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Archive for June 2nd, 2014

King Juan Carlos of Spain Leaves Throne

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

King Juan Carlos of Spain Leaves Throne
King Juan Carlos I of Spain is stepping down at age 76 after nearly 40 years on the throne. Crown Prince Felipe, 46, will succeed his father. Carlos said that it is “time to hand over to a new generation — younger, with a lot of energy — that can, with determination, take on and carry out the changes that the current situation demands.” In 1981, the king took a decisive stand to halt a right-wing military coup, declaring on television that the monarchy would not tolerate attempts to interrupt democracy by force.


Doctors lean more left, political donations show

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Doctors lean more left, political donations show
CHICAGO (AP) — Once strongly aligned with the GOP, American physicians are leaning more left, an analysis of campaign contributions over two decades shows.

US manufacturing expanded at slower pace in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturers grew at a slower pace in May as measures of orders and production fell. Factories also added jobs at a slower pace.

Husband, wife in 80s scare off would-be robber
MILTON, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state couple in their 80s say they managed to spook a would-be robber who burst into their home shortly after they returned from a Tacoma casino where they won $500.


NRA: Open-carry gun activists’ behavior “downright weird”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

NRA: Open-carry gun activists’ behavior “downright weird”
Demonstrators are wielding assault rifles in Texas businesses in a brazen show of support for the state’s open-carry laws

Can indicted Michael Grimm still win re-election?
It’s possible things could get worse for the New York congressman, who’s already been indicted by the feds on 20 counts of corruption


Right-Wing Media Attack On Bergdahl’s Rescue Ignore Military’s Commitment To Freeing POWs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Right-Wing Media Attack On Bergdahl’s Rescue Ignore Military’s Commitment To Freeing POWs

Media criticism of the Obama administration for taking steps to secure the release of captured U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl ignores the fact that the military has committed to “use every practical means” to free prisoners of war.

Bergdahl
Sgt. Bergdahl Is Freed By Taliban In Prisoner Exchange

Bergdahl Handed Over To American Special Operations After Prisoner Exchange. Bergdahl, who was captured by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in June 2009, was released on May 31 in exchange for five Taliban detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [The New York Times5/31/14]

Media Disparage Deal To Release Bergdahl

Fox Regular Donald Trump: “This Was A Terrible Deal We Made.” On the June 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Trump asserted that the U.S. made a “terrible deal to secure Bergdahl’s release: “This was a terrible deal we made, by the way. This was a terrible deal. Every soldier and every American is at risk right now.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/2/14]

Breitbart‘s Gorka: We Have Sent Message To “Jihadists”: “Capture An American And America Will Do Your Bidding.” On June 1, Breitbart.com National Security Affairs Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka criticized the Obama administration for securing Bergdahl’s release saying, “Now we have sent a message to all jihadists around the world: capture an American and America will do your bidding.” [Breitbart, 6/1/14]

Daily Caller: “Obama Submits to Taliban Demands.” The Daily Caller framed the Obama administration trade of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to secure Bergdahl’s release by stating in a headline “Obama Submits to Taliban Demands.” [The Daily Caller, 6/1/14]

ABC News Contributor Bill Kristol: We Shouldn’t Have Made Trade Because It’s Possible Bergdahl Wasn’t A “Real POW.” On the June 2 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ABC News contributor and conservative pundit Bill Kristol slammed the deal that secured Bergdahl’s release by citing the ‘anger’ expressed by other soldiers and stating, “it’s one thing to trade terrorists for a real P.O.W., for someone who’s taken on the battlefield fighting honorably for our country. It’s different to trade five high ranking terrorist for someone who walked away”:

KRISTOL: Secondly, what about Bergdahl? Everyone’s happy to see him back and all that. The fact is Susan Rice said on TV yesterday that he was taken in battle. Taken on the battlefield and he served the United States with honor and distinction. There’s a lot of reporting that he wasn’t taken in battle. He seems to have deserted or at least gone AWOL, he may have cooperated with the enemy. Soldiers died trying to find him. His own platoon and his own battalion seem to have come under a lot more attacks after he was taken. The degree of anger among soldiers on e-mail and listservs is unbelievable. And that needs to be taken seriouslyThat’s not just people, those are the people who fought in the same company in some cases. And who feel like they sacrificed a lot to get this guy back who may have behaved vastly irresponsibly or worse. And we need to have honesty about that. There was a big army investigation. What did Susan Rice know what did President Obama know about the investigation about Bergdahl? It’s one thing to trade terrorists for a real P.O.W., for someone who’s taken on the battlefield fighting honorably for our country. It’s different to trade five high ranking terrorist for someone who walked away. [MSNBC, Morning Joe6/2/14]

The U.S. Military Has Committed To Gaining Release Of POWs

Military Code Of Conduct: U.S. Govt. “Will Use Any Practical Means To Contact, Support And Gain Release” Of POWs. A Department of Defense military code of conduct and ethics dating back to 1954 states that the U.S. government has an explicit obligation and responsibility to “stand by” POWs and that the government “will use every practical means to contact, support and gain release for you and for all other prisoners of war” (emphasis added):

As a member of the armed forces of the United States, you are protecting your nation. It is your duty to oppose all enemies of the United States in combat or, if a captive, in a prisoner of war compound. Your behavior is guided by the Code of Conduct, which has evolved from the heroic lives, experiences and deeds of Americans from the Revolutionary War to the Southeast Asian Conflict.

[…]

Just as you have a responsibility to your country under the Code of Conduct, the United States government has an equal responsibility — to keep faith with you and stand by you as you fight for your country. If you are unfortunate enough to become a prisoner of war, you may rest assured that your government will care for your dependents and will never forget you. Furthermore, the government will use every practical means to contact, support and gain release for you and for all other prisoners of war. [American Civil Liberties Union, accessed 6/2/14]

U.S. National Security Adviser: “We Have A Sacred Obligation” To Bring Back POWs. On the June 1 edition of ABC’s This Week, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice pointed out that the U. S government has a “sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do the must to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle.” Rice argued that the government has a responsibility to “do our utmost to bring our prisoners-of-war home”:

RICE: Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war, captured on the battlefield. We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do the most to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance. If for some reason we took a position now in the 21st century, when some of our adversaries may not be traditional state actors, that we would not do our utmost to bring our prisoners of war home, that would break faith with the American people and with the men and women in uniform, so regardless of who may be holding an American prisoner of war, we must do our best to bring him or her back. [ABC, This Week6/1/14]

Secretary Of Defense Chuck Hagel Securing Release Was Necessary To Save Bergdahl’s Life. On June 1, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel argued that the administration had to act quickly in securing Bergdahl’s release once an “opening” with the Taliban was found, citing concerns about Bergdahl’s health:

Believing that his health was deteriorating, the United States acted quickly to save his life after years of work to free him from being a prisoner of war, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday.

“It was our judgment that if we could find an opening and move very quickly with that opening, that we needed to get him out of there essentially to save his life,” Hagel said. “I know President Obama feels very strongly about that, I do as well.” [CNN.com, 6/1/14]


Bergdahl-Taliban Swap Stirs Criticism in Congress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bergdahl-Taliban Swap Stirs Criticism in Congress
Michael Cipriano, RealClearPolitics
President Obama is facing mounting criticism on Capitol Hill for what critics are calling his unauthorized deal to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The return of Bergdahl — who had been the lone American prisoner of war in the Afghanistan War — came in exchange for five high-ranking Taliban commanders held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Arizona Sen. John McCain, himself a prisoner during the Vietnam War, found the arrangement “disturbing.” “These are the hardest of the hard core,” he said on CBS’s “Face the…


Blair urges Europe to ‘reconnect’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Blair urges Europe to ‘reconnect’
The UK must help the EU to change rather than just focusing on renegotiating its own membership terms, Tony Blair says.

VIDEO: Quiz for Newark by-election candidates
Newark is a town under siege from outsiders ahead of Thursday’s by-election for a seat in Parliament.

VIDEO: Reaction to Scottish Tory tax plans
The SNP’s Marco Biagi and Prof Adam Tomkins, an adviser on the Strathclyde Commission, on Scottish Tory tax plans


Tea Party hits Reid with ethics charge over Koch brothers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Tea Party hits Reid with ethics charge over Koch brothers
Tea Party Patriots filed a complaint against Reid for his attacks against the Kochs.


Pilot Cites ‘Little’ Delay On Tape Due To Teen Stowaway

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Pilot Cites ‘Little’ Delay On Tape Due To Teen Stowaway
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — About an hour after a California teen was discovered on a Hawaii runway in April, a nonplussed pilot preparing to depart tells air traffic controllers he will be a bit delayed because “a guy is seeming to have stowed away in the landing gear from San Jose to Maui.”

The pilot was referring to 15-year-old Yahya Abdi, a Somali immigrant who ran away from his Santa Clara, California, home, hopped a fence at Mineta San Jose International Airport and climbed into the wheel well of the closest plane. The jet took off a few hours later for a 5½-hour flight to Maui on April 20. Abdi improbably survived the flight at 35,000 feet despite low oxygen and freezing temperatures.

Video footage from the Maui airport shows him dropping to the tarmac about an hour after the jet landed. But when it was time for that same jet to leave, the pilot, who was a different pilot than the one who had landed the jet there, said security and mechanics were holding him up, according to a 10-minute Federal Aviation Administration audio recording, provided exclusively to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

“Um, we have a little gate delay here. A guy is seeming to have stowed away in the landing gear from San Jose to Maui, so we have security in there looking for evidence of the guy being up there for more than, you know, ha, five minutes on the ground. So we’ll let you know when we’re ready to push,” says the pilot of outbound Hawaiian Airlines Flight 24, heading for Oakland.

“All right, 24, have your roger,” says an air traffic controller, confirming he received and understood the message. “You need any assistance with that or, er, you guys got it?”

“Nope, plenty of security here, mechanics, it’s all good, we just kind of waiting for clearance to go,” says the pilot, explaining that once the crews agree the plane is undamaged, they’ll give him the go-ahead.

The controller is calm, routine, in his response, telling the pilot he can back away from the ramp when he’s ready, because the tower doesn’t have jurisdiction over that part of the airport: “Roger, thanks, well it will be push back at your discretion.”

“Okey doke, thanks,” says the pilot.

The boy was hospitalized in Hawaii for two weeks, then flown back to California where he was placed in custody of Santa Clara County Child Protective Services. A county spokesman said Monday he cannot disclose the boy’s whereabouts.

His father did not respond to an interview request.

Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle said the crew of the departing flight had been told about the stowaway and the activity going on around their aircraft. She said the pilot contacted the controller because once an aircraft has received the en route clearance, there is an expectation from the air traffic control tower that the aircraft is prepared to depart and will push back shortly.

“In this instance, the pilot was advising Air Traffic Control of the delay and providing an explanation to the best of his knowledge,” said Croyle.

The FAA planned to provide a public link to the audio Tuesday.


Open Source: Thai Protesters Flash ‘Hunger Games’ Salute to Register Quiet Dissent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Open Source: Thai Protesters Flash ‘Hunger Games’ Salute to Register Quiet Dissent
Thailand’s military junta is unsure how to treat citizens who make a three-fingered salute, a sign of resistance borrowed from “The Hunger Games.”



Recorded Noise Might Offer Clues to Missing Plane
A low-frequency noise might have indicated an ocean impact, and scientists are to provide details on Wednesday.



China Escalating Attack on Google
The Chinese authorities have blocked global versions of the company’s search engines, and Gmail, Calendar and Translate have been affected.



World Briefing: 2 North Koreans to Defect
South Korea announced Monday that it would respect the wishes of two North Koreans to defect after their boat drifted into the South’s waters, but said that it would return a third who wanted to go back to North Korea.


Slide Show: Tiananmen Square, 1989

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Slide Show: Tiananmen Square, 1989

In the spring of 1989, pro-democracy protests developed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where students and others called for government accountability and the freedom of the press, among other popular causes. Overnight on June 3rd and 4th—twenty-five years ago this Wednesday—the government enforced martial law, staging a bloody dispersal of the demonstrations that killed between five hundred and twenty-five hundred people and initiated a new era of conservatism in the country. Here are photos from the protests and the crackdown.

  • tiananmen-square-01.jpgSome two hundred thousand pro-democracy students staged an unauthorized demonstration in Tiananmen Square during the funeral ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party leader and liberal reformer Hu Yaobang, on April 22, 1989. Photograph by Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty.
  • tiananmen-square-02.jpgStudents from Beijing University receive first-aid treatment on May 17, 1989, the fifth day of a mass pro-democracy hunger strike. Photograph by Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty.
  • tiananmen-square-03.jpgA portrait of Mao Zedong is covered after being defaced with paint, on May 23, 1989. A banner on the bottom reads “This is not done by students.” Photograph by Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty.
  • tiananmen-square-04.jpgPro-democracy demonstrators filled the square for weeks. Photograph by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/Getty.
  • tiananmen-square-05.jpgTiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Photograph by Vincent Mentzel/Hollandse Hoogte/Redux.
  • tiananmen-square-06.jpgPro-democracy demonstrators overturn a bus on Changan Avenue, on June 4, 1989. Photograph by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/Getty.
  • tiananmen-square-07.jpgPeople’s Liberation Army soldiers leap over a barrier on Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 1989. Photograph by Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty.
  • tiananmen-square-08.jpgJune 4, 1989. Photograph by Torbjorn Andersson/Kontinent/Redux.
  • tiananmen-square-09.jpgA fatally injured student is helped by a friend. Photograph by Torbjorn Andersson/Kontinent/Redux.
  • tiananmen-square-010.jpgBarriers on Changan Avenue hours after the nighttime crackdown on protestors. Photograph by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/Getty.
  • tiananmen-square-011.jpgAn iconic photograph, June 5, 1989. Photograph by Stuart Franklin/Magnum.

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