Archive for September 5th, 2012

Private Cities in Honduras

September 5, 2012

I saw this story at AP.com. A group of investors are planning to build three privately run cities, outside the jurisdiction of the Honduran government.

Investors can begin construction in six months on three privately run cities in Honduras that will have their own police, laws, government and tax systems now that the government has signed a memorandum of agreement approving the project.

The project’s aim is to strengthen Honduras’ weak government and failing infrastructure, overwhelmed by corruption, drug-related crime and lingering political instability after a 2009 coup.

The project “has the potential to turn Honduras into an engine of wealth,” said Carlos Pineda, president of the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships. It can be “a development instrument typical of first world countries.”

The “model cities” will have their own judiciary, laws, governments and police forces. They also will be empowered to sign international agreements on trade and investment and set their own immigration policy.

Its an intriguing idea. If I understand this correctly, these cities will be like independent city-states, perhaps free trade zones. This might help to jump start the Honduran economy, though I am surprised that any national government would yield sovereignty, even over just three cities. There might be drawbacks, and this proposal has been controversial.

The project is opposed by civic groups as well as the indigenous Garifuna people, who say they don’t want their land near Puerto Castilla on the Caribbean coast to be used for the project. Living along Central America’s Caribbean coast, the Garifuna are descendants of the Amazon’s Arawak Indians, the Caribbean’s Caribes and escaped West African slaves.

“These territories are the Garifuna people’s and can’t be handed over to foreign capital in an action that is pure colonialism like that lived in Honduras during the time that our land became a banana enclave,” said Miriam Miranda, president of the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras.

Oscar Cruz, a former constitutional prosecutor, filed a motion with the Supreme Court last year characterizing the project as unconstitutional and “a catastrophe for Honduras.”

“The cities involve the creation of a state within the state, a commercial entity with state powers outside the jurisdiction of the government,” Cruz said.

The Supreme Court has not taken up his complaint.

This is something worth watching and if it works out may become a model for other underdeveloped nations.

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Nicki Haley is Not Eva Braun

September 5, 2012

 

Here they go again. I found this at slate.com through the Drudge Report.

S.C. Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian, never a loss for a quick quip, tossed a few stinging one-liners at the Wednesday delegation breakfast.

On Gov. Nikki Haley participating in daily news briefings in a basement studio at the NASCAR Hall of Fame: “She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun.”

His opinion on why he thinks Republicans dislike education funding: “An educated population would not elect a Nikki Haley.”

That is nice, yet another comparison of a Republican to a Nazi. I hope this doesn’t become a regular campaign theme this election season.

And, speaking of the Democratic Convention, the Democrats keep calling Republicans extremists, yet look at what is going on there. God has somehow become controversial. I read about this at Yahoo News.

Needled by Mitt Romney and other Republicans, Democrats hurriedly rewrote their convention platform Wednesday to add a mention of God and declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel after President Barack Obama intervened to order the changes.

The embarrassing reversal was compounded by chaos and uncertainty on the convention floor, requiring three votes before a ruling that the amendments had been approved. Many in the audience booed the decision.

 

The revisions came as Obama struggles to win support from white working-class voters, many of whom have strong religious beliefs, and as Republicans try to woo Jewish voters and contributors away from the Democratic Party. Republicans claimed the platform omissions suggested Obama was weak in his defense of Israel and out of touch with mainstream Americans.

GOP officials argued that not taking a position on Jerusalem’s status in the party platform raised questions about Obama’s support for the Mideast ally. Romney said omitting God “suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.”

“I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize,” Romney said.

Ronald Reagan used to say that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Party left him. I think it must be increasingly obvious that the Democrats have long ago left behind the average American.

The Democratic Party is also endorsing taxpayer funded abortions in their party platform.

The 2012 Democratic party will officially adopt an extreme position on the issue of abortion on Tuesday. According to a copy of the party platform, which was released online just before midnight on Monday, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”

That last part–“regardless of ability to pay”–is an endorsement of taxpayer-funded abortions, a policy that President Obama has personally endorsed. Obama wants Medicaid to pay directly for elective abortions, and Obamacare will allow beneficiaries to use federal subsidies to purchase health care plans that cover elective abortions. According to a 2009 Quinnipiac poll, 72 percent of voters oppose public funding of abortion and 23 percent support it. In other words, public funding of abortion–a policy President Obama actively supports–is as unpopular as banning abortion in the case of rape, a policy on which the media have focused their attention over the past two weeks despite the fact that neither presidential candidate supports it.

I do not believe that abortion is the issue that is topmost on many Americans’ minds right now and I don’t really understand why the Democrats are spending any time at all on it, especially in taking such an extreme position, unless they really don’t want to talk about the economy. I can’t say I blame them for not wanting to emphasize Obama’s dismal record.

 

 


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