October 30, 2009 archive

Honduras: A Deal Is Made?

After months of repression by the golpistas in Honduras and resistance and demonstrations by pro-democracy forces, it appears that there’s finally been a deal to restore the rightful president Manual Zelaya to power for the last few months of his presidential term.  If that happens, the crisis in Honduras is over.

The New York Times says there’s a deal in its headline.  The details aren’t quite as firm:

A lingering political crisis in Honduras seemed to be nearing an end on Friday after the de facto government agreed to a deal, pending legislative approval, that would allow Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president, to return to office.

The government of Roberto Micheletti, which had refused to let Mr. Zelaya return, signed an agreement with Mr. Zelaya’s negotiators late Thursday that would pave the way for the Honduran Congress to restore the ousted president and allow him to serve out the remaining three months of his term. If Congress agrees, control of the army would shift to the electoral court, and the presidential election set for Nov. 29 would be recognized by both sides.

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the deal “an historic agreement.”

“I cannot think of another example of a country in Latin America that, having suffered a rupture of its democratic and constitutional order, overcame such a crisis through negotiation and dialogue,” Mrs. Clinton said in Islamabad, where she has been meeting with Pakistani officials.

The deal, however, hasn’t been inked yet.  There are details to be worked out between the golpistas and Zelaya, and of course, the Honduras Congress has to approve the pact:

Negotiators for both men were expected to meet Friday to work out final details. It was not clear what would happen if the Honduran Congress rejected the deal.

Passage could mean a bookend to months of international pressure and political turmoil in Honduras, where regular marches by Mr. Zelaya’s supporters and curfews have paralyzed the capital.

This is the most hopeful news since the June coup d’etat in Nicaragua.  I’m cautiously optimistic that democracy will now be restored in Honduras.

Reid will NOT put anti-trust ending language in Senate HCR bill yet. Why?

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Senate negotiators have decided not to include a provision revoking the insurance industry’s anti-trust exemption in the bill leadership sends to the floor, said a Democratic aide close to the merger talks. Instead, the measure will be offered as an amendment on the Senate floor.


Bold and italics added by the diarist

    The House bill will have language ending the Insurance cartels anti-trust exemption. Why won’t the Senate bill have similar language in it before it is brought to the floor for debate?

    More below the fold

Fat Open Thread

Blueberry Hill

Bigger Than Crack Cocaine

Would be US media.

We saw it in the run up campaign which got us into Iraq and Afghanistan.

We saw it in the bail out plan for Bernie Madoff type Wall Street ponzi scammers.

We are seeing it now, the marketing plan for swine vaccines.

And I’m going to tell you about the next evolution of media, mandatory volunteerism.

Come to think of media is more than a single drug but a class of opiates taylored to your preference.  For “right-tards” we have Fox, for “whoosie” liberals we have MSNBC and for insane lunatics like me Alex Jones, Infowars.

Docudharma Times Friday October 30

Friday’s Headlines:

Iran Rejects Deal to Ship Out Uranium, Officials Report

Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

Energy-savings project leaves Army in the cold

East-west tussle erupts over bill for combating climate change

Camorra assassin escapes as Naples looks the other way

Pakistan strikes deep into al-Qa’ida territory

UN fears for second Afghan vote after commission refuses to tackle fraud

Iraq Government bans alcohol sale or transport in Baghdad’s green zone

Hopes of restarting Middle East peace process look like a mirage

As Honduran elections near, US diplomats seek end to leadership crisis

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Quadroid 3:

(Click on image for larger view)

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

I know you have talent.  What sometimes is forgotten is that being practical is a talent.  I have a paucity for that sort of talent in many situations, though it turns out that I’m a pretty darn good cook.  🙂  

Let your talent bloom.  You can share it here.  Encourage others to let it bloom inside them as well.

Won’t you share your words or art, your sounds or visions, your thoughts scientific or philosophic, the comedy or tragedy of your days, the stories of doing and making?  And be excellent to one another!

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Biggest Hipocrite Ever?

Barack, I’m actually sorry to say this.  You seem like a nice guy, your family is pretty cool. I’ve met better, but heck, you’re the President.  As Presidential families go, your’s isn’t too shabby.  But man, and I say it that way because I’m older and of the opinion that no man is better than any other, just equal, you have set yourself up as the biggest hypocrite ever.

First, let’s review what constitutes a hypocrite.  According to Wikipedia:

“Hypocrisy is the act of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy is thus a kind of lie. Hypocrisy may come from a desire to hide from others actual motives or feelings”

I am putting a question mark next to “biggest hipocrite ever” because you still have a chance to avoid that.  But to be clear, nothing cements your hypocticial conundrum more than this:

You see, the problem Mr. President, is that many of us know the truth.  We know why our country invaded Afghanistan.  We know all about the practiced imperialism of this country and the reasons behind it.  So you must also know that when history is written, it eventually ends up as the truth.

So it’s your choice Mr. President.  By the way, you can call me Mr. Citizen, because I’ve earned it, just as you’ve earned me calling you Mr. President.  Your choice is to go down in history as the biggest hypocrite in history, or immediately change course and save your reputation, not to mention large numbers of people on this earth.

Any actor can stand at attention, slowly present a choreographed salute, and show a serious sign of concern.  We all know you’re a good actor.  But in the end, it doesn’t mean shit if we continue, and escalate the illegal occupation of Afganistan to establish a compliant government and country sufficient to maintain permanent military bases and a strong CIA backed opium trade.  

Pressure’s on Mr. President, what kind of legacy do you want?      

Overnight Caption Contest

Depression Theater

As the total vacuum of any principled leadership from President Obama has now produced the inevitable directionless, anti-consumer, Insurance Monopoly boondoggle fraud, now masquerading in Congress as “reform“, it is time to reflect upon just who Obama’s friends really are and have been all along, and what his uninspiring charade of a Presidency is really all about.

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How Tim Geithner Bailed Out Wall Street And Screwed The Taxpayer

The Full Story Of How Tim Geithner Secretly Bailed Out Wall Street And Screwed The Taxpayer Last Fall

Henry Blodget,

Oct. 28, 2009,

The Business Insider

When the historians finally finish sorting through the appalling decisions that have been made in the past two years, this one will probably be at the top of the heap.

Last fall, as AIG began to realize how screwed it was, it started negotiating with the counterparties to all the credit default swaps it had written.  One of the AIG’s goals was to persuade these counterparties–including Goldman Sachs–to accept buyouts discounts of as much as $0.40 cents on the dollar.

These sorts of negotiations are exactly what should happen when a company gets in trouble.  It goes to its creditors and says, look, we can’t pay you everything, so here’s your choice: Take something, or take your chances in banktuptcy court.  (And, in this case, this wouldn’t have been much of a choice, given the standing of CDS holders in the liquidation line).

But then Tim Geithner, head of the New York Fed, stepped in. 

A few weeks later, the counterparties–all of whom voluntarily did business with AIG and understood the risks–were bailed out at par: 100 cents on the dollar. 

Thus began the most nauseating giveaway in the history of the country.

Bloomberg has the whole sickening story:

By Sept. 16, 2008, AIG, once the world’s largest insurer, was running out of cash, and the U.S. government stepped in with a rescue plan. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the regional Fed office with special responsibility for Wall Street [run by Tim Geithner], opened an $85 billion credit line for New York-based AIG. That bought it 77.9 percent of AIG and effective control of the insurer.

The government’s commitment to AIG through credit facilities and investments would eventually add up to $182.3 billion.

Beginning late in the week of Nov. 3, the New York Fed, led by President Timothy Geithner, took over negotiations with the banks from AIG, together with the Treasury Department and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s Federal Reserve. Geithner’s team circulated a draft term sheet outlining how the New York Fed wanted to deal with the swaps — insurance-like contracts that backed soured collateralized-debt obligations…

Part of a sentence in the document was crossed out. It contained a blank space that was intended to show the amount of the haircut the banks would take, according to people who saw the term sheet. After less than a week of private negotiations with the banks, the New York Fed instructed AIG to pay them par, or 100 cents on the dollar. The content of its deliberations has never been made public…

The New York Fed’s decision to pay the banks in full cost AIG — and thus American taxpayers — at least $13 billion. That’s 40 percent of the $32.5 billion AIG paid to retire the swaps. Under the agreement, the government and its taxpayers became owners of the dubious CDOs, whose face value was $62 billion and for which AIG paid the market price of $29.6 billion. The CDOs were shunted into a Fed-run entity called Maiden Lane III.

Read the whole story (and then marvel about how Tim Geithner is now Treasury Secretary) >

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