Obama Vacation File: While You Were Away

President-Elect Obama, You Must NOT Be Silent on Gaza!  
by Linda Milazzo
I don't believe in god. I never have. I don't believe in religions. I study them, but I don't practice them. I try to understand them to be sensitive to the beliefs and traditions of others, and to attempt to appreciate the motivations behind religious thought and deed. But they are irrelevant to living my life.
Gaza sisters

Long ago as a freshman at CUNY's Queens College I was introduced to Taoism. Taoism began in ancient China as a religion, then morphed into a dogma free/deity free philosophy. Since my late teens I've tried hard to apply MY understanding of my Tao to my life. I have the freedom to choose my own path and not judge the paths of others. But since I have freedom of opinion, I fall prey to judge. I try not to. But I do.

Through the Tao, I'm both a peacemaker and a warrior since Taoism couples with the art of self-defense. I understand my right to protect myself when needed, and to protect the defenseless when they need me. Since I'm by nature protective, it suits my sensibilities to aid the weak, where I fancy myself absurdly as inordinately strong.
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Nixon's Treason Caught on Tape

Editor Parry on LBJ's 'Treason' Tapes
by TheRealNews.com
The Lyndon Johnson library recently released audiotapes from 1968, revealing President Johnson complaining about Richard Nixon’s campaign trying to block Vietnam peace talks and thus help Nixon win the presidential election over Hubert Humphrey.
Citing wiretaps of intercepted communications in which Nixon campaign operatives urged South Vietnamese officials to boycott the peace talks, Johnson called this interference “treason,” since 500,000 U.S. troops were then in harm’s way.
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Day 9 of Israeli War On Gaza: Military Ground Operation

Day 9 of Israeli War On Gaza: News Report: Military Ground Operation
by Sameh A. Habeeb
Gaza Strip,4, January, 2oo9-  Israeli army started the ground military operation vowed of launching it years ago. Many Palestinian civilians killed and their number is dramatically rising. Meanwhile, a small number of Palestinian militants killed in the ongoing clashes through the Gaza Strip.

The operation started Saturday 8pm accompanied by heavy coverage from Artillery machine, naval gunboats and Air force. Five key access witnessed the advancement of Israeli army. In the north a group of tanks and soldiers advanced from Ertiz crossing and another group from Bait lahia town near the old settlement of Doghit.  In east of Gaza City, several tanks advanced from the crossings of Al Muntar and Nahal Oz. Part of these troops advanced south east of Gaza and cut the main street of Slah Al edin. On the south, Israeli troops occupied the airport and set military outposts. 

In Bait lahi town, a strike killed 17 people most of them civilians and amongst them children and medical staff of an ambulance vehicle. A number of injured were reported to be on the venue of bombings but medical vehicle were not able to reach them.
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Gaza from the Ground

Rafah - Report from the ground (Jan. 1)
Fida Qishta of Rafah, Gaza describes the past few days as Israeli bombing kills hundreds
As the fifth day of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip begins, Rafah and Gaza City, the two main targets, have witnessed hundreds of deaths. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blames Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, for inciting Israel’s attack. Hamas, vows to keep shelling Southern Israel with rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Lia Tarachansky spoke to Fida Qishta in Rafah, located in Southern Gaza. Qishta reports one of the first targets of the Israeli bombardment were the tunnels dug by Palestinians under the wall, which separates Rafah in two, half in Palestine and half in Egypt. These tunnels, says Qishta, have been used since the beginning of the siege to smuggle food, and according to Israel, weapons. Qishta also reports of the wall being breached by Palestinians desperate to escape to Egypt. Though unsuccessful, this is the fifth attempt since the beginning of the second Intifadah to breach it.

Fida Qishta is a freelance journalist and schoolteacher. Qishta has founded a children's center and an afterschool program in Rafah, where she teaches English, French, Arabic, and German from Rafah, Gaza. In 2004 Qishta survived her home being demolished by Israeli Forces.
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Planned Disaster: Operation 'Cast Lead'

The Invasion of Gaza: “Operation Cast Lead”, Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Strategic Agenda
by Michel Chossudovsky
The aerial bombings and the ongoing ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli ground forces must be analysed in a historical context. Operation “Cast Lead” is a carefully planned undertaking, which is part of a broader military-intelligence agenda first formulated by the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.” (Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

It was Israel which broke the truce on the day of the US presidential elections, November 4:

“Israel used this distraction to break the ceasefire between itself and Hamas by bombing the Gaza strip. Israel claimed this violation of the ceasefire was to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory.

“The very next day, Israel launched a terrorizing siege of Gaza, cutting off food, fuel, medical supplies and other necessities in an attempt to “subdue” the Palestinians while at the same time engaging in armed incursions.

“In response, Hamas and others in Gaza again resorted to firing crude, homemade, and mainly inaccurate rockets into Israel. During the past seven years, these rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 17 Israelis. Over the same time span, Israeli Blitzkrieg assaults have killed thousands of Palestinians, drawing worldwide protest but falling on deaf ears at the UN.” (Shamus Cooke, The Massacre in Palestine and the Threat of a Wider War, Global Research, December 2008)
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Woody's Thoughts from Within

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I fought the law and the law ..... is still being debated ....

I fought the law and the law ..... is still being debated ....
by Kristen Woodruff
Happy New Year; This is a long report, as ever. Brevity is a virtue I admire in others.

The December 31st, 2008 Court Hearing

I appeared in Court yesterday, for a hearing on charges of "continuing to disobey a bylaw." As most of you know, these charges arose from my "occupation" of the space under the Christmas tree in Centennial square in Victoria---for refusing to obey the City of Victoria's "bylaw enforcement policy" that stipulates that homeless people can only erect shelters between 7p.m. and 7 a.m.

David Johnston and Tavis Dodds had the same charges brought against them by the city, for occupying the same (now infamous) Christmas tree a couple of weeks earlier. The Court decided to hear all three of our cases together. After hearing evidence from both sides, the judge (McKenzie) decided to reserve his ruling. He wanted time to weigh the evidence. Fair enough. He seemed like a good hearted, reasonable man, and I trust his judgment. Indeed, I think it very likely that he will rule in our favour.

He has two basic questions before him. First, does the City of Victoria's bylaw enforcement policy (which prohibits homeless people from erecting shelters after 7 a.m. and before 7 p.m.) have any legal authority in light of Justice Ross's October 14th B.C. Supreme Court Ruling which struck down the sections of the City of Victoria's Parks Regulations Bylaw that prevent prevent homeless people from erecting temporary shelter on public land? Second, are Tavis, David, and I really homeless people?
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Politics of an Israeli Extermination Campaign: Backers, Apologists and Arms Suppliers

The Politics of An Israeli Extermination Campaign: Backers, Apologists and Arms Suppliers
by James Petras
Equally important, the majority of the largest film, print and electronic media are owned or deeply influenced by Jewish-Zionist media moguls who are committed to slanting the ‘news’ in favor of Israel. The composition and influence of the ZPC is central to understanding three main characteristics of Israel’s power: (1) Israel can commit what leading United Nations and international human rights experts have defined as ‘crimes against humanity’ with total impunity; (2) Israel can secure an unlimited supply of the most technologically advanced and destructive weapons and use them without limit on a civilian population in violation of even US Congressional restrictions and (3) scores of almost unanimous United Nations condemnations of the construction of genocidal apartheid barriers against a native population, starvation embargoes and the current extermination campaign in Gaza are always vetoed by the US representative.

Many critics of Israel’s genocide in Gaza also condemn what they call ‘the complicity’ of Washington or ‘the United States’ without clearly identifying the actual socio-political forces influencing policy-makers or the ‘dual’ political loyalties and identities of the ‘American’ politicians who have long-standing and deep allegiances to Israel. As a consequence, most critics fail to counter, protest or even identify the ideology and politics of the organized power configurations which define US complicity with Israel, who intimidate potential critics, who write and mouth the pro-Israel editorials in the mass media and who filter out any criticism, any truth…even when Israel engages in sustained bloody extermination campaigns.
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An Other Glorious War

America's other glorious war
by William Blum
The Pentagon pushes hard for a large increase in troops for Afghanistan.  Barack Obama has been calling for the same since well before the November election.  Listen to the drumbeats telling us that the security of the United States and the Free World necessitates increased action in this place called Afghanistan.  As urgent as Iraq 2003, it is.  Why?  What is there about this backward, reactionary, woman-hating, failed state that warrants hundreds of deaths of American and NATO soldiers?  That justifies tens of thousands of Afghan deaths since the first US bombing attacks in October 2001?

    In early December, reports the Washington Post, "standing at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the United States is making a 'sustained commitment' to that country, one that will last 'some protracted period of time'."  The story goes on to discuss $300 million in construction projects at this one base to house additional American forces, erecting guard stations and towers and perimeter fencing around the barracks area, putting in vehicle inspection areas, administration offices, cold-storage warehouse, a new power plant, electrical and water distribution systems, communications lines, housing for 1,500 personnel who sustain the systems, maintenance shops, warehouses[1] ...  America's wealth bleeds out endlessly.
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Portrait of Political Cowardice: Michael Ignatieff Weighs in on Gaza Catastrophe

Portrait of Political Cowardice: Michael Ignatieff Weighs in on Gaza Catastrophe
by C. L. Cook
Here we have it; the man who would lead Canada summons his much touted international experience and hard-bitten Liberal realpolitik to size up the situation in Gaza. Ignoring the advanced weaponry Israel is deploying against the Gaza ghetto, the cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and now fuel air bombs, the former Yale professor and darling of the academic wing of the neo-liberal claque, Ignatieff summons the courage to damn Hamas.
British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain shakes hands with the devil.
Yes, Mr, Ignatieff would blame the victims, while sparing any discouraging word against the perpetrators of an estimated 500 dead and nearly 3000 wounded - this not considering the mental anguish of Gaza's roughly 800,000 children suffering under the bombardment these last eight days - Israel.
This is appeasement of a monumental scale. The picture is of a Briton history reviles for his "appeasement" of Adolph Hitler, allowing the Nazi annexation of Austria. If there is any justice left in this nation, Canadian history will remember Michael Ignatieff likewise.
Below, the coward foisted on his own petard.
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Sea Shepherd to Return to Land

Sea Shepherd to Return to Land to Refuel
by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
After chasing the Japanese whaling fleet for 2,000 miles from the extreme Western end of their hunting territory near Commonwealth Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory, to the Eastern side of the Ross Sea, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin has been forced to cut off the pursuit to return to land for refueling.

"We have engaged them, we have stopped their whaling activities for two weeks and we have successfully chased them out of the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters," said Captain Paul Watson.
"We now have to return to land to refuel. We don't have the luxury of refueling at sea like the Japanese fleet has. We don't have the resources to operate two ships down here and we don't have the support of Greenpeace to relieve us. We are doing the best we can with the resources available to us and we are having a significant impact on their kills."
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Hope Less, Demand More: Camp Hope for Universal Health Care

by Mike Ferner
A steady stream of reporters from corporate news media outlets warmed things up at a frigid Camp Hope in Chicago yesterday, when CNN and the local affiliates of ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS all called at Drexel Park on day two of the 18-day vigil urging President-elect Obama to make good on his campaign pledges.

Universal, publicly funded health care was the theme yesterday, highlighted by a presentation from one of the nation’s top authorities on the subject, Dr. Quentin Young, MD.

For decades, Dr. Young has promoted the benefits of a Canadian-type, “single-payer” system like most of the world’s industrialized nations. Young’s office is in Hyde Park, the same venerable neighborhood where Camp Hope is pitched, a few short blocks from Barack Obama’s home. His partner in the practice has been Barack Obama’s personal physician since the Senator moved into the historic district a few years ago.
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