Archive for February, 2009

Obama’s Tuesday Speech: President Addresses Congress

Huffington Post |   February 24, 2009 09:38 AM

Check back here on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 9 PM ET for live video of Obama’s address.

Barack Obama will strike a note of optimism Tuesday evening, declaring that America’s best days are ahead even if, at this moment, the future looks bleak. As released by the White House, the president will say the following before a national television audience and joint-session of Congress:

But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.



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OEN is participating in the call for a special prosecutor for Bush and Cheney.



For Immediate Release

February 24, 2009

Contact: David Swanson david@davidswanson.org <mailto:david@davidswanson.org

*Statement on Prosecution of Former High Officials *

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or “truth” commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.

Drafted by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee


Signed By:

Center for Constitutional Rights

http://www.ccrjustice.org <http://www.ccrjustice.org/>
The National Lawyers Guild
After Downing Street
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org <http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/>
American Freedom Campaign
http://www.americanfreedomcampaign.org <http://www.americanfreedomcampaign.org/>
Ann Wright, retired US Army Reserve Colonel and US diplomat http://www.voicesofconscience.com/
Backbone Campaign
http://www.backbonecampaign.org <http://www.backbonecampaign.org/>
Brad Blog
Cities for Peace

CODE PINK: Women for Peace

http://www.codepink4peace.org <http://www.codepink4peace.org/>

Daniel Ellsberg, Truth-Telling Project

Defending Dissent Foundation

Delaware Valley Veterans for America

http://www.delvalvets4america.org <http://www.delvalvets4america.org/>

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space


Gold Star Families for Peace

Grandmothers Against the War
Grassroots America

High Road for Human Rights Advocacy Project
Iraq Veterans Against the War

Justice Through Music
http://www.jtmp.org <http://www.jtmp.org/>
Marcus Raskin, co-founder of Institute for Policy Studies, member of editorial board of the /Nation/, member of the special staff of the National Security Council in the Kennedy Administration

Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored

Naomi Wolf, author of /End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot/, and /Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries/

National Accountability Network
Northeast Impeachment Coalition

Op Ed News
Peace Action
Peace Team
The Progressive
Progressive Democrats of America
Republicans for Impeachment

United for Peace and Justice

Velvet Revolution

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Veterans for Peace
Voters for Peace
War Crimes Times

Wisconsin Impeachment/Bring Our Troops Home Coalition

http://www.impeachwi.com <http://www.impeachwi.com/>
World Can’t Wait
http://www.worldcantwait.net <http://www.worldcantwait.net/>

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by Geezer Power

February 19th 2009

Brian Views Destruction in Gaza – Calls for Immediate Relief and Change in Policy

Washington, D.C. – Two members of Congress, Brian Baird (D-WA-03), and Keith Ellison, (D-MN-05), visited Gaza on Thursday to view firsthand the destruction from recent Israeli air and ground attacks and to meet with international and local relief agencies. This visit, which did not have the official sanction of the Obama Administration, is the first time anyone from the U.S. government has entered Gaza in more than three years.

Prior to Gaza, both Congressmen met with the chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Saeb Erekat, as well as with Dr. Riad Malki Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority. On Friday, Baird and Ellison will tour the Israeli towns of Sderot and Ashkelon, which have been the target of numerous rockets before and throughout the recent attacks launched from within the Gaza strip.

“Staff from the U.S. State Department advised us of security concerns for our own safety, and we are well aware of the sensitive political issues involved in this visit,” said both Congressmen in an official release.

“We believe it is important to be here to see what happened for ourselves, to meet with people who have been affected, and to express our concern and support,” said Congressman Baird.

“We also want to better understand what can and must be done to recover from the destruction, address the underlying issues, and work toward a lasting, just and peaceful resolution,” added Congressman Ellison.

After spending the day visiting various locations within Gaza and meeting with civilians and relief workers, Baird and Ellison were deeply affected by what they had seen and heard.

“The stories about the children affected me the most,” said Ellison. “No parent, or anyone who cares for kids, can remain unmoved by what Brian and I saw here.”

“The amount of physical destruction and the depth of human suffering here is staggering” said Baird, “Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, schools completely leveled, fundamental water, sewer, and electricity facilities hit and relief agencies heavily damaged. The personal stories of children being killed in their homes or schools, entire families wiped out, and relief workers prevented from evacuating the wounded are heart wrenching – what went on here, and what is continuing to go on, is shocking and troubling beyond words.”


Congressman Baird interviews the principal of the destroyed American School in Gaza


WHY was this school purposefully destroyed?

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Bernanke Appears Before Senate Banking Committee (WATCH LIVE VIDEO)

The Huffington Post |   February 24, 2009 09:29 AM

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke faces questions from the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday.

His testimony comes a day after the government moved closer to dramatically expanding its ownership stakes in the nation’s banks, including Citigroup Inc. The Treasury Department, the Fed and other banking regulators said Monday they could convert the government’s stock in the banks from preferred shares to common shares.

The event is expected to begin at 10 AM Eastern Time.


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Phil McCarten / Reuters

Arnold Considered Party Switch

The Daily Beast- by Joe Mathews

Feb 23, 2009

How bad did things get between Der Governator and his fellow Republicans? Schwarzenegger’s biographer, Joe Mathews, reports that he recently considered dropping out of the party altogether. It’s the latest blast in a long-running war.

A few months ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a few close associates discussed whether he should leave the Republican Party, according to two people familiar with the conversation. His friend Mike Bloomberg, the New York mayor, had become an independent. Maybe Schwarzenegger should, too. But the governor and his people quickly concluded that Californians already saw him as independent of the Republican Party. So what would be the point of a switch? (A spokesman for the governor declined comment.)

To people outside the state, Schwarzenegger’s recent battles with Republican legislators over a budget and his criticism of GOP governors and congressmen for their opposition to President Obama’s stimulus package might sound jarring. Schwarzenegger once was “Conan the Republican” (the first President Bush’s nickname for him), a politician who declared in his 2004 convention speech, “I’m proud to belong to the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan and the party of George W. Bush.” Now he is on ABC News saying that “it doesn’t really mater [matter] if you’re a Republican or a Democrat.”


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The Zionist Attack on Jewish Values

Lawrence Davidson
Winter 2009

(This article was originally published on Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture, http://www.logosjournal.com, and is reprinted with permission)

On November 17, 1917 Sir Arthur James Balfour, acting for the wartime British cabinet of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, issued what has historically become known as the Balfour Declaration. Promising a national home for the Jews in Palestine, the declaration established an alliance between the Zionist movement and the British Empire. For the Zionists the end game was to turn Palestine into a Jewish state. Though the Zionist leadership probably did not initially intend it, an eventual consequence of this ambition was the transformation of institutional Judaism into an adjunct of Zionist state ideology.

Even before the Balfour Declaration was announced the danger to Judaism inherent in the Zionist state orientated ideology was sensed and critiqued by insightful Jewish individuals. They would describe their anxiety in varied ways, sometimes using political, or moral, or religious argument. All of them, however, could draw on a tradition of Jewish tolerance and humanitarianism that, in its modern formulations, went back to the work of Moses Mendelssohn and the 18th century Jewish enlightenment. For instance, Ahad Ha-am (the pen name of the famous Jewish moralist Asher Ginzberg), noted as early as 1891 that Zionist settlers in Palestine have “an inclination to despotism. They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds; and no one among us opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination.”


Albert Einstein was also anti-Zionist. He made a presentation to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, which was examining the Palestine issue in January 1946 and argued against the creation of a Jewish state. Einstein also later turned down the presidency of the state of Israel. In 1950 Einstein published the following statement on the question of Zionism.

“I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from the practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain — especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight without a Jewish state.”

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McCain Grills Obama On Marine One (VIDEO)

Huffington Post- Sam Stein

February 23, 2009 04:53 PM

At the closing session of the president’s fiscal responsibility summit on Monday, high-ranking members of Congress were asked to put on their reportorial hats, quizzing Barack Obama on various aspects of his economic priorities.

Perhaps the sharpest exchange of the bunch came at the beginning, when John McCain, after receiving a few plaudits from the president, asked Obama about defense procurements and, more specifically, the expensive fleet of presidential helicopters he is set to be assigned.

It wasn’t quite at the level of an election year debate. But McCain managed to not only put the president on the spot, but shine a spotlight on one of his pet issues. “Your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One,” McCain told Obama. “I don’t think that there’s anymore graphic demonstration of how good ideas have cost taxpayers enormous amount of money.”


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Photo- HuffPo

Photo- HuffPo

Bush turns down greeter position at a Dallas hardware store.

Think Progress- By Ben Armbruster at 10:50 am

Earlier this month, Elliott’s Hardware store in Dallas offered former President Bush a job as a part-time greeter. “We think it would be a great fit for him as he settles back into life in Dallas,” the store’s owner said. Bush showed up at the store on Friday “lookin’ for a job,” he said to some of Elliott’s employees. Bush ended up turning down the offer but continued on his quest for “flashlights and batteries.” Watch a local Dallas news report:

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Senate Chairman says he’d investigate Democrats who backed Bush policies

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Monday February 23, 2009

In little noticed one-line remark on Sunday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) endorsed the investigation of Democrats who approved of President George W. Bush’s policies as president that he aims to review as part of a “truth commission.”

The veteran Democrat has floated the idea of a “truth commission” to probe and put to rest alleged Bush Administration constitutional abuses, in areas such as wiretapping and harsh interrogation. Those who participated would likely be granted immunity from prosecution so long as their testimony is truthful, mirroring similar venues of public catharsis as were practiced in South Africa and Chile in previous decades.

Speaking to the New York Times’ Scott Shane, “Mr. Leahy said he has learned that the temptation to abuse powers in a crisis is bipartisan and the commission’s review should include the role of Democrats in Congress in approving the Bush policies. The work should be done in one year, he added, to avert accusations that it was being dragged out for political gain.”

Leahy’s commission has attracted unusual followers. While receiving a tepid response from President Barack Obama — who said he was “more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards” — former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he would cooperate if calling to speak.


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Oscar Awards 2009 Liveblog

Huffington Post

Posted February 21, 2009 | 09:46 AM (EST)

Click below for Huffpost’s LIVE liveblog Oscar coverage, brought to you by an attractive, talented and witty! group: Jason Linkins (Editor, Huffpost’s Eat the Press) Megan Carpentier, (Editor, Jezebel.com) and Brad Taylor Negron (Comedic Actor-Writer, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Reno 911)

Let the good times roll.


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