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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

McCain Collected $100,000 From Abramoff's Firm

On the stump, Sen. John McCain has touted his work tackling the excesses of the lobbying industry to bolster his reputation as a "maverick" reformer.
"Ask Jack Abramoff if I'm an insider in Washington," McCain often contends. "You'd probably have to go during visiting hours in the prison, and he'll tell you and his lobbyist cronies of the change I made there."
But how much change did McCain actually effect? And is he all that removed from Washington's special interests?
A review of campaign finance filings shows that the Arizona Republican has accepted more than $100,000 in donations from employees of Greenberg Traurig, the very firm where Abramoff once reigned.


... Obama Gets More Votes Than All Republicans Combined ... The American People speak loud and clear, are the Senate and the Super delegates listening.

By the Way the Wanker for the GOP took all three, but Obama numbers beat all three of the GOP runners together.

Notice in McCains speech the cameras have not once canvassed the crowds, they have just focused on him speaking.

Suck Eggs Dirt Bag.

ABC: Edwards Mulling Clinton Endorsement

If he does give his delegates to Clinton may he rot in Hell
UPDATE 2/13: John Edwards is "as split as the party he once hoped to lead -- and is seriously considering supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite the sharp criticism he leveled at her on the campaign trail, according to former aides and advisers," ABC News reports:
In deciding between his one-time rivals, Edwards appears deeply divided. Several former advisers likened his thought process to a heart-versus-head split -- with his heart favoring Sen. Barack Obama's strong message of change, and...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama wins Virginia

90% Obama 10% Clinton Black vote

51% Clinton 48% Obama White Vote

Diyala police ask U.S. troops’ help in battle with U.S.-backed militias

Hussain al-Yaaqoubi, Azzaman
Fierce clashes between U.S.-backed Sunni militias and Iraqi police have prompted U.S. occupation troops in the country to interfere. But the troops have opted to side with the police against the Sunni tribal militias they created, trained, financed and armed to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq. Tensions are high in the restive Diyala Province of which Baaquba is the capital with the Sunni militias threatening to turn their guns against U.S. troops and the Shiite-dominated government if their demands are not met.... continua / continued

Israel plans 10,000 new settlements in eastern Jerusalem

Palestinian Information Center
Mayor of occupied Jerusalem Uri Lupolianski announced that he would push forward a plan for building 10,000 new settlement units in various districts of occupied eastern Jerusalem in order to bring more Jews to live in the city. In the same context, Israeli construction and settlement minister Ze'ev Boim announced Tuesday in an interview with the Hebrew radio the Israeli government would invite bids for the building of 360 new settlement units on the Mount Abu Ghuneim (Har Homa) settlement adjacent to the Aqsa Mosque in addition to other 750 units in Israeli Pisgat Ze'ev settlement, north of occupied Jerusalem...

GM has biggest-ever automotive co. loss

Source: AP
DETROIT - General Motors Corp. is reporting the largest annual loss ever for a U.S. automotive company as it offers a new round of buyouts to 74,000 U.S. hourly workers.
GM says Tuesday it lost $38.7 billion in 2007. The loss largely was due to a third-quarter charge related to unused tax credits.
GM announced the buyouts Tuesday morning as it was releasing its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings.
GM will give workers several choices. Retirement-eligible workers will get between $45,000 and $62,500 as an incentive to retire, depending on their skill level. Younger workers can get up to $140,000 if they leave and cut all ties with the company.

In the Valley of Elah

Gang-Rape Victim Says She And Others Silenced by Halliburton

Source: ABC News
A Houston, Texas woman, who says she was gang-raped by her co-workers at a Halliburton/KBR camp in Baghdad, says 38 women have come forward through her foundation to report their own tragic stories to her, but that many cannot speak publicly due to arbitration agreements in their employment contracts.
Jamie Leigh Jones is testifying on Capitol Hill this afternoon. She says she and other women are being forced to argue their cases of sexual harassment, assault and rape before secretive arbitration panels rather than in open court before a judge and jury.
Jones returned from Iraq following her rape in 2005. She was the subject of an exclusive ABC News report in December which led to congressional hearings.
After months of waiting for criminal charges to be filed, Jones decided to file suit against Halliburton and KBR.
KBR has moved for Jones' claim to be heard in private arbitration, instead of a public courtroom, as provided under the terms of her original employment contract.

Pakistan nuclear staff abducted

Two employees of Pakistan's atomic energy agency have been abducted in the country's restive north-western region abutting the Afghan border, police say.

Senate OKs immunity for telecoms

With just a few days until a stop-gap surveillance measure expires, the Senate finally seemed ready to acquiesce to President Bush's demand that telecommunications companies that helped him spy on Americans be let off the hook.
On Tuesday, the Senate struck down several proposals to strip retroactive immunity from an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act and seemed ready to pass a final bill. However, the FISA update still needs to be squared with the House, which passed an immunity-free version several months ago and remains opposed to the proposal.
The Senate actions would shield from lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on their customers without court permission after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
After nearly two months of stops and starts, the Senate rejected by a vote of 31 to 67 an amendment sponsored by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) that would have stripped a grant of retroactive immunity to the companies.

Webb Suggests Legal Action Against Bush On Iraq

Sen. Jim Webb thinks legal action against the Bush administration may be needed if the president pursues a long-term military presence in Iraq without Congress' approval.
"I'm not convinced we don't need to have a lawsuit ready," Webb told the Huffington Post. "This is a classic separation of powers issue. I started to talk to people about this today."
In recent days the administration has seemingly backed away from attempting to secure extended military-to-military relationship with the Iraqi government to replace a current U.N. Mandate. Webb and others -- most notably Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Hillary Clinton -- have pushed legislation that would restrict federal money for any such agreement unless it came in the form of a congressional treaty. And while a victory on that front seems within grasp, the possibility still exists, Webb warned, for the administration to ultimately circumvent congressional input.
"They are characterizing this as within the authority of the Executive Branch. They will wait to August when everyone is at the conventions, and leave it on our doorstep," said the Virginia Democrat. "If the Senate hasn't acted by then, they are going to announce an agreement between the Executive Branch and Iraq."
The issue of a long-term military presence in Iraq reemerged on the political landscape today after Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he may suspend the reduction of U.S. troops from the country depending on security considerations.
"A brief period of consolidation and evaluation probably does make sense," Gates told reporters during a short stop at this U.S. base in southern Baghdad.

Monday, February 11, 2008

They're Still In Charge…and anything can happen

If you think the election and the prospect of a change in Washington means a change in our foreign policy of global aggression, then think again – because it doesn't.
Remember, anything can happen between now and the inauguration of the next president. Whether it's war with Iran, a surprise intervention in Pakistan, or a sudden "crisis" somewhere else, would anyone be surprised if this administration takes full advantage of its remaining months in office to really stick us with their agenda of perpetual war?
Avaaz members: Take Action, Sign the Petition, Time to Change Course
US Election: Time to Change Course
The outcome of the US election will affect the entire world, and every issue we campaign on. But will the next US president continue to be a major part of the problem, or change course? Global citizens may not be able to vote in the election, but we can still have a voice. Let's join together in signing the letter opposite (its main points - climate protection, human rights and peace not war - were decided in an online poll of Avaaz members). The letter will be published prominently in US newspapers and delivered to the leading presidential candidates, so add your support using the form below:
I endorse this letter to the US Presidential candidates, and support its call for change.

Exiled Iraqis too scared to return home despite propaganda push

Patrick Cockburn, The Independent
To show that Iraq was safe enough for the two million Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan to return, the Iraqi government organised a bus convoy last November from Damascus to Baghdad carrying 800 Iraqis home for free. As a propaganda exercise designed to show that the Iraqi government was restoring peace, it never quite worked. The majority of the returnees said they were returning to Baghdad, not because it was safer, but because they had run out of money in Syria or their visas had expired. There has been no mass return of the two million Iraqis who fled to Syria and Jordan or a further 2.4 million refugees who left their homes within Iraq.... continua / continued

The Iraqi Brain Drain

Tom Engelhardt & Michael Schwartz
I'm an innumerate, but the figures on this -- the saddest story of our Iraq debacle -- are so large that even I can do the necessary computations. The population of the United States is now just over 300,000,000. The population of Iraq at the time of the U.S. invasion was perhaps in the 26-27 million range. Between March 2003 and today, a number of reputable sources place the total of Iraqis who have fled their homes -- those who have been displaced internally and those who have gone abroad -- at between 4.5 million and 5 million individuals. If you take that still staggering lower figure, approximately one in six Iraqis is either a refugee in another country or an internally displaced person. Now, consider the equivalent in terms of the U.S. population. If Iraq had invaded the United States in March 2003 with similar results, in less than five years approximately 50 million Americans would have fled their homes, assumedly flooding across the Mexican and Canadian borders, desperately burdening weaker neighboring economies.... continua / continued

Are you listening, bro?

My Brother the Superdelegate and Why I Don't Trust Him to Pick the Next President
My brother Rahm Emanuel is a superdelegate. I love my brother, and I trust my brother. But I gave up letting my brother dictate my life since he determined whether he got the top or bottom bunk in our bedroom back in Chicago.
So, as much as I love and respect him, I don't trust him and his fellow superdelegates to decide for me and the American people who should be the Democratic nominee -- and, therefore, most likely the next president of the United States.
I want voters to make that decision. The superdelegates, my brother included, have not been elected by anybody to name the nominee. They've either been appointed by the Party or, as in my brother's case, have automatically inherited the role simply because they are elected officials. This isn't the place to debate the entire history of superdelegates. Suffice it to say, however, they were created by the Party machine decades ago for the express purpose of giving Party insiders the ability to thwart the popular will.
After what Democrats went through in Florida in 2000, we should be the first to reject any such funny business. We should be as opposed to superdelegates changing the course of an election as we were to the Supreme Court appointing George W. Bush president.
The right thing for my brother, and all the other superdelegates to do, is to support the decision of the voters. Whichever candidate has won the most delegates going into the national convention should be granted the endorsement of the superdelegates. Period. And we should put pressure on them to agree to do so now -- before the jockeying, lobbying, and infighting get really ugly, as they inevitably will.
Likewise, Democrats must firmly oppose any shenanigans regarding delegates from Michigan and Florida. The party and the candidates all agreed that the delegates coming out of those states would not be seated. Unringing that bell after the fact and by fiat would be an outrage. We have only two legitimate options when it comes to Florida and Michigan: either we stick by the original agreement. Or we organize new elections in those states this summer in which both the Obama and Clinton campaigns can evenly compete.
After the democracy-snubbing arrogance of the Bush years, the last thing Democrats should be doing is wavering on our democratic principles on these issues. No super-power granted to superdelegates.
And no backroom fudging on Florida and Michigan. Are you listening, bro?
Brazile: I'll Quit Democratic Party If Superdelegates Choose Our Nominee


Two CBS Journalists Missing In Basra

BAGHDAD — Two CBS News journalists were missing in the predominantly Shiite southern city of Basra, the network said Monday.
CBS said all efforts were under way to find the journalists, who were not identified by the network. It requested "that others do not speculate on the identities of those involved" until more information was available.
"CBS News has been in touch with the families and asks that their privacy be respected," the network added in a brief statement from its headquarters in New York.
Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, has seen fierce fighting between rival Shiite militias as part of a power struggle in the oil-rich south.
The British military turned over responsibility for the province to Iraqis in December, but maintains forces near Basra, about 340 miles southeast of Baghdad.
Stanley Dunham, Obama discusses his mother

Seymour M. Hersh, of The New Yorker, writes: "sometime after midnight on September 6, 2007, at least four low-flying Israeli Air Force fighters crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a secret bombing mission on the banks of the Euphrates River, about ninety miles north of the Iraq border. The seemingly unprovoked bombing, which came after months of heightened tension between Israel and Syria over military exercises and troop buildups by both sides along the Golan Heights, was, by almost any definition, an act of war. But in the immediate aftermath nothing was heard from the government of Israel."

Obama Street Art

Idea: Apollo)
In a related phenomena, mysterious Obama-related political art is popping up on the street. This article reveals the identify of one of the mystery artists, whose art emanated from Chicago but spread to cities around the country.
Apparently (obviously), Obama's image lends itself more easily to street art and hip hop sensibilities than the visages of the other candidates. (Imagine ..) I've been collecting examples even before I began to support his candidacy, interested in the phenomenon. There is the admiring genre and then the rightwing genre, where he is portrayed as a negative stereotype such as a pimp or terrorist. The artistic quality of those is usually quite low, as the phenomenon Kayakbiker discussed of inferior republic campaign music also seems to extend to their visual aesthetic.

The Chicken Doves

Elected to end the war, Democrats have surrendered to Bush on Iraq and betrayed the peace movement for their own political ends
MATT TAIBBIPosted Feb 21, 2008 12:00 AM
Page 1 2
Quietly, while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been inspiring Democrats everywhere with their rolling bitchfest, congressional superduo Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have completed one of the most awesome political collapses since Neville Chamberlain. At long last, the Democratic leaders of Congress have publicly surrendered on the Iraq War, just one year after being swept into power with a firm mandate to end it.
Solidifying his reputation as one of the biggest pussies in U.S. political history, Reid explained his decision to refocus his party's energies on topics other than ending the war by saying he just couldn't fit Iraq into his busy schedule. "We have the presidential election," Reid said recently. "Our time is really squeezed."
There was much public shedding of tears among the Democratic leadership, as Reid, Pelosi and other congressional heavyweights expressed deep sadness that their valiant charge up the hill of change had been thwarted by circumstances beyond their control — that, as much as they would love to continue trying to end the catastrophic Iraq deal, they would now have to wait until, oh, 2009 to try again. "We'll have a new president," said Pelosi. "And I do think at that time we'll take a fresh look at it."
Pelosi seemed especially broken up about having to surrender on Iraq, sounding like an NFL coach in a postgame presser, trying with a straight face to explain why he punted on first-and-goal. "We just didn't have any plays we liked down there," said the coach of the 0-15 Dems. "Sometimes you just have to play the field-position game...."
In reality, though, Pelosi and the Democrats were actually engaged in some serious point-shaving. Working behind the scenes, the Democrats have systematically taken over the anti-war movement, packing the nation's leading group with party consultants more interested in attacking the GOP than ending the war. "Our focus is on the Republicans," one Democratic apparatchik in charge of the anti-war coalition declared. "How can we juice up attacks on them?" The story of how the Democrats finally betrayed the voters who handed them both houses of Congress a year ago is a depressing preview of what's to come if they win the White House. And if we don't pay attention to this sorry tale now, while there's still time to change our minds about whom to nominate, we might be stuck with this same bunch of spineless creeps for four more years. With no one but ourselves to blame.
The controversy over the Democratic "strategy" to end the war basically comes down to whom you believe. According to the Reid-Pelosi version of history, the Democrats tried hard to force President Bush's hand by repeatedly attempting to tie funding for the war to a scheduled withdrawal. Last spring they tried to get him to eat a timeline and failed to get the votes to override a presidential veto. Then they retreated and gave Bush his money, with the aim of trying again after the summer to convince a sufficient number of Republicans to cross the aisle in support of a timeline.

Army Buried Unclassified Study Faulting Iraq Planning

Published: February 11, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Army is accustomed to protecting classified information. But when it comes to the planning for the Iraq war, even an unclassified assessment can acquire the status of a state secret.
That is what happened to a detailed study of the planning for postwar Iraq prepared for the Army by the RAND Corporation, a federally financed center that conducts research for the military.
After 18 months of research, RAND submitted a report in the summer of 2005 called “Rebuilding Iraq.” RAND researchers provided an unclassified version of the report along with a secret one, hoping that its publication would contribute to the public debate on how to prepare for future conflicts.
But the study’s wide-ranging critique of the White House, the Defense Department and other government agencies was a concern for Army generals, and the Army has sought to keep the report under lock and key.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bush: Obama Would "Attack Pakistan And Embrace Ahmadinejad"

Appearing today on Fox News Sunday, President Bush laid into Sen. Barack Obama, claiming he would "attack Pakistan" and "embrace" Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"I certainly don't know what he believes in," Bush said when asked if there had been a "rush to judgment" about Obama. "The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was he's going to attack Pakistan and embrace Ahmadinejad."
Bush added he doesn't think people know enough about Obama -- but wouldn't comment on why, if that's the case, so many are supporting him.
In fact, Obama has not advocated either for attacking Pakistan or embracing Ahmadinejad. Obama has said that the U.S. should be willing to strike against al Qaeda targets in Pakistan if the country's president Pervez Musharraf refuses. Obama also said during a debate last year that he was willing to meet with leaders of Iran and other U.S. rivals without preconditions, although he did not commit to doing so.
Obama's chief rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, has also criticized Obama for his remarks on Pakistan and for being willing to meet with foreign leaders.
Obama's campaign responded this morning. "Of course President Bush would attack the one candidate in this race who opposed his disastrous war in Iraq from the start. But Barack Obama doesn't need any foreign policy advice from the architect of the worst foreign policy decision in a generation," said spokesman Bill Burton.
Watch the video of Bush:

McCain v McCain

McCain: I Want Rove's Advice

February 10, 2008 at 12:22 PM
Karl Rove last week announced that he had given $2300 to the presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain.
Asked over the weekend about the donation, McCain said he has "always respected Karl Rove as one of the smart great political minds I think in American politics," and specifically refused to condemn Rove's hyper-partisan campaign tactics (including his smears against McCain in the 2000 South Carolina race).
Watch it:
McCain - Refuses To Denounce Rove's Tactics

Stop Blair !

Petition against the nomination of Tony Blair as "President of the European Union"

We, European citizens of all origins and of all political persuasions, wish to express our total opposition to the nomination of Tony Blair to the Presidency of the European Council (...) In violation of international law, Tony Blair committed his country to a war in Iraq that a large majority of European citizens opposed. This war has claimed hundreds of thousands of victims and displaced millions of refugees. It has been a major factor in today's profound destabilisation of the Middle East, and has weakened world security. In order to lead his country into war, Mr Blair made systematic use of fabricated evidence and the manipulation of information. His role in the Iraq war would weigh heavily on the image of the Union in the world, should he in fact be named its president.... continua / continued

A nuclear-free mirage

The Middle East cannot be freed from weapons of mass destruction unless the US turns the spotlight on Israel
As Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, finalises his report on Iran's nuclear programme, the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, has been promoting the "historic idea" of a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction. This overlaps with a goal adopted by the UN security council back in 1991 when resolution 687 talked about "the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region of the Middle East" (...) The objective of a Middle East free of WMDs can be achieved only if Israel is also declared free of them by IAEA and other UN inspectors. In defiance of the security council resolution 487 of June 1981, Israel has not placed its nuclear facilities, whether civilian or military, under IAEA safeguards. Indeed, while it is an open secret that Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona started producing atom bombs in 1968, and that it has built up an arsenal of some 200 nuclear bombs, it has not officially acknowledged the existence of such activity... continua / continued

Dahr Jamail: Beyond the Green Zone

Jeremy Scahill, The Nation
....One of the key reasons Iran has the influence it does in Iraq right now is because the US itself appointed Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. We have to remember that he was in no way, shape or form democratically elected (...) Maliki, head of the Dawa party, was in exile in Tehran for numerous years, and is basically a political figurehead of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), whose armed wing, the Badr Organization, has staunch Iranian support. It was basically formed in Iran and came into Iraq on the heels of the invasion forces.... continua / continued

U.S. allies go on strike in Iraq's Diyala province

Steve Lannen, McClatchy Newspapers
Members of U.S.-allied citizen brigades, which are credited with helping to tamp down violence in many parts of Iraq, went on strike Friday in Diyala province, alleging that the provincial police chief there is running a death squad. A leader of the group said that brigade members, most of them Sunni Muslims, wouldn't resume working with U.S. and Iraqi government forces until the Shiite police chief resigns or is indicted.... continua / continued


Westminster still in awe of Israel’s "gang of amoral thugs", as one MP describes them
Stu Littlewood
Last week there was a debate on Gaza in the UK Parliament. Very few people turned up. MP Jeremy Corbyn reminded everyone that 36 of the 39 Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council members the Israelis abducted in 2006 were still detained and some hadn’t even been charged. "We cannot stand by and allow elected members of a fellow Parliament to be arrested and held without charge or trial in Israeli prisons... More Palestinian legislators are in prison than legislators from all the other Parliaments in the rest of the world put together… I hope that the Minister will tell us that serious pressure has been put on Israel to release those parliamentarians.".... continua / continued

Iraqi groups 'withdraw' US support

Sunni armed groups known as Awakening Councils appear to have withdrawn their support for US forces and the Iraqi government in Diyala province. The move has been seen as a significant blow to the US, which has hailed the groups' work in securing towns and neighbourhoods as a rare success in increasing security in the country. Meanwhile, the US military announced that five American soldiers were killed in two roadside bombings on Friday. Four of the deaths occurred in Baghdad and one in Tamim province, the US military said in two separate statements on Saturday. The Tamim blast also wounded three soldiers... continua / continued
The Bush administration has changed its strategy in Iraq. Previously the occupation relied on Kurdish and Shiite militias to keep a grip. Now it has added Sunni militias called "Awakening Councils" (al-Sahwa) and Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) to the mix. It is a fateful step. The change has brought some lessening of attacks on occupation troops. A turn toward Sunni/Shiite/Kurdish partition of Iraq is strongly evident. Nonetheless the change only ratifies the failure of all previous occupation policies. It solves no old problems of the occupation and presents many new ones.... continua / continued

American Psycho: An Elite Exposed in an Exit Speech

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
February 8, 2008If you would like to see just how sick the American elite really is – how morally depraved, how intellectually diseased, how addicted to the taste of human flesh, the scent of human blood, and the sight of human suffering – then you need go no further than the speech given by Mitt Romney to the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 7, 2008.
Now you might say that Mitt Romney is old news. After all, this was the very speech where he declared he was quitting the presidential race. He's toast, he's over, the fork has been stuck into his well-roasted hide; who cares what he says? This is of course the witless "horse-race" view that dominates political discourse in America: who's up, who's down, who's getting the column inches, who's on TV? But in reality, the American elite – or the Establishment, or the power structure, call it what you will (as long as you don't call it what it really is: the ruling class) – is like an iceberg: most of its vast bulk exists unseen, it plows on beneath the surface, unperturbed by the media storms that rage around the small bit of exposed material at the summit.
Mitt Romney is an immensely wealthy, well-connected man, a former governor of the state of Massachusetts, born and bred in an extensive web of privilege and power. His defeat in a presidential campaign changes none of that. He will simply submerge – for a time – back into those depths where the real business of the elite is largely done. Thus his words to the conservative activists remain a highly relevant indication of the mindset that holds sway over the world's most powerful nation. They show the barbarism, hatemongering and bloodlust that are considered perfectly acceptable in the polite company of our rulers and their sycophants.
Indeed, the most remarkable thing about Romney's speech is that there is nothing remarkable about it; it is entirely typical of the kind of red meat that many leading lights of American society routinely throw to the slavering rightwing faithful. It takes a strong effort to wrench your mind free from the media-besotted mentality that regards such a speech as "normal" (even if you disagree with it), and see it for the debased, bestial raving that it really is.
The smoldering core of Romney's vomitous offering can perhaps be found in his passing remarks on Europe. Again, in one sense, this was just a crowd-pleasing throwaway: a good Eurobash always gets the CPAC froth flowing. But in a deeper sense, it cuts right to the corroded heart of the matter, right down to the vicious, primitive, genocidal racism that has shaped and driven so many of the policies of Western elites for centuries. In the midst of a long diatribe about liberal "attacks" on "American culture," Romney pauses for a glance across the Atlantic, to evoke a hideous nightmare that could soon be America's future: >>>cont


K Gajendra Singh
February 8, 2008'It would be a good idea.' Mahatma Gandhi, when asked about his views on western culture.Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and the founder of the M K Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence was forced to resign from the institute attached to Rochester University following accusations of being anti-Semitic. He had written on 7 January in the Washington Post,
"Jewish Identity Can't Depend on Violence"

OPEC may switch to euro, will "take time" -sec-gen

DUBAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Producer group OPEC may abandon the dollar for pricing oil and adopt the euro but any such switch will "take time", OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri was quoted as saying by a weekly magazine.
"Maybe we can price the oil in the euro," the London-based Middle East Economic Digest quoted Badri as saying in an interview. "It can be done, but it will take time."
Reuters obtained an advance copy of the interview which will be published in the London-based magazine's next issue.
"Badri tells MEED ... that the producers' cartel may switch to the euro within a decade to combat the dollar's decline," the magazine said without providing a direct quote about the time frame.
"It took two world wars and more than 50 years for the dollar to become the dominant currency. Now we are seeing another strong currency coming into the [frame], which is the euro," he said.
Iran, at odds with the West over its nuclear programme, and its anti-U.S. ally Venezuela have pressed for OPEC to abandon the dollar and perhaps price oil in a basket of currencies.
But they have had little success despite the dollar's sharp fall against a basket of world currencies in recent months amid growing concerns about the health of the U.S. economy and the prospect of interest rate cuts in the United States.
While oil is priced in dollars, any weakness in the currency erodes the spending power of oil producers. (Writing by Firouz Sedarat, editing by Anthony Barker)

Memo Blasts State Dept. Iraq Effort

Feb. 8, 2008
Share In a confidential memo, a long-time Republican operative who has served in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for the past year says the State Department's efforts in Iraq are so poorly managed they "would be considered willfully negligent if not criminal" if done in the private sector.
"We have brought to Iraq the worst of America -- our bureaucrats," writes Manuel Miranda in the memo, which was addressed to U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and cc'd to "ALCON" or "all concerned" at the State Department.
"You are doing a job for which you are not prepared as a bureaucracy or as leaders," Miranda writes. "The American and Iraqi people deserve better."
Asked to respond to the allegations made in Miranda's memo, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Miranda is entitled to his opinion, but "We think Ambassador Crocker and his team are doing a very good job under extremely challenging circumstances. We have great confidence in their ability to carry out their mission."
Miranda previously held senior Republican leadership positions on Capitol Hill, including counsel for then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. While on Capitol Hill, Miranda was embroiled in a controversy when he obtained a confidential memorandum written by Senate Democrats and leaked it the press. Democrats accused Miranda of hacking into their computer systems. Miranda said the Democratic staffers had left the memo on a computer server accessable to all Senate staffers.
You can read Miranda's memo HERE.
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