GaryBaumgarten

GaryBaumgarten
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Director of News and Programming
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Award winning journalist Gary Baumgarten hosts the News Talk Online show on Paltalk.com. He asks critical questions, and invites people from all around the world to talk directly to his newsmaker guests using Paltalk's voice over IP technology. Gary came to Paltalk as director of news and programming from CNN where he was the radio bureau chief and correspondent in New York for a decade, where he covered, among other things, the 9/11 attacks in New York and Hurricane Katrina. He was previously reporter and assistant news director at CBS all news radio station WWJ in Detroit. Prior to that he was managing editor at Detroit Radio News Service and a reporter for the Jackson (MI) Citizen-Patriot, the Detroit News and a number of weekly newspapers. Paltalk is the largest multimedia interactive program on the Internet with more than 4 million unique users. News Talk Online is also syndicated by CRN Digital Talk Radio to cable systems serving an additional 12 million households.

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APRIL 20, 2009 1:25PM

Ahmadinejad Lives Up To Expectations

Rate: 5 Flag

At least Iranian Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lives up to the fears and expectations the rest of the world has for him.

The only national leader to attend the Durbin II UN human rights conference in Geneva kicked off the conference by delivering a speech where he accused Israel of genocide.

The European nations that had not previously decided to sit out the gathering walked out in protest.

Several others, including Germany and the Netherlands, had joined the United States and Israel in boycotting the conference for fear that Israel would become its focus. Ahmadinejad guaranteed that those concerns would come true.

Of course, it's popular to accuse Israel of human rights violations. That's fine, and fair game. But I guess the conference avoids the issue of rights in Iran.

Let's see ... a freelance journalist is picked up for buying wine (horrid!) then held for reporting (for the BBC, NPR and others) without a press card and then is convicted behind closed doors and without representation of her attorney of spying for the United States.

Women are routinely arrested for showing strands of hair in public.

And as Ahmadinejad has said himself, there are no gays in Iran. At least no identifiably gay people. Well, at least no identifiably gay people who are still alive.

Those nations that sat out Durbin II did so out of conscience. Those that attended wanted to give it a go because the issue is, of course, a serious one. There are human rights violations all across the globe. And all of them deserve our attention and remediation.

But those who walked out had little choice. Because if the only human rights violations the UN is going to focus on are those allegedly committed by Israel, then a lot of people suffering elsewhere in the world will find no relief. And that includes those who live under the repressive regime controlling Iran.

We talk about issues like this and more weekdays at 5 PM New York time on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com

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Your comments about Amadinejad are very negative...and obviously meant to poke a stick in his eye. His comments ab0ut Israel are very negative...and obviously meant to poke a stick in its eye.

No surprises by either side.

If both sides of issues of this sort would get their heads out of their asses...the world would quickly become a much better place in which to live.

But I wouldn't hold my breath.
When you don't expect very much I know he can deliver.
http://www.ifamericansknew.org/
I appreciate this piece. Iran is a potential ally to western civilization for many reasons. But not until and unless their religious tyranny ends and oppressive laws change.

Frank: please, give it a rest. Can we just once not run the equivalency flag up the pole? Yeah, Israel is a flawed country. Tag, you're it. It is a bore.

Anyone who thinks they have a clear moral understanding about Israel and Iran is not paying attention. Iran must change, and the Arab states must as well. Full stop. Hateful theocracies are the enemy of civilization.

I abhor the influence the right wing and religious nuts have in the Knesset but Israel is not a theocracy. When I'm-adumbjihad calls it genocide he is inflaming the Muslim street to cosmic war for political gain. Condemn it per se.

Good post, Gary.
Historically, ALL organized religions grow out of the early influences of power crazy tribal witch-doctors; so ANY country RULED by such illogical credos will invariably be power-driven with hatred as fuel. Such is the case with the crazy mullahs working behind the scenes in the middle east.

We are civilized only in proportion to our willingness to isolate people spewing vitriolic hatred within closed enclaves where their vitriolic "puss" remains contained and eats upon itself.
Yes, Israel needs to stop oppressing the Palestinians and we should do what we can to facilitate that. The Iranians, and other countries that fail to recognize Israel's right to exist, do nothing to help the conflict. If Iran truly cared about the plight of the Palestinian people, they would work with Israel to find a solution instead of constantly threatening to blow it off the map.
A very flawed piece. The fact is that Iran could change its policies on gays and women and still be Iran, but Israel cannot change its policies on right of return and preferential treatment for Jews and still be Israel. The fact is that a person born of a Jewish mother in New York has more "right" to live inside its illegal borders than some people who were born there, but lost their homes to Israeli expansion in '49 or '67. This is fact.

Count up how many Israelis living in Israel are living on land recently owned by Palestinians but taken by force, and how many Palestinians are living on land once owned by Israelis but taken by force. The answer is millions vs. virtually zero.

All the stuff about Ahmadinejad's bigotry is an attempt to avoid this central truth about Israel.

Also avoided is the fact that once Iran was a thriving Western-style parliamentary democracy. Its attempt to keep its oil under control of Iranians rather than US oil companies led to a CIA supported coup by a right wing dictator who brutalized its people for years.

Ahmadinejad may be nut--one, by the way, with little actual power in Iran--but much of what he said is right. Attempts to make this about gays and women's rights distracts the so called "proggressives" on this board. This is the plan. You are falling for it.

The leaders in Israel are much more dangerous to Jewish people than Ahmadinejad. Wake up.
Although the Iranian president used hyperbole, his basic message was correct. The nations that walked out had no valid response to his words so they left rather than make fools of themselves with flimsy apologies for Israel's racist policies. Instead of acting like spoled children and leaving why didn't these western nations come up with a plan to assist Israel in seeing the error of its ways?
Uh oh--reading these comments makes me think we are in trouble once again.
thanks for posting this I had not heard it
If you disagree with me, point to some fact or argument I use that makes me wrong. saying "uh oh" doesn't cut it.


Read MarkinJapan's linked website. It is very good.

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/
You are not the mainstream in your morally flawed "progressivism", thank all that is good and true. You and too many others have succumbed to a vicious, European anti-semtic version of the left that is in fact historically bizarre and has no moral center.

There is no equivilance between Israel's leadership and policies and Iran's. Iran's leaders including Mr. A have called for the eradication of Israel and the wholesale slaughter of its citizens. Find me an example of and Israeli elected official who holds this belief about Iran and I will condemn for the same. He has allied himself with Holocaust deniers who specifically deem Jews -- not the even Mr. A's masquerade of "Israelis" -- as sub-human and worthy of extermination. Find me an example of a President or Prime Minister in Israel who deems Iranians as worthy of extinction and I will condemn them.

Mr. A's predecessors waged a war of mutual annihilation with Irag a few decades ago. Full-on war, millions dead and injured, and both countries pointlessly reduced for generations. Show me examples of years-long wholesale war that Israel has waged with the aim of extermination.

Genocide my weary ass. What a lazy thing, to wave one's hands in support of this cynical and absurd remark.

The striking thing about Israeli actions have been their brevity, surgical character, flawed but sincere effort to contain excesses by their military, and most remarkable of all, the return of lands to enemies who attacked them in the first place. Read a history book: we still occupy Japanese and German soil after 63 years. Countries, since the Peloponnesian War on, just don't do what Israel has done -- give land back -- and what does it get them? escalating contempt, rocket attacks, and abuse, as a pawn, by feudal Arab princes who decimate Gazan citizens with neglect and callous misuse. In order to preserve systems you as a so-called leftist should detest from end-to end as primitive, oppressive, and uncivilized.

Using the word expansion in regards to 49 and 67 simply shows the shallowness of your education, at best. At worst it shows you are willing to embrace absurd lies about who attacked who, or that truth, for you is secondary to polemic. Feh.

We share far more than you realize. Want to condemn Sharon? I will exhaust you with the details of why he is a war criminal, unpunished, and a blight on Israel's history and name. Want to condemn the Satmars and their inane racism? With you, brother. Want to stop the settlers? With you and amen. Yep, the Shah was rotten and worse, yep the CIA usurped the previous regime -- but that regime was no democracy in our sense, and the nuts who overthrew the Shah are far, far worse. See again millions dead because of their war. (Yep the CIA bankrolled it, but shall we pretend the Iranians and Iraqis didn't go along, support it, embrace it?).

I am not distracted when it comes to Iran's disdain for Human Rights and recognizing the relative goodness of Israel as a western-style democracy. I am merely Awake. I don't want ANY regime that corrupts the Rights of Man for religious reasons to win anywhere.

But you take the non-left, non-progressive side. It is not MY left, the left of Ghandi and King and Phil Ochs and Alan Ginsberg and Studs Turkel and many others. You side with the unalloyed Evil that escalates Israeli error and debacle, inanely, to genocide, that wants the anti-secularism and religious insanity of Arab medievalism to "win". What in the world are you, ethically?
sorry, the comment above is directed to John O's comments
Mr. Correl, you are sadly mistaken and your lack of objectivity is quite evident.

1) First off, you conflate anti-Semitism with criticisms of Zionism. Mnay of us are very tired of this rather worn out ploy. I do not happen to be Jewish, but certainly would have much to be proud of if I were. My list of the 100 greatest people who have ever lived would certainly contain more Jews than any other group I can think of. I am concerned about all people, and some of the most virulent critics of Zionism are Jewish, both secular, like Norman Finkelstein and religious--there is a whole and much underreported Orthodox movement that condemns Zionism. [http://www.nkusa.org] You may disagree with me but my conscience is very clear when it comes to my motives and I, in fact, believe that Israel—and its stolen nuclear bmb--is a clear and present danger to the Jewish people, not to speak of the rest of .

2) One of my favorite poets is, in fact, Allen Ginsberg. We shared a Buddhist teacher and I know more than one person who knew him personally. He abhorred Zionism, as you can see from this poem: http://quiteserious.blogspot.com/2008/02/jaweh-and-allah-battle-by-allen.html

3) I expressly said "Ahmadinejad may be a nut..." I never defended him. I am certainly not a defender of Arab medievalism. Please respond to what people say.Not to what you think you can refute.

4) Nevertheless, please show me one quote where A said that Jews should be exterminated. What he said was that "The regime in Israel should be removed from the pages of history." Certainly he has instigated chants of "Death to Israel" “Death to America." I do not agree with that, obviously, but he never said "All Jews should die" or "Israel should be wiped off the map."

5) Please respond to this: Count up how many Israelis living in Israel are living on land recently owned by Palestinians but taken by force, and how many Palestinians are living on land once owned by Israelis but taken by force. Please give me your count.
6) You say: "Show me examples of years-long wholesale war that Israel has waged with the aim of extermination." I don't know what you mean by "years long, wholesale." Perhaps brief, spurts of partial war is ok with you? The fact is that Israeli leaders want the Palestinians to disappear into surrounding Arab states. They cannot be allowed back onto the lands their families once owned.

7) This is not the place to debate the causes of the '49 and '67 wars. I believe you are largely mistaken, but the fact is that most of the cities in which the rockets from Gaza fell are now flourishing Israeli cities with few Palestinians and the people in Gaza are the people who once lived in those cities (or their children) but are not allowed to return to their homes. Very few of them had anything to do with the Arab league at the time. Their land was stolen. Period. People tend to not like it when you dispossess them. The US has bases in Japan and Germany, but we did not populate their cities with people from California and push them into camps in Korea or Poland.

8) Please give me your evidence that the Iranian elections that elected Mossadegh to PM of Parliamentary Iran were less free than our on (which are hardly without flaw). I do not believe you have any.

I could go on. I believe it is you who are misinformed. I advise you to look at the website linked above. http://www.ifamericansknew.org

The final irony: You reference the Iran-Iraq war without mentioning that Israel helped fund and arm the Iranians in that war according to a prominent Israeli journalist and other sources.
Kinda spooky how many anti-semitic's are on O.S.
Ms. Young,

If you are talking about me, I take great offense. Be specific. Point to one anti-Semitic statement.

What is spooky to me is how many people either can't think, or are simply unwilling to respond to arguments. I try not to question people's motives, but I am almost forced to question yours.

Answer my challenges, and we can debate. Perhaps I am mistaken. Tell me how.
I am watching the conversation between Omniadeo and Greg with great interest, as my education in this matter is woefully incomplete. I'm not ashamed to admit this, as I believe it is important for me to be forthright in my quest for facts. Here I toast the Net in all its glorious cacophony, for each side and all the grey-spacers in between may openly engage in quick exchanges of point-counterpoint, facilitating my search for truth... though it be a slippey slope, for who has their facts right, who can back their claims?

Both of you are raising points of interest, but O. keeps making points I cannot presently refute, such as point 7 of the 8:11 post: "most of the cities in which the rockets from Gaza fell are now flourishing Israeli cities with few Palestinians and the people in Gaza are the people who once lived in those cities (or their children) but are not allowed to return to their homes. Very few of them had anything to do with the Arab league at the time. Their land was stolen. Period. People tend to not like it when you dispossess them. The US has bases in Japan and Germany, but we did not populate their cities with people from California and push them into camps in Korea or Poland."

I find the ring of truth in this -- but again, I am woefully under-educated in History and am still studying the founding of Israel. It does behoove me to try to sort the complexity, for it is no black and white, simple matter.

It does disturb me to find a reactionary equation of Anti-Zionist = Anti-Semitic in some posts... they simply aren't the same thing. I know several Hebrews who are Anti-Zionist, yet they do not hate Jews... they simply believe Israel should be a state of mind, not a political state.

While I am leaning towards viewing Israel as an imbalanced and dangerous entity, my jury is still out on a final judgement until I get my facts right (like the legality of its founding.)

At the same time, I believe Iran certainly is a dangerous an imbalanced entity with a long list of violations... I hope to see Iranians depose its theocracy. Yet that fact doesn't change possibley valid points made by Ahmadinejad. There is no a priori reason to discount these points -- the should be addressed, either refuted or confirmed.

Like Phaedo said at the first comment, "Never just walk out, hear the idiots' out and then flay them verbally..."

Also, making fun of a name strikes me as puerile & counter-productive, and tends to cultivate sympathy for the target.

Thanks to Gary for the forum.
Follow-up: after a couple hours' research, I've gotten a better idea about the complexity of the situations.

It seems the British govenment made conflicting promises during its partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. At this point, I can't align my views with Omniadeo's any more, nor Greg's for that matter. It is apparent to me from my superficial skimming of historical events between 1914-1948 that no one party can hold the blame as primum mobile of trouble. While intentions in the WZO struck me as genuinely positive from the Jewish point of view, there remains the question of what to do with all those people already living there; the Balfour Declaration (1917), with its "view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" having its addition by Montagu and Curzon: "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

I have a lot of homework to do... it is fascinating, pertinant data.

Thanks again everyone -- I'm encouraged and prodded to understand something of the 'sides' in this hyperpolygon of history. My universe became a little larger tonight, and far more elegant.