Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Chief Prosecutor At The International Criminal Court (ICC) Says He Is Gathering Information About Possible War Crimes In Afghanistan.

The Chief Prosecutor At The International Criminal Court (ICC) Says He Is Gathering Information About Possible War Crimes In Afghanistan.

[Plus more on Healthcare and Republican Thugs]

[Be Sure To Read Ted Kennedy’s Letter Below]

Luis Moreno-Ocampo says that he will be examining claims relating to both Nato soldiers and Taliban insurgents. He said the court had received allegations from many sources, relating to attacks and collateral damage. But the court will only become involved if Kabul or the UN Security Council ask it to look into allegations. Afghanistan signed the treaty that established the Hague-based court. Any war crime committed on its territory by either Afghan nationals or foreign forces can be investigated by the court. The ICC began operating in 2002 and is the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal. Under the treaty, the court can step in only when countries are unwilling or unable to dispense justice themselves for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Court to probe Afghan war crimes
The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) says he is gathering information about possible
war crimes in Afghanistan.

ICC prosecutor eyes possible Afghanistan war crimes
Afghanistan is a signatory of the treaty that established The Hague-based ICC, and any
war crime committed on its territory by Afghan nationals or ...See all stories on this topic

Prosecutor Looking Into War Crimes In Afghanistan NPR
Luis Moreno Ocampo said he is collecting information for the International Criminal Court in The Hague about alleged crimes by both the Taliban and NATO ...

ICC prosecutor eyes possible Afghanistan war crimes
He also said the court was continuing to gather information about possible
war crimes committed during Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip in December-January ...See all stories on this topic

ICC Prosecutor Is Eyeing Possible War Crimes By NATO And Taliban ...
The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Wednesday he is collecting information on possible war crimes by NATO forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
World/AP -

ICC Prosecutor Eyeing War Crimes In Afghanistan (AP Via Yahoo! News)
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Text Of A Letter Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Wrote Before His Death To Send President Barack Obama, As Provided By The White House.
May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me — and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.
You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the president who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me — and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.

There will be struggles — there always have been — and they are already under way again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat — that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.

And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will — yes, we will — fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.

In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign — and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young president who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young president inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.

So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend — and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.

At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.

And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

With deep respect and abiding affection,


GOP Lawmaker's Heckling Draws Fire, Cash

(One can only hope that Joe Wilson is not as much of an ASS as he appeared last night. Maybe he had one Martini too many for his dinner, whatever; he is a glowing example of the totally uncivil attitude of the current crop of Republican trash who don’t give a damn about you or me, right or wrong, decency and respect. They have no dignity; they have no credibility! Ed.)

Both Sides Condemn Outburst During Obama Speech; Wilson Apologizes

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted "Lie! You lie," at President Obama in response to a passage in the president said illegal immigrants would not get health insurance coverage under the overhaul. Read More

It took less than an hour after he heckled President Obama for Rep. Joe Wilson to become an Internet sensation.

When Mr. Obama told lawmakers during a joint address to Congress that his health care plan does not cover illegal immigrants, the South Carolina Republican shouted in the chamber, "You lie!"

The controversy over whether illegal immigrants can benefit from the health reforms Mr. Obama is proposing was a hot topic at a number of health care town halls during the August congressional recess. Mr. Obama noticeably paused after Mr. Wilson's outburst, then repeated, "It's not true."

The incident shocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, whose mouth dropped open as she turned toward the Republican side of the chamber. In video images, Mrs. Pelosi appeared to whisper Mr. Wilson's name to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who sat beside her behind the president.

The incident also sparked a liberal fundraising surge for Democrat Rob Miller, Mr. Wilson's 2010 congressional challenger. Right-leaning blogs, meanwhile, posted links to contribute to Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Miller raised more than $55,000 and challenged the several hundred new Twitter followers he gained during the evening to "double that in 12 hours."

Of the haul, $42,000 was from a group started on ActBlue by liberal activists called "Defeating the man who yelled 'liar' at Obama: Goodbye Rep Joe Wilson." More than 1,400 donated to that cause between the speech's conclusion and 6 a.m. Thursday. Another group titled "People against inappropriate outbursts" raised nearly 600 from a few dozen people.

Liberals also mounted an effort to send complaints to the congressman, and soon both his congressional and political Web sites appeared to be bombarded with traffic while his phone lines were busy Wednesday night. The House site finally warned visitors it was "down for maintenance."

Mr. Wilson, who easily won his seat in a 2001 special election, is a staunch opponent of Mr. Obama's plan.

The Republican wrote on Twitter on Monday from a Labor Day parade in Chapin, S.C., "[M]any people called out to oppose Obamacare, which I assured them would be relayed tomorrow to DC."

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said on CNN that Mr. Wilson should apologize and called his comment "totally disrespectful."

Several news outlets reported that Mr. Wilson did apologize to the White House in a late-night call to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a former member of the House.

"This evening I let my emotions get the best of me," he said in a statement reported by the Associated Press. "While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."

Mr. Wilson's son, South Carolina attorney Alan Wilson, this week announced a bid to be the state's attorney general.


Tonight, we saw a momentum-shifting speech from President Obama -- and progressives who had the courage to speak up in recent days helped make it happen.

After an emergency, 6-day campaign -- launched as the West Wing was debating what would be in the president's speech -- President Obama did what so many of us hoped he would do, and urged him to do.

Obama embraced the public health insurance option and explained why insurance companies that profit by denying care need competition. To be fair, there were downsides, such as framing a public option with overwhelming 60%-70% support as a left-wing proposal.

But overall, his speech put big momentum in our direction and he used fighting words: promising to "call out" anyone who spreads misinformation to kill reform.

One person immediately deserves to be "called out." Right-wing Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) played the roll of teabagger by yelling "You lie!" at the president. Let's go on offense -- will you sign this petition to Congress?

PETITION: "Enough is enough. On an issue as critical as health care reform, it's time to stop the lies, the misinformation, and the uncivil disruptions. Rep. Joe Wilson went way over the line by yelling 'You lie' during President Obama's speech, and Congress should censure him immediately." Sign here.

It's getting late at night -- but let's see if we can get 20,000 signatures by noon tomorrow. Can you send this email to your friends who watched the speech?

After you sign the petition, you'll have the option of chipping in for an ad targeting Wilson.

Let's send a signal to President Obama that if he is willing to fight and win on the public option, a grassroots movement will be there with him -- including going to bat against crazed teabaggers who want to kill reform.

Can you sign the petition, and pass it on to others? Click here.

Censure could be a real possibility if we go on offense now. Sen. John McCain called Wilson's yelling "totally disrespectful." Wilson later called his own actions "inappropriate and regrettable" but repeated the same misinformation he yelled out at President Obama -- about illegal aliens.

Frankly, an apology is not enough. Apologies weren't enough for Van Jones, the bold progressive who right-wingers forced to resign from the White House this past week for remarks taken out of context. And House Rules of Decorum specifically state that it is not permissible to call the President a "liar" -- let alone yell it.

Can you sign our petition today asking Congress to censure Wilson -- and pass it on?

Thanks for being a fighting progressive!

--Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Michael Snook, Andrew Perez, Evan Miller, and the PCCC team

WASHINGTON - U.S. Democrats and Republicans alike are denouncing Rep. Joe Wilson for shouting "You lie" at President Barack Obama during his speech to Congress, an extraordinary breach of decorum for which the South Carolina Republican swiftly apologized.

"There'll be time enough to consider whether or not we ought to make it clear that that action is unacceptable in the House of Representatives," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said late Wednesday on WTOP radio when asked about possible punishment for Wilson. "I've talked to Republican members who share that view."

"Let's see what he does," Hoyer said before Wilson issued an apology. "Then there's time enough to consider further action."

House Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but there was widespread condemnation of the outburst from members of both parties.

Wilson's outburst came after Obama said extending health care to all Americans who seek it would not mean insuring illegal immigrants.

"You lie!" Wilson shouted from his seat on the Republican side of the chamber.


Wilson's behavior caused a political hangover for him and possibly for the Republican critics Obama had cast as shrill and more interested in killing any health care overhaul than finding a way to provide it.

Later, Wilson was contrite.

"This evening I let my emotions get the best of me," he said in a statement. "While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."


Obama prods Congress to pass health bill

Analysis: Obama's message to Congress based on hard lessons

GOP: Our health plans ignored

Obama seeks clarity, but doubts go on

CURL: Obama's cry aimed at Dems

Public option not only hurdle

Obama invokes Kennedy's letter, delivered after death

Fox News' Partisans Accuse Obama Of "Partisan Hackery"

Responding to President Obama's September 9 speech to Congress on health care reform, in which Obama denounced "bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform," Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. asserted that the speech was, in Hannity's words, "full of partisan hackery." But Hannity, Rove, and Johnson have each repeatedly fearmongered or advanced false attacks while discussing health care reform, including the charges that reform would deny care for the elderly or that the administration is encouraging military veterans to end their lives.

Hannity: Obama's "attack speech" was "full of partisan hackery"

From the September 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: Now, tonight, the president did his best to sell Americans on the idea that the government should control their health care. And while trying to position himself as a neutral and fair arbiter of Capitol Hill's petty partisan disputes, he delivered an attack speech that could have been written by James Carville.


HANNITY: All right, but this president would never do that, right? Now, President Obama both lectures Americans and hypocritically attacks those who disagree with him. Hope and change gave way to cynicism and intimidation tonight, for this president lives in a world where only he tells the truth and everyone disagrees with him -- well, is either a liar or a thug.

OBAMA [video clip]: Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

HANNITY: Oh, it's a lie? So when was the last time that a president of United States called a joint session of Congress to speak in prime time and deliver what amounts to be a campaign speech full of partisan hackery.

But Hannity himself has repeatedly advanced false attacks on health care reform

Hannity falsely claimed health bill doesn't have "any restrictions" on undocumented immigrants. Purporting to quote from a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Hannity falsely claimed that the health care reform bill "does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens whether legally or illegally present" and that there is "proof that illegal immigrants could very well be covered by the Democrats' health care plan." In fact, the bills under consideration do prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving subsidies to purchase health insurance. [Hannity,8/26/09]

Hannity falsely claimed Obama accused "ObamaCare" opponents of "bearing false witness." Hannity misrepresented a statement that Obama made during a conference call with religious leaders, claiming that Obama "talked about those of us that oppose ObamaCare as, quote, 'bearing false witness.' " In fact, Obama was not calling out opponents of health insurance reform, but rather those who have misinformed about it, stating: "I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about." [Hannity,8/20/09]

Hannity asked: Is VA document "equivalent of a death panel?" Hannity said during an interview with Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele: "[A]pparently, they've got this document that they show veterans at all our VA hospitals, and they asked -- there's a section in which it says, have you ever heard anyone say, I'm a vegetable, pull the plug; I'm a severe burden financially on my family; I'm causing severe emotional damage to my family?" Hannity asked Steele if the manual is "the equivalent of a death panel," and Steele replied that "in my view, it very well could be." [Hannity, 8/20/09]

Hannity falsely claimed businesses would be "punished" if they "don't go for the public option." Hannity falsely claimed that if small businesses "don't go for the public option" under a House health care reform bill, "they're going to be punished." In fact, the penalty on small business would apply to businesses that don't provide health care, not specifically on those that "don't go for the public option." [Hannity, 8/18/09]

Hannity falsely claimed bill establishes a "bureaucrat" to offer "end-of-life advice."Hannity claimed that end-of-life provisions in the bill would establish "a bureaucrat that is designated to save money talking to an elderly person and offering them end-of-life advice." In fact, the end-of-life provisions would reimburse physicians -- not "a bureaucrat" -- for voluntary counseling sessions. [Hannity, 8/18/09]

Rove: Obama advanced "a series of very glaring misstatements or distortions" during "gratuitously and bitterly partisan" speech

From the September 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

ROVE: This was not an exceptionally good speech. It was gratuitously and bitterly partisan. But I think the biggest problem was the section in which he talked about the so-called lies and misstatements about his proposal. He dealt with five of them, and in each one of them he made a series of very glaring misstatements or distortions.

Rove has previously advanced false attacks on health care reform

Contradicting CBO, Rove suggested "most companies" will "dump the coverage" under House bill. Rove stated that the House health care reform bill "says if you're a business you can either continue to provide health care to your employees or you can pay a fine equal to 8 percent of your payroll costs. Well, for most companies, what they're now paying for health insurance is in excess of 8 percent of their payroll costs." But according to the Congressional Budget Office, net employer coverage will increase under the House bill and only "about 3 million people" who would otherwise be covered under employer plans "would not have an offer of coverage under" HR 3200. [The O'Reilly Factor, 9/9/09]

Rove falsely claimed Obama administration is pushing veterans toward "assisted suicide." Rove claimed that the Veterans Health Administration is directing veterans to an end-of-life educational booklet, "Your Life, Your Choices," that includes contact information for "a group that believes in assisted suicide," and thus "the kind of guidance we're giving returning veterans" is "you ought to go to an assisted suicide group." In fact, that group is not referenced in the current version of the document, a fact that Jim Towey -- who originated the smear of the booklet as a "death book" -- acknowledged in an interview on Fox News Sunday. [Hannity,8/24/09]

Rove distorted Obama statement to suggest he is considering a "health care system like the European countries." Rove wrote that, in 2008, the Obama campaign "ran ads attacking 'government-run health care' as 'extreme.' Now Mr. Obama is asking, as he did at a townhall meeting last month, 'Why not do a universal health care system like the European countries?' Maybe because he was elected by intimating that would be 'extreme'?" In fact, in the town hall remarks Rove quoted, Obama was paraphrasing the question he had just been asked -- "Why can we not have a universal health care system, like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources?" -- before explaining why he opposed such a system. [Wall Street Journal, 4/30/09]

Peter Johnson Jr.: Speech was "partisan spectacle" with "scary" level of "anger and bitterness and outrage"

From the September 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: First of all, I want to say from the outset, the president sounds like he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. He gives a very partisan speech in Cincinnati, very partisan speech tonight.

You know, and by the way, they're going after you if you don't agree, you know, if you don't have the facts as he sees them. He rejects every reform the Republicans offer, and, you know, attacks Bush, attacks talk radio, attacks cable.

JOHNSON: Well, you know, he promised in the speech to replace acrimony with civility. And I was waiting for four words: "I hear you, America. I hear the town halls." I didn't hear those words, "I hear you America."

Instead we got a partisan spectacle, scare tactics, bickering, games, distortion, misinformation, demagoguery, lies, scary tactics, all attributed to town hall people and Republicans in this country.

HANNITY: And he said, "I will call you out. We will call you out." Is that the Chicago threat?

JOHNSON: So I was expecting a speech in which there was moral suasion. Instead there was a level of anger and bitterness and outrage --

HANNITY: I thought so, too.

JOHNSON: -- that was in some sense scary.

Johnson has previously fear mongered about health care reform

Johnson claimed health care reform is "the government deciding who will live, who will die." Responding to a video in which Obama discussed reducing costs by providing information to doctors and patients about which treatments aren't "necessarily going to improve care," Johnson stated: "President as social engineer. President as bioethicist. The government deciding who will live, who will die. You're too old. You're too young. ... Is that what this plan is about? To save money by killing old people? That's frightening. It's absolutely frightening." [Fox & Friends,6/25/09]

Johnson compared end-of-life counseling to "Brave New World, Solent Green, 1984."Johnson stated that "advance care planning consultation is kind of our 2009 Brave New World, Soylent Green, 1984, Aldous Huxley kind of world." [Fox & Friends, 7/28/09]

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Cheney Center At University Of Wyoming Draws Protests
By The Huffington Post News Editors
"We feel that by naming it the
Cheney International Center, that the programs and UW can't avoid being identified with that ideology and that approach to global politics that the Bush-Cheney administration championed," Pelican said ...

John R. Bohrer: As Obama Pushes Change, GOP Bets on Restoration
By John R. Bohrer

Give the Republicans one good month and they whip themselves into such a fervor that they think Americans want Bush-Cheney ideas back in control of Congress and the White House. .... It's in their DNA (other examples): Clinton impeachment drove approval of the Republican-led Congress to historic lows; Bush wasn't content on invading one nation, he had to invade two; Bush wasn't content with surveilling terrorists, he had to surveil the general American public, too; ...

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