Open Thread

Never Again

It’s almost here. And it’s almost over. The New Dawn to replace the Interminable Darkness. Barack Obama- the holder of our hopes and vision for a better world is about to replace the Greatest Embarrassment that democracy has ever dealt up: the devastatingly moronic George W. Bush – twice elected and twice given the power to wreak untold havoc on this small planet of ours.

Never Again.

Never Again must we allow the politics of inertia to lull us into a stupor or sense of helplessness that has allowed the violations of all the tenets of justice and freedom that the so-called Developed World have the responsibility both to uphold and to encourage those with less resources and fewer opportunities.

Never Again must we stand by and allow our leaders to take us into the darkness that has led to the death of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of innocents through war, environmental assault, and sheer indifference and neglect.

And Never Again must we allow ourselves to become so culpable in the loss of what we are so privileged to have in our lives – freedom, the right to choose our government, and the responsibility to do so wisely and with a broad vision for all.

Welcome Obama – we are watching you with bated breath, and we will stand beside you when you falter if we know that you are at times understandably overwhelmed by the enormity of what you face, but that you are continuing to try and face the immeasurable responsibility you have been handed.

And George Bush… may you rot in hell.
You should have had the decency to just admit that you were never up to the task.

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239 replies on “Never Again”

White supremacists watched in lead up to Obama administration.

1. Racists angry, frustrated over prospect of black president, experts say 😆
2. No organized effort to oppose Obama known to exist, law enforcers say
3. Racist talk is protected; harmful acts are not, FBI official says
4. Demographic, historical factors stoke bigotry, racist watchdog group official says.

Hate crimes experts and law enforcement officials are closely watching white supremacists across the country as Barack Obama prepares next week to be sworn in as the first black president of the United States.
So far, there is no known organized effort to express opposition to Obama’s rise to the presidency other than a call by the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for its members to wear black armbands as well as fly the U.S. flag upside down on Inauguration Day and Obama’s first full day in office.

As Tuesday approaches, when Obama stands outside the Capitol to take the oath of office, experts expect anger about the new president to spike. But they don’t expect it to go away.

“The level of vitriol, I expect, will go up a bit more around inauguration time,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

continued on CNN

ABC News.

Hopping on the Obama Train.

The Obamas and Bidens Will Make a Symbolic Journey by Train From Philadelphia to Washington.

The incoming president and vice president of the United States won’t be arriving at the nation’s capital in a private jet or fancy limousine.
President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden have chosen a more traditional form of transportation — the train.

The Obama and Biden families will kick off inaugural festivities Saturday with a train ride from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., reflecting past presidents’ journey to the White House.

Although the Obamas moved to Washington shortly after spending their Christmas holidays in Hawaii, they are traveling with the Biden family and “everyday Americans” by train in the “whistle-stop tour” that resonates the Lincoln aura.

continued on ABC News

BBC News
This Richard Cranium
gave the issue a much bigger coverage than it would have ever got. Thanks for the free publicity.

Man refuses to drive ‘No God’ bus.

A Christian bus driver has refused to drive a bus with an atheist slogan proclaiming “There’s probably no God”.

Ron Heather, from Southampton, Hampshire, responded with “shock” and “horror” at the message and walked out of his shift on Saturday in protest.

First Bus said it would do everything in its power to ensure Mr Heather does not have to drive the buses.

Buses across Britain started displaying atheist messages in an advertising campaign launched earlier this month.

Mr Heather told BBC Radio Solent: “I was just about to board and there it was staring me in the face, my first reaction was shock horror.

“I felt that I could not drive that bus, I told my managers and they said they haven’t got another one and I thought I better go home, so I did.
“I think it was the starkness of this advert which implied there was no God.”

continued on BBC News.

Tiger Woods set to speak at Obama event.

Tiger Woods will speak at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration event in Washington DC on Sunday.

“We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” is the first of several events in the run-up to the ceremony on Tuesday.

Woods became the first African-American to win a major at the 1997 US Masters.

The 33-year-old clinched his 14th major victory at the US Open in June but has been not played since after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery.

“I am honoured that I was invited to this historic event and look forward to participating in Sunday’s festivities,” said Woods, the world number one.

continued on BBC Sport

Some people have done the hard yards and earned their stripes the hard way.
So when they speak, their words carry some real weight.
Hence, I’ll always pay attention when Robert Fisk speaks.

Robert Fisk’s World: When it comes to Gaza, leave the Second World War out of it

How do Holocaust survivors in Israel feel about being called Nazis?
Exaggeration always gets my goat. I started to hate it back in the 1970s when the Provisional IRA claimed that Long Kesh internment camp was “worse than Belsen”. It wasn’t as if there was anything nice about Long Kesh – or the Maze prison as it was later politely dubbed – but it simply wasn’t as bad as Belsen. And now we’re off again. Passing through Paris this week, I found pro-Palestinian demonstrators carrying signs which read “Gaza, it’s Guernica” and “Gaza-sur-Glane”.

Guernica, as we all know, was the Basque city razed by the Luftwaffe in 1937 and Oradour-sur-Glane the French village whose occupants were murdered by the SS in 1944. Israel’s savagery in Gaza has also been compared to a “genocide” and – of course – a “holocaust”. The French Union of Islamic Organisations called it “a genocide without precedent” – which does take the biscuit when even the Pope’s “minister for peace and justice” has compared Gaza to “a big concentration camp”……………more.

jen….. Hmm…….I get the feeling that Jean’s not too fond of Dubya.

It’s good to know we’re not alone. 😆

well paddy – try to imagine what the 88% of Americans that say they disapprove of him means in actual numbers and add on the rest of the world – minus Laura, and she’s just being loyal – and my guess is somewhere around 8 billion or so.
Imagine being that hated – fortumately he can’t count so he’ll never probably never work it out. Fucking Imbecile.

Sage words from Uncle Keith, paddy. He is a professional who has earned respect the hard way and in this matter of exaggerated responses over Israel’s bombing of Gaza he is, strictly speaking, correct. I do plead guilty to the hyperbole of comparing the bombing of Guernica with the bombing of Gaza on this blog a couple of weeks ago. By way of mitigation, my comments were a response of passion, propelled by the needless slaughter of innocents including hundreds of children, an event that undeniably occurred on both “turkey shoot” occasions.


jen sez:

It’s almost here. And it’s almost over.

Chris B sez:

January 17th, 2009 at 4:03 pm
Not long to go kids. We’re nearly there.

Somehow this song seems to fit the wait.

If you haven’t watched Jon Stewart’s astonishment at Bush’s final press conference, then treat yourself:

…but warning, Bush is at his most vomit inducing best. It is utterly amazing that this buffoon, this sad little narcissistic piece of shit ever got hold of ANY public office, let alone POTUS.

I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry….really.

The Americans wonder why we get really pissed off with them.

Americanization of real historical events

The first capture of a Naval Enigma machine and associated cipher keys from a U-boat was made on May 9th, 1941 by HMS Bulldog of the British Royal Navy, commanded by Captain Joe Baker-Cresswell. The U-boat was U-110 and the material was critical for breaking Naval Enigma. (This first enigma machine was captured before America entered the war following the Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.)

There were some 15 captures of Naval Enigma material during World War II, all but two by the British. The Canadians captured U-774; the U.S. Navy seized U-505 in June 1944. By this time the Allies were reading Naval Enigma routinely.

The film caused irritation and anger in Britain. At Prime Minister’s Questions, Tony Blair agreed with questioner Brian Jenkins MP that the film was “an affront” to British sailors. In response to a letter from Paul Truswell, MP for the Pudsey constituency (which includes Horsforth, a town proud of its connection with HMS Bulldog), U.S. president Bill Clinton wrote assuring that the film’s plot was only a work of fiction. A written acknowledgement does appear on-screen that the Royal Navy captured the first, and subsequently the vast majority, of the Enigma devices.

David Balme, the British Naval officer who led the boarding party aboard the U-110, expressed positive feedback about the U-571, calling it “a great film” and arguing that the movie would not have been financially viable without being Americanised. The film’s producers ignored his request for a message making it clear that the film was a work of fiction, but they did agree to include a message at the film’s end mentioning the Royal Navy’s role in the capture of U-110.

In 2006, screenwriter David Ayer admitted that U-571 distorted history and stated that he would not do it again. Ayer told BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme that he “did not feel good” about suggesting Americans captured the Naval Enigma cipher rather than the British:
“ It was a distortion…a mercenary decision…to create this parallel history in order to drive the movie for an American audience. Both my grandparents were officers in World War II, and I would be personally offended if somebody distorted their achievements.

full story on Wikipedia
Having seen it after avoiding it because of the controversy. I sat and watched it with a friend. Absolute crap. Bad acting, inaccurate and using an ex US coastguard vessel as a German warship. Absolute crap.

If you compare that with the Enigma directed by the one and only Mick Jagger. They don’t compare. Sure the Enigma does have some criticism. But its not blatant lies like U-571.

Gone, not forgotten: Dems go after Bush. 😈

For the last eight years, Democrats have been counting the days until George W. Bush leaves the White House.

Now some of them can’t seem to let him go.

On Friday, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) distributed a video showing “how the policies of the Bush Administration have failed the nation and continue to affect our ability to confront the current economic crisis.”

Earlier in the week, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr., (D-Mich.) released a 486-page report documenting a litany of alleged abuses by Bush and members of his administration.

And when House Democrats approved their biennial rules package last week, they included a provision allowing the Judiciary Committee to continue its pursuit of documents and testimony from Bush’s chief of staff and former White House counsel.

This right-up-to-the-end Bush-bashing is part reflex and part coordinated message.

With Bush in office, some Democrats have defined themselves by their opposition to a man they long viewed as a less-than-legitimate president.

And with Bush leaving – and a Democrat taking his place – Democrats want voters to remember that the nation’s economy crumbled when the Republicans held the White House.

Hmmm. I wonder if Kevin has an inside info on some of these documents.

continued on Politico

Man Accused Of Threatening To Kill Obama.

A Wisconsin man named Steven Joseph Christopher has been arrested for threatening to kill President-elect Barack Obama on the Internet.

Christopher, who was arrested by the Secret Service in Mississippi, has been charged with threatening to kill Mr. Obama for “the country’s own good,” according to prosecutors.

The 42-year-old Christopher reportedly made the threats on Jan. 11, 15, and 16 in a chat forum on the site He is being held until a bail hearing scheduled for next Thursday.

Anyone caught giving Obama a cold will be arrested. Tried, sent to Texas and executed.

continued on CBS News

Egyptian President Calls for Immediate Gaza Cease-Fire
According to this report there is a vote by the Israel’s Security Council scheduled for this evening (Israel time) which should have happened already, or at least should happen with a few hours. Egypt is calling for an unconditional ceasefire, however, my understanding is the Israel is pushing for a ceasefire that maintains Israeli troops on the ground in Gaza (a.k.a. an occupation).

Israel declares ceasefire in Gaza

Israel is to halt its three-week military offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said. Mr Olmert said a unilateral Israeli ceasefire would take effect from 0200 (2400 GMT).

Hamas to fight until Israeli army leave Gaza

GAZA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) announced Saturday night that Hamas will fight until all Israeli troops leave Gaza.

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said in a recorded speech aired on Hamas-run television in Gaza that “We would never accept the presence of any Israeli soldier on the land of Gaza whatever the price is.”

NYT: Israel Declares Cease Fire; Hamas Says It Will Fight On

AFP: Israel readies post-war battle for public opinion

Basically this is not so much a ceasefire as an Israeli notice of cessation of hostilities. Israel intends to maintain troops on the ground in Gaza which is a deal breaker for Hamas.

The Telegraph.
Bruce Springsteen: George W Bush ruined lives.

Bruce Springsteen has launched an outspoken attack on the Bush administration, accusing the outgoing president of leaving a legacy of ruined lives and broken policies.
The Born to Run singer said that the US was now “suffering the consequences” of eight years of rule by a “very radical group of people” who had attempted to undermine the country’s democratic values.

Describing President Bush’s period in power as a “nightmare” for most Americans, the songwriter said: “We had a historically blind administration who didn’t take consideration of the past; thousands of thousands of people died, lives were ruined and terrible, terrible things occurred because there was no sense of real history, no sense that the past is living and real.”

In a rare interview, Springsteen said that President-Elect Barack Obama’s election represented the triumph of the values and spirit he had attempted to capture in his music.

“His election was an incredible moment for someone who seemed to carry… enormous parts of American history with him. Someone who can reckon with the past, who can live with the past in the present, and move towards the future – that’s fabulous,” he told Observer Music Monthly, in an article to be published on Sunday.

“And for the country to recognise that was a wonderful moment. This place we’ve been talking about, singing about … it’s alive. It isn’t dead. It exists.”

continued in the Telegraph.

Obama arrives.

WASHINGTON D.C. Barack Obama on Saturday completed the journey his hero Abraham Lincoln once made, traveling from the birthplace of the nation to its seat of power, to prepare for a swearing-in now barely three days away.

Obama’s train arrived in Washington about 6:30 p.m., completing a whistle-stop tour that started in Philadelphia, and passed through Wilmington, Del., to pick up Vice President –elect Joe Biden. Along the way, thousands of well-wishers braved freezing temperatures to greet him – some with tears, some with boisterous cheers, and some with a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” for his wife, Michelle, who turned 45 today.

Earlier in Baltimore, Obama ad-libbed a line — “I will make some mistakes” – into his speech as he addressed 40,000 people here at the last public event of an emotional and bitterly cold day.

“We recognize that such enormous challenges as the ones we face now will not be solved quickly. There will be false starts, there will be setbacks, there will be frustrations and disappointments,” Obama said. “I will make some mistakes. But we will be called to show patience even as we act with fierce urgency.”

continued on Politico.

ABC Online.
British PM slams banks for hiding debts.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has chided banks for failing to own up to their bad debts, after shares in two major British banks dropped dramatically.

In an interview with The Financial Times, Mr Brown reprimanded British banks, telling them they must declare and write off their bad debts as soon as possible to allow confidence to return to the financial markets.

continued in ABC Online.

The Hill.
Net neutrality rules in stimulus trigger backlash.

Open Internet access rules added to the stimulus package threaten the tentative partnership between technology and telecom companies, which have coalesced behind the bill’s $6 billion funding for broadband access.

Conditions inserted into draft legislation released by the House Appropriations Committee state that companies applying for broadband grants must adhere to a 2005 policy statement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that says consumers should access the Internet with no controls placed on their web traffic or content. In addition, another provision calls upon the FCC to define what “open access” to the Internet is within 45 days after the stimulus bill has become law.

However, the authority granted to the FCC by the policy statement has already been challenged in federal appeals court by cable provider Comcast. The company was penalized by the commission when it found that Comcast was restricting certain web applications used by its customers. There are also concerns over what type of new restrictions could be established for Internet providers after a new FCC definition of open access is put in place.

continued on The Hill

# 128. The Republicans and some technology companies have been trying to introduce a discriminatory form of Internet. In simple terms a better Internet for the rich. Comcast was restricting some services/members, particularly file sharing. Video usage would be effected as well. They are taking the matter to court.
Obama has effectively campaigned for equal access for everyone. The Democrats have set down conditions to enforce this with their grants. 😈

Mayors push for stimulus money.

Mayors from around the country voiced cautious optimism Saturday in the initial draft of new stimulus legislation, hoping that Congress will provide billions in aid directly to the nation’s metropolitan areas.

“The broad outline of the stimulus package is very responsive to what we’ve been advocating,” said Martin Chavez (D), mayor of Albuquerque. “A lot of [the package] is going to go directly to metropolitan areas.”

continued on The Hill

The Hill.
Obama organizing campaign volunteers.

President-elect Obama is organizing volunteers from his campaign — through the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — to help him build support for his presidential agenda.

In a video address to his supporters, Obama said he “will need the help of all Americans to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

It’s interesting how the Republicans poked fun at Obamas community research background. This is going to come back and haunt them. 😈

continued on The Hill

Obama Takes Train Ride To History.

Barack Obama arrived in Washington at the end of a whistle-stop train trip along the frigid mid-Atlantic seaboard that tracked Abraham Lincoln’s historic route and brought the president-elect a step closer to inauguration.

Celebratory crowds braved subfreezing weather to salute Obama along his journey from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.

He will take the oath of office in three days, succeeding President George W. Bush.

At the start, Obama promised to bring the country “a new Declaration of Independence” – free from small thinking, prejudice and bigotry.

The trip included a stop in Delaware to pick up Vice President-elect Joe Biden and a stop in Baltimore for a speech in which he pleaded “let us seek together a better life in our time.”

“It’s not every day you get to do your daily commute with the next president of the United States,” said Biden, who commuted to Washington by train for 36 years. He added, “Folks this is more than an ordinary train ride. This is a new beginning.”

continued on CBS News

Oh dear! What a shame. 😈

The 111th Congress has barely begun and four Republican senators already have one foot out the door, complicating their party’s chances of regaining lost ground in two years.
Not even waiting for Barack Obama to take the oath of office, Senators Mel Martinez of Florida, George Voinovich of Ohio, Kit Bond of Missouri and Sam Brownback of Kansas have announced they will not run for re-election in 2010. Others party retirements are possible and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas is readying a run for governor back home.

It is a rough start for Senate Republicans who will watch wistfully as the White House joins Congress under Democratic control at midday Tuesday. Democrats are on the verge of having a 59-seat majority, depending on a legal challenge in Minnesota, and Republicans will again have more seats than Democrats to defend in the November 2010 elections. It seems a distant memory that Republicans held 55 Senate seats heading into the 2006 campaign.

you may need to be registered.
contiued in The New York Times

I am trying to watch the Jon Stewart link from Kirri but it won’t download and it’s driving me crazy!!! 😡

ABC: Hamas must respect ceasefire, says Smith

The Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, has welcomed Israel’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, three weeks after launching a full-scale offensive against Hamas. But Mr Smith says Hamas must respect the ceasefire if durable peace is to be achieved in the Middle East.

“We welcome very much the announcement this morning of a unilateral ceasefire by Israel,” he said.

“We urge Hamas to reciprocate and we continue to urge the practical implementation of Security Council Resolution 1860 to bring about a durable and fully respected ceasefire.”

Mr Smith says the ceasefire “has to include Hamas ceasing its firing of rockets into Israel”.

“It has to include a cessation of the arms and the smuggling into the Gaza [Strip] for use by Hamas,” he added.

Mr Smith says the prospect of long-term peace in the Middle East rests with a “two-nation state solution”.

Steven Smith – have you taken into consideration the fact that the Israel Army still occupies Gaza? Have you taken into account that the Israelis continue settlement development in Palestinian territories. Steven Smith – grow a pair of balls and call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlements and give the Palestinian state a chance to stand on their own two feet.

exactly Cat. A ‘ceasefire’ where you can still occupy tha land and shoot at the people at will is um,… bullshit.

Wall Street Journal
Obama to Tap Grassroots Network to Push Initiatives.

The millions-strong grassroots volunteer army that helped Barack Obama as a candidate began receiving details Saturday morning on how it might help him as president.

The president-elect said the Democratic National Committee, under Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, will coordinate the activities of the organization, which includes more than 13 million email addresses collected mostly during the campaign.

“You’ve built the largest grass-roots movement in history and shaped the future of this country,” President-elect Obama said Saturday morning in a video message. “And the movement you’ve built is too important to stop growing now.”

Placing the organization, now called Organizing for America, under the wing of the DNC could cause discomfort for some participants, who joined as supporters of Mr. Obama but are not Democrats. Some also wonder how the organization’s considerable clout might be used on the state and local level, and how politicians, of both parties, will reckon with it.

Democratic members of Congress dissenting on key legislation backed by the White House, for example, could find themselves deluged by angry email, online video and text messages by members of the group from their districts. The group could also play a role in helping like-minded candidates get elected to local office.

The Wall Street Journal

Olmert on the ceasefire..

“We have reached all the goals of the war, and beyond,” Mr Olmert said in a speech after the vote.

that would be – murdering innocent children , terrifying a civilian population, decimating the infrastructures of whole comunities, engendering more hatred from the Arab world for Israel and her suposed supporters (ie -us), and further destabilising the middle east.
Well done fellas.

Not sure which browser you’re using, but sometimes Firefox has trouble with Jon Stewart’s site here.
Have you tried using IE on that link?
Channel 10 are broadcasting the “global edition” (whatever that means) of the Daily show tonight at 10.50pm.

Cat. Wouldn’t it be a welcome change……If just for *ONCE*, an Australian foreign minister made a statement on the mid-east, that didn’t sound like it was written by the Jewish board of deputies.

I mean, we’ve just spent the last 3 weeks reading about and watching on the TV and the net, as the Israelis have clearly engaged in a bloody slaughter in Gaza.
It’s been both sickening and enraging, listening to the Orwellian nonsense coming from the Israeli spin doctors.
After enduring 12 years of Howard’s arselicking, It would be really refreshing for *our* govt to show a bit of spine for a change. 🙁

141 Enemy Combatant Thanks for the Woodpile Whisperer. I didn’t have that one of it. I have shots of it in a museum. I’m a train watcher too. 😈

Chris B
Well channel 9 might have the longest coverage of the inauguration.
11.00pm- 5.30am
But the thought of being subjected to the combined talents of Karl Stefanovic and Robert Penfold for 6 1/2 hrs. makes waterboarding sound positively enjoyable. 👿

I think I’d rather have my toenails pulled by Joe the plumber and Sean Hanity than listen to those two wankers.!!!

No doubt there’ll be lots of (cheap programming) filler from the US networks about how we got to this “historic” moment.
Hmm………Sounds like a good drinking game. A glass of your favourite tipple, every time they say *historic*. 🙂
I’ll be drunk by midnight!!!

I have a USB digital receiver I can plug into my computer. Tomorrow, I will set it up to get ABC2. I have heard that they will have an extended telecast. Although it does not show up in the program.

The New York Times.
Poll Finds Faith in Obama, Mixed With Patience.

President-elect Barack Obama is riding a powerful wave of optimism into the White House, with Americans confident he can turn the economy around but prepared to give him years to deal with the crush of problems he faces starting Tuesday, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.
While hopes for the new president are extraordinarily high, the poll found, expectations for what Mr. Obama will actually be able to accomplish appear to have been tempered by the scale of the nation’s problems at home and abroad.

21% not happy. Must be die hard Republicans, fundies, neocons, rednecks and racists. That lot we don’t need.

May need to be registered.
continued in The New York Times

Thanks Paddy, I didn’t realise Jon Stewart was on Ten. I’ve got it on series link now. (You can’t ‘fast forward’ the internet ads, but you can zip past them on the hard drive! LOL)

I wish they wouldn’t bleep out the expletives on the non-cable versions though!

Europe needs a Barack Obama style organisation to do for Europe what Barack is doing for the USA. Tap into grass roots support. WOW!

After taking the oath, Bush delivered an inaugural address that contained this pledge: “I will live and lead by these principles: to advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well.”

The president who never was— aboard the plane that never landed.

The Devolution of *43

Hero Pilot, Family Going To Inauguration?

The US Airways pilot being saluted as a hero and his family are apparently going to get to attend Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities.

Lorrie Sullenberger, wife of Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, told CBS News correspondent Priya David on The Early Show Saturday Edition a trip to Washington for her, her husband and their two daughters is “in the works.”

In what’s being widely hailed as a miracle, Sully Sullenberger guided Flight 1549 to an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River Thursday. All 155 people on board survived.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he has a key to the city waiting for Sully, and Sully got congratulatory phone calls Friday from both President Bush and President-elect Obama.

continued on CBS News.

I’m enjoying John Stewart at the moment. Maybe we might get the Colbert Report (the t is silent in both cases). 😈

Hamas throws support behind ceasefire as Israeli troops withdraw

Hamas says it will cease fire immediately along with its allies in the Gaza Strip and give Israel, which has already declared a unilateral truce, a week to pull its troops out of the territory.

Mussa Abu Marzuq, the exiled number two of the Hamas movement, announced a one-week truce to allow Israeli troops to withdraw, in a speech on Syrian state television

Moment of reckoning draws nearer.

The moment of reckoning edged ever closer for Barack Obama Sunday as the president-elect entered the final 48 hours before he becomes the 44th president of the United States.

The event of the day was a gala afternoon concert at the Lincoln Memorial attended by Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden and witnessed by hundreds of thousands of joyful supporters and curiousity-seekers, who waited for as long as six hours to jam the long stretch from the Memorial to the Washington Monument and then beyond toward the Capitol.

Flashbulbs lit a gray winter sky as a parade of musical stars and celebrities paid homage to an event that is being viewed as nothing short of a turning point in American history. The instantly iconic moment: Bruce Springsteen singing “The Rising” backed by a red-robed gospel choir.

continued on Politico

Pelosi vows Bush probe, open to prosecutions.

In a Sunday Fox interview that’s sure to get the attention of box-packers at 1600, Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated she’s open to backing prosecutions that arise from Congressional hearings into a range of controversial Bush White House actions.

“I think you look at each item and see what is a violation of the law and do we even have a right to ignore it,” the California Democrat told Chris Wallace.

continued in Politico

No, Nancy, we “don’t have a right to ignore it”, neither does your boss.

“I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”
I’m sorry, but if we don’t have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years — and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama’s remarks to mean that we won’t — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don’t face any consequences if they abuse their power.
Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here. It’s not just torture and illegal wiretapping, whose perpetrators claim, however implausibly, that they were patriots acting to defend the nation’s security. The fact is that the Bush administration’s abuses extended from environmental policy to voting rights. And most of the abuses involved using the power of government to reward political friends and punish political enemies.

Sat Jan 17:;_ylt=AqCtMHhab_wWqt95HCqc3col6ysC

The Huffington Post.
Star-Studded Concert Featured Usher, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, U2 At Lincoln Memorial… Obama Calls For Unity.


On the “Bush must be prosecuted” thing – I haven’t actually seen any articles laying out the details of where laws were clearly broken – and I’m talking about laws as opposed to morals or trust or other wobbly stuff. I figure what Pelosi is doing is laying down suppressing fire on this subject. She’s calling for investigations into the question of illegalities. In other words she’s proposing that the subject gets moved into a committee. That gives Obama the cover he needs to move on with the job of running the country.

Paddy, if you’ve got pay TV, the all politics channel starts tomorrow – Channel 607. I don’t know what it’s going to be like – who’s broadcast will it use, for example. Anyhoo, that’s an option.

Cat. Apart from the “Bush must be prosecuted” thing. Does anyone know when the presidential pardons are likely to be issued?
Like sand through the hourglass…..time is running out.
(Or do they traditionally happen at the last possible moment?)

Pay TV is not quite within my budget. 🙂
I think I’ll stick with the “high class” coverage on politic 101. :mrgreen:

Ahhhh……I see!
All the more reason to downplay the “Bush (and his minions) must be prosecuted” angle till after inauguration. 🙂

Israel accused of war crimes over 12-hour assault on Gaza village
White flags ignored and houses bulldozed with families inside, claim residents

In testimony collected from residents of the village of Khuza’a by the Observer, it is claimed that Israeli soldiers entering the village:

• attempted to bulldoze houses with civilians inside;
• killed civilians trying to escape under the protection of white flags;
• opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded;
• used indiscriminate force in a civilian area and fired white phosphorus shells.

If the allegations are upheld, all the incidents would constitute breaches of the Geneva conventions.

There have already been quite a few presidential pardons issued by Bush in the last little while

Here is a list of some of the people pardoned.

I, like Catrina, would like to know the specific charges that Bush or Cheney could be indicted on. Putting in place through executive order an illegal wire tapping scheme is not actually a chargeable offence (from my research, at any rate) – the Australian government, for example, could pass legislation that was illegal under the Constitution. When it was challenged in the High Court, the legislation would be thrown out. But no member of the government would be guilty of any crime. The government – not individuals members of it – might have to pay compensation if people were adversely affected by the law, however.

This is why it seems to me to be a left-wing fantasy. ‘Bush did things that I am morally opposed to. Put him in jail!’

Now, it could be that there is something that someone could be charged with. But given how it would be fought and how it would be portrayed, politically I cannot see any upside. (Unless, of course, the crime was extremely serious and uncomplicated, like murder).

And ‘starting a war’ is not actually illegal. The Afghan and Iraqi wars was explicitly authorised by Congress. Given that the Congress can authorise a war for whatever reason it feels like, it is difficult to see how anyone can be charged with anything over it. The people in Congress can be held accountable for their decisions at the ballot box. But beyond that, what crime specifically is involved here?

How is lying a criminal offence?

It’s a felony if you do it under oath.
Whether people have have actually committed crimes according to US law remains to be seen.
Interesting time ahead. 👿


Yes, under oath it is a crime. And there are also fraud laws. But simply lying is not a crime.

Again, it seems to me as though people are simply saying, ‘I don’t like what Bush did, so we should throw him in jail.’ There is absolutely nothing to base any charge on.

For those looking at war crimes stuff, the International Criminal Court has already ruled on alleged war crimes during the war (not during the subsequent occupation, however). The main finding was that the courts of the nations involved were handling such allegations competently and that as such the ICC, as a court of last resort, did not have jurisdiction.

It’s a fascinating list of G.W.Bush’s pardons.
I particularly liked this one. (sentenced 1959!!!!)
Must have been someone’s pappy. 🙂

Bobby Frank Kay, Sr. E. D. Va. 1959 Operation of an illegal distillery, 26 U.S.C. §§ 5174, 5606, 5216, 5686(b), and 7302.

DG I don’t think there’s any *real* chance of Bush being convicted of any crime.
The precedent of convicting a past US president just has too many paths to “unexpected consequences”.
(Not so sure about Cheney though. He may have violated the constitution without the same level of cover of executive privilege that applied to Bush.)
No doubt the world’s most litigious society will enjoy years of inquiries and Billions of legal fees to find out whatever.

But I *do* think it’s important that some of his appointees get the “Nuremberg treatment” and are not allowed the usual excuses.


I don’t think that there is any real chance of Bush being *charged* with any crime. Or Cheney, or anyone at alll from the administration. There seems to be no evidence of any indictable offences being committed. All the stuff that is posted on left-wing sites seems just fantasy.

If someone can come up with something that might be an offence, that would be of interest, however. But to set up a committee to trawl through the papers of the administration to find out if there is evidence of some offence being committed by someone at sometime is the very definition of a witchhunt. My bet is that this is pure politics on the part of the Democrats. They know that there is nothing there that they can make stick. But there are sure to things that they can use in political attack ads for 2010 …


I think it is safe to say that the GWB presidency has been a low point in American history and I do think that an investigation into how it happened is a worthwhile endeavour. I would suggest that such an investigation would unfold into views on the psychology of the man, the ambitions of a state, the fear and insecurity of it’s people in dealing with terrorism, and the overarching geopolitical realities of energy, trade, and economy. This is the sort of stuff that good books will deliver and the stuff that will define the GWB legacy. But from that – maybe GWB has done the world a favour in that he has pushed the pendulum a long way in one direction, sufficiently far that we are now on the cusp of the pendulums return.

*From the previous post:

‘anyone at all from the administration’

Obviously, Libby has already been charged and convicted with something. So I am in error here. The charges he was convicted under were:

“one count of obstruction of justice; two counts of perjury; and one count of making false statements to federal investigators.”

from wikipedia


Such studies and investigations would happen in any event – as they would for any president – without the attempt to wrap it in some attempt to find something to prosecute him or his officials on.

And I agree that the kinds of investigations that you are talking about would be very worth while.

Obama’s Speech at the Lincoln Memorial
Washington, D.C.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I want to thank all the speakers and performers for reminding us, through song and through words, just what it is that we love about America. And I want to thank all of you for braving the cold and the crowds and traveling in some cases thousands of miles to join us here today. Welcome to Washington, and welcome to this celebration of American renewal.

In the course of our history, only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in crisis. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes; they’re worried about how they’ll afford college for their kids or pay the stack of bills on their kitchen table. And most of all, they are anxious and uncertain about the future – about whether this generation of Americans will be able to pass on what’s best about this country to our children and their children.

I won’t pretend that meeting any one of these challenges will be easy. It will take more than a month or a year, and it will likely take many. Along the way there will be setbacks and false starts and days that test our fundamental resolve as a nation. But despite all of this – despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead – I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure – that the dream of our founders will live on in our time.

What gives me that hope is what I see when I look out across this mall. For in these monuments are chiseled those unlikely stories that affirm our unyielding faith – a faith that anything is possible in America. Rising before us stands a memorial to a man who led a small band of farmers and shopkeepers in revolution against the army of an Empire, all for the sake of an idea. On the ground below is a tribute to a generation that withstood war and depression – men and women like my grandparents who toiled on bomber assembly lines and marched across Europe to free the world from tyranny’s grasp. Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a King, and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character’s content. And behind me, watching over the union he saved, sits the man who in so many ways made this day possible.

And yet, as I stand here tonight, what gives me the greatest hope of all is not the stone and marble that surrounds us today, but what fills the spaces in between. It is you – Americans of every race and region and station who came here because you believe in what this country can be and because you want to help us get there. It is the same thing that gave me hope from the day we began this campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago; a belief that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; Latino, Asian, and Native American; black and white, gay and straight, disabled and not – then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process.This is what I believed, but you made this belief real. You proved once more that people who love this country can change it. And as I prepare to assume the presidency, yours are the voices I will take with me every day I walk into that Oval Office – the voices of men and women who have different stories but hold common hopes; who ask only for what was promised us as Americans – that we might make of our lives what we will and see our children climb higher than we did.

It is this thread that binds us together in common effort; that runs through every memorial on this mall; that connects us to all those who struggled and sacrificed and stood here before.

It is how this nation has overcome the greatest differences and the longest odds – because there is no obstacle that can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.

That is the belief with which we began this campaign, and that is how we will overcome what ails us now. There is no doubt that our road will be long. That our climb will be steep. But never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease, but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help me reveal that character once more, and together, we can carry forward as one nation, and one people, the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today.

A gem of an article by Frank Rich in the NYT.

White Like Me

I cannot testify to what black Americans feel as our nation celebrates the inauguration of our first African-American president. But I can speak for myself, as a white American who grew up in the segregated nation’s capital of the 1960s. Barack Obama’s day is one that I never thought would come, and one that I still can’t quite believe is here.

Last week I joined a group of journalists at an off-the-record conversation with the president-elect, a sort of preview of the administration’s coming attractions. But as I walked some desolate downtown blocks to the standard-issue federal office building serving as transition headquarters, ghosts of the past mingled with hopes for the future. The contrast between the unemployed men on Washington’s frigid streets and the buzzing executive-branch bees inside was, for me, as old as time.

My particular historical vantage point is a product of my upbringing as that odd duck, a native Washingtonian whose parents were not in government. The first presidential transition of my sentient lifetime, Kennedy’s, I remember vividly. Even an 11-year-old could see that the sleepy Southern town of the Eisenhower era was waking up, electrified by youth, glamour and the prospect of change. …..more

paddy at 189

Would you mind if I moved that to a new post in preparation for the Inugriation? As it turns out I won’t be around on Wednesday (starting a new job) so I figure getting an Inaugural post up now may be a good idea.

David, there are around 500 pages of Bush injustices. I will leave it to Holder to go through that list to find out what he can really be nailed on. Guesses aren’t any good.

Chris B,

Can you give me a specific criminal offence that there is evidence Bush committed?

As to the outing of a CIA agent, it is hard to see what was specifically illegal about that incident. It may have been, but there is insufficient evidence with which to lay any charges. Note the specific charges that Libby was charged with and convicted on. None have anything to do with ‘outing a CIA agent’ – instead, they are all to do with the investigation of the incident and Libby’s attempts to thwart it.

David one you must have missed, theJack Abramoff scandal continues with his fellow lobbyist Kevin A. Ring They apparently have 3 million pages of documents on him, as well as 50,000 emails. This will engulf most of the Bush administration. I can’t imagine that none of them would not implicate Bush for a lighter sentence. I’m looking forward to this year with great enthusiasm.

196 David Gould It was mentioned on here and I have been looking for it without success. I think I posted it, if my memory is correct. If I am wrong it must have been my Alzheimers.

All the article said was that someone handed over 498 or so pages of documents (I think it was the senate). Nothing listing what was in it. I remember thinking why didn’t the go for 500? 😈

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