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Archive for January 15th, 2009

by Geezer Power

In Israel just as in the US people are outraged and many are engaged in demonstrations against these atrocities. Why isn’t there more news like this in the main stream media?

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USAIrways Plane Crashes In Hudson River

Huffington Post |   January 15, 2009 03:41 PM

Developing….

Just after 3:30 pm Thursday MSNBC broke into regular coverage to show live shots of a US Airways plane in the Hudson River, with people standing on the wings.

Flight 1549 took off from Laguardia on it’s way to Charlotte at 3:26 pm.

People were seen standing on the wings and getting onto ferries.
The plane appeared wholly intact.

The pilot reported a possible bird attack shortly after takeover. 164 passengers and 5 crew members were onboard, MSNBC reports.

There were reports the pilot went into a flock of geese.

Video to come shortly.

The weather is very cold but clear.

WATCH (SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE VIDEO):


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<<<WATCH VIDEOS HERE>>>

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US Airways website had the plane’s status, as of 4:05, as “departed”:

Before, left, after, right, the fuselage has sunk:

Around the Web:

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A Couple in Chicago

by Mariana Cook | The New Yorker | January 19, 2009

On May 26, 1996, Mariana Cook visited Barack and Michelle Obama in Hyde Park as part of a photography project on couples in America. What follows is excerpted from her interviews with them.

MICHELLE OBAMA: There is a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a political career, although it’s unclear. There is a little tension with that. I’m very wary of politics. I think he’s too much of a good guy for the kind of brutality, the skepticism.

When you are involved in politics, your life is an open book, and people can come in who don’t necessarily have good intent. I’m pretty private, and like to surround myself with people that I trust and love. In politics you’ve got to open yourself to a lot of different people. There is a possibility that our futures will go that way, even though I want to have kids and travel, spend time with family, and like spending time with friends. But we are going to be busy people doing lots of stuff. And it’ll be interesting to see what life has to offer. In many ways, we are here for the ride, just sort of seeing what opportunities open themselves up. And the more you experiment the easier it is to do different things. If I had stayed in a law firm and made partner, my life would be completely different. I wouldn’t know the people I know, and I would be more risk-averse. Barack has helped me loosen up and feel comfortable with taking risks, not doing things the traditional way and sort of testing it out, because that is how he grew up. I’m more traditional; he’s the one in the couple that, I think, is the less traditional individual. You can probably tell from the photographs—he’s just more out there, more flamboyant. I’m more, like, “Well, let’s wait and see. What did that look like? How much does it weigh?” (more…)

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The phrase gives a false idea of a unified global enemy, and encourages a primarily military reply

David Miliband (U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs | The Guardian | Thursday 15 January 2009

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai seven weeks ago sent shock waves around the world. Now all eyes are fixed on the Middle East, where Israel’s response to Hamas’s rockets, a ferocious military campaign, has already left a thousand Gazans dead.

Seven years on from 9/11 it is clear that we need to take a fundamental look at our efforts to prevent extremism and its terrible offspring, terrorist violence. Since 9/11, the notion of a “war on terror” has defined the terrain. The phrase had some merit: it captured the gravity of the threats, the need for solidarity, and the need to respond urgently – where necessary, with force. But ultimately, the notion is misleading and mistaken. The issue is not whether we need to attack the use of terror at its roots, with all the tools available. We must. The question is how.

The idea of a “war on terror” gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. The reality is that the motivations and identities of terrorist groups are disparate. Lashkar-e-Taiba has roots in Pakistan and says its cause is Kashmir. Hezbollah says it stands for resistance to occupation of the Golan Heights. The Shia and Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq have myriad demands. They are as diverse as the 1970s European movements of the IRA, Baader-Meinhof, and Eta. All used terrorism and sometimes they supported each other, but their causes were not unified and their cooperation was opportunistic. So it is today.

Read more…

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Ask Obama Now!!!

Posted by Basheert from Crooks and Liars

Please click on the link below to ask Obama to do the right thing!

President-elect Obama has been taking all of us on an emotional roller-coaster ride of late. On Sunday, he told ABC that closing the base at Guantánamo would be very difficult and probably wouldn’t happen in the first 100 days of his administration. On Monday afternoon, it was leaked that the transition team is drawing up an executive order to close Gitmo the first week of the presidency. Tumultuous and gut-wrenching? Yes and yes.

On Tuesday morning, Bush administration lawyers appealed a Guantánamo military judge’s decision last October to throw out tainted evidence against Afghan national Mohammed Jawad, evidence the military judge had held was the product of torture. The government has admitted that the torture-derived evidence was the centerpiece of its prosecution.

Jawad has been tortured or abused repeatedly – first by Afghan authorities and then by U.S. personnel, both in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo. In Guantánamo, Jawad was subjected to the now-infamous “frequent-flyer” sleep-deprivation program in which detainees are kept awake and constantly moved from cell to cell. Jawad was moved 112 times in a 14-day period.

ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi attended the hearing before the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review in Washington, D.C. on the Bush administration’s appeal, and reports that the commission judges seemed offended by the government’s assertion that the Fifth Amendment does not apply to detainees in U.S. custody. “Even in the waning days of the Bush administration, government attorneys asked an American court to permit evidence derived from torture,” Shamsi said.Also on Tuesday morning, the ACLU filed a habeas corpus petition in U.S. federal court on behalf of Jawad, challenging his unlawful detention. Most notable in this filing is a statement made in support of the ACLU’s petition by Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, the former lead prosecutor in Jawad’s military commission case. In September last year, Lt. Col. Vandeveld asked to be taken off the case and reassigned because he could not ethically proceed with prosecuting Jawad under the current military commission system, which he found deeply flawed and unethical. In Tuesday’s filing, Vandeveld states:

[H]ad I been returned to Afghanistan or Iraq, and had I encountered Mohammed Jawad in either of those hostile lands, where two of my friends have been killed in action and another one of my very best friends in the world had been terribly wounded, I have no doubt at all—none—that Mr. Jawad would pose no threat whatsoever to me, his former prosecutor and now-repentant persecutor. Six years is long enough for a boy of sixteen to serve in virtual solitary confinement, in a distant land, for reasons he may never fully understand…Mr. Jawad should be released to resume his life in a civil society, for his sake, and for our own sense of justice and perhaps to restore a measure of our basic humanity.

Another wrinkle: Unless Obama shuts down Guantánamo and the military commissions immediately upon taking office, his administration will stumble into a major human rights crisis. A mere six days after Obama is sworn in, the military commission trial of Omar Khadr, who, like Jawad, was a teenager when he was captured and detained in U.S. custody, will begin.

If Obama allows the trial to proceed, Khadr will be the first person in recent history to be tried by any western nation for alleged war crimes committed as a child. Such a trial would be in violation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which the U.S. signed in 2000 and ratified in 2002.

To avoid such a human rights debacle, we urged the President-elect to drop the military commission charges against Khadr and either repatriate him to Canada or, if there is evidence to support it, to prosecute him in U.S. federal courts in accordance with international child protection and fair trial standards.

President-elect Obama voted against the legislation that authorized the Guantánamo military commissions, calling the law “a betrayal of American values.” And he has co-sponsored legislation designed to stop the use of child soldiers in armed conflict. We’re asking that immediately upon taking office, President-elect Obama must stop the travesty of war crimes prosecutions of young men who were children when they were captured. And we’re asking for that change to come immediately, not eventually.

You can join us in this effort: go to www.aclu.org/askobama and send a message to him through the change.gov website. Tell him to end this unlawful system before it’s too late.

Suzanne Ito writes for and manages Blog of Rights, the blog of the national ACLU.

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by Geezer Power

CommonDreams.org January 15.2009

by Glenn Greenwald

Tom Friedman, one of the nation’s leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, has a column today in The New York Times explaining and praising the Israeli attack on Gaza. For the sake of robust and diverse debate (for which our Liberal Media is so well known), Friedman’s column today appears alongside an Op-Ed from The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the nation’s leading (and most deceitful) propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, who explains that Hamas is incorrigibly hateful and radical and cannot be negotiated with. One can hardly imagine a more compelling exhibit demonstrating the complete lack of accountability in the “journalism” profession — at least for those who are loyal establishment spokespeople who reflexively cheer on wars — than a leading Op-Ed page presenting these two war advocates, of all people, as experts, of all things, on the joys and glories of the latest Middle East war.

MORE

Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports from Gaza on the 20th day of the war.

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Crossposted @BruceBlog / from Think Progress 2/15/09

This is what happens when people with atherosclerosis try to “think” – his plaque infested brain produces statements like these:

Cheney On Whether Iraq War Was Worth The 4,500 Americans Killed: ‘I Think So’

In an interview airing tonight on PBS’s Newshour, host Jim Lehrer asks Vice President Cheney about the U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in the war in Iraq. Cheney shows little remorse:

Q: But Mr. Vice President, getting from there to here, 4,500 Americans have died, at least 100,000 Iraqis have died. Has it been worth that?

CHENEY: I think so.

Q: Why?

CHENEY: Because I believed at the time what Saddam Hussein represented was, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, was a terror-sponsoring state so designated by the State Department. … He had produced and used weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological agents. He’d had a nuclear program in the past. … And he did have a relationship with al Qaeda. […]

And so I think given the track record of Saddam Hussein, I think we did exactly the right thing. I think the country is better off for it today.

Cheney’s comments mirror those of other conservatives, such as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who said that the lives lost in Iraq have been a “small price” to pay, and right-wing commentator Frank Gaffney, who declared that all these troops “did have to die” in Iraq.

The United States did not invade in Iraq because Saddam “had a nuclear program in the past,” nor did he have a relationship with al Qaeda. We went to war because Bush administration officials made everyone believes that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction at that time and an active relationship with al Qaeda. The Iraq war has decimated the readiness of the U.S. military, radicalized insurgents in the Middle East, and strengthened many of America’s enemies. As David Sanger of the New York Times notes, the war also “occupied so much of the attention and the resources of the top levels of the U.S. government that we ignored much bigger threats, short-term and long-term.” Matt Yglesias has also written:

The harsh reality is that this was not a noble undertaking done for good reasons. It was a criminal enterprise launched by madmen cheered on by a chorus of fools and cowards. And it’s seen as such by virtually everyone all around the world — including but by no means limited to the Arab world.

Evidently, all this was worth losing more than 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis.

Transcript: More »

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Israel Shells UN Headquarters In Gaza

IBRAHIM BARZAK and AMY TEIBEL | January 15, 2009 10:32 AM EST | AP

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel shelled the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees.

U.N. workers and Palestinian firefighters, some wearing bulletproof jackets, struggled to douse the flames and pull bags of food aid from the debris after the Israeli attack, which was another blow to efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Dense smoke billowed from the compound.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region to end the devastating offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers, demanded a “full explanation” and said the Israeli defense minister told him there had been a “grave mistake.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military fired artillery shells at the U.N. compound after Hamas militants opened fire from the location. Three people were wounded.

MORE HERE

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What a Cheesy 1980s Teen-Flick Can Teach Us About the Bush Doctrine

By Brad Reed, AlterNet. Posted January 15, 2009.

From rejecting diplomacy to abusing prisoners to disdaining Europe, “Red Dawn” offers a blueprint for the Bush years.

Although movement conservatives routinely accuse Hollywood filmmakers of treason and sedition, they also spend a lot of time combing through Hollywood films searching for scraps of patriotic themes and messages to exploit. From the bodily function comedy Knocked Up to the homoerotic Greek sweatfest 300 to the summer bubblegum action flick Transformers, the members of the Right’s Konservetkult have found an almost endless supply of pro-conservative messages in the unlikeliest of places. However, there is one film from the 1980s that conservatives can legitimately claim promotes their political worldview and values.

Red Dawn, an M-grade action-thriller starring a young Patrick Swayze, has been justifiably touted by movement conservatives as the defining work of the right wing’s artistic canon. In his infamously short-lived blog on the Washington Post Web site, RedState.org founder Ben Domenech praised Red Dawn as “the greatest pro-gun movie ever” because “they actually show the jackbooted communist thugs prying the guns from cold dead hands.”  Meanwhile, one of columnist Jonah Goldberg’s readers was even more enthusiastic about the film, saying that thinking about it made him want to “grab a cold one and shout ‘Wolverines!’ from my roof deck.”

Just what is it about Red Dawn that sends a thrill up conservatives’ legs? Well the plot of the film, such as it is, revolves around the Soviet and Cuban armies invading and occupying the Colorado town of Calumet (Population: fewer than 8,000) and senselessly slaughtering patriotic Yankees who prove unwilling to part with their private property.

MORE HERE

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Ring Of Fire:  Go Left TV

White House Used Interns to Fill Empty Press Conference; Justice Department Sues Indiana For Discriminating Against Whites; ACLU Launches “You Are Being Watched” Campaign.

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