Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for April 4th, 2010

Honduran dictatorship, day 68

Posted by Charles II on April 4, 2010

Via Adrienne, a report sourced to Rights Action (not up on their web site) that the death squad leader Billy Joya is training a paramilitary group for running a false flag operation. Presumably, his forces will pretend to be a non-existent guerrilla movement in the Bajo Aguan area, against which police are being sent as sacrificial lambs: “disinformation is being published in the Honduran press stating that the MUCA families [squatters who may actually be the legal owners of the land] are an armed guerrilla movement tied to the national Resistance movement, financed by international drug traffickers, tied to the Colombian guerrilla movement the FARC and with the backing of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.” Shamefully, this narrative is being spread by US congressmen. Vos el Soberano has an alert, but sourced to the Bajo Aguan farmers association, MUCA. The call it Operation Trueno, run by the Fourth Infantry Battalion in Tocoa (town of Quebrada de Agua) in the Exporter Factory of Atlántico and by the Fifteenth Battalion in Trujillo, Colon (town of Río Claro). They will attack on April 6th, it is alleged. MUCA says they have booby-trapped the area as a defense.

Also, a farmer, Miguel Alonso Oliva, has been slain. A full description by Los Necios is here and COFADEH’s statement translated into English is here

The influential human rights organization FIAN has called for violence against the Bajo Aguan squatters (who may be the legal owners of the land) to cease.

Via Adrienne, David Segarra’s film Eramos Invisible has won the Santiago Álvarez Grand Prize. It’s an invaluable record of key events: the machine-gunning of the presidential palace, the cartoons that so-called news channels ran during the coup, the forged resignation letter, and so on. It runs 1 hour and 24 minutes in Spanish. I sure hope they subtitle it.

Adrienne translated a piece by Dr. Juan Almendares titled, “What are the roots of violence?”

RAJ, at Honduras Culture and Politics has an excellent review of the murders of journalists and how the US media has refused to see that these are directly related to the suppression of news by the US media. Tracy Wilkinson of the LA Times, for example, managed to trim the quote from law professor Leo Valladares, a coup opponent, to make it seem as if he was saying that he was saying that both left and right were committing the murders. It’s highly improbable that that’s what he said. Says RAJ: “Many of those [reporters] killed come from the north coast, where the conflict between the campesinos seeking land rights in the Bajo Aguan and private landowners, their security forces, and complicit media and police forces, continues to be heated.”

Reporters Without Borders, normally not exactly a vociferous defender of press freedoms (the left press says it is bought and paid for by the National Endowment for DemoCIAcracy), has laid the responsibility for the murders of journalists at the door of the coup: “The coup lives on in what continues to take place.”

RAJ cites El Heraldo that the austerity package is somewhat different than I mentioned that Tiempo said it would be: “a 10% tax on dividends, a tax on rental of luxury vehicles, a 15% tax on telecommunications, a 12% tax on monthly electricity consumption over 500 kilowatt hours, a 20% tax on vehicles, fees of 10,000 to 50,000 lempiras on slot machines, an “ecotax” of 5,000 lempiras on imported used vehicles, a 300 lempira tax per 1000 on cigarettes, annual indexing of cigarette and liquor taxes, a 200 lempira tax stamp required on most government paperwork, a tax of US $.03 for long distance calls, and more.”

Mario Alonso was beaten and threatened by his boss, sports boss Jorge Abudoj Fixione, for demanding labor rights.

The cops have opened 130 investigations against members of the resistance, according to Defensores en Linea. Members of the SITRAUNAH union apprehended two covert agents, with a list of 135 leaders of social movements, including Altagracia Fuentes, who was gunned down.

That’s it for today.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduran dictatorship, day 68

A new nominee for stupidest right-wing thesis of the 21st century

Posted by Charles II on April 4, 2010

John Phillips Avlon, a former editor of the New York Sun, speechwriter to Rudy Giuliani, and son of an (almost-exclusively) major Republican donor, John J. Avlon (my arithmetic says over $22,500 to Republican politicians other than Giuliani since 2002 vs. $2K to Alex Sanders, who likened himself to Strom Thurmond) has published yet another book saying that the problem is–equally– left- and right-wing extremists, who need to be marginalized.

Now, the problems with this thesis are manifold. It’s impossible to find any left-wing American extremists to compare with the Klan of the 1860s-1920s. Avlon probably doesn’t have the slightest clue that the African American section of Tulsa was bombed, or that the entire community of Rosewood was massacred. Nor has the right-wing ever been systematically targeted for mass blacklisting, harassment, and jailing as has occurred repeatedly ever since the rise of the labor movement.

These asymmetries do not create a justification for violence by persons of any political persuasion, but they explain the reality: the potentially violent left in the United States is microscopic (Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, chapters within the Animal Defense League, Crimethinc, the Ruckus Society,and Recreate 68, and Earth First!). Most of the concern over left-wing criminality is not over violence, but over computer hacking! They have damaged property, but they are clearly not trying to create mass casualties.

The potentially violent right is much larger and much deadlier (See Terror from the Right, which reports on 75 serious right-wing plots from 1995-2009, including many planning or carrying out mass murder). Interestingly, the report missed a plot by Kevin Patterson and Charles Kiles to blow up a propane plant in Elk Grove, California: “The resulting firestorm could have killed as many as half the people within a 5-mile radius of the plant…” (Reuters 5/22/02).

Again, not to justify violence, but the order in which historical events occur matters. The repression of the left began no later than the 19th century, with extreme violence directed against African Americans and the labor movement by the conservatives of that day. The bombing of Tulsa and the Rosewood massacre were later versions of conservative violence. Radicalism in the United Mine Workers, among other unions, followed decades of violent anti-labor repression. The point is not that the American left is peaceful. There are periods in history when it has been violent. But the violence has not appeared out of thin air. It has been a (misguided) response to repression.

What’s fundamentally different about left-wing extremism and right-wing extremism is that some very powerful people support the right-wing extremists as a means of terrorizing any potential opponent. Politicians like Michele Bachmann use their office to promote hate. Media barons, notably Rupert Murdoch, broadcast extremism not just for a few hour a day, but all day long. The Klan of the 19th and early 20th centuries didn’t just happen: it was created and sustained by elite members of society.

What’s fundamentally different about right-wing violent extremism today is that it is national. While it is generally intended to terrorize people of other political persuasions, it increasingly intends to inflict mass casualties without regard for who may be victimized. Patterson and Kiles planned to kill people in one of the most liberal regions of the country. McVeigh killed people in the conservative heartland, including many children.

Avlon thinks that the solution to angry people is to marginalize them. On C-Span, he (in effect) ridiculed a woman for saying that the 2000 election was stolen, something that roughly half of Americans believe. But marginalization is why people are angry. People who believe that Barack Obama is Kenyan need to be confronted openly, directly, patiently, and by right-wing leadership. They will not be so confronted, because right-wing leadership wants to harness their anger to seize political power back from the Democrats. There simply is no comparable situation on the left to this sort of blatant peddling of lies and the subornation of it by national leaders. The media ought to be doing a much better job of correcting falsehoods. But most journalists are so ignorant and so averse to confrontation that they are not up to the task. The angry people have already been marginalized by turning them into ratings fodder, rather than taking what they say seriously and either sustaining or disproving it. Marginalization does not work.

The hypocrisy in Avlon’s work is self-evident from the fact that he talks about “Obama derangement syndrome” and “Bush derangement syndrome,” but not “Clinton derangement syndrome” or “FDR derangement syndrome.” Certainly some criticism of Bush went over the top, but starting unnecessary wars, using the Pentagon to spy on dissenters, and torturing people tends to do that to a populace. None of the derangement against Obama had any substantive basis in fact, since it began before he had done a single thing as president and continues to be directed against things that he hasn’t actually done.

These are the facts about which Avlon is either clueless or is trying to get people to forget. As a member of the right-wing political elite, shame on him.

Posted in mediawhores, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 4 Comments »

The iPad: Yes Or No?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 4, 2010

So what do you think about the newest product from Apple?

Yea, nay, or somewhere in between?

Posted in computers and software | 3 Comments »

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