Festive Left Friday Blogging: Who’s got numbers to kill for?

Riddle me this: Who’s got approval ratings that either one of the US presidential candidates would kill for?

Give up yet?

It’s this guy:

And here’s the story, from Contrainjerencia:

The Bolivian president, Evo Morales, has a 64.2% approval rating, according to a poll published by several media outlets in that country on the 30th anniversary of the interruption of democracy in Bolivia.

The results of the Study on Political Culture and Democracy in Bolivia, Americas Barometer 2012 of the Latin America Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) reflect the fact that the Bolivian head of state has the support of the majority, which considers his leadership very good since he arrived at Palacio Quemado in early 2006.

The study, which was conducted by Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, found that 52.4 percent of the population believes that the government protects and promotes the rights of indigenous peoples.

The same study also reports that 47.8 percent consider that Morales succeeds in the politics of the protection of Pachamama, or Mother Earth. Also, 45% of respondents view the president’s economic leadership favorably.

48 percent of Bolivians support the work of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly and the Electoral Commission of Bolivia.

In the anti-drug fight, only 37.5 percent consider the government’s leadership effective, despite its battle against illegal coca plantations throughout the country.

Ever since Morales took power, and following the country’s exit from co-operation with the US DEA, the government has logged record figures in the destruction of illegal coca plantations, and in the confiscation of narcotics. In the first months of 2012, the Bolivian Special Forces against narcotrafficking have confiscated more than 460 tonnes of drugs. Eight percent of this was cocaine in various forms, including hydrochloride and base paste. The rest was marijuana.

Thanks to the launching of the state-run Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos, re-founded as part of the nationalization of hydrocarbon resources, controlled single-digit inflation is one of the successes of Morales’s monetary policy.

The finest political moment for Morales, including the time he led the coca-growers’ unions in the Chaparé during the 1980s, is the strong growth of the GDP, from $9 billion US in 2005, to nearly $26 billion US in 2011.

Translation mine.

Heavens. If I were His Barackness — or Mittens, for that matter — I’d be putting out feelers toward Evo, and finding out how he does all that. Just 30 years ago, Bolivia was a miserable dictatorship, and just 10 years ago, it was a weak, poor, and unstable democracy, riddled with corruption, drugs and debt. Now it’s well on its way to showing the US a thing or two on how to reconcile regional differences, fight drugs and corruption, and kick up the economy. Not to mention rewriting its constitution to better serve the people and the planet, instead of permitting it to go on being abused by big capitalist interests.

It’s still very much a work in progress, but at least Bolivia is moving forward. I’m not at all sure about the direction of the United States of Amnesia, though.

Festive Left Friday Blogging: In which one fine-ass dude disses a smarmy git

This is Tom Morello. Like Barack Obama, he’s part Kenyan. Unlike him, he’s a bona-fide, actual Marxist. And he takes hilarious exception to a certain vice-presidential candidate who is clearly missing something in the sense-of-irony department:

I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!

Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.

There you have it, folks. Quote of the day. And a gentle reminder to pay attention to those lyric sheets that come with your CDs.

Posted in Artsy-Fartsy Culture Stuff, Festive Left Friday Blogging, If You REALLY Care, Isn't It Ironic?, Obamarama!, Quotable Notables, Socialism is Good for Capitalism!, The United States of Amnesia. Comments Off on Festive Left Friday Blogging: In which one fine-ass dude disses a smarmy git »

Clip ‘n’ Save: Nope, no government help here!

Clip ‘n’ Save: How to tell off a teabag

How NOT to win friends and influence people

I don’t know how much attention His Barackness pays to opinion polls, surveys and the like…but if I were in his shoes, I’d realize that this is very much an election year, and this is very much an election issue:

The Obama administration’s increasing use of unmanned drone strikes to kill terror suspects is widely opposed around the world, according to a Pew Research Center survey on the U.S. image abroad.

In 17 out of 21 countries surveyed, more than half of the people disapproved of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, Pew said Wednesday.

But in the United States, a majority, or 62 per cent, approved the drone campaign.

“There remains a widespread perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries,” the study authors said, especially in predominantly Muslim nations, where American anti-terrorism efforts are “still widely unpopular.”

Well, DUH. What was anyone expecting of the international community? Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a drone strike, even if it IS meant to take out that guy next door, the one you didn’t realize was a terrorist. (Or just branded as such by an imperialistic US administration that brooks no opposition in countries where pipelines and resource control are at stake. Same difference.)

I guess international perceptions of the pre-emptive Nobel Peace Prize winner are now officially in the toilet. Hearts and minds = piss and shit.

‘Course, I guess it would matter more to the POTUS if this were a “real” war, and his opponent were an anti-war socialist type who hauled out all the collateral damage for the benighted folk of the Fruited Plain to see, like it was back in the days when bloody awful things still received nightly coverage on the news, soldiers were fragging their superiors, and Dan Rather was still a real journalist. This could so easily have turned into another Vietnam, if only drones were shown in their true colors. And if only there were real anti-war candidates still to be found.

Good thing for Hopey, then, that his only real challenger is Mittens, who is even more rabidly pro-war. And who no doubt is counting on 62% of the Amurrican Sheeple remaining this fucking stupid about the rest of the world.

And good thing for the Military-Industrial Complex that it owns the media outright, and has both parties beholden to it. That explains the ridiculous ignorance of that 62%. After all, all they ever hear is that drone strikes are “surgical” and that the War on Terra is “working” — instead of the awful truth, which is that drones can and do go astray, and the world is only turning more against the US, with good cause. And that the war will never be won, which will only mean more “terrorists” to send the robo-bombers after. And more insane profits for the MIC.

In other words, yay drones.

Clip ‘n’ Save: A portable Mitt Romney debunker

Posted in Clip 'n' Save, Economics for Dummies, Filthy Stinking Rich, Isn't It Ironic?, Obamarama!, The United States of Amnesia. Comments Off on Clip ‘n’ Save: A portable Mitt Romney debunker »

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Why is this hottie smiling?

Heh…maybe a better question to ask is Why wouldn’t he be? After all, with approval ratings like these…

The approval ratings for the governance and credibility of the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, surpassed 80 percent in Quito and Guayaquil. Five years into his rule, the consulting firm Perfiles de Opinión, indicates that the leader has historic levels of acceptance.

The study, cited by state news agency Andes and taken on April 29 in Quito and Guayaquil, shows 83 and 82 approval ratings for Correa, respectively. The president took power on January 15, 2007.

In an interview with Ecuadorinmediato Radio, Perfiles director Paulina Recalde also revealed that the question “Do you find Correa credible?” received a “yes” response of 68 percent in Guayquil and 67 percent in Quito.

The third question of the survey asked respondents for their impression of the leader. 76 percent replied “good”, 21 percent “bad” and 3 percent did not respond.

Recalde considers these figures to be exceptionally high. “I don’t believe we could register a leader with such positive numbers in the entire democratic history of the country,” she says, adding that since December of last year these numbers have remained very stable.

The analyst added that Correa “benefited” from the latest mobilizations of opposition organizations.

Translation mine.

And the real kicker? Guayaquil is supposedly an anti-Correa stronghold, full of oligarchs and angry, angry haters. Yet he gets 82% approval there, and even slightly higher credibility ratings than in the “pro-Correa” capital city of Quito. Go figure!

For all the lamestream media up here trying to make out like he’s been bad for the country and should be ousted and look at the “police rebellion”! and blah blah blabbity blah blah, Rafael Correa sure has ratings to kill for. (Trust me, Stevie the Spiteful and His Barackness would, and so far neither has gotten anything close to them.)

Ecuador is politically stable for the first time in living memory, it’s improving economically a lot as well, and it loves its rebellious, super-smart president. He’s been good for the country overall, even the so-called opposition strongholds. And everything they’ve tried to do to hurt him has ended up backfiring in their faces.

And now you know why he’s smiling.

Imagine if this happened in Venezuela…

Where is the IAP(O)A on this one, I wonder?

When President Obama addressed the American Society of News Editors convention last month, the real news was what didn’t happen. The watchdogs didn’t bark. No discouraging word from the gathering of 1,000 of the country’s top news people, facing a president whose administration has led a vigorous attack on journalism’s most indispensable asset — its sources.

Obama took office pledging tolerance and even support for whistleblowers, but instead is prosecuting them with a zeal that’s historically unprecedented. His Justice Department has conducted six prosecutions over leaks of classified information to reporters. Five involve the Espionage Act, a powerful law that had previously been used only four times since it was enacted in 1917 to prosecute spies.

Whoa, that’s harsh. But wait! They go into actual cases too:

Some spies. We’re no longer in the era of Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen or Kim Philby, infamous Cold War turncoats.

Instead, there’s Thomas Drake, a career official of the National Security Agency, who faced 35 years in prison for telling a Baltimore Sun reporter about what The New York Times called “a potential billion-dollar computer boondoggle.” At stake was bureaucratic embarrassment, not national security. (The case against Drake collapsed last summer.)

Then there’s Shamai Leibowitz, a translator for the FBI, who believed he had intercepted evidence of illegal influence-peddling by the Israeli embassy. When his boss wouldn’t act, he leaked transcripts to a blogger. He got 20 months.

Ex-CIA agent John Kiriakou was indicted in January for allegedly identifying a Guantánamo interrogator (who was not working undercover;) Stephen Kim, a State Department analyst, allegedly told a reporter for Fox News — wait for it — that the U.S. was worried North Korea might respond to new U.N. sanctions by testing another A-bomb; and Jeffrey Sterling, who allegedly disclosed a botched CIA operation in Iran that was described in a 2006 book by a Times reporter.

And there’s the biggest case, the court martial of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of engineering the mammoth dumps of U.S. military and diplomatic data that Wikileaks, the online whistleblower network, turned over to leading newspapers in 2010 and 2011.

The administration seems undeterred by the scanty evidence that any of these defendants was out to hurt the country, a mainstay ingredient of espionage, and the Manning judge has even warned prosecutors they must show he believed he was “aiding the enemy” or she would toss the most serious charge against him.

The public is generally unaware of how essential nominally classified information is to coverage of diplomatic and strategic news. As Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ government secrecy project, put it: “The administration’s aggressive pursuit of leaks represents a challenge to the practice of national security reporting, which depends on the availability of unauthorized sources if it is to produce something more than ‘authorized’ news.”

“Authorized” news? That sounds like CRAPAGANDA to me.

So why is this happening? Well,

What’s behind the administration’s fervor isn’t clear, but the news media have largely rolled over and yawned. A big reason is that prosecutors aren’t hassling reporters as they once did. Thanks to the post-9/11 explosion in government intercepts, electronic surveillance, and data capture of all imaginable kinds — the NSA is estimated to have intercepted 15-20 trillion communications in the past decade — the secrecy police have vast new ways to identify leakers.

So they no longer have to force journalists to expose confidential sources. As a national security representative told Lucy Dalglish, director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, “We’re not going to subpoena reporters in the future. We don’t need to. We know who you’re talking to.”

It doesn’t appear that the current prosecutions required the help of journalists, which helps explain the ASNE’s equanimity when President Obama met the press last month.

Press barons complacent when sources get pinched? Sounds like the sort of thing that could only happen under totalitarianism. So much for the idea that socialists and communists are the authoritarians. Capitalists, those guardians of free speech, have them beat nine ways till Friday for state censorship. And nowhere more so than the “freedom-loving” US of A!

But hey. It’s kind of nice to see my pet hate, the Miami Herald, reporting (a) REAL news, and (b) actual free-speech violations that occur continually on US soil. They should do that more often!

If only they were not also complicit in the “authorized news” game, that is.

Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle.

Posted in Obamarama!. Comments Off on Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle. »

Heroes for Today: Sandra Fluke, standing tall for women

Watch this video in its entirety and see if you can find anything about this bright young woman that would justify the Pigman, Rush Limbaugh, in calling her a slut simply for asking that her Catholic university provide birth control pills to female students who need them for medical reasons:

Notice, too, how the university president himself is backing her up on this one, despite any differences over school policy. Sweet, eh?

I do believe this won’t be the last we hear of Sandra Fluke. She has the makings of a real leader and advocate. In a few years’ time, she could be the next Sarah Weddington, especially if the war over birth control escalates. Given the stranglehold of the Reich-wingnuts on US politics, it probably will.

And yes, birth control pills are indeed good for many things besides contraception. I took them for 15 years to regulate my erratic, heavy and painful periods; others take them to clear up severe acne, relieve endometriosis, painful fibrocystic breast or uterine disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and a host of other hormonally-linked ailments. The Pill has even been recommended for Catholic nuns, to help prevent certain cancers that have been linked to nulliparity.

For the Pigman to call women (including NUNS!) sluts for trying to treat those conditions is beyond disgusting, and that’s why there’s a call to get his sorry ass off the air for good. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard more than enough of his “feminazi” bluster and hypocritical bullshitting to last me a lifetime. Let’s stand with Sandra and get it done.