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Archive for July, 2009

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 6/Updated with good news

Posted by Charles II on July 28, 2009

Update: The State Department has pulled the coupistas visas! It’s not clear how many got pulled, but just doing so sends the message that this might not quite be in the bag. Added: It’s four visas and they’re reviewing others. Ian Kelly, who has always been far out in front of the rest of State in expressing support for Zelaya emphasized that State was expressing support for Oscar Arias. One of the journalists pointed out that Arias was not the one who had been ousted. Anyway, it’s one footdrag forward toward doing the right thing.

Two more names on the visas suspended (in addition to Micheletti): Tomás Arita Valle, The Supreme Court Justice who advanced the arrest and deposition order of Zelaya and José Alfredo Saavedra, president of the Congress.

Mrs Zelaya says that the Army is trying to deport her.

WOW! Via Al Giordano, Nike, The Gap, Adidas and Knights Apparel actually do the right thing!

While we do not and will not support or endorse the position of any party in this internal dispute, we feel it is necessary in this case to join with the President of the United States, the governments of countries throughout the Americas, the Organization of American States, the UN General Assembly and the European Union in calling for the restoration of democracy in Honduras.

We are also very concerned about the continuation of violence if this dispute is not resolved immediately, and with restrictions on civil liberties under the July 1 Emergency Decree. We urge for an immediate resolution to the crisis and that civil liberties, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association be fully respected.

Also, in comments, PatucaWarrior says that Xiomara has been let through the military checkpoints! Added: Confirmed via Nell at ALovelyPromise by Tiempo!

____________________________________________________________

Manuel Zelaya did not speak on DemocracyNow. Rather, they had a show about how out of control our own military is, spying on Americans.

The police allege that Zelaya is supplying thousands of dollars to support the resistance. They claim this based on amounts written in the black book of Carlos Eduardo Reina which they found in his car. Reina supposedly confirmed that his book had been stolen. Recipients included labor leaders, deputies, a mayor, and a former vice minister.

Telesur reports the UN sent a delegation to the Nicaragua-Honduras border. They report a shortage of water. After long delays imposed by the military, the Red Cross brought supplies into El Paraiso.

RAJ analyzes the stalling by the Honduran Congress with regard to the “San Jose Accord,” and finds some cracks in the coup. I think he’s confusing a newspaper’s need to find something interesting in a completely dead story with evidence of actual diversity of opinion. More interesting is the report immediately below.

According to Aporrea, an anonymous official told Radio Globo that many military and officials oppose the coup, have protested internally, and have been punished. Romeo Vasquez denied that the person was an official.

Machetera has a translation of a piece by Dick Emanuelsson on the re-emergence of death squads. It provides depth and background to earlier reports (e.g., police agents seized, e.g., bomb at union building) and adds this, which I didn’t mention earlier because it hadn’t been clear whether this was soccer hooligans. Turns out it’s police hooligans:

Tonight a football game was played between Olimpia and Motagua, two Honduran soccer rivals. When the fans left the national stadium named after Tiburcio Carias Andino (the president who turned Honduras into a banana republic), the shooting began, according to Radio Globo. Two people were killed and at least 20 wounded. Spokespersons for the fans say that they remained calm and rejected the official versions that said that they were the ones who started the shooting.

A 7/12 interview with Bertha Caceres (in English) on HondurasResists is well worth reading.

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 6/Updated with good news

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 5/Updated

Posted by Charles II on July 27, 2009

DemocracyNow did an interview of Xiomara Castro de Zelaya. It wasn’t great, since the First Lady speaks in paragraphs and chapters, and Amy kept interrupting her, but she conveyed some important things. Tomorrow Mel Zelaya will be on. From Xiomara:
* confirmation of 24 curfew, which she calls a “state of siege”
* word that the coup attempted to use her son, Hector, as a “pressure point” to blackmail the Zelayas.
* she was unaware that the US is still providing some aid to the coup, and says “that means that they’re still supporting this de facto regime”

                      THE BIG INTERVIEW IS HERE (click below)
Xiomara Castro de Zelaya v. Romeo Vasquez Velasquez

                 Listen to the astonishing interview here

I’m reading too fast. In the New York Times article linked below, commenter El Cid points out that it says:

The communiqué [by the Honduran Armed Forces] was drafted in Washington after days of talks between mid-level Honduran officers and American Congressional aides. Posted on the Honduran Armed Forces Web site, it endorsed the so-called San José Accord that was forged in Costa Rica by delegates representing President Zelaya and the man who heads the de facto Honduran government, Roberto Micheletti.

So, there you have it. Our State Department has been outsourced to the Congress, probably to interests that benefit from Honduran.

RAJ adds to that comment, providing a translation of the “San Jose Accord” and a comparison to the original Arias proposal and telling us that:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 5/Updated

Monday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 27, 2009

cat-herding.jpg

Wind power is poised to resume its breakneck growth next year. It also may well be one of the mechanisms that lifts America out of the recession.

— Secrets of the CIA’s “ghost flights” (extraordinary renditions) are about to be revealed.

— Speaking of the CIA, some former DEA agents are really ticked off at the Agency.

Work is beginning to prepare the US electrical grid for the growth of wind power.

Posted in CIA, economy, energy, wind power | 1 Comment »

Why “all Honduras, all the time”?

Posted by Charles II on July 26, 2009

Regular readers of Mercury Rising may have been puzzled to see economic and other international coverage dwindle and page after page of detailed news of what was going on in Honduras appear. Honduras is a small, poor country, not to be noticed. Well, one of the features of the analytical work that I publish at MercRising is to identify hinge moments, which have the potential to substantially alter the future course of events.

I see a hinge moment in what is going on in Honduras, one that will substantially alter the direction of our lives over the next ten years. While the far left fears that the coup in Honduras is a trial run for coup attempts in Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, I think it’s more likely that this coup will inflict fatal damage on the United States. This is because American dominance of Latin America has been a primary source of American economic strength. They are a major supplier of raw materials and cheap labor, as well as a market for finished goods. Take those away and the US would be in dire straits. A region that has to be governed by terror is not one that would strengthen the United States.

There are good historical reasons for the Latin American fear of coups. Presidents that we think of as great, men like FDR and Ike and JFK did terrible things in Latin America, leading to the deaths of 200,000 Guatemalans alone. And yet, unlike Reagan and the Bushes, our better presidents also provided the region with hope and a path for development. So the United States is at the same time admired and hated in Latin America… and we were forgiven many wrongs.

But two things have happened lately. First, the fortunes of the United States are in steep decline thanks to Reagan’s destruction of our industrial dominance and the Reagan-Bush I-Bush II gutting of the federal budget. Second, a new pole of economic power has emerged in Latin America in Brazil and in Venezuela. While tiny compared to US power, and based on a fragile foundation, it seems to be on the upswing. It offers hope. That draws other countries to it.

I am, I have to confess, a political troglodyte. I see the past sins of the United States as the unremarkable actions of a Great Power. If Lichtenstein or Palau suddenly became Great Powers, they would kill millions to sustain their own selfish lifestyle. It is in the inherent nature of terrible imbalances of power to lead to horrible crimes. If they, in the course of doing these terrible things, also do something positive like inventing algebra or aqueducts or the printing press, those good deeds will in some measure expiate their sins.

But the actions of the United States with regard to Honduras have been petty, contemptible, and destructive to American power:
* there are reasons to think that this coup had origins in the US government, even though probably not with Obama.
* if the coup succeeds, the rest of the world will assume that the US was its progenitor and American credibility will follow the path Bush set it on
* unlike the Cold War era, there was no cause sufficient to justify putting a small and impoverished country through this wringer
* US diplomacy through Oscar Arias has not met the laugh test, another blow to American credibility
* the muddled response of the American government has left other would-be dictators wondering whether the US will really back them
* the rise of effective resistance, especially alternative media, has meant that only those who want to be lied to can be fooled. While that regrettably includes most Americans, Latin Americans are learning very fast
* the immediate consequence of the coup is that the ALBA nations are coalescing into an anti-US bloc.

So, as Honduras goes, so goes the American union. Maybe the Administration will recognize what folly it is embarked upon and take a more honorable course. I certainly hope so. I love my country and cannot stand to see it sink into such debasement. Scripture, however, describes the state in which nations, corrupted within, destroy themselves by wasting their power on unworthy and unrighteous goals. This smells like such a moment:

This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.

When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.” Jeremiah 25

Posted in Latin America | 3 Comments »

Honduras coup, Act III, day 4/Update 2

Posted by Charles II on July 26, 2009

For Americans who think that Honduras is a small country a long way off, I commend this piece by Rick Perlstein (via Dave Neiwert), which earned him a deep pile of hate mail:

For the second time in three months, Fox heavily promoted anti-administration “tea party” events this past Fourth of July—rallies in praise of secession and the Articles of Confederation, at which speakers “joked” about a coup against the communist Muslim Barack Obama like the one against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

Adrienne Pine has an article on the young man who was murdered, Pedro (Magdiel) Muñoz (Salvador). As heart-rending as it is, it contained this, which gives me one more reason not to donate to the Red Cross:

We want to bring water and food to the hundreds of people who are trapped and are not being allowed to go anywhere. Finally the Red Cross said they would bring them water, but people no longer trust aid agencies [translator’s note: Red Cross vehicles have been found transporting tear gas for the coup government].

This does not surprise me. The Red Cross did not do its duty in New Orleans after the devastating Katrina flood, a number of its chapters have a long history of misusing funds, and its mishandling of blood in the 1980s–and the 2000s— was a scandal of epic proportions.

The military has on the one hand claimed that it is subordinate to civilian control and on the other hand has endorsed “The San Jose Accord,” a document so phony that it should have been printed on a $3 bill– for that matter, both Zelaya and the coupistas have rejected, so the Armed Forces are basically telling the civilian government what to do. Hugo Chavez yesterday denounced what he called the “Costa Rican trap” and I found myself agreeing with him. Thanks to Nell for linking the NYT piece which provide the links above.

For his part, Zelaya has urged the US to forcefully confront the coupistas and has refuted press reports that claim he is headed to Washington on Tuesday (reports which, frankly, never made sense)

Radio Globo is playing a recorded interview (5:30 PM Eastern Sunday) from last night with General Vasquez Velasquez. So here’s the part I missed yesterday. The General says the military respects the law and will do what civilian authorities direct, including implementing the San Jose Accord. He denies there has been a coup. Will the armed forces get an amnesty? Response: Extended BS. The country is damaged, economically, morally, etc. How about the young man killed in Paraiso? How to repair all the damage? General: Every soldier has an obligation not to shoot at his compatriots. There are isolated things which have nothing to do with the military, like the …death… in… the countryside. We soldiers are trained in war. We aren’t responsible for creating this mess in the Honduran people. We are people [of the] people. They [the coupistas] have given people bombs and sticks There are people, who are, how do you say, hot, we Honduras are people of hot blood. There are bad things between people. So they kill people. They killed a soldier too.Our soldiers are humble. Why these snipers? Is the mission to capture Zelaya or kill him? I don’t know who said we are assassins. We’re soldiers. We don’t use snipers. We use snipers for another kind of mission. For inside the airport, not outside. They have a right to protest. (see continuation of this in previous post)

US Rep. Brian Bilbray and someone called “Tom Dime” were received by Micheletti. Bilbray and “Dime” are routinely misreported as Senators in the press.

The police have denied responsibility for the murder of the young man in Paraiso.

Update: Congratulations to David Gregory for getting through an entire session of Meet the Press with Hillary Clinton without mentioning Honduras. Achieving that level of shallow must take considerable restraint.

Atilio Boron at Rebelion has the first compilation of attacks on the Honduran press that I have seen. As he says, the silence of those who complain about the treatment of the press in other countries like Venezuela or Ecuador is notable:
1. The paramilitary assassination of Gabriel Fino Noriega of Radio Estelar
2. The military seizure of Channel 36, Radio TV Maya, and Radio Globo in Tegucigalpa
3. Death threats, blockage of transmissions, wiretapping, and blocking Internet access of journalists
4. Machinegunning the transmission station of Radio Juticalpa in Olancho
5. Death threats against the director of El Libertador, Johnny J. Lagos Enríquez and journalist Luis Galdanes
6. The silencing of Radio Progreso in the town of that name, taking hostage the director, Jesuit Ismael Moreno, as well as temporarily detaining one of its journalists, even as others received death threats.
7. Channel 26 (TV Atlantica) which told the UN mission that the military suggested to the provincial media that they should abstain from broadcasting information that differed from what the coupistas were saying.
8. After attacks on Telesur and VTV, the Interamerican Press Society gave a tepid communication lamenting the acts– but they took a hard line against Correa.

Update2: There’s an interesting daily journal on Chiapas Indymedia. It reports that people who went to El Paraiso are hungry, and the military will not let them buy food or even leave the area. In Ojo de Agua, a Lt. Colonel Carrasa is blocking supplies from entering the area. The Red Cross has brought in some supplies, but the police and soldiers have (illegally, I would say) requisitioned them. Police and soldiers are in the mountains through which people have been entering the area, attempting to catch and harm them. Two police were captured. In Arizona [Honduras], [media channels] Atlántida, Telesur, CNN, and the Internet are blocked. Radio Progreso reports that a bomb exploded in the STIBYS union building, also that there are snipers in the trees and mountains around Las Manos. Directors of the COPINH (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras) Salvador Zúñiga y Berta Cáceres have been fired upon with machine guns. Berta Cáceres and Salvador Zúñiga of COPINH and Miriam Miranda of OFRANEH (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña) have been detained.

Posted in Latin America | 3 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 3/Update

Posted by Charles II on July 25, 2009

Update: Adrienne Pine reports that the son of anti-coup congressman Rodrigo Trochez was shot twice and is intensive care. The car, in which son Juan and a friend were traveling, was hit 15 times near Toncotin Airport.

On RadioGlobo, interviewer Eduardo [Maldonado] is talking to a general (Romeo Vasquez?), who is BSing too fast to keep up. The interviewer asks if a 24 hour curfew is legal. The general says, gee, look at what happened at the airport when they let people in– a guy got killed! [uhhh… killed by the army]. Why not let the First Lady travel? Well, Zelaya made us responsible for him and his family. And there’s a curfew, no exceptions! Well, actually there are exceptions, General. [One can’t make this stuff up. It’s too strange.] … We have to treat all Hondurans identical. We are soldiers, we respect everyone, we don’t care about socialist, leftist, democratic, they’re all the same. The soldiers are tired, General I listen to my soldiers. They are humble people. If there’s a political accord, do you want to remain boss? ::high speed evasive action:: If Zelaya were here, what would you say? I can’t say anything. I’m a soldier. [In a classic Marshall McLuhan moment, Eduardo puts First Lady Xiomara Castro on the line]. Xiomara asks the General why he sent 300 soldiers to roust them with violence. Article 99 says [don’t use the army for what the police should do]? The General’s voice is reverbing, rising and falling, so that I can’t understand much, but it doesn’t sound like an answer. Xiomara asks repeatedly who gave the arrest order. Article 99 and Article 102. The General says these aren’t issues which are discussed. The reverb is terrible. Extremely high speed BS. Xiomara: Entered the residence at an illegal hour. The order didn’t specify this. Didn’t present the order. Human rights people say that human rights have been violated and there is repression. We want to travel on the roads. What is our condition and our security? We want to meet as a family. My children are weeping after so many days of not seeing dad. [This is an amazing lady.] The General: We don’t control the security situation. The police control that. You can travel by airplane or helicopter. [Xiomara had already rejected this.] Nothing personal you understand. Eduardo: how about a guarantee of free expression for the media? General: There are difficult situations. We will finish the mission. … Eduardo gives them closing statements and gently asks the General about the people who need to eat. The General says something like the soldiers are eating fine. Eduardo says, no no, General. The people who traveled there.

The curfew has been extended in Paraiso.

So Radio Globo wants to talk to the head of the police. There’s a discussion with call ins but I’m not clear on who is on. Teacher Karen Palencia says what Vasquez Velasquez said was false. The military is in charge. She has been out on the roads, she’s mad and she says we’re back in Tegucigalpa to rest up and head back to the streets. Lawyer Hernan Silva Baltoran: all nations of the world have condemned the coup. What the general said was mistaken or Machiavellian. We are friends [everyone seems to be the General’s friend. Eduardo also said the General was a friend]. I doubt his sincerity. (he reviews the illegality of the arrest as outlined by Xiomara). The state is spurious. If Zelaya isn’t president now, he can run for president in the next election. [Har!] I think he also suggested that Xiomara could run. Lawyer Tuki Aguilar. Someone tells the story of the man who was murdered. (I am out of energy. End of transmission)
__________________________________________________
Thanks to Nell, I finally found Adrienne Pine’s blog, Quotha.net. Adrienne is an extraordinary person, an anthropologist who has studied and published on Honduran society and therefore understands its fault lines in considerable detail. Today she has the following important articles:
1. A list of the members of the Parliament who did not support the coup.
2. An eyewitness account to events yesterday in Paraiso province. Radio Globo is occupied by anti-coup citizens, and the roadblock 12 kilometers from the Nicaraguan border that was the site of the violence yesterday is under strong citizen pressure.
3. A debunking of eight lies that the coupistas have put out. It clarifies that the poll Zelaya had proposed would have given Congress the option of establishing the referendum, that the power to establish the process for the assembly did not lie in his hands.

Al Giordano has a disappointing piece questioning Zelaya’s courage. I pointed out that Zelaya walked in under the guns of snipers to a place where he had every reason to expect to be arrested, if not worse. That qualifies as bravery to me. I also pointed out that Zelaya has an intimate sense of the situation, including the attitude of the US, while we are guessing from the outside. And I pointed out that if everyone who bitched would write politely to Hillary, it would probably swing her perception of the situation.

The curfew has been strengthened in the frontier provinces. Telesur says that this weakens the chance that Zelaya can accomplish a peaceful return. [Coddled by our State Department,] the coup is digging in its heels.

Murdered man with signs of torture on the body (Photo by efe)

A man by the name of Pedro Manila of the Colonia San Francisco was reportedly found murdered 300 meters from the police in Paraisa. Telesur reports his name as Pedro Ezequiel. From the ring on his finger, I suppose he left a wife and perhaps children.

Hugo Chavez is talking to on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Constituent Assemnly on TeleSur. It’s pretty windy, but good-natured. Chavez says that Zelaya escaped a trap, both in Las Manos and in Costa Rica. Now on to Las Manos. TeleSur confirms the murder of the young man, saying he had 20 punctures in his body. People say they were imprisoned in El Paraiso and at the frontier they were shot at.

More TeleSur: A lot of the guys on the military side are in balaclavas (black ski masks). These are the uniform of death squads. Zelaya’s jeep is advancing at a microscopic rate. He’s accompanied by a Nicaraguan Minister. Zelaya: My mother and my wife, valiant women, are confronting the bayonet in El Paraiso. People are being humiliated. (someone shouts: Murdered!) He draws on St. Paul: this is a seed that I planted, but you watered. He says that they will be setting up camps, staying there overnight to wait for others who are coming. There seem to be about 300 people around, but it’s hard to say since there are tons of journos and the signal is about 36 dpi. “Do you have faith in God? And in the people?” The crowd yells “Micheletti cabron, detenemos en cajon!” Zelaya: “There’s an elite of 10 families that control the wealth of Honduras.” “Here in Ocotal, Sandino retook the route of Morazan.” Here’s the printed piece.

Radio Globo: The murdered man had 42 stab wounds. There’s a report of a second murder, but not confirmed.

Posted in Latin America | 5 Comments »

This Big Story Broke Yesterday, But I’ll Bet This Will Be The First You’ll Have Heard Of It

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 25, 2009

I guess the members of the GOP/Media Complex have been so busy haranguing President Obama for speaking honestly about the illegal arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, and/or threatening him with even nastier treatment unless he started bowing down to them (shades of the “White House Travel Office Scandal”, when the press took their perk-dispensing buddy Billy Dale’s side despite his having over $50,000 in office funds stuffed into his private personal bank account), that most of them can’t be bothered to talk about this story (h/t Teddy Partridge) about how in 2002, Dick Cheney wanted to see if he could illegally use US troops on US soil to go after alleged terrorists, instead of letting law enforcement officials handle the job:

Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.

Mr. Bush ultimately decided against the proposal to use military force.

A decision to dispatch troops into the streets to make arrests would be nearly unprecedented in American history, as both the Constitution and subsequent laws restrict the military from being used to conduct domestic raids and seize property.

The Fourth Amendment bans “unreasonable” searches and seizures without probable cause. And the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits the military from acting in a law enforcement capacity.

That it does.

Of course, that Dick Cheney thinks the Constitution is his own personal roll of toilet paper is not news. What is news, as Partridge notes, is that this story looks to have been released by Bush entouragers as a way of pushing back against this story and this one, both of which make Bush look bad (and at least one of which was Cheney trying to look good by making Bush look bad over the Scooter Libby mess).

Posted in anti-Americanism, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Constitution, Constitutional crisis, Dick Cheney, evil, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, terrorism | 4 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act III, day 2/ Update 2

Posted by Charles II on July 24, 2009

(Update 3PM Eastern) Zelaya arrives in Hondoras! (more below)

This is the second day of a two day general strike. Professor Greg Grandin gave a good overview on DemocracyNow. A figure from the Death Batallion 3-16, Billy Joya, was hired as a corporate security officer and is now a security advisor to the regime. [Update: More detail on the deathsquadization of Honduras from WorldWar4 at DKos]

The military is blocking access to the frontier. Around Danli, people were stripped and beaten. Nearer the border, the area was completely militarized. However, Zelaya is not expected to enter Honduras before Saturday.

Militarized Honduran frontier
(Image from Chiapas Indymedia, province of Colon. Photo by tiros)

The police are reportedly on strike. I had heard only 80 policemen had left the job, but there was a report of 200.

RadioGlobo is a place to listen for news. People are calling in with tidbits. The National Police leaders are on TeleSur, saying they follow the orders of the Judicial Power (i.e., the coup). TeleSur is reporting that the resistance has broken the blockade in the province of Paraiso. This is where Danli is. A lot of people are waving a flag with horizontal red stripes bracketing a white stripe– no, not Austria. It’s the Liberal Party emblem. They’re playing upbeat, rollicking music that sounds like a party rally. But they aren’t moving, so it sounds as if the military blockade is still intact. People have walked from Olancho… it’s roughly 30 miles from the Olanco province to the town of Danli.

Connie Mack is leading a delegation of Republicans to Honduras for the purpose of diplomacy. Considering that the US has refused to recognize the coupistas, I wonder whether this is legal.

One of the larger-scale activities that is occurring under the radar, so to speak, is the establishment of huge military bases in Colombia which would presumably compete with Honduras’s Palmerino (Soto Cano). Machetera mentions that Israeli pilots are flying from those bases.

Update, 2PM Eastern: Radio Globo is sounding a lot more apocalyptic than TeleSur. I am running in and out, but caught a report of one dead, that the police struck when they were broadcasting Zelaya over loudspeakers. Later: apparently a young man (Moises Hernandez) was struck with a rubber bullet, which went in his jaw and out by the ear. He is alive, though in critical condition, at the hospital. On the highway, several people including police hurt and vehicles damaged. A pregnant woman is in bad shape and may lose the baby.

TeleSur: The police have approved a plan to capture Zelaya. On the highway in Paraiso, the police have used tear gas to impede the march to the border. They say one person injured. It’s not clear to me why the marchers don’t flank the troops and police. Another group of troops has arrived. Our State Department, in its fog of befuddlement, has asked Zelaya not to enter Honduras; this despite the Arias contingent having said that he should return.

Update 3PM: TeleSur. Zelaya is on the Nicaraguan side of the border at Las Manos. The police have blocked his arrival and people are a dozen kilometers away, held up by the roadblocks. There’s a heavy rain. Shots have been heard at the roadblock. According to a commenter at Narconews, people did flank the roadblock. At the moment, Zelaya is chatting on his cell phone. One can hear the conversation, but it’s not clear who he’s talking to. The signal just went to h–l, so I suspect a lot of people just logged on to Telesur.

Back to Radio Globo. It’s almost impossible to hear through the din. Zelaya says, “I am at the border…. we are going to enter in the next minutes….Someone says there’s a sniper in the tower…” The people are urging him to duck down (because he’s taller than the rest of the crowd). Zelaya says there are 300-400 armed men at customs. TeleSur just went black briefly. A helicopter has overflown. Zelaya says, “We don’t want to provoke violence. We’ll go step by step.” He gets in his car. He gets out. A colonel has invited him to walk to the other side of the line to discuss things. Patricia Rodas asks to go ahead.

This is an act of incredible courage. On the part of the press, too, which is providing a protective screen.

He’s in Honduras!

And TeleSur out, so over to Radio Globo. Parsley44 at DK has a thread.

The Radio Globo interviewer is stating that there’s a report that Micheletti has tendered his resignation. But he wants Zelaya to step down.

Telesur. The colonel said they aren’t going to arrest Zelaya. There are thousands of people who managed to get to Las Manos around him. His wife is apparently across. Zelaya says that after 27 days, the coupistas have understood that they cannot govern the country.

On the road, a soldier with a weapon menaced people, ordering them away from a truck.

Someone, apparently a military, wanted to harm Zelaya, but people blocked him from reaching Zelaya. Shots and tear gas at the roadblock up the road in Paraiso. Miguel D’Escoto did not accompany Zelaya as planned. (time for a break)

Al Jazeera reports that Zelaya will overnight on the Nicaraguan side of the border.

Update2: And Secretary Clinton? She just pronounced Zelaya’s epic confrontation of the coupistas, a moment that gave me the same sense of history as listening to Martin Luther King speak, to be “imprudent.” Dana Carvey, where are you now? I am sooooo glad she wasn’t the nominee. [Added: my error. She said “reckless.” I can’t believe how bad our State Department leadership is.]

Final note: Patricia Rodas, Finance Minister, has replied: “You can’t put people who take out rifles on the same plane with people who peacefully demonstrate.” If she can’t see the difference, said Rodas, “we don’t mean the same thing by ‘democracy’, we aren’t talking about the same conflict.”

Posted in Latin America | 8 Comments »

Henry Waxman Gets Tough With The DINOs

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 24, 2009

More like this, please!

House Energy and Commerce chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) says his panel’s Blue Dogs must relent, or he and leaders will move health care legislation directly to the floor, bypassing the committee altogether.

This morning, he told reporters that Blue Dogs are trying to “eviscerate” the landmark legislation. “I won’t allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans,” Waxman said.

“I dont see what other alternative we have, because we’re not going to let them empower Republicans on the committee.”

As Jane says, the Blue Dogs are trying to load this thing down with pork for the already rich. Waxman’s decided not to let them get away with the shakedown.

UPDATE: Looks like getting tough is working — Waxman has just announced a breakthrough in the talks.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, Blue Dogs, Democrats, Democrats with spines, health care, Republicans | Tagged: | Comments Off on Henry Waxman Gets Tough With The DINOs

Question For Those Who Would Defend Handcuffing A Man With A Cane In His Own Home Because He Sassed A Cop

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 24, 2009

If the cop was in the right, why were the charges against Professor Gates dropped so quickly?

I’ll tell you why: Because the arrest itself was illegal. That is a fact not in dispute.

But of course, this is now no longer about an illegal arrest of a guy who walks with a cane and sassed a cop. The Republicans are now using it to attack Obama because he criticized the arrest, and in doing so demonize Professor Gates — who like Antonin Scalia, is a jerk and has a temper (but of course black men aren’t allowed to be jerks or have tempers, where white men are) — just like they did Bill Ayers and the Reverend Wright.

One good thing: Mika Brzezinski’s efforts at this fell flat as the other people on the “Morning Joe” show shredded her with facts in context.

Posted in President Obama, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | 1 Comment »

 
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