This is what first-degree murder looks like.

Beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond an unreasonable doubt. Beyond ANY doubt. Look at this picture and you will know why:


This is Trayvon Martin’s dead body at the scene of the crime. Do you notice anything about it?

Or rather, do you NOT notice something that is supposed to be there, but isn’t?

What got George Zimmerman off the hook for his murder is the claim that he was defending himself against a taller, stronger adversary who was kneeling astride him, pounding the back of his head, mixed-martial-arts style, into the sidewalk:

But there’s one thing wrong with this whole scenario: IT NEVER HAPPENED.

Remember, it was a rainy night. That’s why Trayvon wore his hoodie, with the hood up. He was doing it to keep the rain off; he wasn’t a lurking “thug” up to no good. He was coming back from the corner store with a can of Arizona iced tea and a bag of Skittles candy, remember?

Now, bearing in mind what the weather was like that night, take a good look at the photo. Look at Trayvon’s pants. Specifically, look at them from the knees down.

NOW do you see it?

If you didn’t see anything, you just saw the evidence of first-degree murder. Here’s why:

On a pair of light-beige pants like that, anything — be it grass stains, mud, or just grungy rainwater from a damp sidewalk — would show up as a dark splotch. Trayvon’s knees, if he had been kneeling astride George Zimmerman and pounding his head into the cement of the sidewalk, would have been wet, dark and dirty. But they’re not. His pants are clean, as though he’d just put them on.

This killing was NOT self-defence. George Zimmerman was NOT in danger. He was NOT under attack. He was not on his back, and Trayvon was NOT on top of him. He was NOT “standing his ground” against anything.

This was not second-degree murder. This was not manslaughter. This was Murder One.

George Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin. Trayvon’s last phone call, to his friend Rachel Jeantel, makes that more than clear. Trayvon complained to Rachel that a “creepy-ass cracker” was following him, and would not stop. Zimmerman’s infamous 911 call, in which the muttered words “fucking coons” can be heard, and in which he plainly disregards the dispatcher’s instructions not to engage, also make clear that this was a hate crime, one in which Zimmerman was the aggressor, and which he was determined to carry out because, in his own words, “they always get away”. (“They” meaning black kids.)

Oh, and that “ground and pound” bit of mixed martial arts talk? That was Zimmerman’s training. NOT Trayvon Martin’s. Zimmerman took MMA classes for a number of weeks before he shot Trayvon dead, in an effort to boost his fighting capabilities. Why?

Because George Zimmerman was out for blood that night, and all the other nights he took it upon himself to “patrol” that gated neighborhood. That’s why.

This is a clear-cut case of a racist vigilante stalking and murdering an innocent black teenager, for no reason other than that the kid was black. It is first-degree murder, open and shut.

And the prosecution and the all-white jury totally fumbled it.

And even worse: The fumble was, beyond all doubt, deliberate. The state prosecutor, Angela Corey, has a dismal track record when it comes to crimes in which the perpetrator and the victim are of different colors. At a press conference following the verdict, she was seen smiling strangely, instead of appearing downcast, as one would expect of a prosecutor who’d just lost what should have been an open-and-shut case, and lost badly.

At the very least, shouldn’t Trayvon’s clothes have been presented as evidence? Clothes show signs of a struggle, but Trayvon’s don’t show him as the aggressor, the guy on top, or even remotely menacing. One would hope that even a halfway competent prosecutor would enter them to point out that the victim never fought, never stood a chance against his armed assailant.

But Angela Corey didn’t do that, did she? Because if she did, she would have had to point out that there are no marks of any kind on the front of Trayvon’s pants. Nothing that would indicate that he was ever kneeling astride Zimmerman. On the contrary, she would have to have pointed out that it was the back of his clothes that was wet, stained and dirty, consistent with Trayvon being the one on the ground, screaming for help…just as his own father said he did when he’d had a chance to properly review the last 911 recording from that night.

Simple incompetence? Ha, no. This prosecution was incompetent with intent. And the intent was, as ever, RACIST.

It’s not too hard to see why this happened the way it did; it fits the general pattern of George Zimmerman’s life. He got off on three previous criminal charges. His daddy’s a white man, and a judge. Trayvon was black, and his daddy has no powerful connections. These things all add up.

And the system in Florida is profoundly racist; thousands of disenfranchised black and Latino voters can attest to that.

So, what can we see from this picture? That if you’re a black teenager, and you’re out at night wearing a hoodie to protect you from the rain while you go to buy snacks, it doesn’t matter that you’re not doing anything wrong. Any racist prick can legally claim he was defending himself when he chases after you, throws you to the ground, pummels you, and then shoots you dead. Premeditation? Malice aforethought? Don’t worry, black kid. The state will find a way to pin all that on YOU. They won’t fight on your behalf. The murderer will kill you, his defence team will assassinate your character, and the state of Florida will let them all get away with it.

This is what first-degree murder looks like in Florida. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Why Evo?


Further to my post from the other day, it seems that I’m not the only one who’s picked up on the not-so-subtle racism of the European countries who denied Evo’s plane the right to pass through their airspace. Venezuelan TV journalist Miguel Angel Pérez Pirela has also noticed it. Here are his thoughts on the matter:

Colonialism has long arms. It has been able to perpetuate itself for centuries.

I have to believe that 200 years ago, the Europeans did not accept the colossal defeats which the Haitians handed to the French, or the Bolivians and Venezuelans to the Spanish.

No doubt about it, gringo pressure played a fundamental role in the humiliation which they tried to foist on Evo Morales. But the Europeans would never have thought of this, had it not been about the first indigenous president from our continent.

That Evo Morales governs Bolivia is a slap in the face to the “good morale” of the north.

So we find ourselves confronted with an act of unprecedented racism. Racism which also contravenes international laws which those same Europeans use as an excuse to bomb villages.

Placing a South American president in danger of death in such a grotesque and shameless fashion evokes for us the massacres, violations and humiliations of every kind that European colonialism has subjected us to in our Latin America.

So, what should we do?

Right now, recognize the importance of the processes of our Latin American union and don’t forget that the only possibility we blacks, Indians, mulattos and whites of the southern world have for not returning to colonial times is to unite in the face of the Europeans who “think well” and act badly.

The UNASUR emergency meeting served to make Europe understand that if its integration via the European Union is economic, ours is ethical and political. Without any desire to be chauvinistic, but to affirm, without any room for doubt, that now, in South America, whoever messes with one of us, messes with us all.

If Evo Morales is the pebble in the shoe of European colonialism, then let us go on throwing stones at the “illuminated” and hypocritical windows of the north. As Mario Benedetti said: The South also exists. So let them pick up their broken glass panes.

Translation mine.

It’s a funny thing, is it not? Nicolás Maduro was in Russia at the same time as Evo, and at the same conference of gas-exporting countries. He has made clear his intention to shelter Edward Snowden if the latter should happen to request asylum in Venezuela (and he has). If anyone’s plane should have been stopped with demands for a search, it would have been Maduro’s. Yet four European countries denied Evo the right to pass overhead, and one — Austria — forced him to land, at the behest of the US ambassador to that country.

Since I keep hearing that Evo’s life was in danger, I gather that a shoot-down threat was uttered at some point, forcing a landing that would otherwise not have taken place. There was no search of the plane; that would have required a judge’s permission, and since the US is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, it had no right even to request the landing of Evo’s plane! So this incident is a pretty flagrant violation of international law, and Evo has that much on his side should he decide to sue. (I hope he does.)

So why, then, this brazen international crime? Why Evo and not Maduro?

It’s as obvious as the color of their respective skins. Maduro is white; Evo, brown. Maduro is of Spanish-Jewish extraction; Evo, Aymara. The one has roots in Europe; the other, the Bolivian Altiplano. This incident is, as Pérez Pirela makes clear, profoundly racist. Just as is the ongoing punishment, 200 years later, of Haiti’s successful slave revolts.

Of course, nowadays, no one in Europe or the US has the temerity to suggest that these little countries of Latin America and the Caribbean be re-enslaved outright, or their indigenous populations massacred without pity. That would never go over with any of their respective populaces, who have fought hard to expunge the stain of racism from their own hands. So now, it has to be done in an “enlightened” manner, with “aid to developing countries” that magically blossoms into unsustainable debts to the IMF and the World Bank, or a permanent foreign military presence that does nothing to make peace in that “ungovernable” land (which has been deliberately rendered so through coups against elected, popular leaders), never mind keep it. Or, if that avenue has been rejected (as is the case in Venezuela, and even more emphatically so in Bolivia), the knives come out in other, sneakier, quasi-legalistic ways. Like forcing a diplomatic incident over “confirmed information” that is nothing of the sort, say. Something shocking, distressing, humiliating — a direct affront to no less than the president of the land. Something that says, implicitly: You might be a popular, elected leader among your own people, but to us, you’re just a shitty Injun. And we will bat your plane around between our paws like a catnip mouse toy.

That such an incident — a diplomatic reiteration of the Shock Doctrine — will have unpleasant, unexpected repercussions for the “enlightened” racists who perpetrated it, may have been unthinkable to the perpetrators just a decade ago, but it’s inevitable now. Because now, the countries of South America are pulling together, as a political bloc. An injustice to one president is, as we have seen from the indignant responses of Rafael Correa, Cristina Fernández and others, an affront to them all. And the backlash, when it comes, will be dramatic. The US is about to find out, in the hardest possible way, that the region is out of its control, and that any efforts to reassert control will meet with more pushback than they can handle. Because when a region has 500 years of colonialist indignity behind it, the force of all that pent-up rage is greater than any neocolonialist could ever imagine.

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 30


“PRISM. Coups d’état. Data of non-allied governments. Data of allied governments. Presidential intimacies. Narco-information. Global passwords. Hyper-Trojan viruses. Bombing co-ordinates. Secret bases. Infiltrated agents. Double agents. Counter-triple-agent double agents. Transactions. Social networks. Lottery results.”

Welcome to the 30th installment of VenOpIronía! Lots of hilarious ironies to wade through today, kiddies, so let’s get to it. First up, a little message from the Vatican to the oppos, and to their supporters in the church hierarchy…namely, a cease-and-desist order:

During a recent trip to the Vatican by the Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, Pietro Parolini, Pope Francis asked him to tell the Venezuelan ecclesiastical hierarchy not to mix itself up in politics, nor to take sides.

Pope Francis also asked Parolini to use his good offices to intervene so that the student opposition members who are still camped up in the Apostolic Nunciature in a “hunger strike” leave the place. “The Nunciature cannot continue to be used by any political partisans of Venezuela. This is not our role as church of Christ, which must serve toward reconciliation,” said the Pontifex to his representative in Venezuela.

Immediately upon his return to Venezuela, Parolini expressed his disagreement with the “hunger strike” held by student and opposition leaders of the University of Los Andes, during his speech in the 100th Venezuelan Episcopal Assembly, in Caracas. Another surprising detail is the invitation from the Nuncio to the Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, Rodríguez Torres, to attend the assembly.

It is known that Pietro Parolini has already informed of the Pope’s wishes to the rest of the ecclesiastic hierarchy in the land, and asked the students who are still in the Nunciature to abandon the seat and end the protest, seeking out dialogue with the national government to solve the crisis, which has pitted university authorities of opposition tendencies against the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

Last April, during the Regina Caeli oration, Pope Francis asked the violent protesters of Venezuela to seek the “path of peace”, and exhorted politicians and the populace to “reject firmly any type of violence, and establish a dialogue based in truth, in mutual recognition.”

Translation mine.

And when you have a pope with such a sniffy reptutation for his activities (or lack of same) during the ugly days of the Argentine Junta saying that, you know that something has turned. This is the same Venezuelan apostolic nunciature that has shielded cop-raping thugs like Nixon Moreno from Venezuelan justice in the past, without so much as a peep of protest from Rome. And the archbishops and cardinals of Venezuela have long been in the pocket of the anti-Chavista oligarchy. The last two popes tolerated and indulged their putschism; this one has made it known that he won’t. (Perhaps he learned something from Argentina’s past? Let us pray…)

So, it looks as though the oligarchy has been taken down a peg by the topmost tier of the church hierarchy…the same that for the past ten years or more has been supporting them tacitly while the Venezuelan archbishops have been supporting them openly. I had no hope of anything changing before this, so this was kind of a nice surprise. Looks like Pope Francis might just be good for something besides talk, after all.

Meanwhile, at Boing Boing, there’s an oppo sneering at Edward Snowden’s choice of Venezuela as a place of refuge, and kvetching about how she and her mother had one of their little putschist bitch sessions wiretap-recorded and played back to the public on TV. She makes out like they’re just ordinary citizens being spied on irrationally by a paranoid government out to “get” them, but read down far enough, and you’ll see that they most certainly are not:

My mother, Maruja Tarre, was an outspoken critic of the Chavez government and she is often on television commenting on Venezuelan foreign policy. She is a columnist for the country’s oldest newspaper, El Universal, and is followed by thousands on Twitter. What happened to us would be like if a Fox News talk show acquired and then aired a tape of Donna Brazile telling her daughter the Democratic Party strategy seems to be failing.

Nice attempt to co-opt the Dems and make out like VTV is FUX Snooze there, Isabel Lara. But it’s not only disingenuous, it’s utterly full of shit. The real FUX Snooze of Venezuela is Globovisión, a privately owned opposition channel, and the paper Maruja Tarre writes for, El Universal, is a far-right rag in the same vein as that station, and the Washington Times. A more apt comparison is if a group of Republican conspirators against Barack Obama were exposed in all their whiny glory on PBS.

And yes, I have heard those bitch sessions myself on both La Hojilla and Dando y Dando, and they did not sound like they were “edited to ridicule” anyone. They were placed in context, and if the speakers sounded ridiculous, it’s because they just ARE. Opposition marches against Chávez were invariably flaccid and poorly attended; the popular support was never there, and these two knew it. And they were pissed off at the fact. Even in Washington, where there’s far more sympathy for their viewpoint than there is in Caracas, these people come off as petulant rich brats who throw periodic tantrums and are still not terribly convincing. There are only so many times you can threaten to hold your breath and turn blue, after all. And their racism is well known to the world at large, and unlikely to be appreciated by a US president who, like Chavecito, is of mixed race.

Above all, though, I’m laughing at them for their inability to recognize the tremendous irony inherent in their whole pitiyanki stance. They hate their own country, and worship the United States; it’s their idea of a capitalist paradise of freedom of speech, association, guns, overpriced (and surprisingly shoddy) healthcare and education, and general farcical insanity. And yet, there too, they were indubitably being wiretapped, spied on, and having their privacy invaded nine ways till Friday. Nobody was, or is, exempt. The NSA spied on Chavecito for several years, and the CIA is well known to have supported every opposition “protest”, including the ones that led up to the failed coup of ’02. The US is not merely another police state; it’s a global police EMPIRE.

And yet this ridiculous twit, Isabel Lara, thinks Venezuela is the “surveillance state”, when its authorities were only doing due diligence on a group of known right-wing putschists with US ties, who repeatedly tried to murder President Chávez, and who are now trying to do the same to President Maduro — under the same old “protest” smokescreen as ever?

No, I don’t expect them to understand THAT irony, either.

Get your own damn sandwich.

So, women now rule the world, and men are oppressed? Courtesy of a Facebook friend, here’s an extremely typical example of how guys who make those claims actually “think” (note the quotes):


Y’okay. I know this isn’t really a fair fight here, seeing as I’m about to do a battle of wits with an unarmed man. But damn, he’s just begging for an ass-kicking. So I figure I might as well oblige him. Ready? Here goes…

“You’ve never been forced to die in war.”

Yeah, dude, we’ve never fought in a war, never been killed as civilians either, and certainly NEVER been raped to death. Just because women haven’t faced as much historical conscription as men (outside of Israel, maybe), doesn’t mean we didn’t get wiped out too. My mother’s baby sister was forced to die in a war when she was just 11 months old. Of course, she had to do so via malnutrition and dysentery, so there’s that.

“You are not capable of performing the same tasks men do because you lack the ambition and devotion to do a good job at anything. This is why you get paid less.”

Actually, we are more than capable, and we don’t lack “ambition and devotion”. We work twice as hard for half the pay and a quarter of the recognition. There are now more women than men graduating from college. And we don’t get there by sleeping with our profs or batting our eyes at TAs, either. The reason we STILL get paid less is because men can get away with paying us less…and they do. It’s called systemic discrimination; look it up, dude.

“Remember when you weren’t allowed to vote? It’s because you lack the enough logical reasoning skills to take difficult decisions in a sound manner.”

“The enough logical reasoning skills”? What does that even mean? Dude, if you’re gonna pride yourself on your superior reasoning and logic (mad skillz!), shouldn’t you at least learn how to string together a coherent sentence? You know, so you at least LOOK like you have logic and reasoning capacity?

As for the point you’re struggling to make here, it’s also bullshit. Remember all those wars you were being forced to die in while we fragile flowers were sitting safely home, getting raped to death? Product of superior male logic and reasoning, dude. And product of oh-so-superior all-male voting and all-male candidate slates, too.

“You have never ruled the world. Because you lack the enough physical strength and intelligence to lead an army or a nation.”

Again with “the enough”. Dude, if you’re gonna claim superior intelligence — again, learn to string together a coherent sentence, or don’t try to make that argument.

Actually, don’t try to make that argument anyhow. No single individual has ever ruled the world, and none ever will (or should). But if you want rulers of armies and nations, learn to look beyond your own sex once in a while. Jeanne d’Arc organized and led an army at 17. Queen Elizabeth I ruled as an unmarried woman, never relegated to second-class status as a producer of royal heirs. She routinely boasted of her “male brain”, which kept her securely on the throne for 44 years. Queen Victoria ascended the throne of England at 18, and the British Empire grew and prospered under her reign (which she did not abandon to produce heirs and spares at a prodigious rate). Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne for 61 years now, and may well live to top Queen Victoria’s 63. And don’t get me started on Hatshepsut, the Egyptian queen who crowned herself a pharaoh, and won the respect of her people by her successful forays in both war and peaceful trade. She wasn’t even the first female ruler of Egypt by a long shot!

I’m sorry…what was that you were saying again, dude?

“The only reason you need wimpy support groups (i.e. Feminism) is because of your primal instinct of inferiority.”

“The only reason…is because of”? Again, dude, learn to string together a sentence; that’s fucking pathetic.

BTW, there is no such thing as a “primal instinct of inferiority” peculiar to women; see above. I’m sure that any of the female rulers and leaders I’ve mentioned (who are just a handful among many) would be greatly surprised to find themselves in possession of such a thing. I know I would be!

And if feminism is just a “wimpy support group”, why are you so afraid of it? Why post these moronic, hastily typed screeds if you’re so naturally, primally, instinctually superior? Whom are you trying to convince — us, or yourself? Either way, your flop-sweat is starting to smell.

“You have never invented anything worth mentioning during the last thousands of years of recorded human history. That computer you’re using, the electricity, the house you live in, the car you drive, the job you work for, the gasoline that fuels your car, the desk, the pencil, the paper and everything you use in your everyday life was invented by men.”

O RLY? Ada Lovelace would like a word with you, dude. Without her, Charles Babbage’s “Analytical Engine” would have been no more than a quaint curiosity, with limited (or no) practical use. Female programmers also worked the first electronic computers during World War II. If you use software or algorithms of any sort, you’re using something invented by a woman.

Also, electricity wasn’t invented by men. It wasn’t invented, period. It’s a force of nature that no man can lay claim to. Although a great many men have been killed by it, some in chairs invented by other men. (Ah yes, those superior male brains. They fry so beautifully.)

I don’t know who invented houses, desks, or pencils and paper, and neither do you. But to just assume it must have been a man (because instinct, blah blah) is lazy and pathetic. If you can’t name who invented something, you don’t have the right to assume anything about the inventor’s gender.

BTW, I don’t drive a car. I ride a bike; less polluting. More often, I just walk. Are you going to tell me that men invented walking, too?

“The job you work for”? Again, pathetic sentence structure. Dude, learn English. Use that superior male head of yours for something other than a neck ornament, already.

Also, not everything we use every day was invented by men. So, you were saying…again?

“Mathematics, philosophy, science, medicine, and all of the important building blocks of modern society were created by men.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. They were all co-created by men and women, throughout history. And the ratio of the former to the latter would have been smaller by far if systemic discrimination had not existed throughout history, and if it did not STILL exist today.

And how do I know it still exists today? Because you said this:

“You are only to provide us men with your physical beauty. Which is the only worthy talent you posses besides bearing children. If you can’t do that you’re worthless.”

Gee, dude, you sure told me. BTW, could you learn to spell possess too, while you’re busy learning English with that mighty manly head of yours?

“Now go make me a sandwich”

What — can’t you take care of that yourself? You’re superior enough to die in war for the sake of philosophy and shit. You invented electricity! I’m too pretty and inferior to do anything but look good and bear you children. You said so yourself. Make your own damn sandwiches.

And don’t forget the period at the end of the sentence, dumbfuck.

Economics for Dummies: Why higher wages are GOOD for the economy

In a nutshell, this is it:


Of course, you can never overestimate the power of Stoopid in capitalist economies. That’s why you’ll find people working not two, but three or even four jobs and still being unable to make ends meet. They’re not the stupid ones for taking those jobs; their employers are, for cheaping out and banking on a high employee turnover rate commensurate with job-seekers’ desperation. They won’t end up with more loyal customers, only disgruntled ex-employees.

Whenever I was fired without cause or forced to quit (yes, that happens!), I never went back to buy from that particular place. I’d diligently put in hours and loyalty and, in return, got paid poorly and treated like shit. Creativity was never rewarded in those places; even conformity was no guarantee of anything. You could do your job to the letter and still lose it the next day to a gum-snapping kid who’d do it poorly, but who would no doubt do it for less. The quality of the goods was just as terrible as was working there. And at least one of those businesses is now OUT of business.

I’m sure all of that is no coincidence.

Politest ass-kicking EVER.


Did I not say a little while back that Evo was pissed at Sebastián Piñera for making promises he had no intention of keeping? And that he got on better with Ollanta Humala? Why yes, I did. And lo and behold, there has been some fallout…much to Chile’s detriment and Peru’s gain:

President Evo Morales confirmed the exclusion of Chile from the inter-oceanic highway project which will begin in Brazil. Yesterday, he stated that he would inaugurate the cross-continental highway in San José de Chiquitos, along with the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff. He also announced that the special guest for the occasion would be the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala.

The announcement comes in the midst of a climate of tension between Bolivia and Chile, following the detention of three Bolivian soldiers and over the maritime claim being pressed by the Morales government in international courts.

“We will meet with the sister president of Brazil and talk about a topic that is important to us. We have agreed that on April 5, I hope I’m not mistaken, we will inaugurate the cross-continental highway. Initially, we agreed that this joint ceremony will happen in San José de Chiquitos,” said Morales during a press conference yesterday in Palacio Quemado, La Paz.

In December 2007, President Morales met in La Paz with former presidents Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. During this meeting they agreed to to complete, by 2009, a highway of 6,100 kilometres with an investment of $604 million US, to connect the three countries, uniting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Three years later, President Morales announced that the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, would come to Santa Cruz to inaugurate the highway, along with Dilma Rousseff. But now there is no intention of including Chile in the project, since the Chilean ports initially chosen as endpoints of the highway have been bypassed in favor of those of southern Peru.

After ruling Chile out of the project, Morales said that the special invited guest would be Ollanta Humala, since it was decided that the corridor, and the inter-oceanic railroad, would end in Peru’s ports. “Our special guest will be the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala, so that we will go on seeking integration for the benefit of the peoples of this region and especially of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru.”

The government already has a project to reorient the highway, as well as the railroad. Since until now, the corridor stretched from the port of Santo, Brazil, on the Atlantic, to the Chilean ports of Arica and Iquique, they will soon be diverted toward the Peruvian ports of Matarani and Ilo, as announced by vice-president Alvaro García.

Peru granted port facilities and free transit for its exports via the port of Ilo. Evo Morales and [then-president] Alan García signed the accord in 2010.

Along with the international leadership of the government of Evo Morales, social movements in favor of the government decided to go to the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to deounce Chile over the situation of the three detained soldiers.

“We’re going to mobilize, not only in our country but at an international level, we are going to appeal directly to the United Nations and the Organization of American States. This case shows the arrogance of Chile and we cannot accept that,” declared Ever Choquehuanca, executive of the Confederation of Interculturals.

The director announced that he would call a meeting of the Unity Pact to decide when to send a delegation to the international organizations.

Juanita Ancieta, executive of the Bartolinas, and Julián Jala, campesino director, backed the decision to go to international organizations to denounce the detention of the soldiers in Chile. The ruling MAS party, in Cochabamba, criticized the “injustice” on the part of the Chilean government.

Translation mine.

You really have to admire the politeness and restraint Evo showed while dealing Tatán such a tremendous ass-kicking. That’s vintage Evo there. The man’s a Scorpio, after all. You cross those guys at your peril. They can put the mother of all beatdowns on you with exquisite good manners, but by gawd, you will FEEL it in the morning.

And thanks to the stupidity and arrogance of their no-good-very-bad president, the Chilean people are feeling it now. The goodwill of the bilateral relations Bolivia and Chile enjoyed when Michelle Bachelet was president of the latter has all been squandered by Tatán and his mafia of assholes and incompetents. The trade and tourism they’re losing by this is going to cost them billions. And it’s not like they couldn’t use the money. Contrary to anything the bizmedia may tell you, Chile’s “economic miracle” is not merely hollow, it’s bogus. The average Chilean is hurting, and Tatán’s mismanagement has only made the pain worse.

And now this.

But hey, there’s no great loss somewhere without a commensurate gain elsewhere, and sure enough, Peru is the gainer. Ollanta and Evo get along very well indeed. And the port cities of southern Peru stand to benefit hugely by it.

It’s an object lesson in how to do bilateralism: You be nice to the other guy, and the other guy will be nice to you. It’s a no-brainer. And thanks to his lack of brains, Tatán Piñera is finding it out the hard way. I feel very sorry for the people of Chile, but not a bit for him. If only he would suffer for it the way they will. That’s the only thing standing between me and a massive cackle of Schadenfreude right now.

Why women go back to shitty men

Robin “Rihanna” Fenty, making the mistake of her life. Let’s hope it doesn’t actually COST her her life.

Okay. So lots of people are asking why women who seem to otherwise have everything going for them keep going back to shitty men who only abuse them, put them down, and take advantage of them. Recently, one of them became yet another sad statistic in the annals of domestic violence. You’d think that these women could learn to stay the fuck away from these Bhad Nhews Boyz, and yet they keep going back. And the body count just keeps on growing.

So why IS that?

Well, I’m not an expert of any kind, so take this with the obligatory heaping teaspoonful of salt. But I’ve been one of those women, and so have several others near and dear to me. And so I’ve gleaned a bit of insight into what keeps us going back to guys we ought to put behind us for good. I’ve listed ten reasons — some rational, some not, and some just plain fucked up, but all powerful and compelling:

1. Traditional family values. You married him, for better or for worse. And it turns out you got “worse”. He drinks, he’s mentally unstable, he beats the shit out of you. But since divorce is either verboten or extremely difficult to get, or considered shameful, you strive to love, honor, obey, and stick it out until death does you part. And if death comes by his hand, so be it. You are property of your husband and there is not a damn thing you can do about that. You were raised to believe this, and you do, devoutly, even to your own detriment. If your religion values female martyrdom, you might even go to your grave this way…and gladly. Your deeply held values leave you no other choice.

2. You are a Nice Girl. I suffered badly from this one myself. Couldn’t say no, couldn’t say boo to a goose, couldn’t say shit if I had a mouthful. And when my drunken on/off boyfriend of five years got too deep into his beer, which he did every time I went out with him, he wound up the evening not with sex or kisses or a promise to see me again soon, but with ugly insults. I was a “candy-ass”. For being a Nice Girl. And I took it, because if someone I cared about told me so when he was drunk and his inhibitions were down, it must be true. In vina veritas, etc. I sat there and took it until he passed out. Then I would walk home, holding back my tears all the way. And sometimes, NOT holding back. And wondering why I could never work up the nerve to at least tell him to sober the fuck up. Why not? Because Nice Girls never tell guys what to do. And because if they try, they get shouted down and told to stop being such a fucking cunt. Which is the absolute worst thing anyone can call a Nice Girl. And short of actual physical violence (which, mercifully, I was spared), it is the most painful thing in the world to have the very good thing you are trying to be thrown back in your face.

3. You’re afraid to be alone. You’d rather be with the wrong man than no man at all. You’ve totally internalized the idea that a woman without a man is nothing. And, so as not to be a loser yourself, you put up with one instead. And you put up with whatever he dishes out to you, too.

4. You are codependent. He’s hooked on booze, drugs, or some combination of the two, and you are hooked on him. Sober, he’s the nicest guy you ever met; loaded, he’s a goddamn motherfucking piece of shit. But since you see the good side of him as well as the bad, you think that the one MUST eventually win out over the other. So you keep hanging on, trying to get him to detox and get into recovery. Even if he doesn’t want to go. You haven’t yet realized that until HE realizes he’s got a problem and needs to do something about it, all your pleas are falling on chemically deaf ears.

5. He is a master manipulator. This is the kind of dude who could teach the MRA/PUA “community” a thing or two about fucking with a woman’s head and yoinking her around like a yo-yo. He knows exactly where all her weak spots are, and he exploits them callously and without shame. He undermines her self-esteem until there’s nothing left. Then, when she’s just a hollow shell and sucked dry, he leaves her, forcing her to chase after him, and ignores her…at least until he finds something new that he can suck out of her. Then, suddenly, he just yoinks that ol’ yo-yo string, and boom, she’s back in his clutches. Some guys do this to several ladies at once. All of them notably lacking in self-esteem and the wherewithal to say no to him. Strong, assertive women don’t interest this guy, except maybe for the perverse thrill of bringing down an especially bitchy “high-value target” and turning her into a terminal Nice Girl. Low-hanging fruit is more his style. Pimps usually fall under this rubric.

6. DRAMA. Love and suffering, writ large! One or both of them may thrive on it, and consider a relationship “dull” unless it’s constantly on the rocks. This is especially true of basically insecure people who are only mildly to moderately talented, and whose careers therefore depend on keeping their names in the headlines as much as possible (hello, young lovers!). Normal sex isn’t thrilling enough; it has to be angry and violent, or else it has to be the make-up kind. Adrenaline rushes take precedence over feelings of warmth and security. Other chemical (co)dependencies may also feed into this.

7. You take a tremendous pride in your own “strength”. You are an awesome woman, with talent to spare and a résumé to prove it. Instead of using all that to help you get away from him, though, you tolerate and conceal his abuses. Running away from him spells failure and weakness on your part. Besides, what would others think if they knew that you, a strong woman immersed in a good career, were abused? Better just to daub an extra layer of makeup on those bruises and hope nobody notices.

8. He is so violent that you don’t dare try to escape. When he threatens to hunt you down and kill you, you know he means to make good on that. So you don’t call the cops; you don’t report it; you don’t press charges; you don’t do anything that you fear might set him off. It is a perverse sense of self-preservation that keeps you hanging on. Or that sends you back to him, rather than staying in the women’s shelter and filing for divorce.

9. Economic dependency. This one is blindingly obvious. When you’re paid only 70 cents to every dollar he makes, or are not allowed by Mr. Macho (or your #1 or #2 upbringing) to work for a living at all, you have every reason to go home to him and stay there, and none at all to strike out on your own. And if he’s a pimp-type (refer back to #5), chances are he’s taking every buck you make for himself, and beating you if you don’t hand over enough money to him at the end of a working day. Again, self-preservation takes a perverse turn here.

10. Love. Or rather, “love”. Note the quotation marks! If you are in love with him, or at least are convinced that you are, and have no better frame of reference to tell you differently, you’ll put up with just about anything…and go back to it, too.

I’m sure there are more reasons; these are just the ones that occurred to me off the top of my head. (Please feel free to fill me in on anything I may have missed in the comments!)

Bear in mind, too, that usually it’s not just one reason or another, but several at once, that keep women ensnared. The more often she goes back to Mr. Shitty, the more complex the brangle of causes. In addition to #2, I fell victim to #3, #4, and #10. Luckily, I was able to overcome them all; it took me five years to sort myself out and find the wherewithal, but when I dumped the drunk, I dumped him definitively. That was 20 years ago. I’ve been in sporadic contact with him since then, but never once did I look him up; it was always him contacting me, not the other way around. And when I did see him, it only reminded me of how much better my life is without him.

Today, I’d rather have no man than the wrong man. I still dream of falling in love — who doesn’t? — but I have no intention of landing under anyone’s thumb ever again. That’s not love, that’s misogyny.

And there is no greater hindrance to real love than that.

I’m sensing a theme here.

Quotable: Garrison Keillor on Republicans

Cheating = love? That’s a new one on me.

Courtesy of the Daily Mail, here comes another “expert” with another lame theory on Relationship Fail:

A controversial new book argues that infidelity and marriage are entirely compatible. Eric Anderson, author of The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love and the Reality of Cheating, goes even further. He makes the extraordinary claim that men have affairs not despite the fact that they love their partners, but because they do.

Dr Anderson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Winchester, interviewed 120 men and discovered that those who cheated did so because they were sexually bored, and not because they weren’t in love. He concludes that monogamy is an unrealistic expectation, arguing that men cheat — rather than walk out — because they love their wives and want to stay. If they didn’t, the obvious alternative would be to walk out and enjoy guilt-free sex with a new partner.

‘Evidence suggests men who cheat are romantically fulfilled, but unsatisfied with having sex with one person,’ says Dr Anderson. ‘It’s a subversive interpretation, but I’d suggest these men cheat because they do love their partners — they are simply too afraid to take the chance of losing them by expressing a desire for recreational sex with others.’

“But I’m only cheating because I LOVE you!”

Y’know, if my drunken, cheating, sexually inadequate ex-boyfriend (who, to hear him tell it, had nailed every woman he met EXCEPT me) had come out with THAT one on me, I’d probably have laughed myself to death. Just as I damn near did with all the other stupid things he said to me.

As it stands, I dumped him because I got sick of his bullshit. One more lame line wouldn’t have done the trick with me. I was fed up with excuses, and I’d had enough of his rationalizations. If he wanted to sleep with other women, but not me, he could damn well do it without me to fall back on when he had no one else to listen to his drunken ramblings. I refuse to be relegated to a mere compartment in any man’s life…even the one labelled Good Wife, or in my case, Good Girlfriend. Believe it or not, women have needs too…and if they go unmet, as mine did, guess what happens?

Yup. I cheated.

And I’m not going to make lame excuses about how I did it “because I loved him”, either. I thought I loved him, which isn’t the same as actually loving him. Worse, I felt unloved, as a direct result of his cheating, and it was going to take a lot more than platitudes to remedy that.

So I found other company, nice sober guys who didn’t make me feel like I was being constantly abandoned and neglected. Even if I couldn’t quite reciprocate how they felt about me, I thank them to this day for letting me know that I was, in fact, desirable. He had made me feel just the opposite…that I was a nobody and that this crappy guy was the best I could do, and that all I could do about it was put up with it.

Well, I am not, and he wasn’t. And I was done with putting up with it. I ultimately dumped that drunk who always referred to me as his “future fiancée”, but never came through on the boyfriend front in the here-and-now. Dumped him for another guy, one who DID want to be my boyfriend! And now, even without a man in my life, I still feel valuable, and good about myself. How ’bout THEM apples?

But here’s the thing: I don’t delude myself that I would have still stuck with him if he’d let me sleep with other men on the side. He actually told me it was all right if I did, because he planned on doing the same, and do you know how that made me feel? It made me feel like nothing, like I had no emotional value whatsoever to him. He wasn’t even sleeping with me himself.

A man with a raging madonna/whore complex, who can only sleep with “bad” girls, is useless to a nice lady like me. I can’t live on a pedestal, and neither can any other real, live woman. Like I said: We have needs. And if your guy isn’t cutting it, the thing to do is chuck him and find another. Or find another, and THEN chuck him. Or just be alone for a good long while, and learn to love yourself first.

But please, none of this “one for this, another for that” business. It’s a waste of time to negotiate, and a drain on the emotional batteries to actually live it. If any of my gentle readers out there can actually make “open” relationships work in the long run, great, more power to you…but I found out the hard way that when there is too much “open” and not enough relationship, the bottom simply falls out.

You just can’t do what my drunken ex did, and expect the little wifey to stay home and knit you Fair Isle socks while you’re out carousing, and then ask, politely, when you finally get home after a long night (or weekend) of screwing your brains out: “And how was she in the sack, dear?”

And you can’t expect to call it “love”, either. Because in the end, love has fuck-all to do with it.

And those who are honest with themselves and others will have the courage to admit as much.