Friday, May 30, 2008

Texas Surpreme Court Endorses Pedophilia


Make no mistake about this ruling. The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday has officially approved having sex with pre-teen and underage girls.

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Texas Supreme Court: Return FLDS children to parents



Updated: 6:17 PM- SAN ANGELO, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the state must return some 130 children taken into state custody following an early April raid on a polygamous sect's West Texas ranch

However, the decision likely will affect about 320 other children from the ranch who now are living in foster homes and shelters throughout the state, attorneys for their parents said.

By a six-to-three majority, the justices decided that a district court judge improperly removed the children, like their parents members of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The ruling was met with jubilation by parents and attorneys representing the families. Maggie Jessop, whose children are in state custody in two cities, said she had waited anxiously for such an outcome.

"I just feel very thankful that the Supreme Court would have a righteous decision," said Jessop, who moved from the ranch to San Angelo midway between her daughter's and son's shelters in San Antonio and Amarrillo.

Marleigh Meisner, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Families and Protective Services, which had asked the court to rule in its favor, said the agency was "disappointed but we understand and respect the court's decision and will take immediate steps to comply. Child Protective Services has one purpose in this case - to protect the children.

"Our goal is to reunite families whenever we can do so, and make sure the children will be safe," Meisner said. "We will continue to prepare for the prompt and orderly reunification of these children with their families."

The high court, which released its decision at 4 p.m. Central time, found that 51st District Judge Barbara Walther had ruled improperly to take the children into state custody and upheld a subsequent decision by the Third Court of Appeals that the children should be returned.

In its brief opinion, the court said "we are not inclined to disturb the Court of Appeals' decision. On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted."

Kevin Dietz of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid said he would work with the courts and Child Protective Services, a division of DFPS, to do what's in the best interest of the children. "Right now, that means reuniting these families," he said.

DFPS had argued the appellate decision left it unable to guard the children's safety from what it had deemed imminent danger of sexual and physical abuse due to the FLDS practice of polygamy. The state contended that the FLDS condoned marriages of underage girls to men and groomed its boys to continue the practice.

In early April, Walther authorized the raid and subsequently ruled the children would remain in state custody.

The state Supreme Court, however, found that Texas' family code gives the district court broad authority to protect children short of separating them from their parents and placing them in foster care or shelters. For example, the lower court could have issued a restraining order barring the children from being taken out of state or ordering the removal of any perpetrators from their homes, the justices said.

That said, CPS still can work with the parents when the children are in their care to insure their safety and well-being.

The high court said Walther must vacate her temporary custody order, but she can grant other steps to protect the children.

"While there are other important fundamental issues in the case regarding parent rights, it is premature of us to discuss those issues," the justices added.

Immediately after the ruling, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid send an e-mail with this headline: "Supreme Court to CPS: send these children home."

Said Dietz: "It's great to see that the court system is working in the interest of justice. These mothers have never given up their fight to bring their families back together."

Dan Barlow, a former mayor of Colorado City, Ariz., and a father of four children in state custody in Abilene, said, "I hope it will all work. I'm thankful and I want those children back with their mothers. It is the right thing to do.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_9417661?source=rss
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The rationale for this decision is beyond contempt. Under Texas state law, and just about every other state law, pre-teen children cannot consent to have sex. This is because most of them have yet to reach the age of puberty to be sufficiently aware of their sexuality. Moreover, at such a tender age, they are easily manipulatable, particularly by parents and trusted religious leaders. By definition, having sex with pre-teen girls is rape. Many of the underage girls married on this compound were between the ages of 12-13, and of course a marriage is not consummated under the law until there is sexual contact between the spouses. There could be no other reason why a middle age man wants to marry a 12 year old girl.

Now, there may be those apologists who would say that most of the underage girls were yet to be married and most were not married by 12 or 13. That does not matter. The FLDS compound is a communal living arrangement (differentiating it from individual housing arrangements in which habits, behaviors, and actions are unknown without further evidence). What this means is that if you put your child in an environment in which you know sexual abuse of other children is taking place (especially in a communal living arrangement where the behavior is known), do not try to stop it, or prevent your children from living in such an environment, you are legally culpable and liable for prosecution. This is the law not only of Texas but in every state in this country (as most every state retains similar laws on child sex abuse and abusive environments).

The marrying of underage girls was not some secret known only to Warren Jeffs. It was an open doctrine of the FLDS. Indeed, this group believes it as a matter of faith to marry underage girls to older men. In a communal living environment, this makes every parent of this criminal enterprise liable for prosecution, as well as those older men who married the underage girls.

What the Texas Supreme Court has declared is that this is not a problem. In fact, knowing the group's faith doctrine openly equates "religious freedom" with marriage and sex with pre-teen girls, the Texas Supreme Court is in the process of sending back almost 400 children to a sexually abusive environment, and all of this under the perverse guise of doing "what is the best interests of the children," which the court is "reuiniting the families," even if they think marrying off their 12-13 year old daughters to 50 year old first cousins is the will of God.

This is the same Texas Supreme Court that sees nothing wrong with limiting appeals on death penalty cases, to make it easier to execute people. This is the same Texas Supreme Court who rules that it is OK if your state-provided attorney in a murder case is so incompetent that he cannot keep himself from staying awake during trial. This is the same Texas Supreme Court who has previously refused to step in on cases in which wrongly convicted people were able to prove their innocence with DNA. None of that is of any consequence to them. But if you want to have sex with 12 year olds under the guise of the Christian religion, well, it is time to reunite the families. I think one could make a good argument that by willingly sending these children back into a sexually abusive environment, the members of the Texas Supreme Court have violated the state's own laws prohibiting such acts and should be forced to register as sex offenders.

BTW, just in case you are wondering, here is the pertinent information of those members of the Texas Supreme Court, who see nothing wrong with having sex with little girls. I am sure they would love to hear from you.

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Pro-Pedophile Texas Supreme Court Justices

Wallace Jefferson
David Medina
Scott Brister
Dale Wainwright
Nathan Hecht

Paul Green


Supreme Court Building
201 West 14th
Room 104
Austin, Texas 78701
Telephone: (512) 463-1312

Fax: (512) 463-1365

http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Anti-Arab Racism in American Society

Long before 9/11, Arabs by and large in this country were seen as terrorists, mass murderers, and at best exotic people. After 9/11, the view of Arabs in this country has not improved much. You are still more likely to see an Arab portrayed as a terrorist in a Hollywood production than a restaurant owner, football star, or just everyday people.

I have no illusions how most Americans feel about people of Arab descent. One of the saddest days of my life as an educator was September 12, 2001. The morning following the attacks, I was teaching a class, American Politics. I knew what was going to happen. On September 11, I had a class (back in my grad student days), and that evening there were several anti-Muslim, as well as anti-Arab attacks on or near the campus of the university I was attending at that time. It was beyond depressing for me, the sight of those buildings being destroyed, the feelings of sadness, anger, and sorrow. It required all of my efforts to check my emotions at the door the following morning, take control of that class, and calm my students just enough so they would not form a lynch mob.

Some of the language I heard from my students that morning hurt me personally ("We should kill those fucking bastards....let us nuke them all....we should exterminate them....."), it sank my heart in a way that still upsets me when I recall it. When I reminded my students of the Muslim victims of the Taliban, of how many more Muslims have been killed by acts of terrorism than peoples in the US, and that this is an issue that impacts all of us, not just Americans, I am not sure to what degree my words were able to sink in. I tried everything to be as assertive as possible in answering some of the more extreme statements with reason, not hatred, but I doubt that it changed any minds. If nothing else, there were no more attacks on Muslim students after that day. I would like to think that there were enough responsible faculty to try to calm the students before someone was killed (there were two mass beatings of a Pakistani and Egyptian student on campus property the evening before).

Except for gays and Mexicans, there is no more hated group in America than Arabs. Conservatives, in particular, although certainly not all of them, have been some of the leading supporters and advocates for mass internment or even a worse fate for peoples of Arab backgrounds in the US. Sadly, this is nothing new. During the First World War, German Americans were attacked, fired, and imprisoned for not speaking English or opposing American entrance into the war against Germany. German language public schools were outlawed, German composers were banned from orchestra halls, and sauerkraut was renamed "liberty cabbage." During World War Two, Japanese Americans were interned in concentration camps, and Italian Americans, including Joe DiMaggio's parents, were monitored by the government as suspected disloyal citizens.

Because of 9/11 and the hatred of Arabs in general in our society (much of this a product of the Arab-Israeli conflict [in which most people in the US openly sympathize with the Israelis]), our culture has descended to such a point that to even appear Muslim or Arab courts controversy. This is why it was such a big deal for Barack Obama to be portrayed as a Muslim by the Hillary Clinton campaign (i.e., the infamous African garb picture that her campaign sent to the Drudge Report). Not to be outdone, the newest victim of this racialist fraud is Rachael Ray. Her offense? She appeared on a Dunkin' Donuts ad wearing what some claim to be a
keffiyeh.



For normal people, this ad might not make sense. After all, people wear scarves, not just Arabs. However, this is 21st century America, and if you are an Italian with a cooking show, apparently the scarf is a sign of terrorist sympathies, so sayeth Michelle Malkin. Of course, for those of you paying attention, this Ann Coulter wannabe has made a name for herself as an apologist of racial internment of Japanese Americans during World War Two.

Of course, since Malkin is a Catholic, she might not like to know that there are numerous Catholic terrorists sympathizers. As you can see, these violent ladies are covered from head to toe.



Undoubtedly, they could be packing nail bombs.

Bye, Bye, Monarchy

It is always a wonderful day when a monarchy dies, particularly one as parasitic as the one in Nepal. You may remember several years ago, when the first family of the Nepalese monarchy were wiped out, supposedly, by a jealous son (upset at his family's disapproval over who he wanted to marry, to which he responded by obtaining an automatic weapon and killing his parents, a couple of siblings, and some servants and employees, before finally checking out himself). Many people feel the recent ex-king, Gyanendra, manufactured the event to make himself king following the royal massacre.

And what an evil and wretched king he was. When not benefiting from fratricide, Gyanendra preferred to dismiss prime ministers and elected parliaments, rule by martial law, have dissidents captured, tortured, and murdered--all of this under the guise of fighting the Maoist insurgency. One of the reasons why the Maoists had so much support in Nepal was because of Gyandendra's authoritarianism and heavy-handedness. Unfortunately for Gyandendra, the Cold War is long over, and people in Washington DC no longer care about Maoists. Otherwise, he might still in power today.

As it was, by 2006, with the Maoists controlling over 80% of the countryside, except the capital city, and geared to seize power and cleanse the body politic of the man who likely had his brother and family butchered to obtain his position, a peace process ensued that ultimately led to the election of the Maoists in a restored parliamentary government. Contrary to the views of the average conservative, not all Communists and Marxists are totalitarian stooges. The group's leader, Prachanda, was an ex-recipient of US Aid, and a man well versed in history and has spoken numerous times of the importance of avoiding some of the pitfalls of the Soviet Union and even the current day People's Republic of China. One of his first demands in every negotiation was the restoration of the parliament and end of monarchical control (alongside land reform and redistribution of resources to the landless peasantry that comprise the majority of Nepal's population).

The reason why the Maoists succeeded was because of the popularity of its appeals--socialist and democratic, backed by force of arms against a tyrannical monarchy that ruled by decree and with an iron fist. Whereas FARC and other Marxist rebel groups in Latin America over the past couple of decades funded themselves by unpopular means like kidnapping and dealing drugs, the Communist Party of Nepal's appeal was its lack of corruption (which contrasted starkly with Gyanendra's cronyism). Most importantly, Prachanda's movement represented the interests of the vast majority of the country's population, in a way that was undeniable even to his opponents. This is the side of Communism you will not see in a Richard Pipes book.

As of today, May 28, as part of the Maoists' demands for an end to the decade-plus civil war, the Communist-dominated parliament voted to eliminate Nepal's monarchy. Nepal is now, finally, a democratic and secular federal republic. Hopefully, this portends the future. What a great day it will be when that royal blood in London is forced into financing itself. Ah, that is right--we are supposed to love the British now. We are cousins, according to them. Well, what a pity Robespierre was not British.



Monday, May 26, 2008

The Greatest Generation: The Life of Milton Wolff

One of the misnomers of progressives is that we are un-patriotic. To be sure, we are not typically flag waving, half-crazed fanatics, but even the ones who are or claim to be rarely can be called true patriots (most of the ones in this country today see nothing wrong with turning our national economy and all of our jobs over to the east). Indeed, I have always loved my country, even when it has done things that are wrong, and I am always appreciative that in spite of our beginnings (from slavery and theft of native lands) that there was something like this country to permit my ancestors to immigrate to and avoid the fate of Germany and Italy in the 20th century. In addition, not all progressives are opposed to war. Just the opposite. When the war is just, we can be quite supportive of organized violence.

Thus was the life, cut short this last year, of Milton Wolff. Milton was one of the commanders of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, fighting Francisco Franco and his allies Hitler and Mussolini. For this, he was labeled a "premature anti-fascist" (apparently, fascism was OK before December 1941). He still saw action during World War Two, in Asia and post-war Europe, before being hounded out of government service by McCarthyism.

Milton continued his fight, back at home, supporting and campaigning for racial integration, opposing the apartheid government of South Africa, and conducting humanitarian missions for the Sandinista government in Nicaragua back in the '80s. This is the kind of life you will not see immortalized on the felon's military show on Fox 'news' anytime soon, or in the Ukrainian Nazi-based screeds of Robert Conquest. A life worth living by a genuine hero. This Memorial Day is for you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Clinton's Assassins

While Senator Clinton's remarks may spark outrage and anger against her and her candidacy, her sentiments should come as no surprise. Indeed, here is exactly what Senator Clinton said to a reporter in South Dakota.

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"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it,"

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/23/clinton.comments/index.html
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At this point, she knows there is no way her candidacy has any realistic chance of receiving the nomination. She is almost 200 delegates behind Senator Obama. While she doth protest, now, the context is perfectly clear. She is referencing a scenario in which someone will assassinate the party's front runner.

Politicians typically do not delve into hypothetical assassinations. It is for obvious reasons. This country has a long history of killing its political leaders, and sadly most of them are progressive (Lincoln, the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Jr.). Can anyone remember the last time a right-wing politician was killed in this country? Maybe Congressman McDonald, and even then we had to depend on the Russians to mercifully depart that John Bircher.

None of this means that Hillary will get her wish (at least we hope not). It is an oblique inference of openly-expressed concerns by many in the African American community. It is yet one more notch to try to de-legitimize Obama's candidacy, harnessing his defeat in November, and giving Clinton a chance for the White House in 2012 (and this is the only way she is going to be elected President). She knows this. She knew as far back as Super Tuesday, at the earliest, when she did not swamp and knock out the Obama candidacy, that it was over. To enunciate the point, she lost ten straight primaries after Super Tuesday, sealing her loss of the nomination and her adoption of Mark Penn's scorched earth, racialist campaign tactics.

Those are harsh statements to make, but imagine Barack Obama declaring himself the black people's candidate, in the same way Senator Clinton proclaimed herself the guarantor of white votes before the West Virginia primary. He would be denounced as a dangerous black radical, readying to use the Presidency to punish whites for centuries of racism. Hillary knew she could play the race card, because if Senator Obama denounced her it would reify her campaign's previous statements about him being a black-only candidate. Moreover, it would divide the Democratic electorate, particularly with Hillary supporters, possibly pushing them towards McCain in November.

Senator Clinton was also well aware when she gave her minions the go ahead to race bait Senator Obama (such as BET founder Bob Johnson's comments about how the Senator from Illinois is an affirmative action case and drug addict, or ex-campaign finance director Geraldine Ferraro's remarks about how Obama would have received no attention if he were white) that these racist indignities would be forced upon him in a way that re-whitened Hillary's base. Any contemporary Presidential candidate in the Democratic Party whose base is white voters has already lost. The last Democratic Presidential candidate to receive a majority of the white vote was in 1964 (before white Southerners, opposed to the party's liberal shift on issues like civil rights, switched over en masse to the Republican party). She is well aware of this. The design is to whiten the opposition to Obama after the primaries, for the general election. In short, she has been doing the bidding of the Republican Party for at least the last two months.

Enter the assassination comments. This was no slip of the tongue, as nothing ever is for this ex-Goldwater Republican. She had made similar comments over the past several weeks, without mentioning the word assassination. She waited until now for a couple of reasons. One, knowing that the comments would dynamite her campaign, she waited until her campaign was almost vanquished and had absolutely no chance at the nomination. Two, by throwing out a scenario that many in the black community have talked about, but the so-called "mainstream" white media has mostly ignored, makes it a debatable issue and yet one more reason in the minds of doubtful whites not to vote for Senator Obama after he receives the nomination (other than just honestly admitting that they will not vote for a candidate on account of his race).

Of course, Senator Clinton/Mark Penn Operation Scorched Earth has already tried to make it acceptable not to vote for him because he is black, but the civil rights movement has permanently sidelined such overt references. Thus, the emailing of a picture of Senator Obama in traditional, Arab-looking African garb to the Drudge Report, so to make him appear Muslim (reaffirming the false email spams of whites who have tried to spread this rumor since at least this last autumn). Then cart out the token black supporter of your campaign, a billionaire with about as much concern for the community he has not lived within a mile radius of in decades, exclaiming that Obama is a coke fiend and product of affirmative action in politics. Then bring out the first female Vice Presidential nominee of a major party, proclaiming Obama to be a beneficiary of his race, further driving a wedge between white feminists and folks within the African American community. When none of this works, when all else fails, bring out the assassination reference. And make no mistake. Senator Clinton's intention behind the remark is painstakingly and purposely clear--Obama is black. Surely, someone will want to kill him.

Such has been the long march and ideological ploys of Hillary Clinton. Once she realized that she could not get what she wanted as a Republican, she feigned being a martyr for feminism. Once it was clear that the left within the Democratic Party was dead with the Silent Majority backlash against the '60s, she morphed into a "moderate" and "new Democrat" (aka, Republican in sheep cloth), personally lobbying for the passage of anti-poor and anti-worker legislation like NAFTA and the Welfare Reform Act. Now, in the 11th hour of what she thought would be her coronation, after realizing she cannot even get the people within her own adopted party to nominate her candidacy, she has given us the most openly racist campaign of any Democratic candidate for national office since George Wallace.

Meanwhile, the trillion dollar-plus, hundreds of thousands dead campaign for virtue and democracy in the Middle East, which the Senator from New York voted for and supported until she decided to announce her candidacy for the White House, rages on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rape: A 'Mere One Month'

Typically, prosecutors are political animals. They prefer to prosecute cases, especially cases of violence--murder, rape, the garden variety crimes that outrage a public. Not in the case of the teenage girl in Florida, who at 15 began a "relationship" with a 23 year old man (who was aware of her age). In the state of Florida, as in most states, the age of consent is 16. Anything less is considered rape, statutory rape (in cases of consent), or some variation thereof (depending on the state jurisdiction). Amazingly, the prosecutors decided not to press charges. You will truly treasure State Attorney Nicole Pegues's explanation for why the perpetrator was allowed to get away with his crime.

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Story Behind Teen's YouTube Rape Plea

Documents detail girl's disturbing relationship with cleared man

MAY 16--The Florida teenager who posted an emotional YouTube video describing her alleged rape gave police a troubling account of her relationship with a 23-year-old man who recently was cleared of sexually assaulting the girl.

In police interviews, the 16-year-old girl, identified only as Crystal in her video, describes meeting Casey Mundling, 23, at a party in mid-2007. At that point, while still 15, Crystal began having sex with Mundling, she told investigators. The teenager's claims were recorded during an interview with an Orange County Sheriff's Office detective last November (a transcript from that session can be found below).

Crystal also provided a handwritten statement describing her months-long relationship with Mundling, whom she accused of "always getting me drunk, high on cocaine and pills" before they had sex. A sheriff's report notes that Crystal told investigators that when she quarreled with Mundling he threatened to harm her and her family if "she said anything to anyone." Crystal added that she was transported to a local hospital last June "because she was upset and tried to commit suicide."

Based on Crystal's statements, Mundling, pictured in the mug shot at left, was arrested last November and charged with lewd or lascivious battery, a felony. Since she was a minor at the outset of the couple's relationship, prosecutors contended that Crystal could not legally consent to sexual intercourse.

But records indicate that prosecutors were far from gung-ho in pursuing a prosecution of Mundling. Included in documents released by the State Attorney's office are a prosecutor's notations from March indicating that Crystal's father "wants this to be prosecuted. I really don't know the reason. He has full knowledge of [his daughter's] lifestyle and his is similar." A late-2007 e-mail from prosecutor Nicole Pegues to a sheriff's detective notes, none-too-enthusiastically, "I guess I have to charge this case."

Citing "prosecutorial discretion," Pegues eventually declined to file a case against Mundling "due to the consensual nature of the sexual encounter" and the fact that Crystal "was a mere 1 month from her 16th birthday" when she began having sex with him.

Earlier this month, after Crystal and her father learned of Pegues's decision, the teenager recorded and posted her YouTube video, which can be found above. In that clip, Crystal--for the first time--claims that she was raped by Mundling. In her prior police statements, she repeatedly told probers that the sex was consensual and that, "I wanted a guy in my life 'cause my mom's boyfriends have never been there for me. And my dad wasn't there so I thought alright he's older maybe he'll respect me, but it didn't go like that."

During a contentious May 5 conversation with a prosecutor, records show, Crystal's father was "only concerned w/threats (UTube, press, etc.)" and "indicated he will sue."

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0516081crystal1.html
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I am typically not a prosecutorial-minded person. Before my career in academia, I went through law school and considered becoming an attorney. I did not become a lawyer in large part because of the moral qualms I had about the profession. There are so many innocent people churned and grinded through our criminal justice system. Nevertheless, that does not mean that worthwhile laws should remain unenforced. I do not know too many people who think it a public good for grown men to have sex with underage children.

It is common knowledge in the legal community for most prosecutors not to bring cases in which the offender is within a few years of the underage person (in all cases, both of the sexually active parties are teens and oftentimes underage). However, it is also commonly known that once you are out of your teens (i.e., 20 and above), if you have sex with someone who is below the age of consent, not only is it a prosecutable offense, it is expected for the prosecutor to file charges and take the case to court. The only time you use discretion is when you are convinced that there is not enough evidence. The fact the prosecutor admits that there is sufficient evidence, but that she is only letting the rapist go because the girl was a month away from being 16, tells you all you need to know about the work ethic and care for protecting underage girls from 20-something men in Nicole Pegues's world. I am sure if a 23 year old man was having sex with Pegues's 15 years, 11 month-old daughter, her view on that "mere month" would be quite different.

Not insignificantly, the girl signed an affidavit accusing the man of drugging and feeding her alcohol before the sexual trysts, which would be more than enough for most any prosecutor in this country to file charges (people are sent to death row on less). But what is 30 days when rationalizing someone having sex with underage girls?

By the way, here is the information for prosecutor Nicole Pegues. You can tell her what a wonderful person she is for exculpating rape as a justifiable offense if committed within a month of being legal. I am sure she will enjoy hearing from you.

Assistant State Attorney Nicole Pegues
Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office
415 N. Orange Ave.
Orlando 32802
telephone (407)836-2400
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Adriana+Mourad%2c+Allison+Brady+Colvin%2c+and+Nicole+Pegues+have+become...-a086138546

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hillary's Loss

Now that Hillary has basically lost the nomination, there will be much gnashing of the teeth to explain it to everyone. Naturally, since she is a woman, gender is being conveniently cited as one of those reasons. However, the obvious reason, the real reason, that she lost was because it was her, and particularly her manifold and twisting positions on important issues, not just or even primarily on account of gender, will seem lost on her supporters of this DLC bombardier of the Third World. There comes a time when a reassessment of values are necessary.

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Why Hillary Clinton's Loss Has Nothing to do With Sexism

Testosterone is Not to Blame

By TIM WISE

Hillary Clinton is finished, and contrary to the insistence of many of her supporters, sexism has had virtually nothing to do with it.

Gloria Steinem was wrong in her now infamous New York Times op-ed a few months back. Clinton's problem was not that she was a woman and that 'women are never front-runners' (indeed, just a few weeks prior to Steinem writing those words, Hillary had been just that, not that facts matter, I guess). Her problem was that she exuded, as did her husband even more than she, a sense of entitlement, a sense of being owed the Presidency, a sense that--as I've heard so many white women say these past few months--'it's our turn,' as if philogynous voting behavior were the moral duty of women everywhere.

Please understand, when I say that sexism has had nothing to do with Clinton's electoral demise, I don't mean to suggest that there were no men out there who voted against her because of sexist, even misogynist views. I have no doubt there were. And it is certainly true that Clinton faced repeated denigration by male media pundits who played upon gender stereotypes and sexist imagery in their criticisms of her. All of that happened, to be sure, and it is indefensible (Interestingly, the worst example of misogyny probably came from Clinton supporter James Carville who suggested that Hillary has more balls than Obama, and ya' know, balls are just what the world needs more of).

But the media's sexism, and even the sexism that resides to some extent in all men in this culture--not because of some inherent evil, but because of the conditioning to which we've been subjected and to which we've usually capitulated--had almost no effect on the overall vote totals in the Democratic primaries. In most states, Clinton received roughly half the male vote: about what you'd expect in any primary where you have two candidates whose policies are so similar, and where the ideological differences between them are so small. And in almost every state, Clinton won more than half of the white male vote, often much more. Though she failed to win very many black men to her side, it's hard to chalk this up to sexism, given the presence of a black candidate in the race, whose chance at victory naturally has excited folks in the African American community, just as Clinton's chances logically fired up millions of white women.

To believe that her defeats were due to sexism--as if to say, but for sexist male voters, she'd have won--would require one to believe that in the absence of such a pernicious bias, she could have expected to win, say, 6 in 10 male voters: a result unlikely in any primary season, where voters are choosing between two pretty equally liberal candidates. Although sexism may well have helped defeat Clinton in the general election, had she made it that far (since, at that point, many men would have sadly been attracted to the hyper-militaristic candidacy of John McCain), given the choice between Clinton and Obama in the primaries, there is simply no evidence to suggest that gender played a significant role in tipping the balance of votes in his favor and against her.

Indeed, in several states (like Pennsylvania, for instance), among men who said that gender mattered to their votes, most actually voted for Clinton. In other words, there were at least as many if not more men who liked the thought of electing the nation's first woman president, as there were those who repelled from the concept. Although this would likely not have been true in November, the presence of enough liberal white men in the Democratic primaries made gender a net wash for Clinton, if not a net benefit.

Of course, many Clinton supporters will say that the rest of the men lied. Some will insist that most of the men who said gender didn't matter to them were phonies, maybe even a bunch of Neanderthals, who probably gave all their buddies high-fives at the strip club later that night, joking about how they'd fooled the exit pollsters. Whatever. Hey, it could be, and probably was a dishonest answer for some. But again, once you look at the actual vote totals it becomes obvious--however surprising it may be for some--that the numbers of persons whose votes were cast against Clinton for sexist reasons couldn't have been that large: after all, no male candidate in a race between two men, where both were similar in terms of their policy ideas, and where both had similar voting records, could have expected to do much better than half the male vote, which is essentially how she did in this race. For sexism to have been the dispositive factor, it would have to be shown that Clinton lost the votes of men that she otherwise would have received, but for her gender--an utterly impossible task, because it simply isn't true.

In fact, here's the biggest irony of all: what Clinton's acolytes ignore is that had her final opponent this year been a white man, she would likely have received fewer votes from white men than she has received against Obama. Meaning that, if anything, Clinton has benefited more from white racism in her quest for the nomination than she was ever harmed by male chauvinism and misogyny.

Indeed, racism--the force that Steinem and other white second-wave feminists insisted would be less of a problem for Obama than "sociopathic woman-hating" would be for Clinton (to quote writer and feminist icon Robin Morgan)--almost did make the difference in the primaries. Although that racism has been insufficient thus far to derail Obama's success, it has indisputably been a more potent force in terms of dictating voting behavior among whites, than sexism has been for determining the votes of men.

To wit, exit poll results from several states, including California, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana, all of which indicate that the margin of Clinton's victories in all of these was either equal to or smaller than the numbers of white voters who admitted that race was relevant to their vote, and then cast their votes for Clinton. In California, for example, Clinton beat Obama by 416,000 votes, but based on the percentages from the exit polls, there were 442,000 for whom race was important to their decision and who voted for Clinton. In Indiana, Clinton's margin of victory was only 19,000, but based on the exit poll there, nearly 100,000 whites voted for Hillary, because of race. In Ohio, Clinton won by 220,000 votes, but based on the exit polls, there were 246,000 whites who voted for Clinton at least in part for reasons of race.

In other words, but for the votes of whites who were willing to admit that their votes were at least in part cast for racist reasons, she may well have lost all of those races, and the nomination battle would have been over far sooner. There is simply no way to interpret the vote of a white person who says "race matters to my vote" and then votes against the black candidate, other than as an act of racism, just as there is no way to interpret the vote of a man who says "gender matters to my vote" and then votes against the woman, other than as an act of sexism. When you consider the likelihood that far more whites voted against Obama for racial reasons than would be willing to admit it--a proposition bolstered by decades of research indicating that whites typically downplay their racial biases to pollsters--the relative importance of racism compared to sexism in this race becomes readily apparent.

If we assume that two similar candidates would, in typical circumstances (that is to say, yet another race in which two men were vying for the nomination), roughly split the vote among white voters, as they would among men, then we can see quite clearly the effects of racism on Obama. Although he managed to win roughly half the white votes in a few states, in most places he received only about a third, and sometimes quite a bit less. In state after state, this racial gap amounted to tens of thousands (often hundreds of thousands) of votes, totaling more than enough in several cases to cost him victories in those places. Even if we allow that every white woman who voted for Clinton had understandable, non-racist reasons for voting for her, rather than Obama--and indeed, most would have voted for her had her opponent been a white man, just as they did here--the numbers of white men whose votes were cast for racial reasons would have, in at least some states, been sufficient to alter the outcomes of the elections. And for certain, even in those states where the racist votes would have been insufficient to change the final outcome, there is no question that they diminished the size of his wins and made larger his defeats, in ways that have allowed the primary season to drag on month after month.

None of this is to say that racism is a more important social problem than sexism: both are entrenched and pernicious impediments to equal opportunity, and both relate to one another in any number of ways. This, it should be noted, is especially true for women of color, whose status as equal partners in womanhood (and whose unique experience as women in a racist society), is often ignored by white feminists. In fact, in this election, the call from various feminist quarters for women to stick together on the basis of sisterhood (and the anger often aimed at women of color for not doing so) took for granted that black and brown women experience the society only or mostly as women, rather than equally as folks who can't qualify for the perks of whiteness: a taking for granted that, in and of itself reinforces both patriarchy and white supremacy, by erasing women of color from consideration altogether.

Perhaps the defeat of Hillary Clinton will expose for all the underlying racial supremacy at the heart of much white feminist analysis. Perhaps it will allow the development of a more complete and thorough analysis of patriarchy and the way it interrelates with white supremacy to divide and conquer groups that often have common interests. Maybe it will force white women like Hillary Clinton to confront their privileged mindset, their sense of entitlement (which flows uninterrupted and almost effortlessly from the fount of whiteness to which white women have had access, in spite of patriarchy). Or then again, maybe it will just lead white women to become pissed at black folks, who they'll be encouraged to view as having "stolen" the Presidency from them.

It wouldn't be the first time that a group of white liberals had missed the point, after all.

Tim Wise is the author of: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press, 2005), and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge: 2005).

He can be reached at: timjwise@msn.com

http://www.counterpunch.org/wise05172008.html
----------------------------------------------------

For those who feel this is a harsh judgment, consider the race-baiting of this campaign, not the least Senator Clinton's recent pre-West Virginia primary remarks about being the candidate of choice for whites--the kind of overt racism that would have earned a raking over the coals if any Republican candidate ever dared to utter such exclusionary words.

So, to answer Marie Cocco, I must say, I will not miss being told that I, as a white person, should be voting for your candidate, who apparently considers my whiteness part of her campaign appeal. I will not miss having my intelligence insulted that someone who opposes sexism can only vote for a person who claims they are victims of anti-white bias (that apparently unappreciative blacks are part of a sexist cabal out to do in female candidates). I will not miss being told that someone who supported the passage of NAFTA cares about workers. I especially will not miss being told about someone's view on health care for children, when that same person publicly lobbied for the greatest legislative assault on poor people and their children in the past two generations (the Welfare Reform Act). I will not miss being told that voting for a war, and publicly supporting it, only to come out against it come primary time is not a contradiction--a war, I might add, that has turned into the greatest foreign policy disaster in the history of this country. I will not miss the omission of a family name that has done more to drag down, debase, and gut the Democratic Party since the Wallaces and the Dixicrats of old. To the ex-Goldwater volunteer, I say, good riddance. From real progressives, opposed to sexism and racism, you will not be missed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gay Marriage Ban in California Overturned

I should not be surprised, seeing how this is California, but the California Supreme Court overturned the state ban on gay marriage, opening the door for the sunshine state to become the second state in our union to permit gay marriages. And of course, the wedding planning industry will receive a boost, as well as giving the tax exempt pedophile priests something to whine about. Welcome to the future. It is a lovely day.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Catastrophe in Asia

Sometimes, life is in dire need of perspective. A little over three and half years ago, on Christmas no less, my father died. It was a terrible experience, spending the last years of his life literally trapped inside of his own body (mutilated and ultimately mortally wounded by the willful negligence of a doctor two decades before). This powerful and strong-willed man was reduced to complete dependency, with a body that was doing everything possible to rebel against his will to live. It was a traumatic event in my life. I loved my father. He was a good and decent man, in a world filled with so many who are not. Holding him in my arms and watching his last breaths, and feeling his life drain from his body, haunted me for many months.

The bitterness and anger I felt, from the moment the doctor destroyed my father's life, to the evening he passed from this earth, manifested such visceral feelings of hatred inside of me, particularly at the injustice of what had been done to my dad (who had harmed no one and dedicated his life to helping others) made me inconsolable. My father came from a family of coal miners, who raised him with a sense of fatalism (since none of the men in his family survived past 60 from the mines [most of whom were killed by black lung]), and he raised me with the same values of stoicism (never to express your emotions, never to burden others with your sorrows, and absolutely be in control of yourself at all times, as you never know what day will be your last). They are not values that I necessarily agree with, even now, and they were such contradictions of the emotionalism of my mother's Italian ancestry (which I had within me, as well). Following his death I had a very hard time coming to grips with all of the varied feelings that were swirling within my mind.

On the next day, the tsunami hit east Asia, devastating several countries and killing on upwards of a quarter of a million people. It was not just the videos of watching people being swept up into the oceans that was most disturbing, as bad as that was. It was the stories of entire families, in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and beyond, who were physically wiped out. Generations of hopes, love, of life, completely exterminated by the waves of nature. It reminded me of just how fortunate I was, as someone who was only mourning the loss of a parent, instead of my entire family or city. When I went home from my dad's funeral, as tough as it was, I was going home to a place with a roof, with a loving spouse, with a life of my own. Sometimes, those of us who live a life of relative comfort compared to the rest of the world need to be reminded of how fortunate we are.

Tragically, east Asia has endured yet another round of death and destruction from mother nature, as well as those seeking their paradise in the hereafter. Two years ago, I traveled to the parts of China wrecked by the recent earthquake, and the stories there are heart-rendering. People tend to think of China as an increasingly wealthy country (and it is), but the central part of the country is still economically behind the coastal areas, and the buildings, particularly in the surrounding rural areas, are not the kind that can withstand a 7.9-magnitude earthquake. It is not like being trapped in a building here. If you get trapped in a building in that part of the country, your chance for survival is minimal at best. When you work and/or live in a country for a while, over time (usually) you begin to become attached to that society and its people. Having traveled these parts and met and befriended people in that region, it is not easy to read these stories. These are everyday folk like anyone else, just trying to live life, and one could only hope the numbers are wrong.

The cyclone deaths in Myanmar are no less devastating, although not as covered because of the regime's restrictiveness. In the end, the deaths in both of these disasters may exceed or match the tsunami a few years ago (which would have been unimaginable until now). And this potentially outpaces the number of people killed in Iraq in the last five years, on all sides. Just in a few days.

I typically do not advocate giving money to charity, since cleanup, like other necessities of society, are the fundamental responsibility of the state, not private charitable groups. But since one of the countries is openly eliciting funds, it would be remiss not include the pertinent information.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Moron Report #14: The Butt Picture Bandit

There are just some crimes you know are distinctly male.

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Furtive Venice snapper arrested

By Christian Fraser
BBC News

A man who allegedly photographed more than 3,000 women's bottoms as they toured Venice has been arrested.

The man was stopped after police became suspicious of a large bag he was carrying as he followed women through St Mark's Square.

He has been charged with infringement of privacy. It is a crime which could earn this 38-year-old Italian from six months to four years in jail.

A police video shows a man in jeans and hooded top walking behind women.

He is trying to position his black holdall close to their legs.

Police said he was filming through a small hole in the side of the bag.

The officers had become suspicious when they realised he was only following women with short skirts. When they stopped or bent down to pick something up, he was clearly trying to angle the bag behind them.

When the voyeur was finally caught police recovered several DVDs which held more than 3,000 images of women's bottoms.

He confessed to police he had been filming in and around St Mark's Square for nearly two years.

Police have refused to name him but Mario Marina of Venice police said he is married with two young children and has a professional job in the nearby town of Padua.

He might have some explaining to do when he finally gets home.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7397426.stm
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Then again, the ladies are catching up with us, at least the female teachers. I am not sure what this means, culturally, as there were none of these teachers around when I was in high school (and had there been some, I can just imagine how I would have responded to such antics at 15-16).

All of this gets back to the debate about how much of what constitutes sex and sexualization in our society is a product of nature v. nurture. For the longest time, most people (myself included) assumed that men were biologically predisposed to being more sexual than females (largely because of our high testosterone count). However, it is impossible to ignore the recent spate of sex scandals involving women over the last several years. Moreover, almost thirty percent of porn addicts in our society are now female.

Is there something in the water that has changed women over the last ten years, or is it that our society has so thoroughly objectified and sexualized females at such a young age that they are starting to pick up on the expected behavioral patterns being conditioned in them every day by the internet, music videos, movies, and fashion? This is an open question. I honestly do not know the answer. I suspect it is both (nature and nurture). Then again, I cannot recall the last time a woman was busted for taking 3,000 pictures of men's backsides.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Living away from my family, holidays are always tough. I try to get back as much as possible. Academics are underpaid and overextended most of the time, and we have limited resources. None of that takes away the guilt of not being there physically, especially when you are holed up grading hand-written, all-essay final exams (oh, how my students enjoy those), but I am no less grateful for what Mother’s Day represents.

We forget, or more appropriately are purposely never taught anymore, about certain aspects of this country’s history, such as the fact the person who wrote what would become the Pledge of Allegiance was a socialist (and whose original version did not contain the controversial religious reference ‘under God’ until the 1950s), that the real Labor Day, May 1, was an effort by unions worldwide to commemorate a massacre of US workers, and that the women who organized to create a Mother’s Day were feminists and anti-war activists.

I was very fortunate in that my parents were mindful of this history. Both mom and dad played huge roles in my life, imparting a piece of them and teaching me about the universality of the struggle for the human condition. I can never repay all the valuable lessons and advise they have given me, except to live the example that they set.

To the person who helped instill in me the values I have today, including respect for my fellow species, and life in general, particularly the half who put us on this earth and struggle every day in a world run by those in the business of making us forget the real origins and meaning of our holidays, Happy Mother’s Day, momma.



PS: Pardon the Christmas tree. Apparently, it was a vital family member and necessary part of the portrait, as was the cheesy late 1970s wallpaper-mural and that god-awful bowl haircut (another product of cheesy late ‘70s) and the joking bug-eyed look of yours truly--in fact, everything and everyone is out of place and not worth looking at, except my beloved mom, of course.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hillary's Whites

I understand Senator Clinton is desperate, knows she is going to lose the nomination battle, and is using everything she can to drain every last vote, without consideration to the legitimacy of the tactic, but even this is stretching it. Not content to employing morally dubious methods like emailing pictures of Barack Obama in traditional African garb to the Drudge Report (in an feign attempt to make him appear as a closeted Muslim), or compelling supporters like Geraldine Ferraro (right before the Mississippi primary) to claim that Obama's Presidential campaign would be nowhere if he were white, Hillary has finally become an honest candidate and admitted what her campaign is about: race-baiting for whites.

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Clinton touts support from 'white Americans'
Posted: 12:03 PM ET

Clinton campaigned in Washington Thursday.

(CNN) — In what appear to be the New York senator's most blunt comments to date regarding a racial division in the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton suggested Wednesday that "White Americans" are increasingly turning away from Barack Obama’s candidacy.

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," Clinton said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Clinton cited an Associated Press poll "that found how Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.

Exit polls from Tuesday's primaries in Indiana and North Carolina show Clinton won about 60 percent of the white vote in both states. That percentage is down from the Ohio primary on March 4, in which Clinton won upwards of 65 percent of the white vote. Meanwhile, Clinton garnered 63 percent of the white vote in Pennsylvania on April 22.

Speaking with the paper, Clinton rejected the notion her comments were racially divisive in any way.

"These are the people you have to win if you're a Democrat in sufficient numbers to actually win the election," she said. "Everybody knows that."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton called Clinton's statements "not true and frankly disappointing."

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/05/08/clinton-touts-support-from-white-americans/
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By any other standard, we would call this racism. If John McCain operated his campaign this way (and he probably will after the convention [since his friend from New York has set the template for how the Republicans will run against Obama--portray him as an Islamist, if not an outright Muslim, and a radical black nationalist ready to feed your white children to some cannibalistic cabal of Zimbabwean farmers]), he would be labeled as the newest manifestation of David Duke. Why is Hillary Clinton and the Clinton family, as well as their DLC-rightist legacy, given a free ride from what constitutes the leadership of the Democratic Party? Does it even matter to them that one of their candidates is openly appealing for white voters in a way barely different than George Wallace or Andrew Johnson in the past?

If anyone has any doubts about this wretched family, this story should exemplify why they should have been excised as soon as they discovered this Goldwater Girl and free trade-loving sex addict of a husband were running for office on their party's ticket. This should also permanently dispel the notion, put forward by author Toni Morrison, that Bill Clinton was the first black President. Well, Toni, according to the current Clinton Presidential candidate, you are nothing but a beast of burden to doubtful whites (whose interests, particularly those in the upper 2% income tax bracket, they have been shrilling for in the past two decades). Welcome back to reality.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Vlad the Dick from St. Petersburg

After eight years as the quasi-dictator/President of The Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin is "retiring" this year, but not entirely, of course.

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Non-Presidential Putin Shifting to be Russia's Cheney

by Kester Kenn Klomegah

(IPS) MOSCOW -- In his last days as President, Vladimir Putin has prepared to bring federal representatives under control of the cabinet in an effort to influence policy after he takes over as Prime Minister.

Putin, constitutionally barred from yet another term as president, will be Prime Minister after Dmitry Medvedev is sworn in as President May 7. His new position as head of parliamentary government will set up new power equations in Russia.

Putin had introduced envoys to the federal administrative districts -- seven vast areas comprising several regions each -- at the start of his presidency in order to strengthen Moscow's control over the regions amid post-Soviet chaos.

Under the current arrangement, the president appoints representatives in all seven federal districts, who are answerable directly to the appointing authority. They carry out the Kremlin's directives.

A presidential envoy supervises at least ten regional governors. The seven districts cover 89 administrative regions.

In taking control of these envoys, "Putin will tremendously increase his power vis-a-vis President Medvedev," Yevgeny Volk, researcher in politics at the Moscow office of the Heritage Foundation, a non-profit think tank, told IPS. "Putin will control not only regional economic development, but the political sphere as well. Presidential envoys possess a vast bureaucratic structure that incorporates the power agencies (such as the police, the prosecutor-general offices, and the federal security service).

"This will constitute Putin's power base, and could help him immensely if he decides to run for presidency again. It is also a strong safeguard against Medvedev to become too independent and ambitious."

The federal structure was instituted in order to limit the independence of the local governors, Volk said. "Now that they are no more elected, and all of them are appointed by the Kremlin, they are completely loyal. Putin wants this to further serve his interests. He needs to survive and win the next election. Thus he will tend to bring his people to every key position, and prevent Medvedev from acquiring too much power."

Volk said this would likely become a source of tension between Putin and Medvedev.

Under the constitution, the cabinet is dissolved the day of the president's inauguration. The new president has two weeks to put forward a candidate for the post of prime minister. The newly appointed premier then has a week to form a new government.

But the government is expected to move fast with the changes. Medvedev will be sworn in May 7. The next day, Putin is set to receive overwhelming endorsement by the State Duma, the lower chamber of parliamentarians, where the pro-Kremlin United Party holds about two-thirds majority. That would make Putin prime minister, as leader of the majority party.

United Russia is a strongly bureaucratic party that was designed for Russia's officialdom in the likeness of the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). At the last party congress Apr. 14-15 the party announced a new position of chairman, created for Putin. That post allows him to retain key powers when he becomes premier.

"I do not believe it is sensible for a head of state, wherever his political affiliations are, to lead a party," Putin said at the congress. "As for the chairman of the government (prime minister), a situation in which the head of the executive branch leads a party, it is a civilized and natural practice that is traditional for democratic states."

Putin has said repeatedly there will be no power-sharing disputes with the new president. Both Putin and Medvedev have said they will work in tandem.

Not everyone is convinced. "The model of power is still unclear. There is an attempt on the part of Putin's team to make the PM office the key pillar and the decision-making center," Prof. Lilia Shevtsova from Moscow's Carnegie Center told IPS. "Putin's rhetoric, most often, does not reveal his true intentions."

http://www.albionmonitor.com/0804a/copyright/putinpmpower.html
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Sadly, in line with so many male politicians these days, Vladimir may have another motivation for his pseudo-retirement.

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Putin dismisses report of romantic link to Olympic gymnast

By C.J. Chivers

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin, who during eight years of centralized rule has kept his private life largely sealed from view behind the Kremlin's walls, on Friday bluntly dismissed rumors that he had secretly divorced his wife for the affections of a gymnast less than half of his age.

The moment, prompted by a question from a Russian journalist while Putin held a news conference at an Italian villa with Silvio Berlusconi, was met with the mix of relish and confrontation that Putin has often displayed in his sessions with journalists.

He paused and answered another question, and then returned to the subject and pushed back. "What you are saying has not a single word of truth," he said.

The question had followed the publication Thursday of an unusual article in Moskovsky Korrespondent, a Moscow newspaper owned by a former Soviet intelligence officer, that said that Putin, 56, planned to marry Alina Kabayeva, 24, an Olympic gold medalist who has been voted in polls as one of Russia's most beautiful women.

Putin has been married to Lyudmila Putin since July 1983 - two months before Kabayeva was born. The couple has two grown daughters, but the Putins are not often seen together in public, which has long fueled rumors that Russia's president has had a wandering eye.

Kabayeva has been a member of Parliament since she was selected for a seat late last year by United Russia, the political party that Putin controls. She has not spoken publicly since the article appeared Thursday and its claims were picked up and circulated by newspapers and Web sites in Russia and beyond.

Her spokeswoman threatened legal action against Moskovsky Korrespondent if it did not run a correction.

After denying the article's contents, Putin complimented Russian women, calling them the "most talented and beautiful" and adding that they could only be challenged by the women of Italy.

He then ruminated briefly on the limits of privacy in public life - a condition that he suggested was true even in the climate of limited civic discourse in Russia, which Putin himself has done much to produce.

"Society has the right to know how public figures live," he said. "But even in this case, there is a limit: private life, which no one has the right to trespass."

He added, in familiar form, "I have always disliked those who, with their infected noses and erotic fantasies, break into other people's private affairs."

Whether the story's underlying assertion - that Putin was romantically involved with Kabayeva - would stand was not clear. But even the owner of the newspaper, Aleksandr Lebedev, distanced himself from it.

Lebedev wrote a follow-up item in the paper Friday, saying he had been away fishing, and without phone communication, when the original article was prepared and published. Upon his return to Moscow, he said, he had concluded the story was false.

"I do not like when journalists pull sensations out of thin air," he wrote. "Everything that is written there falls into this category."

He called the report "nonsense," and said it was based on a source he described as the "OGS news agency." Those initials, he said, stood for "one granny said."

Television viewers were spared the speculation, the denial and the back-pedaling.

The evening news broadcast on the state-influenced NTV television station did not cover the rumor or Putin's remarks. Instead, it devoted extensive coverage to Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow's irrepressible mayor, visiting a factory that makes fertilizer from cow manure.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/18/europe/russia.php
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Welcome to Europe's new Dick Cheney. When not killing off errant reporters and ex-FSB agents, he is colluding with women young enough to be his granddaughter. You have to give Vlad credit for one thing, though. He knows how to deflect a critic.