Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for November 13th, 2009

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 24

Posted by Charles II on November 13, 2009

RNS at HondurasCoup2009: “The commission of electoral crimes denounced Padre Andrés Tamayo and Zelaya advisor Rasel Tomé as criminals for having committed the crime of calling on the Honduran electorate to boycott the November 29 elections.” This is actually one of the most important stories of recent days: the criminalization of abstention. And, notably, one of the first two targets, Father Tamayo, is an extraordinarily charismatic leader who the regime has, in violation of international law, stripped of his citizenship.

Zelaya says that candidates will continue to withdraw from the election and he called on the US to abide by the position of the OAS.

Magbana at HondurasOye posts a translation of an article that appeared in the Cuban press alleging, among other things, that “the neo-Nazi group UnoAmérica…tied to the CIA and financed by the NED, [and which was] was involved earlier this year in a plot to assassinate President Evo Morales of the Plurinational State of Bolivia” will be part of the election oversight being assembled by the coup. It also alleges the inclusion of ” the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Liberty, an appendage of the Liberty Foundation financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED); and the Foundation for Social Analysis and Studies, run by the former Spanish prime minister, José María Aznar.” Which our press will doubtless report as “international observers” in trumpeting the fairness of the armor-plated elections. [Added, specifically for our cocksure little commenter: La Jornada, a mainstream Mexican publication describes UnoAmérica as follows: UnoAmérica is the resurrection in times of “splendor” of the Low Intensity War of Operation Condor, an illicit association which acted as a criminal coordinator of the dictatorships of the Southern Cone. The objectives of UnoAmérica, which took shape in Colombia last December [i.e., 2008] are a copy of that which the dictatorships proposed in 1970-80 to justify their criminal and illegal “internationalized” actions ignoring frontiers by means a counterinsurgency operation which was called Condor. […They] are financed by CIA foundations and by the European right in the region. Condor murdered 60,000 people in the name of anti-communism. This looks to me as if Granma has described them properly. We’ll see if they show up as election observers.]

Added: Radio Globo had an almost inaudible report, saying that military repression had intensified. I may have misheard this, and will correct it if so. But I believe that Candidate Luis Canales Aguilar was arrested.

La Tribuna says that Micheletti claims Honduras has sufficient reserves to last through March.

Jeremy Kryt interviewed Zelaya for In These Times.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 7 Comments »

This Is What Decency Looks Like

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 13, 2009


Ten-year-old Will Phillips, in the West Fork School District in Washington County, Arkansas, did something very brave recently:

There’s a 10-year-old lad, a fifth-grader at West Fork Elementary, who decided he wasn’t going to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school anymore because there was no liberty or justice for all in America, as the pledge’s rote recitation asserts.

He’d concluded that gay people didn’t get equal justice or liberty in this country and that he was loath to mouth something suggesting they did.

That is to say the boy was thoughtful, sensitive, courageous and free.

And it wasn’t just a one-time action, either:

The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will’s mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Each day, the substitute got a little more cross with him. On Thursday, it finally came to a head. The teacher, Will said, told him that she knew his mother and grandmother, and they would want him to stand and say the pledge.

“She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up,” Will said. “I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ‘With all due respect, ma’am, you can go jump off a bridge.’ ”

Will was sent to the office, where he was given an assignment to look up information about the flag and what it represents. Meanwhile, the principal called his mother.

“She said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge,” Laura Phillips said. “My first response was: Why? He’s not just going to say this because he doesn’t want to do his math work.”

Eventually, Phillips said, the principal told her that the altercation was over Will’s refusal to stand for the pledge of allegiance, and admitted that it was Will’s right not to stand. Given that, Laura Phillips asked the principal when they could expect an apology from the teacher. “She said, ‘Well I don’t think that’s necessary at this point,’ ” Phillips said.

And of course, since he’s sticking up for gay people, he’s getting the usual sort of harrassment. But he’s standing firm, if you will, in his refusal to stand for a pledge that he believes is untrue.

You are a good young man, Will Phillips. Good and brave and honorable. I can’t wait to see what you’ll be like in another ten years.

Posted in Constitution, family values, freedom, gay rights, heroes | 6 Comments »

The financial crisis

Posted by Charles II on November 13, 2009

Christian Menegatti and Elisa Parisi-Capone have a very important article at RGE Monitor, which I’m unfortunately unable to share in any detail. However, the basic ideas have been discussed extensively in other fora. First, an alarmingly high number of banks are “zombies,” kept in business only through the bailout.

(Via Naked Capitalism)

A number of banks have stopped paying their TARP dividend, reflecting a high level of stress, and two big ones (CIT and UCBH) recently failed. You can find an unofficial list of problem banks here (see also here) and you would be well-advised to check to see whether your own bank is on the problem list. Even with FDIC insurance, and even given that the FDIC has done brilliantly in delivering uninterrupted service to people whose banks fail, it’s a risk to be aware of and plan for.

The other component to understanding this crisis is understanding the level of stress on banks. That, of course, comes from a combination of the allowed leverage, the profitability of loans and the loan default rate. Leverage has been contracting, but what’s happening with the loan default rate? It is still rising.

It was this second point, that the loan default rate is still rising, that I had… well, not forgotten, but been seduced by the rising stock market to set aside. The consequences of rising defaults could be additional stress on the banking system at a time when the Treasury is already under strain. And the consequences of a wave of bank failures could be another stock market crash.

Just saying.


Added: a link readers should bookmark is It’s a blog for the IMF, and the bloggers are mid/senior management.

Posted in financial crisis | 2 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on November 13, 2009


Posted in Friday Cat Blogging, Lady Lightfoot | 3 Comments »

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