Monday wrap

Today's spotlight: International Collectivism

LatAm Leftist Thug Miscalculated ... Zelaya is an ally of leftist leader Venezuela President Hugo Chávez, who expressed support of his referendum along with Cuba's Fidel Castro. Honduras had joined ALBA, the alliance of leftist leaders in the region as an alternative to free-trade agreements they say are dominated by the US. Across Latin America, leftist leaders have successfully rewritten their constitutions to enable their re-elections. But while Mr. Chávez, Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador have successfully modified their charters to elongate their rule, it seems Zelaya miscalculated his institutional backing. "Zelaya confused himself with (other) governments by assuming that he had a constituency when he didn't really," says Larry Birns, head of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington. "He is not a person who had hit a respondent chord in the population, which he could politically rely upon. ... It was a miscalculation." (csmonitor.com)

In case you missed it: The Union News weekend
Sunday: Send in the union thug clowns
Saturday: Obama FDA cracks down against Cheerios

Global Leftists gang up against term limits ... Hugo Chávez's coalition-building efforts suffered a setback yesterday when the Honduran military sent its president packing for abusing the nation's constitution. It seems that President Mel Zelaya miscalculated when he tried to emulate the success of his good friend Hugo in reshaping the Honduran Constitution to his liking. But Honduras is not out of the Venezuelan woods yet. Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya's abuses, also wants him back in power. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground. That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court's order. (online.wsj.com)

Obama miscalculates, sides with Chávez-Castro stooge ... Through all of this, Barack Obama abetted the Zelaya power grab through his calculated silence. Yet, the brave people of Honduras – enduring almost unfathomable duress – stood firm in support of their Constitution and the term limits embodied in it. Now that the will of the people has triumphed over tragedy, we believe the time has come for Mr. Obama to concede the defeat of his partner and policy, and for the U.S. media to support those who, putting principle above personal safety, have let freedom ring. At ALG news, we applaud the Freedom Fighters of neighboring Honduras. The story out of Honduras is that the people of that stalwart little country have now taken it into their own hands to preserve their democracy in the most courageous action since they established their constitutional republic nearly three decades ago. Just as former Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales prepared to seize full power in direct violation of the nation’s Constitution, the military leadership – with the backing of the people – removed him from power. Unfortunately, Barack Obama, after encouraging the Zelaya coup with his complicit silence, has now condemned the people’s move to uphold their Constitution and preserve their freedom. And, as expected, the mainstream media has joined Mr. Obama in censuring the restoration of democracy by censoring the full story. (netrightnation.com)

Communist Party backs Obama, Honduran Leftist over Constitution ... The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) joins with the world in denouncing the coup d’etat this morning against the legally elected president of the Republic of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, by the Honduran military, in which, according to a statement by the president’s wife, Mr. Zelaya was threatened and beaten before being sent into exile in Costa Rica. The CPUSA further recognizes that the Obama administration has repudiated the coup, and insists that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton hold firm to this position, refusing diplomatic recognition and any military aid to Honduras until President Zelaya is restored to power. (pww.org)

Argentine Leftist dynasty rebuked by voters ... The ruling centre-left coalition of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has lost control of the country's Congress in key mid-term elections. Even the president's husband Nestor Kirchner, a former head of state, lost his race in Buenos Aires province, where he was seeking a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in Sunday's election. "Argentine society has sent the government a message," commented political analyst Rosendo Fraga. "It has to change course." With results from more than three quarters of the ballots counted, a coalition supported by the president and her husband lost four seats in the Senate and control of the 72-member upper house. With the 36 Senate seats still under their control, the pro-government Front for Victory is one short of a controlling majority. (news.smh.com.au)

Obama silent as Corporate-Fascist Iran oppresses unionists, unionism ... But the real foil to Ahmadinejad’s pro-market policies is a middle-aged bus driver from Tehran. Mansour Osanloo, acting as the president of the 17,000 worker-strong Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, led a 2005 strike in which drivers refused to accept fares in protest of working conditions and rising fares. The strike was immediately criminalized with Osanloo and fellow leaders placed under arrest. Undeterred, Osanloo led another strike attempt in 2006. He was again arrested and today sits in a cell in Iran’s notorious Evin prison — a living testament to both the courage of Iranian workers and the repressive nature of the regime. (news.smh.com.au)

Liberal Party leader restores constitutional order, Tegucigalpa streets are calm ... Interim President Roberto Micheletti has imposed an overnight curfew in Honduras, hours after being sworn in. The Congress speaker took office after troops ousted elected leader Manuel Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica. The removal of Mr Zelaya came amid a power struggle over his plans for constitutional change. Mr Zelaya, who had been in office since 2006, wanted to hold a referendum that could have led to an extension of his non-renewable four-year term. Mr Micheletti told a news conference that a nationwide curfew was being imposed for Sunday and Monday, running from 2100 (0300 GMT) to 0600 (1200 GMT) on each night. The BBC's Stephen Gibbs, reporting from the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, said roads were deserted and only a handful of protesters remained on the streets. (news.bbc.co.uk)

Chávez threatens war ... Zelaya, who took office in 2006 and is limited by the constitution to a four-year term that ends in early 2010, had angered the army, courts and Congress by pushing for an unofficial public vote on Sunday to gauge support for his plan to hold a November referendum on allowing presidential re-election. Speaking on Venezuelan state television, Chávez -- who has long championed the left in Latin America -- said he had put his troops on alert over the Honduran coup and would do everything necessary to abort the coup against his close ally. He said that if the Venezuela ambassador was killed, or troops entered the Venezuela embassy, "that military junta would be entering a defacto state of war, we would have to act militarily." He said, "I have put the armed forces of Venezuela on alert." (newsmax.com)

Chavistas suffer rare LatAm reversal ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on Sunday slammed attacks on the Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan ambassadors in Honduras capital of Tegucigalpa, alongside a coup in the nation. "If our ambassador or embassy were attacked, that would be de facto beginning a war," Chávez told a special edition of his Sunday broadcast Alo Presidente. "Venezuela's National Armed Forces have been put on alert," he declared. Chávez's statement came just after Armando Laguna, Venezuela's ambassador to Honduras, told Venezuelan television channel Telesur that he was beaten by hooded Honduran soldiers, with counterparts Juan Carlos Hernandez, of Cuba, and Mario Duarte, of Nicaragua. (news.xinhuanet.com)

Union organizers penetrate Turkey ... Activists and sex workers in Turkey are working on a project to establish Turkey’s first sex workers union. They are hopeful about finding a solution to their problems and changing society’s approach toward sex workers. They will organize an awareness walk to bring attention to their issues. An initiative to establish a union for sex workers in Turkey has been proceeding slowly but patiently for almost a year. Several activists plan to establish a trade union to protect the health, security and education rights of sex workers in Turkey, where the majority of them work without licenses or social security. (pww.org)

Corruption in America: U.S. Justice Department ... A default judgment against the New Black Pather Party (NBPP) in connection with a case of voter intimidation on Election Day, November 4, 2008 was dismissed by the U.S. Justice Department. The U.S. Commission of Civil Rights is demanding to know why this action was taken. NBPP members were caught on film blocking access to the polls and physically and verbally intimidating voters, actually wielding a nightstick in front of voters and poll watchers. Evidence was gathered by Justice Department lawyers, obtained the affidavit of former civil rights advocate Bartle Bull, and a complaint. The defendants did not respond and the court invited the Justice Department to file a default judgement. but the Justice Department withdrew from the case. What the Obama Justice Department did was to block action against a group that has been called a racist, anti-semitic hate group. Its members include an Obama poll-watcher and city democratic official who used epithets and physical intimidation to keep away voter from a polling place in Philadelphia. (examiner.com)

Related video: Securing Philly polling places

Congress was not allowed to read Climate Tax bill before voting ... Almost all of the House members surveyed Friday by CNSNews.com had not read the entire 1,200-page climate-change bill before they were to cast their vote Friday evening. But almost all of them knew how they were going to vote. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) said that he supported the bill the House was considering (and subsequently approved Friday evening by a narrow 219-212 vote), but he had not read the whole bill. “You’d have to have hours and hours and hours to be able to do all that, but we’re well aware of the main items,” Rep. Abercrombie told CNSNews.com. But the liberal member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus also said he was skeptical about “how it works out in practice.” (cnsnews.com)

Congress won't be allowed to read ObamaCare bill before voting ... House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) will not give the public a week to review the final text of a health-care reform bill before it is voted on later this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) has also declined to commit to giving the public a week to read and consider the final health-care bill. At her press briefing on Thursday, Pelosi was asked whether the health-care bill would be handled differently than the stimulus bill, which came up in February. The 1,071-page final text of that bill was posted on the House Appropriations Committee’s Web site late on a Thursday night and then voted on the next day. (cnsnews.com))

What, Me Worry? ... The most likely reason Oberstar, Mica, DeFazio, and Duncan said nothing about how this $500 billion boondoggle will be paid for is because they don’t know. Worse, they probably couldn’t care less. Oh sure, all would undoubtedly protest such a characterization vehemently, but the facts speak otherwise. Spending keeps going up, as does the government’s deficit and the national debt. But congressmen like these four keep piling on additional spending with hardly even any lip service for the idea of how it will be paid for when the bills come due. And by the way, the Transportation Trust Fund that is supposed to pay for highway construction and maintenance went bust last year, requiring an $8 billion bailout. Another $15 billion bailout will likely be needed this year. So, as TCS put it, “we’re supposed to buy the wink and a nod that says we’ll find a way to pay for it later?” (washingtonexaminer.com)
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