Sunday, May 23, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

Jeff McMahon of Truth/Slant is an idiot. And you'll realize that if you go through any of his online profiles where he suggests to readers that he's some sort of a professor at the University of Chicago which, as a friend who's a dean at the school just confirmed to me over the phone, he's not. He did sort of a little 'life coach' work for a creative writing program, he once gave a few lectures, but he was not a professor, he was not an associate professor, he was not visiting faculty. And his limited duties did not include "teaching journalism." But he tries to inflate his own importance. True/Slant needs to start imposing some controls at their website because they've got too many problems as it is.

Jeffy never achieved anything in his life -- as his full resume (not online) demonstrates. That a free lancer of bad articles for weekly freebies would end up a professor at the University of Chicago would have been a huge accomplishment but, repeating, that never happened. And the fact that he inflates on his profile ("I cross the asphalt jungle by bicycle and el, mostly to get to the University of Chicago, where I teach journalism") doesn't make it true.

I've noted this repeatedly here: Before the run-up to the illegal war, my focus was studying up on oceanic law. So poor little Jeffy made the mistake of pretending to know a damn thing about something he didn't know about.

"Gulf Oil Disaster of 2010: Where progressives became birthers" is his attempt to bluster from an academic perch he doesn't hold. Jeffy rushes in an attempt to clamp down on outrage about Barack's inaction on the Gulf Disaster (as Isaiah's referred to it here).

What Doty doesn’t seem to know is that the Oil Pollution Act, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, restricts government involvement in oil spills to a supervisory role. The law was designed to avoid the situation that followed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, in which the government was left to clean up a private company’s mess and then had to sue the company to recover costs.

That's not what the Act did nor could the act have done that. There is no way in the world that the US Congress would pass a law that would say the US government was not allowed to take control of an oil spill and that the perpetrator would be allowed to remain in control. There's no way in the world. And had the US passed such a law (which it didn't), it would have led to loud rebukes from the international community.

You can read an overview of the Act here (EPA site). You will quickly grasp Jeffy's a liar. The law does assign financial blame. The law does not (and could not) give control of the clean up to the corporation responsible for the spill. Could not? The US is signatory to many treaties and the earliest of which cover the oceans. The law Jeffy lies and pretends exists? It would be in violation of multiple treaties.

For more on oil pollution, you can click here.

Here's reality: The Gulf Disaster is a national emergency -- it's actually an international one. We'll come back to the latter. It's a national emergency and, as such, the president of the United States, as the chief officer of the executive branch, can take control International disaster? You better believe if Barack doesn't take control pretty damn quick, international leaders (not Calderon, real international leaders) will be demanding action.

Jeffy's crap was dumped at my doorstep via an e-mail to the public account from a woman who left a comment at his bad 'article' stating what he was insisting did not make sense to her. Her comment was deleted (apparently by Jeffy) and she e-mailed here. Jeffy exists to be a semi-pro apologist for Barack Obama. He's a failed reporter who couldn't hack it any longer with his free lance ways and went back to college. He's Andy on Parks & Recreation but without the charm or appeal. We'll continue to note Michael Hastings but after the earful I got about Jeffy from a dean at the university, we'll probably only note Michael Hastings and ignore the rest at True/Slant because while they want to be seen as upholding standards, apparently anyone can create a 'resume' and begin pontificating on topics they know nothing about. But the woman who left the comment (which was deleted) was not wrong. FEMA exists so that the executive branch can take jurisdiction over an event that's termed a national emergency. As bad as Poppy Bush was, he did not destroy the government's right to manage a national emergency, nor did the Congress at that time. Jeffy doesn't know what he's talking about.

Truth/Slant is, of course, the outlet that noted Friday was the day candidate Barack Obama had promised all troops out of Iraq (except "combat ones" in a New York Times interview -- a distinction he did not make in his speehces). And they offered two pieces on Barack's broken promise which both excused and minimized it -- with the latter denying it even counted since he wasn't president when he made the promise. It is these apologists who are responsible for the current destruction in Iraq. It's nonsense to sell it on Bush and his lies, those were long, long ago. The reality is that he's out of office and the illegal war continues. That's on Barack Obama. People continue to die in Iraq and that's on Barack Obama.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4397. Tonight? 4399. That's one away from 4400.

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The rules say that if no party or slate gets the needed 163 seats in Parliament needed to form the next government, the party or slate that gets the most seats has first shot at forming a power-sharing coalition. Iraqiya (led by Ayad Allawi) came in first with 91 seats. State Of Law came in second with 89 seats. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) interviews Nouri al-Maliki (current prime minister and State Of Law head):

"If the government is formed in the wrong way, if it is formed by extremist Sunnis, who are present, or by extremist Shiites, who are also present, the sectarian violence will return and will wipe out everything we have already achieved," Maliki said in an interview. "I say we should not bow to the pressures of time and make a big mistake."

Margaret Griffis ( notes that (and Ayad Allawi's meet up with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani) and observes, "Curiously, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reversed direction this week and now wants to slow the formation of the new government, citing fears of sectarian violence. Since the March election, Maliki has been using every method available to ensure another turn as Iraq’s premier and shutting out the Sunnis." Which most likely means that this is what he's showing while he pulls some sleight of hand to be revealed later. Just as he spent forever loudly challenging the results of the election while secretly attempting to form an alliance, he's now saying that everyone should wait while he's most likely attempt to steam roll over anyone in his path.

In today's violence, Reuters notes a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed 1 life, two Kirkuk roadside bombings left three Kurdish guards injured and, dropping back to yesterday, a Baghdad sticky bombing injured one person.

Judy Keen (USA Today) deserves
credit and praise for an article on war resisters in Canada. You'll find out about Patrick Hart, Kimberly Rivera and Phil McDowell. Alyssa Manning does wonderful work. As an update it's fine and it's needed. But the structure of Canada is not dealt with in the article. Stephen Harper is a conservative and he should have been a focal point (replacing him) long, long ago. However, the false equivalency with Vietnam needs to stop. It's why it's doubtful that a liberal or even centrist prime minister would make much of a difference. The best to hope for with either would be that they would order immigration to stand down on war resisters. In terms of a law, which the article notes is yet again being proposed, who signs off on the laws? Who is the last say?

Canada is not independent. The US fought for independence and is not a colony and is not ruled by Great Britian. Canada's last say is the Queen of England.

That's why Vietnam is different from Iraq. The British didn't fight in Vietnam when the US was fighting there. What was done for resisters (deserters and draft dodgers) during Vietnam could be done and cause no concern to Queen Elizabeth. But? England participated in the US invasion and it has prosecuted war resisters who refused to deploy to Iraq. The smart and noble thing for Queen Elizabeth to do would be to allow any law granting asylum to war resisters seeking refuge in Canada to go through. But the nobility in England is always on shaky ground and there would most likely be a huge backlash from some in England over such a move. So it's unlikely (but not impossible) that the Queen would allow such a law to stand.

The only real avenues remain (a) the court and (b) the prime minister. The courts can establish grounds for asylum. And may. (They should.) They can examine past and current laws and provide a reading (not craft a new law) that would allow for refugee status. The other option is the prime minister. Replacing Harper with a prime minister who would order a stand down on this issue would allow war resiters not to be deported and to move towards citizenship.

We've noted this before and it always causes gasps and e-mails of, Not TRUE! Yes, it is true. From Crapapedia:

Canada is also a constitutional monarchy, with The Crown acting as a symbolic or ceremonial executive. The Crown consists of Queen Elizabeth II (legal head of state) and her appointed viceroys, the governor general (acting head of state), and provincial lieutenant-governors, who perform most of the monarch's ceremonial roles.[74] The political executive consists of the prime minister (head of government) and the Cabinet and carries out the day-to-day decisions of government. The Cabinet is made up of ministers usually selected from the House of Commons and headed by the prime minister, who is normally the leader of the party that holds the confidence of the House of Commons.[75]

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is one of the most powerful institutions in government, initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting, besides other Cabinet members, senators, federal court judges, heads of Crown corporations and government agencies, and the governor general. The Crown formally approves parliamentary legislation and the prime minister's appointments.[76]

"The Crown." Currently (and for decades now) that would be Queen Elizabeth. And you better believe she and everyone else are fully aware that should Canada's Parliament pass such a law and should she grant approval, the tabloid wars in England (Daily Mirror, Sun, et al) would savage her. Repeating, the best avenues for war resisters are the courts and/or a new prime minister who will order a stand-down on the deportation of war resisters.

And if you're late to the party, I wasted a huge amount of time not grasping the above. I never thought of it or the situation and believed people I know in the Parliament (I'll be kind and not name them) when they'd insist that a law could be passed. It couldn't. It could pass the lower house but not the larger house. And when that hit me, I called a friend, a singer-songwriter who grew up in Canada to confirm with him the way the Canadian government worked. Had I been thinking or had I half-a-brain, we would have been pointing that out here long ago. (I believe it's 2008 when that reality hits me and I called my friend to confirm it.) So I am not attacking Judy Keen for not grasping that. But for some, it's not a matter of not knowing, it's a matter of deception. For that reason, we don't make certain organization's missions our own. (And Elaine and I have helped many Iraq War resisters. If they keep their heads down and follow attorney advice, they can and have been granted citizenship.)

New content at Third.

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Kat is laughing her ass off about something that just happened in front of her. She'll probably write about it at her site tomorrow (she says she's going to) and that's fine as long as she doesn't identify the man. But if this seems more disjointed than usual on my part, read Kat tomorrow and you'll understand why. I cannot believe it and I was here for it. Pru notes Simon Basketter's "BP exposed: 17 times more oil leaked in disaster than company claims" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

There could be as 17 times more oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico than either BP or the US government admit.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on 20 April, killing 11 workers and beginning an environmental catastrophe.

Independent scientists believe 70,000 barrels of oil or more could be leaking out each day.

That would mean over 90 million gallons of oil have spurted into the sea since the accident. In comparison the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spilled about 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska in 1989.

BP insists that no more than 5,000 barrels a day are gushing from the broken well—after having said for two weeks that it was “only” 1,000.

BP has managed to thread a mile-long tube into the broken remnants of the oil pipe on the ocean floor. Using the tube, the company has been able to siphon about 1,000 barrels of oil a day to a ship.

This won’t do anything to close the well. The most viable way to do that is to build a relief well, but that will take months to complete.

A group of scientists who spent two weeks exploring the spill area in a research ship reported that they found massive plumes of oil spreading beneath the surface of the water.

This is, in part, caused by the attempts to clean up the mess.

At the moment, oil company crews are injecting the slick on the surface with dispersant—chemicals designed to break up the oil.

This can do more harm than good. It masks the extent of the catastrophe and breaks the oil up into smaller parcels that will be harder to clean up.

What’s more, the dispersant increases the formation of tar balls—globs of heavy, black oil that sink to the seafloor to be carried to shore on currents and tides for decades to come.

BP is using its own brand of dispersant—Corexit—even though scientists say other dispersants are less toxic and more suitable.

Corexit is made up of active ingredients, which reduce fertility in animals.


“We don’t have any data or evidence behind the use of these chemicals in the water,” said Alan Levine, head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals.

“We’re now basically using one of the richest ecosystems in the world as a laboratory.”

US president Barack Obama has criticised BP, Halliburton and Transocean for their roles in the Gulf disaster.

He has promised to end the government’s “cosy” relationship with the oil industry.

But Obama is in hock to the this industry.

In 2009 BP spent nearly $16 million on lobbying the US government.

The federal agency for regulating oil-drilling operations, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), remains nothing more than the tool of the oil companies.

The Center for Biological Diversity points out that the MMS had approved 27 new offshore projects after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Twenty six were exempt from environmental review—as was the “disastrous BP drilling” that is polluting the Gulf of Mexico.

Pursuit of profit caused the disaster. Pursuit of profit is preventing it from being cleaned up. Pursuit of profit makes it likely to happen again.

The following should be read alongside this article:
» Did push for profit cause rig accident?

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