My blogging sabbatical away from politics continues, but here’s some operatic tragedy for the weekly opera fix, with Bryn & Jonas,
The five were carrying out research on Joinville Island off the north-eastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
All five are in good health after being airlifted by helicopter onto the Argentine icebreaker Almirante Irízar.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
The world’s most narcissistic painter is back in the news, this time over – yes, again – her image:
It comes after the toy company Mattel launched a range of new Barbie dolls based on “Inspiring Women” – Kahlo among them.
In a statement, the family insisted Mattel was not authorised to base a doll on Kahlo.
But both the Frida Kahlo Corporation and Mattel have rejected the claims.
The artist with the famous unibrow was famous for her self-portraits and became a feminist icon. Since she died in 1954, her image has generated an array of consumer products, from tequila to lip gloss.
It is not the first FridaK toy. There’s the Frida Kahlo Surrealist Artist Action Figure Doll:
Salma Hayek doesn’t like the Frida Barbie,
“Frida Kahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else,” wrote Hayek. “She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie?”
I don’t like it, because of a different reason: Kahlo was a devoted communist. I also don’t like the idea of dolls as role models, but Kahlo’s communism by itself is reason enough.
I am moving this week, so blogging will be light.
Wish me good luck.
Heartfelt thanks for your support.
A second post today on Venezuela:
I have been writing about Venezuela‘s man-made crisis for years.
Here’s a question: Qui bono?
Who stands to benefit from it?
chaos, desperation and violence give it an excuse to crack down harder. A refugee crisis, sparked by hardship, makes it easier for regime agents to infiltrate neighboring countries, expanding the government’s clandestine networks.
Keep that in mind as the regime enters phase two of its plan for a Pan-American revolution.
Cross-posted at WoW! Magazine.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro welcomed a visit by a top-ranking Republican congressional staffer last month to discuss the possible release of a Utah man jailed for more than 20 months in this volatile South American nation, six U.S. congressional and administration aides told The Associated Press.
. . .
Holt, 25, traveled to Caracas in June 2016 to marry a fellow Mormon he met online practicing his Spanish. The couple was waiting for her U.S. visa when they were arrested during a police raid on the government-built housing complex where they were living in her apartment. Venezuelan authorities alleged Holt was stockpiling “weapons of war.”
Holt states that the weapons were planted.
He has been in jail since 2016 as a political prisoner: video from John Sexton’s article,
In addition to the weapons charges, Holt is also being held on suspicion of being an American spy.
Raffaele Russo, 60, his 25-year-old son Antonio, and his nephew, Vincenzo Cimmino, 29, disappeared on January 31 in Tecalitlán, in the western state of Jalisco.
The state’s governor said the officers had confessed to handing the Italians over to a local criminal gang.
The police had allegedly arrested them at a petrol station beforehand.
What is alleged to have happened?
Raffaele Russo, 60, his 25-year-old son Antonio, and his nephew, Vincenzo Cimmino, 29, had stopped at a petrol station in Tecalitlán, an agricultural town.
The last relatives back in Italy heard from them was a Whatsapp message from Mr Russo saying they had been approached by police officers who arrived on cycles and in a van.
The police told them to follow them, according to the message.
The son of one of the disappeared earlier told Italian radio that the men had been “sold to a gang for €43” ($53; £38), but regional officials said they could not confirm that information.
And the police? (emphasis added)
Four police, including a female officer, have been detained and charged. The Mexican authorities say three more police are being sought in connection with the disappearance.
Following the trio’s disappearance, the town’s entire police force was sent for retraining, although some local media speculated that they were sent away so that they could not be intimidated by local cartel members into changing their story.
As you may recall, the state prosecutor in the 43 missing Iguala student teachers alleges that they were handed by local police to a criminal gang, who killed them and burned their bodies.