A few random thoughts on the Duggar scandal

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Would you trust these people to teach YOU morality? If the answer is yes, you just might be a Pharisee.

So, this happened. Finally, after years of parading their nauseating Quiverfull sanctimony on the Internets and TV to the tune of big, BIG bucks, the Duggars are off the air. How come?

Well, it seems that their eldest son, Josh, was a very naughty boy. And a very hypocritical man, too, for years after the fact. And they themselves aided and abetted him by sweeping his abuse — much of it downright incestuous — under the rug. And by throwing his victims — their own daughters — under the bus.

So it’s kind of sweet to see them finally reaping a little bit of what they sowed. And no small relief to know that they’ve been denied at least one major media mouthpiece for their despicable views. I’m guessing that ol’ Jim Bob and Michelle might want to put off trying for Sprog #20 indefinitely now, seeing as their gravy train — or clown car, rather — has screeched to a sudden halt.

But hold your hosannas, folks, because there’s not much to cheer about here.

For starters: Josh Duggar never did any time for his crimes. The abuses in question all took place over a decade ago. For a dozen years or more, several girls have been carrying this heavy secret around, effectively covering for their abuser. They don’t dare speak out themselves, because that would call the entire Quiverfull movement (a cult, really) into question. Because its teachings are heavily to blame for both their molestation and its cover-up.

And then there’s the big question of how they were treated following the assaults. Did they get proper counselling and treatment for the traumas they endured? I don’t know, but somehow I doubt it. Did they get slut-shamed by the all-male cult “headship” for “tempting” him with their budding young bodies? I don’t know either, but I certainly wouldn’t doubt it. For a fertility cult, the Quiverfulls sure do rely a lot on female chastity. And they make sure it’s enforced through a strict, home-schooled “purity culture”, heavy on patriarchal dogma and light on useful knowledge. Their overall education is far from comprehensive (or accurate), so I’m guessing that their sexual education is at best sketchy. Knowledge is power, and the fact that the junior Duggars have been brought up on an unholy broth of ignorance and lies doesn’t bode well for their future autonomy. Unless, of course, they do what a growing number of the Phelps clan have done, and exit the family cult. (Run, Jinger, RUN!)

And then there’s the fact that Josh Duggar has actually done quite well for himself and his own Quiverfull brood in the interim, working for an infamous right-wing stink tank, the Family Research Council. He had to resign when this scandal finally grew beyond all hope of damage control, but the real damage he did while in their employ is still being felt by women and queerfolk. After all, those wingnuts he worked for helped keep Arkansas in the transphobic Dark Ages. And they did it by enlisting Josh’s mom, Michelle Duggar, to record a disgusting robocall about evil, wicked trans people out to rape everyone’s sweet, virginal daughters. It worked, too: Arkansas’s proposed anti-discrimination law didn’t pass.

Never mind that the biggest threat to women and girls is not the imaginary man-in-drag claiming to be a woman so he can break into bathrooms to sexually assault little girls, that “queer” variation on the hoary old theme of Stranger Danger. Never mind that actual cases of women or girls being assaulted by such individuals simply don’t exist. No, let’s all go on ignoring the real threat, that smirking dough-ball in a suit, who pushed crapaganda about phantom menaces while keeping his own very real sex crimes hidden in the old family closet.

Even some otherwise intelligent radical feminists have fallen for that lie, which is a testimony to the insidious power of the Duggars and their ilk. It’s also a testimony to the power of dogma and antiquated ideology. Here’s a pro tip, my rad-fem comrades: If you find your views on gender dovetailing inextricably with those of the Religious Reich, you’re not pushing for women’s liberation anymore. You’re pushing against it, and you don’t even know it.

And here’s another, just for good measure: Trans women are not “really men”, they are really WOMEN. And they’re being abused by the same people who are selling you those dirty lies about their gender. When a trans woman is forced to use the men’s room because she doesn’t “pass”, and she gets assaulted for it, that’s abuse. That’s on all of those who pushed to keep trans people’s rights unprotected. And if you joined in that push, congratulations: You’ve made common cause with the enemies of all women.

You want to liberate women from patriarchy? Great! Then recognize your trans sisters as women. Stop fretting over what’s between their legs. Learn their concerns; you’ll find that they mesh nicely with yours. Bigotries tend to cluster, so a unified front — that’s the real meaning of intersectionality — is needed to combat them. Don’t do the bigots’ work for them! Fight the patriarchy and its dogmas, not the trans women who are their victims.

And if you meet a trans woman in the public toilets, don’t panic. Remember, she’s there for the same reasons you are. You didn’t come to perpetrate a sexual assault? Good, because neither did she. Isn’t it a relief to know that she’s only there to relieve herself, same as you?

And if any man is lurking in the vicinity, waiting for victims, I doubt very much that he’d bother to dress in drag first. Unless, of course, his costume is that of the fine, upstanding family man who can do no wrong. That one fools the whole world, every single time.

Mike-jacking moron gets a mike check…and a pink slip

Warning: This video is infuriating.

Yeah, that’s right…even under the watchful eyes of the security guy, these bozos tried to spring a “Fuck her right in the pussy!” on CityTV’s Shauna Hunt as she tried to report from outside a Toronto FC soccer game Sunday night.

Contrary to what the one wank-stain says, though, this is neither “substantial” (nice choice of words, dudebro) nor “fuckin’ hilarious”. It’s old, it’s tired, it’s based on a bullshit hoax, and nobody over the age of 12 with more than two brain cells to rub together finds it funny. Least of all a reporter who has to hear it about a dozen times daily, as Shauna Hunt says she does.

And of course, it invariably gets sprung on female reporters. Because “weaker sex”, and blahblah.

Well, looks like the laugh’s on the wankers, because Shauna not only talked back, she made sure this story went viral:

shauna-hunt-tweet

And everyone from the Kingston Police to the Premier of Ontario got to boosting that signal.

And now, one of the unfunny jokesters has reaped some substantial consequences:

Ontario’s largest electricity provider, Hydro One, issued a statement today saying it has fired one of its employees in connection with the lewd disruption.

A Hydro One official identified the employee as Shawn Simoes, but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to name him for privacy reasons.

Simoes is shown in the video using an expletive and calling his friend’s remark hilarious before telling the reporter she is lucky they didn’t have a vibrator.

[…]

The men also face a one year-ban from all games of the soccer club and other teams owned by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which include the NHL Maple Leafs and NBA Toronto Raptors.

‘We’re appalled that this trend of disrespectful behavior would make its way to our city, let alone anywhere near our stadium,’ MLSE said in a statement.

‘We are working to identify the individuals, and when we do they will be banned from all of our facilities.’

Guess you shouldn’t have had so much to drink before the game, eh fellas?

And yeah…if you’re gonna yell stupid shit into a live TV mike, you should be aware that your boss could be watching. And that the security guy standing right next to the reporter will be remembering your faces and your names, too.

Posted in Canadian Counterpunch, Isn't It Ironic?, Men Who Just Don't Get It, Schadenfreude, Uppity Wimmin. Comments Off on Mike-jacking moron gets a mike check…and a pink slip »

The ugly truth about Baltimore

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Her sign says it all. Photo: Harry Fear.

Whenever I hear about Baltimore — Maryland, that is, as there’s a Baltimore, Ontario not far from where I live — I can’t help but recall this Countee Cullen poem I first read in high school:

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, ‘Nigger.’

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.

The poem is called, simply, “Incident”.

Baltimore, it seems, is characterized by just such incidents. A few days ago, I’m pretty sure, certain Baltimoreans were saying that and other such things to a young black man named Freddie Gray, as they were beating him to a bloody pulp. Quite literally, too, as his spine was crushed in eight places.

Freddie Gray was buried just the other day, and the good people of Baltimore turned out in force to mourn. And to protest, too — peacefully, as good people do. And the protest stayed peaceful, according to The Real News (which is headquartered in Baltimore), until a gang showed up to cause trouble.

Now, this gang is feared throughout the city, but especially so in the black folks’ part of town. Their color is blue. Their badge is in the shape of a shield. You can never miss them coming, because they have flashers and sirens on all their cars. They are heavily armed and known for their violence.

And if your color is black or brown, you run from them on sight. Run like hell. Run like Freddie Gray. You run by instinct, because you know they mean you no good.

Sure, some say that if Freddie hadn’t run, if he hadn’t resisted, he’d still be alive today. But the black folks of Baltimore know the ugly truth about the Baltimore Police Department. They know that even if Freddie had just dropped to the ground, flat on his face with hands behind his back, waiting to be cuffed, they would probably still have kicked the shit out of him. Maybe he’d have lived, but he wouldn’t have come away unscathed. The BPD, the biggest, meanest gang in Baltimore, was out for blood, and they got it.

After all, gangs need to have their blood rites, do they not? Sure they do. And the BPD has sought to gain legitimacy with other big gangs all around the world. Why, they’ve even been to Israel, where a gang calling itself the IDF (colors: white and blue; insignia: six-pointed star) taught them and many others how to rough up rock-throwing little brown kids. And since the IDF has a decades-long history of gang-banging the Palestinians, they were a natural choice for the BPD to go to when it came time to hone their racial violence skills for the modern era. You could see just how much they learned when they turned out to suppress the peaceful protests following Freddie Gray’s funeral just the other day. They even threw rocks right back at those who tried to fend them off, those understandably angry that the cops wouldn’t even let them call for justice in peace.

Yes, the BPD learned a lot from the IDF on how to crash protests and turn them into “riots”. They learned a lot on how to find flimsy pretexts for violence, and even how to generate them if their victims failed to provide one as expected.

You say you don’t mind people protesting, as long as they do it peacefully? Well, neither do I. Only a fascist or a fool would mind! But here’s the rub: As long as police have been a force for protecting the interests of the most powerful, it’s been their habit to turn even the mildest of protests into a free-for-all. To goad people into fighting, then beat the shit out of them. Result: Rioting, looting, a veritable free-for-all. And inevitably, on the heels of such a clash, comes martial law, complete with the deployment of the army (or in the US, the National Guard). Curfews are imposed; armed gangs in green patrol the streets. And these gangs are even more fearsomely armed than the gangs in blue. They have tanks and machine guns, cannons and grenades.

Like I so often say: It’s never a riot till the cops show up. And it’s never a war until the army shows up.

If Baltimore looks like a war zone right now, that’s because it is. Two gangs are fighting for turf supremacy there. But the gangs aren’t black. They are not Crips and Bloods. They are the BPD and the National Guard, they are overwhelmingly white, and they are fighting not against each other, but side by side against a bunch of blacks, mostly young and powerless, with little or no means of self-defence. They are doing their damnedest, in this so-called post-racial era, to keep blacks down. And the best way to do that, it seems, is to keep the old lie of the violent gang-banging black man alive by galvanic reanimation.

The major media — another gang, this one with the colors of the various news channels — aids and abets them in this lie. They show only “rioters”, not peaceful protesters (who still vastly outnumber the looters and shop-burners). They make it look like Baltimore is under siege from a bunch of angry black kids, not from the gangs in blue and green. The mayor comes on to talk of “outside agitators”, and she’s right — there are plenty, but the agitators aren’t in the protests. They’re the gang in blue, whose members all live out of town, often even out of state. They have trained out of country. They have trained in a land of apartheid, to bring back apartheid in their own land.

Today it’s Baltimore. Yesterday it was Ferguson, Missouri. The day before, it was Sanford, Florida.

And in the last 50 years, it appears nothing has changed:

This is footage from the Watts “riots” in Los Angeles in 1965. It could just as easily be Baltimore…just the other day.

“Dear Madame Minister”: A German ex-prostitute’s open letter

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The no-doubt-ironically-named Paradise bordello…just one of several German brothels which were recently raided by police on suspicion of human trafficking.

Think Germany is a paradise for women in prostitution? Think again. A formerly prostituted woman has written to Manuela Schwesig, a government minister in charge of updating German prostitution laws. And what she has to say about the proposed changes is important, but it’s not an easy read:

Dear Madame Minister Schwesig,

I’m writing you today because I can see that the just-unveiled prostitution-law reform proposal has the clear markings of the bordello and pimp lobbies. That’s why I want to ask you to finally confront the reality of the red-light district instead of going on listening to people who keep retelling the fairytale of the self-determined, happy hooker.

I am exited from prostitution, in which I spent ten years. Thus I know well whereof I speak. The reasons for my entry were many: a difficult family origin, in which I was massively and also sexually traumatized by violence against my mother and myself, has had an influence on me, as did the then-widespread fairy tale about the happy prostitute. Also financial need and a lack of social and psychological help played a role.

Yes, if you like, I entered “voluntarily”. I’m one of the oft-cited “voluntary prostitutes”. But what is “voluntary”, Frau Schwesig, when a person traumatized by child abuse comes to this decision? For me, prostitution was a step up, because I had already learned that I, because I was a girl, am so helpless and without rights and am sexually abused. So I could also take money for it right away, and at least secure my own survival.

If you think that I’m a sad isolated case, I must contradict you. In those ten years I met many prostitutes, and there was not a single one among them who was not abused as a child, beaten, or raped as an adult. I have seen a psychic compulsion to keep repeating and repeating the trauma (in prostitution), and self-esteem broken by violence, in so many prostitutes. Of violence in the milieu, of the johns — who do things to us that you don’t even want to think of in your dreams — I don’t even want to start here.

Those are the realities of the milieu, Frau Schwesig, and that’s just the “voluntary” prostitutes. And yes, they too suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociation, drug and alcohol addictions, because they can’t stand it. I really don’t want to talk about the fact that 90 percent of all prostitutes in Germany aren’t even from Germany. Your imagination will suffice to imagine what their life circumstances are.

Last November I wrote an open letter, because I couldn’t stand it anymore that the pro-prostitution lobby tells such fairytales as that of the free, self-determined whore. I’ve linked it for you, in case you’d like to read what it’s really like to prostitute oneself. Why do you hear that so rarely? First off, because the pro-prostitution lobby intimidates us (ever since that letter, I get really nasty e-mails, full of spite and threats), and secondly, because we exited women are too traumatized to speak.

Even non-prostituted women are affected by prostitution, because the johns are their men, and they take what they’ve learned in the brothels — namely, to despise women, to buy them, to torture them — back home to the bedrooms of their own women. Society gets brutalized, Frau Schwesig. It is an endless loop: When prostitution is legalized, the demand grows, because men learn that it’s all right to buy women’s bodies, overstep boundaries, abuse power. Availability grows, which means there is also more forced prostitution. This, again, increases the acceptance of prostitution in society, then demand grows, and so on.

90 percent of all German men have already been in a bordello. Every third one does it regularly. Do you know what goes through their heads, Frau Schwesig? I know, because I lived through it in the whorehouse. The same men, who shake your hands in a friendly way today, will spit in a prostitute’s face tomorrow during the act, get off on her gagging when she has to swallow sperm, and learn to enjoy women’s suffering. Would you like to live in such a society? That can’t be your vision!

There will never be a sexually equal society as long as men buy women and can abuse them. And there is also no “clean” prostitution!

That’s why I’m urging you not to listen to only those in favor of prostitution, who are incidentally mostly being guided by bordello owners. Go a little further into the swamp, and you’ll land among human traffickers and organized criminals. Listen to trauma therapists and exited women, too. The prostitution lobby does NOT speak for us prostitutes and ex-prostitutes! It doesn’t consist of even 100 people, who do not represent us, the 300,000 prostitutes in Germany, but intimidate us and work against our interests!

We don’t want to do this job. We don’t need legalization! We don’t need anyone who claims that we don’t want registration, mandatory condom use, etc.! Yes, we do want those things! And we would like more than anything not to have to do this job anymore. And that the men who abuse(d) us should be punished. We need alternatives, not more entanglement in the destructive, inhumane powers of the milieu!

Dear Frau Schwesig, it’s not so long ago that I left prostitution: three years. I had my first john at 18. Do you know what I would have needed most in the ten years that I was in prostitution, in which I was beaten, raped, retraumatized, despised, dehumanized and sick in body and soul? Help and a sensitized society that don’t expect me to want to “live it up” and even enjoy being abused.

I don’t know any prostitute who does it willingly. I don’t know any ex-prostitute who doesn’t have post-traumatic stress disorder. All the women I know have been wrecked in prostitution.

Please ban this inhuman, undignified prostitution. And if that’s not possible for you, then please rein it in as much as you can. Many thanks for reading my letter.

Huschke Mau.

Translation mine. Linkage as in original.

So there you have it. What’s being sold as a “paradise” is only that for sex capitalists — pimps, human traffickers, brothel owners who charge extortionate daily room rates for the women — and maybe the johns, too, who get to act out all their violent fantasies for increasingly lower flat rates, and maybe take home a whole new bag of ugly tricks to spring on the wifey. Along with a fine dose of the clap, since no one’s stopping them from insisting on condomless intercourse (it’s even advertised on the brothel menu as “AO” — “Alles Ohne”, or “everything without”. The only ones NOT benefiting from all this are, as usual, the women…German and otherwise, prostituted or not. For them, it’s a hellhole. And the government is still not listening.

PS: Huschke Mau’s first open letter is translated here. Scroll down.

Cuban anti-cancer vaccine heads to Roswell Park, NY

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Dr. Candace Johnson of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, speaking at a press conference in Cuba. Behind her, at left, is New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

Well. If THIS isn’t historic, I don’t know what is:

The Molecular Immunology Centre of Cuba and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute of New York signed an agreement today to export to the US a therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer developed on the island, so that clinical trials can soon begin.

[…]

It concerns the therapeutic anti-cancer vaccine CIMAVax-EGF, created by Cuba in 2011 after 15 years’ research, with worldwide patent rights.

The vaccine is registered in Cuba and Peru, but countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are in the process of registration, and others such as the UK and Australia have begun clinical trials with it.

Translation mine.

I do believe I blogged on this a few years ago. At the time, Cuban vaccine developments were studiously ignored by the major US media. That all has changed now, as this Time Warner article makes plain:

Roswell Park Cancer Center Director Dr. Candace Johnson said Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology has developed a lung cancer vaccine and following an agreement Tuesday, Roswell will set up clinical trials to test the drug. Before that’s done, Roswell must submit an Investigational New Drug Application to get the vaccine FDA approved.

“They’ve agreed to share that information with us, and we will now prepare the IND that will go to the FDA to get approved,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the way the vaccine works is unique.

“This is an anti-growth factor vaccine. The growth factor is called EGF, and that’s unique. It’s not killing the tumor cell directly. It’s taking something the tumor needs to grow away, and so it has less toxicity associated with it,” Dr. Johnson said.

She said in addition to treating cancer, it could have the ability to prevent cancer.

Johnson said she has no hard timetable on when the clinical trials will begin, but hopes to start in about eight months.

Roswell Park is as big a name in cancer research as it gets, at least on this side of the pond. For them to be expressing interest in a Cuban vaccine is HUGE. No doubt the scientists have been following this development even if the media did not. And now that the US and Cuba are on the way to normal relations, they wanted to be first in the door, testing out Cuban products that they know to be promising. Cuban industry is bound to get a big boost from this if they decide to licence Cimavax for production and use in Canada and the US.

Most of all, though, this validates the Cuban socialist program, which placed universal health care, along with education, at the top of their list of national priorities. Cuba exports doctors to poor countries all over the world, and trains doctors from all over the developing world as well; Cuban doctors were recently among the heroes of the West African Ebola virus outbreak. Their teamwork and co-ordination did not go unnoticed there.

It’s obvious that none of this would have been possible if Cuba were not socialist, and very conscientiously so. Just look at how the arch-capitalist US fumbled their own role in the Ebola crisis, for example. Capitalism, with its emphasis on greed and competition, is no match for socialism’s “all in this together, all hands on deck” approach. Disease outbreaks demand great effort; huge egos only get in the way. And Cuban doctors already know this full well from their cost-free training on the island, which is rooted in socialist philosophy from grade school on up.

And oh yeah, the Cuban socialist program also set aside the budget for medical research. Something that capitalist governments seem to have a lot of trouble doing efficiently, but which a little island with not much money has managed with shocking ease. Little wonder that they managed to sneak an effective anti-cancer vaccine past the so-called First World.

By now, nobody can deny that history has indeed not only absolved Fidel Castro, as he predicted, but vindicated him as well. There may be US trade, but no US annexation. Cuba will stay Cuban, and the rest of the world will beat a path to Cuba’s door. If they’re smart, they’ll follow the Cuban path themselves when they all arrive back home again.

Cristina’s pet gloat

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Hey! Remember how Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2001? And how it kicked out the IMF a short time later? Well, looks like that was a smart decision. And the significance of yet another IMFer being in deep shit was not lost on the president of that South American land:

Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spoke out on Thursday over the detention of Rodrigo Rato, formerly of the International Monetary Fund, who in 2005 proposed to Argentina reform plans and protection of public accounts, and those of the bank, even at the cost of job losses.

“Today I learned that the former IMF official, Rodrigo Rato, ex-minister to José María Aznar, is in jail for money laundering. Those who came to us to tell us how to conduct our politics…in jail for money laundering. Moreover, those who came accusing us of corruption,” said the Argentine president during a public speech in Buenos Aires.

The economic vice-president of Spain during the terms of José María Aznar, ex-president of Bankia and former director of the IMF, Rato was detained on Thursday by Spanish police. The detention followed a search of his home in Madrid by the Revenue Agency of the Madrid Public Prosecutor’s Office. Rato is accused of fraud, money laundering and concealment of assets.

Rato’s office was searched again on Friday while the former vice-president was at home, according to investigative sources.

Translation mine.

Oh Cristina, you sly minx. Well might you gloat, since it was your own husband who basically kicked the IMF out, with a little help from Chavecito and Venezuela. I can’t really blame you for being just a wee bit smug at seeing this odious fucker — a former government minister for the fascist ex-PM of Spain, no less! — getting his comeuppance at last. Granted, his scandal isn’t as salacious as Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s chambermaid-rape and sex-trafficking ring, but coming at a time when most Spaniards are chafing under imposed austerity measures as a result of odious debts racked up by the fascist turdling & company themselves, I’m sure there will be all kinds of hell to pay.

Meanwhile, this song bears replaying, does it not?

Summit of the Americas: Venezuelan fascists and Che’s murderer get precedence over their own victims’ families

Lt. Yendry Velázquez, 36, widow of a Venezuelan soldier murdered during last year’s guarimbas, confronts Lilian Tintori outside the Americas Summit in Panama City. “Your husband is still living, mine is dead thanks to yours,” she says.

And that’s not the only outrage going down at the forum right now. Here’s a backgrounder, via Aporrea:

Members of the Committee of Victims of the Guarimbas clashed on Thursday in Panama with Lilian Tintori, wife of Leopoldo López, leader of the ultra-right party, Voluntad Popular (“Popular Will”) and intellectual author of the fascist activities which took place in Venezuela between February and May 2014.

According to Telesur, while Tintori was outside the forum parallel to the Summit of the Americas, agitating for the freeing of her husband, victims’ families were not allowed to participate in this activity, even though their accreditation had been previously confirmed.

February 12, 2015 marked the one-year anniversary of the demonstration known as “La Salida” (The Exit), a putschist plan activated by the Venezuelan far-right and supported by the US government, whose objective was to undermine peace and institutional order in Venezuela. During the violence that followed, 43 persons died and 878 were injured.

Translation mine.

And speaking of fascists and outrage, get a load of who else was roaming free in Panama City, much to the disgust of HIS victims:

The children of Argentine-Cuban guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara rejected the presence of Félix Rodríguez Mentigutía in Panama City on Thursday, at the summit of the Americas. Rodríguez, 73, a former Cuban agent of the CIA, was a key participant in the capture and killing of their father in Bolivia in October 1967.

“One might forget the past and present of one who has not stopped boasting of having lent his services toward imprisoning and later killing Che Guevara in Bolivia. Perhaps those who invited them or organized the symposium didn’t know that he was and is a servile slave of the Yankee powers,” reads a note published in Havana. The note was signed by Aleida, Celia, Camilo and Ernesto Guevara March.

In the late 1980s, Rodríguez wrote a memoir, Shadow Warrior, in which he tells of the CIA’s operations in Latin America and of the final hours of Che. Rodríguez has publicly acknowledged that he ordered the Bolivian soldiers to kill Guevara and appears in a photo alongside him after he was captured.

An official delegation of Cuban civil society members travelled to Panama to participate in parallel forums, and to denounce the presence of Rodríguez and “dissidents”, whom they accused of being Washington’s mercenaries. On Thursday, Cuban television transmitted images of a violent clash between Cubans of both delegations, who were separated by Panamanian police.

Translation, again, mine.

This is going to prove extremely awkward for His Barackness, in light of the much-vaunted defrosting of Cuban-US relations. Not only because old CIA assassins are apparently roaming free in Panama, but also because so are the putschists who are trying to destabilize Cuba’s greatest ally (and architect of all the improved inter-American relations), Venezuela.

And just to add to the awkwardness, those putschists are the forces in Venezuela with which Obama’s government has stupidly decided to align itself. Yes, that’s right…they’re favoring blatant lawbreakers, fascists and violent assassins, over democratically elected, popular socialist leaders. In other words, business as usual for the US government.

If I were Raúl Castro, I’d have an awful lot of trouble keeping a civil tongue in my head. After all, Che was his and Fidel’s dear friend, way back in the day. And Nicolás Maduro, whom Washington’s toadies keep trying to topple, IS their friend, here and now.

Posted in A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Cuba, Libre (de los Yanquis), Fascism Without Swastikas, Huguito Chavecito, Isn't It Ironic?, Isn't That Illegal?, Obamarama!, Spooks, The United States of Amnesia. Comments Off on Summit of the Americas: Venezuelan fascists and Che’s murderer get precedence over their own victims’ families »

Argentina: Once more, the plot thickens in the Nisman case

yo-soy-nisman

Are these Argentines still “Nisman”? They might not want to be anymore, if the latest news on the sensational case of the maybe-murdered-maybe-suicided prosecutor has any bearing on the matter:

Some 400,000 people marched in Buenos Aires less than two months ago, on February 18, under the slogan “We Are All Nisman”, paying tribute to the Argentine prosecutor who turned up dead with a bullet in the head a day before he was to appear in Congress to explain his denunciation against Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. However, Nisman went from hero to pariah as his ex-wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, and the prosecutor on the case, Viviana Fein, fought one-on-one in the courts to try to put their theories before the judge: Arroyo is convinced that it was a murder, and Fein is not ruling out suicide. The ex-wife accuses the much-criticized prosecutor of “lacking objectivity and neutrality”, and the judge must decide how to proceed with a case that will not advance.

This face-off between Arroyo and Fein before the judge on the case comes amid a powerful campaign on the part of the government itself against Nisman. The prosecutor’s image has sunk since photos appeared of him with women much younger. The photos were on his cellphone and the judge is investigating the police for leaking them. But above all, what has sunk Nisman is that it is known that he had a secret bank account in New York which he shared with the computer expert who gave him the gun [that killed him], Diego Lagomarsino. This tells that he gave half his salary — publicly — to Nisman.

The circle is complete, such that a prosecutor is now trying to impute Nisman’s mother, his sister, and Lagomarsino for tax evasion and money laundering by way of that account. Thus the denouncers have become the denounced. The prosecutor could not accuse Nisman because he died, but his mother and sister, yes. In Buenos Aires there are also placards with the photo of Nisman with women at a party, and the question: “Are we all Nisman?” Lest there be doubts of the government’s position, the chief of Kirchner’s cabinet, Aníbal Fernández, was very clear: “Nisman dedicated public funds to going out with women and paying ‘ñoquis’ (functionaries who are paid and do nothing, via Lagomarsino). A shameless man as few have seen in this land.” At the time, in some neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, there were placards in favor of Nisman and his denunciation against the president.

Argentine judicial sources believe that the case will become complicated because many mistakes were made in the first hours after the killing, when the investigators arrived, and that will make it much more difficult to know the truth. Any investigation is marred by the decisions of the prosecutor and the movements of the police in those first hours, they said.

The government’s offensive is not only against Nisman, but above all against Antonio Stiusso, who until December was the most powerful spy in Argentina and directly linked to Nisman, who tried to talk with him shortly before his death. President Kirchner believes that he was the brains behind the prosecutor’s denunciation against her. Stiusso faces charges of money laundering and has fled Argentina to evade imprisonment. On Monday, he was summoned to the government seat, the Casa Rosada, for a type of political trial. He didn’t show up, and now he will face not only the government, but the judicial machinery for his dark dealings. Stiusso was very close to the Kirchners, and no he is Public Enemy Number One, as Óscar Parrilli, current chief of the secret services, made clear last week: “Lamentably, for 30 years, democracy coexisted with this man. From 1983 onward, nothing got done, and this man was acquiring more and more power, and no one was able to stop him.”

The latest episode in the government’s offensive against Stiusso and Nisman came late Tuesday afternoon, Argentine time. Parrilli, the Argentine spy chief, held a press conference at the Casa Rosada to announce that the government had formally charged Stiusso with violation of his duties as a public functionary, and for hiding from his agency the activities he carried out, in connection with Nisman, in the case of the bombing of the AMIA (a Jewish-Argentine association centre) in 1994, the origin of the denunciation. Parrilli accused Stiusso and Nisman of not having done their work well. “In 20 years of investigation, no suspects have been found. Nisman and Stiusso’s work has produced no results,” Parrilli said.

Translation mine.

If that’s not an indictment of the sorry state of Argentina’s fragile democracy, it’s certainly an indictment of the miserable state of law and justice there. It’s been over thirty years since the military junta fell, and in that time, corruptos have flourished in an atmosphere of near-total impunity. Opportunists like Stiusso and Nisman are dime a dozen in Argentina; what sets these two apart is the high offices they held, and the sheer chutzpah they exhibited in their abuse thereof. Nisman, for example, even sought to blame the president herself for an alleged cover-up of the AMIA bombing, deflecting the world’s eyes from the most likely culprit: not Iran, but Israel.

The Shin Bet and the Mossad are well known for their dirty tricks, and they are not above killing their own people — or Jews from other countries, such as Argentina. Nor has it been any great secret that Israel’s government would love to see Iran branded a sponsor of terrorism, and sanctioned accordingly all over the world. So far, they’ve been spectacularly unsuccessful at it.

And with incompetent corruptos like Nisman and Stiusso as their primary local agents, it’s hardly any wonder at all. Israel’s spook agencies are starting to look just as stupid as their US counterparts.

Maybe they’d like to pick up the clue-phone. Or should I say, the shoe-phone?

shoe-phone

Compare and Contrast: A “tragedy” vs. a statistic

misandry-vs-misogyny

Note the quotes around “tragedy”; they’re there for a reason. Partly because this mug is a joke. Partly also because a few arrogant dudes’ hurt feelings on the internet don’t add up to nearly as much as 90 million girls’ corpses.

Posted in Compare and Contrast, If You REALLY Care, Isn't It Ironic?, Men Who Just Don't Get It, The "Well, DUH!" Files, Uppity Wimmin. Comments Off on Compare and Contrast: A “tragedy” vs. a statistic »

Compare and Contrast: Jesus vs. the governor of Indiana