Festive Left Friday Blogging: Tweet of the Day

Courtesy of a Venezuelan tweep:

“Sometimes Rafael Correa makes me think I’m gay.”

Ladies ‘n’ gents, he’s talking about THIS fine-ass dude here:

The president of Ecuador, arriving in Caracas, Venezuela, for a LatAm summit.

And totally reminding me that I, too, am a gay man trapped in a woman’s body, if the wet dreams I have about this one every so often are any indication.

Economics for Dummies: Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Stupid Sex Tricks: A wanker’s new best friend?

Courtesy of those merry pranksters at The Onion, we have every man’s dream use of technology, available at last:

Ah, TYSO. There’s only one problem with you: You are STILL no match for Ceiling Cat.

And Ceiling Cat is immune to metal quills, too.

How to justify a police state, or “This ain’t Canada anymore”

How do you justify police brutality on the level of last year’s G20 summit? And how do you justify turning Canada into a most unCanadian police state? Well, it helps if you get the media on side, as whoever infiltrated an “anarchist” gathering and took this top-seekwit hidden recording found out. And the Toronto Star was only too happy to run with the (very lame) bait:

It was the final meeting of the top anti-G20 anarchists in Toronto last year.

They were putting the finishing touches to a variety of anti-summit strategies, and were especially concerned about how to accommodate “smashy smashy” vandalism without endangering peaceful demonstrators.

“We believe in diversity of tactics,” said participant Julia Kerr.

“Anything goes,” said Adam Lewis, one of the leading speakers. “Like do what you need to do to bring the heat down on the security state and the security apparatus.”

On Friday, a provincial court judge allowed media access to a CD and transcript of the meeting, surreptitiously taped by an undercover OPP officer, Brenda Carey, who posed as a dedicated activist and won their trust.

[…]

The Spokes Council of the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance meeting at 519 Church Community Centre at 6 p.m., Friday, June 25, 2010, took place the day before rioters smashed store windows and torched cop cars in downtown Toronto.

At the meeting, participants were checked at the door and instructed by facilitator Adamiak to remove batteries from their cellphones, a security precaution.

Prychitka gave the rundown on Saturday Night Fever, a roaming dance party to “take back the streets,” starting in the Church St. gay village. “We’re looking for a lot of disco balls. We have a shipment of glow sticks. Bring banners and get ready to dance.”

Lewis outlined a plan to create “checkpoints” to prevent G20 delegates and support workers from entering the security fence surrounding the area downtown where the summit meetings were to take place. “It’s time to take back the city,” he said.

There was much talk of zones: green zones were to be safe areas for peaceful marchers; red zones for aggressive “direct action” for masked activists dressed in black — a tactic called black bloc; and orange zones were for people who wanted to support the black bloc without themselves being violent.

Gee, that sounds awfully incriminating and impressively planned, doesn’t it? But wait, there’s more:

But meeting participants had trouble coming to a consensus about how black bloc activists were to blend in with the peaceful Saturday afternoon march organized by the Canadian Labour Congress, and when they would break away to “smash or break” things.

Meghan Lankin said her group would be “marching sort of peacefully with the march,” but, if police interfered, “we will respond and do our f—ing s—”

One scenario outlined by a woman was to “bring a riot into the green zone, like we break s—, and then we have the cops that are f—ing running after us and then we run into a green zone of people and use them as cover.”

There was much talk of escape routes if police closed in.

Cadorette said it was “highly probable” they would have to “punch through a line of cops trying to encircle us.” He wanted to know how many affinity groups, small gatherings of protesters, were committed to doing this.

Cadorette also mused about going to Bloor St. to “smash it up, which in my mind is beautiful.”

Peters ventured some marchers would stay at Queen and John Sts. “to do smashy smashy.”

“The rest of the people can . . . stay with the march and bloc up after the end and then go off and do smashy smashy if they want to,” she added. “I just love to say smashy, smashy,” she confessed, to much laughter.

Tom Malleson complained activists were discussing tactics for “hours and hours and hours and we always come back to the same things.”

“Smashy smashy”? A few silly giggles over two silly words, and that’s supposed to convince us that a mass-destruction scheme was going down? FAIL.

Actually, it sounds like they were far from agreed as to what would actually happen. NOT that they had agreed to co-ordinate and carry out anything so violent as to justify the fascist crackdown you see in the video I posted above. In other words: Just like real anarchists anywhere, they have no real leadership and no real consensus. And thus, no real power to do any serious damage. (Except, of course, to the reputations of those who frankly deserve it.)

And this is what our media want us to fear and hate. This is the anarchist boogyman, people. It’s coming for us with glowsticks and disco balls! It’s gonna set fire to a few bait cars and do a little smashy-smashy! Booga, booga, booga…

Okay, here are a few OTHER things our fearless reporter forgot to mention:

“We believe in a diversity of tactics” is standard protest-speak for “You do your thing, I do my thing, and we don’t interfere in each other’s thing.” Doesn’t mean destruction and mayhem are actually about to go down, let alone on a grand scale.

And it doesn’t mean that they are terrorists, or a crack insurgency, or anything else that would justify a fascist crackdown on the level of what we saw.

But this chilling incident should make a few things clear: The cops aren’t above planting infiltrators. Or provocateurs, which I’m pretty sure the guys who did “smashy smashy” actually were. And the so-called liberal media isn’t above blowing up a chaotic, disagreement-filled meeting at a gay community centre into a veritable terror cell planning the next 9-11, either. The one hand washes the other. Media access is guaranteed by reporting things from the “right” angle. Meaning, “smashy smashy” dominates the headlines and the six-o’clock news. Even though the overwhelming majority of the protest was peaceful, and it was the COPS who were violent.

I have a few hints for the anarchists: Stop leaving yourselves so open to infiltration and abuse. Next time, strip-search everyone before EVERY meeting. Leave no earlobe unturned. Anyone who’s not willing to get naked to prove they’re not an infiltrator, gets tossed out on their ass, and never gets back in. No matter how dedicated and trustworthy they seem. And if you see someone doing smashy-smashy, don’t assume they’re really one of yours. Tackle the fucker and body-slam him, preferably while cameras are rolling. That’ll fuck the police’s (and the media’s, and the police state’s) shit right up.

You’re welcome.

What you’re not being told about Libya

Bob Powell of Above Top Secret neatly unpacks the Libyan revolution-that-wasn’t. Some interesting shockers I hadn’t heard yet include the presence of al-Qaida, apparently operating with CIA blessing, in the “National Transitional Council”, and the presence of Qatari troops, in their own country’s uniform and speaking with distinctly non-African accents, among the so-called “rebels”. (The racist murders of the black Africans in Libya, often slandered as “mercenaries”, WERE known to me, but not the actual identity of who was behind them.)

Whatever your feelings on Gaddafi (and my own, like Powell’s, are very mixed), by the end of all this you’ll agree, as I do, that whatever lies ahead for Libya, it won’t be good. And democracy won’t have anything to do with it. This was, like Iraq and Afghanistan, a war for oil. It had no place in the Arab Spring, which was a spontaneous uprising among several oil- and resource-poor MENA countries by their young people, who were all afflicted by the lack of money and opportunities. Their tyrants had the full support of Europe and the United States, and they were portrayed as “modern” and “democratic”, even when they were (and still are) not.

As the video above shows all too clearly, Libya’s situation was almost the exact opposite of the rest of North Africa and the Middle East. Libya had oil, and oil money, in abundance; Libyans were well educated (and for free), with an almost unheard-of 90%-plus literacy rate; housing and electricity were free; loans were interest-free; the country itself had no foreign debts whatsoever. It is, or was, a modern place for the most part, with very good living standards for most Libyans. In other words: precisely the kind of self-sufficient success story the US doesn’t want anyone else to get wind of. After all, they need to export “democracy” (read: CAPITALISM, which is not the same thing) to keep their own economy (which is currently on the skids) rolling.

Had Gaddafi not refused the almighty petrodollar (and the indebtedness to the US Federal Reserve that went with it), he might still be alive today. As it is, he’s the only MENA head of state toppled, not by the spontaneous uprisings of the Arab Spring, but by NATO and its regional allies, who are as slimy and scummy a bunch as you’d ever hope NEVER to meet.

Music for a Sunday: I still dream of Orgonon…

Kate Bush’s poignant classic. Based on Peter Reich’s story of his father’s arrest for building a device that, so it’s said, actually DID make rain.

(And yes, that IS the always-awesome Donald Sutherland, playing Wilhelm Reich.)

Posted in Artsy-Fartsy Culture Stuff, Music for a Sunday. Comments Off »

Wankers of the Week: Amurrican Wanksgiving

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Crappy weekend, everyone! And happy Wanksgiving to my many lovely and talented readers in the States. You people sure have a lot of winners (pronounced wieners) walking among you. My sincere condolences! This year, as your president and other political animals are out there pardoning the turkeys, I’d like you all to spare a thought for the following ones, who have neither feathers nor beaks…and who are unpardonable at this or any other time of year:

1. Mark Fucking Driscoll. Pastor Bigot hates Yoga; yawn, so what’s new? He hates EVERYTHING that is past the end of his own nose. As luck would have it, I’m focusing more on my own Yoga practice lately, and that’s why I find his anti-Yoga wank so goddamn fucking hilarious. It’s the furthest thing from the truth. Here’s a little story for you, from Jess Stearn’s excellent book (which I’m reading right now), Yoga, Youth, and Reincarnation:

Could one be Christian or Jew, or whatever, and still make use of Yoga, without affecting one’s own faith? It seemed likely. Tony Soma, proprietor of Tony’s Wife, a popular Manhattan bistro, remained a Catholic, while standing on his head and singing operatic arias in a remarkable demonstration of vitality at seventy-three. But Yoga was far more to him than a dramatic headstand. He had taken it up after his first wife’s death, and it had helped him through a period of tension and sorrow. And now he stood on his head five minutes a every day, and let the world do as it pleased. A United States senator from Massachusetts, a Catholic like Tony, had once demanded, “How can you say Yoga is superior to your own religion?”

Tony smiled. “I don’t say it’s superior — just different.”

John F. Kennedy returned to his dinner, apparently mollified.

And there you have it, folks. If that’s good enough for JFK, it should be good enough for anyone! Yoga gets the spiritual kinks out while leaving the religion in peace. It might do wonders for Pastor Bigot, but since he’s already in the thrall of his own demonic entity (its name is Blind Hate), he’s never gonna know true salvation. Poor devil!

2. Linda Fucking Katehi. The only thing that resonates louder than a crowd roaring “Shame, shame, shame” is a crowd facing you in deeply disapproving silence as you scurry past. And that’s just what the chancellor of UC Davis got in return for defending the pepper-spraying of nonviolent protesters at the university last week. It looks good on her, no? Especially since she’s doubled down instead of stepping down. More disapproval? You got it!

3. Chuck Fucking Wexler. Why?

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That’s why. No sense denying the obvious. Especially since the whole world is watching, and therefore, the whole world KNOWS when you’re fucking lying.

4. Ashton Fucking Kutcher. Gentlemen, meet the last man you’d ever want to take relationship advice from: the soon-to-be-ex-Mr.-Demi. I use the term “man” loosely, since, at the juvenile age of 33, it’s apparent that he’s got some maturational issues there. Hence all the sluttin’ and Jesus-beard-growin’. (It’s called OVERCOMPENSATION.) Most guys have adulthood pretty well figured out at least 10 years ahead of him (some, 15 or even more!), but this wart on the genitals of humanity is gonna grow old disgracefully, by all indications. And if he hasn’t grown up by now, he never will. So…unless your greatest ambition is to wind up senile and decrepit in ratty pajamas and a “mansion” full of dog shit, I’d advise you to take whatever he says with a truckload of road salt. Better still, ignore it.

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5. Diego Fucking Arria. Drama queen of the corrupt Venezuelan opposition thinks he can seriously get Chavecito charged for pre-crime at The Hague? With preo-cooked documents? Oh, and he DEMANDS action? Promptly? And he “fears retaliation”? Much laughter to ensue, folks. There’s a reason this old buffoon is a FORMER diplomat. Popcorn?

6. Leocenis Fucking García. And while we’re on the subject of Venezuelan oppo drama queens, how about this one? Going on a hunger strike for the “right” to publish indecent, crude cartoons as “journalistic opinion”? How, um, NOBLE. In a land where the corporate media already runs roughshod over the truth and largely unchecked (trust me, he’d never get away with shit like he has in CANADA), he’s utterly discredited. Why Reporters Without Borders defends him, I don’t know. I guess they don’t know the real story on him, but I do. He’s in cahoots with the prison mafia bosses, and is a known putschist. And he’s VERY unpopular with Venezuelan women’s groups, thanks to his little sexist doodle demeaning ELECTED female leaders. At this rate, RSF is right on schedule to become the next big international laughingstock in the campaign to falsely discredit Venezuela, right along with the OAS and Human Rights Watch. When will they all learn to keep their hands OFF?

7. Bryan Fucking Fischer. I’m beginning to think there’s a little pink-tutu’d skeleton doing the Watusi in his closet. How ’bout you?

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8. Maurice Fucking Greenberg. How’s this for chutzpah? His “too big to fail” corporation got bailed out, BY THE US TAXPAYERS, and promptly went on a ritzy-spa spending spree to celebrate. Now he’s suing the government for $25 billion US, claiming the shareholders lost money when the government “took over”. Excuse me? It was all down to YOUR mismanagement, mister. You’re lucky the government isn’t suing you…although if I were in their shoes, I’d certainly be looking into a countersuit. And if I were one of your shareholders, ditto.

9. The Fucking Duke of Edinburgh. Sez wind farms are “useless”, and he would know, being full of wind and no use whatsofuckingever himself. Meanwhile, the Germans are looking at him and sniggering quietly up their environmentally friendly sleeves.

10. Pamela Fucking Geller. Oh noes, your Butterball turkey is gonna turn you into a SECRET MUSLIM! It’s gonna make you chant prayers in Arabic and fall on your face in the direction of Mecca five times a day, whether you want to or not! Because it’s “stealth halal”, whatever THAT is supposed to mean. Culturally-inclusive turkeys, the HORROR! Here’s a terrific way to avoid the Stealth Stoopid, kiddies: Don’t swallow anything you hear from Pamela Fucking Geller.

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11. Roy Fucking Egan. Can you believe this freak-scene used to work for the TSA at Chicago’s O’Hare airport? What a pity for him that they monitor Facebook. But blacks, Latinos, Muslims and LGBT folk can breathe a sigh of relief that he’s not there anymore.

12. Herman Fucking Cain. Aaaaaand the wanks just keep on coming. This week, it’s no veggies on the pizza (those are for sissies), despite pizza being declared a vegetable by none other than the Repugnican-dominated congress itself, thus creating severe internal contradictions within the party as well as the pizzasphere. And when the Koch Brothers’ butler had to be operated on for colon cancer (the product, no doubt, of his oh-so-unsissified eating habits), what a relief that Dr. Abdallah was a Lebanese Christian! Yeah, who needs a halal endoscope poking around in your colon, eh? Maybe he’d like to join #10 at her bigoted table this holiday — that is, if she doesn’t fall to the floor, vomit pea soup, and babble apoplectically about “fucking shvartzers“.

13. and 14. Bill O’Fucking Reilly and Megyn Fucking Kelly. If pepper spray is just “a food product, essentially”, why don’t YOU eat it and shut the fuck up? PS: Ha, ha.

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15. Ken Fucking Langone. We 99%ers don’t care about your hurt fucking feelings, Mr. Home Despot. Pay your taxes and shut the fuck up about how horribly fucking hard you have it at the top of the food chain.

16. Rick Fucking Perry. Well, it’s official: Crotch is clueless about international terrorism, international relations, and international fucking everything. I’m sure this could be shortened to Crotch is clueless, period.

17. Sarah Fucking Palin. Ooooooo, this could get interesting….it looks like she just alienated FUX Snooze! Let’s hope this spells the end of her media gravy train (and her media exposure), because I’m getting really really really REALLY fucking sick of listing her here everytime she yaps about her hangnails.

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18. Joe Fucking Amendola, again. Jerry Sandusky’s accusers are being “pampered” and made to “feel important”? My, what an interesting choice of verbiage you got going there, Mr. Creepy Attorney. Because, you see, pampering and making kids feel important is just what perverts do when they’re grooming them. PS: Saying that Sandusky’s home was “like a hotel” isn’t helping your case any, either. The fact that it’s like the No-Tell Mo-Tel actually is gonna make him look even worse!

19. Danielle Fucking Crittenden. Anyone with an IQ above room temperature would know that you can’t insert a tampon that is already saturated, never mind with what, in any orifice. And anyone with an IQ greater than her shoe size would realize that if alcohol burns your throat going down, it will probably do much worse to other, more delicate mucous membranes. But no, not this professional concern troll, Mrs. Axis-of-Evil herself, who has made a tidy cottage industry of telling women to go back to the kitchen and mind that their precious offspring don’t grow into commie-pinko libbers, or the terrorists will win. Her IQ is clearly in the freezer (probably right next to the Absolut). She just had to learn the hard way what the kids already know without having to try it. On the plus side, maybe this will shock her into NOT drinking (or inserting) the latest scary swill that the right-wing media gin-mill spits out. A girl can always hope, eh?

20. Andrew Fucking Breitbart. Why?

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That’s why. If Occupy camps are just “semi-perma poopie rape cities” to him, then he’s a fully-perma drunkie asshat who’s never been within a mile of one. He’s being paid (wayyyy too much, IMO) to paint the worst and most unrealistic picture of anything that seriously challenges a stratum he can only dimly DREAM of joining. And kiddies, you just KNOW that this one’s gonna end up muttering his incoherent obscenities behind a 7-Eleven sometime in the none too distant future, once the Koch brothers decide he’s becoming a crapaganda liability and get tired of sinking their one-percenter bucks into his Big Bullshit family of sites. THEN we’ll see how he feels about “begrudging” the billionaires, eh?

21. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Every year, the Pigman recycles his own lame, erroneous version of Thanksgiving, founded in 1994. And every year, millions of US citizens, accidentally hearing it, come away with either several additional IQ points missing, or a massive bellyache, depending on their personal politics.

22. Mitt Fucking Romney. I guess the crap AEI meme du jour must be “Hezbollah in Latin America”, because all the Repug candidates were spouting it all over the place this week. Mittens was no exception. But since he used the phrase “imminent threat”, let us use one of our own in response to that: BULLSHIT, MITTENS!!! PS: And speaking of bullshit, check out just how adept Mittens has become at double-talk: On the one hand, he preaches law-abidingness, on the other he wipes his computer records, ILLEGALLY. Mittens is now officially bilingual!

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23. Enrique Fucking Mendoza. And while we’re on the subject of terrorists in Latin America, how about a real one? This one, a fascist putschist (failed, as are they all in Venezuela) thinks we’ve all forgotten what he got up to one fine April day in Caracas, nine years ago. He seriously thinks he stands a chance, 10 years later, of “stopping Chavezism”! He seriously thinks we’ve forgotten his instigating role in the coup, and the shut-down (that’s CENSORSHIP, kiddies) of VTV? Unfortunately for Enrique, the Internets NEVER forget. And they never stop laughing, either.

24. The batshit fucking crazy woman who pepper-sprayed her way through a Wal-Mart just to get to the stinkin’ Xbox games. And people wonder why Black Friday is the most reviled day of the year in the US? Or why no one can seem to save a dime there, unlike the French and the Germans? Or why WallyWorld has such a shitty reputation? I think this might be a clue, y’all.

25. Josef Fucking Ratzinger. Sez pedophilia is a scourge, alludes darkly to Sandusky scandal. Sez nothing about Vatican’s liability for sweeping own sex scandal under rug. But hey! At least he finally acknowledged that there WAS a scandal, eh? Too little, too late, too bad.

26. Alvaro Fucking Uribe. Yes, El Narco’s still making headlines. No, unfortunately, NOT from the prisoner’s dock at The Hague. Yes, he’s still trying to interfere in Venezuelan politics. And yes, he’s still slagging Chavecito for being a way way way way WAY better man than himself, and his own hand-picked successor for having two civil words to say to him. Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwn. But hey! Colombia’s going to be importing more US-made sex dolls, so all can’t be totally bad under El Narco Numero Dos!

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27. The fucking fascist rent-a-cops who knocked a grandfather unconscious for trying to save his grandson from being trampled by a Black Friday crowd. And yes, this happened in another fucking Wal-Mart. And yes, it was also over a fucking video game!

28. Samuel Fucking Mullet. Apparently members of his “breakaway Amish sect” (that’s a CULT, kiddies!) are being charged with chopping the hair (let the mullet jokes begin!) and shaving the beards of regular Amish neighbors. It’s some kind of weird Amish notion of an honor crime, which you’d have to be Amish to understand.

29. Pat Fucking Robertson. One thing NOT to be thankful for this year: Patwa ain’t dead yet.

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And finally, the phucking phools who tried tonight to phish me through Phacebook…er, FACEBOOK. You PHAILED.

Goodnight, and get phucked…er, fucked!

Venezuela’s gold comes home

Don’t expect to read anything good about this in your lamestream English media. And don’t expect to see these pictures, either:

Citizens of Caracas hold up a banner thanking President Chávez for bringing home the gold in the name of their sovereignty.

A welcoming crowd lines the streets of Caracas as the armored trucks carrying the first gold shipment pass on their way to the Central Bank.

Here’s the story:

The first shipment of the gold which Venezuela had kept in European banks, was received today amid great celebration by Venezuelans.

President Hugo Chávez had announced the arrival of the gold earlier, and shortly after 4 p.m. the president of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), Nelson Merentes, confirmed the arrival of the gold in Venezuela on state television.

Almost immediately, Venezuelans mobilized to accompany the caravan transporting the reserves to the BCV.

“Impressive mobilization of the people of Caracas to receive our national gold,” tweeted parliamentary deputy Freddy Bernal, who was present along with other functionaries and citizens in the streets.

Shouting “The gold is ours”, the people of Caracas lined the streets to watch the caravan of armored trucks pass.

Nelson Merentes stated that there were a little over $300 million (US) worth of gold in the first shipment, which arrived on Friday, and was transferred to the BCV’s vaults.

[…]

Merentes emphasized that “we have the physical, technical and human capacity to look after the gold resources which are being transferred to the vaults of the Central Bank.”

Translation mine.

Why is this significant? Well, just look at the headlines. Europe is in crisis, with even Italy — Europe’s third-biggest economy — unable to pay off its debts. Bankers are demanding sacrifice and austerity in the form of public service cuts, even as their own wallets grow fatter.

And since these Venezuelan reserves came out of European banks, it’s not only a statement of sovereignty on Chávez’s part, it’s also a served notice that Venezuela wants no part of the European crisis, and will not allow its gold to be part of the bankers’ insane gambling spree. In other words: Venezuela is opting out of the global crisis of capitalism.

And a glance at Venezuela’s own history and economic crises of the past makes it clear why they are doing so, and why ordinary Venezuelans support their president and their central bank in this momentous decision:

In a secretive operation, on Friday, August 5, 1988, eight tons of gold that had been under guard “suddenly left” the country, according to denunciations at the time by communist deputies, in the face of silence from the predominant politicians of the era.

Later, on February 21, 1989, the recently elected (for the second time) president, Carlos Andrés Pérez, revealed something similar on the front page of the newspaper, El Nacional: “BCV ships eight tons of gold to London.”

The transfers of gold out of the country began during the early days of “representative democracy”, under Rómulo Betancourt. Approximately a third of the country’s total gold reserves were placed in the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, as a guarantee for a $2 billion loan, contracted by Betancourt, which was already cancelled before 1989.

The dates are significant. In February and March of 1989, the streets of Caracas were awash in blood as the Caracazo raged, and Carlos Andrés Pérez sent the police and army out to fire on their own fellow Venezuelans. For what? For rioting against a crisis manufactured, in large part, by capital flight, corruption, debts to foreign banks, and austerity measures virtually identical to those being protested in Europe right now.

Riddle me this: If Venezuela had all that gold, what did it need a fucking $2 billion loan for?

Rhetorical question, kiddies. Venezuela didn’t need that loan at all. (Venezuela is not a poor country, it is a rich country that was MADE poor.) The US needed it…to pay itself for all the half-assed “development projects” it undertook in Venezuela. Most of them having to do with getting quick, easy and cheap access to Venezuelan oil…and oh yeah, Venezuelan GOLD. And putting in just enough infrastructure to make it look like something was trickling down, and to make sure that the two predominant “democratic” parties, the “liberal” Acción Democrática (AD) and the conservative COPEI, had enough spending money to throw around buying votes in the poor barrios with fresh paint for the houses, bags of groceries, and so on.

Venezuela’s oil and gold could easily make ALL foreign loans unnecessary, but to assure that they didn’t, one corrupt “democratic” government after another sent Venezuelan gold out of country and tied it up in various foreign reserve banks. “To keep it safe”, or so it was said.

In reality, that gold could not have been LESS safe. It was being used as collateral by the foreign bankers to back up their gambles in stocks, bonds, and oh yeah, FOREIGN DEBTS. And as financial deregulation came into vogue around the world, that kind of collateral came in VERY handy.

And that’s why Venezuela wants its gold at home, and why it’s very smart of Chavecito to bring it back, RIGHT NOW. Venezuela is going to weather the so-called global recession better than Canada and the US, and certainly better than Europe, as a result of this simple, sovereign move.

Any questions?

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Mike check on Aisle 4!

Here you go, folkies…your iconic image from the craptastic retail event known as Black Friday (also known, by those in the know, as Buy Nothing Day):

This young woman got a rent-a-cop escort out of a Wal-Mart in Cincinnati. She was kicked out for doing an Occupy-style “mike check”.

Love her attitude. And the expression on the man at left, and the young guy behind him capturing it all on his camera phone.

The state-sponsored murder of Pablo Neruda

The official version of Pablo Neruda’s death goes something like this: World famous Chilean poet and Nobel winner dies of metastatic prostate cancer, age 69. But recent investigative findings put the lie to that version. Here’s the story that’s got Chileans, and Neruda fans everywhere, buzzing:

Poet Pablo Neruda did not die as a result of the prostate cancer he suffered. This is the conclusion, based on clinical records, in case ROL 1038-2011, after five months of investigations into the death of Neruda, headed by judge Mario Carroza.

In a 209-page dossier, the investigators contradict the information given by the Santa María clinic on the day of the poet’s death, September 23, 1973, which assures that he died of “metastasized prostate cancer”, as does his death certificate.

The clinic’s version has been supported by the Neruda Foundation, which on several occasions has ruled out the assertions of Neruda’s personal assistant and chauffeur, Manuel Araya, who says it was homicide.

In a press release dated last May 12, the Foundation announced: “There is no evidence, nor proof of any kind, that Pablo Neruda died of any cause other than the advanced cancer he had suffered for some time […] It does not seem reasonable to construct a new version of the poet’s death solely on the basis of the opinions of his driver, Mr. Manuel Araya, who keeps insisting on this version with no proof other than his appearance. We find much more serious and reliable the testimonies of the persons who were with Neruda in his last days of life.”

The judicial process to determine the cause of the Chilean poet’s death began last May 8, when it was reported that Neruda was “assassinated”, and Araya denounced that Neruda died of a lethal injection to his stomach.

In that report, Araya ruled out as well that Neruda had been in a grave condition in the days prior to his death. Araya states that Neruda was transferred to the Santa María clinic from his home on Isla Negra on September 19, 1973, in order to escape the violence [following the coup d’état of September 11, 1973] and to wait in Santiago, in a location he believed to be secure, to fly out to Mexico on a plane sent by the government of Luis Echeverría.

Clinical investigations and testimonies gathered by the investigators appear to prove Araya correct.

José Luis Pérez and Patricio Díaz Ortiz, physicians with the Criminalistic Investigations Department of the police, sent the investigators of the Human Rights Brigade, which is heading the investigation, Document 75 on the 16th of August. In it is the analysis of 13 medical examinations of Neruda between 1972 and 1973.

In the section marked “Medico-Criminalistic Considerations”, article (d), is written: “There is a fact which draws attention and complicates the analysis. In the letter from Dr. Guillermo Merino, Neruda’s treating physician, on April 18, 1973, to Dr. Vargas Salazar (urologist), it states: ‘Esteemed colleague: Enclosed please find a summary of the treatments given to Don Pablo Neruda, referred by yourself for treatment of adenoma of the prostate and arthrosis of the right pelvis.’

“The problem in this case, said the police medics, is that an adenoma is a benign tumor, and not malignant.”

But another record appears to point to the opposite. In point (2) of the same section, there appears a report of cobalt radiotherapy, applied between March 19 and April 18, 1973. “Radiotherapy is a treatment which, generally, is used against malignant tumors, such as prostate cancer […] radiotherapy is not used in the case of benign tumors,” say the medics.

In the first point of their conclusion, the medics state: “Based on objective examination, we cannot report with certainty the cause of the death of Mr. Pablo Neruda […] since we do not have the results of the respective biopsy.”

In the fourth point, they say: “The test that could signal the presence of metastases, the acid phosphatase test, showed normal results, which could signify among other things that there was no malignant tumor or that it was limited to the gland or was normalized as a result of radiotherapy. Since we have no clinical records from the patient it is not possible to draw any conclusions based on this test.”

These conclusions are consistent with the statements given by Neruda’s widow, Matilde Urrutia, to various Spanish media in 1974, and which were cited in the judicial report, whose contents are protected in Chile by a gag order.

In an article published in the magazine Pueblo, on September 19, 1974, Urrutia stated that “the cancer (Neruda) suffered was well under control, and we did not foresee such a rapid decline. (Neruda) hadn’t even written his will because he thought his death was still a long way off.”

Matilde Urrutia gave an interview to the EFE press agency this month in which she ratified her stance: “Cancer didn’t kill him. The doctors, whom he had seen a few days before, told him they had caught it in time, and that he would live several more years.” These declarations were cited in the report, “Shadows over Isla Negra”, by the Spaniard, Mario Amorós, published on July 22 of this year in the magazine Tiempo, in Spain.

The fifth and final point of the conclusions of the medical report underlines the necessity of locating the clinical records of Neruda and his biopsy. These records were not provided by the institutions treating him in spite of Judge Carroza’s request, in response to the demands of the plaintiffs, the directors of the Chilean Communist Party, represented by attorney Eduardo Contreras.

On July 28, Contreras requested that the Santa María clinic provide the Nobel prizewinner’s medical history. On August 22, Dr. Cristián Ugarte Palacios, medical director of the clinic, responded: “Given the time elapsed, I must inform the Minister that our clinic no longer has the information solicited.”

In an interview with Proceso, Contreras said that the disappearance of Neruda’s records “is impossible to imagine, not only because they have the obligation to preserve them under the law, which states that public hospitals and clinics must maintain records for at least 40 years. You also must consider that we are not speaking of an unknown patient…This concerns the medical history of one of the only two Nobel prizewinners in Chile. All things considered, it’s very strange and suggestive that his records no longer exist in the Santa María clinic.”

The attorney said that a prestigious group of oncologists, whose identities he prefers to withhold for the time being, analyzed various medical tests performed on the poet during the last year of his life. According to Contreras, they came to the conclusion that “it is not possible to accept that [Neruda] died of cancer, since he did not have ‘caquexia’ [cachexia, severe wasting of a terminal patient], all of it is absolutely false.”

Contreras added: “According to how they explained it to me, ‘caquexia’ produces a state of abandonment in which the person is practically a cadaver, and cannot even speak. And Pablo [Neruda] spoke up to the last minute, not only with the Mexican ambassador, Gonzalo Martínez Corbalá, but with others as well.”

Martínez Corbalá, in a testimony published in the same weekly magazine, said that on Saturday, the 22nd of September, 1973, he was at the clinic to inform Neruda that all was in readiness for him and his wife, Matilde, to travel to Mexico. He affirmed that “the poet’s appearance had improved. And his spirits as well […] He looked very much the master of himself and I dare say, very optimistic.”

All of this speaks of a Neruda who was not on his deathbed, as medical accounts heretofore accepted as the official truths of his last days have insisted.

On page 206 of the dossier appears the testimony of Rosa Nuñez, Neruda’s personal nurse from 1960 to 1973. “Two years after the death of Don Pablo, during the summer, Señora Matilde Urrutia came to visit me. She told me that she suspected that her husband was murdered in the clinic, possibly with some kind of injection. It was the last time I saw her.”

This declaration appears in a clipping titled “The Captain’s Solitude”, by journalist Javier García, published in the newspaper, La Nación, on September 18, 2005.

Coincidentally, the Chilean newspaper, El Mercurio, published, on September 24, 1973 — one day after the death of Neruda — that he had died “as a result of a shock suffered after having received an injection.”

In the report, “Who Killed Pablo Neruda?”, published last September 6 by the magazine Revista Ñ, published by the Clarín group of Argentina, Dr. Sergio Draper — who attended Neruda in the Santa María clinic — declared:

“I only saw [Neruda] for an instant on Sunday the 23 of September, as I was not in charge of his case. That day the nurse on duty told me that Neruda was apparently in a great deal of pain, so I told her to give him the injection prescribed by his physician. If I recall correctly, it was a ‘dipirona’ [metamizole]…I ordered that she give him an injection as indicated by his physician. I was nothing more than an interlocutor. It’s the last straw that we are constantly under suspicion.”

Draper has also been called as a witness before the court in the case of the murder of former president Eduardo Frei, verfied in the same Santa María clinic, in January 1982.

On page 113 of the dossier are declarations from numerous people linked to the Neruda Foundation, all rejecting the possibility that the poet was assassinated. All of them also discred Manuel Araya, the chauffeur.

Among them is the singer and documentary filmmaker, Hugo Arévalo. He maintains that “on September 18, 1973, hearing rumors that Neruda’s death was imminent, I went with [my wife] Charo Cofré to Isla Negra in our Citroën AX330. Upon our arrival at Pablo’s house, we met a person who identified himself as his driver [Araya].”

Further on, Arévalo states that the poet “could not walk, and felt demoralized”, and that he commented that the Mexican ambassador to Chile had offered to take him out of the country. In spite of his anguish, Neruda celebrated the country’s independence day that day with them, “for which reason he sent us to buy some empanadas,” said Arévalo.

In an interview with Proceso, Manuel Araya said that the story related by Arévalo — countersigned by the latter’s wife — “is absolutely false.” He affirms that neither Arévalo nor his wife were on Isla Negra in the days following the coup, and that no one could come to see Neruda because the soldiers guarding the house prevented the entry of any visitors. He also stated that nobody drank wine or ate empanadas that day, “because we were not in the mood.”

In Arévalo’s account, he and his wife stayed the night of the 18th on Isla Negra. The next day they supposedly accompanied, in a caravan, Neruda and Matilde on their trip to the Santa María clinic in Santiago. In an interview given to the magazine Rocinante in May 2003, Cofré said that Araya participated in all these events, and drove the Nerudas’ Fiat 125 while Pablo and Matilde Neruda rode in an ambulance. But in her legal testimony, Cofré omitted this item. Araya, for his part, denies vehemently that the other couple had been there at any time.

The statements of Cofré and Arévalo were not solicited by the plaintiffs or Judge Carroza. Contreras asks: “What influence does the Pablo Neruda Foundation bring to bear so that persons testify who have not been called upon to do so? I say this since there is a curious preoccupation on the part of the Neruda Foundation to ‘help’ the investigation, or rather, to tilt it a certain way. So I ask myself: why does it matter so much to them?” And then he answers himself: “I think the Foundation has an interest in not allowing anyone to tarnish their marketing icon.”

Matilde Urrutia mentioned Manuel Araya repeatedly in her memoir, My Life With Pablo Neruda: “Now it is getting late, and my driver still hasn’t appeared. Yesterday, he left me at the clinic […] he was the only person nearby to help me…Poor guy, who went all over the place with Pablo, to markets, to antique shops…he disappeared with our car and with him I lost the only person who kept me company all the hours of the day.”

Translation mine.

From what I can glean from the above, a few interesting facts emerge:

*Pablo Neruda did have prostate cancer, but it was well under control, not metastasized.

*His doctors felt that he had several more years of life ahead of him, and he did not feel the urgency to write a will.

*Neruda did not have the characteristic wasted appearance that terminally ill individuals tend to get. He was well enough to see visitors other than immediate family, among them the Mexican ambassador, who was trying to arrange Neruda’s safe passage to Mexico with the new military junta in charge of Chile since the coup of a few days prior. He appeared to be in good spirits and was “very much the master of himself”, as the ambassador himself testified.

*Neruda was in fact well enough to leave the country. His doctors seemed to offer no objections to his plans to flee to Mexico. Were he truly on his deathbed, wouldn’t they have told the Mexican ambassador to scrap all travel plans for the poet?

*Both Neruda’s widow and his chauffeur asserted the same thing: Neruda was killed by a lethal injection administered in the Santa María clinic. Why would the two people closest to the poet for so many years of his life lie about such a thing, when they lacked any motive for doing so?

*The “lethal injection” theory is corroborated by an attending physician, who states that Neruda was injected with Dipirona, the local trade name of a powerful analgesic, metamizole. He was in severe pain at the time, perhaps due to the “arthrosis of the right pelvis” mentioned early on. Was he given an overdose of the painkiller by accident, or on purpose? And if it was not a shot of Dipirona, what was the drug that killed him?

*In a strange coincidence, the same doctor who witnessed the “Dipirona” injection that likely killed Neruda was also called upon to testify in the case of the assassination of former Chilean president Eduardo Frei, who died in 1982 at the same clinic where Neruda breathed his last. Could this have been another instance of the Pinochet dictatorship eliminating anyone popular enough to stand as a rival? Frei had initially supported the coup against Salvador Allende, a coup which Neruda, a leftist, had vehemently decried. But several years later Frei turned against Pinochet. This conversion apparently took place not long before his “mysterious” death.

*Neruda’s medical records “were no longer being kept” by the clinic where he died. Chilean law mandates that ALL patient records be kept by their hospitals and clinics for at least 40 years after their deaths, in the event that a suspicious death should result in an inquest. Yet this law, which applies to all Chileans, was not observed in the case of one of Chile’s most famous citizens, whose own death is highly suspicious. Just a malign coincidence?

*And finally, the timing. The coup took place on September 11, 1973; Neruda died on September 23. Not two weeks after a coup which he passionately decried, Neruda, who famously vowed never to “sing the General’s verses”, was suddenly dead of a cancer that had not spread or caused cachexia, or terminal wasting. Dead despite being in good spirits and ready to leave for Mexico, apparently with his doctors’ blessing.

If that all doesn’t stink to high heaven, I don’t know what does.

As for the Neruda Foundation, its adherence to the official version seems to stem more from a dedication to orthodoxy than to truth. Why would they not welcome an investigation to get to the bottom of their famous namesake’s highly suspicious death? It makes little sense for them to categorically reject all but the “official” version.

Unless, of course, they were infiltrated by Pinochetist elements who determined that the foundation’s job was not to preserve the accurate memory of the ardent, popular leftist Neruda, but to whitewash it. A possibility that certainly can’t be ruled out, given how for many years the entire awful truth about Pinochet’s ruthless fascism was concealed — “disappeared”, as it were — from the public record. Along with the fact that it was all directly aided and abetted by the US State Department, the US military, and the CIA.

Under those circumstances, the extremely hinky events surrounding Neruda’s death are not merely suspicious, they are downright sinister. Could the US government have played a role in the murder of Pablo Neruda? The many questions, the many doubts, the known facts of their role in the Chilean coup, and the disappearance of evidence mandated by Chilean law, makes this hideous possibility impossible to rule out.