Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Barack and Other War Hawks

I am the war hawk you have been waiting for

That's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "I Am The War Hawk You Have Been Waiting For" which went up last night as Barack was beginning to blather on TV. As was to be expected, Amy Goodman made the usual ass out of herself. Ava and I will cover it at Third on Sunday. No whore like a War Whore and that's all Amy Goodman has become. Dennis Kucinich as well. I did not endorse Dennis when everyone in the community was endorsing him back in 2007. As Rebecca revealed, I do not trust Dennis and do not like him. Rebecca tells the story of the woman crying in Boston at the DNC convention when Dennis yet again sold the peace movement out (2004). And that's what Dennis does over and over. He's a little s**t. That's all he is and all he ever will be. There are so many laughs in that disgraceful interview on his part and Amy Goodman's.

But a number of you are seeing that side of Dennis for the first time while others e-mailing are feeling the anger boil the way it did in January 2008. That's Dennis. That's who he is. He's worthless. He's a grandstander who lies and spins. As I told the woman crying in Boston all those years ago, you can't trust him, Dennis always does what's best for Dennis. We saw that many times in the last years including his endorsement of Cindy Sheehan's House run that he then backed away from when he got slapped down by party leadership. I'm happy to note Dennis' statements but his actions begin and end with words and anyone expecting Dennis to stand by his words or actually do some real work should relinquish the fantasy. He's a joke and he's only seen as 'strong' because the American population has been dumbed down so much that they have no idea what one member of Congress can do.

You'd think with Mike Gravel in the race in 2008 people would have looked at what Gravel did in Congress and pondered why 'brave' Dennis hasn't been able to do anything similar? Because Dennis always does what's best for Dennis. He married a woman who always does what's best for her, FYI, so don't be surprised when that marriage hits the skids. If that doesn't make you laugh, register that Dennis has become a little butterball in the last two years and the wife can't stop registering her disgust over his weight gain with anyone who will listen. (And if you're getting that I can't stand the cowardly Dennis, I can't. But did you catch on to that in 2007? No. I covered him as fairly as any other candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. I didn't try to torpedo his campaign -- though I knew he would -- because that's not what you're supposed to do. A lesson the press -- Big and Small -- might try learning before 2012 rolls around.)

For an informed discussion, skip Democracy Now! and watch CBS' Washington Unplugged where Bob Orr moderated a debate yesterday before the speech was given. And you can refer to Kenneth J. Theisen's "Obama, the War President" (World Can't Wait):

Here are a couple of basic and essential truths. This war is a war for empire, and is not in the interests of the people of Afghanistan, the vast majority of people in this country, or the people of the world as a whole. Whether or not Obama can articulate an "exit strategy" is a bullshit question and not the issue at all; the issue is that this war is unjust and immoral, and must be opposed.
One of the reasons the ruling class chose Obama to represent its interests is that he is a slick communicator. But it is important that we not only listen to what this imperialist leader says, but watch what he does. Escalation of imperialist wars will not bring peace and no amount of smooth talk will change this fact. Obama will lie to us and seem sincere while doing so. Watch this site for an analysis of his Tuesday night speech and also to see what you can do to expose and protest your government's actions. While the escalation of the war will not bring peace, your actions and those of millions of others can do so only if we repudiate the actions of the U.S. government.

As for my thoughts on his song & dance last night? I believe Stevie Nicks said it best in "Bella Donna" (title track to her album of the same name):

You can ride high atop your pony
I know you won't fall . . .
'cause the whole thing's phoney.
You can fly swingin' from your trapeze
Scaring all the people . . .
but you never scare me

Turning to England where the Iraq Inquiry continues holding public hearings *tomorrow.* James Kirkup (Telegraph of London) offers:

So far, all the attention at the Iraq Inquiry has been on Tony Blair and his role in the conflict. To read some accounts, you’d barely know that Gordon Brown was in the Cabinet (and the Government's second most powerful figure) at the time. Mr Brown's absence from the Iraq debate has always been striking: we know remarkably little about his views and actions before, during and even after the invasion. Mr Brown has shown little inclination to change that situation.
Will Sir John Chilcot's work shed any light? Some think not, and reports have suggested that Mr Brown will not be called to give evidence.
But Sir John may well be moving closer to Mr Brown and the role his Treasury played in Iraq.
Yesterday, the inquiry heard evidence from Sir Peter Ricketts of the FCO that the UK did not allocate enough money for post-war reconstruction work. No prizes for guessing where that trail leads.

Alex Barker (Financial Times of London) picks up on the same point
opening with, "Gordon Brown failed as chancellor to allocate sufficient funds to support Britain playing an 'exemplary role' in governing southern Iraq, an inquiry into the conflict heard on Tuesday." Meanwhile Chris Ames (Guardian) explains why the inquiry's eventual 'findings' are in doubt:

First, tie up the inquiry in secrecy so that it can neither publish nor quote from the leaked and unpublished documents that contradict its line. Second, insist that the war was about weapons of mass destruction, in spite of a mass of evidence that it was about regime change. Third, redefine regime change as code for dealing with WMD. Finally, if anyone doesn't toe the line, marginalise them and indulge in personal attacks.
After the first few days of the inquiry, serious questions are arising about whether Sir John Chilcot and his committee have an answer to this. Judging by their kid glove treatment of witnesses, it doesn't look as if Tony Blair has anything to fear when he gives evidence.
A month ago, I described how Gordon Brown's promise of a transparent and open inquiry was undermined by the reality of the Cabinet Office's protocol for sharing information. Last week Nick Clegg raised at prime minister's questions the now famous nine different reasons why the government might block disclosure of revealing documents and the media finally caught on. But what has still to be fully realised is the extent to which the government can control what the inquiry committee says and asks. To refer to government information "at any point in its proceedings", the inquiry needs express permission – from the government.

A number of members are e-mailing about this Corey Flintoff report on All Things Considered. I know some either do not have streaming capabilities or depend upon text because audio is of no use to them. Flintoff's report isn't inaccurate. Flintoff's report starts with paragraph four. The b.s. before that? That's an All Things Considered host who might want to try learning the English language. Even the White House does not call the draw-down a withdrawal. And it's really cute that NPR and PBS spelled it "draw-down" for decades but this year began spelling it "drawdown" which is the White House's preferred spelling. But Flintoff has not confused the draw-down with withdrawal. It's a shame that hosts or anchors don't put the same amount of time into their work and take the same degree of care.

At the start of the week, some important legal news came out in the US. In the snapshots we're trying to focus on the Iraq Inquiry in London as much as possible. So we'll skip some items with embarrassing coverage and instead wait for when they're covered strongly by someone worth quoting. For example, this is from Tom Eley's "US Supreme Court suppresses torture photos" (WSWS):

The US Supreme Court on Monday nullified an appeals court order that would have obligated the Obama administration to release photographs depicting US soldiers subjecting prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq to horrific acts of torture.
In an unsigned three-sentence decision in the case, Department of Defense v. ACLU, 09-160, the Supreme Court granted an Obama administration petition vacating the order and sent the case back to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, telling the lower court it must review the case in light of a law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in October.
The law in question was written as a specific response to the circuit court’s ruling in October 2008 requiring that the photos be released. Attached to an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security and signed into law by Obama, it gave Secretary of Defense Robert Gates the power to suppress the torture photos if he determines they may threaten US military operations. Gates invoked the measure on November 13.
It is now anticipated that the circuit court will side with the Obama administration and rule against the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.)

We'll close by noting this from Sherwood Ross:


500 Federal Street, Andover, MA 01810

From the law school that presents vital information on importanblt legal and non-legal topics

Contact: Professor Diane Sullivan (978) 681-0800




The number of law schools offering courses in animal rights has increased from nine to nearly 100 in this decade, reflecting a rising tide of public concern over animal well-being.

"While some animal welfare groups have done a good job of raising awareness of the plights of the giant panda and the previously endangered bald eagle, the greatest strides are yet to be made and involve companion animals and their often-abominable treatment in the United States,” write three concerned law professors in the Journal of Animal Law and Ethics.

"As each new year dawns, its promise suggests that the time may have come to recognize animal sentience (feeling) and finally abolish their continued legal classification as property,” write professors Diane Sullivan, Holly Vietzke and Michael Coyne of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, known for its animal rights courses and programs to rescue animals in distress.

"The legal system,” they assert, “continues to fail in compensating owners for the true value of their animals and this failure continues the ludicrous proposition that an animal, even a companion animal, is a worthless, unfeeling object.”

Sullivan, Vietzke and Coyne point out, “Animals display emotion, feel pain, and even exhibit loyalty and sadness. Anyone who interacts with an animal knows this fact. Yet, animals remain classified as property, which means that they can be exploited, harmed, and even killed with little or no legal repercussions or fair monetary compensation.”

Attesting to the public’s growing awareness is that the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has helped establish 110 student chapters nationally, up from just 12 chapters in 2000.

However, while 43 states have felony-level penalties for certain forms of cruelty to animals, “What is lacking is enforcement on the part of law enforcement personnel, prosecution by district attorneys, and ultimately, judicially-ordered felony sentences,” the law professors write.

They call for heightened involvement by local police who regard themselves as swamped with “people problems,” and fail to take animal abuse reports seriously. Similarly, it is difficult to find a local District Attorney who will prosecute an offender of an animal rights law. As a result, “cases are often resolved with counseling, meager restitution, or community service, instead of felony prosecution,” the law professors write.

The response of public officials, they note, lags behind that of public concern. “Societal attitudes toward the favorable treatment of animals, particularly toward the family pet, have changed.” They point to a recent survey that showed 75 percent of pet owners “consider their pets to be valued family members.”

As of 2004, there were more dogs per household than children, due in part to the increase in same-sex relationships and the fact that many couples choose not to have children. “For many people,” the co-authors write, “pets are their children, and can become the subject of intense custody battles.”

The law professors note that when the European Economic Community signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957 there no provisions on animal welfare. But the Treaty of Amsterdam revision 40 years later included an animal welfare protocol.

As a result of work by animal rights activists, “European laws no ban veal crates, regulate the treatment of egg-laying hens and calves, and limit other inhumane actions toward animals,” Sullivan, Coyne and Vietzke write. They say countries adopting progressive legislation in this field include:

Sweden: Prohibits using all great apes and nine species of smaller apes in any research procedures.

Israel: Voted to end force-feeding animals and birds, recognizing the creation of foie gras is "a barbaric and inhumane practice."

Germany: Has added the words "and its animals" to its constitution, guaranteeing animals the hghest level of legal protection.

The authors urge professors and animal rights activists to speak out regularly “on issues such as internet hunting, canned hunting, horse racing, dog racing, and this nation’s unconscionable handling of companion animals after Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters…"

The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is a 21-year-old law school whose pioneering mission is to inexpensively provide rigorous legal education, a pathway into the legal profession, and social mobility to members of the working class, minorities, people in midlife, and immigrants.

Through its television shows, videotaped conferences, an intellectual magazine, and internet postings, MSL - - uniquely for a law school - - also seeks to provide the public with information about crucial legal and non legal subjects facing the country. #

(Further information or to arrange for interviews with MSL Dean and Cofounder Lawrence Velvel, please contact Sherwood Ross, media consultant to Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, at )

The e-mail address for this site is