Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August 2nd, 2009

Turn out to town halls

Posted by Charles II on August 2, 2009

Lee Fang, ThinkProgress (via t/o):

This morning, Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being harassed by “angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior” at local town halls. For example, in one incident, right-wing protesters surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety.

This growing phenomenon is often marked by violence and absurdity. Recently, right-wing demonstrators hung Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) in effigy outside of his office. Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms.

The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress

How contemptible is a movement when its objectives are:
Artificially Inflate Your Numbers
Be Disruptive Early And Often
Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate.

Maybe it’s good training for Democrats who need a spine to figure out what they believe in.

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, health care, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 3 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 11/updated

Posted by Charles II on August 2, 2009

Update2: Machetera has the second part of the series on Otto Reich up. This part goes into the allegations related to Hondutel. The basic story comes down to whether Hondutel was receiving what it should have from US companies using its services, or whether bribes were paid to attain discounts. A Reich protege, Robert Carmona-Borjas (head of the non-profit Arcadia) alleged that the director of Hondutel, Marcelo Chimirri Castro (a nephew of the First Lady), had accepted payments through his company, Inverchicas, costing Hondutel $48M. Carmona-Borjas also alleged that the death of Alejandro Laprade Rodriguez, a computer technician, was to silence him because he had a “49 minute tape recording which he claimed was proof of an extortion attempt by Hondutel employees.” Carmona-Borjas further claimed that Laprade Rodriguez said he had a tape of Chimirri Castro confessing to giving improper discounts. In April, 2009, the Southern District of Florida levied a $2M fine against a company called Latinode for paying bribes to people who were supposed to bribe Hondutel employees. There is no proof that the bribes were ever paid. In the aftermath of the coup, the faux government rounded up a number of people, including Chimirri Castro, and jailed them. They have also requested Interpol warrants. That’s the bare bones of Machetera’s post. I recommend reading the whole post to get a deeper sense of how these sort of allegations are used routinely to discredit left-wing politicians, eliminate state ownership of telephone systems, and thereby attain the power to wiretap.

RadioGlobo is playing the death march over the death of a teacher (I think Roger Vallejo). Some jackass called in to blame the demonstrators for demonstrating in front of armed troops, and the host asked him why are the troops armed in front of demonstrators who are not? The next caller said, if you get other callers like that, hang up on them.

The completely unreliable Radio America says that Zelaya has left his hotel in Ocotal, Nicaragua. According to Tiempo, Spanish vice president Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega arrived in Costa Rica for a fact-finding tour of Honduras.

Via Narconews, Albor Ruiz writes in the NY Daily News:

Vallejo Soriano wasn’t the first victim of “golpista” violence according to Dr. Luther Castillo, 33, director of the Luaga Hatuadi Waduheñu Foundation, a group that brings vital health services to isolated indigenous coastal communities. He left Honduras eight days ago with five other community leaders to “educate the world about ‘el golpe.'”

“We have denounced many extrajudicial executions,” said Castillo.

According to Castillo, in addition to Isis Murillo, a teenager killed July 5 at the airport waiting for Zelaya’s return, there have been other deaths that can be directly attributed to the Micheletti regime.

“On July 2, Gabriel Pino Noriega, from San Juan Puebla, was murdered; on Saturday, July 11, Roger Iván Báez, was shot while entering his home in San Pedro Sula; July 12, Ramón García, a ‘campesino’ leader, was also killed. And there are many more,” he said.

Update: In the complex web of relations that is involved in the US apparently passively participating in the Honduran coup, the following development could have significance: Telesur reports that the Brazilian chancellor has challenged the US and Colombia on why they want to establish major bases in the latter country. While the effect depends on who wins the next Brazilian elections in 2010, Lula’s doing good and his Labor Party successor should have a tailwind.

RAJ brings to attention this article on the website of the University of Costa Rica. Mining companies, international fast food, radio chains and banking enterprises were among those threatened by any change in the status quo. There is corruption between these groups, the department of justice, and the Supreme Court, which is named by the Congress. Most Hondurans are incommunicado, because the media doesn’t inform them and they don’t have access to the Internet (62% of poor households have no access). RAJ adds the important point that a major motivator of the coup is suppression of cross-cultural organizing. The appearance of groups from civil society representing African Hondurans and indigenous peoples, and most especially their working together frightens the h–l out of the ruling elite.

Another light day for blogging.

Bill Conroy reports that:

Lanny Davis, a long-time doorman for the Clinton agenda, has an interesting bedfellow in his latest lobbying assignment on behalf of the business interests behind the illegal putsch regime of Honduras.

Davis, a lawyer, neo-liberal Democrat and now a lobbyist employed by the D.C. office of global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, was recently retained by the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL in its Spanish initials) to hawk for the coup interests in Honduras,

A sister business coalition of textile manufacturers and exporters with common leadership to CEAL, the Asociacion Hondureña de Maquiladores (AHM), however, is looking to the other side of the U.S. political landscape for its lobbying push in Washington, D.C., and has recently retained a George W. Bush-era neoconservative named Roger Noriega.

He then points out that what Noriega may be violating the letter of the law on foreign lobbyists.

Adrienne has film of a police shooting. Looks completely unprovoked.

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 11/updated

The Dale Carnegie School of International Affairs, Iran Edition

Posted by Charles II on August 2, 2009

A fascinating unbylined story in the London Independent:

  • An adherent of Moqtada al-Sadr says that the Iranians are convinced the British are funding Khuzestani separatists
  • This is part of the secret war against Iran described by Seymour Hersh
  • The separatists are accused of bombings against civilians which in the last two years have killed 28 people and wounded 225
  • “in May this year [there was discovery] of an explosive device in the toilet of an Iranian plane flying out of Ahvaz with 131 people on board which was defused before it blew up”
  • The source said that British computer expert Peter Moore and his four bodyguards were abducted by an Iranian backed group, Asaib al-Haq
  • Minor problem for the British: the US is holding the people that the Iranians want in return for Moore
  • It’s just amazing what American newspapers don’t tell us.

    [Edited slightly for clarity late afternoon, 8/2]

    Posted in international, Iran, terrorism | 2 Comments »

    Cash For Clunkers A Rousing Success

    Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 2, 2009

    A Siegel points out the following facts about what a mere $1 billion has done for the US economy:

    # 79% of clunkers being traded in so far are SUVs, trucks and vans with over 100,000 miles

    # 84% of the new vehicles purchased are passenger cars

    # Clunker consumers are getting an average 69% MPG improvement, which will result in an average savings of $750 in gas bills per year

    # During the week that the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program was launched, GM’s small car sales increased 54.8 percent over the preceding week

    # The leading Ford vehicle being purchased under the program is the 28 mpg Ford Focus at nearly 30 percent of all Ford sales

    # Toyota reports that 78% of their Cash for Clunkers volume were the Corolla, Prius, Camry, RAV 4 and Tacoma, with a resulting average of 30 mpg

    # Hyundai is reporting a 59 percent increase in fuel economy compared to the old vehicle—which averaged 140,000 miles

    In other words, even without heavy incentives to do so, the people taking advantage of C-for-C aren’t replacing old guzzlers with new guzzlers, but with new non-guzzlers. That alone will help the environment, as less fuel used means less emissions out the tailpipe. 250,000 clunkers got taken off the streets, replaced by vehicles that are much more efficient and giving both auto makers and auto dealers a much-needed shot of cash at just the right time.

    The program is so successful that, as we all know by now, it ran out of money — but Congress is poised to inject another $2 billion into it. This is very, very good news.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

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