Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 12th, 2009

LDP takes a licking, goes on ticking

Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2009

The Liberal Democratic [i.e. Corporate] Party of Japan was defeated in local elections, which is believed to prefigure a loss on the national level. The big winner was the Democratic Party of Japan, which supposedly represents reform within the broad outlines of the corporate state, but whose philosophy sounds sort of like what one hears in junior high school student body elections: We promise to be honest, efficient, and transparent, unlike the other bums.

Anyway, it’s a generational change for Japan, as the old Corporate State molts into the new.

Posted in Japan | Comments Off on LDP takes a licking, goes on ticking

The Optional Sixth Amendment

Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2009

Tony Pugh, McClatchy (via t/o)

After years of funding shortfalls, legal aid societies across the country are being overwhelmed by growing numbers of poor and unemployed Americans who face eviction, foreclosure, bankruptcy and other legal problems tied to the recession….

The nonprofit Legal Services Corp….. says that the number of people who qualify for assistance has jumped by about 11 million since 2007….. Roughly 51 million people are now eligible for assistance – individuals and families who earn less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level, now set at $27,564 a year for a family of four….That means that legal-aid programs will turn away roughly 1 million valid cases this year, advocates say, about half the requests for assistance they’ll receive….Middle-class people also have trouble affording legal help, but with fewer economic resources, the poor are more likely to find their money problems leading to court.

Legal aid offices typically handle cases involving divorces, child custody and a host of consumer issues that can include landlord-tenant disputes, foreclosures, evictions, applications for government benefits and battles with predatory lenders. They often represent battered women who need protection, women who are trying to obtain child support or families trying to secure insurance payments….

    After providing $390 million for programs funded by the Legal Services Corp. this year – an 11 percent increase over 2008 – Congress is poised to up the ante again. The House of Representatives has requested $440 million for fiscal year 2010, President Barack Obama asked for $435 million and the Senate has called for $400 million.

    House and Senate conferees will settle on a final amount, but it’s unlikely to approach the previous inflation-adjusted peaks of $750 million in 1981 and $554 million in 1995, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal research center. The report found that the Legal Services Corp.’s inflation-adjusted funding this fiscal year is the lowest in the program’s 35-year history, an estimated $6.85 per person.

Now, the Sixth Amendment, taken literally, applies only to federal criminal trials. But if representation is understood as a fundamental human right, surely we do not want people who are being unjustly evicted or women seeking protection from abusive husbands or people being cheated by insurance companies who renege on payments to be denied representation. Those can easily turn into issues of the gravity of loss of life and liberty.

Posted in Constitution, poverty, rights | 3 Comments »

The Honduran Coup: Planned Months in Advance

Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2009

(Via World War 4 Report at Daily Kos)

We have consistently heard from interests related to the Honduran oligarchy/mafiacracy that President Zelaya was removed because he plotted to having himself re-elected, thereby violating a provision in the Honduran Constitution that not only forbids self-succession but even discussion of the issue. The first step in this alleged plot was the holding of a poll-by-ballot (a sondeo) of whether to hold a referendum in November, coincident with the presidential election, on the issue of a holding a constitutional convention. Zelaya was removed by military troops wielding heavy weapons and replaced by Roberto Micheletti.

Now, there are so many red flags that should trigger the bulls–t meter of any sentient human being that it may be an insult to our readers’ intelligence to point them out (see footnote). But setting those aside, what if there were evidence that the coup plan began even before Zelaya suggested a referendum? Wouldn’t that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the referendum was simply cover for the coup?

This is precisely what Grahame Russell of Rights Action (formerly Guatemala Partners) says is the case:

Shortly, we will distribute a copy of a legal case filed in the Honduran courts by CODEH (Honduran committee for the defense of human rights). Their case, filed before the Honduran Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime, refers to legal cases filed in Honduran courts months ago, alleging the planning of a military coup. None of these previous legal cases were dealt with by the courts that are almost completely controlled by pro-coup sectors. To understand the “legal” situation in Honduras, one has to acknowledge that the administration of justice and the rule of law are deeply corrupted….

Red Flags that should make any sentient human being pause before swallowing the claim that the coup was triggered by Zelaya’s behavior
Russell mentions four
1. “The Honduran Armed Forces (HAF) have no authority whatsoever – none, ever – to carry out detention orders of the Supreme Court…”
2. They broke in violently (also illegal) at around 5am, whereas Honduran law states that authorized entries (which this was not) can only occurring after 6am….
3. If there were a valid legal case before the Supreme Court (there is not, or if there is, no one has seen it…they would have issued a summons to President Zelaya to present himself, with lawyers, before the court to hear the charges….
4. Soon after the coup transpired, the pro-coup forces produced a letter of resignation…The letter is a forgery

and there are more:
5. If there was a legal case against Zelaya, why not try him?
6. If there was a legal case against Zelaya, why prevent him from returning, so that he could be arrested properly and tried?
7. What evidence is there, apart from the assertions of the coup plotters, that the referendum had anything to do with re-electing Zelaya?
8. How could Zelaya have possibly been engineering his re-election if the referendum on whether to hold a constitutional convention was at the same time as the re-election?
9. Even assuming that Zelaya was somehow plotting to enable himself to run for a second term, perhaps in 2014, how can he be held responsible for suggesting changing the constitution when that suggestion would have to come from the delegates to the constitutional convention?
10. If the coup plotters were so offended by Zelaya’s alleged trampling of the constitution, why did they trample the constitution by violating the article that forbids the use of military arms to take control of government?
11. If the proposal to amend the constitution to permit re-election is such a terrible violation, why wasn’t Micheletti– who did exactly that a couple of decades ago– tried for treason?
12. Why has no country on earth (not even Uzbekhistan or North Korea!)recognized the coup?
13. Why have the top Honduran military lawyer and a former Defense Minister conceded that the coup was illegal?

I’m sure that other red flags will become apparent with time. But before one more word is said, let us pay attention– genuinely pay attention– to Grahame Russell’s evidence that the coup was planned before Zelaya’s alleged crime was committed.

In other news, VTV has left Honduras.

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on The Honduran Coup: Planned Months in Advance

Coup Leader Micheletti Tried Changing Hondura’s Constitution

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 12, 2009

One of the things the Honduran coupistas claim as justification for their illegal effort to overthrow elected president Manuel Zelaya is that he tried to force a change in the constitution (actually, he tried to use a popular non-binding vote — more like a poll, really — to gauge support for a suggested change in the constitution, but the coupistas moved before the vote could be held).

But lookee here: Narco News’ Kristin Bricker, translating a Spanish-language piece from TeleSUR, informs us of the following:

In the rallies that were held this Friday in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, a fact rarely discussed in national and international press–but well-known throughout the Honduran population–was made public: Roberto Micheletti’s attempt to modify this Central American country’s Constitution in 1985.

Popular organizations, teachers union members, union leaders, and the general public, in addition to demanding the reinstatement of Honduras’ legitimate and constitutional president, Manual Zelaya, vocalized coup leader Roberto Micheletti’s public attempt [to change the Constitution].

In 1985, he tried to turn the Honduran National Congress into a National Constitutional Assembly in order to reform the same Magna Carta that the coup leaders are now defending as their transcendental symbol during the current political crisis.

Members of Congress and politicians accuse Manuel Zelaya of trying to extend his term and change the Honduran Constitution, but what he tried to do was hold a non-binding opinion poll. Micheletti, on the other hand, did want to [extend the president’s term and change the Constitution] 24 years ago.

Very interesting. Of course, you won’t see this in any other English-language media.

Posted in Latin America | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

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