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You Don’t Have to be Stupid to be Ignorant, II

3rdMay1808It’s been said that the left hold their firing squads in an inward facing circle. If we allow the qualification that the shooters tend to be ideologues, then Plukasiak’s responses to dakinikat’s post on the Honduran situation suggest that he would be in the front row, if he wasn’t already the Generalisimo that ordered the execution.

Plukasiak comments on this post demonstrate weak reasoning skills and a lack of civility. Anecdotal experience suggests that non-elite ideologues tend to function thusly. Plukasiak’s approach has a whiff of the jackboot about it, so, given the dangers ideologues pose to civil society, especially when said societies face challenging circumstances, I think it is useful to treat his responses as a case study of ideologic pathology, as a means of identifying the symptoms so that we can better avoid its outcomes.

Methodologically-speaking, it is optimal to let Plukasiak’s own testimony serve as the rope that makes the case. I will juxtapose dakinikat’s commentary, with Plukasiak’s interpretation of her commentary, to demonstrate how his ideological bent distorts her intent. This type of distortion of reality, in conjunction with it’s claim to be true, is the basis for the creation of organically-created schizophrenia, which is why I label his act as a sociopathology.

The exchanges continue to roil and this treatment will not be exhaustive. Treatments rarely are in the blogosphere. Please note, some of my points in the analysis at the end will arise without foremention. I assume readers will travel these paths on their own, if they find the exercise of this post worthwhile.

Dakinikat begins her post by noting that US News coverage of the Honduran coup was lacking amidst the focus on Michael Jackson’s death. She says in her post that she finds this lack strange, given US involvement in Honduras. She says her search for news lead her to the Wall Street Journal, hardly a strange place for a doctoral student in Finance to tread, and she notes:

While #Michael Jackson and #IraqElection are on trending topics, Honduras appears to be the overlooked coup.

She then quotes the WSJ op-ed piece on the apparent “overlooked” coup that offers an alternate opinion. From here, she states:

I’ve noticed among some of the more leftist progressives in the United States that it’s really cool to think the Hugo Chavez is a man of the people and that life in South America will improve under his guidance. It’s also equally hep among the most right wing of the conservative movement to write off every Latin American leader who hasn’t dollarized their economy and opened their people to “jobs” provided by U.S. based corporations as communists in the Castro model. Ah, to be an ideologue clinging to the object of their desires! Life would be so simple then! As usual, the devil is in the details and the greater ethos of reality lies somewhere in the mundane but dangerous middle.

; and;

So, what we need to do now is keep reading to find the devil in the details or perhaps Mr. Chavez’ nose will find the smell of sulpher once again. But then, we’re at the mercy of Corporate press, whose bottom line has denied funding to elsewhere news desks and, after all, Billy Mays just died unexpectedly.

She also notes:

We know have an interesting little development in our own backyard which appears to be making bedfellows of SOS Hillary Clinton, Daniel Ortego, Fidel Castro, and Venezuelan macho, macho man Chavez. Some how, I think we’re on the wrong side. Secretary Clinton, what the hell is going on?

Dakinikat relies on a variety of sources to create the post, all of which she identifies (BBC, WSJ, Reuters) accentuating those that have a pronounced ideological bent. For example:

Let’s read some tidbits from the right. Interestingly enough, the military in Honduras acted on a court order. Fausta’s blog goes as far to say this is not a coup. Hot air sums her analysis up nicely.

Plukasiak claims:

well, if kat wasn’t lying to us (and repeating other lies), perhaps we’d all be better informed. For instance, this is a flat out lie….
Interestingly enough, the military in Honduras acted on a court order.
the courts had ordered that the military seize some ballots for a referendum it had declared illegal. The courts DID NOT, i repeat DID NOT, authorize the removal of the constitutionally elected president.
Stop the lies — and stop believing the lies. The reason that literally ALL the nations of central and south america (not just the leftists, but “conservative” nations like Columbia) are opposing the coup is because it IS A MILITARY COUP THAT HAS NO LEGAL BASIS

kat is spreading a host of right wing propaganda — directly from the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, in fact.

That, IMHO, is telling and spreading lies. Kat is pursuing an ideological agenda, rather than examining THE FACTS and reporting on them.
The situation in Honduras is extremely complicated — Honduras has a constitution that was written to favor the wealthy at the expense of its peasantry, and has provisions that make amendment of the constitution impossible in certain instances.
How one resolves that problem — a constitution that is undemocratic and which cannot be changed and a wealthy ruling class that controls the courts, congress and the military — is difficult in the extreme. But those complications don’t mean that you tell lies about what is going on.

get serious.
Look at where you are getting your information.
The Wall Street Journal EDITORIAL pages.
Hot Air — a right wing website.
“Fausta” – a right wing blogger
you ignore the fact that EVERY south and central american nation has condemned this coup, and pretend as if its some sort of “pro-democracy” movement. Its not. Period.
If you don’t know anything about a subject, and don’t know how to find out what is really happening

(hint: RIGHT WING WEBSITES ARE BAD PLACES TO START), you shouldn’t be blogging about it and pretending you are presenting factual information. You are presenting DISINFORMATION FROM THE FAR RIGHT, and when you do that, expect to be called on it.

Interestingly, Plukasiak provides no links to back his claims about the situation on-the-ground in Honduras, though they were requested, which is not to say that his claims don’t have validity.

Are Plukasiak’s claim fair or are they ideologically bent? Dakinkat says the media appears to be overlooking a coup. She notes that both the more polarized members of the left and right tend to valorize and demonize the governments and representatives of those they support and oppose, respectively. She says it’s difficult to sort out what is the case and that we must keep researching, but notes that it is difficult because of the restrictions that are implicit when the press is determined by the corporate structure.

Plukasiak claims dakinkat is “lying and repeating lies” because “she is is pursuing an ideological agenda, rather than examining THE FACTS and reporting on them.” He makes claims without providing links, which means that we should trust him as a solid source of information. He admonishes her for her naively looking to right wing sources for information.

Dakinikat is seeking information about a significant situation in which her intuitions tell her that something in the reporting does not make sense. It is an “overlooked coup”, yet some claim it is not a coup. Her intuitions, in the pursuit of the truth, suggest that the US might have it wrong. The fact of the strange bedfellows suggests it is a coup. She states, “Secretary Clinton, what the Hell is going on?” This quote is especially germane, in the context of her conclusion, where she notes the problems inherent in being dependent upon corporate media, something which helps one appreciate that she accessed BBC for information in the writing of her post. In this regard, she says that those of us who want to know must keep reading.

Is Dakinikat “lying and repeating lies?” Given that she acknowledges the sources and expresses doubts about the agenda of corporate sources, it is false to say that she is lying because to lie is to willfully distort the truth. Minimally, Plukasiak is guilty of slander.

Is she repeating lies? Perhaps, but how can this be known when Plukasiak provides no evidence for his claims? He wants us to believe dakinikat is a liar and a repeater of lies, but he wants us to trust him based upon his words alone. Furthermore, he insults dakinikat’s intelligence, and that of the readership, and undermines the entire purpose of seeking understanding, rather than memorizing dogma, by suggesting that there is nothing to be gained by examining alternate viewpoints. Why else does liberty matter, Plukasiak, if not to determine our own wills? Minimally Plukasiak is a hypocrite for wanting trust without backing and expecting evidence to be overturned without counterevidence. He is also an ideological sycophant for wanting the great unwashed to only trust his ‘reliable sources.’

Plukasiak’s claims are weak and they fail on their face. Clearly, dakinikat is searching for answers to legitimate doubts.

Plukasiak appears to be so entwined in his ideology that he is ready to execute someone whose record indicates she is a strong advocate for political processes that favor common decency as the guiding principle. Lacking an appreciation of common decency as a guiding principle in practise, he eschewed proper practise in the face of disagreement. (On this question, Inky stands as an example of proper practise in the face of disagreement.) Plukasiak’s attack on dakinikat is a reminder of why we are justifiably concerned about the situation in Honduras, given the history of Central and South America. We are well aware of the tactics that ideologues use to kill dissent.

P.S. The Confluence is not a seamless whole. I own these comments.

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203 Responses

  1. plukasiak, on June 17th, 2008 at 1:34 pm Said:

    off topic, but…
    Just got mail from the Obama campaign. So I wrote a check for $100, tore it in half, and am sending it along with this message…

    Dear Senator Obama
    On behalf of my friends in Florida, please find half a check for $100. Since your campaign saiid their votes should only count as half votes, I figure you’ll know what to do with half a check.
    But, in case you need a hint – the RBC corruptly ensured your nomination while violating the DNC charter “sunshine” povisiions for meetings. In that spirit, you can take my half-check, and put it ‘where the sun don’t shine’.

    Paul Lukasiak
    http://www.glcq.com/me.htm

    The above quote made me laugh and I have to ask, is this the same guy?

  2. The Confluence is not a seamless whole.

    My old Con Law professor used to say “the law is a seamless whole”

    He had other vile habits as well.

    • Gee — I only had drunk Psychology Profs.

      Most of the Psychology Profs are male — hummm — strange bunch indeed. But that was back in the stone ages — hopefully the male/female ratio (and drunk/sober ratio) has changed in the 21st century.

      • Oddly, probably half of the profs are still male, and yet easily 90% of the students are female these days.

  3. Steven,

    Thanks for spelling out exactly what happened on the thread in question. At TC we have never been afraid to admit that we don’t know everything about an important issue, but just lay it out for discussion. That is what Dakinikat did. The main point of her post was that the Honduran situation isn’t being covered adequately in the media.

    We have commenters from many walks of life and with different kinds of expertise. We all learn from each other everyday. We aren’t here to be “experts,” we are here because we want to discuss polical issues with like-minded people.

    I guess we could be like certain people at Corrente and just post links with brief comments a la Atrios. But we’d rather put a variety of information out there for discussion. I did the same thing when the Iran riots began. I was clueless about what was happening, but knew it was important. We all tried to figure it out together.

    • You’ve just dedicated an entire post, and comment section to the trashing of someone who most of us have encountered favorably over the past around the web. How are you different?

      The post obviously touched a nerve, and that came out harshly. But, does it merit a “lemon party” against a commenter?

      Yesterday’s post could have gone the way of every other post and just backed up into the archives as new posts were added. It was unpleasant. There are days like that.

      I remain a fan of Paul and Dak.

      • Paul’s opened up yesterday by calling Dakinikat a liar. He didn’t stop and still hasn’t.

        We tolerated it long after most people would have been banned.

      • This post is merited, because the ridiculous bashing and smearing of Dakinikat by Corrente denizens has gone on for months. Personally, I’m sick and tired of it, and I won’t tolerate it.

        • It’s your blog. I just think stooping to the same level is unbecoming and a questionable tact. If namecalling is fobidden, and character assassinations aren’t your way, you’ve just broken your own rules.

          I’m thinking Corrente “denizens” will be delighted to have you in the fight since it takes two. If you weren’t reacting before, they’ve got you now.

          • I sometimes refuse to supply links to things I know are common knowledge. I think the “link please” form of argument is just as obnoxious as any other baseless argdument made when the person has no idea what to answer.
            I think in this case since the commenter in question refused to supply even information on why he is an expert, or explained why he is passionate about the topic or any sort of reason for his attacks… he kind of asked to be called out.
            Though I admit I am not a fan of whole diaries about a particular member.

          • I guess you wouldn’t mind if I came by your place and called you a stupid, ignorant liar.

            We take offense to that kind of thing, and we’re liberals, not pacifists.

          • If you did, you’d be the only one on the premise who was behaving like a stupid, ignorant liar. I wouldn’t want to join you in that, though I would certainly tell you that you were not welcome on my property.

            We set our image ourselves, through our own behaviors. Not one of us put an ounce of credibility in Dak being called names. Her character is soundly intact with the readers here. The only character being exposed was that of the commenter.

            If you really felt you needed to address the Dak v. Paul/Corrente problem, do a lengthy diary on the incredibly fair and knowledgable information Dak has consistently given to the readers. I’d rather have a day of praise for Dak than slamming Paul.

          • Paul came here and called Dakinikat a stupid, ignorant liar. Repeated attempts to have a reasonable discussion with him failed. But you reserve are your criticism for us.

            None of us put any credibility in the names Paul called Dakinikat either. But we took offense.

            BTW – I already have a mother and if I want advice on how to behave I’ll ask her.

  4. Steven, did you offer him a choice of weapons before you did that? 🙂

  5. yea im getting sick also of seeing jacko on tv ..but last fews day thats preety much all the MSM have been reporting on .

    • Could be that you need to stop watching tv? By watching the crap the media is offering you are only encouraging them to continue their torture of anyone who is still sane and watching tv.

  6. Why isn’t the media discussing the constitutionality of this “non-binding referendum” (i.e. “survey”)?
    Is it a coup (by the military) or is it treason (by Zelaya if he swore to uphold the Honduran Constitution, but now is trying to circumvent it?

    • trixta,

      Good questions. Hopefully, equally good answers are forthcoming. Dakinikat’s post was intended to be a place for both to hitch.

      s

  7. I’m still reading and gathering information about the coup — Dakinikat’s essay gave me more information and so did Larry Johnson’s on NQ.

    I WILL NOT believe someone who jumps in and starts calling one of our front pagers a liar — and that we should believe him without sources to back up his claims.

    Steven you did a great job of deconstructing a screaming idiot’s post — this Plukasiak character.

    HE didn’t give me any new information nor sources that I could read.

    I do know that I was in the Caribbean when Chevez was kidnapped by some group early in the GWB administration — at the time I had a couple of Guyanese working for me (they are from the neighboring country to Venezuela) and the were so very angry with the interference of the US in Venezuela’s business. The Guyanese are generally well educated and seem to understand American politics better than most Americans do — and they love to debate politics.

    So I’ll wait until I get more information — because there may be more happening in the background then those of us up in the states are aware.

    Dakinikat is so correct in her observation that this coup is NOT being covered — and we don’t have competent reporters who know the region and can give us an unbiased report about what is really happening.

  8. spammy ate my comment — perhaps I called Plukasiak and id&t?

  9. spammy ate my comment about him eating my comment.

  10. Did y’all (well anyone who’s still up and reading–) see the VF hit piece on Palin?
    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/08/sarah-palin200908

    • oh lord, that was almost too funny. What Does her prominence say about the importance of having (or lacking) a record of achievement in public life?

      Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s call Obama and ask him!

    • Geez….the author is Todd Purdum! Dee Dee Meyers’ husband and the one who wrote that false gossip piece about staff worried Bill Clinton was messing around on the campaign trail. Not worth reading, and I’m sorry I gave the link a hit.

      • I thought it was worth bringing up in the sense of cataloguing the ongoing sexist narratives of the political media elite, that’s about it.

        • It’s also interesting to see how yet another person raised far , far above their pay scale by the Clintons, ( Dee Dee) pays them back. Thanks, Dee Dee & co..ugh This is more proof, that Palin is the new Hillary in the Media.

  11. I’ve read Paul Lukasiak’s coments on this and other blogs for quite a while and I find him almost always to be reasonable–he just happened to have a “big ole hair across his ass today”–as BB so eloquently put it. I felt the same way when I first read Dak’s post, esp. the part about how some “leftist progressives in the United States that it’s really cool to think the Hugo Chavez is a man of the people”–since I do feel that life has improved for most Venezuelans under Chavez’s rule, in spite of his sometimes worrisome moves–and I resent the implication that this viewpoint amounts to radical chic posturing. If the Venezuelan people decide—without foreign interference—to dump Chavez for a more promising leader—I’d be fine with that. But it should be their decision and theirs alone.

    I know that my own feelings about Latin America were forged during the horrible Reagan years, when I lived for a time in Mexico and when I also became friends with a film director, now deceased, who directed a searing documentary about American involvement with death squads and attempts to destroy the left in Guatamala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. I recognize that Azaya may be a clown, but in a country that had John Negriponte as its US ambassador diuring those years, a man responsible for directly funding and training Honduran death squads, my inclination was (and still is) to believe that the military’s reaction/coup/whatever was unjustified. I do sense that a cold war mentality rages on in the Honduras due to its history, which helps explain why many there are upset by Azaya’s shift to the left and glad that the military acted as it did, while others are yearning for fundamental political change and consider the military’s action a rightwing coup.

    But the point of this post is about how not to argue with others–I always recall RD’s “confluence” metaphor–how we come form different places and may hold different perspectives, but we’re found this place here where we can share our stories and viewpoints as we travel together. Or something like that but more eloquent. I know that I disagree often with FPers here, but I’ve never felt so at home on a blog or felt the need to stifle my disagreements in order to be accepted, And that’s a great feeling.

    I think that a lot of occasional commenters, Paul in this case, think that we are so reflexively anti-Obama here that we are blindsided by our bitterness. He seemed to accuse Dak of posting her doubts about the Honduran situation merely because it is potentially embarrassing to O’s administration. He really should give Dak more credit than that. But I guess it’s a fairly easy assumption to make when one doesn’t spend that much time here.

    I personally hope very much that Paul continues to post here–he just should stop arguing in bad faith–assuming malign intentions where they don’t exist–and of course, links are always helpful when making one’s case. I certainly appreciate both his wit and his insights—we all have our bad days.

    I had a touch of insomnia and woke up to find this post and and an embarrassingly nice reference to me. I guess I’ll learn to live with it and go back to sleep. :S

    .

    • I totally agree- ITA

      I know very little about the Honduran situation (and have no Honduran friends to clue me in), but I do know about Chile, having spent some of my adolescent years there.
      South American oligarchs do not give up power easily.

      • From what I’ve been reading at liberal/leftist sites, it seems likely to me that the U.S. government wanted Zelaya out, since the U.S. could easily have prevented the coup and yet did nothing. I posted some links at the end of the thread.

        • Yet ,we are officially criticizing the means. IMO the area I agree with Dak is there is information we are missing. We don’t have all the puzzle pieces.

    • Very well said. And you’ll notice that Dakinikat is very open to opposing views, and she expressed that to you on her thread. She wasn’t claiming to be an expert on the situation; she was simply posting some of the earlier reactions to the coup–apparently the right wing blogs reacted quickly. She expressed in the post that she felt we weren’t getting enough information from our government or the media, and I agree with that. All we get is spin–from both left and right.

  12. I still don’t know enough to know what I think about the Honduran situation – I’m still watching and reading and learning on that one.

    But I know that Paul was just flat out rude, abusive, and flinging assumptions around like he’d just cracked a big ol’ hubris pinata.

    So, see, I didn’t learn whether I thought Paul’s position was right or wrong from that exchange. I only learned that Paul was an ass, and I’ll find my info on Honduras elsewhere, thanks.

    • Yeah, it was just weird. Who thinks that screaming and carrying on like that will make anyone listen to them?

  13. In reply to Wonk the Vote’s post —

    “Vanity Fair”-named for a personality deficit happening in the
    midst of carnival excrement. IMO, Palin’s book, if there is one, would be hers, and hers alone, unlike Bozo’s tribute to his sleezeball father being written by treasonous crony Billy Ayers.
    It seems that most publications must be controlled by idiots.

    • I may be out of the loop on this, so I ask sincerely–was the conjecture about Ayers being the ghostwriter ever anything more than conjecture? It didn’t seem to have much legs to it, if for the simple reason that it can’t be proven without someone coming forward. But, again, I may have missed something.

      Vanity Fair is a bore. That dreck on Palin was a chore to read. Same old “oh noes, a lady politician!” couched in grandiose language, trying to pass as nuance instead of the raw sexism that it is.

      • It’s conjecture, as I recall they compared passages from Ayres’ writings to passages in Obama’s books and also compared Obama’s previous published writings to the books, concluding that the books were much, much better written than anything Obama had produced and also more similar to Ayres’ literary style.

    • I don’t buy the theories about Ayers writing the book. I’m sure Obama had help, but there is no real evidence it came from Ayers. And I wouldn’t be so sure that Palin won’t get some help with her book.

      • Yeah, there was no real evidence, just another conspiracy theory from Jack Cashill.

        • Wonk, Cashill just had another post up at American Thinker about 759 matches found by another contributor. Apparently, he has 2-3 other sources who are collaborating his findings, but I’m also waiting for more evidence. I find the circumstantial evidence surrounding the book thing, like the fact he couldn’t produce a book in a year even while on sabbatical, and then turned a masterpiece out months later to be very interesting.

      • Yeah, it’s not like the ghostwriting matters. Politicians aren’t writers, generally most everything going out under their bylines is ghostwritten. I think they were trying to make it an issue because a) Obama has no actual accomplishments to point to so his book became a bigger deal than normal and b) he denies any contact with Ayres.

  14. II haven’t read TC for a day or two, and what happens? Two of my heroes have fallen out!

    I have always admired plukasiak ever since I saw him take on the obots at Open Left over Hillary.

    That said, calling a person a liar because she cites the WSJ, is going a teeny bit too far, in the call for political correctness.

    • We were kinda shocked ourselves. Paul’s comment came out of left field.

      • His treatment of dak was unacceptable but he appears really passionate about what’s occuring in Honduras. I’m putting his emotional reaction down to that.

        I think he jumped to some erroneous conclusions about the purpose of dak’s post and it was easier to holler “right wing talking points” than to actually dissect her post and take on why he felt that her conclusions she was jumping to were wrong.

        • how do you “misinterpret” this…

          I had to rely on my subscription to the Wall Street Journal for actual news.

          when the link is to the OPINION pages (not the news pages) of the Journal, and Kat then quotes the OPINION as fact — presenting those who support the military coup as “Honduran patriots”.

          how do you misinterpret this…

          We know have an interesting little development in our own backyard which appears to be making bedfellows of SOS Hillary Clinton, Daniel Ortego, Fidel Castro, and Venezuelan macho, macho man Chavez. Some how, I think we’re on the wrong side.

          how do you misinterpret this…

          Let’s read some tidbits from the right. Interestingly enough, the military in Honduras acted on a court order.

          Kat uses a right wing website here to make a FACTUAL claim regarding a “court order” that the military supposedly acted on. But there was no such court order issued prior to the military coup — only after the military had taken control of the country were there any reports of such a court order.

          (and of course, Kat never questions whether there is any constitutional basis for such a court order — there isn’t. One of the serious flaws of the Honduran constitution is that there are no provisions for the removal of the President — just as the constitution was designed to prevent the dictatorships by prohibiting the re-election of the President to consecutive terms, so too does it prevent the overthrow of elected presidents during their term by not having any provision allowing presidential removal.)

          Ultimately, when you actually read everything that Kat wrote, what you find is consistent credulity when it comes to right wing disinformation, and absolutely no attempt to understand the “left” perspective. I didn’t misinterpret that.

          • Wow, you’re still not getting it. Kat clearly labeled and linked to her sources – which she noted were minimal at best. She further expressed concern at the lack of informative coverage and stated that she didn’t have the whole story nor does she ever state that she knows all the facts. In fact, in contrast to yourself, she says she wants to know more facts.

            When a person acknowledges that their sources are from the right-wing and expresses skepticism about them, why would you accuse that person of misinterpretation and lying?

            Even now, the only sources I’ve found are pretty much the same as what Kat linked. I notice you’ve provided no links in either your original comments nor in this one today. While your theories seem plausible, without links you have no credible information to make claims about this issue – nor any standing to accuse anyone of anything. You claim to represent FACTS from a “left” perspective without presenting any.

            Put up or shut up.

          • Paul,

            Why don’t you make your points and stop trying to read Dakinikat’s mind? And let’s see you post some links that support your case and explain why. What is your personal expertise on Honduras? If you are an expert, let us know what it’s based on.

            I posted some links to leftist writers on the previous thread that take a different point of view than yours. I think it’s worth keeping an open mind when looking at events in other countries. Since you apparently didn’t bother reading my comments on the other thread, I’ll repost them here.

            Jeremy Scahill says that U.S. had to know the coup was coming and could probably have prevented it. I’m reasonably confident that Scahill is no right winger.

            Here are some facts to consider: the US is the top trading partner for Honduras. The coup plotters/supporters in the Honduran Congress are supporters of the “free trade agreements” Washington has imposed on the region. The coup leaders view their actions, in part, as a rejection of Hugo Chavez’s influence in Honduras and with Zelaya and an embrace of the United States and Washington’s “vision” for the region. Obama and the US military could likely have halted this coup with a simple series of phone calls. For an interesting take on all of this, make sure to check out Nikolas Kozloff’s piece on Counterpunch, where he writes:

            In November, Zelaya hailed Obama’s election in the U.S. as “a hope for the world,” but just two months later tensions began to emerge. In an audacious letter sent personally to Obama, Zelaya accused the U.S. of “interventionism” and called on the new administration in Washington to respect the principle of non-interference in the political affairs of other nations.

            Hmmmmm….

            Here is another leftist source:

            Officially, the military removed Zelaya from power on the grounds that the Honduran President had abused his authority. On Sunday Zelaya hoped to hold a constitutional referendum which could have allowed him to run for reelection for another four year term, a move which Honduras’ Supreme Court and Congress declared illegal. But while the controversy over Zelaya’s constitutional referendum certainly provided the excuse for military intervention, it’s no secret that the President was at odds politically with the Honduran elite for the past few years and had become one of Washington’s fiercest critics in the region.

            Read the whole piece. It is starting to sound like the Obama administration wanted Zelaya out. Or perhaps the CIA acted without Presidential approval? It wouldn’t be the first time.

          • For those interested, here’s a website from a left perspective by bloggers in Mexico.

            http://narconews.com/

          • I didn’t misinterpret that.
            Actually, you did. I think your judgement is clouded. You are suffering a bit of delusion perhaps aided by prejudices picked up from previous smear campaigns. It’s a common enough tactic and sad when someone is clouded by such tactics. In this regard you are no different than Obots who continue to hold certain views despite evidence to the contrary. Sort of a tunnel vision thing. If you can re-read the post and related comments with an open mind you’ll get it eventually. If you can’t get past whatever is affecting your reasoning skills here, then there’s nothing more to be said.

          • okay, you have made what seem to be valid points…but you are over emotional about and STILL provide no links to anything that you claim. Could you at least provide some sort of information on why you are to be taken as some sort of expert on this topic?

          • Dear Plukasiak,

            The title reads as it does because it relates to someone who is recognized for being intelligent engaging in an act that is “crude” and “ill-mannered.” I know you have good credentials based on past works, which is why you received deference from others when you began your commentary, but I think your j’accuse was based on evidence far too ephemeral to justify the name-calling that your targets usually deserve. You awoke the naghual.

            This said, thank you for your point by point breakdown. I’ve gotten to it immediately after waking.

            You say:

            how do you “misinterpret” this…
            I had to rely on my subscription to the Wall Street Journal for actual news.
            when the link is to the OPINION pages (not the news pages) of the Journal, and Kat then quotes the OPINION as fact — presenting those who support the military coup as “Honduran patriots”.

            Reasonable people can disagree. Kat said:

            “It seemed like a really slow weekend for news. Maybe that was because every time I turned on the TV my eyes were assaulted by the Michael Jackson after death hoopla. I had to rely on my subscription to the Wall Street Journal for actual news. If a “military coup” happens in a rain forest, and no press is there to cover it, does it still make a sound?

            Better yet, will it even be twitted? While #Michael Jackson and #IraqElection are on trending topics, Honduras appears to be the overlooked coup.”

            Viewing her quote in context allows one to see that she was not finding news reporting on TV, so she turned to a different source. Her statement that “Honduras appears to be an overlooked coup” runs counter to the opinions of the right wing ‘patriots’ you say she is supporting. Furthermore, she makes it clear that information is missing, that the opinions of adherents of the right and left will hold a bias and the truth is likely to be somewhat hidden, that our news sources have a corporatist bias, and that research will be required to determine what, in fact, has happened and is happening. In other words, yes, she quotes an op ed piece. She also says beware of op-ed pieces.

            You say:

            “how do you misinterpret this…
            We know have an interesting little development in our own backyard which appears to be making bedfellows of SOS Hillary Clinton, Daniel Ortego, Fidel Castro, and Venezuelan macho, macho man Chavez. Some how, I think we’re on the wrong side.”

            Once again, context is king. Immediately after she says she somehow thinks the US is on the wrong side she asks,

            “Secretary Clinton, what in the Hell is going on?”

            and says:

            “You would think there would be a bit more interest in a military coup where we actually have troops and NGOs stationed, wouldn’t you? So why are we not ‘meddling’ in Honduras? Or are we?”

            How do you misinterpret that her post is about a lack of media coverage, that she is searching for information, and that the information from government sources is lacking, when she is describing the difficulty of determining what’s what from what’s available and she is posing apt questions?

            You say:

            “how do you misinterpret this…
            Let’s read some tidbits from the right. Interestingly enough, the military in Honduras acted on a court order.
            Kat uses a right wing website here to make a FACTUAL claim regarding a “court order” that the military supposedly acted on. But there was no such court order issued prior to the military coup — only after the military had taken control of the country were there any reports of such a court order.
            (and of course, Kat never questions whether there is any constitutional basis for such a court order — there isn’t. One of the serious flaws of the Honduran constitution is that there are no provisions for the removal of the President — just as the constitution was designed to prevent the dictatorships by prohibiting the re-election of the President to consecutive terms, so too does it prevent the overthrow of elected presidents during their term by not having any provision allowing presidential removal.)”

            You are on shaky ground, here. The Honduran Supreme Court said they issued the order, as noted by CNN.

            Dakinikat went to different media sources in her research. She identified her sources so that people could tailor their degree of trust to the source.

            Your accusation that the order was post facto might be true, but you offer nothing to back up your claim. If you don’t have time appropriate evidence to the contrary, how are any of us hoi polloi to determine that their supreme court was lying about the order?

            Furthermore, you’ll note in the comments that she continued to search for that kind of pertinent information.

            You say:

            “Ultimately, when you actually read everything that Kat wrote, what you find is consistent credulity when it comes to right wing disinformation, and absolutely no attempt to understand the “left” perspective. I didn’t misinterpret that.”

            Then how do you account for her saying it appears to be a coup, when the right does not want it to be viewed that way, that she outlined the right wing’s bias, and that she stated that we are hampered in our search for information by the corporatism of the media?

            You don’t. Something prevents you from getting to her thesis. It appears to me that that something is your weltanschuuang.

            I am highly sympathetic to your concerns about social justice, worldwide. They effect passionate engagement in me, as well. Notwithstanding, I am put off by the approach you used on dakinikat, for the reasons I’ve stated.

            You went over the top and took your place in the firing circle. Look 180 degrees across and you’ll see me there looking at you, brother.

            s

            PS Thanks for the links that have followed.

          • The Wall Street Journal is a source of information. You may not like thier opinions but that doesn’t mean that it can’t and doesn’t contain factual information from time to time. (Heck, my college course in economics used WSJ textbooks. Does that mean I had the right to dispute everything in them because I don’t particularly care for their viewpoint?)

            I am not certain that Dak was aware that the order came AFTER the military coup? There has been little information on what is going on(which was the point of the post). The impression I got was that she was trying to muck it out.

            IMO you handled the situation wrong by automatically assuming that she was trying to spread talking points rather than putting information out there in hopes of learning more and encouraging others to learn more(I think its the professor in her) about the situation. It would have been better if you had just explained to her that she didn’t have an accurate picture and explained to her why you felt that way. She might have even thanked you.

            I have disagreed with Dak and I can tell you she is very gracious when it comes to welcoming a opinions and facts from folks from all walks of life. She’s the farthest thing from a right wing shill(who have a tendency to welcome only their own opinions and viewpoints from
            what I have observed). Disagree with her opinions if you like, (I have vehemently) but please offer her the same respect that you would have offered to you.

        • From a blogger living in Honduras (reposted from last night’s thread for plukasiak):

          Honduran blogger. Can’t tell yet if she’s right or left. All I know is that she is inside Honduras posting her thoughts about the situation she is living through.

          http://figgylicious.blogspot.com/

    • I agree. Plukasiak is a balanced guy and is very logical.
      He did excellent research on W’s national guard records and even wapo used him as a researcher on that. He is a pleasure to read around the blogs and wa a Hillary supporter last year. I don’t know what caused that last night. Maybe he will come back today and explain.

      • Until I get evidence to the contrary, I’m going to assume that Paul Lukasiak bought into Mandos’ (followed by Anglachel’s) smear of Dakinikat, which took place months ago, but has been continued at Corrente. It was a smear when Mandos first wrote about it, and Lukasiak has chosen to continue smearing Dakinikat. It’s unacceptable, period. Lambert should be ashamed to have allowed Mandos to do what he did in the first place. Mandos is nothing but a troll, as he has demonstrated on a number of sites around the internet.

        • I think that’s the problem exactly. His judgement is clouded and he can’t see what’s right in front of him. A reasoning person without delusion would simply argue the points involved without any personal insults and provide links to support counter points. It’s as simple as that. The lack of cogent arguments against the post and followup comments makes what is going on here clear. Too bad he can’t see it.

      • Dakinikat derangement syndrome

        • ((((dak))))

          I think he missed the actual point of the post. You were pointing out that the media picks and chooses its coverage often to the detriment of US citizens.

          Believe it or not, if he had got that point out of the post, I think he would have agreed that our media does a crummy job informing us on the important things. More often than not they’d rather focus on the trivial.

  15. There’s a recent post about the ghostwriting of Obama’s first book by Ayers. Its on Citizen Wells website. I’ve always read that with as grain of salt but this one was pretty thorough. Is Jack Cashill Citizen Wells?

    • I don’t think I’m familiar with that website, so I can’t answer.

      Jack Cashill is a right-winger who has written lots of tinfoil hat stuff about the Clintons, and I think he’s the one who started these rumors about Ayers being Obama’s ghostwriter.

    • Cashill originally posted it at American Thinker, a right wing blog. He doesn’t have any credible evidence for his assertions as far as I can see. Joseph Cannon has a good post about it at Cannonfire–it’s on our blogroll.

      • Cashill ferreted a lot of things out about Obama’s years at Harvard. Some times he does okay research, but then he’s so tied up in his own agenda that it outweighs what he does dig up.

  16. I suppose you’ve all seen this article in the WashingtonPost. It tells how GE will become the biggest recipient of the Gov’t Dept Relief Program accidentally. Now we get an idea of why NBC/MSNBC also known as General Electric/War Profiteer has supported BamBam so heartily. Seems the gov’t has decided GE is just one big ole bank.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/28/AR2009062802955_pf.html

  17. Since when does confluence get its facts from the Wall Street Journal opinion pages?

    Since when does confluence get its facts from Powerline?

    Since when does merely mentioning the fact that a site is “right wing” justify citing it as informative/authoritative without critical examination of the premises underlying the post?

    Kat’s post was an assault on populist/leftist ideas and politicians, thinly disguised as a complaint about the media. As Inky (among others) have noted, kat was all about criticizing Chavez — and anyone associated with or sympathetic to populist leaders in South America.

    Kat spread lies and disinformation from right wing sources on this subject — and there is simply no way for her to claim ignorance of the far right wing ideological biases of the Wall Street Journal opinion pages and a blog like Powerline — yet those were her PRIMARY sources.

    If you don’t understand why such dissemination of disinformation needs to be called out, then heaven help you. When the Obama campaign engaged in similar disinformation efforts, I was just as adament in opposing them as I have been with Kat’s disinformation campaign.

    Bottom line — Kat published lies here, then insisted that was acceptable because she was “criticizing the media”. Kat needs to apologize for her egregious ignorance and dissemination of lies and disinformation — THEN maybe you’ll get an apology from me. But Kat was the one who published falsehoods first — and refused to acknowledge them when it was pointed out.

    • I really like you Paul but you’re full of shit.

    • We don’t need an apology from you Paul. We just need you to be polite and stop the name-calling.

      Those of us who know Dakinikat know that she is not a right winger or interested in spreading right wing talking points. She never claimed to be an expert on Latin America. She felt that the coup in Honduras needed more coverage and she wanted to explore the situation with other Conflucians. There were several people on her thread who made similar points to yours but managed to do so without being abusive and smearing Dakinikat as a “liar.”

      Name calling and abusive smearing is permitted at Corrente, where you usually hang out. We choose not to allow it here. I am asking you for at least the sixth time now to stop the name calling. You completely misinterpreted Kat’s intent in the post. Everyone here can see that except you. So you can’t admit you were wrong. Fine, just stop the name calling.

    • Self-important much?

    • Wow, you’re nuts. Argue the points. Simple as that. If you can’t, you’re a fool.

    • Kat does not spread lies period.

      • I labeled it as stuff from the right wing (although the links and saying where it came from should’ve done that adequately.) I guess I’m supposed to insult every one’s intelligence and pre-digest their conclusions by censoring what they can read. I have to protect you all from unclean blogs.

        • Yes-I feel that there too many people who drop by to tell Conflucians what we should read, and who definitely tell us what we should link to.

          I think they’re afraid of us little women putting our dainty little toes into muddy water…

    • paul, please go eat some fiber and get over yourself. You are being irrational. You have been asked over and over for information and have provided none.

    • Paul, I like you and I like the Confluence.

      I don’t know the first damn thing about the Honduras situation (what can I say, I was working on finals until last night). I haven’t read the post in question, and frankly I don’t want to. I know that traditionally what Dak posts is well-researched and reasonable, and that her perspective (especially on econ topics) is beyond the progressive and into the truly liberal. I also know that you traditionally post articulate and reasonable comments, and that your behavior and analysis is usually beyond reproach. I’m not exactly suspicious about your liberal cred either.

      I don’t have the first clue about what is happening in Honduras, but knowing the shady history of US/CIA involvement in South America, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of something really reprehensible happening beneath the surface.

      Here’s what I want to know, followed by a request. If I wanted to understand your perspective on the situation, what resources should I be accessing? Are there bloggers? Newspapers? Are there Hondurans speaking out somewhere? I want to have an informed opinion here, and I think we all know that journalistic neutrality and integrity are a thing of the past. Where Should I be looking?

      And the request? The Confluence would be poorer for the loss of your perspective. If you can find a way to ride this out or smooth this over and remain an active part of the community, I would appreciate it if you would do so. I have always enjoyed your commentary, and I’d like to continue doing so.

  18. Did I not read that although Obama has called the actions in Honduras a “coup” that SoS Clinton had held off from doing so?

    Excuse my ignorance but I always thought that a “coup” was when the military ousted a leader and took over the country.
    When I looked it up this was what I got: “ a brilliant, sudden and usually highly successful stroke or act”. So then I tried coup d’etat and there it was: “ a sudden decisive exercise of force; especially: the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small force.”

    In this case what I have read, and you do have to hunt for it since our media seems determinded to promote Zelaya as a victim, is that the Supreme Court and the Congress took him down for trashing or trying to trash their Constitution.

    Now I can see where that would be confusing. After all, our politicians, our leaders, some of our two term presidents, trash our Constitution all the time and we do nothing. Our leaders, hello Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reed, take such considerations off the table. And thus a newly selected President continues on the same track and the slavering media says little/nothing.

    I hope we keep out of Honduras and let/allow the people of that country to solve their own problems.

    Given the mess we have in this country with two general selections and one primary selection we are hardly in a position to be questioning other countries about their elections and such.

    Add in a government controlled/loving media, we have a difficult time trying to separate facts from what we are being spoon fed to sway our opinons.

    U.S. Condemns Honduran Coup
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/29/AR2009062904239.html

    • another case of infection by right wing disinformation.

      Here is a clue. Under the Honduran constitution, the Chairman of the Joint Chief’s serves at the pleasure of the President.

      http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Honduras/hond05.html

      ARTICULO 280.- El Secretario(a) de Estado en el Despacho de Defensa Nacional, será nombrado o removido libremente por el presidente de la República; en igual forma lo será el Jefe del Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, quien será seleccionado por el Presidente de la República, entre los miembros que integran la Junta de Comandantes de las Fuerzas Armadas, de conformidad con lo que establece el Escalafón de Oficiales, prescrito en la Ley Constitutiva de las Fuerzas Armadas.

      When Zelaya dismissed the chair, the Supreme Court said it was illegal because it was done without cause — but there is no cause needed under the Constitution.

      This was a power struggle between the right-wing oligarchs who have ruled in Honduras for ages and a “populist” president who was representing Honduras’s poor people. Zelaya lost the support of his own party when he started siding with Honduras’s poor.

      The oligarchy is extremely threatened in Honduras because of electoral changes that went into effect in 2005 — 2005 was the first year in which legislators were elected as individuals; prior to that, the legislature was based on “party lists” — you voted for the party, which selected who actually served. The loss of control by the two main political parties over who actually served in the legislature means that for the first time politicians can be held accountable for their individual actions as members of the Honduran legislature.

      The courts are an essential part of that oligarchy, and ruled against Zelaya not based on the constitution, but based on the threat that Zelaya represented to the established socio-economic order.

    • She’s holding off because if the state department declares it a coup, they cut off aid to the country. They don’t want to do that.

  19. This post made me actually go back and read most of the 200 comments of the thread in question.

    Overall Pluk was making good points and I share his allergy to RightWing sources.

    But why all the insults? He could have made his points as a matter of contribution to the discussion but not, but outright assaulting DKat was wrong on all points.

    I hope Paul has had the time to cool his jests and realize how awfully behaved he was. This comes as a big surprise to me because I’ve known him online more than a year and he usually does a good job in debunking falsehood or pointing to some other facts, which he could have done here.

    • OK, maybe a Peace Be With You, is in order and we can all start a new. I hadn’t had any interaction with him and truly was only a spectator in this.

    • One thing, I must ask, why did he go after Dak? He might do better to say he doesn’t agree with her, and state his points or why he sees it from a different point of view. Once you bring out the L word, you pretty much set the house on fire and it is a little George Busie of an approach (whom I take it he doesn’t want to emulate).

      • I’m supposed to protect you from right wing spin. Otherwise, I’m indoctrinating you into the dark side. That’s my take any way.

        • dak, I’ll say this … I’m still unsure about what is going on in Honduras as much as the situation in Iran since, as you stated, there is simply not enough information. And, I’m tired of news being spun to fit a particular ideology. But, coming form a very conservative Republican family, I have always read the WSJ, WT, and other right wing sources just to make my arguments even better against theirs. So I appreciate the sources being mentioned. I get that you were just doing the “on the one hand, but on the another” approach to ferreting out the info. And my final point is, after this election specifically, and reading info about Obama just to shore up info to fine-tune my arguments because I was going to campaign for him…. I don’t believe wholeheartedly believe ANYTHING that I read, no matter what side it comes from. I think part of the problem in the MSM now is that because news is being broken down into Left-wing vs. Right-wing” labels, the news is swinging to these sides more easily so that we know which sources to read/follow based upon our own self-imposed labels. This doesn’t benefit anyone, bu instead has set us up for major thought control.

          My feeling is, and it’s just a gut thing, is that any leader to tries to change the constitution in such a way that is outside the accepted measures stated within (i.e., with a referendum that was quickly put together and who knows with what controls missing) is suspect in my book. Especially, since the referendum had direct bearing on repealing the term-limit requirement. [Ring any bells here?] Whether the original document was dominated by the oligarchy or not, does this really matter? One could argue that our US constitution was dominated by the oligarchy because namely, women, slaves, and indentured servants did not take part in its writing and in fact were subject to particulars that did not benefit them. So, this part of pluskiak’s argument does not hold for me.

  20. Perhaps this GE coup may help GE stockholders. I think it is correct for this country to challenge what appears to be happening in Honduras. It seems to me that the issue here may have much more to do with the military’s mo—literally capturing the pres and booting him out of the country. But what is a little discomforting is why we were so quick to protest this event and so slow to support the protests of the Iranian people.

  21. Daki is my hero and Paul better give her respect. Sometimes the left/progressives get carried away with emotions and forget that part about the liberal roots in facts, rational argument, and documentation. I did not used to read much on the conservative side of the ledger but have come to know that they have this same tendency. Could it be a human failing?

  22. What is SOS Hillary saying on the SOS web site? I would like to have a chat with her and find out what she is thinking and why. The only thing that makes sense to me is that the US is running up a red flag about the process more than it is defending Zelayla. It looks like from the distance that there was a legal process in place to stop him, the military was called in to enforce the stop and then things went off the rails.

    I am not getting exactly where the Honduran people are on all this but it seems that the replacement is a member of Z’s party and that the plan is to move forward with elections there as scheduled. I agree with the comment that we are missing significant information.

  23. Where are the Honduran people in this? The Honduran people are OUTRAGED and are storming the streets, only to be met with violence from the military. Honduras is effectively under martial law now. And how odd, isn’t it, that our media which has been salivating over the protesters in Iran doesn’t put the Honduran people in the same category. Did you see the video Inky (I believe) posted yesterday, showing Honduran citizens literally punching soldiers as they marched by?

    Oh, but they’re protesting on behalf of one of those bad leftist anti-American pro-Chavez pro-ALBA…did I say leftist?

    “In this case what I have read, and you do have to hunt for it since our media seems determinded to promote Zelaya as a victim, is that the Supreme Court and the Congress took him down for trashing or trying to trash their Constitution.”

    Then I don’t know what sources you are reading, because that is not clear at all. What’s clear is that Zelaya asked for a NON BINDING REFERENDUM to the Constitution asking for the PEOPLE’S opinion of a proposed change. If this is “trashing the Constitution,” well, I guess our interpretations of “trashing” differ.

    • I am always suspicious of people trying to extend their time in government, as if no other human being was capable of thinking. Take a look at how long Biden was in the Senate and in that time, he never saw the need for Health Care Reform, because he was cushie and was doing more than fine with government paid health care.

      Why couldn’t Zelaya have supported someone within his party to run for president? Why do countries need Kings/Dictatorships? What happens to Human Rights under Dictatorships?!?

      So, call me suspicious, and why is it so wrong to discuss that?

      • your opinion is based on disinformation — Not only did the referendum have nothing to do with making Zelaya eligible to run for a second consecutive term, even had the referendum succeeded, Zelaya could not have run for a second term because the referendum authorizing a constitutional assembly would occur the same day as the presidential election in november — and Zelaya’s name could not have been on that ballot.

        As for the question of Zelaya;s failure to support another candidate — you are obviously unaware that Zelaya lost the support of his own party when he started siding with Honduras’ poor people. Honduras is a political oligarchy that up until 2005 did not even allow its citizens to vote for individual representation in Congress (they voted for party lists) — and that change came about only because of the referendum provisions of the Honduran constitution.

        Zelaya’s call for a constitutional assembly was not about extending his own term of office so much as it was about restructuring the entire government to make it more responsive to the needs of its citizens. Neither of the two major parties support those efforts, because both parties are part of the oligarchy.

        • Evil liar, evil liar, evil liar… Just kidding 🙂

          See how much nicer it is to just argue the point and provide information. Ah, that’s so much better. Thanks for that.

    • DO,

      I think Daknikat has pretty good leftist credentials. She was critizing Chavez from the point of view of her economics expertise. She feels that he has given the poor enough to get their support, but that in the end most of the money is in the hands of the rich–as it is here in the US.

      I posted some left-wing sources on the original thread–toward the end. There is a lot of suspicion on the left that the U.S. permitted the coup to go forward because Zelaya had turned against Obama.

      We also got a post from someone who lives in Honduras. I found one Honduran blogger who suppoted the removal of Zelaya. Do you know how to find other Honduran bloggers who might have useful inside information?

  24. Regarding the Plukasiak dustup, Paul was a staunch supporter of true liberal ideals throughout the Bush misadministration, and a staunch and outspoken supporter of Hillary against the Obamatron hordes. He did yeoman’s work on this stuff long before many of us were catching on. So he’s a credible source, and I cut him some slack for a momentary outburst on a subject that he feels passionately about.

    Not that I countenance rudeness, or abusive language. And Dakinikat is a terrific writer, a smart person who explains complicated ideas clearly and engagingly.

    All that said, I will say that I was very disturbed to see a TC poster citing the WSJ editorial page as an authority. The WSJ is a superb newspaper when it comes to their *news and features* and its writers some of the best in the country for *news and features* but when it comes to their editorial page, come on!! That nest of neocon-bunker holdouts has always been a joke, it’s even worse than the occasionally sane WaPo editorial page. It’s NEVER been sane.

    • well said.

    • That’s just it. Dakinikat did not cite the WSJ piece as “an authority.” She said it was one of the few places in the media she could find anything about Honduras over the weekend.

      I agree that Paul has always done wonderful research, and it’s too back he couldn’t share his research on Honduras with us in a reasonable manner. He could even have posted his arguments on the front page, since he has been an author here for ages.

      On the other hand, Paul was not the first to fight back against the Obot brainwashing. I was fighting the good fight at DK long before the primaries began last year, and Riverdaughter started this blog in January, 2008 after getting thrown of DK for supporting Hillary over Obama.

      • BTW, Dancing Oppossum, I’m offended that you chose not to comment on the left wing links I post for you. I posted them on this thread too for Paul L. He also ignored them. I wonder why? Could it be because Jeremy Scahill, for example, doesn’t buy into the U.S. government spin on this? And you and Paul are accepting it.

        As Dakinikat said, we respect our readers enough to know that they can filter sources for themselves. We’re not ashamed to admit that we aren’t experts on everything and to ask for information from readers. It’s that old bottom up thing that Obama used to talk about, ya know? Open minds and critical thinking?

      • It would have been great to have given him an opportunity to counter post. I really do think the best way( and the liberal way) to hash things out is to let two sides of the argument post their facts and conclusions and let people judge for themselves.

      • I imagine that what offended Paul and others was when Dak said: “I had to rely on my subscription to the Wall Street Journal for actual news” and then went on to quote the WSJ op ed extensively. I know that Dak was just trying to fill in the missing pieces of the story, but that particular source is notorious for its rightwing spin, and some readers reacted acordingly.

        Of course, we all like to imagine that we are immune to rightwing spin and can glean the truthful wheat from the idiological shaft, but I’m not really sure that’s always the case. I do see that a lot of people accept it here as a given that Zalaya was trying to use the referendum to stay in office for another term, even though he has flatly denied this and even though it would be impossible—even if the non-binding resolution passed and a constitutional assembly decided to alter the constitution to allow for a two-term presidentcy–for those changes to take place before Zalaya leaves office.

        I certainly believe that one of the reasons why so many are willing to believe that Zalaya’s motive for the referendum was a selfish quest to retain power is that it fits into the image of the power-hungry leftist would-be-dictator-for-life, a la Castro, that we have grown up with. Once we are fed a story that fits in neatly with our preconceptions, we feel comfortable not to look any further.

        But I believe that we do need to look further. I am one of those who happens to believe that was has been happening in Latin America recently is one of the most hopeful trends in the world today. Country after country has rewritten its constitution in a way the wrests control from oligarchical domination toward a more participatory form of democracy. It does seem to me that Zalaya was acting a part of this larger regional movement.

        I also think that another ideological prejudice that many of us hold without realizing it is a tendancy to accept any action that offers up the excuse of “upholding the constitution”–even when the constitution in quesiton was specifically drafted to maintain oligarchical control of power and even when the constitution itself makes the process of ammending it virtually impossible. I’m all for the rule of law, but I also believe that people have a right to form a more perfect union and to form constitutional assemblies when the existing constitution no longer represents the will of the majority of a nation’s citizens.

        But I acknowledge that I, like everyone else, have my own ildeological tendancies that I have to fight against if I want to figure out what’s really going on in the world. And I think that anyone who thinks that they don’t are fooling themselves.

        • I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know enough about Zelaya to form an opinion on what he was attempting to accomplish. Nor do I know enough about the individuals who opposed the referendum.

        • She was quoting alleged facts from the op-ed, not opinions.

          In court you have to allege different facts if you expect to win your case.

          Simply calling the other side a liar won’t cut it.

          • Here are some of the facts from the WSJ op ed that Dak quoted:

            Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya’s abuses, also wants him back in power. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground.

            So are you saying that it’s a plain fact that Zalaya is an authoritarian who’s being treated with kid gloves by foreign powers in spite of his abuses, leaving the situation such that it “will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground?”

            I could have sworn that I detected some opinion/spin in there.

            But I agree that it would have been much better if Paul had provided links and not gone into instant attack mode.

          • Ouch! I didn’t close my booldface tag properly. Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to shout, and if any wants to fix my tag, I’d be grateful.

          • Or my blockquote tag, for that matter. If anyone wants to delete my comment, I’ll just try again.

            Some of us need a preview button more than others.

          • did i get that right?

          • Thanks, Dak–I probably should have avoided the boldface entirely.

            I’m sure you know by now how much respect have for you, even, or perhaps especially, when I disagree with you. I’ve never once seen you try to avoid a debate or resort to attacks when someone challenges your position. I’m just trying to explain why some reacted poorly to your post because I hope that we don’t lose voices like Paul’s, even though his anger got the better of him and he said some rather offensive things to you.

        • I,

          Yes. Even knowing that we are fish in the pond “breathing in” the pond does not alter the fact that we’re in the pond. We, to break from the metaphor, don’t have access to a God’s Eye view. What the knowledge of our “in-the-pondness” does is inform us to seek alternate views so that we can fill out our perspectives.

          s

  25. Remember how Guiliani tried to use 911 to stay in office longer; and now our current mayor has managed to get around the term limits law to allow him to run again. He is already saturating our airways with campaign ads.

    I’m also leery of people who think they should lead for life once they get into office. As to the non-binding nature of the Honduran referendum, I’m mindful of how an innocuous vote in Congress led to the Iraq war.

    What’s the point of this comment? I don’t know. I don’t feel that I know enough to have an opinion. But you guys please keep writing about it. Honduras is in our back yard and this thing could get big overnight. Literally.

    • I won’t vote for Bloomberg if he ever runs for President, because he too, is likely to think ONLY he could do the job and ask for an end to Presidential term limits.

      Just look at the Senate and Congress and how some have been in office for over a quarter century. It has become the ‘House of Lord’… 😯

      What does that say about a person, when they think they are irreplaceable?

    • It worries me too when folks start wanting to be leader for life. It sounds way too Kim Jong Il to me. I don’t care what their philosophies are.

      • I’m not certain we should automatically infer that Zelaya wants to be leader for life. I think it’s kinda sad that the ballot wasn’t allowed to play out to see if the Honduran citizens wanted a president with different term limits.

  26. Some News:

    Latin American Countries Institute Boycotts/Sanctions:

    “Mexico and the countries of Central America have announced various political and economic sanctions against the coup government in Honduras as part of a non-violent and non-military strategy to return democratically elected President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya to power.

    “…In the first direct action against the coup government, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala will close their borders with Honduras for 48 hours. The border closing means that all cross-border commerce will be shut down
    for 48 hours.”

    http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/kristin-bricker/2009/06/latin-american-nations-begin-economic-and-political-blockade-agains

    Al-Jazeera reports that the military and police are using tear gas and physical violence against protesters:

    “Cristian Vallejo, a Red Cross paramedic, said he had taken 10 protesters to hospital, most of them with injuries from rubber-coated bullets.

    “At least 38 demonstrators have been detained by the security forces, said Sandra Ponce, a human rights prosecutor.”

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/06/2009629213229366683.html

    Three correspondents from TeleSUR and several Associated Press reporters in Honduras have been detained by the military:

    http://www.telesurtv.net/solotexto/nota/index.php?ckl=53094

    Honduran radio station De Los Menos reports that political cartoonist Allan McDonald and his 17-year-old daughter were detained by the military (in Spanish):

    http://www.radioeslodemenos.org/

    Communique’ from COPINH, the council of indigenous and popular orgs in Honduras:

    “We tell everyone that the Honduran people are carrying out large demonstrations, actions in their communities, in the municipalities; there are occupations of bridges, and a protest in front of the presidential residence, among others.

    “We state that we do not recognize any “substitute” and WE WILL STRUGGLE FOR OUR PEOPLE, FOR OUR RIGHT TO DREAM OF A COUNTRY WITH JUSTICE, EQUITY, LIBERTY AND LIFE. With the ancestral force of Iselaca and Lempira we raise our voices for life, justice, liberty, dignity and peace.”

    http://www.narconews.com/Issue57/article3580.html

  27. I enjoy reading dakinikat’s posts, as I always learn something from them. She’s got a wonderful ability to translate the more difficult economic and financial issues into terms a layman can understand.

    After reading her post on Honduras, what struck me the most was that the media wasn’t providing adequate coverage, and that the issue would be viewed differently by those on the left and the right. I ended up feeling as though I didn’t have enough information to form a strong opinion. I viewed her post an invitation to be on the look out for additional information.

    Personally, I would have preferred to see anyone who disagreed with her post provide her with conflicting information and arguments in a more positive manner.

    • That was pretty much what I was trying to do … I put things out there and expect other people to use their filters. I’m not around to bathe people in politically correct and soothing information. I just found it odd that we weren’t getting what I would call real information. I didn’t label the WSJ op ed piece the authoritative be all and end all to the topic at hand. I was just putting out what was out there and saying we needed more than this because there’s a ton of conflicting spin.

      How that turned into me advocating neocon disinformation is beyond me.

      • I thought you were a secret neocon sleeper cell planted decades before. 🙂

      • If we only used “approved” sources of information we would be Obama supporters.

        Or wingnuts, which is really the same thing these days.

        • Well, if we followed his advice, the entire country would turn into 2 opposing camps of echo-chamber zealots, each reading/hearing ONLY their own approved sources, and neither side ever venturing to hear anything that wasn’t already approved and filtered as acceptable.

          Oh, wait, that’s what we have – other than us few sane persons (left, middle, and right) who would like some sanity and dialogue.

          If we conducted foreign policy and diplomacy the way we conduct our right/left relations in this country, we’d be at perpetual war.

          • I thought we tried that under Dubya and it didn’t work too well. I thought NOW we were supposed to be more intelligent about things and less ideological, but then, i like doing the thesis, antithesis, synthesis thing. I don’t like my information filtered.

          • it has been a very bizarre experience for me to become a liberal who can not stand most liberals anymore.
            Plus, I used to think it would be great to have an actual liberal media and when we got one it seems like they are all faux liberals or idiots and liars. My deepest disapointment has been on msnbc and it’s stable of dipshits.

  28. Middle East
    Iranian Cleric Urges Executing Some Protesters
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106002465

    “Anyone who takes up arms to fight with the people, they are worthy of execution,” Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, a ranking cleric, said in a nationally broadcast sermon at Tehran University.

  29. Jeebus! What is with all the nastiness in these Honduras threads?

    I haven’t seen this kind of shit since our last Israel/Palestine discussion.

    • Some people seem to think it’s a crime to just put it out there that you think a news story is important but confusing and then ask for input and discussion–with a suggestion at the end that we all need to pay attention the story and read and learn more about it.

      • I did basically the same thing on Iran, and there were people in my thread accusing me of taking a position when I wasn’t–just like in the thread yesterday. Remember “Mary?”

    • I/P……….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      horrible worthless discussion always. No one ever changes an opinion and they are always a hotbed of misinformation. I tend to lean to siding with the Palestinians, but it never turns out well.

      • Yep, when it turns into a religious argument (firmly held ideas that can’t be scrutinized with logic or experiment or any reasoned debate) then the discussion should just stop at that point. Otherwise it’s just a stupid yelling match.

        • Actually everyone has many areas of their belief sets that haven’t been reasoned through. And it’s really pleasant when you can debate a topic with a colleague and when you find yourself in that position and one of you says, ah it’s now a religious argument, and both smile and nod. That is, both recognize the argument can go no further until both parties work harder on those points. So much nicer than the alternative.

          • yes, that seems pleasant, but I have never seen it happen with I/P discussions and the same people make the same points over and over and it becomes like a really nasty debate society with the real losers being the people in Israel and Gaza/left bank who suffer.

    • This is a Honduras thread?

  30. Stop the lies — and stop believing the lies.

    Sounds like the Obama candidacy and administration to me. This is just more lazy partisan knee-jerk reaction from the blogosphere. He thinks he is obviously the source of all things true and meaningful, and if you don’t agree with his very specific and dogmatic perception you are “lying!” Any mention of any source that doesn’t pass their litmus test is proof that you are lying! I am so tired of the blind partisanship on both sides–it’s just the flip side of the same coin, threatened by anything that doesn’t fit their strict prescriptions, and arrogant and childish in their response.

    Ignore him Daki.

    • I have to wonder if a little latent sexism isn’t going on here. I hate to think it.

      • Could be, or it could be just that bane of political existence on both the right and the left: zealotry. I can’t stand zealots. Even when I mostly agree with them, I can’t stand ’em.

        • Zealotry comes in all stripes – religious, political, ethnic, fiscal, et al. None is attractive, some is damaging.

  31. I was unaware of the smears of Dakinikat posted on what I used to consider respectful websites –
    They did lose my respect a long time ago. But to smear Dak? One of my favorite writers? I always think its fair to debate, but what the heck is goin on here? I’m backing up anyone who is defending Dak’s piece. It was information, with links. There were not any types of promotion, only the mentions of what was being said and the critic did nopt bother to offer opposing points of view, only attacking the writer who was passing things that had been published along. Its always up to the individual to interpret those things themselves by reading more and doing research. We sure can’t rely on our media whores to do it. So look at what is written, debate it, offer opposing viewpoints, but don’t attack the messenger. There’s still alot we don’t know and must find out. Look at Dak’s last sentence, it asks “what is going on?”.

    • I agree, and this type of groupthink and “purity attacks” sicken me, and I do not care if they come from the right or the left, or if their policy position is agreeable to me or not. Groupthink, and telling people what they are “allowed” to read, see, hear, and weigh and consider is fucking dangerous – and I don’t care if it’s my side doing it or the other.

      Dak did not hold out right-wing links as authoritative – not once. When she mentioned the WSJ oped, it was with the (mildly sneering) caveat that it was, “of all places”, one of the few articles even available. Her tone was deliberately “This is all I could find, take it for what it’s worth.”

      Her entire post was a withholding of judgement, and a quest for more solid info. How someone reads that as “mindless boob spouting RWTP as gospel”, I’ll never know.

      In short, I HATE ZEALOTS. Even when I mostly agree with them, they turn my stomach.

      • I really, really dislike being told what I may link to.

        Disprove an argument, but don’t tell me what I can read.

        • I really dislike being told what to do, how to think, what to write and what to say. I don’t give a damn if the person doing it is a neocon or a progressive. My thoughts are my own, just like my vote is my own.

    • I don’t get it either. Jealosy? Sexism? Fear of ideas? I don’t know, but I’m sick of it.

      • The tendency towards anti-Dak smears? I assume its because she’s a threat. She’s well-informed, intelligent, articulate, persuasive, and actually stands for liberal values. Nobody wants someone smarter than them running around correcting all of their misapprehensions and assumptions IN FRONT OF THEIR FRIENDS.

        Also, yeah, I’m going to assume sexism.

        Although I still haven’t read the original honduras thread (I can’t take any more drama-llamas today), so I don’t know how or if this connects to Paul.

  32. Here is what I get from Dak. Too much twittering about nuthin’ and no real journos doing anything.

    ps: on sources?
    this has been a huge argument around here before, no?

    You guys, I spent 20 years is the newspaper biz.
    There are no more sources. They all got laid off. Period.

    So?

    Who cares what sources people quote to make a point?

    This blogland is all we have?

    Maybe let pluk-tonium run a piece from his POV?

    Why not?

    But don’t call the writers here liars. Papers used to censor the editorial letters, btw. That doesn’t happen in here. Everything is up for comment?

    We can all be grateful for that, and thanks Plu for supporting Hillary.
    The way I see it, the world would be in a lot less foment if we had some calm at the helm?

    I think we are seeing countries shift alliances and allies right now and plus that we have a new cold war brewing or worse?

    I see these things in Dak’s post.

    Who’s in first? Ya know?

    Write a piece Plu….? Where is your blog?

  33. full o’typos and I meant “who’s ON first” ——-

    (said watching the skies over the pacific from things which may drop Strangelove-style any mo.)

    • ps: MIQ, thank you for always being ON FIRST in fabness.
      you are really smart, and you always take care iof things besides being a great writer — and, I like the brainy-ness of this piece as well!

      the Conf is full of brains.

  34. I for one, stand by what I said and the bullying and insults only tend to make me dig my heels in. I took my information from Larry Johnson and Jeremy Scahill, two people who’s opinion on this I trust and respect.

    I know I am ignorant so I have to find information from people that I believe, right or wrong, are getting the facts to me.
    A couple of people posting on a blog and insulting me aren’t about to say anything that I find worthwhile. Insults tend to do that to most poeple.

    Everything that comes from the “right” isn’t always wrong anymore than everything that comes from the “left is always correct. Comments about “infection by right wing disinformation” just make me tune people out.

    • Everything that comes from the “right” isn’t always wrong anymore than everything that comes from the “left is always correct. Comments about “infection by right wing disinformation” just make me tune people out.

      Nice comment. I feel the same.

      • Nice comment indeed, but in this case, the “right” information, as amply demonstrated by Paul and Dancing Opposum, is in fact largely right wing disinformation.

        • And we are supposed to take your word for that?

          • What part of “as amply demonstrated by Paul and Dancing Opposum” did you miss? Their posts contain plenty of information, linked and otherwise, that call into question the accuracy of the “Right’s” information/spin.

          • I didn’t miss shit but you did.

            Paul provided exactly one link since yesterday and it only referred to the Honduran constitution.

            DO’s links didn’t deal with the facts of the coup.

            The rest of their “facts” are not supported by evidence or sources.

          • Myiq. P was taking information from sources already linked on that thread. It’s understandable that no one noticed because his invective and hand wringing were so offensive and distracting, but he was reading the sources carefully and pulling out the information, as he said (and again, no one can be blamed for not noticing with all the bs) and as you can see for yourself if you check the links.

        • I’m not so sure that anything at all has been “amply demonstrated” thus far re: Honduras. There is minimal information out there, and a lot of noise.

          Rather than discuss or query what might/might not be happening there, which seems to be Daki’s intent, there was the usual “Pick a side, dammit, and if you refuse to pick a side, one will be assigned to you!” I think that’s a bit premature.

  35. myiq2xu,

    What is your point? Whether you take my word for it or not doesn’t matter a whit and is besides the point. What you choose to take or believe is up to you.

    Anyway, Paul is rightfully being called out about his strident attitude towards Dakinikat and her post, though Steven goes a bit over the top himself, in terms of the actual situation in Honduras, I think Paul and DO made a good case that the rightwing sourcing/spin on this issue is questionable and could be disinformation. So sue me.

    • If you jump into a pie fight don’t complain about the whipped cream in your hair.

      Paul and DO have been tossing around insults for two days. I’m sick of it.

      I’m trying to finish a post on the Ricci decision and I’m continually distracted by people who want to keep the festivities going.

      • Can you make mine key lime?

      • Huh? I’m trying to keep the festivities going? I didn’t say anything about the insults until my previous post in which I said it was rightfully being called out. Before and after that, I only mentioned that I agreed with their take on the rightwing slant (especially considering that there is a growing UN/International consensus that refutes the “legal coup” rightwing spin) . YOU had a problem with the that and kept it going.

        Ignore me and finish your post on the Ricci decision. Now that should be interesting reading.

        • i just think that every one’s a little touchy today …

          • Yeah, and honestly I HATE the term pie fight. Lol let’s put it all out there! A pie fight supposedly means a stupid fight over nothing, when in reality what happened was a few people complained about something that offended them, and instead of handling it like a grown up, kos flung noxious sexist insults at them, and then when THAT offensive disrespect offended 9 million more people than had ever cared about the original complaint, he then threw open the frat house door and they egged each other on in a bizarre ’08 preview of over-the-top unbelievable sexism directed at other community members. And how it all came down through spin as “remember when all those wimnin got so upset over an ad?” “yeah, it wasn’t about the ad, it had nothing to do with the ad” “yeah, yeah, stupid ad, what a stupid fight!” pie fight, bah! Lol

  36. Just stopping by to say I *heart* dakinikat.

    I’ve been reading her posts here since the very first one last year.

    She’s never been anything but courteous to commenters and doesn’t deserve to be called names under any circumstances.

    (no, kat-this does not mean I’ll take your advice and buy a Smartcar.)

    Meanwhile, who knows what in the hell is going on in Honduras.
    Information remains conflicting and sparse.

    That’s hardly kat’s fault.

    • ah, thank you! It’s so nice to know you’ve got such wonderful friends!!!

      • same here, dak — just posted about you now. you’re the best!

        thanks Steven Mather as well. I agree 100% with your post and admire your logical and reasoned approach to the (critical, in my opinion) issue of circular firing squads.

  37. myiq2xu, I posted some links to NarcoNews and other sites about the facts leading up to the coup but in any case, we can probably all agree about the following: Zelaya asked for a referendum by the Honduran people (we don’t have to agree what its purpose was); the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to do so and that Zelaya was acting unconstitutionally; the Supreme Court asked the military not to help in distribution of the ballot boxes; Zelaya continued to insist on the balloting, fired the head of the military, and was subsequently arrested.

    Whatever reasons and motivations any of these groups may have had for their actions is probably what’s being debated. At any rate…

    Here are some other links, courtesy of NarcoNews and SOA Watch:

    Article from the June 19 issue of La Prensa, reporting that the Supreme Court of Honduras asked the military to not cooperate with Zelaya’s request to hold a referendum. The court said that under Honduras’ constitution, reform of 7 of the constitution’s 379 articles is not illegal. All of these prohibited articles deal with the form of government of the country and the presidential term.

    http://www.laprensagrafica.com/el-salvador/lodeldia/40756–honduras-piden-a-militares-no-acatar-orden-presidencial.html

    From the June 26 El Libertador, a left-wing news source, an article noting that in 2006 the Honduran government passed the Law of Citizen Participation (la Ley de la Participaction Ciudiadana) which gives private citizens the opportunity to seek government reforms through referendums and polls ( “el plebiscito, referéndum, cabildos abiertos municipales, consultas populares “). The paper argues that Zelaya was within his legal rights to request the referendum:

    http://ellibertador.hn/Nacional/12/3034.html

    Again, an excellent summary on the background to the coup here from the Narcosphere:

    http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/kristin-bricker/2009/06/honduras-prepares-sundays-controversial-opinion-poll

  38. Whoops, “reform of 7….bla bla bla…IS illegal.”

  39. OT: Al Franken is in, heading for the Senate. So now what will be the Dems excuse for not doing real health care reform…

  40. Here’s another interesting tidbit: The anti-refrendum law that the supreme court and congress relied on to oust Zelaya was actually passed “in an unusual late-night session” just days after Zelaya announced his intention to call for a referendum:

    “The Honduran Congress passed a new law on Tuesday, after an unusual late-night legislative session. The measure, called the Ley Especial que Regula el Referéndum y el Plebiscito, establishes specific restrictions on the power of the executive to call for national referendums by prohibiting plebiscites and referendums 180 days before or after a national election.

    “Prior to Tuesday’s development, President Zelaya had scheduled a vote for June 28 on whether to convene a constituent assembly to re-write the Honduran Constitution.”

    http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/685/

  41. Well, I’ve slogged through both threads now, and feel the need to toss in my dos pesetas (inflation, y’know.) I think Dancing Opossum and Whazzit (Paul? Sorry, don’t follow Corrente.) are right on the merits, even if one is wrong on the manners.

    Was what happened in Honduras a coup? What else do you call the forcibe deposition of an elected head of state by the military, who then ship him out of the country? Military coups in general, and Latin American military coups more than most, tend to result in the installation of repressive dictators. Remember Agosto Pinochet? Galtieri in Argentina? Even military men who don’t come to power through a violent overthrow of an elected President turn out more often than not to be little shops of horrors. For those who don’t remember that far back, look up Anastacio Somoza of Nicaragua and his lovely family. A coup blessed by an arguably non-representative assembly and an ideological court is still a coup.

    It seems to me that there is also a lot of misunderstanding here about Hugo Chavez and the Fifth Republic. Chavez did not set himself up as President-for-Life. He did put a constitutional referrendum before the voters, and that referrendum included doing away with present term limits. The referrendum failed, 51%-49%. Chavez is not President for Life. Get back to me on this when he makes a move to overturn the will of the voters.

    It seems to me that there is even worse misunderstanding about social conditions in Latin America. Very people in the United States have any concept about just how exreme extreme poverty is in the regions between our southern border and the cone of South America. If you remember the rural American South before LBJ’s Great Society programs and imagine the situation half again as bad, you’ll get at least close to what it’s like for the very poor from Mexico to Bolivia. To accomplish Chavez’s economic, medical and educational reforms in a relatively short period is pretty damn phenomenal.

    There’s also a racial divide in most Latin American countries, with the “whiter” folk on top and the indigenous populations somewhere well below bottom. That division seems to be operating in Honduras now, as it has done in Venezuela. Check out the news reports of anti-Chavez protests. Note the number of well heeled protestors in designer clothes and make-up. Chavez, the mestizo, did the unthinkable. He threw out the European-descended oligarchy–who desperately want back in–and devoted the nationalized oil proceeds to improving life for the brown and the poor. Eco shows promise of doing the same in Bolivia.

    Elsewhere in Latin America, the governments are dominated by neo-liberal, upper class oligarchs
    who siphon off national revenues for the benefit of themselves, their families and their chief supporters. In the Brazilian rainforest and most recently in Peru, you have blatant massacres of indigenous peoples by government and commercial forces, which have historically been backed, and sometimes directly financed, by the United States. Bolivarian, participatory democracy looks a whole lot better to the “outs” and “have nots” of Latin America precisely because the US version of democracy has brought them little but violent oppression.

    Which brings us around to the School of the Americas. Mabye there are some really nice little nuns who love kittens and puppies secretly teaching there and turning out compassionatel leaders who respect the will of their citizens. Maybe they’re flying under the radar playing 11-dimensional chess until the time comes to bring peace, justice and the American way to the oppressed peoples of Latin America.

    Or maybe their record speaks for itself–death squads, torturers, and fascists.

    • Thank you! That was extremely well said.

    • A couple of corrections … the first one is going to be short, but that referendum in Venezuela went down to defeat in 2007 but passed in 2009.

      From Reuters (hopefully not a controversial source)

      http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN1537477220090215

      and the Belfast Telegraph:

      Venezuelan voters have approved a referendum to eliminate political term limits and allow Hugo Chavez to remain on as president if he is re-elected in three years’ time.

      Opponents have accused Mr Chavez of moving the country towards authoritarianism.

      However, the outspoken left-wing President says he needs more time in power to complete his socialist revolution.

      Fireworks exploded in the skies over Caracas last night as his supporters celebrated the referendum victory.

      Around 54% of voters approved the referendum, with 46% voting against it.

      • Thanks for the correction, dakini. Lots of stuff on my mind today, and some of the braincells obviously wandering.

        The 2009 referrendum still doesn’t make Chavez Prez-for-Life, Duvalier-style, though. He does have to run, and he does have to be re-elected. FDR racked up four lawfully elected terms, as I recall, and likely could have had a fifth, had he lived. Chavez–and I realize this is going to make some folks pull their own hair and want to pull mine–is the closest thing Latin America has had to an FDR since Benito Juarez.

        Which was what? 150 years ago? Long wait.

        • No, he does face re-election true. But as you well know, elections are not always democratic.

          and Chavez is no FDR. He is not what the right makes him out to be, but he is not the hero of people that he’s made out to be by some on the left either …

          Venezuela, without oil, would have been in a state of chaos a few years ago and if oil prices continue to fall, it shortly will be in a state of chaos

          with all things Latin American, I frequently find that is difficult for many folks to realistically access what’s going on…

      • But then again, is ending term limits really that anti-democratic, especially when the repeal is brought about by a vote of the people? I understand the desire for term limits (and I sorely wish we had them in New York state elections, where power has become so entrenched in Albany that state government is a total mess). OTOH, people pay more attention to national election th\an toe state offices, and in Venezuela people still have the power to throw Chavez out of office as soon as they find him wanting. And I don’t feel that our country fared for the worse because FDR ran for four term–and he was the most radical of our presidents.

        But I don’t argue with those who say that Chavez has shown some worrisome tendencies Many historians feel that FDR did as well, as with his attempts to reconfigure the Supreme Court. It’s one thing to keep a watchful eye on attempts to overstep and consolidate power. It’s another thing to demonize Chavez as an autocratic demagogue and pretend that Venezuela is not a functioning democracy when it still very much is.

        • well, the interesting thing about the Venezuela referendum was that it was brought up over and over again, defeated and reconstituted until they got the results the government wanted.

          That makes me highly suspicious.

          and Teddy Roosevelt was highly radical too — in his own right.

    • Some other corrections. First, the professor who presides over my specialty field in international finance who is at UTEP is a specialist in Latin American Countries. I’m currently doing research work on dollarization policies and transmission of monetary policy in that part of the world, so while I’m relatively unversed at the politics (although my understanding is that it’s a different world down there than even the 1980s), I know most of the South American Economies quite well. I believe I’ve only blogged about one of them to date. However, Oscar has consulted in nearly every one of them and I have access to a lot of data.

      That being said, right now I’ll rely on The Economist. Venezuela’s economy is not stellar in a period that it should have been stellar and has all kinds of problems that will most likely erupt in the next 2 -3 years.

      Here’s a pretty good recent article.

      Many independent analysts, as well as those linked to the opposition, fear economic doom. Five of the country’s most prominent economists gave warning that the transfer of reserves to the government’s coffers “drastically reduces backing for the bolívar and multiplies the anticipated inflationary impact” of the fall in oil revenues. They predict a squeeze on imports, with a cut of around a third in the foreign currency dispensed by the government’s exchange-control watchdog. They expect stagflation, with the economy contracting by 2-2.5% this year and prices rising by more than 40%. The government will be unable to finance its social programmes and will have to devalue, they say.

      • that being said, if you want to look towards a well run Latin American Economy, I suggest Chile.

        • Chile and Argentina do not have the racial divdes that make for social and economic conflict in Latin America above the cone. They’re a mostly European-descended population, with a mixture of Spanish, German, French, Italian, even Irish (remember Bernardo O’Higgins?). Their culture is also in many ways closer to Europe than to the remainder of Latin America–second world at worst, not third.

          • Argentina, however has issues right now.

          • But even with its more homogeneous population, Chile presently has a Gini income inequality index of 54.9, while Venezuela has an index of 41–not that income inequality offers ttremendous insight into a nation’s economic health.

          • Gini’s and the HDI are like all indexes, as reliable as their components and the data that can actually be retrieved.

            It’s difficult to really get a good grasp on countries with economies that have a major traditional component as well as a modern one. But, yes, they are a useful benchmark. I actually like to follow the changes year-to-year more. Venezuela’s has been improving, but again, you have to put it in context of how much petroleum they have, how much of an increase in value that has had in the last few years.

          • oh, and in 2008, the inflation rate in Venezuela was 31% … hard to judge how well people are really doing when prices are going up like that.

        • Well, I would say that not everyone considers The Economist the world’s most unbiased and reliable source. I haven’t read it in years, but I’ve read enough articles about the imminent collapse of Germany’s or France’s or [fill in a country with a generous welfare state]’s economy to doubt its prognosticating abilities.

          Of course, I think it’s going to be a bumpy ride for any number of countries over the next several years, with peak oil and other environmental/resource depletion issues upon us, so the article may well be right. I hope I’m wrong, but I see lean times ahead for many of us.

          • I was waiting for that one but The Economist was the least technical source I could think of at the moment. And, yes it will be hard going for everyone. Especially Venezuela who has some what repeated the same kinds of things we’ve done … blew a big surplus right before a bad economy.

      • I guess what I’m saying is that I really wish I had you here to show you what I’m working on because a huge number of those countries that are dollarized down there are acting as a control group for me (a bench mark) for others that are manipulating currency, etc. Venezuela’s Bolivar, capital flows, etc, are in my sample as well Chile, and some other more independent countries in the area, I’m also benchmarking variation off of the EU and a few other Caribbean countries that have a currency unions. Venezuela has extremely bad numbers in some extremely important areas. It doesn’t bode well at all for them. Their economy is really coming apart at the seams.

        • remember these guys are the 10th largest exporter of oil and the 8th of natural gas … the last few years, there was a tremendous amount of money in those markets.

  42. We’ll know for sure when it happens, or doesn’t.

    Me, I kind of put the Chavez-is-a-commie-run-for-your-liiiiifffeeee!!!! crowd into the same mental category as the Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim-who’s-going-to-institute-Sharia-law-in-the-US-run-for-your-liiiiiffffeeee!!!! headbangers.

    • yes, and as well as those, I put the Chavez is the hero of the working people, too bad he’s not our president in that category too .. you rarely find any one who has a realistic take on the man, and maybe that’s why discussing Honduras as been so difficult too. But as I said, I do not know the geopolitical vibes well down there, but do know details about most of the economies down there well.

      • I’m not into making politicians heroes OR demons, as a rule. I dig in my heels when people insist I have to pick one or the other in my assessment of them.

  43. oh and I’ll go on the record as saying I think the School of the Americas or whatever they are calling it right now needs to go the way of Guantanamo–gone gone gone beyond

    • Doncha know, its our freedomz that the whole world hatez.

      (banging head on desk at the cognitive dissonance of those that believe that talking point)

  44. LOL–Well, I’ve said here and elsewhere that I’d trade George W. for Hugo any day. And I’d trade him for Barack W. Obush in a heartbeat.

    Dakini, Chavez is the hero of the Venezuelans who are trying to make it up the ladder to the “working people” rung. Before Chavez, Venezuela’s poor were both politically and economically powerless. He’s changed that.

    Not surprisingly, the oligarchs don’t like it. They had conslidated power in a very small nucleus of rich, European-descended aristos. Chavez broke that concentration.

    Again, I think most US residents have no idea just how extreme the economic, racial and social divide is in much of Latin America. We haven’t had anything remotely like it in the US for half a century, which is outside most people’s memory.

    • Oh, I fully understand the love of many for Chavez. Stalin was a hero for many as well, and one could argue that the lives of poor Russians were remarkably better off than they were under the czars… at least initially.

      My beef is that “he does good for the poor” is not a valid defense if that figure and his govt becomes repressive and power-hungry. One can do evil and destroy freedoms in the name of helping the poor – it’s been done many times.

    • i think that view is a tad romantic … but then, i’m just a jaded old bitter knitter 😉

      • Well, I’ll bitterly knit right along with you. The nuns taught me well.

        Chavez is flawed. He got a dulce or two out of that hubris pinata someone mentioned upthread. No question. But he hasn’t made the kind of power-grab that has characterized other Latin American “strongmen,” and he’s a far cry from a dictator. He’ still subject to the electoral process. So I’ll cop to romanticism if it’s romantic to prefer leaders who actually work for the public good.

        And with all due respect to WMCB, the comparison to Stalin is–let’s settle for inappropriate. (My original word choice was asinine.)

  45. De-lurking to say that I am a Latin America specialist and although plukasiak was certainly too shrill in his comments, I found I agreed with most of them (and most of those of Inky and os, too) and feel that this post was uncalled for.

    Zelaya may or not be making a power grab, but no matter what he should be dealt with through constitutional/legislative means, not through a military coup. HRC, etc. were right to condemn it.

    • This post isn’t about whether or not Paul was right, it is about whether he behaved properly.

      He launched into attacks calling Dakinikat a liar and misstated what she said.

      He could have made all the same arguments without acting like a dickhead.

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