Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for August 8th, 2009

America’s Senator gets his own show

Posted by Charles II on August 8, 2009

Unfortunately, it’s not on the networks. It’s on the Internet. But it’s weekly.

Here’s the announcement.

Posted in Good Things | 1 Comment »

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 16

Posted by Charles II on August 8, 2009

Update: There are three posts up on the Narcosphere.
Al Giordano has a piece that links an interesting film, Bringing down a Dictator.

Part II of Al’s series talks about the economic impact of the coup. It gives more depth on Elvin Santos and his run-in at the university. The police have gained enormous leverage over the coup government and have extorted one pay rise already. Since the coup is short on cash, this creates a squeeze. Further, the oligarchs are trying to set up the military as scapegoats, which gives the military a good reason to start negotiating with Zelaya. Al thinks that the collapse of the coup will require the expulsion of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Convention that Zelaya asked for. I think he’s way too optimistic.

The final piece is by Belén Fernández, who will be NN’s representative in Honduras, now that Al has returned.

Laura Carlsen has an impressive post on Zelaya’s comments on the situation, made during his recent visit to Mexico. It’s so good that I won’t excerpt it: just go read it. I will say that his comments seem particularly relevant to another country run by an oligarchy, with a progressive president but an entrenched reactionary political apparatus hell-bent on preventing reform.

Adrienne Pine and colleagues have started a petition. The appeal reads:

Following the military coup that ousted constitutional president Manuel Zelaya on June 28th, 2009, the de facto regime has committed countless violations of human rights, including assassinations, torture, and disappearances. Facing near-universal international condemnation as well as a growing internal movement of Hondurans demanding democracy, the de facto regime has turned increasingly repressive. On Wednesday, August 5th, riot police attacked students peacefully protesting at the national university (UNAH) with teargas, gunshots, and batons, and beat faculty and administrators who attempted to negotiate, including Rector (Chancellor) Julieta Castellanos.

We are asking academics in the U.S. to sign on to this Petition

One of our commenters, David Brookbank, posted a piece in the previous thread that reminded me of this old Lloyd Grove piece, which Scoobie Davis has thoughtfully preserved (since the Washington Post has apparently hidden it):

After he narrowly lost a 1976 House race [for slightly fudging his resume, Lanny] Davis, 51, began evangelizing for the motivational door-to-door distribution company, which markets everything from toothpaste to telephone service. A prominent Maryland lawyer-lobbyist, who refused to speak for attribution, recalled that Davis once invited him to lunch to discuss a “business opportunity.”

“We didn’t order yet when he started talking, and it was like a switch went on,” the lobbyist recounted. “He asked, `Are you interested in making more money?’ Well, what lawyer isn’t? `Do you want to be in control of your destiny?’ And I go, `Wait a minute, Lanny — is this an Amway pitch?’

There has to be a brilliant piece of Photoshop art to be made from this story.

Tiempo did an interview of Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga in which he emphatically denies being in favor of the coup. Yet he calls the expulsion of Zelaya an “exit”… he says that the peaceful march to the air force base to get the ballots for the poll on holding a ConCon was an “assault”… he accuses Zelaya of conducting class warfare as if the upper classes are not devastating the poorer ones…he says that the people are wounded and beaten by the words of Chavez even as they are being wounded and beaten by the army.

Chavez called this guy the emperor’s parrot and a clown dressed as a cardinal. He was being too kind. The bizarre claims Rodriguez Maradiaga makes are sociopathic.

But the Cardinal does make specific allegations that, while I expect that they are baseless, deserve mention and investigation. He alleges that the money to be used on the survey was excessive and therefore he thinks it was to be used to buy votes. He alleges that there is film of government employees taking 40 million lempiras (2.1 million dollars) from the Banco Central de Honduras and he asks why they aren’t using checks. He says that at the hotel of Rixi Moncada, formerly head of the Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica, ENEE, they found 250,000 lempiras ($13,200) and that the serial numbers matched what was removed from the bank. The account of this latter allegation in El Heraldo is here. Strangely, the police didn’t notify the district attorney of their discovery of the money. Not so strangely, Interpol is not honoring their arrest warrants.

Adrienne Pine has a translation of news from Oscar. People continue to march. And then there’s this interesting paragraph:

At the political level several high-level and ongoing meetings are taking place. Yesterday it was confirmed to me that ex-ambassador Crescencio Arcos was in Honduras (far from the media), and had arrived to meet in secret with the millionaire architects of the coup. His presence in the country is no coincidence, it demonstrates that the dark sectors of the country still maintain strong ties with personalities like Negroponte, who seems to be Otto Reich’s boss. It is still difficult to unravel the plotting of the coup, but there is no doubt that it extends beyond the gardens of the bourgeois residential districts of Tegucigalpa. What is important to note is a certain change in the business leadership of the country, which is beginning to speak of the necessity to seek a quick way out of the crisis and have now begin to blame the Armed Forces for having acted improperly in the case of Mel Zelaya. We wanted them to prevent socialism, said Adolfo Facusse, but it was a mistake to take him out in that way.

Nell provides a link to a piece on the self-censorship of the Honduran press. There has been extensive repression against the media, including:

  • death threats against the owner of El Libertador, Jhonni Lagos
  • the murder of a radio station employee, Gabriel Fino Ortega
  • the arrest of a cartoonist, Alan McDonald
  • the closure of Channels 8 and 36 and radio stations El Progreso and Radio Globo (the radio stations were later re-opened)
  • the jailing of radio presenter Romel Alexander Gomez
  • The labor union SITRAPANI was machine gunned on August 6th.

    Robert Naiman at DK makes the case that the coup was caused by Zelaya raising the minimum wage.

    Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 16

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