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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Baithak World Apr 28: Hilary's "Obliterate", Iraq Millions, Unearthed News, Syria-Golan-Israel-Hezbollah, Obama, Newsweek, Sean Penn, Ken Wilber,

You read Hilary Strangelove's "Obliterate" Iran comment first on Baithak World Apr 24.

[This obliterate remark might well come back to haunt Hilary. This is not the stuff Presidents are made off - despite her assertions to the contrary]

Now the mainstream USA media is picking up on her ill advised comment.

This morning, the Boston Globe launched the most aggressive editorial broadside yet against statements made by Hillary Clinton last week on Good Morning America, where she promised to "totally obliterate" Iran if they attacked Israel, comparing the Senator to fictional film character "Doctor Strangelove" and calling her statements a "red line that should never be crossed." Boston Globe Assails 'Hillary Strangelove' On Iran Comments

If you read the Washington Post as religiously as I do, you probably have a pretty good grasp of the taxonomy of Latin American leaders. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is a brutal dictator whose crimes include saying mean things about George W. Bush, sponsoring leftist terror groups, using Venezuela's oil revenues to sway elections in the region and, perhaps most egregious of all, banning the Simpsons! Oh, and winning a bunch of elections. He's followed by evo Morales, who is a walking, talking race card and just won't let bygones be bygones when it comes to Bolivia's traditional elites -- those friendly light-skinned plutocrats who own all the land. He's a dictator too. Then there are "moderates" like Chile's Michelle Bachelet. She might call herself a socialist, but Chile's into "free trade" and has a privatized Social Security system from the Pinochet era, so, meh. Then there's Ecuador's Rafael Correa -- young, good-looking and not at all fond of neoliberalism. The LA Times' handy pocket guide to Latin American politics lists him as a "Harvard-trained Chavez ally" (He never attended Harvard, but, you know, the facts don't much matter when reporting on Latin America). Hugo Chavez is a Dictator, Alvaro Uribe is a Beacon of Democracy -- Get it Straight!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Millions of dollars of lucrative Iraq reconstruction contracts were never finished because of excessive delays, poor performance or other factors, including failed projects that are being falsely described by the U.S. government as complete, federal investigators say. The audit released Sunday by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, provides the latest snapshot of an uneven reconstruction effort that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $100 billion. It also comes as several lawmakers have said they want the Iraqis to pick up more of the cost of reconstruction. The special IG's review of 47,321 reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars found that at least 855 contracts were terminated by U.S. officials before their completion, primarily because of unforeseen factors such as violence and excessive costs. About 112 of those agreements were ended specifically because of the contractors' actual or anticipated poor performance. Investigators: Millions in Iraq contracts never finished

In a superb example of print journalism, the New York Times reported last Sunday the sordid story of how television network military analysts with undisclosed financial ties to Pentagon contractors had been used by the White House and Pentagon to sell the Iraq War to the American people. In a sophisticated propaganda effort that would make Joseph Goebbels and Edward Benways green with envy, the Pentagon had turned some fifty former officers, posing as independent experts, into hand puppets mouthing pro-war talking points on Fox News, ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC. "It was them saying, 'We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,'" Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst described the process. [there are more stories when you open the link -t ]Unearthed: News of the Week the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle

Syria is demanding that Israel commit in writing to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Qatari newspaper Al-Watan. The paper based its report on Syrian sources, who claim to be in possession of the "Rabin Pledge," referring to understandings reached between Israel and Syria in the 1990s, before the 1995 assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Assad told the newspaper on Sunday that the time has not yet come for peace because "the Israeli side has still not given its guarantee."
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he supports Turkish mediation of Israeli-Syrian peace talks and would back any agreement reached between the two longtime enemies. Syria said demanding Israeli guarantee on Golan pullout

Dismissive of Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s pledge to “drive Hezbollah out of Lebanon”, serious US officials want to engage the Lebanese Resistance partly because they are concerned with Israel remaining a Jewish state in the region. The Bush administration no longer believes there is a viable military option - American, Israeli or combined - for destroying Hezbollah. The Party is deeply embedded in much of Lebanon and has broad support in the region. Recent reports indicate that some of its administrative staff is moving offices into Sunni areas including Tripoli and north Lebanon and that more Sunni, Christians and Druze are joining the Lebanese Resistance under Hezbollah leadership. - An Offer Hezbollah Cannot Refuse? - Part I By Franklin Lamb in Lebanon

Elizabeth Edwards' op-ed in The New York Times today aptly holds the title, "Bowling 1, Health Care 0," as it criticizes the media obsession with Barack Obama's bowling form and score during the past three weeks. My research shows that while cable news gasbags such as Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews, and the entire Fox crew, were the worst offenders, the Times itself has carried dozens of references to "bowling-gate" in its news pages and blog entries. Maureen Dowd even had to run an embarrassing correction after she alleged that Obama had improperly accepted the donation of bowling shoes from Sen. Bob Casey, when it was the other way around. Today she refers, again, to the "bowling debacle." Please, stop this woman before she kills again. Do We Really Want a Bowler-in-Chief? Remember Nixon!

There was a time, not so long ago, when the advisers to John McCain worried a great deal about running against Barack Obama. "We'll never get those kind of crowds," a McCain aide admitted, almost mournfully, to a NEWSWEEK reporter as they stood watching television coverage of a packed Obama rally in South Carolina last January. Obama seemed to have a kind of transcendent power, an ability to convince voters that he was not just another politician. Most McCain aides at the time wanted to run against Hillary Clinton, whom they regarded as a traditional tax-and-spend Democrat with unusually high negative ratings. ..........Yet, just five weeks later, Brooks was writing "How Obama Fell to Earth." The columnist was discouraged by Obama's performance in the pre-Pennsylvania primary debate. "Obama has emerged as a more conventional politician and a more orthodox liberal," Brooks wrote. "He sprinkled his debate performance Wednesday night with the sort of fibs, evasions and hypocrisies that are the stuff of conventional politics." Obama might win Brooks back if he returned to his high-mindedness and stopped pandering. But winning over the great mass of American voters is tricky. Obama has stood for change, and when it comes to changing politics, many Americans are with him. But change, more broadly imagined, is threatening to a lot of people, and not just high-school dropouts who own guns and live in rust-belt states. McCain, too, is out preaching change—attacking the political arena of Washington, where he has worked for more than two decades. But McCain drapes himself in red, white and blue; he is a thoroughly familiar figure, the war hero. Obama represents something newer and stranger in presidential politics, a black man with a Harvard degree who reads Niebuhr but is perfectly at home shooting hoops on a Chicago playground. To get the Democratic nomination, and to win the presidency, Obama has to show that he is not just a rock-star speechifier—or a worn-down pol trying to limp over the goal line without saying something that could possibly be used against him. He has to show voters who he really is. Most of them still don't know. Only in America - By Evan Thomas, Holly Bailey and Richard Wolffe | NEWSWEEK

INDIO, California (Hollywood Reporter) - Sean Penn is fighting the war in Iraq, poverty, homelessness and saving the environment, all from a bus. The actor, who baffled many when his name showed up on the lineup for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival underway this weekend in southern California, plans to board a fleet of biodiesel buses and take about 300 people on an 1,800-mile trek across the U.S., ending in New Orleans. Penn's brainchild, the Dirty Hands Caravan, will take off Monday and is expected to arrive in the Big Easy on May 4 for the city's annual jazz festival. "I see this as a reckoning," said Penn, who's set to appear twice on Sunday at Coachella. "My generation and those that came before have to recognize the numbing of incentive that we've passed on to the change hungry, imaginative, smarter than us youth of today." Penn said he's simply providing the wheels and the young people are leading the ride. Sean Penn leading biodiesel trek across America - By Leslie Simmons

NEED magazine caught up with Yifat Susskind, the communications director for MADRE, for a conversation on gender, human rights and development. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, MADRE is an organization that works internationally demanding human rights for women and families.
Q. From your perspective, how adequately are gender issues/gender rights being addressed in development policies or international politics? Are they being overlooked?
A. I think there has been enough demand by women’s rights activists, both men and women, who understand the importance of women’s rights to achieving broader visions of social justice that at this point, there’s a lot of recognition of that. And it’s mostly, unfortunately, in the form of lip service. But, I think that when you have a very long-term struggle like promoting genuine development and women’s rights internationally, that you need to read the signs and understand what stage of that struggle you’re at. To give you an example, it’s not immaterial that leaders do feel the pressure to at least give lip service to those issues. Because there was a time, not very long ago, when women’s perspectives and the word gender was nowhere to be seen in any of those policy circles. Working for Women around the world

Ken Wilber may be the most important living philosopher you've never heard of. He's written dozens of books but you'd be hard-pressed to find his name in a mainstream magazine. Still, Wilber has a passionate -- almost cultlike -- following in certain circles, as well as some famous fans. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have praised Wilber's books. Deepak Chopra calls him "one of the most important pioneers in the field of consciousness." And the Wachowski Brothers asked Wilber, along with Cornel West, to record the commentary for the DVDs of their "Matrix" movies. A remarkable autodidact, Wilber's books range across entire fields of knowledge, from quantum physics to developmental psychology to the history of religion. He's steeped in the world's esoteric traditions, such as Mahayana Buddhism, Vedantic Hinduism, Sufism and Christian mysticism. Wilber also practices what he preaches, sometimes meditating for hours at a stretch. His "integral philosophy," along with the Integral Institute he's founded, hold out the promise that we can understand mystical experience without lapsing into New Age mush. You are the river: An interview with Ken Wilber


Karzai escapes Kabul parade attack
Baghdad Green Zone Bombarded With Rockets
Karl Rove's Advice For Barack Obama Peace or the nuclear option
All of Gaza can't be razed

NEW DELHI: Ahead of Monday's crucial disciplinary hearing over the issue, pacer S Sreesanth said on Sunday that the incident in which Harbhajan Singh slapped him was actually a "slugfest", a statement that's likely to strengthen the case against the temperamental off-spinner, who maybe headed for a minimum punishment of being banned for five Test or 10 ODIs. Reversing his earlier stance that Harbhajan was like an "elder brother" and the slap was a "hand shake on the wrong side", Sreesanth told a television channel in his native Kerala that "It was more than a slap, it was like a slugfest. I never expected this reaction from him, I was very surprised." It was more than a slap: Sreesanth

How The Presidential Candidates Will Look In 4 Years: See Photos

Top Ten Feeds of the Week

Each week, we trawl the depths of television, the Internet, and commercial news feeds to bring you the best news clips, jawdropping on-air moments and lots of other random crap. Here are the ten best we found this week:

1) Capturing the Friedman
The world may be flat, but cream pies are definitely round
2) John King can't stop making an ass out of you and me.
Give a guy one magic wall, and he becomes a real jerk.

This gun dealer picked the wrong tragic school shooting to show up at.
4) The leader of the free world makes a cameo on "Deal or No Deal."

Maybe the banker can tell us why the economy is crumbling.
5) John McCain sinks as low low as the demographic that's gonna vote for him.
Don't watch unless you're prepared to be embarrassed for America.
6) Gayest clip of the week.
Learn what it means to be "sesk-syoo-ull."
7) Cindy McCain to Chelsea Handler: "The Force is strong with this one."
These girls like 'em old.
8) The best of Tyra Bank's Light Skinned vs. Dark Skinned Episode
Sure, you know the differences in how white and black people dance. But what about light-skinned and dark-skinned black people?
9) Hillary and Barack lookalikes re-enact what every American has been imagining.
If you're not yet embarrassed enough for America, this'll put you over the top.
10) The trailer for Sin City 2.
One for the nerds.

Paul Jay presents RealNews
A new hope in fight against malaria
Patent-free new treatment will be easy to administer and more accessible in developing world view

Powering past fossil fuels
Jose Etcheverry: "We are stuck in a paradigm of energy generation that is two centuries old" view


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