Lose Ben Stein Money

Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary which makes an argument for intelligent design over the theory of evolution, debuted at just number eight among the top ten grossing movies last week.

The film made $1.2 million on Friday in 1,052 theaters. By comparison, Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ raked in $23.9 million its opening weekend from just 441 theaters, and Fahrenheit 9/11 did $23.9 million from only 868 slots.

But note how this stoopid doco with no track record behind it gets placed at over twice the number of theatres as Moore’s Sicko, a film from an Oscar winner with a very good track record of profitable movies. Stein’s shitfest choked but the not from lack of backing by corporate America, that is the real story. Censorship via economic means is often overlooked in capitalist cultures, the tolerance of free speech used to hide the lack of promotion of certain speech versus the over promotion of elite favoured narratives. The powerful will claim- it’s a free country , you can say what you like (which actually isn’t even true) knowing full well it is the means to support and distribute that speech is what holds power, not simply the words. It may be freedom to speak, but it is not the right to be heard. The pretence one is the same as the other is one of the ways democracy has been subverted while people still believe they live in a free society with open media instead of the corporate echo chamber of distracting pap they really inhabit.

Paraguay Rejecting 61 Years of Rightists

Could be, which casts Bush’s purchase of land there in a different light, mistake or hotbed of future right wing coup plotters (after all Alfredo Stroessner was a straight up Nazi, he loved ’em). Anyway Lugo is careful to distance himself from other New Latin Left figures and hopefully his catholicism remains of the liberation kind, not the sex obsessed elite church. Nonetheless it is an advance on the 61 years of rightists, any rule that long will engender complete corruption particularly with the ideology of self underpinning the right. The vote is going to be close and the rightists already are making accusations against election monitors [His opponents have warned that he will imitate radical leftists elsewhere. This week, President Nicanor Duarte Frutos claimed that Venezuelan and Ecuadorean agitators, posing as election observers, were planning a wave of violence on Sunday.] which flags up their intention to cheat, but with a good turnout Lugo should win-

According to the polling firm COIN, in a survey published in the newspaper Ultima Hora, Lugo leads by six points – assuming a 65-percent voter turnout. His lead slips as turnout lowers.

Lugo has touted himself as the candidate to fight corruption in this landlocked nation that suffered 35 years of dictatorship under Gen. Alfredo Stroessner and where, according to government figures, the percentage of those living in extreme poverty [ Some 43 percent of its 6.5 million citizens live in poverty] rose from 15 to 21 percent in 2006.

Inspired by the social activism of liberation theology that swept across Latin America in the 1960s, Lugo was ordained in 1977. For 10 years, he served as bishop of San Pedro, a hardscrabble town in the heart of Paraguay. Upon resigning from the priesthood, he said: “From today on, my cathedral will be the nation.

“I feel at ease. I know what I would like to do and who I am,” he told the BBC. ” I am not Hugo Chavez, I am Fernando Lugo. I am not Evo Morales. I am not Correa and I am not Fidel….I have always said this has to be a Paraguayan process achieved by our own abilities. I believe the process of consolidating democracy here will be different from other countries.”

He says his objectives are clear: “No more exclusion in Paraguay, especially with the forgotten and marginalised sections of our communities.”

After 12 years in charge of a diocese in one of the poorest parts of the country, Fernando Lugo apparently felt he was getting nowhere. He stepped down from his post and later defied the Vatican to enter politics.

In a country faced with enormous poverty, and where land ownership is concentrated in the hands of a small percentage of the population, he wants to see agrarian reform. He is also calling on Brazil to pay more for the hydro-electric energy it gets from the huge Itaipu dam which lies between the two counties.

(ht2 leftchick @ Progressive Independent)

Update: And thanks to Korova of Máscara de la Anarquía! (as Babel fish claims Mask of Anarchy is, Rafael help!) here is a fine piece by Richard Gott on Lugo and his campaign blog here.

Mass Graves In Canada

Via Mahatma X Files & the Indigenist Intelligence Review

Hidden from History– At a public ceremony and press conference held today outside the colonial “Indian Affairs” building in downtown Vancouver, the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) released a list of twenty eight mass graves across Canada holding the remains of untold numbers of aboriginal children who died in Indian Residential Schools.

The list was distributed today to the world media and to United Nations agencies, as the first act of the newly-formed International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), a non-governmental body established by indigenous elders.

In a statement read by FRD spokesperson Eagle Strong Voice, it was declared that the IHRTGC would commence its investigations on April 15, 2008, the fourth Annual Aboriginal Holocaust Memorial Day. This inquiry will involve international human rights observers from Guatemala and Cyprus , and will convene aboriginal courts of justice where those persons and institutions responsible for the death and suffering of residential school children will be tried and sentenced.

Eagle Strong Voice and IHRTGC elders will present the Mass Graves List at the United Nations on April 19, and will ask United Nations agencies to protect and monitor the mass graves as part of a genuine inquiry and judicial prosecution of those responsible for this Canadian Genocide.

Statement excerpts– We are gathered today to publicly disclose the location of twenty eight mass graves of children who died in Indian Residential Schools across Canada , and to announce the formation of an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of children in these schools.

We estimate that there are hundreds, and possibly thousands, of children buried in these grave sites alone.

The Catholic, Anglican and United Church , and the government of Canada, operated the schools and hospitals where these mass graves are located. We therefore hold these institutions and their officers legally responsible and liable for the deaths of these children.

We have no confidence that the very institutions of church and state that are responsible for these deaths can conduct any kind of impartial or real inquiry into them. Accordingly, as of April 15, 2008, we are establishing an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of Indian residential school children across Canada .

Today, we are releasing to this Tribunal and to the people of the world the enclosed information on the location of mass graves connected to Indian residential schools and hospitals in order to prevent the destruction of this crucial evidence by the Canadian government, the RCMP and the Anglican, Catholic and United Church of Canada.

List of sites at link.

PS. Dodging the Potato (Bullet)- This did make me think that if my ancestors had left Ireland (some potato/lack of related incident apparently) and gone to North America/Canada they would have been part of the invading mass that did these things. In fact while they wouldn’t have been the bosses, maybe lower middle class at best, they would of been among the footsoldiers, the workers who were set against indigenous people. Instead they took the shortest boat trip to Britain where they were filthy immigrants for a generation or two but of course being white assimilation to the English was not impossible (although they remained catholic dammit). So they got to be pretty low on the social order initially but if they had gone across the Atlantic they would still have been a rung higher than the actual owners of the land simply by default racist invader Genocide logic. For the few who may have realised the crimes and sided with the indigenous owners of North America, well it’s unlikely they are the people who have big homes going back generations shall we say. And that ‘opportunity’ the North American continent offered will have played a role in European’s decisions, just as corporations profiting off low paid workers around the world see an ‘opportunity’. People doing this, seeing a chance to profit from exploitation or outright theft from others are still celebrated for their success. So while the initial stages where genocidal programs are utilised may be over in some territories (not though for example Iraq) the underlying values are unchanging. The relatively wealthy corporate apparatchik jetting around the globe is the same as the settler/invader telling themselves how their hard work gave them this great house and life (shall we say lifestyle), except that accumulation of capital to themselves is made out of other peoples suffering. That their ‘success’ remains lionised explains how these past crimes and current ones occur. The praise of riches is the praise of exploitation, and worse.