A poem for those who don’t get it

I decided to write this, en français, seeing as there are so many in France who still don’t understand what the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case is really all about:

Celà que DSK a fait,
n’est pas du tout une “liberté”
parce qu’il y manque fraternité,
et aussi donc l’égalité!

(What DSK did
isn’t a “liberty” at all,
because it lacks fraternity,
and also equality!)

Apropos the ridiculous conspiracy theories: I heard this morning that the alleged victim in this case, the hotel maid, is not a seductive CIA “honey trap” agent (who would, most likely, be white and blond), but a refugee from Guinea. (Common Dreams has her down as an “African immigrant” of unspecified nationality and immigration status.) Which not only debunks a great deal of the “entrapment” nonsense floating around out there in the French blogosphere, but makes this all the more emblematic of what the IMF does to people from poor countries, especially the women (who always and invariably bear the brunt of economies gone to hell from capitalist interference).

And may I remind you that a real Socialist would be talking not of reforming the IMF, as was DSK’s wont, but abolishing it, for those very reasons?

I hope this clears up all confusion. Carry on, mes amis.

Short ‘n’ Stubby: Ms. Manx dips another paw in the Wikileaks

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My stump-tailed mascot informs me that if she dips any more feet into this ever-growing lake of leakage, she’s gonna be swimming. Well, hop in, sez I–the water’s turbulent, but so far, it’s fine. And here are some of the choice bits I found bobbing around in it today:

Mark Pesce calls Wikileaks “a blueprint of things to come”. Ms. Manx’s fave quote:


“The mythology of power – that leaders are somehow more substantial, their concerns more elevated and lofty than us mere mortals, who must not question their motives – that mythology has been definitively busted. This is the final terminus of aristocracy; a process that began on July 14, 1789 came to a conclusive end on November 28, 2010. The new aristocracies of democracy have been smashed, trundled off to the guillotine of the internet, and beheaded.”

L’état, c’est mort.

At Salon.com, Dan Gillmor comes out with a qualified defence of Wikileaks, arguing–correctly–that it is a use-it-or-lose-it matter when it comes to freedom of speech. Ms. Manx concurs, but thinks the bit about governments needing to have secrets is hooey. Secrecy, the Stumpy Cat reminds us, is what got all the leaked-on governments into such a pickle in the first place. It covers a multitude of sins. Isn’t it time the sinning stopped? Then, like magic, all need for secrecy would evaporate. (And so too would all those massive, murderous boondoggles otherwise known as intelligence agencies.)

Also at Salon, Glenn Greenwald takes on the legal angle of the Wikileaks case. Straight from the top, we learn that any legal case against Wikileaks itself would be a shaky one, since the prosecutors would have to prove that damage was done–basically, that someone had died–as a result of the leaks. So far, not a shred of hard evidence exists to that end. Instead, we got a flurry of lawless, panicky (and largely futile) countermeasures taken by feds and corporations in various countries. Lacking the lawful grounds on which to prosecute Wikileaks, it seems that the authorities have decided to go the persecution route against the most famous individual attached to the organization. Which probably explains the singularly strange timing of those sexual-assault charges against Julian Assange.

And speaking of those, feminist lawyer Jill Filipovic takes on that angle at Feministe. She also decries the way the “shoddy, sensationalist reporting” of the media has “muddied the waters” on the issue of withdrawal of consent. Ms. Manx thinks this is right-on.

Lindsay Beyerstein, writing at Big Think, opines that “the case against Assange may be baseless, but that doesn’t mean the allegations against him are trivial or nonsensical.” True that, and Ms. Manx is content to sit back for now and see how it pans out. Since he has surrendered to the authorities, it remains to be seen whether even those charges–on the face of them, unrelated to Wikileaks–have any merit. Fine, let’s have a trial–that’s how things work where rule of law is still respected. For all we know, Julian Assange may even clear his name! Given what we already know about the CIA ties of one of his accusers, the odor of hinkitude is strong here. And again, Ms. Manx says–consider the timing. Consider also that the initial warrant against Assange was bungled. And the charges were withdrawn, only to be pressed again. Is something rotten in the state of Sweden? Certainly. And, as a feminist, Ms. Manx thinks it’s a damn shame that a decent piece of anti-rape legislation–something other feminists have fought so long and hard to get, and that so many rape victims have to work up the courage to use–should be misused in this way. If this is not a smear campaign against Wikileaks, with the pugmarks of the CIA all over it, Ms. Manx says she will eat my most indigestible hat.

Meanwhile, back to the censorship front. Ms. Manx says she’s seen all kinds of disingenuous explanations for why Twitter won’t report #Wikileaks or #cablegate as a trending topic. The main one: the mysterious Twitter Algorithm. My gosh, you’d think they were Google or something. There’s nothing mysterious about it; if there’s a promoted tweet, that means someone is paying to make sure something trends. It’s hard to imagine, to use but one particularly irritating example of a bogus trend, Venezuelans being so enamored of Justin Bieber that they would resort to not one but several hashtags to keep HIM trending; at least two of my Venezuelan tweeps (one of them a student in his late teens) say that they know virtually no one down thataway who even likes the kid. And lo! Ms. Manx’s suspicions are confirmed. In fact, #Wikileaks and #cablegate ARE getting much more tweetage than the Biebs. Failing to report, the Stumpy Cat opines, is also a form of censorship, especially if it’s so deliberate that it requires equally deliberate countermeasures to circumvent.

And finally, Juan Cole, as usual, gets to the real meat of the matter, calling the thing by its right name: McCarthyism. Did anyone seriously believe that smear campaigns and witch-hunts died with the most odious US citizen ever to openly engage in them? In fact, they are just as illegal as a lot of the things being leaked in the diplomatic cables–smear campaigns and political vendettas against foreign leaders, particularly those who don’t toe the State Dept. line. As Cole rightly notes, if it were really a matter of treason, or exposing state secrets illegally, there are plenty of books on Amazon–and probably plenty of other PayPal clients–that would be much more worth dropping than Wikileaks.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Oh, boys…

Reflections on the (still ongoing) War on Terra

With apologies to Franklin Pierce Adams.

Gulf War II is an awful farce.

We like it.

Dick Cheney pulled it out his arse.

We like it.

There’s so much there to knock and slam;

The bloody thing is one big sham.

It can’t fight terror worth a damn.

Nevertheless, we fight it.

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Ode to some (would-be) modern Crusaders

O, what can ail ye, wretched “knights”,

Alone and whitely loitering?

500+ years out of date,

And no bards sing.

–special thanks to Bartholomew’s Notes for the inspo, and apologies to John Keats.

Look who else has been to Cuba…

It’s the President of Honduras! And guess who he met while he was there (on the 4th)?

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Manuel, Fidel. Fidel, Manuel. You know the rest, so I won’t tell.

This business of LatAm/Caricom leaders visiting Cuba is getting to be…almost routine, wouldn’t you say? Hmmm…hmmm…whatever could it mean?

One more leader goes to Cuba

This time it’s Leonel Fernández, the president of the Dominican Republic.

And you don’t have to guess who he met with while he was there…

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Leonel, Fidel…Fidel, Leonel. Fidel’s still lookin’ mighty swell. Some say he’s frail, but he’s clearly quite well. Well enough to meet Leonel!

PS: If you really wanna see wingnut heads explode, guess who else is planning a visit to Cuba.

A photo Washington would like to wish away

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Michelle, Fidel…Fidel, Michelle. Doesn’t Fidel look awfully well? He’s supposed to be dead, but he’s obviously swell.

Corny rhymes aside, this is real. Check the Chilean government website if you don’t believe me.

And if you don’t believe that, you can go to hell!

Stupid Sex Tricks: There once was a man from Aberdeen…

…who craved a used screwin’ machine.

Himself he amused.

The thing, he abused.

And the vendor? She found him obscene:

Warning: Serious man-boobs. May frighten your cat.

Someone’s ass needs kicking again