August 18, 2009 archive

School of the Americas: Still Training Hondurans

From School of Americas Watch:

A controversial facility at Ft. Benning, Ga. — formerly known as the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas — is still training Honduran officers despite claims by the Obama administration that it cut military ties to Honduras after its president was overthrown June 28, NCR has learned.

A day after an SOA-trained army general ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya at gunpoint, President Barack Obama stated that “the coup was not legal” and that Zelaya remained “the democratically elected president.”

The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act requires that U.S. military aid and training be suspended when a country undergoes a military coup, and the Obama administration has indicated those steps have been taken.

However, Lee Rials, public affairs officer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the successor of SOA, confirmed Monday that Honduran officers are still being trained at the school.

“Yes, they’re in class now,” Rials said.

Asked about the Obama administration’s suspension of aid and training to Honduras, Rials said, “Well, all I know is they’re here, and they’re in class.”

And, inside Honduras, nothing has changed either:

The ongoing training of Hondurans at Ft. Benning is not the only evidence of unbroken U.S.-Honduran military ties since the coup.

Another piece was discovered by Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch, while on fact-finding mission to Honduras last week.

Bourgeois — accompanied by two lawyers, Kent Spriggs and Dan Kovalik — visited the Soto Cano/Palmerola Air Base northwest of Tegucigalpa, where the U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force-Bravo is stationed.

“Helicopters were flying all around, and we spoke with the U.S. official on duty, a Sgt. Reyes” about the U.S.-Honduran relationship, Bourgeois said. “We asked him if anything had changed since the coup and he said no, nothing.”

Read the whole thing here:…

And the US is still continuing aid to Honduras, according to Narconews:

NOLA Looks As If McCain Were President

Where are the hope and change in New Orleans? When Barack Obama was a presidential candidate, he promised that

he would “keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast” and take steps to prevent failures in emergency planning and response seen during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Specifically, Obama would ensure New Orleans has a levee and pumping system to protect the city against a 100-year storm by 2011, free up rebuilding funds that had been allocated but not released and to rebuild hospitals and schools.

Four at Four

  1. The Los Angeles Times reports President Obama tells veterans Afghanistan is a ‘war of necessity’. Obama told more than 5,500 veterans that fighting in Afghanistan was “fundamental to the defense of our people”.

    “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity,” Obama told the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars conference — cautioning that the insurgency would not be defeated overnight. “Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.”

    Meanwhile, The Guardian reports an Afghanistan bomb attack kills NATO troops. “A suicide car bomb attack on a convoy of foreign soldiers killed seven people, including Nato troops, and wounded 52 in Afghanistan today, as violence continued in the run-up to Thursday’s election… Two Afghan United Nations staff members were killed and another was wounded, the UN said.”

    And the LA Times reports Hamid Karzai scrambles to hold on. The Afghan president’s latest move was to cut a deal with Abdul Rashid Dostum, the Uzbek warlord and alleged war criminal. “Karzai has been forced to make deals because of unexpected weakness in an election he had been expected to win easily.”

    His principal rival, Abdullah Abdullah, asks a rally, “Who’s the one who failed at governing?” The crowd chants “Kar-ZAI! Kar-ZAI!”

    The NY Times adds Peace talks with the Taliban top issue in Afghan vote. “Whether and how to negotiate peace with the Taliban has become the one issue that no candidate in the Afghan presidential election can avoid taking a stand on.”

    “Karzai has often talked about negotiating with the Taliban, little concrete has happened… Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani and Ramazan Bashardost all oppose the Taliban, but they also promise if elected to do better and to make peace a priority.

Four at Four continues with an update from Pakistan, releasing Shiite militia in Iraq, screwing over cheap, foreign labor to fight wars, and China greenhouse gas emissions.

We WILL get a Public Option! Co-Op Kabuki Exposed! But it only works if you YELL LOUDER!

Crossposted at Daily kos

    I am beginning to believe that President Obama has this figured out, and that we WILL get HCR and a Public Option.

    Why do I believe this? Let me explain.

    But first you have got to FIGHT, DAMMIT ROCKY!

    So here is some inspirational music to inspire Hope, and while you get riled up let me take you below the fold and reveal the genius of 9-sided chinese chess, exposed.

It is The Democratic Leadership Destroying Reform

We hear it all the time: “but we need 60 votes in the Senate to pass anything“.  “We can’t do anything without 60 votes.”

But it is a lie.

They, in fact, can pass meaningful Health Care Reform, if they really wanted to, the exact same way that George W. Bush passed his various numerous Tax giveaways for the rich, Corporate Welfare bills, and other corrupt, unpopular legislation, with just 51 votes.

The idea that what Sen. Grassley thinks or does matters one damn bit in this whole debate is not really true.

Once again, the fundamental problem here is that The Democratic Party refuses to use it’s political power.  We see this over and over and over:

  • Whether its refusing to investigate and impeach Dick Cheney (an unpopular War Criminal with an 18% approval rating)
  • Or refusing to investigate and impeach George Bush (perhaps the most unaccomplished and unpopular President in U.S. History)
  • Or whether it is refusing to cut off the War Funding and stop the unnecessary bloodshed and chaos overseas.
  • Or whether it is refusing to enforce House subpeonas by backing them with the threat of House arrest.
  • Or refusing to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law on any front.

  • Or whether its walking backwards progressive legislative goals, despite Election victories, even before any Congressional debate commences.
  • Or whether it is deliberately shutting out the progressive voices from any public representation altogether, even as they pocket the campaign money that they begged us for.

The truth is that Obama is not focused on passing meaningful HCR at all, he is focused on passing a “Bipartisan” (Republican approved) bill — which by definition means the teeth of the reform itself necessarily have to be jettisoned.  

Marriage Equality In Maine! We Need The Netroots!

Yes, health care reform is a big issue, and yes every one of us needs to put some time in on it, but it is not the only issue. Since this is an off year for elections it is easy to get completely focused on policy but there is a fight we should all be aware of and should all put some effort into. What is this fight? It is the fight to take marriage equality away from the citizens of Maine. That’s right readers, the same forces of religious intolerance who managed to get Prop 8 passed in California and they are setting their sights on Maine.

Originally posted at

Playing Hardball with the Senate: Bring out the Nuclear Option

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism, xposted from My Left Wing

OK say, just hypothetically, that you are an administration looking to get one of your two signature policies passed. And the Senate, deeply entrenched in the pockets of the affected industry, looked like it will gut your legislation so badly that getting the result passed will stink of failure almost as much as the stench of failure if it is defeated.

Suppose its so bad that the Senate action is the most likely way for your party to lose the Majority in the House is for the disappointed Democratic supporters of so-called “Blue Dogs” to stay home in the midterms while fire up Republican opponents turn out in large numbers.

That would be the time to bring out the “nuclear option” … the threat to radically change the Senate Filibuster rule so it can no longer be used as a roadblock to reform.

In Texas, if you will not get better, you die.

I wrote this at Bartcopnation on Tue Mar-22-05 10:22 PM

I am not a good writer, it can take me a week and still come out garbled.

I hope someone here will look into this information and write about it so it will come out for the entire country to see.

This came out during the Schiavo circus.

Docudharma Times Tuesday August 18

 Public Option Called Essential

Democratic Lawmakers Express Concern

 By Anne E. Kornblut and Perry Bacon Jr.

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, August 18, 2009  

Several leading Democrats voiced concern Monday about an apparent White House shift on health-care reform, objecting to signals from senior administration officials that they would abandon the idea of a government-run insurance plan if it lacked the backing to pass Congress. In the Senate, where negotiations are now focused,  John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.) said that a public option, as the plan has become known, is “a must.”  Sen. Russell Feingold (Wis.) said that “without a public option, I don’t see how we will bring real change to a system that has made good health care a privilege for those who can afford it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said that the plan will be included in whatever bill is voted on in the House. “There is strong support in the House for a public option,” she said, though she did not demand that the administration express support for the idea.

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dies

The longtime dissident, who survived three assassination attempts and spent years in prison, was 85. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for engaging North Korea.

  By Barbara Demick August 18, 2009

Kim Dae-jung, a former dissident who survived three assassination attempts, one death sentence and six years in prison to become South Korea’s president and its first Nobel laureate, died today in Seoul after a long bout of pneumonia.

He was 85.

South Korea’s president from 1998 to 2003, Kim is best known for the moment on June 13, 2000, when he stepped onto the tarmac at Pyongyang’s airport with arms outstretched to embrace North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

That landmark meeting, which was supposed to end 50 years of enmity between the Koreas, won Kim the Nobel Peace Prize.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

2009 Poems:  Dreamcatcher

Dream Catcher #7

Geometric Dreams


within hopes

within dreams



off absolute void


the building blocks

of possible futures

while casting off

the seeds

which grow

if tended carefully

into  what should be

our better natures

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 18, 2009

Inciting Assassination

Progressives are very reluctant to talk about the possibility of Obama’s assassination, they don’t even want to think about it.  Well we’d better start thinking about it, we’d better start talking about it, we’d better start doing something about it, because right wing talk radio thugs are inciting assassination, they’re inciting it every day, they are not only inciting violence against the government and the President of the United States, they are glorifying it, they are sanctifying it as a moral obligation, as a patriotic duty.  They are telling the rabid RePug base that violence against the government is justified, that President Obama is the enemy, that he’s a tyrant, that he must be stopped.

These talk radio thugs aren’t directly inciting assassination, but they don’t have to.  When they compare Obama to Hitler, when they condemn him as a fascist, when they denounce him as a tyrant and brand him a traitor, kill him is the message being sent and received, kill him is the message being heard and acted upon.  Assassination threats against President Obama have increased 400 per cent. He is being threatened with assassination 30 times a day, 300 times a month, and the number of threats is increasing as the incitement escalates and the reaction intensifies and the compulsion to kill him spreads like a plague through the batshit insane Republican base.

What else do progressives have to see before they call this what it is?  

I don’t have to see any more of it, I’ve seen more than enough to call this what it is.

War Criminals Romp in Afghanistan Election

Who can look at the parody of democracy in Afghanistan these days without total cynicism? The regime of President Karzai is known to be corrupt and to have a very shaky hold on power outside of Kabul. Now the Pashtun-ethnic President is up for reelection. To get a sense of just how craven the regime in Afghanistan is, consider one of Karzai’s two vice presidential running mates, Mohammad Qasim Fahim, an ethnic Tajik warlord. Times UK described him, and other supporters of the current regime, which is of course backed by the U.S. and NATO forces:

   Better known as Marshal Fahim, he is accused of murdering prisoners of war during the 1990s, and of running private armed militias, and involvement in kidnapping and other crimes after 2001.

   Mr Karzai has also enlisted the support of Mohammad Mohaqiq and Karim Khalili, two former Mujahidin leaders from the Hazara ethnic minority who are also accused of multiple rights abuses.

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