Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama, Bush, Torturous Legacy, Gaza No End In Sight, And Some Thoughts For Those Who Could Not Get Past Last Night’s Post Because It Is Their...

Obama, Bush, Torturous Legacy, Gaza No End In Sight, And Some Thoughts For Those Who Could Not Get Past Last Night’s Post Because It Is Their God Given Right To Judge Others And Bring Them To Their Lord!



Obama Signals His Reluctance to Look Into Bush Policies


Barack Obama indicated that he was unlikely to authorize a broad inquiry into Bush administration programs like domestic eavesdropping.


WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama signaled in an interview broadcast Sunday that he was unlikely to authorize a broad inquiry into Bush administration programs like domestic eavesdropping or the treatment of terrorism suspects.


But Mr. Obama also said prosecutions would proceed if the Justice Department found evidence that laws had been broken.


As a candidate, Mr. Obama broadly condemned some counterterrorism tactics of the Bush administration and its claim that the measures were justified under executive powers. But his administration will face competing demands: pressure from liberals who want wide-ranging criminal investigations, and the need to establish trust among the country’s intelligence agencies. At the Central Intelligence Agency, in particular, many officers flatly oppose any further review and may protest the prospect of a broad inquiry into their past conduct.


In the clearest indication so far of his thinking on the issue, Mr. Obama said on the ABC News program “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” that there should be prosecutions if “somebody has blatantly broken the law” but that his legal team was still evaluating interrogation and detention issues and would examine “past practices.”


Mr. Obama added that he also had “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”


Obama Thinking About Investigating Bush Administration?
By Satyam Khanna, Think Progress
Obama on appointing special prosecutor to investigate Bush's crimes: "We need to look forward." Read more »


Get Out of Jail Free, If the White House Says So
Georgetown University The Hoya - Washington,DC,USA
Bush, however, took flak for commuting the 30-month prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby — Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff — who ...


On Not Taking The Kristol Bait
Atlantic Online - USA
Take this nugget of agitprop, when Kristol spins Obama's acknowledgment that until he is fully versed in what the Bush-Cheney administration actually did, ...


Camus Cafe Political Coffee House: Report Names 30 Bush Officials ...
By Ed. Dickau 
Cheney didn’t see the financial crisis coming like he couldn’t believe there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The ONLY REAL reason Dick did not see it coming was because that would be like admitting the Bush Administration . ...
Camus Cafe Political Coffee House -

Who Killed The Peace Process?

In this second part to The Real News' interview with Jesse Rissin Rosenfeld, freelance journalist in Israel and the West Bank, the process of peace-talks is discussed. Rosenfeld says that a "simmering intolerance" for the Palestinian Authority has contributed to anger at the Israeli attack on Gaza and may pave the road for a new intifadah. The PA has been engaged in the "peace process" with Israel and its security forces have been aiding the Israeli attempt at stopping Palestinian resistance to the occupation and the attack on Gaza. A resurgence in protests and riots in the West Bank is therefore seen as a revolt against both Israel and the PA. Rosenfeld says this will mean either a defeat for Mahmoud Abbas in the upcoming elections, or a popular revolt, akin to a third Intifadah.


The Mark Weaver Show  Terrorist attack on Gaza. Guest Chris Toensing, editor of Middle East Report. NOTE: server problems with two disruptions but show goes three hours. Drag slider through two interuptions, one of ten+ minutes.


Civilian casualties escalate in Gaza

Guardian: Wounded Palestinians pour into overrun hospitals on the 10th day of Israel's offensive


Battered by Israel, Hamas faces tough choice

By Jeffrey Fleishman and Rushdi Abu Alouf

The militant group appears ready to continue fighting, but for how long and at what cost? And can it accept a cease-fire without winning concessions, such as the end of the 18-month blockade?


Israeli offensive presses into Gaza City

By Richard Boudreaux and Rushdi Abu Alouf

In the heaviest fighting since the invasion began, troops and tanks hit the city from three directions. Gaza City is shaken by shelling and helicopter missile fire.


Israel warns Gaza residents of 'new phase' of offensive

By Richard Boudreaux and Rushdi Abu Alouf

A senior Hamas commander and seven members of a Palestinian family are killed. Rocket fire wounds three in Israel.


The New York TimesWashington Postand the Wall Street Journal's world-wide newsbox lead with news that Israeli soldiers pushed into heavily populated areas of Gaza City Sunday morning. After some heavy fighting with Hamas militants, the Israeli troops pulled back. Everyone says this could have been a trial run for a stronger push into Gaza's urban areas, or it could just be a tactic to apply pressure on Hamas to accept a cease-fire agreement. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that while "Israel is getting close to achieving the goals it set" inGaza, "patience, determination, and effort are still needed."


The LAT declares that the fighting that took place between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters yesterday "was the heaviest since Israel attacked the Palestinian enclave Dec. 27." The short-lived push into Gaza's urban areas could mark the beginning of a new phase in the conflict, something Israeli officials hinted at when they announced that the military had been sending reserve units into Gaza since Thursday. Thousands of reservists have been summoned and put though a training course on urban combat,notes the WSJ. Early morning wire stories report that Israel bombed the homes of Hamas leaders today as its ground troops continued to move closer to Gaza City's urban center.

The NYT points out that the diplomats believe the next 48 hours "would be crucial" in deciding whether a cease-fire could be reached. The WP and NYT point out that Israeli media are reporting there is disagreement between Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak about how the war should end. Meanwhile, Israeli military officials are growing impatient and want the country's leaders to decide what the next step should be. The WSJ and NYT point out that every day the Israeli troops remain in their current positions outside urban areas, they become more vulnerable to attacks.

The NYT notes that Israeli officials were "all pushing a concerted message" that Hamas leaders are looking to reach a cease-fire. But these claims are dubious at best. In a front-page piece, the LAT says that two weeks after the Israeli incursion began, most think Hamas is "battered but defiant." As the Palestinian death toll quickly approaches 900, many think Hamas can't accept a cease-fire that merely maintains the status quo. If it doesn't gain any concessions from Israel, Hamas is likely to come under intense criticism that all the death and destruction were for nothing. At the same time, letting the conflict drag on for too long could turn more Gazans against Hamas.

In a front-page analysis, the NYT says that officials in Egypt and Jordan are worried that the Gaza incursion could bring an end to the dream of a two-state solution, in which Israel and an independent Palestinian state can live side by side. Egyptian and Jordanian officials fear that they will be forced to open their borders to Palestinians and could become the mediators between Palestinians and Israel. Egypt and Jordan have come under intense criticism from Iran and Syria, as well as countless of citizens in the Arab world, for failing to stand up for the Gazans. Behind the scenes, there's a long-standing power play in the region over influence in the Muslim world that has been accelerated due to the ongoing conflict.


Gaza Update: Israel Says No to Restraint
By Siun, Firedoglake
Israeli bombs hit across the Gaza border in Egypt hurting two policemen and two children. There is talk of more injured. Read more »


Bush: I Personally Authorized Torture
By Staff, Think Progress
In an interview that aired today on Fox News Sunday, Bush admitted that he personally authorized the torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Read more »


news that you may have missed: Bush says torture still necessary
President-elect Barack Obama rejects the
 Bush administration's equivocations about waterboarding, however. "Vice President Cheney, I think, continues to defend what he calls extraordinary measures or procedures when it comes to ...
news that you may have missed -


WASHINGTON – In a nostalgic final news conference, President George W. Bush defended his record vigorously and at times sentimentally Monday — and admitted mistakes, too, including his optimistic Iraq speech before a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner in 2003.

After starting what he called "the ultimate exit interview" with a lengthy and personalized thank-you to the reporters in the room who have covered him over the eight years of his presidency, Bush showed anger at times when presented with some of the main criticisms of his time in office.

He particularly became indignant when asked about America's bruised image overseas.

"I disagree with this assessment that, you know, that people view America in a dim light," he said.

Bush said he realizes that some issues such as the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have created controversy at home and around the world. But he defended his actions after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including approving tough interrogation methods for suspected terrorists and information-gathering efforts at home in the name of protecting the country.

With the Iraq war in its sixth year, he most aggressively defended his decisions on that issue, which will define his presidency like no other. There have been over 4,000 U.S. deaths since the invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

He said that "not finding weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment." The accusation that Saddam had and was pursuing weapons of mass destruction was Bush's main initial justification for going to war.

Bush admitted another miscalculation: Eager to report quick progress after U.S. troops ousted Saddam's government, he claimed less than two months after the war started that "in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed," a claim made under a "Mission Accomplished" banner that turned out to be wildly optimistic. "Clearly, putting `Mission Accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake," he said Monday.

He also defended his decision in 2007 to send an additional 30,000 American troops to Iraq to knock down violence levels and stabilize life there.

"The question is, in the long run, will this democracy survive, and that's going to be a question for future presidents," he said.

On another issue destined to figure prominently in his legacy, Bush said he disagrees with those who say thefederal response to Hurricane Katrina was slow.

"Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there were 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed. ... Could things been done better? Absolutely. But when I hear people say the federal response was slow, what are they going to say to those chopper drivers or the 30,000 who got pulled off the roof?" he said.

He called President-elect Barack Obama "a smart, engaging person" and said he wishes his successor all the best. He hinted at the enormous responsibility Obama is about to assume, describing what it might feel like on Jan. 20 when, after taking the oath of office, he enters the Oval Office for the first time as president.

"There'll be a moment when the responsibility of the president lands squarely on his shoulders," Bush said.

He gave his view of the most urgent priority facing the incoming president: an attack on the United States. He chose that risk over the dire economic problems now facing the nation.

"I wish that I could report that's not the case, but there's still an enemy out there that would like to inflict damage on America — on Americans."

He said he would ask Congress to release the remaining $350 billion in Wall Street bailout money if Obama so desires. But, he said, Obama hasn't made that request of him yet.

If Bush should make the request of Congress, it would take the burden off Obama's shoulders involving a program that is extraordinarily unpopular with many lawmakers and much of the public.

But, said Bush, "He hasn't asked me to make the request yet and I don't intend to make the request unless he asks me."

The last time the president had taken questions from reporters in a public setting was Dec. 14 in Baghdad, a session that hurtled to the top of the news when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw his shoes at Bush during a question-and-answer session with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Bush's last full-blown, formal news conference was July 15. He refused to hold another during the final months of last year's presidential campaign, concerned that the questions would be mostly related to political events and wanting to stay out of GOP nominee John McCain's spotlight. But even though aides had suggested that would change after the election, Bush still declined to participate in a wide-ranging question-and-answer session until now, just eight days before leaving office.

He has been granting a flurry of legacy-focused interviews as he seeks to shape the view of his presidency on his way out the door.


Bush's legacy is partly his father's

By Jill Zuckman

The 43rd president went into office determined to do things differently from the 41st. But he'll be judged by the same standard.



Chrysler (again) works to design itself a miracle

By Dan Neil

The company has a long history of pulling itself out of deep trouble. This time, it's counting on electric cars to save it. The public will get a good look at Chrysler's electric-car plans today when it reveals two new "production-intent" vehicles at Detroit's North American International Auto Show: a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Patriot compact utility, and a pure electric vehicle, called the Circuit, based on the British sports car Lotus Europa


Charles Morgan Jr. dies at 78; lawyer challenged racism in the South

By Patricia Sullivan

Charles Morgan Jr., a civil rights lawyer who challenged the racism of his native South and won numerous landmark cases for equal rights before the U.S. Supreme Court, died Thursday at his home in Destin, Fla. He was 78 and had Alzheimer's disease.


Sen. George Voinovich, a fiscal conservative, may get behind ...
Even if he decides not to seek re-
election, he has two years left in his term. Meantime the number of Senate GOP moderates willing to cross party lines has grown smaller. Since Democrats still need a few votes from Senate Republicans to ...
Openers - -


Voinovich Won't Seek Third Term

COLUMBUS, Ohio — U.S. Sen. George Voinovich announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2010.

"After prayerful consideration and much thought, my wife Janet and I have decided that I will not seek a third term in the United States Senate," Voinovich said in a statement.

Voinovich, 72, entered the U.S. Senate in 1999 after serving eight years as Ohio's governor. For much of the 1980s, he was mayor of Cleveland. In both jobs he was credited with overseeing an improving economy under strict budgets.

Impact Of Voinovich Retirement


Ohio’s Voinovich Fourth GOP Senator To Announce Retirement Plans

Behind the lines with the Taliban

By Paul Watson

A Times writer joins Taliban fighters in an especially dangerous part of Afghanistan. The men appear to have no fear of troops, and prove to be gracious hosts.


Financial scoundrels have little to fear from the law

By Michael Hiltzik

If experience is any guide, the titans behind the system's meltdown, and the regulators who watched it take shape, won't pay for their irresponsibility.


The cost of nuclear security

By Stephen I. Schwartz and Deepti Choubey

It may come as a surprise that the U.S. spends much more on its arsenal than it does on minimizing risk or planning for the consequences of an attack.


Richard Dawkins on board with a pro-atheist message

By Henry Chu

'The God Delusion's' author, a backer of a British Humanist Assn. bus ad campaign, talks about the collision of science and religion.


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