Salvador Allende: Explosive new revelations from a Chilean demolition site

Do these sound to you like the last words of a suicidal man? They sound to me like the words of one who was determined to fight to the death, and did.

Now, a new chapter is being written. It could put the lie to the notion that the great socialist president committed suicide, according to the Chilean news site, Emol:

“Puzzling” is what the “Special Report” team is calling a document from the Military Prosecutor’s office which could refute the theory that Salvador Allende committed suicide.

The TVN program editor, Felipe Gerdtzen, revealed that the document was found in the rubble of a house demolished in 2010.

“The house of an army colonel named Horacio Ritz was demolished. He had been secretary to the military tribunal and he had this paper in his home. The demolition crew chief found it last year. The document’s existence was made known by this gentleman, who revealed it in March of this year,” the journalist told Emol.

The military report, dated September 11, 1973, “consists of a report from the scene of the incident, ballistic examination, dactyloscopic investigation, eyewitness testimonies, and the autopsy,” said Gerdtzen.

The document was sent by the television program to an Uruguayan, Hugo Rodríguez, expert in “historical autopsies”. He came to the conclusion that the body of Allende bore a bullet wound different to that which supposedly ended his life.

“This document is the only judicial investigation ever conducted on the death of Allende, there is no other. For that reason, it has an extraordinary historic value. At base, this is a theme for the archives of the military tribunals, because for us it is puzzling that this material could only be found when a house was demolished and it was found in the rubbish,” said editor Gerdtzen.

He added that he report “does not seek to interfere” with the course of the current investigation by Judge Mario Carroza, who ordered the exhumation of the former president’s body for new forensic examinations.

Translation mine.

Allende’s body was exhumed this past week, according to YVKE Mundial. It is said to be satisfactorily preserved, and will take about three months for the new investigation to be completed. I think we’ll see more interesting details emerging in the weeks to come. Watch this space…

Posted in Chile Sin Queso. 2 Comments »

Music for a Sunday: Gil Scott-Heron, RIP

This great underrated gem comes courtesy of a man who left us far too soon, this past Friday, aged 62. We need him more than ever, especially when stories like this terrible one about Bradley Manning come out. It’s not enough to not send mentally fragile people to war; we shouldn’t be sending anyone, as it makes even healthy people crazy and sick.

Sleep well, Brother Gil. Gonna do my damnedest to keep your message going, keep people awake and working for peace and justice.

Wankers of the Week: Postapocalyptic Letdown edition

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Crappy First Weekend After the Apocalypse, everyone! Lost any annoying fundie neighbors to the rapture? No? Dang, I guess this must mean we’ve all gone to hell. What a fucking letdown. Because that means we’re still stuck on Planet Mordor…with all these tacky wankers, in no particular order:

1. Keiko Fucking Fujimori. Her dad’s a known human-rights violator, complete with death squads. And she’s running basically on a “get Dad out of jail free” ticket. And now she has the nerve to call the democratically elected, popular president of Venezuela “dictatorial”? That’s a bit rich, wouldn’t you say? PS: Even richer, she says she’s going to work for the integration of Latin America. Don’t anyone tell her that Chavecito got there ahead of her and has pretty much done it already. She might throw a tantrum.

2. Tony Fucking Cornish. Give the homophobia a rest, motherfucker. And no, I’m not going to tack twelve exclamation points onto the end of that. I’m not a homophobic hothead, you see.

3. Pete Fucking DeGraaf. I would wish something awful on him, like, say, his mistress getting a “flat tire” (that’s what he likened unwanted pregnancies to!), but then I took one good look at his photo (clicky the linky, kiddies) and realized that with a face like that, it wasn’t likely he’d be getting laid anywhere, by anyone, no matter how much he “plans ahead”. Why is it always the most repugnant men who oppose women’s rights, anyway?

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4. Eric Fucking Cantor. The city of Joplin, Missouri has just been flattened by a mile-wide monster tornado, and this little pisher is talking spending cuts? There are people you devoutly wish would just get sucked up into a funnel cloud, and he’s one of them. How could anyone even think of fiscally punishing those who had the bad luck to be in the path of a giant twister? Oh, but I guess HE would tell them to “plan ahead” more, too. The fucker. Well, if the money’s got to come from somewhere, then let it come out of the military-industrial complex, for a change…preferably the same meat-grinders that funded Eric Fucking Cantor’s last electoral campaign.

5. Patrick Fucking McHenry. He accused Elizabeth Warren (who is famously bullshit-free) of lying; I accuse him of being a fucking asshole. What the hell is he doing in elected office, anyway? He’d be an embarrassment to a kindergarten sandbox! PS: Bwahahahaha!

6. Herman Fucking Cain. Men of any color have no business telling women in general, and black women in particular, what to do with their bodies. Much less as a partisan attack. PS: That “snuffing seed” shit is just fucking gross. Who the hell talks like that, anyway? Oh, yeah: Repugs who sleep around, call the women with whom they do it ‘ho’s, and yet still think abortion is what’s wrong with the picture. But of course, they don’t want to pay child support. They’d rather leave all that up to the ‘ho’s. Who might just have to live up to the pejorative by turning tricks to feed the kids. Who’s “too cold” now?

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7. Jaime Fucking Deremblum. You know, Jaime, what you wrote in the Weakly SubStandard about Rafael Correa has a name. The name for what you wrote about him is LIBEL. And this talk of “basic civil liberties that Americans take for granted” is pretty hilarious when you consider that all the things you libelously accuse Rafael Correa of doing…have been done, repeatedly and with impunity, both in the United States (against its own citizens, at home and abroad!) and BY the United States…IN ECUADOR. But hey — why let such inconvenient little facts spoil your nice, bullshitty, libelous narrative…right, Jaime? After all, you’ve got a war campaign to whip up against an innocent country and an innocent president. (Or two, if you count Venezuela and Chavecito; I know I do.) “Freedom” House, the IISS (the same that fudged up the dodgy dossier against Iraq) and the Hudson “Institute” all want to remain somehow relevant in a world that doesn’t give a shit for them anymore. And to do so, they have to provide pretext for bad foreign policy and more unnecessary, antidemocratic wars. And since you work for that last one, that means all crapaganda is fair game — isn’t that right, Jaime?

8. Harold Fucking Camping. A charlatan who got rich off other people’s superstition and credulity. Deserves to go bankrupt. A fraud case against him would be open-and-shut. But he’s predicting yet another fucking apocalypse…in October. Can’t he be imprisoned as a public health hazard? He’s driving people to mass hysteria and making millions off it, fergawdsakes. Oh well, in the meantime, I know one wanker who will figure prominently on this list in five months’ time. Funny how, unlike the end of the world, this is something that’s EASY to predict!

9. Brigitte Fucking Barèges. Oh great, France has homophobic idiots in government, too. And this one’s in Sarko’s own party — which, to be fair, isn’t known for its tolerance or acceptance of anyone who doesn’t quite conform; just look at the anti-immigration platform that got these fuckers elected. Still, I would really like to know just how same-sex marriage — the legalization of a union between two otherwise unrelated adults of the same sex, nothing more — equates to bestiality or polygamy. More to the point, I’d like to know just what kind of delusional stupidity it takes to see any equivalence there at all. PS: Nobody is buying the “just a joke” excuse, either. To be a joke, it has to be funny. Did anybody laugh — other than in sheer incredulity at the ignorance of this wanker, I mean?

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10. Tim Fucking Hudak. Just call him the wannabe Joe Arpaio of Ontario. One more reason not to elect him as premier: He wants to build a prison-industrial complex, complete with slave labor, right here in our fair province. A prison-industrial complex that would take well-paying public service jobs away from those already doing them, and make it more expensive in the process — because after all, guards watching the chain gang and making sure no prisoners escape still have to get paid. Union scale.

11. Scott Fucking Walker. Death panels? The Teabaggers haz them. And the so-called governor of Wisconsin sits on one of them. PS: Ha, ha!

12. Robert Fucking McGuire. Dumbest. Fucking. Sex. Offender. EVER.

13. Dominique Fucking Strauss-Kahn. Yes, again. And no, this is not socialism. Nor is it house arrest. What it is, is the kind of lunacy that makes me wonder if he’ll ever actually stand trial, or just go back to France, laughing up his well-tailored sleeve all the way. Frankly, he should have been denied bail and stayed in jail with the common criminals; like Conrad Fucking Black before him, he might at least get a taste of how the other 99% lives.

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14, 15 and 16. Vic Fucking Toews, Peter Fucking Mackay, and Stephen Fucking Harper. Looks like the Minister of Adultery and Hypocrisy is now a Minister for Petty Revenge and Disaster Capitalism, too. But let’s not single Vic the Prick out for blame; there’s plenty of it to go ’round, so let’s extend our ire to his colleague the so-called defence minister, and to their boss. If anyone wants to know why Québec voted en masse against the SupposiTories, look no further. These western ideologues hate Québec; always have, always will; that’s why Harpo went to Manitoba and Alberta but ignored this one. “Let the private sector take care of it” is their way of saying “Let them eat cake!” And rest assured that the flood-stricken people along the Richelieu River won’t be forgetting this despicable betrayal and abdication of federal duty on the next election day, either.

17. Bibi Fucking Netanyahu. Kudos to Rae Abileah for poking a big hole in his hypocrisy before the US congress, and the world. “Real democracy”, my ASS. And who is the Yahoo to try to appropriate the Arab Spring for Israel’s ends — which, of course, are all about denying democracy, freedom and justice to the Palestinians?

18. Ralph Fucking Lang. Yay, yet another psychotic, cognitively-dissonant “pro-lifer” who has absolutely no problem with murdering doctors and nurses in the name of Jeebus. Good thing this one was caught before he could act on his desire to “lay out” any of them. PS: The Fucking State Senate of Wisconsin deserves a kick in the ass, too, for enabling this piece of shit with their no-permit concealed carry law, just recently passed. WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU FUCKING CHEESEBALLS THINKING??? Do you need a pistol-whipping upside the head to tell you that guns are anti-life?

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19. Jared Fucking Loughner. While we’re on the subject of deranged gunmen, let’s not forget this one. He thanked the judge for putting on a “freak show”? Uh, dude…that would be YOU. And nobody feels like thanking you for it. We just all hope and pray that you never get out of that psych ward. Or get access to another fucking gun.

20 and 21. Kenneth Fucking Moreno and Franklin Fucking Mata. Bad enough that the one repeatedly sexually assaulted a helplessly drunk woman while the other stood guard and let him; worse that they should both get off when it’s so obvious that they were guilty. I guess this means cops have a licence to rape then? Oh yeah, silly me, of course they do: It’s called a badge, and it’s also good for getting you off the hook for all kinds of brutal and inhuman behavior — such as when you beat up innocent people for protesting a bad government, like this one poor guy who got his arm broken and his eye blacked by thugs in uniform a year ago at the G20 in Toronto.

22. Chad Fucking Seigel. Someone please get Kenneth Fucking Moreno’s slimy defence attorney an anatomy textbook and show him where the cervix is. It is way, way up at the top of the vagina, for fuck’s sakes. You can’t get to it by “scrubbing” in the shower. In fact, you can’t reach it without penetration, and you can’t bruise it without penetrating pretty damn brutally. Which Moreno did, and has admitted to doing. If that’s not rape, then tell me, what the fuck IS?

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23. Rick Fucking Scott. Oh noes, look who can’t face the scary, hairy libruls! That’s why he got the sheriffs to eject them — or just anyone who looks like they could be one — from his public events. Because the last thing a teabag needs is a public challenge from someone who has all their teeth and can string together a coherent sentence, right?

24. Cornelius Fucking McGillicuddy the Fourth, again. For the umpteenth time, when will Florida elect a representative who actually does something good, and doesn’t make overthrowing the governments of Venezuela and Cuba his fucking pet project? Aren’t they sick of this fucking idiot yet? Because, you know, that Venezuela-selling-uranium-to-Iran thing? Is just the latest in a long, long line of bogus pretexts for war and “sanctions” (don’t you just love that weasel word) against Venezuela. And it has about as much substance as that sexed-up dodgy dossier that was used against Saddam Hussein. Or less.

25. Avigdor Fucking Lieberman. Thanking Harpo for objecting to the talk of Israeli land theft at the G8? It doesn’t get any wankier than this.

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26. and 27. Sarah Fucking Palin and Michele Fucking Bachmann. Was that a caterwaul I just heard? Get a room, you two. And stay there until the 2012 election is over, PLEASE.

28. Silvio Fucking Berlusconi. Mamma mia, Italy’s biggest corrupto is being persecuted again. This time by a mafia of left-wing judges! Why can’t they leave him to screw the nation — and his underage prostitutes — in peace? My gawd, they’ve even forced him to go whining about it to Barack Obama, as though the latter could do anything about that! Oh, the HUMANITY!

29. The Fucking Texas Civil Justice League. Congratulations, assholes, you just can’t make your point (whatever the hell it is) without urinating on women. We got it. You don’t like the ladies. Well, guess what, assholes — the ladies of the Texas Legislature, on both sides of the aisle, don’t like you for that cutesy widdle hate campaign, either.

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And finally, to “Mike”, the sexist piglet at 63.119.9.135, who left his droppings here. Poor widdle “Mike” just doesn’t understand why “chicks” aren’t into him. And why they aren’t stampeding over each other to bring him sandwiches, beer and hot, juicy vajayjays. Hmmm, whatever could his problem be?

Oh, I know! Maybe, “Mike”, if you didn’t expect sex and sandwiches on demand, or at least just weren’t so fucking stupid as to call women a “protected class” when we quite plainly aren’t (does getting paid 70 cents on a man’s dollar sound like “protection” to you? Oh right, protection MONEY — hence the 30% deduction!), maybe you’d get some. Or maybe not, but at least the world might like you better. Right now, nobody does, and it’s all your own damn fault for being an entitled, whiny, lazy-ass shit who can’t even slap one fucking slice of baloney between two fucking slices of Wonder bread because his own limp dick keeps getting in the way. Not to mention how you can’t even keep it in your pants when faced with the irrational urge to wander into a complete stranger’s house and piss on her carpet.

Well, that’s what my ban filter is for, eh? Congrats, “Mike”, you just whizzed right into it. And so will anyone else who comes here trying to follow the bad example of Mikey-whom-nobody-likey. You have been warned…and, unlike predictions of an apocalypse, this one’s gonna come true.

Good night, and get fucked!

Quotable: Irving Layton on Canadian poets

“In this country the poet has always had to fight for his survival. He lives in a middle-class milieu whose values of money-getting, respectability, and success are hostile to the kind of integrity and authenticity that is at the core of his endeavour. His need to probe himself makes him an easy victim for those who have more practical things to do — to hold down a job, amass a fortune, or to get married and raise children. His concern is to change the world; at any rate, to bear witness that another besides the heartless, stupid and soul-destroying one men have created is possible.”

– Irving Layton, from the preface to The Laughing Rooster

Kurt Vonnegut dissects storylines

One of my all-time favorite authors, the late (and sorely missed!) Kurt Vonnegut, whips out the chalk to show us just how simple (or not!) a basic plotline can be:

Of course, his own novels tend to be a lot more complex and interwoven than that. But they are just as much fun.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo, just being his awesome self

Evo paid tribute to Bolivian mothers at the palace today, and this nice shot was the result of that. But check out what other awesomeness he’s up to. How about that challenge to the asshole next door in Chile?

The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, asked today of Chilean president Sebastián Piñera that he present a “concrete proposal” to resolve his country’s request for sea access in accordance with the recommendations of the Organization of American States (OAS).

“If they talk so much about ‘dialogue’, let Chile present a concrete proposal, so we can formally begin a process of negotiation for Bolivia to gain sovereign access to the Pacific,” said President Morales, during an appearance with the armed forces of his country.

The General Assembly of the OAS, which will meet again in Bolivia next year, reached a resolution in 1979 in La Paz, which established that the Bolivian demand had continental importance, and insisted on dialogue between the parties to resolve the conflict.

Morales replied in this form to assertions made a few days ago by Piñera, to the effect that Bolivia could not ask for revision of the treaty of 1904, which redrew the borders between the two countries after the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).

“We understand that Bolivia has an aspiration, but we cannot try to revise treaties that have been in full effect for more than a hundred years,” said the Chilean President last Monday.

The Bolivian leader replied today that international law “is based in principles of justice, equality and harmonious relations, not like this in hegemony, militarism, unilateral imposition or conditions,” which, according to him, is what took place in 1904.

That treaty, said Morales, “brought no peace or friendship”, because Chile has not responded to this day to the Bolivian maritime demand and, on the contrary, “has dedicated itself to military armamentism in the South American region.”

“If the Treaty of 1904 brought peace, as our brother president of Chile says, why the constant escalation of armamentism? We ask ourselves that, and so will the people of Chile,” said Morales in a speech before the Bolivian military.

Morales assured that he was not bothered or offended by the statements of Piñera, but they “oblige [us] to demonstrate that Bolivia is in the right, despite some distortions over international law.”

Morales said that his country would lay suit against Chile in international tribunals, but “without abandoning dialogue”, even though the Chilean government has said that the two options are incompatible.

Bilateral relations between Bolivia and Chile, which have seen some rapprochement in the last five years, have taken a turn since Morales announced in March that Bolivia would take its demand for sea access to the international courts.

The conflict has strained ties between the two countries, who have not had diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level since 1962, with a brief break between 1975 and 1978.

A survey published last Sunday in a national newspaper showed that only 40% of Bolivians approved the new maritime strategy of Morales, although 73% said that Bolivia must never renounce its claim to a sea exit.

Translation mine.

They don’t say which newspaper it was (my guess is it’s an oppositionist one, and that they surveyed mostly rich white folks from the lowland regions; hence the strange dissonant results.) But the fact is, Evo’s challenge to the Pinochetist next door is just in line with a long, long dispute, one that’s been raging since the War of the Pacific ended. In fact, the ruling in Bolivia’s favor came long before Evo got anywhere near to elected office, as you can see.

And for a while there, things looked good: the progressive Michelle Bachelet was in office, and bilateral relations were excellent. And then along came Piñera, and of course, he just HAD to be a prick about it all.

But I’ve a hunch that this is going to end before Evo hands his sash over to his VP, Alvaro García Linera. And if I know Evo, I’m betting he’s gonna win this one, too. He’s never lost a fight yet.

Short ‘n’ Stubby: Ms. Manx swats DSK and the IMF around some more

You know how crazy some kitties are when it comes to tinfoil balls? They become obsessed with batting them around, and will chase them all over the house? Well, that’s how Ms. Manx is with this whole Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair. She’s found some more linkage, and she wants us to follow that bouncing, ricocheting, spherical shiny metallic object wherever she chases it. So, let’s do it:

First up, at Truthout, Mark Weisbrot (who is one of the Stumpy Cat’s favorite global-affairs analysts) takes a look at precisely what, if anything, has changed at the IMF during DSK’s tenure in that not-so-august loansharkery. He notes that DSK came to the IMF just as its influence was waning in the very parts of the world where it stood to make the biggest killing just a few short years before. (Latin America, in particular, comes to Ms. Manx’s mind, as does Chavecito, who helped Argentina get the IMF off her neck. Venezuela is a special target of Washington’s ire this week, and you can be sure that the bogus charges of having sold uranium to Iran aren’t the real reason for this at all.) Weisbrot also notes that the IMF’s policies were poison to the economic growth of all countries where they were implemented (big surprise there, says the Manx!), and that the countries who’ve shed the IMF’s influence have not rushed back to the fold during the global recession of 2007 onwards, mainly because they were busy implementing their own, successful homegrown solutions (eg. Bolivia renationalizing its natural-gas reserves, etc.). It’s no surprise that the countries that got out from under Bretton Woods are the ones who’ve emerged first and fastest from the recession; some, like Venezuela (there’s that evil Chavecito again!) were barely touched by it at all. (Ms. Manx would like to let you know that the Venezuelan economy grew by 4.5% in the first trimester of this year alone, and that even the rabid oppo newspapers were reporting the fact, albeit below the fold and in small headers, on their front pages. A fact which makes the Manx smirk.) Oh yeah, and as for those radical, humanizing changes to IMF policy DSK supposedly made? Weisbrot says they’re not all that. Surprise!

Next, on to another of Ms. Manx’s favorite economic analysts: Greg Palast! The Stumpy Cat loves him for saying that “the grandee of the IMF has molested Africans for years” . What? says the Manx. You mean that Guinean widow whom he jumped at the Sofitel wasn’t the only one? Nope. Not by a long shot, she wasn’t. Just the one he most literally tried to screw. And in fact, the reason that poor woman was working as a chambermaid — a job where rape is a constant occupational hazard — in New York is because the IMF has repeatedly raped her resource-rich, cash-poor homeland. Talk about your vicious cycles!

Yes, let’s talk about vicious cycles, says the Manx. Dean Baker, writing at the UK Guardian, certainly does. He makes the point that without a strong hotel workers’ union backing her, that unlucky woman would most likely have done what so many other powerless women have done: declined to press charges against her assailant. This is a vicious cycle of another kind, but certainly parallel to the economic one of Guinea’s ruin. Silence, after all, enables the privileged and the powerful to perpetuate their abuses. And whether that abuse is literal and physical, or metaphorical and economic in nature, it all boils down to the same things: poverty, suffering, oppression and misery, in an endless self-perpetuating cycle that it’s almost impossible to break out of on one’s own. (Ms. Manx bids me add that she loves the use of the Woody Guthrie song, “Union Maid”, performed by Woody’s son Arlo and the great Pete Seeger. Wonderful illustration of why unions matter, and how they can help.)

Meanwhile, on the subject of physical rape, Naomi Wolf weighs in, and notes that this case is being handled in a way very uncharacteristic of rape cases on the whole. For once, it appears that the system is working well, and this is strange, considering that most New York rape cases are not handled with nearly so much panache. Wolf writes: “In 23 years of covering sex crime — and in a city where domestic workers are raped by the score every month, often by powerful men — I have never seen the New York Police Department snap into action like this on any victim’s behalf.” She then goes on to say: “We now live in a world in which men like former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was investigating financial wrongdoing by the insurance giant AIG, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Strauss-Kahn — whose efforts to reform the IMF gained him powerful opponents — can be, and are, kept under constant surveillance. Indeed, Strauss-Kahn, who had been the odds-on favorite to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s French presidential election, probably interested more than one intelligence service. This does not mean that Strauss-Kahn is innocent or that he is guilty. It means that policy outcomes can be advanced nowadays, in a surveillance society, by exploiting or manipulating sex-crime charges, whether real or inflated.” An angle worth considering, although as noted earlier, DSK did very little to change the way the IMF was working, and indeed, according to Mark Weisbrot and Greg Palast both, he made it more profitable than ever. And this during a recession. If this really was a “surveillance society” attempt to return the IMF to its previous (and disastrous) hard-line stance, we will probably see the charges against DSK dropped eventually, even with a preponderance of evidence pointing to his guilt (unlike, say, Julian Assange, against whom there is only hearsay evidence at best. BTW, the Manx is certain that Julian Assange will never go to trial; not for rape, anyway. She’s sure that the real charges they’re dying to lay against him will be of espionage, and they will be laid not in Sweden, but in the United States. The flimsy rape charge is a cynical holding strategy, and one that will ultimately benefit women not at all.)

Meanwhile, at Michael Moore’s website, Rebecca Solnit recapitulates the rape/rape analogy. Ms. Manx is haunted by this passage in particular:

Two days before Strauss-Kahn allegedly emerged from that hotel bathroom naked, there was a big demonstration in New York City. “Make Wall Street Pay” was the theme and union workers, radicals, the unemployed, and more — 20,000 people — gathered to protest the economic assault in this country that is creating such suffering and deprivation for the many — and obscene wealth for the few.

I attended. On the crowded subway car back to Brooklyn afterwards, the youngest of my three female companions had her bottom groped by a man about Strauss-Kahn’s age. At first, she thought he had simply bumped into her. That was before she felt her buttock being cupped and said something to me, as young women often do, tentatively, quietly, as though it were perhaps not happening or perhaps not quite a problem.

Finally, she glared at him and told him to stop. I was reminded of a moment when I was an impoverished seventeen-year-old living in Paris and some geezer grabbed my ass. It was perhaps my most American moment in France, then the land of a thousand disdainful gropers; American because I was carrying three grapefruits, a precious purchase from my small collection of funds, and I threw those grapefruits, one after another, like baseballs at the creep and had the satisfaction of watching him scuttle into the night.

His action, like so much sexual violence against women, was undoubtedly meant to be a reminder that this world was not mine, that my rights — my liberté, egalité, sororité, if you will — didn’t matter. Except that I had sent him running in a barrage of fruit. And Dominique Strauss-Kahn got pulled off a plane to answer to justice. Still, that a friend of mine got groped on her way back from a march about justice makes it clear how much there still is to be done.

And on a similar note, at Information Clearing House, James Petras examines the colonial legacy of the global south, with its “social psychology of rape”. Ms. Manx senses a theme developing: “The absolute power of the colonial administrators allows them to secure total submission from those who are powerless – the single African women isolated from family, friends – before the Courts of Justice and denied equality. The latter is subject to firing, blacklisting, unemployment, intimidation, humiliation and insults for daring to denounce their colonial superiors.” This is right in line with the theme of Ms. Manx’s last post, in which she batted about the servility of the French press and clawed open its propensity, much like the laws of the state, to protect the propertied and powerful while leaving the rest with little recourse. And this, mark you, is just in France; in the lands France used to colonize, it’s even worse. Which stands to reason, since it’s not just France holding the reins at the IMF, but a consortium of the most powerful people of the most powerful countries in the world. Given these conditions, it’s remarkable that one humble chambermaid from Guinea dared to stand up at all — and a testament to the need for solidarity and strong unions to help the powerless and unpropertied people of the world do just that, again and again and again.

Church of Scotland gets fabulous

Och aye, ’tis a bonny day for equal rights!

Scotland’s largest protestant church has swept away centuries of tradition and voted to allow gay men and lesbians to become ministers, opening up the prospect of the church allowing civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

The Church of Scotland imposed a temporary moratorium in 2009 on admitting gay and lesbian ministers after Scott Rennie became the first openly gay clergyman in a homosexual partnership to be officially appointed as a minister in the church.

The church’s general assembly, its law-making body, voted on Monday to lift that moratorium, officially officially allowing gay ministers to take on parishes for the first time since its formation 450 years ago.

The general assembly also allowed serving gay and lesbian ministers who have kept their sexuality private to openly declare their sexuality – a proposal bitterly resisted by evangelical and conservative ministers.

In one of the final votes, the general assembly chose by a small majority to lift a parallel ban on ordaining and training people who are in same-sex relationships, and gay and lesbians in civil partnerships. It called for a new report by 2013 on both proposals and on allowing ministers to bless gay and lesbian relationships.

The vote followed official warnings that allowing gay clergy could split the church, forcing traditionalists to resign and join more conservative churches formed after the last great schism, when 474 ministers resigned in 1843.

Well, sez I, if the conservatards want to leave, be off wi’ ‘em. They can take the low road; the rest will take the high road. Same thing happened with the Anglicans, and what was the outcome? The conservatives ended up isolating themselves into irrelevance while the mainstream rolled with the changes and wound up the better for it. The world turns, bless it, and those who turn with the world are also blessed.

Amen.

Young feminist calls out Beyoncé (and other assorted BS)

Thanks to Roger Ebert for bringing this to our collective attention. About the only thing I disagree with here is all the bleeping; I think she could have left those words unbleeped. But that’s just me; I don’t bleep anything, as you well know.

PS: As this post seems to be attracting some clueless commenters, I’m going to close comments on it early. Sorry, folks, but I have no appetite for food-fights lately. If you want to fight with the woman who made the video (and that ain’t me), double-click on the YouTube and take it up with the video’s originator. I only posted it here for interest’s sake, not to attract flies.

Posted in Uppity Wimmin. 12 Comments »

Short ‘n’ Stubby: Ms. Manx gets her claws into DSK and the IMF

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Happy Victoria Day Monday, everyone! Hope you’re all enjoying your May Two-Four weekend. The Manx is meowing, and you know what that means: She’s got linkage for us. Lead on, ManxDuff…

First up, the Daily Mail, and how the obsequious French press has egg all over its face for covering up the skanky shenanigans of Dominique Strauss-Kahn for lo these many years. The cowardice is especially apparent in the Tristane Banon incident, which took place on a talk show that bleeped out the guilty party’s name. Months later, he won his IMF posting, and access to more unwilling females within the company. (Ms. Manx especially likes the photo of a dishevelled DSK, and says it shows him in his true colors.) Scroll further down, though, and you get to a passage that sounds like a scene ripped directly from the film Eyes Wide Shut. And then comes the Sarko connection, which may be the most explosive detail of all. Ms. Manx cattily wonders if Mme. Strauss-Kahn’s legendary loyalty could withstand a dose of that.

Meanwhile, across the language barrier, Le Monde calls the case “a lesson of democracy”. Ms. Manx has asked me to translate a couple of key passages for you:

But the first injustice of the American judiciary system doesn’t reside in this treatment, which is totally ordinary in the United States. What appears brutal, seen from France, is nothing but the absence of taking into account, in this foreign country, the social consideration in the means of treating the suspect. What looks violent to the French public is nothing but the absence of the due regard, so-called, to the “social caste” of the one concerned.

[...]

What ultimately shocks, in France, is this American culture of counter-power. Among us, historically, justice has been constructed to protect properties and persons, and not to raise itself into a veritable pillar of democracy, above the political and economic powers.

Ah, there’s the rub. Yankee justice that (at least on the surface), serves the interests of democracy, and doesn’t discriminate between the rich and the poor? A France that plumes itself on its republicanism, but in which remarkably little has changed, judicially speaking, since the monarchist epoch of Les Misérables, when Jean Valjean did 18 years’ hard labor just for stealing one loaf of bread to help his sister and her starving children? Ms. Manx is choquée, choquée! (Um, not really. Actually, she’s relieved that the US justice system may at least still be seen to be working, whatever the outcome. That’s the whole point of the “barbaric” perp-walk, after all: Even if it’s only for the cameras, it’s to show justice being done. An ugly custom, perhaps, but it serves a somewhat noble purpose. Ultimately, the greater legal barbarism resides in France, where the rich enjoy far more legal and press protection than the rest, and for far less reason. A loaf of bread stolen to feed hungry children vs. robbing half the world blind — and the press, which leaps sensationalistically all over the crimes of the poor, still isn’t allowed to show the rich robber’s face? There is no comparison.)

Meanwhile, Reuters and the Guardian both report one sector of French society that isn’t standing by its inordinately rich and privileged man: Les féministes françaises, naturellement! They are livid at the blatant sexism that this case has brought bubbling to the surface, and are using the opportunity to show how this sexism is a regular, mundane thing in France — something that, like the biased justice system and the press, favors the already very privileged and leaves victims of injustice without redress. And who can blame them? One gets the impression that if the revolutionary goddess Marianne were an actual Frenchwoman, there would be no respect for the breasts she bares iconically as a display of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity; there would be nothing but men’s hands grabbing at them, right and left. And this makes a mockery of the whole French Revolution, this still-rampant inequality not only of the classes, but the sexes. It seems that only one thing is really equal there, and that is the “right” of men, whatever their class, to take advantage of any female they see, and pay very little if any consequence. After all, the victim of this assault is only a chambermaid. Droit du seigneur isn’t law, it’s only custom — but it’s an old, entrenched custom, one that allows for the rape of domestic workers without redress, and demands the turning of all sorts of blind eyes. And that’s something even the ravenous US media have seen fit to pooh-pooh and downplay; after all, a blatant feudal class inequality cannot be examined for what it really is by the cold light of day.

Ms. Manx, like la reine Victoria, is not amused.