People who seriously need to STFU

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Who, this week, might it be…to feel the wrath, the wrath of me…and the hand of Mr. T? Read on:

1. Scott Fucking Easterling. Where was this oh-so-patriotic questioner of presidential legtimacy when Dubya stole the White House–twice? For that matter, where was this publicity whore when John McCain–born in the Panama Canal Zone, which is NOT United States soil and never has been–made a (fortunately failed) bid for the White House? Funny how these buffoons all had so little to say about that. Listen up, Scotty: You people lost fair and square, and whether you like it or not, you have a legitimate president for the first time in eight years–now suck it. And shut the fuck up!

2. Sarah Fucking Palin–AGAIN. Queen Sarah the Paranoid thinks the media is out to get her–boo, hoo, hoo! They wouldn’t say a word if she quit trying to keep her name out there and just went back to Alaska, where her job still patiently waits for her to DO it. Does she think she can avoid all those ethics scandals piling up behind her like so many corpses? Hey Sarah, it won’t work. You fucked up, and if you truly believe in personal responsibility, then it is YOUR personal responsibility to go home and clean up your mess, and quit making new ones. And oh yeah: shut the fuck up!

3. Rick Fucking Santelli. If those who are losing their homes in the current crisis are losers, what does that make Big Bidnesses that are too big to fail–but failing precisely because they got too fucking big for their britches? Srsly, dude…the loser is none other than Y-O-U if you go down that road. Perhaps Karma will take notice of you, though, and ensure that you become the next casualty of this recession, jobwise. Meanwhile: Shut the fuck up!

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(BTW, Santelli needs to STFU twice–he’s such a bitch-ass whiner!)

4. The Fucking State Department. Riddle me this: How do Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all democratic, all free from state-sponsored violence and disappearances, get nothing but vilification–while Colombia, the biggest human rights abuser in Latin America (at least this decade), gets labelled a model democracy, and Peru, which also has a lot of human rights problems, is labelled “investment grade”? Srsly, I wanna know: How come human-rights offices get attacked in Colombia and no one at the State Dept. says boo? Could it be because they’re too busy attacking Chavecito, Evo and El Ecuadorable–for what, exactly? Whatever their lame excuse is, they need to shut the fuck up and start criticizing those who actually deserve it.

5. Arlen Fucking Specter. Latin America is now pulling ahead of the US on human rights (all but Mexico, Colombia and Peru, of course.) This in spite of the Fucking State Dept. and its stupid fucking reports. Impunity and exceptionalism need to shut the fuck up!

6. Bobby Fucking Jindal. I guess the Repugs figured they’d do better with a non-white guy to rebut Obama in his first big speech to Congress. But why’d they have to pick a complete nimnul like Jindal, the would-be exorcist? This was so pathetic, they even saw fit to comment on it in Venezuela. Oh well…at least the man is good for a joke. But beyond that, he really should…well, you know.

7. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. There are more reasons for this than you can shake a ball gag at, but here’s the latest. Rush wants to know why women don’t like him? That’s the simplest thing in the world: He is a repulsive, loudmouthed, loutish, totalitarian swinebag. Sylvia Plath notwithstanding, the overwhelming majority of women do NOT adore a fascist, “the boot in the face, the brute/Brute heart of a brute like you.” And yes, Rush Limbaugh is a fascist. As Mike Malloy so often says, he runs a protection racket for Corporate America. He thinks he “owns” people’s minds. Anyone who thinks that, should just STFU–and I guarantee that if the Pigman did that for a change, I might at least contemplate liking him, instead of just flat-out despising him as I do now.

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8. Glenn Fucking Beck. Maybe, instead of spewing ignorance about pot, he needs some medical marijuana to help loosen him up and ease the symptoms of his psychopathy. Or maybe he just needs to STFU. Either one’s all right with me, as long as it stops the Walking Hemorrhoid from running off at the mouth.

9. Fucking Iggy, AGAIN. Why is this guy in the Liberal party, anyway? He’s just a ReformaTory in a red tie. He is as much a corporate puppet as they are. No way would I vote for him even if he headed up a Lib/NDP coalition–which of course, he won’t. To him, a progressive is The Enemy. When’s the next leadership convention again? And what would it take to make him STFU in the meantime?

10. Jonah Fucking Goldberg. Again, as with his fascist role model Rush, there are more reasons to shut this fucker up than there is duct tape in the hardware store. But here’s an old one that just leapt back up to bite him: His endorsement of pack “journalism”. Now that a suspect has finally been fingered in the murder of Chandra Levy, do you think we’ll hear any apologies out of Cheeto-Boy over all the baseless bandwagon-jumping?

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11. The Religious Fucking Reich. When you’re the biggest porn consumers in the land, all that pro-abstinence preaching either looks ludicrous, or makes sense in a way best described as really, really kinky. BTW, your poster child Bristol Palin has just singlehandedly proved you all to be full of shit, so now would be a really, really good time to STFU.

12. John Fucking Bolton. First the Old English Sheepdog blithely says that the UN should be destroyed, now he’s out to demolish Chicago? I don’t know what it would take to shut Mr. Milk Mustache the fuck up, but I have a hunch a collapsed building figures prominently in the scenario.

13. Dean Fucking Grose. Best thing to shut HIS big, racist mouth? A watermelon, natch.

And that’s it for this week…but don’t worry, there’ll be more karmic whup-ass next week. Watch this space, and watch your mouths, kiddies.

Posted in Just Pissed Off. Comments Off »

Festive Left Friday Blogging Too: Chavecito phones in

…and recites a poem he wrote to honor his friend and army comrade, Luís Felipe Acosta Carlez, who was ambushed and killed (Chavecito swears it was done by the then-infamous Venezuelan secret police, the DISIP) on March 1, 1989, during the Caracazo:

Video in Spanish; musical accompaniment by “Dame Pa’ Matala”, a very talented young bunch of hippies.

On a more sombre and elegiac note, today marks the 20th anniversary of the shot that opened the Fourth World War, the Caracazo. This revolutionary event pre-dates the fall of the Berlin Wall by several months, the formation of the Zapatistas by five years, and the Battle of Seattle by nine. Here’s the whole story, placed in its proper context (in Spanish, with English subtitles):

“Venezuela Bolivariana”, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Enjoy.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Because we’re overdue for more Evo

And who doesn’t love Evo?

This is yet another of those “just because” pix:

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Posted just because it’s a nice pic of a man who’s so very fine…and I like it.

Posted in All About Evo, Festive Left Friday Blogging. Comments Off »

Inevitable fallout from the economic crisis

A woman I know at the Unfiltered News Network forum was recently let go from her job. It’s a story you’re bound to hear ad nauseam from people if you haven’t already, but this one got at least a little chuckle out of it, in the form of an e-mail that made the rounds from someone else who also got let go. Here it is in its entirety. Enjoy:


Dear employees,

Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown of the

economy, Management has decided to implement a scheme to put workers

40 years of age and above on early retirement. This scheme will be known

as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

Persons selected to be RAPEd can apply to management to be eligible for

the SHAFT scheme(Special Help After Forced Termination). Persons who

have been RAPEd and SHAFTed will be reviewed under the SCREW program

(Scheme Covering Retired Early Workers). A person may be RAPEd once,

SHAFTed twice and SCREWed as many times as Management deems appropriate.

Persons who have been RAPEd can only get AIDS (Additional Income for

Dependents & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel

Early Severance). Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be

SHAFTed or SCREWed any further by Management.

Persons who are not RAPEd and are staying on will receive as much SHIT

(Special High Intensity Training) as possible. Management has always

prided itself on the amount of SHIT it gives employees. Should you feel

that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring to the attention of

your Supervisor.

They have been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.

Sincerely,

The Management

Oh yeah, and if you know anyone in need of this kind of laugh–pass it along, wouldja?

Economics for Dummies: The Greenspan Effect

Posted in Economics for Dummies. Comments Off »

More fun, frivolous analysis of the Venezuelan referendum

Popular Venezuelan bloguero Okrim Al Qasal has some interesting insights for us into how last week’s referendum to remove term limits from the Venezuelan constitution went. Let’s follow his bouncing ball (with segments in bold type and indent translated by Your Humble One):


Of Venezuela’s 335 municipalities, the Yes vote took 281, while the No carried 54. Or in other words, in 83.88% of Venezuelan municipalities they voted to remove all term limits, including that of the President of the Republic.

You’ve already seen that red and blue map I posted, so I won’t repeat it here.

Okrim provides us with another map, one showing in which municipalities the vote was 50-60% (yes in red, no in blue):

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…and writes:


90 municipalities that voted Yes were within this margin, and 41 which voted No. Compared with the 281-54 at the national level, in this range the relation is more even. We will see that this near-equilibrium will not repeat itself in larger margins.

Now, here’s another map, this one showing where the respective votes carried by 60-70%:

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As you can see, there’s a lot more red than blue there! Hmm, whatever could it mean? Tell us, Okrim:


Only seven municipalities voted for No by 60-70% of the vote, against 97 who voted Yes in this same margin!

And if you think that’s impressive, wait’ll you see the next map:

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This is the map showing where the respective votes carried by 70-80%. Writes Okrim:


In this margin, the No vote won in only two municipalities, while the Yes took 72!

And finally, here’s where the vote went more than 80%.

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Take it away, Okrim:


For collectors of curiosities, note that the reddest municipality in Venezuela, in this referendum, has been Antonio Díaz in Delta Amacuro (97.67% Yes), and the most oppositionist is El Hatillo in Miranda (83.14% No).

As we have seen in these maps, the overwhelming majority of the victory was for the Yes side, while the No obtained much more modest ones. That is, of the 281 municipalities that went to the Yes, in 191 it was incontestible, with more than 60% of the vote. Meanwhile, of the 54 that went to No, only 13 achieved a margin greater than 60%.

Or in other words, in 68% of the Yes municipalities, the vote was more than 60%, while in the No municipalities, only 24% carried with more than 60%.

Of the 335 municipalities in Venezuela, 57% voted clearly for Yes, while barely 4% voted as clearly for No. The rest–39%–went for one or the other option more timidly.

How, with such geographically-linked results, could the final vote toll be much more adjusted–in round numbers 55% Yes, 45% No?

If we looked at the extremes, for example, we’d see that Antonio Díaz (Delta Amacuro), with 97% Yes, that is 15,992 votes, while El Hatillo (Miranda), with 83% No, that is 28,657 votes–practically double the number.

This relation can also be seen in other locations. For example, barely four municipalities reached 80% for No, but these were Chacao, Baruta, El Hatillo (Miranda) and Diego Bautista Urbaneja (Anzoátegui). They add up to 218,391 votes. The 22 muncipalities which reached or surpassed 80% Yes added up to 136,776 votes. That is, the 4 municipalities which voted overwhelmingly for No surpassed the 22 that voted overwhelmingly for Yes, by 90,000 votes.

The key, in other words, is the population of each municipality.

No shit, Sherlock.

One of the things that made me chuckle at a leading oppo site (no, I won’t link it, they get enough English-speaking traffic already–too much, in fact) is that they used a map that completely distorted the shape of the country to make their “point” that the vote was close. (It wasn’t–a 10% spread is pretty damn convincing, unless you, like the oppos, happen to be pretty damn dissociated.)

But it doesn’t matter which way they slice it–where Venezuela went red, it typically went very very red, while the spots that went blue, overwhelmingly went a rather pale blue, with only a few small dark hotspots. Refer again to the maps I posted earlier on, they don’t lie.

Okrim points out that the oppos like to concentrate their efforts in high-population areas where they are likely to have a greater success; they never even show up to campaign in the sparsely populated “outback” regions such as Apure, Delta Amacuro, etc., where the population has long been neglected by the traditional ruling classes anyway (being as it’s predominantly campesino, indigenous, non-white, etc. In other words, not what they call your “quality” folks.)

How to counteract this urban oppo vote-suck? Okrim recommends three things:


a) Bolster support with more aid in the interior, where campesino support is one of the principal motors of the Bolivarian process–and where 213 campesino activists have been killed in the last ten years.

b) Deal with extreme urgency with problems in the urban areas–mainly violent crime, housing shortages, transportation and sanitation, so that the far-right cannot keep winning in barrios and populous neighborhoods. Reactionary sectors have taken advantage of these problems without any scruples whatsoever.

c) Avoid antagonizing sectors of the opposition with inflammatory language. Fidel Castro said it in 2004: there aren’t 4 million oligarchs in Venezuela, and there shouldn’t be five.

That last one is interesting, no? The oligarchs have successfully gotten the middle classes on their side, and have even made inroads in the barrios, by making out in the media that the opposition are being oppressed by the Revolution (despite an overwhelming preponderance of evidence to the contrary.) It’s sad to see how easily those people have been manipulated, and I’m sure a large amount of the No vote is due precisely to that.

BTW, the comments section on this article at RadioMundial is small as yet, but very interesting, too. Writes “Alejandro Bermúdez”, from Barquisimeto:


What’s missing in this analysis is that in the 2409 electoral centres, which Súmate denounced on Televen for having indelible ink that wasn’t, are precisely where the No side won, and now they’re lying about it.

In Barquisimeto, in my polling station and in the others around it, they won and the ink wasn’t indelible–they switched it. I denounced them and nobody stopped them from doing it.

Something needs to be done in Táchira, Mérida and Zulia, because the (Colombian) paramilitaries vote in and dominate these zones so that they go against the central government.<
/strong>

I don’t have confirmation (YET) of any of this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true. The opposition has a huge bag of dirty tricks; the Colombian paras and the major media are all in it and have been from the outset. And remember: They still get funding from Washington, too. Keep watching this space, kids, the next few months could shake out a lot of interesting cockroaches from the underside of the oppos.

In the meantime, a ten-point margin of victory is still nothing to sneeze at. Even if the oppos cheated and got away with it, they still lost. The Bolivarian process, in other words, is strong enough to survive whatever they throw at it.

Posted in Huguito Chavecito, Isn't That Illegal?. Comments Off »

Ashy thoughts for a Wednesday morn…

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I’m not Catholic, so this whole penitential post-carnival thing is kind of opaque to me. Rather than atone for sins (actual or imaginary), I prefer to do the right thing in the first place, if I can. Which means I tend to think before I act. I probably miss out on a lot of fun that way (which kind of also negates the need for Lenten deprivations, at least for me).

But on the other hand, there are some sobering realities to face when it comes to carnivals, and invariably they crop up after the festivities are over. Case in point: this thought-provoking piece from the ABI website, which I decided to translate in its entirety:


La Paz Street, in the northern zone of Oruro, is a hectic place. At three o’clock last Friday afternoon, young people, devotees, dancers and folklorists in general hurried to pick up their costumes and colorful masks, some of them made with natural feathers and the skins of armadillos, a species in danger of extinction.

If you look a little closer, in the market stalls you’ll also see rattles, bird crests and bills, plumes, shells and other items made from severed parts of animals en route to extinction.

It’s the dark side of Carnaval, the festive Oruro Carnival.

The artisans and embroiderers are aware that the trade in animal parts is prohibited, but in fact there is no law to stop or prevent the killing of wild animals and endangered species.

On one side of La Paz Street, a few metres away from the Flores Tailor Shop, lie the scattered remains of armadillos whose hides are sought after by the makers of dancers’ costumes. Each skin costs between 100 and 150 bolivianos on the black market.

The “quirquinchos”, as they are commonly known, are in danger of disappearing from the sandy area of Oruro.

The next day, during the Entrada de Peregrinación, and on Carnival Sunday, the Morenada Central and Morenada Comunidad “Cocani”, the largest folkloric societies, carry ostentatious rattles made from armadillo hides. The masked dancers wear ostrich feathers which adorned the heads of beautiful women whose hats are also trimmed with peacock plumes.

Where do these animal parts come from? “From La Paz Street,” is what you’ll hear from a dealer.

Flamingo feathers are sold as some kind of legal product in central bazaars, two blocks away from the Plaza 10 de Febrero, on Adolfo Mier Street in the heart of Oruro. Each one costs between 50 and 70 bolivianos (around $5 US.) Embroiderers make crests, to be worn on the head, for $300 apiece.

It’s a great deal.

The mask-makers, also known as “hojalateros”, use stuffed condors–a species near extinction, and a national emblem–in the costumes they build for the “diablada” fraternities, such as Ferroviaria, Auténtica, Artística, Urus, and others. Each mask of this type costs at least $300.

But there are also manufacturers whose specialty is condor suits. Each one, made from the feathers of the actual bird, costs ome 250 bolivianos, a little under $30.

Carnival Saturday and Sunday is also observed by the Suris fraternities, who perform a dance from the Andean altiplano as thanks to Pachamama, the Earth Mother. They use the feathers of the suris, birds of the same family as the flamingo and the parihuana. Each suri feather on the dancers’ hats is valued at between 20 and 30 bolivianos, around $5 US.

These are some of the extremes incurred by the Oruro Carnival, declared by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.

According to Anakarlem Mercado, folklorist and member of the Society for the Protection of Animals and Environments, “a specific law is needed” to regulate the mechanisms for the protection of the lives of animals, whose bones are sold as expensive merchandise in Bolivian folkloric activities.

“The authorities must take into account that Bolivia is one of the countries most rich in biodiversity and for that, we need to have a specific law for the protection of animals, and so prevent the depletion of endangered species in folkloric events such as the Oruro Carnival,” Mercado tells ABI.

Mercado reminds us that in Bolivia the Law of the Environment, promulgated on April 27, 1992, is still in force. It regulates hunting and prohibits the indiscriminate trafficking in endangered animal species. It reads, “Whoever introduces, captures, promotes and/or commercializes the products of hunting, possession, stockpiling, transportation of animal or vegetable species or their derivatives without authorization, or those which are declared out of season or reserved, placing the same at risk of extinction, shall suffer the penalty of up to two years’ deprivation of liberty.”

Just something to think about next time you watch those dancing queens go twirling by in their elaborate feathered costumes.

And here’s something else, for those who are dragging themselves out of the sack kind of hung-over this morning:


At least 24 people are dead and dozens injured as a result of the festivities of the Bolivian Carnival, according to the provisional report distributed by the police on Tuesday.

The majority of the deaths occurred as a result of traffic accidents.

Also to blame was the excessive consumption of alcohol and street violence, according to the report.

The police report indicates that the deaths occurred in the departments of La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz, Oruro, Cochabamba and Chuquisaca.

Colonel Miguel Narváez, commander of operations, said that in La Paz alone there were five deaths and 74 injured persons reported.

The most notorious case was the death of a retired police general, Antonio Pardo Montalvo, last Saturday in a traffic accident on the road between the cities of Oruro and Cochabamba.

Police reports also indicate that last Saturday, a cyclist was struck on the road to Copacabana, and on Sunday a married couple were killed on the road to Oruro. On Monday, an indigent was murdered in a party at a butcher shop.

“This year there were more accidents than last year. The number of deaths in the city of La Paz was smaller. Of 82 accidents reported, 15 were caused by drunkenness,” Col. Narváez reported.

In the Hospital Clinic of La Paz there were 17 persons brought in during the early hours on Tuesday morning, the majority of them with stab wounds or cuts received in brawls, according to Dr. Jaime Mancilla.

“There were 15 patients with cuts in various places, and two suffering from alcohol poisoning,” Dr. Mancilla said.

In Chuquisaca, the police reported five deaths between Saturday and Tuesday.

“We must lament the fact that amid the festivities of Carnaval, there were five deaths, among them a girl of 16 who died as a result of an induced abortion,” said the commander of police in Chuquisaca, Juan Córdova.

To guarantee the security of the citizens during Carnaval, the police deployed 15,237 officers nationwide.

Translation mine as well.

The induced-abortion death of the teenager is not really carnival-related (it happens all year round, particularly in predominantly Catholic countries where abortion is illegal, birth control hard to come by, and medical resources poor. Countries like Bolivia, for example.) But the drunkenness, violence and the road fatalities are all preventable. As is unwanted pregnancy, come to that.

Prevention beats th
e shit out of penitence, as far as I’m concerned.

Quotable: Jamie Lee Curtis on the credit crisis

“Are we too so drugged as to think that the idea of Corporate greed and avarice and the lies and misdeeds are a new thing? Madoff’s Ponzi worked (longer than most) but it worked because people didn’t ask questions, they just really liked the returns. Is this new? Did the banks and the mortgage lenders and Feds really just figure out that there was a problem. We are all to blame. We are addicted to the dope of credit and each plastic card purchase sets off the phenomenon of craving for more. Then advertisers and marketers (lobbyists in better suits) and the media tell us we need it and the banks and the credit companies tell us we can have it and boom — we are all in over our heads.”

–Jamie Lee Curtis, “A Fish Called Denial”

Rosenmontag!

It’s carnival time around the world! Here she is, folks, the lady you’ve all been waiting for, laid bare. The Chancellor of Germany (and latest Extreme Makeover recipient), Angela Merkel:

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Der Spiegel explains the meaning of those markings on her nude form:


The float shows Merkel before (left) and after she has her “problem zones” lifted, such as the plunging economy and government debt, to name a few.

I guess this explains why her cleavage looks so unexpectedly good. Too bad the rest of Germany’s not looking so hot at the moment.

BTW, here’s a weird little bit of rare audio for ya:

“Rosenmontag”, by A Flock of Seagulls, from the cassette of their album, Listen. It’s not available on CD, to my knowledge anyhow.

Bad pennies have a habit of coming back…

…in Spain:

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Yes, that’s an actual fascist salute. This was taken at an anti-immigrant rally. Apparently Bolivian migrant workers in Spain are facing unprecedented amounts of racist abuse as the economy falters and the nativists blame the migrants. Nothing has changed in the last 70-80 years, it seems; the fascists will always blame “those people”, be they brown immigrants or Jews, for problems caused by capitalism.

And speaking of problems caused by capitalism, here’s another bad penny come back to clinker around the floor:

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Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Luis Giusti. Hmmm, is that a “The Donald” comb-over I see? Whatever that thing on his head is, it’s the very least of what’s hinky about him. This is the man who damn near sold Venezuela’s oil out from under it during the “petro-apertura” of the 1990s, before Chavecito came and put the kibosh to that tosh. So, what’s so hinky? Read on:


Stanford employed trusted figures to sell his investment scheme in Venezuela including respected local bankers. For several years, Luis Giusti, a former head of state-oil company PDVSA and a high-profile Chavez opponent, was a member of the advisory board of Stanford Financial Group.

Figures that he was also one of those who sold those rich would-be tax-evaders on this silly Ponzi scheme. I hope they take it out on his hide in truly spectacular fashion.