Duly Noted: A Folk Fest of Good Feelings


George Handlery about the week that was. No to violence but support for its ideas. The dictatorship of virtue is a perennial seller. Good coup, bad coup, whose coup is what matters? Faith, identity and tolerance. Another failing EU candidate. Is Obama Wilsonian? The Dictator’s Tantrum.
1. Not only ignoring its reasons but in defiance of the causes, the Honduran coup is regretted by the moralizing media. Coups are “not good”. However, in this unusual case, it prevented an abuse. The action removed a ruler who, exploiting the state power entrusted to him, mounted an incremental take over in slow motion. Comparable cases (Stauffenberg, July 20, 1944) are celebrated as heroic stands against tyranny. In reality, some regret only that the wrong side has been hit. A major paper finds that it is a positive sign that a putsch has provoked an international reaction. The question is: would the double continent’s left of center governments and their global community of fans have been so consequently true to principle had the dismissed plotter been a rightist and the conspirators men of the left?
2. TV presented a documentary about a terrorist I knew casually. His story: Anarchism and the combat of capitalism and “greenism” combine to make him a bomber. Capture is followed by jail-time. Next is a breakout with a criminal band. During the escape, a person was killed. Life in the “underground” follows. Then he killed a customs agent. Thereupon he escaped across a border with the help of a minister. Abroad he is convicted for a subsequent murder and attempted murders. After serving a reduced 12-year sentence, he is sent home where a new trial awaits. He gets 17 but on appeal, it is shrunk to10. Now the man is due for early release. The program gave a prominent role to a Social Democratic parliamentarian who is – where is the surprise? – also a teacher. The lady “rejects violence”. Nevertheless, she approves of ideas that lead to violence. Given the fact that Mr.X’s “war” against capitalism makes this a “political” case, she finds the “harsh” sentences politically inspired and, consequently, unfair. The man acted upon his convictions which is a reason for “understanding”. The real shock in the story is that the defenders of murderers are electable.
3. Spectacular acts of terrorism – Jakarta – do not necessarily prove that consequent action against terrorism has failed and that, therefore, all opposition to such violence is futile. Spectacular actions only demonstrate that a nut under the influence of indoctrinating reality-denial can become willing to commit suicide. Self- destruction can be politically channelled. Politics have often created ways to mass destruction.
4. Here follows the reconstruction of a time tested thesis of the past’s and present’s successful totalitarians and fanatics. “We are virtuous. Therefore, virtue, made into our political program, is our policy. This makes those that are not with us evil. Against them, no wrong can be committed”. We have heard this argument repeated ever since the rise of modern dictatorship. Amazingly, the old message still finds new takers. This being so, one is reminded of those logic defying messages -a new one arrived while preparing this manuscript – that one gets from Africa or the Near East. They promise gains in exchange for “barely” extra-legal help in a doubtful deal invented by the dispatcher. Amazingly, no matter how suspiciously and how well publicized the trick, new victims are always found. Just like in politics.
5. It is argued that a discussion between “churches”, religions and systems of belief must take place. Talking could prepare the ground for an understanding that might help us to live together in peace. The “together” might be that in practice we accept our share of the globe. From this it follows that we renounce the urge of increasing our dominion through violence and agitation. Mean wile we are to tolerate pockets of alien systems in our midst. A noteworthy practical problem stands in the way of implementation. In a significant number of instances, some religions or ideologies have become denominators of national identity. (Islam’s sects, Christianity’s mutations, “Socialism”.) A version of this is when a ruling group equates ideology with its rule and with the defining trait of the community it rules. Once this happens, an honest discussion to overcome faith-related confrontations is hindered. After all, such dialogues are not only designed to overcome philosophy-related conflicts. The advocated approach reduces the significance of the official faith in the daily affairs of the community. This amounts to the surrender of tenets that used to be regarded, prior to their privatization, as defining for communities and persons.
6. While “building socialism” age 13, in the outermost circle of the Gulag, from my seniors I learned to long for a united Europe. Therefore it surprises me that the discouraging evidence derived from the noble theory’s application has made me a Euro-skeptic. This does not imply a reluctance to admit that some things work in “Europe” and that key features of the idea still deserve support. However, the EU is regarded as a guarantee of democracy and so for the self-determination for communities an persons. In this case, anything that tries to alter and repress by “benign pressure” the components of the union, contradicts the founding idea. Such an attempt amounts to trying to “abolish the people”, meaning the EU’s nationally organized constituents. For two reasons, this inclination should not surprise us. (1) Bureaucracy spreads like oil on the surface of a puddle. The process implies that autonomous areas that operate satisfactorily, become targets for regulation. Call such invasions bureaucratic “power grab” by administrators needing something they can run. (2) The leaders of the EU, France and Germany, both share a tradition of centralization. The same pertains to their international record. Repeatedly they have tried to unify the continent by compulsion.
7. Iceland wishes to enter the EU. Her government sees no other cure for the country’s financial ailments. The story makes one wonder how many collapses or feared failures are out there begging for admission. In the light of their response, one understands why well-managed countries might opt to avoid joining. Hereby North Korea and Burma are nominated for membership.
8. Given the moment’s intellectual climate, it is unwise to write anything that smells like a Bush apology. Knowing this, prudence suggests caution. Still, it might not lead to public flogging to suggest that, Bush’ foreign policy will one day be compared with Obama’s. While hither actions of the “Man of Change” enjoy excellent PR, the substance achieved scores below its good publicity. America’s critics, absorbed by watching the show, are silent. It is difficult to attack Obama personally. (Who wants to be a racist faddy-daddy?) Regarding the substantive, America’s enemies, such as North Korea and Iran, persevere in their projects. Iran even got compliments meant to be “confidence causing”. Shaky formal allies are, while nothing is demanded of them, participants in a folk fest of good feelings. Left alone, contributing allies, might be less enthusiastic. In the light of long-term projections all this sounds Wilsonian. However, bringing up this is unkind – for now.
Bush might have been clumsy. However, he stood up to his foe. With Obama it is the “other way around”. Many think that Bush made enemies of those that one did not have to take on. The test of the thesis is whether, the balmy air blown from Washington, will make the antagonists change course.
9. The Dictator’s Tantrum. Perhaps you can still recall this. About a year ago a spat developed between the Canton of Geneva (a constituent of federal Switzerland) and Gadhafy’s son. The Canton’s police acted on a complaint of a hotel’s staff. Gadhafy Junior pummelled his servants that travelled in his entourage. The police acted, as they would have in case of any local lawbreaker. The Beloved Son was arrested, spent a night in jail before he was released on bail. Thereupon the Reigning Dad closed some Swiss businesses in Libya and took Swiss businessmen hostage. These are now not in detention but cannot leave the country. Libya wants an apology and half a million. Meanwhile, on the request of the (compensated) servants, the charges have been dropped. The newest joke is that at an international conference Gadhafi has suggested that, like 18th century Poland, Switzerland be dissolved. The insolent country should be divided between Germany, France and Italy. What follows is typical for the Western way to deal with resolute tyrannical adversaries. The country’s acting protocol-President is going to meet the tent-housed potentate. He will request to get his people back. Will they also discuss the demarcation lines between the zones that the Libyan intends to assign to Switzerland’s inheritors?

Dissection # 3

"Public health care is clearly superior".

Not really.  The important question is: superior for who?  Public health care in a relatively 'free' (democratic) society can be superior for the few, but not for the many.

1) Who are those few, who could potentially 'benefit' from bureaucratic superimposition between the consumers of 'health care' and the actual producers of health care?   Well, a couple of likely possibilities: 

- illegal immigrants

- young 'single' adults who feel indestructable and who judge the cost of health insurance to be exorbitant relative to the prospect of becoming sick in the near future;

- dropouts, drug addicts and other 'irresponsible' people who have not developed into reponsible adults, and therefore are destined to make one-sided claims on the rest of society;

- genuine 'unfortunates', like orphans, widowed 'housewifes' and the like who are (often temporarily) left without the necessary skills to 'take care of themselves'.  

2) Everybody else is likely to be better off under a private health care system, where consumer choices and consumer 'needs' will largely determine the health care one actually will purchase/receive (either directly from the medical industry, or 'indirectly' via private insurance schemes).  

3) None of this is to deny that the existing private health care systemS (in the US for instance) could be dramatically improved, mainly because existing governmental/political interference in various markets causes numerous 'inefficiences'.  The most eggregious examples are probably (a) the abuse of the legal system/judiciary in order to fatten the wallets of lawyers and of other politically well-connected special interest groups and (b) laws limiting, or even prohibiting, insurance competition across state lines.


Dissection 4

Excellent anatomy by atheling. I would boil down the situation this way. The number of people who support feel-good legislation that someone else has to pay for exceeds the number of people who have a realistic sense of the impact of "reform" on themseves and their families.

More Dissection and a Question

"Extending the quantity and quality of human life is a costly endeavor, whether it is the elderly on life support or wounded soldiers being tended to by a team of battlefield surgeons.  It's too late for the United States to provide universal healthcare.  Excepting perhaps various statelets in Europe, healthcare will inexorably become a luxury affordable only by the wealthy."

Of course we realize that socialized health care will end up being too costly, thus the government bureaucrat will decide who lives and who dies, based on the collectivist concept of whether or not the patient is "worthy" to live, i.e., a productive or non-productive member of society.  The elderly and handicapped will be sacrificed first... sort of like the "useless eaters" that Nazi Germany euthanized in the 1930's.  It's unfortunate that the concept still survives in your ethos.  

BTW, I'm curious.  These days, how much is a human being worth to you?  After years of reading many of your "reaper is cheaper" comments, I wonder what the going rate is, in your mind.  What's the cut off price in terms of government support?  Of course, you'll have to break it down in terms of age, sex, physical prowess, etc... but I'm sure it will prove interesting. 

For atheling

I disagree with Mr Gardiner.  His emphasis on presidential popularity belies the fact that the American people and their government have a limited capacity to effect change.  Irrespective of ferocious and indeed necessary debates over government expenditures, an immense debt looms, the product - not of earmarks, military operations, medicare, etc. - but of decades of excessive consumerism.  Liberal economic policies only delayed the inevitable, and permitted the American financial sector to retain global leadership, despite the decline and collapse of other sectors vital to economic strength.  Short of a major upheaval domestically or internationally, the United States will remain ossified.


Public healthcare is clearly superior to its private alternative.  However, introducing it to the United States will prove frustrating.  Firstly, not all public healthcare systems are equal; indeed, the UK's NHS is incredibly flawed and certainly not to be emulated.  Secondly, all Western public healthcare systems will collapse under the burden of the demographic imbalance as there are not enough young people contributing to them and too many aging people who will use 90% of the total healthcare resources they will ever consume, in the last 10% of their lifespan.  Thirdly, conditions such as obesity and diseases such as cancer and diabetes are already crushing these systems, and even the lauded Canadian example is at its breaking point as a result of dealing with the tremendous proliferation of these ailments.  Lastly, private interests in the American healthcare industry are resistant to change, and overcoming them will cost valuable time, energy and funds, and cause Americans to reconsider. 

Extending the quantity and quality of human life is a costly endeavor, whether it is the elderly on life support or wounded soldiers being tended to by a team of battlefield surgeons.  It's too late for the United States to provide universal healthcare.  Excepting perhaps various statelets in Europe, healthcare will inexorably become a luxury affordable only by the wealthy.


Moreover, I dislike Mr Gardiner's use of the term "liberal".  Both conservatives and socialists have appropriated aspects of liberalism and then promptly denounced it.  Perhaps Mr Gardiner means "reform liberals" (socially socialist, no pun intended), who are center-left and not liberals in the true, classical sense.  Similarly, "neo-liberals" are center-right (socially conservative).


Mr Gardiner's opinions of Germany are very debatable.  You have erroneously taken as fact marcfrans' assumptions.  Perhaps if my moniker were Kapitaen or Hauptmann you might induce me to a patriotic defense of the Fatherland.  Unfortunately, further investigation will prove a dead end as to determining my background and presumably my biases.


"Public healthcare is clearly superior to its private alternative."

That's why hoards of people are leaving America to go to Canada and Europe for health care? What a joke! What planet do you live on, KA? You make an absurd statement like that, and then proceed to explain its exact opposite. However, you fail to include other reasons why Americans resist socialized health care:

1. We do not want some government bureaucrat accessing our health care records; it's a violation of our Constitutional right to privacy. Medical care is between the doctor and the patient and government has no right to stick its nose in our business.

2. It will create a doctor shortage, as no one will aspire to practice medicine when he has to undergo years of study and training, educational expenses, and astronomically high medical malpractice insurance, only to be directed by government as to what you may practice, and how much you may earn.

3. It will squash any medical research and innovation, of which American healthcare is the leader in the world. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

4. More than twice as many Americans have access to drugs which treat chronic disease as their European counterparts.

5. Breast cancer mortality in Germany is 52% higher than their American counterparts. Prostate cancer mortality in Canada is 184% higher, and in Britain it is over 600% higher than their American counterparts.

6. More than 70% of German, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand adults are dissatisfied with their system of healthcare, while 6.8% of Americans are dissatisfied with their healthcare system.

7. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

8. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

9. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

10. Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent). Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians. More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent). Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

RE: John Adams' Quote

"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it."

In and of itself, the statement favors a communitarian society, direct democracy and the supremacy of the general will.  Note that security ("protection, safety") is the foremost considerations of government, and if public security necessitated infringement upon private security and/or if security included socio-economic security, one could posit that the statement is incongruous with the American republic as it is known. 

For Kapitein Andre

Excellent summary of Obama's failed leadership by Nile Gardiner:

If he is not careful, Barack Obama may end up as one of the least popular presidents in American history. His dream of re-making the world’s greatest power into a large-scale version of modern-day Germany - with high taxation, dominant trade unions, overbearing government bureaucracy, stifling employment regulations, low defence spending, de-nuclearisation, a naive emphasis on soft power, and a constant desire to apologise for the past – is a nightmarish vision that fortunately is opposed by a growing majority of Americans. The spirit of individual liberty and free enterprise remains the most powerful force in the United States today, and any government that goes against it is bound to fail in imposing its agenda.

I'm sure Kapitein Andre will be gratified to know that Dear Leader is modeling his vision of change on Germany.


Re: John Adams Quote again...

Note that security ("protection, safety") is the foremost considerations of government, and if public security necessitated infringement upon private security and/or if security included socio-economic security, one could posit that the statement is incongruous with the American republic as it is known.

Why do you think we are in turmoil right now? We are in a fight for our Republic, to prevent its becoming a nanny state, which commenced in the 20th century, and is now accelerated by The Golden Calf.

In Reply to Pale Rider Part Deux

The accusations against and opposition to Mr Zelaya rightly prompted inquiry by the legislature and judiciary.  To initiate anti-constitutional and/or criminal proceedings against Mr Zelaya (i.e. impeachment) would have been the correct approach, probably including the suspension of his presidency for the duration of the inquiry/trial.  However, the legality of Mr Zelaya's arrest and detention by the military is questionable, and his ejection from the country is certainly illegal and anti-democratic. 


The judiciary subverted the course of justice and the democratic process.  That the warrant was composed for and issued to the military in secret casts doubt on the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.  Therefore, the possibility that the military does in fact rule Honduras cannot be dismissed; certainly the Honduran people do not.


"Caretaker" governments with military support and/or leadership often declare their intention to hold democratic elections and then fail to hold them.  Even if the elections are indeed held on schedule, it remains to be seen whether the peoples' choice of candidates is open or restricted.

RE: In Reply to Pale Rider Part Deux

Captain, I agree that an impeachment process is far more ideal than military intervention. Nonetheless, the military in Honduras has more power than it does in most other democratic countries. The Honduran military is in charge of security matters during elections, for instance. Even so, the nation's proper authorities ordered Zelaya to be ousted, not the military, and not on charges of Zelaya defying military culture. Zelaya was removed on judicial order. Whether you like the decision of the Supreme Court of Honduras or not, I am very confident indeed that they made the right decision in sending such a powerful signal to that other Caribbean, who himself is guilty of having staged a coup d'état, and his cronies in other Latin American nations, that they will not succeed in imposing their Marxist aspirations on Honduras - especially not after all these years of undemocratic rule in the country. Whether the elections will indeed be held or not, we'll see when the time comes.

Re: Tyrants

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it. - John Adams

In the 1930's, had Germany done what the Hondurans did, a lot of grief would have been averted.

In Reply to Pale Rider

Dear PR,


Mr Zelaya's adherence to constitutional and criminal law is questionable.  However, the accusation of convoking a National Constituent Assembly for the express purpose of continuismo is premature.  It is mainly predicated on fears of similarities with Venezuela, given Mr Zelaya's cordial relations with Mr Chávez, and his enrolment of Honduras in ALBA.  Indeed, the referendum date was not conducive to extending Mr Zelaya's term. 


However, the forcible deportation of Mr Zelaya, has even been declared a "crime" by the armed forces' legal officials, and the Attorney General has launched an inquiry as to why Mr Zelaya was not instead tried in a civilian court, which the National Congress had been debating.  The decision to forgo a civilian trial was made in secret by the armed forces and the judiciary.  This changes the situation from legitimate impeachment to coup d'état.


Lastly, you may note that in 1985, Mr Micheletti was a leading proponent of convoking a National Constituent Assembly to amend the constitution in order to extend Dr Suazo's presidency, and was accused of criminal and anti-constitutional charges.  Then, as now, the President of the National Congress requested military intervention to end the matter.  Mr Micheletti's historical ambivalence towards the constitution, and his reliance on military power rather than civilian/democratic/legal mechanisms (i.e. checks and balances) are worrisome.


The raison d'être of checks and balances is to keep the military apolitical and in its barracks.  Though military intervention may seem expedient in certain instances, the potential for the abuse of power and subordination of civilian and democratic government is immense1.  Whether deposing democratically elected leaders due to their divergence from the armed forces' "political culture", or supporting these leaders as they evolve into authoritarians, Latin American militaries have a long and troubled relationship with civilian governments.


1 In the case of the "Muslim Question" in Europe, a military solution seems to be the only possible outcome, irrespective of which party initiates the hostilities.  The democratic process has only exacerbated problems due to partisanship and socio-political disunity.

RE: In Reply to Pale Rider

Kapitein, no offense, but I believe you are really ignoring the fact that Zelaya was opposed by his own political party and that he was ousted on constitutional grounds, not for going against military culture. There is no basis whatsoever to suggest such a thing. I'm not saying that military intervention in political matters is the way to go. It would have been better for Honduras to have impeached Zelaya instead. Nonetheless, the fact of the matter is that Honduras is not ruled by the military and that democratic elections will be held next fall as was planned.

Dutchmen living in Honduras

A quick and rough translation of an article that appeared on the Elsevier website:


Dutch in Honduras angry with EU

According to Dutchmen living in Honduras, the EU and the Netherlands are taking a wrong course on Honduras. President Manual Zelaya was rightfully and lawfully disposed of in that country, according to the Dutch.

Tens of Dutch find the disapproval of the EU and of the Netherlands to be an 'outrageous injustice'.

Coup d'état

The Dutch wrote this last week in a letter to secretary [of foreign affairs] Maxime Verhagen (CDA [Christian Democrats]). Among them are family members of the honorary consul in Honduras who represents the Netherlands in the Central American country. A consul normally remains impartial and does not meddle in political affairs.

A spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in response that the European nations assume it concerns a coup, which they strongly condemn. He pointed out that he [Zelaya] is a democratically elected head of state who has been ousted by the military. "This cannot be approved of", he says.


On the other hand, the writers of the letter claim that Zelaya defied the constitution, that his rule was corrupt and that, due to his misrule, the country was on the verge of financial collapse. According to the Dutch, the majority of the population supports the provisional government until the elections in autumn. The Dutch ambassador to Costa Rica ought to come to Honduras to observe the situation himself, the letter states.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs declines to comment on the assertions but repeats that the Netherlands and the EU urge the opposing parties to negotiate a peaceful solution and restore democracy.

Immer wieder # 5

@ pale rider

Oh, believe me, he does "get it". He is a smart fellow, but - as he readily admits himself - he is NOT an 'idealist'. So, he must "get it", he understands. The problem resides in his motivations.  He is not guided by principles of democracy, that should be clear from countless other commentary of his, but rather - like Obama - by notions of ethnicity and, certainly in the Kapitein's case, a deep-seated anti-Americanism.  He 'likes' Zelaya because the latter 'promises' more US-bashing, in the escapist mold of Zelaya's Marxist mentors in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. 

Never underestimate the power of hate over reason.  As to the true source of his hate, I am not yet prepared to pronounce, but it is not pretty.    


"Never underestimate the power of hate over reason. As to the true source of his hate, I am not yet prepared to pronounce, but it is not pretty."

I wonder if your idea of the "true source" is the same as mine...

@ Marcfrans

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I'm afraid what the Captain does not get is that by 'democracy' we mean limited (i.e. constitutional, decentralized) and representative government, not the dictatorship of the majority or the infallibility of the democratically elected representative. Give me checks and balances or give me death!

Immer wieder # 4

It would appear that the Kapitein's "ignorance of the highest order" is applicable to himself.  How else could one describe someone who stubbornly refuses to face certain observable historical and contemporary facts and who, also, has difficulty accepting the reality of dilemmas?

Democray is more than a onetime presidential election.  It presupposes that its constituant organs adhere to a set of rules as laid out in the 'democratic' constitution.  Rules which are essentially designed to limit the power of government, and to prevent its monopolisation by any side.  The Honduran constitution, precisely because of the terrible historical record of latino 'caudillos' of various stripes, precludes more than 1 presidential term for any individual. That constitution also has no provision for 'impeachment' of a president.  When the latter acts outside the constitution, as Zelaya clearly did (not "groundless claims"), then it is up to the other constitutional powers (i.e. the Supreme Court and the Parliament) to step in.  And they did!  However, no democracy can survive in an undemocratic 'populist' culture, and if Zelaya (or another populist of his ilk) would be (re) elected in the coming election, the demise of Honduran democray would be inevitable.           

The kapitein's dishonesty is breathtaking.  No one has claimed that it was "the election of Zelaya" that was considered a coup d'etat.  It was his attempts to engineer another (unconstitutional) term which has caused the reaction from the Honduran Supreme Court and the Honduran parliament. Moreover, these institutions, unlike the kapitein, have eyes and use their brains about what has happened in some neighboring countries where populist leftists have been allowed to flout the constitutional rules until...it was too late. 

One could understand today, at least to some extent, why a significant part of the German public (and even its intelligentsia) fell for similar populist claims of false 'democray' in the mid 1930's during the GRADUAL nazi-take-over in Germany. It is incomprehensible that they can still do this today in the case of other authoritarian takeovers around the world. As if they have learned nothing from their parents' and grandparents' experience. I have no illusions about the democratic quality of the Latino 'right', but the Kapitein clearly harbors such illusions about the Latino 'left'.

The Kapitein's 'digression' into the leftist media mantra on 'Vietnam' (from almost half a century ago by now) shows how fossilised his geopolitical thinking really is. Nobody is claiming that Honduras would be an extension of the nonexistent Soviet Union. Far from it.  There is however a clear struggle underway in Latin America between two leftist models (besides other models as well) and Zelaya clearly fits in the current Cuban/Venezuelan model.  The Kapitein couldn't care less about 'democracy'.  Otherwise he would be able to recognise which model has allowed democratic development, and which one has shut it out.  The past contrast between Cuba (Castro brothers) and Chile (Pinochet) speaks volumes.   The current contrast between Venezuela and Peru, for example, does so too.  The Kapitein refuses to make the distinction between democratic leftists and authoritarian ones.  But, truly, could one expect anything different from someone who (a) can't seem to wait for civil war in Europe to break out with muslims, and (b) whose recent commentary on Putin-Russia shows a total lack of genuine concern about 'democracy'?


Ignorance of the Highest Order

Mr Handlery et al have amply demonstrated the willingness to dismiss democracy and rule of law on the basis of their political convictions.  This is pure hipocrisy, given their purported support for liberal democracy.  Moreover, in the case of Honduras, unsubstantiated accusations of "authoritarian left" levelled at its legitimate president cannot be proven with vague references to political developments in other countries, nor by fears of Latin American populism.


These commentators have made the same folly as McNamara and other "Cold Warriors" who were convinced that a communist Vietnam would be an extension of the Soviet Union.  By the time McNamara had absorbed the implications of the Sino-Soviet split and Vietnamese nationalism in its proper historical context, it was too late.  Latin American populism cannot be extricated from the context of entrenched political and socio-economic stratification that has endured since the colonial era.  Indeed, prior American governments understood this state of affairs and sided with the land owners, who in turn backed reactionary dictatorships and death squads in order to maintain the status quo.


Mr Micheletti is not - I repeat not - the legitimate president of Honduras and is not recognized internationally as such.  This and the groundless claim that Mr Zelaya's election was in fact a coup d'état are indicative of radicalism on the part of those making these claims.


Military intervention in politics is undemocratic, plain and simple. 


If Mr Zelaya's election was a coup d'état and if he can be rendered illegitimate on the basis of personal opinions - as opposed to democratic mechanisms and the rule of law - then Mr Bush (Jr) and Mr Obama can be accused of the same, and any would-be McVeigh would not be a criminal, but a rebel against tyranny.  Is this not so?


I am not going to call you "dinosaurs", as such attitudes cannot and will never be consigned to the past.  However, neither of you are democrats, and you forfeit your right to complain if fellow non-democrats infringe on your interests.  Indeed, either you are prepared to throw the proverbial spear at the tower and take your chances, or you can, in the instant-messaging parlance of our youth, S.T.F.U.  And the same for pretensions to Christianity.  As if you could sanction death and violence by others and retain a "clean" conscience!

RE: Ignorance of the Highest Order

I wonder whether you are even remotely aware or willing to acknowledge the existence of such sinister organizations as the São Paulo Forum and the threat it is posing to the whole of Latin America as well as to the United States. In addition, all of these leftist thugs are supporting violent guerrillas in their attempt at destroying Colombia's liberal and constitutional democracy. They support terrorists and rogue states such as Iran. Perhaps you need to realize that sometimes action is required to preserve what some conmen wish to manipulate under the disguise of democracy. That is exactly what the Honduran government and military have done. Considering your short-sighted support for 'democracy', I suppose that you would also have supported Allende back in the 70s when he was bankrupting Chile in an attempt to turn it into a communist nation, with the support of señor Castro and the rest of the non-democratic Communist world of course. All under the pretense of having this authority because he was democratically elected. Ever heard of checks and balances, Sir?

Immer wieder # 3

@ KA

1) Indeed, neutrality or indifference is impossible here. And you have clearly chosen the side of the intolerant radical left which, by the way, the current American government may well end up choosing too (that is currently being fought over in Washington between the democratic left wing and the radical left wing of the Obama Administration).

 Whether Micheletti represents the "authoritarian right" I do not know, but I do know that he was the chairman of the Honduran parliament, that the is a member of the same party as Zelaya, and that the Honduran Supreme Court unanimously instructed the Honduran military to oust Zelaya, after the latter had been manifestly taking unconstitutional actions.  The Honduran parliament subsequently elected Micheletti, by a substantial margin, to be interim president until elections to be held later this year. For the moment he represents "rule of law" and, until proven otherwise, he should be regarded as such.

By contrast, there can be no longer any doubt that Zelaya represents the "authoritarian left".  Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador...are very much at issue here, and only naive fools refuse to see the bigger picture of what is going on in Latin America today.  

2)  Indeed, my comments are "repetitious". That is why they appear under the recurring title of "immer wieder".  They are repetitious because yours are repetitious too.  The difference is that your repetition represents extreme moral relativism, cynicism, and absurd destructive (from a Western perspective) anti-Americanism. By contrast, my repetition represents principled 'idealism' and common sense.

3) Oh, but you discuss America all the time!  Since, you are now predicting civil war in Europe "with 30 million muslems", I am simply stating the obvious. Over the past century, America has judged it necessary to intervene in European 'civil wars' on several occasions.  Based on that history, the question of whether it will do so again, or not, becomes obviously very relevant.  But, then, again, your commentary on Honduras suggests that history plays only a minor role in your 'pigeon-holing'.


Are we anti-Communist out of principle or are we only anti-Communist when Marxism happens to threaten our own backyard? How is Hugo Chávez NOT an issue? Hugo Chávez and the left-wing São Paulo Forum already dominate most of South America to the degree that the only country that has not bowed to these repugnant Marxists is Colombia lead by Alvaro Úribe who has said that despite his high approval ratings he will not seek a third term as the Colombian constitution does not permit this. So then, should the United States really allow Chávez and his cronies in Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil, to extend their sphere of influence into Central America by condemning a 'coup' that disposed of a would-be dictator whose allegiance is to an international Marxist coalition rather than to the constitution and the people of Honduras? Most certainly not!

The real coup d'état was that of Zelaya. The military did exactly what it had to do. Also, let's not disregard the fact that Micheletti is of the same political party as Zelaya, shall we? In view of the fact that Zelaya faced so much opposition within his own political party, I find the objections to the alleged military 'coup' even more ridiculous, though I'm not surprised to see the support for Zelaya coming from demoncratically elected narcissistic servants of the U.N. such as Barry Obama, who do not care too much for constitutions either. I suppose that Obama's secretary of Homeland Defense sees an analogy between the Hondurans who are opposed to Zelaya and those 'right-wing extremist' in the United States who defend the Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights.

Perhaps the following articles will be of interest to other readers as well:

Chávez-Obama-U.N. plot against Honduras
Behind the socialist consensus on Honduras: Hugo Chavez and the São Paulo Forum

Communism and Marxist thought now reign more than ever in most parts of the world. It is destroying the West, crippling Latin America, oppressing in Africa and Asia, it is fueling Middle Eastern terrorists as well as menacing Indian democracy. As a conservative and as a Christian I will personally be opposing it in whatever form and wherever it rears its ugly head.

@marcfrans RE: Honduras - Parting Words



1.  In this instance, inaction is as telling as action.  Neutrality or indifference is impossible here.  One either supports Honduran democracy and rule of law, irrespective of the president's politics, or one supports the coup d'état.  Any state that tolerates the acting presidency is complicit with it. 


If Zelaya represents the authoritarian left than Micheletti represents the authoritarian right.  Unfortunately for you, despite his socialist leanings, Zelaya is certainly not an authoritarian nor capable of overriding democratic institutions such as the legislature, judiciary or even his party.  It is also uncertain if he had the support of a majority of the electorate.  Zelaya is not a tyrant - restoring his presidency would be in keeping with Honduran democracy and constitutionality, and not be an "installation" or "regime change".


Mr Handlery's references to von Stauffenberg were ridiculous.  Period.  Cuba and Venezeula are not at issue here, Honduras is.


2.  Not only have you widely missed the topical mark, but your comments are so repetitious and uninformed that I truly wonder why you waste your time.  Perhaps you should stick to economics.  Your inferences from my handle continue to mislead you.


3.  Did I discuss America?  No.  I discussed Europe.  Clean your reading glasses.

Immer wieder # 2

@ KA

1) Why should the US government "act decisively" to install another  puppet of the undemocratic left (i.e. Zelaya)?  This is the sort of 'advice' that can only come from anti-Americans, which is why Obama may well be induced to follow it in the end. It is already bad enough that anti-Americans in Europe blame the US for removing tyrants in the world; are they now advocating that the US should install tyrants elsewhere, simply because they are presumed to be leftists?   Mr Handlery has nowhere compared Zelaya with Hitler. Hitler could only be 'Hitler' because he was in charge of Germany's (mainly human) resources, which are in a totally different league from those of Honduras.  No, Mr Handlery has pointed to double standards in the western media (and in the OAS, i.e. Latin America), and he is right on that score.  At the same time when those media and Latin America demand the inclusion of the Cuban tyranny in the OAS, they demand expulsion of Honduras (where genuine elections will be held later this year).  How hypocritical can they, and you, get? 

2) None of your 'musings' deals with the issue at hand, which was your ridiculous claim that Obama had been "more severe" with North Korea than Bush.  Your view of the China-North Korea relationship is straight out of naive-left fantasyland of mainstream Western media. And yes, the German government is not part of the Six-party group.  If it were (or had been), chances are they would still be 'talking' and obfuscating reality.  

3) The "coming clash" with muslims in Europe?  Mon Dieu!!  Europe better be prepared and make America 'forget' Chirac+Schroeder and the whole cabal of ingrates!  Or do you expect new friend Putin to lend a hand?

@marcfrans: Kopf im Sand



1.   I disagree.  I observe this more in academia rather than in the mass media.  And as if the CIA and/or State Department would publicly acknowledge collusion with Micheletti and his co-conspirators.  The American government initially condemned the Acting President, but has since softened its rhetoric, and although establishing causal distance from the event, has not acted decisively to reinstate Zelaya.


As far as unconstitutional activities are concerned, it remains unclear who is to blame and to what degree.  The President, Armed Forces, National Congress and the Supreme Court have all been accused of violating the Constitution.  Nor does the Honduran Constitution appear to clearly define the areas of dispute.


And I am not treating Honduran magnates and Russian oligarchs differently.  Mr Handlery implied that the coup leaders were similar to the anti-National Socialist German Resistance (e.g. in the vein of Claus Schenk, Graf von Stauffenberg).  Mr Handlery is therefore likening Zelaya to Hitler, which is outrageous if not laughable.  I agree with your point on respect for and adherence to constitutions.  Following this logic, it is incumbent upon the coup leaders to reinstate the legitimate President of Honduras - Manuel Zelaya - and for the parties to continue their struggle legally.  It as not as if Zelaya can impose tyranny on Honduras via the armed forces!


8.  Firstly, there are solid reasons why Seoul took a softer approach to Pyongyang, the foremost being that any conflict would visit massive devastation and civilian casualties on the ROK - the capital region in particular.  Secondly, it is difficult for Washington to take an independent hardline stance, given its relations with Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo, and the multilateral nature of efforts to de-nuclearize the DPRK.  Thirdly, Kim has provoked Beijing repeatedly, and Beijing's relations with Seol, Tokyo and Washington are of much greater import than those with Pyongyang.  The only hurtle remaining are PRC fears of a failed state with nuclear weapons and a militarized and impoverished population on its borders.  If Beijing can make economic inroads in the ROK - a staunch ally of Washington - then it can have no fear of US influence in a post-Kim DPRK.  Lastly, what does the "German government" have to do with anything?  Is it part of the Six-Party group?


9.  European boundaries rarely reflect Wilsonian self-determination.  Perhaps the coming clash with 30 million Muslims will permit a re-drawing of the borders.

Immer wieder

@ KA

1) Your "on the contrary" does not make sense, in the sense that your assertions do not refute Mr Handlery's point about Honduras, which is that the Western media applies double standards to latino caudillos, i.e. tolerating abuses from leftist ones, but condemning 'coups' that oppose them.  This is Chile's Pinochet-Allende revisited.   Also, claiming darkly that the American government was probably "informed of the impending coup" does not jive with that government's subsequent actions of sanctioning the 'coup-makers'.  Moreover, anybody with any knowledge of Honduras could easily foresee or expect some 'coup', in the sense of a reaction to the unconstitutional actions of Zelaya.  Outsiders did not need to be "informed prior..." and, after all, the Hondurans themselves have now had the concrete examples of recent slow-motion leftist coups in other parts of Latin America.  You are like a broken record, certainly on the CIA, and you appear to be applying double standards to latino "magnates" versus Putinesk-oligarchs.  Constitutions cannot have any value, if they are not respected in practice.  That applies as much to Russia and Belgium as to Honduras.

8) You must be joking!  It is true that Bush never was "severe" with Kim in North Korea, but at least he did not trust him the way Clinton did, and Bush had to live with an appeasing leftist South Korean government.  The notion that Obama has been more severe is laughable. The only people who have toughened their stance is the South Korean government under a new president, and to a lesser extent the Japanese governement.   Your 'suggestions' to the Chinese are from a different planet. They reveal ignorance about the totalitarian mindset, and Kim will not be so foolish as to provoke the Chinese Politbureau. 

As a minimum, both the South Korean and the Japanese governments know that the only assistance (in dealing with the pathological 'dear Leader') they can ever expect from the German government is 'cheap words'.

9) Only a cynic like yourself would say that Al-Khadafi "has a valid point" about Europe's boundaries.  It is true that Flanders "is trapped in (some sort of) Gallo-Roman state". But only because the people of Flanders (foolishly) keep it so.  For the moment, they still do have the 'tools' (elections and an independist party) to change that status-quo.  If they don't, that is their business.  But, I forgot, you are not an "idealist" and, apparently, you do not seem to respect (in spirit) the right (and duty to exercise that right through democratic procedures)  to self-determination for the peoples of Belgium and Switzerland.   

RE: Duly Noted



1.  On the contrary, Zelaya was no Chavez yet and Micheletti represents the interests of the land magnates. It is quite probable that the American government was informed of the pending coup and even consulted beforehand. After all, Zelaya is a populist left-of-center leader in the vein of those the CIA never hesitated to remove from power in prior decades. Honduras is no liberal democracy in the Western sense: there is recent history of authoritarianism, a lack of popular sovereignty and the economic stranglehold of the magnates.


8.  As regards North Korea, the Obama administration is far more severe than that of Bush, which is encouraging, given Kim's prevarications. The only solution is for the PLA to capture Kim and certain senior officials, spirit them to China and then storm across the border to clean up the mess. The West can contribute funds and trade deals - not unlike the benefits accrued by Beijing after its skirmishes with Vietnam.


9.  Al-Gaddafi has a valid point as regards Europe's territorial boundaries. The CH is predicated upon the Deutschschweizer, without which it would resemble the Alpine regions of France and Italy. Though the viccisitudes of history have worked against this, perhaps there should be an Alpine Germanic state consisting of the CH, Austria and Bavaria. The major problem is that the demarcation lines between the Germanic and Romantic areas of Europe are unclear and do not necessarily overlap with existing territorial boundaries e.g. Flanders trapped in a Gallo-Roman state.