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Honduras: What was on the referendum ballots printed in Venezuela

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

UPDATED
See 4:45PM update below

I have not seen the ballots printed in Venezuela that were to be used in last Sunday’s referendum that Mel Zelaya had contrived, however, Honduran daily La Prensa reports the referendum question,
¿Está de acuerdo que en las elecciones generales de 2009 se instale una cuarta urna en la cual el pueblo decida la convocatoria a una asamblea nacional constituyente? = Sí…….ó………..No.
(my translation: If you quote it, please credit me and link to this post)
Do you agree that a fourth ballot box be installed through which the people will decide to convene a constitutional assembly? Yes…….or………..No.

This is in direct violation of the country’s Constitution, which forbids the President from calling for changes to the Constitution. Articles 373 and 374 of the Honduran Constitution specifically state that ammendments to the Constitution be approved by 2/3 of the votes in Congress AND specifically forbid any President of the country from extending term limits. The Constitution also says these two articles can not be ammended.

The same article at La Prensa states that Zelaya prepared a decree ordering all institutions of the State to bring about the project, which Zelaya deemed “an official activity of the Government of the Republic”. This means that the notion that Zelaya’s referendum was non-binding is false. Zelaya clearly meant to make his Sunday referendum official and binding. La Prensa says the decree, dated June 26, was published Saturday June 27.

Many reports in the media make it sound like Zelaya came up with this project with short notice, and was removed with even shorter notice. La Prensa has a lengthy article (in Spanish) itemizing the timeline of Zelaya’s process of trying to bring about the Sunday referendum. Mel Zelaya first brought up “the fourth ballot box” idea on February 17th this year during a parade showcasing several tractors gifted by Hugo Chávez, two days after Chávez’s own referendum extending indefinitely his term in Venezuela.

The article is very interesting and has a great deal of information. For instance, in June, while the Tribunal Superior de Cuentas, TSC (Superior Tribunal for Accounts) was being asked to investigate where Zelaya was getting money for the “fourth urn”, Zelaya was denounced at the Public Ministry for not submitting a General Budget to Congress. The Congress vice-president accused Zelaya of diverting 5.5 billion lempiras to finance the fourth urn campaign. Bureaucrats who participated in a demonstration favoring the referendum admitted that they had received 300-500 lempiras for attending. By April the country’s institutions had warned Zelaya that what he was attempting to do was not only unlawful but also would be considered a coup d’etat.

Latest news as of 1:30PM Eastern
Roberto Micheletti was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal:

He promised the country would hold presidential elections as scheduled in November, and that he would step down in January, when Mr. Zelaya’s term was due to end.

Mr. Micheletti called for “understanding” from other nations, especially the U.S. “If [the U.S.] does not recognize us, it would be condemning to failure the aspirations of Hondurans,” he said. Comparing Mr. Zelaya to former U.S. President Richard Nixon, he added, “At least Mr. Nixon had the courage to resign after breaking the law.”

The Journal has a brief video of demonstrations,Honduran authorities detained and later released seven AP and TeleSur reporters. Here’s video (in Spanish) from Chavista TeleSur,


telesur equipo detenido 29
by noticias24

Inka Kola has photos of yesterday’s demonstration. Three labor unions supporting Zelaya have scheduled a strike for today.

CNN en Español showed another demonstration, supporting new president Roberto Micheletti.

Zelaya is now in New York City, where he will address the UN. He says he’s going back to Honduras on Thursday with OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and Argentinian president Cristina Fernández.

I have no idea why Fernández wants to inject herself into this. Her party was resoundedly defeated in last Sunday’s congressional elections.

Micheletti and the Honduran Congress have stated that Zelaya will be arrested upon arrival.

Interesting posts:
Investor’s Business Daily:

There was a coup all right, but it wasn’t committed by the U.S. or the Honduran court. It was committed by Zelaya himself. He brazenly defied the law, and Hondurans overwhelmingly supported his removal (a pro-Zelaya rally Monday drew a mere 200 acolytes).

Yet the U.S. administration stood with Chavez and Castro, calling Zelaya’s lawful removal “a coup.” Obama called the action a “terrible precedent,” and said Zelaya remains president.

In doing this, the U.S. condemned democrats who stood up to save their democracy, a move that should have been hailed as a historic turning of the tide against the false democracies of the region.

The U.S. response has been disgraceful. “We recognize Zelaya as the duly elected and constitutional president of Honduras. We see no other,” a State Department official told reporters.

Worse, the U.S. now contemplates sanctions on the tiny drug-plagued, dirt-poor country of 7 million, threatening to halt its $200 million in U.S. aid, immigration accords and a free-trade treaty if it doesn’t put the criminal Zelaya back into office.

Not even Nicaragua, a country the State Department said committed a truly fraudulent election, got that. Nor has murderous Iran gotten such punishment, even as it slaughters Iranian democrats in the streets. But tiny Honduras must be made to pay.

We understand why the White House is so quick to call this a “coup” and to jump to the side of Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan despot has made political hay against the U.S. over its premature recognition of the Venezuelan coup leaders who tried to overthrow Chavez in 2002. Obama wants to avoid that this time.

The White House also wants to mollify the morally corrupted Organization of American States, which, by admitting Cuba, is no longer an organization of democracies and now, through its radical membership, tries to dictate how other countries run themselves.

Such a response says that democracy effectively ends with elections. It says rule of law is irrelevant and that rulers have rights, not responsibilities. But if leaders can’t be held accountable, they should be removed, as happened in Honduras.

If the U.S. does hit Honduras with sanctions, it will earn ill will in the country lasting for years. It will further erode U.S. moral authority and cost us influence in the region — becoming an embarrassing footnote in the history of U.S.-Latin American relations.

Francisco Toro of Caracs Chronicles writes on Fetishizing the Presidency

Somehow, though, when the Honduran Congress, with the support of the Supreme Court, moves against the president, the continent’s foreign affairs ministries fly into deep crisis mode.

This underscores a harsh reality for Latin American believers in liberal constitutionalism. Deep down, only Presidential Power is considered real power in Latin America, which is why only moves against the president are considered actual coups. Our constitutions generally define all branches of government as equal, but it seems some are more equal than others.

It’s precisely because such attitudes are so widespread in the region that Honduras’s political class panicked when faced with a president determined to make his power permanent. And while it’s true that, in their reaction, the generals stepped beyond constitutional boundries, the hard line the Obama administration has taken against the Honduran coupsters needs to be balanced with a realistic assessment of where the deeper threat to Latin democracy comes from these days.

Under Fidel Castro’s iconic shadow and Hugo Chávez’s day-to-day leadership, a new generation of authoritarian leftists has mounted a concerted campaign against the kinds of constitutional checks and balances that make liberal democracy viable. Honduras’s political class grasped clearly that to allow Zelaya’s charisma to trump the nation’s explicit constitutional ban on presidential continuismo would be to open the door to the kind of institutional involution that Venezuela and Bolivia have experienced, with a hyperempowered executive gradually eating away at the other branch’s prerogatives until nothing of the Republic is left.

Don’t miss also Michael Goldfarb conversation with Ambassador Otto Reich.

Later today I’ll be in Ed Morrissey‘s, Silvio Canto‘s and Rick Moran‘s podcasts, and will continue to update you on this story.

UPDATE
Chicago Boyz speculates on outcome:

The best that can be said about our president’s involvement in this issue is that it risks transforming a difficult situation into a disaster. Absent US pressure (never mind US support) the Honduran political scene would likely return to something like normal, with popular and media focus shifting from the deposed Zelaya to the coming elections. By getting involved in support of Zelaya we probably make a drawn-out crisis inevitable, and we green light further subversion of Honduran democracy by Chavez and Ortega. In the worst case a military insurgency or civil war supported by the dictators is conceivable. That would be a catastrophe.

Go read the rest.

Miguel Octavio wants to know Why is Zelaya’s Constitutional coup attempt ignored by the world?

4:45PM
zonu2x30

Mel Zelaya addressed the UN General Assembly appealing for international support for his reinstatement, and claimed he didn’t intend to run for a second term.

Also this afternoon, World Bank pauses lending to Honduras, and delivery of $270 million has been suspended “pending clarification of the country’s political situation.”

Another Honduran politician named Zelaya writes on the Very Constitutional Coup. More commentary and analysis at Mcauley’s world (via Neo-neocon and Frontline).

Priceless 2

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

norad-14
1.8 hours of flying two F-16 jets over Manhattan: $28,178

af11
Three hours of flying Air Force 1: $300,658

alg_plane3

Losing your job over something that is best done with PhotoShop: Priceless.

af1autosmartfix3

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s a government bureaucrat.

UPDATE
Wings over Liberty

(Prior Priceless here)

Trade in your underpants!

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Via Drudge,
merkel

“The country needs new undies” campaign features Angela Merkel in a billboard offering people trading in their old underwear a five-euro (seven-dollar) discount on a new pair. Hopefully the old undies will get burned somewhere.

And here I was complaining about the lack of respect for the Office of the President the other day.

Who’s next, Sarko?

Let’s hope is not Hugo.

The AF1 photo op, updated with videos

Monday, April 27th, 2009

I was on the phone earlier today with a friend who works in Manhattan who was absolutely livid about this:

She’s not alone: Take a look at the WSJ reader comments. Via Instapundit, Mayor Bloomberg is outraged, too.

Don’t tell me this photo op was to commemorate Obama’s first 100 days, please.

UPDATE
More video,

UPDATE 2
White House apologizes for NYC flyover

President Obama’s White House was forced to issue an apology Monday after a photo opportunity gone wrong — an Air Force 747 plane did a low flyover lower Manhattan, prompting terrified citizens to flee from their offices and high-profile accusations of government insensitivity.

White House Military Office director Louis Caldera issued a brief statement.

“Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision,” he said. “While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, its clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.”

Frightening, indeed.

UPDATE 3
Ace writes of the NOTUS,

WH Wanted to Update Its File Photo of Air Force One Buzzing the Statue of Liberty: Update it. As in, they already have several. But those were from the nasty Bush Administration (or, more likely, before; I doubt Bush got the chance before 9/11).

So the NOTUS (Narcissist of the United States) decided it was about time he buzzed NYC, so he could have his pretty picture.

I kid you not.

Low Flying Plane

Alvaro on the gift

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

When I heard that Chavez had gifted Obama the Marxists’ loser-game screed, The Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano (go ahead, look for it if you want it), all I could think of was Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s book, Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot which was first published in Spanish, Manual Del Perfecto Idiota Latinamericano, where Vargas Llosa, along with Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza and Carlos Alberto Montaner debunked much of the nonsense that passes for political analysis in Latin America.

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who thought about it. Mary O’Grady was saying,

Too bad Mr. Obama didn’t have a copy of the late 1990s bestseller “The Perfect Latin American Idiot” as a gift for Mr. Chávez.

As it turns out, Alvaro wrote the chapter dealing with Galeano’s book, and now Alvaro updates his message:

Regift, Please!
What to make of the book that Chavez gave Obama?
(via Ada)

The author claims that relations between Latin America and rich countries have been so pernicious that “everything … has always been transmuted into European–and later United States–capital.” Actually, for years that relationship has transmuted into the exact opposite: Latin American capital. In the last seven years alone, Latin America has benefited from $300 billion in net capital flows. In other words, a lot more capital came in than went out.

The book rails against the international division of labor, in which “some countries specialize in winning and others in losing.” That division of labor in the Western Hemisphere has not changed–Latin American countries still export commodities–and yet in the last six years, poverty in the region has been reduced to about one-third of the population, from just under half. This means that 40 million were lifted out of that hideous condition. Not to mention the 400 million pulled out of poverty in other “losing” nations worldwide in the last couple of decades.

The author pontificates that “raw materials and food are destined for rich countries that benefit more from consuming them more than Latin America does from producing them.” Sorry, amigo, but the story of this decade is that Latin America has made a killing sending exports abroad–the region has had a current account surplus for many years. Rich countries are so annoyed with all the things poor countries are exporting to them that they are asking their governments to “protect” them in the name of fair trade. The “buy American” clause in the fiscal stimulus package approved by Congress a few weeks ago is a case in point. The U.S. had a trade deficit of more than $800 billion last year. The poor, if I may echo Galeano’s hemophilic language, are sucking the veins of the rich.

The book claims that for years “the endless chain of dependency has been endlessly extended.” The story now is that the rich depend on the poor. That is why the Chinese have $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds! The book’s jeremiad goes on to say that “the well-being of our dominant classes … is the curse of our multitudes condemned to exist as beasts of burden.” One of the few countries that exemplifies that curse is the author’s beloved Cuba, where a worker cannot be paid directly by a foreign company employing him or her; the money goes to the government, which in turn pays the worker one-tenth of the salary–in nonconvertible local currency.

Galeano’s mathematics are hugely entertaining. He states that the average income of U.S. citizens is “seven times that of a Latin American and grows 10 times faster.” The gap has actually shrank, dear comrade. Many “poor” countries in modern times have seen their income gap with the Unites States narrow dramatically. Thailand and Indonesia have seen theirs cut almost by half in three decades.

The book’s Malthusian predictions invite no less compassion than its economic forecasts. Overpopulation, Galeano maintains, will mean that “in the year 2000 there will be 650 million Latin Americans,” the implication being that the region will starve. In 2000, the region’s population was 30 percent smaller than the author predicted.

Go read every word.

Someone send Pres. Obama the Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot, please.

UPDATE
Free Marketeros rip to shreds the Galeano book.

What not to wear: The Cardigan

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Cardigans have a time and a place. They do keep you warm, and as the authors of The Preppy Handbook will tell you, suburban matrons in pearls have been wearing them since at least the 1920s. Cashmere cardigans can look classy when you are dressing for CASUAL occasions.

The key word is:

CASUAL

Additionally, as all unstructured garments will do, the cardigan can and will showcase your worst features.

Good tailoring, on the other hand, can hide a multitude of sins.

So, pray tell, why does Michelle Obama insist on wearing a damn cardigan everywhere?

First there was that cardigan over the butcher’s apron dress:

butchersapron
In that instance, the cardigan went on top of a hideous dress:

The red extended upwards almost to the neckline, and downwards to mid-thigh, petering out top and bottom in a sort of cast-off splatter. The effect of the strong contrast was to turn a mere frock into a poster in the most disturbing colours known to man, the colours of chaos. The juxtaposition of a rectangle of red on a black field is what we might expect to find on a flag or a shield. Coral snakes and venomous spiders signal their destructive potential by the display of similarly violent contrasts.

Then there was the cardigan when visiting the Queen:

2009-04-02-michellebi

WRONG because it looked too casual for a momentous royal visit. One does not meet the Queen every day. The Toledo dress LOOKED like a skirt and top worn with a casual cardigan — an outfit more appropriate for a fundraising cocktail night at her daughters’ school than for meeting the woman whose profile still appears on the coins of numerous countries. Why the First Lady bothered to spend big bucks on an Alaia cardigan, I have no idea. It could have been any old cheap schmatte, it appeared so shapeless.

WRONG because in almost every way for Michelle, the outfit was a figure DON’T. At 5’10” Michelle has a strong statuesque figure that is striking in outfits with clean, long lines. This black and white dress cut her length in half, making her suddenly appear short-waisted. Then to add injury to insult, the big flaring bell skirt ballooned out over her curvy pear-shaped hips adding feet to her width. Yeah, Michelle looked like a bell all right from her wide base all the WAY up to the tippy top of her new disaster do.

That cardigan stopped exactly at the waist, exacerbating the effect of the flared skirt.

Then there was the sequined cardigan:

michelle_obama1
It’s morning. You’re on an official visit to a head of state. Leave the sequins home. A nicely tailored jacket would have made a much better and much more flattering look.

And then along came the argyle cardigan. Argyle, a pattern best appreciated in men’s socks, only made more, ehem, striking by splitting the pattern:

fashiondisaster2

Again, the cardigan stopped exactly where it accentuated Mrs. Obama’s worst feature: her hips.

Please, give up the cardigan.

And while you’re at it, stand up straight, shoulders back, chin up. Be proud of being tall. I know I am.

Coming soon: What not to wear 2: The Gathered Skirt.

Special thanks to Larwyn for the concept and links.

UPDATE
Welcome, Jammie‘s visitors. Please visit often.

Via Ameripundit, The Daily Show talks about the coverage:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
The Poisonous Queen
comedycentral.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Economic Crisis Political Humor

Via casuist, The Cardigans.

UPDATE, Saturday 4 April
Welcome, Obi’s Sister‘s readers. Please visit often.

And now, for a 24 post

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

24 was off the air for such a long time that my priorities shifted and I missed the new season’s premiere.

Fear not, as my friend Rick Moran was watching for the rest of us. His review, REDEMPTION: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE FAMILIAR got my attention,

Best of all was the portrayal of the United Nations lickspittle. Now it should be said that there are many brave, courageous UN peacekeepers and relief workers out there who have given their lives for their mission. But there are way too many Charles Solenz’s, the cowardly UN peacekeeper (played with suitable ambivalence by Sean Cameron Michael) who ends up betraying Jack and the kids. The show’s POV of the United Nations was definitely negative and definitely not PC – a pleasant surprise and one that bodes well for the rest of the season.

All that, and Jon Voight, too.

Note to self: learn to tape the shows. If it’s on Mondays, it’ll interfere with tango.

Oh, wait. Blogs 4 Bauer appears to have it!

Sweet.

And
the guy from The Full Monty Trainspotting, too!

UPDATE
Fox on demand also has Redemption (h/t Pat).

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Police: Campaign Volunteer Lied, Injured Self

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Police: Campaign Volunteer Lied, Injured Self
Ashley Todd told investigators today she “just wanted to tell the truth” — and was not robbed or attacked

Police say a campaign volunteer confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter B in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker; now she’s facing charges.

At a news conference this afternoon, officials said they believe that Ashley Todd’s injuries were self-inflicted.

Todd, 20, of Texas, is now facing charges for filing a false report to police.

Investigators asked Todd to return to the police station today for more questioning and to help them release a composite sketch of the suspect.

When she did, police say she admitted that she made the whole thing up and that it snowballed out of control.

Todd told investigators today that she “just wanted to tell the truth” – adding that she was neither robbed, nor attacked.

Prior posts here and here.

It was indeed, like last year’s hoax.

UPDATE, Sunday 26 October
McCain Supporter in Fake Attack Was a Ron Paul Supporter

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