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.

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.