britain.

The wedding will take place in Paris on February 8 or 9, according to a newspaper owned by a close friend of the French president.

This will be two weeks after Mr Sarkozy celebrates his 53rd birthday, and less than four months after his divorce from his second wife, Cecilia, also a model.

Nice to know he's not superficial or anything.

Superficial-as-anything update: The French are not amused. The Beeb has the deets.

November 20, 2007

Chavecito en Paris? Incroyable!

Zut alors, que c'est beau...

Continue reading "Chavecito en Paris? Incroyable!" »

October 29, 2007

Hmmm, where have we heard THIS before?

And for that matter--when? It all sounds terribly familiar...

France and the US have dismissed a finding by the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog Mohammed ElBaradei that there is no evidence of Iran building a bomb.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin challenged Iran to allow UN inspectors unlimited access to sites.

A White House spokeswoman said Iran was "enriching and reprocessing uranium, and the reason that one does that is to lead towards a nuclear weapon".

Mr ElBaradei said on Sunday that Tehran was years away from developing a bomb.

Gee, this sounds just like that smoking gun that was supposed to turn into a mushroom cloud. But did it? I don't remember, I was too busy watching Dubya crawling around on all fours looking for WMDs.

Well, at least they can't piss all over the French this time. C'est la guerre!

September 23, 2007

And now, a moment of silence...

...for Marcel Marceau, who said so much without uttering a peep.

Continue reading "And now, a moment of silence..." »

August 22, 2007

Police provocateurs unmasked in Montebello

Provocateurs policiers? En Canada? C'est impossible.

Non. C'est bien possible:

Story from the Toronto Star:

Continue reading "Police provocateurs unmasked in Montebello" »

June 12, 2007

Montreal Bolivarians fight back!

A bunch of ex-Venezuelan escualidos tried to lay siege to the media during the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Montreal race, to report only their (false) version of the story of the RCTV non-renewal. Much to their surprise, a Bolivarian contingent was already out in force to counter them! In the end, the escualidos came away with zero coverage. The strong police presence securing the streets apparently prevented any attempts at a physical confrontation, although there was apparently a lot of shouting from both sides.

This might be a good time to visit the Quebec Bolivarian Society's page, oui?

January 1, 2007

Vive le Grump!

Only in France would they come up with THIS way of ringing in the New Year:

Hundreds of protesters in France have rung in the New Year by holding a light-hearted march against it.

Parodying the French readiness to say "non", the demonstrators in the western city of Nantes waved banners reading: "No to 2007" and "Now is better!"

The marchers called on governments and the UN to stop time's "mad race" and declare a moratorium on the future.

Continue reading "Vive le Grump!" »

September 11, 2006

The obligatory fifth-anniversary 9-11 post, with a difference

9-11 Exploitation

Blah, blah blah...

That, Gentle Reader, is the sound of the mainstream media in the US, talking a lot and not actually saying anything. For the last five years, it's been doing nothing but that on one particular day when it owes the public so much more than just some obligatory annual orgy of grief and remembrance with an unholy admixture of misplaced patriotism.

Continue reading "The obligatory fifth-anniversary 9-11 post, with a difference" »

August 29, 2006

One year after Katrina...

...and what have we learned?

Well, for starters, that the BushCo Imperial Preznitcy is rather reminiscent of the royal family of France--heedless of everything, right up to its date with La Guillotine:

They Were Eating Cake

Continue reading "One year after Katrina..." »

August 2, 2006

Bye-bye, freedom fries!

Hello again, FRENCH fries.

And bwahahahahaha!

Continue reading "Bye-bye, freedom fries!" »

July 27, 2006

Je proteste!

Condi the bass-ackward Mountie

Now, this is NO way to portray a Mountie. Quite aside from the fact that Condi stands for just about everything unCanadian and couldn't get her man if you dropped him smack on his ass in front of her, I take umbrage at this on the grounds that Mounties only ride black horses. (It goes better with the red serge. No, I'm not kidding.)

July 22, 2006

We are all shitheads now

When I first heard the "We are all (insert name of plucky little hard-done-by country here) now" meme, I was put out by it. It was a little too simplistic an expression of empathy for the victims of the 9-11 tragedy, and besides, it was a bit bass-ackwards, seeing as 9-11 was more like a cold shower of welcome-to-the-world reality for Americans. So when Le Monde proclaimed that "we are all Americans now", my first thought was, I'm unspeakably sad for those whom this has affected, but count me the fuck out of "we". I'm still a Canadian and a citizen of the world, and no amount of terrorism is gonna change that!

Continue reading "We are all shitheads now" »

February 27, 2006

Vive le sans-culottes!

Ever wonder what they're really like underneath it all? Worth1000.com did, and some photoshoppers answered:

Kim Jong Mentally Ill

Who knew Kim Jong (Mentally) Il was so, er, American?

Toady Blair

Somehow, I always suspected Toady Blair was into this.

Auntie Condi

King Abdullah of Jordan is a perfect gentleman. He pretends not to notice that Auntie Condi forgot her skirt!

February 12, 2006

Zut alors! She can cook, too...

Lapin a l'estragon (Tarragon Rabbit Stew)

1-2 kg rabbit, cut up

2 cups chicken broth

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 medium onions, sliced

3 medium carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

Continue reading "Zut alors! She can cook, too..." »

January 15, 2006

Michelle, ma belle...

Michelle, ma belle,

These are words that go together well:

Ma Michelle...

Michelle, ma belle,

Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble,

Tres bien ensemble...

Continue reading "Michelle, ma belle..." »