Off to Dearborn

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Today, I will be flying up to Dearborn, Michigan and back to meet representatives of the Arab American community and to tape a show on James Zogby’s Viewpoint on public attitudes toward Arab Americans.
Barack Obama recently launched a new part of his website dedicated to the interests of Arab Americans — which I applaud. I have learned that he will also soon be appointing a new Arab American/Muslim American outreach director to replace Mazen Asbahi who recently resigned.
John McCain too has an Arab American affinity page. And to his credit, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis sent this letter (pdf) to members of the Muslim American community. McCain’s camp didn’t specify an outreach director in the letter — but they do have an informal adviser, Majida Mourad, who works in former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham’s office and is reportedly quite networked and capable.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

82 comments on “Off to Dearborn

  1. Sweetness says:

    Questions writes: “So, in fact, I get the decided feeling that what
    Mearsheimer praised in the late 80s-early 90s is what he’s
    damning now, but without much in the way of explanation.”
    Interesting angle on M. He would probably say that interests
    change as the situation changes. So, at one time, Israel was
    useful to the US, but is no longer, and is in fact a liability, if
    anything.
    What is the phrase? Allies are temporary; interests are
    permanent?
    I guess that runs counter to the palaver about the US standing
    firm with its allies and not running when trouble shows up.
    I also try to consider the source–especially as one can’t read
    everything. And totally agree on Paul and Buchanan. Since Paul,
    if he had his druthers, would completely dismantle all the social
    programs in this country, it’s a little hard to see why anyone on
    this blog would praise him. I’ve never understood how the
    libertarians account for humanity’s primeval SOCIAL nature and
    grouping. There are no individuals apart from the group.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, the Muslim outreach efforts of both campaigns are “resistance to AIPAC”???
    Yeah right. We’ve all seen how hard McCain and Obama are “resisting” AIPAC.
    You should probably just shut up before you make a bigger ass (asses) of yourself.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    POA, your post would be devastating were it at all to respond to my point. I think all I was saying is that one needs to read with extra caution when the messenger has an interest in the message. Not a big deal. And in fact, the Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan quotations give me ever more pause. I’m not a fan of either one, to be honest. Nor am I a fan of David Horowitz; his hysteria has not ever convinced me of anything except that he has a love of seeing his name in print.
    In fact, since Carroll brought up the academia and AIPAC thing, I’d think she, and by extension and the agreement you two seem to share, you, would agree more with Horowitz. He has HUGE issues with “campus radicals” who “silence” people he thinks should speak (read: conservatives). You and Carroll seem to worry about AIPAC’s doing the silencing, while Horowitz seems to worry about granola profs who silence. Same argument, different targets. Neither of you, near as I can tell, defends “the answer to offensive speech is more speech”.
    And a “quick” note, if “ad hominem” arguments attack the character of the speaker, I’m not sure what the Latin is for praising the character of the speaker as Carroll does of W and M. But I’m sure Chomsky would be quite gentle in an e-mail exchange as well, and even if not, I’m not sure that that would actually prove anything. Lots of people are charming and wrong, nasty and right, and all the permutations….
    My contacts with M. long before THE ARTICLE and THE BOOK came out were generally positive, but I came to doubt many of his views. I don’t think that the Cold War bipolar world was inherently stable; I don’t think MAD logic is to be supported; I think that his views on bipolarity are precisely what made the Israel/Palestinian situation what it is. In a bi-polar world, the setting up of spheres of influence and the control over the peasantry so that they don’t turn leftist is utterly necessary. Control of resources becomes all the more crucial as well — can’t have that oil flowing to the Soviets…. So, in fact, I get the decided feeling that what Mearsheimer praised in the late 80s-early 90s is what he’s damning now, but without much in the way of explanation.
    Sorry to be long-winded to make a short point. Sometimes it takes more words than “straw” to make a point.
    I sincerly hope that all of this typing gets posted….

    Reply

  4. Sweetness says:

    How ironic…
    “CARROLL’S sole thesis on US geo eco, the only thesis he has
    ever held, the one his entire career has been about, is that the
    AIPAC/ZIONISTS/ISRAEL has never not been guilty and that it has
    always been soley guilty and no one/thing else has ever had
    anything to do with it’s motivations and guilt because of the
    AIPAC/ZIONIST/ISRAEL “inherent nature”.
    Hey, come to think of it, this is POA’s thesis as well. After all,
    having a Muslim outreach is “wonderful.” But it’s hardly worth
    making such a “shallow effort” and “pandering postures”
    That is, “As long as AIPAC can wield the power it does, such
    shallow overtures are simply pandering postures, designed to
    gather the votes of a community that AIPAC works to
    marginalize.”
    IOW, before the power of AIPAC resistance is futile.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gosh, look at all these nasty “libertarians” giving kudos to Anti-War.com. Be sure to note the last one, and his glowing endorsement. Kinda sounds like Questions technique, eh?? Attack the messenger, and ignore the message.
    “You must read Antiwar.com. I tell my staff to go to Antiwar.com every morning to keep up with the day’s events.”
    *Rep. Ron Paul
    “Antiwar.com is an essential part of the antiwar movement. Going there every day gives you a good picture of what is really going on in the world.”
    *Daniel Ellsberg
    “Antiwar is the full-service station for anti-imperialist news and opinions you won’t find in the pages of the establishment press. It’s vital such independent sites be supported, since they don’t have the advantage of corporate money to leech off of, unlike all those think tanks with the big glassy offices in D.C.”
    *James Wolcott, Vanity Fair
    “I commend the campaign by Antiwar.com to forge a new anti-interventionist American coalition. Only an engaged and informed citizenry can bring about a reversal of the neo-imperial foreign policy that has been foisted upon us in the post-Cold War era by the elites of both Beltway parties.”
    *Pat Buchanan
    “Antiwar.com fights hard for peace and liberty with honest, principled reporting and enlightened commentary. Its enemies are well-funded, vicious, and a little bit scared.”
    *Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, former Pentagon official
    “No one who wants to grasp what war and peace really mean on this imperial planet of ours should spend a day without a dose of Antiwar.com. I couldn’t produce TomDispatch.com without regular recourse to it.”
    *Tom Engelhardt, The Nation
    “Antiwar.com is the best compendium of global news.”
    *Chalmers Johnson
    “Antiwar.com is …anti-American …Pro-terrorist …”
    *David Horowitz

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Nope, my post went right through. Maybe its not a Site Monitor thats your glitch. Perhaps he’s hired a good Straw Sorter.

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Testing….
    Site monitor?
    Hmmmm……

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    Patchwork of domestic interests doesn’t seem to me to contradict what Chomsky says in the piece, or even how you sum up Chomsky’s whole career…. He notes that if AIPAC’s desires and US policy objectives match up, then why assume AIPAC is the major cause. I’ve made that point over and over.
    And honestly, I don’t think you do the insult thing for the most part, so I wouldn’t have read it that way, but thanks for the note!
    Anyway, I’m having endless posting problems. Perhaps I’m on probation or something. I keep getting messages that the site monitor has received my posts and will look them over.

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    Posted by questions Aug 22, 2:19PM
    I can’t resist this one and I have 60 second to spare …
    Without going point by point on his argument.
    Chomsky’s sole thesis on US geo eco, the only thesis he has ever held, the one his entire career has been about, is that the US has never not been guilty and that it has always been soley guilty and no one/thing else has ever had anything to do with it’s motivations and guilt because of the US’s “inherent nature”.
    If you don’t get how that destroys his W&M argument then you don’t believe you own thesis on AIPAC. That AIPAC is only a part of the patchwork, everything having multi factors, full of loop de loops, layers upon layers of interest, a pot luck stew of a thousand things.
    I am not being insulting, but seriously you have shot your own argument in the foot with this offering.

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    I don’t know if this will get posted since there is a waiting period now — just for me? for this thread? for everything?
    It’s Chomsky on W and M.
    http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/4134
    Maybe it’s all the same stuff over again and from a completely distrusted source…. Who knows.

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    Some jackass diversionary dissembling horseshit designed deliberately to dirty the waters, foul the nest, pollute the argument, make sure that no one can ever talk about Dearborn, Arab Americans, Israeli spies’ being pardoned (or speculation about the same)…..
    From the Sept 1/8 print issue of the Nation Mag:
    Banks, credit card cos, securities and investment firms spent $256 million lobbying Congress in 07-08.
    Telecoms spent $214 million.
    Healthcare broadly speaking spent $687 million
    And mortage lenders spent a paltry $54 million.
    This below taken from antiwar.com link to Ha’Aretz
    It emerged on Wednesday that the United States has refused to sell Jerusalem new refueling planes, fearing such a transaction could be interpreted as support for an Israeli attack on Iran.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1013735.html
    There is also a question of how much influence J Street will have. The group has been reported to have an annual budget of $1.5 million, a small share of the approximately $50 million AIPAC spends.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1208246578939
    A web post with a different view of things (note that I’ve excerpted some paragraphs and left others out for brevity’s sake):
    First of all, AIPAC does not appear to be trying to prod the U.S. to bomb Iran. If it is, I have not seen any credible evidence, just a lot of inferential yammering by those whose stock-in-trade is to promote the notion that the so-called “Lobby” is a bunch of bellicose fifth columnists.
    Here, for example, is Justin Raimondo, an articulate libertarian whose Antiwar.com is an increasingly popular source for all things anti-Israel and anti-AIPAC: “Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to the U.S. is part of a concerted effort, by the Israeli government and its American lobbyists, to convince U.S. lawmakers – and, most of all, President George W. Bush – that the time to attack Iran is now.”
    Dismissing AIPAC as nothing but a support group or cheering section for Dick Cheney and Richard Perle feeds the hunger of those on the far left and far right for a bogeyman, an organization that can serve, along with Israel itself, as a kind of totemic hate object, a repository of all that is wrong. I am trying to write a book about the conventional Israel lobby and my task would be much easier if AIPAC could be summed up so glibly. But I’m afraid it can’t.
    The inconvenient truth is that many of its members and board members are centrist Democrats; they are politically moderate, at least by American standards. They want the U.S. to keep Israel strong by giving it a qualitative military edge because they believe Israel’s neighbors still want to destroy it. They are deeply worried about Iran and the dangers they believe it poses to Israel and to the U.S., especially to American troops in Iraq, But they are not irresponsibly trigger happy. Even Philip Weiss, a hero of the cabal-watchers, was initially a bit perplexed when, in the first policy conference he attended, he found himself rubbing shoulders with attendees and listening to speakers who were moderate, temperate and as desirious of peace as he is (although they don’t care as much about Palestinian suffering or Palestinian rights as he does).
    http://www.realisticdove.org/archives/216
    These are just a few random things I’ve come across. And there are a number of press reports about the Israeli spy case. It’s gotten press play for sure.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62438-2004Sep4.html
    This one suggests AIPAC power and criticisms, touches on the spy case as it was coming out. No crazy rhetoric.
    http://www.forward.com/articles/11608/
    A human interest story about the alleged spies from the Jewish Daily Forward
    Take it for what it’s worth. Disagree, ignore, curse, spit venom…..

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    “Now you can languish in your surreal little naive nest of internet
    brotherhood and human trust”
    Surrealism may bring us further than paranoia.

    Reply

  13. Kathleen says:

    J Street…speak up….we need the countervaling force…

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You want specificity? After the diversive horseshit you fed us on this thread? Forget it.
    I explained my origional reason for posting the link on the thread, you ignored it. I asked you specific questions, that you could have responded to, pertaining to why I felt the link was relevant, you ignored them.
    End of story. Address your crap to someone else, will you?

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    “Weasley dissembling coward” — wow. Thanks! Why not explain to me, since I’m so dumb, what’s wrong with the post above? A point at a time, refute it and me.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    1) They seem to oppose the settlements as a policy (most notably Sweetness).
    2) They seem to recognize the suffering of the Palestinians.
    3) At least Questions and Sweetness don`t seem to share the views generally represented by AIPAC and hardline pro-Israelis.
    ——————
    Norheim, we’ve seen this crap before, ad nauseum, before you got here. Its a pattern, and it almost never deviates. And part of that pattern is a feigned moderation and empathy with the Palestinians, yet, when AIPAC is criticized, these same “moderate” posters all the sudden become rabid defenders of AIPAC. One asshole even claimed to be a “contributor” to Peace Now, yet, when queried, didn’t know the first thing about Peace Now.
    But getting away from the above, the true litmus test is when this completely RIDICULOUS argument is offered that AIPAC is like any other powerful lobby. That argument is ALWAYS augmented by the straw bullshit that people like Carroll and I are “blaming AIPAC for all the world’s evils”. This is a pattern, and a style of rhetoric, that almost NEVER deviates from this script.
    Now you can languish in your surreal little naive nest of internet brotherhood and human trust, and refuse to recognize when you’re being gamed, but don’t expect me to be so gullible and naive. I’ve seen this crap before, too many times.

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see Questions is still spewing a line of dissembling horseshit.
    Why bother to compose such crap? Why not just search the archives and simply copy the spew of the last troll that gave us this schpiel, almost verbatim?
    Tell ya what Questions, you stop with the straw arguments, diversions, and out and out bullshit, then I’ll stop underscoring what weasely dissembling cowards you people become every time AIPAC gets spanked.

    Reply

  18. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim Aug 21, 5:49PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Good intentions there PN but I think you have more patience for that than me.
    I will just stick to inserting my opinions on the Isr deal and dropping in some info on the subject for whoever might be lurking on the blog instead of getting bogged down with the personalities.
    On the ..”natural nationalist citizen feelings concerning “our” country and it’s welfare.”..it’s the same thing as wanting your family to be stable or happy, prosperous or at least not in dire circumstances, to act honorably and generously in it’s conduct and affairs with others and be in turn respected by others. I think that is a natural feeling people have for their family, for themselves or for the land they live in and whose name they bear…i.e. British, French, American, Scots, Irish, etc.. It has nothing to do with the use of nationalism as a scary thingy.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Dons….
    I corresponded with John Mearshimer and Steve Walt, both of whom were very approachable and gracious in replying to me very thoughtfully, after their original article was published in the London Book Review and again after I read their book.
    They will tell you if you ask, that their sole
    goal was to open the closed door of the Israel Lobby’s affect on US policy. By producing a book that would be accepted and read by the widest possible audience. Which meant downplaying some controversial aspects to avoid any appearence
    of anti-semitism.
    In other words they deliberately defused every bomb in the book before they threw it.
    There is a lot in the book I was already aware of but the details on the whys and hows of some of Israel’s and the Lobby’s thwarting and in some cases sabotaging US relationship overtures
    toward some Arab states shocked even me.
    Read the whole thing,it’s very interesting.
    As I said before I have done a lot of research into the US ME relations. A lot of it concerning our relationship with Arabia before Israel
    even existed. Little understood is how much the ME use to admire the US and even requested that America replace the British control because they believed that America was more ‘honorable’ and would be fairer to all parties. Well that is all gone now, partly because of the politics of the US for Israel and partly because of our bullying for our own intesrest. Too bad, it didn’t have to be that way.

    Reply

  20. DonS says:

    To whom it may concern,
    To implicate, even by inference, AIPAC, in much that is wrong with the conduct of US policy in the Mideast, is a very small leap given the evidence over the years.
    To object that there is no direct proof of implication is a nice distinction, but not very convincing in view of the sub rosa nature of the infiltration of Israeli/AIPAC agenda into American politics and policy. It isn’t even necessary for AIPAC to pursue hidden agendas when virtually all the politicians, certainly the Zionist leaning ones, are right out in the open, and the comfortable assumption has been generated over the decades, and mimed by the media, that the US and Israel are joined at the hip — even if the thinking American citizen, if presented with the facts, would balk at that notion as much as they would balk at any other country having such influence over US policy. The perfidy is hidden in plain view one might say.
    . . . except for those embarrassing instances when the Zionists overreach and, say, blatantly commit espionage. What to do?
    Mearshieimer and Walt. I haven’t thoroughly digested that book yet, so forgive the blue skying, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they, intentionally or not, pulled some of their punches due to editorial control or even fear of being totally discounted as anti-Semites (which, of course, one cannot truly inoculate oneself from since it is used at the drop of the hat).
    Finally, why don’t the non/anti-Zionist Jews get a hearing in the halls of power? They represent the majority of Jews. Is it only in this sense that the distinction between nationality and religion is observed by our scupulous politicians, Israel being a political configuaration and Judaism being, you know, a religion? I doubt it. More likely its the AIPAC checks that come replete with a guide to discounting non-AIPAC views.

    Reply

  21. Paul Norheim says:

    Carroll,
    I agree on a lot of what you say – among that a couple of
    central points:
    “Isr is wrong in the Pal conflict and is using the security excuse
    to confiscate Palestine land.”
    “the bad influence the AIPAC lobby/orgs/commu[n]ity has on
    our ME policy and on the Isr-Pal war thru congress.”
    I question a couple of notions, like your “natural nationalist
    citizen feelings concerning “our” country and it’s welfare.”
    I would say that nationalism may be understandable, but is not
    a “natural” feeling. Anyway, there is no reason to make a big
    deal of that, and as you know, I am not an American.
    In Norway, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not such a sensitive
    issue as in America. One obvious reason: there is nothing
    similar to AIPAC in our country. Secondly, the geopolitical
    considerations are not so crucial (re. Middle East) for a small
    country as for a superpower like USA.
    25 years ago, the general sentiments among Norwegians were
    clearly pro-Israel. Now I would say they go in favor of the
    Palestinians.
    It looks like the discussions regarding Israel-Palestine and the
    influence of lobbies like AIPAC at The Washington Note, to a
    depressive degree is a reflection of the the fact that this is
    perceived as a highly sensitive issue everywhere in America.
    However, if you look closer, people like Questions, Sweetness
    and Wigwag seem to share some common ground with people
    like Carroll, POA and myself.
    1) They seem to oppose the settlements as a policy (most
    notably Sweetness).
    2) They seem to recognize the suffering of the Palestinians.
    3) At least Questions and Sweetness don`t seem to share the
    views generally represented by AIPAC and hardline pro-Israelis.
    These are examples, I believe, of shared common ground. This
    does of course not imply an agreement on all the crucial issues
    – far from that – but at least enough to make a discussion
    possible.
    Still, these discussions fail and break down every time. If for
    example you, Carroll, mention AIPAC, Questions or Sweetness
    seem to react in “pavlovian” manners (as Questions has
    described it).
    Despite their own disagreement with AIPAC, they seem to
    perceive it almost as a personal attack or, some way or another,
    as an attack on Jews or Israelis. And since you, Carroll, are
    among those who for years have been very concerned with
    these issues, they feel that you are obsessed with it, and that
    you blame AIPAC or Israel for everything that is wrong.
    They say so, and than they get accused of being “dishonest”,
    “slimey”, “jackasses” etc. etc. and the whole thread becomes a
    parody.
    Some way or another, this happens again and again. And most
    of the time, arguments or accusations from past discussions
    pop up in the present discussion and contribute in screwing up.
    And everybody goes ad hominem.

    If these discussions should have any chance to develop here,
    some obvious conditions had to be met:
    1) If someone for years have been concerned with, studied and
    been a vocal critic of AIPAC or US military and financial support
    to Israel, this does not automatically imply that that person is
    “obsessed” with the Jews or having latent anti-semitic
    tendencies. You may disagree strongly with the views, but the
    issues are legitimate.
    2) No one should accuse their opponents of being dishonest,
    jackasses, anti-semites, or in any other ways attack them ad
    hominem more than once a month.
    If these two simple rules were followed, the discussion MAY
    have a chance. If not: forget it.

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    Carroll,
    A nice post, but I would add a couple of things. I haven’t seen anyone posting here defending Israel on its treatment of Palestinians. I haven’t seen anyone DEFEND AIPAC so much as qualify the attacks on AIPAC by contextualizing what AIPAC does. You see (I think) AIPAC as exceptional, and I don’t. You see (I think) Congress members bought and sold by this singular lobby. I see a political process in which lobbies have varying power that is dependent on numerous other factors. (Even Mearsheimer touches on this point in the London Review precursor to the book — see Sweetness’s link — the power of lobbies varies based on constituent interest in the issue. Mears. isn’t a Congressional scholar and I think his discussion would benefit from more input by someone who’s spent a career watching Congress. Political science as an academic discipline has subspecialities and generally the people who do IR (international relations) are not the Congress watchers (who do a lot of mathematical modeling of vote patterns). Crossing the boundaries without the requisite coursework, publication, conferencing can lead to interesting creative work for sure, but it can also lead to unnuanced readings. Furthermore, there are some qualifications in the W and M piece that are worth teasing out, including the diffuseness of the “Lobby” such that “Lobby” might not be the best name for it.)
    Where I think I have the biggest difference with the points above is the notion of “national interest”. I don’t think it’s so clear, you seem to. Mearsheimer feels it can be well-defined. But he has also written that it was a more stable world order under the Cold War, and that therefore the Cold War was in our national interest. (IR people spend a lot of time modeing stable numbers of global powers, and 2 is a stable number. 1 isn’t. 3 isn’t — if I remember this stuff correctly.)
    A further point, on another thread here, the Halliburton/mesothelioma/oil contract/Dick Cheney Iraq War connection is being drawn. Not a lot of mention of Israel and the Palestinians there. Oil and Cheney and Halli. oh my. My sense of the Iraq War is that the causal chains are long and lots of people jumped on the bandwagon. It wasn’t an AIPAC-only war, an AIPAC-mostly war, or even an AIPAC-inspired war under this reading. And if AIPAC is gunning for Iran, so are a lot of other interests. There’s been a long history (as I’ve pointed out before) of the US’s preferring the non-existence of a functioning Iraq AND a functioning Iran, and this history seems to predate anything that could be called “AIPAC”. AIPAC’s greatest talent might actually be “dress-up! That is, they want a war with Iraq, so they dress up as a MAJOR cause of the war, even though they are really only one more group on the bandwagon. They gain their power by APPEARING, pufferfish-like, larger than they are. It’s a thought at any rate.
    In the POA article, there are several strands of push for this pardon that may or may not happen. One of the pushes is the self interest of the Bush crowd. Another is the self interest of the spies. How can you say that AIPAC CAUSES the pardon (if it happens) when that very pardon may serve Bush and Co. as well. Again, causation is hard to trace. If it’s good for me AND it’s good for you, whose good is CAUSING me to act?
    So again, it’s not to say AIPAC is wonderful, it’s to say that a lot of stuff is not wonderful. You suggest that there has developed fatigue at putting the qualifiers in anymore because it doesn’t seem to do any good. Well, qualifiers, in my view, are really important and their lack leads to a lot of tension.
    In terms of the academic battles for control of rhetoric, there certainly have been inappropriate moves by Dershowitz-minded people to jump in and attempt tenure denials, stop speakers and the like. This behavior is indeed reprehensible and cowardly, but it shows up a little more often in more places than perhaps you realize. A lot of strong views end up causing a lot of angst on campuses as the presidents panic about donors and alumni, as the students demand to hear voices on the fringes or threaten to throw blood on the speakers. Spend a few weeks with a trial subscription to The Chronicle for Higher Education. It’s amazing how often this kind of stuff comes up. The ones that make the national news tend to be Dershowitz-inspired, but believe me, it’s a routine campus experience on race, Latin America, the CIA, gender, politicians, the liberal professoriate, the conservative professoriate…. People try to shoot down tenure decisions pretty frequently. Dershowitz is at the extreme end, though, I will happily declare. There is also campus discrimination based on discipline boundaries — what counts as a reasonable field of inquiry — and this kind of issue never makes the news. But believe me, hiring decisions, job categories… all of this is politicized to a ridiculous extent. College presidents are definitionally cowards. Their jobs depend on making a lot of people happy to give money, so the obsequiousness comes with the territory.
    I will say that I assume that every poster here is deeply concerned with justice and the basic immorality of a lot of policies. This fundamental good will I do not question. I’m not always so sure of the directions that we go to attain justice, but the basic concern is clearly there, even through the curses. (Though I’m guessing that any olive branch I would offer, POA is going to want shoved….)
    So in the end, I assume good will, I hope for careful argumentation and a wide understanding about how things happen. I don’t defend horror, and I kind of think no one else is doing that either.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim Aug 21, 7:28AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yep I did get the point.
    It might be helpful for you to understand the past dynamics of Israel-AIPAC arguments that influence today’s responses.
    This issue always comes up whenever Isr-Pal or the ME situtation or AIPAC makes the news as in the current elections or some bill is announced like the 30 billion in aid to Israel or some reference is made to the scary Arabs or some action/bill/statement by congress or the Israeli centrics is so hypocritical on it’s face that is it worthy of being pointed out.
    If 911 hadn’t happened and the ME wasn’t a hot issue and Israel and AIPAC and the jewish community had not been brought to the public’s attention as major players in US ME policy and the Isr-Pal conflict wasn’t being exposed, most of us would still be unaware of and uneducated on the facts, and the mention of AIPAC/ Jews/ Isr and etc would be as rare as discussions of flying saucers.
    Those of us who :
    By close observation conclude Isr is wrong in the Pal conflict and is using the security excuse to confiscate Palestine land.
    Object to the US support of this on both moral and political grounds.
    Have seen enough “veriable evidence” of the bad influence the AIPAC lobby/orgs/commuity has on our ME policy and on the Isr-Pal war thru congress. As in the example of our congress standing by during the bombing of Lebanon and the unnecessary destruction of Lebanon infastructure. And thru other “documented” evidence of both Israel’s and The Lobby’s past activities that are damaging to the US interest and to others.
    Object to the largest percentage of foreign aid taxpayer money being given to a country that ranks as the 16th richest, especially in light of it’s behavior.
    Are repulsed by US representives and presidential candidates making pledges to a foreign country as part of their governing platform and vowing to use our citizens blood and money to “unconditionally” support that country, again especially in light of that country’s behavior.
    And are also replused by the “organized” efforts of the many zionist/some jewish/community/orgs/etc to defame, slur, damage careers, of those who speak out about the undue influence of the zionist/Israel community on much (not all) of our ME policy and the injustice of the Isr-Pal situtation, and their assault on Universities, acdemics and other outlets of education with the purpose of censoring “all” discusssion and different points of view that might enlighten or educate the public on the facts and nature of AIPAC and US/Israel/Palestine.
    Recongize that AIPAC and Israel are beyond a shadow of a doubt trying to influence the US into a attack and/or war with Iran, even knowing that Iran is not a actual threat to the US, that this would be disasterous to the US, not in the interest of the American people and cause serious economic ramifications to the entire global economy and that they are in large (part) responsible for the congresssional resolutions laying the ground for an attack on Iran. Thru jewish congressmen and other gentile Israel centric/ jewish voting block and donation concious congressmen/women and various already neocon inclined politicans.
    We always criticize AIPAC/org/zionist comunity segments and etc. and Israel on these counts for it’s political system-ing, for moral reasons, and natural nationalist citizen feelings concerning “our” country and it’s welfare.
    Invariably the posters on this particular blog who rush to justify any wrongdoing by AIPAC, Israel, defend the “misuse of lobbying” as a right to representation and with the Johnny does it too Mommie, are those whose personal Jewish identification and interest and identification with Israel as a jewish state takes preident over “all” other interest and considerations of “all” other people. They use the standard tactics you see here of confusing the issue by enlarging and distorting the objections, comparing apples to oranges,pretending the AIPAC/Isr subject is the “only” subject we talk about even when it is just the subject under discussion at the moment and use character assassination and personal attacks.
    We use to have some self identified Jews here that were as “objective” about the AIPAC Israel influence deal as about other similar influence issues and didn’t twist the threads into the threat of another holocuast/blame the Jews “stealth movement by vicious anti semites” or inject any ethnic/religious victim paranoia or Israel exceptionalism into the subject.
    During the years I have commented here 99.9% of Israeli/AIPAC critics have gone out of their way to make clear their criticism isn’t an assault on Jews as a whole and that their complaints don’t apply soley to AIPAC/Israel because they are primilary Jewish.
    Now we don’t make as much effort because it’s tiresome, we’ve already done it for years, it hasn’t made any difference in the attitudes and argument styles of the questions, wig wags, sweetnesses who appear here, we have had experience already with some posters who come back under different names to start the same kind of almost word for word defense and bait the threads.
    In short or long, most of us simply aren’t going to play into the “ethnic or religious feelings/concerns trap” and only respond when something is particulary ridiculous. Hence our sometimes crass replies.
    The End.

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    The Smith article is a well documented example of facts proving, at minimum, a circumstantial case that AIPAC and its surrogates have been given unique latitude in bending rules related to the activities of agents of foreign governments operating in the US.
    In the past I have cited others who have dug deep to uncover this eveidence, dating back to my days in law school in the 60’s.
    Whether or not “The possibility that a pardon could at last mass-mobilize the American people out of their unknowing tolerance for the lobby’s dangerous foreign subversions” as Smith concludes, I’m a much jaded skeptic. But we keep hoping.
    As to the placement of this article on this thread and the ensuing energetic back and forth, 1) there have been far more OT postings, some of which I have done myself, that occasioned not a peep and 2) the link between seeding fear and hate of Muslims, and the emotional engine that perpetuates an Israeli-centered ME policy is a serious problem.
    That both Obama and McCain have seen fit to pay lip service to Arab Americans is laudable. Do I believe for a minute that it is more than lip service? Maybe not.

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot, Sweetness and I are the same person in your eyes, so I’ll take credit for the “Carroll and friends” comment even though I have no memory of typing it….
    And since you know me so well, thanks for recognizing my lying ways, and feigned and pseudo qualities and my saccharine veneer and the like. It’s nice to be well known by someone out in cyberspace!!
    And given that I do think that a lot of special treatment is handed out to a lot of people and that we fight oil wars and support wicked dictators all around the world in order to benefit industry, I guess I am a jackass as well.
    Here’s to me! Jackass, slimey, and pseudo!

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I explained, in my first comment, my reasoning in placing the link on this thread.
    Its not up to me to provide “solutions” or olive branches for your irritating efforts to deny simple truths with straw arguments. And make no mistake, your dissembling crap on this thread is diversionary, and completely fabricated of straw.
    And if you claim to think the kind of treatment that AIPAC has recieved by our courts and Congress is no different than the treatment recieved by other lobbies, than you’re a bigger jackass than I give you credit for, and quite obviously a shameless liar as well.
    And the comment directed towards Carroll “and friends” is a direct window into your slimey little tunnel of vicious nature, unsuccessfully concealed under that sacharin veneer of feigned congeniality and pseudo-intellectualism.
    Like I said, shove it.

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    Dan Kervick,
    I think when I read Rawls’s Theory of Justice, I read it as setting up a constitution, so the dispassionate element fits. It’s not state laws or local ordinances or meetings or blogs he’s dealing with. It’s that first step that is kept deliberately separated from identities. Kant is opposed to partiality because one rational being has no right to prefer himself over another rational being. We preserve this notion with the idea that no one is above the law. For Kant, just capitalize “Law”! I can’t let everyone else obey a law that I don’t hold myself to because the no real way to distinguish myself morally from others. It’s a nice theoretical way out of the free rider problem.
    But as you point out, desire and the messiness of individual lives pop right back up, (Kant notes the ever-arising nature of the “dear self”!) and we’re back to preferring ourselves over others. That’s why the basic framework or constitution is to be set up before we know our places in society. For Rawls, the dear self is just as real an issue. But if we have laws that help even out income gaps within a fair regime, then we are likely to be better off.
    A nice concrete example of this is the outrage we feel when we find out that lawmakers have turned to industry lawyers to write legislation. The industry reps have an interest in the outcome of the legislation and so instantly we rightly distrust their product. Maybe they can be fair, but they are likely to be biased. Better to have unbiased, disinterested third parties writing up laws. It’s the disinterest that is crucial to fairness, and that equally seems dispassionate and removed from the messiness.
    But you certainly have given me some food for thought on the messiness issue!

    Reply

  28. questions says:

    Arthur Decco, by “these people” I meant lawmakers, not lawbreaking spies. Sorry for the confusion. On the idea that I tried to divert attention from the matter at hand, it was not my intention.
    psst…are you ever embarrassed when you re-read the kind of disingenuous and panicky crap you wrote earlier today with the patently obvious intention of prying our eyes off the ball?)
    That’s a copy/paste from Arthur Decco — I actually don’t think I have to power to pry anyone’s eye from the ball. So, no, it’s not “patently obvious”.
    I don’t trust the website, and so I don’t necessarily trust every piece. Do I dispute the facts presented? No. Do I wonder about how those facts are being used? Yes. Since the website is given over to a concern about the legitimacy of state power, I read the piece cited as possibly trying to support that concern by demonstrating the evils of states without any context.
    (If the WaPo started an “in depth” series on the positive portions NCLB’s testing regime (and there may be some), I would wonder about that given that they own Stanley Kaplan. Pieces are chosen not just because of accuracy, but also to fit in a context. The context has to be part of the discussion. What does the WaPo leave out? Why do they report as they do? Are there other ways to get the educational benefits without the testing that sends huge amounts of money to the WaPo? A piece can be completely accurate, and still not complete.)
    I would be surprised if the US didn’t have spies checking out even our closest allies, and if we weren’t engaged in bribery and corruption internationally as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of spies get special treatment. So why this, why now? I merely pointed to the issue.
    Again my point is simply that when we leave out context, when we locate evil in a particular place, we can feel done with the task at hand. Every time someone posts another one of these OH WICKED AIPAC OH WICKED ISRAEL pieces, I just want to say these two institutions are not alone in their wickedness. The constant return to this theme of wicked AIPAC gets to me. Yes it can be wicked. Okay. Got it. Another link. Okay got it. Another link. Okay. Got it. How many times in a continuing conversation must it come up? The obsession with AIPAC is overmuch. Especially given the utter lack of singularity of AIPAC’s behavior.
    So my response is to say, hey, you’re doing it again. Round and round we go. There’s other wickedness to get obsessed with. And I think it’s worth contextualizing.
    On the mystical powers image– that’s an image. I draw it because there seems to be a current here of finding AIPAC culpable for every deed of ill repute, without ascribing equal guilt to other parts of the equation. Not sure what’s so crazy about this point either.
    I get the feeling that my posts are read with more adrenalin than they require. I have a fairly modest view that Paul Norheim nicely satirized. There’s more to the world than AIPAC. I don’t think we need news cameras for this one.
    As for POA,
    direct quotation:
    Shove it, for starters. Deep.
    That’s not a helpful response to my honest question. I’m as tired of the merry-go-round as you are and I’m looking for an exit. “Shove it” isn’t really an exit. As I said above, it’s not the particular set of facts that I dispute, so the footnotes don’t counter my point. It’s not the criminality of the spies I dispute either. It’s the context. It’s why you chose yet again to link to an oh evil AIPAC piece. It’s why the website chose to publish the piece. If you disagree with my interpretation of this, if you want to say that no, there’s no ulterior motive, or no, there’s no greater context, no other spying left unremarked, it’s really only AIPAC ind Israel that get any special treatment… then say that. “Shove it” doesn’t really help.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    Carrol,
    if I`ve not misunderstood your comment, you took my points?
    If so, I`m happy to hear that. Questions and Sweetness seem to
    have got my criticism as well. I hope POA will get it too, after a
    hard days night.
    As you may guess, I was in a state of resignation, combined
    with a wish not to end up in the same old traps, when this
    discussion started. I criticized Questions, and raised some
    questions to Sweetness as well, but in a polite way, appropriate
    to the always polite ways they have approached me.
    My heart sunk when I read Sweetness`s often quoted
    comment to you (the “No one expects Carroll and Friends do
    any thinking…” etc), and even more when I read your crass, but
    inderstandable reply.
    I thought: here we go again. I kept silent, instead attempting
    to follow a new approach (expressed somewhere above, before
    things got ugly: “It`s highly unfortunate if we can`t create a
    more rational space for discussing AIPAC at The Washington
    Note from other positions then those extremes, and where
    insults and suspicion are the exception, not the rule of the
    discourse.”)
    I kept that line until POA “came back from work”, angry as hell.
    And when he attacked me (unjustified, i felt), I simply got angry
    myself and exploded.
    Let me put it this way, Carroll:
    If I hadn`t tried to be very calm and diplomatic before POA re-
    entered the scene, I would have said this to Sweetness:
    Your sarcastic reply to Carroll was an unfortunate and
    unnecessary attack, that has less to do with what Carroll
    actually said than with bad memories from past arguments.
    In retrospect, Carroll, I would say that you and the
    (understandably) hesitant Dan Kervick (as well as Don Bacon
    and JohnH), did a respectable effort in this thread. The rest of
    us acted like not-so-rational-animals, including POA and Paul
    Norheim.
    Frankly: We blew it.

    Reply

  30. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions and Dan Kervick,
    I certainly appreciate and salute the irony of the calm, clear, and
    polite philosophical dialogue running through this thread, next
    to the emotional (as well as strictly ritual) discussion pro et
    contra AIPAC – with all the personal, historical and political
    issues, motives and suspicions involved.
    Two of my younger brothers have read Rawl extensively; one of
    them, I assume, with less, and the other one with more
    enthusiasm – the latter applying his theories to ethical
    questions related to priorities in health issues in developing
    countries. I have listened to my brothers discussing Rawls
    several times, but I admit that I`ve never yet been tempted to
    read him.
    The modern philosophers I most often return to are Nietzsche,
    Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. This does not mean that I
    want their views of society to be implemented in our current
    world (I would for instance prefer the more “responsible” Jürgen
    Habermas in this regard, to his more resolute and sombre
    opponent Adorno, not to mention Benjamin or Nietzsche), but I
    am on several levels more intrigued and fascinated by the texts
    of those more “irresponsible” thinkers. (Questions, are you
    familiar with Adorno`s “Minima Moralia”, written in exile in
    California, before and during WW2?)
    Dan Kervick, I read with interest the following passage of your
    last post:
    “To the extent that I do think about things like an idealized
    social system, or foundation for society, it is not based an the
    notion of rules that would be selected by, or are suitable for,
    ideally rational agents. I think of the rules and institutions
    humans have fashioned over time as mechanisms helping to
    establish a kind of coercive balance of power among excitable
    creatures who are inclined to do a lot of fighting, taking,
    singing, eating, shitting, dancing, fucking, musing, drawing,
    pissing, playing, building and storytelling, and whose drives,
    obsessions and dreams are constantly butting into those of
    others in chaotic and violent ways. An “ideal” society would be a
    society which manages to organize and regulate those
    potentially chaotic energies in a way that produces the most
    overall satisfaction of which the kind of imperfectly rational
    animal we are is capable.”
    This position transcends the classical polarity (at least in
    modern European philosophy) of, on one hand the
    “conservatives” – thinking that human beings are irrational,
    born “evil”, doomed to commit the worst crimes if they are not
    restricted by religion, community or authoritarian laws; and on
    the other hand “progressives” or “radicals”, assuming that
    human beings are “good by nature”, or “rational”, or aspiring to
    certain utopian “ideals”, and that the society should be built in
    accordance to the rationality, good nature, or utopian
    aspirations of our nature. In other words: Hobbes versus
    Rousseau.
    You seem to appreciate the fragility and (potentially dangerous)
    irrationality of human beings, as well as the chaotic, and always
    singular circumstances of a certain moment in the life of
    individual human beings or societies. You also seem to
    appreciate the value of “rules” and “institutions”, without
    exaggerating their role or effect. This is a quite modest
    approach, which I applaud.
    You could argue for or against the value, or usefulness, of
    imagining a society consisting of rational individuals. The
    problem is, as you know, that some of the ideologies from the
    19th and 20th century that still have a huge influence, are
    founded on the belief that we actually act rationally, on an
    individual, but also on a national level. Viewing states as
    “rational actors”, acting in accordance to “national interests”, or
    the economy consisting of rational actors, making their choices
    in accordance to “individual interests”, is part of that heritage,
    and idealism or utopianism is not the solution.
    Dan Kervick, your modest and complex philosophical approach
    represents, by the way – and apropos TWN and the november
    elections – a stark contrast both to the simplicity of John
    McCains aggressive messages, and the idealistic rhetoric in the
    speeches of Barrack Obama. Perhaps Obama`s sense of
    complexities will serve as a counter balance. But it may also
    undermine him.

    Reply

  31. Carroll says:

    Interesting article POA, I hadn’t seen it.
    I am going to follow what is available on the trial and put links here for you. To the best of my memory the trial is open to the public, (that might have changed) and is a jury trial. I was following the ruling about the classified portions the FBI doesn’t want to have to reveal because of national security. Which was a demand really by the defense (claiming it was necessary to the defense) to try and get the FBI to back off. Last I remember the Judge ruled the jury could hear the classified portions but the not in the courtroom open to the public. The defense also called Rice to testify and others hoping they will refuse to appear and the defense can claim they were denied their right to prove their actions and the info they obtained were normal in the course of AIPAC and US interaction. However that “Presidential Directive” the AIPACers gave to the Israeli embassy will be hard for the jury to swallow when it is explained to them exactly how top secret the presidential directive was. Whether they get off legally or not becuase the judge has set a standard above and beyond what the FBI case is…the public is going to get a birds eye view of the lobbies activities.
    The jury will try to convict them. The judge might prevent it. Judge Ellis has bent over backwards for the defense. He has something of a questionable court history. A judical complaint was brought against him once for citing a ruling he himself made as grounds for another ruling.

    Reply

  32. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim Aug 21, 12:59AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I go it.
    I though it was funny as hell.
    Red herrings
    Strawmen
    False syllogism
    Exaggerating the complaint
    Changing the complaints words
    Ignoring the proposition
    Confusing the issue
    Throwing in diversions
    Attacking the messenger
    Here are some of my favorites of the above:
    “Unfortunately for those who hold to the AIPAC-Is-The-Root-Of- All-Evil thesis…”
    “But to single out AIPAC as inimical to the greater good of the US while all other lobbies are angelic…”
    “This is how the system (referring to lobbies) works. You may like some of the results and hate others. But no one in this system has mystical power.”
    “Trying to turn AIPAC, or the Lobby, or Israel, into the PRINCIPAL REASON we went to war, ”
    And last but not least Sweetness’s on going Freudian meltdown from fear of being Jew:
    “..AIPAC is run by AMERICANS!”
    “I oppose simplistic answers because, sooner or later, they tend to be bad
    for the Jews.”

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    Smarmy?
    You`re fond of questioning other peoples motives, POA.
    If you insist on going into details, I would rather say that it`s
    self-serving and dishonest, perhaps even SMARMY of you to say
    that I`ve claimed that Questions was “the sole target” of my
    parody.
    It was perhaps even foolish of you, because everybody can
    look at what I said in the post above yours, and judge for them
    self who is “smarmy” and dishonest and self-serving, if they are
    inclined to do that.
    I didn`t say that he was the “sole target”. Obviously I had
    some fun with Tahoe and PissedOffAmerican as well. But the
    serious criticism was directed against Questions. At least he
    understood that.
    And my initial comment (at 1:52 PM) was addressed to
    Questions and Sweetness. Did you read it?
    It went like this:
    “Just like another lobby, or a special kind of lobby?
    The political positions of antiwar.com?
    When you see two presidential candidates (the losing dem. HCR
    and the winner BO) talking at the podium to the AIPAC
    delegates, promising stuff that is to the right even of the
    current president — doesn`t that worry you, Sweetness and
    questions? I mean, it`s exactly the kind of promises that are
    obstacles to peace in the Middle East, and thus damaging for
    the region, as well as for the USA.
    Special or not, it does represent a huge problem, don`t you
    think?
    Just like the strength of the apocalyptical right wing evangelicals
    represent a huge problem in US foreign policy, and especially
    regarding peace and fair solutions in the Middle East – special
    or not – don`t you think?
    The problems they create are at least very special.”
    —-
    What`s wrong with you, POA? Are you mad because I didn`t call
    them dishonest jackasses, or what? Who are you to decide what
    and how I write? Mind your own business. And read the
    comment before you blame the commentator.
    Jesus, you`re acting like a 12 year old kid in the schoolyard,
    blinded by your own anger because nobody is paying any
    attention to your dictatorial rules. And your complete lack of
    tolerance is embarrassing.

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It is self-serving and dishonest of you to single out Questions as the sole target of your “parody”. One would think after being accused of being smarmy you would respond with something a little less smarmy.

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    did you actually read my comments above? Did you discover that
    two of my posts (especially the ALPHA/BETA parody) was a
    criticism of Questions`approach every time someone mention
    AIPAC (responding by saying that politics is a complex thing, and
    there are other lobbies as well, like the Auto Industry Lobby, etc,
    etc,).
    You read that?
    But you still felt entitled to dictate my responses, read and
    comment exactly on the issues you point at or link to, in a
    manner that suits you?
    Fucking unbelievable.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Amazing, these jackasses are now going to script how one should respond to Steve’s commentary?
    What, the contention that the power of AIPAC far overshadows the presence of Muslim outreach advisors on the campaign staffs is not a legitimate response to Steve’s commentary?
    Gee, if a response is uncomfortable to these three dissembling yahoos, they are able to simply refuse to recognize it as a response at all?
    Schutzpah??? Hows calling Carroll and “her friends” liars for “schutzpah”? Hows saying that we have no ability to “think” for “schutzpah”?
    Theres a number of ways my comment and my link could have been responded to, or it simply could have been ignored. And, these responses could have countered my argument that “Muslim outreach” staffers are overpowered by AIPAC’s influence. But instead, I get home from work to see yet one more writhing troll fest offering straw arguments and diversionary horseshit as the blather du jour.
    Hell, wasn’t Pipes put in some sort of “Muslim outreach” position in the Bush crew? How’d that work out for the Muslim’s? Just because theres staffers with a label, doesn’t mean these staffers can slay the dragon, does it?
    So what about it, Norheim, you think McCain’s “Muslim Outreach” people are gonna take on AIPAC?
    Or perhaps you think, after watching Obama furiously backpeddling on his “plight of the Palestinians” comments, his “Muslim Outreach” people are going to institute “change” in the NECCESITY of pandering to AIPAC to achieve high office in Washington.
    Regardless, your smarmy weaseling on this thread is thoroughly insipid.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Two persons actually responded to the original article (Steve Clemons`post): JohnH and Don Bacon. Their comments are found right below Steve`s post”
    Actually, Norheim my posting of this piece by Smith was posted IN RESPONSE to Steve’s post.
    Read my comment…
    “Yes, its wonderful seeing the two campaigns reach out to the Muslim community. But the fact is, as long as AIPAC can wield the power it does, such shallow overtures are simply pandering postures, designed to gather the votes of a community that AIPAC works to marginalize”
    But hey, I realize you can’t bring yourself to stray far from this bullshit offered by Questions and Sweetness, so what the heck, go ahead and misrepresent the facts.
    Frankly, I….. Oh, never mind. Just suffice to say that the cowardice of the responses on this thread is quite telling.
    And you’re right, you don’t have anything to add.

    Reply

  38. Paul Norheim says:

    Oh, just one more thing:
    Steve writes a post about the latest developments regarding the
    presidential candidates`relationship to the Arab American
    community.
    Then POA gets the idea to link to an article about a criminal
    investigation against some members of AIPAC. What follows is an
    exchange of opinions, reflections and accusations where
    everybody (me included) act according to the script.
    And then POA has the schutzpah to blame everyone for not
    commenting directly on the article he linked to, instead of
    commenting on the content of Steve`s post.
    What can I say?

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    Two persons actually responded to the original article (Steve
    Clemons`post): JohnH and Don Bacon.
    Their comments are found right below Steve`s post.
    Power to the Arab Americans!
    I have nothing to add.

    Reply

  40. arthurdecco says:

    And POA?… thanks for the link to this extremely disturbing article – the article that started this wholly disingenuous mock-opera. u-da-man

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “So what should we do?”
    What can you do?
    Shove it, for starters. Deep.
    Now, I’ll ask you again, WHAT exactly is misrepresented in Smith’s piece?

    Reply

  42. arthurdecco says:

    I had only read halfway down the comments when I started this rebuttal to the usual suspects. I apologize if I’m plagiarizing anyone’s points of view but I couldn’t wait.
    questions,
    MY, My, my… All your efforts, devoted to the discussion of oranges, when the subject is rotten tomatoes! All those w. o. r. d. s. assembled to pontificate about everything BUT what was being discussed in the article linked to by POA!
    And now, after your tidal wave of hyperbole has washed over me, leaving me breathless and confused, I’m still not sure if you dispute the facts of the article, think the writer was lying, or …what…?
    …then what ARE you going on and on and on and on about?
    Libertarians?!?
    My gawd…
    (…psst…are you ever embarrassed when you re-read the kind of disingenuous and panicky crap you wrote earlier today with the patently obvious intention of prying our eyes off the ball?)
    You did type this, didn’t you? “…somehow Israel has mystical powers to do horrendous damage to US interests and simultaneously to pay off every lawmaker or engage in some kind of mind control.”
    questions, it reads to me like you think we’re stupid. Do you really think that dangling slick, shiny sophistry in front of us makes us forget the point of the discussion?
    Its not “mystical powers” or “mind control” that’s required to bribe and threaten lawmakers, (actions we all know happen daily under the glaring, sneering, blizzard gaze of AIPAC). It’s not “mystical powers” or “mind control” that is required to steal trade or security secrets, such as those tangentially under discussion here. Its not “mystical powers” or “mind control” that are needed to accuse anyone who points out these misdeeds as anti-Semites or suspect as such. “Mystical powers” or “mind control” aren’t what’s needed to subjugate Americans to the overbearing will of the far right lunatics of that “shitty little country”, Israel, AND their enablers in politikal Amerika.
    No. It’s not “mystical powers” or mind control”. In many cases, it’s uncomplicated.
    It’s criminal behaviour.
    Do you get that? In MANY cases, it’s CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR!
    And anyone who could write the following sentence and mean it does NOT have the interests of America or its faltering democracy at heart:
    “Give some of these people credit for thinking that maybe they are doing the right thing by supporting Israel.”
    Whew! Did you REALLY type that? …You think that?
    Anyone who engages in criminal activity in support of Israel’s interests deserves no credit for their despicable and traitorous allegiances. They deserve instead to be charged with the full weight of the law for the crimes they commit and then prosecuted vigorously for treason, judged by a jury of their peers, and, if found guilty – imprisoned. Period!
    Now for Sweetness, who ended a post with this gem: “From a darker and more personal perspective, I oppose simplistic answers because, sooner or later, they tend to be bad for the Jews.”
    Wtf?!? …That came across as embarrassingly…simplistic, Sweety. Ness.
    How are you about complicated, subtlety-complexioned answers that point directly to the FACT that powerful and influential Jews are disproportionately misdirecting American government policies away from the best interests of the majority of Americans and tilting them instead towards the selfish interests of … who, exactly, Sweetness? Can you fill in the blanks on that one? Qui bono, and all that?
    Or do you oppose complicated answers too? Surely its not just simplistic bumper stickers that concern you because “they tend to be bad for the Jews”?
    Here’s another of your Greatest Hits: “No one expects Carroll and Friends do any thinking, or even read what they themselves post, let alone attempt to go for the truth, or refrain from distorting the truth, so we’ll have to do all this for them.”
    I, for one, am sick to death of simple-minded, ill-informed propagandists like you dictating your “truths” to me, Sweet,NAY,Sourness. It’s been going on for too long already!
    If I really want your opinion, I can go directly to the source and read the AIPAC web site, or alternatively, I can log onto the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, or the LA Times or any other major newspaper in North America that loyally disperse their talking points as quickly as they’re created by the back-room boyz and gurlz toiling away in the sub-basements of AIPAC and its subsidiary dens of iniquity.
    I don’t need or want to waste my time on your sophomoric translations. So spare me, willya, Sweets?
    But Let’s Get Back to YOU: do you have any facts that could support the nonsense you’ve just written in your frankly weird sentence? Because for you to think that your purpose here is to “go for the truth, or refrain from distorting the truth, so we’ll have to do all this for them” is beyond delusional – it more accurately resembles a bonkers/crazy person’s perception of reality.
    Let’s face it – On the Washington Note, you lie as a matter of course whenever the subject is Israel or about anyone who works in the interests of the worst elements of that war-mongering, racist state. Lying is the air you breathe, the foodstuff that sustains you. I gotta say – I’m laughing out loud at your ridiculous, self-righteous hubris – my eyes are teary… yer a boob, babe – (it needs to be said).
    But Sweetness, by all means, keep up the squawking, squeaking and screeching! It’s illuminating. And hilarious, in its own twisted, dark-humored way. And like Katherine has pointed out on another thread: you claim to do what you can about the settler movement. Who knows, maybe your claim is true and you do have some redeeming qualities.
    Peace.
    Re: Carroll Aug 20, 2:51PM – You go, gurl!!!
    And to Katherine: another superlative post.
    My gawd, I’m going to have to start a fan club soon if you two Gentle and AGILE Truth-Tellers keep this up. (wink)

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    Notice how POA manages to take a Dearborn meeting on public attitudes towards Arab Americans and turn it into a place to slam AIPAC. He doesn’t say: what a great idea, hope they take up Islamophobia and the fact that there are lots of Christian Arabs and lots of US citizens who are Arabs and the racial profiling has got to stop or whatever. Nope. Instead, POA has to stick in this particular link. And like Pavlov’s dog, I do indeed react to things like this and I say: read it carefully because of its provenance — I did actually read the article — and footnotes don’t prove much of anything. You can footnote anything at all and still have a piece that is slanted in a particular direction. The slant is the issue. Did some BAAAAD people do baaaad things? Yup. What is the significance of that? And here’s where I tend to lose it. I put this story into one context and you POA seem to put it into a different context. I think there’s lots of spying and I hope people get caught. I think there are lots of attempts to push the US one way or another and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and the conditions under which it works or fails are not what you think. I don’t think AIPAC controls its fate entirely and you seem to think AIPAC controls not only its fate but also the fate of US policy in many places. There are many nefarious deeds in many places in the government. I don’t tend to prioritze one over another. Spend some time on Latin American history and its intersection with the US. No AIPAC there, and lots and lots of wickedness.
    You complain about my calling the site libertarian even though it posts non-libertarian pieces. So it does, but it has a slant and a context. The pieces are chosen to help present a worldview and I’m suspicious of that worldview, so I approach articles there with a grain of salt. Sheesh. I approach what I read in the NY Times with a grain of salt and I tend to be even more suspicious of what I read in the back of the WSJ. I think skepticism is a good reading strategy actually.
    And again, my intent wasn’t to create a diversion so that no one would notice the article. I read the article. Then I searched the site for a while. Then I wrote a simple posting that suggested that given that the site is largely devoted to a notion that the state is largely illegitimate and that war serves as an excuse to enlarge state power when any state power pretty much is illegitimate, it’s probably worth reading with some skepticism. The piece is designed, near as I can tell, to encourage us to feel ever more that state power is a baaaad thing.
    The bell rings in the lab and now you, POA and others respond. Paul is right! We are on the awful side of this.
    So what should we do? I could ignore all of your links and postings and get over it. I could continue to suggest that there are issues with your issues. I dunno. What would you like? Posting in peace and your prior glory before I started posting here a few months ago? I generally like differing views. I don’t tend to curse them out. I think them through and develop other views. But maybe the whole thing is so overplayed and maybe you just need space to post in peace. Let me know.

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    questions,
    I do have Rawls’s Political Liberalism sitting around right now. I have tried to get into it a few times, but it never sustains my interest. My background is in analytic philosophy too. The people whose works I have dealt the most with are folks like Lewis, Kaplan, Kripke, Prior and host of more recent analytic thinkers. My problem with Rawls is not the way he reasons and writes philosophy; not is it that he answers the questions he asks in ways I wouldn’t. It’s that the very questions he asks are very remote from the questions I ask myself when I reflect philosophically on political activity and questions of value and purpose. His questions seem of doubtful relevance to be, and in some cases close to meaningless.
    My outlook is much more in tune with the consequentialists than Kant. I don’t think we can get much of interest, even of aspirational or utopian interest, by asking questions about ideal societies with foundations established by ideally rational agents, since human societies are neither established, nor lived in, by ideally rational agents, but rather by human animals, who have very limited capacities for rationality. I understand that Rawls has some presuppositions about human nature tacitly packed into certain areas of his thought in Theory of Justice, such as his thinking about “basic liberties”. But the whole treatment seems weirdly abstracted from the all-important grubby details.
    To the extent that I do think about things like an idealized social system, or foundation for society, it is not based an the notion of rules that would be selected by, or are suitable for, ideally rational agents. I think of the rules and institutions humans have fashioned over time as mechanisms helping to establish a kind of coercive balance of power among excitable creatures who are inclined to do a lot of fighting, taking, singing, eating, shitting, dancing, fucking, musing, drawing, pissing, playing, building and storytelling, and whose drives, obsessions and dreams are constantly butting into those of others in chaotic and violent ways. An “ideal” society would be a society which manages to organize and regulate those potentially chaotic energies in a way that produces the most overall satisfaction of which the kind of imperfectly rational animal we are is capable. Some such partial ideals might help us chart long term directions in a vague way. But they don’t have a tremendous amount of relevance to most exercises of practical reason, whether applied to individual ends or social ends.
    The prominent role given to rationality by people like Kant and Rawls seems extreme to me. Of course I understand why, as philosophers, they should aspire that their own thinking and writing be as rational as possible. That’s what philosophy is all about. But insofar as human beings are the *objects* of their moral and political theorizing, then they should be concerned with human beings as they are. Rational planning and cogitating are only one part of what we human beings do, and we don’t do it all that well. I don’t see how you can have a foundation for society that is built on such a false conception of human beings.
    Even to call it an “idealized” conception seems dubious to me. I don’t think there is much interesting content, if any, involved in the notion of rationality “in itself”, artificially abstracted in a distorting way from the specific collection of desires and concepts actual human rationality regulates. Asking what kind of society would be formed by ideally rational agents determined to establish a social contract or set of foundational regulative principles strikes me as a bit like asking what kinds of walks would my dog like to take if he were a robot and not a dog. First, it’s not clear we can say anything at all, absent a more substantive conception of what kind of robot he might be. Perhaps it would be a walk with a lot less licking, pissing, sniffing, shitting, marking and growling. But how does the answer to this question about robot dogs tell me anything at all about the choices I should make for my actual dog?
    From a consequentialist perspective, we always start with the fact that we actually have a society of some sort, that is a complicated and highly contingent mass of interlaced practices and institutions, deposited in the present by the vicissitudes of history. Different kinds of rational agents with different drives and predilections would have produced radically different kinds of societies. The philosophical questions we face, given the social circumstance we actually find ourselves in, with the alternatives we can conceive for changing the current circumstances, are questions like: Why do we do the things we do? What are we after? How can learning more about the answers to these questions help us prioritize the different values we might pursue? How can we most efficiently achieve the things we want? How do we keep the things that already work fairly well from crumbling into ruin?
    Most of these questions are empirical questions, and lower-level evaluative questions, but sometimes we have to ask somewhat more profound questions about our deepest desires, and the darkest corners of human behavior and motivation. We have to work to “know ourselves” in the Socratic sense. And we have to clarify and sort through the concepts we use in thinking about these questions, and organize the results into consistent systems of thought.
    I don’t know exactly what Rawls is up to, but it doesn’t seem to me that he puts actual human nature and self-understanding at the central place they ought to occupy in philosophical reflection on human political life.

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, the author of this commentary is Grant F. Smith. He is the director of research at IRmep, a Washington-based nonprofit that studies U.S. policy formulation toward the Middle East.
    Now, I challenge Questions and Sweetness to explain to this blog exactly what libertarianism has to with Smith’s article, and what part of it may be slanted or biased by the alleged Libertarian “ties” that Smith may or may not have.
    In fact, perhaps, now that the article is posted here for all to examine, perhaps Sweetness or Questrions will explain to this forum exactly how they justify the statement…
    “No one expects Carroll and Friends do any thinking, or even read what they themselves post, let alone attempt to go for the truth, or refrain from distorting the truth, so we’ll have to do all this for them”
    What exactly do you two question in Smiths’s article? How have the “facts” been misrepresented?
    Personally, I’m sick and tired of your dissembling and insinuations. One would be hard pressed to find elsewhere the kind of intellectual cowardice you two exhibited on this thread. And Norhiem, you have once again lived up to my current low expectations of you. Thats a shame, because I once had great respect for your opinion.

    Reply

  46. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Notice how these people took an article and managed to completely avoid comment about the actual content of the article?
    First, they attack the site the article came from. Never mind the footnoted sourcing….
    [i] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Investigation into the Activities of Agents of Foreign Principals in the United States, Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, Aug. 1, 1963, pp. 1,704-1,709.
    [ii] Certified letter from Assistant Attorney General Internal Security Division G. Walter Yeagley to the American Zionist Council Nov. 21, 1962 [.pdf], released under Freedom of Information Act on June 10, 2008.
    [iii] Smith, Grant F., America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government, p. 173.
    [iv] Memo from Thomas K. Hall, executive assistant, Internal Security Division to Files, p. 2, Jan. 24, 1962, released under Freedom of Information Act on June 10, 2008.
    [v] Judge T.S. Ellis III, U.S. vs. Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, memorandum opinion, Aug. 9, 2006.
    [vi] Smith, Grant F., America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government, pp. 177-178.
    [vii] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Investigation into the Activities of Agents of Foreign Principals in the United States, 88th Congress, 1st session, Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, May 23, 1963, p. 1,343.
    [viii] “FBI Investigates Leak on Trade to Israel Lobby,” Washington Post, Aug. 3, 1984.
    [ix] “Papers Link Pro-Israel Lobby to Political Funding Efforts,” Washington Post, Nov. 14, 1988.
    [x] “Top Prosecutor in AIPAC Case Quits,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Feb. 28, 2008.
    Further, they call the site “libertarian”. But the truth is, the site posts articles and commentary fromn a wide range of sources and authors, the vast majority who are not libertarian. Its interesting that Questions and Sweetness completely avoid the content in the article, and immediately begin to attack the source in what can only be described as a dishonest and diversionary manner. The idea is to direct the discourse away from the crux of the subject material, and turn it into yet one more troll fest of bullshit and accusation.
    And if attacking the website, and completely avoiding the content of the article doesn’t work? Well then, lets throw in this slimey tactic of resorting to statements such as….
    “No one expects Carroll and Friends do any thinking, or even read what they themselves post, let alone attempt to go for the truth, or refrain from distorting the truth, so we’ll have to do all this for them”
    And, then, for good meaasure, lets see Norhiem throw in his…
    “I really believe that you could have
    made valuable contributions to the discussion, both in substance and form. I also believe that TWN has a potential to be a great place for such discussions, a potential that we, so far, have not lived up to”
    And follow that pious bit of jerk-off with his ridiculous condescending “Alpha/Beta” bullshit. Apparently, he’s unable to live up to the expectations he so sanctimoniously assigns to others.
    So heres the article in full. I invite you all to actually read it, so you can judge for yourselves if the heaping pile of horseshit they just fed us has anything to do with the actual content of the article.
    August 20, 2008
    Why Bush Will Pardon AIPAC for Espionage
    by Grant F. Smith
    In 2005, Col. Lawrence Franklin was indicted alongside two executives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for allegedly violating the 1917 Espionage Act. Franklin later pled guilty to passing AIPAC a classified presidential directive and other secrets concerning America’s Iran policy. AIPAC then allegedly forwarded the highly sensitive information to Israeli government officials and selected members of Washington’s media establishment. This covert leaking appears to be just one of many AIPAC programs designed to encourage tougher U.S. policies toward Iran, from financial boycotts to naval blockades and possibly even military strikes.
    It hasn’t worked out very well for Franklin. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Curiously, Franklin remains free pending the outcome of the repeatedly postponed criminal trial against AIPAC’s Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. On Oct. 28, 2008, the prosecution is scheduled to appeal the ruling judge’s order that it prove the alleged leaks harmed the United States. This is a far tougher standard of proof than the Espionage Act actually requires. Nevertheless, observers and critics hope the trial will provide insight into Middle East policy formulation – but there is diminished reason for this hope. A passel of musty documents from an earlier, long-secret Department of Justice attempt to hold the Israel lobby accountable was declassified on June 10, 2008. The files reveal that stalling tactics – and most critically, regime change in Washington – provide ample opportunity for the Israel lobby to subvert due process.
    In 1962, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigated foreign lobbyists active in the United States. The committee hired tough investigators, including Walter Haskell Pincus, now the Washington Post’s national security journalist. These investigators played hardball with the American Zionist Council (AZC) by going after its hidden financial flows. The Senate investigators rifled through the filing cabinets of the Israeli government’s colonization and charitable fundraising partner, the Jewish Agency, American Section, based in New York. This raised howls of protest from Isaiah L. Kenen, then editor of a lobbying newsletter, the Near East Report.
    The Senate investigation forced the Jewish Agency, American Section, regulated since 1938 under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), to file more detailed biannual activity declarations.[i] FARA is a disclosure law requiring all agents of foreign principals to detail their activities in reports filed at a public office within the U.S. Department of Justice. The Jewish Agency functioned as a quasi-governmental organization whose executive board was composed of Israelis (including government officials) and Americans. It not only received government funding, but had influence over internal policy and legal matters before they went to the Knesset under a 1953 “covenant” agreement with the Israeli government.
    Sen. Fulbright, who led the investigation, was outraged at the idea that U.S. foreign aid and tax-preferential charitable funds were being funneled back into the U.S. to multiply foreign aid through lobbying and a massive stealth public relations campaign. At the time, Israel was far from the only violator. The Senate committee also caught the Philippines playing the same game through Washington lobbyists doling out campaign contributions in exchange for enormous WWII reparations payments funded by U.S. taxpayers. But Israel’s covert lobbying and public relations venture was truly massive. By the time Fulbright’s public Senate hearings ended in 1963, it had been established that the Jewish Agency laundered over $5 million (around $35 million today) into U.S. public relations and lobbying initiatives over a two-year period. The true scope of the campaign was never revealed, in spite of diligent attempts at law enforcement.
    As in the Rosen and Weissman espionage incident, the FBI and Justice Department initially pressed the case forward. Their law enforcement efforts and internal deliberations work were largely invisible to the American public, but many sent letters urging that the American Zionist Council be registered as a foreign agent. On Nov. 21, 1962, before the full extent of the stealth PR and lobbying campaign was publicly exposed in Senate hearings, the head of the DOJ’s Internal Security Section, J. Walter Yeagley sent a two-page letter and foreign agent registration forms [.pdf] to the American Zionist Council by certified mail.[ii] The DOJ formally demanded that the Israel lobby’s top umbrella organization openly register and disclose all of its U.S. activities as an agent of influence.
    The AZC at the time – as the nonprofit umbrella corporation for the Zionist Organization of America, Hadassah, and other elite Zionist organizations in the United States – was the Israel lobby. It was almost completely dependent upon Jewish Agency-directed funds, some with special earmarks from the executive in Jerusalem to AIPAC founder Isaiah L. Kenen. Other recipients of the funding included New York Times media personalities, exiles from the shah’s regime in Iran living in the U.S., tenured professors at Harvard, and authors active in churning out hundreds of “scholarly” books about Arab terrorism and Israel’s special role as an ally to the U.S. in the Cold War.[iii]
    The Justice Department, directed by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), insisted that the AZC register as the Jewish Agency’s American foreign agent. RFK and his top advisers felt the documented funding flows had “compromised” the lobby so much that they would quietly agree to file registration statements and disclosures. They did not count on the lobby’s response. The lobby saw the registration demand as an “extinction-level event,” like one of Hollywood’s massive asteroids cinematically falling toward Earth. The lobby’s outside lead counsel, Simon Rifkind of the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, was apoplectic: FARA registration would be a “noose around the neck of his client” and “choke the very life out of it.”[iv] The lobby’s response was quiet, asymmetrical, and successful. The parallels with the 2005-2008 AIPAC espionage saga are uncanny.
    In 2005, the Department of Justice’s chief prosecutor on the espionage case, Paul McNulty, was suddenly and inexplicably promoted within the DOJ after he backed off on criminally indicting AIPAC as a corporation. That would have led to AIPAC’s immediate demise as a going concern, just as earlier indictments doomed Enron and Arthur Andersen. A February 16, 2005 defense team communication between Rosen’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and Nathan Lewin, AIPAC’s legal counsel, revealed that U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty “would like to end it with minimal damage to AIPAC.” Lewin further told Lowell that McNulty was now on AIPAC’s side “fighting with the FBI to limit the investigation to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and to avoid expanding it.”[v] After discussing restricting the scope of the prosecution with AIPAC’s lawyer and shortly after handing down only individual indictments (Aug. 4, 2005), McNulty was nominated to the position of deputy attorney general on Oct. 20, 2005. He was sworn into office on March 17, 2006. Why McNulty fought so hard to restrict the scope of the FBI’s investigation is now less of a mystery. He was simply following the successful career path first blazed by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach 40 years earlier.
    Back in the 1960s, Katzenbach had also suddenly risen within the DOJ, becoming attorney general on Jan. 26, 1965, after he helped unwind the Israel lobby FARA registration demand within the DOJ. During the calamitous period after the Cuban missile crisis and John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Katzenbach brokered an unprecedented deal. The American Zionist Council could register a “sample” Foreign Agent Registration Act declaration for a “representative” time period of its own choosing. Unlike every other filing open for public inspection at the FARA section, the AZC’s would be kept in a special folder, with a secret name key linking the individuals and entities receiving Jewish Agency funding kept separate from the disbursement filing.[vi] This deal was derisively referred to as “the caveat” within the FARA section. It was the DOJ’s and America’s first and only “nonpublic” FARA disclosure. Many dedicated members of the FARA section, such as Nathan Lenvin and Irene Bowman, fought hard against this corruption of their transparency mandate. They lost. The Israel lobby’s meager disclosure and internal files about the incident were classified and kept secret, only released under the Freedom of Information Act on June 10, 2008.
    This subversion of the very essence of FARA heralded its subsequent demise as a serious buffer between Congress, the executive, and the American people and Israel’s stealth lobbying campaigns. Analysis of the core documents related to the case reveals how seriously the Israel lobby managed to compromise the U.S. Department of Justice’s enforcement efforts while it was vulnerable – during the Johnson administration’s 1964 reelection campaign. FARA now serves only to pick off the most tangential of foreign schemers out of favor with the administration, such as those laundering Venezuelan “campaign contributions” through the U.S. to Argentina. The showdown with the Israel lobby and subsequent lobby-driven amendments gutted serious FARA enforcement in the early 1970s.
    This calamity also produced an unprecedented career opportunity for Isaiah L. Kenen. Until the FARA battle, he was a long-term public relations operator for the nascent Israel lobby. The investigation traumatized Hadassah and the ZOA and exposed them to serious legal risks; it necessitated a corporate reshuffling because the need for an elite organization to spearhead Israel lobbying was still acute. Folding the AZC would leave a power vacuum in Washington. The AZC’s stealth lobbying programs and public relations activities were subsequently transferred to a fledgling organization originally established as a unit within the AZC that was internally referred to as “the Kenen Committee.”[vii] This became the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Its prerogatives have expanded such that in light of history, trade secrets theft [viii] and eventual run-ins with election law [ix], not to mention the Espionage Act, now seem all but inevitable. The Justice Department’s reticence to prosecute AIPAC, given its painful but secret FARA experience, seems understandable, though not necessarily forgivable.
    The approaching criminal prosecution of Rosen and Weissman is no doubt again considered an extinction-level event by AIPAC and the rest of the Israel lobby, even in its highly robust present configuration. The lobby will have little time in 2009 for another cumbersome reorganization to rebuild credibility, not with soaring military aid demands, concerns over Iran, and its need to secure a semi-permanent U.S. military presence in the heart of the Middle East . But there is one problem. As years pass, it has become more difficult to score any viable legal strategy for dismissing the criminal case against Rosen and Weissman that would appear legitimate to the American public. The case docket [.pdf] reveals many defense team attempts to throw the case out on technical quibbling and how much classified U.S. national security information Rosen and Weissman may expose in their defense. Time also reveals that presiding Judge T.S. Ellis has been neither cowed by the potential graymail that typically plagues cases involving classified information nor intimidated by the lobby’s allies in the news media.
    Both the Republican and Democratic parties desperately need this case to go away long before the next president is sworn in. From their standpoint, it would be unseemly to have U.S. officials subpoenaed and actually put on the witness stand to reveal how Middle East policy is really crafted in the height of an election season dominated by narratives of hope, change, and restoring integrity. But hiring away the U.S. attorneys prosecuting the case, always a viable strategy, is now pretty much exhausted. One key member of the government’s prosecution team has already left for the private sector.[x] The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of the Jewish Agency, recently called out for a popular uprising in Rosen and Weissman’s defense. But like the Wall Street Journal’s own earlier editorial page clemency plea directly to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, it has produced no tangible results. It is now up to the president himself to pardon Rosen and Weissman and end the trial before it can begin.
    If President George W. Bush waits to pardon Weissman and Rosen until shortly before leaving office, it would be too late for AIPAC’s most precious asset: its reputation as an entity engaged in lawful activities. The administration also has an overriding self-preservation interest in seeing this case vanish: it is the singular judicial process for determining whether AIPAC goes too far in agitating for wars – whether in Iraq, Lebanon, or Iran. For Americans a trial would be a very healthy process for determining whether powerful Washington think tanks and corporate news personalities blithely trafficking in our most sensitive national defense information for their own profit should ever be held accountable. But in the waning days of the Bush administration, short-circuiting public accountability for war decisions and the system that produces them is now the overriding doctrine. The pressure is on. Judge Ellis approved subpoenas for Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz as well as National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Richard Armitage to appear as witnesses for the defense. Pardoning AIPAC would mean that Col. Lawrence Franklin, a member of Douglas Feith’s infamous Pentagon policy shop and a crucial witness for the prosecution, walks free.
    The decision to let the Israel lobby walk in 1965 was three years in the making. The initiative quietly gained momentum through similar appeals, stalling, and law enforcement delays. It was finalized during regime change in Washington. The calendar’s pages are now inevitably turning toward a brief, singular moment for another special Israel lobby deal from a sitting U.S. president, a president who has little to gain by such public exercises in justice, and much to lose. However, unlike the secret Foreign Agents Registration Act deal of the 1960s, a presidential pardon will be impossible to keep secret. The possibility that a pardon could at last mass-mobilize the American people out of their unknowing tolerance for the lobby’s dangerous foreign subversions may even be reason to welcome it.

    Reply

  47. Paul Norheim says:

    “Are we really that awful?”
    Yeah, as far as I can see, we are that awful.

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “No one expects Carroll and Friends do any thinking, or even read what they themselves post, let alone attempt to go for the truth, or refrain from distorting the truth, so we’ll have to do all this for them”
    Go fuck yourself.

    Reply

  49. Sweetness says:

    I think Zedicus’s question is a good one. I would ask, in return:
    What do you think the correct criteria are for choosing an ally?
    What should that ally be, do, offer the United States? What should
    the United States be willing to offer in return?

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    Thanks Paul!! Are we really that awful? But seriously, defining the problem correctly leads to better solutions. Think about the GWOT — wrong definition of the problem and WAY wrong solution. So it really does matter getting the power and influence sequence correct if we’re going to intervene in it in a helpful way rather than in a stupid way.
    And Zedicus, here’s a stab at your question — first, there’s a level of appearance of help — that is, if a nation is said to help us, then that saying it is so takes on a life of its own. Do we really NEED Castro out of Cuba? No, but we said we did, so we tried multiple times. do we really need all of the left wing governments out of South America? No, but we said we did, and we supported and trained death squads.
    Second, spheres of influence games/geostrategic thinking lead us to want as many Go pieces in as many places on the board as possible, and we’d like to connect them with internal eyes, as it were, to make them safe. So territory in South and Central America, territory in Africa and the ME, and territory in Europe — all chunks loyal to us. It makes us feel big on the map and safer.
    Third, Cold War thinking makes us feel the need to have right wing allies who side with us and not with the evil Soviets/Russians/Islamofascists or whoever the current bad guy is.
    Fourth, land and allies in the ME near oil supplies, a seemingly stable seeming democracy in the land of Islam seems important.
    Fifth, the basic humanitarian notion that we’ve done something about the Holocaust sits well with a lot of people.
    Sixth, Israel has over the years bought lots of weapons. We preserve the markets as we can, and we expand them as we can.
    I’m sure there are other reasons that scholars of the area can think of.
    Now is all of this good thinking? That I can’t answer. But it does seem to be our thinking. And if AIPAC can find common currency with people who argue these kinds of points, then together they help form our ME policy.

    Reply

  51. Paul Norheim says:

    THE WORLD IS A COMPLEX PLACE (IT´S AS SIMPLE AS THAT)
    ALPHA: I believe it`s important to highlight the unfortunate
    influence AIPAC has on US foreign pol…
    BETA: Why on earth would you want to do that? Do you believe
    that attacking AIPAC would solve all the problems on the
    planet?
    ALPHA: No, but it would certainly help. The influence of AIPAC is
    huge in…
    BETA: But why do you mention AIPAC all the time? Why don´t
    you also mention the Weapons Lobby? The Meat Industry
    Lobby? The Auto Industry Lobby?
    GAMMA: Fuck AIPAC!
    DELTA: The Weapons Lobby is the most reactionary of the whole
    bunch, and certainly has too much influence on US policy, from
    Congress too…
    BETA: The Weapons Lobby? What about the Meat Lobby,
    PigPharma, Blackwat…
    EPSILON: Who are all this jackasses sliming their way into this
    blog? Probably just one pissant, using several monikers to
    spread his or her (how the hell do I know the gender of this
    jackass?) unmitigated horse shit, with the goal of destroying the
    comment section.
    BETA: Most of you seem to forget that politics is a highly
    complex process, just think about all those millions of
    individuals, interacting, wanting this and that, voting for this or
    that for completely different reasons, some rational, some
    seemingly irrational, at least at a macro level…
    EPSILON: I honestly don`t want to be rude, Steve, but I have to
    tell BETA to go screw himself, and while I`m at it…
    BETA (whispering): Fuck the Meat Industry Lobby!
    TAHOE EDITOR: Looks like Obama is flip flopping again (link)

    Reply

  52. Zedicus says:

    This is an honest question. Could someone please explain to this ignorant soul (me) what it is that Israel does that makes them such a valuable ally to the United States.

    Reply

  53. questions says:

    Carroll, first below is copy/pasted the passage I was referring to — it seems to say “all” but maybe I’m misreading — scrolling up and down is taxing on my brain and I ought to use the copy paste function more often…..
    Here’s the passage:
    All are arguing for things that will – from their perspective – improve America,
    As for the “Sweetnesses”, whatever….
    “AIPAC by the balls” was from Dan Kervick and he was the person I was addressing — sorry to make it unclear that I was referring to his post. I certainly don’t want to be sloppy in my citations.
    No one is calling you a “Nazi sympathizer” — at least no one I have seen.
    I’m certainly not calling anyone an “anti-semite” either. I have held again and again that Congressional procedure is murky and you can’t lay any policy at the feet of one actor. It’s always a murky mess of causal connections. A very simple point. No Nazis, no name calling, just a plea to recognize that there’s a lot going on and the shorthand “AIPAC” is incomplete, incorrect, and therefore not a good argument.
    And to the extent that lobbies do have influence, domestic nightmares are not different from international nightmares. We in the US have treated large numbers of people not very differently from how the Israelis treat the Palestinians. Do lobbies encourage this horror? Yup. Are they alone as actors? Nope. (Think drug war, driving while Black, infant death rate in DC, lack of medical care for many, neighborhood lines that are not to be crossed, police shooting unarmed Black men and not being convicted because the officers’ fear was “reasonable”, educational opportunities in cities and in Appalachia, the treatment of undocumented workers….)
    None of the horrible things in the world happens solely because of a lobby. Lobbies might well encourage horror, but that encouragement requires other conditions as well in order to bear fruit.
    It’s a pretty simple point.

    Reply

  54. Sweetness says:

    Actually, Carroll, here’s the quote…
    “B) All are arguing for things that will – from their perspective –
    improve America, whether by making it richer, better protected,
    more competently educated, healthier, freer, etc.
    Feel free to quote someone else…and then disown the quote as not
    yours. If YOU didn’t mean it, why’dya quote it? Vintage Carroll.
    Unfortunately for those who hold to the AIPAC-Is-The-Root-Of-
    All-Evil thesis…AIPAC is run by AMERICANS. Sad, but true, and
    they are “arguing for things that will–from their perspective–
    improve America”–or for actions they feel America should
    rightfully undertake.

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    On Rawls, the hypothetical part is the pre-social. How do we set up rules so that they are fair for all rather than merely good for the powerful? Well, we set them up as if we didn’t know where or when in society we’d land. Remember that line from the Bible Obama quoted in the Rick-The-Pastor (insert registered trademark symbol) extravaganza — something about doing for the least of us is doing for me too (I’m not up on Bible passages I have to admit) — well, that’s Rawls in a nutshell. The least of us must be provided for because it’s right in the Kantian sense. And further, we might, any of us, end up as the least. Lose your job, lose your health insurance, get cancer — wouldn’t you then want nationalized health care? Of course. It’s clearly in everyone’s self-interest to ensure insurance and health care. The problem is that we discount the future and overinflate the present. We need to be pushed towards a rational savings for the future and a concern for the least among us.
    I honestly don’t see the lack of actualness or humanness in this. I think it’s a beautiful vision of what we could do were we to think of ourselves in our own true vulnerability. The WSJ crowd hates him because he points out this vulnerability and people in power seem not to want to believe they could end up Steve-Clemons-in-Denver-like sleeping on a bench in a park.
    Ralws is a Kantian social contract theorist who’s read some economics and is steeped in analytic philosophy’s demand for careful argumentation. He doesn’t go much beyond the foundations of a society, but those foundations are pretty important for how we think about the distribution of goods and services.
    Where ToJ is lacking so far as I can tell is in international relations and in the occasional bizarrity about mental illness and other boundary testing cases. He wrote other stuff (Law of Nations) dealing with the first, but that does leave the occasional bizarre line. Maybe it’s worth revisiting 18+ years later!

    Reply

  56. Carroll says:

    Posted by questions Aug 20, 3:46PM – Link
    Carroll,
    I really have to take exception to your line about ALL lobbies’ desires to improve America”
    Posted by questions Aug 20, 5:01PM
    Carroll and others have posted frequently on the “AIPAC has us by the balls”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The quote was ‘almost’ all lobbies. But feel free to dissemble and bark at the moon about the non difference between a domestic or business interest lobby and a foreign lobby that lobbies another country’s government in the sole interest of that foreign country. And the other isn’t a quote of mine either.
    As for the Sweetnesses, they have already lost credibility by calling those who criticize AIPAC and Israel nazi sympatherizers, anti semites, ad nausum.
    I am not being curt in this reply, just economical. Responding to the strawman and red herrings arguments is like getting a “Please provide us with your date of death” form letter from the IRS. So I just state my opinion and posters can take or leave it.
    I understand the motivation and tactic behind trying to complicate the uncomplicated but it’s wasted on me. AIPAC is what it is, that is why the FBI and other agencies have insisted that AIPAC be registered as a foreign lobby like all other foreign lobbies but have been thwarted by influences in congress. The last meaningful effort was by Bobby Kennedy during the Kennedy Adm.. But, forward to the future, we will see what happens.
    Cheers.

    Reply

  57. Paul Norheim says:

    “questions,
    I won’t get into the Aipac issue (…).”
    Dan Kervick, that`s a pity. I really believe that you could have
    made valuable contributions to the discussion, both in substance
    and form. I also believe that TWN has a potential to be a great
    place for such discussions, a potential that we, so far, have not
    lived up to. However, this thread is, so far, the most civilized I`ve
    seen for a while on this blog – so, perhaps there is hope – with,
    or without your contributions.

    Reply

  58. Dan Kervick says:

    questions,
    I won’t get into the Aipac issue, other than to say I disagree with your take.
    As for Rawls, I studied him closely in an undergraduate seminar, and count myself fortunate not to have had to deal with him further in graduate school, or during my teaching career. The extent of his influence depresses me. I believe that he doesn’t sufficiently engage with actual human nature, actual human desires and motivation, the actual exercise of power and influence, or most of the other philosophical issues raised by the practical attempts of actual human beings to live with one another and build lives and communities in the actual world. It’s all about some hypothetical rational beings living in hypothetical societies, establishing hypothetical rules according to hypothetical convention for life in an impersonal world apparently shorn of most of the messy, chaotic and irrational impulses that comprise most of what it means to be human. Philosophy has to be abstract and theoretical. But it doesn’t have to be ethereal and fantastical.

    Reply

  59. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve,
    Huffington Post is reporting that the rumor is that it’s Evan Bayh again for VP, and that Democratic leaders and operatives are being invited to Indianapolis for a major campaign event this weekend.
    Once again, I remind everyone that Evan Bayh is not just one of a number of deluded Democrats who happened to vote for the war in Iraq. He was in fact a major ringleader of the pro-war effort. Apart from Lieberman, who is no longer even a Democrat, Bayh was probably the most active and enthusiastic Democratic war booster in the Senate, and worked closely with McCain, Lieberman and Graham on the pro-war drive. And nothing that he has done since then has done anything to show that he has moved away from the far right hawkish wing of he party that associates itself with Republican neoconservatives.
    Like almost all of that sorry crew, he has taken the popular and expedient step of repudiating his earlier war support, now that the damage has been done, a national reputation has been wrecked and the body bags have been stuffed. But Bayh’s hawkish friends are still the same friends; and his issues are still the same issues. Bayh is a Lieberdem, and a self-hating Democrat who looks up to Republicans in envious admiration. Choosing Bayh would not merely amount to “reaching out” to other parts of the party, but would be an utter dismissal and insulting repudiation of Democratic opponents of the war, a group which is centrally responsible for winning Obama the nomination.
    I understand that progressives have nowhere to go; but there are only so many insults, and only so cases of being taken for granted that we can endure. And Evan Bayh is simply beyond the limit of endurance. Despite myself, I am politically realistic. If it is Obama/Bayh vs, McCain, I will of course be forced to vote for Obama. But I will begin immediately to advocate for an investigation of Bayh’s activities during the run-up to the war, which I suspect include participating with other propagandists, including Randy Scheunemann and friends, in the willful deception of the American public. If Congress will not carry out this investigation, and they likely won’t, then an independent organization will have to. If Obama forces us to vote Bayh into office, we will immediately begin to hound him from that office. Evan Bayh, if you are out there, hear me. If you want to be Vice President, then prepare to have your life made miserable. I will be your worst enemy.
    Perhaps this is only yet another stupid rumor, or a media misdirection ploy. But I am so furious that Bayh is even being considered, that his name is even being bandied about, it is hard to control my temper.

    Reply

  60. questions says:

    Dan Kervick,
    I am not dismissing the piece because of where it was published, but the publisher makes me wary. GatewayRegnery makes me wary as well.
    I’m not sure if you’re missing the backstory here — POA, Carroll, Sweetness, WigWag, Paul Norheim and I have been on this merry-go-round for what seems like months now. I don’t think that AIPAC pwns America. I think AIPAC works within a well-defined system, and there are ways to use the system to diminish AIPAC’s influence. but I think that AIPAC would have no influence if Congress didn’t benefit in multiple ways from voting with them. Congress member want to be reelected and will vote only in directions that do not negatively impact that goal. AIPAC alone cannot run the many hundreds of elections there are in 2-6 year cycles.
    Carroll and others have posted frequently on the “AIPAC has us by the balls” notion and I just don’t buy it. As I’ve said multiple times, AIPAC exceptionalism is an unnuanced, unresearched postition that leaves out many parts of the policy process.
    I don’t personally like the AIPAC line, but I have huge issues with the infusion of god-like abilities into any institution, and the AIPACkers really seem to go this direction.
    I tend to find policy-level causation to be anything but simple, and so to ascribe our ME policy solely to AIPAC and the like is really way too simplistic. I’d be satisfied with a string of qualifiers every time AIPAC is mentioned.
    As for contemporary political philosophy worth reading, spend a few weeks (okay, maybe 10!) on Rawls’s Theory of Justice. It’s Kant put to work. It’s a beautiful book and policy people use it, philosophy people use it, and the WSJ hates it.
    And Paul, you’re right about how it would be nice to have a sane discourse. Maybe it’s time for Steve Clemons himself to set up a blog-symposium on the “Israel Lobby” (insert trademark symbol). Would it be too dangerous as Mearsheimer and Walt declare? Would the Israel Lobby itself come deus ex machina fashion and cart poor Steve off to the loony bin or a reeducation camp? Would THEY post here infinitely and use up his bandwith? Could we get some Congressional scholars, staffers and members to weigh in? And maybe a couple of real live lobbyists! We might all learn something from such a festivity, and I include myself in this.

    Reply

  61. Dan Kervick says:

    questions,
    Again, my point was only that despite the fact that the leading figures at antiwar.com are libertarian, they publish articles from people representing a much broader spectrum of philosophical and political positions.
    I used to be a philosophy professor myself, for 18 years. I am not a libertarian, but consider myself a moderate democratic socialist, very far indeed from libertarianism, “libertarian socialism”, anarchism and other anti-government philosophies, and I also have with many, many deep reservations about contemporary American liberalism. I do visit antiwar.com quite a bit, and find much there worth reading, written from various perspectives. My moral outlook is more consequentialist than anything else, not Kantian. I don’t read a lot of political philosophy, but enjoy Plato, Aristotle, Ibn Khaldun, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza and Hume. I can’t think of any major political philosophers from the contemporary period that I care for.
    As a person with an interest in philosophy, I am sure you are aware of the error in rejecting an extended argument – as opposed to simply an unargued claim – on the basis of your philosophical distrust of its source. If you have issues with the article that was cited, on the basis of philosophical attitudes that you believe are reflected in that piece, and that you believe influence the author’s analysis, then you should just point out where the argument goes wrong. But saying you dislike the conclusion, and dismissing it because it is on a “libertarian website” doesn’t really work.
    I also have issues with what I regard as the frequently pernicious and outsized influence of Aipac and other pro-Israel advocacy groups on US foreign policy. At least where Europe, Russia and the Middle East are concerned, in my view the pro-Israel lobbying community has the American political system by the balls – not to put too fine a point on it. However, I’m in no mood to discuss this issue in the abstract, since over the last several years I’ve said about all I have to say on the matter.

    Reply

  62. Sweetness says:

    “…and was happy for it, too.”
    Meaning, HE was happy about it.

    Reply

  63. Sweetness says:

    “Objectively, three realities are clear: (1) U.S. survival is not at
    stake in the Israeli-Muslim war; (2) the taxes of Americans
    should not be spent to defend theocratic states; and (3) holy
    books are insane tools to use as guides for U.S. foreign policy.”
    1) This assumes, wrongly IMO, that the US’s involvement in ME
    intrigue, including the attacks on 9/11, is simply a function of
    the US support for Israel or, if you like, “the Israeli-Muslim war.”
    But, it’s pretty clear that this is not true by a long shot. Even
    including the words of OBL himself.
    2) This assumes that Israel is a theocratic state. It is not. Saudi
    Arabia and perhaps even Kuwait, where we’ve had and continue
    to have troops stationed and troops engaged in war, are
    theocratic states.
    3) Holy books are insane tools for guiding US policy. (Tell that
    to the Mullahs.) Unfortunately, holy books and so-called
    religious thinking and imagery have guided US internal and
    foreign policy almost from the beginning. However, the primary
    impetus for the founding of Israel was not the Torah, but
    existential threat, centuries of oppression, and the rise of
    secular nationalism. Minus these, there would be no Israel, no
    matter how many Jews said “next year in Jerusalem.”
    No one expects Carroll and Friends do any thinking, or even read
    what they themselves post, let alone attempt to go for the truth,
    or refrain from distorting the truth, so we’ll have to do all this
    for them.
    Paul–I don’t think you’re alone, but you are pretty much alone
    in posting to that effect. Maybe if others did, things would be
    different here, but alas…
    Questions–yes, I heard old Vig say that himself and was happy
    for it, too. I thought it was pretty perceptive.

    Reply

  64. questions says:

    Carroll,
    I really have to take exception to your line about ALL lobbies’ desires to improve America. Oh my. I’m sure that that’s the farthest thing from the minds of all sorts of people. Lobbying is designed to improve the lives of segments of the country and it does so by dis-improving the lives of other segments. It’s an adversarial system, not a cooperative one. The goals of some lobbies probably are pretty universal. But BigPharma wants everyone diagnosed with a disease and on 6 pills 4 times a day for life. And they most certainly did not want drug price negotiations in the Medicare Rx drug program. The meat industry wants a half pound burger on every plate. The auto industry wants several large cars and trucks in every garage. These are all selfish desires that benefit the few at the expense of others. THAT’S what lobbying is about. You try to convince legislators and the public that you should be well compensated and not regulated. Lobbying is not at all about serving the interests of mankind, it’s about serving the interests of a few people.
    In a well-designed system, countervailing powers are brought to bear on each other (see JK Galbraith) and no one power can dominate for too long. Thus, while there’s meat lobby, there’s also now an organic foods lobby. The drug lobby could do with countervailing power, and it seems clear that AIPAC needs more opposition as well. That’s why the JStreet people got going. So, to agree with Sweetness, I’m not defending the policy preferences of AIPAC; JStreet really does sound a lot better.
    But to single out AIPAC as inimical to the greater good of the US while all other lobbies are angelic is just misguided.
    And again, please remember that Congress is more than lobbies. There are: media, constituencies, fellow members, parties, ideals, donors, major employers in your home district, individual constituents who need service or want recognition, policy concerns that are local, state wide, national, international, ambition for higher office, concern for reelection, specific sets of information to digest and legislate, staffs, Congressional rules and procedures, family/travel/living issues….. All of these, and personalities too! It’s a huge and dynamic system and legislators balance all of these concerns in varying ways. AIPAC just isn’t all there is to Congress.
    Over and over, my issue is the exceptionalism that is ascribed to Israel and AIPAC — as if they could burrow into the soul of memeber of Congress and turn them into robots. AIPAC functions like a regular lobby and can be opposed the way any regular lobby is opposed. Their goals are not exceptional either.
    You want to distinguish between lobbies that want wars and lobbies that don’t? Look at munitions makers, anyone who manufactures crop killers for use in the “drug war” in Latin America, Blackwater (which for sure lobbies!). These and other groups have interests in there being wars in the world. They may not pick particular wars, but they lobby and they make money when there’s a war. Maybe, just maybe, Congress has a hard time trying to legalize certain drugs because there’s a lobby that makes money from the illegality. (Prison guard lobby, anyone?) Your distinction doesn’t really hold up. AIPAC isn’t really different, and it isn’t omnipotent. It’s in a system and it plays a role.
    And Sweetness, the bumper sticker line is pretty chilling.

    Reply

  65. Paul Norheim says:

    questions,
    I`m aware of the fact that there are other powerful lobbies
    influencing US politics as well. And by mentioning the obvious
    fact that there are several other factors in US politics, you are
    polemicizing against a straw man. There are, I believe, not many
    at TWN who seriously think that if you say “AIPAC”, you`ve
    somehow said everything worth saying about US politics.
    There are not only two positions here:
    1) defending AIPAC or saying that they have almost no power.
    2) making AIPAC the root cause of all evil, on a planetary level.
    My position is somewhere between those two extremes, and I
    believe that I am not alone in this.
    It`s highly unfortunate if we can`t create a more rational space
    for discussing AIPAC at The Washington Note from other
    positions than those extremes, and where insults and suspicion
    are the exception, not the rule of the discourse.

    Reply

  66. Carroll says:

    BTW, I just goggled and saw that the AIPAC spy trial begins October 28, if it isn’t postponed again.
    So unless Bush pardons the two accused before the trial even begins or the two defendents have an accident or disappear beforehand it looks like it will proceed.
    There has been pretty much of a media and news blackout on this and since it’s coming in the election season anyone interested will probaby have to follow it on some blog site like antiwar to find info on it.

    Reply

  67. Carroll says:

    An outreach is good but without the political ethnic hyphening and collection of tribal interest that have replaced the melting pot and common interest in the US it wouldn’t be necessary. If historical cycles are anything to go by the internal ‘interests’ problem we have might trump our external ‘interest’ problems as America continues to go further and further away from the priorities of the majority population.
    For questions…the libertarians do go too far into the all government is bad. But that doesn’t take away from their view on AIPAC and other issues. Any more than David Duke quoting W&M takes away from W&M on the lobby or makes them anti semites. With the exception of true extremist like Duke, the fact that this opinion of the Lobby is held across a wide assortment of diverse political groups gives it even more weight.
    This is AIPAC; and we all know the obvious faulty logic and motives of those who argue it is just like an other lobby.
    “It is a commonplace to say that lobbying is a pervasive activity in U.S. politics at all levels of government, especially at the federal level. People lobby for tax advantages for business or tax breaks for individuals; for the right to own guns or laws to ban them; for subsidies for agriculture or vouchers for private schools; for universal health care or smaller government.
    Across this diverse array of lobbyists there are two common threads: (A) None are working to push the United States to participate in other peoples’ wars; and (B) All are arguing for things that will – from their perspective – improve America, whether by making it richer, better protected, more competently educated, healthier, freer, etc. The anti-gun lobby, for example, is no less confident than the NRA and its affiliates that they are working for the best interests of Americans. One or the other is wrong, but their activities are shaped by their perception of what is best for America.
    It is this last point that separates the lobbyists working for and with AIPAC – most of whom are U.S. citizens – from almost all other U.S.-based lobbyists. AIPAC does not lobby, bribe, and libel to make Americans and America better off. It lobbies solely, forthrightly, and cynically to make Israel richer, better protected, and able to do as it pleases in its relations with Muslim states.
    AIPAC makes no pretense of doing things meant to benefit America; rather, its members take pride in seeking a goal that runs directly counter to the economic welfare and physical security of almost all other U.S citizens by seeking to keep them involved in a religious war in which no U.S. national interest is at stake.
    Now, there are a few other similar anti-American lobbies – those for Armenia, Lebanon, Greece, etc. – but AIPAC is clearly primus inter pares in this dastardly group. And given that every AIPAC success is a net loss for U.S. security and the U.S. Treasury, it seems odd that our so-called political leaders take orders and funds from this fundamentally anti-U.S. organization.
    Objectively, three realities are clear: (1) U.S. survival is not at stake in the Israeli-Muslim war; (2) the taxes of Americans should not be spent to defend theocratic states; and (3) holy books are insane tools to use as guides for U.S. foreign policy.
    By their consistent anti-American actions, AIPAC and the U.S. politicians who do its bidding have fully validated the words of the real George Washington – not the figment of Washington painted by Joe Lieberman. “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence,” President Washington wrote in 1796, “the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
    No one expects the Israeli zionist & lobby supporters to admit to the obvious so the only point to responding to their propaganda is just a reminder to them that all who look at the Lobby know AIPAC is what it is and it’s supporters are what they are…and we are going to continue to watch and criticize because it is in the best interest of our own country to do so.

    Reply

  68. Sweetness says:

    “The farm lobby, steel or textile workers’ unions, or other ethnic
    lobbies do not ordinarily engage in espionage, but there are two
    AIPAC operatives awaiting trial for espionage, a trial which has
    been long delayed by administration shenanigans.”
    As far as I know, this is true. People who engage in espionage
    should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
    Unfortunately, a lot of people “get off” because of what I’d call
    sleazy connections and pulling strings.
    So?
    As to Paul’s comment, yes I do find it worrying in the sense that
    I oppose AIPAC’s positions. Therefore, I give my time and
    money to groups that oppose AIPAC’s position. However, I don’t
    find the existence of AIPAC any more worrying than the
    existence of other strong groups who distort American domestic
    and foreign policy in ways I consider deleterious to America’s
    “interests” or in ways I consider immoral.
    Unfotunately, I can’t wish away the existence of right wing
    fundamentalists…I can’t wish away the existence of right wing
    Jews…I can’t wish away a lot of people whom I feel damage
    America and hurt other people. Nor can I ban them if they obey
    the law. All I can do is oppose them with what I’ve got at my
    command–and I do.
    Like Questions, though I’d never speak for her, I reject analyses
    that are simplistic and one-dimensional and, therefore,
    inaccurate. One of the reasons that McCain may win is that
    Americans (heck, maybe everyone) are extremely prone to
    simplistic and one-dimensional “analyses” such as those that
    were on display in McCain’s answers to Pastor Rick. Richard
    Viguerie, the right wing fundraiser, was right when he said that
    Republicans win because their policy positions will actually fit
    onto a bumper sticker–whereas the Dems tend to take a page,
    or at least a sentence, to lay out what they think.
    From a darker and more personal perspective, I oppose
    simplistic answers because, sooner or later, they tend to be bad
    for the Jews.

    Reply

  69. questions says:

    Paul Norheim,
    There are large numbers of powerful lobbies in DC. Republicans all do obeisance to the NRA and now our Constitution has been “altered” to enshrine the individual right to own a gun (read: inalienable right of gun dealers to sell guns, guns and more guns). Everyone in Congress does obeisance to BigPharma, to the meat industry, to…. And lots of our policy seems to be set by lobbying — EXCEPT that lobbying is only a part of the story. Turns out that there’s a lot more to the American political process than lobbying. It’s actually pretty complicated how all of these individuals set up a society in which they trade legislation for job security, approval, fame, money, moral standing, promotions, love, TV time…. Lobbyists are part of the story. But there are many other parts.
    It’s not shocking at all to see candidates speaking to lobby groups, senior citizen groups, teachers’ groups, industry groups, international groups…. This is how the system works. You may like some of the results and hate others. But no one in this system has mystical power.

    Reply

  70. questions says:

    My “blather” (Don Bacon) about philosophers is simply meant to help point out that libertarianism is a fairly flawed “governing” philosophy and thus to suggest that if libertarianism is motivating something, that something is worth questioning rather than accepting. A lot of really smart people over the last 2500 years and more have found that governmental powers can be squared with liberty, and in fact are necessary for and prior to liberty. The libertarians don’t see the world this way. I’m not trying to set up a “diversion” from the issue; I’ve actually been at this point about AIPAC’s alleged “power” so many times with POA that I didn’t think I needed to say anything else….
    One can oppose war because it is cruel, immoral, unnecessary, selfish, unsustainable, wicked, expensive, destructive of G-d’s property, pain-inflicting. But to oppose war because one opposes the legitimacy of states is a different argument and one worth challenging in my opinion (and in the opinion of numerous blathering philosophers).
    Am I “skeptical of imperial power and militarism” (Kervick)? Yup, I am. But I’m skeptical from a particular slant — what I’d probably call Kantian, not libertarian. War treats others merely as means to one’s own ends, war undertaken with foreign debt can be infinite and leaves no chance for peace, war fails the categorical imperative…. War is the problem, not government.
    News aggregating sites really do pick their spots. Every time I see something pulled out by realclearpolitics I want to scream. Their politics are not REAL and CLEAR, they are conservative and so the site as a whole presents a worldview I find problematic. An individual piece here and there is one thing, but the site as a whole I do not trust. A link to rcp instantly makes me wonder why they thought to carry the piece. In the same vein, a libertarian site will instantly raise my suspicion level. I do not automatically reject the pieces, but I read them with great scrutiny.
    Don Bacon, industrial spying is rife, how can you say with certainty that other countries don’t spy, and finally the big issue I endlessly have with the AIPAC stuff that appears ENDLESSLY on this site is the underlying notion that somehow Israel has mystical powers to do horrendous damage to US interests and simultaneously to pay off every lawmaker or engage in some kind of mind control. Sheesh. Give some of these people credit for thinking that maybe they are doing the right thing by supporting Israel. Disagree with that decision all you want, but please stop endowing AIPAC with godlike abilities to see through the walls and halls of Congress.
    Study the legislative process and see if the only determinant of a vote ever is one lobby group. In fact, members of Congress aggregate large numbers of opinions and pressure points and they respond in ways will make reelection more likely and still allow them to sleep at night. AIPAC is only one pressure point. There are endless others including constituencies who actually vote.

    Reply

  71. Mr.Murder says:

    ARAMCO(Arabian/American Oil Company) was one of the very first NGO/nonprofits.
    They remain one of the most powerful.

    Reply

  72. Paul Norheim says:

    Just like another lobby, or a special kind of lobby?
    The political positions of antiwar.com?
    When you see two presidential candidates (the losing dem. HCR
    and the winner BO) talking at the podium to the AIPAC
    delegates, promising stuff that is to the right even of the
    current president — doesn`t that worry you, Sweetness and
    questions? I mean, it`s exactly the kind of promises that are
    obstacles to peace in the Middle East, and thus damaging for
    the region, as well as for the USA.
    Special or not, it does represent a huge problem, don`t you
    think?
    Just like the strength of the apocalyptical right wing evangelicals
    represent a huge problem in US foreign policy, and especially
    regarding peace and fair solutions in the Middle East – special
    or not – don`t you think?
    The problems they create are at least very special.

    Reply

  73. Don Bacon says:

    The farm lobby, steel or textile workers’ unions, or other ethnic lobbies do not ordinarily engage in espionage, but there are two AIPAC operatives awaiting trial for espionage, a trial which has been long delayed by administration shenanigans.

    Reply

  74. Sweetness says:

    “In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the
    farm lobby, steel or textile workers’ unions, or other ethnic
    lobbies. There is nothing improper about American Jews and their
    Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobby’s activities
    are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols
    of the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups
    that comprise it are only doing what other special interest groups
    do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest
    groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the
    Israel Lobby’s task even easier.” Walt and Mearsheimer
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

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  75. Dan Kervick says:

    While the leading lights at antiwar.com are libertarian, the site does a good job of publishing opinion from across the antiwar spectrum, including lots of left-wing opinion. They frequently publish pieces by John Pilger, Gareth Porter, Robert Sheer, Jim Lobe and William O. Beeman. just for a few examples.
    They are also one of the best news aggregation sites around for global affairs, and the news items they aggregate don’t at all reflect any sort of libertarian bias.
    What they seem to focus on is representing a broad spectrum of political opinion that is united by its skepticism of imperial power and militarism.

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  76. Sweetness says:

    “Further, as one reads this article, the timeworn and asinine
    premise that “AIPAC is just like any other lobby” is exposed for
    the luidicrous argument it truly is.”
    Unfortunately, Walt and Mearsheimer AGREE with and even state
    this “ludicrous argument” themselves. AIPAC “controls” ME
    foreign policy using the same methods other lobbying groups
    use to control their areas of concern. They happen to do it a lot
    better.
    The fact that AIPAC was caught engaging in espionage–and
    should be prosecuted for it–doesn’t change this fact. Go read
    MJ Rosenberg. He used to work for AIPAC, and is a Jewish
    enemy of AIPAC, and he will tell you how AIPAC works to
    influence foreign policy.
    On a more philosophical level, it happens to be an open
    question–and one worthy of debate–what the US’s “best
    interests” are. That’s why–surprise!–there is so much
    disagreement despite broad statements about “a majority of
    Americans think this or that.” Let’s have some back up for these
    types of assertions, okay?
    The fact that AIPAC supported the war is bad. The fact that
    many other groups supported the war is equally bad–and
    equally decisive, IMO.
    Trying to turn AIPAC, or the Lobby, or Israel, into the PRINCIPAL
    REASON we went to war, as the post above clearly attempts to
    do, is not supported by the facts and amounts to demagoguery.

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  77. Don Bacon says:

    questions,
    You’re correct when you consider the source of information and opinions, but it’s more important, in my view, to consider the information and/or opinions on their own merit. On the present topic, libertarianism and all your blather about philosophers have nothing to do with AIPAC spying. It is a needless diversion.

    Reply

  78. Sweetness says:

    Questions, best not to trouble the “natives” with asking them to
    think. Their minds are made up.

    Reply

  79. questions says:

    In the interest of full disclosure, please note that antiwar.com is a libertarian website and while libertarians may have some good ideas about liberty, they also have a lot of foolish ideas about self-sufficiency and about how independent any person really is. Read some Marx, some Plato, some Aristotle and muse on whether or not some form of government is a)necessary b)beneficial c)in a funny way, actually the source of liberty. (Hobbes is good for this last point.) Nozickian ultra-limited govenment (protective societies) does not encourage the flourishing of ALL of us.
    So if I don’t trust the governing principle of the website, I’m not sure why I should find the claims of AIPAC exceptionalism valid either….

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  80. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is an excellent expose that chronicles background information about why, and how, AIPAC can commit espionage against the United States, as well as work against our best interests, and get away with it.
    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/gsmith.php?articleid=13327
    Yes, its wonderful seeing the two campaigns reach out to the Muslim community. But the fact is, as long as AIPAC can wield the power it does, such shallow overtures are simply pandering postures, designed to gather the votes of a community that AIPAC works to marginalize.
    Further, as one reads this article, the timeworn and asinine premise that “AIPAC is just like any other lobby” is exposed for the luidicrous argument it truly is.

    Reply

  81. Don Bacon says:

    Speaking of Dearborn and minority relations, Dearborn is where Orville Hubbard served 36 years as mayor. Hubbard: “the ghost who still haunts Dearborn” He was known as the most outspoken segregationist north of the Mason-Dixon line. African-Americans could work at Ford’s Dearborn plant, but they couldn’t live in Dearborn. Orville Hubbard made it clear that he would never let the sun set on blacks in his town. Hopefully Arab-Americans have better prospects.

    Reply

  82. JohnH says:

    It’s still a mystery to me why wealtlhy Arab states don’t set up an American Arab PAC (AAPAC) to buy off a few hundred politicians. Two can play the game. Recycling just half a percent of US “aid” to Egypt every year would go a long way to buying the loyalties of a few think tanks and politicians…

    Reply

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