Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 21st, 2009

Bush’s legacy to the youth of America (besides war, debt, and global warming)

Posted by Charles II on July 21, 2009

Chris McGreal, The Guardian:

Teenage pregnancies and syphilis have risen sharply among a generation of American school girls who were urged to avoid sex before marriage under George Bush’s evangelically-driven education policy, according to a new report by the US’s major public health body.

In a report that will surprise few of Bush’s critics on the issue, the Centres for Disease Control says years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections under previous administrations were reversed or stalled in the Bush years. According to the CDC, birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but are up sharply in more than half of American states since 2005. The study also revealed that the number of teenage females with syphilis has risen by nearly half after a significant decrease while a two-decade fall in the gonorrhea infection rate is being reversed. The number of Aids cases in adolescent boys has nearly doubled.

The CDC says that southern states, where there is often the greatest emphasis on abstinence and religion, tend to have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs.

In addition, about 16,000 pregnancies were reported among 10- to 14-year-old girls in 2004 and a similar number of young people in the age group reported having a sexually transmitted disease.

The one statistic that isn’t given is the incidence of abortion, but indications are that it has been falling worldwide, most rapidly in countries where it is safe and legal.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Silly Republicans | Comments Off

Honduras Coup, Act II, Day 8/update 3

Posted by Charles II on July 21, 2009

Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow did interviews on the Honduran coup. There are various interesting details, the most important of which is that Father Ray Bourgeois visited the US military base in Honduras and was told that cooperation between the Honduran military and the US has continued uninterrupted. Also, the School of Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, continues to train Honduran officers.

In an act of incredible willful blindness, the US State Department is claiming that talks have produced “significant results” with “movement on both sides.”

TeleSur reports that UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escotto says the coupistas are stalling until the last minute so that fake elections can be held.

Bertha Oliva de Nativi, head of the committee of the families of the disappeared (COFADEH), says that the coup has reunited all the players of the 1980s, which ran deaths squads. She says local CIA agents, Argentinian Carabinieri and White Hands (and many more malefactors) are involved. She says a member of the notorious 3-16 Death Batallion was named Chief of National Police before the coup.

Nicholas Kozloff, writing in Rebelion (reprinted at Telesur) notes that Zelaya wrote an impassioned letter to Obama in December 2008 complaining about the US embassy’s arrogance and meddling. He says that if Obama were serious about restoring the damaged relations with Latin America, he would do a thorough housecleaning to get rid of the Bushies, people like Ambassador and former Bush NSC-advisor Hugo Lorens. Kozloff also says that the State Department is dragging its feet in bringing pressure on the coup, apparently in deference to US business interests.

Update2: The coupistas have expelled the Venezuelan embassy. Update3: The Venezuelan diplomats have refused to leave! They say that they don’t recognize the coupistas as a government. This amounts to daring the coupistas to roust them from the embassy. If the coupistas did roust them, it would technically be an act of war.

Hugo Chavez says the coupistas counted on– and received– the support of the US government, but he says Obama may not have known. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley did nothing to dispel that impression (via Eva Golinger):

QUESTION: Coming back to Honduras, we’re getting some reports out of the region that there might be some sort of rift now between Zelaya and the Venezuelan Government. Is that Washington’s understanding? And if so, is that something that can be leveraged as these negotiations move on? To put it another way, is Chavez out of the way, and does that make Washington happy?
MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.) We certainly think that if we were choosing a model government and a model leader for countries of the region to follow, that the current leadership in Venezuela would not be a particular model. If that is the lesson that President Zelaya has learned from this episode, that would be a good lesson….
QUESTION: When you say that the Venezuelan Government is – should not be an example of government for any leader –
MR. CROWLEY: I’m a believer in understatement.
QUESTION: Can you say that again? (Laughter.) It’s like – it’s justifying, sort of, the coup d’état, because if any government try to follow the socialist Government of Venezuela, then it’s fair, then, that somebody can try to make it – you know, defeat the government or something like that? Can you explain a little bit where we’re – what was your statement about Venezuela?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think, as we have talked about and as the Secretary has said in recent days, we have, on the one hand, restored our Ambassador to Venezuela. There are a number of issues that we want to discuss with the Venezuelan Government. On the other side of the coin, we have concerns about the government of President Chavez, not only what he’s done in terms of his own country – his intimidation of news media, for example, the steps he has taken to restrict participation and debate within his country. And we’re also concerned about unhelpful steps that he’s taken with some of this neighbors, and interference that we’ve seen Venezuela – with respect to relations with other countries, whether it’s Honduras on the one hand, or whether it’s Colombia on the other. And when we’ve had issues with President Chavez, we have always made those clear.
QUESTION: Have you ruled this as a coup d’état there legally –
MR. CROWLEY: No.

It doesn’t matter that elsewhere Crowley said that the removal of Zelaya was “extraconstitutional” or that they support him serving out his term. Latin America heard loud and clear that Washington is teaching Zelaya a lesson.

Posted in Latin America | 2 Comments »

This is your government on drugs

Posted by Charles II on July 21, 2009

The human rights groups notice that something is amiss in the drug war in Mexico. Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor (via t/o):

Human-rights groups are calling on the United States to hold back millions of dollars in counternarcotics assistance to Mexico’s military, concerned about what they say is a rise in abuse cases in conjunction with Mexico’s drug war.

President Obama has so far resisted the demand, but the advocates’ campaign threatens to revive old tensions between the US and Mexico over American influence south of the border. …Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission reports a huge jump in reported human-rights violations by Mexican security forces: from 182 in 2006 to 1,230 last year. The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) notes that such cases continue to be transferred to Mexico’s “notoriously opaque military justice system.”

Translation for the phrase “human-rights violation:” any murders, rapes, or kidnappings which cannot be covered up because the victim or the victim’s surviving family refuse to be intimidated into silence. I wouldn’t be surprised if the real number were 10 times greater– or more.

Now, what happens if a country refuses to militarize the drug war? From the BBC:

Venezuela provides “a safe haven” for Colombian armed groups operating along its border, the report says.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has dismissed the report’s findings, labelling it “a new lie” from the US.

Mr Chavez, speaking on Friday after a copy of the report was leaked, said the US was “the top drug trafficking country on the entire planet”.

Co-operation between Venezuelan and American drug enforcement agencies has declined sharply since 2005, when Mr Chavez accused US officials of spying, a charge they denied.

This is getting to be old. Aristide refusing to permit American sweatshops completely unrestricted exploitation of Haitian labor? Call him a drug trafficker. Zelaya raises the minimum wage? Call him a drug trafficker. Chavez tells the US, “Yanqui go home?” Call him a drug trafficker. Indeed, there’s an increasing question whether the US is funding separatist movements in Venezuela and Bolivia that promote lawlessness, exacerbate poverty, and thereby cause the rise of armed citizen movements that fund their resistance by selling drugs and committing other crimes.

The people who really are on drugs are the people in Washington who think that substance addiction and abuse can be cured with troops.

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off

 
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