Oh, for the love of muff…

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Portrait of Ms. Ruby May, Standing, by Leena McCall. Medium: Oil on canvas.

Can you see what’s wrong with this picture? I can’t.

I hear that it was deemed “pornographic and disgusting”, which I’m sure would come as a laugh to anyone who’s actually seen disgusting pornography (and I have). I have to wonder at the delicate sensibilities of the fuddy-duddies who thought this was too much, while allowing another portrait — fully nude, but more conventionally posed — to pass. (And by “conventionally posed”, I mean with the woman model as passive object of the male gaze.)

Perhaps the problem with this is that Ms. Ruby May has what appear to be henna tattoos, draped like tendrils over her shoulders and collarbones. Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s half-dressed in turn-of-the-last-century drag. Heavens to Betsy, a woman in a vest and knickers! (And no, British readers, that’s not an undershirt and panties, that’s vest as in gentleman’s waistcoat, and knickers as in bockers.) Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s wearing a watch-chain, another masculine touch underscoring the drag sensibility of the whole. Or maybe it’s that pipe (an obvious prop, since there’s no perfumed smoke curling daintily from its bowl.)

No, no, that can’t be it. What is it, then?

Oh my gawd, her pants are undone. And what is that I see peeking out? Why, the lady has pubes! Oh noes!

As everybody knows by now, female pubes are a terrible scourge and a menace to society. They must be scraped away, torn out at the roots, and the roots killed with fire, lest they ever sprout again. As everybody knows, lady-pubes allowed to run rampant will molest little boys. And kill babies!

The only thing worse than the scourge of lady-pubes is the terrible curse of the Elderly Vagina. And if we allow women to proudly possess pubes, even if we don’t all go around showing them off as Ms. Ruby does here — why, what’s next? Will we also be proud of our nether hairs when they turn silver — or, in the case of us natural redheads, purest snowy white?

Oh, the horror. Female self-esteem! The HORROR.

No, no, we can’t have a woman proudly showing her pubes. Not even if she’s painted by Gustav Klimt himself.

Oh wait, that’s allowed. Klimt was a man! It’s quite all right for men to paint women in a sexual context. Those who did so a century ago to public outrage and opprobrium are now revered as Great Artists. But for another woman to do so, as Leena McCall has done? Dangerous! Why, just look at that thing. The woman isn’t passively subjecting herself (and her unshorn crotch) to the male gaze, but actively looking back out at us! And worse yet, she’s doing so with a challenging glint in her eye. A glint that is equal parts “hey, sailor” and “fuck you”. Or, if you want to get all stuffy about it, a look that says both come-hither and go-thither.

No, we can’t have a woman undressing us with her eyes, and perhaps contemptuously withering us with that same sexy gaze. It’s too much like she’s looking right through us, and finding us lacking. Lacking in courage for not being able to handle the sight of a set of female genitalia not artificially made to resemble those of a harmless, helpless newborn baby girl. Lacking in the wit to understand what we are seeing. Lacking in the visionary guts to realize that women can, and MUST, have sexual agency, the right to say yea or nay, I-want-you or I-want-you-not, as we will. Lacking, in short, the understanding that a woman is more than a body, and that she is not just some consumable object, but a person in her own right, and as much so as any man. She has will. She has desires. And why should she not have the explicit right to express all that?

Why doesn’t she, already?

Well, here’s why: We live in gormless times. We have never seen the virgin/whore dichotomy quite so polarized as it is today. Even the Victorian era has nothing on the present. On the one hand, we have every kind of porn, depicting every depraved thing people can do unto one another, with literally no holds barred (including the death-grip on the throat, usually of a woman). On the other, we have something ickier, creepier, more spiritually deadening, and more depraved still: purity balls, where fathers take on the role of surrogate husband to virginal girls, and pledge to “cover” them until they can pass them off, presumably while still virginal, to a suitable real husband. We have Rush Limbaugh slut-shaming Sandra Fluke because that shameless hussy dared to put in a good word for birth-control pills, between fistfuls of OxyContin and Viagra — and nary a word about himself jetting off to sex tours in the Dominican Republic, where child prostitutes are dirt cheap and nauseously easy to find. These guys are all running around with total impunity, ordering women to do as they say, not as they do. And, under protest, we let them. Be it in porn or in purity culture, women are both infantilized and objectified, passed around like bongs at a party, and above all, NEVER allowed to be sexual on their own terms. It is always at the whim of a man, whether a creepy photographer like Terry Richardson (and a creepy businessman like Dov Charney), or a porn director…or the “priesthood holder” of the house, dear ol’ dad himself.

That may be why Ms. Ruby is dressed in old-fashioned men’s clothing, but only halfway. And why the sight of her standing there with undone trousers and no perceptible shame is so “pornographic” and horrifying in this supposedly so much more open day and age — when all of us, if we are honest, will readily admit that we’ve seen a whole lot worse.

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 53

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“United to push Venezuela along the road to destruction…” That looks about right, eh?

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to VenOpIronía!

Yes, I realize it’s been quiet on this front here lately. Mainly because the oppos have failed in their latest bid for a coup d’état, and the embarrassed silence from them has been deafening…until now. Yup, Majunche’s back, sorta…or at least, he’s back to shooting off his mouth. And what just popped out is doubly humiliating, not just for him, but for Prettyboy Leo and MariCori, ha ha:

The governor of the state of Miranda, and twice-failed opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, has declared that the project to put an end to the Bolivarian Republic, called “La Salida” (The Exit), proposed by María Corina Machado and Leopoldo López, is a failure.

“The opposition lost,” Capriles said, underscoring the contradictions and confirming the internal divisions in the MUD coalition.

The opposition ex-leader recognized that the so-called “Exit” was rejected by 89% of Venezuelans, according to surveys. This, according to Capriles, could only benefit the Maduro government.

“The only one benefiting was the ruling [PSUV] party…in places where the people are in need, they fear the opposition discourse, they believe it wants to set the country on fire,” Capriles said.

However, it is a public and published fact that the governor of Miranda took part in political rallies in favor of López’s radical proposal, accompanied by López’s wife, Lilian Tintori, and speaking alongside María Corina Machado of the need to emphatically warn the national executive, especially President Nicolás Maduro. His famous phrase was “I will make Miraflores [Palace] tremble”, spoken on Francisco de Miranda Avenue, at the Unicentro el Marqués shopping centre, before a public debate between opposition leaders and the political high command of the Revolution.

Translation mine.

Yup, nothing like the solidarity and unity of the aptly named MUD coalition. When all you’ve got to tie you together is an urge to divide and conquer, you shouldn’t be too surprised when the divided and conquered party turns out to be yours.

Ah well. Maybe another good ol’-fashioned racist lynching will serve to rally the opposition troops. When they get done shivving each other from behind, that is.

Come see me eat nipples!

Y’okay. Now that we’ve got the silliness out of our systems (and the deliberately bad English translations of Bollywood dance numbers), let’s talk a bit about nipples.

Perhaps you’ve seen the Tata Top, and heard of #FreeTheNipple? Yeah, boobs are in the news again. And it’s all because female mammaries are (a) sexualized, and (b) CENSORED.

Oh yeah, and also because (b) is a direct outgrowth of (a). And vice versa.

And because the Puritans are dead, but small-p puritanism still lives in the US, and Canada too, by extension. Even though it’s legal for women to go topless up here, and has been for decades, most of us won’t do it unless we’re strictly among people we love and trust.

And some of us — me, for instance — won’t even do it in our own backyards.

Granted, I have sound health reasons for not taking advantage of our liberal clothing laws. I’m a natural redhead, and that means fair skin that burns easily. I don’t tan for shit, and I don’t want skin cancer, either. So when it gets hot, I tend to run for cover. And let my big, baggy ol’ t-shirts be my shady tents, especially if it’s too hot for bras.

But even if sunburn weren’t an issue, I’d still be reluctant to go out in a bikini top. Never mind one that’s cleverly colored (and printed) to look like bare breasts.

Now, why do you suppose that is?

Well, for starters, I’m very well endowed. Not bragging, but not ashamed of what I’ve got either. I love my bazookas, even though they complicate my life no end.

And yes, they do complicate it. I’ve been sexually harassed even while fully clothed. By strangers. By acquaintances. By people I thought I could trust. And this has been going on for as long as I’ve had boobs at all. Even tiny, barely-budding ones, at the age of 10. Know what that means? It means that for the past 36 years, I’ve been covering up in a vain and useless attempt to ward off unwanted attention, comments, grabs, and general grossness.

It’s like me having boobs gives random guys some kind of licence to get all yucky with ‘em. And that’s why I can’t have a simple, uncomplicated, happy affection for my gazongas.

And it’s not just me. In fact, it’s not even just women who’ve had to face this sort of creepy censorious/sexualized treatment of their bodies. As Scout Willis found out, men once had to fight for the right to go shirtless in public on hot days. And I recall reading that in Spain, during the Franco dictatorship, newspapers had to hire photo-retouchers just to paint undershirts on prizefighters in the sports section, lest Spanish ladies have their modesty offended by the sight of — gasp! — male nipples.

Well, my modesty isn’t offended by the sight of a man’s bare chest. I’ll gladly look at attractive ones, and even think to myself that cool dude so-and-so sure looks hot with his shirt off. I like guys; love them, even. So why should my modesty be affected by the sight of one running around half naked?

In fact, as I’ve pointed out before, what some call “modesty” is nothing more than our right not to be sexually molested. It exists no matter what we wear, how we act, or where we go. But by putting the onus on women to “keep modest” so as not to be molested, it puts the burden on the wrong person. If I could be harassed (as in fact I was) while wearing a puffy coat, baggy jeans, and Doc Martens — and not a speck of makeup — then clearly what I’m wearing or not wearing is not the issue. (For the record, I’ve also been left strangely unmolested while wearing miniskirts.) The blame should be on the harasser, not the harassed. And since I didn’t harass myself, but guys harassed me — gee, you don’t suppose maybe guys could do with a bit of educating, do you?

Nah, of course not. Men are all perfect. Rape culture doesn’t apply to them. Their bodies aren’t sexualized like ours are. It’s we women who have to cover up, worry about how we look, and second-guess ourselves constantly. We have to do it all for them, so they never have to do it for themselves.

And that, pardon the expression, really chafes my tits.

So, here’s my radical thought for the day: Guys, remember that your forefathers had to fight for the right to walk around half-naked where others could see them. And remember, too, that even though your right to seminudity is fully legal and unremarkable, hordes of women aren’t running after you, catcalling you and pawing your body, no matter how effin’ gorgeous it is. There’s a reason for that: We got Nice Girl training. We are taught from an early age not to be rude, forward and unmannerly. But more than that, we know how gross we’d feel if someone did that to us. And we don’t view you as our property. We don’t think you’re there for us to just wipe ourselves on. We think you have a right to be left in peace — to not be touched unless you make it clear that you want us touching you.

And if you reciprocate, and stop making such an idiotic fuss about our boobs, you might in fact be making this world a much better — and cooler — place.

No, of COURSE misogyny is not a problem anymore. Silly ladies!

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Awwww. Isn’t that a cute widdle hammy-wamster? It sure is. A pity that what it stands for isn’t nearly so adorable.

Yes, folks, I’m talking about misogyny today. The M-word. The one that half the population fears, and the other half doesn’t seem to know exists.

The half of the population that fears it isn’t all women. Some lucky ladies are so privileged that they can’t even see misogyny, much less how it affects them, how narrowly it circumscribes every aspect of their lives. The half that fears it is a mixed bag of genders, but what we have that the other half doesn’t is the wits to recognize the monster behind that cute widdle fuzzy golden face. And to dread it, knowing that we are up for one helluva fight.

What must it be like to live on the other side? The privileged side, the one that doesn’t even see the problem? The side that is mostly, but not all, male? The side that has internalized misogyny so the boys will like them better?

Well, here are some clues.

How about the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, who don’t seem to see a problem if a religious doctor privileges private “conscience” over a woman’s basic human right to complete medical care? Ontario is a big province, and not all of us live in cities where, if one doctor refuses to treat us, we can simply flip through the vast phone book until we find another who will. In rural and northern areas, women often have to travel many miles just to see a doctor at all. What happens if that doctor is one of those who say “Nope, I don’t do abortions or birth control, because God won’t love me if I do”? Where else do you go, when you have to get on a small airplane and fly hundreds of miles south just to see THAT useless halfwit?

Why, you just go home, to your kitchen, like a good little lady. Stay barefoot and pregnant and out of sight. That’s where you go.

But wait, that’s how it is for the half of us with the wits to know and fear misogyny. We’re still trying to figure out how that other half lives. The kind that says we belong in concentration camps and that only a few of us should be kept alive, in semi-starvation, for breeding purposes. Can’t forget about them, can we? After all, they dominate our world, whether we realize it or not.

Oh yeah…about that concentration-camps thing. Did you know Elliot Rodger’s grandfather was among the first to photograph the victims of Bergen-Belsen? I only found that out today, while looking for links to insert in the above paragraph. But wow, that’s one helluva clue. I can see through this that to live on the other side is to be possessed of a very twisted and minimal sense of human decency…and no sense of irony whatsofuckingEVER.

And for those who think there’s no connection between a young suicidal megalomaniac, Nazi death camps, and doctors who refuse to treat women as fully adult, autonomous human beings, capable of making their own medical decisions and with a right to expect doctors to abide by them, let me remind you here and now that the Nazis didn’t believe in abortion either. And that they rewarded women for bearing lots of children, Quiverfull-style.

My own paternal grandmother got a Mother’s Cross for having four children — and the irony of that hit home when my grandpa dared to complain about how Germany had gone to shit since the Nazis were in power. He got called up on the carpet by the Gestapo, and the first words out of the officer’s mouth were “Sie haben vier Kinder…” (“You have four children…”)

It was a straight-up death threat. The Gestapo man was saying, in not so many words, that if my grandpa wanted his four acceptably-German children to live, he’d better shut the fuck up about the Nazis. If he’d made good on that threat, my dad would not be here today, and neither would I.

And, mind you, these were the same Nazis who set up “life camps” for unwed mothers to spawn the next generation of “pure”, “Aryan” denizens of the “Thousand-Year Reich”.

I’m sorry, I’m not doing a very good job at all of getting how these misogynists think, am I? It’s all hurting my poor widdle lady-brain. And so early in the morning, too.

Guess I’d better toddle off to my kitchen and start cooking lunch, now.

A few random thoughts on yesterday’s Ontario election

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So, the Ontario Liberals have formed our new government. And it’s a majority. We now have our first elected woman premier (who is also our first elected out gay premier). Tim Hudak was handed his Not-So-Progressive Conservative ass, and has resigned in the wake of his resounding defeat. Meanwhile, Andrea Horwath, who led the provincial NDP — supposedly the most progressive of the three mainstream parties — got handed an object lesson in how NOT to win new friends and influence people. People who neglected to vote got just what they deserved, too: NOTHING.

And I, who swore over a decade ago never again to hold my nose and vote for a Liberal when the party lost to Ernie Eves and his nasty band of Harrisite leftovers (of which Hudak was one), have voted for a Liberal. I did not hold my nose this time.

And I’m not even sorry.

I didn’t leave the NDP; they left me. And they did it right around the time that Andrea Horwath decided it was clever to court the business vote and maybe pick off a few disgruntled SupposiTories, and throw the real, long-time NDPers under the big orange bus. And to cap off the ignominy, the provincial New Democrats ignored my demands to be taken off their call list, and instead deluged me with donation requests by phone and e-mail, as well as robocalls trying to rope me into an “unscripted” town-hall that I had no desire to take part in. I was pissed as hell over that. And yesterday, around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I finally took my frustrations out in the only way I knew. I voted for the local Liberal in my riding. And he won.

And that’s why I’m not sorry. My riding is a swing riding; it could go either way in any given election, and vacillates between Lib and Con. An NDP vote would be wasted here, and doubly so under the circumstances. The Liberal I voted for unseated the Conservative doofus who’d been squatting uselessly in Queen’s Park on our supposed behalf, making idiotic proposals to attract more tourists to our area by building covered bridges. Yeah, that’s right: he was shooting for The Bridges of Madison County. Only this is NOT Madison County, and it doesn’t have a lengthy tradition of covered bridges to preserve, let alone add to. But hey — wouldn’t it have looked cute? Guess that would have created maybe a couple dozen of those million new jobs Timmy promised us. No wait, that would be public-sector jobs. And Timmy was for chopping 100,000 of those. He seemed to think that with fewer taxes to pay and less accountability than ever, the private sector would pick up the slack. Since when has it ever done that? Since, oh, about NEVER. The only thing that trickles down from Uncle Miltie Friedman’s economics is raw sewage — and, if you have the misfortune to live and work in Alberta, tar-sands waste.

And Ontario voters, those who showed up yesterday at any rate, aren’t stupid. You can’t piss on our heads out here and tell us it’s raining. Which is what Tim Hudak was trying to do. And Andrea Horwath, too. The one was handed a harsh lesson in how not to do economics, and the other, in how not to do progressive politics. On both counts, they are bullets that I chose to dodge. As for the Greens, they’ve long been off the progressive radar here, because their environmental solution boils down to too much capitalism and not enough socialism. And again, Ontario voters not being stupid, we know that that’s not enough to keep our province clean and healthy. Trying to appeal to the goodness of a businessman’s heart is a losing proposition, because they don’t have one. Big Business will almost always pay only the merest of lip service to progressive causes, and very rarely do things differently out of a knowledge that the common good is also good for business. If you don’t believe me, watch The Corporation. If corporations are legally persons, then the kind of persons they are is diagnosably psychopathic. (And just think: That’s who Andrea Horwath was trying to court, too. Oy.)

So, all bullet-dodging and ass-handing aside, what was this election about?

In the end, the “surprising” Liberal majority tells me that there was something more at work here than just avoiding the worst and punishing their fellow-travellers for jumping on the dumb populist bandwagon. Hazel McCallion, the mayor of Mississauga (and the longest-serving mayor in the country), nailed it when she picked Kathleen Wynne for her endorsement. Hurricane Hazel is no lightweight; she shepherded her city through the great train derailment of 1979, when she was newly elected, and Mississauga was newly amalgamated. It could have been the kiss of death for her, but it proved to be her finest hour, because that was when she proved not only her political mettle, but her unswerving dedication to her constituents. Hazel McCallion has never lied or played her people false. She always stood up for them, and that’s why they kept voting for her, term after term after term. So her recommendation bore some weight with me. And lots of other Ontarians too, it seems.

And then there was the Globe & Mail’s editorial board. They all endorsed Wynne too, in a consensus that took time and thought to reach, only to have orders come down from on high to throw their weight behind Hudak instead. Now, those board members were not idiots, either. Whoever told them they were going with Hudak was. But then, the Grope & Flail has always endorsed the Tories, so I guess that was to be expected. Even though the party leader was a complete twit, it didn’t matter; tradition is tradition. And the editorial high command ended up mopping egg yolks out of their beards for that.

But then, is that really so shocking? Ontarians can’t afford to vote based on tradition anymore. And neither can politicians rely on conventional, traditional strategies for roping them in. The conservative base is aging and dying. They can’t be counted on in the numbers they once had. And that’s a good thing for progressives, even in this ludicrous first-past-the-post system we have. Because we younger voters of Generations X and Y are informed by grassroots movements like Occupy, Uncut, and the 99%. We are restless, and we don’t give a hang for party loyalty when the parties betray us. We are the untapped progressive vein that the traditional party strategists are missing. They think we’ll fall for some right-wing yutz when, in fact, we are much further to the left than any of the big parties. And we are the ones with an increasing power to force the most progressive candidates to the top. In this case, it was Kathleen Wynne…who ran as a Liberal, but sounded a lot more like a New Democrat than the NDP did. For me, she was a no-brainer choice.

My polling station was surprisingly busy, given that I live in a fairly small town. Line-ups are uncommon on voting day at any station here. Usually you’re in and out in less than five minutes. But yesterday, I found myself waiting behind another woman, who was waiting for yet another woman to vote. I wonder if we all voted for the same candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised if we did! I smelled motivation in the air…and desperation in the Conservative camp, which indeed there was. Maybe my single vote wasn’t much on its own, but then again, lots of others were probably thinking the same thing. And, quite possibly, that was what put our local Liberal very soundly over the top, with several thousand votes over the incumbent Conservative doofus. If you vote, you can still make a difference; if not, you might just end up getting not the government you want, but the one you deserve.

And now that that’s all over, it’s time for the next step: holding all the new electees’ feet to the fire, as well as those of the losers, and making sure they don’t get away with more of the same old. Which is to say, politics by, of and for the money, rather than by, of and for the people. We have to make sure they don’t go throwing a “surprise” austerity budget at us. Let’s hope they’re learning a thing or two from the Eurocrisis, and specifically, the French, who are throwing debt out the window in favor of the public interest. Ontarians should get a referendum on whether a “balanced budget” is really a worthwhile priority, instead of an inflexible law. It’s time to scrap the legacy of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves once and for all. No more tax cuts for big business, and no more austerity budgets to appease the suits. For that, we’ll need concerted action.

And a lot more of it than just dutifully turning out on election day.

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 52

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Howdy, folks, and welcome to another episode of “As the Irony Burns”. In today’s installment, Prettyboy Leo’s got some apologizing to do. To whom? Well, Jesus Christ, for one. And Gandhi. And Nelson Mandela. And oh yeah…Chavecito’s ghost, too, since he ironically owes him big-time for what he’s proposing here:

Extremist opposition leader Leopoldo López said in an interview that his situation is similar to that lived by such historic personages as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and the disciples of Jesus.

“What I’m suffering today is the same as what the disciples of Jesus suffered, and the freedom fighters. I draw strength from the testimonies of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Leonardo Ruiz Pineda,” said the Venezuelan neo-Nazi leader.

The director of the terrorist cells of Voluntad Popular was interviewed in his jail cell at Ramo Verde by El Nacional, following a hearing that determined that there is sufficient proof to bring him to trial for the events which occurred before, during and after February 12.

After 111 days in jail, López maintains that there are no reasons for engaging in dialogue with the government.

“I know the dialogue won’t go anywhere, and for that reason we decided not to participate…It is a conviction that we are in dictatorship and one doesn’t negotiate with dictators,” López told the newspaper.

López’s line concerning the Revolution remains clear and of radical tendency, as one can see from the following declarations:

“The streets will remain active until we come out of the dictatorship. Let no one doubt it…I hope that my comrades who fell into the trap of dialogue responsibly assume the frontal route of confronting the dictatorship until we dislodge it by the popular, democratic and constitutional way. If they close off all the institutional paths, which in effect is occurring, we’ll have to call for a constituent assembly, as the Constitution establishes.”

In addition, the far-right leader took advantage of the interview to threaten the female judge in charge of his case, Adriana López, who considers it pertinent, due to accusations and proofs presented, to place him on trial. “History will pay her back for that decision,” he said pointedly.

Translation mine.

Can you beat that? Putschist Prettyboy is actually calling for a constituent assembly, as set forth in the Venezuelan constitution. That would be the Bolivarian constitution that Chavecito put in place, and which was ratified by a direct majority vote of Venezuelans themselves. The same that the putschists are actually trying to do away with. Maybe that’s why this cartoon is so apt:

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“Comparing myself to Mandela was a bad idea; they could give me 27 years in jail!”

And that would be the one and only thing he’d have in common with the real Mandela, ironically enough.

Future queen’s aunt comes out against Spanish monarchy, calls for referendum

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Oh dear. Things are really not looking good for the Spanish crown this week, are they? Because that tweet above comes from the aunt of the future queen, and she’s not exactly thrilled about her niece’s in-laws:

The aunt of Spanish princess Letizia expressed herself against the monarchy on her Twitter account and called for signatures to the petition for a referendum to install the Third Republic in Spain.

Following the abdication of King Juan Carlos, the “royal” aunt, Henar Ortiz Álvarez, tweeted a message calling for the end of the monarchy, according to British daily The Guardian.

“The king abdicates. Referendum NOW. It’s time for the citizenry to speak,” reads her call to sign the referendum petition and install a republic. There are many similar messages on Twitter, but that of Henar Ortiz Álvarez has caused the greatest furor.

In response to the question as to why she is participating in a campaign that could hurt her niece, Ortiz Álvarez explained: “I’m not against my niece, we don’t mix family relations with politics.”

Meanwhile, among the responses to her tweet, there are some of total disapproval.

It’s not the first time that Henar Ortiz Álvarez expressed her negative attitude toward the Spanish monarchy. In an interview last year with Vanity Fair, she defined herself as “red, secular and republican”, and opined that “due to the history that we are living, I believe [Letizia] will not become queen.”

Translation mine. Here’s one of those negative responses to her tweet:

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“Calling for a referendum?? Freedom of expression aside, you’re not doing your niece much of a favor.”

Well, maybe not…but then again, Princess Letizia isn’t all of Spain, either. And even if she doesn’t become queen, it’s very doubtful that she’ll die in penury. Exile, maybe, but penury, no.

Q. What do the Venezuelan opposition and Justin Bourque have in common?

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A. Oh, only this:

Yesterday in Moncton, a small city of about 70,000 inhabitants on the east coast of Canada, a young Canadian, 24 years old, carried out a massacre, murdering three police officers and wounding two more. While the police were searching for him — because they hadn’t been able to catch him yet — the people lived in terror, not knowing where or when he would reappear to kill someone else.

The same thing happened during the many weeks in certain cities in Venezuela during the attacks on the part of the opposition between February and May of this year, when young oppositionists took the streets, indiscriminately attacking and killing members of the security forces, and innocent people, terrorizing them.

The similarities are really suprising.

One newspaper says that the 24-year-old Canadian was in the habit of uploading photos and texts related to US militias, armed anticommunist and racist groups of the far right, in the manner of fascist political parties of the Venezuelan opposition and their armed groups. And photos of Sarah Palin, a US political leader, racist and anticommunist, of the extreme right, in the manner of Venezuelan opposition leader María Corina Machado.

But the most intriguing thing the newspaper says is that the young Canadian had it in his head that Russia was going to invade Canada. This makes no sense. Russia has no interest in invading Canada — that’s a fantasy on the part of those racist, anticommunist groups of the far right, and people like Sarah Palin — and if for any reason, the young man thought that Russia was a communist country, and wanted to invade Canada for that reason, that young man is very much mistaken.

Russia is not a communist country, and most people with half a brain know that, but due to irrational hatred for communism on the part of certain criminal groups, and extremist anticommunist racist militias, the minds of many young people are being filled with fantasies and lies, creating in them fear, panic and paranoia as well, which could change at some time — and has changed — into indiscriminate violence.

In parallel to the above, one of the most important slogans of María Corina Machado, and almost all the Venezuelan opposition, is that Cuba will invade Venezuela, and for that reason they have to get rid of this government, in whatever way they can. That’s totally illogical, it’s a fantasy invented by the Venezuelan opposition. How could a country so small, and with so few weapons, think of invading a country as large as Venezuela, which has many weapons? And why would they want to invade Venezuela if we are collaborators and allies? Could it be that the Venezuelan opposition believe that Cuba will invade Venezuela to turn it into a communist country?

The truth is that neither Chávez, nor Maduro, nor any Chavista I have ever heard speaking, has ever talked of trying to transform Venezuela into a communist state; that would be totally ridiculous. Generally, what we Chavistas want is not communism as such, and much less the Cuban style or that of the old Soviet Union, but rather a state which is more just and equitable, more feminist, and not machista; more humanistic, more empathetic, which is to say, more socialist. That’s all. And that has nothing to do with ay imaginary Cuban communism invented by brain-sick opposition leaders like María Corina Machado, or other misbegotten leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, who keep teaching lies and fantasies to young opposition menbers, creating in them as well hatred, panic and paranoia, which could turn at any moment — and has turned — into indiscriminate violence.

The similarities are truly surprising.

Just as Sarah Palin and other racist, anticommunist groups of the US far right have contaminated the soul of the young Canadian of 24 years, leading to gratuitous violence, María Corina Machado and other racist anticommunist far-right groups of the Venezuelan opposition, who make up the majority of the opposition, also follow the principles responsible for the poisoning of the spirits of many young Venezuelans, bringing them as well to that gratuitous violence.

Translation mine.

That was Oscar Heck talking, BTW. He’s of Canadian extraction himself, so he knows a thing or two about the similarities between fascists here and fascists there. His bio states: “Born to a French-Canadian father and an indigenous mother, he came to Venezuela for the first time during the 1970s, where he worked as a missionary in the barrios of Caracas and Barlovento.” In other words, he’s had four decades to observe the conditions on the ground in that country. And ample cause, considering the poverty he’s seen and worked amid, to support the Bolivarian Revolution.

And yes, I agree with him; Justin Bourque has all the hallmarks of an NRA-influenced fascist. His Facebook page shows him to be quite the paranoid gunsucker. Teaching children to fire guns, as he repeatedly endorses, is just what the Nazis did, too; they had gun-clubs in the Hitler Youth. The irony is that he came of age during the era of Stephen Harper, a head of state who couldn’t be less like Chavecito or Madurito if he tried. And whose holy crusade was to abolish the long-gun registry…thereby making it that much harder for the RCMP to know where Bourque got the guns that killed their officers. To say that the police in this country are sour on Harpo is putting it very mildly. Not because they’re such redder-than-red communists themselves, though; the RCMP has a long history of spying on anything to the left of, well, the Conservatives. Harpo’s party, that is. And for decades, they’ve made a point of infiltrating every leftish group, from environmentalists and Native activists to the various socialist parties, and even spied on Tommy Douglas himself. There’s certainly an authoritarian history in the RCMP, but it leans hard to the right, not the left. So there’s another layer of irony to this madness. The cryptofascist cop-killer wanted RCMP officers dead, but in truth, he has more in common with them, insofar as anticommunist paranoia goes, than he could ever have dreamed of.

Which brings us to the Venezuelan opposition. If you’ve been following this blog, particularly the 50-odd entries detailing their various ironies, you’ll know just how deaf they are to their own ironic fascism, and how much they ARE the very thing they claim to be against. They scream about a lack of free speech on the 95% of the nation’s media that they outright own. They call for putsches and assassinations just about daily, which is illegal here in Canada, BTW. They import paramilitary goons from neighboring Colombia to help them with their coup attempts. Their hooded thugs terrorize the streets with guns imported from the good ol’ US of A (thanks again, NRA gunsuckers!), and they have the gall to claim there’s no public safety or order there. They kill Chavistas, and they have made countless attempts on the lives of their two Bolivarian presidents, not to mention countless lesser politicians who supported them. And they have the temerity to claim they are the ones being repressed? Yeah. Spot the ironies, they are thicker than blackflies on the ass of a New Brunswick moose.

And so are the similarities between them and this guy.

Twit abdicates so junior twit can replace him

juan-carlos-franco.jpg

A young king with an old dictator, Spain, 40-odd years ago.

Really. How else would YOU title this story?

The king of Spain, Juan Carlos I, has decided to renounce the throne, prime minister Mariano Rajoy announced today.

“King Juan Carlos just communicated his intention to renounce the throne,” Rajoy told journalists, gathered this morning with urgency.

Named by dictator Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos will cede the throne and the leadership of the state to his son, the prince of Asturias.

Once the process for the transfer of the crown, outlined by Article 57 of the Spanish constitution, is completed, he will become King Felipe IV of Spain.

Rajoy did not explain the motives for the monarch’s decision to the nation.

“His Majesty wishes to communicate his motives to the citizens personally this morning.”

The prime minister only indicated that he “met with the king [who is] convinced that this is the moment when the change in the head of state and the transfer of the crown to the prince of Asturias can take place with all normality.”

With respect to this process, Rajoy expressed his certainty that “a process of institutional stability will develop in a climate of normality and as one more show of the maturity of our democracy.”

Meanwhile, in all the squares of Spain, demonstrations were called for 8:00 pm with the slogan: “Let’s throw out the Prince as well!”, according to the republican website, Insurgente.org.

“After a 39-year reign, the same as Franco, the heir of the most criminal Dictator known to the history of the people of the Spanish state abdicates for his son Felipe. They said he did it to salvage a Monarchy sunken in the swamp of discredit and corruption that sit in the dock with the king’s daughter, his son-in-law, and the secretary of the infantas, for money-laundering, fiscal crimes, and embezzling of public funds,” reported the site.

The abdication comes at an especially delicate time for Spain and its monarchy as well, affected by a corruption scandal which taints the king’s daughter, the Infanta Cristina.

Translation mine.

So you can see why I said they’re twits, eh? They think they can pull the wool over the people’s eyes with this show of bogus “normality”. Meanwhile, demos have been called for in every town square in Spain against the transfer of this crooked, corrupt, discredited-before-it-began monarchy. A reign that has its roots in the Franco dictatorship that brought down the Spanish Republic during a brutal civil war where the world’s much-vaunted “democracies” stood aside and twiddled their thumbs while the fascists murdered the only real democracy in Europe.

And yet that other fucking fascist twit, Rajoy, has the nerve to talk about the “maturity of our democracy”. WHAT fucking democracy? demand the Spanish people, and so do I.

I think I’ll just let these Venezuelan guys do the talking for me from here on in:

Oh yeah, that’s right: This is the same fucking twit who had the nerve to tell Chavecito to shut up. A legitimate, popular, clean, democratically-elected head of state…unlike himself.

The irony is just too precious, is it not?

Maria Conchita Alonso’s latest load of bat guano

Oh, oh…what have we here?

Poor dear. It sounds like she’s trying to sing. She’s not doing a very good job. But then again, there are a lot of things Conchita isn’t very good at. Like acting, for example. Or, hell…just acting like a friggin’ human being. Take, for example, this:

Cuban-Venezuelan actress María Conchita Alonso, now a US citizen, has said that she would like for the United States to invade Venezuela “with bullets to get all those damn communists out” of the country.

That was how she put it during an interview on “La Voz de América”, in an audio clip rebroadcast curing the VTV show “Con el Mazo Dando”, hosted by the president of the Venezuelan national assembly, Diosdado Cabello. The clip was also tweeted by the minister of communication and information, Delcy Rodríguez.

On the clip, Alonso, who was born in Cuba but emigrated to Venezuela at a young age, said that what was happening in Venezuela “has repercussions in all of Latin America and even in the United States”.

For that reason, she considers it “very important” to impose sanctions on Venezuela, and proposed “taking visas away from Chavistas, who have been indoctrinated for years, as in Cuba, against this country, but who come here (to the US) and buy houses, horses, and everything.”

The actress added that another sanction should be to freeze their bank accounts, “since this money isn’t theirs, it belongs to Venezuelans.”

“In my opinion, invade the country, since the Cubans invaded without firing a shot, because they’re handing Venezuela over to Cuba, I want the United States to invade with bullets to get all those damn communists out of Venezuela,” said the actress.

Regarding those declarations, Communication and Information minister Delcy Rodríguez stated on her website that “beyond the worrisome threat of invasion to Venezuela, even more serious is the complicity of self-exiled Venezuelans in Miami.” Such is the case, she says, of María Conchita Alonso, “who, rending her garments out of a false love of her country, irresponsibly incites the invasion of the US Marines.”

“We all know the harmful consequences which a North American military invasion would bring about in our land. If we consider the lived experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, we know that a gringo military invasion would affect the entire nation, and the family lives of the people would be destroyed,” said the minister.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

So we can see that here is another so-called Venezuelan who doesn’t give a shit if the country she claims to love (in such terrible songs) is invaded and destroyed by the US war machine. In fact, as it stands, Conchita doesn’t care that her beloved “freedom-loving” opposition is holding the country for ransom, and has killed at least 40 people in the latest round of violence alone. No, she won’t be happy, and she won’t consider Venezuela free and peaceful, until an overwhelming majority of Venezuelans are shot and killed. For, after all, six out of every ten Venezuelans are Chavistas.

And as we can see, her idea of “freedom” is strange even in the US, where the so-called Venezuelan exiles are anti-Chavista, and in any case, those are the only ones rich enough to buy “houses, horses and everything”. The others, who immigrated due to dire poverty back before Chávez, and who support the Revolution because they remember what life used to be like there, are invisible. They don’t count. After all, they live in the inner cities, indistinguishable from all the other poor, brown Latinos. Does she want to see THEIR bank accounts frozen? There’s not much in them to freeze. Maybe she should call for the freezing of rich “exile” bank accounts, instead. But no, that would be an infringement on good ol’ Murrican freedumb…

As for the part about that money belonging to the Venezuelan people…well, duh! It belongs to the people who brought it, and they do so happen to be Venezuelan. But I don’t hear her saying boo about Jota-Jota. Maybe because his money doesn’t come from Venezuela, but from the Colombian drug trade (among other things)? Maybe. I guess it doesn’t deserve to be part of the latest hypocritical round of sanctions, called for by right-wing dunderheads like Marco “The Clown” Rubio and Bob “The John” Menendez.

And of course, let’s not forget that Conchita’s brother Robert (not Roberto, ROBERT) has a long and extensive history of putschist activities…and an ocean of innocent Venezuelan blood on his hands.

In any case, she has some nerve, clamoring for invasion out of supposed love for a country she hasn’t actually been in for longer than she claims to have been watching it go to hell. “Hell”, of course, being a vast improvement over what it used to be when Conchita was still squatting there.