“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What precipitated the Honduran Coup?

Leader’s Ouster Not a Coup, Says the Honduran Military

Published: July 1, 2009

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Flipping through a stack of legal opinions and holding up a detention order signed by a Supreme Court judge, the chief lawyer of the Honduran armed forces insisted that what soldiers carried out over the weekend when they detained President Manuel Zelaya was no coup d’état.

“A coup is a political move,” the lawyer, Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza Membreño, said Tuesday night in an interview. “It requires the armed forces to assume power over the country, which didn’t happen, and it has to break the rule of law, which didn’t happen either.”

Governments around the world have decided differently, labeling Mr. Zelaya’s removal an illegal act and calling for his prompt return to power. On Monday, the day after the coup, President Obama said, “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there.”

Colonel Bayardo, dressed in green camouflage and wearing a blue beret, described a behind-the-scenes struggle between the armed forces and Mr. Zelaya that played out over the weeks before the decision to grab the president from his home, shuttle him to a military base and fly him out of the country.

The army had resisted participating in a nonbinding referendum on constitutional changes that Mr. Zelaya continued to push after both Congress and the courts had labeled the president’s move unconstitutional. Army lawyers were convinced that Mr. Zelaya was moving to lift a provision limiting presidents to a single term in office, Colonel Bayardo said.

When the army refused an order to help organize the referendum, the president fired the commander of the armed forces, Gen. Romeo Vásquez. He was reinstated by the Supreme Court, which found his removal illegal.

The detention order, signed June 26 by a Supreme Court judge, ordered the armed forces to detain the president, identified by his full name, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, at his home in the Tres Caminos area of Tegucigalpa, the capital. It accused him of treason and abuse of authority, among other charges.

“It was a clean operation,” Colonel Bayardo said, dismissing Mr. Zelaya’s remarks before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in which he described the arrest as a brutal coup. “It was a fast operation. It was over in minutes, and there were no injuries, no deaths. We said, ‘Sir, we have a judicial order to detain you.’ We did it with respect.”

Mr. Zelaya has challenged the legality of his ouster, telling reporters that whatever missteps he might have made did not justify his being put on a plane and sent out of the country.

“If I do something illegal, take me to court and give me the right to a defense,” he said. “But do not use the army to kidnap the president and carry him violently out of the country.”

Colonel Bayardo defended the president’s expulsion, saying there was a last-minute decision to send him out of the country, to lower tensions and prevent violence.

Two days before Mr. Zelaya’s removal, military leaders met with Roberto Micheletti, the leader of Congress at the time and now the interim president, to discuss what was viewed as a constitutional crisis, Colonel Bayardo said. But it was not until the day before the raid that everything came into place with a flurry of secret meetings involving army and civilian lawyers as well as a small group of political leaders. About 11 p.m. Saturday, the detention order reached the army’s top command, Colonel Bayardo said. It was carried out early the next morning.

Colonel Bayardo said a tight circle of people knew about the raid, and they did not include any American military or civilian leaders or other foreigners. “We had no obligation to inform the U.S.,” he said.


  1. "Governor Sanford, your plane is ready".

    "Governor Sanford, your plane is ready".

  2. President Obama, your Pizza Plane is here, with the hand-tossed Canadian bacon you ordered. "Were the tires inflated to the proper pressure on my Pizza Plane? We've got to do everything we can to cut carbon emissions you know."

  3. teresita,

    "Quo licit Jovi non licit bovi"

    What is permitted the gods is not permitted the cattle.

    How have you been, Dear Lady? Raucous I suspect ;-)

  4. What precipitated the Honduran Coup?

    Colonel Bayardo, mimicking the vaguely menacing retort of Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein: "What coup?"

  5. Detention abd judgement, without trial, where do those Hondurans think they are, the US?

    ... "If President Obama issues an executive order authorizing indefinite detention, he'll be repeating the same mistakes of George Bush, and his policies will be destined to fail as were his predecessor's."

    He added, "Throwing people into prison without charge, conviction or providing them with a trial is about as un-American as you can get."

    But former top Bush adviser Karl Rove said the news should be welcomed

    FOX News

  6. KABUL (AP) — US military spokeswoman says insurgents have captured an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan.

    Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the soldier has been missing since Tuesday. She said she could not provide further information.

    Mathias said the military was using "all our resources to find him and provide for his safe return."

    The soldier was not taking part in the major military operation launched in the southern Taliban stronghold of Helmand early Thursday.

  7. U.S. Nuns Facing Vatican Scrutiny.

    Some sisters surmise that the Vatican and even some American bishops are trying to shift them back into living in convents, wearing habits or at least identifiable religious garb, ordering their schedules around daily prayers and working primarily in Roman Catholic institutions, like schools and hospitals.

    “They think of us as an ecclesiastical work force,” said Sister Sandra M. Schneiders, professor emerita of New Testament and spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, in California. “Whereas we are religious, we’re living the life of total dedication to Christ, and out of that flows a profound concern for the good of all humanity. So our vision of our lives, and their vision of us as a work force, are just not on the same planet.”

    The more extensive of the two investigations is called an Apostolic Visitation, and the Vatican has provided only a vague rationale for it: to “look into the quality of the life” of women’s religious institutes. The visitation is being conducted by Mother Mary Clare Millea, an apple-cheeked American with a black habit and smiling eyes, who is the superior general of her order, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and lives in Rome.
    The investigation was ordered by Cardinal Franc Rodé, head of the Vatican office that deals with religious orders. In a speech in Massachusetts last year, Cardinal Rodé offered barbed criticism of some American nuns “who have opted for ways that take them outside” the church.

    Given this backdrop, Sister Schneiders, the professor in Berkeley, urged her fellow sisters not to cooperate with the visitation, saying the investigators should be treated as “uninvited guests who should be received in the parlor, not given the run of the house.” She wrote this in a private e-mail message to a few friends, but it became public and was widely circulated

  8. The cult of Zorro Mastery and its' descendent religions demand that things be done "right"

    The second investigation of nuns is a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella organization that claims 1,500 members from about 95 percent of women’s religious orders. This investigation was ordered by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is headed by an American, Cardinal William Levada.

    Cardinal Levada sent a letter to the Leadership Conference saying an investigation was warranted because it appeared that the organization had done little since it was warned eight years ago that it had failed to “promote” the church’s teachings on three issues: the male-only priesthood, homosexuality and the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the means to salvation

    The letter goes on to say that, “Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses” at assemblies the Leadership Conference has held in recent years, the problem has not been fixed.

  9. Mr Rove goes on to say

    "We are, after all, in a war -- not an overseas contingency operations as some in the administration have suggested is the new title for it," he told FOX News. "And in a war, you take the people you sweep up on the battlefield and you hold them until the war is over or until they no longer represent a threat."

    Which is true, of POWs, who would then be subject to the legal protections of the Geneva Accords.
    If those detained are not POWs, then they are criminals. Criminals should be tried, then sentenced.

    Not detained and then exiled without trial.

    Whether from Afpakistan or Honduras.

    If the charges against Manuel Zelaya are accurate he should have been arrested, tried, convicted or aquitted and then sentenced or released.

    Not taken to the neighbors, or an island in the tropics for an extended sleep over.

  10. SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The California governor's office says federal officials are threatening to seize six state parks if they are closed to help balance the state's budget.
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed closing 220 state parks.

    But the National Park Service warned in a letter to Schwarzenegger that six of those parks are on former federal land that could revert to the U.S. government if they are not kept open as parks

  11. In the news today: John Bolton says to Israel, "Faster, please."

    He adds, "The Iranians will understand and in all likelihood finish the job for all of us. Due diligence available upon request from Polly, the head receptionist, at AEI."

  12. If I was the Governator, I'd let the Federals take those Parks, in fact I'd make a big display and celebration of the "return" to Federal proprietorship of those subject properties.

  13. Then, once the Federals had control of the properties ... Demand a greater range of services from the Parks.

    The residents of CA would find themselves in a win-win situation. More services at the Park facilities with the costs transfered to DC.

  14. Are Specter’s Senate days numbered?

    The five-term senator from Pennsylvania faces dipping polls and now, a Democratic primary contender in Rep. Joe Sestak.

  15. Memo To Mark Sanford: Man Up and Go Home [Jonah Goldberg]

    I've not had much to add to what's been said around here about Mark Sanford, and I still don't have much new to say. But Jeez-O-Peet it's time for this guy to step down. Go in the woods and bang drums, wear dresses at the shopping mall or become a Trappist Monk — whatever you need to do to get your act together on your own dime and on your own time. South Carolina, it seems to me, is not a state where politicians are expected to air out their "personal journeys" from the Governor's mansion and I know the Republican Party doesn't to become an unseemly hybrid of est seminar, Plato's Retreat and Bible Camp. Invoking King David as your inspiration for hanging around like lech at the strip club after last call was stupid enough, but if you're going to do that, you can't start crying (again) about your Argentinian girlfriend or blathering on in a way that might cause John Belushi to descend from heaven just to smash your guitar against the wall. If stepping down makes it harder for the GOP or for some rivals to run for governor. Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care. You need to get off the stage.

    The GOP needs to march to your office and tell you, "Look, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."

    07/02 10:16


  16. I vote for wearing dresses at the shopping mall.

  17. Mom should tell the boys:

    I want you to grow up to be MEN.
    Unlike your father.

  18. Priced to Sell?

    ... A recent report by Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube’s bandwidth costs in 2009 will be three hundred and sixty million dollars. In the case of YouTube, the effects of technological Free and psychological Free work against each other.

    So how does YouTube bring in revenue? Well, it tries to sell advertisements alongside its videos. The problem is that the videos attracted by psychological Free—pirated material, cat videos, and other forms of user-generated content—are not the sort of thing that advertisers want to be associated with. In order to sell advertising, YouTube has had to buy the rights to professionally produced content, such as television shows and movies. Credit Suisse put the cost of those licenses in 2009 at roughly two hundred and sixty million dollars. ...

    To recap: YouTube is a great example of Free, except that Free technology ends up not being Free because of the way consumers respond to Free, fatally compromising YouTube’s ability to make money around Free, and forcing it to retreat from the “abundance thinking” that lies at the heart of Free. Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube will lose close to half a billion dollars this year. If it were a bank, it would be eligible for TARP funds

    I do find it interesting that Google will spend $500 million USD on YouTube, and folks complain that YouTube has the audacity to make editorial decisions as to allowable content.

  19. OTOH, you know what they say about South Carolina: Too small to be a nation; too big to be an insane asylum.

  20. I always thot that SC was about the most conservative, Redneck State.
    Markie, otoh, is Metro to the Max.
    Yuck and Super Yuck

  21. Read some neat books by a North Carolina guy.
    "Floatplane Diaries" was one.

  22. I believe it was a long-ago reference to its upland residents.

  23. Via Marginal Revolution, Megan McArdle at The Atlantic:

    Wal-Mart and Health Insurance: The Theories of the Case

    01 Jul 2009 05:42 pm
    I find it hard to believe that none of the liberal commentators breathlessly celebrating Wal-Mart's "capitulation" on national health care have even entertained the most parsimonious explanation: that Wal-Mart is in favor of this because it raises the barriers to entry in the retail market, and hammers Wal-Mart's competition. Yet somehow, this appears nowhere in any of the analysis. These are the explanations that they found more plausible:

    1. Wal-Mart wants to change its image, which is better accomplished by securing a massive regulatory mandate than by, say, insuring more employees, or setting up a happy-face charitable foundation.

    2. Wal-Mart wants to make its voice heard in the process, which is better accomplished this way than by paying lobbyists. Also, Wal-Mart is hoping that the federal government will deliver health-care cost control, which is something the company that gave us $4 prescription drugs couldn't hope to do on its own. Controlling health care costs is, of course, a big worry for a company that I'm told does not insure many of its employees.

    3. Wal-Mart is flummoxed by unpredictable health care costs for all the workers it apparently isn't covering. Because if there's one thing that we've learned over the years, it's that when the government gets involved, health care costs become totally predictible.

    Also not considered: Wal-Mart cut a deal with the SEIU in exchange for the SEIU leaving it alone.

    Yet, even in liberal academic literature, it is a commonplace that regulations disproportionately benefit several types of firms:

    a) Incumbents
    b) Market leaders
    c) Firms with the most employees

    Regulation has a very high fixed cost for compliance; the larger the firm, the more dollars/employees over which to amortize the fixed cost. Meanwhile, market leaders have disproportionate bargaining power, and tend to get better rates from suppliers than smaller competitors. Finally, a high fixed cost means either that it's harder to initially enter the market, or (if there are exemptions for the smallest firms) harder to grow.

    On the other side, there is regulatory capture. Wal-Mart is always going to have a seat at the table when employer mandates are discussed, because Wal-Mart is the nation's largest private employer. Target and Macy's probably won't have a seat at the table. So Wal-Mart can influence the rules in ways that benefit Wal-Mart at the expense of the competition. This is partly because the regulators often cycle into jobs at the firms they regulate, but also simply because the regulator's attention is finite, so being consistently at the table allows you to shape their views over time. Again, this isn't some kind of crazy right-wing analysis; regulatory capture was first diagnosed by a Marxist historian named Gabriel Kolko.

    All of which is to say, Bootleggers and Baptists should be required reading in all schools. When you find strange bedfellows in politics, don't look for a surprising outbreak of spontaneous virtue: looking for the hidden conspiracy.

  24. "All of which is to say, Bootleggers and Baptists should be required reading in all schools. When you find strange bedfellows in politics, don't look for a surprising outbreak of spontaneous virtue: looking for the hidden conspiracy."
    Complete Screw Job for Doctors and our "Healthcare"

    ...unions and Govt workers need not worry, they're exempt.

  25. Sanford is just a typical guy, i.e. he's possessed of two heads. Being typical, he did his thinking with the smaller. The solution is also typical: Buy a red convertible and get some botox.

    If the guy sings or quotes from "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", that asylum simile is a take.

  26. 28. buckets:

    Doug @ 10,

    It’s worse than you know. With the advent of securitization of mortgages, a mortgage promissory note is passed around and abused like a whiskey bottle at a frat party. Owners of the note now have even started selling the “servicing” rights to mortgage loans; a bank may own [parts of] your note, but another outfit may own the right to collect payments on the note.

    This has lead to a tremendous disconnect: the servicing company that you send your mortgage payment to does not give a damn about you. The servicers only care about the trusts and securitization pools that own the note, because that’s who they have to keep happy.

    What’s even worse is that the servicers make almost no profit on regular, on time payments from homeowners. Solution: screw the homeowner by “losing” checks, “accidentally” applying them late, charging unexplained late fees, placing unneeded insurance on the property despite the homeowner’s objection, etc. Also, if they can force the homeowner into foreclosure, it’s bonus fees and costs for the servicer!

    Nothing will change as long the servicers have no incentive to treat the homeowner fairly and legally. Occasionally the servicers get tagged with class action lawsuits or spanked by good attorneys during a foreclosure case, but for the most part they get away with it.

    If the Dems really cared the smallest bit about homeowners, they would address this enormous problem. Everyone who knows anything about the sleazy mortgage industry knows this, but the Dems have been bought off already. So the Dems will mouth platitudes, while taking money from Big Mortgage and not doing a thing to solve the problem.

  27. Conspiracy?

    Seems that bobbie's spreading more unsubstantiated rumors, from his friend mat.

    BBC News - ‎1 hour ago‎
    French investigators trying to find out why an Air France plane crashed in the Atlantic say they believe it broke up on contact with water, not in the air

    No mention of someone sucked out of the fuselage in mid-flight.

  28. 467K jobs cut in June;
    Jobless rate at 9.5 percent
    - The Associated Press

  29. July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Edward M. Kennedy's health committee is proposing a government-run insurance program as an option to private coverage and an annual fee on companies that don't provide health coverage of ...

  30. "Sanford is just a typical guy..."

    I'm sorry, allen, the actual circumstances of his most recent departure from his family and the country, combined with his you-ve-got-to-be-shitting-me public revelations since returning, leave him possessed of far fewer marbles than "a typical guy" and perhaps less fatherly feeling and skill than God gave the males of those species that occasionally devour their young.

    I hold "the typical guy" in far higher esteem.

  31. Marines are engaged in a major operation in Afghanistan, as this is written. Always the gentlemen, the planners gave the Taliban several days advanced notice...It would be so unseemly to just barge in during a long holiday weekend.

    Seriously, on this occasion, I hope the backdoors were closed. While killing hundreds of bad guys in Afghanistan will do nothing about all those remaining in Pakistan, there is something so refreshing about not having to fight the same guys on the same turf over again. But that's just me.

  32. trish,

    Re: typical guy

    Agreed...just tongue in cheek..."devour their young" - sweet!

  33. Reuters:


    The Honduran Congress approved a decree to crack down on opposition during a nightly curfew imposed after the coup. The decree allows security forces to hold suspects for more than 24 hours without charge and formalizes the prohibition of the right to free association at night.


  34. What a downright stupid bastard Rat is. Downright dumb. Poor, poor bruised ego.

    Folks like him elected Frankenstein in Minnesota.

    Well, you folks read they replies.

    We're outta here, on the road, the wife and I.

  35. I call on the people of South Carolina to call for Sanford's resignation. It is way past time to start holding elected officials accountable. You lie, you cheat, you lose your job.

  36. Enjoy, bob.

    Bring back t-shirts and tacky ashtrays for everyone.

  37. (For those who don't smoke, they make fine novelty soap holders for the guest bath.)

  38. Nice to see bobbie still responds, like one of Pavlov's pooches.

    Expecially as he blames me for the socialist behaviour of all those Swedes in MN. They are just taking another incremental step towards fulfilling bobbie's action plan of centralized management of the United States.

    Yet he does not see the forest, for the abundence of trees

  39. Allen said, "Seriously, on this occasion, I hope..."

    Thinking of the captured US service member, that every bit of ordinance is laid down as was the case in retaliation for Seal Team Six in 05.

    Although it was probably the case then that the guard had been let down and everyone was getting too comfortable, a little catharsis is not beside the point and goes a long way.

  40. bobbie supporting US subsidized health care for Iraqis, but not legal US residents.


    News release # 090701-1
    July 1, 2009

    New center brings easier healthcare access

    SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq – For the 30,000 residents of the Humer Kwer quarter of Sulaymaniyah province, access to healthcare just got a lot closer due to the completion of the Ruzh Hallat Primary Healthcare Center.

    The $540,000 construction project was managed by the Gulf Region Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq. The U.S. Economic Support Fund provided funding for the project, and the Gulf Region North’s Sulaymaniyah Resident Office was the on-site construction manager.

    Dr. Ousman Younes, the Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Health, presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Humer Kwer June 13, marking the completion of the 650-square-meter health center.

    Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Lucy Tamlyn, team leader of the U.S. Regional Reconstruction Team Kurdistan Region and Col. Margaret Burcham, commander of the Gulf Region North District.

    “Most of the Humer Kwer residents currently have to travel an indirect route of approximately seven kilometers to access the nearest existing primary healthcare center,” said Tamlyn. “This project is a great example of the partnership between the United States and the Kurdish Region. We look forward to continuing that partnership.

    Why does bobbie hate the poor residents of the US so much?

    His health care policy proposal is to deny those that cannot afford private health insurance adequate primary health care, while he is supportive of US efforts in Iraq to provide primary care to Kurds?

    Why would a patriotic citizen deny his fellows primary health care, but encourage the US government to incur further debt, providing that primary health care system to foreigners in far away lands>

  41. If the Kurds are deserving of a US funded public health service, why are the folks in Witchita Falls or Biloxi to be denied the same?

  42. Trish,

    I don't usually think in terms of catharsis during an operation; but for those Marines out there today, I am absolutely certain that an unapologetic picture of piles of dead bad guys would be just that. God bless them!

  43. By Peter Graff

    Marines told to make history in south Afghanistan

    The Marines have arrived in Afghanistan with a vow to do less shooting and more talking and that was certainly the case in the early stages of Operation Khanjar, or Strike of the Sword.

    No major engagements were reported and one company commander said he was looking forward to meeting village leaders in the evening. Orders went out to set up shuras, or community councils, within 24 hours of arriving in a village.

    Other company commanders said they expected to drink a lot of tea in the coming days and weeks.

    Cabaniss's soldiers rallied later in the day in a mud-walled compound by the side of an important road junction.

    Afghan border guards waved a black, red and green Afghan flag while the Marines unloaded water and other supplies in the summer heat close by a pile of harvested opium poppies

  44. By Ben Farmer in Kabul.

    Capt Drew Schoenmaker, of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, said: "We are kind of forging new ground here. We are going to a place nobody has been before."

    Taliban fighters had launched sporadic small arms attacks and then drifted away in the face of overwhelming numbers, they said.

    No casualties were reported on either side.

    In a sign of growing regional cooperation, Pakistan deployed its own soldiers in Baluchistan to cut off fighters fleeing across the porous border.

    A spokesman for the provincial governor said Nowa and Garmsir had been out of control for three years and also harboured foreign militant fighters.

    Overstretched British forces have been locked in stalemate further north in Helmand for three years, with too few troops to hold the province's enormous plains.

    Once the districts have been cleared, the marines will remain in the area, building bases as part of their 'clear, hold and build' strategy. They will also attempt to provide security for next month's presidential elections

  45. However, earlier this week, James Jones, the US National Security Adviser, hinted commanders would have no more extra troops to work with.

    He said: "This will not be won by the military alone. We tried that for six years."

    "The piece of the strategy that has to work in the next year is economic development. If that is not done right, there are not enough troops in the world to succeed."

    General Stanley MacChrystal, the incoming commander of the Nato-led coalition, has said forces should concentrate more on protecting Afghans rather than killing the enemy

  46. Yeah, I know what you mean.

    They'll do just fine, allen.

    They're Marines.

  47. They were with my husband oh-a-few-years-ago in Korengal. A baby, every one. As in young.

    The only complaints?

    Apparently they keep a messy latrine. (What a surprise to the parents of adolescents.) And their theater SOP meant full battle rattle when heading out. Slowed everything down.

    Look at things a little differently when your war goes seriously hot.

  48. In the new century the United States faces many threats, both conventional and unconventional. It is time for the Department of Defense to reconsider the amphibious requirements of a balanced and diverse fleet. There is only one type of vessel that can provide ground forces, air support, and maritime security capacity all at the same time. The Gators serve at the heart of the irregular warfare capability that the Navy must expand in order to address the asymmetric threats of the modern world. At the same time they provide traditional power projection, crisis response, and humanitarian capability. The flexibility of the amphibious force is vital and real. In the coming decade of hybrid conflict and rising powers, action must be taken early before full blown military crisis develops. When a global challenge presents itself, the President will ask one question:
    Where are the Gators

    Lieutenant Commander Benjamin “BJ” Armstrong is a Naval Aviator

  49. FOXNews - ‎57 minutes ago‎
    Former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney and several other human rights activists remain in custody in an Israeli prison after refusing to sign a deportation form that they claim is self-incriminating.
    FOXNews - ‎57 minutes ago

    While a related story

    UN expert says Israeli seizure of aid ship a crime.

    By Stephanie Nebehay.

    GENEVA, July 2 (Reuters) - A U.N. human rights investigator on Thursday called Israel's seizure of a ship carrying relief aid for the Gaza Strip "unlawful" and said its blockade of the territory constituted a "continuing crime against humanity".

    Israeli authorities on Tuesday intercepted the vessel, which was also carrying 21 pro-Palestinian activists, and said it would not be permitted to enter Gaza coastal waters because of security risks in the area and its existing naval blockade.

    Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the move was part of Israel's "cruel blockade of the entire Palestinian population of Gaza" in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting any form of collective punishment against "an occupied people".

    Falk, an American expert on international law, said Israel's two-year blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza restricted vital supplies such as food, medicine and fuel to "bare subsistence levels".

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a report this week that Israel was also halting entry to Gaza of building materials and spare parts needed to repair damage from its 22-day invasion late last December.

    "Such a pattern of continuing blockade under these conditions amounts to such a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions as to constitute a continuing crime against humanity," Falk said in a statement released in Geneva.

  50. -Inquiry Finds Air France Jet Struck Ocean Intact -

    I thot it was spread all over the ocean.
    I thot they said the naked bodies meant it broke up.
    I thot they said the large, intact pieces meant...

  51. Sweet Cynthia
    She's also a moron.
    Her dad was worse.

  52. I love that song.

    Absolutely love that song.

  53. Another Great Choice for the Freedom Hating Left

    Certainly we deplore military coups, just as we deplore sin. But in the tangled web of Central American politics, Honduras has long been the U.S.’ most staunch ally. Among the four states from Nicaragua north, it has tried hardest to convert from a military-run banana republic to a constitutional democracy and, until just the other day, with some success. It supported U.S. trainers in the Salvadoran civil war. It houses an American military joint task force. At our request, Honduran soldiers fought in Iraq. So while the verdict must be that military takeovers are bad, surely in this case there are extenuating circumstances for a faithful ally, particularly since the bottom-line issue seems to have been the survival of its constitutional form of government.

    Not So Fast, Amigas y Amigos (Full PDF Article)

  54. So while the verdict must be that military takeovers are bad, surely in this case there are extenuating circumstances...


  55. The president was apparently involved in his own takeover, against the courts and Honduran Congress, and was about to stage a Chavez-style “referendum” on ballots printed in Venezuela and looted from an army warehouse where they were being safeguarded. The army’s move was legitimized by the Honduran Supreme Court and applauded by the Congress, which has appointed a stand-in president until regular elections this November.
    What would you have prefered, Trish?

  56. That he be docked, if need be.

    You want to support a military shit-canning in Latin AMerica. In 09.

    Go for it.

  57. You will screw the pooch for the only truly decent thing we've got going.

  58. As usual, I don't know what you're saying.
    Luckily, that does not pertain to everyone else.

  59. What she is saying, doug, is that to remove a President, you've got to have a trial.

    Or it's not 'democratic'.
    If we are seen to support detention and exile without trial, well, there goes the neighborhood.

    That the Hondurans don't have a beach resort in Cuba, they had to send Manuel to Costa Rica.

    As least the Shah got to go to Contadora Island.

  60. Thanks, 'Rat.
    I just wonder what was possible, and what was not, given that Hugo was apparently so deeply involved.

  61. Congress's Travel Tab Swells
    Spending on Taxpayer-Funded Trips Rises Tenfold; From Italy to the Galápagos

  62. Another exception:
    Unlawful banishment to Bermuda @ 11 Million per head should be left to the discretion of the victims.

  63. Why would anyone really expect Obama to support pre-emptive impeachment, without indictment or trial, let alone appeal?

    Here, there or anywhere

  64. Who was victimized by those Chinese detainees. doug?

  65. I meant that the Chinamen were victimized by Obama by sending them there.
    ...but that the choice should be up to them, as I hope it would be for me.

  66. long as the Govt would also cover Sonia's travel expenses halfway around the World.

  67. I asked Mahmoudi, a big and garrulous man who sat in the front row at Khamenei’s ferocious June 19 sermon, about the election hailed as “a miracle” by the leader.

    “Moussavi was supported by people who have lost faith,” he said. “We believe legitimacy comes from God. They believe legitimacy comes from the people, from votes. As long as it was a fraternal fight, it was O.K., but when it’s a fight about religious belief, the situation becomes unacceptable.”
    So, I asked Mahmoudi, if legitimacy comes from God, why hold an election? “To get a level of acceptance,” he said. “The legitimacy of the election comes from the supreme leader’s approval, but the level of acceptance comes from votes.”

    That Talmudic clarification is helpful. Demonstrations may have disappeared from Tehran’s streets of shame, but Iranian acceptance is at an all-time low. The government is now illegitimate. Power has been usurped. The equation has changed.
    The price of Obama’s engagement may just have become Ahmadinejad’s departure. I think it has. His defenestration is not impossible; it would be forced from within where disaffected clerics and moderates abound; and it would restore an Islamic Republic, recognized by Obama, where both words of that self-description mean something, a land of God and people

    Roger Cohen

  68. The Cost of Doing Something
    Declaiming the price of "inaction" is a perennial argument for big government and bad law

    Matt Welch.

    If the crisis is acute enough, backers of state intervention will even admit that content matters less than the mere existence of action itself. During the height of last fall's financial panic, for example, New York Mayor and financial journalism titan Michael Bloomberg said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that "Nobody knows exactly what they should do, but anything is better than nothing." As the House of Representatives was passing the stimulus package this February, Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, thundered that "the cost of doing nothing would be catastrophic." Auto bailout? "The cost of doing nothing is cataclysmic," warned Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) last December.

  69. Today’s report also showed the average work week fell to 33 hours, the lowest level since records began in 1964, from 33.1 hours in May. Average weekly hours worked by production workers rose to 39.5 hours from 39.4 hours, while overtime held at 2.8 hours. That brought the average weekly earnings down to $611.49 from $613.34.

    Workers’ average hourly wages held at $18.53 for a second month


  70. Doug: long as the Govt would also cover Sonia's travel expenses

    Somebody cover Sonia.

  71. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
    Has The Messiah outlawed joy for all but the elite?

  72. The High Cost of doing nothing is why responsible women shop til they drop.