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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama To Press Israel On Two-State Solution, Settlements

World Watches For U.S. Shift On Mideast
WASHINGTON — Five weeks ago, President Obama stood before the Turkish legislature in Ankara and said many Americans had Muslims in their families or had lived in a Muslim-majority country. “I know,” he said, “because I am one of them.”
But will that exposure lead Mr. Obama to take a different tack from his predecessors in his dealings with Israel?
That question, which has captivated a wide spectrum of people, from America’s Israel lobby to Palestinian-Americans to the Muslim world, will take center stage on Monday, when Israel’s hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has his first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Obama since he became president.
In an interview broadcast Saturday on Israeli television, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said he believed that in the meeting, Mr. Netanyahu would signal a significant policy shift for his new government and endorse the creation of a Palestinian state — perhaps reflecting uncertainty about whether Mr. Obama would accept an Israeli hard line. LinkHere

video

Netanyahu ‘won’t back Palestinian state’ in US

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will refuse on his trip to Washington to back the formation of a Palestinian state, an MP close to the premier said on Saturday, according to national radio.
Netanyahu “will not make a commitment to Washington on the creation of a Palestinian state which would undoubtedly become a ‘Hamastan’,” Ophir Akunis from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party was quoted as saying, referring to the Islamic movement Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip and favours armed struggle against Israel.
The hawkish prime minister is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Sunday ahead of his maiden meeting with US President Barack Obama since the two men took office this year.
The key meeting takes place against a backdrop of disagreements over the Middle East conflict and how to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme.
While Netanyahu has repeatedly refused to endorse the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, Obama is insisting on a “two-state solution” to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.”
Obama also wants the new Israeli government to halt new building work in Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank but Netanyahu has said he wants to expand existing settlements.
The Israeli premier has pledged to unveil his policy for regional peace at the White House meeting, focussed on countering Iran.
Contents are still secret but one Netanyahu aide told AFP that differences between Israel and the United States are “more on the outside” and “Israel does not want to rule the Palestinians” despite Netanyahu’s refusal to back a Palestinian state. LinkHere

Michelle Obama Makes Debut As Commencement Speaker

Bravo, Bravo, finally a First Lady who speaks with insight and intellence, and who is not just window dressing






Conservatives Map Strategies To Fight Against Obama's Supreme Court Nominee

How Conservatives Are Plotting To Fight Obama's Supreme Court Pick
WASHINGTON — If President Obama nominates Judge Diane P. Wood to the Supreme Court, conservatives plan to attack her as an “outspoken” supporter of “abortion, including partial-birth abortion.”
If he nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor, they plan to accuse her of being “willing to expand constitutional rights beyond the text of the Constitution.”
And if he nominates Kathleen M. Sullivan, a law professor at Stanford, they plan to denounce her as a “prominent supporter of homosexual marriage.”
Preparing to oppose the confirmation of Mr. Obama’s eventual choice to succeed Justice David H. Souter, who is retiring, conservative groups are working together to stockpile ammunition. Ten memorandums summarizing their research, obtained by The New York Times, provide a window onto how they hope to frame the coming debate.
The memorandums dissect possible nominees’ records, noting statements the groups find objectionable on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, the separation of church and state and the propriety of citing foreign law in interpreting the Constitution.
While conservatives say they know they have little chance of defeating Mr. Obama’s choice because Democrats control the Senate, they say they hope to mount a fight that could help refill depleted coffers and galvanize a movement demoralized by Republican electoral defeats . LinkHere

Jon Huntsman: China Ambassador

WASHINGTON — With a reach across the political divide for Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China, President Barack Obama may have sidelined for now a potentially formidable Republican moderate and possible White House challenger in 2012.
Yet Huntsman, who has upset the GOP's conservative base by supporting gay civil unions, may gain, too. The appointment, which requires Senate approval, gives him a chance to burnish his credentials and position himself as a viable presidential contender in 2016, if Obama appears to be a strong candidate for a second term in 2012.
John Weaver, a one-time senior strategist for John McCain's presidential campaign who now advises Huntsman, said the governor put country ahead of personal partisan interest. Huntsman was national co-chairman of McCain's failed bid against Obama.
"It's no more complicated than that, though it is so unusual in Washington everyone has to take a magnifying glass to it," Weaver said after Obama introduced Huntsman in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.
"He was asked by the president to serve in a major diplomatic post, in a mission with a country most important to our economy, in dealing with Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. Jon is uniquely qualified and thus you don't turn your nation down," Weaver said.
Obama said he knew Huntsman's nomination "wouldn't be the easiest decision to explain to some members of his party." But Obama said Huntsman was "the kind of leader who always puts country ahead of party and is always willing to sacrifice on behalf of our nation." LinkHere

"Two Pillars Of A New Foundation"

Countdown's WTF Moment: Texas Secession

In tonight's installment of Countdown's "WTF Moment," Olbermann takes a realistic look at what would happen if Texas actually followed through on Governor Rick Perry's threat to secede if the federal government doesn't leave Texas alone. Well, between skyrocketing taxes, loss of military protection, sports teams crumbling, massive debt burdens, and the coming political crisis in 2020 (when the projected population of Texas will be 45 percent Hispanic and 38 percent Anglo, and the Hispanics win a ballot initiative to have the new republic join Mexico), the picture doesn't look good. LinkHere

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Economist Calls California "The Ungovernable State"

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's government may see a dramatic overhaul because its budget is in such disarray and on track for a staggering shortfall of at least $15.4 billion, lawmakers and analysts said on Friday.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called that deficit estimate "certain" on Thursday, warning the budget gap for the next fiscal year would swell to $21.3 billion if voters reject budget-related ballot measures in a special election on Tuesday.
Surveys suggest voters will reject the measures.
In either case, the most populous U.S. state faces sharply reduced spending, with Schwarzenegger, a Republican, seeking deep cuts in education and health and human service programs. Additionally, 5,000 state employees will receive pink slips and the state will need to borrow $6 billion with a revenue anticipation warrant. LinkHere

"Parliament's Darkest Day" and "House of Ill Repute."

LONDON — Britain has seen its share of sex and sleaze scandals over the years, but few have tarnished all three of the country's main political parties in a single stroke.
Leaked lawmaker expenses for chandeliers, pornography, moat upkeep on country estates and other claims have enraged voters _ many of whom have lost jobs and homes during Britain's deepening recession.
Talk show lines buzzed Friday with irate callers. Web sites flashed reader comments comparing politicians to greedy bankers. And commuters clenched newspapers with such headlines as: "Parliament's Darkest Day" and "House of Ill Repute." Many politicians were being heckled during events that had been scheduled long before the leak.
"It's not just one or two rotten apples, it's the whole lot," said Randy Wallace, 41, an unemployed London electrician. "Our Parliament used to be the envy of the world. Now, it's a laughing stock." Thousands of pages of expense claims were leaked to the Daily Telegraph more than a week ago. Although around 80 of the 646 House of Commons lawmakers have been named so far, the newspaper says it will continue to roll out details as it plows through the rest of the documents. The Labour Party, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have all been damaged by the data.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI upset the schedule on his first day in Israel by leaving an interfaith meeting in Jerusalem early on Monday night after a leading Mu

Pope Benedict XVI upset the schedule on his first day in Israel by leaving an interfaith meeting in Jerusalem early on Monday night after a leading Muslim cleric called on him to condemn the "slaughter" of women and children in the recent assault on Gaza.
The pontiff walked out, a spokesman noted, because Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi’s speech was a "direct negation" of dialogue and damaged the Pope’s efforts at "promoting peace".
Before he arrived in the region, the Pope declared that he was coming as a "pilgrim of peace," with his staff accentuating that his role would be spiritual rather than political.
In truth, however, Pope Benedict’s visit was mired in politics the moment he agreed, at the invitation of Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, to step into this conflict-torn region. LinkHere

The War Machine is ravenous

The War Machine is ravenous, and it won't stop devouring our economy and our future unless we stand up and say "Enough!"
The U.S. military budget is equal to all the military expenditures of all other nations on earth combined. And yet it's never enough for the War Party, which has just succeeded in upping the amount we spend on weapons of mass destruction by 8 percent.
That's a cool $527 billion, up from $487.7 billion. That's the public number, anyway; we don't know what the real number is, since the military is secretive about what it does with our tax dollars. "National security," you know
Americans are getting kicked out of their foreclosed homes. Their jobs are disappearing. Ordinary people can't make ends meet. Yet the warlords of the Pentagon are spending millions bribing foreign warlords to support our military efforts.
In Iraq, we handed out blocks of freshly printed $100 bills. No one knows where that money went, and you can bet the U.S. government isn't looking for it too hard. In Afghanistan, where President Obama is promising to build a nation from the ground up, the bribery is taking place on an even grander scale. We are told that we've got to build schools, bridges, and hospitals in Afghanistan while our own schools, bridges, and hospitals are falling apart!
The War Machine feeds on the energy it extorts from us, and we don't have a choice about that. But you can fight back by making a tax-deductible contribution to Antiwar.com. By diverting at least some of your tax dollars to the cause of peace, you can take a stand against the empire.

Venezuela seizes US pasta company

Source: BBC News
Venezuelan officials accompanied by soldiers have seized "temporary" control of a US-owned pasta producer.
Venezuela says the plant, owned by the big US firm Cargill, had violated regulations on price controls intended to guarantee cheap food for the poor.
The move further increases President Hugo Chavez's hold on the economy, after a series of recent take-overs of private and foreign-owned businesses.
They include a Cargill rice plant, and services companies in the oil industry. LinkHere

Leaked torture photos published in 2006 went largely unseen

SHAMEFUL
A little over three years ago, SBS Dateline, an Australian television program, released leaked photographs from the U.S. prison in Iraq, Abu Ghraib.
It is believed that the pictures being held back by the Obama administration may include some of these shots that most of the US press ignored, although RAW STORYran them in 2006.
After the posting of the photos, the ACLU released the following statement exclusive to RAW STORY.
“We continue to see undeniable evidence that abuse and torture has been widespread and systematic, yet high level government officials have not been held accountable for creating the policies that led to these atrocities,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “We need to look up the chain of military command, because when the rule of law is not followed all of our personal freedoms are threatened. President Bush should appoint an independent counsel to uncover the full truth about the extent of the abuse and who is ultimately responsible.” LinkHere
New 'prisoner abuse' photographs emerge despite US bid to block
publication
Source: Telegraph UK
New 'prisoner abuse' photographs emerge despite US bid to block publication
Graphic photographs of alleged prisoner abuse, thought to be among up to 2,000 images Barack Obama is trying to prevent from being released, emerged yesterday.
By Alex Spillius in Washington
Last Updated: 10:21PM BST 14 May 2009
The shocking images of inmates in Iraq and Afghanistan were published just a day after the US president announced plans for a legal battle stop them ever being seen. LinkHere

Moral Kombat

Not A Minute Too Soon.!!!!!!

Obama to replace U.S. Attorneys
President Barack Obama plans to replace a "batch" of U.S. Attorneys in the next few weeks and more prosecutors thereafter, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.
"I expect that we’ll have an announcement in the next couple of weeks with regard to our first batch of U.S attorneys," Holder said Thursday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing which stretched out over most of the day due to breaks for members' votes. "One of the things that we didn’t want to do was to disrupt the continuity of the offices and pull people out of positions where we thought there might be a danger that that might have on the continuity--the effectiveness of the offices.But...elections matter--it is our intention to have the U.S. Attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can."
Holder's comments begin to resolve questions in the legal community about whether the new administration would hesitate to replace the chief prosecutors en masse because of the intense controversy that surrounded President George W. Bush's unusual mid-term replacement of nine U.S. attorneys in late 2006. In addition, legal sources said some Bush appointees were looking to burrow in, in part to avoid a grim economic climate for private-sector legal jobs.
However, by using terms like "elections matter," Holder seems to be signaling that Obama plans to install new leadership in most offices. LinkHere

Obama Clarifies Position On Military Commissions

The White House released a statement Friday afternoon clarifying the president's position on the use of military tribunals:

Today, the Department of Defense will be seeking additional continuances in several pending military commission proceedings. We will seek more time to allow us time to reform the military commission process. The Secretary of Defense will notify the Congress of several changes to the rules governing the commissions. The rule changes will ensure that: First, statements that have been obtained from detainees using cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation methods will no longer be admitted as evidence at trial. Second, the use of hearsay will be limited, so that the burden will no longer be on the party who objects to hearsay to disprove its reliability. Third, the accused will have greater latitude in selecting their counsel. Fourth, basic protections will be provided for those who refuse to testify. And fifth, military commission judges may establish the jurisdiction of their own courts.
These reforms will begin to restore the Commissions as a legitimate forum for prosecution, while bringing them in line with the rule of law. In addition, we will work with the Congress on additional reforms that will permit commissions to prosecute terrorists effectively and be an avenue, along with federal prosecutions in Article III courts, for administering justice. This is the best way to protect our country, while upholding our deeply held values. LinkHee

They're liars. They're cheats. They're greedy. They're untrustworthy

They cannot be trusted to come up with a health care reform plan that works for you and me. We must make them do it.
Just four days after standing next to President Obama and declaring their commitment to control health care costs to the tune of $2 trillion over 10 years, the insurance industry, drug and medical device makers, and hospital groups are backing off their promise:
Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending.
Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies' trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.
...
Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.
"There's been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members," said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association. "I've spent the better part of the last three days trying to deal with it."First, these groups are showing their true, dishonest colors. AHIP, the main insurance industry lobby group, sent out this press release from their fake grassroots campaign after the announcement:
By reducing the rate of growth in health care spending by 1.5% each year, the nation can achieve a savings of $2 trillion over the next decade. This effort will have a direct effect on the budgets of individuals and families and will also go a long way in ensuring that every American have access to affordable, high-quality health care. Stay tuned for more information on this important initiative in the weeks and months ahead.Sounds like they made a commitment, right? Well, that commitment is now pretty soft (emphasis on the softness added):
He and other health care executives said they had agreed to squeeze health spending so the annual rate of growth would eventually be 1.5 percentage points lower.
...
One of the lobbyists, Karen M. Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, said the savings would "ramp up" gradually as the growth of health spending slowed.
David H. Nexon, senior executive vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, a trade group for makers of medical devices, said "there was no specific understanding" of when the lower growth rate would be achieved.
"It's a target over a 10-year period," Mr. Nexon said.So we've gone from commitments to eventualities, targets, and non-specific understandings.
This just proves what the American people have known all along: You can't trust the insurance industry with health care reform.
Why have these commitments gone soft? It's about profits. Every dollar of health care "waste" in the system, every dollar that goes somewhere other than to your health, that's a dollar more in the pockets of a rich hospital administrator or insurance industry CEO. For health care costs to come down, somebody's profits have to come down as well. LinkHere

If you did not know that back in 2002, you where asleep at the wheel, they were going to war one way or the other, it was regime change they wanted.

Powell aide says torture helped build Iraq war case
- Finding a "smoking gun" linking Iraq and al Qaeda became the main purpose of the abusive interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002, a former State Department official told CNN on Thursday.
Dick Cheney's office ordered use of "alternative" techniques against CIA's recommendations, aide says.
The allegation was included in an online broadside aimed at former Vice President Dick Cheney by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. In it, Wilkerson wrote that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002, and then-Vice President Cheney's office kept close tabs on the questioning.
"Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda," Wilkerson wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.
Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said his accusation is based on information from current and former officials. He said he has been "relentlessly digging" since 2004, when Powell asked him to look into the scandal surrounding the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
"I couldn't walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate," he told CNN. LinkHere

Senator Says CIA Admitted Making Up Dates of Torture Briefings

The former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, says that the Central Intelligence Agency told him that they had briefed him on the Bush administration’s torture techniques on two dates he was never briefed.
What’s more, the now-retired Florida senatortold a New York radio host Thursday that the CIA admitted that they’d gotten the dates wrong. The CIA recently released a report detailing the dates that key members of Congress had been briefed about the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation program,” but acknowledged in a letter accompanying the report that they couldn’t vouch for its complete accuracy.
Graham’s pronouncement is startling in light of claims by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi contesting the accuracy of the CIA report, and may call into question the veracity of the report as a whole.
“When I asked the CIA what dates was I briefed, they gave me four dates, two in April, two in September of ‘02,” Graham said. “On three of the four occasions, when I consulted my schedule and my notes, it was clear that no briefing took place on that date, and the CIA eventually concurred in that. So their record keeping is a little bit suspect.
“I have no recollection during the briefing that I did receive on September 27 of ‘02 that the issue of waterboarding Zubaydah or other extreme interrogation techniques was discussed,” Graham added, referring to one of the Bush administration’s al Qaeda detainees. “I think I have a pretty good memory and if something as dramatic as that had been discussed at any level of specificity I would not only have remembered it but would have been motivated to do something about it.
Graham’s remarks were first reported by Marcy Wheeler at FireDogLake

Carlyle Group Admits Role In "Pay to Play" Scandal

They've got their dirty hands into every corruption.

Source: ABC News

Politically-Connected Firm Admits Payments of $13 Million to Indicted Middleman to Get New York State Business
The Carlyle Group, a giant Wall Street firm best known for its ties to former President George H.W. Bush and other prominent public officials, made more than $13 million in payments to a indicted political fixer who arranged for the firm to receive business from a New York pension fund, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo said today.
Cuomo said Carlyle had agreed to $20 million to "resolve its role" in the ongoing corruption investigation and agreed to a new code of conduct that prohibits the use of such middlemen.
Cuomo said the code would "help eliminate the conflicts of interest and corruption inherent in a system that allows people to buy access to those holding the pension fund purse-strings."
Carlyle is the latest high-profile firm to be ensnared in a nationwide probe known as the "pay for play" scandal because Wall Street firms allegedly paid politically-connected fixers to get them business from pension funds controlled by public officials. LinkHere

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When are these thugs, to be charged with war crimes, they should not be exempt just because America is the leader of the free world.


Detainee whose tortured tales were used as justification for Iraq war ‘committed suicide’ in Libyan prison
The chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell says that the Bush Administration authorized torture of detainees before even rendering a legal opinion on the practice — and that they sought to torture detainees in an effort to produce intelligence tying Iraq to al Qaeda.
“What I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002–well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion–its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida,” former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson wrote Wednesday evening.
“So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney’s office that their detainee “was compliant” (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP’s office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods,” Wilkerson added. “The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa’ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, “revealed” such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.” LinkHere

US Senate Ties Up Guantánamo Closure Funds

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US senators on Thursday were to debate a bill forbidding the use of new money to close the Guantanamo Bay prisonfor suspected terrorists to ship any detainees to the United States.
The Senate Appropriations Committee was to take up legislation granting US President Barack Obama's request for 80 million dollars to shutter the controversial facility by January 22, 2010 -- but attaching strict conditions.
Obama had requested the funding as part of an emergency measure to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through October 1, but quickly ran into tough Republican opposition and widespread Democratic unease.
The Senate bill would address those misgivings by forbidding the use of 50 million dollars to cover Defense Department expenses tied to closing the facility for bringing detainees to US soil.
None of the money could be spent until 30 days after Defense Secretary Robert Gates has provided a detailed plan for where the funds will go, according to a summary provided by a congressional source late Wednesday. LinkHere

Calling Move On, Deal with Him

Ben Nelson Tougher On Obama's Nominees Than Bush'sWhere was the principled opposition from the Senator during the Bush years?
Sen. Ben Nelson's opposition to President Obama's choice to head the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel appears to be the key obstacle to her confirmation. Democrats say Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor, has 59 backers in the Senate -- just one vote shy of cloture. Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, is standing firmly against her appointment, pointing to Johnsen's job 15 years ago as a counsel to the abortion rights group NARAL.
All of which has left Nelson's critics furious. Where was the principled opposition from the Senator during the Bush years? Why is he refusing to show Obama the same deference that he offered the previous administration?
The votes, they argue tell the story. Nelson supported cloture or confirmation for some of Bush's most controversial judges and political nominees, including several who were never able to be confirmed even under a GOP-controlled Senate. Moreover, Nelson often defended his positions by citing presidential prerogative. LinkHere

I didn't hear you bitching when your pals held the House the Senate and the White House, Go wank yourself, that's all your good for, you psycho

Just keep yapping your big mouth, and they will hold the House, Senate and the White House for the next 50 years, at least we can pray for that.
Another 2 whack jobs, soon to be gone and forgotten.

Michael Steele, Michele Bachmann Join Forces Against ACORN

Pelosi Calls For Briefing Notes To Be Released

Question is, will it be under oath?

Prosecutors to Question Rove on U.S. Attorney Firings
By Carrie JohnsonWashington Post Staff Writer Thursday, May 14, 2009; 3:09 PM
Former top White House official Karl Rove will be interviewed tomorrow as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration, according to two sources familiar with the appointment.
Rove has remained in the news as a commentator and political analyst since departing the White House. In an essay in today's Wall Street Journal, he criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), arguing that she may have misled the public about her knowledge of detainee interrogation tactics that critics assert are torture.
As a senior adviser to President George W. Bush, Rove emerged at the center of numerous policy and political debates. He will be questioned tomorrow by Connecticut prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy, who was named last year to examine whether any former senior Justice Department and White House officials lied or obstructed justice in connection with the dismissal of federal prosecutors in 2006.
Robert D. Luskin, a lawyer for Rove, declined comment this afternoon on the imminent interview. So did Tom Carson, a spokesman for Dannehy.
Dannehy mostly has operated in the shadows, quietly issuing subpoenas for documents through a federal grand jury in the District. But in recent weeks she has interviewed other former government aides, including White House political deputies Scott Jennings and Sarah Taylor. She also has reached out to representatives for former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and his chief of staff, Steve Bell, in an effort to determine whether New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias was removed for improper political reasons. LinkHere
By Haaretz Service
According to the Bureau, 5.1 million of those who call themselves Palestinians reside in Israel or the Palestinian territories. Currently, there are 5.6 million Jews living in Israel. Continue

Cheney: "Everybody's In A Giant Conspiracy" Against Us

Former Vice President Dick Cheney swung quietly through New York City Tuesday night to watch his daughter, Elizabeth, a former State Department official, argue the conservative side in a debate over American policy toward Iran, and to express his own skepticism of President Obama's promised negotiations.
"We fail to recognize the fact that we're alone out there in terms of trying to achieve the objective of forcing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons," Cheney said at a dinner following the Intelligence Squared debate, in which Elizabeth Cheney and former Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor debated former diplomat Nicholas Burns and Mideast scholar Ken Pollack on the topic of negotiations with Iran.
The former Vice President characterized the Iranian goal in negotiations on ending that country's nuclear program as mere stalling for time, and the Europeans as trying to "restrain the U.S." from military action. "Everybody's in a giant conspiracy to achieve a different objective than the one we want to achieve," Cheney said.
The negotiations are "bound to fail unless we are perceived as very credible" in threatening military action against Iran, he said.
"Most of the other nations out there are willing to live with a nuclear-armed Iran" he said, citing France, Germany and the United Kingdom in particular.
Cheney was echoing his daughter's comments during the formal debate at Rockefeller University on Manhattan's East Side. LinkHere
By Juan Cole
Out of office, he continues to push his tortured version of reality -- and his vision of an imperial presidency -- and there are signs he is succeeding. Continue

Susan Axelrod Discusses Epilepsy Fight On "Morning Joe"

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Susan Axelrod, wife of White House Senior Adviser David, went on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss her campaign to find a cure for epilepsy, born out of her daughter Lauren's struggle with the disorder.
Explaining that many marriages break up over the strain of caring for a child with epilepsy, Axelrod said, "I feel very blessed. There's no magic formula that kept us together. It just worked. I find it really hard to imagine going through this as a single parent. One of the things that's unique about epilepsy is that the need is sometimes so unpredictable and emergency -- or emergent -- so that unlike some of the disabilities where you sort of get into routine, you know what's happening, a seizure happens, everything else stops in everyone's lives." LinkHere
Axelrod previously detailed Lauren's history with epilepsy and the lack of available research on it in

Washington Times Runs Obama Girls' Photo With Story About Murdered Chicago Kids

Anyone remember the White House Correspondents Dinner? Obama Joked that in the next 100 days he would strongly consider losing his temper.
On Wednesday, a story in the Washington Times about murdered Chicago schoolchildren was inexplicably paired with a photo of President Obama's daughters. The two girls are not mentioned in the story, and aside from having at one point been schoolchildren in Chicago have no conceivable connection to it.
As Media Matters' Eric Boehlert points out:
The Obama children, of course, are not actually mentioned in the news story. But somebody at the WashTimes thought it made perfect sense to insert the image of the underage White House occupants into a story about murdered kids in Chicago.
And no, this was not an example of an unfortunate juxtaposition, where the the Obama girls photo was actually part of another, more innocuous story and because of a layout quirk simply appeared near the murdered-kids story. Instead, the Obama girls photo was specifically selected to accompany the article.
The photo was later taken down. LinkHere

Tracy Chapman - Talkin bout a revolution

By Muriel Kane
Speaking to a University of Minnesota audience in March, Hersh called JSOC "a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. ... They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. ... Congress has no oversight of it. ... It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on." Continue

"Disaster"

By Reuters
The list, obtained by Reuters, bears the endorsement of seven senior provincial and central government officials, including an Afghan two-star general who headed a task force dispatched by the government to investigate the incident. Continue
By Dan Spielberg
If you are a poor, hapless Afghan civilian whose family's bodies were ripped apart by U.S. bombs, does it really make a difference to you if the air "strikes" were ordered by the Moron from Texas, George W Bush, or the Agent of Change, Barack Obama? I would think not. Continue
“Federal prosecutors want former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to serve a much longer sentence than he originally received in a federal government corruption case, even though an appellate court has thrown out two of the charges against him,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The prosecutors have sent a letter to federal probation officers recommending that Siegelman be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison when he receives a new sentencing hearing in federal court in Montgomery. Siegelman was originally sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his 2006 conviction for bribery, obstruction of justice and other charges.
“It’s evident that this team of prosecutors are biased and hell-bent to uphold this conviction and try to punish me as much as they can,“ Siegelman said Tuesday in a telephone interview.
======
RAW STORY’s Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane have been covering the Siegelman case since the fall of 2007.

Boy are the rethugs using this dude!!! To stop Frankin from taking seat in Senate.

FBI Investigating Coleman In Minnesota
Source: Huffington Post
The FBI is investigating allegations that former Senator Norm Coleman had clothing and other items purchased on his behalf by a longtime friend and businessman Nasser Kazeminy, according to a source in Minnesota who was interviewed recently by federal agents.
E.K. Watkins, a spokesman for the Minnesota FBI, would neither confirm nor deny the report. The source provided details of the interview to the Huffington Post, in addition to copies of business cards left by the agents.
The FBI has also been conducting interviews in Texas, according to media reports, in regards to different allegations that Kazeminy tried to steer $75,000 to Coleman through his wife's employer. Up to this point, there have not been reports of any FBI work taking place in Coleman's home state.
The Minnesota source said the FBI questioning focused on whether Kazeminy had purchased clothing on Coleman's behalf, reports of which surfaced in October. At the time, Coleman vehemently denied the allegations. "Nobody but me and my wife buy my suits," he said. LinkHere
Source: wcco
Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman has asked the Federal Election Commission for permission to use his campaign funds to pay for legal bills in two lawsuits that target a top donor. In a letter to the FEC, Coleman lawyer Ben Ginsberg writes that Coleman's legal team has been forced to respond to allegations in the lawsuits, monitor litigation and deal with media inquiries.
The lawsuits target Nasser Kazeminy, a friend of Coleman's and donor to his campaign.
A former CEO at Deep Marine Technology, a company owned by Kazeminy, has alleged in a Texas lawsuit that Kazeminy funneled $75,000 to an insurance company that employed Coleman's wife, Laurie. Shareholders of Deep Marine Technology in Delaware have filed a lawsuit with nearly identical allegations. LinkHere

AP source: Obama has more than 6 people for court

Source: AP (via Yahoo)
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is considering a list of more than six contenders for the Supreme Court that is dominated by women and Hispanics, one that includes judges and leaders from own his administration who have never donned a judicial robe.
Among those under consideration are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Appeals Court judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Pamela Wood. California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno is also under review by Obama.
Sources familiar with Obama's deliberations confirmed the names to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no candidates have been revealed by the White House. The confirmation amounts to the first time any name has been directly tied to Obama.
One official cautioned that Obama is considering other people who have not been publicly mentioned. And more names may be added as the administration considers a replacement for retiring Justice David LinkHere

OBAMA to weigh Supreme Court candidates over the weekend.

Taliban warns Pakistani politicians

Taliban fighters destroyed eight Nato supply trucks at a transport terminal near Peshawar [AFP]
Source: Al Jazeera English
The Taliban in Pakistan has warned politicians from the Swat valley that they and their families will be attacked unless they quit their posts protesting against the continuing army offensive in the troubled region.
Speaking to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Muslim Khan, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman, gave members of the national and regional assemblies a three-day deadline to denounce the military assault on Taliban fighters.
The warning came hours after suspected Taliban fighters attacked Nato supply trucks at a transport terminal near the northwestern city of Peshawar, destroying eight vehicles.
Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's correspondent reporting from Pakistan, said the warning signalled a "dark turn" in the unfolding events in Swat where the Pakistani army is battling Taliban fighters. "They can make these threats and people will take them very seriously," Khan said.

US Appellate Judge(Jay Bybee) Declines To Testify On Interrogation Memos He Approved At Justice Dept

Source: Associated Press
WASHINGTON - U.S. Circuit Judge Jay Bybee has declined to give Senate testimony on the memos he approved while at the Justice Department that supported harsh interrogation methods for detainees.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced at a Senate hearing Wednesday that Bybee turned down his invitation to appear. Leahy did not provide details.
Leahy had asked Bybee to explain his views on the legality of the extreme interrogation methods and the role he played.
Bybee, a judge on the California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, headed the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel from October 2001 through March 2003. He signed off on four memos related to the policy.
During his 2003 confirmation hearing, Bybee declined to answer questions about his work in the Legal Counsel's office LinkHere

No wonder Dick Cheney is so frantic.

Excellent as always Bob Cesca


I never thought I'd ever lead off a column by quoting Jesse Ventura. Not because I don't respect him. I do. Hell, he was in Predator! But rather, I never really had a specific reason to quote him. Until today.
The following is perhaps the best elevator pitch against the Bush administration's criminal torture policy, and it cuts the heart of exactly why torture was employed:
"You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders."
For several weeks now, I've been attempting to unravel the answers to a pair of important "why?" questions, and Jesse's quote helped to crystallize some possible answers. Why did the Bush administration authorize torture when other methods were more successful? And why is Dick Cheney so desperate to exonerate himself and to skew the debate with trivialities?
The second question first.
I don't know if it's even possible for a vampiric supervillain like Cheney to experience the human emotion known commonly as desperation, but I tend to question the motives and stability of anyone who, as part of his public defense against a possible criminal investigation, shoves his daughter into the ring to absorb some of the punches intended for his own translucent-fleshed cheek. This was a guy who, when questioned about his other daughter's homosexuality, made it perfectly clear that his family was off limits. And now he's enlisted Liz Cheney as a surrogate in a bit of parental psychosis not seen since the contents of Cody and Cassidy's poopy diapers became unofficial sidekicks on Regis.
That's not to suggest Liz is doing this against her will or that she can't hold her own. She was clearly blessed with daddy's Freon chromosome.
Personally, however, I grapple with the very idea of herein mentioning that I have a daughter. It's impossible to even fathom the notion of asking her to somehow go forth and publicly defend my work. And if she were to volunteer for such an effort, I would physically block her. You know, lay down in the path of her car and the like. Yet here's Dick Cheney employing his daughter, who, until now, we never even really heard from, to defend his decision to authorize the domestically and internationally illegal act of torture.
What motivates a man to exploit his daughter like this -- and in the context of an issue possessing such serious consequences?
I believe it's the desperation of a crook who's under significant strain and duress. And as information related to his authorization of torture trickles out, the reason for his desperation becomes increasingly evident. LinkHere


Source: The Daily Beast
Cheney's Role Deepens
by Robert Windrem
Former NBC Investigative Producer Robert Windrem reports that the Vice President’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner who was suspected of knowing about a relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam.
Former NBC News Investigative Producer Robert Windrem, who covered terrorism for the network, reports exclusively in The Daily Beast that:
****Two U.S. intelligence officers confirm that Vice President Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-Al Qaeda connection.
***The former chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, in charge of interrogations, tells The Daily Beast that he considered the request reprehensible.
****Much of the information in the report of the 9/11 Commission was provided through more LinkHere

Crap, They got into power lawlessly, and they where still just as lawless when they went out of power.

The Hill flags this interesting line from Senator Lindsey Graham about the way the Bush administration viewed the rule of law. During a hearing on the interrogation of detainees, Graham said that the Bush administration did not commit any crimes, but that they "saw the law as a nicety we could not afford."
Graham also questioned the validity of the hearing itself, speculating that it was a political stunt.
LinkHere



Raymond J. Learsy, 05.13.2009
Scholar and Author of 'Over a Barrel: Breaking Oil’s Grip on Our Future'
Five days before President Obama was sworn into office, the outgoing president left him with a policy imbroglio of potentially staggering dimensions.
A Spy and a President: The Lessons of Saberi's Release for President Obama
Omid Memarian, 05.13.2009
Rotary World Peace Fellow at UC Berkeley
For Obama, who already has shown his desire to talk to Iranian leaders, there is no foreign policy lesson more helpful than that of Roxana Saberi's case of arrest and release

Specter Targeted By Labor For First Time As Democrat

For the first time since he switched political parties, Sen. Arlen Specter is being targeted in television advertisements by the progressive constituencies that could determine his primary election fate.
The pro-labor American Rights at Work released a new ad on Wednesday morning in which it lays out the case that Specter could breeze to the Democratic nomination in exchange for his vote on the Employee Free Choice Act.
"Specter usually does the right thing," the spot goes. "Two years ago he supported the Employee Free Choice Act, to help working people join together for fair pay and benefits. So now, where will Specter stand? With Obama, Biden, and the working families of Pennsylvania... Or with greedy CEOs, and Big Business lobbyists? Call and tell Specter Pennsylvania's for him.....As long as he's for the Employee Free Choice Act." LinkHere

Credit Card Charges Reveal Madoff Firm Was Family's Piggy Bank

NEW YORK — The credit card bill is a 30-page study in conspicuous consumption.
A quick scan shows a restaurant charge of more than $2,800, $2,000 in spending at a Parisian boutique and $441 at a gourmet bagel shop. There was $8,400 for one night at a hotel in Santa Monica and another $5,000 at the Montauk Yacht Club. The total amount due: more than $100,000.
Eye-popping numbers aside, the American Express statement from January 2008 has taken on broader meaning because of the notorious name on the corporate account: Bernard L. Madoff.
And the vast majority of the charges aren't even his; they belong to his family and associates.
The bill is among a pile of exhibits filed recently in a Manhattan bankruptcy court by Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee who is dissecting Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme. Lawyers for the trustee claim in accompanying court papers that the credit card statement and other records prove Madoff's family used his clients' money to pay for homes, travel, fancy meals and other personal expenses. LinkHere

Arizona State Univ. Denies President Obama Honorary Degree

Obama Teases ASU: Get Ready For An IRS Audit

{Part 1} President Speaks @ Arizona State University Commencement

{Part 2} President Speaks @ Arizona State University Commencement

{Part 3} President Speaks @ Arizona State University Commencement
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