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Archive for the ‘Obama Team’ Category

Call for a Nuclear Free Middle East ‘a Mistake’

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com,  July 7, 2010

A statement released yesterday by the Obama Administration has made public America’s long-standing support for the Israeli government’s large, undeclared nuclear arsenal, and insists that Israel has an inherent “right” to possess such an arsenal for “deterrence purposes.”

Officials have also reportedly acknowledged that the Obama Administration has labeled its previous support for a “nuclear-free Middle East,” including a vote in favor of this at a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference, had been “a mistake.”

The Obama Administration complained at the time of the vote that it unfairly “singled out” Israel, apparently oblivious to the fact that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, as well as the only nation which is not a signatory of the NPT.

Israel has ruled out ever signing the NPT, though it has called for the treaty to be strengthened to punish signatories like Syria and Iran for what it perceives as “violations.” Israel has likewise never publicly acknowledged the size of its nuclear arsenal, though the fact that it exists is not generally considered a secret.

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by Jeremy Scahill, CommonDreams.org, July 18, 2009

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are preparing to hold hearings to investigate the role of vice president Dick Cheney in allegedly ordering the CIA to conceal a secret assassination program from Congress. As I reported yesterday, there are two crucial issues at play: the nature of the U.S. assassination program and the role of former vice president Dick Cheney in concealing aspects of it from Congressional oversight. On the broader issue of U.S. government assassination, it is very unlikely that will become a central focus given that there has long been a bipartisan assassination program that continues under President Obama. Indeed, most legislators frame their opposition to this program through the lens of the concealment issue, not the assassinations.

Early moves, however, by the Obama administration indicate that it is backing Cheney and the CIA In May, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was under fire over allegations she had been briefed on U.S. torture tactics, she publicly accused the CIA of misleading her. In what many viewed as a response to Pelosi, CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote CIA staff a memo, saying, “Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values… My advice — indeed, my direction — to you is straightforward: ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission. We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country. We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication.”

Continued >>

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Gulf War Illnesses Debate Rages On for 18 Years: No End in Sight for the Sick

by: Thomas D. Williams, truthout.org

Thursday 19 March 2009

Barack Obama is now the fourth president facing the scientific and bureaucratic conundrum around the US-created ongoing wartime hazards producing disastrous health complications for soldiers and civilians.

Eighteen years after the six-week first Gulf War, maladies still haunt thousands of US and allied service members as well as estimated hundreds of thousands of Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Afghan civilians. A myriad of scientists and government officials insist it is bewildering to pinpoint whether countless chemical and radiological hazards either killed or sickened hundreds of thousands of US service members, allied soldiers and Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Afghan civilians. Federal health officials have not only denied monetary and health assistance to thousands of veterans, whose illnesses they say cannot be linked to US created wartime hazards, but they have mostly failed to assist the Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Afghan civilian health system.

“Our war (the first Gulf War) was the most toxic as far as exposures ever in history,” said Denise Nichols, a retired US Air Force registered nurse and veterans’ advocate, who herself suffers from wartime illness. “How can parents or the American citizens trust their government or encourage their young to enlist when this history of neglect and denial of gulf war illness is allowed to fester … [the US Department of Veterans Affairs] has betrayed us. [The Department of Defense] has betrayed us. The government for 17 years betrayed the trust we as soldiers, airmen, marines, or sailors had, and our trust must be regained by [incoming President Barack Obama].”

~more~

LINKS:

From The Department Of it’s about f*$%king time

GAO

Have DU will travel a special publication by the Lone Star Iconoclast in crawford Texas. Published on March 1, 2006, this is an important report on DU from several perspectives. It is a fairly large PDF file and might take a while to download, but worth the weight, err wate? …zzzZZZ

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by Geezer Power


One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President:
we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days
, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.

Another significant change will be in Duhbya’s weekly radio address, which IMHO has been done for all these years with a text to speech program. Obama will, instead, post his weekly video address on Youtube.

How Obama will use web technology

Washington Post

Guest Author
TechCrunch.com
Saturday, January 24, 2009; 2:54 AM

Editor’s Note: The following guest post was written by Kevin Merritt, the CEO and founder of blist, a Web-based list manager and spreadsheet that was used on Change.gov, the Obama Administration’s transition Website.

President Barack Obama was sworn into office this week as our nation?s 44th president. Despite running into a few technical challenges in the first few days at the White House, the Obama Administration will embrace technology in unprecedented ways. Led by forward thinking, web savvy technologists, President Obama?s new media team looks poised and ready to fulfill President Obama?s vision of open-source democracy.

Coincident with Mr. Obama being sworn in, the Obama Administration?s new media team assumed control of WhiteHouse.gov at 12:01 PM EST on Tuesday. This is the official website of the sitting administration. The new media team has identified three top priorities of the new administration ? communication, transparency and participation. Let?s examine how the new administration has been leveraging web technologies to meet these priorities.

Communication. This administration?s use of Google?s YouTube during both the campaign and after winning the election leverages Internet video to reach a generation of Americans and global citizens who no longer tune in to AM radio on a regular basis. President Obama has vowed to continue video recording his fireside chats and publishing them via YouTube and other video sites. With the transition of WhiteHouse.gov to the new administration, for the first time ever an official White House blog came online. You can sign up for email updates from the president. Through the blog, Mr. Obama is the first U.S. president to have an RSS feed!

Read more

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Leaders of a New York campaign to help the jobless in 1932. The unemployment rate is expected to peak at 8 or 9 percent.

Some Forecasters See a Fast Economic Recovery

Published: January 2, 2009

Economics as the dismal science? Not in some quarters.

In the midst of the deepest recession in the experience of most Americans, many professional forecasters are optimistically heading into the new year declaring that the worst may soon be over.

For this rosy picture to play out, they are counting on the Obama administration and Congress to come through with a substantial stimulus package, at least $675 billion over two years.

They say that will get the economy moving again in the face of persistently weak spending by consumers and businesses, not to mention banks that are reluctant to extend credit.

If the dominoes fall the right way, the economy should bottom out and start growing again in small steps by July, according to the December survey of 50 professional forecasters by Blue Chip Economic Indicators. Investors seemed to be in a similarly optimistic mood on Friday, bidding up stocks by about 3 percent.

MORE HERE

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Obama team, Congress fleshing out stimulus bill


Dec 19, 7:56 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama’s team and congressional staff are scrambling to come up with details of a plan to pump up the droopy economy with $650 billion or more in government spending over the next few years.

The aides met in the basement of the Capitol on Friday to devise ways to pump public money into science, energy, education, health care and infrastructure programs, as well as to help the poor and unemployed.

They hope unleashing a torrent of spending in the near term will create jobs and lift the economy.

But the amounts of money under consideration are so enormous – larger than either the Pentagon’s annual budget or the entire domestic budget passed each year by Congress – that it’s likely to prove challenging to spend so much without wasting taxpayer dollars.

Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress want to enact the still-emerging plan as soon as possible after he takes office on Jan. 20. They hope to agree on an outline by Christmas, said a House Democratic leadership aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the ongoing talks.

The plan, which some Obama aides think could swell to about $850 billion after negotiations with Congress, would be the largest investment in public infrastructure since the federal highway system was established in the 1950s. It also would provide tens of billions in dollars of aid to financially strapped states.

MORE HERE

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