Writing Propaganda

July 1, 2009

by Gene Callahan

The kind of writing that craftily describes political situations, not in order to get at the truth of what is going on, but in order to bolster some party platform, always upsets me. The kind of moves made are similar no matter what party is writing the propaganda, so analyzing a sample from one side of an issue — like the one found here — is useful for tuning one’s “propaganda radar” to detect BS coming from the other side(s) as well.

Mr. Avni’s editorial is purportedly about the situation in Honduras, but it’s true purpose is to paint President Obama as being an enemy of the US. Let’s take a look at the kind of underhanded writing techniques that can be used when all one cares about is scoring points for one’s own side:

“Obama threw his lot in with deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya…”

Well, Obama “threw his lot in with” the idea that democratically elected leaders shouldn’t be deposed by military coups. How much he likes Zelaya himself may have nothing to do with that lot throwing.

“If Venezuelan forces try to impose Zelaya against the wishes of every other democratic institution in Honduras…”

So, now constitutional government is run according to the “wishes” of political actors, and not according to a set of rules that call for a presidential election in Honduras in November of this year? And if the democratically elected president and congress in the US decide, say, to cancel the Bill of Rights, will that be fine with Mr. Avni?

“Announcing his plan to return to his country tomorrow to resume the role that ‘the people’ chose him for, [Zelaya] broadly attacked the Honduran ‘power elite’ that just exiled him.”

Notice the scare quotes around “the people.” Well, Zelaya was elected president of Honduras, wasn’t he? And wasn’t that done by “the people” of Honduras? So isn’t Zelaya’s statement simply a matter of fact, and the scare quotes simple propaganda?

“After he was sworn in Sunday, Micheletti [the current, acting president] called it all an ‘absolutely legal transition process’…”

Well, I’m sure he does. But does the Honduran constitution really have a proviso about removing the president through military force if you don’t like his decisions? Wouldn’t a little independent analysis of the legality of the manuever carry a bit more weight than a declaration from a president appointed by the rebels?

“But the military’s involvement leads many in Europe and the United States to think ‘coup.'”

So, when the military deposes the democratically elected head of a state, many in the US and Europe are led to “think” coup. Maybe that’s because that’s the definition of a coup?! Could that be what’s leading them to “think” coup?

And, finally, Mr. Avni’s thrilling conclusion:

“Hmm. Obama very publicly refrained from intervening in an internal Iranian affair earlier this month. Yet, in the more complex Honduran crisis, he resolutely and rapidly took a side — and not our side.”

A few points:
1) Why is “Iranian” in italics? The point seems to be that the reader should be thinking Obama = Iran, or something of the sort.
2) “The more complex Honduran crisis..” What’s that about? Avni just got done explaining to us how very simple and straightforward all of this is — Zelaya is a socialist creep who was about to seize power, and some virtuous democratic institutions rose and saved the Honduran republic. Where did this complexity suddenly come from?
3) “[Obama] took a side — and not our side.” Yes, of course, Obama is secretly a Muslim and he choose “their” side because he’s a traitor to the US and is promoting jihad.

In closing, let me note that I have no horse in this Honduran race. Perhaps Zelaya was a real bastard — I don’t know. Perhaps he himself was going to illegally seize more power than the constitution gives him. Perhaps the situation is more ambiguous than the Obama administration is portraying it to be. But I do know this op-ed is not designed in the least to enlighten us about the complexities of Honduran politics, but only to make Obama look bad regardless of the facts.

65 Responses to “Writing Propaganda”

  1. josil Says:

    I may be in error but i thought the military “coup” was implementing a decision of the Honduras Supreme Court. If that’s the case, it is questionable whether this is technically a coup and also raises a question as to which party is acting unconstitutionally. Of course, we are far from action on the ground so maybe all the news is colored.

  2. Mario Rizzo Says:

    My main interest in all of this is why Obama feels the need to express his opinion. The history of the past hundred years is the history of American interventions in Latin America. Obama’s talking just encourages those who want more tangible intervention. He was elected president, not protector of the world’s justice. That role belongs to Jupiter.

  3. ZH Says:

    Like josil mentioned, this is not a simple military coup. In short, you had a president who tried to make a referendum that would have increased his own power which many feared was an attempt to make himself the de facto dictator of Honduras like Chavez did. The supreme court of Honduras (with the support of the Honduran congress) ruled that it was illegal. The president orders the military to help him. The military refuses based on the ruling of the supreme court. The president therefore removes the commander in chief of the military, at which point the supreme court, again with the support of congress ruled that the military could remove the president for violating the law and constitution of Honduras.

    This seems to me to be a fairly complex internal issue in Honduras that we should not get involved in, but this is not a simple coup, and I have some sympathy with those who did it as long as this does not turn into some long term military dictatorship (which thus far it does not seem to be).

  4. Admiral Says:

    Dear ThinkMarkets: your blog is at its best BY FAR when it sticks to markets. This post is terrible political analysis.

    No, the italics does not mean Obama = Iran, nor is that remotely likely as an explanation. It is merely italicized to emphasize the contrast between Obama’s willingness to “intervene” in different countries.

    In any case, what Obama’s private reasoning for his wrong-headed intervention is, I will never know. All I know is that it is wrong. He should be proud of Honduras for its legal ouster of a President acting willfully extraconstitutionally for some period of time. Zelaya’s return has *nothing* to do with an election in November. Moreover, all democratic institutions (and the military) have opposed Zelaya.

    Originally popular, he soon became absorbed in office, as many of his peers are wont to do. The people turned on him. All of my Honduran friends, coming from Indian as well as more … ahem … European heritage, despise him. The central point is, yes, the rule of law, but that has been safeguarded in Honduras.

    Which leads me, and I suppose the author of the NY Post article, to question our President’s judgment. He’s just been wrong on so much. Leaving the atrocious domestic policy agenda aside for a moment, his foreign policy has been a poster of bad judgment.

    1. Saying he’s not going to meddle with Iran, despite the stolen election and the stakes in Iran (worth an entire post), then a week later doing exactly the opposite.

    2. Getting the call wrong on Honduras. Instead of supporting the democratic institutions, he has slapped them in the face. Their actions were courageous and may have staved off a civil war, all while maintaining rule of law. Outstanding, and hopefully a model to other countries, which is exactly why Castro and Chavez dislike it.

    etc. etc. etc.

    This is an absolutely wonderful blog, but geez…

  5. Vichy Says:

    “He was elected president, not protector of the world’s justice.”
    This sounds like a job for Superman…

  6. Vichy Says:

    “UN General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann — an old Sandinista hand who’s spent the last year trying to turn the United Nations into an arm of the Nicaraguan-Cuban-Venezuelan axis. ”
    I can’t believe anyone would actually think this.

  7. dg lesvic Says:

    Is it democracy Obama is concerned for or his own banana republic ideology.

    And, if democracy, how much of it is left in Venezuela, and will be in Honduras, once Chavez’ ally solidifies his power?

    I’m sure that Pres Obama is 100% for America, but, unfortunately, more in the South than North American tradition.

  8. On Honduras, I recommend Mary O’Grady’s column, “Americas,” in the Wall Street Journal of last Monday. She is always on top of events in Latin America. The conflict is between the form of democracy and the substance of liberty.

  9. gcallah Says:

    “This post is terrible political analysis.”

    Given that the post was never intended to be a piece of “political analysis,” I imagine it would be terrible if read as such. Instead, it was meant as a brief examination of how political propaganda is constructed — as I mentioned, as you might have noticed if you had attended to what I wrote, I have no “side” in the Honduran crisis and no expertise as to who is in the right in this dispute. I am only trying to point out that the op-ed I cited is not an effort to make the issues at play more clear to readers, but is just an anti-Obama propaganda piece.

  10. dg lesvic Says:

    Without a political analysis, how could you make a judgment of political propaganda? If you couldn’t even say that the man was wrong, how could say that he was untruthful and deceitful?

  11. gcallah Says:

    Without being a movie critic, how could one say that one’s child was lying about having been to the movie today?

  12. gcallah Says:

    “I may be in error but i thought the military “coup” was implementing a decision of the Honduras Supreme Court. If that’s the case, it is questionable whether this is technically a coup…”

    coup d’etat: the sudden, forcible overthrow of a ruler, government, etc., sometimes with violence, by a small group of people already having some political or military authority

    Was the president “suddenly, forcefully overthrown by a small group of people”? Yes, he was. You are only arguing about whether or not the coup was called for.

  13. gcallah Says:

    josil, ZH: If you look at the list of powers of the Honduran Supreme Court listed in the nation’s constitution (see Article 313), you will not find removing the president from office amongst them.

    Writing bad propaganda is one thing, but isn’t being taken in by it even worse?

  14. gcallah Says:

    O’Grady writes: “The Supreme Court later said that the military acted on its orders.”

    Sure — but read the durned constitution! The Supreme Court has no power to order the military to do anything! As O’Grady is “on top of events in Latin America,” then she knows this, and this column exposes her as just another propagandist — it’s real point is to attack the current administration, and it is not really about Honduras at all.

  15. Mario Rizzo Says:

    I implore of all you fine people. You must see the forest even though the trees are VERY interesting. You as individuals can and perhaps should have opinions about what is going on in Honduras. But the US government with its history of Latin American interventionism should stay out of this. Obama and Co. should just spend time making our lives worse here in the USA so that we can get on with the disasters that await and can then start to clean up.

  16. dg lesvic Says:

    Amen to what Prof Rizzo said.

    But, huh?, to what Prof Callahan said.

    “Without being a movie critic, how could one say that one’s child was lying about having been to the movie today?”

    What was the lie in this case?

    It may not be your opinion that Obama and Co. are our enemies, at home, as Prof Rizzo said just above, and abroad, as Mr Avni said, and as I and many others believe.

    But can’t we disagree with you without being called liars?

  17. Taylor Says:


    I think the most disgusting aspect of this entire development is that so many politicians and commentators in the US think that it’s any of their business what the hell happens in the Honduran political process.

    Like, honestly, who cares? Short of some long-winded, multi-faceted demomstration of “six degrees of separation” logic, how is the average person in the US, nay, the world, materially affected by the ousting of Zelaya by the Honduran military?

    This is some kind of disease, this inability by so many to mind their own business.

  18. gcallah Says:

    “But can’t we disagree with you without being called liars?”

    1) I did not call you, or anyone else, a liar.

    2) Can’t Obama disagree with you without being called an “enemy”?

  19. Taylor Says:


    I should’ve read your comment before posting because you made the same point I was trying to make which is, how on earth did the United States government arrive logically at the point where it has to pronounce on each and every political development in every nation in the entire world?

  20. gcallah Says:

    “Their actions were courageous and may have staved off a civil war, all while maintaining rule of law.”

    So, when the Supreme Court, which has no authority over the military or power to depose the president, orders the military to depose the president, that’s now called “maintaining the rule of law”?!

    How far gone into the cloud cuckoo-land of propaganda can one get?

  21. gcallah Says:

    “This is some kind of disease, this inability by so many to mind their own business.”

    You do realize that, in making this comment, you are failing to heed it?

  22. gcallah Says:

    In any case, the whole point of my post was to differentiate propaganda from honest writing. The point of a piece of propaganda, like Mr. Avni’s, is not to help readers understand an issue better, but to give them talking points they can mindlessly repeat at a cocktail party or in a blog comment thread.

  23. Taylor Says:

    Hi Gene,

    Clue me in on what a big hypocrite I am.

    Is it my:

    –penning of columns on my take on the Honduran situation?
    –support for military and political intervention in other countries?
    –participation in the political process of this country?

    none of which I engage in but which I assume Avni does.

    Or is it because I pointed out that people like Avni concern themselves with things that don’t concern them? Is this how I’ve ‘concerned myself with things that don’t concern me’?

    If so, I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut lest I be like that which I despise!

  24. dg lesvic Says:

    Prof Callahan,

    You wrote,

    “I did not call you, or anyone else, a liar.”

    Then what was the point of this, which you also wrote:

    “Without being a movie critic, how could one say that one’s child was lying about having been to the movie today?”

    Your point was that Avni was a propagandist, not an honest commentator. Andd that anyone else who would say the same things he did was likewise, not an honest commentator, but a propogandist, or simply, liar.

    You wrote:

    2) Can’t Obama disagree with you without being called an “enemy”?

    But are all disagreements equal? Aren’t we ever entitled to call those who disagree with us enemies? Isn’t there a line between disagreements among friends and among enemies? You may not think Obama has crossed it. I do. That is a disagreement between friends. But you and I have enemies in this world, too, whether you think so or not.

  25. dg lesvic Says:

    I accidentally omitted something above.

    I meant to say that yes, Obama could disagree with me without being called an enemy. Hitler and Stalin could have done so too. But they went beyond disagreement between friends. And, in my opinion, so has Obama. And, as I said before, while I am not calling him a Communist, if he were any more to the left, we’d have to call him Comrade. And that’s no friend of mine.

  26. gcallah Says:

    “Hitler and Stalin could have done so too. But they went beyond disagreement between friends. And, in my opinion, so has Obama.”

    When you are classing Obama with Hitler and Stalin, reality has been left far behind.

  27. ZH Says:

    Look, I am not arguing for the US to take sides. I think we should not have said anything on the matter, though for political reasons, namely to prevent Chavez from claiming the US was behind it (which he did anyway) the Obama administration had to protest the coup, and if not for that I am not sure they would have actually said anything.

    As to the constitutionality based on the Honduran constitution, imagine if the US president (insert Bush or Obama, whichever you hate more) tried to make a national referendum on ending term limits instead of taking the proper constitutional path of first having a vote of congress followed by a vote of the states. Further, lets say that in a number of similar countries to the US, elected presidents have used this manuever to effectively take dictatorial powers for themselves and circumvent both the legistlature and the courts. The supreme court, congress (including members of the president’s own party), and even members of the presidents own cabinet all agree that it is an unconstitutional power grab. The president orders the military to help him in this power grab, and the military refuses because they followed the law set by the supreme court. The president as commander in chief of the military by consitutional powers tries to fire the head general and in all likelihood replace him with a flunky. Now if this happened in the US, I am sure everyone would hope that military would protest this gross abuse of power by the president, overthrow him and let the vice president (or whomever was next in line) temporarily become president until proper elections can be held in the fall. But for Central Americans, it is OK for the country and the courts and congress (and the military itself) to let the military be taken over and subverted by a power hungry president violating the constitution because after all division of powers gives control of the military to the president.

  28. gcallah Says:

    Um, ZH, if the president is out of line, the constitutional remedy is to FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION, which will have some remedy for the situation, such as impeachment. The Honduran elite instead just executed a power grab.

    But, I know, I know… that’s not the party line your op-ed controllers are feeding you, so it’s hard to digest.

  29. gcallah Says:

    ‘Then what was the point of this, which you also wrote:

    ‘“Without being a movie critic, how could one say that one’s child was lying about having been to the movie today?”’

    It was an analogy? As you might notice, neither you or Avni are my child, and neither of you talked about going to the movie’s today. I’m surprised you didn’t say, “Hey, you’re not my father, and I haven’t been at the movies in months!”

  30. ZH Says:

    And how do you remove a president who has removed all military commanders who oppose him and replaced them with flunkies, even if you do impeach him? Impeachment works when the rule of law is still in place like we currently have in the US and Western Europe, but once the military has been subverted, the rule of law will no longer exist and removal through impeachment becomes impossible when the president controls the military completely with personally loyal commanders.

    And by the way, most of my opinions on this issue are not based on the American newspaper op eds, but rather by discussions with a number of friends of mine from Central and South American countries, including some whose families left Venuzuela in the last 6-7 years as Chavez consolidated his power, plus a few Hondurans who still have family in Honduras. Unlike the people here in the US, these people have seen power hungry presidents take power in similar manners first hand and they all feel that this was a choice of last resort, but the only one left to prevent what happened in Venuzuela from happening in Honduras.

  31. gcallah Says:

    “And how do you remove a president who has removed all military commanders who oppose him and replaced them with flunkies, even if you do impeach him?”

    But obviously he had not done so, or the military could not have staged this coup.

    You might find Justin Raimondo’s take on this whole shebang interesting. I doubt he’s gotten everything right, buyt on the whole his view is a lot more nuanced than is Avni’s.

  32. gcallah Says:

    “they all feel that this was a choice of last resort, but the only one left to prevent what happened in Venuzuela from happening in Honduras.”

    Yes, that’s fine, and maybe they are right. But let’s not call the coup “legal” and “constitutional” — if they are correct, the situation was so far gone that illegal measures were called for.

  33. teageegeepea Says:

    Um, ZH, if the president is out of line, the constitutional remedy is to FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION, which will have some remedy for the situation, such as impeachment. The Honduran elite instead just executed a power grab.
    the Honduran Congress took up the matter of the removal of Mr. Zelaya from the Presidency in accordance with its powers under Title V, Chapter I, Article 205, paragraph 15, which authorizes the Congress to bring up charges against the President. By unanimous vote of the Representatives, including the members of Zelaya’s party, who constitute a majority of the legislative body, he was removed.

    It should also be noted that the U.S is somewhat unusual in how constitutionally subordinate the military is. In other countries they are often authorized to intervene politically in certain situations. From what I’ve heard that was the case in Honduras, but I’m not sure.

  34. dg lesvic Says:

    Prof Callahan,

    You wrote,

    “When you are classing Obama with Hitler and Stalin, reality has been left far behind.”

    You could have said the same thing about Hitler and Stalin in the earlier stages of their rise to power.

    “Stalin sought power…as a moderate and a man of the Centre.”

    Modern Times by Paul Johnson, P 262.

    “The course they have choses in a middle one between socialism and capitalism.”

    Fascism and National Socialism by Michael T. Florinsky, 1936, P 69

    “…the political maneuvers of Hitler…were extremely clever, yet his real intentions should have been evident…When the desired position had been conquered the preciously issued reassuring statement was blandly ignored and a new one was issued in reference to the next stage of the progress of the revolution.”

    Germany Enters the Third Reich by Calvin B. Hoover, 1933, P 101.

    To repeat:

    “His real intentions should have been evident.”

    Must we always wait until the hangman’s noose is around our neck before we recognize his real intentions?

  35. Vichy Says:

    You overestimate the extent to which the government has coherent intentions. You far exaggerate the efficacy of the White House, which despite its de jure and theoretical influence is extremely vulnerable to public opinion. As compared to that of, say, Academia or the obscure bureaucrats who actually make up and perpetuate government. I venture to say that Obama doesn’t have any independent ‘agenda’ whatsoever – those sort of people never get in well with the prevailing progressive technocracy. Instead, he will have whatever carefully processed information which arrives on his desk, and will form exactly the idea that the ‘experts’ themselves presuppose in the composing of it. It’s a giant ignorance machine.

  36. dg lesvic Says:

    What difference does it make whether Obama is a cunning revolutionary or just a damn fool, and deliberately or inadvertently leading us to the gallows.

    We’ll be just as dead, won’t we?

  37. Vichy Says:

    Well, nation states are all rather rivalrous visa their populations. The extent to which political beliefs are essentially rationalizations from ignorance (not simply rational by systematic), it’s not clear to what extent ‘Obama’ leads, nor whether there are any ‘better’ alternatives. Democracy is stupid, but that’s a much wider problem than the peculiar personnel. It’s never going to produce rational results in terms of social engineering, even from a ‘Progressive’ viewpoint.

  38. dg lesvic Says:

    Where do you people think Communism and Fascism came from, that they just sprang out of thin air, or laissez faire capitalism?

    They were the outcome of the gradual progression from capitalism to socialism outlined by Marx in The Communist Manifesto, and that we call Moderation or the Middle Way.

    If the Middle of the Roaders today are not the mass murderers of tomorrow, they are surely paving the way for them.

    That’s the history of Communism.

    That’s the history of National Socialism.

    And we’re repeating it.

  39. Vichy Says:

    ::”Where do you people think Communism and ::Fascism came from,”
    I think I have a relatively good conception of the relationship between the Glorious, American and French revolution developing Enlightenment ideologies of liberalistic egalitarianism into various Republican civil statisms, including democratic republicanism. Nazism and Fascist were kind of reactionaries, but they basically inhereted Jacobin and socialist core ways of thinking, even while denouncing them from the soapbox.

    My point is – there is nothing good about democratic republics, they are at most less-bad than some imaginable forms of government (but not so much as is typically imagined). Obama, and his 10k clones since the beggining of the modern State, is simpliy a typical consequence of this. It’s mistaken to think that the administration, or the voters, or corruption etc. that are to ‘blame’. The system itself does this. Since you can’t really reform it by any stretch of the imagination, I don’t see what sense it makes to indict specific politicians for doing basically the only thing they can do. Civil humanism started long before their appearance, and the much-beloved ‘classical liberals’ are responsible for most of their ideas and most of their revolutions.

  40. dg lesvic Says:


    You’re well named.

  41. Vichy Says:


    You’re well named.”
    Do you have any point to make, or just sticking to snarky comments now?

  42. dg lesvic Says:

    No, no more points to make.

    You win.

  43. RickC Says:

    Late to the party as usual but I’ve been confused by the whole discussion over whether what happened in Honduras was a “coup” or not. A lot of people, including the President and many here have spoken out as if they knew what they were talking about re: Honduran law and the Constitutionality of what took place down there.

    It appears to me that the positions taken are more reflections of folks’ personal politics – so all have been indulging in propaganda to make their points.

    Today’s Christian Science Monitor has an article which details how the ouster of Zelaya was indeed a lawful and firmly Constitutional action. Link here: http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0702/p09s03-coop.html

    All that being said, Mr. Callahan has very salient points about how propaganda is propogated by governments and media.

  44. dg lesvic Says:


    As usual, you make a lot of sense.

    And I must confess that I really don’t care whether our enemy got kicked out legally or illegally. I’m just got glad that he got kicked out.

  45. Gene Callahan Says:

    “Today’s Christian Science Monitor has an article which details how the ouster of Zelaya was indeed a lawful and firmly Constitutional action.”

    Well, it has an article by a partisan in the battle claiming the action was lawful and constitutional. In fact, as I’ve pointed out above, I don’t see anyplace in the Honduran constitution (which I linked to) that gives the Supreme Court any power to order the military to do anything. What we probably have, in fact, is yet another case of the impossibility of writing a constitution that can be followed in practice. The clause that Sanchez cites is, in fact, absurd, and just what it is supposed to mean is left up in the air. It doesn’t say who has the authority to remove whom from office, or give any indication as to how the fact that the person is actually guilty of the charge for which he is being removed from office is supposed to be proven.

  46. Gene Callahan Says:

    “And I must confess that I really don’t care whether our enemy got kicked out legally or illegally.”

    Yes, Mr. lesvic is all for the rule of law — until it happens to get in the way of what he wants.

  47. teageegeepea Says:

    Gene Callahan, setting aside the supreme court and military, do you accept that the Honduran congress removed the president in accordance with their constitutionally given powers?

  48. dg lesvic Says:

    Prof Callahan,

    Hitler came to power legally and democratically.

    Would you not have overthrown him illegally and undemocratically if you’d been able to?

    That’s a simple question, but I’ll bet the house we won’t get a simple answer.

  49. Callahan’s analysis misses two important points:

    1) It’s hardly obvious there was a coup against Zelaya. See the discussion on Tom Palmer’s blog on this.

    2) The rapidity with which Obama has condemned the removal of Zelaya compared with his remarkable hesistancy to speak out vigorously on Iran, and for that matter North Korea, is very strange at the least.

  50. Here’s a little gasoline for the fire.

    Anyone who suspects Obama is sympathetic to Zelaya’s agenda will enjoy this website.

  51. Tim Says:

    I don’t normally comment on blogs, but this is ridiculous. Prof Callahan’s point was fairly simple: The column was not very informative, and mostly a silly attack on Obama.

    For all those citing comparisons to Iran: Iran and Honduras, and their relations to the US, are entirely different ballgames. Can’t compare em.

    Just imagine Chief Justice Roberts telling Patreaus to get his butt back here, march into the White House, and replace President Obama. I am no Obama fan, but even I would protest this.

    The points about the relative lack of rule of law in these countries is valid. I don’t know too much about Latin American politics, so I really can’t say. I just know that Callahan’s point about the unconstitutionality is valid. Maybe it’s irrelevant in Honduras, but still valid.

  52. Tim Says:

    Also having trouble understanding why the Congress and Supreme Court, instead of making a coup, couldn’t just stop this illegal referendum. If they could kick the President out, couldn’t they prevent him from having an illegal referendum?

  53. dg lesvic Says:

    Just more propaganda?

    Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the Wall Street Journal today:

    “Reason has gone AWOL…Ruling the debate on Mr. Zelaya’s behaviour is Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, who is now the reigning international authority on ‘democracy’…Mr Chavez is demanding that Mr Zelaya be reinstated and…The United Nations and the Obama administration are falling in line…Is this insane? You bet. We have fallen through the looking glass…”

  54. Gene Callahan Says:

    “I don’t normally comment on blogs, but this is ridiculous. Prof Callahan’s point was fairly simple: The column was not very informative, and mostly a silly attack on Obama.”

    Thank you, Tim! I thought I had clearly stated, in the original post, that I wasn’t commenting on whether or not Zelaya was a bad guy, whether or not a coup was justified, etc. All I was pointing out was that the column I cited made little effort to explain the nuances of the situation.

  55. dg lesvic Says:

    Here we go again: he “made little effort to explain the nuances of the situation.”

    So, he was deceitful, a propagandist.

    But, if like O’Grady, he believed that those “nuances” were “insane,” or like myself, the same old Communist line, why was it the obligation of an anti-Communist to air them?

    Isn’t that what we have college professors and wooly-headed “liberals” for?

  56. Again, Callahan asserts Zelaya was deposed in a coup, but this is false. Honduras apparently has no constitutional provision for impeachment. Zelaya himself had participated in an illegal raid to obtain ballots for an illegal referendum. Both the legislature and supreme court ruled against him. It’s the actions of Zelaya that come closer to “coup.”

    Arvini’s argument makes a good deal of sense in this light; Callahan’s doesn’t.

  57. Gene Callahan Says:

    Mr. Steele, as the purpose of Avni’s editorial was to feed talking points to readers like you, I’m sure it does “make a good deal of sense” to you.

    Have you actually read through the Honduran constitution, as I have, or are you just chanting the mantra your op-ed writers tell you to repeat?

    Mr. lesvic, the same old neo-con line is hardly less boring or trite than is the same old Communist line.

  58. dg lesvic Says:

    Prof Callahan,

    But that’s beside the point, and just another of your red herrings.

    It was not my obligation to be entertaining, but to bring this discussion back into focus.

    The issue was not deceit. Mr Avni was under no obligation to state the Marxists’ case for them. We know it well enough. We have an obligation to abide by the will of a democratic majority installing a Hitler or Allende or Zelaya in power, and anyone ever opposing them, by whatever means, is always somehow, the villain in the case.

    And you, along with Obama, have fallen right into line with the Communists, with all due respect for your good intentions and nuances.

  59. dg lesvic Says:

    With all due regard for your nuances, you’re still nuts.

  60. Tim Says:

    dg lesvic and Steele:
    The issue posed is NOT whether the coup happened or didn’t happen, blah blah blah…as someone commented earlier, it really doesn’t matter much anyway in Honduras. What matters is that the original columnists claims that certain things factually happened or didn’t happen, and that therefore Obama is an enemy, are at best murky. You don’t make a claim like Obama is an American enemy with murky claims. You make it with at least fairly straightforward and hard-to-argue claims.

    And I read through that Constitution yesterday, could have sworn I found something in there about impeachment…too lazy to read it again now. Anyway, whatever. Again, couldn’t the abusive supreme court and legislature have prevented the abusive president from abusing his powers with an abusive and illegal referendum?


  61. Taylor Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Since when did following a constitution become the de facto legitimate/correct way to enact political change?

    I’m sorry, did you guys all miss the fact that you’re arguing about whether or not the constitution of Honduras was followed, while ignoring the issue of whether ANY constitution should be followed, ANYWHERE?

    Who gave the authors of the constitution of Honduras the right to decide what was a legitimate form of political action in that country?

    You guys sound like a bunch of socialists trying to figure out the “best” way to regulate the economy… forget whether or not an economy should be regulated or not!

  62. Tim Says:

    What I thought I read as some form of impeachment was article 205, section 23. I don’t think that’s what it’s for upon closer reading, though. Anyone else with a better grasp of Spanish read through it and find anything?

  63. dg lesvic Says:


    I’m sorry that the history of the last 100 years has passed you people by, and that it’s all so “murky” to you, and deceitful to call a Marxist a Marxist.

  64. dg lesvic Says:

    And that’s with all due regard for the nuances of Communist propaganda.

  65. Mario Rizzo Says:


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