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.

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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.

Keystone XL: Dirty oil barons threaten Obama

The clearest, most concise explanation yet of why the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would ferry dirty tar-sands oil from Alberta to Texas, must not proceed. Yes, all this talk of “ending our dependence on foreign oil” is a LIE. Shocking? Wait, it gets worse. The pipeline would also threaten a geologically unstable area that happens to sit over the US’s biggest aquifer (also one of the largest in the world), and make the water undrinkable for about 23 million US citizens. AND, on top of everything else, it’s a job killer…and would make gasoline more expensive, not less so, for those still unfortunate enough to be driving locally made gas-guzzlers. Because the US is still a net petroleum IMPORTER, and most of that imported oil comes From Canada and the Middle East. And because the oil from that pipeline, from Canada, would not be going to serve US needs, but would be converted into gasoline for the lucrative export market. (I had to laugh at the part about shipping it to South America. They have more than enough of their own in Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile…and now, Brazil. All South American countries would be more than adequately served from South American oil, refined and supplied by state-run industries! What would they need Texas-shipped gasoline for? Even Mexico and Cuba have plenty for their own needs, and won’t have to rely on the US for that. And Cuba will have help from Venezuela in developing and refining its own offshore oil, so US corporations will be out in the cold there.)

Yes, folks, this is the “ethical” oil that Ezra Fucking Levant is shilling his putzy ass off for. Seems so very ethical now, doesn’t it?

Wait, it gets worse. Let’s go back to the oil-baron threat again. You think it’s nothing serious? It got one previous US president assassinated for daring to oppose the barons. And his vice-president and successor, who happened to be from Texas, and very much in the pockets of the oil barons himself, was a key suspect in his murder:

Pay special attention to the part about Clint Murchison Sr., the oil king with connections to LBJ, J. Edgar Hoover, and other shadowy figures of the Kennedy assassination. He was so intimate with them that they partied, and plotted JFK’s demise, at his Texas mansion. Was this where the order went out to kill Kennedy? Quite likely. Between them, the CIA, the Mafia, and the anti-Castro ex-Cubans, it was a perfect storm of colluding, and corrupting, interests!

And let’s not forget, Obama’s predecessor is a Connecticut Yankee from Texas. And yes, Dubya is himself deep in Big Oil’s pockets…STILL. As a wannabe oil baron himself, he was a bust, but as their patsy, he made out like a bandit both as governor and later, as a two-term unelected president.

Anyone who thinks Big Oil has clean hands, and isn’t above assassinating non-compliant leaders, really should watch The Men Who Killed Kennedy in its nine-episode entirety…and bear in mind that very little has changed in US politics since then. It will certainly put the enormous pressures on Obama in a powerful new light. And it will make clear why it is imperative for common citizens to oppose Big Oil and its inordinate influence on the politics of all North America. It is not an exaggeration to say that our entire democratic system is in grave danger from it.

Glass houses, Your Barackness.

Glass houses.

President Barack Obama’s sharp criticisms of Venezuela’s human rights record and its ties to Iran are heightening tensions with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who on Monday responded by calling Obama a “clown” and telling him to mind his own business.

Obama appeared to stiffen his stance toward Chavez in his remarks, which were published Monday by the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. Some of Obama’s Republican opponents have also been strongly critical of Chavez, and analysts expect the Venezuelan president could become a popular target of criticism as American politicians feud over foreign policy ahead of next year’s U.S. presidential election.

While Washington has long criticized Chavez, Obama’s remarks were some of his hardest to date. He pointedly raised concerns about what he described as threats to democracy in Venezuela.

“We’re concerned about the government’s actions, which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values and failed to contribute to the security in the region,” Obama said in written responses to questions from the newspaper.

Of course, it’s important to consider the source here. El Luniversal is a virulently oppositionist newspaper. It’s backing a “unity table” of failed right-wing candidates. So of course it’s going to go fishing for nasty words from Obama to Chavecito. The embarrassing thing is, His Barackness obliged. And the ‘Cito gave him a prompt pantsing for it:

Chavez wasted little no time in responding. He said on state television, “Mr. Obama came out, attacking us, but that’s not out of the ordinary for us.”

The Venezuelan leader added, “Obama, take care of your own business, focus on governing your country, which you’ve turned into a disaster. Leave us alone.”

Touché! The US still has a major, Repug-corporatist-made recession to dig out of, and His Barackness has been rather slow off the mark to address that. Must be all that hopey-changey bipartisan bending-over and ankle-grabbing.

Meanwhile, in Venezuela, things are going nowhere but up, in spite of the supposed human-rights violations of Chavecito — which, you’ll note, are left deliberately vague by El Luni AND His Barackness. I’m sure there’s a reason for that, too.

And Chavecito has pegged a couple of things very accurately here: All this tough talk comes in a pre-election year. And oh yeah, another thing, too:

Chavez suggested Obama’s stances toward Venezuela are a campaign ploy.

“He’s looking for votes,” Chavez said. Addressing Obama directly, he added: “If I could be a candidate there in the United States, I’d sweep you away.”

Yep: It’s that hopey-changey thing. Chavecito has it for real; he doesn’t need to use it for a campaign slogan.

I bet he’d have no qualms about sending the Bush Crime Mafia to The Hague, either. Unlike His Barackness, the ‘Cito has already lived through one coup attempt, and he’s not afraid of another; he knows from experience that the people have his back. Which is why he can also laugh at the pro-putsch rhetoric coming out of Washington, and why his “I could sweep you” is not exactly an idle boast. Chavecito has already made a thorough fool of Dubya, and he won’t hesitate to do the same to any other US president who pushes his luck.

There are plenty of people in the US who admire that kind of cojones, and who are sick to death of the lack of it in their politicians. They would vote for him tomorrow if he ran there — and if their media could only give an accurate account of his record. Too bad that like the so-called journalists of El Luni, most of the US media are also hopeless hacks.

Who’s the buffoon now, eh?

How Wired missed the real Assange/Manning story

A couple of days ago, Bradley Manning celebrated his birthday behind bars for the second year in a row. He’s still awaiting trial, with no word on when it will begin. But the outcome of the trial looks to be a foregone conclusion already. Wired, which also broke the story about Adrian Lamo turning Bradley Manning in, today claims to have found the definitive link between Manning and the man who published all the shocking classified materials Manning gave him:

A government digital forensic examiner retrieved communications between accused WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning and an online chat user identified on Manning’s computer as “Julian Assange,” the name of the founder of the secret-spilling site that published hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables.

Investigators also found an Icelandic phone number for Assange, and a chat with another hacker located in the U.S., in which Manning says he’s responsible for the leaking of the “Collateral Murder” Apache helicopter video released by WikiLeaks in spring 2010.

Until Monday’s revelation, there’s been no reports that the government had evidence linking the two men, other than chat logs provided to the FBI by hacker Adrian Lamo. Assange is being investigated by a federal grand jury, but has not been charged with any crime, as publishing classified information is not generally considered a crime in the U.S. But if prosecutors could show that Assange directed Manning, that could complicate Assange’s defense that WikiLeaks is simply a journalistic endeavor.

The news of the chat logs came on the fourth day of Manning’s Army hearing being held to determine whether he’ll face court martial on 22 charges of violating military law for allegedly abusing his position as an intelligence analyst in Iraq to feed a treasure trove of classified and sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.

Mark Johnson, a digital forensics contractor for ManTech International who works for the Army’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit, examined an image of Manning’s personal MacBook Pro and said he found 14 to 15 pages of chats in unallocated space on the hard drive that were discussions of unspecified government info, and specifically referred to re-sending info.

Pretty damning stuff, eh?

Yeah, I’ll admit it doesn’t look good for Bradley Manning, or Julian Assange either. If you believe that the two of them should be tried for espionage, this certainly seems to bolster that contention. But the real point of the story, which would blow the whole “espionage” theory out of the water, has been missed: It’s not how Manning got his hands on all that data (which we’ve already known about for quite some time), nor how he fed it to Julian Assange.

The real story, the part Wired isn’t reporting, is not the HOW, but the WHY.

And the WHY is no secret. It has already been reported elsewhere, but bears reiterating here. Bradley Manning saw what the US was really up to in its many overseas missions, diplomatic and military, and that it was all rotten. He hated what he saw, and he wanted to make sure everyone, no matter who or where they were, knew what he knew. He didn’t spy for any foreign government; he blew the whistle on his own. He wanted the whole world to know what was really going on in Iraq, because horrible, graphic footage like this…

…was obviously not going to make it onto any nightly newscast.

Mainstream media would only spin that video, at best; at worst, they would censor it altogether. The Internet is the only place that would disseminate a video as damaging to the US’s international reputation as Collateral Murder has turned out to be. And the Internet is the only place where such a video would be mirrored, as many times as needed, so that censorship could never take hold of it.

That’s why Bradley Manning leaked the classified materials to Julian Assange, and why Julian Assange posted it to Wikileaks.

It’s not that the two of them are spies. Spies, by definition, work for somebody else, an outside entity. An outside enemy. Neither Bradley Manning nor Julian Assange can be demonstrated in a court of law to be in the employ of an enemy, so espionage charges would make no sense (although I’m sure the US government is looking to press them anyhow). They were neither working for the enemy nor seeking to BE the enemy. Their only crime, if a crime indeed it was, was exposing the unattractive truth about US foreign policy. A truth which foreign nationals have long known, and which complicit media in the US and elsewhere have long covered up.

And for that awful truth, Bradley Manning may hang. Literally.

I don’t think he did anything wrong, myself. What is wrong with telling the truth, even when powerful interests don’t want it known?

NOTHING.

But there is plenty wrong with what we see in the Collateral Murder video. And if anyone in uniform should go on trial for anything, let it be the as-yet-unnamed helicopter pilots, “Bushmaster” and “Crazyhorse”, who deliberately and coldly killed the Iraqi journalist for Reuters, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh. And who also fired on innocent Iraqi civilians, including some kids in a van, who stopped to try to help the two wounded men.

And while we’re at it, let’s send the entire Bush Administration to The Hague. After all, they are the ones who sent “Bushmaster” and “Crazyhorse” to Iraq to play real-life shooter games with innocent Iraqis as targets. The war is now officially over. How about prosecuting those who declared it, on a false pretext, and for greed?

Oh yeah, I forgot. High-ranking criminals can’t be prosecuted. And Barack Obama has already (shamefully) taken that option off the table. So unless someone stages a citizen’s arrest of any of those thugs while they’re visiting a foreign country, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any of THEM subjected to the abuses and indignities that have befallen Assange and Manning. Much less any legal prosecution.

The shameful complicity of the US government, corporations, and media in crimes against humanity just never seems to end. And that’s the real story that Wired, like other mainstream sources, will never print.

#RIPHugoChavez = #Twitterfail

Riddle me this: When is a Trending Topic NOT a trending topic? Courtesy of Patria Grande, here comes a wake-up call for all you internauts who love Venezuela, and who want to keep abreast of all the dirty tricks of empire:

Today, the Trending Topics of Twitter woke to the hashtag #QEPDHugoChávez (#RIPHugoChavez). This phenomenon may appear “spontaneous”, massive, and communitarian, but in case you didn’t believe it, it came from the laboratories of the North, and in this article we will demonstrate that fact.

The trending topics on Twitter, or TTs , are, in theory, the topics most talked about in the debates of the social network. Recently, with the Occupy demonstrations in various cities of the United States, it was demonstrated that Twitter censors topics, but we have found out something much more interesting: the administrators of the social network promote topics, in some cases admitting that it is a promotion on the part of Twitter, and, in other cases, no. Trending topics are not always those which are being most tweeted. This opens the possibility that Twitter can determine politically and ideologically the conversation in microblogging form. Suppose that, in order for a topic to become a trend, it must fulfill certain criteria, such as language, popularity, total number of tweets, and total number of users, but above all that it be a new topic or, if it was a formerly popular topic, it has been picked up by a new group of users. According to these parameters, the hashtag #QEPDHugoChávez should not be one of the TTs. Twitter should remove TT topics when it is the same group of users tweeting, not new people, or when the topic surreptitiously incites assassination.

The control of Twitter over Trending Topics is not just any old thing. They are in the position to penalize commentaries — in fact, they even reserve the right to close an account if you use more than one unrelated hashtag to get attention or repeat a topic or hashtag without adding anything new to the discussion. Write on all topics to attract people to your profile, especially if you’re seeking publicity, or if you want to be followed on Trending Topics.

Twitter has a “secret formula” to select Trending Topics, which it has not revealed, and at the same time uses politically and ideologically.

Cyberwar: Twitter vs. Venezuela

On Twitter, for example, the hashtag #FreeVenezuela united, for some time, fascist sectors with greater or lesser degree of commitment in destabilization tactics, but whose objective was, and remains, the same: Get rid of Chávez.

The surge of this hashtag had nothing to do with spontaneity; it appeared on February 2, the day Venezuelans celebrated the 10th anniversary of Chávez taking power. The promoters of this “initiative” were in the National College of Journalists, the Press Workers’ Union, and the Graphic Reporters’ Circle, by way of a call to action published in the [right-wing] newspaper El Nacional. Impartiality?

Enrique Ubieta followed the rise of the hashtag and described its amazing elevation to the most important topics on Twitter: “In the first ten minutes #FreeVenezuela appeared eighth on the list of the top ten topics; 20 minutes later it was in fourth place, and after one hour of tweets, it was in third. For two hours it remained there. It was the first time a Venezuelan topic appeared on a list that supposedly reflects the highest levels of concurrency. Internet rarities, some may say; useless suspicions, according to others. But there is one easily detectable fact that no one in the media commented on: Of the some 300 initial internauts, more than 65% were tweeting from the United States, and another 25% from Colombia. A Venezuelan protest?”

Google’s “How to Kill Chávez”

It’s not the first time Chávez has been assassinated on the Internet. In the past, if you entered the word “how” on a Google search, the first option it displayed was “How to kill Chávez”, even without the words “to kill”.

Google, Facebook and Twitter are politicized companies, in that they not only put weight on the ideological components, but the economic factors as well. The government of the United States uses the technologies “to resolve local matters before they become regional conflicts”.

Even during the government of George W. Bush, the Internet demonstrated itself as an alternative within the strategies of fourth-generation warfare. Today, it is a fundamental point of politico-ideological advance for the empire. With the arrival of Obama in the White House, the Web and its communicational possibilities have been institutionalized as a mechanism of political destabilization.

On January 21, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognized that the administration conceptualizes and structures “21st Century Diplomacy”, in which the Internet plays a key role which also supersedes traditional mechanisms.

In her speech, Clinton took pride in the politics of interference of the State Department, which, she confessed, relies on agents in 40 other countries working in different parts of the Web. Venezuela, Moldova, and Iran are on the list.

Coup Manual 2.0

These destabilization techniques are supported by social networking platforms in order to propagate content favorable to the interests of imperialism and its allies. The idea is simple: Create opinion templates and make them sustainable enough so that a collective, however minoritarian, can be organized around an idea. “Rebel thresholds” are generated, which are connections of nodes to share messages and political intents which have the capacity to mobilize and make impact via the net.

The famous Trending Topics of Twitter correspond to this mechanism. Messages raise awareness in a social sector, with a view to mobilizing them and making them present in social networks. As soon as they reach the “rebel thresholds”, they are organized in virtual communities, sectorized groups, associations of various types which project a riotous activism that has no support in real politics. Thus, it is no coincidence that the message was uniformly disguised in euphemisms, such as the reference to the president as “Esteban”. This motto served to identify opposition groups on the social network.

To that end, they exalt the most violent members of their gang and develop campaigns to create tensions and polarize political discussion on the Internet. Success is guaranteed by the support of the media, who serve as publicists to the virtual “dissident” groups.

In a pre-election year such as this one, we must be aware of how the adversary moves, how they come together, and how they destabilize. The ideological battle has come to the ‘net. And even in this scenario, we will win out. And what will rest in peace is Capitalism.

Translation mine.

There isn’t a whole lot that I can add to this, other than that it’s well worth keeping this in mind the next time you see a “news” story to the effect that Hugo Chávez is dying (he isn’t), or that the opposition will win the next election (they won’t). Or just the next time you’re on the tweeter, and you suddenly see flocks of “Venezuelan” birds (who are really tweeting, for the most part, from the US or Colombia) flying out en masse to take a shit on Chavecito’s head, and missing, as usual. Rumormongering is the oldest dirty trick in the book, and even in this fast-paced cyber-age, it’s still in heavy rotation. Happily, the same technology that the enemy uses to generate the Big Lie, can be used to counteract it; see the coup of ’02, when television was used to spread the putschist message…and, less than 48 hours later, to get the truth out that the coup was over, and that Chavecito was on his way back. Then, it was TV; now, it will be Twitter, Google, Facebook…and of course, this humble blog right here.

Venceremos.

What you’re not being told about Libya

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

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

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

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

Planned Parenthood meets Bollywood!

In celebration of the new law requiring all US health insurance providers to cover birth control and other preventive health measures for women with no “co-pays” (out of pocket expenses, often used by insurers to minimize their own expenditures), Planned Parenthood got multi-culti and had some fun making this:

…which ought to give Anders Breivik a double aneurysm, seeing as it’s pro-woman AND has brown and white people dancing to Bollywood-style pop together, celebrating birth control!