Las Vegas, DC, and Havana

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I’ve been in Senator Harry Reid‘s territory for the last day and a half — enjoying watching the unlikely co-mingling of a massive number of NASCAR fans mixing with tweed and tie-wearing academics from the Western Political Science Association.
A few quick things I want to pass on but don’t have enough time at the moment to fully get at before my brief return to Washington today and then departure to Cuba tomorrow.
First of all, I will be attending part of the AIPAC Policy Conference 2007 on Sunday to hear as many speakers as I can.
Secondly, I just read this excellent piece, “Rice’s Hiring of Neocon Leaves Observers Puzzled,” by Tom Omestad of US News & World Report. It addresses Condi’s curious choice of Eliot Cohen as her Counselor. This blogger has a line in the piece which states that Cohen is primarily insulation from Cheney’s inter-agency attacks.
On another front, however, I need some counsel of my own from any readers familiar with Havana. I’m taking a research trip there this next week. If anyone has thoughts on ways to get on line — let me know.
I am used to WiFi and DSL services — and don’t use dial-up, or haven’t in a long time. So any good counsel on this front appreciated. Also need to figure out the electric outlet situation.
For anyone in Cuba at the time who wants to discuss things — or has DSL advice — I’ll be at the Parque Central Hotel.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

78 comments on “Las Vegas, DC, and Havana

  1. Pissed Off American says:

    Gee, MP. I guess you aren’t going to show us any of these WP articles, to buttress your claims, eh?

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    “You have posted a lot of links. You always do. My question is, do you provide an accurate picture? Let’s take a look at some of your statements above. I haven’t done a survey, but I would wager strongly that much sentiment on campus is strongly pro-Palestinian. Not necessarily anti-Israel, but certainly pro-Palestinian. And, in addition, much money has been funneled into American universities by the Arab countries to set up Middle East studies programs that aren’t shy about presenting the Arab and Muslim perspective on all sorts of issues.”
    Posted by MP
    MP, your “I would bet”s and “pretty sure”s don’t amount to a hill of beans. This horseshit of telling us what you THINK is happening is no rebuttal to Carroll and my examples of WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING. If you doubt our college campuses are being targeted by AIPAC, than just examine the AIPAC website. Do you think the PROPAGANDA offered on the website differs from the crap they are feeding these college kids? What, you think they’re lying on their website, but not on campus?
    “Let’s look at my local paper, the Washington Post. Huge coverage of the plight of the Palestinians on a regular basis. Lots of coverage of the new unity government. Lots of stats on the number of Palestinians in prison. Lots of coverage of the cluster bombs used in Lebanon and the destruction there.”
    And the point, MP, isn’t what the Washington post says about the Palestinian/Israeli issue, the point is what AIPAC says about it. But hey, I’ll bite. How about you show us one of these WP articles that covers the “plight of the Palestinians”. Lets see one, MP. I am interested in the context such coverage is offered.
    Is it really your contention the MSM media is presenting an unbiased account of what is happening in Gaza or Lebanon? If thats your claim, its ludicrous.

    Reply

  3. Carroll says:

    P.S.
    “In other words, it’s not as if, on the one hand, the US has one set of REAL strategic interests that we all agree on…or any sane person agrees on.. and, on the other hand, there are a bunch of nattering interest groups who only want what’s best for them and not all of us”
    Actually MP…this is exactly what we do have right now. The “realist” that Steve presents here occasionally do see our real interest or are speaking to the fact that we need a basic doctrine on our real interest in my opinion….and quite clearly have been speaking out in opposition to the “nattering interest” groups that seems to be holding sway these days.
    And on the treason thing I use treason only because I can’t find any correct term or other law to apply, so I use it like a generic…the treason laws and the subversion laws are antiquated and don’t cover what we are seeing. I have long thought the definitions of treason and subverison should be broadened and updated to reflect the complications of our new world or something put into law to cover politicans who use their office in dozens of ways to defraud
    Americans for the benefit of themselves when acting for some foreign interest. This kind of undefined treason or betrayal or whatever we want to call it is sort of like what the judge said about porn…”there might not be a name for it but I know it when I see it.”

    Reply

  4. Carroll says:

    Posted by MP at March 16, 2007 12:18 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Well MP, what you describe is certainly the way it is now….but the thing is, the more and more out of whack and out of bounds competing foreign and special interest get…..the closer this country gets to coming undone.
    If I wern’t so sick of thinking about it myself I would go into a long speech about all the things large and small that show we have gone down the rabbit hole…starting with the fact that we, our goverment, no longer even obeys it’s own laws…in anything. Now some people will say we are a democracy and a democracy can self correct itself….but to do that you have to have actual uncorrupted people representing and guarding that democracy…..and we don’t.
    And it’s not difficult to determine our real stragatic interest..you just first have to shut out anyone who isn’t interested in America’s interest, then you can focus on the bottom line. Once that bottom line is written in stone we can entertain other interest.

    Reply

  5. MP says:

    Carroll asks: “What say you MP..about people like this lady..”one AIPAC delegate said. “I’d really like to see Obama in person, but Hillary is better for Israel.” Or this…”they are maintaining the position that all the candidates will be equally good for Israel.” or the pathic deluded evangelical freak who wants to join the IDF but obviously hasn’t signed up to save American in Iraq.”
    First, what I say is what I’ve said all along: I OPPOSE AIPAC. They are bad for the US and for Israel. That’s my position.
    Second, there are a lot of Americans who are essentially one issue voters. For many Jews, protecting Israel is their issue. I understand that (for a lot of reasons), but I’m not one of them AND I believe AIPAC’s approach is the WRONG way.
    Third, I’d like to see a full investigation of AIPAC before I judge them, as an organization, to be an espionage front. The fact that they were under investigation doesn’t prove that they were. Perhaps you’re willing to say that where there’s an investigation, there’s criminality–but I’m not willing to say that.
    (I don’t have to remind you that MLK was investigated by the FBI and so was the anti-war movmement in the 60s. McCarthy did a lot of investigating, too. I know it’s tempting when you see “smoke,” but personally I reserve judgement until I see fire.)
    Fourth, opposing “real strategic interests” with “domestic pressure” may be a false opposition. I would argue that US foreign policy is ALWAYS the result of competing domestic interests and foreign interests and those interests compete on the basis of different sorts of arguments.
    In other words, it’s not as if, on the one hand, the US has one set of REAL strategic interests that we all agree on…or any sane person agrees on.. and, on the other hand, there are a bunch of nattering interest groups who only want what’s best for them and not all of us.
    For example, is a strong alliance with the Saudis in our strategic interests because they have the oil we need for our SUVs–while intervening in Darfur or Rwanda isn’t because there’s no oil in either place?
    In the end, all we have are “special interest groups” and, hopefully, a few statespeople who can rationally balance it all out. Hopefully, also, the special interest groups can learn to see a bit beyond on their own horizon…which I think was basically Rich’s point.

    Reply

  6. MP says:

    POA writes: “AIPAC is far more than a mere “lobby group”, and to deny that is dishonest and ludicrous. They are intimidating educators, politicians, the media, and they have INFILTRATED every aspect of American life, not the least of which is our college campuses. Are you naive enough to think that the propaganda you see on their website is being exclusively offered only online? Well, just consider the media’s echoing of the lopsided and misrepresentive crap that we are being fed about the situation in regards to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Want to see what tomorrow’s media will be saying about THAT conflict? ”
    You have posted a lot of links. You always do. My question is, do you provide an accurate picture? Let’s take a look at some of your statements above. I haven’t done a survey, but I would wager strongly that much sentiment on campus is strongly pro-Palestinian. Not necessarily anti-Israel, but certainly pro-Palestinian. And, in addition, much money has been funneled into American universities by the Arab countries to set up Middle East studies programs that aren’t shy about presenting the Arab and Muslim perspective on all sorts of issues.
    My alma mater, Georgetown, is a good example. Since way back in the 1970s, it’s had a HUGE Middle East (read: Arab) studies program funded by the Saudis. The corresponding Jewish studies program is miniscule. I myself proofed papers for one of their leading ME experts, a Palestinian, Hisham Sharabi, who was, ah, no friend of Israel. I remember piping on one point and that was the end of my assignments from him.
    Nevertheless, I wouldn’t describe any of this as Arab infiltration. People are putting forward their views and playing hardball, on both sides of the issue.
    Let’s look at my local paper, the Washington Post. Huge coverage of the plight of the Palestinians on a regular basis. Lots of coverage of the new unity government. Lots of stats on the number of Palestinians in prison. Lots of coverage of the cluster bombs used in Lebanon and the destruction there.

    Reply

  7. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “But still I can’t buy your arguement….”these” American citizens are advocating for a foreign country without regard for the actual impact and interest of the country they live. ”
    I agree with your post. The rub comes, however, when it comes time to agree on what the “interest of the country” is. Lots of people disagree. How do we broker these differences? Built in to the system is the possibility, even the probability, that lots of people will disagree and vehemently so.
    My view is that you have to confront opposing views on the subtance. Once you start calling folks “traitors” or other terms that suggest they are less than American, however, you move the conversation to an entirely different plane.
    Traitors are executed or put into prison for life. Is that going to be the fate of people who strongly disagree with you? You tell me. I don’t think that makes for a good democracy.
    For Jews, in particular, this is tricky territory because of our history. I won’t harp on this. But in Germany, lots of decorated WWI Jewish-German veterans were killed because they weren’t “German” even though their families had lived their for eons. And this experience was repeated in many other countries in many other times.
    So that’s where the sensitivity comes from.
    But the point is, regardless of the group involved, bad policies need to be opposed on their demerits. And we need to play hardball within the confines of the law. That’s my view.

    Reply

  8. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, Carroll, if your post wasn’t “specific” enough, I don’t know what the hell will satisfy them. It will be interesting to see if Steve comments on his AIPAC Conference experience. My bet? He will not mention it, or his comments will be complimentary. After all, one mustn’t rock the boat.

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    Oh my god, what a freak show…looking inside at the attendees of AIPAC makes my blood run cold…only 6000 people but they are the people running our ME policy. And they are all totally ignorant of the disgust with them them building in the American public.
    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/16/aipac/
    Inside America’s powerful Israel lobby
    AIPAC’s three-day summit included fiery evangelical oratory, adoration for Dick Cheney — and new plans for going after Iran.
    By Gregory Levey
    March 16, 2007 | WASHINGTON — At the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this week in Washington, a conservative Christian couple from eastern Tennessee told me that their son had decided to join the Israeli army. It was one of many surreal moments during the three-day gathering hosted by AIPAC, the lobbying group devoted to ensuring close U.S.-Israel ties that remains extraordinarily influential in Washington. “We just love God, and we just love Israel,” the couple beamed, when I asked why they had come to the conference
    …here are some snips from the article:
    Hagee went on to declare the United Nations a “political brothel” and asserted that Israel must never give up land. He agreed with Israeli writer Dore Gold that granting part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians would be “tantamount to turning it over to the Taliban.” And, after rebuking Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he led the crowd in a chant of “Israel lives!” urging them to “shout it from the mountaintops!”
    During Hagee’s oratory, an AIPAC delegate sitting near me said, “I’m going to vote for him instead of McCain.”
    Marvin Feuer, AIPAC’s director of policy and government affairs, was verbally attacked by a conference attendee as “weak” when he downplayed military options against Iran during a Q&A session.
    Sarah Steelman, the state treasurer of Missouri, described how she has worked to restrict the state’s investments in companies that do business with Iran, and urged AIPAC members to lobby their own state governments to institute similar policies. Steven Perles, a lawyer, explained how it was possible to tie up the assets of the Iranian government and financial institutions by engaging them in lawsuits for their funding of terrorist groups.
    In addition to the many panels at the conference, which often felt akin to pep rallies, delegates also attended “lobbying labs,” where AIPAC staff schooled them on how to effectively persuade their congressional representatives to follow AIPAC policies. These sessions were not open to the media, nor even mentioned on the schedule of events distributed to members of the press. But AIPAC leaders repeatedly urged delegates to attend them. And on Tuesday, the organization deployed its army of lobbyists to push for new sanctions against Iran, which are contained in a new bill called the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, introduced by Democrat Tom Lantos and Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
    When the thousands of lobbyists descended on Capitol Hill, they were greeted by nearly every U.S. senator and more than half the members of the House of Representatives — approximately 500 meetings were held between AIPAC representatives and members of Congress on Tuesday alone. In addition to pushing for the sanctions plan, the goal was to showcase the strength of AIPAC and establish more ties for future communication and lobbying.
    The AIPAC activists were aided in their mission by some members of Congress themselves, who advised them how to reach out to their colleagues.
    “Our commitment to Israel defines us as a nation,” said Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, adding that the AIPAC lobbyists “help make sure that we don’t forget.”
    Nita Lowey, a Democratic representative from New York, said the best strategy toward that goal was to keep pointing out to lawmakers that the relationship with Israel “is in the U.S. interest.”
    “I don’t sit behind my desk and come up with this stuff,” Coleman said, stressing that he often consulted AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr for policy advice. Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland, said that she, too, often spoke to Kohr and others in the AIPAC leadership. “They’re like daily phone calls,” she said, as other Democratic and Republican members of Congress onstage nodded in agreement.
    Following the dinner, Clinton and Obama held competing dessert receptions in the conference center — in rooms about 25 yards apart — both eager to highlight their pro-Israel credentials. Debates ensued over which one to attend. “I can’t decide,” one AIPAC delegate said. “I’d really like to see Obama in person, but Hillary is better for Israel.”
    In their effort to maintain their image of bipartisanship, AIPAC’s leadership is remaining firmly on the sidelines in looking ahead to the 2008 elections. On the surface, at least, they are maintaining the position that all the candidates will be equally good for Israel.
    >>>>>>>
    What say you MP..about people like this lady..”one AIPAC delegate said. “I’d really like to see Obama in person, but Hillary is better for Israel.” Or this…”they are maintaining the position that all the candidates will be equally good for Israel.” or the pathic deluded evangelical freak who wants to join the IDF but obviously hasn’t signed up to save American in Iraq.
    I already know what other Americans are saying about this…”Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland, said that she, too, often spoke to Kohr and others in the AIPAC leadership. “They’re like daily phone calls,” she said, as other Democratic and Republican members of Congress onstage nodded in agreement.”
    I will say it again…this jewish-evangelical-congressional- AIPAC-Israel abomination will end badly for this country and after that it will end badly for the Jews once again if this isn’t stopped. It’s a circus of treason and insanity from AIPAC to congress. Whenever the tipping point in this country comes we will be lucky if it’s just a social and political bloodbath and not a literal one. Does anyone really think the rest of the world will allow the US to become the Frankenstein monster of Israel and continue to do what we have been doing.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    I want to point out somehting that POA said..
    “And the argument that one cannot “prove” that AIPAC is directly involved in covert espionage against the United States is not only horseshit, it is also a chickenshit argument. Gee, Rosen and his partners in crime were just “staffers”, and after all, no one has indicted AIPAC”
    ..as an example of how the Israeli and pro israel element lies..and they do this all the time when it comes to their activities…even when their lies as soooooo easily disproven.
    There is absolute proof that AIPAC was being investigated before Franklin and Rosen ever surfaced…in offical statements made by the FBI themselves…that their investigation of AIPAC was cut short when a leak within their agency revealed Franklin had popped up in the investigation …in fact the Judge in the case initally ordered an investigation into the leak.
    But to read the Jewish orgs in this country, they claim that AIPAC was never under investigation and Rosen was only a rogue actor.
    Just yesterday I saw several articles in Jewish papers about the fact that Rosen “was fired from AIPAC before” ever being arrested by the FBI…could not be further from the truth… which is easily verifable in about a thousand news reports. But I guarentee you will see that little lie in every artice they put out, as if everyone has forgotten the real events. Rosen was still working for AIPAC when the FBI invaded the AIPAC offices and siezed all Rosen’s files and computer in his office. The ony way the FBI knew about Franklin was because they already had AIPAC under investigation. You wonder why they even bother to tell such readily exposed lies…except it’s part of the constant and ongoing propaganda to protect AIPAC from the kind of attention it is finally getting.
    As I said before AIPAC does not inspire confidence in their honesty or agenda becuase of their “pattern” of deceit, lies and propaganda. It’s constant and unremitting and since the truth is never ever in them…well, that is cause enough for worry and to ask why.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Rich
    I get your point. Perhaps I assume people commenting on the subject know more than they actually do about specific legistation regarding Israel that shows indisputable favortism toward Israel that cost the US dearly, politically and financially.
    I have tried to stay just on the principle that this type of foreign influence is bad for this country. POA is right and in the past when we have posted links or info on certain specific examples the thread has descended into an arguement about jews, religion, the holocuast, free speech and etc, etc. instead of the specific example and taken up too much of the thread. Also just throwing out various examples seems too much like baiting for a arguement unless it relates to a topic under discussion or current event like the recent Iraq bill and AIPAC.
    However I will in the future give some links with a brief description and those interested can read it without it ruining the thread for others.
    Also let me say that I have done a lot of research on the US-Israel-AIPAC nexus and the history behind it since it came to my attention. All from offical sources, not from Jewish or Arab or any special interest sources involved.
    If you want to form your own opinion on whether the US slant toward Israel comes from true stragtic value or from domestic political pressure by the original Israel promoters and now the Israeli lobby in this country you could start by going thru the documents, reports and papers in the Presidential libraries, starting with Truman. In all of them you can put in a topic to search. My conclusion from those and other sources convinced me that domestic pressure, not their value as an ally, has the been the major factor in our largess to Israel and that it has damaged our relations and our real stragtic interest thruout the world. If you want to see specific legistation for examples of this go to Thomas or Govtrac and look up Israel by subject of legistation. The Congressional Record is also good for looking at legistation and who wrote it concerning benefits to Israel. The 1975 US-Israel Memo of Understanding Oil Agreement is one prime example of what the US has given in the way of guarentees we can’t afford and that would have severe ramifications on our own resources and a dire economic impact on our economy with any flare up in the ME. A current example of this in particular, is the two jet fuel grants and shipments to Israel from US fuel production this year. Another example would be a oil supply contract given to Israel by the US for supplying Iraq when Israel has no oil and has to buy it to resell to us when it could have been bought from the point of orgin to begin with…something that makes no sense financially except to give Israel an opportunity to ‘dip their beak” into the profits from our Iraq war venture. The Crandston Amendment of Aid to Israel is also an example of a bill written by someone not concerned with US financial limits or it’s taxpayers since it mandates that US aid always cover any repayments by Israel and that certain loans be converted to grants requiring no repayment…this prevents the appearence of ‘forgiving” Israel’s loans as we would some thrid world countries and gives them the cover to claim they always repay their loans. The Library of Congress has all the studies commissioned by congress and various agencies regarding Israel as well as reports on the ramifications of a lot of actions we have taken in Israel’s behalf.
    It’s just all way too much to get throughly into on a site not intended strictly for a foreign afairs topic…and exhusting to be honest, when it isn’t looked at politically and logically instead of emotionally by those who see the issue differently.

    Reply

  12. Pissed Off American says:

    “In short, this is not a matter of “we” and “them.” This is a matter of a lot of different kinds of “wes”–all of whom are equally American.”
    “They have views about America’s interests and they have obvious feelings about Israel and the Jewish people.”
    Gee, MP, did they VOTE to post LIES on the AIPAC website about Iran’s nuclear capabilities? Is it your contention those lies came from these “americans” you speak of? Or does this propaganda originate with the Israeli government and its intelligence agencies?
    Again, AIPAC does not represent the interests of American Jews. AIPAC represents the interests of Israel.

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    “To be effective and persuasive, though, let’s match the broad claims with specific details. In fact, a big chart would display the pattern, and create a typology of questionable behavior.”
    Posted by rich
    If you examine my posts, and Carrol’s, you will find no absence of links and informed claims that provide the exact specificity that you seem to have missed. Do not forget that it is I that has daily examined the AIPAC website, and have posted quite a few links to the specific and brazen use of misleading and dishonest propaganda that is displayed there almost daily. On the contrary, it is usually the rebuttals to Carrol and my posts about AIPAC that are shallow and lack specifics. There is a reason for that. Simply put, AIPAC, upon close informed examination, cannot be defended in an honest or substantive manner, so the defenses launched are by necessity shallow and vaque. For instance, this horseshit about AIPAC being akin to the tobacco lobbies. Simply put, there is no parallel. We choose to smoke, or we choose not to. Nicotine abuse is an addiction, and the tobacco companies have capitalized on that addiction. Pretty fuckin’ slimey, eh? But how in God’s name can you draw a parallel between a foreign nation playing a large part in determining the foreign policies of the United States, and the tobacco companies exploitation of nicotine addiction? Its all a horseshit argument, built of straw. Fluff, to fill the void opened by a lack of credible argument by which MP can covertly justify the continued meddling of AIPAC in our nation’s business.
    And the argument that one cannot “prove” that AIPAC is directly involved in covert espionage against the United States is not only horseshit, it is also a chickenshit argument. Gee, Rosen and his partners in crime were just “staffers”, and after all, no one has indicted AIPAC. Well golly, then lets just say that Bin Laden was just a “staffer” and Al Qaeda is just an innocent lobby group for Islam. You going to buy THAT one?
    AIPAC is far more than a mere “lobby group”, and to deny that is dishonest and ludicrous. They are intimidating educators, politicians, the media, and they have INFILTRATED every aspect of American life, not the least of which is our college campuses. Are you naive enough to think that the propaganda you see on their website is being exclusively offered only online? Well, just consider the media’s echoing of the lopsided and misrepresentive crap that we are being fed about the situation in regards to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Want to see what tomorrow’s media will be saying about THAT conflict? Well, you will find your answer in today’s postings on the AIPAC website. And that propaganda is being spread on our college campuses, in the halls of our Capital, and in the living rooms of America through widespread MSM complicity.
    And if all else fails, and this covert justification we see MP and others engaging in fails to sway the argument, we can always count on some weasel to crawl out of the woodwork drooling some venemous crap about “anti-semitism”. Just look at what is being said about Carter, who is about as “anti-semitic” as Eli Weisel.
    Look, Rich. I personally don’t need anymore convincing, nor do I need a “chart”, and I sure as hell have not failed in my efforts to be “specific” about the reasons for my animous towards AIPAC. You might want to read back a few months and see the quality of argument that has been waged here in AIPAC’s defense, mainly by the likes of Winnipeger, under a multitude of screen names, and ask yourself why no concrete and substantive arguments have been offered here in defense of AIPAC. Could it be because no such argument exists?
    You also might want to ask yourself why insiders such as Clemons won’t touch this topic with a ten foot pole. Something tells me he doesn’t like the sound of doors slamming in his face.

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  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by MP at March 15, 2007 05:53 PM
    >>>>>>
    MP I was making a broad statement about the fact that this is a melting pot of people…because of that, it only works when one basic loyalty comes first and holds us together as a nation. But still I can’t buy your arguement….”these” American citizens are advocating for a foreign country without regard for the actual impact and interest of the country they live. That is the difference. Same thing with Cuban exiles who want us to overthrow Castro and Iraqis or Iranians who want us to overthrow their regimes. How about Russian elites here who might want us to overthrow Russia or Saudi democracy advocates who would want us to overthrow Saudi.Who decides whether or not any of these things are in the interest of the other and the majority Americans?

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  15. MP says:

    Okay, I see that I’m just repeating myself.
    No point in that.
    I’m out.
    Thanks, Carroll, POA, Rich, for your comments.

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  16. MP says:

    Dear Carroll…I understand what you’re saying perfectly and have a lot of sympathy with it.
    But what you’re not grasping, I think, is that these are not “immigrants” or people who have “come to this country.” These are born and bred Americans. Many have been here for generations. They are as American, in fact, as the tobacco growers of North Carolina or, my home state, Connecticut.
    In short, this is not a matter of “we” and “them.” This is a matter of a lot of different kinds of “wes”–all of whom are equally American.
    They have views about America’s interests and they have obvious feelings about Israel and the Jewish people. (I disagree with the substance of many of these views–but I’m leaving that aside here.)
    Through AIPAC, they fight for their views as vigorously as the other special interests in the country fight for theirs. In that sense, there is no difference. If you look around, I think you’ll find that other special interests “control” Congress on their issues in much the same way–if with less fanfare–that AIPAC “controls” Congress on issues that affect Israel.
    And they need to be opposed in the same way other special interests are opposed. That is why I support Jewish groups with different views on Israel and the ME.

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  17. rich says:

    POA & Carroll,
    Quick note to adjust your interpretation of my recent posts.
    Discussion of specifics will help those less well-read than yourselves understand the overarching charges you’ve made in this forum.
    Others will benefit from discussion that traces the connection between specific details and overall statements about AIPAC. Like the recent dishonest statements about Iran’s nuclear intentions, made on AIPAC’s website. Not an accident, nor is the timing.
    BUT, without reference to specifics, even your valid claims may turn off those who otherwise could be persuaded by the basic facts.
    Also, note that MP made a decent move in agreeing to think about and look more closely / reevaluate, given some of the points I made. YOU guys would earn points for doing the same, FOR THIS reason: there’re are likely to be SOME ways in which AIPAC acts just like any other lobby group. It is WELL WORTH taking a close look at the specifics, and distinguishing between lawful and unacceptable behavior. That way we’re not painting a group black or speaking in absolutist terms. The message is more likely to be heard.
    Overall, I agreee with you. AIPAC has a corrosive influence, and can hardly be said to act in the interest of the United States.
    To be effective and persuasive, though, let’s match the broad claims with specific details. In fact, a big chart would display the pattern, and create a typology of questionable behavior.

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  18. Carroll says:

    As an extra note….there are many small and less powerful orgs and groups working against the influence of AIPAC…some are jewish and some are gentile….if the envelope continues to be pushed by AIPAC as it was in this recent Iraq bill, the opposition to AIPAC and Israel will get stronger…and if these groups ever combine their resources financially and launch their own PR campaigns and fund raising on the public against AIPAC and Israel they can shove AIPAC aside.
    You can say the times call for con-Israel lobby to defang AIPAC…BUT….then you might have a lobby that would grow just as extreme as AIPAC in the opposite direction.
    THAT is another reason why foreign lobbies like AIPAC must be brought down…NO GROUP, I don’t care who they are, should have such power in our congress. All deliberations on the US interest and the world at large should be totally objective and ethical in so far as possible and based on our interest and fairness to all involved in any given situtation.
    As I have said before, when people come to this country they are welcome to bring their culture, recipes, religion, “sentimental” memories of their former country and on occasion petition this goverment for their humantarian concerns for those left behind..but that’s it. Being an American is not a taxpayer funded shopping trip to see what you can buy in DC to send back to your “other” home.

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  19. Carroll says:

    Well I see this is still going on….so let me say one last thing….and also explain why I am as Rich says so shrill on this subject.
    First AIPAC only appeared on my radar screen after 911 and since then I have watched the manuvers of Israel, AIPAC and congress and their legistation in regard to the ME week by week with utter horror, thinking this cannot be true, US politicans can’t possibly be letting a foreign country or a group whose stated mission is the welfare of a foreign country, not their own, influence our policies in such a way….some horribly injurious to our own country. My other horror has been “what are these AIPAC people thinking..are they crazy, do they not know they are suppose to be Americans?
    My dislike of AIPAC and their operations and their ideology, for lack of a better word, is based on looking at their long time “pattern” and the fact that they have gotten bolder and more extreme in their actions, including the brainwashed groups who try to intimidate and slur or stifle those of us who object to their agendas.
    Include in this “pattern” everything we have seen the last two years..the Gaza bombing, the Lebanon bombing, the continuing occupation of Palestine, the US congress’s sickening support of the attack on Lebanon’s civilian structure, the US refusal to sanction Israel on the use of cluster bombs even thought our own laws prevent the US from supplying cluster bombs to be used in this manner. This “selective morality” and yes, treason, again for lack of a better word, by our congress comes from where? From their own lack of morals? From pressure to support Israel no matter what they do? The answer is obviously BOTH.
    BUT…without the pre$$ure of AIPAC and pro Israel activist would they have been able to get away with these insults and injuries to American principles and our standing in the world?
    Probably not. They would be sticking to selling us out to the corps on domestic issues, not selling out our foreign policy to foreign interest.
    Plain and simple if we left out the fact that AIPAC is mainly about Jews and their obsession with Israel there would be no arguement among anyone, gentile or jew, about AIPAC being a bad influence. The “pattern” is the “fact”, congress has been making decisions and policy based on the interest of AIPAC and the right wing gov in Israel.
    Imagine if the stitutation was reversed and Europe was agitating for Israel to be confined or sanctioned to starve them out, or bombing Israel civilian sectors or supplying funds and an army to push Israel back to their original UN borders as a rogue state because of Palestine and their Lebanon bombing..and a powerful EGAL (European-Gentile-American Lobby) of American citizens had the US congress assisting them in doing it.
    Would there be a raging debate in that case about whether or not the US was being “evenhanded” or fair or even acting in the best interest of the US and it’s various allies? I think so.

    Reply

  20. MP says:

    Dear POA–
    “The fact that Israel’s influence has so completely transcended party lines only underscores the depth of the C-O-N-T-R-O-L that AIPAC and Israel exercise over American foreign policy. And screw MP. If he thinks pointing out that control is “anti-semitic”, than thats HIS problem, not mine.”
    I would argue that AIPAC has no more control than any of the other big lobbies have over their issues. Which DOESN’T make their policies correct or worthy of support. It is still the Reps who have the power to vote yea or nay.

    Reply

  21. Pissed Off American says:

    Rich. I don’t need a closer look. The Dems removal of the language concerning Iran was just another verification, one that was not needed to arrive at a logical informed conclusion. I do not make the accusation that “our government has been infiltrated by foreign agents” in a cavalier manner. I mean that in all seriousness. And anyone that has followed events these past six years, and has closely examined the alliances and history of those responsible for this debacle in Iraq, should be reaching the same conclusions. It is not a simple coincidence that so many of the pertinent players in this thing have such close ties with the Israeli far right. And to ignore AIPAC’s role in forwarding the goals of those such as Feith, or Perle, or Wolfowitz, or Zakhiem, etc, is nothing short of abject denial.
    And now, apparently, we are going to get a repeat performance from the Democratic side of the aisle. The fact that Israel’s influence has so completely transcended party lines only underscores the depth of the C-O-N-T-R-O-L that AIPAC and Israel exercise over American foreign policy. And screw MP. If he thinks pointing out that control is “anti-semitic”, than thats HIS problem, not mine.

    Reply

  22. rich says:

    POA,
    Point is, two is enough to drop the pretense to suspension of judgment, and take a closer look.
    It’s possible to assess the specifics of what we do know.
    Certainly the absence of political acumen or fealty to Constitutional principle (& sworn oaths) on display in stripping the Iran language from teh supplemental is evidence in support of some of your assertions about AIPAC.

    Reply

  23. Pissed Off American says:

    “But having two strong figures associated with your organization convicted for espionage on behalf of Israel is pretty damning.”
    Its far more than two. And MP knows it. And they were much more than simple “staffers”. And MP knows that as well. And anyone that thinks the Mossad was not involved is a God damned idiot.

    Reply

  24. rich says:

    Thanks, MP. I see no need to jump from concerns to indictments re AIPAC–and every reason to be objective about what we’re seeing. Problem is, how MUCH ARE we seeing? And yes–what we DO know at this point indicates 1) that some response by AIPAC and by Dems is absolutely necessary at this point; and 2) some concerns are validated.
    Bottom line: when it comes to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, every special interest MUST give way and take a back seat to OUR shared, governing principles. Too much is at stake for any one party to get special access to the ear of Congress.
    Thing is: it’s not even necessary. This HAS to be a sop for Bush, to clear the way to whatever he wants. Because NOTHING about the bill’s language OR in the Constitution constrains the Prznt from exercising his Powers, not in any way. That he has to go to Congress for a Declaration of War is no change from existing law.
    Ooops. Forgot this from previous post
    oops. Second point:
    Sure, there are lots of explanations for two different statements about Cheney’s reception at AIPAC.
    Which leaves his warm welcome, to thunderous applause, still standing as a true statement.
    Different people could be describing different actions. Different people could also have different motivations for doing so.
    I’m going off the tape I saw, and am not jumping to conclusions. Just offered some thoughts. Seems there’s a lot of similar moves at play. Egg one party on–but whatever you do, don’t let your ‘constituents’ know.

    Reply

  25. MP says:

    Like I said in the other thread, I’ll think about this.
    I’m not sure I agree with you, but you make good points.

    Reply

  26. rich says:

    MP:
    Two points for both posts above.
    When you say “I think it does. .. I think [Congress] they could have refused it, but chose not to.
    Well, no kidding. Again, the hypothetical is not at issue; what DID happen IS. More devastating to your contention, power in a democracy IS reciprocal; constituents DO influence legislators; and that is what happened here. Both parties are responsible. That one party is agreeable does not let the other off the hook.
    “If your view is that they couldn’t refuse, then please tell me why they couldn’t refuse it.”
    Undue influence, political pressure, campaign funds, the dynamics of power relations–the usual reasons that occur in every case.
    AGAIN, I don’t believe you’ve adjusted your pretense to objectivity, nor taken into account this new series of events, in assessing what stance to take on the US, AIPAC, Iran, and the Constitution.
    I say, everybody’d be on firmer ground, holding sounder positions, if they re-affirmed Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. It’s in the national interest; in no way does it limit or hamstring the Executive’s powers; it’s been proven to work–and proven necessary by our experience in Iraq and with Prznt Bush. For that last reason alone, this is way, way overdue.
    Rejecting that language at this point in time is a significant negative message to progressives who’ve stood by the Dems and Pelosi through thick and thin. It’s THE ONE THING that was and is necessary to repair the fundamental breach of trust visited on this country, and on the body politic, by Bush and the neocons.
    To evade the importance of that issue–to refuse to come to terms with it–is pretty egregious. On your part, and on theirs.

    Reply

  27. MP says:

    As to journalists, I’m not saying they don’t lie or don’t fail to get the story right. Jo-Ann Mort strikes me as a pretty straight shooter, but of course, I’d have to look at the tape to see for myself.
    It’s possible that they focused on “that moment” because they felt it signalled an important rift between Cheney and AIPAC.

    Reply

  28. MP says:

    Rich writes: “MP writes:
    >>”It depends on what the claims are? . . .
    . . But what conclusions does one draw from that?”
    Moreover, that was and is MY question to YOU.”
    My view is that AIPAC needs to be opposed.
    “Yet you’re constructing a sentence beginning “AIPAC doesn’t have any power.” That Congress acceded does NOT mean the power flows FROM Congress.”
    I think it does. Unless AIPAC made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. I think they could have refused it, but chose not to.
    If your view is that they couldn’t refuse, then please tell me why they couldn’t refuse it. I would say, to answer the question, that it comes down to money. What else? They need, or they feel they need, the money. And also need to keep the money out of the hands of challengers.

    Reply

  29. rich says:

    MP:
    “As far as the tepid response, I’d have to look at the tapes myself, but Jo-Anne Mort, who was watching, didn’t seem to think that Susser was wrong. Otherwise, why would she have quoted him?”
    I saw the video so it was clear what the overwhelmingly warm reception to Cheney was. They may well have been referring a specific moment. But so what?
    Why? You’re more than naive. The press says plenty of things that simply aren’t true. Why would Andrea Mitchell have lied about whether the American People think Irving Libby should be pardoned?
    Only 18% do; yet Mitchell said:
    “They’re going to try to really tamp this down and appeal to the polling which indicates that most people think, in fact, that he should be pardoned. Scooter Libby should be pardoned.”
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/03/12/note-to-andrea-mitchell-18-%e2%89%a0-most-americans/
    Very opinionated for a ‘journalist.’

    Reply

  30. rich says:

    MP writes:
    >>”It depends on what the claims are? . . .
    . . But what conclusions does one draw from that?”
    Moreover, that was and is MY question to YOU. Given that stripping Constitutional language from that bill verifies to some degree, the claims about AIPAC, what conclusions do YOU come to? How do YOU revise your suspension of judgment in response to that evidence?
    It’s not reasonable to maintain that ALL withholding of judgment about SOME members and SPECIFIC actions/policies of AIPAC itself is still a viable position.
    >>”My view is that AIPAC doesn’t have any power that Congress doesn’t give it. If they showed more judgment and backbone, AIPAC’s power would essentially disappear.”
    This is obviously beside the point. They DO hve that influence; Dems & Congress have acceded to or served that power. And the literal reality of that power is at issue for you now. So evading or posing hypotheticals isn’t an option for you–it’s certainly not responsive.
    Your last response is tantamount to saying, ‘Well, they were complicit, therefore it doesn’t matter they were in on a crime together, as co-conspirators.’
    It’s nonsense AIPAC DOES have that power. Yet you’re constructing a sentence beginning “AIPAC doesn’t have any power.” That Congress acceded does NOT mean the power flows FROM Congress. Political power is a two-way street, as you and anyone knows.

    Reply

  31. MP says:

    Rich writes: “The ability to strip THE MOST CRITICAL legislative language, from THE MOST CRITICAL bill on Iraq AND Iran–in the most critical moment following the most disastrous decision in American history–I’d say that definitively verifies the bulk of the shrill claims POA & Carroll have been putting forth. What more evidence could anyone possibly require?”
    It depends on what the claims are? Does AIPAC have HUGE influence? Yes. Does AIPAC influence Congress to make decisions that I think are disastrous (for the US and Israel)? Yes.
    But what conclusions does one draw from that? Moreover, what actions does one take or suggestions does one make in response?
    My view is that AIPAC doesn’t have any power that Congress doesn’t give it. If they showed more judgment and backbone, AIPAC’s power would essentially disappear.
    As far as the tepid response, I’d have to look at the tapes myself, but Jo-Anne Mort, who was watching, didn’t seem to think that Susser was wrong. Otherwise, why would she have quoted him? It’s possible they were talking about different parts of his address.

    Reply

  32. MP says:

    Rich writes: “The ability to strip THE MOST CRITICAL legislative language, from THE MOST CRITICAL bill on Iraq AND Iran–in the most critical moment following the most disastrous decision in American history–I’d say that definitively verifies the bulk of the shrill claims POA & Carroll have been putting forth. What more evidence could anyone possibly require?”
    It depends on what the claims are? Does AIPAC have HUGE influence? Yes. Does AIPAC influence Congress to make decisions that I think are disastrous (for the US and Israel)? Yes.
    But what conclusions does one draw from that? Moreover, what actions does one take or suggestions does one make in response?
    My view is that AIPAC doesn’t have any power that Congress doesn’t give it. If they showed more judgment and backbone, AIPAC’s power would essentially disappear.

    Reply

  33. rich says:

    MP @ 12:16 PM :
    “The fact that two staffers have been indicted for espionage doesn’t change my view. If and when AIPAC is shown to be simply a front for Israel, I’ll change my view. Nothing you or anyone else here has said gives me cause for that. Sorry.”
    Obviously The Truth is somewhere in between. And obviously documents of incorporation of AIPAC as “simply a front for Israel” are not going to turn up tomorrow.
    But having two strong figures associated with your organization convicted for espionage on behalf of Israel is pretty damning. It’s as close as you get. The kind of evidence you’re seeking is impossible, in practice or as a standard. Yet news that AIPAC lobbying & centrist, AIPAC-backed Dems pressured the Democrats to strip language barring Bush from attacking Iran w/o Congressional authority is clearly evidence of disproportionate & overweening influnce. Inappropriate influence. Influence that’s distorting our decisions and damaging our national interest.
    You say: “I do stand by my position that AIPAC operates in essentially the same way as all very strong, very well-organized single-issue lobby groups do.”
    That may well be true. But that doesn’t make it right. Or harmless. That question deserves closer examination–by you. (& POA, for both each of your assumptions obligates both of you to verify).
    Many absolutist assertions have been made here indicting AIPAC, not enough for the overall claim, but w/some strong evidence. The ability to strip THE MOST CRITICAL legislative language, from THE MOST CRITICAL bill on Iraq AND Iran–in the most critical moment following the most disastrous decision in American history–I’d say that definitively verifies the bulk of the shrill claims POA & Carroll have been putting forth. What more evidence could anyone possibly require? I say that WHILE maintaining that AIPAC should not be broad-brushed or painted black.
    Even Franlin’s conviction of espionage doesn’t NECESSARILY convict the whole organization. But MSM reporting stating that AIPAC’s ability to pressure Dems led Dems to strip PRO-CONSTITUTIONAL language on Iran from the bill documents the level of political influence POA & Carroll have been asserting.
    AIPAC & the Dems have every opportunity to engage the public in a debate about the War Powers, Article 2 Section 8 of the Constitution, and Iran. They chose another route: playing into the hands of their most insidious enemies. Dems appear to subordinate their policy judgment & political principles to a special interest. AIPAC appears to wield undue, behind-the-scenes influence at the centers of power–influence that EXPLICITLY departs from black-&-white Constitutional text, and thereby, also departs from the national interest.
    Iraq is proof of the contemporary necessity for Article 1 Section 8 to be exercised and adhered to by those that swore to uphold the Constitution.
    This is a monumental blunder on the part of the Democrats, easily on the same scale of the Republicans’/George Bush’s blunder in going into Iraq in the first place. History will hold them as equally damaging to the country, and hold them up side-by-side. Co-equal

    Reply

  34. rich says:

    MP,
    Video clips of Cheney’s introduction at AIPAC document thunderous applause. Individual members may well have been “stone-faced,” and we’d all do well NOT to paint AIPAC with a broad brush. I’d rather Pelosi be a member and a moderating influence.
    It should be possible for individuals (me you POA) and organizations (AIPAC, Repubs) to hold divergent views. It should also be possible speak of facts-in-evidence w/o being labeled unpatriotic, fascist, extremist, or anti-semitic. A RESPONSE from elected officials of every persuasion would do wonders to modulate the tone & de-shrill the rhetoric. People just want to know they’ve been heard.
    That said, why would the JTA tell its Israeli readers Cheney met a “tepid” response?
    To try to persuade Israeli extremists that Jewish Americans DON’T support Cheney’s disastrous policies? That might ally or mitigate Israel’s actions.
    OTOH, ensuring Israeli citizens don’t blame AIPAC for Cheney’s policy decisions has its uses. In the event Cheney’s actions are reviled inside Israel–with its more moderate politics re Iran (citing Steve citing Mossad)–there’s deniability, the plausability of which is open to question. AIPAC wouldn’t want to be known for supporting or abetting Bush & Cheney, particularly in the aftermath of (another) military diaster.

    Reply

  35. MP says:

    Jo-Ann Mort writes on tpm cafe: “According to Leslie Susser, a top reporter with the JTA, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a news wire whose stories are carried by most of the weekly Jewish newspapers in the country, Cheney’s welcome was thin, at best today when he tried to link action against Iran with prolonged action in Iraq.”
    Susser wrote:
    “”Cheney’s appeal is part of Bush administration efforts in recent months to shore up support for the Iraq war in quarters it once took for granted: Republicans in Congress, the Christian right and now the pro-Israel community.
    “His message was not received enthusiastically: Only about one-third to one-half of the audience in the cavernous Washing ton Convention Center hall applauded politely.
    “Behind Cheney, some AIPAC board members sat stone-faced, including Amy Friedkin, a past AIPAC president who is close to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the speaker of the U.S. House of Rep resentatives and a fierce critic of the administration’s handling of the war.”
    From Larry Johnson’s blog No Quarter:
    “Sen. Hillary Clinton on the floor of the Senate today:
    ‘In dealing with the threats posed by the Iranian regime, which has gained its expanding influence in Iraq and the region as a result of the Administration’s policies, President Bush must not be allowed to act without the authority and oversight of Congress. It would be a mistake of historical proportion if the Administration thought that the 2002 resolution authorizing force against Iraq was a blank check for the use of force against Iran without further Congressional authorization. Nor should the President think that the 2001 resolution authorizing force after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in any way, authorizes force against Iran. If the Administration believes that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.
    ‘I am deeply concerned by the recent statements coming out of the Bush Administration. The Administration has asserted evidence that the Iranian regime’s complicity, at the highest levels, for attacks within Iraq. Yet at the same time, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, questions these as assertions, in particular, the capability and intentions of the Iranian government. In this delicate situation, while making disturbing comments, [there are reports that the Administration] is sending a third aircraft carrier to the Gulf.'”
    There is no “debate” on these comments, POA, just a lot of browbeating. You seem surprised that I don’t support AIPAC and yet I’ve said so in so many words many times. I do stand by my position that AIPAC operates in essentially the same way as all very strong, very well-organized single-issue lobby groups do. The fact that two staffers have been indicted for espionage doesn’t change my view. If and when AIPAC is shown to be simply a front for Israel, I’ll change my view. Nothing you or anyone else here has said gives me cause for that. Sorry.
    However, none of this changes my opposition to AIPAC on policy grounds. They have the wrong view for America and for Israel.

    Reply

  36. Pissed Off American says:

    MP’s comments are becoming something straight out of the Twilight Zone. First, I would like him to clarify WTF he means when he claims that Cheney recieved a “tepid” reception at the AIPAC conference. The truth is, his speech was repeatedly interupted by applause. And Pelosi was booed by some members when she alluded to the fact that the Iraq war is not going so hot.
    MP uses the claim that “american jews” are against the Iraq war, in an attempt to suggest that AIPAC is representative of the views of “american jews”. Well, the fact is, AIPAC represents ISRAEL’s interests, NOT the interests of “american jews”. And his comment; “I’m willing to bet that even most AIPAC members, at the grassroots level, don’t support the war.” reeks of the same kind of rhetoric he used to misrepresent Hillary’s stance on Iran, when he stated he was “pretty sure” that Hillary opposed funding for an Iran war, or some such horseshit.
    MP seems to think that if he casts enough fabricated BS, some of it will stick. After defending AIPAC now for months on this blog, and after numerous commentaries where he has claimed that AIPAC is just like any other lobby, he now claims to stand in “opposition” to AIPAC. THAT is a laughably transparent pretension. The fact of the matter is that the commentary here on this blog, by a number of regular posters, has SUCCESSFULLY illustrated, (through debate and the provision of items from both the MSM media and the more progressive online sources), that AIPAC works AGAINST the interests of the United States on many occassions, and has had no small part in laying the foundation for DISASTROUS foreign policies decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq. And worse, it is now laying the foundation, through deception, fearmongering, and bribery of our public officials, for a war with Iran. MP has simply found himself in a position where the FACTS do not support the continued defense of Israel and AIPAC, so he is now FABRICATING arguments through which to launch a more covert and insidious defense, such as we see by his insinuation of facts, rather than an actual citation of verifiable claims, statistics, or news accounts.

    Reply

  37. Carroll says:

    In other news, this morning on the Haaretz site but I can’t find it anymore, Peres came out publicly against waging war on Iran.
    Posted by MP at March 13, 2007 06:24 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes I have seen him quoted on that before…unfortunately he probably has little control over it.
    Actually I also think AIPAC is concentrating right now on the Isr-Cheney plan of overthrowing Iran from within…which is also a non winner. Even if they got it they could never hold it.

    Reply

  38. MP says:

    “This latest push by AIPAC to remove language that would make Bush go to congress before launching another war is beyond the pale. It is against our own constitution.”
    It is a DISGUSTING development. The fact that Congress lay down for this is cause for voting against everyone who voted for it.
    As far as this goes…”Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on U.S. Jews to back a continued U.S. presence in Iraq…” he’s smoking crack. American Jews are the one ethnic/religious group most solidly against the war in Iraq…from its inception until now. I’m willing to bet that even most AIPAC members, at the grassroots level, don’t support the war. Look at the tepid response Cheney got at this year’s AIPAC meeting.
    In other news, this morning on the Haaretz site but I can’t find it anymore, Peres came out publicly against waging war on Iran.

    Reply

  39. Carroll says:

    And BTW MP…we do understand we are being tag teamed here by more than AIPAC….on both Iraq and Iran. Want us to get Iran for you?..support us on Iraq. The adm using the Jews of AIPAC as a hammer for Iraq and then AIPAC being the hammer on congress for Iran is not lost on us. But it all must stop. It’s insane.
    Olmert: Back U.S. in Iraq
    Print News Brief
    E-mail News Brief
    Tell the Editors
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on U.S. Jews to back a continued U.S. presence in Iraq.
    “When America succeeds in Iraq, Israel is safer,” Olmert said late Monday in a live satellite address from his Jerusalem home to 6,000 delegates attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington. “The friends of Israel know it, the friends who care about Israel know it. They will keep the Americans strong, powerful and convincing.”
    Olmert’s plea was greeted with polite applause in a hall packed with hundreds of representatives from the Democratic and Republican Parties and at a time when the Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress are pushing legislation that would roll back the U.S. presence in Iraq.
    Delegates greeted Olmert’s repeated entreaties, delivered from the living room from his home at 4 a.m. Israel time, with polite applause; AIPAC is striving to build bipartisan support for tightening sanctions

    Reply

  40. Carroll says:

    Posted by MP at March 13, 2007 10:35 AM
    >>>>>>>>
    I know you didn’t call me an anti semite MP…I also know that AIPAC is not the only perversion of the system…but right now it is among the most important ones in matters of war and peace because of their unrelenting pressure on congress to use America to rid them of their enemies, no matter what the cost to America. These are not people concerned with America’s true interest. The kindest thing I can say about AIPAC activist is that they are deluded and brainwashed. But the people behind the movement who fostered the idea over the years that they as American Jews must put Israel over the interest of this country or that Israel and the US are somehow one and the same are guilty as hell and dangerous not only to this country but to the Jews themselves.
    If you believe as I do that the foreign lobbies such as AIPAC and the big money lobbies you cite damage the common good all you have to do is just once not do the “others does it too” to try to and make AIPAC look less bad.
    This latest push by AIPAC to remove language that would make Bush go to congress before launching another war is beyond the pale. It is against our own constitution. The dem blue dogs can spin that they did it to protect themselves from the “moderates” in their districts but that doesn’t wash with 70% of the public now being against both Iraq and a war with Iran.
    I would personally be much happier if our current stitution didn’t call for AIPAC bashing and I could go back to my real favorite of beating up on the corp robber baron lobbies.

    Reply

  41. MP says:

    POA wrties: “BTW, MP, when did you become “against” AIPAC? That one REALLY made me chuckle. Do you think you are talking to idiots?”
    Go read what I’ve written multiple times. Unfortunately, nothing that you or Carroll quote here changes my view. If it turns out that AIPAC is nothing more than a spy ring for Israel, then I’ll be first in line for the prosecution. Rosen wasn’t just a “staffer,” but he also wasn’t the organization and, I believe, he was fired or forced to leave. Sorry, but that’s been my position on this from the beginning, regardless of how you wish to characterize my views.
    Carroll also can’t read. I didn’t say “example,” I said “creature.” AIPAC is no more a perversion of American democracy than Pharma or the NRA or the big oil lobby or the Tobacco Lobby, which at least used to be a very big deal in Carroll’s own state. In fact, Tobacco purveys a long-known and deadly poison to Americans, including our kids, and has been directly responsible for millions and millions of ugly deaths right here. The only reason it still exists is that folks make a lot of money off of it–which is the homegrown American Way.
    BTW, Carroll, I haven’t called you an anti-Semite. In fact, on at least one occasion, I defended you against the charge when some folks thought you were calling Jews “monkeys.” Remember?

    Reply

  42. --- says:

    Boring,
    Picking up on POA? instead of his messages/ideas…????
    Ok, now we know who you are?
    just go away!!!!

    Reply

  43. Boring says:

    This constant back and forth in these discussions makes for some boring-as-hell reading! Unfortunately, interesting folks are drowned out by the likes of some moron named “Pissed Off American,” and those stupid souls who have the time to argue with him. I mean come on. Isn’t it obvious that the man has nothing better to do than argue with you from here to eternity?? He reminds me of my ex-husband who also knew it all about everything. Too bad he couldn’t hold down a job at the same time!

    Reply

  44. Pissed Off American says:

    “Two AIPAC staffers have been charged with espionage and not yet convicted. AIPAC has not been charged as an organization.”
    Posted by MP.
    Yeah, right MP, Rosen was just a “staffer”.
    How do you dream this shit up?
    Bigger Than AIPAC
    Robert Dreyfuss
    August 09, 2005
    Important new details of the U.S.-Israeli espionage case involving Larry Franklin, the alleged Pentagon spy, two officials of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, and an intelligence official at the Embassy of Israel emerged last week. Two AIPAC officials—who have left the organization—were indicted along with Franklin on charges of “communicat[ing] national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it.” In plain English, if not legal-speak, that means spying.
    But as the full text of the indictment makes clear, the conspiracy involved not just Franklin and the AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, but at least several other Pentagon officials who played intermediary roles, at least two other Israeli officials, and one official at a “Washington, D.C. think tank.” It’s an old-fashioned spy story involving the passing of secret documents, hush-hush meetings and outright espionage, along with good-old-boy networking.
    But the network tied to the “Franklin case”—which ought to be called the “AIPAC case,” since it was AIPAC that was really under investigation by the FBI—provides an important window into a shadowy world. It is clear that by probing the details of the case, the FBI has got hold of a dangerous loose end of much larger story. By pulling on that string hard enough, the FBI and the Justice Department might just unravel that larger story, which is beginning to look more and more like it involves the same nexus of Pentagon civilians, White House functionaries, and American Enterprise Institute officials who thumped the drums for war in Iraq in 2001-2003 and who are now trying to whip up an anti-Iranian frenzy as well.
    continues at…….
    http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2005/08/09/bigger_than_aipac.php
    BTW, MP, when did you become “against” AIPAC? That one REALLY made me chuckle. Do you think you are talking to idiots?

    Reply

  45. Andy S says:

    Steve my friend.
    Your Hotel in Havana has broadband Internet Access…. Looked it up online for ya.
    Andy

    Reply

  46. Carroll says:

    Getting back to Cuba, I hope Steve can give us some idea about how strong or weak the “overthrow”
    operatives are in Cuba. I would also like to know if Cuba is on Cheney’s covert list. The last thing I noticed regarding Cuba was Ben Nelson’s (Fla) efforts to give 90 million of our tax money to some unidentified “rebels” within Cuba so they could overthrow Castro…the ‘rebels” to be indentified probably only by his Cuban exile contributors and voters in his distict. So we will have 90 new cuban millionaires somwehere, less Nelson’s cut in campaign contributions.

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    And paste this on your bathroom mirror so you can start your day off every day knowing that we understand the “engines” of our democracy and we recongize the “perversions” of those American democratic engines. Unfortunately our own democratic principles make us a target for those like AIPAC who infiltrate and use those democratic tools for their own un-democratic and unAmerican agendas.
    “And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”

    Reply

  48. Carroll says:

    I OPPOSE AIPAC, but it is a creature of the AMERICAN political system.
    Posted by MP at March 12, 2007 12:27 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    I don’t know if it’s your I.Q. that is at fault in this statement or if it’s that you think everyone else is retarded.
    AIPAC is not an example of the AMERICAN political system, it is an example of the “PERVERSION” of the democratic system by a group that is not in fact American, but Israeli, in it’s interest or actions.
    I am going to refer you one last time to Geo Washington…..he was talking about the dangers of that PERVERSION of democracy.
    “However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to SUBVERT the power of the people and to USURP for themselves the reins of government, DESTROYING afterwards the VERY ENGINES which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
    So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”
    Those of us who GET IT are AIPAC’s worst nightmare and why they try to label us all as anti-semites.

    Reply

  49. ManagedChaos says:

    Israel->AIPAC->OSP->WHIG->WAR
    Remember Larry Franklin? The AIPAC spy case is not about what information Larry Franklin was giving out, it’s about the propaganda and false intelligence given to him and the OSP which possibly justified the invasion of Iraq and could also justify a strike on Iran in the future.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3151394,00.html
    He also admitted giving classified information to a political official at the Israeli embassy, but said the information he received from the official was far more valuable than what he gave.
    “I knew in my heart that his government had this information,” Franklin said. “He gave me far more information than I gave him.”

    Reply

  50. MP says:

    POA writes: “AIPAC is a BLIGHT on the American political scene, and our continued acceptance of a foreign intelligence agency using a so-called “lobbyist organization” as a FRONT for the dissemination of propaganda and covert operations against our politicians and government agencies is idiocy to the extreme.”
    I think you’d be hard-pressed to show that AIPAC is a “foreign intelligence agency” or a “front” in any meaningful sense of the term. The people who staff and contribute to AIPAC are Americans and as American as you.
    Two AIPAC staffers have been charged with espionage and not yet convicted. AIPAC has not been charged as an organization. I would venture to guess that Hansen, Aldrich, and Webster–all Americans and working for our defense and law enforcement agencies–did far more damage to America and its security than these two individuals.
    I OPPOSE AIPAC, but it is a creature of the AMERICAN political system.

    Reply

  51. sdemetri says:

    Very important and interesting:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SltOy_F6ZII

    Reply

  52. Pissed Off American says:

    After accusing someone of McCarthyism, he promptly goes on to accuse that same person of being un-american. I wonder, is such transparent irony and hypocricy missed upon self examination, or is it purposely advanced, in the effort to start another flaming thread disturbance?
    I offered valid reasons that AIPAC’s meddling should not be allowed. Instead of rebuttal, we see the exact kind of disruptive and irritating drivel offered that has served to disrupt far too many threads here in the past.
    The only reasonable course seems to be to ignore him.

    Reply

  53. Winnipeger says:

    on second thought, easy e, don’t bother responding to my question above. this type of back and forth adds nothing of substance to any meaningful or constructive debate… much like your comments above and those from poa.
    if you ever want to RESPECTFULLY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY debate IDEAS, feel free to go ahead. but, i won’t hold my breath.
    i’m not sure that you and your cohorts have the ability or the inclination.
    that’s all for now, regardless of the insults or epithets you throw my way.

    Reply

  54. Winnipeger says:

    why should i go away or go to rehab, easy e?
    because you disagree with me? life sure is easier when people validate our assumptions rather than challenge them.
    interesting and predictable that you “guys” respond with empty criticism rather than by challenging the specifics of what i wrote above.

    Reply

  55. easy e says:

    winnepeger,
    previous posts concluded:
    ***go away or go to rehab***
    the former would be preferred and the latter takes time (substantially more than you’ve alotted).
    please try again…………..

    Reply

  56. Pissed Off American says:

    ROFLMAO!!!! Between refrains of “anti-semite” accusations, the accusation of McCarthyism is rolled out, all on a bed of straw.

    Reply

  57. Winnipeger says:

    carroll,
    several points:
    1. to imply that anyone who supports AIPAC or attends one of its conferences is somehow disloyal to america is ignorant, to say the least.
    2. please provide data to substantiate your claim that, “It is also not acceptable to the majority non Jewish Americans to have officals (sic) of a foreign country touring the US to encourage ethnic groups like Jews to politically pressure the US to war with Iran.
    3. are you aware of the fact that many, many officials of foreign countries other than israel regularly tour the u.s. to encourage citizens and yes, pressure policymakers to do all sorts of things, including wage war, prosecute sanctions and support any number of other foreign prerogatives?
    4. again, your constant refrain of “dual loyalties” and groups of americans who are “using this country” is exactly the same rhetoric that joseph mccarthy used. in fact, the tydings committee was created to provide “a full and complete study and investigation as to whether persons who are disloyal to the United States are, or have been, employed by the Department of State.” http://tinyurl.com/2ho6zl
    we all know how that pathetic chapter in u.s. history turned out. the communists, the enemy within, destroyed our country, right?
    5. whether or not one of your neighbors feels that a nuclear armed iran is a threat to this country which warrants continued sanctions or preemptive war, does not mean they are “disloyal” to america. most likely, they’d say the same about you and your contrary views. in my opinion, anyone who supports a policy of preemptive war with iran is misguided, but they invariably say the same about us. what specifics an individual perceives as “dangerous to this country,” are most certainly open to debate and they are almost always subjective. the same goes for the policies you, or anyone else, deems as “damaging to this country.”
    **and finally, to state that any issue is “not open to debate.” IS COMPLETELY unamerican.**

    Reply

  58. Pissed Off American says:

    Cancelled Presidential debates smack of manipulation by ‘run and hide’ candidates
    Submitted by AndyJ on Sun, 2007-03-11 11:33.
    AUSTIN (TX) — The cancellation in the past two days of two planned nationally televised debates because of candidates’ “scheduling conflicts” and unwillingness to participate smacks of “manipulation by some candidates who would rather run and hide than defend their records and their positions on the war,” Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said today while campaigning in Texas.
    Widely publicized Presidential debates in New Hampshire in April and in Nevada in August were cancelled after some candidates either backed out after agreeing to participate or declined invitations to attend.
    “Whatever their excuses, some candidates are clearly trying to avoid any head-to-head public debate where they will have to answer tough questions — questions about their votes in favor of the Iraq war, their votes in favor of trade policies that have wiped out millions of American jobs, their votes in favor of abridging Constitutional rights by approving the Patriot Act, and their collaboration with insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations to deny Americans adequate health care protection.”
    Kucinich said “it’s an insult to the voters, and the height of cynicism, for candidates to refuse to take the public stage and subject themselves to public scrutiny.”
    The New Hampshire debate was announced on January 12. Only two days ago, Kucinich pointed out, did some candidates back out because of “scheduling conflicts.”
    “Is it possible that the real conflict was having to take the stage to defend their votes to fund the war?” Kucinich asked. Votes in the House and the Senate on a $100 billion supplemental appropriation are expected soon.
    Other candidates were trying to sidestep the Nevada debate because they claimed that the sponsoring television network, Fox News Channel, was conservatively biased.
    “If you want to be the President of the United States, you can’t be afraid to deal with people with whom you disagree politically,” Kucinich said. “No one is further removed from Fox’s political philosophy than I am, but fear should not dictate decisions that affect hundreds of millions of Americans and billions of others around the world who are starving for real leadership.”
    Kucinich said “the public deserves honest, open, and fair public debate, and the media have a responsibility to demand that candidates come forward now, before the next war vote in Congress, to explain themselves.”
    “I’m prepared to discuss the war, health care, trade, or any other issue anytime, anywhere, with any audience, answering any question from any media. And any candidate who won’t shouldn’t be President of the United States.”
    http://kucinich.us/node/3532

    Reply

  59. Pissed Off American says:

    “Note to “The Surge”, you are overstating AIPAC’s views. There is a diverse membership inside AIPAC, though I tend to agree that the perception and often the reality of AIPAC is that it is focused on bad guys more than most political moderates are.”
    Gee, how do you feel about entities that engage in acts of espionage against the United States of America? Would you classify them as “bad guys”? As you’re pondering your answer, you might also attempt to name any other so called “lobbyist organization” that has been caught red-handed in acts of espionage against the USA.
    However, I suspect that you, (like most that come here defending AIPAC), will simply dissappear as a result of being queried about your defense of the indifensible. It is impossible to credibly deny that Israel and AIPAC fed us the same fabricated horseshit that Bushco did in regards to the rationale for an invasion of Iraq. Nor can it be credibly denied that AIPAC’s website has been running the same kinds of fearmongering exagerations about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. In the past few months I have posted a number of AIPAC’s website items here, one of which was full of BLATANT LIES about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. We give Israel billions of dollars annually, and in return we get propaganda and crimes of espionage committed against us.
    Meanwhile, Ohlmert promises a halt to settlements, when in fact the settlements continue to grow, (5% in the last year). And nary a peep about this on the propaganda laden AIPAC website. Instead, we see a steady litany of rhetoric aimed at demonizing an entire people.
    AIPAC is a BLIGHT on the American political scene, and our continued acceptance of a foreign intelligence agency using a so-called “lobbyist organization” as a FRONT for the dissemination of propaganda and covert operations against our politicians and government agencies is idiocy to the extreme.

    Reply

  60. steambomb says:

    I am not even going to divulge what I think about agencies with another countrys’ interests at heart lobbying our government officials. If you cant figure that out, you’re helpless.

    Reply

  61. daCascadian says:

    Carroll >”…DUBAI — U.S. oil services giant Halliburton Co. will shift its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai, Chief Executive Dave Lesar said Sunday.
    Halliburton will maintain a corporate office in Houston, but the company will be controlled from its office in the United Arab Emirates…”
    Looks like these folks are getting out of Dodge ahead of the arrival of the law. I`d say there are some very nervous Halliburton people and Shotgun Dick looks to be setting up his retirement home.
    This probably reflects a monetary reality that Halliburton is & has been a front for Middle Eastern interests. Wonder how long ago those interests actually took control of Halliburton. Also makes one wonder how much else of the oil bidness is actually a front for said Middle Eastern interests. They probably bought up controlling interests long ago.
    “Kings of the east” indeed…
    “…the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion…but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.” – Samuel P. Huntington

    Reply

  62. Carroll says:

    Meanwhile…this isn’t in Steve’s area of usual topics…but what does anyone make of this announcement from the WSJ?
    Halliburton to Move Headquarters To Dubai, Keeping Office in Houston
    DUBAI — U.S. oil services giant Halliburton Co. will shift its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai, Chief Executive Dave Lesar said Sunday.
    Halliburton will maintain a corporate office in Houston, but the company will be controlled from its office in the United Arab Emirates, company spokeswoman Cathy Mann explained.
    “Halliburton is opening its corporate headquarters in Dubai while maintaining a corporate office in Houston,” Ms. Mann said in an email to the Associated Press. “The chairman, president and CEO will office from and be based in Dubai to run the company from the UAE.” She clarified “he will work from and his office will be in Dubai.”

    Reply

  63. Carroll says:

    Posted by GWStudent at March 11, 2007 02:46 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    AIPAC, a unregistered foreign lobby, with members who advocate for the interest of a foreign country like Israel is not a moderate group.
    It is also not acceptable to the majority non Jewish Americans to have officals of a foreign country touring the US to encourage ethnic groups like Jews to politically pressure the US to war with Iran and other actions that are dangerous to this country.
    This is not an issue of freedom of speech or the right to lobby, it is an issue of loyalty or non loyalty of a group of US citizens who place Jewish and Israeli interest over the interest of the country they live in and over the interest of the American people. Whether they are moderate or not doesn’t even matter. People and groups of people who spend their time “using” this democracy, it’s resources and it’s citizens for the benefit of Israel and in ways damaging to America are not acceptable.
    That is the bottom line, there are no exceptions and it’s not open to debate.

    Reply

  64. GWStudent says:

    Note to “The Surge”, you are overstating AIPAC’s views. There is a diverse membership inside AIPAC, though I tend to agree that the perception and often the reality of AIPAC is that it is focused on bad guys more than most political moderates are.
    That said, my friends and I just saw Steve Clemons in his excellent-looking black suit at the AIPAC Conference. And just for the record, even though we are here at the AIPAC meeting as attendees, we think Clemons and his blog are great. I don’t find myself agreeing with everything in its fullest detail, but how many people make you think about things like this guy does.
    Anyway, Mr. Clemons, I wanted to let you know that you have fans at the AIPAC meeting who are excited that you made the effort to be at this big meeting.
    There are differences inside AIPAC. I hope that this blog tells the truth about that and helps those of us who want to be moderates about issues to have some support in the general society.
    Thank you for checking this out.

    Reply

  65. The Surge says:

    You can go to the AIPAC Conference or you could go to a Wahhabi madrassa. If you’ve met one hate monger, you’ve met them all.

    Reply

  66. Pissed Off American says:
  67. FGF says:

    Steve, Yahoo Travel suggests the Pargue Central offers broadband access to its guests. Broadband is something of a luxury on the island, I would suggest you take what you can get and don’t attempt to do anything silly to circumvent firewalls. Enjoy the coffee and the pork.
    http://travel.yahoo.com/p-hotel-379091-nh_parque_central-i

    Reply

  68. FGF says:

    asdf, as a telecommunications professional I found your comment very interesting. However, with all due respect, after all that, it didn’t shed much light as to where internet connectivity can be obtained in Havana. If you’re going to practice gross overkill in the comment section at least answer the question.

    Reply

  69. asdf says:

    One Internet connection from Havana? Coming right up!
    First stop, the CIA world factbook. Then on the the reporters sans frontieres Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents and rapport on internet in cuba.
    https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/cu.html
    http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542
    http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=19335
    For some reason US intelligence agencies have an interest in foreign telecommunication infrastructure:
    CIA world factbook � Cuba:
    Telephones – main lines in use: 849,900 (2005)
    Telephones – mobile cellular:134,500 (2005)
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: greater investment beginning in 1994 and the establishment
    of a new Ministry of Information Technology and
    Communications in 2000 has resulted in
    improvements in the system; wireless service is
    expensive and remains restricted to foreigners and
    regime elites, many Cubans procure wireless
    service illegally with the help of foreigners domestic: national fiber-optic system under
    development; 85% of switches digitized by end of
    2004; telephone line density remains low, at less
    than 10 per 100 inhabitants; domestic cellular service expanding
    international: country code – 53; fiber-optic
    cable laid to but not linked to US network;
    satellite earth station – 1 Intersputnik
    (Atlantic Ocean region)
    Internet country code: .cu
    Internet hosts: 2,234 (2006)
    Internet users: 190,000
    note: private citizens are prohibited from buying
    computers or accessing the Internet without
    special authorization; foreigners may access the
    Internet in large hotels but are subject to
    firewalls; some Cubans buy illegal passwords on
    the black market or take advantage of public
    outlets to access limited email and the
    government-controlled “intranet” (2005)
    So options for a connection:
    * DSL would be a weird move. You would need an account with a local DSL provider….which doesn`t exist. It would mean a contract. A bad deal.. especially for a service that doesn`t exist.
    * WiFi. Maybe a hotel can help out… this may be the simple internet answer.
    * A wired network. In this case I suppose the hotel might work. Technically, unlike electricity, ethernet is universal. If networking is important to you (Your connection is important to me 😉 ) then you should always have Ethernet cable and an adapter with your laptop.
    * Dialup to the US, expensive but likely to work. Electrical outlets appears from google searches to be like the north American 110volt60/hz/plug with a 220 volt option for hotel guests. Phone plugs: Polish/Russian http://www.walkabouttravelgear.com/c_cub.htm � I would just bring a phone cable with ends stripped bare.
    Expect slow, unreliable, snooped links. I know Islands in the region that are linked to the mainland using direct microwave radio links. These are often down. A satellite link as described by the CIA should be better. Fiber would be perfect, but if the CIA says it isn`t hooked up at the US end…. Well they would know.
    All I known about the government messing with the internet in Cuba I get from gruops like Reporters without borders. It sounds bad even to someone who tries to read up on the bloggers v snoopers battles around the world. So on top of your internet connection you may want some privacy measures and censorship resistance.
    Privacy:
    You really don`t want your e-mail network known to local intelligence groups. Intercepted communications are a currency in the intelligence world.
    Use your own laptop for e-mail, blog posting. If you cant, using a knoppix boot cd might give you a clean �unbugged� system, and land you in jail if you are misunderstood. http://www.knoppix.org/
    When using e-mail the simplest way to get some privacy is to use a trusted webmail system based outside the country. It should be one that offers ssl/tls. Thats�s the ones with httpS in the URL and the padlock icon in your browser status bar. Interlands system at https://webmail.registeredsite.com/ seems fine.
    Alternatively you can enable ssl/tls in your mail client. Check or have a nerd check the box that says SSL or TLS next to the settings for SMTP *AND* pop or imap server in your mail client. http://www.physics.uconn.edu/FAQs/ssl-email.html
    If you can still send and receive e-mail you have encrypted the part of an e-mails travels that one cares about in this specific scenario. Its encrypted until it hits the server. This is presumably in the US, the land of the free without a single snooper and rainbows for breakfast�.
    Scared of the talk of HP “pretexting” and the FBI going for phonebills in leak investigations? Look into S/MIME or PGP and GPG based end-to-end encryption. Combined with anonymous remailers its perfect for keeping friendships secret. It�s a hassle to get others on board, GPG double so. Its also actually secure. Its more than �pretty good� when combined with smart cards (hassle) or USB tokens(quite nice). Stay away from Verisign and its underlings though, they betrayed their trust time and again.
    If you intend to get arrested or searched, use some form of drive encryption to keep stuff in your laptop private. A lot of windows versions come with some encryption already. You can find out where you mail client keeps you mail, richt click on the folder and enable encryption in the properties page. Also consider reading up on file wiping tools. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307877
    http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/download.php
    Censorship:
    Bringing your own solutions is good for your privacy. Finding the right locals who can hook you up is a great way to meet the more interesting people… People who want to blog that bad may actually have something interesting to say.
    Now thewashingtonnote.com and newamerica.net smell political enough to end up on blocking lists, and if the police decide to google incoming guests with political plans then they will be blocked by the time the wheels touch the ground.
    * The cheap and reliable thing to do would be to set up or have a friend set up a web proxy in the US. Or, easier to use, harder to set up a web based web proxy. Obiously this friend has to stay of the blocking lists. SSL may help here. freshmeat.net has many variation on phpwebproxy http://sourceforge.net/projects/phpwebproxy Whatever your solution, let it listen on port 80. That may help with firewalls.
    * Internet out and you want to blog? Good thing twn has a new blogger, prepare for some telegram style blogs 😉
    * Stuck with a pile of cash and a plane ticket for a disaster/war/information bubble-zone? (a white house tour doesn�t count 😉 ) consider a satellite phone. With these only batteries and roofs can hold you back.
    Remember: listening on satellite communication from interesting places is how signals intelligence agencies grew so big.

    Reply

  70. tomz says:

    Do not try and lose your secret police tail. It pisses them off, makes them look bad, and they WILL get even. Trust me on this one.

    Reply

  71. gq says:

    I’m sure Chuck Hagel can say something nice about getting online in Cuba. Haha.

    Reply

  72. Carroll says:

    Steve could skip the AIPAC conference…I am sure he already knows the drill. I don’t know if the dem Israeli hawks representing AIPAC will be able to push us over the 50-50 line on attacking Iran or not. But if a small cabal of neo’s could engineer the Iraq invasion there is nothing to say that a group of Israeli dems in congress can’t do the same thing on Iran.
    I want to think a disaster like attacking Iran couldn’t possibily happen again after Iraq, but I am mostly with Rosenberg on his.. “And you thought it couldn’t happen again”….I am afraid it could.
    CQ Reports: AIPAC Pushes to Eliminate Anti-Iran War Language from Pelosi Iraq Bill
    By M.J. Rosenberg | bio
    As everyone knows, House and Senate Democrats are trying to put together an Iraq war spending bill that will pressure the President to bring the troops home sooner rather than later. There is a general consensus on most issues relating to Iraq. However, the authoritative Congressional Quarterly daily report reveals today that some Democrats are fighting Speaker Pelosi’s language which would prevent the President from going to war in Iran without the approval of Congress. Simply put, Pelosi wants to avoid a repeat of the Iraq experience in Iran. For Dems, this is a no-brainer, or so one would think.
    But, according to CQ some of the same Democrats most vehement about ending the Iraq debacle are resisting denying the President unilateral authority to go to war in Iran. The hypocrisy is astounding. It is worth noting that the AIPAC conference begins in Washington this weekend with thousands of citizen lobbyists being deployed to Capitol Hill to deliver the message that Iran must be dealt with, one way or another.
    This battle over the Pelosi language is part of the overall Iran effort.
    And you thought it couldn’t happen again!
    Content of CQ report follows.
    Iran Language Draws Opposition as Democrats Near Agreement on Supplemental
    CQ TODAY — March 8, 2007
    By Jonathan Allen, CQ Staff
    Hawkish pro-Israel lawmakers are pushing to strike a provision slated for the war spending bill that would, with some exceptions, require the president to seek congressional approval before using military force in Iran.
    The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee also is working to keep the language out, said an aide to a pro- Israel lawmaker.
    The language is likely to spark an internal battle among House Democrats, some of whom fear an expansion of the Iraq War into Iran and others who are wary of sending a signal to Tehran that Congress wants to take the use of force off the table.
    Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois predicted that the language would ultimately not be included in the supplemental on the House side, although it is favored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; John P. Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee; and some Jewish lawmakers.
    Emanuel said opposition could extend beyond pro-Israel lawmakers. “‘Keep this all about Iraq’ is the view,” he said.
    But a Democratic leadership aide said there are no plans to remove the provision.
    “There’s heat,” the leadership aide acknowledged. “We’ve heard their concerns, but we think it’s likely to remain on the bill.”

    Reply

  73. bob says:

    Rice is running the show now.

    Reply

  74. Roberto Eder says:

    Steve,
    Your upcoming trip to Cuba sounds fascinating. We would certainly consider accompanying you if we had more notice. Is this something you would invite?
    Roberto and Frances in Utah

    Reply

  75. Brigitte N. says:

    Rice’s motive seems clear–she is covering her back from neo-conservatives’criticism. On the whole, though, one wonders why this is necessary. After all, Dr. Rice like her predecessor Colin Powell did not exactly oppose the neo-consercative driven post-9/11 policies–especially not with respect to Iraq. They were part of the problem.

    Reply

  76. LJ says:

    Steve, For an fascinating story, ask around about how Cuba dealt with their food supplies after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Cuba’s loss of its major oil supplier.
    http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/articles/657

    Reply

  77. Pissed Off American says:

    Does this mean we will finally hear an opinion from you about AIPAC’s complete ownership of all the Democratic leadership personalities you market here, while barely giving lip service to those candidates that are not beholdin’ to AIPAC?

    Reply

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