Fifty years ago I was an avid young reader who would eagerly devour any book in front of me.

Back then I attended an all-girl’s Catholic school, and when I was twelve years old or so, I found out that the Catholic Church had a list of banned books: Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

The Index became a syllabus of sorts. Thanks to the Index I discovered and developed a taste for the works of George Sand, Balzac, both Dumas and several other great authors. As a result, I now think of great literature as guerrilla reading: a form of guerrilla warfare not only against Marxists, deconstructionists and their destructive pals, but against any form of censorship.

Fast-forward fifty years and what do I find at Instapundit?

Fanny Hill is now too triggering for college students in London.

Fanny Hill??

The full title lets you know from the get-go what the book is about, Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Amazon, (which sells a Kindle edition for 99 cents) describes it,

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (popularly known as Fanny Hill) is an erotic novel by English novelist John Cleland first published in London in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors’ prison in London, it is considered “the first original English prose pornography, and the first pornography to use the form of the novel”. One of the most prosecuted and banned books in history, it has become a synonym for obscenity.

So 269 years ago Cleland was broke and in the pokey, and thought, “Ya know, maybe if  I wrote some smut I’d make enough  money to get out of this mess,” which he did.

You would think this description would interest Game of Thrones-watching college students, especially when you realize that Fanny Hill was listed as one of the 15 of the Most Controversial Books in the Western Canon, but noooo . . .

Cleland did such a good job that, unlike thousands of smutty books over the ages, Fanny Hill stood the test of time.

Never mind that; the little SJWs are scandalized,

“The book incensed the British clergy and censors upon its publication. However, heteronormative descriptions in Fanny Hill of ‘maypole[s] of so enormous a standard’ appear to be proving too much for university students.”

The professor named in the article says she doesn’t teach Fanny Hill anymore, (emphasis added)

The problem with teaching Fanny Hill is not to do with sex, but power. When senior academics make a work of pornography a set text, they should attend to the power relations implicit in the pedagogic relationship and be aware that students can feel coerced.

Coerced? Because a professor lists a book in a syllabus? Isn’t that what professors are for?

Critical thinking is one thing one may gain from the study of literature, but that’s gone out the window – not that the safe space SJWs inhabit has windows.

Now more than ever, reading literature is a form of guerrilla warfare.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

The Rolling Stones famously sang,

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away.

Over in Argentina, former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who came to power when her husband Néstor Kirchner died suddenly of a heart condition, sees a storm is threat’ning: She has been charged with money laundering for the fourth time.

Fernandez already faces trial in a separate case for alleged financial mismanagement in office and pending charges for allegedly ordering Argentina’s central bank to illegally trade derivatives, which cost the country $5.5 billion.

And let’s not forget the fourteen houses she “never declared” to the anti-corruption or the tax authorities.

So where does a grieving widow seek shelter from the upcoming storm?

She runs for Senate in the country’s most populous province, of course!

It so happens that, if elected, the seat (emphasis added)

would give her congressional immunity from federal prosecution for alleged money laundering and racketeering during her presidency.

As I was planning this post this morning, I was looking at the list of categories under which to file it. I opted for “are you kidding me.” Why? Because she’s ahead in the polls.

After Argentinians elected Mauricio Macri president, foreign investors hoped his administration would pass reforms to undo Fernandez’s chaotic economic policies, interventionist strategies and trade restrictions. Cristina’s campaign does not bode well:

The peso currency has lost 9 percent of its value since Fernandez declared her candidacy on June 24. The central bank has sold more than $1 billion in reserves in the past two weeks to stop the currency’s slide, including a $298.2 million intervention on Thursday.

Argentina may, once again, slip back into its old storms.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

I spent the last two weeks in the process of moving, and, while that was stressful and tiring, I was blissfully away from the news cycle.

Nothing like spending the entire day chipping away at the myriad tasks that come from A Big Move to bring you down to earth – along with a lot of boxes containing every thing you own.

By evening, you are so exhausted the last thing you want to do is listen to the news, IF you have cable. The only cable I watched was at the motel (since the furniture was coming the next day) on Sunday, when I was flipping channels and came across a segment of Game of Thrones were the blonde had the dragon incinerate a bunch of guys while the big guy from Black Sails watched on.

Which brings me to the subject of North Korea.

Since I’m now at home but the cable has not been connected, I read on my Facebook feed that North Korea is threatening attack. Facebook has, of course, sprouted ersatz expertise on Korea (North and South) overnight.

Certainly whatever the North Korean dictator wants to unchain will make the fictional dragon look like a Game, but there was another item in the news that I find more alarming: the Google censorship story.

Google fired James Damore, an engineer who wrote a memo dissenting on the company’s affirmative action policy, all in the name of diversity and inclusion.

The memo used to be online. Not anymore.

Considering the large reach Google has on how and what news is conveyed, the company’s actions may, in the long term, have as deleterious effect as North Korean dragons because we may never know whether Google’s newsfeed is conveying facts or PC pabulum.

The information age may be no more.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!


Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

For the past six months I’ve become increasingly alarmed over the media’s obsession with Russia’s supposed interference on the 2016 election, which I view as a dangerous distraction. I have seen how reports on international news not directly related to the topic, especially on Latin America and our hemisphere, steadily dwindle to almost disappear while conditions in Latin American countries are increasingly dangerous.

I am very pleased over Justice Gorsuch’s successful nomination, and am hopeful over future nominees to the judiciary.

Pres. Trump’s speech in Poland outlining America’s foreign policy was very good . . . but you wouldn’t know it by listening to the biased, unfair and downright dishonest so-called journalists.

Trump’s interactions at the G20, and the invitation from French president Macron, the first from a French president to an American in decades, are favorable signs. But instead of reporting on policy, the news descends into arguments about Ivanka Trump’s sleeves and undisclosed meetings that weren’t.

The failure this week of a repeal/replace for Obamacare is a big setback, throwing chum on  shark-infested waters. Any substantial information on the hundreds of government regulations that are being repealed is hidden under opinion pieces.

I have no forecast since the overall effect of all the political reporting throughout the past year has put me off politics – and I used to be a news junkie – to the point that I’ve taken up listening to opera: all of the drama, but played to better music.

Cartoon via Gay Patriot

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

One of the more annoying things in the current preponderance of opinion pieces instead of actual reporting is the dismissal of news on our hemisphere. Rarely do you find information on, say, Brazil, the world’s ninth-largest economy, unless you actually go looking for it.

Each country is treated as a piece of puff pastry on a tray shaped like South America: Exotic, tasty but a rare treat that you don’t want to overdo, interchangeable. Today, arepas. Tomorrow, guava pastries.

The reports you find are few and far apart, and focus mostly on Cuba as a tourist spot, and on Venezuela as an ongoing train wreck.

Of course, Cuba fits the socialist agenda. By now the “excellent free healthcare” nonsense has been replaced with the “travel to Havana before it modernizes” gimmick. Just last night PBS aired Weekend in Havana, enticing us to “Travel to Cuba’s vibrant, alluring and rapidly changing capital,” while ignoring the very grim reality:

that under the tyrannical regime of the Castros, Cuba is a fourth-world country with collapsing buildings and a crumbling infrastructure that cannot provide humane conditions for its own enslaved people, let alone foreign tourists.

Venezuela gets attention for its horrible near-civil-war, brought about by the implementation of 21st Century Socialism™ which is rarely mentioned. Yesterday’s news carried a few more stories on Venezuela because Pres. Trump is considering sanctions against the communist regime, including a possible oil embargo.

Most of those articles were opinion pieces, low on substance.

It is extremely unusual to read factual reporting connecting the many threads of Latin American politics. Mary O’Grady does an exceptional job this week in her article, How Cuba Runs Venezuela. Havana’s security apparatus is deeply embedded in the armed forces (emphasis added)

Havana doesn’t care about Venezuelan poverty or famine or whether the regime is unpopular. It has spent a half-century sowing its ideological “revolution” in South America. It needs Venezuela as a corridor to run Colombian cocaine to the U.S. and to Africa to supply Europe. It also relies heavily on cut-rate Venezuelan petroleum.

This is the first time this year I’ve seen this mentioned in an article in a national newspaper. O’Grady’s article is a must-read.

One can only wish other “journalists” were in the same league as O’Grady. They might even find a Russia Russia Russia angle – and a little China for measure.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Yes, I know you’re busy and don’t have time to read, and this list is so hoity-toity you could puke, but please bear with me.

We are enduring a long-term warn against Western culture and values. Universities are throwing out rigorous curricula for victimology “studies” while making sure any dissenting views are not merely discouraged but downright expelled. Not even the long-gone Puritans are safe.

And the sad thing is that those who value Western culture are frequently unfamiliar with it.

Enter the Western canon: A list of the world’s literary tradition since antiquity, divided in four eras,
A. The Theocratic Age: 2000 BCE-1321 CE
B. The Aristocratic Age: 1321-1832
C. The Democratic Age: 1832-1900
D. The Chaotic Age: 20th Century

That’s four thousand years of literature.

The list itself has an interesting history, and it came about from the publishers of Harold Bloom’s book The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. Bloom’s book presents his (emphasis added),

arguments for a unifying written culture, it argues brilliantly against the politicization of literature and presents a guide to the great works of the western literary tradition and essential writers of the ages

That is, Bloom was arguing against the politicization of literature in 1994, twenty three years ago. As Wikipedia correctly describes,

Bloom argues against what he calls the “School of Resentment“, which includes feminist literary criticismMarxist literary criticismLacaniansNew HistoricismDeconstructionists, and semioticians.

In practical terms, reading literature has now become a form of guerrilla warfare against Marxists, deconstructionists and their destructive pals.

So where to start?

You may have read a few already without realizing it, such as the Bible, which the Vatican recently removed from its website, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, which is part of his Christmas Stories, or Orwell’s 1984. So browse through the list and pick one you haven’t read. Many of the books are available for free in Kindle editions.

Once you do, commit fifteen minutes a day to reading it. If you are able to listen while you commute, most of the titles are available in audiobooks for free at your local public library.

If you like to watch movies, Shakespeare plays have come to life on film for over a century. I recommend Much Ado About Nothing for a comedy, and both of The Hollow Crown series for the tragedies.

(A caution: Watch the movie, read the book doesn’t always work. Beowulf was a disaster.)

If you prefer to build up your list, start with short books.

You can’t win a war if you don’t understand what you’re fighting for. I suggest you start with reading from the Western canon to focus your understanding.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

For fear of sounding like Pauline Kael, who apparently said,”I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon,” yesterday I did an informal survey of people I’ve known for years and all but one said that they’re “up-to-here” and fed up of hearing about Russia Russia Russia in the news. Some used less delicate words.

The only one who is interested in Russia Russia Russia/Trump campaign story at this point lives in Washington, D.C., is heavily involved in politics and despises our current President.

Perhaps “I live in a rather special world.” Perhaps Washington is the “rather special world.” But by now everybody, except for those in D.C., who has been hearing about this for over half a year is concerned about their well being and that of their families, health and personal problems as they may arise, paying their bills and solidifying a stable financial situation, and myriad other problems. That is, the same problems adults grapple with their entire lives consume their time.

Some are in terrible situations: Larry O’Connor’s radio show caller dramatically explains (emphasis added),

O’Connor: Allen in Southern Maryland, you’re on WMAL. Go Al.
Allen: I’m sick of the Donald Trump stuff, all the Trump stuff. I consider myself one of the forgotten men and women. I’m worried about job creation. I’m worried about tax cuts. I need more money. I’m living paycheck to paycheck. They just cut off my cable bill. I’m rubbing two nickles together. My girl can’t find a job to help me. We’re out here struggling and these people don’t get it. I mean they really don’t get it. [Inaudible] I don’t have money. I mean, I’m cutting back on my medicine, my groceries. She can’t find a job…
O’Connor: Do you feel like the President … Allen, do you feel like the President is keeping his head down and doing what he promised to do to try to help you and other Americans like you?
Allen: If they let him do it and give him a chance. They are fighting him every step of the way. We need help out here. We’ve been struggling for years under Obama and he had the right message. We voted him in because of that. We need tax cuts. I need a couple of extra dollars on my paycheck every week. We need jobs. We need Trump and these liberals, the press and all this to get off that and think about us that’s out here putting our boots on everyday, getting up at four o’clock in the morning, going to work and trying to provide for our families and it’s hard. I love you Larry.
O’Connor: Thank you Allen. Thanks for listening and keep the faith.

I’ve written at my blog about how this media obsession is obscuring coverage of whatever else is taking place around the world; when it comes to Latin America, our hemisphere has nearly vanished from American media.

We could spend days discussing the disconnect of the media and the Beltway from the average American, or speculating about who benefits from this Russia Russia Russia/Trump campaign story obsession. My colleague Snoopy at WoW! Magazine posits there’s someone laughing:

. . . the only man that is still laughing is the one in Kremlin. Watching the travesty of the ongoing witch hunts and the administration busy at counterattacking the media, instead of doing what the government is meant to do – how could the man not laugh?

Aye, there’s the rub.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (née Warren Wilhelm Jr.) apparently “rushed off at the last minute” to Hamburg, Germany, to join the protestors at the G-20 summit (emphasis added):

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday skipped an NYPD swearing-in ceremony made somber by this week’s assassination of a cop — then hours later revealed he was busy preparing to jet off on a surprise trip to join leftist protesters at the G-20 summit in Germany.

Hizzoner’s overseas jaunt was kept under wraps until just 90 minutes before he took off from Newark Airport. A last-minute announcement said he “will attend several events surrounding the G-20 Summit, including Saturday’s Hamburg Zeigt Haltung rally.”

Or as the Church Lady said, “isn’t that special!”

Hamburg Zeigt Haltung means Hamburg Shows Attitude, and de Blasio will be the keynote speaker, where the rally organizers will be paying for his expenses and that of his spokesman and two other toadies.

De Blasio, a former sandalista Sandinista supporter who honeymooned in communist Cuba, may have to travel across the Atlantic to Show Attitude, but you can’t expect him to show spine anywhere:

Asked why de Blasio — who spent the day holed up at Gracie Mansion — didn’t join O’Neill to help rally the recruits, spokesman Eric Phillips replied: “Scheduling conflicts.”

I could not find if de Blasio’s “scheduling conflicts” prevented him from calling the relatives of slaughtered NYPD officer Miosotis Familia, but the NY Post reports that

Following Familia’s slaying, her sister, Adriana Sanchez, ripped de Blasio, saying that “the mayor has to do something for this madness to stop,”

since the city is not protecting its police officers.

De Blasio left town to Show Attitude, but the NY Post gets the final word:

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

While busy enacting hate speech laws over using the wrong pronoun, Trudeau’s Liberals are ready to apologize to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr and compensate him to the tune of C$10 million (US$7.7 million) for being sentenced to Guantanamo after killing U.S. Army medic Sgt. Christopher Speer and blinding another soldier.

Khadar will get his apology and loot after the country’s Supreme Court judged in 2010 that

Canada breached his rights by sending intelligence agents to interrogate him and sharing the results with the United States.

Which is how he ended up in Gitmo, after which he sued the government for C$20 million on grounds of violating his human rights.

The fifteen year old Khadr was working as a bomb-maker apprentice for al Qaeda when he killed the U.S. servicemen with a grenade. The Liberals say he was a child soldier (similar to Mexican drug cartels using underage MS-13 members as hit men so they get easier sentences if caught) who deserves an apology.

He is now thirty years old, and living in Canada, where he was born.

The Daily Caller reports that

Speer’s widow, along with another soldier who was blinded by the grenade attack, filed a wrongful death and injury lawsuit against Khadr in 2014 because they suspected Khadr might receive financial compensation if he was successful in appealing his sentencing.

A U.S. judge awarded the pair $134.2 million in damages in 2015 but the plaintiffs have acknowledged that they don’t expect to receive any of the money because Khadr lives in Canada.

Trudeau’s neither denying nor confirming the settlement.

I wonder if we’ll be hearing more news in years to come about like those involving Khadr’s fellow Gitmo alumni in Uruguay, with stories  of domestic violence and unauthorized travel to other countries – or  stories involving others.

Unlike the Syrians in Uruguay, who have time on their hands because they refuse to work, Khadr will have his apology, and US$7million.

What could possibly go wrong?

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Anyone believing there’s free speech in Canada better think twice: The country’s ever-expanding hate speech laws are killing what’s left of the most essential liberty – most essential because without freedom of speech, there is  no freedom at all.

Two weeks ago,

Canada’s Senate passed Bill C-16, which puts “gender identity” and “gender expression” into both the country’s Human Rights Code, as well as the hate crime category of its Criminal Code by a vote of 67-11, according to LifeSiteNews. The bill now only needs royal assent from the governor general.

The bill, which purports to protect people from discrimination, hate propaganda and hate crimes, will punish with fines and prison anyone not using genderless pronouns on request.

In a nutshell, political correctness run amok.

Enter Gad Saad, The Gadfather:

Professors Gad Saad and Jordan Peterson talk at length about the law’s effect,

(Parts 2 and 3. Watch them while you still can.)

Saad and Peterson testified at the Senate against Bill C-16, since they both see it as a threat to intellectual diversity. Saad, considered to be the founder of  the field of evolutionary consumption, and Peterson, who refuses to use gender-neutral pronouns for transgender people, could be thrown in jail and financially ruined for using a centuries-old grammatical convention in the course of their work.

You, dear reader, may be thinking at this point, “so what?
That’s Canada for you, eh.”

Think again.

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling ordered Google Inc. to remove international search results. Scott Shackford explains:

What matters internationally in this case is the government is forcing Google to remove links from searches regardless of where the Internet user is. That is to say: Canada is demanding the authority to censor the internet outside of its physical borders and control what people who are not Canadian citizens can find online.

Freedom of speech is the ultimate right. That’s why it’s in peril.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.