Archive Page 2

01
May
14

Happy May 1

Happy May 1

The Workers’ fairy, of course.

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29
Mar
14

A Bloody Depressing Holiday

This is not the first time I am in Italy. In particular, I was in Italy, for a rather long time, in the early 90’s, and the one thing one noticed was how much Italians talked, to strangers in general, and to foreigners in particular. As a matter of fact, back then, I even met a British man who had a second job as a talker: the owner of a snack bar kept him drinking and eating for free as much as he wanted: his cockney accent and red sideburns attracted so many customers it was fully worth it, albeit the man was rather liberal in his drinking.

Twenty years of neoliberal policies later, the country plundered by Berlusconi, his minions and those who pretend to be his opponents, Italy is a rather different place. If you don’t know your way around, for example, you’ll better bring a GPS or a map. Attempts at asking for directions are interpreted one of two ways: if you are dressed nicely, they’ll think you are a con artist; if you are not, they’ll think you are a gypsy. Whatever the case, the subject of your enquiry will change sidewalk, accelerate his steps, look away, and mumble. The idea that you are not there to relieve them of their money never crosses their mind.

Shopkeepers, too, have become positively rude. They assume you are either going to shoplift, doodle around or try to get a deal out of them; from the moment you enter their establishment, suspicious frowns, and the familiar “May I help you[, you fucking foreign thief]?” follow you everywhere (the part in square brackets is not pronounced but applies to most native Italians as well). Not that Italy is the shopping paradise it used to be: subjected to mafia-like taxation (often, on top of taxation from the actual mafia) from the state, which is now apparently imposing a minimum payment regardless of profit, almost everything you find for sale is iPhone covers, overpriced wine, half-rotten sushi and, chiefly, clothes made from cheap fabric by Bangladeshi children.

You could melt some of the attitudes above away, in some cases, simply by proving you come from certain countries: Italians are prone to believe, for example, that people from Northern Europe will not rob them. However, there comes another problem: in some, this triggers the Golden Egg Chicken Syndrome. A Danish colleague, upon admitting his nationality in an ice-cream shop in Rome, saw his bill increase almost eight times because the prices one the board were “the old ones”; it happened again in a pizza place the day after, and he spent the rest of the time pretending he was Armenian.

I am not saying you shouldn’t travel to Italy: in fact, I advise you do so as quickly as possible: the way things are going, they’ll soon sell off the Coliseum, so it might be a last chance to see. What I’m saying is: expect a bloody depressing holiday.

18
Mar
14

The Question Not Asked…

…about the Crimean Referendum is quite obvious: was the vote free and fair? Capitalist media have ranted endlessly about cavils in international law, which boil down to saying that people have the right to self-determination only if the occupying power is inclined to grant it to them.
The fact that the inhabitants of Crimea would want to join the country the majority of them belongs to ethnically is not an issue.
The fact that even people of Ukrainian origin would want to escape from a state ridden by poverty and corruption, and where the government is decided by street mobs is not an issue.
The fact that some 6% of the inhabitants of Crimea belong to minor ethnic groups which are periodically targeted by pogroms, and feel uncomfortable with the Ukrainian government’s veiled fascism is not an issue.
Only cavils are an issue, and the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, meaning that a random rearrangement of administrative districts under Nikita Kruschev must forbid that the Crimean choose whom they want to govern them.

Luckily, the UN’s military does little more than sitting around shining their blue helmets, and the NATO has a strict policy of only helping Islamic fundamentalists against people who don’t shoot back. Applying sanctions to Russia is like threatening somebody else with shooting oneself: this is the one story where, after all the sound and fury is over, the good guys win. Or, rather, the bad guys don’t.

27
Aug
13

The Just In (and the Just Out)

Alone among those involved in the Snowden scandal, Facebook (of all companies) has published a list of government requests for information about its users. The list uncovers the usual freedom rhetoric of capitalist countries: in the first semester of 2013, the U.S. peeped into the private life of over 20000 facebook users, the U.K. into those of 2337, Germany of 2068 and Italy of 2306. If all these were suspected terrorists, we would be in serious trouble, especially considering that all the peeping hasn’t unearthed a single one; and if we admit that those governments just can’t stick to their own business, well, surely those Socialist hellholes peep a lot more, right? Uh, no. Ecuador, of Assange fame, asked for information about three people, probably many fewer than those that are conspiring to murder or abduct Assange. Venezuela asked for none. Nor did communist Cuba. Nor Bolivia, whose president is suspected of being a Snowden sympathizer. Nor did Laos, another country which is still in the grip of a communist party. Mongolia, which is surrounded by Islamist wilderness on many sides, only asked to look into two of its dwellers.
Well, capitalism made everybody swallow the yarn that firing people is good for employment. Now it is making you swallow the one that spying on you is necessary to preserve your freedom and privacy: once you have an idiot, why using him for one thing only?

26
Aug
13

Syrian Rebels Most Likely Culprits in Gas Deaths

And, just as I was about to address the subject myself, here is another excellent Stephen Gowans post proving, once again, that the so-called “government attack” are both a fictional and actual product of Islamocapitalism.

what's left

By Stephen Gowans

British foreign secretary William Hague says there’s no doubt that the Syrian military is responsible for last week’s alleged gas attack which killed scores of people in Syria. So too do the editors of major newspapers in the United States and Britain. US officials have also said the Syrian government is responsible, though at the same time they admit they are still trying to ascertain the facts. The Wall Street Journal could report, as a consequence, that there’s an “emerging consensus” that the Assad government was behind the attack. The consensus, however—and it’s one limited to Syria’s political enemies—is backed up by not a scintilla of evidence.

You might wonder why journalists haven’t challenged Hague’s assertion that the only possible culprit is the Syrian government. After all, there is another possible culprit: the opposition.

In May, Carla Del Ponte, a member of the United Nations independent commission…

View original post 952 more words

20
Aug
13

From the UCS again

The subject of manipulation and falsification of scientific data is one which is of particular concern to this blog and, possibly, of its readers (some of them, as pointed out before, are just Rabid Republicans checking the Red Scare); an interesting parallel between how this was done for tobacco a few years back and how it is done for carbon dioxide today can be found here.

For once, the UCS is not directly begging for money: enjoy (so to say).

28
Jul
13

Before and After

Let’s look at Egypt’s example

(Barack Obama, April 3, 2011, after a popular revolution toppled a corrupt secular dictator in Egypt)

I am deeply concerned

(Barack Obama, July 3, 2013, after a popular revolution toppled a corrupt Islamic dictator in Egypt)

And if you still think there is a conflict between Islam and Capitalism, think again: the conflict is between Capitalism and both humanity and the environment; Islam is just a label for Capitalism’s most violent goon, all in the name of deniability.