Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August, 2009

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 39

Posted by Charles II on August 31, 2009

Thanks to Nell in comments from yesterday’s diary, Human Rights Watch translation of a Report by the Honduran National Human Rights Commissioneron Honduras Human Rights Violations printed in 1994.

The Steelworkers Women of Steel has asked Hillary to protect Honduran women

Magbana of Honduras Oye has an article about the US bases in Colombia from a source that I would normally take with a grain of salt, but it has this interesting paragraph

U.S. ambassador William Brownfield, interviewed on August 19 by the Colombian newspaper “El Tiempo”, provided details that raised the level of worry even higher. “Will U.S. troops be fighting the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)?” the reporter asked? “Yes” Brownfield replied, “without any doubt”. Brownfield promised neighboring states that they will be informed of U.S. troop movements close to their borders with Colombia, but added that respect for borders is conditional: “everything depends on the nature of the operations, on what intelligence or monitoring brings us”.

Elvin Santos wants the “San Jose Accords” to be signed. The Supreme Electoral Court met privately with all the presidential candidates except Carlos Reyes, who declined “for reasons of health.” The candidates are warned that there are limits on the use of children, on saying things that might offend women, and on defaming other candidates.

Mirna Castro, pretend-Minister of culchah, was ejected from the National Library.

Rafael Alegria to Gustavo of Radio Globo, at today’s noisy demo: OAS meeting. The next few weeks are critical. A third person as person would not be acceptable? No. Only JM Zelaya Rosales. A second interview (I missed who is being interviewed): Elvin Santos is betrayed the nation. A series of deaths. Two brothers Araujo Araujo shot and killed, found in Cortillo. A Padilla, shot. An unknown person of Choluteca. A Colombian. Interview of a guy from Paraiso, Maximo Pineral, who is in Tegicigalpa, asking for food and clothing. Carlos Paz regarding Don Pepe Lobo (The PN candidate). Lobos says “It’s a new era!” Much of the interview is difficult to follow. A leader of the taxi drivers interviewed, Don Roberto, complaining about the inhibition of travel by the coupistas leading to burning more fuel.

The European Union is discussing taking up the Treaty of Association, dealing with commerce, political dialogue, and cooperation with central America— minus the Micheletti pretend-government. Miguel D’Escoto says the United Nations needs to restructure/renew itself, because the system which it has doesn’t correspond to the reality experienced by the planet (presumably multipolarity vs. the top-down structure of the UN). He points out that the US promised to eradicate poverty by devoting 0.7% of GDP to that end. In reality, it hasn’t even devoted 0.2 %… while spending “trillions on genocidal wars” over resources.

Al Giordano has a lengthy piece on the emergence of Afro-Honduran leadership.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

End of an era, sort of

Posted by Charles II on August 31, 2009

The Democratic Party of Japan swept the lower house with 308 seats vs. 480 total, ending over 50 years of occasionally interrupted one-party rule by the LDP. This does get rid of the loathesome Taro Aso, known as Japan’s Dubya, to be replaced by the DPJ’s Yukio Hatayama.

The major problem is that no one knows what the DPJ stands for. A coalition of sometimes contradictory parts derived in large measure from LDP refugees, it has a vague platform that includes forcing the bureaucracy to implement policy decided upon by government and improving social benefits. The one major tangible plus is that it is less militaristic than the LDP had become. The one major minus is that it looks very much like the LDP did 30 years ago. If it’s the end of an era, it may be the 1970s, minus Ronald Reagan.

Posted in Japan | Comments Off on End of an era, sort of

“Tort Reform” Doesn’t Lower Health Care Costs Very Much At All

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 31, 2009

Jason Rosenbaum takes on the people who want to make sure you have no recourse if they screw you. That is, the “tort reform” astroturfers operating on behalf of big business. Check it out.

Posted in health care | 2 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 38

Posted by Charles II on August 30, 2009

I have been very much tied up, but will try to do an update late tonight.

RAJ has an answer to pro-coup partisans who don’t imagine that Americans have any idea what’s really going on in Honduras.

magbana at HondurasOye has discovered the Naumann Foundation, a German version of the National Endowment for Democracy (which devotes itself to undermining democracy), which Telesur mentioned some time ago.

Election season began. The Frente Contra el Golpe has threatened a boycott, but Carlos Reyes (independent) and Cesar Ham (UD) are candidates of the anti-coupistas, according to Tiempo. Elvin Santos will be the Liberal candidate and Porfirio Lobos the Nationalist. The pretend government says that Zelaya can return on in 2010.

Radio Globo is talking about Billy Joya, of the 3-16 batallion death squad. Juan Evangelista Lopez Grijalba (see also here and here), a colonel. Luis Alonso Morán Ñorel, ? Alvaro Ponce, Colonel Alexander Raimundo Hernandez Santos, and one other. There will be a march beginning at 8AM starting at the Universidad Pedagogica.

Adrienne Pine has been devoting effort to promoting the defense of Dario Euraque, a historian at Trinity College. The Hartford Courant has given him some considerable ink, which may help to spread the word that something is actually happening in Honduras.

Another source goes down: The TR-Honduras page has been suspended. My guess is that there is some cyber warfare going on. It’s a good time to make sure your software is up-to-date and that you don’t download anything you don’t absolutely need.

Brother John has an English translation of a statement by Franciscan Friars in Honduras. I have to say that statements like this remind me of the resistance song “No, no, no basta rezar. Hace falta muchas cosas para conseguir la paz.” The Sisters of Mercy (to whom Brother John also links) have more practical advice:

We urge the U.S. government to:

  • be unequivocal and very public in denouncing the brutal human rights violations committed by Honduran military and police forces;
  • cancel diplomatic as well as tourist and business visas for a broader group of those implicated in orchestrating or leading the coup;
  • freeze the accounts in U.S. banks of these same coup leaders; and
  • follow the example of other nations by recalling Ambassador Llorens until the legitimate president of Honduras is restored to office.
  • We also urge the Catholic community worldwide and all people of good will to strengthen international solidarity with the Honduran people, accompanying those whose basic human rights are being violated, advocating for a just and enduring resolution to this crisis, and addressing the many ways in which international greed for minerals and markets, wealth, power and control provide fertile ground for the suffering in Honduras. Long-term peace and stability depend on ensuring that the poor and marginalized sectors of society be included in the economic and political life of the country.

    At its heart, the Honduran coup (and all the violence against the leftists of Central and South America) is because some business owners refuse to provide fair pay, engage in abominable environmental practices, and otherwise don’t practice the Christianity which most of them profess. If these people were behaving even slightly along the lines Jesus instructed, there would be no left.

    Posted in Latin America | 6 Comments »

    In Other News, Sun Rises In East

    Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2009

    Scott Rasmussen is an unabashed Republican, yet — up until the latest election cycle — he generally played it fairly straight for a GOP pollster, in that while he had bias, it was predictable and consistent enough to allow one to adjust for it. You could take his numbers, shave off a point from the Republican and give it to the Democrats, and usually arrive at the truth.

    Not so this year. The gloves are off and Rasmussen’s thumb is now heavily, blatantly on the scale. Per Greg Sargent (via DKos’ Steve Singiser):

    But now take a look at the question wording:

    Suppose that Democrats agreed on a health care reform bill that is opposed by all Republicans in Congress. Should the Democrats pass that bill or should they change the bill to win support from a reasonable number of Republicans?

    24% They should pass the bill
    58% They should change the bill
    19% Not sure

    Fifty eight percent say Dems should craft health care in order to get support from a “reasonable” number of Republicans. Yet the poll also includes the amusing caveat that the pollster did not quantify what constitutes “a reasonable number” of Republican supporters. Clever, eh?

    A-yep. As Singiser points out, that’s not the only evidence of Rasmussen fudging their polls lately:

    Now, polling on health care has been all over the map, as Nate over at 538 pointed out earlier this week in a piece which attempted to address the common flaws which led to biased results.

    What is consistent about Rasmussen’s coverage of the health care debate is their incessant desire to frame the debate in ways designed to denigrate both the Congress and President Obama. One of the most insipid examples of this was a survey earlier in the week in which Rasmussen reported that two-thirds of voters believed that they understood the health care reform proposal as well, or better, than President Obama.

    Of course, there is objective evidence to prove that this poll is false. Indeed, in the recent poll conducted for AARP, just thirty-seven percent of Americans could correctly identify what is meant by a “public option”. Nearly one-half of voters either thought it was a total nationalized healthcare program, or admitted that they had no idea.  

    Asking voters how well they understand a certain piece of legislation is not unlike asking them if they are patriotic, or if they are middle class. The default answer is always going to be “yes”. Surely, Rasmussen must know this this, and just as clearly, they must have understood that the poll’s results were essentially meaningless. They ran with it, anyway, apparently more enthused at the prospect of taking another quick shot at the President’s knees than they were with actually divining public opinion on a sensitive issue like health care.

    There’s more at the post link. It’s truly amazing and will almost certainly be ignored by the GOP/Media Complex.

    Posted in health care, polls, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | Comments Off on In Other News, Sun Rises In East


    Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 29, 2009

    Unlike what the GOP/Media Complex is telling us, Teddy Kennedy was not going to trade away the public option. He’d already done all the compromising he planned to do, by giving up the push for immediate universal single-payer health care.

    David “Kagro X” Waldman suggested that, rather than naming a health-care bill after Teddy, we instead name the one thing he found to be non-negotiable, the one line in the sand he would not cross, for him. Thus, the public option is now “Tedicare”.

    Here’s the Tedicare logo, courtesy of the wonderful Rochelle Lesser:


    You can order coffee mugs and t-shirts with his image over at CafePress. Proceeds go to support Fire Dog Lake’s fight for the public option.

    Posted in health care, health issues, heroes | Comments Off on Tedicare

    Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 37

    Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2009

    I decided to improve on a very nice white rabbit that Bill Conroy put up. Unfortunately, I can’t get Narconews to post my comment. At any rate, if you want to follow the money down the Honduran rabbit hole, follow Bill Conroy as he follows the white rabbit.


    Hillary contemplates the burn rate on Honduran Forex reserves

    Rebelion has a 49 page compendium of stories from around the world about Honduras, put out by the Argentine Press Workers Union (UTPDA). This is an important document to read to get a sense of what Latin America sentiment is. While it reflects the worldview of the urban left, which is a minority, that worldview is grounded in history. Some of their assertions:

  • The point organization in the coup is UnoAmerica, which UTPDA calls an arm of the CIA
  • The US goal is to destabilize Venezuela, because it sees that as the center of anti-Americanism
  • The coup in Honduras is of a new kind, which might be called a “soft coup,” similar to what was done to Venezuela’s Chavez and Bolivia’s Morales.
  • Press concentration in the hands of an oligarchy is a crime against humanity, depriving millions of people of the comprehension necessary to make an informed judgment of events
  • In 2006, Former US Ambassador Charles Ford asked Honduras to provide asylum to terrorist Luis Posada Carrilles
  • Slightly off-topic. The twelve presidents of Unasur are demanding that the US not take on seven military bases in Colombia; they made it clear that the US presence worsens the drug problem. The US has no one to blame for this but itself. Without the backdrop of Honduras, it’s hard to see this sort of unprecedented unanimity among the leaders of South America. The bases will go in and create a generation of ill-will against the US.

    From Tiempo:

  • Micheletti sent three new proposals to the OAS
  • Micheletti denied radio reports that the military was preparing a countercoup
  • Micheletti complains that Zelaya wanted to put the image of a labor leader on the 1000 lempira bill
  • Demonstrations were peaceful, as protestors banged pots and blew whistles, but the Cobra units, um guarded the protestors in case they should take over of a location.
  • Thousands of students marched against required military service.
  • TeleSur:

  • Head of the General Assembly Miguel D’Escoto requested a special envoy to monitor humar rights
  • Zelaya will travel to Washington from Mon-Wednesday
  • Chancellor Patricia Rodas claimed that no fewer than 20,000 people mobilize themselves for the resistance every day in Honduras
  • Posted in Latin America | 3 Comments »

    Biggest Lie Yet

    Posted by MEC on August 28, 2009

    “The RNC doesn’t try to scare people.”

    No, it just makes shit up, in this instance claiming that the Demonrats would use voter registration info to deny health care to Republicans, and leaves it to people to decide for themselves whether to be scared.

    I don’t understand how those people continue to breathe. The very air must be ashamed to enter their lungs.

    Posted in Republicans as cancer | 4 Comments »

    Honduras Coup Act III, Day 36/Update2

    Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2009

    Update2: The State Department says:

  • A State Dept. official met with the coupista delegation, off-site
  • State has given the lead on responding to the coupista proposal to the OAS
  • There will probably not be a formal determination as to whether this is a military coup by Hillary until she returns from NY
  • However, State has already frozen all aid that would be frozen by a formal determination
  • OAS has nothing new on their site. However, AP is reporting that they said no deal to the coupista proposal. They also say that the determination of a coup would cut off $215 M of Millenium Challenge money. Bill Conroy has more detail on the money that is flowing.

    RNS reports that, based on publicly-available figures, Honduras has burned 15% of its foreign exchange reserves since the coup. That means that theoretically they could keep going for another year. Practically speaking… probably not that long. The former director of the Banco Central Edwin Araque Bonilla said that by December, the Honduran economy will be in free fall. (See here for a source. The drop may not be as precipitate as RNS thinks, since the recession is undoubtedly chewing away at reserves)

    Foreign Exchange reserves per La Tribuna
    (Image from La Tribuna)

    Sandra Cuffe has a report. The police detained and threatened the student and writer Ludwing Varela. Nadia Mendoza y Tania Mendoza were beaten and threatened.

    The coupistas are mounting another assault on the Zelayas claiming misappropriation of funds. Dona Xiomara is burning up a lot of time on Radio Globo explaining exactly how donated pharmaceutics, some of which were expired, were disposed of. I’m not sure if the two things are connected (probably not; the accusations against Zelaya is old). The sound on Dona Xiomara is awful, but the town they are talking about is Montana de la Flor.
    Update: Looks like Hillary is stalling through the weekend. FFFFFF

    Via Adrienne (please note: Chiquita sells a number of fruits and other products, not just bananas)

    (Image from the Boycott Chiquita website)
    I’m concerned that gorillas are getting a bum rap by being associated with thugs.
    As Magbana at Honduras Oye reminds us, today is demo day, with demonstrations scheduled for Tucson and Phoenix, Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Jose, Atlanta, and
    Detroit. There’s also a Chiquita Boycott movement.

    The Frente Contra el Golpe has issued a position paper rejecting elections (absent restoration of the constitutional order). There’s also a semi-humorous “When will you return, Mr. President?” After explaining the abuses of The Gang from an ant’s-eye view and calling the liberty of all of Central America as a “clown show,” it closes by saying, “And please be sure to bring us a souvenir.”

    Honduras Labor says that the regime is planning to stuff the ballot boxes on a massive scale and says that the 2005 election was manipulated, with roughly 800,000 votes left uncounted.

    From a translation of an e-mail by Alberto Edel Morales at Adrienne Pine’s blog:

    Jonathan Osorio, member of the resistance against the coup d’etat, university student and member of the National Federation of students of Honduras (FENAEH), was assassinated last night in Colonia Los Zorzales in Tegucigalpa, shot numerous times by hitmen driving on a motorcycle.

    RAJ has some media criticism worthy of a Robert McChesney, comparing the construction of the NYT vs. the Washington Post vs. AP articles on the Honduran regime’s offer to allow Zelaya to return (but not as president) and to obtain limited amnesty (but not against fabricated criminal charges) as concessions in negotiations. They’re also willing to have international observers for the elections.


    …the secretary general of the Organization of American States has rejected a proposal by the coup government that would allow Zelaya to return to Honduras. Under the plan, Honduras’s interim ruler, Roberto Micheletti, offered to resign and accept Zelaya back into the country—as long as the democratically elected Zelaya gives up his claim to the presidency.

    According to Tiempo, the town of Danli has declared itself a politics free zone. In other words, they will not allow elections.

    Pro-coup La Tribuna reports that Melvin Redondo, who negotiated the CAFTA treaty says that it can’t just be be suspended. While I suspect that he’s right, there’s nothing to prevent the US from invoking the obvious: there’s no Honduran government in Honduras, and hence the treaty has ceased to exist. Let the courts work it out. In the meantime, Honduran goods get treated the same as North Korean. The legitimate ambassador to the OAS (who La Tribuna calls the former ambassador), Carlos Sosa, has asked the OAS not to recognize elections

    Radio Globo is, alas, talking about “the Arabs and the Jews” who are concerned with their business interests to the exclusion of the problems of the Honduran people, illustrating the ethnic fractures noted on MercRising previously. A sub contractor of a company of the Elvin Santos family is protesting not being paid and calls them thieves. It sounds as if the occupation of the old presidential palace by INAH IHAH (Anthropology and History) is still on. Micheletti is unable to go out, because he’s in physical danger. Elvin Santos offers hunger and misery. They are cutting up the birthday cake in the presidential palace, and offering pieces to journalists.

    TeleSur says Uruguay ceased to recognize the Honduran ambassador.

    A car bomb was deactivated in front of a government building (the Technical Secretariat of Cooperation).

    I am not able to get Channel 36, but Radio Progreso is on. Mostly music. An editorial notes that the beatings, rapes, murders, and abuses have only strengthened the movement and promises that the leaders of the coup will end up in history’s trashcan. A professor Mejia says they are hoping that Hillary will respond this afternoon. Cultural celebration and memory of the history. A woman recalls the intervention of the 1980s and the role of John Negroponte in the death squads. Adolfo Ateno from Nicaragua: this fight places democracy across the continent at risk. A permanent sit-in in front of the US embassy in Nicaragua. In the center of Managua, a cultural celebration. A brief squib: Ramon Garcia is the 6th victim of the coup, died July 11. NotiNada #37 (news that we like. News for the rich). From the Dept. of Injustice, proudly coupistas. The best news: we will tax everyone on the tax rolls (taxer todo el censo). Musical noteCoupistas! Coupistas! Proudly coupistas! Musical note Well, I have to move on.

    Posted in Latin America | 4 Comments »

    Friday Cat Blogging

    Posted by MEC on August 28, 2009



    Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 2 Comments »

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