Canada loves George Galloway!

Jason Kenney, of course, is still a no-show. But then, Jason Kenney isn’t Canada.

And say, how did that disruption campaign to dress up pro-Israel shills as dirty fuckin’ hippies turn out? Haven’t heard a thing. Can I take it, then, that it was an Epic Fail? Bwahahahah.

Wikileaks: The fun begins

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Oh boy, that Wikileaks data-dump that came out today is yielding some nuggets. Here’s some truly disgusting (and very in-character) dirt on the US State Dept. and its activities in Latin America…


The digital page of the Spanish newspaper El País revealed that US diplomats tried to get various countries in Latin America to isolate Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, according to secret documents released by Wikileaks.

El País tells of the “efforts” of US diplomats “to court Latin American countries to isolate Hugo Chávez of Venezuela,” without publishing the pertinent document distributed by Wikileaks.

Wikileaks distributed secret information from the US State Department to the Spanish newspaper, as well as the British Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde of France, and Der Spiegel of Germany.

According to the documents, the US secretary of state requested information on the “state of mental health” of Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández. The pertinent document was not published by El País.

The paper indicated that on Monday it will offer details over this revelation and “the suspicions the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, awakened in Washington.”

The Wikileaks information shows “unsuspected details” which the United States obtained “regarding the personalities of some distinguished leaders” of foreign countries and “the role they played in the most intimate human facets of political relations.”

“This was particularly evident in Latin America, where they have made known the judgments of US diplomats and many of their spokespeople over the character, affiliations and sins of the most controversial figures,” according to El País.

Translation mine.

I’m not a bit surprised that they tried to isolate Chavecito. Anyone who follows this blog or any other non-mainstream source will be yawning at that; it was hardly a secret, and the outcome was a foregone conclusion. Boy, was THAT an epic fail or what?

But the bit about Cristina Fernández shows just what low blows they’re willing to resort to. Inquiring about the state of her mental health. I’m presuming this was in conjunction with the recent death of her husband, Néstor Kirchner, although they might have also probed into it sooner, like whenever Cristina said something anti-imperialistic that didn’t sit well with Her Royal Clintoness or Auntie Condi. Either way, it sounds to me like the usual CIA shenanigan of looking for a weak spot to exploit. I don’t think they found shit; Cristina Fernández strikes me as an extraordinarily strong woman. And from all that I’ve seen, her marriage to Néstor was solid. They’d have had no luck with her. Unless, maybe, they tried to pull what they did with poor Frank Olson.

Meanwhile, what Hugo Llorens did in Honduras proves him to be a putschist fucking dick. The NYT has the cables in which he admits that it was a coup, that Manuel Zelaya was illegally removed from power, and that the reasons given for doing so were spurious. Nothing that you or I could not have known sooner; the only thing new is that now we have documentation showing that Llorens was in it up to his eyeballs, covering for the putschists and essentially doing nothing while Hondurans died and continue to die, and while their real president remains in exile and his life remains in danger. Just in case the Old Grey Bandit gets all shy, though, here’s Otto with the same data. Llorens is still dead wrong on key details–Zelaya was NOT looking to extend his term, and what he was doing with his “fourth ballot” referendum was perfectly legal. Meanwhile, Honduras continues to live with a fake, illegitimately “elected” president, and no new constitution, and consequently, no democracy.

And the fun has just begun.

Music for a Sunday: Are we scared yet?

In honor of the Big Wiki Leak Day, I decided to dig up some old, paranoid faves of mine…

Kennedy Gordy, a.k.a. Rockwell, was clearly ahead of his time. (And yes, that IS Michael Jackson singing on the chorus. Ghostly!)

So were the Kinks:

Reds under the bed, little yellow men in yer head? In light of what just happened this past week in Korea, it’s déjà vu all over again.

Posted in Music for a Sunday. Comments Off »

Wankers of the Week: Dancing with the ‘tards

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Crappy Thanksgiving, all my friends in the US! Hope you didn’t get trampled yesterday, or land up in the emergency room after all that feasting. Why some of you put marshmallows on your yams, I’ll never understand. Those things are sweet enough as it is. But it could be a lot worse, I’ll grant you; perhaps you ate one of these?

Y’okay. If you’re feeling reasonably well rested now and not overstuffed, here are this week’s turkeys. Er, wieners. I mean winners. Let’s have a little fun working off all those surplus calories you packed in. Put on your boogie shoes and dance along as we kick them one by one to the curb:

1. Sarah Fucking Palin. Pissing on the memory of JFK, eh? And this in the week of the anniversary of his death. There really is no depth of dumbth to which the Screech will not sink. But when someone elevates a fictional movie about a pregnant little idiot over the man who uttered this ringing defence of religious freedoms in a secular state, it’s just as well that she will NEVER be president. PS: Teh Stoopid! It BURNS!!! PPS: Bwahahahaaha.

2. Bristol Fucking Palin. You knew this was coming, right? Well, as I tweeted back to Christine O’Fucking Donnell (whose sublime idiocy graces the bottom of the linky), Bristol is not a star, and she’s not being attacked. She’s a little idiot who neglected to use birth control, got pregnant, became an unwed mother, and now, unbelievably, preaches abstinence. What kind of stardom is that? Her dancing just plain sucks, and she should have been booted out long ago. And would have, if not for idiots like Christine and all the other Palinbots, who clearly don’t really believe in that meritocracy that they keep touting, along with Bristol’s recycled virginity, as if it were some kind of holy grail.

3. Kevin Fucking DuJan. Finally, we know whose legwork it really was that carried Wanker #2 unfairly this far. But wait, the you haven’t heard the funniest part yet. This wanker thinks a Bristol victory will “expose Democratic hypocrisy on voter fraud and ask why the media is so obsessed with the voting on a reality show but doesn’t care about Leftist tampering with actual elections.” Um, asshole…it’s the RIGHT that’s obsessed with the voting on a stupid glorified game show; they’re the ones who watch that shit. As for us out here on the left, we’ve only been screaming about voter fraud since 2000, when FUX Snooze and Florida colluded to throw the state’s election to fucking Dubya. Remember that? Of course you don’t…too busy freeping a stupid game show for the stupid daughter of your stupid masturbatory fantasy gal. Stupid.

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4. Robbie Fucking Wills. I don’t suppose it occurred to him to take a closer look at any of the failed candidates he sent letters of congratulation to. Shit, it’s only Arkansas, where overt racists are dime a dozen and stupid speakers of the state legislature likewise!

5. Tony Fucking Clement. We need more Canadian sex stories? Like we need a hole in the head. Which can be easily accomplished by hitting the mindbleach, because Tony Fucking Clement and sex should not be juxtaposed in ANY brain.

6. John Fucking Fiala. How better to get off on sexual abuse charges than by destroying the evidence? Well, now that the Vatican is no longer in the business of sweeping that shit under the rug, one can hardly blame a pervert for trying.

7. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Finally, someone in the media stands up and calls him on his bullshit. Too bad it’s only MotorTrend. Still, you’ve gotta start somewhere–let’s hope others smell Pigman blood in the water and start a proper feeding frenzy.

8. Pete Fucking Arnold. Yep, the not-so-libertarian flibber is back this week. Figures that his “Birth or Not” site was just a hoax, designed to “stimulate debate”. About what? Whether he’s a controlling douchebag? That much is already a foregone conclusion. When your anti-choice stupidity costs your pregnant wife her job, maybe the real point of debate should be whether or not it’s too late for her to seek a divorce.

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9. Mario Fucking Valdivia. Remember that video I posted earlier this week, of a woman on the New York subway calling out a pervert who rubbed up against her with his cock out? Well, the Hollaback Girls of the Internets helped the cops to catch the creep. And this is the creep they caught. Book ‘im, Danno.

10. Edward Fucking Pasteck. And while we’re on the subject of creeps with their cocks out, how about creeps with their hands out…and all over whatever part of a woman’s body they can reach? This fool apparently thinks that’s legal and acceptable–and ACCEPTED–in France. Guess what: It isn’t. It’s not even legal. There is a phrase for sexual harassment in French, and it is le harcèlement sexuel. Would that phrase exist if there were no reason for it? French women can, and DO, feel molested by guys who don’t bother with such niceties of street etiquette as, you know, KEEPING YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF. As one of Jezebel’s commenters on Pasteck’s ridiculous article says, “Try visiting Paris as a woman and then see what cute flirting stories you come back with.”

11. Michael Fucking Ignatieff. So, Iggy the Boyar doesn’t mind getting groped by airport security. Well, isn’t that male privilege lovely? If he were a woman who’d been assaulted, he might have cause to see it very differently. But since he’s a powerful male, meh–no biggie for Iggy.

12. Michael Fucking Coren. If you don’t like equal rights for gays here in Canada, fuck back off to England. And take Mark Fucking Steyn with you.

13. Thomas Fuck
ing Hackbarth. Why?

That’s why. Creepy Gun Guy is creepy. With his GUN. In a Planned Parenthood parking lot, of all places, presumably waiting for a woman who blew him off. No, dickweed, she doesn’t need your protection from anyone…but I think she might need protection from YOU. And so do the voters of your district. Can’t believe anyone would be dumb enough to elect such a maroon.

14. Phil McFucking Coleman. Say what?

15. William Fucking Saletan. Women have been compromising on abortion for centuries. And paying for this bullshit “compromise” WITH THEIR LIVES. Either a woman gets to choose (and survive), or she does not. There is NO MIDDLE GROUND on this issue. And fuck’d be any man who even thinks to suggest it.

16. John Fucking Stossel. Socialism will starve you! Ha. Tell it to the people of Venezuela, who are using it to feed themselves and their neighbors and trading partners, Stache-man. Now they’re no longer importing 80% of their food, as they were when capitalists reigned supreme. Arable land is once more in production, and unproductive large private lands, called latifundios, are being redistributed and made productive. And if the number of pudgies I’m seeing in news footage from there is any indication, the whole thing is working rather well. I don’t see bony carcasses littering the barrio streets. But hey, John–don’t let my nasty, inconvenient fact-finding spoil your self-righteous nonsense-fest. Chow down, turkey…and choke on it.

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17. Martin Joel Fucking Erzinger. The rich are different from the rest of us, and not just in how much pay they take home (or how little real work they do to get it, or how many of the rest of us they get to throw out of work to get it.) They also get away with mowing down cyclists who happen to be doctors…because it would look bad on their résumés. Call me crazy, but as someone who was also mown down (as a pedestrian) by a careless driver, I think it looks rather worse when someone is so rich and powerful that he’s not charged, just let go. And I think it’s worth bad-mouthing this guy and the idiot who thought he was too rich and valuable to charge. So, on that note, let me also introduce you to our next wanker…

18. Mark Fucking Hurlbert. Srsly, dude, what the fuck were you thinking???

19. Tom Fucking DeLay. The Bugman’s in the jailhouse now, but he’s still a wanker. Clicky the linky to see why.

20. Richard Fucking North. Being a climate-change denialist in this day and age is stupid enough. Being the liar who started the whole bogus scandal that was Climategate is beyond stupid. But in light of this jackass’s latest (racist) jackassery, I propose that his new nickname be Jungle Bunny. And hey! With global warming going at the rate it is, it will probably fit him just fine before too long.

21. The Fucking Ontario Special Investigations Unit. The faults of the police during the G20 summit were many and scrupulously documented by independent media and private citizens alike; even the corporate media couldn’t escape doing so. Protesters could be identified and arrested, so I’m sure, could bad cops. So, what’s the SIU’s excuse? I think they just don’t want to do their job, or hold the cops accountable for the atrocities committed in the course of theirs. What do we pay these people for, again? A whole lotta nothin’, obviously. PUBLIC INQUIRY NOW!

22. All the fucking dickweeds who commented here, including the fucking dickweed who wrote it–Noel Fucking JugEars Sheppard.

23. Robert Fucking Wickett. The law against polygamy is clear, and was passed in Canada the same year the mainstream Mormons renounced the sexual practice as a condition of statehood for Utah, where they remain the most highly concentrated. Polygamy is NOT a religious practice, and it is mumbo-jumbo to insist that it is, since it is not gods but men (often very old men) who do the fucking, and not goddesses but women and girls (often very young, underage girls) that get fucked. Plus there’s the element of brainwashing, of forced marriages, and the alienation/abandonment of “excess” boys, that’s needed to sustain this crazy, arcane business. But obviously, all of that is irrelevant to the fundie-Mormon FLDS, which is trying to use Canada’s religious freedom guarantees to get a non-religious practice made legal here. Even worse, this shyster has the gall to say it’s all a matter of “consent” when ex-FLDSers all say it is clearly NOT. The “right” to brainwash girls into believing they will never get into heaven unless they “consent” to “plural marriage” (i.e., organized sexual abuse) with a man not of their choosing does not exist in this country, either. And if these often-illegal immigrants can’t abide by our laws, let them leave. We don’t need that kind of “religious freedom” here.

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24. Joe Fucking Rehyansky. Why is a known sexual harasser being given a public forum in Fucker Carlson’s crapaganda site? And why is he being allowed to say that lesbians in the military should be raped to make them straight? And above all, why is he too dumb to realize that “corrective” rape has just the opposite effect–it often turns women off men altogether? See, this is what happens when you think with the little head and not the big one, fellas.

25. Ron Fucking MacKinley. God’s not in the smiting business anymore, dude. If She were, She’d whack you upside the head with a mackerel for being so Her-damned stupid. Accidents are NOT “mysterious ways”
. Also, the Sunday-shopping bill She was supposedly trying to prevent introduction of in the PEI legislature? It passed. Mysterious ways, indeed.

26. Randall Scott Fucking King. You’re not doing much to dispel that whole TSA-worker-as-sexual-assailant meme there, dude.

27. Charles Fucking McVety. Transgendered women are not perverts, but this professional concern troll most certainly is one. A pervert, that is. Shouldn’t he keep his nose out of women’s washroom stalls, then, and mind his own damn business? Oh…I see. He likes to watch. Ugh.

28. Angeles Fucking Duran. You own the Sun now? Muy bien, off you go then. Enjoy. And don’t bother sending a postcard.

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29. Justin Fucking Trudeau. It pains me to list a guy I usually like, dude, but that Movember ‘stache is just trash. Even cute guys like you don’t look good in ‘em. Kidding! On a more substantive note, there’s the little matter of what your party did, trying to woo our next wanker…

30. Julian Fucking Fantino. Chief No-Show apparently doesn’t believe in debates. Probably not in democracy, either. Oh well, looks like he’s gonna lose anyway, so no biggie.

31. and 32. Tony Fucking Blair and Christopher Fucking Hitchens. Can’t believe they packed a concert hall, which could have been full of music lovers instead, for a “debate” between the Poodle (a war-mongering godbag) and the Bitch (a war-mongering infidel). The big non-event pitted two of Dubya’s biggest schlong-suckers against each other over something other than Dubya’s micropenis. Purportedly, anyway. I ignored it*, as anyone should who has better things to do on a Friday night than to listen to two plummy-voiced twits arguing about how many angels can or can’t dance on the head of Dubya’s dick.

33. Jason Fucking Kenney. Why?

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That’s why. People who support Israeli apartheid have no business talking about “hatefests”, much less referring to the UN as one.

34. Bill Fucking Whatcott. What cott, indeed. Is there anything this man actually loves, or at least, doesn’t hate? If there is, I don’t know what it could be. I’m just glad I’m not like him. A man who tries to mail his own feces to the Governor-General is one sick fuck.

35. Kathy Fucking Shaidle. Why?

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That’s why. Justin’s younger brother, Michel, died in an avalanche. His body has never been recovered. Justin has done good work trying to raise awareness of avalanche danger since then. And Ms. Five-Feet-o-Fugly knows that, and doesn’t give a shit. She can’t criticize him substantively on the issues, as I’ve done–she just automatically wishes him the worst. And that’s why nobody likes her.

36. and 37. John Fucking Pierce and Shane Fucking McCrary Because under-endowed Texan males need the “right” to parade their penis compensators in public, anytime, anywhere! Otherwise, freedumb is in chains!

38. Alicia Fucking Machado. Why?

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That’s why. The poor dim dear couldn’t tell China and Korea apart. Dang those East Asians! They’re all yellow, they all have those funny eyes…no wonder she couldn’t do it. Hey, it’s an easy mistake to make if you’re a former Miss Universe. They don’t call them brainy pageants, after all. But then the real crowning moment for the ex-queen came when she closed her Twitter account, claiming it to have been overrun by “psychopaths”. Um, Alicia? Those “psychopaths” were just ordinary Venezuelans of all stripes, laughing their asses off at you. Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve given them cause to do that, either.

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And finally, to the two FUX Snoozes, North and South. A stopped clock tells time better than either of you. All the same, I don’t consult stopped clocks. That should tell you how likely I am to tune in to your “quality” programming. Elitist that I am, I’m keeping my 99th-percentile IQ the way it is, and there ain’t a damn thing either of you can do about it. And the intelligent majorities of North America are with me, not you.

Good night, and get fucked!

*Full disclosure: I ignored it, beyond scrounging up the linky and firing off two or three pissy tweets. I’m allowed to do that, right?

Posted in Wankers of the Week. Comments Off »

Catfight, with incidental corvids

Festive Left Friday Blogging: UNASUR meets in Guyana…

…and Cristina Fernández of Argentina paid tribute to her late husband (and former president), Néstor Kirchner:

Love how she makes special mention of Chavecito–as a friend as well as a fellow South American president. (Watch when the camera pans across the front row of seats; Chavecito and Evo are sitting side by side. Chavecito can’t resist interjecting with friendly words, of course.) Solidarity is beautiful!

And speaking of beautiful, I couldn’t leave this out:

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Rafael Correa, another of Cristina’s amigos. Looking very indomitable, no? He had some nice words of his own, praising the South American union for helping to lower tensions between nations in the South. Their solidarity (there’s that beautiful word again!) helped him and Ecuador overcome a coup attempt just two months ago. Democracy is flourishing in the region, and so is unity. That’s a thing that can’t be priced in dollars…or euros…or any other monetary unit you can name.

Ecuador: More evidence of a coup

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Who is this Gustavo Lemos Larrea? And what does he have to do with the “police uprising” that wasn’t? Let Jean-Guy Allard tell you…


Gustavo Lemos, the Ecuadorian who burst into the consulate of Ecuador in Miami during the coup events of September 30, along with a handful of partisans of putschist Lucio Gutiérrez and Cuban-American extremists, has been denounced in his country as a torturer and suspected of having covered up the murders of two teenagers.

Lemos is known in Quito as the chief of the torturers during the reign of Social Christian president León Febres Cordero (1984-1988).

Now based in Miami, with the complicity of the State Department, Lemos was found to be participating, a week before the coup, on September 23, in conspiratory activities co-ordinated by Carlos Alberto Montaner in Miami. Montaner is a CIA agent and fugitive from Cuban justice.

Among the “stars” of that “forum”, there was the former colonel, Lucio Gutiérrez, ex-president of Ecuador, deposed by the people. With his habitual cynicism, Gutiérrez disparaged his homeland, saying “all is totalitarianism and total corruption.”

Gutérrez announced from Miami the end of the political model pursued by President Rafael Correa. Later, from Brasilia, he called for an assassination.

An immigrant with “cover” in Washington and Langley, Lemos frequently gave interviews to Radio Mambí, the mafia station in Miami, to defame President Correa. He presented himself as a spokesman for small opposition groups such as the “Francisco Morazán” Honduran Association and the Ecuadorian Society of the Exterior, both associated with fascists of the Cuban community in Miami who are known for their use of terrorism.

Lemos is also known for his ties to the ex-chief of military intelligence, Mario Pazmiño, who was expelled from the army due to his CIA ties.

In recent months, Lemos has been denounced publicly in Ecuador by the Commission for Truth, in conjunction with several cases of torture, illegal arrest, assassination or disappearances which occurred during the reign of León Febres Cordero.

The commission pressed for a court case against Gustavo Lemos Larrea, along with the government minister Luis Robles Plaza (now deceased), based on evidence that they used torture as a police investigation method.

One of the most repugnant instances of repression in which Lemos is involved is, without doubt, the case of the brothers Restrepo.

On January 8, 1988, the police illegally detained Carlos Santiago and Pedro Andrés Restrepo Arismendy, two brothers aged 17 and 14 years, respectively.

According to a key witness, ex-agent Hugo España, the boys were taken to the Criminal Investigations Service of Pichincha, and tortured for several days by investigators of the National Police. One of them died during a torture session. On January 11, the interrogators killed the second brother, a decision made by Lemos in the office of the minister, Robles Plaza, according to the father of the victims, Pedro Restrepo.

The bodies of the two young brothers were dismembered and thrown in Lake Yambo, in the province of Tunguragua.

Lemos is an ardent partisan of colonel Lucio Gutiérrez, the most visible head of the conspiracy and assassination attempt of September 30.

According the the TC Televisión (of Quito) program, In Search of the Truth, close collaborators and partners of the ousted president, Gutiérrez, and of Carlos Vera, ex-TV host and opposition activist, are involved as protagonists of the “police uprising” of September 30.

Among other key players in the failed coup attempt is acting colonel (in passive service) Galo Monteverde, who led the demonstrations called by Vera. Monteverde participated along with Gutiérrez in the coup d’état against then-president Jamil Mahuad, in January 2000.

Fidel Araujo, militant of the Patriotic Society (SP); Pablo Guerrero, ex-attorney for Lucio Gutiérrez; and Max Marin, of the SP, met in the police station. Meanwhile, the brother of the putschist colonel supported the operation in the Parliament, giving instructions to the Legislative Guard, with the complicity of politicians such as Lourdes Tibán, assembly member of the Pachakutik party; Luis Villacís, of the Popular Democratic Movement, and fascists of the movement “Madera de Guerrero”.

Translation mine.

I’ve already blogged about Pachakutik and its allies in the indigenous group CONAIE, and their strange denial of what was quite obviously a coup. By now, it’s also obvious that Sucio Lucio Gutiérrez is a key villain, and probably in control of CONAIE and Pachakutik both. Get a load of what else I found while looking for photos (which I have yet to find) of the shadowy Gustavo Lemos…

An old State Dept. report on Ecuador, in which CONAIE figures prominently among putschists trying to install Sucio as president in the wake of a coup against Jamil Mahuad:


On January 19, approximately 6,000 persons including members of the Confederation of Ecuador’s Indian Nationalities (CONAIE), students, and leftwing political protesters marched in Quito. On January 21, thousands of protesters, including members of CONAIE, students, teachers, and union members, occupied and took control of the congressional building in Quito. The police and military guarding the building did not oppose the occupation with force, and over 100 soldiers joined the protesters. CONAIE leader Antonio Vargas announced on television from the floor of Congress that he would head the People’s Parliament. He also said that retired army Colonel Lucio Gutierrez would join him in a new “ruling junta” as the executive, and that former Supreme Court President Carlos Solorzano would take over the role of Supreme Court President. The protesters called for President Mahuad to resign. (There also were protests in Guayaquil, where a group of students, unionists, and neighborhood associations seized the provincial government building.)

President of Congress Juan Jose Pons described the small military group that joined the protests as “seditious” and called for support for the democratically elected Government. Mahuad then spoke on television and refused to resign. On the afternoon of January 21, the armed forces service chiefs and joint staff chief General Carlos Mendoza called for the President to resign. Mahuad resisted the call to resign but later fled the palace. The junta (also called the “triumvirate”) originally was composed of Vargas, Solorzano, and Colonel Gutierrez. Later during the night of January 21, at the palace, General Mendoza briefly joined the junta, replacing Colonel Gutierrez. On January 22, President Mahuad appeared again on television and accepted Vice President Gustavo Noboa as president; on the same day, Congress ruled that Mahuad had deserted his post. With Noboa’s assumption of office, order was restored.

And what a coinkydink! CONAIE were front and centre in trying to deny the putschist coup–again, spearheaded by Sucio–this time against a much more popular president, namely Rafael Correa. Whose popularity has only increased since then.

Meanwhile, it looks like Gustavo Lemos is in legal trouble. According to the EFE news agency, Lemos is under investigation, by Correa’s gove
rnment, for those very crimes he committed during the 1980s, including the murders of the two brothers mentioned by Allard in the piece I translated. Looks like this one will be one to watch in the future, kiddies.

Finally, signs of intelligent life at the Christian Science Monitor

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Well, its Latin America desk, at any rate.


One in 10 South Americans – about 38 million people – escaped poverty during the past decade. That’s remarkable progress by any measure.

Contrast that with the United States, where poverty has been growing due to a decade-long stagnation of income for the middle class and the Great Recession. In 2009, the US had more poor people than in any of the 51 years since poverty levels have been estimated.

Of course, America’s poor are far better off than South America’s poor. And the US still has a much lower poverty rate (14.2 percent versus around 70 percent). South America remains infamous for huge income gaps between a tiny elite and masses of people making, often, just $1 or $2 a day.

Still, 10 years of growing prosperity has shrunk that gap. The credit goes to democratic leftist governments that have vastly boosted social spending to help the poor, maintains Mark Weisbrot, a left-of-center economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Half of that improvement comes from Brazil. Under outgoing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the nation pushed up the minimum wage a real 65 percent in eight years, helping to raise the wages of tens of millions of workers, including many receiving more than minimum wage. A program offered small cash grants to poor families if they sent their children to school.

The results? Real income per person is up some 24 percent since 2000. Illiteracy is down. Poverty has been halved since 2002; extreme poverty is down by 70 percent, says Mr. Weisbrot, pulling more than 19 million people into the middle class.

And the economy hasn’t suffered. Unemployment under Mr. da Silva’s presidency dropped from more than 11 percent to 6.7 percent. Income inequality has fallen considerably.

Okay, couple of quibblettes here: Brazil gets the lion’s share of the positive mention. I’m guessing that’s due to its enormous population, of which so many are poor (or extremely poor) that it was too glaringly obvious to ignore just how bad they had it before Lula and his rather modest reforms came along. Plus, under the neo-con code of US journalism on Latin America, cuddly little Ewok-y Lula counts as “good left” because he’s not too radical or too critical of Washington, the World Bank, and the IMF. Not like, say, a certain big handsome Venezuelan whom Mark Weisbrot likes to mention quite a bit:


Other nations with “progressive” governments have made much social progress, notes Weisbrot. He lists Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Venezuela. Under President Hugo Chávez, attacked by the right in the US, oil-rich Venezuela has tripled social spending per person since 2003. Attendance at universities has doubled. Most of the poor now get health care under a government program.

Okay, here comes another quibblette: Why the unnecessary quotation marks around the word progressive? The governments of all those countries surely deserve better than that disparaging little trick of punctuation, since all have made impressive socio-economic recoveries under their progressive leaders. Much better, since they are all much improved.

Still, I shouldn’t complain too loudly; after all, the piece doesn’t then go on to undercut all that talk of progressives and their progresses with vague, unsubstantiated noises about “tyranny”, the way so many other English-language whore media pieces (including previous ones in the selfsame Monitor) have done. Instead, we get…more relatively decent reporting:


The continent weathered the financial crisis relatively well. Social spending rose. So there was no big rise in poverty, says Norbert Schady, an economic adviser to the Inter-American Development Bank, speaking from Quito, Ecuador.

Moreover, prospects for continued economic progress are strong. The Institute of International Finance (IIF), set up by the world’s biggest banks, forecasts 6 percent growth in gross domestic product in Latin America this year, which includes Mex­ico and Central America as well as South Am­er­ica. That growth should shrink poverty further.

By contrast, the IIF forecasts a 2.5 percent growth rate this year for the US. At that slow pace the US could see a further rise in poverty.

South America’s new economic vigor is also causing a geopolitical shift. The US has long considered Latin America part of its political and economic sphere of influence. Officials running South America’s left-of-center governments often charge the US with imperial ambitions.

But as US growth slows, South America’s businesses have reached out to other markets. While 15 percent of South America’s trade is still with the US, a greater share is tied to Europe. Also, trade within the continent is growing with a free-trade deal. So South American governments no longer feel so much under the thumb of the US.

All of this is unquestionably true, and it’s refreshing to see it in the Monitor for a change. Normally I’d have to go to a progressive alternative or independent media site, like the Socialist Worker, or end up translating something from a LatAm indymedia site here. I have to say it’s pleasantly surprising…

Oh wait, I just noticed something: The byline is David R. Francis. Perhaps the honest, even and objective tone of this piece owes to the fact that it wasn’t written by the famously blinkered Sara Miller Llana? I bet it does.

Congratulations, Mr. Francis, on your journalistic breakthrough. And oh yeah: Watch your back. They don’t like to see too many nice things being said about Chavecito, Evo, Cristina or El Ecuadorable in there.

Why is Jason Kenney afraid of this man?

George Galloway was in Calgary yesterday. He wanted to have a few polite words with Jason Kenney, who was responsible for debarring him from the country awhile back, on ridiculously specious grounds. As you can see, he’s very polite, and he says nothing disagreeable here…unless, of course, you find the truth objectionable. As Jason Kenney undoubtedly does, or he would have let George Galloway in the first time. Galloway is far less obnoxious than the Coultergeist, who lies as easily as she breathes. And Jason Kenney had no problem with her, even though she is an open supporter of terrorism and likes to throw verbal bombs all the time.

So…why IS Jason Kenney afraid of George Galloway? Whom does peace threaten?

More on the RT arrest at the School of the Assassins

Reporter Kaelyn Forde, of Russia Today’s US TV crew, is roughed up and shackled with garbage-bag ties in this raw video. The press pass is clearly visible on a cord around her neck. The cop (or rent-a-cop?) cuffing her claims she was told to move “five times”.

Only in a police state are the media arrested for doing their jobs. Like I said earlier: Fascism and torture can’t bear closer scrutiny.