Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for September, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on September 25, 2009


Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 1 Comment »

Honduras Coup, Act IV, Day 4. State of Emergency. Call your congressman.

Posted by Charles II on September 24, 2009

Update2 (in progress)

Belen Fernandez, Narconews went with the pro-coupistas. She says the local press said there were 10,000 marchers and tells a very odd story about a man who put a rock in his pocket. Asked why he had done so, he said that the police had given it to him, and that he was an employee of the Jordanian consulate. She also says that marchers attempted to beg money for sodas from her.

Zelaya and the Auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa. Image from Tiempo
(Image of Zelaya and Bishop Juan José Pineda from Tiempo)

El Pais reports that the Security Council has decided to intervene and will meet tomorrow.

Brother John has a translation of a missive from the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copan.

On Radio Globo, there’s concern about Zelaya’s meeting with the presidential candidates, which the coupista press is spinning as dialogue. But since none of them are in power, it’s not dialogue about the current problem. The resistance, meanwhile, fears that it will be betrayed and that their dead and tortured will be forgotten. Interviews with Patricia Rodas and the Honduran Ambassador Eduardo Enrique Reina. The guys at Radio Globo sound like they’re a little punchy as Rodas reads a speech. A woman calls in and tells about people who have been injured and killed just this evening. The announcers talk about boys taken from their homes. Juan Barahona says they will not accept an abrazo with the golpistas [see the photo]. A lawyer says he thinks that Zelaya is abusing his position by holding a dialogue while imprisoned in the embassy.

The right-wing noise machine had everything lined up for the distribution of a CRS report that “proves” (if you read it selectively) that Zelaya was removed properly. It was apparently completed in August, released by Congressman Adam Schock today, and it’s promptly being pumped into the right-wing media.

Let’s start from the end of the report:
“removal of President Zelaya from the country by the military is in direct
violation of the Article 102 of the Constitution, and apparently this action is currently under investigation by the Honduran authorities.”

OK, so we know that one crime was committed in the course of doing “justice.” And there was probably another:
Although the National Congress unanimously approved an alleged letter of resignation by Zelaya, dated four days before his arrest, no mention of this letter was made in the Decree issued by Congress removing the President from office.”

Now, most of us would suspect that if a piece of evidence suddenly vanished, maybe it wasn’t quite kosher. And the fabrication of evidence in a legal case is a serious crime.

And there’s this really bizarre point: “The process at the Supreme Court did not continue due to the events that occurred after Zelaya’s arrest.” In other words, the case against him was not tried, and hence the process against him is incomplete.

But even the sentence that the right is quoting as vindication is very puzzling:
Available sources indicate that the judicial and legislative branches applied constitutional and statutory law in the case against President Zelaya [removal from office] in a manner that was judged by the Honduran authorities from both branches of the government to be in accordance with the Honduran legal system.”

Was there ever really any doubt that the Supreme Court and the Legislature acted as they saw fit? That’s what this sentence says. The problem is that in this whole sorry story, there is no hearing in which Zelaya is allowed to tell his story. The semblance of due process is used as a stage prop.

And that is a violation of international law.

And that is why every nation on earth has reacted against this.

Mark my words: everyone who wants an excuse to walk away from Honduras will use this report to do so– unless the report is swiftly and accurately opposed.

I hope that others with better legal knowledge will take this up.

Adrienne says that the Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa, Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle, went to the Brazilian embassy for talks. I hope these work out better than the talks with Vasquez.

Oscar, in a report at Adrienne’s, says that people are tense and that the probabilities of violence are rising, despite extraordinary discipline by the resistance. The rural areas are being drained of police, and the resistance may take over localities.

State’s latest Moment of Zen:

MR. KELLY: Latest on Honduras, okay. Can’t have a briefing without the latest on Honduras.

Well, as we said before, we are pleased that water and electricity has been restored to the Brazilian Embassy. In general, I think the situation – I hate to use a cliché – is calm but tense. There have been no clashes that we’re aware of. The government, I understand, has lifted its nationwide curfew, and so the U.S. Embassy has reopened for normal business. And I think that details are still being worked out regarding a mission by OAS foreign ministers to Tegucigalpa, and we expect in the next day or two to have further details on that.

QUESTION: Do you think Oscar Arias will be involved again?

MR. KELLY: I don’t know. I think what we’re – what they’re focused on is a group of foreign ministers from the OAS. We hope that President Arias remains involved.

QUESTION: Have you been in touch with Zelaya himself?

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure, quite frankly. I think that most of the contact has been between the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa and the Brazilian Embassy and President Zelaya there. But I’m not – I just don’t have the details of recent contacts.


QUESTION: What about the Security Council meeting? Did you decide on that?

MR. KELLY: No, that – we’re – again, we’re still consulting with our colleagues on the Security Council about putting that together.

According to a notice on the Radio Globo site, the Brazilian embassy has been “taken.” There is no confirmation of this. RNS tells me that the notice that “Tomada embajada brasilena” refers to the attack on the protestors a couple of days ago. According to Vos el Soberano, there is a plan to attack the embassy using people in white shirts.
Radio Globo is up, and the announcers are pretty wound up, but there’s no specific news. I can’t get Channel 36. They are now playing an interview with a woman whose house was invaded and she was attacked. OK: There is international press present at the embassy, so it doesn’t sound as if an attack has already taken place. But a man says that through the night they invaded houses surrounding the embassy, blasted the night with noise, and even threw rocks. An apparatus Netline (to block telephone lines) was used. [Netline sells these to block IEDs]… Juan Barahona is reported to have said that there are many wounded, including several who have required surgery. Radio Globo

There are terrible reports of deaths, including an eight year old who lived next to the Brazilian embassy and suffocated from the tear gas [I can’t find this report in El Nuevo Diario]. Via Adrienne, Tiempo reports an 18 year old was murdered by police for the crime of shouting “golpista.” The boy was nearly 100 yards away.

Honduras Coup 2009 has been following the story, appearing in pro-coup El Heraldo, of Romeo Vasquez visiting the Brazilian embassy (here and here), as well as a report in Tiempo of a meeting between COHEP (the business council) and Vasquez (here)

Marlin Oscar Avila says that prices at the supermarket he was at went up while people were shopping. Another post describes people beaten until their bones were broken.

The “white shirts” also turn out a crowd

(Image from La Prensa)

Posted in Latin America | 2 Comments »

The Truth About ACORN

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 24, 2009

The Old Redneck, with help from the Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson, provides a nice summary thereof:

— ACORN is not a criminal enterprise;
— The right has turned their guns on ACORN because it works for the poor and disenfranchised — whom the right wants to keep poor and disenfranchised; and,
— The legitimate media has failed in its coverage of ACORN.

Meanwhile, FOX and the filmmakers are about to get nailed for making illegal recordings in Maryland:

The crux of the lawsuit centers around a Maryland law which makes it illegal to tape someone without their consent – ACORN is alleging O’Keefe and Giles did so. ACORN is asking for $500,000 in damages to be awarded to each of the employees filmed by O’Keefe and Giles, and ACORN itself wants $1 million in damages.

I suspect that FOX is soon going to regret they ever heard the word “ACORN”.

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, Fox Noise, frauds, GOP/Media Complex, rightwing moral cripples | 1 Comment »

Why We Need a Public Option for Health Care

Posted by MEC on September 23, 2009

The White House has released a report about the steady increase in health-care costs. Since 1999, insurance premiums in Michigan have increased 88%. And that’s the lowest increase in the nation.

We desperately need an alternative to the for-profit insurance industry. It’s literally a matter of life and death.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, health care | 5 Comments »

Honduras coup, Act IV, Day 3. State of emergency. Call your congressman.

Posted by Charles II on September 23, 2009

The criminals remain in charge, but tomorrow is another day.
Read Laura Carlsen.

Zelaya wrote to the the UN requesting their support. The UN Mission in Honduras wrote an annoying little piece calling on both sides to show restraint and work toward dialogue.

Brother John got some well-deserved recognition in National Catholic Reporter:

“The issue is not Zelaya,” Donaghy told Catholic News Service in an e-mail Sept. 22, a day after Zelaya’s return. “It’s a system that has kept the poor down for years. Zelaya has been seen by many as a sign that someone in power cared for the poor.”

This was reprinted in American Catholic.

Nell says:

The shameful silence of our own government is now intolerable. If it continues through the end of this day, no one will be able to deny our complicity. There’s already a lot of blood on our hands; please read and act to prevent more.

It was written yesterday and she’s right.

The UN has ceased working with the Honduran electoral commision, saying that there are not conditions for a credible election, according to TeleSur.

Channel 36, amazingly, is back up and Globo is still on the air. Both are carrying complaints of police/military misbehavior, such as live ammunition fired. Channel 36 is showing the Cobras, a black-clad police unit. Then large marches, certainly thousands and probably an order of magnitude larger. Channel 36 accuses Miguel Angel Rodas, president of Conatel for sabotage against the channel. Radio Globo says masked men are at Colonia Kennedy. Five patrols in Colonia Morazan. The coup breaks in to announce the curfew is lifted at 6AM. The ambassador, Dr. Enrique Reina, calls in from Washington and says the resistance should stay strong. He says that the UN has pretty much guaranteed that the elections will not get recognition unless the coup is over and Zelaya is restored to power.

Arnulfo Aguilar, president of Radio One, accused the police of threatening to shut down his company. Black- and camouflage-clad police violently ejected people who had assembled to protect the radio, then tried to sabotage the electrical flow. They raised and lowered power levels to damage equipment. According to Aguilar, this strategy of damaging equipment is formulated inside the electrical company.

La Jornada had a piece by Reuters. It concedes one dead (presumably Francisco Alvarado) and says that helicopters buzzed the Brazilian embassy last night.

65 year old Francisco Alvarado, murdered by an M-16 when he tried to get some food from a local mart

(65 year old Francisco Alvarado, murdered by a shot to the abdomen from an M-16 when he tried to get some food from a local mart. Image from Tiempo)

Radio Globo and Channel 36 silenced? That’s what a headline atAdrienne Pine’s Quotha sats. Channnel 36 has been the target of attacks by government pirates. BUT– I am getting Radio Globo. Zelaya interview. Talking about Marcelo Chimirri and the “gray traffic;” I didn’t understand exactly, but it sounded as if he said the owners of telephone networks, including the most wealthy men in Honduras, created the gray traffic. In March/April, 2006 the coup planning began. Asking about inventory of weapons. Zelaya doesn’t know about that. He hopes that the UN will set an agenda. They ask Zelaya about the report that he will be killed if he resists, and captured if he doesn’t. He jokes about it, basically saying “que sera, sera.” People who leave the embassy are arrested. Ariana says a Martin Sanchez was taken in front of the national cathedral (and she reads more names). The sound cuts out. The police are not letting her say the names. The government inserts a message to the OAS saying foreigners, these events are not your business. It seems to me that the government is monitoring and effectively censoring the signal.

Adrienne headlines that journalist Gilberto Rios says that people in plainclothes in the march approved by the coup were armed and that they may attempt to burst into the Brazilian embassy.

Interamerican Center for Human Rights:

State agents threw tear gas canisters into the headquarters of the Committee of Relatives of Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), at the time that the organization was attending to complaints and witness statements by individuals injured during the repression.

Al Giordano, Narconews. Peru helping coup?:

In neighborhoods like Hato de Enmedio, where a majority of Honduras’ citizens live, you can also see in the video see that not even the main street in the barrio is paved. Many of the homes have dirt floors as well. And if a citizen is harmed by a robber or predator, you can call the police, but they won’t come. People who live in neighborhoods like this only see the police when they invade, like they did yesterday, to enforce an unenforceable curfew on people who, if they obeyed the curfew, would starve of hunger. A curfew is unsustainable on a people that live hand to mouth, day to day.

We can also see in that video the revelation that the tear gas canisters shot by the National Police yesterday were stamped as property of the government of Perú, suggesting strongly that Peruvian President Alan García is a participant in smuggling arms to the Honduran coup regime. Something he will now have to answer for to the Organization of American States in general, and his neighbor Brazil in particular.

The State Department helped some Zelaya staff leave the Brazilian compound.
The night was filled with gunshots, as Oscar documented for Adrienne. The “curfew” was lifted from 10AM to 4PM. Adrienne says that this is to stage a pro-coup demonstration.

Image by Paul Carbajal
(Image from Paul Carbajal at Adrienne Pine’s of captives from yesterday’s arrests)

Channel 36: Complaints of water having been shut off. Allegation that the sound weapon deployed by Honduran army was used by the US in Iraq and was banned by the United Nations; it is called LRAD and is intended to rupture eardrums and cause deafness. It is an illegal weapon of war. [LRAD does exist in a configuration that could be consistent with the device shown. There’s no question that some kind of sound attack was deployed yesterday. But I can find no evidence that this has been banned.] A complaint that in Travesia there has been no water and no cable since Sunday. Announcer: “Nothing’s happening here. It’s a paradise!” Channel 36 has been shut off in the state of Ocotopeque(?)

Brazilian newspaper The World: Lula drew strobg applause at the UN when he said that Zelaya must be returned to power. Zelaya alleged in an interview with TeleSurthat there was a plan to assassinate him.

Honduras Coup 2009 has several articles.
1. RNS: A spokesman for the military says it wants to talk, according to Tiempo.
2. RAJ rewrites AP mediawhore copy so that it resembles reality.
3. A report from the ground.

From Jeremy Kryt, Narconews:

The offices of the Committee for Detained and Disappeared Persons of Honduras (COFADEH) were attacked without provocation, when police fired tear gas canisters at the building.

“They want us to give up our investigations,” said COFADEH Director Bertha Oliva, “because they’re scared of the evidence we have against them.”…

Later that day, Oliva told me that COFADEH alone had documented 36 injured people on Tuesday, many bearing severe welts and scalp lacerations from police batons. She also reported at least two deaths. Congressman Ponce believes put the total number of wounded at 172. Independent reports indicated about 350 people were also arrested and detained in the Villa Olympica soccer stadium….

I spoke by phone with Father Andres Tamayo – Catholic priest, and leading figure in the anti-coup movement – who was trapped with Zelaya inside the Embassy. “There are police in front of the building, and all of the surrounding houses. The government is also listening in, and blocking our calls,” he said, just before the line went dead.

Posted in Latin America | 5 Comments »

Republican Priorities

Posted by MEC on September 23, 2009

Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) is sponsor of H.R. 3501: “Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act – Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax deduction, up to $3,500 per year, for pet care expenses (including veterinary care).”

When I first read about this, I was convinced it was a hoax. Everybody jokes about wishing they could declare their pets as dependents on their tax returns, right? But no, it really is a bill. Go to THOMAS, the Library of Congress’ legislative search engine, and search for H.R. 3501. There it is.

Meanwhile, what is Thaddeus McCotter’s position on enabling human beings to get health care? He’s not just against, he’s pushing the lie that Democratic efforts at health-care reform will lead to “government-encouraged euthanasia”.

Giving people a break on health care for pets? Good. Giving people a break on health care for people? Bad. Republican priorities. Republican lunacy.

Posted in Silly Republicans, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Honduras, Act IV, Day 2: State of emergency. Call your Congressman

Posted by Charles II on September 22, 2009

offline ca. 2AM Eastern
Radio Globo is up at 12:30 Eastern, but Channel 36 is not. A caller says that Colonia Kennedy looks like a war zone. Announcer: in Travesia, firing of live ammunition. In Colon, they have tripled the military presence near Silin. A text message: probable attack on the people occupying the LINA (agrarian) building. A caller says the cardinal should be called a “butcher” (the pun works in Spanish). A caller says that Red Cross buses were being used and that they are lying. Another caller claims that the military ambulances have been painted to look like civilian [this sounds unlikely].

Jesse Freeston (via Adrienne) answered my doubts about the Tiempo story saying Zelaya has rejected the “San Jose Accords” with film showing the Nicaraguan ambassador saying precisely this. Now, if Zelaya has changed his position, I can understand. It always seemed like an outrageous document that gave absolution to criminals. But I am surprised. His enemies will use this against him.

Brother Juancito has a piece worth reading:

The bishop noted that the Micheletti cup regime has become muy duro – very hard – and intransigent. He repeated a charge that he has made that he believes that the mining companies are behind the coup and had been paying congressmen. He said that the country has to seek more participation of the people in a country with more justice. He severely criticized the parties, allied with the elite, who deceive the people.

Adrienne has an unsourced report of Red Cross buses being used to transport arrested protestors to the Olympic Village open-air prison (which, as we recall, was where it was earlier reported that Israeli commandos were training Hondurans in terroristic techniques).

From Al Giordano:

Radio Globo now reports that the same Supreme Court that contorted the Honduran Constitution to create a legaloid curtain around the June 28 coup d’etat is now meeting to cook up its latest kangaroo jump: a court order to invade the Embassy – under International Law, Brazilian territory – to capture (or assassinate) President Zelaya….Further showing his grand commitment to “democracy” and law, Micheletti’s security forces are presently reading the search and seizure order through a megaphone to the Brazilian Embassy. It could be a bluff, but if Zelaya doesn’t fall for it (and The Field predicts he won’t), and the coup troops invade the Embassy, all hell is going to break loose on an international level, just as the United Nations General Assembly begins its most important session of the year in New York. …The coup regime thus, overnight, has lost any semblance of control of considerable tracts of urban Honduras. Tegucigalpa is beginning to look a lot like the city of Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006.

Honduras Coup 2009.
1. Confirmation that tear gas fell inside the Brazilian embassy; also that water, phone and electricity were cut. The coup also said that it could invade the embassy.
2. The actions against the Brazilian embassy are yet another violation of international law.
3. RNS The National Police are holding thousands of protesters in the Chochy Sosa baseball stadium in the Olympic village in Tegucigalpa according to Adrés Pavon, president of the Comité para la defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CODEH). He says “there are people being tortured, disappeared, and we are confirming the death of two people.”
4. Andres Pavon of CODEH (human rights) likened the confinement to concentration camps, with the wounded, old people and children thrown in with everyone else.

The Brazilian Globe has a pretty good account of events, with photos.
Contrary to boasts in the coup media, Tiempo says movement of people and cargo was paralyzed.
Porfirio Pepe Lobo threatened to withdraw his support for the coup if Micheletti refused to talk.
DemocracyNow transcript up.

New DK diary has been started by Robert Naiman.

Amazingly, Channel 36 is still broadcasting, sort of. Cops everywhere, teenagers throwing stones. massive amounts of teargas. The announcer says this occurred in “Lato”, people showing brass cartridges (implying live ammunition). Kids throwing tear gas canisters back. Announcer: Masked men are maintaining a ring around the Brazilian embassy for 3 km. A doctor said that 18 people in Hospital Escuela were treated for beatings. The streets were filled with abandoned vehicles, with broken windshields. The regime is saying that diplomatic immunity does not extend to protection of criminals, a clear threat to attack the Brazilian embassy. There are checkpoints in Tegucigalpa. Soldiers. Announcer: JM Insulza has not shown the intention of negotiation, but he will try to negotiate between Tuesday and Wednesday. He has asked for guarantees for Zelaya and the Brazilian embassy. JSKL radio (El Salvador) says that border crossings have been closed. Zelaya: The right to media is a fundamental right. The coup has demonstrated that it does not wish to talk. A call from New York comes in. Mrs. Zelaya: Things were tough this morning. At 5AM, they started with tear gas, with canisters landing inside the embassy. … I think she also said they are blocking food and medicine and that it’s like a war, with the troops firing without regard for whether they might hit women or children. No electricity. No food. No water. But somehow people are providing some basics. Some bread and cookies and water arrived, but not enough for the number of people. Masked people threw bombs. We are waiting for … sectors… who can start dialogue. Announcer: “Will be there be an intervention in the American, er… Brazilian embassy. ” Dpna Xiomara: I don’t think they’ll do it it right now. Channel 36 crash.

Tiempo says that hundreds of people dislodged from around the Brazilian embassy have gone to Colonia Morazan.

I can only get Radio Liberado. “This is what war is, and this is war against the Honduran people.” “We make an urgent appeal to anyone who is listening… they are hunting people who are in the street.” In Colonia Morazan (north central Tegucigalpa), tear gas seeping into houses, motorcycle patrols. The announcer is overcome by tear gas. Old women are not allowed to leave their homes. “Let Micheletti go to some other people. We don’t want him.” Another report from Colonia Viera, on the northeast fringe of Tegucigalpa. A Radio Globo person, Flora daughter of Dona Lydia. The cops were beating on a 14 year old boy. This link is playing Radio Globo. A report from Santa Barbara. Now in front of Brazilian embassy. And the stream is gone.

Adrienne (via Nell) gives a report that soldiers are surrounding hospitals (Hospital Escuela and Social Security) and seeking to disappear the wounded.


Today’s Tiempo finally woke up, and reports that the electricity, water, and phone service to the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa has been shut off by the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti.

Tiempo confirms 20 wounded and dozens detained, but does not confirm deaths as of 10AM.

Patricia Rodas and VP Aristides Mejia were supposed to give a report on what’s going on.

The OAS has condemnded the regime.
Looks like media is being heavily suppressed. Channel 36 appears to be offline, and Radio Globo is intermittent at best.

The most important news, from RNS:

The Micheletti regime, about 4 am this morning, violently dislodged the protesters outside the Brazilian embassy with tear gas, pepper spray and water canons. Radio Globo reports THEY SUSPENDED THE CONSTITUTION and declared a state of emergency. Among the rights suspended are the right of free circulation and assembly.

There are many people hurt, and reports of at leaast one death as a result. Update: Adrienne Pine, reporting that police are surrounding the hospital where the wounded were brought, says there were “17 critically injured patients (3 already dead)”. Vos el Soberano reports that the police have surrounded the hospital with the injured and are removing them to an unknown location.

From RNS:

Members of the union of electrical workers of the National Electric Company (ENEE) called in to Radio Globo to announce that the Micheletti government intends to cut electricity in the entire country today.

Also from RNS:

The owner of Radio Uno in El Paraiso, called in to Radio Globo this morning to report that last night his station was taken over by the military, that its employees were beaten, arms broken. This morning the military called him and told him he could have the station back and it could broadcast, but only if it did not mention Manuel Zelaya or anything about the events in Tegucigalpa.

We were fortunate to receive a very complete report from DemocracyNow this morning here. The main report of interest was that 500 people were violently removed using tear gas that penetrated the embassy.

Tiempo has barely updated: Lula of Brazil asks for peaceful solution.

Posted in Latin America | 2 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act IV, Day 1

Posted by Charles II on September 21, 2009

Enough for one day.


I wonder how the electrical cuts around the embassy are being taken by the diplomatic community, which tends to be very insular. There are four embassies, including Italy and Spain that are in the very near vicinity of the Brazilian Embassy, and the US embassy is 100 yards away, across Avenida de Proceres, close to France, Mexico, and Japan. I can bet that diplomatic spouses are going to be talking about that tomorrow morning, when the meet one another while taking the kids to school.

RadioGlobo is talking about the latifundio mediatica (the media plantation). Holy snikes! The government is hereby blaming Zelaya for any bad thing that happens in Honduras. Absolutely no shame! We have become a giant prison cell… They have cut the power around Radio Globo and around the Brazilian embassy. Zelaya gives an interview. He’s easy listening, but he’s not saying anything specific: I am a historical process…the Honduran public wants a good life…we want to participate…we don’t want to return to the age of the apes…. There were some serious moments, but I am always impressed by the capacity of politicians to make us love them without saying anything specific.

Al Giordano was interviewed by KPFA here. It has a 5 minute segment when one can’t hear anything except cheers and screams of joy. Dennis Bernstein of KPFA says that Zelaya’s mysterious companions were UN personnel. Giordano says the coup was a well-planned operation.

Tiempo has a very troubling article saying that Nicaragua’s ambassador to the OAS claimed that Zelaya rejected the “San Jose Accords.” Zelaya has consistently said that he supported them in principle. This looks like disinformation to me.

HondurasCoup2009 has some important reports
Raj has one on media suppression:

Various media have been silenced by having their electrical power cut. Radio Globo reports that Channel 36, Cholusat Sur, has no power and cannot get ENEE, the electric company, to respond to their phone calls. Channel 36 has no backup power. Radio Globo also reports that its power has been cut, but it has backup power for now, and it has put out a call for anyone with a spare generator and fuel to donate to them. In addition, they report that power has been cut to the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa.

ENEE has been taken over by the military according to the person who answered the phone when Radio Globo called.

I was able to watch Channel 36, but at this hour of night, the discussion on Radio Globo is more interesting.

RNS also reports that:

La Prensa reports on facebook that Alfredo SanMartín, director of Aviation, has cancelled all international flights until further notice. This, presumably, is in response to José Miguel Insulza’s announcement that he would travel to Honduras tomorrow. Last time, he came on a US Airforce jet that landed at Toncontin airport.

Callers to Radio Globo report that the military has set up checkpoints at the entrances to the city, and is blocking access to all buses but currently letting cars through.

There’s a presser (called a “camera spray”) with Clinton and Arias, and there’s this classic comment by Arias:

PRESIDENT ARIAS: I think this is the best opportunity, the best time, now that Zelaya is back in his country (inaudible) to sign the San Jose Accord. It’s all we have on the table. There is no B plan. And when we wrote this San Jose Accords, it was after listening to everybody (inaudible).

Perhaps the main difficulty has been for Zelaya to be accepted by the de facto government (inaudible) constitutional president of Honduras. But now that he’s back, we just have to put more pressure (inaudible) the whole world, the Europeans, and (inaudible) the U.S. has been very helpful (inaudible) a lot of pressure on the de facto government, as well as lot of Latin America. But I think it is now the right time for them to sign it.

Update 5:
(From Channel 36, which was forced to broadcast this) Micheletti is standing with the whole coupista establishment to give the whole world a giant finger. Adolfo Facusse, who couldn’t understand why the US would count him as a coupista was standing there. General Vasquez was there, too, so make no mistake: just because the military hasn’t been in the fray doesn’t mean it’s going to stay out. Micheletti: He was removed legally. Zelaya isn’t going to mess with our elections. All these countries aren’t respecting us!

I would say that Micheletti just set his country on the path to civil war. It’s going to be very distracting to try to govern while the real president is giving daily fireside chats.

Channel 36 says that beginning tomorrow, Micheletti will silence all media. For me it’s already happened. Channel 11 and 36 offline.


Mel returns

(Image from El Heraldo)

Interview with Zelaya on Channel 36. Now Zelaya talking into two telephones. The OAS is meeting. The session is being shown on Channel 36. Micheletti declares a 4PM-7AM curfew. Brazilian rep. backs up whatever Argentina said while the dictatorship was speaking. Venezuela’s ambassador says that before getting into the document, they should ask the dictatorship to guarantee Zelaya’s safety. US ambassador objects to what Argentina proposed; we need to recognize that the situation has changed significantly to bring the factions together [geez, this guy is delusional] because the presidential candidates and the Honduran Civic Union have supported it. Canada proposes to reference both earlier resolutions and San Jose Accords. The main debate seems to center around paragraph 3. The OAS


Radio Progreso is still on the air, reporting on the unfoldingsituation, despite a military attempt to shut them down 1/2 hour ago.The military vehicles were forced away by the masses of people who cameto defend the station. They expect them to return.

The State Dept. non-briefing

RAJ has been busy:
Two of the three cell phone networks have been shut down by the coup, leaving only Claro:

Meanwhile, with the curfew called for mere minutes from now, the real threat is violent repression of the multitudes around the Brazilian embassy.

And with the Armed Forces continuing to show signs of failing to understand the international context, the flyover of the Brazilian embassy earlier today raises a very real fear: will they attempt to storm the sovereign territory of Brazil to capture President Zelaya?

Via RAJ, the top banana republicans are apparently meeting. According to La Tribuna, Pretend-chancellor Carlos López Contreras, Imaginary vice-ministress Martha Lorena Alvarado, the chief malfeasor of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs Romeo Vásquez and the Resident Roberto Micheletti are urgently meeting to decide what the @!$& to do.

Press under attack

Cholusat reports being menaced with a takedown. Radio Globo is runningon backup power, and Adrienne Pine reports that Radio Progreso cited a military convey sent against them was repelled by citizens mobilizingoutside their station.


20 heavily-armed commandos at the home of a Radio Globo reporter

Military was not called out (except for aircraft buzzing Brazilian embassy)

Zelaya interviewed by La Jornada
The interview says Insulza wants to come to start the dialogue.

Update 3: Laura Carlsen has an excellent summary of events today. Al Giordano is liveblogging.

On Radio Globo, Maldonado says television was censored again today; this sounds like confirmation of Giordano’s assertion of streams being blocked. He gets excited by the images on Channel 11, I try to switch and get TV Shopping. Then, Zelaya! Very briefly! Camera panning madly! Then I try to get a screen shot and discover that Channel 11 has means to defeat that. A moment of history missed. Anyway, A press conference is coming up.
Update2: Al Giordano reports that the streams for Radio Globo and Channel 36, as well as cell phones, are being blocked. It could be just the overload of interested people, but the Honduran embassy site is failing to load, Tiempo has been struggling, El Libertador failed to load…. it’s hard to believe that this relatively small surge of interest could cause all of Honduran alternative media to fail without some outside assistance.

On TeleSur, the resistance leadership of San Pedro Sula says that they are going to Tegucigalpa.

I picked up Radio Globo at last, but it fades in and out. Juan Barahona comes up with a great word for the coupistas: Micheletti y su compinches. They are planning to bring the entire Honduran population to Tegucigalpa to squeeze the army out. Zelaya is on the balcony.
Update: Eighty seven days of resistance.

(Image from Brazilian government; this may be obsolete, since it does not resemble images on TeleSur)

TeleSur is broadcasting Micheletti denying that anything is happening. Then wild street scenes of celebration. Difficult to understand the broadcaster. Some thoughts: the fact that Zelaya returned makes the government look impotent and incompetent, and it reinforces the point that Zelaya is not afraid of judicial process: the coup is. Ian Kelly (Dept. State) makes another mealymouthed statement about speaking to both sides about avoiding violence. There are no soldiers or police evident in the TeleSur pictures. This is a very important signal IMO. People are dancing and giving abrazos. One leader tells TeleSur that this shows that “before divine justice, nothing is impossible.” Now TeleSur is saying that he’s in the Brazilian embassy. From the interview of him, it sounded like he arrived two hours before the announcement, or roughly 10AM Eastern. How is the army reacting? Unknown. But now the cops are beating people up. Footage from Channel 6. Helicopters overhead. Zelaya gives an interview, but of course he’s not being very specific. Dialogue.

The Brazilian embassy is in the northeastern suburb of Colonia LaraReforma, according to Google. The UN building is a little to the southwest of that in Colonia Palmira. Both are north of Bulevar Morazan.

Enrique Flores Lanza of the presidential office tells Tiempo that Zelaya’s return was an internationally-coordinated operation; Hugo Chavez said that Zelaya “crossed mountains and rivers” “risking his life” with four (unstated) companions. Tiempo also says that Channel 36 has talked to Zelaya.

Confirmed by TeleSur

Does this mean I can get my life back?

I don’t know if it’s true. They won’t say where he is, but Radio Globo is dead serious. And, predictably, the stream crashes. Over on Channel 36, there is a mass with Father Tamayo. No indication that they have this news. I milk out a few words from Radio Globo before it crashes, and it sounds as if he is in a building, presumably in the capital or a major city, and Radio Globo is calling for citizens to surround the building and protect him. OK: they say it’s a UN building and that this was done with a plan by the UN. TeleSur has no video, but Hugo Chavez is talking to Zelaya and apparently Dona Xiomara. God bless, a kiss, and for the kids, among the things he says to Dona Xiomara. And now what, Mel? Si. No. All those are your soldiers. The kids are going to applaud you (kids dutifully applaud). He tells a wildly heroic (and improbable) (and probably technically accurate) tale of Zelaya crossing mountains etc to arrive in Tegucigalpa. The embassy is at your service. All of us are at your service. . The announcer says that he took a two-day overland trip to arrive. Patricia Rodas speaks. I switch to Channel 36, get a brief moment to see that they’re carrying the same signal as TeleSur, and then that crashes. I can’t get even TeleSur to load. CNN en Espanol is talking about the price of fruit. And we wonder why we’re losing influence in the world. So frustrating to have waited so long for this day and to be unable to hear or see what’s happening. Radio Progreso is playing bouncy music; no news. Channel 11: soap opera. Cadejo04 has a diary on DK.

Oy! Vos el Soberano is reporting that, on an interview on Univision, Obama has refused to rule out recognizing the winner of the pretend-elections, saying that support for the Arias plan is enough to validate the process.

Frente spokesman Jose Luis Baquedano stated that members of the Israeli army are training soldiers and policement of the coup. The training is supposedly taking place in Gymnasium #1 in the Olympic Village. They are planning to create chaos and disorder in the marches in order to justify repression, he says. The Frente has, the article says, previously denounced supporters of Tegucigalpa mayor Ricardo Alvarez for serving as agents provocateur. They have handed over people possessing firearms and construction explosives. Baquedano is a congressional candidate for PINU-SD.

The Louisiana Association of Hispanic Journalists and Writers has supported Channel 11 against the assault. Isn’t there any other journalistic association that thinks that sending masked paramilitaries to rip down antennas is not a good thing?

Posted in Latin America | 12 Comments »

A Ruling for Democracy

Posted by MEC on September 21, 2009

The Indiana Court of Appeals has struck down that state’s law requiring voters to show photo IDs to be allowed to vote. The ruling says that the law violates Indiana’s constitution by not treating all voters impartially.

The article briefly mentions other states that have imposed this 21st-century poll tax on impoverished and elderly voters. Specifically, Mississippi Republicans are leading a campaign to collect signatures for a petition to put voter ID on the 2010 Mississippi ballot. Assuming that only registered voters are eligible to sign such a petition, I wonder whether the people collecting the signatures require signers to show government-issued picture ID before signing.

Posted in voting rights | 3 Comments »

House Moves To Extend Unemployment Benefits

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 21, 2009

A wise move:

A bill offered by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and expected to pass easily would provide 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for more than 300,000 jobless people who live in states with unemployment rates of at least 8.5 percent and who are scheduled to run out of benefits by the end of September.

The 13-week extension would supplement the 26 weeks of benefits most states offer and the federally funded extensions of up to 53 weeks that Congress approved in legislation last year and in the stimulus bill enacted last February.

People from North Carolina to California “have been calling my office to tell me they still cannot find work a year or more after becoming unemployed, and they need some additional help to keep their heads above water,” McDermott said.

Oh, and the bill won’t add to the deficit as it extends for a year the federal unemployment tax of $14 per employee per year that employers have been paying for more than 30 years. It also requires better reporting on newly hired employees to reduce unemployment insurance overpayments.

Posted in Democrats, Democrats with spines, doing the right thing, financial crisis, Good Things | Comments Off on House Moves To Extend Unemployment Benefits

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