Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for August 24th, 2009

New Toy from NY Fed

Posted by Charles II on August 24, 2009

See who is going broke! (via Calculated Risk). Mortgage delinquencies, auto loans, bank cards– all in an easy-to-use color-coded chart here.

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Honduras coup, Act III, Day 32/update 2

Posted by Charles II on August 24, 2009

Update2: There are signs that as soon as the OAS is out of town, the repression will escalate. First, according to HondurasOye, damage at Cholusasat is so serious that they may be off the air for days or weeks. Radio Globo is broadcasting on a backup. Eliminating opposition media is an essential first step for tyrants who want to abuse human rights with impunity. Second, Honduras Oye has an alert by Felipe Stuart C that was posted Monday AM, stating in part:

Today, at 7:41 AM local time, the capital finds itself militarized and there are reports of strong military contingents in the roads leading out of interior cities to the capital. Incoming routes are also covered with army check barriers.

::Musical noteNo, no, no basta rezar
Hace falta muchas cosas para conseguir la paz::Musical note

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Update: Tiempo says that masked men entered Radio Globo and Channel 36 and threw liquids in the transmitters, damaging them and knocking them off the air. Radio Globo is very much on the air. I am not able to bring channel 36 up. According to TeleSur, this happened last night. On Radio Globo, the discussion suggests that the liquid was acid.

Image of Channel 36 from TeleSur (Image from TeleSur)

A commission of 90 European Parliamentary deputies said that they would not accept a government that attempted to replace the democratically elected one. This is potentially important news. While the European Parliament is not truly representative of opinion inside the constituent countries, and while 90 deputies is only 10% of the total, the very fact that the issue has penetrated that far is a good sign.

The Mexican chancellor Patricia Espinosasays that the coup menaces democracy throughout the region.

Taxi drivers who are seeking the payment of a ($474 in Tegucigalpa and $263 elsewhere) fuel subsidy offered by Zelaya (but withheld by the coup) engaged in blockades in Tegucigalpa and were hassled by the police. What the police actually did is unclear.

Mark Weisbrot had an interesting piece in The Guardian a few days ago:

A few days ago, an official of the Zelaya government told the press that this plane actually stopped at the Palmerola airbase in Honduras, home to 600 US troops, on its way out of the country. According to the Associated Press, the official offered this as evidence that the US was involved in the coup. US officials declined immediate comment, but later followed up with a statement that the US “had no knowledge or part in the decisions made for the plane to land, refuel and take off.”

This does not seem to be a credible story. To believe this denial, we would have to believe that the US military has such complete confidence in Honduran security that it allows them to monitor and control the airspace over this base where 600 US troops are stationed, as well as takeoffs and landings – without any involvement of US personnel. A tough swallow, especially given the post-9/11 concerns about terrorist attacks against US military personnel stationed abroad.

The one thing we can be pretty sure of is that no major US media outlet will look further into this matter.

On Radio Globo: The anti-coup Congressmen issued a communique affirming their loyalty to LP principles and re-affirming their rejection of the coup.

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As mentioned yesterday, a letter from President Zelaya (or, more accurately, attributed to Zelaya’s cabinet and dated 8/17: thanks for delicately pointing these things out, RAJ) to US Ambassador Hugo Llorens expressed in frank terms frustration with the US over its ambiguous (duplicitous) policy toward the legitimate government.

But there’s a very good reason to think that the (unsigned) letter was written by Zelaya himself: the letter, which circumspectly uses the third first person plural slips into first person singular, saying “Also, I haven’t seen the coupistas regretting anything. The only laments I hear are of the Honduran people, to which you and your government have turned a deaf ear [lit: have made your ears deaf].” While the bulk of the letter could have been written by someone else–indeed, it lacks the evangelical language into which Zelaya often lapses–that shift into the first person singular voice is characteristic of someone passionately engaged in an issue.

Yet remarkably, this letter has been out there apparently for six days without any discussion that I am aware of. Added: RAJ tells me that there are some doubts about the provenance of the letter.

Radio Globo: A demo walking on Central American Blvd. Juan Barahona: No one is surrendering. We will never renounce the fight. (Spanish Judge) Baltazar Garzon is here, as well as Insulza. So expectations are high. The resistance is getting stronger every day [stream gets interrupted]. Wednesday, a car caravan.

 ::Musical noteHonduras, el pueblo esta contigo::  ::Musical note::

Alberto Gutierrez: [stream gets interrupted] at the National Agricultural Institute is the only institution in the coupista government [where there has been an occupation]a colonel Rodriguez I was talking to him and he was upset [stream gets interrupted] 230 people in this building. We won’t have serious difficulties. We’re ready for whatever happens. They asked me where does Concha X live, where is Daisy Y? [stream interrupted] This institution belongs to us, the farmers. [stream interrupted]. Carlos Paz in front of the hotel where the chancellors are: [very difficult to follow] The leadership of the anti-Coup front (or at least the Congressmen) has been invited. Interviews. The commission doesn’t have the solution to this problem at hand. Hondurans have to solve it. [and with that I have to move on.]
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Posted in Latin America | 6 Comments »

Williams 1, Chomsky 0

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 24, 2009

One of the more depressing things of the late 1990s was watching the far left make common cause with the far right over Kosovo, in large part because both groups insisted that any action undertaken by Bill Clinton was flat-out wrong no matter what.

Recently, Ian Williams reminded us all that Noam Chomsky claimed and still claims that the US and NATO air raids were the cause of the worst ethnic-cleansing bouts of Slobodan Milosevic. Professor Chomsky did not take kindly to this and in turn accused Williams of having blood on his hands. Williams was allowed to respond, and does so thus:

One can certainly accuse the West of neglecting the plight of the Kosovars, but it was Milosevic and his regime that deprived the Kosovars of their rights and then began to kill and deport them. It was that regime that had recently killed up to 8,000 Bosnians at Srebrenica, whose dismembered and reburied bodies are still being found. There was no NATO bombing to blame for that rather shameful inaction.

In fact, faced with that cold-blooded massacre, NATO leaders had every reason to fear the worst in Kosovo.

I would recommend that Chomsky read the judgment of the UN war crimes tribunal, after it had considered the evidence of 113 witnesses for the prosecution and 118 for the defense, not to mention tens of thousands of pages of documents submitted by both sides. It found five Serb officials guilty of the “criminal enterprise” that he attributes to NATO. It concludes that “the direct testimony from many witnesses demonstrates that the Kosovo Albanian population was fleeing from the actions of the forces of the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] and Serbia, rather than the NATO bombing and the KLA.”

For a flourish that should excite some indignation, the report added that “there is no doubt that a clandestine operation consisting of exhuming over 700 bodies originally buried in Kosovo and transferring them to Serbia proper took place during the NATO bombing” and adds that the “great majority of the corpses moved were victims of crime and civilians, including women and children.”

As Williams states, Chomsky, like many of the far left, “betrays a persistent Manichaean worldview in which the United States is always the source of evil in the world”. The truth is a bit more complex. Not everything the US does is wrong, and not everything its enemies does is right. Giving in to the urge to put things in black-and-white framings sets one up for making egregious errors, and for being bamboozled.

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