Evo cracks the 60% barrier!

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The latest figures from Friday’s Bolivian presidential elections are in, and it looks like Evo’s an even bigger winner than originally projected. Here’s the lowdown:

The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has widened his margin as winner of the recent general elections, with his percentage of the votes climbing to 60.97% — half a point more than the previous estimate — according tot he latest figures from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), with 96.5% of the votes counted.

Up to now, 26,445 of the 27,403 polling stations’ results have been submitted. Opposition candidate for the Democratic Unity (UD) party, Samuel Doria Medina, remains in second place, with 24.39% of the votes, followed by the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) candidate Jorge Quiroga, with 9.14%. For the Movement Without Fear party (MSM) of Juan del Granado, the vote is at 2.78%, and the Green Party of Bolivia (PVB), of Fernando Vargas, 2.73%, according to Telesur.

Translation mine.

So, now Evo is at over 60%, a trend that seems unlikely to reverse itself. You can see that he did even better, percentage-wise, in votes from expatriate Bolivians (over 72%), than he did at home (60.97%).

I sure hope Tuto has plenty of ketchup ready, it looks like he’s gonna need it. He did promise to eat his watch if Evo came in over 60% on the final count. Which could be any day now. Ha, ha.

Tuto Quiroga, butthurt loser

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Ladies and gentlemen, meet the loser of the recent Bolivian presidential election. He came in last, with single digits in the exit polls, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a dismal showing compared to Evo’s commanding lead. But hey! Why let a little thing like one’s own massive unpopularity deter one from uttering bitter and butthurt speculations about the undisputed winner, eh?

Exit polls proclaimed Evo Morales the victor at nearly 60% support. Last month, Tuto Quiroga announced, after learning that early polls showed six out of every ten Bolivians voting for Morales, that if it were true, he would eat his watch.

The official data up to now, with 57.4% of the votes counted, give Evo Morales the win with almost 55% support, followed by conservative businessman Samuel Doria Medina (28.6%) and Quiroga in last place, at 11.16%.

“We’ll see, there’s still time, but first let’s wait for the results,” said the opposition candidate during a press conference, assuring that he has enough tomato sauce, as well as llajua (a spicy sauce, typically Bolivian) to carry out his promise.

Now that the predictions appear to be coming true, many Bolivians are coming out with sarcasm on social media to demand that Quiroga keep his promise.

“That’s why Evo Morales wants 60%, to see me eat my watch,” said the ex-president, ironically.

On Tuesday, Quiroga also criticized the actions of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), as the organism took more than 24 hours to make public the official figures of the vote count due to technical problems and a supposed threat of computer sabotage.

Quiroga denounced the TSE as “servile” and “inefficient”, claiming that it is manipulating the results to “rob” the opposition and inflate the vote count for Morales in rural areas.

“Never in the recent democratic history of Bolivia has there been such a show of ineptitude, incapacity and inefficiency on the part of the electoral organism, which makes one think they are manipulating and ‘cooking’ the results,” maintained Quiroga.

[...]

It is the second time that Quiroga has been defeated by Morales in an election, as both leaders also contended in the elections of 2005, in which Morales became the first indigenous president of Bolivia.

Translation mine.

Poor Tuto. He’s been virtually irrelevant for the last ten years. During the 2005 election, which he lost to Evo, he resorted to scare tactics which proved to be empty. He put out ads with dramatic background music, in which actors posing as textile workers claimed that Evo’s win would scare off international buyers for their products. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Evo’s record to date has shown; even the IMF and the World Bank are praising him, which is pretty ironic since he sent them packing, figuring that homegrown solutions to reinvest gas revenues into the local economy (à la Chavecito) would do the trick better. And they did.

So now there’s nothing left for Tuto to keep himself relevant, except to snipe at Evo’s impressive results. 2005’s, for instance, was at the time the largest margin of popular support for any Bolivian presidential candidate, ever — and Evo’s support has only increased since then. And of course, to threaten to eat his watch.

Tuto, better stock up on hot sauce. And maybe a case of beer, too. You’re gonna need something to wash down those bitter, bitter words!

Open Carry gunbunny gets jacked

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Think you’ll be safer if you’re toting a firearm in plain sight? Think again. This “open carry” gun guy got robbed of his brand-new piece…at gunpoint:

A man practicing his open carry right was robbed of the gun he was openly carrying.

William Coleman III was robbed of his Walter- brand P22 just after 2:00 a.m. October 4 in Gresham by a young man who asked him for it — and flashed his own weapon as persuasion.

Coleman, 21, was talking to his cousin in the 17200 block of NE Glisan St., after purchasing the handgun earlier that day, when a young man asked him for a cigarette, police said.

The man then asked about the gun, pulled a gun from his own waistband and said “I like your gun. Give it to me.”

Coleman handed over the gun and the man fled on foot.

I’m guessing that the thief was NOT an Open Carrier. In that regard, he was smarter than his quarry.

So much for the idea that “an armed society is a safe society”, eh?

At long last, El Narco’s legal chickens come home to roost

Venezuelan journalist José Vicente Rangel reveals that a certain Colombian ex-president’s troubles, which hung over his time in office like a cloud of smog over a mountain city, have not dissipated with his departure from official power. In fact, they’ve only intensified since. And now, it appears they are coming to a head:

“As we have already predicted, the situation of Colombian ex-president Álvaro Uribe is growing more complicated by the day,” stated José Vicente Rangel on Sunday, warning that the ex-president was in grave political and legal difficulties.

During the “Confidentials” section of his program, José Vicente Today, on the private channel Televen, the journalist said that the weight Uribe still maintains in the politics of his land, and the powers that support him, have not served to prevent his case from coming before the Colombian senate, under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, nor to prevent several court cases against him from making their way through the legal system.

“What is the main point of the question? Firstly, the historic relationship between Uribe and narcotrafficking, and, later, his participation in the formation of paramilitary groups, starting with the “Convivir”, a mafia organization he inaugurated,” said Rangel.

In this sense, Rangel said that the case of the Colombian ex-president has just been brought before the Colombian senate by senator Iván Cepeda.

Rangel pointed out that Cepeda presented “a very broad and rigorous report which begins with the investigation of the time in which Uribe, being a functionary of the government of Antioquia [province], expedited flight permits for planes belonging to the famous drug lord, Pablo Escobar Gavíria.”

Rangel added that the document reflects “the close ties of the ex-president with paramilitarism, which he used to sow terror and interfere in the electoral process.”

“This part of the dossier contains testimonies by important narcotrafficking chiefs, and of paramilitaries directly involved [with Uribe]. What will happen to Uribe? He attributes what’s going on to the manoeuvres of President Santos with those who are trying to eliminate him as a political rival. Uribe is stuck in a tunnel which apparently has no way out,” Rangel reflected.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

So, it looks like “El Doptor Varito” is finally seeing his chickens coming home to roost. After more than 20 years, it’s about time. And with any luck, maybe his political goose will be cooked as well.

A Children’s Treasury of Wingnuttia

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I don’t know what’s funnier…the fact that there’s a book for kids on the “virtues” of open carry, that it’s “frequently bought together” with other forgettable trashery like Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate, or these Amazon.com reviews for it:

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Yes indeed, this book is a classic in the making. I can smell it already. No, wait…that’s just burnt gunpowder and stale flop-sweat. My mistake!

Festive Left Friday Blogging: The Internationale kills fascists at U of T

Wow. Amazing what one little song can do…especially when it’s sung by socialist students in the face of a bunch of whiny cowards, eh?

Comrades from the Revolutionary Student Movement, the Proletarian Feminist Front, and the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee confronted reactionary Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) as they gathered to spread their message of misogyny this past Tuesday at the University of Toronto.

MRAs, organized under the dubiously-named “Canadian Association For Equality” were completely unprepared for the opposition they must inevitably face. After facing the organized resistance of the comrades, who disrupted the meeting by shouting slogans, heckling, and singing “The Internationale”, the MRAs disbanded their meeting and attempted to relocate and reconvene. The comrades pursued them, again forcing an end to their event.

After dispersing entirely, the MRAs scattered like cockroaches and found a hidden corner of the campus in which to collectively lick their wounds. Laughably, they have even attempted to use this fact as evidence that their event was not shut down!

So, there you go. The Internationale, like Woody Guthrie’s famous guitar, really does kill fascists.

As for the MRAs, perhaps they’d like to ask the Mexicans if they can borrow THIS song as THEIR anthem:

Only…oops! It’s a song celebrating the defeat of Victoriano Huerta. The pot-smoking “cockroach” is believed to be either the debauched corrupto Huerta himself, or his beetle-black presidential car, which was famous for belching clouds of smoke and not running very well.

Guess those guys are gonna have to keep looking for a stirring tune of their own, eh?

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 53

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

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to VenOpIronía!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translation mine.

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

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

Sorry-not-sorry, MariCori!

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“Take this, so the Venezuelans end up eating shit!”

“Don’t worry, Doctor…I already have them accustomed to that!”

Remember that time MariCori went to Colombia, with a phony whiplash collar on to make it look like she was some kind of victim, and to stir up sympathy where it made no difference anyway? Looks like she won’t be able to get away with THAT again:

María Corina Machado will not be able to leave Venezuela, since the 16th Control Tribunal of Caracas has prohibited her from doing so.

Judge Adriana López heard the petition, made by the Public Ministry.

The order has already been received by the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Foreign Travel (SAIME), according to sources from the organism.

The decision was sustained in the possibility that Machado could flee the land.

Last Monday, Machado spent eight hours in a hearing with the Public Ministry due to an investigation of an assassination plan in Venezuela.

Translation mine.

Recall that MariCori has long been involved in right-wing putschist activities in Venezuela. She signed the infamous Carmona declaration of 2002, the same that abolished ALL of Venezuela’s democratic institutions and guarantees. Later, she stupidly claimed she thought it was just a sign-in sheet. Which begs the question: Are all rich twits in Venezuela functionally illiterate? Or is it just the fascist opposition leaders who are that dumb…when they’re not busy thinking that everyone else is, too?

Oh well, whatever. At least now, she can’t escape justice. Pity they couldn’t have stopped her before she made an ass of herself in Panama’s seat at the OAS, or on Parliament Hill up here.

A few random thoughts on yesterday’s Ontario election

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

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

And I’m not even sorry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 51

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There’s a certain saying in Venezuela: “Ah, muchacho pa’ bobo” — oh, silly guy! And as we can see, it applies very nicely to the mayor of a certain rich municipality in eastern Caracas, who has had to do a lot of strange contortions lately to keep on top of a political situation that has spiralled out of his control:

The mayor of Chacao, Ramón Muchacho, said surprising things in his interview with Vladimir Villegas.

For example:

“The decision to dismantle the protest camps in eastern Caracas was on the part of the government, the government…”

“The real problem at base is that the government model failed and that’s why there are protests.” (And no elections or recall referendum, Muchacho?)

“I don’t believe the guarimbas will work…They didn’t get us anywhere.” (And the money is running out.)

“No one can remove me from the mayor’s office…I’m the mayor with the most votes in Venezuela, with 84%, neither the government nor anyone else can remove me from here ike they did in San Cristóbal and San Diego…” (Nobody? No recall for him?)

“We have to go vote in San Cristóbal and deal the government a blow. Patricia de Ceballos [the wife of the former mayor, currently under arrest for putschist activities] will be the winner.”

“The students held a march yesterday, in Plaza Brión. It was headed toward the Attorney General’s office, but the state security forces impeded it and the students had no choice but to march to another site, and they went to Palos Grandes…”

“I believe we have to call on the government to reflect about spaces to demonstrate and march, since the opposition or the student movement can’t march in Libertador muncipality. Something is very bad in this country because there are restricted zones.”

Ah Muchacho pa’…

Translation mine. Linkage added.

Silly Muchacho, indeed. Who is this “we” he keeps talking about? Is he suggesting that people from Chacao will vote in San Cristóbal, several hundred miles to the west? They’re not entitled to vote there, any more than the people of San Cristóbal get to vote in Chacao. And the mayor of Chacao, whose job it presumably is to enforce laws and confine himself to municipal concerns, has instead decided to meddle in municipal politics outside his own municipality.

Worse, he’s doing it in favor of an ousted mayor who was removed because he had gotten involved with criminal gangs. Remember Daniel Ceballos? He was arrested for a reason. That reason is that San Cristóbal was becoming unlivable under his thumb. And if anyone thinks his wife will be any better as his replacement, they deserve the misery they’ll get. But the people of San Cristóbal who didn’t vote for that, don’t deserve that…and neither do they deserve any ballot-stuffing meddling from outside their city.

But then again, can we honestly say we’re surprised? This is the same Muchacho who first called for guarimbas, disrupting the peace and normal flow of traffic in his own municipality. Then, when people started getting fed up with that nonsense (noise, fires, trashed streets, vandalism, murders), he had to backpedal furiously. And he’s been at it ever since, flipping and flopping with every gust of wind, trying desperately to stay relevant. It doesn’t matter that he had 84% of the vote in better days; now it’s become clear that his popularity is dropping faster than a barometer in a hurricane.

¿Pa’ bobo? Por supuesto.