Jim DeMint’s Coup?

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jim-demint-swearing.jpgA movie on the Honduras coup may not be the big draw that the Tom Hanks film, Charlie Wilson’s War, was — but one has to wonder whether we are seeing a remake in which a lone Member of Congress, this time a US Senator from South Carolina, drags the country into the internal affairs of another small nation.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has announced that he is heading down to Honduras to encourage those who helped fund and supported the coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to resist American pressure to return Zelaya to office.
The US Department of State has begun to revoke the visas of wealthy supporters of the military coup.
In other words, Jim DeMint is acting on behalf of, in cahoots with, and against the foreign policy of the United States of America in encouraging post-coup Honduran government officials defy the United States. He is encouraging a political leadership which has no legitimacy and which not recognized by other democracies in the region — while the ousted President makes cell phone UN General Assembly statements from a couch-bed in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa.
A US Senator alone does not make the America’s foreign policy, and working against the policies of the United States in collaboration with foreign officials. . .well. . .there are words that come to mind to describe this behavior, but I want to be civil towards the Senator.
But let me be less blunt. Should we require Senator DeMint to register with the Foreign Agents Registration office at the Department of Justice?
– Steve Clemons
Update: DeMint GROUNDED by Senator John Kerry and President Obama. . .

DeMint Statement on Kerry & Obama Administration Blocking Fact-Finding Trip to Honduras
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, made the following statement after Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and President Obama’s State Department blocked Senator DeMint’s planned fact-finding trip to Honduras at the last minute.
“These bullying tactics by the Obama administration and Senator Kerry must stop, and we must be allowed to get to the truth in Honduras. Not a single U.S. Senator has traveled to Honduras to learn the facts on the ground. And the Obama administration won’t allow Honduran officials or even businessmen to come to the U.S., either. While this administration has failed to act decisively in Afghanistan, it is has no problem cracking down on a democratic ally and one of the poorest nations in Latin America.”
“Meanwhile, a thorough report from the Congressional Research Service directly contradicts President Obama’s snap decision about the legality of then-President Zelaya’s removal from office in June. Now, President Obama and Democrats’ blind support for this would-be dictator and friend of Hugo Chavez will prevent members of Congress from learning the truth first hand.”

This is not fiction. Tough to believe I know.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

33 comments on “Jim DeMint’s Coup?

  1. arthurdecco says:

    Wow! I had no idea the Honduran oligarchy had such an effective propaganda arm devoted to disseminating their obligatory propaganda to us, the rubes here in North America, via the internet!
    Kudos to the fascists for their organizational abilities!

    Reply

  2. George-Kingman Az says:

    It is a real shame that DeMint and the Republican delegation is so intent on destroying the Obama administration that they will act against our country.
    It is one thing to “speak against” the administration in power while visiting a foreign country but, quite another to act to support a foreign entity/country against the U.S..
    When they land back in the U.S., I’d like a law enforcement agent to be in the “official” welcome home party.

    Reply

  3. John Fullerton says:

    It is a mystery to me why no one seems to connect DeMints’ membership in “The Family” to his current activities. As Jeff Sharletts’ book reveals, DeMints interest in Honduras is probably just to organize a cell of prayerful worshippers of Jesus. It is the sort of thing that’s been going on in that group since before the days of Sukarno in the Phillipines or any number of African dictators who were also cozied up to and invited to the Annual Prayer breakfasts in Washington. Somebody check into the whereabouts of Doug Coe, does he happen to be heading for Honduras too?

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  4. limu says:

    Hans Bader & 45Reverse
    So when DeMint says he support “Democracy” he
    supports this that’s happening now in Honduras:
    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The de facto government of
    Honduras that took power three months ago found
    itself increasingly isolated Monday after
    suspending basic civil rights and closing down
    television and radio stations allied with ousted
    President Manuel Zelaya.
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/76150.html
    Shutting down any dissent using military force.
    Yeah, really supporting that democratic illegal
    coup.
    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The government of de facto
    President Roberto Micheletti Sunday refused to
    allow four diplomats from the Washington-based
    Organization of American States to enter Honduras
    — including one from the U.S. — because of these
    countries’ recent diplomatic moves against the
    small Central American nation.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/76129.ht
    ml
    And for your legality coup definition: There is
    controversy on this ruling from Wikipedia w/
    refernces:
    “Legality
    The de facto government, including the National
    Congress and Supreme Court maintain Zelaya was
    replaced constitutionally. This view is echoed by
    a Senior Foreign Law Specialist at the Law Library
    of Congress, in a report[88] made public on the
    afternoon of Sept 24, 2009, which argues for
    instance that “the National Congress [implicitly]
    made use of its constitutional prerogative to
    interpret the Constitution and interpreted the
    word “disapprove” [in article 205, section 20 of
    the constitution] to include also the removal from
    office.” Such arguments for legality have been
    rejected by numerous Honduran scholars of
    Constitutional Law,[89][90][91] who point out that
    the Supreme Court, in 2003, denied congress’s
    power to interpret the constitution.:”

    Reply

  5. Hans Bader says:

    There was no “coup” in Honduras, because (a) Honduras legally and lawfully removed its ex-president from office, and (b) even an illegal removal is not a coup unless it is committed by a “small group.”
    Many legal commentators have said that Honduras’s removal of its ex-president, which was backed by Honduras’s supreme court and elected Congress, was legal, including lawyers Octavio Sanchez, Miguel Estrada, and Dan Miller, Stanford’s William Ratliff, and former assistant Secretary of State Kim Holmes.
    The Law Library of Congress recently noted the legal basis for the removal.
    The fact that soldiers carried out the Honduras Supreme Court’s arrest warrant doesn’t magically turn it into a “coup.”
    A coup is defined as the “UNCONSTITUTIONAL deposition of a legitimate government by a SMALL GROUP.” Honduras’s removal of its ex-president was supported by the ex-president’s own party, virtually all of the Honduran Congress, and a unanimous supreme court, mostly members of his own party, church leaders, and much of the population.
    Definitely not a coup.

    Reply

  6. anthony says:

    So perhaps Senator Demint should follow our constitution. It is the executive branch that determines foreign policy, not the legislative.
    The executive branch of the United States has not reocgnized the new leadership in Honduras as the legitimate government of that nation. A US Senator has no business ignoring that basic truth.
    In any event, our own constitution is being followed in the process of implementing health care reform. That does not prevent critics from shouting socialism, and tyranny.
    Some intellectually honest consistency would be refreshing.

    Reply

  7. Jesse says:

    Good for DeMint.
    The Honduras military only removed Zelaya at the request of both the legislative and judicial branches when Zelaya was acting unconstitutionally.
    Calling it a “coup” is slander and the Obama Administration’s meddling in their affairs is disgusting.

    Reply

  8. Freewolf67 says:

    You do realize that Honduras followed thier Constitution to the letter with the ousting of thier former president.
    And our State Department, and our President have openly support a tin-pot ruler who tried to do an ‘end-run’ around said Constitution?

    Reply

  9. 45Reverse says:

    Pfft….
    Zayela was legally removed from office. The Constitution of Honduras, the Legislature of Hondurass, and the Supreme Court of Honduras ALL ruled as such.
    The bozo was given a chance to leave or be imprisoned for breaching the just laws of a democratic Honduras. He refused both and was thus forced from office.
    In complete accordance with the Honduran Cosntitution and Honduran Law.
    It is not Obama’s place, nor anyone here on this forum’s place to say it was a ‘military coup’. It’s an extremely weak and unsupported by the facts claim from those who say such nonsense.
    If Demint wants to go there and tell Hondurans to be strong and stick to their Constitution and their laws then he is doing what freedom loving people everywhere should do.
    The arrogance from some peole never ceases to amaze me. None of you people, nor ANYONE in our gov’t (including Obama) has any right to pass an ‘illegality judgement’ on the people of Honduras or on Demint.
    Grow up folks, we have mich bigger issues in our country to deal with than this.

    Reply

  10. Elias Lizardo says:

    Hello Rachel,
    I am sorry to see that this has becomes a partisan debate in the US. We are a democracy but we have our own consitution and that makes a key difference in how matters were handled here. Please see the Library of Congress’ opinion on what happened here on June 28. We would also welcome you to visit us. We have a civilian president, in correspondence to the proper succesion after Zelaya’s infringement of our laws. We have elections in Nov. and a transition in January.

    Reply

  11. its_umama says:

    South Carolina is OUTTA CONTROL. Can anyone spell TREASON???
    I was even calling the T word when Sarah Palin went to Hong Kong to get big bucks to speak against her own country.

    Reply

  12. Torrence says:

    Call it like I see it… traitor!!!

    Reply

  13. DonS says:

    Paul seems exactly correct about your motives Nadine. Legitimize DeMint, legitimize Huckabee. Any fool can see that DeMint and Huckabee are going out of their way to delegitimize US foreign policy. Actually to delegitimize Obama. DeMint’s behavior is so far out of bounds it bares no honest comparison with the dems you, and Wig wag, cite.
    Bottom line, DeMint, Wilson, and who next, cannot accept a black man as president.
    Yesterday we stayed in a B & B in New Brunswick, Canada where the well heeled owner volunteered a story about a friend from Texas, also well heeled. According to my host, an American citizen, the friend had been “devastated” by Obama’s election. He reckoned that the friend was “racially prejudiced”, although he had never thought of him that way before. Anecdotal of course. But symptomatic of a lot of the Obama hatred that is emerging. The conversation devolved to threats against the president, etc.
    You Nadine, racist to the core, perhaps don’t have a particular axe to grind against blacks. But you sure do back every sick puppy that comes along, as long as they are putatively assumed to be supportive of Israeli “exceptionalism”.

    Reply

  14. Bill says:

    Hmmm, DeMint seems to like right wing coups.
    I wonder if he supports the other wingnuts that think that the oath to uphold the US constitution that our military officers take, obligates them to have a coup against Obama, because he is leading and unconstitutional march to socialism?

    Reply

  15. ... says:

    johnh quote “A fair amount of evidence implicates American corporations in the coup, too.” i thought the usa was a multinational conglomerate masking as a dumbocracy??? let me know when it is any different…. the coup in honduras is a 60 year latin american tradition on the part of the usa… why stop now???
    at least once or twice a week wigwag says something to the effect: “Nadine does make an interesting point.”
    that much we can count on from wigwag! i guess it has to do with her hostile neocon attitude towards everyone who might be associated with a non zionist agenda! that would exclude wigwag of course, so wigwag responds in kind with his regular “Nadine does make an interesting point.” comment… the predictability of some of the posters here is very pronounced…

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    Frank Wideman,
    Your current Governor may leave alot to be desired but at least you get to enjsoy one of the best cuisines in the world; can anything beat low country cuisine?
    And I’m told if you know where to look you can find some wonderful sweet grass baskets; and it’s my understanding the golf and the beaches are great. And you have the wonderful Spoleto Festival as well.
    Your lucky to live in South Carolina!

    Reply

  17. frank wideman says:

    WigWag – Apology accepted. As a South Carolinian I
    wish we could claim Terry Sanford. He truly was a
    great man. As someone once said “SC is too small to
    be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum.”

    Reply

  18. WigWag says:

    Frank Wideman,
    I apologize for making such a stupid mistake!
    Of course I meant Mark Sanford.
    Terry Sanford was a great man; he was not only a terrific governor of North Carolina and a wonderful president of Duke, he was also an excellent Senator. How he lost to Lauch Faircloth (who was later defeated by John Edwards) I will never understand. I seem to remember that it had something to do with a heart ailment or something.
    I know that Terry Sanford passed away about a decade ago. I apologize to his family for my dumb error.
    It serves me right for being a smart ass.

    Reply

  19. frank wideman says:

    WigWag – I believe your mean Mark Sanford the gov
    of SC. Terry Sanford is the former democratic
    governor of North Carolina and president of Duke
    University. I can’t imagine anyone more different
    than Jim DeMint.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You guys can dish it out but you can’t take it”
    Thats because we are “dishing out” something other than non-stop crap, like you “dish out”, Nadine. And you’re right, at least as it applies to me, because I am waaaaay past my tolerance level of being “dished” your brand of slimey racist propaganda.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What you`re actually saying, Nadine, is that it`s just fine if a US Senator supports
    the coup makers in Honduras, or if some influential Members of Congress actively
    undermine US policies with regards to Israeli settlements”
    Gosh Paul, do ya gotta make everything about Israel???

    Reply

  22. samuelburke says:

    for this question to be asked here is priceless beyond my ability
    to compare…
    “But let me be less blunt. Should we require Senator DeMint to
    register with the Foreign Agents Registration office at the
    Department of Justice?”

    Reply

  23. nadine says:

    What? I thought “dissent is the highest form of patriotism”! Didn’t I used to hear that all the time…while Bush was in office.
    You guys can dish it out but you can’t take it.

    Reply

  24. JohnH says:

    A fair amount of evidence implicates American corporations in the coup, too. Shouldn’t they now be required to register as agents of a foreign government, even though that particular illegitimate government happens to be the agents of the corporations rather than vice versa? Suspects include sweat shop operators and fruit companies that were appalled at Zelaya’s proposal to raise the minimum wage. Another suspect is AT&T, which wants to buy the government owned telephone monopoly, something which Zelaya has resisted.

    Reply

  25. George says:

    Typical Republican response–whine about the democrats doing it too, while they try to delegitimatize a duly elected President.
    What DeMint wanted to do was wrong, and likely in violation of the Logan Act. If Dems did the same in the past, they were wrong too.
    Good job Mr, President.

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    But I assume that you had no complains against the unitary executive theory in vogue
    during the Bush years?
    You are so biased, Nadine, that you would accept any kind of revolt against US
    foreign policies during a Obama administration, and demand obedience while the
    unitary executive George W. Bush was in charge. Sorry Nadine, but you don`t have any
    credibility in a discussion about principles, or when you accuse others of
    hypocrisy.

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    What I’m actually saying, Paul, is that the Democrat legislators historically have far more egregiously worked to undermine exeecutive policy than vice-versa. McDermott and Pelosi are just two on a long list. So it is the purest hypocrisy to complain about Senator DeMint as if it were some new thing in the world, and start citing the Logan Act, the deadest of dead letters while Bush was in office.

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    Nadine does make an interesting point. Throughout both Democratic and Republican administrations Jimmy Carter traveled the world sometimes supporting and sometimes undermining the policies of the administration then in power. As often as not, Carter’s trips were made against the advice of the State Department. Isn’t it legitimate to ask why those criticizing DeMint now; supported Carter’s freelancing then?
    As for references to the Foreign Agent Registration Acts and the Logan Act, the Speech and Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) almost certainly exempts DeMint from penalties under either statute. The Supreme Court has interpreted the Speech and Debate clause very broadly to include any act by a legislator cogently related to his duties whether it takes place in the Senate or House Chamber or whether the legislator is actually traveling to or from the Senate or House chamber.
    Here’s the text of the Logan Act,
    “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
    This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply himself, or his agent, to any foreign government, or the agents thereof, for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.” 18 U.S.C. § 953.
    It’s a dangerous precedent for progressive people to start referring to this legislation. First of all it was passed at around the same time as the Alien and Sedition Act. Secondly the list of progressives who some allege violated the Act is long.
    Some suggested that Stokley Carmichael and Jane Fonda violated the Logan Act by traveling to Hanoi during the Viet Nam war.
    In 1975 Senators John Sparkman and George McGovern were accused by some of violating the Act for traveling to Cuba and meeting with high Cuban government officials.
    In 1984 President Reagan suggested that Jesse Jackson may have violated the Logan Act by traveling to Cuba and Nicaragua.
    Fortunately there have only been a handful of indictments under the Logan Act and I don’t believe there have actually been any in either the 20th or 21st century.
    I don’t like what DeMint is doing either. I think the man is an embarrassment.
    But Nadine’s right; what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    What you`re actually saying, Nadine, is that it`s just fine if a US Senator supports
    the coup makers in Honduras, or if some influential Members of Congress actively
    undermine US policies with regards to Israeli settlements. You`re not the one who
    should accuse anyone of hypocrisy.

    Reply

  30. nadine says:

    Steve, how many Democrats made their own foreign policy during the Bush years? Remember “Baghdad Bob” McDermott? How about Nancy Pelosi’s junkets to Damascus?Where was Democratic indignation then?
    Your hypocrisy is showing.

    Reply

  31. Steve Clemons says:

    anirprof, I’ll allow others to weigh in on that front. I’m going to just put out what I know and stay relatively civil — inspired somewhat by the impressive, balanced comments that John McCain and Lindsey Graham made this morning at the “First Draft of History” Summit organized by the Atlantic Monthly, Newseum, and Aspen Institute.
    here is the site link for those interested:
    http://firstdraftofhistory.theatlantic.com/
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  32. anirprof says:

    Merely “register as a foreign agent”? You’re being too kind, Steve. Isn’t he in violation of the Logan Act if he does this?

    Reply

  33. WigWag says:

    DeMint is from South Carolina like Terry Sanford is. And like Sanford, he’s an evangelical Christian. Are you sure he’s not just heading south of the border to hook up with his paramour?

    Reply

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