Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for October, 2009

Honduran Coup, Act V, Day Twelve: Reading The Fine Print

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 31, 2009

Al Giordano’s Narco News, thanks to cadejo4, has an English translation of the agreement between elected president Manuel Zelaya and pretend president Roberto Micheletti.

What is particularly interesting — to me, anyway — is to see just how much the coup plotters fear the expression of the public will in any setting other than one that they utterly control. The golpistas insisted upon, and got, a clause forbidding Zelaya from holding so much as a non-binding opinion poll for the rest of his short time in office (which is bizarre, as the Constituent Assembly for which he was pushing would have happened well after he’d left office anyway). But just because he’s not allowed to push for a National Constituent Assembly, doesn’t mean nobody else can. Here’s a statement from the National Resistance Front Against the Coup d’Etat (English translation provided by Giordano):

1. We celebrate the coming restitution of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales as a popular victory over the cruel interests of the golpista oligarchy. This victory has been won through more than four months of struggle and sacrifice by the people, that in spite of the savage repression unleashed by the repressive corps of the state in the hands of the dominant class has known how to resist and grow in conscience and organization becoming an uncontainable social force.

2. The Dictatorship’s signature on the document that establishes “the return of the executive branch to its status prior to June 28” represents explicit acceptance of what in Honduras had been a coup d’etat that must be removed to return to institutional order and guarantee a democratic environment in which the people can make use of its right to transform society.

3. We demand that the agreements that are signed at the negotiating table be ratified expeditiously by the National Congress. In that sense, we alert all our compañeros and compañeras nationwide to join in the pressure actions so that the document is complied with immediatley.

4. We reiterate that the National Constituent Assembly is an absolute aspiration of the Honduran people and a nonnegotiable right for which we will continue struggling in the streets, until achieving the refoundation of society to exist in justice, equality and true democracy.


Tegucigalpa, M.D.C. 30 de octubre de 2009

This isn’t over, folks. Not by a long shot.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 1 Comment »

My, My

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 31, 2009

The Minnesota Independent’s Paul Schmelzer catches the Star Tribune scrubbing a key fact from a story on a local bank closure — Mary Kiffmeyer, former Minnesota Secretary of State and righteously loony person, is the president and director of the corporation that controlled that bank.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, Minnesota | 2 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day Eleven: Deal Or No Deal?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 30, 2009

Well, coup lobbyist Lanny Davis‘ good friend (and our current Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton says that it’s all over. Like Quotha, I have my doubts about that. In exchange for having sanctions dropped, Micheletti and his gang aren’t being made to give restitution to the TV and radio stations they plundered, much less to the untold hundreds murdered or wounded by golpistas over the last four months.

UPDATE: And Al Giordano, reading the fine print, points out the little stalling trick the coup leaders will use to get around allowing Zelaya back into office:

But Micheletti’s claim that a Congressional vote to restore Zelaya would require Supreme Court authorization is a flat out lie, according to a source with Zelaya inside his Brazilian Embassy refuge in Tegucigalpa: “That is what the golpistas have put out, but that is NOT the accord… The Supreme Court gives its non-binding opinion to the Congress, but the key is that all of this takes time, time that the golpistas want to keep taking.”

While there is some healthy distrust already over whether Congress will gin up on its end and really vote to restore Zelaya, that probably will be easier to accomplish than many believe. Two words: Pepe Lobo. The National Party candidate for President, Lobo is leading in the polls. He obviously wants very much for the November 29 “elections” to become internationally recognized elections. His party holds 55 of 128 seats in Honduras’ unicameral legislature, just ten short of a majority. There are at least 22 Liberal Party members that have publicly indicated they want Zelaya back as president, plus 11 minor party legislators most of whom are likely to go along with such a deal. Faced with such a patchwork majority, look for most of the 62 Liberal Party members in Congress to fold and go with the flow. The Congressional vote is not likely to prove a stumbling block to implementing this agreement.

The real problem could be the authoritarian Supreme Court. Micheletti’s invention of a non-existent clause in the agreement, one that requires the court’s approval of it, points to where the stalling tactic will come from. This is the same Supreme Court that carried out the coup d’etat on June 28 and has micro-managed the regime’s affairs all summer and fall on a level that would not be appropriate or legal in most countries. Because Honduras’ 1982 Constitution is such a self-conflicted document with many articles that contradict each other, the court has been cherry-picking which laws to discard and which to interpret, often badly.

We’ll see if Lanny Davis’s good friend Secretary Clinton allows the golpistas to get away with running out the clock. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised and see her stop them.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 7 Comments »

Friday Guest Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on October 30, 2009

The lovely Ms. Mia says, “My basket. You get your own.”


Posted in Friday Cat Blogging, guest cats | 6 Comments »

Sun Rises In East. AP Does Anti-Democratic Smear Job.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 29, 2009

As you all probably know by now, the Associated Press — whose Washington, DC bureau chief is none other than Ron Fournier, good friend of Bush’s brain Karl Rove and John McCain’s de facto (and very nearly official) press secretary — did a smear job on President Obama’s stimulus spending, claiming it produced far fewer jobs than the White House says it has.

What the AP won’t tell us is that the reports they attacked didn’t come from the Feds, but from governors, mayors, county executives, private businesses and community organizations across the country. The reports that have been posted to date are not complete, but being posted as they are reviewed by an independent oversight body, a process that takes three weeks.

Here’s the scoop on the biggest ‘error’ the AP found:

“A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan. The real number: fewer than 1,000.”

FACT: The very first example AP cites was already corrected more than a week ago as part of the twenty-day review process and the change is in the final data posting being prepared for Friday. This item represents over 3,000 – or 60 percent – of the “nearly 5,000 jobs” AP uses to try to make its argument.

FACT: The company in question actually did hire more than 4,000 workers – but because the work was not full time, full year work, the rigorous standards at don’t count it as 4,000 workers. AP is wrong in saying that 4,000 workers is not a “real” number: 4,000 people got paychecks and got work thanks to the Recovery Act. The posting was erroneous because our higher standards only count the equivalent of full-time, full-year jobs as jobs “created or saved.”

FACT: All recipients were given through October 30th to clarify and confirm their data – including those linked to federal contracts. Any conclusions drawn about the quality of that small portion of data as it was posted two weeks ago are simply premature.

Similar boo-boos can be found all through the AP’s attempted takedown. Go check it out.

Posted in economy, GOP/Media Complex, government, President Obama, The smear industry, when government is a good thing | Comments Off on Sun Rises In East. AP Does Anti-Democratic Smear Job.

Filibustering Health Care Reform? Welcome To The Primaries

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 29, 2009

Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln thinks that her big campaign kitty, stuffed with insurance-industry dollars, will protect her from the consequences of screwing her fellow Arkansans — and Americans — on health care reform.

Let’s prove her wrong. FDL shows how.

Posted in activism, filibuster, Fire Dog Lake, health care | Comments Off on Filibustering Health Care Reform? Welcome To The Primaries

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day Ten: Coup Against Coup?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 29, 2009

— On Tuesday, AP over at Quotha passed on a Radio Globo report that Tegucigalpa businessman Alfredo Jalil, father of Gavo Jalil, Jr., the vice minister of defense in the de facto government, was kidnapped from the Colonia Lomas. AP suggests that this is another possible manifestation of coup members turning on each other.

— We also find out that while Enzo Micheletti, the murdered nephew of pretend president Roberto Micheletti, was not involved in Honduran politics, his sister Karina is in fact a member of the resistance! Funny how that little bit of news never seems to be translated into English by legacy-media reporters writing for North American audiences.

— In other news (an oldie but a still-relevant goodie), RAJ rips into the “Zelaya violated the constitution with his poll!” nonsense.

More as time allows and events warrant.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act V, Day Ten: Coup Against Coup?

Neo-Nazis And The Anti-Immigration Movement: The Untold Story

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 28, 2009

Funny how the same media outlets that at the GOP’s behest jumps all over obscure college professors like Ward Churchill and turns them into “major” figures of The Left, never seem to notice stories like this one by Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie:

Earlier this week, Bluestem published Brian Hokanson’s commentary about a confrontation in Austin, Minnesota, that pitted members of the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Movement (NSM) with local and Twin Cities anti-racist activists.The latest episode in a series that began last spring, the incident illustrates the Anti-Defamation League’s discussion of the group’s tactics:

Over the years, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) has displayed a growing ability to attract media coverage of the organization’s activities. One element which draws media attention is the group’s penchant for wearing swastika-adorned Third Reich-themed uniforms and carrying banners reminiscent of Nazi rallies. The group targets rallies to specific issues and against specific groups which are in the news. In this way, the media comes out to cover a story related to a current hot topic and the frequent counter-protests are very emotionally charged.

While the group’s local leader, Sam Johnson, claims that illegal immigration is his only concern in organizing the rallies, it’s clear from looking at the NSM’s web site that the group’s objects not so much to immigration status, as it does to the presence of people of color in the United States.  Consider item #7 on its 25 points of American National Socialism:

All non-White immigration must be prevented. We demand that all non-Whites currently residing in America be required to leave the nation forthwith and return to their land of origin: peacefully or by force.

An in-depth search of various databases and discussions with local law enforcement revealed that the NSM is something new in Austin and nearby towns in Southern Minnesota.

This is a big story, right? Spiritual descendants of the eliminationist guys our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought in Normandy in 1944, organizing anti-immigration rallies?

Apparently not to the local traditional media in and around Austin, Minnesota, or to local conservative online sites such as True North, as Sorensen goes on to explain.

Sorensen, taking up what the mainstream press left alone, has interviewed the NSM’s Sam Johnson. You can read it here and here.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, immigration, media, Minnesota, neo-Nazis | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis And The Anti-Immigration Movement: The Untold Story

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day Nine: The Envoy

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 28, 2009

Obama is putting Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon at the head of a delegation of senior U.S. officials traveling to Honduras. They will meet with President Manuel Zelaya and fake President Roberto Micheletti.

John Kerry and Howard Berman are (rightfully) attacking the bogus Law Library report on Honduras.

— What sort of timeline are we (or at least the Obama Administration) looking at for a resolution of the situation? A hint is provided in this article on Honduran tourism:

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has a strongly worded travel alert for Honduras, issued last week: “The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the current unstable political and security situation in Honduras, and recommends that American citizens defer all non-essential travel to Honduras until further notice.” The alert expires Dec. 20.

Further updates as events warrant. Spanish-fluent readers are invited to listen to Radio Globo for more news.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act V, Day Nine: The Envoy

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day Eight: Taking Down Some Myths

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 27, 2009

Gwynne Dyer’s abomination of an article reminds me that it’s time to do another mass debunking of pro-coup nonsense.

Myth #1: The coup itself was bloodless — it’s Zelaya’s attempt to return to power that’s causing all the violence and chaos in the country. No, no, no, no, no, and no. And no again. Talk about blaming the victim here! It’s been documented by the Interamerican Center for Human Rights (IACHR), Amnesty International, and other witnesses and researchers that thousands have been jailed without cause, hundreds wounded, and at least a dozen people that we know of who were murdered by the pro-coup forces. The real death toll is probably into the hundreds if not thousands, but it’s difficult to get more information as the media most likely to report these deaths has been under constant attack (and even been completely  shut down at times) by the golpistas. Meanwhile, there’s not a single death that can be proved to have been committed by any member of the resistance.

Myth #2: Zelaya had to be removed because he was breaking the law or about to do so. Again, no.

Firstly, the golpista-controlled Honduran Supreme Court has yet to actually rule on any of the charges handed down on June 26 — a tacit admission that the charges are legally bogus and unsustainable.

Secondly, the only ones here who have actually been shown to be breaking the law and flouting the Honduran constitution are the coup plotters. For example: The Honduran Congress does not have the authority to remove a president from power, much less for “promoting” one of their own members to the presidency.

Thirdly, was there ever due process for Zelaya? Nope — he was simply kidnapped, held against his will, and then booted out of his own country. All of this being quite illegal, by the way.

Cassel in American Society for International Law 13(9) 2009 explains how the Honduran Constitution and international law apply to the removal of Zelaya, Krsticevic and Mendez in a recent Forbes article. This article rather neatly debunks the Law Library report that coup apologists have been waving around. Orellana is also worth one’s study; it was written by a Honduran constitutional law professor and former Zelaya cabinet member. He disagreed with Zelaya’s approach to the Constitutional Convention, and resigned as a result — yet as he explains his artice, there was nothing illegal at all in Zelaya’s actions, and the Honduran constitution is indeed in need of a makeover, so much so that several other politicians besides Zelaya agreed on the need for a constitutional convention to do just that. Finally, he shows that the Honduran courts overstepped their bounds by barring Zelaya from conducting a perfectly legal non-binding referendum. Speaking of which:

Myth #3: Zelaya was trying to extend his term, and that’s the only reason why he tried to hold a legally-binding referendum. Sorry, not even close. In fact, Zelaya was trying to conduct a non-binding poll. This poll was concerned with whether the Honduran Congress should be asked to place on the November ballot a binding referendum on whether a Constitutional Convention should be held. This Convention would not have been held until after Zelaya had left office — so there’s no way he could have got a second consecutive term out of the deal. Oh, and by the way, the Convention would have dealt with a whole host of issues, and not just the question of whether a sitting president should be allowed to run for re-election.

So why did the coup plotters seek President Zelaya’s ouster? Well, for starters, they were angry with him for raising the country’s minimum wage from starvation level to not-quite-starvation level — still not enough to make a real living, but enough to make two-income families’ lives a bit easier. Zelaya also put an end to various sleazy dealings in the oil industry. And for you Enron mavens, he stopped a whole slew of privatizations of utilities that would have ripped off the majority for the benefit of a greedy handful of hyperrich.

Myth #4: Zelaya’s not that popular and the people want him gone. Reality: Two recent polls, one by COIMER&OP and one by Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner show Zelaya to be very popular and the coup leaders, including fake “president” Micheletti, to be very unpopular.

Posted in anti-truth, Honduras, Latin America | 5 Comments »