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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 11,857

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POWERFUL SPEECH. Will make the Israeli apologists furious.

The Irish Senate was called back into special session to address the current I/P bloodbath and particularly Ireland's abstaining from voting on a UN resolution. Specifically, The UN Human Rights Council voted to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate violations of human rights and it also condemned Israel for potential infractions of international law. Ireland abstained from this vote, which abstention went against the majority of Irish public opinion.

There is a brief shot at about 2'43" into the video of the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, sitting in the "hot seat" in the front of the Senate chamber. That is the person she's addressing. One of the great beauties of the Irish Senate, and one I had the privilege to personally observe at a different emergency closed session, is that the relevant Cabinet Minister for the topic under discussion, is required to sit in the front while any Senator who wishes to can address him directly, and basically, ream him a new one.

It's a beautiful sight to see. Imagine if we did that in our Senate. Imagine if then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld were to be publicly, personally, in-his-face, excoriated by senator after senator for Abu Ghraib and the his role in the US war on Iraq & involvement in Afghanistan - broadcast live.

As John Lennon said, imagine.

Because he is internationally renowned for his successful fight for gay rights

And it is his bravery and integrity in that long fight, which gives his opinion quite considerable influence on the world stage. It was a very long fight, and he never gave up, eventually winning his case not only on behalf of gays in Ireland, but throughout the entire European Union!


Campaigning and activism
Norris took the Attorney General to the High Court over the criminalisation of homosexual acts. His claim was based on the fact that the law infringed on his right to privacy and that since the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland the law passed under British rule became repugnant to the constitution. The High Court ruled against Norris. He appealed his case to the Supreme Court of Ireland. In 1983, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law by a three to two verdict.

Having lost the Supreme Court case, Norris took his case to the European Court of Human Rights (See Norris v. Ireland). In 1988, the European Court ruled that the law criminalising same sex activities was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 8 which protects the right to respect for private life. The law was held to infringe on the right of adults to engage in acts of their own choice.

The first and immediate thing about the European decision is the enlargement of dignity and freedom for gay people – but I think a decision like this enhances the dignity and freedom of all the people of Ireland because it pushes us towards a more tolerant and plural society.

– Norris's reaction to the European ruling, 1988.

This law was repealed in 1993.
Norris has since then expanded his activism to a concept of "universal rights".
I did start out on that campaign but I found very quickly that the mechanism of discrimination was exactly the same against women, against ethnic minorities, against the handicapped, so I broadened out and this now is how I see things, very much so.

Norris represents the University of Dublin/Trinity College constituency in the Seanad as an Independent. He was first elected to the Seanad in 1987, and has been re-elected at each election since.

Senator Norris is a legendary gay rights and civil rights hero in Ireland.

I was in Dublin taking a summer CLE class on law of the European Union, and wangled a rare invitation to attend an emergency closed session of the Irish Senate (Seanad Eireann). That was indeed a privilege, since I was one of only 5 observers allowed to attend. At a break in the session, my sponsor took me to the pub for members/guests in Leinster House, the 18th century ducal palace where the Irish legislature meets. I was really honored to be introduced to Senator Norris, who came up to our table to discuss the impact of the proposed legislation on young gay men.

David Patrick Bernard Norris (born 31 July 1944) is an Irish scholar, independent Senator, and gay and civil rights activist. Internationally, Norris is credited with having "managed, almost single-handedly, to overthrow the anti-homosexuality law which brought about the downfall of Oscar Wilde", a feat he achieved in 1988 after a fourteen-year campaign. He has also been credited with being "almost single-handedly responsible for rehabilitating James Joyce in once disapproving Irish eyes".

Norris is a former university lecturer at Trinity and a member of the Oireachtas(Irish parliament), serving in Seanad Éireann since 1987. He was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland. Founder of the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, he is also a prominent member of the Church of Ireland.


Noam Chomsky on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and US Support for the Occupation

Chomsky grew up in a Ashkenaz Jewish family in Philadelphia. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky

In this interview with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales for Democracy Now!, he lays out chapter and verse how "hideous, sadistic, vicious and murderous (IN HIS WORDS) has been Israel's land offensive in Gaza. This is such a powerful piece, and leaves Israel without a shred of justification to hide behind.

Just a sample from midway through the interview - interviewer Juan Gonzalez quotes the Israeli rhetoric/claim that it no longer occupies Gaza. He refers to interviewing Joshua Hantman, senior adviser to the Israeli ambassador to the United States and a former spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Ministry. He quotes Hantman saying "Israel actually left the Gaza Strip in 2005. We removed all of our settlements. We removed the IDF forces. We took out 10,000 Jews from their houses as a step for peace, because Israel wants peace and it extended its hand for peace." Chomsky proceeds to blow this claim out of the water.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, several points. First of all, the United Nations, every country in the world, even the United States, regards Israel as the occupying power in Gaza—for a very simple reason: They control everything there. They control the borders, the land, sea, air. They determine what goes into Gaza, what comes out. They determine how many calories Gazan children need to stay alive, but not to flourish. That’s occupation, under international law, and no one questions it, outside of Israel. Even the U.S. agrees, their usual backer. That puts—with that, we end the discussion of whether they’re an occupying power or not.

As for wanting peace, look back at that so-called withdrawal. Notice that it left Israel as the occupying power. By 2005, Israeli hawks, led by Ariel Sharon, pragmatic hawk, recognized that it just makes no sense for Israel to keep a few thousand settlers in devastated Gaza and devote a large part of the IDF, the Israeli military, to protecting them, and many expenses breaking up Gaza into separate parts and so on. Made no sense to do that. Made a lot more sense to take those settlers from their subsidized settlements in Gaza, where they were illegally residing, and send them off to subsidized settlements in the West Bank, in areas that Israel intends to keep—illegally, of course. That just made pragmatic sense.

And there was a very easy way to do it. They could have simply informed the settlers in Gaza that on August 1st the IDF is going to withdrawal, and at that point they would have climbed into the lorries that are provided to them and gone off to their illegal settlements in the West Bank and, incidentally, the Golan Heights. But it was decided to construct what’s sometimes called a "national trauma." So a trauma was constructed, a theater. It was just ridiculed by leading specialists in Israel, like the leading sociologist—Baruch Kimmerling just made fun of it. And trauma was created so you could have little boys, pictures of them pleading with the Israeli soldiers, "Don’t destroy my home!" and then background calls of "Never again." That means "Never again make us leave anything," referring to the West Bank primarily. And a staged national trauma. What made it particularly farcical was that it was a repetition of what even the Israeli press called "National Trauma ’82," when they staged a trauma when they had to withdraw from Yamit, the city they illegally built in the Sinai. But they kept the occupation. They moved on.

And I’ll repeat what Weissglas said. Recall, he was the negotiator with the United States, Sharon’s confidant. He said the purpose of the withdrawal is to end negotiations on a Palestinian state and Palestinian rights. This will end it. This will freeze it, with U.S. support. And then comes imposition of the diet on Gaza to keep them barely alive, but not flourishing, and the siege. Within weeks after the so-called withdrawal, Israel escalated the attacks on Gaza and imposed very harsh sanctions, backed by the United States. The reason was that a free election took place in Palestine, and it came out the wrong way. Well, Israel and the United States, of course, love democracy, but only if it comes out the way they want. So, the U.S. and Israel instantly imposed harsh sanctions. Israeli attacks, which really never ended, escalated. Europe, to its shame, went along. Then Israel and the United States immediately began planning for a military coup to overthrow the government. When Hamas pre-empted that coup, there was fury in both countries. The sanctions and military attacks increased. And then we’re on to what we discussed before: periodic episodes of "mowing the lawn."

Your call out reminds me of McCarthy's fictional "list"

During a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy (Republican-Wisconsin) claims that he has a list with the names of over 200 members of the Department of State that are "known communists." The speech vaulted McCarthy to national prominence and sparked a nationwide hysteria about subversives in the American government.

Speaking before the Ohio County Women's Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator McCarthy waved before his audience a piece of paper. According to the only published newspaper account of the speech, McCarthy said that, "I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department." In the next few weeks, the number fluctuated wildly, with McCarthy stating at various times that there were 57, or 81, or 10 communists in the Department of State. In fact, McCarthy never produced any solid evidence that there was even one communist in the State Department.


It also reminds me of the crap one would find at one of the blogs like Free Republic which have made a career of attacking Will Pitt. I'm sure that Mr. Pitt, like all of us, has had his ups and downs, and made a few mistakes along the way. I certainly didn't always agree with his POV in the early days of DU. However he has grown and matured with the years - particularly with his marriage and parenthood, and is a rare stalwart for progressive Dems. You don't have to like him, but I don't care about your personal opinion of him. This is not Dear Abby. Respond to the facts and opinions in his writings, if you disagree with those. Otherwise DU is not the venue for personal call-outs.

Never a constitutional scholar or expert in either academia OR the courtroom

I explained in detail in post 83 on this thread why Obama has no cred to call himself (or allow others to call him) a constitutional law PROFESSOR or SCHOLAR.

And I would add to that, that Obama was neither an actual trial lawyer NOR a constitutional lawyer
Senior attorneys at the small firm where he worked say he was a strong writer and researcher, but was involved in relatively few cases -- about 30 -- and spent only four years as a full-time lawyer before entering politics.

For purposes of comparison, i.e., Obama worked on 30 cases in 4 years - the first law firm which I worked for upon being admitted to the bar was a civil litigation firm. By the end of my FIRST year, I had a caseload of 40 cases for which I was the attorney of record, i.e., with full responsibility/client contact/handling depositons/ arguing motions/working with expert witnesses/ and, if the case didn't settle/ trying the case. That was the norm in my firm. My clients included Chrysler, General Electric, Otis Elevator, Remington, national construction firms, and were primarily product liability and commercial construction cases. I'm not comparing O's 30 cases in 4 years to a bunch of slip & falls/whiplash claims. By the end of my second year I had argued cases in the federal district court and federal court of appeals, as well as state trial and appellate courts. This was not a big deal - this was the norm for the lawyers my firm hired.

The name partner who recruited Obama described O thusly:

Judson Miner, head of the firm that bears his name, recruited Obama. Obama took time to complete "Dreams From My Father," then joined the 13-attorney firm. "He was doing the work that any first-year or second-year associate would do," Miner said. "In litigation, he was doing basic research and writing memos. . . . In the first couple years he would play a very minor role. He wouldn't know , so he would take the lead from whoever was supervising his work."

Obama arrived in Chicago in 1993 with a degree from Harvard Law School and was hired as a junior lawyer at the firm then known as Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Gallard. He helped represent clients in civil and voting rights matters and wrongful firings, argued a single case (not a constitutional law or civil rights case) before a federal appellate court, and took the lead in writing a suit to expand voter registration. No mention that he ever went to court on that lawsuit. That one appellate case he touts? He fought the good fight for a securities trader. How did that fit in with his claims re community organizer, fighting for civil rights?
" He took the lead arguing a 1994 case before the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a securities trader who had been improperly fired. The court ruled for his client." Yeah he had cases in the projects, but it was defending a slumlord from a tenant and in another case, defending a slumlord for failing to provide heat for low income tenants on the South Side in the winter.

But the firm also handled routine legal matters and real estate. Obama spent about 70% of his time on voting rights, civil rights and employment, generally as a junior associate/b]. The rest of his time was spent on matters related to real estate transactions, filing incorporation papers and defending clients against minor lawsuits.

In one instance, Obama defended a nonprofit corporation that owns low-income housing projects against a lawsuit in which a man alleged that he slipped and fell because of poor maintenance. Obama got the suit dismissed.

In another case, Obama appeared on behalf of a nonprofit corporation that provided healthcare for poor people. A woman who claimed income of less than $8,000 a year had sued Obama's client to obtain a $336 payment for baby-sitting services; Obama's client paid up, and the case was settled.

In 1994, Obama appeared in Cook County court on behalf of Woodlawn Preservation & Investment Corp., defending it against a suit by the city, which alleged that the company failed to provide heat for low-income tenants on the South Side during the winter.

Those were not the cases Obama highlighted in the self-portrait drawn in his first memoir, "Dreams From My Father."


O admittted bipartisanship means Dems ignore the poor, the environment, etc.

I just went back and reread the NYT article I linked to above and came across this absolute gem from O's teaching days re the negative impact of bipartisanship on the needs of the poor and that bipartisanship means abandoning the idea that the govt. can play a role in issues of poverty, race discrimination, sex discrimination or environmental protection.

So we see, he made very informed choices throughout his presidency when it came to caving to the GOP. He has more than proved himself correct in the way that his overwhelming bipartisanship has played out with elevating the wealthiest at the expense of the rest of us, i.e., "the poor", and his concommitant choices re supporting fracking, Keystone and opening up the Atlantic Coast to drilling.

Challenging Assumptions

Liberals flocked to his classes, seeking refuge. After all, the professor was a progressive politician who backed child care subsidies and laws against racial profiling, and in a 1996 interview with the school newspaper sounded skeptical of President Bill Clinton’s efforts to reach across the aisle.

On the national level, bipartisanship usually means Democrats ignore the needs of the poor and abandon the idea that government can play a role in issues of poverty, race discrimination, sex discrimination or environmental protection,” Mr. Obama said.

Obama is to Constitutional Scholar as a paramedic is to board certified MD

Obama was never a Constituional Scholar; nor was he a law "professor". To the extent he presented himself as such, OR allowed others to represent himself as such, he was lying. I am reprinting below what I posted in DU several years ago. I've taught undergrads, grad students and law students at a small college, a large state university, a paralegal institute, and a private law school, including sitting in on the faculty senate meetings.

I've written papers, co-written text books, edited text books, presented papers and sat as a panelist at academic gatherings, etc. In other words, I really, really know what it means to refer to oneself as a professor at a university, or as a scholar in a given field. I taught for a total of 8 years. When I looked at Obama's curriculum vita, I saw none of what I would expect from someone claiming to be a scholar in a particular academic field. I did further research, particularly on what went on at the University of Chicago law school. My conclusion? Obama is to a Constitutional Scholar as a paramedic is to a board certified medical specialist.

He was NEVER a constitutional SCHOLAR, never published a single scholarly paper, and wasn't on tenure track.

He was a "senior lecturer" - that's the lowest level of teacher at a law school, below Full, Assistant, Associate, Adjunct and or Visiting Professors - at University of Chicago. Lecturers are not on a tenure track. He never even taught the basic, traditional course in Constitutional Law, required of all first year law students, and covered in detail in state bar examinations.

He taught three courses:
At the school, Mr. Obama taught three courses, never more than one per term (i.e, part-time). His most traditional course was in the narrow constitutional area of (1) DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION . His (2) VOTING RIGHTS class traced the evolution of election law, from the disenfranchisement of blacks to contemporary debates over districting and campaign finance. His most original course, a historical and political seminar as much as a legal one, was on (3)RACISM AND LAW.

Nor could his views be gleaned from scholarship; Mr. Obama has never published any.

Very interesting article on his years as a part-time instructor at the University of Chicago Law School. He was a popular teacher, but refused to intellectually engage with his fellow faculty. One sentence particularly sticks with me as showing that even at the beginning of his political career, he identified his future success and power as dependent upon wealthy whites.

"Before he helped redraw his own State Senate district, making it whiter and wealthier, he taught districting as a racially fraught study in how power is secured."

Bill Clinton Praises Richard Scaife at memorial service

If you've got the stomach for it, read this whole article from Richard Scaife's uber conservative newspaper detailing Bill Clinton's gushing praise for Scaife at a memorial service. Y'all recall that in HRC's first primary run for the presidency, she took the initiative to request a meeting with Scaife and came to his paper's Greensburg offices to meet with him and request his support. We'll never know the quid-pro-quo HRC promised him, but she got his support. Scaife took that secret to his grave, and HRC"s not talking. Cough (future shades of Wall Street , Goldman-Sachs) cough!

Whatevs, Scaife requested having his good bud, Bill, speak at his memorial service.

I'm sure all your hearts will be warmed to know that Bill played the grandfather-to-be card, when he stated he wished Scaife had lived to be able to write more and that Bill was glad Scaife had made sure that his papers were in a position to "be there for our children and our grandchildren.”
How the hell could he say that about an uber-conservative chain of newspapers? Do he & HRC endorse it's political positions? Did they get Chelsea a subscription? Can we expect the same tribute when Rupert Murdoch dies?
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6550109-74/clinton-scaife-differences#ixzz39KkxqtQu
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

“I think the counterintuitive friendship we formed is a good symbol of Richard Mellon Scaife's legacy. He fought as hard as he could for what he believed, but he never thought he had to be blind or deaf” to re-evaluating his positions, no matter how closely held, Clinton said.

The description “counterintuitive” was borrowed from his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who used the word to describe her meeting with Tribune-Review reporters and editors in 2008, during the hotly contested Democratic presidential primary in Pennsylvania.

The paper's editorial board endorsed Hillary Clinton in the April primary election, and Scaife penned an opinion piece praising the New York Democrat. “You need to know that she treasures that column and that experience,” Clinton said.

H. Yale Gutnick, Scaife's longtime friend and attorney, introduced the 42nd president, saying Scaife asked him before his death to invite Clinton to the memorial to make it a special day. Gutnick is chairman of the Trib Total Media board of directors.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6550109-74/clinton-scaife-differences#ixzz39KiMxXTz
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Venezuela to Send Aid to Gaza, Welcome Refugees, as Regional Leaders Condemn Assault

Source: venezuelanalysis.com

For over a decade, Venezuela has been an ardent supporter of Palestine. Former President Hugo Chavez was an outspoken critic of Israel's occupation of Palestine, and broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009.

“ wants to convey ... solidarity at this time to the thousands of men, women, children and elderly people who are being massacred in Gaza by the state of Israel,” Jaua stated.

Last night, President Nicolas Maduro also announced that Venezuela would build a shelter in the South American country to welcome Palestinian child survivors of the conflict. Speaking on national television, he said that his government would suggest that regional allies do the same.

“We’re proposing in the heart of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) that a shelter is created in our countries carrying the name of Hugo Chavez, to bring in the children of this war,” he stated.

Read more: http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10820
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