Pope Francis & the Ayotzinapa 43: will the Pope blunder justice in Mexico like he did in Palestine?

Julio Cesar Mondragon  (AP Photo:Eduardo Verdugo) Feb 8 2016

On September 26th, 2014, a busload of student teachers who were political activists was attacked by armed men in Iguala, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Reports about who attacked differ between the corrupt Mexican government who blame the police & parents of the students who claim, with evidence, that it was an action by Mexican soldiers garrisoned in Iguala.

Four students & three bystanders were killed in the attack; 43 students were disappeared & their whereabouts are still not known. One of the students killed was 22-year-old Julio Cesar Mondragon whose body was later found on an Iguala street with his face peeled off & eyes gouged out. The photo here is a poster of his face at a January 26th protest in Mexico City commemorating the 16-month anniversary of the deaths & disappearances & demanding the government of president Enrique Peña Nieto stop lying & trying to cover up the crimes. The disappeared students are known as the Ayotzinapa 43 & their families & human rights groups have waged a relentless campaign for justice.

Pope Francis is going to be visiting Mexico for 5 days starting Friday. In preparation for his visit, the Vatican released his video statement saying Mexico’s patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, would not approve of the corruption, violence, drug trafficking, & crime cartels. Mexico’s Cardinal Norberto Rivera told media the Pope will call for justice for victims of violence & humane treatment for Central American refugees.

It’s estimated that in the past 7 or 8 years, up to 30,000 people have been disappeared in Mexico & up to 100,000 murdered. Much of the violence is attributed to drug cartels; just as much to the Mexican military which occupies most of the country as brutally as a foreign army. So the Pope is promising to address the most important questions in Mexican politics. Sounds so heartening but here’s where things get hairy.

The Pope’s itinerary will include some of the poorest & most violent districts of Mexico like Ecatepec, a poor, rough neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City where hundreds of women & young girls are disappeared or mutilated & murdered every year & most of the crimes are reportedly not investigated by authorities. Enrique Peña Nieto governed the state of Mexico before he became Mexico’s president.

So is the Pope going to Mexico & places like Ecatepec to address the issue of femicide & politically motivated murders–or is he going there to address homicide as a personal crime & chide the murderers to stop being evil? There’s some confusion in the media about that which needs to be cleared up. The caption to this photo of Julio Mondragon said, “On the eve of the visit by Pope Francis, homicides rose 9 percent in Mexico during 2015, according to government statistics.” The problem is that the murder of young Julio was not a personal homicide but a political crime. So maybe the Pope should skip the poor neighborhoods (unless he’s going there to rally for investigations of the femicides) & sit down with government officials who are criminally culpable either through neglect in personal murders or collusion in political murders.

According to an attorney for parents of the Ayotzinapa 43, they requested a private meeting with the Pope. Because of the political importance of their campaign which garnered international outrage & support, meeting with the parents would have been a compelling gesture of solidarity & put immense political pressure on the Mexican government to address justice for the Ayotzinapa 43. But Cardinal Rivera, talking with marbles in his mouth, said the meeting was declined because over 26,000 people had been disappeared & families of hundreds of other missing people had also requested a meeting. In such circumstances, he claimed it would be “very hard” to have a meeting. Just how hard is it to rent a hall & allow all of them to come to a private meeting to discuss one of the most important questions in Mexican politics?

One can defend the Pope’s political timidity & equivocations by saying he has to play politics if he wants to be allowed to enter a country. Let’s get real! If the Pope can’t speak his mind & publicly solidarize with the victims of political treachery, what’s the point of being pope? If you were sincerely, deeply committed to human rights, you wouldn’t accept a position that made you put a muzzle on your outrage. The Pope has got an international pulpit with millions of people he could influence to stand against political injustice & violence. Why doesn’t he use that authority? If he isn’t allowed to enter a country with a murderous regime, he could rally thousands at the border & make an international clamor for justice. That’s what a committed human rights advocate would do with the same resources.

It’s suggested the Pope could still agree to meet with the Ayotzinapa 43 families. Since he found time on his US trip to meet with the Kentucky county clerk who wouldn’t issue marriage licenses to gay couples, he sure as hell can find time. If he wants to. There are plenty of human rights activists in Mexico willing to brave a murderous regime who would handle the logistics, rent a hall, & notify those who lost loved ones to the gulag. If the Pope wants to address the issue of violence in Mexico, that is exactly what he will do instead of grandstanding treks into poor neighborhoods.

Our deepest respect for the families of the Ayotzinapa 43 & Mexican human rights activists who are determined to get justice for young men murdered because they were committed to a better world.

(Photo by Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

Whose parliament is this?

Clown parliament (- Dan Kitwood:Getty Images) Feb 8 2016

Media is having problems identifying whose national parliament this is. The US Senate has been ruled out since it has no one last-named Gingernutt. The closest is Senator Numbnuts. They thought the French Senat or British parliament good possibilities or even the European Union parliament. But throughout Europe no one’s willing to claim them.

There’s likely a reward involved for anyone willing to claim them as their elected leaders so try to put dignity aside long enough to grab the check. And let us know who they are before you go into hiding. We understand your dilemma. Consider the shame of living in the US during this election cycle.

(Photo Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The political resume of Hillary Clinton: a trail of treachery & lies

Caricature of H Clinton

I am prompted to re-post this piece from February 7, 2013, three years ago, but apropos Hillary Clinton. It is an indictment of her politics & corruption but goes way too easy on her & leaves out her proclivities to grand larceny.


As Hillary Clinton exits the State Department the retrospectives begin on her legacy. There really isn’t much to say about a woman who took orders & defended US policy around the world–except we have a much clearer view of her venality & corruption. She came of age during the tumultuous 1960s & 1970s when millions of people were protesting for civil rights, women’s rights, & against the Vietnam war. She was a young Republican in that era & played no role whatsoever in social protest. In other words, early in her life she sided with the status quo & the powers that be–and that allegiance has never wavered.

Much is made of her intelligence & she is indeed a smart woman with an elite education–which she has used to enrich herself at the expense of others. Her most notable client as an attorney in Arkansas was Walmart whose fortune rests on sweatshops & exploitation. As Secretary of State & in league with her unsavory spouse she brokered commercial agreements making Haiti a sweatshop haven–& enforced sweatshop relationships with several other countries.

During her tenure at the State Department, the Arab uprisings erupted. Her role was to make sure the generals & dictators would stay in power & continue their relationship with the US Pentagon. Outside of a few ceremonial & perfunctory comments, she has never sided with the millions in the Arab countries fighting for democracy but has used her position to violently oppose them. She remains an ardent supporter of Israel in its murderous policies toward Palestinians, including the barbaric bombing sieges of Gaza. She defends US wars & drone bombing sieges & doesn’t bat an eyelash at the deaths & dislocations & human misery they are causing. Nor has she opposed IMF austerity policies against the people of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy & elsewhere–because US banks are the hegemonic force within the IMF & investors intend to make a killing on the massive suffering of others.

She traveled to Mexico to broker more compliance from the government as the southern flank of US immigration policy which includes the most barbaric violence against immigrants in an attempt to deter them. She has been part & parcel of lesser evil Obama’s immigration policies which have sundered families by deporting hundreds of thousands.

In short, there isn’t a damn thing you can say about her in praise. She’s complained about some of the disrespect & snubs she received as a woman politician. Regrettable but she’s hanging out with the wrong class of people–the barbarians who run the world. If she spent any time around the rest of us she’d understand our disrespect is based not on gender but on her massive corruption & indifference to human suffering. We only wish this was a final farewell & wouldn’t have to endure her as a candidate for president.

(Caricature of Clinton by Kerry Waghorn)

On Madeline Albright & Gloria Steinem’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton

Madeline Albright

One of the most repugnant & shameful things in US politics is that former Secretary of State Madeline Albright can show her face in public (& even collect honoraria) after saying the death of 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it” to achieve US policy goals. So it says everything you need to know about Hillary Clinton that Albright is out campaigning for her. Birds of a feather & all that.

In urging women to vote for Clinton, Albright said “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” The dishonesty of that appeal is only matched by the repugnancy of the sarcasm. What about the Iraqi women, the mothers, sisters, grandmothers, & aunties of those 500,000 precious children?

There is a special place in hell all right, but not for those who will not cast a vote for a female thief & war monger. There’s a special circle in the inferno for politicians who consider children as dispensable & as cannon fodder for US hegemony in the Middle East. It’s the same circle where the other human monsters are frying, hopefully for all eternity–Adolph Hitler & Joseph Stalin, Generalissimo Pinochet, Margaret Thatcher, Omar Suleiman (the Egyptian torture master), Israel’s Ariel Sharon. It’s the stinky place in hell. That’s where Madeline is headed. And to our mind, not fast enough.

Gloria Steinem has no war crimes to her name–unless you include promoting the war in Afghanistan to liberate women. Her primary fault is conservatism in the women’s movement when she helped railroad an independent movement into the Democratic Party & electoralism & parked it, leaving the work of social transformation up to politicians–politicians like Clinton & Albright.

Steinem has never been known for her theoretical achievements since her writings are mostly self-absorbed confessional–& are, quite frankly, trite. Despite her reputation, she’s not that cogent a social thinker–which is likely due to her profound elitism. But when she comes out publicly promoting Clinton by saying younger women support Sanders to be “where the boys are,” she disgraces her authority as a feminist even more than she demeans the intelligence & political integrity of young women. That is not an endorsement of Sanders but an indictment of Steinem’s political banality.

Of course, in the interests of full disclosure, I admit that in the early days of feminism I was interviewed twice on NYC radio with Steinem. At no time during those interviews where we sat directly next to each other, did she look at me, speak to me, acknowledge my presence. You never forget that kind of elitism & you never trust a person who can conduct themselves in that way. That’s not tales out of school; it’s insight into her political character.

Shame on Albright & Steinem but endorsing Clinton isn’t their greatest shame.

(Photo is reportedly Madeline Albright but it could be Henry Kissinger. The devil can’t tell them apart any more than we can.)