Open Thread

Policy and Procedure, Caribbean Style

Honduras, South America leaps to the front page of the New York Times with the headline “Honduran President Is Ousted in Coup”, and to be fair to the NYT – the events of the last 48 hours do in fact bear all of the hallmarks of a classic coup d’état.

However, the story demands a little more investigation …

The now former President of Honduras, one Manuel Zelaya has been working towards an objective of increasing presidential term limits and if everything had gone according to plan – Sunday would have been the day of a national non-binding referendum on the subject. As things turned out, said referendum turned into the trigger for events that resulted in his removal from office and lots of news in the media on the role of the Honduras armed forces a subsequent pyjama drama in Costa Rica.

However, if we look deeper into the legal context a number of facts emerge:

  • The Supreme Court, top electoral body, and human-rights ombudsman have ruled the referendum illegal.
  • Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution, forbids any former chief executive from being re-elected President, states that any citizen (including the president) who proposes reforming this law, and any others who support such a person directly or indirectly, are to immediately “cease carrying out” any public office.
  • Article 42, Section 5 of the Constitution states that citizenship is lost for “inciting, promoting or supporting the continuation or the re-election of the President of the Republic.”
  • Both the court and the National Congress have ratified the actions of the armed forces.
  • The National Congress named and ratified Roberto Micheletti as President.

The last item in the above list is interesting in that normally the role of President would fall to the Vice President, Elvin Santos (Zelaya’s running mate). However, Santos had already resigned that position in order to run for the next Presidential Election in January 2010. Zelaya had replaced him with Arístides Mejía Carranza under the title “Vice President Commissioner” (a position barred from taking the position of President). This paved the way for the appointment by Congress of Roberto Micheletti (as President of the National Congress) to the position of Provisional President of Honduras until the end of the current term.

With all of the above information on the table – Barack Obama’s statement was telling:

I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya. As the Organization of American States did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.

No coup d’état – just policy and procedure Caribbean style.

794 replies on “Policy and Procedure, Caribbean Style”

I seem to recall a fair bit of badmouthing the head of the WHO when she called the swine flu a pandemic which needed to be handled with caution.

Anyone playing close attention to the number of deaths, some here in Australia, (and some seriously sick people who were previously healthy), may conclude that such criticisms directed at the WHO were based on prejudices without much knowledge of what these viruses can do over time.

674 GhostWhoVotes Great news. When Japan changes the ramifications are huge. The only caution on that is, that most left wing governments that have been out for a very long time tend to make a lot of mistakes in their first venture.

687 Jen He’s on the inside, where he has some influence. Not all the influence.

Hamas accuses Israel of dumping aphrodisiac gum on Gaza
Hamas suspects that Israeli intelligence services are supplying its Gaza Strip stronghold with chewing gum that boosts the sex drive in order to “corrupt the young,” an official has said.

The Telegraph God. There has to be a million lines could use with that. 😈

July 15
Let’s do the maths here. Regrettable though H1N1 deaths in Australia and elsewhere are, it’s wise to keep things in perspective.

NB: 2500 people die annually from seasonal(winter) flu in Australia, H1N1 or no H1N1.

“Mild in most, severe in some – moderate overall
Despite some deaths in Victoria, the vast majority of cases of Human Swine Flu continue to be mild. Most people are still recovering without any medical treatment.
However for people with chronic medical conditions, influenza can be severe. This is evidenced every year in Australia, where roughly 2,500 people die from seasonal flu annually.”

I thought the time to “keep things in perspective” was BEFORE attacking the head of the WHO, but hey, I like to see the facts first, it’s the way I am.


“We’ve seen some fairly ambitious, if not ludicrous, claims being made that it could be 10,000 or 20,000 or 30,000 in particular states,” she said, adding that the death rate was not as high as initially feared.

Roxon said the government’s own modelling projected 6,000 deaths under a worst-case scenario but the steps being taken to contain the disease meant it would be far lower.


…so the 2,500 per year just might get topped if the ‘steps being taken’ don’t actually lead anywhere.

ahem, Kirri – i do recall you slamming my Guru Bob for being alarmist when he criticised Kevvy for not decalaring a pandemic risk when this whole saga started. ( Drama Queen if I recall…)
see – he was just smareter than all the rest 😎

It’s been a little slow on the news front over the last couple of days – but here is something to put more than a ripple in the water. Sarah Palin has posted an OP-ED piece over on the Washington Post – The ‘Cap And Tax’ Dead End.

I am deeply concerned about President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy. It would undermine our recovery over the short term and would inflict permanent damage.

OK – I’m sorry, but this piece seems to me to be too well written to be a genuine Sarah rant. That would suggest some machinery in motion. What was it that the moose said?

Completely agree Cat – too many syllables for Sarah.
read John Kerry’s respone in Huff PO – it appears she kinda forgot to mention Climate Change when discussing the future of energy industry.
still a moron – even with bigger words than usual

Mysterious Penguin Killings In Australia Leads To Investigation.
The Huffington Post
Before the Huffington Post Australia would have got very little coverage. Here’s another article.

Hi Ticsters,
Back after almost two months in the “Land of the Long White Shroud” .
Good to see the place humming along and have a lot of catching up to do.
Shame about my timing ….school hols /sprogs underfoot 🙂

It won’t take much Bush bashing in the run up to 2010 to recover from this. Just like Kennett did to Cain and Bracks did to Kennett.

Missed you, megan, great to see you again. Hope you got a chance to catch up on a bit of reading 🙂


P.T. “Call me Bobby” Barnum IV goes to Washington. He happens upon a Power Prayer Breakfast in a well-appointed Capital backroom. There are a lot of empty boxes and plenty of snakes are on the loose but attendees like it that way. Only sane folk attempt to get the slitherers re-boxed. None are present. On their knees amongst the free-ranging serpents while wailing for fast-onset Armageddon are:

1) Michelle “Moronicus Maximus” Bachman, R-MN.

2) Jeff Sessions, R-AL, Commie Catcher/Tortilla-Gut Spotter/ Woodpile Inspector.

3) Sarah “Thrilla from Wasilla” Palin, R-AK, but it’s temporary thing. Miss Palin is presently between gigs.

4) Gov. Mark “2 Dicks” Sandford, R-SC, Appalachian Joy Trailer extraordinaire who can root anything that moves while simultaneously making love to his wife. Mark has been an Animal House Legend since Commencement days. Peers often referred to him as “Gauchero”.

5) John Ensign “Parker”, R-NV, a self-exorcising, rattlesnake-handling dingbat of Jindalian stature.

Barnum IV is an American businessman. At that Eurekian Moment “Bobby” spontaneously shot his entrepreneurial load. It was never going to get better than this. He saw his chance to turn a mega-buck… he took it!
Lo and Be-hold, from that moment, brutha and sista Ticster, “Bobby” Barnum knew that his highly-esteemed family enterprise was long-term viable. He offered all five god-pesterers a busload of faith-based cash going forward.
Naturally, they all took the money and henceforth “Bobby” touted and toured his troupe, “The GOP Nostalgia Freak Show”, through every glen, gully and gultch of the Great Republican Heartland.

Only in America can one:
“Be a Winner when you’re a Looser!”
And it took the genius of “Bobby” Barnum IV to tap into it.

I think that ‘nearly 100 per cent of the Latino vote’ is a little bit … optimistic, Chris B. But you keep up the enthusiasm. 🙂

721 David Gould I’ll settle for the same as the black vote around 90 – 95%. Just remind me how well you went at the US election, and of course……

I seem to recall Jen, that Bobby Brown jumped the gun before there was any realistic data to go by.

My point is that the head of the WHO advised a cautionary approach in the face of a new virus, because the history of such things is that they can be unpredictable. It was already known to be highly infectious.

Given that we are seeing some previously healthy individuals now on life support, local medicos are saying that they are surprised by the virulence of the infection in these people.

So before badmouthing the WHO, it was probably better to take the advice.

Brown was, as is often the case, grandstanding. I won’t bother to go into the whole nuclear debate here, but so much of the Greens’ position is hysterical claptrap in my opinion, and considering the urgent need to replace coal, one of the most illogical positions imaginable.

But hysteria and pseudo-science sells, and Bob’s not averse to getting some votes with it, when it suits.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Brown, and much of what he stands for, I’m just cynical about the posturing that comes from being a fringe political player.

Cheers Kirri- I actually think Bob jumped the gun on that one too – just jivin’ ya.
As for nuclear – I personally think it is the short-term lesser of other evils, but really an expensive short-term stop gap before we get sustainable renewables up and running. If we’d done it sooner and better then I don’t think nuclear would be an option – too risky for too many reasons.
As a Greens candidate thought of course I am totally opposed to it
(it’s the Peter Garrett in me… 😉 )

CB @728
“I just want to win the senate seat in Texas if it becomes vacant. ”

Geez Chris – didn’t realise you were running . What a dark horse you are!

Jen, nuclear is way too expensive only IF we don’t factor in an expense for CO2. In places where there are no renewables in any substantial quantity, but there’s a high demand for power, then nuclear is one of the stop gaps in the armory. The storage issue is one of practical engineering and by no means as insurmountable as the detractors maintain.

As for safety, if you include the deaths in coal mines, the hazards of particulate emissions and the sheer quantity of radioactive emissions from coal mining, nuclear power is safer by a HUGE margin.

But hey, why let facts get in the way of good old hysteria! LOL

Kirri – I’m not talking about danger to workers and hazard due to emissions. There’s the political reality too of access to plutonium in an unstable geo-political climate, and the dangers of transporting and storing the radioactive waste. In an ideal world I would agree that it is a reasonable option, but this world is far from ideal.

yeah guys, the link was emailed to me by Mrs KR today.

It’s quite a mind expander.

724 a good long read EC
726 very interesting KR.
Only thing with that video is the statistics will now be outdated, everything happens that quick.


I understand the ‘terrorists might get hold of it’ argument, but they might get hold of genetically modified viruses too, or neurotoxins, or water soluble mass hallucinogens,or…(hang on, isn’t that the same as Vodka??? LOL)…

…you get my drift. It’s not an argument for never doing something, it’s an argument for doing things safely, and with high levels of security. Isotopes may last for thousands of years, but will Islamic terrorists last until the end of the century? It’s an interesting question.

Interesting that one of our major energy companies is headed down this path:

July 16, 2009 – 1:27PM

Origin Energy has sealed an agreement with Carbon Conscious for a large-scale carbon sequestration project utilising native eucalypt trees to be planted in Australia wheat-belt regions.

The two companies believe the project will be the largest carbon pollution reduction (CPR) scheme bio-sequestration project in Australia to date.

The deal involves Origin paying Carbon Conscious to plant large-scale native Mallee Eucalypt trees in wheat-belt regions for the purpose of generating carbon permits tradable under the federal government’s CPR scheme.

Carbon Conscious will plant more than six million trees over the first three years of the agreement, running from 2009 to 2011.

…it’s worth a read in full.

So if the Senate stalls on the ETS, will this scheme be stalled too?

Once again, it looks to me that blocking the government is just making it impossible for business to do what it does best ie capitalise on the new cost of carbon dioxide emissions.

If we don’t start, we won’t get there.

Indeed gaffy – i have apparently met and married someone 95 times in the last week.
And they are all redundant now.

Kirri – blocking the governement to improve the scheme is surely different to blocking to prevent it. You are lumping opposing aims together.
The Greens are wanting higher targets and more investment in renewables- that is very different to wanting more investment in coal and oil based industries.
One position is based on science (not hysteria) and one is based on winning the next election, who oyur mates are and what profits they/you stand to make.
It seems your position is that it’s better to do something, no matter how ultimately ineffectual it will be, than to do nothing.
True to a point, but it’s a lame argument if the net effect is ..nothing.

It’s a bit academic as far as the Greens are concerned Jen, if, and so long as, their position is so far removed from what is achievable politically now. I’ll agree that the ETS is compromised, but disagree that it’s not much better than doing nothing.

So, we do nothing because we cannot do the impossible?

I don’t think that makes a lot of sense, to put it mildly.

The problem with ideological minor parties is always the same: they can shoot for the moon, but only with slingshots, but they keep trying nevertheless.

I think that is an unfair characterisation Kirri. The Greens have clearly stated what the scientifically -based emissions reduction needs to be (40%) before there will be any real effect.
They have alreday allowed Labor to raise the initial response from 5-15% to consider 25%. Minor we may be, but you guys need us to be seen to put on the pressure to do what we all know needs to happen,.so that there is a loony-left pinko-lezzo dominated party to blame.
Don’t care really as long as the outcome is improved.

Major Legal UK Victory Against Aspartame Maker, Ajinomoto.

Asda wins court fight over sweetener claim
[This is a serious and superb legal milestone affirming that a supermarket chain can describe artificial sweetener aspartame as “nasty,” if it wants to do so, based on customer responses, whether the corporate miscreant behind the manufacturing of this deadly poison wants to bludgeon critics into silence or not!]

Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda, owned by US megacorporation Walmart, has won its court battle with a Japanese food company which sued the supermarket chain for calling the artificial sweetener aspartame “nasty”.

Continued on Op Ed News

Chris B
Off to the naughty corner with you my lad.
Kirri will be along shortly with the appropriate implement to deliver a jolly good thrashing. 👿

Chris – just because people say it’s nasty doesn’t mean there is any scientific evidence to support thier groundless cultish belief. :mrgreen:

726 Kirribilli Removals The speed of optic fiber in that video clip done last year was 14 trillion bits per second or 2,660 cds per second. Now ones been tested at 32 Terrabyts/sec or 5,500 cds per second down one strand of optic fiber.

Of course you could read to the end of the article, and note that the Judge says this:

Mr Justice Tugendhat said the case was not just about profits and there was a public interest involved.

“If aspartame is safe, which I have no reason to doubt, then it would be a loss to the public, and deprive them of freedom of choice, if it were to become stigmatised for no good reason.”

“No reasonable reader could understand the words as a statement by Asda that all artificial colours and flavours are especially or actually harmful or unhealthy.”

…so once again, it’s not about the scientific evidence. It’s about a legal definition.

Ho hum.

Political consequences of the health bill.
The implications of all this maneuvering for 2010 and 2012 are enormous. If President Obama signs a health-reform bill into law this Fall, it will become the dominant issue in next year’s elections. The Democrats will say: “You voted for change and we delivered. Now you don’t have to worry about losing your health care if you get sick or lose your job.” The Republicans will say: “The Democrats are back to their old tax-and-spend ways. We told you so.” If the bill fails, the Democrats will plead for more members of Congress to pass it in 2011 and the Republicans will say we need more Republicans to make it even harder for them to pass it.”

more here…

This is big.

Three former Uighur detainees submitted testimony through legal counsel on Thursday alleging that all 22 detainees of the Chinese Muslim minority group were interrogated by Chinese government officials during a seven- to 10-day visit in 2002.

The former detainees testified that they were forced to provide their photographs and identities to the Chinese agents under the threat of torture and, under those agents’ orders, were denied food and water and isolated in a frigid room.
Whole story here…

Katielou at 752

Inspirational speech by Obama on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.

Before you posted the link I’d already watched a couple of sound-bite clips. From that I heard echoes of Jeremiah Wright preaching to the converted. After watching the full piece (about 35 mins.) – I have to agree with you – inspirational stuff, and the closing moments are much more about laying down a challenge to the target audience. If anything – this was a speech from the heart.

774 gaffhook He’d be a target for baiting in the run up to 2010 election. I’m sure he’d bite hard and help the Democrats election prospect’s. Especially on racial issues.

The Replicans have done such a good job in putting Latino’s offside with the Sonya Sotomayor hearings, that we need another judge to retire. Then Obama could find a female who could cause controversy and put a huge number of women offside. Pat Robertson could do his best. Then Fox News could lay the boot in. 🙂

It appears that if talks break down, Zelaya will make a second attempt to return home.
The forces may be against him though.

Earlier on Friday, the Venezuelan president also said that Zelaya would return home “in the next few hours.”

“Zelaya is going to enter Honduras, let’s see what those thugs do,” Hugo Chavez said in La Paz, the Bolivian capital, referring to the Honduran interim government.

The United States said it opposes any attempted return, fearing it could jeopardise reconciliation talks hosted by Oscar Arias, the Costa Rican president.

Chris B at 785
That would be me – you were stuck in spam because the ‘333’ wasn’t recognised with you email (and I didn’t get the joke). Sorry about that!


“For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. . . . To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past”

~Walter Cronkite, CBS Evening News, February 27, 1968.

“I think there are a lot of critics who think that [in the run-up to the Iraq War] . . . . if we did not stand up and say this is bogus, and you’re a liar, and why are you doing this, that we didn’t do our job. I respectfully disagree. It’s not our role”

~David Gregory, MSNBC, May 28, 2008.

David, (far left) behind Rover at The Imbecile’s D.C. Press Club Annual piss up:

Can anyone imagine any big media stars — who swoon in reverence both to political power and especially military authority — defying military instructions that way, let alone being proud of it? Halberstam certainly couldn’t imagine any of them doing it, which is why, in 1999, he wrote:
Those to whom the most is given, the executives of our three networks, have steadily moved away from their greatest responsibilities, which is using their news departments to tell the American people complicated truths, not only about their own country, but about the world around us. . . .
Somewhere in there, gradually, but systematically, there has been an abdication of responsibility within the profession, most particularly in the networks. . . . So, if we look at the media today, we ought to be aware not just of what we are getting, but what we are not getting; the difference between what is authentic and what is inauthentic in contemporary American life and in the world, with a warning that in this celebrity culture, the forces of the inauthentic are becoming more powerful all the time.

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