Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coup d'etat in Ecuador

At the time of this writing President Rafael Correa is a prisoner of the Quito police. Correa was taken under armed guard to the police hospital and has been held prisoner there since this morning. The police are protesting budget measures that cut bonuses and medals given with promotion.
The hospital is surrounded by armed and striking police. The country is without police protection and bank robberies and rapes have been reported in major cities. In what may be a first, the government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency via Twitter. The OAS is meeting now is Washington to discuss the crisis - countries around the world are condemning this coup attempt. President Correa spoke with the PM of Chile this morning, confirming this was a coup attempt. The Chilean president has affirmed his country's support of the democratically elected government of Correa joining a chorus of condemnation from around the world.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Perry Bible Fellowship

Late night reminiscing of an old love

Empty Box

The Night

Someday there'll be a cure for pain...

This is a mockery of the word democracy.

First post-quake election campaign opens in Haiti: Ceant leads the pack with 50 % poll
By Clarens Renois (AFP) – 10 hours ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Campaigning is getting under way in Haiti’s first election since the devastating January earthquake, amid security concerns and with many of the country’s 4.5 million eligible voters living in refugee camps.

Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for November 28 in a country still recovering from a massive quake that killed at least 350,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless; 50,000 amputees.

Read More

Two million people do not have the papers necessary to vote and no progress has been made with two months to go. The international community is waiting for a peaceable transition of power before releasing desperately needed aid money. Candidates from Fanmi Lavalas are still banned from running in this election. This is a mockery of the word democracy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This is priceless

Truly a worthy project

"Before I had any right to dismiss Twihards or criticize the psychologically unhealthy relationship model that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen present, I felt obliged to read the books. So I did. All five. The content lived down to my expectations, but I was unprepared for how poorly crafted the saga is."

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Feminists have a vision of women, even women, as individual human beings; and this vision annihilates the system of gender polarity in which men are superior and powerful. This is not a bourgeois notion of individuality; it is not a self-indulgent notion of individuality; it is the recognition that every human being lives a separate life in a separate body and dies alone. In proposing "the individuality of each human soul," feminists propose that women are not their sex; nor their sex plus some other little thing—a liberal additive of personality, for instance; but that each life—including each woman’s life—must be a person’s own, not predetermined before her birth by totalitarian ideas about her nature and her function, not subject to guardianship by some more powerful class, not determined in the aggregate but worked out by herself, for herself. Frankly, no one much knows what feminists mean; the idea of women not defined by sex and reproduction is anathema or baffling. It is the simplest revolutionary idea ever conceived, and the most despised."

Andrea Dworkin. Right-Wing Women. "The Coming Gynocide." 1983

Stephen Colbert Testifies Before Congress

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finally, scientific validation

Yes, It’s True: The Internet Makes You Happier

A new British study released today found that access to the Internet and the web, and especially to social networks such as Facebook, can improve people’s levels of happiness. The study found that Internet access improves the overall well-being of lower-income users, those with less education and women — particularly those in developing countries — by giving them a sense of freedom and control over their lives.

The study, which was based in part on original research as well as on analysis of earlier studies on well-being and information technology, found that women, those with lower incomes and those with lower educational qualifications benefit the most from access to the Internet. “Much of the improvement in life satisfaction that arises from information technology flows to those on lower incomes or with fewer educational qualifications – what we might call the ‘disempowered’ groups in society,” the BCS report says.

The effect on the levels of life satisfaction for women were even more pronounced in developing countries, and the report says one reason for this effect could be that “in many parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, women have socially controlled roles which may lead to a lower sense of freedom and autonomy and hence well-being.” Access to the Internet improves this aspect of their lives, the BCS report argues. The research also found there was a large improvement in life satisfaction for new users of the Internet, who also “are most interested in and derive most benefit from ‘social’ uses of the Internet such as social networking and instant messaging.”

Read more

I hear a lot of talk from people - friends, co-workers, random acquaintances - about how the internet, like TV, makes us stupider, less prone to think deeply about things, isolates us socially...I'm sure you've heard some variations. I'm pretty nerdy and I use the internet a lot but I always just sort of passively accepted that the people making those kind of scornful assertions were probably right. I live pretty far away from some of the people I am (or was now, I guess) closest to. They live in a small town in the Canadian Rockies and I live in Vancouver. I have friends in South America, Ireland, England, one visiting Bosnia-Croatia right now and a bunch who are always traveling, or at least it seems like it. The internet connects us. Not as closely as we were connected when we lived together, or near each other but much closer than we would if letters were still the norm.

So I'm glad to see some scientific validation for my nerdy conviction that my personal happiness is greater because of the internet.

I'm trying to decide whether or not the evolution of my political ideals has made me happier. I spend a lot of time online reading about politics, participating in discussions about the nature and expression of feminism and the intersectionality of oppression and I can't say it's made me happier. I'm more comfortable with concepts I barely understood 5 years ago, I'm free to take positions online that I might not do so face to face for fear of getting angry or alienating someone I love. I'm much more aware of the logical fallacies most people have built their belief systems on and because of the time I've spent on sites like Jezebel I can identify them to my own satisfaction, although I haven't yet mastered the gentleness that would allow me to change people's minds rather than just pointing out where they went wrong. This is making me a lot pickier about who I want to hang out with in real life.

Is this happiness? I like participating in things like Kiva, the micro-finance site where I'm sponsoring an Ecuadoran small-business owner. I bet she's happier because of the internet - it's allowed her to receive $1200 and set up a store in Guayaquil.

Are you happier because of the internet? Are we happier? Or did the IT people who did this study want to convince us of that so we treat them like gods?

The Apotheosis of How To Have a Perfect Body!

Some day I too will be perfect.

Even better than the True Blood finale!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moff's Law

I am sick and confined to the house and so after a few weeks of detaching I am reading Jezebel again. I know. The quality of commenter has declined so precipitously since.. I don't know - the facebook thing? The editorial change-over? Some critical mass point that leaves me drowning in morons and people who just realized that sexism exists? I don't know. Here's a few choice samplings from assholes today:

Joshtastic 02:07 PM

Aren't we just making mountains out of mole-hills? I mean come on! Especially the Amazon Mom one: I feel like they explained their name clearly and fairly and you can't please everyone.

Advertisers are only doing what is in their best interests. The portrayal of the Mom as a domestic caregiver is something I think many mothers can relate to - those women are the advertiser's demographic. I really don't think advertisers care about reinforcing gender stereotypes they just want to sell cleaning products.

Yes, that's right. Looking at advertising is a total waste of time and energy because it couldn't possible have something to say about mainstream gender roles and societal reinforcement. You can't please everyone! So why even bother trying! Advertisers are motivated strictly and solely by money - they're machines! They have no dog in this fight - why on earth would they ever want to make women or men feel inadequate or plug them into convenient gender pigeon holes? NO IDEA!

Or this:

they call me ginger 12:12 PM

Why are we holding companies to this huge moral standard? The job of advertisements are to make products sell. They have every financial motivation to make sure that their ads target the right audience. iphone apps about meal planning targeting women don't cause gender roles, they reflect gender roles. Most people who would buy meal planning apps are women. And why in the world should the app manufacturer waste money advertising to targets that aren't as receptive to their products? To make the world appear to be more equal (when in fact it isn't any more equal, regardless of the number of dads in parenting commercials)? Well, when companies can start paying their bills with sunshine and hugs, maybe then they can start targeting inefficient demographics.

Followed later by this:

they call me ginger 03:56 PM

@Hiroine Protagonist: Well, no, because I don't actually think that efficient, targeting marketing is immoral, so I don't really think that they need to change. But everyone seems to just be making the implicit assumption that ads need to change, need to portray men and target men as an equal part of the parenting/cleaning sector. I really don't understand why we are holding corporations to that standard without articulating as much - and then a conversation can be had about whether we want to be a society that values inefficiency and the appearance of equality over efficiency and realism. But it's a lot more fun to flip through magazines and watch daytime tv and get angry about windex commercials.

I have a serious question. What the fuck is wrong with these people. This dude said it so much better (he was talking about looking at racist tropes in movies and this is about sexist tropes in advertising but they are both mediums for the message):

Moff's law

Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???”

If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut your goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

First of all, when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is. Because that is one of the things about art, be it highbrow, lowbrow, mainstream, or avant-garde: Some sort of thought went into its making — even if the thought was, “I’m going to do this as thoughtlessly as possible”! — and as a result, some sort of thought can be gotten from its reception. That is why, among other things, artists (including, for instance, James Cameron) really like to talk about their work.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to think about a work of art. I don’t know anyone who thinks every work they encounter ought to only be enjoyed through conscious, active analysis — or if I do, they’re pretty annoying themselves. And I know many people who prefer not to think about much of what they consume, and with them I have no argument. I also have no argument with people who disagree with another person’s thoughts about a work of art. That should go without saying. Finally, this should also go without saying, but since it apparently doesn’t: Believe me, the person who is annoying you so much by thinking about the art? They have already considered your revolutionary “just enjoy it” strategy, because it is not actually revolutionary at all. It is the default state for most of humanity.

So when you go out of your way to suggest that people should be thinking less — that not using one’s capacity for reason is an admirable position to take, and one that should be actively advocated — you are not saying anything particularly intelligent. And unless you live on a parallel version of Earth where too many people are thinking too deeply and critically about the world around them and what’s going on in their own heads, you’re not helping anything; on the contrary, you’re acting as an advocate for entropy.

And most annoyingly of all, you’re contributing to the fucking conversation yourselves when you make your stupid, stupid comments. You are basically saying, “I think people shouldn’t think so much and share their thoughts, that’s my thought that I have to share.” If you really think people should just enjoy the movie without thinking about it, then why the fuck did you (1) click on the post in the first place, and (2) bother to leave a comment? If it bugs you so much, GO WATCH A GODDAMN FUNNY CAT VIDEO.

Amen brother.

Mixed Messages - Incompetent Men, Competent Women - but only in the house!

Embarrassing or Awesome? Nerdcore

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wyclef Jean Officially Abandons Haitian Presidential Bid
Singer will focus on the February release of his next album.

Jean said he will return his focus to his music career and prepare for the February 2011 release of a solo album, the title of which is now If I Were President, the Haitian Experience. The singer has already lamented his failed bid in the song "Prizon for the CEP," in which he attacked the Council and the country's sitting president.

"Some battles are best fought off the field, and that is where we take this now," Jean said in the statement, noting that his appeal was an attempt to shed light on the democratic process and "the functioning of a government that is often ranked as one of the most corrupt on the planet, resulting in a country that is by most measures the poorest in the Western world."

Wyclef stressed that the appeal was not just about his own candidacy — which was questioned by his former Fugees bandmate Pras and actor Sean Penn, who has been living on the island since February while running his own relief organization — but about pointing out the shortcomings of the electoral process to all Haitians.

"Though my run for the presidency was cut short," he said, "in this way, I feel it was not in vain; it's something we can use to improve conditions for my Haitian brothers and sisters."

I think we can all be grateful. Read more.

This song has been in my head for week - here's hoping posting it here erases it.

People, person, paper, people....Dunder Mifflin, people, person, paper, people, Dunder Mifflin, people, person, paper, people, Dunder Mifflin, people, person, paper, people, Dunder Mifflin, people, person, paper, people, Dunder Mifflin, people, person, paper, people...ARGH!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I am SO glad there's no need for feminism anymore!

The circulation of the photos and cruel comments posted online have police fuming -- especially suggestions by some partygoers that the victim "asked for it" or deserved to be raped.

"Regardless of what people believe they might have seen that night, or think they might have heard, this was a rape. This girl could've been anybody's sister, daughter or friend," RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Hyland said.

Teenage Justin was at the party, and he said he's skeptical.

"We are thinking it's being over-exaggerated. I don't think she was as messed up as she's making it out to be," he said. "I don't think she was raped.... Apparently she was saying stuff."

Police are disgusted by teens' reactions to the suspected rape.

"The youth don't seem to understand that this is a rape. There's this thought that somehow it was consensual and some 16-year-old wants her private parts displayed out in a field with people watching and men taking advantage of her," Insp. Darren Lench said.

"That's the disgusting part."

Comments echoed online

After the pictures appeared on Facebook and other social-networking sites, similarly shocking comments followed.

People wrote that the victim is a "Straight up WHORE," a "complete slut," and someone even suggested, "Cmon who's not down for a gang bang."

Merlyn Horton of the Safe Online Outreach Society, says teenagers don't understand the consequences of what they say or post online.

"Young people are dis-inhibited when they go online. It's difficult to connect that there are real people, real relationships and real feelings that are being impacted because they are behind the insulation of a computer screen," Horton said.

Read more and vomit!

Preventing Sexual Assault: Tips Guaranteed to Work!

Please distribute this list. Put it up in your place of work, in your university’s library or wherever you think they might be read:

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “by accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

Courtesy of: Feminist Philosophers

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Confessions of a Former Comedy Chauvinist

by S.E. Shepherd

Although it’s not something of which I’m proud, I can finally admit it: At one time, not so long ago, I was a comedy chauvinist.

Remember that guy you knew in college who summarily dismissed the comedic talents of an entire gender, proudly (and stupidly) proclaiming, “Women aren’t funny?” That was me. I wasn’t militant about the subject, and I didn’t spend hours trying to convince others that men were genetically predisposed to be funnier than the fairer sex. I simply did not, would not, could not acknowledge the possibility that women were just as talented as men when it came to making people laugh.

Oddly enough, my narrow-mindedness toward women didn’t extend beyond comedy. In every other respect, I was and am a proud supporter of equality. The Nineteenth Amendment? It’s one of my favorite amendments! Glass ceilings? Let’s smash ‘em! Allowing a woman to occasionally open the door for me? OK! But, give a funny lady a fair chance to entertain me without first making uninformed judgments about her ability to make me laugh? Nothing doing.

Although it sounds like an excuse, I believe you have to look at my earliest exposure to comedy and how that shaped my perceptions in order to get to the root of my prejudice. I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, when the comedic landscape was filled with the musk of bad boy stand-up comics, smarmy leading men who introduced a generation to the slyest shit-eating grins in movie history, and the early incarnations of the lovable loser man-child who refuses to grow up. For most of my formative years, comedy was a raucous boy’s club dominated by loud, doughy, raunchy guys whose best punchlines often referenced the fact that they were just dudes being dudes. That’s probably not all that different from the experiences of most guys my age, but somewhere along the way, I developed a diminished appetite for giving women a chance to prove my “women aren’t funny” assumptions wrong.

Of course there were some female comics who coaxed a laugh out of me every now and again (Roseanne Barr comes to mind; her seminal eponymously named show was one of the few sitcoms I enjoyed as a kid), but I had such a chip on my shoulder when it came to the idea of women being funny that comediennes and actresses had to really surprise me to earn my respect. Without knowing it, I had become the equivalent of the stereotypical cigar-chewing, scotch-swilling, head jerk in charge of the no-girls-allowed, he-man woman-haters club. I was content to spend the rest of my life changing the channel, avoiding the local cineplex or driving past comedy clubs just so I could avoid lady-comedy and keep my head safely buried in the sand with all my stupid, beloved comedy man-crushes.

Fortunately for me and everyone who put up with me during my “insufferable asshole” phase, my opinions on women in comedy have changed dramatically over the last several years. There are multiple reasons for that evolution. Perhaps it’s because I am little older and slightly less blinded by the pure testosterone that clouds the judgment of so many well-intentioned young men. Or maybe it’s the fact that, after meeting the woman who is now my wife, I quickly realized that if there’s a woman who can make me laugh this easily for free, then certainly there must be women getting paid to make people laugh who could do the same thing if I just stopped being such a self-righteous dick about things. But most importantly, the rise of some amazingly talented women over the last decade has shown there isn’t a discipline, genre or role in the comedy world in which women can’t excel just as much as their male counterparts.

Read More

Monday, September 13, 2010

Probably the only thing that will actually work

France will penalize companies that pay women less

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government said on Sunday a planned pension reform would penalize companies which pay their female employees less than their male peers, as it steps up a campaign to defend the controversial overhaul. Labour Minister Eric Woerth, the architect of the reform which prompted a national strike earlier this week, rejected criticism that it discriminated against women by forcing them to work longer than male counterparts to gain the necessary years of social security payments.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Is This America?


For a glimpse of how venomous and debased the discourse about Islam has become, consider a blog post in The New Republic this month. Written by Martin Peretz, the magazine’s editor in chief, it asserted: “Frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims.”

Mr. Peretz added: “I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

Thus a prominent American commentator, in a magazine long associated with tolerance, ponders whether Muslims should be afforded constitutional freedoms. Is it possible to imagine the same kind of casual slur tossed off about blacks or Jews? How do America’s nearly seven million American Muslims feel when their faith is denounced as barbaric?

This is one of those times that test our values, a bit like the shameful interning of Japanese-Americans during World War II, or the disgraceful refusal to accept Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.

Read more

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The 9/11 Massacre in Haiti Sparked a Revolution

Attack on Priest Called Haiti Catalyst

Born in poverty in the southern town of Port-Salut, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was brought to the capital as a boy to study at the Jean Bosco School, a church-sponsored academy run by the order of Silesian priests. He studied for the priesthood at the local seminary and later went to Jerusalem, where he studied biblical scriptures for nearly two years.

Returning to Port-au-Prince, Father Aristide began his priesthood at the Jean Bosco Church where he had been schooled, and quickly made his presence felt through his work with orphans and poor street children. Said a Defiant Mass

He first came to greater public attention in 1985, when at a startling, defiant Mass he called for change in the country and bluntly criticized the dictatorship of the President-for-Life, Jean-Claude Duvalier.

That Mass was said at a time when cowed church leaders did not outspokenly challenge the regime. There had already been more than two decades of harsh repression, from which the church was not immune. In 1964, for example, Francois Duvalier, the founder of the dictatorship, expelled the Jesuits from Haiti because he regarded them and their ideas as threats.

The Mass said by Father Aristide in 1985 drew the attention of the foreign press and is often cited as one of the sparks that set off the popular uprising of strikes and demonstrations that would lead, one year later, to the ouster of Jean-Claude Duvalier.

It also earned Father Aristide the lasting enmity of the country's military and police leadership, as well as that of the feared paramilitary thugs known as the Tontons Macoute. 'The Only Real Leader'

''He is the only real leader who has been thrust forward by the coup against the Duvaliers,'' said a longtime observer of Haitian affairs. ''He has kept the same line throughout, participating in marches and working with peasants throughout the country.''

''He is anti-Government, anti-military and anti-imperialist,'' said a Western diplomat, who also said he is ''very popular with the people here.''

Since the anti-Duvalier Mass, according to the most widely cited tally, at least six attempts have been made on the life of Father Aristide. Each failed through a combination of vigilance, an informal intelligence network warning him of planned attacks and the loyalty of his followers.

On Sunday, Sept. 11, at a time when a full congregation of worshippers was enraptured by his Mass, the Jean Bosco Church itself became the target of brazen attackers.


Other 9/11s

St Jean Bosco massacre
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The St Jean Bosco massacre took place in Haiti on 11 September 1988. At least 13 people (it is impossible to say how many; some sources say 50 were killed and around 80 wounded in a three-hour assault on the Saint-Jean Bosco church in Port-au-Prince, which saw the church burned down. The church was the parish of future President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, then a liberation theology Roman Catholic priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco order, and had been packed with 1000 people for Sunday mass. Aristide, who had survived at least six attempts on his life after a fiery 1985 Mass had helped spark the unrest which eventually led to the 1986 overthrow of the dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, was evacuated from the church into a residence inside the church compound.

According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the following day, "five men and one woman appeared on the government controlled television station (Télé Nationale) and admitted their participation in the attack on the church. They threatened a 'heap of corpses' at any future mass celebrated by Aristide. Many people were outraged that these individuals could appear on television, without any disguise, confess their participation in these events and threaten future criminal acts with no fear of being arrested by the authorities." The massacre contributed to the emergence a week later of the September 1988 Haitian coup d'état against the Henri Namphy regime, which brought to power Prosper Avril. In 1993 Antoine Izméry was assassinated at a mass commemorating the massacre.

The massacre was carried out by unidentified armed men, probably former Tonton Macoute, and took place without resistance by police or army, despite the church being opposite a barracks.According to one witness, the police and army provided protection for the attackers, encircling the church.In November 1988 armed men led by a uniformed soldier murdered Michelet Dubreus and Jean Félix - two members of the popular organization Verité who had signed a public letter identifying participants in the massacre.

The Mayor of Port-au-Prince at the time, Franck Romain, a former Tonton Macoute leader, was accused of being involved.[9][3] Romain, the former chief of police during the Duvalier regime, said Aristide had been "justly punished". One witness said he saw Romain himself at the massacre, alongside his men; a number of witnesses saw city hall employees among the attackers. On New Year's Eve Romain, who had taken refuge in the embassy of the Dominican Republic after the September coup, was granted safe passage out of the country, having been granted political asylum by the Dominican Republic. Human Rights Watch said that the Avril regime's decision was a political, not a legal one, as the regime had the legal option of not granting safe passage, and had made no effort to challenge the Republic's asylum decision. In 1991, after Aristide had been elected President in the Haitian general election, 1990–1991, his Minister of Justice accused Romain of responsibility, and sought his extradition from the Dominican Republic, where he was living in exile, without success.

1973 Chilean coup d'état
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Chilean coup d'état of 1973 was a watershed event in the history of Chile and the Soviet-American Cold War. On 11 September 1973, the government of President Salvador Allende was overthrown by the Chilean military in a coup d’état.

A military junta took control of the government, composed of the heads of the Air Force, Navy, Carabineros (police force) and the Army led by General Augusto Pinochet. General Pinochet assumed power and ended Allende's democratically elected Popular Unity government.

During the air raids and ground attacks that preceded the coup, Allende gave his last speech where he vowed to stay in the presidential palace. The official cause of death was suicide. After the coup Pinochet established a military dictatorship that ruled Chile until 1990 and that was marked by severe human rights violations. A weak insurgence movement against the Pinochet government was maintained inside Chile by elements sympathetic to the former Allende government.

U.S. role

The U.S. Government’s hostility to the election of Socialist President Salvador Allende government was substantiated in documents declassified during the Clinton administration; involving the CIA, which show that covert operatives were inserted in Chile, in order to prevent a Marxist government from arising and subsequent propagandist operations which were designed to push Chilean president Eduardo Frei to support "a military coup which would prevent Allende from taking office on the 3rd of November." While U.S. government hostility to the Allende government is unquestioned, the U.S. role in the coup itself remains a highly controversial matter. Claims of their direct involvement in the actual coup are not proven by publicly available documentary evidence.

In 1970, U.S. manufacturing company ITT Corporation owned of 70% of Chitelco, the Chilean Telephone Company, and funded El Mercurio, a Chilean right-wing newspaper. Declassified documents released by the CIA in 2000 suggest that ITT financially helped opponents of Salvador Allende's government prepare a military coup.

On September 28, 1973, ITT's headquarters in New York City, New York, was bombed by the Weather Underground for the alleged involvement in the overthrow of Allende.

In 1972 newspaper columnist Jack Anderson disclosed a memo of ITT's Washington lobbyist, Dita Beard, which revealed a relationship between ITT's providing funds for the Republican National Convention and a Justice Department settlement of an antitrust suit favorable to ITT.

U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to depose President Allende in 1970 — immediately after assuming office — with Project FUBELT. The U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of Chile was a foreign policy meant to worsen the economic crisis that President Allende faced — in order to propitiate a right-wing coup d’état. This is further corroborated by a document sent on September 15, 1970 by President Nixon, in which he orders CIA director Richard Helms to "Make the economy scream [in Chile to] prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him" —

Agustín Edwards Eastman, one of the wealthiest men in Chile at the time, played a very critical role in linking and convincing the U.S. to “lend a helping hand”. After Allende received 36.3% of popular vote in a three way tie and was chosen by the Chilean congress as president, Edwards took opposition almost immediately (Kinzer 170). Edwards then proceeded to consult the U.S. ambassador to Chile and asked if the U.S. would “do anything militarily, directly or indirectly?”(Kinzer 170). After the ambassador (Edward Korry) rejected his request, Edwards went to the chief executive officer of Pepsi-Cola, who had direct access to President Nixon. Augustin Edwards’ friend from Pepsi-Cola notified Nixon of the “problem” in Chile and from that point on “he (Nixon) had been triggered into action” as Henry Kissinger said. In addition, International Telephone & Telegraph offered up to one million dollars to support any action by the U.S. to oppose Salvador Allende. ITT had set up shop in Chile and were also at risk because “the Chilean telephone system was high on Allende’s list for nationalization” (Kinzer 171)

Just something to keep in mind.

Star Wars CSI

Friday, September 10, 2010

The 5 Percent Doctrine

By Gail Collins, NYT

When this sort of thing happens, it is important to remember that about 5 percent of our population is and always will be totally crazy. I don’t mean mentally ill. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 26 percent of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. So, basically, that’s just normal life. I mean crazy in the sense of “Thinks it is a good plan to joke with the flight attendant about seeing a bomb in the restroom.”

There is nothing you can do about the crazy 5 percent except ask the police to keep an eye on them during large public events, where they sometimes appear carrying machine guns just to make a political point about the Second Amendment. And, in situations like a Koran-burning, make it clear that the rest of us disagree.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Children of the Tea Baggers?


A Juggalo Is King

From the earliest reviews of the Insane Clown Posse’s singular brand of circus-themed swear-rap, the general contention has been that there is no way music could possibly sink below this point. This is the bottom. It’s almost as if ICP intentionally cherry-picked the worst aspects of goth, punk, gangsta rap, rave, nu-metal, and real metal to create a sub-culture so universally repulsive as to forestall any attempts at outside involvement. Basically, they trumped all previous claims of FTW, and then wrote a nearly unlistenable song called “Fuck the World” just to hammer the point home.

The Gathering of the Juggalos is like the horror-rap equivalent of the Hajj. ICP started it in 2000 as a two-day festival in their native Michigan to showcase the bands on their label, Psychopathic Records, but over the next few years it metastasized into a four-day-long acid-tit-and-rap binge, drawing thousands of Juggalos from across the country and featuring performances by outside rappers such as 2 Live Crew, Three 6 Mafia, and Vanilla Ice.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

By Adele M. Stan 5 Ways the Tea Party Agenda Screws Tea Party Supporters

The resentment of Tea Partiers toward liberals, East Coast elites, the poor and people who don't look like them has been effectively marshaled in service of a "free market" ideology cleverly packaged as "freedom." Never mind that free markets are anything but free for ordinary people. The packaging strikes the necessary emotional and moral chords: Free markets = freedom = liberty = endowed by the Creator, as written in the Declaration of Independence by the founders. It's the perfect exploitation of the worldview of conservative middle-class white people -- all in the service of enriching the super-rich at the expense of their unwitting, patriotic ground troops.

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The 2012 Frenzy Debunked

Who is pushing the idea that the world ends in 2012? It isn't the Mayans!

Why Affirmative Action is Still Vitally Necessary

"Whenever this issue of compensatory or preferential treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree, but should ask for nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic. For it is obvious that if a man enters the starting line of a race 300 years after another man, the first would have to perform some incredible feat in order to catch up."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rise in American Racism Nothing New

Op-Ed Columnist
America’s History of Fear
Published: September 4, 2010

A radio interviewer asked me the other day if I thought bigotry was the only reason why someone might oppose the Islamic center in Lower Manhattan. No, I don’t. Most of the opponents aren’t bigots but well-meaning worriers — and during earlier waves of intolerance in American history, it was just the same.

Screeds against Catholics from the 19th century sounded just like the invective today against the Not-at-Ground-Zero Mosque. The starting point isn’t hatred but fear: an alarm among patriots that newcomers don’t share their values, don’t believe in democracy, and may harm innocent Americans.

Followers of these movements against Irish, Germans, Italians, Chinese and other immigrants were mostly decent, well-meaning people trying to protect their country. But they were manipulated by demagogues playing upon their fears — the 19th- and 20th-century equivalents of Glenn Beck.

Most Americans stayed on the sidelines during these spasms of bigotry, and only a small number of hoodlums killed or tormented Catholics, Mormons or others. But the assaults were possible because so many middle-of-the-road Americans were ambivalent.

Read more at NYT
C. Wright Mills:

"The idea that the millionaire finds nothing but a sad, empty place at the top of this society; the idea that the rich do not know what to do with their money; the idea that the successful become filled up with futility, and that those born successful are poor and little as well as rich - the idea, in short, of the disconsolateness of the rich - is, in the main, merely a way by which those who are not rich reconcile themselves to the fact. Wealth in America is directly gratifying and directly leads to many further gratifications. To be truly rich is to possess the means of realizing in big ways one's little whims and fantasies and sicknesses...."

George Clooney and The American

Against my better judgment I went to a movie today. The listings were bleak: Inception, Avatar: Special Edition, Dinner for Schmucks, Eat, Pray, Love, Machete and The American. I was with my mom so almost everything was out and Julia Roberts is on my list, so no way. If you for some weird reason want to see this movie you should really check yourself and then stop reading because I will ruin it for you right now.
I was optimistic - I checked Rotten Tomatoes and it was at 61% - a little low but reviewers seemed to be in love with the cinematography and it's set mostly in the mountains of Italy, that seems like it should have made up for it. Nope. While intellectually I know Italy is beautiful, the way the scenes were shot made it look to me like Clooney was glumly striding through a back-lot in Hollywood, cobble-stones streets and shots of long twisting roads notwithstanding.
You really don't need to know the plot of the movie - you can look it up if you're interested. I was so mesmerized by the presentation of cinematic cliches I could barely look away. A hit man on his last job - really! A prostitute (30 years younger than said hit-man) with a heart of gold - you don't say! A double-cross by an unscrupulous superior - shocking! I felt like the director or producers maybe forgot that the people who go to see movies have maybe seen a movie or two before. Is subverting the evil hit man trope really a super rebellious act at this point? How many freaking hit men have been treated sympathetically in the movies in the last twenty years? You can play this game in the comments if you like. And hookers with hearts of gold? Who fall in love with 50 year olds? Actually, they missed a chance to do something interesting and have her be playing him for a green card or something. The priest who randomly befriends him speaks in Catholic Moral cliche the whole time, only to reveal that he isn't perfect because he fathered a bastard. This is revealed during a seriously clunky scene where the two walk through a churchyard and observe that many of the town's bastards are fathered there.
Clooney's attempts to look deep/profound/brooding throughout this, and really all the other scenes, end up just looking blank, like he's distracted by inner thoughts about his financial portfolio. I'm sure they were attempting spare and elegant but they ended up with boring and ridiculous. Like, most of the movie eschews the usual music effects to signal mood and tension. Okay, that's an artistic choice I can live with, music effects are way too overplayed anyway. Except they chose to use some really generic suspense-y "ooh, there's a gun in her purse" music during some of the scenes that couldn't even have been meant to be the pinnacle of suspense because they were obviously just setting up for the ending.
I'm not a big fan of George Clooney so maybe I missed the appeal of having ten minutes of montage sprinkled throughout the movie for Clooney to be working out wearing only wool trousers. Again, I can see they were trying to build an atmosphere of tension harking to prison cell-like workouts and convey the characters confinement but that only works if there is energy crackling in the scene! It's been done a million times, it shouldn't be difficult.
Clooney's "Mr. Butterfly" (he has a tattoo. Yeah.) is shown reading a book on butterflies once. He falls asleep over it. Later, a client pretends to lounge at a fake picnic which is just a front for a weapons test. A butterfly lands on her dress. He identifies it instantly as an endangered species. They watch it (FOREVER) as it flutters away. Guess what? It's a metaphor for him. I know - how could you ever have anticipated that! They make this point excruciatingly clear in the final scene as he dies in the lamest and most done to death way - the butterfly flies up towards the trees and slow fade to black. What. The Fuck. Ever.
It's all been done a million times - I don't ever need to see a conflicted hitman, an idealistic prostitute, or a moral priest with skeletons in his bastard closet. It's lazy and derivative and the Italian countryside for some reason looked like Kamloops. Nobody needs that.

Ladies Nights aren't sexist to men; Court of Appeals rejects Manhattan lawyer's claim

The Manhattan lawyer who thinks the big problem with singles clubs is that women pay less to get in got the big brush off in court yesterday.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims by self-proclaimed "anti-feminist lawyer" Roy Den Hollander that letting women past the velvet rope for free or half price on "Ladies Nights" violates the Constitution.

In the last week I have noticed so many places where men complain that equality for women makes them less equal, so therefore fighting for female equality is sexist. It makes my brains leak out my ears.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reblogged via

I like my women like I like my coffee!

Building working class credibility since 8am

Thank goodness I work five days a year carrying heavy things, starting industrial drills that leak oil and gas, breakfast heavily at a ridiculously early hour, use a plumb-bob to make sure things are straight, cut large gauge wire with a fuck off big set of wire cutters and force preforms to fit onto the cut wires. Otherwise what would I say to accusations of bourgeois assholery? 12 hours days, 6 day weeks, paycheques that cash and sore triceps. A tourist in the proletariat.