This blog describes some ideas that seem to be different from the current train of political thought. I will try to bring up somewhat unique and innovative ideas regarding political systems and policies in the US. I hope those who comment also bring in such ideas.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Aeneid - by Virgil

I recently finished the epic story of Rome - Virgil's Aeneid. It tells the story of "Aeneas the True" as he flees from the fall of Troy, and starts the foundations of the Roman empire. To a certain extent it is propaganda, as the Greeks and Carthage are portrayed as enemies. It also is a reflection of the morality of the time. As Aeneas visits the underworld, traitors and tyrants are those singled out for punishments. The preaching of the greatness of Rome and of Caesar really does become tiresome.

But, also it is a outlining of an ideal of being true - both true as in honesty and true as in consistent, able, fixed, and immovable. Despite the antagonism of various deities and the vagaries of life, Aeneas stays true and fulfills his destiny. In some ways it shares the same hero outlook as Roark in the Fountainhead - a singular personage on a singular mission. However, it comes with a much stronger sense of morality and fate than is found in works by Rand, and much more akin to what is found in other classical literature such as the Bible. However, the telling of the epic journey can be seen to influence many other works, such as the Lord of the Rings and Gulliver's travels. Overall, it is an excellent piece of literature, a good glimpse into the psyche of Rome, and a valued foundational work, though not one I would read again.

The fight for freedom in Iran

I still have a green ribbon tied to the antenna of my car in support of freedom for the people of Iran. They are still at it, and deserve far more support from the US government then they are getting.

Here is some coverage:

Al Jazeera
Washington Post

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monitor the Honduran Elections

Do you think the elections in Honduras are fair or crooked? Monitor them yourself today, and post what you observe. Here is a link to cameras monitoring various election points:

Strangely enough, the main stream media has not posted links to the sites so that people can monitor the elections for themselves. Of course, given the Chavista media bent, they do not want people to observe.

But, we will observe. We will report.

Viva Honduras!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review: 1776

I just finished 1776 by David McCullough. It is very fascinating to read about this pivital year in United States History. The bravery, pluck, and perseverance of Washington and the Continental Army is truly inspiring. Their initial success at Boston was washed out by a disasterous New York campaign in which they exposed themselves to the British fleet, and were lucky to escape.

The losses led to a large number of desertions, and the near distruction of the army. However, after retreating across New Jersey, they end the year in splendid fashion with a gruelling but successful crossing of the Delaware in a blizzard, then winning the battle of Trenton. Their only losses of life were two people who froze to death on the march. Truly amazing.

It is commonly taught that the German soldiers stationed in Trenton were drunk, and thus the Continental Army had an easy time. However, McCullough points out that this was probably not the case, as the soldiers were quite disciplined, and he quotes historical records saying that they were not drunk. This makes their overwhelming victory even more impressive.

I recommend the book. For me, it is a well-told account of an amazing and world-changing twelve months.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Honduras standing firm against Zelaya and Chavez

From Stephen A Kusmer in the South Bend Tribune:

The people of Honduras have accomplished something truly beautiful. It is no trivial feat that this developing nation, highly susceptible to the pressures of corrupt authority and false promises, and faced with opposition from everyone from Chávez to Obama, was able to unite to avoid joining the ranks of Venezuela and Cuba.
More praise for the job of Jim DeMint, this time from the Kansas City Star:

In August, a report by the nonpartisan Library of Congress concurred with DeMint, saying that Zelaya's ouster was legal, though it said Honduran soldiers had overstepped the law in secreting him out of the country.
Columbia has sent their ambassador back to Honduras. Now Panama says that it will recognize the elections.

(President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama) also urged the international community to support the elections and the eventual winner of the presidential contest, saying, "The best way to come out of the [political] crisis is to hold the election in peace and to have them recognized internationally."
Ulf Erlingsson reports on the likely uptick in tourism after the elections, certainly good news for those of us with family trying to make ends meet in Honduras.

Hurricane Ida passed over Nicaragua and up towards the US, bringing rain over Honduras for many days in the process. But just as sunshine comes after rain, so will a new day of proseperity dawn over Honduras after this year’s extraordinary political crisis.

The Newsweek blog mentions how Brazil and other Zelaya supporters have lost face.

by allowing Zelaya to use his diplomatic shield to broadcast radio messages from the embassy, Brazil ended up looking like a biased broker
Also in the news is renewed funding for Honduras from many sources, such as the IDB. However, if Honduras is to develop a vibrant economy, it needs an end to corruption more than handouts, and booting Mel is one step toward that goal.

The new openness toward the Micheletti government is also evident in recent statements from the European Union, the government of Spain, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and other international organizations that had suspended assistance programs.
Also check out the following from blogs I follow.

La Gringa
Public Secrets
My Roatan

Friday, November 13, 2009

Book Review - The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes

Since the writer has written for the Wall Street Journal, I expected some good economic analysis in The Big Rich. Alas, it was not as potent an analysis as I would like. Instead, the author seemed to prefer to waste times on mocking their political beliefs, though never actually providing arguments for or against their beliefs. Thus, it was more of a distraction then a contribution.

The book was longer than it needed to be, especially since it could have used much more historical and economic analysis. The stories of risking it all and hitting a gusher are inspiring, as it is these types of people that make a big difference. However, it also shows how success can lead to their downfall, as after getting a fortune they risked it all again, and lost it. Even billionaires get in trouble by getting in more and more debt - something sensible governments should take to heart.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Following up on the previous post discussing The Fountainhead, I also recently finished Anthem by Ayn Rand. This time the hero is a scientist, and not an architect. It explores the consequences of a society that entirely devalues the individual, and the ultimate triumph of an individual over that society.

Once again, the story and characters are not entirely convincing or compelling. But, the story of triumph of the human spirit is enormously compelling, and connected me to novelette. In some ways, it is a "cliff notes" version of Fountainhead in a different format. If you have not read "Atlas Shrugged" or "Fountainhead" I would recommend reading Anthem first. It is a very quick read, and I finished it in one sitting. You can get a feel for her style, and decide if you want to delve more deeply into her philosophy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand

Now comes my delayed post of "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. It is a rather thick novel, and to a certain extent more a book on philosophy than a story.

The characters are meant to exhibit principles. Thus, they can come across as fake. Howard Roark, the heroic architect, comes across to me as somewhat autistic. Dominic Francon, the herione, comes across to me as psychotic, with a more messed up "love-life" than a lampooning of the Jerry Springer show. Gail Wynand, the tough kid from NY who made good, but his fatal flaw of being a "second hander" leads to his downfall. Since I like good character development, it was a little frustrating.

The story is compelling. It has to be, or you would not get through the preaching. Roark working his way through low-level jobs, finally getting a chance to demonstrate his architectural genius, and then destroying a partially-built building when interlopers ruined it. A jury, practicing the lost art of jury nullification, acquits him.

The theme of the novel is that the producers, creators, designers, and builders are the highest manifestation of humanity. It reminds me of "quality" as discussed in "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance," as the book discusses architecture, quality building, and art. Ironically enough, both the undercurrent of quality and the undercurrent of psychotic characters.

Rand has been in the news recently, with a whole variety of people reporting on the new popularity, and even the new book reader from Barnes and Noble featuring the novel in publicity shots. I ended up reading The Fountainhead because it was on the shelf at Goodwill, I needed a novel for a trip, and I had never read Rand before. So, it had nothing to do with the current popularity of her work.

The Fountainhead is now quite popular in India, with an Ayn Rand-India blog. Judging from my Chinese friends, I am sure it will be quite popular there someday as well.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

More reflection on Honduras agreement

Like this cartoon from Chuck Asay. Pretty much sums up the situation.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fighting the attempted Chavez takeover of Central America

Chavez is attempting to take over Central America through puppet governments. It looks like the current US administration is helping. It ignores the coup in Nicaragua. But, when it comes to Honduras, it all but threatens an invasion. The current administration is doing the dirty work for Chavez.

I think
Ulf Urlingson
La Gringa
Piece of work
Hot Air
Legal Insurrection

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Your Nobel Prize winner should have been: Morgan Tsvangirai

Most deserving person over the last year for the Nobel Peace Prize has been Morgan Tsvangirai. How can anyone really argue against it? Here is a picture of him being after being beaten by government thugs, and an inset of the ultimate thugocrat, Mugabe.

Now emboldened by the Nobel committee snub of Tsvangarai, Mugabe has stopped cooperating, and the prospects for peace and democracy in Zimbabwe are dim. By placing politics above reality, the Nobel committee has damaged Africa. As punishment, they should have to live in Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One month to go

One month to go before elections. Foreign Policy has an article entitled "Honduras is an Opportunity," subtitled "and the United States should not squander it." Very true.

John Kerry is trying to squash the report of the Library of Congress. However, he has yet to comment on the actual ruling of the Supreme Court. He also seems to ignore what he has said about Zelaya's actions on his own website, in an official statement to the OAS:
America values its longstanding partnership with Honduras, but a push to rewrite the constitution over the objections of Honduras's top court, legislature, attorney general, and military is deeply disturbing.
It is totally irresponsible of the press not to point this out. If they are going to report what Kerry is saying now, they should also point out what he said back then.

Meanwhile, the Mugabization of Venezuela continues with Chavez increasing his palace budget by 638%. Love that turn of a phrase. Now, can someone please explain to me why Morgan Tsvangirai didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Monday, October 26, 2009

News from Argentina

A couple of articles highlighting the interference of Chavez in Argentina have been posted. Fausta points out a Wall Street Journal article. There was also an article from The Independent Institute. Hopefully, they will do what Honduras did, and kick the dictators out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

BBC admidts the Supreme Court removed Zelaya, World Cup

It is nice to see some accurate news finally surface. The BBC printed this gem:

The Supreme Court was the body that ordered Mr Zelaya to be removed from office in June, arguing that he had violated the constitution. Congress overwhelmingly backed this.

Finally, a news organization brings the most critical fact into the case. The Supreme Court, with power to remove the president, removed the president for violating the law. Now, why has this fact been so poorly reported?

Second, any time there is unrest in any country, violence, tear gas, and arrests are not far behind. So, how does the police response compare in Honduras? One thing to compare it to is Iran, where there has been a huge, huge difference in degree and lethality of response. A second is with the actions of Zelaya himself. La Gringa reports what Zelaya did during an incident when he was president:

The President of the Republic was directly responsible for the order to repress the protest. By land and air the military laid into the inhabitants, journalists from community and Catholic radio stations, civilians and members of religious orders. Over 60 people were arrested, including 3 priests, and some 20 people were injured. The government followed this up by organizing a news blockade to prevent the rest of the country from hearing the details of what happened.

Thus, in comparison to Zelaya, the response of the constitutional Michaletti government has been much more restrained. You can also compare it to the response of Chavez and the current situation in Bolivia. Why are human rights organizations not going there?

Finally, part of the reason I am so interested in the Honduras situation is because I have family there. They reported that the streets everywhere were filled with people celebrating, and the soccer team had to use helicopters. They said that there was no comparison between the Zelaya protests and the world cup revelry. It so totally dwarfed the Zelaya supporters that the contrast was clear evidence of his lack of popularity. They said the real fear was not Zelaya regaining the presidency, but Chavez invading. Finally, they mentioned that if corruption is going to end in Honduras it is up to the people of Honduras - there will not be a shining knight on a white horse, they must do it themselves. I think that is a good solution for all nations.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Joy at Work

I finished "Joy at Work" by Dennis W. Bakke recently. In it, he talks about how he built up his utility company by empowering employees and trying to create a "fun" workspace. His main definition of fun was one in which people would be able to be creative, and contribute in a meaningful way. He also stated that by cutting the staff at new plants in half, he was able to double productivity. It sounds like good advice for governments.

However, I don't really recommend the book. It seems like he is trying to do the same thing as Covey, but with a vastly inferior style. He has some good points and interesting stories, but it just doesn't seem to connect for me. Also, this book serves a mission that is rather common to CEO's that get booted: justifying their actions. He never seems to connect the fiscally prudent management strategy of eliminating debt with his removal. In the book he emphasized his Evangelical beliefs, so perhaps he should talk with Dave Ramsey, another public figure who emphasizes his Evangelical beliefs, about staying out of debt. It was debt that killed AES when the Enron fraud was discovered, and Bakke never seems to really admit it or believe it. It is all fun and games until you have to pay the piper - something governments should remember.

On other book notes, a lady I set next to on an airplane was reading "The Forgotten Man," which I reviewed a while ago. She was very excited about it as well. We talked about how the conditions leading to the great depression mirror the current economic and political climate. Here are another couple of blog articles discussing the book for you enjoyment, by Peter Galuszka and Pat Woodward. Longer discussions include an interview with author Amity Shales in Reason maganize from January, 2008, and a review from the Libertarian von Mises institute by C. J. Maloney.

I spent the flight reading "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. I have now finished it, and I will discuss it in a later post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

State department showing cracks

First, the image is from the "Diseccionando a El País" blog. Excellent.

Second, a couple of weeks ago in a newspaper talkback page I suggested that the State Department probably had a report similar to the Congressional Research Service, but were probably trying to keep it secret. Enter the Koh report. It is likely the legal reasoning behind Obama's decision, but they are not letting anyone see it. It seems to me that it is probably fairly poor legal reasoning if they are not letting it out.

Any government that has a fairly independent civil service will come up with reports that do not support the current administration, and the recent cracks in the state department stance would support that conclusion. I bet that just as the State department is hiding the Koh report, it is hiding the legal analysis of multiple underlings that show the removal of Zelaya was legal. That would mean that research analysts from congress, the state department, and the UN all have concluded the removal of Zelaya was legal, while the upper level officials in each organization, who have little knowledge of the facts, support Zelaya. It is a real Dilbert situation, in which the pointy-haired bosses are clueless but in charge.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fear of failure, and lack of innovation

One of the biggest reasons for not innovating is the fear of failure. Glyn Moody on Open... points out that one of the reasons governments do not innovate is this fear of failure. Specifically, it is pretty obvious that open source software provides many benefits for governments, but government IT are afraid to try anything different.

I'm not sure I totally agree, as government employees basically have "tenure," and are hard to fire. But, I think there is a lack of effort to try anything new, because it is a very static environment. The government contributions to open source have largely come from scientists, such as Beowulf and ImageJ, and not from IT. It seems that IT innovation in government is dead, but not the IT innovation of the users.

One big advantage of a federalist system is that things can be tried at a smaller scale. Different states try different things, and those that work can be passed on. For example, the state of Arizona has an excellent system of charter schools. Thus, even in an area with terrible schools such as Tucson, you are still able to get an excellent education. I would love to see a similar system of charter schools in Virginia, where the gifted programs are extremely limited.

Great bit of sarcastic humour in Forbes

Claudia Rosset writes a great article in Forbes entitled "Win Over Washington One Nuke At A Time." Here is a quote:

Top priority: We recommend that you embark at speed on an illicit nuclear program, or at least give every possible sign of doing so. Place a phone call to Pakistan's nuclear comprador, A.Q. Khan, congratulating him on his release earlier this year from house arrest and inviting him to come sample Honduran night life. If you can't get through, then please, at the very least, indulge in a bit of bio-weapons research. Send a team to haggle over missiles from North Korea, and enlist a known Chinese front company to pay Pyongyang to send you a sanctions-busting weapons cargo, transshipped via Burma, to bolster the image. Set up a couple of training camps for terrorists, and invite one or two of the brand name groups to come sun themselves in view of U.S. spy satellites.
The article helps show the contrast between how the administration has been treating Honduras compared to how it has been treating dictators like Chavez. The article only missed Mugabe.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Video Evidence on Zelaya violating article 239

Aaron Ortiz, writer of Pensive, comes through with the clip. He also provides a translation. Add this video evidence to the others.

While I am at it, I also like his discussion of the repeal of term limits in Columbia. We need congressional term limits in the US. A constitutional amendment in which a representative can be elected five times (10 years) , and a senator twice (12 years) would go a long, long way towards democracy and away from rule by personality. Removing term limits in Columbia is as bad an idea as the suspension of civil liberties in Honduras.

Meanwhile, U. S. Ambassador Llorens called out Radio Globo for racist, anti-Jewish comments. I think it important to note that Zelaya's supporters are equal-opportunity racists, also attacking Arabs, labeled "Turks." This can be a good short-term boost, as it once again raises issue of Zelaya being a racist (though the article doesn't report on Zelaya's own racist remarks). But, it seems to me to be bad policy for an ambassador, acting in his official role, to be writing letters to radio stations. That seems to me to be interfering in another country, and a gross disregard of diplomatic codes of conduct. Perhaps it is because Llorens feels he should be running Honduras, when it seems to me that so far he has not even read the constitution of Honduras.

Pictured is the constitutional president of Honduras, Michaletti, and US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen holding the Constitution of Honduras. Perhaps the press should actually read it and report on what it says.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Zelaya's fraudulent voting machines slashdotted!

I've been traveling, so as you can see I have not kept up the blog, though I have kept studying the Honduras situation. Being a geek, it was interesting to find that Slashdot picked up on the election fraud perpetrated by Zelaya. Good thing he was removed.

Also, it seems to me that people are lax on pointing out 15-0. It seems to me that should be a rallying cry in Honduras.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Been moving, Bookseller of Kabul

I've been moving, so I haven't had internet access or the time to blog. Still, I took time to read "The Bookseller of Kabul" by Åsne Seierstad. It is fascinating to look at the recent history of Afghanistan, how people survive, and how families interrelate.

The "bookseller" was a rather notable man in Kabul, Shah Muhammad Rais. He has contested her version of events. It is interesting to look at both sides, especially as elections and conflicts rage on in Afghanistan.

La Gringa is really tweaking the Chavistas

While doing a google search on Honduras today, I came across a Chavista publication that was trying to knock La Gringa. Well, I think that means she has been quite successful in reporting on the constitutional crisis. Way to go!

It is rather funny, they seemed to try to ignore the fact that she has been blogging from Honduras for years. In fact, she has been covering Honduras is much more detail and much longer than they have. Very funny.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Key to a free Honduras: Chavez

When Chavez speaks, it is usually "diarrhea of the ego." He makes stupid remarks. Further, there is a large negative reaction to his words in the United States. Thus, one of the keys to a free Honduras is a babbling Hugo Chavez.

In light of this, I think it is prudent to bait Chavez. It would be wise for Michaletti to bait Chavez into reactions. Perhaps Honduras can call on the OAS to boot out Venezuela, Ecuador, and Cuba for repressing free speech. A mad Hugo Chavez speaking his mind is sure to influence US public opinion in a pro-Honduras way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mugabe, Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Zelaya

It seems to me that it is fair to link Zelaya with Chavez. What seems to be less reported is that they both supported Ahmadinejad, and the brutal repressions in his re-elections. (I still have a green ribbon on my car, by the way, even though I am not actively blogging on Iran.) I think it is also appropriate to link all of them with Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered for years due to his cruel repressions. I am very happy to see them finally be able to have some small slice of order. One recommended blog is This is Zimbabwe. It has an interesting post on the struggles of Morgan Tsvangarai. It is a model that Honduras has thankfully avoided, but Venezuela seems to be swiftly becoming the Zimbabwe of South America.

Monday, August 17, 2009

News Updates

From UPI:

Support for Manuel Jose Zelaya is fading fast at the Obama White House because of the ousted Honduran president's track record as a mercurial character

From QandO there are two stories.

Quietly, Honduras has won

things have quietly changed to the advantage of Honduras. While Chavez could run his mouth and the OAS could make threats, the 800 pound gorilla which could really make it miserable for Honduras was the US, and it has quietly backed off its former stance

Chavez Calls Obama a Space Cadet

Saying you can’t ask for help on the one hand and then demand the US get out of Latin America on the other apparently makes you a space cadet lost in “the Andromeda Nebula”.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Various News about Honduras

Honduras is still holding strong. Not much has changed on the political front, but there is still strong support for the constitutional government of Michaletti. David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, wrote an editorial that among other things, pointed out the 15-0 vote in the Supreme Court.

Despite what you may have heard, there was no coup in Honduras. Manuel Zelaya was legally removed from office for violating the constitution in an effort to extend his power.

Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote an article entitled Banana Republics.
However, his refusal to respect the decision of the Supreme Court set the stage for potentially violent conflict. And while the military packing him off to Costa Rica in his pajamas looks bad, bad procedure alone does not entitle him to return to office if he violated the Honduran constitution.
It seems the government of Taiwan is supporting the constitutional government of Honduras. Mark them down along with many US citizens and elected officials, various Nicaraguan officials, Columbia, citizens of Venezuela, and Canada as offering support. Various people have said that "world leaders are unanimous in opposing the coup." Yet, it is clear that many do support the constitutional government of Honduras, and oppose Zelaya.
God's Law or Man's Law: The Fundamentalist Challenge to Secular Rule." She recently wrote an opinion piece entitled "Democracy: One size does not fill all situations."
Once more, there is world clamor condemning the military for this coup, and the international press has done very badly in explaining the complications of this case. The military’s actions were more legal than the president’s.
It seems the word is finally getting out on how violent and destructive the supporters of Zelaya are. Al Jazeera has an article on how they attacked Ramon Velazquez, combined with a picture of them destroying a news stand.

There is further news on supporters of Zelaya attacking free speech, this time a Molotov Cocktail. Chavez and Co seem to favor physical and legal attacks on the free flow of information. It seems to be yet another attempt by the left to silence voices they disagree with through intimidation and illegal acts.
The bombs started a fire in the main entrance of El Heraldo, which like most of the national dailies has backed the de-facto government installed after President Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a coup in late June.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Great Depression and Bill W

I have recently finished reading two books which are directly related to the Great Depression. The first is The Forgotten Man by Amity Shales. It is a very insightful book which answers one of the big questions about the Great Depression: why did it last so long?

In the book, Shales goes into some of the fundamental economic laws that both the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations attempted to violate. By implementing measures such as price-fixing, increased taxation, and higher tariffs, the depression was altered from a standard 3-4 year letdown to something in which the dow didn't recover until after WWII ended.

The second book I finished also comes out of the great depression, and was mentioned in “The Forgotten Man.” It is Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as "The Big Book,” written by Bill W. The movement has been one of the greatest positive aspects arising out of the Great Depression, expanding to help not only alcoholics, but also their families, friends, and other suffers of compulsive behaviors. As Shales points out in her book, along with Dale Carnegie, self-help literature was among the best-sellers during the depression. I don't think any type of state planning or socialistic methodology could have come up with such an effective solution to such a real problem.

Currently, the world faces some similar problems - economic depression and addiction. I am hopeful we can learn from the past.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beer Diplomacy in Latin America

The New York Times reports on a letter the state department wrote Senator Richard Lugar. World 4 Honduras has a link to the actual letter. In it, the administration waffles on Honduras, which is certainly better then their initial reaction.

We also recognize that President Zelaya's insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal ... Our policy and strategy for engagements not based on supporting any particular politician or individual.
Though this is a small step down, I think it is a big hit to the credibility of Zelaya to have this letter be printed. I think part of the administrations softening is due to the public outcry. They don't want to be caught up in what they and the general public see as a muddled situation. It is beer diplomacy in Latin America - an initial reaction turned out wrong, so the administration waffles and tries to work out a deal.

La Gringa comes through with an update on what is happening inside Honduras. She also has the above picture of the supposedly "peaceful" protesters brandishing clubs. Looks violent to me. She points out:

How is it that protesters are being shown on television every day (and rerun day after day) if they are truly being denied their civil right to protest?
It is certainly sad that two people have died in the violence, and I do think there is reason to attribute it to the police and military. But, there have been daily protests over a month, and as many people died at a soccer match. Given the murder rate in Honduras, this seems to be pretty small.

Finally, I have yet to read any OAS condemnation of Venezuela or Ecuador. It is blatant hypocrisy that the OAS is not warning them of violating the terms of the charter after their opposition to the removal of Zelaya.

the Founders.

I recently finished Inventing a Nation by Gore Vidal. It is a discussion of the early days of the United States. To a certain extent it focuses on Hamilton, Jefferson, and Adams, and the Adams presidency in particular. It seems like he wrote it in the waning years of the second Bush administration, as he decrys how the country has been ruined. At the end Vidal tells a story of how he was a family friend to the Kennedy's, and one evening they discussed why the political discourse is at such a lower level now. Vidal states that he still doesn't understand why the change happened, but he wrote this book to hopefully address it.

Now, fast forward a few years, and Obama is doing some of the same things that Vidal was complaining about Bush doing. Indeed, Vidal has fallen into a classic trap of thinking that the addition or removal of one person in the presidency will change everything. Further, by writing a deliberately partisan book, he has reinforced poor political discourse. Thus, it seems if Vidal wants the world to change, he needs to look in the mirror. It seems he doesn't realize where the problem is located because he is part of the problem.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chavez shutting down the media in Venezuela

Not only is Chavez taking radio stations off the air, his supporters terrorized Globovision. The article mentions that Ecuador is following suit. However, the administration does not seem to be doing anything about it. It seems to me that there is a total double-standard at play. If you are going to leave Venezuela and Ecuador alone, why not leave Honduras alone?

World 4 Honduras has a picture of Rafael Alegria distributing money to Zelaya supporters.

Birth Certificates and Batman

If a person has a birth certificate from Hawaii, that is good enough evidence to be a citizen. Of course, I think it only fair that all citizens are able to run for president - natural born or not. I support the efforts of both major political parties to amend the constitution in such a manner that anyone who is a citizen can be elected president.

Secondly, I am certainly not calling for government restriction of political speach, but the batman posters seem to be a low blow that will backfire. Creative idea, but not a constructive one, and one that will certainly result in more from both sides.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Analysis of what might be next

I don't believe the Obama administration wanted the crisis in Honduras at all. In all probability, they wanted nothing to happen, as they didn't want any distractions to their domestic agenda and diplomacy with Russia and Iran. It has been very inconvenient.

At first, they clearly had very little clue as to what was happening. One administrator even admitted as much in an interview. By coming out against it so quickly, Obama painted himself into a corner, though it was clear the ambassador was pro-Zelaya.

Now, the Obama policy is for talk and no military action. In this he has been consistent in Iran and Honduras. In Iran it could work - there wasn't much the United States could do short of declaring war on Iran. It should be the job of the other governments in the region such as Saudi Arabia to try to protect human rights.

However, with Honduras there is no such thing as not taking action. Inaction is a political choice with political consequences. On the one hand, Obama wants to stay "above the fray" and not get involved in foreign problems. This is good policy for the U. S., and good for his political career. But, by staying out of Honduras he would lose personal political capitol abroad, and have to admit his first statements were incorrect. It seems to me that this combination means the administration will be walking the tightrope for awhile. They will try to encourage talks and discourage violence. They hope it will blow under the radar, and all go away when there are new elections.

Zelaya is much more of a wildcard. He sees that violence is his only ticket back to the presidency, but he wants the interim government to start it. I think both his airplane trip and recent border crossing were deliberate attempts to incite violence. The November elections and January changeover are coming far too quickly for him. Without the powers of the executive branch he lacks the ability to directly manipulate the situation. He has generated significant sympathy among international leaders, but is losing real power as measured by his personal finances and ability to control power. He will continue to grandstand, but lacks the courage to enter the country in a way that could result in his capture. He will continue to try to draw fire.

The current government is in a difficult position. On the one hand they are doing a wonderful job cleaning up the mess Zelaya left, and instituting new policies that track where the money is going. It is likely to be as clean and free of corruption as it ever has been in the history of Honduras. They have gone the extra mile to avoid confrontations and violence. They have been quite passive.

On the other hand they really blew it by taking Zelaya out of the country. They need to hold the officer in charge accountable for that blunder.

Despite penury, the interim government is in a position of strength. They have the ability to freely investigate the many crimes of Zelaya, and they have time on their side. As long as there is not a big invasion, they can take it on. But, due to their mistakes and the reactions of outside leaders, they are in a tight spot. I hope they are able to hold on.

Zaleya Playing Hopscotch at the Border

Many reports of Zaleya's games at the border, and the violence that ensued. It seems he may be getting on the bad side of Clinton, as she said in an interview in Iraq:
President Zelaya's effort to reach the border is reckless. It does not contribute to the broader effort to restore democracy and constitutional order in the Honduras crisis.

Meanwhile, Representative Connie Mack has made it clear that he feels the current administration should do more to help the legitimate government of Michaletti, and he plans on traveling there this next week. It would be a good idea to suggest to your senators and representatives that they go there as well.
the fact is that the people of Honduras did exactly what their constitution mandates. For the Administration to immediately call this a “coup” was both irresponsible and reckless.
Hot Air offers the following analysis on the situation.
Sometime this weekend, Zelaya with backing from Chavez’ Bolivarian “volunteers” will try to force his way back into Honduras…and the United States will say nothing.

Jose de Cordoba writes a review of events leading up to the crisis.

The Washington Post has two opinion pieces. The first is by Edward Schumacher-Matos, in which he attacks the OAS for it's role in the crisis.
The outdated OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter, meanwhile, is designed to prevent coups, but it restricts the OAS from getting involved in internal maneuvers such as packing courts and gutting opposition parties under democratic guise that are the bigger threat in the region today.
The second is by OAS president José Miguel Insulza. He does try to address sentiments that have been repeatedly stated in the crisis.
Now, with the recent events in Honduras, they have gathered more rhetorical ammunition to claim that the OAS is ignoring threats to democracy in some cases and actively subverting it in others
While Insulza tries to debunk criticisms, he offers excuses, not evidence. He never does explain why Cuba was admitted without having to undergo even cosmetic democratic changes. Nor does he bring up the curious case of the mayor of Caracas. While complaints from Venezuela were routinely dismissed, it seems that the criticism in the wake of the Honduran crisis have forced Insulza to listen.

Kathleen Moore presents a lengthy piece on the legality of the removal of Zaleya.

In his attempt to rule by mere brute power, Manuel Zelaya has brought strife to Honduras, and it is therefore particularly strange to see the man who currently occupies the American President's Office urge the lawful government of Honduras, and its lawful courts to submit to that brute.
Canada Free Press has posted an English version of the certification of the Honduras National Congress.

Compliance by the three branches with the constitution’s laws is achieved by the effectiveness of the boundaries of action of each, and respect for its prohibitions, in order to ensure the fulfillment of duties by the public officials and to avoid abuse of power and breaking of the constitutional order.
The picture is from La Gringa. The sign can be translated as:
Honduras is an example for the world. We don't have oil nor dollars, but we have courage!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


The Washington Posts writes an editorial subtitled "Why defend the rule of law in Honduras but not in Venezuela?" One comment makes a really important point:
Should Nixon have been kept in office after Watergate, merely because he won a landslide election in 1972? No. Even Democratically-elected presidents forfeit their right to remain in office when they behave unconstitutionally.

Mary Anastasia O'Grady
brings up the idea that should Zaleya be returned to power, his mobs will show little restraint or respect for the rule of law.
Yet the U.S. continues exerting enormous pressure for the return of Mr. Zelaya. If it prevails, it is unlikely that Mr. Zelaya's mobs or Mr. Chávez will suddenly be tamed.
Pam Roach, State Senator in Washington, founded La Escuela de Esperanza (School of Hope) in Honduras, and would seem to much more well informed of what is going on. Here is an excerpt from an editorial she wrote:
The United States should support strengthening the rule of law and democracy in Latin America rather than join a Marxist bandwagon.

Photo by Jose Cabezas / AFP/Getty Images.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

The state motto of Virginia is "Sic Semper Tyrannis," which is commonly translated as "thus always to tyrants." Whenever it comes to standing up to a outlaw like Zaleya, I say sic semper tyrannis.

The image comes from Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugged. It also has a good accompanying article.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More evidence of criminal activity by Zalaya

The Washington Times has released an article by Sarah A. Carter with a video showing Zalaya supporters stealing money on his behalf. It seems Zalaya is now a bank robber as well as an aspiring tyrant.

A security video from the Central Bank of Honduras made available to The Washington Times shows officials entering the bank June 24 and withdrawing large amounts of Honduran currency. The money was driven to the office of Mr. Zelaya's chief of staff, Enrique Flores Lanza, according to depositions by three witnesses to Honduran prosecutors.
She quotes Jaime Daremblum, former ambassador to Costa Rica.

It's really remarkable how corruption has become a trademark for the Chavez model in Latin America. You find corruption in Venezuela, Nicaragua and obviously it has been found in Honduras. It's big-time corruption.
The Washington Post reports that at least one senator is doing something positive to bring attention to the situation. Jim DeMint has delayed the confirmation vote on the assistant Secretary of State when he refused to discuss Honduras. DeMint stated:

President Obama rushed to side with Chavez and Castro before getting the facts. Now it's clear that the people of Honduras were defending the rule of law.
The Miami Herald has an article on Zalaya's plan to return. Ramón Vasquez, a border resident, is quoted as saying:

The U.S. should be thanking us for throwing Chávez out of the country. All we have been asking for is to be allowed to follow the constitution of our country.

Hot Air also chimes in with some analysis basically stating that time is on the side of truth.

The more time passes, the more opposition grows among Republicans and even moderate Democrats.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fight for libery continues while the sheep continue to bleet

Most of the media continue to act like sheep - supporting calls to reinstate Zaleya despite his numerous crimes. Same with the EU and Obama administration. Fortunately, there are those out there who actually do think a little bit. I will call attention to a few more of them here.

Election fraud by Zalaya seems to have been overlooked by most powers. However, it is being reported by Selwyn Duke from the New American. It was also picked up by Jeff Schreiber:

Although there was no election on June 28th ... these machines each contain "certified" voting records. And - not surprisingly - every single one indicates that Zelaya won the referendum overwhelmingly.

The Miami Herald, who has far and away had the best coverage of any major newspaper on this situation, comes through again. Carlos Alberto Montaner writes:

Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans are already in Honduras forging that subversive operation with weapons and briefcases filled with petrodollars. If all goes well, once the participants reach a critical number, Zelaya would be helicoptered in from a neighboring country to lead the movement.
The trend of "letters to the editor" an opinoin pieces supporting the removal of Zelaya continues. It shows once again that the power brokers are unable to silence all dissent. William Ratliff writes in the LA Times:

The OAS declaimed its eternal rejection of the “anti-democratic, anti-constitutional military coup” by the new government. But it was Zelaya who was in the wrong. The OAS diplomats can’t have it both ways — professing their unshakable dedication to national constitutions and the rule of law even as they militantly make a hero of a country’s No. 1 lawbreaker.

From Venezuela the López Rafaschieri twins write:

If Zelaya returned to govern Honduras he would start a witch hunt to imprison all those who had some responsibility for his removal, would initiate a purge within the Honduran armed forces to remove the suspects, and would begin a relentless persecution of government dissenters with the excuse that all opponents were involved in the coup, which would facilitate that Zelaya completes the Chavez plan to make the Honduran political system a copy of the Castro-Chavez model.

David Dick from asks why the United States is supporting Zalaya. Shouldn't we be supporting consitutional laws and legal institutions that are designed to prevent domination by a strongman?

It's hard to see Zelaya as a sterling example of a democratic leader. Instead he looks like a petty tyrant who is more than willing to take the law into his own hands when things don't go his way. And this is the man we are supporting in Honduras?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More info on Honduras

Chavez has threatened invading Honduras from the beginning. The threats of armed violence are becoming more common, as Hot Air reports:
The real problem for Honduras isn’t a rebellion, but an invasion of Nicaraguan and Venezuelan troops to put Zelaya back in power and back to being a Chavez stooge.
Zelaya refused to recognize the Congress and Supreme Court when he was president, so it is unsurprising that he remains dismissive of their legitimate constitutional claims. As reported in the Miami Herald, he claims he will not agree to any power sharing. However, what I found really interesting was in the comments section that one poster had such a sheep mentality that they posted:

But some posters insist on disagreeing with each and every one of (the world leaders). They know better than ALL OF THE WORLD'S LEADERS.
To that, every thinking human must certainly answer "yes, we do know better than all the world leaders." First of all, there have been world leaders speaking out against Zelaya's attempt to overthrow democracy, as has been reported on this blog and elsewhere, so there is a factual error there. Second, how many of the world leaders have actually read the constitution of Honduras, or are in some other way experts on the country? Third, we are humans, not sheep, and will not blindly follow the dictates of demonstrably corrupt politicians with ulterior motives. Such a suggestion to cowtow to "world leaders" would be an insult to humanity even if they had the facts right.

In "A Better Choice for Honduras" Jorge E. Ponce makes some really good points.

To bring back Mr. Zelaya as president would be a grave mistake. He would seek the help of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to achieve through military means what he could not accomplish through democratic ones -- to become another caudillo in perpetuity and destabilize Central America. The best way to defeat Mr. Zelaya is by letting provisional President Roberto Micheletti call for new, internationally monitored elections immediately.
Kurt Schultze , a lawyer from Georgia, makes this conclusion:
The Honduran Supreme Court and legislature acted entirely within the bounds of their Constitution in removing a man who sought to become a Honduran Hugo Chavez. Obama’s support of Manuel Zelaya’s return to power is 180-degrees against the interests of the Honduran people and the United States.
Meanwhile, it is interesting to see what has been happening in the South American cocaine trade. It seems that Venezuela is turning to the cocaine trade, confirming earlier reports that Zalaya had been cooperating with Venezuela in the drug trade.

In the past few years, drug trafficking through Honduras has risen sharply, with many shipments of cocaine arriving in flights from Venezuela on their way to Mexico and the U.S.
Jason Shaved of Joplin, Missouri (near the junction of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas) makes an important point in an editorial. It seems that a totally pertinent and logical point seems to escape both the current administration and the OAS. I wonder whether it is due to ignorance or intentional malice.

Honduras followed constitutional policies with the approval of the legislature and the Supreme Court to remove a president who was trampling constitutional law, even receiving help from Anti-American Hugo Chavez to ignore democratic checks and balances.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More on Honduras

Interesting blog that says it is from Venezuela:

Ignoring the people that oppose Chavez and his hired help will only create future problems for the US, and the West. Chavez, like the Chinese leadership, is on a trip of racial/cultural superiority and those things end up in disaster. If in China such claims are clear, in Venezuela it is politically clear and soon enough will acquire additional cultural and racial action, as we can see in Peru or Bolivia.

While I am certainly not a neo-con, I do happen to agree with this post:

tyrants very often use “democracy” as an excuse to get the people to override a constitution and grant them what turns out to be dictatorial, or near-dictatorial, powers, as well as the ability to extend or abolish term limits and stay in power longer than the constitution says (and in many cases indefinitely). Once the rules are changed about term limits, and power is consolidated and the voting apparatus compromised, staying in power is a relatively easy matter, really a trifle.
From the Wall Street Journal:

The fact that the Organization of American States and the U.S. never defended the Bolivian democracy cannot be lost on the Hondurans or the chavistas. You can bet that Venezuela will try to orchestrate similar troubles in an attempt to bring condemnation to the new Honduran government. Honduran patriots have better odds against that strategy with Mr. Zelaya out of the country, even if Washington and the OAS don't approve.

From the LA Times:

Article 239 states clearly that one who behaves as Zelaya did in attempting to change presidential succession ceases immediately to be president. If there were any doubt on that score, the Congress removed it by convening immediately after Zelaya's arrest, condemning his illegal conduct and overwhelmingly voting (122 to 6) to remove him from office.

While these articles hardly make up for the mass of misinformation in the wake of the crisis, it is refreshing that a more balanced light is being shone on the subject. I think people were caught up in the momentum of the situation, and took a "shoot first, aim second" mentality.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

True Scholarship and True Humor

Here is a very funny post on an educational research conference. It would be much more funny if people were studying something useful instead of politically motivated topics with pre-determined outcomes. Such attempts a social crusading are clearly not sufficiently rigorous to merit the title of scholarship. I like this quote:

if those engaged in serious work want their work to be accorded the respect they seek, they need to emerge from their hushed sessions and do something about the prominent place their profession grants to scholarship that promotes narrow values, spouts incomprehensible nonsense, and studies the semiotic conceptualization of hegemonic linguistic genocide (or dyadic co-questing in Quest Atlantis).


Currently, I have a brother-in-law that lives in Honduras. My sister was there during the constitutional crisis, and will return again in a few months. I have watched the events there with a personal interest, and not as a disinterested observer.

It seems to me that the initial statement that it was a coup was very shortsighted. If so, does the coup refer to the actions of Zalaya, or the actions of the rest of the government? The removal of a tyrant intent on taking over the country would seem to be the responsibility of any citizenry.

The initial reporting seems to be rather slanted. Only more recently have articles appeared discussing the other side, and actually referring to the constitution. While laws are imperfect, the constitution of Honduras seems to be set up precisely to stop a single powerful person from taking over, reflecting a deep inner value of the people.

Here is an article from England with the memorable phrase "neo-masochism" to describe the approach of the Obama administration. Another article asks whether the world has rushed to judgement, including quoting representative Connie Mack, "It seems to me that the more we look at Mr. Zelaya, the more we find a man who believes he is above the law, untouchable, and clearly a man who has no respect for democracy." Another article also discusses the congressional hearings, quoting Dana Rohrabacher as saying "They’re a group of people within the democratic process who are stopping a power-grab by someone who’s trying to concentrate power unconstitutionally." In an article entitled Coup for Democracy the weekly standard adds "Let's be clear: Zelaya's illegal referendum was a transparent attack on democracy. It was part of his broader scheme to rewrite the Honduran constitution, lift presidential term limits, and extend his rule."

Chavez has been very outspoken about this situation, blaming the US among other things. But, while talking about democracy, he moves ahead to silence media critics in his own country. Such duplicity is quite horrible. However, in the United States there have also been attempts to silence media through putting restrictions on radio. So, this may just be standard operating procedure for government types.

I think it is pretty clear the Obama administration and the state department really bungled. First, they were not pro-active enough in preventing the expulsion. Second, when it happened they immediately dismissed it as a coup. Third, with Chavez threatening to invade Honduras, the US government should have verbally backed up our allies in Honduras. They should have looked at the constitution. Bush, for all his failings, knew Spanish. Obama doesn't.

Finally, Castro is worried that if this coup stands, other countries in central and South America may also have coups. I hope the next ones happen in Cuba and Venezuela. It would certainly be an improvement.

Innovation, public policy, and this blog

Welcome to my new blog. It seems that many times laws and systems become tyrants. They oppress people by their inflexible nature. I am looking for new ways to handle some of these problems, with the focus being the United States. I am also looking to introduce new ideas so that they may hopefully get more discussion. It is an attempt to reach out for new ideas, and new ways of doing things.