Pop Politics at its finest

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In the strictest tradition, latinamerican countries have found it hard to believe that hard core, longstanding  conflict has ever occured in the region. We have issues upgrading our revolutions to independence wars, we have issues recognising rebels as belligerents and we are certainly not ok with suggesting that urban insurgencies are little more than disturbances. In fact, as children of the revolution, our belief system demands that we see everything as a noble grassroots movement when it defends the people’s ideals or an external oppression when it is detrimental to them.

All categorical considerations aside (yes, I am well aware not all of these movements have been wars or its participants belligerents), I’d like to dig into that which hinders and limits us from dealing with our own skeletons.

I am curious to ask: when is it going to dawn on us that we might be dealing with a fully fledged demon and we might need help? There are no set 12 steps to recover from internal political turmoil… But is that really the issue?

I have the suspicion that the issue is not accepting the issue itself. We mask our “problem” with the glittering and always controversial issues of corruption, power play and dirty politics. No doubt, they are contributing causes; but honestly, in this circle of trust, why is it so hard to take it from an alcoholic that we might have an issue?


What is it with the lack of seriousness? How can we possible flow through time writing a history of ” disturbances” and minor scale uprisings?


A very wise old bearded man said fear of a name will only increase fear of the thing itself ( yes that man was Albus Dumbledore- and you have to give it to him, had he been real, he would have made for a great strategist and philosopher).


This I refer to the Mexican SSP (in spanish) declaration that one of the mexican cartels (la familia michoacana) has the character and proceedings of a terrorist organisation. I am sure dissent will arise to this claim,  alongside mockery and protest.


Truth is we can’t take it. We continue to uphold the well known tradition of sweeping issues under a rug, we think we will be sure to forget about the bulging floor mat eventually. 


How can we possibly subject ourselves to the belief that it takes one disgruntled farmer to make a country independent and yet not believe that a well organised, powerfully funded and prolifically strategic group is swarming the country?

How can we not acknowledge that sometimes these movements might have gotten out of hand?

We all know how that turned out for Cornelius Fudge, Stalin during WWII, McArthur and the Vietcong… I mean… really!

-kimbo-

El IFE, entre HAL 9000 y Terminator

Lo que ocurre con el IFE me recuerda a la película 2001 Odisea del espacio y la inolvidable voz de la computadora HAL 9000

‘Star Wars’ Terrorists Storm Pakistani Naval Base

The Pakistan Taliban launched a brazen attack on a Pakistani naval base, killing at least 11 people and destroying two spy planes provided by the United States. Not only did the melee last through the night, the terrorists appeared to call on the power of the Dark Side of the Force to press their assault.

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Thor‘s day NEWS is back with all these week’s most relevant events in Midgard and the other eight realms.

DSK IMF’d


To start off, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Khaaaaaaaaaaaan, as refered to by Capt. Kirk), now former head of the IMF, was charged with alleged assault of maid in a New York City hotel (that apparently charged $3,000 dls a night). Ok, first of all, are u guys at all surprised? Second, he took FOREEEEEEVER to resign, it was as if a side of him expected that he would be able to run the IMF from behind bars, I mean no offense but if he handles world economic policies the same way he handles his women… Third, who wants to be the next IMF chief? New Reality Show coming this Fall to your TV, ok no seriously but who? With possible contenders like Gordon Brown and Christine Lagarde, will the coveted position go to the developed European nations once again? Or will the new head of the IMF be represented by the waking developing nations? More on this to come.

 

Middle East is a mess.

Yep. Yes, it is.

Al Qaeda’s new leader

Reports claim that Egyptian militant Saif al-Adel has been appointed the interim leader of al Qaeda while the organization works to appoint a permanent head after the untimely death of Bin Laden. Yes, Al Qaeda has pointed out to the US who he should hunt now that his favorite hide and seek partner is no longer willing to play. But is there really a “Central Al Qaeda”? Can we actually claim there’s a unified command to these terrorist forces? If so, who appoints the new leader? Is there a minimum length to his beard in order to qualify? Is someone in charge of trimming his beard? These are questions we should ask ourselves before embarking on a 10 year long hide and seek game man hunt.

Defusal of Queen Elizabeth’s Irish present.

The queen is on a historic four-day visit to the Republic of Ireland, the first by a British monarch since Irish independence from London 90 years ago, when she was approximately -5 years old. To top it off, Irish people gave her a warm welcome with a traditional bomb-in-a-bus-defusal, an ancient ritual that marks the beginning of the celebrations to welcome British monarchs to Ireland. Giggles. The queen, who started her speech in native Irish language, expressed how deeply sorry she was about the history of violence that existed between the two countries (her cousin Lord Mountbatten being murdered by the IRA and all). Gerry Adams, a pivotal figure in Northern Irish history as long-time leader of Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political arm, said her “acknowledgement that the relationship between Britain and Ireland has not been entirely benign is a gross understatement,”. This coming from the guy who said the murder of the queen’s cousin was “fully justified”. Welcome to Ireland, we bring u a bomb.

And finally…

Our Favorite Governator comes clean about having a child out of wedlock.

GASP! Oh no he didn’t, oh ok he did. So Schwarzenegger apparently has a 10 year old son he had with a member of her staff, because apparently Maria Shriver is just not enough. Ironically, this anti-immigration polish immigrant governor, had a son with a Guatemalan lady… funny how life goes around.

That is all for this week’s Thor’s Day NEWS.

What realm is this?

-Atom

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It is a thing we cyclically tend to forget, yet end up slapping ourselves in the forehead when we face it again.  Every six years we establish by comparison a standard of Political Correctness, a degree of bearable political decency upon which a part of our next presidential choice is based. And what is it that we are comparing against?

To be perfectly scientific about it, it is a behavioural condition inflicted upon every Mexican president on the year (or 18 months) prior to his end of term. It might be acquired through viral means, but a more logical explanation would suggest it is triggered environmentally by preset conditions such as a high density of critique and an elevated concentration of dissidence -present normally in the political environment during this specific period of time-. The generated symptoms include at initial stages profuse sweating, mood swings, tendency towards aggressive responses, agitation, anxiety and irritation; secondary and more consequential symptoms reveal a development of manic conduct that encompasses lightness of being, inconsequentiality, ludicrous behaviour, slurred speech and more importantly the voicing of delusional beliefs or statements.

In terms worthy of Hitchcock, it is a state of deeply induced Panic.

This Panic Fever leads to the desecration of just about every worthy action within the presidential term and to the shaming of all involved or associated with the affected. Moreover, it scars and strains all sociability capacities of the affected, rendering him irrelevant, undesirable and even scathed. 

To the effect of illustrating the effect and implications of this condition, we compiled a set of declarations that just about exemplify every aspect of the previously described:

‪”Bueno, mi amor, compañero, es amplio y total por las dos o por los dos acuerdos de libre comercio, por el MERCOSUR y por el ALCA, y si no existe ese amor o no existe ese sí a mi propuesta de matrimonio seguiré insistiendo y seguiré haciéndole más el amor al MERCOSUR y más el amor al ALCA.”‬

 

Vicente Fox. Respuesta en conferencia de prensa, en la IV Cumbre de las Américas, sábado, 5 de noviembre de 2005.

 

"Ya hoy hablo libre, ya puedo decir cualquier tontería, ya no importa… Total, yo ya me voy"‬

 

(Vicente Fox en una conversación ‘fuera de micrófono’ el 31 de octubre de 2006)‬

Yo soy mejor candidato a la Presidencia porque sólo tengo una mano (para robar)(En referencia a su segunda candidatura presidencial y a que él era manco) .

Plutarco Elías Calles 

And the most recent and explanatory of this shameless, tasteless lack shedding of tact and PC:

“La razón es que pueden morir en la violencia. Pero yo vi a miles, a miles de spring breakers, divirtiéndose en México. De lo que yo tengo entendido, los únicos shots que recibieron eran de tequila”

Felipe Calderon. Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayo 2011.

 

For further study of this odd condition, or just for general bemusement, a list of phrases can be found at:

Solipsismo

http://hookale-solipsismo.blogspot.com/2008/05/frases-ridiculas-de-presidentes.html

 

-Kimbo, Atom-

thedailywhat:

Obligatory of the Friday the 13th: RUN RUN RUN RUN.
[leveeevee / rofl.]

thedailywhat:

Obligatory of the Friday the 13th: RUN RUN RUN RUN.

[leveeevee / rofl.]

(via thedailywhat)

Source: leveeevee

nevver:

Happy Friday the 13th

nevver:

Happy Friday the 13th

Source: nevver

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The following is a press release from the Empire’s so called Death Star PR: “Earth’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, may be dead but rest assured citizens, the Galactic Empire’s war against terror continues unabated. Emperor Palpatine has personally guaranteed that the “Mission Accomplished” banner will not fly until Luke Skywalker is brought to justice for his crimes against humanity”. 


We all have our heroes, our villains, our rebels, the good, the bad and the ugly. After 10 years of the greatest hide and seek game, evil mastermind number one was killed just miles from the Pakistani capital, yes, it is awfully convenient, yes it does wonders for reelection campaigns, but in the end, all conspiracies aside… he is deea. As they all gathered in the presidential Call of Duty LAN Party war room, Obama saw before his eyes the crumbling of the last known US’ enemy, the closing of an era, the destruction of Sauron and the reminder of why the US Navy SEALs are so freaking cool (seriously can we get “Mission Geronimo” in the next Call of Duty: Black Ops expansion pack?) 


In an era of a wavering US military stance, of stale diplomatic decisions, of budget cuts, of drones, of drug wars, the United States was reminded of why they fight, they were reminded of the thousands dead in that day, reminded of the promises made by its government, and watched as they were fulfilled, 10 years later but fulfilled. As Hillary Clinton so graciously puts it: This is America. We rise to the challenge, we persevere and we get the job done” and who can say anything to disprove that? For Uncle Bobby Gates, it comes as a great retirement present, for the up and coming SoD Panetta, it’s a tap on the back for the hard work that involves turning a bureaucratic mess into a respectable intelligence center once again, for Clinton, it’s a breath of fresh air, for Biden, well it’s a big f***ing deal, for Obama… it’s better than Christmas.

  

Nonetheless, as we stand on the sidelines and watch people parade over the death of man, the terrorist threat is more present than ever, because it doesn’t matter if you’re a democrat or a republican, pro gay rights, pro tax cuts, pro anything, you’re still a target. If anything, the death of Osama is the reminder that we must remain ever vigilant. As a green masked crusader puts it “In brightest dayin blackest nightno evil shall escape my sight” be that by drone surveillance, black ops infiltration missions, brave data analyst working from the comfort of their desks on a building in Langley or a middle eastern informant, it’s a 24/7 job. It is not about THE man, it’s about the fact that he is just A man, one of many, one of thousand, one of millions, because the threat is not linear, it is not predictable, it is not foreseeable, it is everywhere, all the time, anyone, anywhere.

In brightest day, in blackest night,

No evil shall escape my sight

Let those who worship evil’s might,

Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!

-Atom

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What a weekend!! We had a Royal Wedding, a Pope’s canonization and in words of Peru’s President, the death of the, I quote: “demonic embodiment of the crime, evil and hate”, aka Inquisition. I just needed my dinner in Medieval Times to completely feel in the XV Century!!

 But let’s get serious; if our previous generation was witness of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rocky’s victory over Drago and the End of History, we can proudly say that we’re witnesses of another history’s watershed. The fall of the Twin Towers, the war on terror and the revitalization of the Clash of Civilizations’ arguments, are moments that marked the beginning of the XXI Century. We will always remember what we were doing while the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as we would not forget the instant when Obama was announcing the death of one of the most recognizable but elusive men ever.

 So following Osama bin Laden’s demise, there are four possible interpretations about its meaning. Without deepen too much we can find  1) the ones that argue that bin Laden’s death does not change anything, 2) people that see Osama’s death as the Tipping Point for ending terrorism, 3) the dudes with the conspiracy theories and 4) the mixture of’em all. So if my lack of imagination makes me incapable of developing nice convincing aliens/evil jews/vampires/nazi zombiestheories, and I’m not the kind of person who sees everything in black and white, I am picking option number four.

 I believe that the death of bin Laden won’t represent a real shift in the way al-Qaeda and other terrorists networks were operating. Of course the guy was the leader of the organization and an inspiration for radical Muslims; but let’s face it: in recent times, we hear a less about al-Qaeda and more about its franchises. I think that when Barber stated that the Jihad and the McWorld had just one thing in common, the threat it represented for democracy, he never thought an organization like al-Qaeda was capable of merge the “best of two worlds” and develop the McJihadization, the globalization of tribalism, the exportation of radical ideals with one goal in familiar, reshaping the very foundations of world as we know it.

 During the second half of the 2000s decade this started to happen. Faster than Subway restaurants, regional factions of al-Qaeda were sprouting in everyplace where there was a radical Muslim available. al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, are some of the branches that emerged in those years, while other organizations such as al-Shabab in what used to be a country called Somalia were pledging allegiance to Bin Laden’s organization. But like good franchises, most of them work by themselves, have their own means of financing and recruiting and only resort to the core for training or increasing its commercial value.

 Additionally, the way the world address terrorism, except from the US, will not change substantially. America’s quest for seek and destroy bin Laden is far from being the strategy taken internationally. For example last EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (Europol) reported that Islamist based terrorism had the lowest rate in the region, and the focus is put on homegrown terrorism and aQIM.  Also, the UN Strategy includes a broader spectrum that goes far far away from al-Qaeda. It is true that they may have to change the name of the 1267 Committee, but acquiring universal compliance of international instruments, capacity building and address the underlying causes of terrorism will continue to occupy its core work.

 Don’t get me wrong, I do not intend to go so far as Mr. Zakaria, who argues that bin Laden’s death represents “the end of al Qaeda in any meaningful sense of the word”. But being realistic, the US is still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Middle East continue to be a region of potential threat, with or without Osama. More worried should be Pakistan, not because bin Laden was found there, but because they way it was founded, living in a tourist city near to the Pakistan Military Academy. The AfPak has been a headache for the US since 2001 and thanks to Wikileaks Pakistan’sdouble game is well known, but hiding US’ number one public enemy it’s maybe going too far. Greater tensions between the two countries are expected, and we haven’t heard anything of the data collected by the US SEAL team.

 But what actually changed after OBL’s death? In first place, it is a closure. No matter how much money was spent, how many lives lost or how discredited was the US’ image in the world, they achieved their objective. It took ten years and two different Administrations, but the explosion of joy witnessed in New York and Washington was the reflection of the conclusion of ten years of frustration and impotence; finally the enemy has been taken down. As clear as crystal, Obama, as if he was Jigsaw, was watching the operation in live stream, probably congratulating himself for the success of its revenge plan.

 Thinking in the celebrations that took place all over the US Sunday night, Jean Baudrillard comes to my mind. Just after September 11 he wrote that the terrorist attacks represented the “mother of all events”, the essence of all the events that never happened. Linked with his work in Simulacra and Simulation, bin Laden was the replacement of reality and meaning with symbols and signs. Symbols of fear, anger and terror that left US citizens living in a simulation of reality that did not really agreed with the level of the actual threat. So Osama’s death represented a rupture, of course alert systems were increased, and some retaliation is expected, but for the common individual, the perception of threat has diminished, the evil entity has gone.

 For realists, bin Laden’s demise was pure gold. Arguing that actors in the international system are always looking for power and prestige, killing Osama bin Laden puts the US in the top of the ladder. With the attention of the world, that not even Megan Fox’s first topless had, the United States was not only able to dispose its “nemesis”, but also proved that it continues to be the paramount in military and intelligence. Probably it took more than expected, but they had the job done. So the US is not only increasing its already excellent position in the global arena, but also it has done it within its territory, because the success of this operation represents a morale boost for the entire country.

 But don’t get cocky so easy. This morale boost could also be backfired. Osama is dead, but not his ideas, and this is a point that not only the US, but the entire international community has to take in consideration. We can be sure that, for some people, bin Laden has now become a martyr, and it is not necessary to say that there are some individuals that are more dangerous dead than alive. So it could be possible that as Orpheus’ lyre, Osama’s ideas could be heard from the Hades and the global response must be based on smart power using hard and soft power in a single winning strategy.

A little thought before leaving. I just love American exceptionalism, not only because of the French fries and freedom fries’ debate, but also because the ease with which they fall in double discourses and double standards. Maybe justice is a relative term, but sovereignty is not. Getting into a foreign country to kill a man, and then consider that justice has been done, seems quite radical for me. Perhaps that is why the US values have always been linked more with Superman than with Batman. I don´t see the Dark Knight applying the kill first apprehend later policy, but the Man’o Steel fits perfectly in the pattern. But more interesting is that, for the US population, justice has been achieved. It seems like the “terrorist word” is the secret ingredient in Dr. Jekyll’s potion, capable of transforming a “democracy and liberty loving country” to a “cheer the murder of a man state”.

The big beard bad guy has fallen; now let’s see how US’ foreign policy shifts.

M

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News travels fast, and from the emerald city the ripples of victory chants reached every corner of the world “Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.Let them know the Wicked Witch is dead!”. 


And yet, an ominous pronouncement shadowed these melodious rhymes; in the mind of every conscious political barrister one verse dug in deeper than the rest:
"But we’ve got to verify it legally, to see if she is morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably Dead"


I’m sorry to say it Munchkins, but at least here in Oz, we can’t pronounce the absolute death of the Witch. The reason why? because the Witch is less a tangible thing than a bearded goblin in striped knickers or long taliban robes; no wicker figure burnt to the ground will keep us from her, really, since she occupies all aforementioned dimensions and manifestations of liveliness. 


Everyone who acknowledges anyone in history will grasp the concept that any witch hunt is never about the witch herself, but about what she embodies. As Dan Drezner says, the psychological fundamental attribution error behind every policy move or campaign is strictly related to what we perceive as a threat to a standardised rule of law and scope of living. Enemies will be assigned and allocated witchlike characteristics that hinder us from developing any relatable sentiments towards them. And the particular thing about this human mechanical response is that it remains essential to the development and betterment of our own human security — in bio-security terms—. 


So in this heightened sense of roman fashion, I’d like to see all the non-believers taking a step back and reconsidering the implications of this event. In terms of what lies ahead, I’d like them to describe the future embodiment of this witch, because, as all fiction savvy policymakers suspect, its when you kill the witch when fear becomes faceless.  


It is really now time for the clean-up to shine it all up. Will we enforce new walls since we can’t really tear down any of the ones we built (unlike Berlin) or will we hone tall towers over the ones already standing? Will we ride on the wave of timeliness and commend the watchfulness of an ever vigilant eye over the middle-man meddling of the middle east and its arab spring?


-kimbo-