STREAMING LIVE: Juan Cole on Making Engagement with the Muslim World a National Priority

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Juan Cole has just published a new book about America’s interaction with the Middle East, called Engaging the Muslim World.
As readers of his blog Informed Comment know, Juan is one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful American observers of the Middle East and was one of the earliest and most consistent debunkers of neoconservative myths about our role in the Middle East and our so-called “War on Terrorism.”
I will be hosting an event with him TODAY at the New America Foundations’ NEW OFFICES 1899 L Street, 4th floor today between 12:15 pm and 1:45 pm EST (Now). This event will LIVE STREAM at The Washington Note and will also be broadcast on CSPAN‘s Book TV.
I hope you can join us either in person or via the webcast.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

91 comments on “STREAMING LIVE: Juan Cole on Making Engagement with the Muslim World a National Priority

  1. questions says:

    And from her position on the Ways and Means and Veterans’ Affairs committees, she clearly runs the Zionist Occupied Government of the United States of Israel. She determines the entire US policy towards Israel. She has a robotic chip inserted into her right temple and she takes orders from….
    Look, …, finding any one or a few anecdotes of pro-Israel, overly pro-Israel, insanely pro-Israel legislators doesn’t say a whole lot about how legislation works its way through the process, how alliances are formed, how Congress decides on weapons systems, foreign aid and the like, how the president proposes policy, or anything else. Berkley is from NY originally, is partisan, is openly pro-Israel, doesn’t hide a thing, probably gets AIPAC money (I didn’t bother following up on this, so fact check). How secret is all of this? Not at all. She’s open about her beliefs and she serves on a tax policy committee not on the Zionist Occupied Committee on the Status of Everything Israel.
    Given the way she has positioned herself as a pro-Israel partisan for re-election (she’s been in for a decade or so), what is she going to say? Umm, how about, “I don’t really control policy on Israel, but I’ll try to convince a bunch of fellow Dems to go against Obama on Iran and see if maybe there are enough of us. And I’ll work with a whole bunch of really right wing Republicans to form a majority coalition in the House on this issue. And then I’ll force it through the Senate and make the president sign it because I’m a robot for the ZOGotUSoI….”
    Probably not. She’s going to use overblown rhetoric, claim credit where it’s not due, duck credit as needed, hide votes if it looks like they’ll get her in trouble…. Typical member of Congress doing typical stuff.
    Evidence used to show that Congress actually DOES stuff takes way more than a stack of anecdotes. We don’t use anecdotes for finding cures for cancer, we use statistics, controls, double-blind studies and the like. You can’t KNOW things without a broad array of data. You can suspect, wonder, think there’s a pretty damning connection, but you might be completely wrong (or right, but you can’t know the correctness until you do the stat work). That’s why one does analysis rather than anecdote collection. (Note that a cool summer, a really cold winter, a hot day in July or December doesn’t testify to the status of global climate change any more than the testimony of Shelley Berkley testifies to the Zionist Occupation. Anecdote is insufficient. Necessary, perhaps, but insufficient.)
    You seem certain that there’s a conspiracy going on, or something akin to that. I think what we have is a case of fairly normal politics and I think the debate needs to be on a completely different level from “Ooooh, look what Berkley just said” or “Ooooh, look what the IDF just did.” What needs to be considered is, given Israel’s actions and our political system, what is right, what is possible; given the entire future of living on this planet with a lot of other countries, what is right, what is possible; given a range of contexts over space and time, what is right, what is possible? These questions are not best answered by a series of anecdotes, though the inquiry might start there. What we really need is analysis, not stories without contexts. What much of the posting here ends up being is precisely stories without contexts. Heart-wrenching awful stories, true stories, stories of utter brutality, of obnoxious legislators indeed, but stories nonetheless.
    So retell the Berkley anecdote with her legislative accomplishments, her ability to muster up majorities in the House and Senate and force the president to sign things. Or retell the Berkley story with details about her district, her public stances, her personal views, her representing constituents, her taking lobby money while already being on the side of the lobbyists, her not serving on a committee that deals with these issues, her introducing (or not) legislation that affects these issues, her being somewhat junior-ish in the House and so on. You get a different sense of the import of her declaration when you see her in her proper context. Maybe you have a different context to supply. Again, quotations without explanation don’t really do much. Give some analysis of what you copy/paste. You’ll be in a better rhetorical position.

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  2. ... says:

    one more for you questions..
    >>Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) joked that she always brings [ZOA President] Mort Klein her ZOA membership check each time our Mission is in Washington but that today she had left her checkbook in her car. She said that “being Jewish is a lifelong occupation. It’s what we do as Jews, more than any place else, we are experiencing the liberties our ancestors only dreamt of for generation after generation. There is a price to pay for this and the price is being engaged in our government process and no one does this better than ZOA.” Speaking of the rocket falling on Israeli towns like Sderot, she said that she “knows every neighborhood of Sderot … Israel has exercised extraordinary restraint and did not use disproportionate force. On the contrary, it didn’t use enough, soon enough. Many of my colleagues were concerned at this – I ask them, ‘Would you have been happier if a thousand more Jews had died?’ … UNRWA is nothing but the face and arm of Hamas. We are giving funds to rebuild Gaza for UNRWA to administer – I couldn’t think of anything more ridiculous than this. I was delighted when my colleagues Mark Kirk and Steve Rothman introduced it – but first I called Mort to make sure it was strong enough before I signed on … There is no way on G—’s green earth that we can allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. I remember Ariel Sharon telling a group of us at Blair House that a nuclear Iran is as much a threat to the U.S., to the West and the Arab nations and that the world should not be expecting Israel to take care of its dirty work. And I couldn’t agree more.”<<

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  3. questions says:

    What you’ve posted is part of the process of trying to figure out what would we would unleash on the world. It’s not a threat from me, it’s a realization that unintended consequences rule. I’m not sure if rocking this particular boat is a good idea or a bad idea. I tend to think it’s a bad idea because even tenuous stability is something. I think working with Iran is going to happen regardless of Israel’s preferences, but then I don’t think Israel controls US policy. My guess is that there will be a slow dance between the US and Iran and despite our inflicting the Shah on them and their holding our hostages and giving us Ronald Reagan, we will creep towards each other. It will not be the most trusting of relationships given the history, but relate we will.
    (Note that we maintain relations with China and Taiwan, Pakistan and India. We could probably manage Israel and Iran.)
    Nominally and financially Israel will be a US ally, but area alliance is likely to widen rather than narrow. Breaking with Israel completely is not something I personally see in the cards, not because of THE LOBBY but because it makes some structural sense to keep the relationship.
    As for “openly admitted intentions,” the problem is that credit claiming, bs-ing, pufferfishing behavior is common in IR. So it’s hard to know what to believe even when someone out and out says it. I really don’t believe Schumer’s claim. I really don’t think that Rosen alone sank Freeman — and note they both seem to take credit for this. I think Freeman wasn’t seen as worth the effort and I think that someone else with a number of similar views but a quieter background is likely to end up in the position, OR, the position will be downgraded. Obama wants a range of ME shifts and he will find staff to give him that shift. I am hopeful that it’s a careful shift and not a sudden defunding. This is an area worth a great deal of care.
    I have noted previously that I’m not as many miles away from many posters here as has been claimed, but I’m way more careful about evidence chains, about altering relations, and about how much power I think Israel’s existence exerts on US policy. I share the outrage, but I don’t respond to outrage quite the same way. The US would have no allies left, nor itself, were it to dump every complicit nation.
    In the end, my prescription for Israel/US relations (which I have posted about before) is to recognize that cultural change is largely internal, that Israel needs to do its own work the way the US had to regarding Bush, that narratives need to be developed that help people see the Palestinians as morally equivalent to the Israelis. I think film and tv and books and theater and comic books are enormously helpful. I think that a PR firm or two ought to get involved on the Palestinians’ side. I think that wars end when no one can take them anymore, and not a second before. It’s sad, devastating, horrible.

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  4. Sand says:

    Like the debate in psychology, I’m not truly convinced Political Science can ever be seen as an exact science either. However, sometimes just observing the openly admitted intentions and motivations of human beings in their struggle for power is of sufficient interest, note, and definitely worthy of layman study and of open discussion.
    Questions: “And once you have actually established those connections, you really have to think through what you unleash on the world when you act…”
    Wow. that sounded like a bit of a threat to me?
    Questions: “…it will harden the right wing in Israel and make a beleaguered nation feel all the more so; it will take away even the teensy weensy little bitty bit of leverage that we might have in Israel at this point…. In short, in my view, it’s a bad move…”
    So you think we shouldn’t rock the boat? — continue to give Israel whatever she wants, especially when she stamps her feet hard enough? The question is then, how much leverage do we really have with Israel? Who is really calling the shots? Why would it not be in our best interest to strike an alliance with resource laden Iran instead, especially if it seems that Israel could turn on us in a moments notice anyways? I mean its not as if we haven’t worked with regimes like Iran before?

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  5. questions says:

    POA,
    Common sense is subject to error.

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  6. questions says:

    The Oprah trial may have been in the media, but I’m not so sure that the food disparagement laws were, and I don’t remember coming across coverage of the effects of such laws as they were being passed. But this example is a pretty trivial one anyway.
    More to the point is that I think much lobbying is quiet, but the precise effect of lobbying hasn’t really been clarified well. People have suspicions, but suspicions can be wrong. (Today’s dead tree NYT Book Review has a review of a book on the heritability of IQ that makes mince meat of the genetics people who have spent a great deal of time in the sun. Even the twins studies are re-read to show environmental links to IQ. So if the automatic thoughts of most people, that IQ has a very significant genetic component, are wrong and it takes careful data reading to find that mistake, then I would guess that the effects of lobbying need equal care to measure.)
    While suspicions might be correct, they might well not be. I suppose on the Rosen spy case, one needs to look at a lot of other spy cases to see how hush-hush they are, and one needs fairly comparable spy cases. I think MJ Rosenberg thinks the charges should be dropped against Rosen (worth fact-checking to be sure). I’m not up on the details of the case, so I can’t speak to whether or not it deserved a lot of coverage. Wen Ho Lee got a lot of coverage, but then he was innocent I believe. How does one evaluate this? Could there be less coverage of Rosen because of the Wen Ho Lee debacle? (I’m not sure of the dates on this, so I could be way way off here.)
    The point is, sure, be suspicious. Do research. Read and think. But know deeply the first lesson in any kind of social science or science or stats education — correlation is not causation. It takes a lot of work to establish causal connections.
    And once you have actually established those connections, you really have to think through what you unleash on the world when you act.
    I can’t see anything crazy about this line of thinking. In fact, it seems fairly careful, humble, cautious.
    It may turn out that ceasing to send even a penny to Israel will cause us to, I don’t know, be greeted as liberators or something (snark), but my sense of history suggests that it would be a “feel-good” move for some people, it would make a small contingent of Americans feel “cleaner.” On the other hand, it will destabilize an already unstable part of the world; it will shift alliances; call into question the nature of alliances and throw a real spanner in the alliance game such that the trust of iterations is lost; it will certainly not guarantee peace with Bin Laden; it will not end fundamentalist terrorism of any stripe because Israel is an excuse, not a cause; it will not help the Palestinians; it will harden the right wing in Israel and make a beleaguered nation feel all the more so; it will take away even the teensy weensy little bitty bit of leverage that we might have in Israel at this point…. In short, in my view, it’s a bad move.
    If I see some reasonable research that indicates that the conspiracy theorists have it right, I’ll change my views. I have certainly been wrong about policy issues in the past, and I’ll likely be wrong again. I am deeply suspicious of wild claims of lobbying triumphs, but I certainly don’t know everything there is to know. I can say, though, that if anti-THE LOBBY people alter significantly their tactics and tone, they can be way more effective in convincing people that there is a there there.
    Liken AIPAC to PhRMA et al, show the selfishness, the personal payoffs, demand campaign finance reform, speak honestly and unhysterically about Israeli brutality in Gaza while still maintaining some vague sense of understanding that indeed Israelis FEEL beleaguered (whether or not they should, they do). You get further by validating people’s feelings and then suggesting alternative feelings than you do by belittling other people. Don’t call me a jackass; say in a gentle tone, “There there, indeed causation is not correlation, but here is a lovely causal chain you missed.”
    It’s worth seeing all sides of the conflict even when you think one side is the devil and the other is the angel. If you want to convince the devil’s friends that their friend is indeed the devil, you gotta talk right.

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads. As if any argument can be offered that will get questions to pull his head out of AIPAC’s ass. It is obvious that questions has no inclination to argue from a position of integrity or conviction. Its all about dreaming up a steady stream of intellectual flatulence through which to obscure a common sense interpretation of what is blatantly waved in our faces daily.
    I hate to sound like a broken record, but questions’ denials, rationales, and obsfucations are a total crock of shit. There is no way in hell he can possibly be buying into his own bullshit. Which can only mean he is not debating honestly. One has to wonder at his motivation.

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  8. Sand says:

    “an old hand at this lobby stuff” — I meant it as a small ‘l’ in this case, so no I’m not necessarily saying you are in, or are all knowing of ‘the [Israel] L obby’. But, you see I don’t think the Israel Lobby is just like any other lobby which I think you are trying to imply, and why I think the ‘apologists’ next tact will try to tell us it is.
    BTW, at least the Oprah trial was ‘out there’ in the media, but when it comes to, say, an indicted Israel Lobby power broker basically being indicted for handing over secrets to an Israeli State official — good forbid if we should get any news on that front. With a James Bond angle like that, you would think the media would be all over it – but no.
    Also, we hear all about Abramoff’s Indian tribe money, but zilch when it comes to his possible Israel Lobby and certain other money-laundering enterprises. There’s like this black hole — even our so-called Progressive Radio puts censure-ship on the issue of The Lobby, whereas Pharma and NRA seems fair game?
    Maybe were are not in “conspiracy land” but it appears damn right creepy if you ask me.

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  9. questions says:

    Sand,
    Focus on a lobby, certainly. Focus on AIPAC, absolutely. What I find to go the wrong direction is focus on THE LOBBY — which for W and M is comprised of the formal groups like AIPAC and an informal ill-defined mass that seems to include anyone and everyone who thinks Israel should exist or something. One critic supposed that W and M are probably members of THE LOBBY, it’s that ill-defined in their book. Talk of THE LOBBY ends up in conspiracy land somewhere and the language used to deal with it is really ill-defined. I have never denied the existence of, say, AIPAC or whatever. I don’t deny that there are phone-trees or formula e-mails or large donations. But I think the language has to be a whole lot clearer, more well-defined, more careful than what I typically see. even MJ Rosenberg backs away from “control” and stops with “influence” and allows the general legality of the practices.
    I would be happy to read some work that deals with vote records and donation records and constituency preferences all cross-referenced. I think this kind of work would be most enlightening about just how powerful AIPAC is. I don’t do the kind of quantitative work or the vote tally work that is required for this kind of project, but I’d certainly be interested in finding some.
    I often encourage people to read the vast quantities of lit on Congress. I’m reading a book currently on macropolitics in Congress, and the lit on Congress is a google/amazon search away. Anyone who wants an easy-breezy starting point, try Kingdon and Fenno and Arnold. It’s a generation or two ago in the lit, but it’s a good place to start for getting the general pressures on Congress and the general complexity of legislation. Amazon has a wonderful feature that lets you see other books viewed by people who viewed this book and so you can tree-branch your way through the major lit on Congress. Read inside, order a stack of books, see what you local library has, do interlibrary loan, go to a university library and photocopy for a few days….. Go to http://www.congressmatters.com, the kos subsidiary. It’s a really nice resource on Congress. There’s lots to learn. I encouraged anyone and everyone to read more than blogs. (How was that?)
    How “in your face” is PhRMA? The way they “educate” doctors, drug us all, push for no negotiating of drug prices…. I can’t see as this is all done in the happy light of day. Food disparagement laws are pretty odd as well. Remember Oprah was sued for dissing meat? Lobbies are not loud unless loud helps the cause. Mostly they are loud or soft as needed. they take people to lunch, they provide industry information for people in Congress who honestly don’t know about an issue and honestly need the education. There’s lots of talking, lots of donations, some travel, some comfy seats on private jets. There are jobs after Congress. It’s not all in your face. The questions that scholars have yet to figure out (really) is whether or not all these quiet perks actually alter votes. The decision-making process is pretty complex (read Kingdon to start with).
    If I were going to push for lobby reform, I’d probably go for some kind of standardized disclosure form (there’s some nice work on transparency policy). Every donation of some to-be-determined size needs to be reported on a form that cross-lists it with related votes and with polling data in the district. Then everyone can see precisely what the votes and money are. There might be some unintended and unpleasant consequences given the need for logrolling, but maybe it’s worth thinking through. Toss in every unit of time with a lobbyist, too. And every trip/junket. And every cousin who provides information. Try to make the psyches of the Congressmen and women transparent. I don’t know if it’s possible or desirable, but it would get to the bottom of the lobby question.
    I think you don’t quite see my point in all of this, which I suppose is my fault. I’m not pro-THE LOBBY; rather, I have a preference for getting institutional issues correct. There’s a whole lot of scholarly debate about how lobbies work and that debate is pretty insightful. It gets ignored in the blogosphere where easy demonization rules the day. I’m not into easy demonization. I’d rather reserve demonization for actual, existing demons. AIPAC might be a demon, but it might not be a demon. It depends really on precisely how efffective a lobby they are, and how much they actually steer the country towards evil. I think these are open questions.
    What I don’t trust are: a few Congressmen who say, “Oh, yeah, THAT’S a LOBBY” because there’s a lot of scholarship that calls this sort of claim into question. I don’t trust Schumer’s claim that he practically single-handedly sank Freeman because sinking doesn’t generally work quite that way. I don’t trust W and M on “THE LOBBY” because it doesn’t fit in with what I’ve read about lobbying. I don’t trust the secret powers of THE LOBBY stuff because it does get talked about, published about, blogged about. I’ve been reading for a couple of decades precisely the stuff I’m apparently not supposed to have been able to read because of THE LOBBY’S control of American political discourse.
    What I suspect is that there isn’t a true right answer to the proper actions of a nation (I’m not a Clemons-style realist who thinks interests can easily be determined. I think the behavioral economists really have some nice insights into problems with realism.) And without an absolute ground for correct policy, we’re left in something of a muddle where it is not going to be entirely possible to know if siding with Israel is in our interests or not.
    I can say for certain that Israel’s policies are self-destructive, foolish, immoral; that likely, the level of societal PTSD is high and the level of scapegoating, racism, nut-wing religiosity is high as well. Nothing to defend in significant portions of society. As I’ve said over and over, the question remains what one does about all of this. And there, my response is, again, I don’t defend, but I don’t defund.
    So I wouldn’t call myself a “LOBBY apologist” because first, I don’t believe in THE LOBBY, though I’m fine with a lobby, and second, were I to believe, I wouldn’t defend. The monster isn’t under the bed in my view, it’s in unavoidable structures of the human psyche, elected legislatures, political control over resources. It isn’t a monster, in fact, it’s quite human.
    I think that those who want a policy of disengagement really need to spend some time running through alliance issues, destabilization issues and the like. What do we get if we pull out? It’s not enough to say “cleaner hands” because they might be clean in the short run and far dirtier later. History is like that.
    It’s possible that I’m wrong about the alliance system and that someone could come up with a nice argument that pushes my thinking. So far I haven’t seen anything that does.
    And finally, “an old hand at this lobby stuff” is unclear. I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that I’m in THE LOBBY — according to W and M, there would appear to be some chance that I am, but I certainly don’t donate to AIPAC, I’ve never made a phone call or e-mail on their behalf, I don’t ever look at their website. So am I a THE LOBBYIST without my even knowing?

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  10. Sand says:

    Questions I don’t know how you do it sometimes. You just churn it out… This time, I’ve kept your 16 posts on file, because I think you’ve come up with some interesting arguments and tangents that I’m sure are going to come up again and again with the Lobby apologist crowd, and will need to be addressed at some point.
    One thing I did want to mention — If the Lobby didn’t blatantly lie so much about how it works behind the scenes, I don’t think there would be so many that thought the Lobby was “DARK” per se. E.g. it lying about its involvement ‘behind the scenes’ in the Iraq war vote and the Freeman case… Plus its behind the scenes attack on President Carter, and heavy handed influence keeping Lieberman in the party.
    At least with the NRA and Pharma etc. they are in your face about what they do.
    Ok, just a couple replies to your posts this time around.
    Questions: “…AIPAC make use of the re-election craving? Of course, but so does every lobby group. What makes AIPAC any worse? (And then we get in to the foreign meme — and I reply by saying there are plenty of domestic groups that are super bad for humanity…)…”
    Which is why I can see nothing wrong by putting a spotlight on AIPAC, why not? Especially when it’s been so successful and active within one particular party. One only has to read the Jewish Forward on a continual basis to realize that fact. I see nothing wrong focusing on one Lobby group and how it operates — There’s loads of posts, political books, memoirs on the other lobbies — but not so much on the Israel lobby, and with it consistently being up there in the top 5 most influencial lobbies on the Hill — I think its fair game indeed.
    Questions: “….Again, and again and again, I think Israel’s actions are unacceptable, but I see institutional issues that seem to be ignored, and they aren’t LOBBY related….”
    I agree to some point. Yes Israel’s actions are unacceptable, and institutional issues are being ignored esp. in the MSM. However, I disagree strongly, and can’t believe it when you imply that the ‘Israel’ LOBBY is not majorily related — even in finance.
    I totally think focus on the Lobby is acceptable, and prime for even layman research. For example, delving into the institutional pressures, decision making, and struggles for power etc, esp. now the Democrats are in power and those holding positions within the foreign policy arena/institutions have considerable POWER!
    Reviewing politicans profiles, organizational connections, numbers of in-house special interest group interns, aides, exploring the Lobby’s revolving door both in government, ‘campaigns’ and fundraising — all these specific areas of interest are fair game to political newbies, or four year political science major grunts who are not that knowledgeable, or up-to-date on how politics works.
    You seem an old hand at all this lobby stuff, you should encourage those who are not as knowledgable and maybe don’t have the same slant as you to explore and find out for themselves how their government works.

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  11. questions says:

    And maybe the real lesson is that overwhelming force is no better a military tactic than the lean force the US used in Iraq, and maybe the thing to hope for is that Israelis will develop a refined sense of self-disgust. I have to say, the “taxpayer” meme is not a particularly meaningful one, at least for me. I’m not budget conscious at this level and I’m sure that Caterpillars would be found anyway. So let’s hope that the Israeli press runs with this and the “little racists” mentioned elsewhere in the article can find their way out of their sad and foolish worldview.

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  12. ... says:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1074218.html
    “What did you think would happen?” a senior officer wondered this week. “We sent 10,000 troops into Gaza, more than 200 tanks and armored personnel carriers, 100 bulldozers. What were 100 bulldozers going to do there?”
    The IDF estimates that approximately 2,000 houses were destroyed in the fighting. The Palestinians say the figure is twice that. IDF officers, who were not surprised by the testimonies, recalled that during the Al-Aqsa Intifada, military courts convicted soldiers for killing civilians, including the British peace activist Tom Hurndall, who was killed in Gaza in 2003.
    Until the soldiers’ testimonies were published, the IDF Spokesman’s Office had been highly successful in promoting its version of events. The international media may not have bought it, but the army managed to sell the Israeli public an almost impossible package: We were victorious in Gaza, we suffered minimal casualties and we also came out of there smelling like roses.<<
    those would be caterpillar bulldozers… american taxpayer money at work…

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  13. questions says:

    Jackass that I am, spinner that I am, I do not think that this higher power works the way many here think this higher power works.
    I think there are lots and lots of forces acting on member of Congress, the heaviest of which is the desire for re-election. I think any legislative body will have the same basic issues because it’s part and parcel of being in an elected legislative body. I don’t think the US Congress is any more or less corrupt than what one would expect from elective legislative bodies. I could certainly wish for different, but I think the structures are pretty much there inherently.
    I think that if there were legislators who did not mind losing re-election, maybe we’d have a different system. So there’s an issue that’s not entirely I/P LOBBY stuff. Does AIPAC make use of the re-election craving? Of course, but so does every lobby group. What makes AIPAC any worse? (And then we get in to the foreign meme — and I reply by saying there are plenty of domestic groups that are super bad for humanity…)
    I think that if the pro-Palestinian voices could speak differently, if suicide bombers did not lurk in the subconscious minds of many decision-makers maybe we’d have different results on some level.
    Again, and again and again, I think Israel’s actions are unacceptable, but I see institutional issues that seem to be ignored, and they aren’t LOBBY related. Read some actual scholarship on the issues, not just bloggers or offhand semi-scholarly blogging. When you have to use data, modeling, vote analysis, long boring drawn out analysis of all the data, you don’t come to a simple conclusion that the LOBBY is the cause of all things Congressionally wicked. No spin in this, but call it that if you will.
    People who study Congress find something different from what many here find. Jackass that I am, I tend to find scholarship a little bit more convincing than what I find here. I find quotations that are fully discussed more meaningful than links, I find that people who are open to conclusions they don’t really like are more likely being intellectually honest than those who don’t.
    I dislike Israel’s behavior, but I don’t see how disengagement would bring about the changes I’d like to see. I dislike the Cold War alliance system, but I don’t really see alternatives to alliance-formation. I dislike Obama’s push into Afghanistan, but I’m convinced I don’t have an alternative. I want nationalized health care, but I can see how, institutionally, it might just not work at this point, so a compromise of sorts may be the best we can do. I can cope. I’m not ideological, I don’t assume that I’m right. If I see evidence, I change my views. I haven’t seen evidence of a deep dark LOBBY so much as evidence that AIPAC works half like a normal lobby and half like a pufferfish. If it provides 90% of the money to a primary candidate its officers prefer, does that money and that money alone really swing the election? (Came across some book by a congressman who lost re-election under just this circumstance. He voted against something or for something and lost re-election.) Elections are a little more complicated than that. Money helps a bunch, but so do a lot of other things. Incumbents have a hard time losing, but they do lose sometimes, and not just because of THE LOBBY. The LOBBY probably couldn’t doom, say, Ted Kennedy, but maybe it could help knock off Michelle Bachmann who barely won this time around. But Bachmann has so many failings of her own that the LOBBY can’t really be seen as the CAUSE, though it might claim credit. I would suggest that in general, it’s easier to blame THE LOBBY than to blame the actual congressman for backbenching and failing to make decent alliances, publicize him or herself, get on a decent committee and do something useful. Far easier to complain about that 90% number than to try to raise your own money.
    So take it as spin, as jackassery, or go out and read a whole lot more lit on elections, lobbies, the craving for re-election, political rhetoric, credit claiming, and maybe even pufferfish.

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  14. ... says:

    quote from someone else.
    “…congress is corrupted beyond reform. Doesn’t matter if it’s Israel or WS or Military Industrials. Israel is just the most supreme expression of that corruption. The one that says…”We Will Sell Wars and Genocide for Jewish Campaign Money”.
    And it’s the supreme corruption because they see the results of it in bloody bit and pieces of dead women and children that the enitre world sees…and yet…They Don’t Care.
    It’s all about that jewish campaign money to keep their offices and power baby.”

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  15. Sand says:

    Yeah that was some spinning Questions…

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  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wow. Watching Questions spin is truly awe inspiring.
    Only a jackass would deny the power that the pro-Israeli lobby and propaganda machine has over Congress, American foreign policy, and the way media presents the Isr/Pal issue.
    The excessive influence of THE LOBBY is undeniable, yet Questions expends great gobs of time denying it. Who does he think is buying this bullshit? Wig-wag? Varanasi??
    Its fairly obvious, by the complete absence of support his bizarre denials garner, that his propagandized spin on the truth isn’t very convincing. Yet he prattles on, hawking snake oil to an audience that refuses to buy any.

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    Yes, and…. Quotations are not supposed to speak for themselves, so which part of the posting are you most concerned with?
    “Rather than being directed toward counterterrorism or other defensive measures, the bill stipulates that funds will be used for the procurement of advanced weapons systems, roughly three-quarters of which will be purchased from American arms manufacturers.
    ****So I guess that it’s domestic weapons programs in a variety of Congressional districts that’s at stake. The MIC spreads production throughout numerous Congressional districts. If a Congressperson votes against a weapons deal, that Congressperson’s district loses jobs and that Congressperson loses his or her seat. Pretty clever stuff. Not really indicative of conspiracy or the LOBBY, just smart packaging.***
    “An additional $1.3 billion in foreign military financing is earmarked for the Egyptian dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, $235 million for the autocratic monarchy in Jordan, $58 million for Lebanon, and $12 million for the repressive regime in Tunisia. The only other country specifically targeted for military aid in this legislation is Colombia, which will receive $53 million.”
    *****So I guess we support some nasty regimes. What else do you expect? We may occasionally talk “human rights” or “morality” but what we really do is alliance, regional politics, resource control, and control of left-wing regimes. We like the right-wing kind in general because it gives the US more of a guarantee against nationalization of resources, control of extractive industries, stable international prices and the like. It’s not all I-LOBBY stuff.****
    “Though the United States remains the world’s number one military, economic, and diplomatic supporter of repressive Middle Eastern governments — including absolute monarchies, military juntas, and occupation armies — the appropriations bill includes language insisting that the “governing entity” of Palestine “should enact a constitution assuring the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and respect for human rights for its citizens, and should enact other laws and regulations assuring transparent and accountable governance.” No such language exists in regard to any other nation.”
    ******Again, we support nasty regimes. Why should we suddenly use ethics in dealing with the international system? Ethical arguments won’t work. Alliance structure seems to be the main issue. We use whatever language is convenient for our purposes. Double standards? Duh.****
    “Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues continue to pursue nonproliferation based on ideological litmus tests rather than universal law-based principles. For example, the bill requires that any assistance to Russia be withheld until the Russian government has “terminated implementation of arrangements to provide Iran with technical expertise, training, technology, or equipment necessary to develop a nuclear reactor, related nuclear research facilities or programs, or ballistic missile capability.” However, there are no such restrictions on the United States itself continuing its nuclear cooperation with India, despite India’s maintaining and expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1172, nor are there any objections included regarding ongoing U.S. ballistic missile development with Israel, despite Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal and its ongoing violation of UN Security Council Resolution 487.”
    *****Note that India also gets support. I guess there’s an India-LOBBY as well. Secretive, potent, controlling….*****
    So if these aren’t the passages you’re wondering about, which are the passages, what do they mean and why is this posting so significant that it’s worth a link?

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    I’m not sure that “consistent support” cuts the mustard. First, you have to do all of the Congressional voting analysis to see how consistent the support really is. (I swear on a stack of Congressional literature that this kind of research is both standard to do and utterly necessary.) Second, you have to determine precisely what motivates what looks like consistency if you find it.
    I spent a little time reading some journal articles yesterday (found an interesting one by Walt from the mid-80s on alliance formation that shows he was long ago working towards the I-LOBBY stuff), and what seems to show up typically on the Congressional front is something along the lines of: Non-scholars tend to find 1-1 correspondence between lobbying and voting whereas scholars of Congress find a much more muddied, muddled, non-straightforward, nuanced only possible set of connections with a huge set of variables. That is, in trying to answer HOW would the voting have gone in the absence of lobbying, one finds nothing entirely clear. So when you take the LOBBY CAUSES THE VOTE side of things, when you insist on the lack of complexity, the lack of nuance, you are siding with non-scholars whose expertise is really limited. That’s fine to do since sometimes experts aren’t so expert. But then you need to know when it is that experts know what they are talking about and when not, especially if you’re making policy recommendations.
    (Links to articles not provided because the articles are posted in a proprietary passworded system, and they are immune to copy/paste as well. I could provide citations should someone wish.)
    Next round of issues is the “loyal” to what — that is, when, and if, the US shows consistent support for Israel, is this support based on some perception of US interests or Israel’s interests? Do the interests dove tail? Do we merely perceive interests in common but in fact the interests diverge?
    Many here would seem to hold that a)interests can easily be discerned b)US interests and Israeli interests diverge at the outset c)Israel at some level controls US perceptions such that we see what’s not really there (CONvergence of interests) d)fixing all of this is a matter of getting at the TRUTH via W and M, Mr. MondoWeiss himself, and a few other brave and clear-sighted heroes. Once we SEE, we will disengage.
    My response to these points is generally something along the lines of a)interests are not at all easy to figure out. I think driving SUVs, living in suburbia, being overly physically comfortable, not having a lot of cares in the world, watching cable news, eating meat… are all contrary to US interests. We are destroying the climate, killing ourselves and others, driving one another crazy in a variety of ways — what US interests could be served by the bulk of our behaviors? In fact, what we are serving is short-term pleasure as against any kind of long-term sustainability. Two very different sets of interests. How do you balance them? Suffer now so that you suffer less later? What if you die soon and all you’ve done is suffer? Enjoy now and die young? What if you don’t “die before you get old”? Just what are “US interests?”
    b)I’m not convinced that US and Israeli interests, to the extent that any can be discerned, really diverge at the outset. I’ve posted on this issue before only to be met with Carroll’s derisive laughter. She didn’t convince me otherwise. I think that the alliance system might make some sense, I think that shifting alliance will not at all pay off the way some would hope, I think that alliance has to have some meaning over time or there simply won’t be alliances (iterated games reduce the likelihood of betrayal).
    c)speaks directly to the I-LOBBY stuff. I don’t think that all our perceptions about Israel are controlled by Israel itself. I think that people are agents quite capable of agency (that is, independent and able to think). I think that it is quite possible to get straightforward information about the ME, I think that people who know how to speak well, without hysteria, can criticize Israel without being denied tenure, without being denied a slot to speak at the dem convention and so on. If one controls one’s rhetoric (honey/vinegar), one can go quite far. I also note that books get published and people speak against Israeli politics –otherwise we’d never have heard of them. It’s less brave than one would think. The key is to be quite fact-based, quite carefully analytic, and quite correct, though W and M got published and don’t seem to be quite there.
    d)the “truth” is far more unclear than Mr.Mondo et al would hold. Congressional voting is not straightforwardly controlled by lobbies, US interests are not instantly discerned, human suffering does not translate into instant policy change. Were we to feel all that pain out there, we’d have nationalized health care, loving households, no drug addiction, murder, wars, overuse of resources and the like. So, yes, Gaza is horror itself, but so are lots of other things that we also fail to deal with. So, if there’s a truth about horror that is itself horror, it’s that horror fails to motivate us unless the horror is happening to us personally. (I’d like to know how many families now living in tent cities or headed that way were precisely the people who voted for Bush, who thought welfare reform was just dandy, who, now without health insurance, thought nationalization was evil itself.) So I don’t think there’s necessarily a thing to SEE, and I further don’t think that seeing this thing, if it’s there, will make us CHANGE.
    In the end, yes, Gaza is a nightmare and Israel’s politics are wicked at this point. But as I’ve said again and again, what does one do about this fact? Threats of defunding will likely push the country rightward making the current Gaza situation seem like happyland. Giving Israel time to come to terms with its wickedness and see its own reflection in its own mirror is, in my view, the only thing that works ever for altering cultures. We can construct mirrors, encourage film and drama and student get-togethers. Maybe it will help. We can read some Jean-Francois Lyotard on the differend and try to find some way out of this particular differend, some new meta-narrative that might speak to both sides, but maybe there isn’t one. We can use power to police boundaries and keep the groups separate, but Israel is already doing that with the wall. And maybe there’s some other solution that would work for real. I don’t know. I wish us all well.
    And I suggest that people read Kristof’s column from yesterday on hedgehogs and foxes if you haven’t yet. Complexity, complexity, complexity.

    Reply

  19. ... says:

    …other countries relationship with the usa….

    Reply

  20. ... says:

    questions – thanks.. loyalty is an expression of consistent support.. in the relationship between usa/israel it’s clearly shown in the political and financial actions of the usa towards israel… comparing it to other countries relationship with israel makes it even more obvious…
    poa – perhaps oa is straight from aipac… he certainly helps serve their purpose…
    chas freeman in the forward
    http://www.forward.com/articles/104255/

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA, just why are Jews special, as opposed to any other ethnic or religious group that has suffered persecution throughout the
    centuries?”
    Where did I say “Jews are special”, you ignorant jackass?
    It is your anti-semitic crosstalk that is shoehorning them into some sort of “special” category with your stereotyping and unbelievably stupid invocation of “usary” through which to malign the entire collective of the Jewish people.
    I suggest, before you tell people to shut the fuck up, that you listen to your own ignorant horseshit, and try to understand the damage you do to the arguments of those that are seriously concerned about Israel’s influence over United States’ policies. You are the exact sort of ignorant bigoted clown that the AIPAC people would like to paint all of us as being.

    Reply

  22. David says:

    It is Israel that is special, and at the moment Israel is brutally reactionary. There is nothing monolithic about Jewry, for godsake. People are born Jews, some become Jews, but there is no single brush with which to paint Jews. There is, however, a too singular brush with which AIPAC and the right wing in Israel paint everyone and everything. And the influence of that perspective has very, very special consequences for the United States, Israel’s closest, most important supporter. Chas Freeman’s commentary in the latest issue of The Forward is very much to the point.

    Reply

  23. Outraged American says:

    POA, just why are Jews special, as opposed to any other ethnic or
    religious group that has suffered persecution throughout the
    centuries?
    Including the Gypsies, who were targeted for annihilation during
    WW II. The Kurds..
    Answer POA. OR SHUT THE F UP.

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    Happy to end it here if you like. My final note is simply that it is very tempting to use words as if one knows what they mean. “More loyalty to Israel” seems to make a lot of sense. It’s a grammatically correct English language phrase with no unfamiliar words. Seems fine. Until, that is, you try to define what “loyalty” means. Suddenly, at least for me, it’s not so clear anymore. I have a hard time with the word “loyalty” since I don’t really know what the proper regard for country entails. How much self-regard, how much self-sacrifice, how much duty to the military, to the political, to the economic, to one’s local community and the like. If I can’t even say what “loyalty” is, how could I ever try to deal with whether or not there are US citizens who are properly or improperly loyal.
    I’m guessing that several writers here have a much clearer sense of just what “loyalty” means than I do. Perhaps, following arthurdecco’s advice, I should stick to weekly spelling tests and not bother trying to figure out what “loyalty” means. Or “transparency”, or THE LOBBY or whatever. But if anyone out there could explain exactly what “loyalty” is and then explain who is improperly loyal and how, I’d appreciate it.
    At any rate, …, thanks for keeping it civil, avoiding curses and the like.

    Reply

  25. ... says:

    questions, your latest post is a fine example in what i have described as obfuscation..
    if someone said the usa expresses “greater loyalty to palestine” it would be quite confusing… substituting israel in the phrase is well understood by most, except yourself i guess.. i would prefer to end the conversation right here as i feel i am talking to a wall.. perhaps you feel the same… regards –

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    …,
    I think that I have a difficult time with several of your phrases starting with “greater loyalty to Israel.” This one I find troubling because I wouldn’t really know what “proper loyalty” to the US means. US citizens pollute, violate laws and the Constitution, take care of themselves before others all the time. Is this proper citizenship? Further, I’m not sure what “loyalty to Israel” means. Does it mean we don’t cut off foreign aid when Israel does something we don’t like? Well, we don’t cut off aid to many countries whose behavior is pretty awful, and when we do cut off aid (say, to Iraq), the consequences for ordinary citizens can be pretty brutal (something like half a million dead Iraqi kids during the sanctions). So the whole loyalty thing is mystifying to me, and what one would do about it if one knew what “loyalty” meant is equally mystifying.
    In terms of stolen land, the US has its own long and tawdry history, and so I refuse to demonize what I have benefited from — too hypocritical for me. I certainly dislike Israel’s land policy and I certainly want it to change, but my country’s land policy has been pretty damnable, too.
    I tend to think that the workings of Congress are, in a funny way, pretty transparent. We know where the money comes from and goes, we know who votes for what, we know the party breakdowns of the districts, we know who is challenged in primaries, we know who staffs which members, we know what the local media report, we know committee assignments and speeches and experts heard. We know who has lunch with whom, who travels where…. That’s a whole lot of transparency. We actually know a fair amount about the decision-making progress. I have shelves of books that deal with these issues. There’s not as much secrecy as you’d think. Note that the whole Freeman thing is thought to have been started by a BLOG — a publicly available, sometimes read, on-the-web BLOG. Nothing secret there either. So I really find it odd that so many hold to this “secret workings” of AIPAC thing.
    The “Jewish influence thing” vis-a-vis Franken and Coleman is really over the top unless you look into voting records, public statements, and the like, and unless you are willing to say that the only representatives we can have are white, male, propertied, Christian…. There’s been a huge amount of work done on the issue of “representation” and “can someone different from me speak for me” — read some and you might discover that a Jewish person is quite capable of being a good representative of non-Jewish constituents. And if that rep fails to do his or her job, he or she will be booted. There isn’t too much “Jewish influence”, too much “Israeli influence”. There are people voted in to officed based on what the constituents want, and they are voted out of office if they don’t do what constituents want.
    I think we’d all be better off getting away from the deep dark secrets sensibility, the conspiracy stuff, and we should move instead towards an institutional view. That is, Congress is an institution with rules, practices, history, precedent. Look there to find out what’s going on.

    Reply

  27. ... says:

    questions – thanks for the thoughtful response.. my general view is that israel has too much influence on decision making in the usa.. it seems us citizens, in particular those of jewish decent have a greater loyalty to israel then to the usa.. as well, there are lobby groups such as aipac and others that add to this unhealthy slant when it comes to issues in the middle east in particular.. perhaps you don’t share this view, or you believe it is all transparent.. i think it is anything but transparent… i think the work of walt and mearsheimer and others is helping to throw much light on this, and i think israels actions from the past few months in gaza are also contributing to a greater sense of horror that can’t be justified in any way possible…
    the example of franken and coleman both who happen to be of jewish background running in minnesota is just one more example of the presence of jewish background, or influence on usa political decision making..
    i question the loyalties of these people.. based on the usa’s consistant support for israel in the face of atrocities and stolen land that israel is responsible for, there is no explanation for why the usa would continue to support israel.. the usa’s financial support is another example of a corrupted relationship… there is no other way to look honestly at the usa/israel relationship, other then as an unhealthy and corrupted one…
    i mentioned how it seems the military industrial complex, which is probably the biggest lobby group in the usa, “”dovetails”” with the israel lobby in a way that is descriptive of the mixing of a molotov cocktail.. i said they both seem content to be engaged in war 24/7.. the financial support for israel is often expressed in military supplies… as an american it ought to make you sick to know those murdered in gaza, or lebanon in the past few years were courtesy the us taxpayer… it seems based on much of your imput here, that neither the close relationship the usa has with israel, or that fact at what this relationship has wrought on innocent people doesn’t concern you, or even worse that you appear to suggest their is no special relationship between these 2 countries.. it is hard to take you seriously as a consequence..

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You hardly need to lecture me, OA, on the plight of the Palestinians. But your attack on Jews is hardly helpful, nor is the dredging up of old justifications for anti-semitism.
    This issue obviously has no shortage of jackasses, and the braying seems to be coming from all quarters.

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    With regard to the Ignatius article about collaboration between the US government and radical Israelis to fund expansion in the territiories through the subterfuge of so-called charities, I don’t see a lot of defenders here.
    Just another one of those dirty secrets the Lobby would rather not have become general knowledge?

    Reply

  30. Outraged American says:

    I actually have spent a lot of time in India (8 years to be
    somewhat close to exact), two months in Thailand and half a
    year, in three trips, in Nepal.
    Israelis were banned from many guest houses in all of those
    countries. Also in Singapore.
    And POA, this “stereotype” is something that has been
    documented over and over, for instance in Spielberg’s
    “documentary” Shoah. I would suggest that you and Questions
    watch it.
    Ashkenazi Jews were the moneylenders in Europe. Please read
    the “Merchant of Venice” –Shakespeare was obviously an “anti-
    Semite”
    Or read the Talmud.
    It’s time to sweep the bull-s*it out of the way before we attack
    Iran. There are MANY righteous Jews, many of whom are
    working very actively to save our Bill of RIghts and to stop future
    wars.
    There are also some Jews in the U.S. whose primary concern is
    Israel, and they have put themselves into positions of power. So
    much so that they have bankrupted this country, bought and
    threatened our “elected” representatives to support Israel
    without question, and sold our technology to China and India,
    and parts unknown.
    I am frankly SICK of hearing about the Jewish “Holocaust” — the
    fact that that particular, and HORRIFIC, episode in history is THE
    ONLY slaughter in the last 100 years that gets the endless press
    that it does, only reinforces in the minds of many other ethnic
    groups who have suffered similar events that IT IS ONLY THE
    JEWS THAT MATTER.
    The rest of us are chopped liver.
    And the Palestinians don’t even have many livers left because
    the Israelis, using OUR TAX DOLLARS, slaughter them with
    impunity. OUR IMPUNITY.
    Get Israel out of U.S. foreign policy. Stop using my tax dollars to
    fund attacks on Israel’s enemies, real or imaginary.
    The world, which has suffered enough is sick of the whining,
    especially given the pictures we’ve just seen out of the Gaza
    Strip.
    And POA and Questions, my parents and grandparents lived
    through a much worse “Holocaust” than what happened to the
    Jews, but they didn’t suffer as much as the Palestinians in Israel’s
    latest assault on the Gaza Strip.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You are so good at obfuscation. A simple question: why would Buddhists in Thailand, or Hindus in India and Nepal, hate Israelis?”
    Well, first, I have seen you present no evidence that “Buddhists in Thailand, or Hindus in India and Nepal, hate Israelis”.
    To be honest, OA, these kinds of specious arguments actually play right into the hands of posters such as Questions. And as far as “anti-semitic” goes, your argument here is borderline, and as such is surely going to draw the accusation.
    Suffice to say that denying the power of the pro-Israeli lobbies is asinine. To liken AIPAC to the NRA or tobacco lobbies is even more asinine. One doesn’t need to skirt the edge of anti-semitism to make that argument, and it is foolish to do so. Questions, with the unwavering effort he applies to convince us that his argument is less than idiotic, is his own worst enemy. Like Wig-wag, one can almost predict EXACTLY what questions will say to any post that seeks to unsderscore what an insidiously corrosive effect the Israli lobby groups have had on our members of Congress, our foreign policies, and our efforts to woo the moderate Muslim community.
    Presenting usury as a topic through which to malign the “Israelis”, as you have done here, is a shameless insertion of a stereotypical depiction of the miserly money grubbing jew that is a favorite depiction used by truly anti-semitic bigots. Its isn’t helpful, whether your message is based in anti-semitism or not.

    Reply

  32. Outraged American says:

    You are so good at obfuscation. A simple question: why would
    Buddhists in Thailand, or Hindus in India and Nepal, hate Israelis?
    You’re not wasting my time completely because I’m done with my
    obligations for the day, but again, to my fellow Americans, don’t
    waste time with pro-Israel posters on this board, go out and
    explain the Israel lobbies and their power to your community.

    Reply

  33. questions says:

    Outraged American,
    The point of my post is that when you look at the history of hate, you are better off looking at the haters than at the hated. Hatred serves numerous social purposes including unification, insider status security, talismanic protection from becoming like the other. Hatred is not generally justified beyond the hatred of particular policies or particular individual people, and yet hatred gets generalized across populations. When you start asking, “So, what’s wrong with these people, and there must be something wrong because everyone hates them” then you’re in the wrong place utterly.
    Also just as a side note, “usury” has multiple meanings. Charging any interest at all is usury in a traditional sense, I believe. Currently, we consider “usury” to be concerned with high interest rates. So we call PayDay “usurious” but we don’t call 5% mortgages “usurious” and yet 5% mortgages would be usurious in the traditional sense.

    Reply

  34. Outraged American says:

    I’m just asking, very honestly, why have Jews been traditionally
    (or Israelis recently) hated in many countries whose predominant
    religion (Thailand springs immediately to mind) doesn’t blame
    the Jews for crucifying Christ?
    I have, again very honestly, spent a lot of time trying to figure
    out why Jews have been hated. In my time traveling in south
    and southeast Asia, I witnessed a real animosity directed
    towards Israelis by the “natives.” Hindus and Buddhist mostly.
    Democracy Now (run by Amy Goodman, an Ashkanazi Jew
    herself) just did two segments this week on usury. They were
    very informative:
    Usury Country: Payday Loans Pushing Millions of Middle Class
    Americans Deeper into Debt
    http://tinyurl.com/c3w9ff
    Thomas Geoghegan on “Infinite Debt: How Unlimited Interest
    Rates Destroyed the Economy”
    http://tinyurl.com/d2gsl6
    And BTW, I would dispute that women have been traditionally
    hated. They’ve received too much love (the physical kind) and
    until the advent of birth control had no control over their own
    lives.
    The Irish hate the English for starving them (Potato Famine
    anyone?) and for forcing them into wars to expand the British
    empire.
    Americans are hated because very few of us have any idea of
    what we do overseas despite the fact that our interference has
    destroyed more countries than most Americans can place on a
    map.
    We’re also hated for our allegiance to Israel.
    The issue of darker vs. lighter runs through many cultures, so I
    have no idea.
    Some of the posters on this site just waste our time, so I would,
    again, suggest, that those of us who want to stop further attacks
    on the Palestinians/ Iraqis/ Iranians/ Syrians/ Lebanese, etc., go
    do what we can to educate our own communities about the
    Israel lobby and what it has and will cost us.

    Reply

  35. questions says:

    …,
    Here’s my understanding of the course of the conversation. I said something along the lines of “it’s not THE LOBBY” and then you said something about how THE LOBBY and the MIC seem to be working in parallel or together (I wasn’t sure). And then I said, oh, so now you’re broadening and seeing that it’s not just THE LOBBY, but that there are utterly American forces at work that want militaristic policies in place. Then you denied that there was any such broadening in your position, and so then I figured that what you meant was that if the MIC and THE LOBBY are working together, it’s at the behest of THE LOBBY (read: The Israeli government.) And hence we are back to THE LOBBY’s control of US policies, something I don’t agree is a good characterization of American politics in the ME. I still hold to the complex systems view. (And by the way, Nick Kristof has a nice column today in the NYT on hedgehogs and foxes. Worth reading, if I may say so myself. Foxes seem to do better with complexity, nuance and correctness, hedgehogs are good at yelling and being wrong.)
    Please correct any misreading I’ve made. I certainly have no desire to misread anyone’s views ever. I’m not being dishonest, I promise. I may well be mistaken. Happens all the time. Sorry for any offense. Feel free to re-characterize your position if you feel it’s worth the effort.

    Reply

  36. ... says:

    questions, i have not said anything like what you claim.. it is dishonest of you to suggest that from what i have written, but then i suppose we aren’t involved in a conversation so much as a try to paint the other as an imbecile.. i can’t say that is my objective here, but it appears that it is yours..

    Reply

  37. questions says:

    Outraged American writes some stuff above to which I am replying with a set of questions I don’t even want to type:
    Why have women been traditionally hated? Must be something about them. Maybe it’s all that insatiable sexual appetite stuff.
    Why have people with darker skin traditionally been hated? Must be something about them.
    Why have the Irish and English hated each other? Must be something about them.
    Why have Americans hated just about everybody? must be something about everybody.
    Outraged American, do you see where you’re going? You really want to go there? Really?
    (And your professor at Northeastern was using a shortcut for thinking. Usury is an old old old tale. Remember, all the people who borrow from “usurers” actually need the money they are borrowing and so are just as caught up in the usury system as the lenders. What is the difference between borrowing with interest and lending for interest if the interest system itself is supposed to be suspect? Please do a whole lot more thinking before you post.)
    And …, so now you are saying that the Israeli government controls all the defense contractors and forces them to sell weapons systems to the Pentagon? Huh? You mean that Pentagon procurement has nothing to do with Congressional districts and jobs programs and tough talk on “being strong on defense” and the run of ignorance and fear of being the one to vote against some ill-understood missile system the lack of which might cause the end of the known universe? It’s all Israel? Really? Wow.
    Why not ask Mr. MondoWeiss about some of these theories. See what he thinks about the usury thing and the defense contractor theory. I’d be curious.

    Reply

  38. Outraged American says:

    Israel is an artificial construct based on a hate-filled, fictional
    book (the Old Testament/ Torah). The Palestinians have every
    right to fight for their land, and I have every right, as an
    American taxpayer, to tell my country to get Israel the F out of
    U.S. foreign policy before she gets us into another war.
    Suggested reading:
    Walt and Mearsheimer “The Israel Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy”
    Feith, Perle, the Wurmsers, written for Netanyahu “A Clean Break:
    A New Stragey for Securing the Realm”
    Why have Jews been traditionally hated? I’ve pondered that
    question for decades. A professor at Northeastern, and a new
    re-reading of the New Testament, had the same explanation,
    and it could perhaps be correct, because they practiced usury
    when Christians and Muslims were forbidden to do so.
    I think it’s time for some navel-gazing. This is not to say that
    either Christianity or Islam doesn’t need to do the same, but I
    think that we need to toss aside the B.S. word “anti-Semite” and
    analyze the situation as it stands.

    Reply

  39. ... says:

    DonS – thanks for the article.. mondoweiss has an article up on it as well.
    http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/03/mainstream-media-at-last-battens-on-to-us-taxdeductible-gifts-to-israeli-colonists.html
    questions, i am not backing up from anything… reasonable influence : – not having undue influence, which is what israel has had for too long… check out some of the articles for present examples….

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    …,
    It’s not about “working to sound reasonable”; rather, it’s about structuring arguments, defining terms, looking at the context, trying to figure out workable analogies.
    Note how now you are broadening your terms from the I-LOBBY to the MIC and showing how they dovetail. You have taken one step back from conspiracy theory and now you seem to be seeing that in fact there are multiple causes for events. I’d add another huge stack of causes to the ones you’ve touched on and in adding more causes, I’d be subtracting from the importance of any one of them.
    Our political system is a complex system with many actors, many interests, and many possible outcomes. It’s not “working to sound reasonable” nor “mak[ing] and appearance of sounding ever so reasonable about all of this” to say this, it’s describing what seems to happen across numerous events.
    So now, please define what “reasonable influence” for any group since you’ve brought up the phrase.

    Reply

  41. DonS says:

    The IRS/ tax code: another way in which the US supports radical Israelis. We are all familiar with notion of cross subsidization. I have argued for a long time that American gifts to so-called charities are a smokescreen for Israeli occupation and expansion in the territories. David Ignatious makes that point today.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/25/AR2009032502800.html
    What is wrong with this picture whereby the US tax code rewards individuals for undermining the stated policy of the US government? And how could that be changed? Perhaps the Lobby would weigh in on this since it impacts their “client”. For that matter, perhaps the Federal government would weigh in on this since it represents both a loss of revenue and a perversion of stated foreign policy.

    Reply

  42. ... says:

    the poster questions works to sound reasonable… there is nothing reasonable about the over reaching influence of israel on the direction of the usa… the war in iraq is one case in point… it was promoted aggressively by israeli firsters.. netanyahu spoke openly how 9-11 would help israel.. one wonders what israel intel knew and what it with held in both events, or the lead up to both…
    while it is true american politicians don’t have to support such an extreme group, it also dovetails with another lobby group that work hand in hand with the israel lobby – the military industrial lobby… it would seem both israel and the military industrial lobby would like nothing better then to be at war 24/7… that is not in the usa’s best interest either…
    like the poster continue to make an appearance of sounding ever so reasonable about all of this… their is nothing reasonable about the influence of israel on the direction of the usa….

    Reply

  43. ami says:

    Oreos/Cookies n milk says:
    [i]”People like Cole should be ashamed of themselves. he says he lived in Beirut for 10 years. he speaks arabic, right? Does he read the papers? Does he watch arabic TV? They make fox and limbaugh look tame. Of course only the latter make liberals angry, but casual talk of jews as pigs and apes and fantasy of their mass murder doesn’t really get any progressives riled up. Intolerant culture that at its heart, the birth place of islam, [b]christians SMUGGLE IN christimas trees[/b], has nothing to do with ideology. No sir, it’s just politics! ROFL.
    I can’t wait for reality-challenged liberals accusing me of bigotry and racism. By the way, I’m posting this from an Arabic country and speak Arabic. FYI.”
    “And yes, I AM persian. [b]I’m from kuwait[/b] and a minority here are called ajams or ayams meaning persian, we’re kuwaities (were there from the beginning of the country) but not arab and usually shi’a (though I’m an atheist). There are similar minorities in other arab states on the Persian gulf (not saudi arabia though, heh).”[/i]
    ——
    Christmas in Kuwait: http://intlxpatr.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/christmas-in-kuwait/
    TBH, I rarely see talk of “jews as pigs or apes” outside the web pages of MEMRI which even there were attributed to extremist clerics. As a native Arabic speaker, I read and follow both Arabic and English news where I am in the gulf (Bahrain). On Jazeera extremists are sometimes brought in to clash with moderates and outlandish views are often expressed, but such views are not vigorously held by the masses. The masses, esp in the gulf are not politicized, they dont talk much about about regional developments or the Israeli/Arab conflict or Bin Laden as much as would be assumed. Such matters are mostly peripheral in their lives and not of much importance to them practically speaking. Bin Laden seems to me a far more prominent individual in the West than in most mid-east countries, esp in the gulf. Al-Jazeera in pursuit of sensationalism every now and then posts a recording from Bin Laden which is quickly forgotten about the next day and hardly gets a paragraph in the papers and MOST CERTAINLY NO pro-Bin Laden views in the Op-eds.
    Bear in mind, most Arab countries are U.S. allies or are in bed with the U.S. on policy matters in one area or another. Their media purposely shuns pro-Islamist views (ie, Qaeda type views) because these govts and regimes are the targets of the pro-Islamists/Jihadists precisely for their pro-U.S. stances. The media may air twisted Islamist thinking, ie, not related to politics or anything that would threaten them, but stops there.
    I would think the oreo/cookies milk guy is perhaps more influenced by wingnut anti-Islamist blogs (LGF, Jihadwatch, etc) then actual life in Kuwait, which I have visited on numerous occasions. There are plenty of Christmas trees all over the gulf, although not Saudi. As to minorities not existing in Saudi (ie Shiites) they make up a sizable portion of the Eastern Province. Unfortunately they are discriminated against by the Saudi religious establishment.

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    Carroll,
    Your pasted piece above undermines THE LOBBY-reification cabal you want it to support.
    First, note that Mears. cites the general legitimacy of lobbying (of course, he’s only saying this so he won’t be, umm, retaliated against for coming out anti-Israel??? Nope. He’s saying it because lobbying is legit.)
    Second, note that if THE LOBBY is omni-omnium then it wouldn’t be subject to countervailing forces in the blogosphere. In fact, what’s happening is precisely what the system does best — force and counterforce.
    People dislike the pro-Israeli pressure system and gradually a different set of pressures will come to be. Think about the gun lobby/NRA. Gun laws have generally been quite lenient in this country. Why? Because the NRA is effective AND because every state has a bigger rural land mass than urban land mass, and many states have very little in the way of urban gun-disliking places. So there’s organized pro-gun stuff, and there’s the fact that a lot of people organized or not like guns. The Second Amendment is notoriously unclear from “militia” to a comma or two that are not clearly understood. The law is muzzy, but people love their guns. The love came before the NRA, but the NRA encourages the love. When James Brady was shot along with Reagan, there was some pushback mostly by urban dems. But we have an urban dem president who is convinced that there is a substantive 2nd amendment right to bear arms in the form of a lot of guns. Where’s the power at this point? In rural gunlove, and urban crime anxiety/self-protection. A few more Brady-style moments and the emphasis will shift again. Campus shootings haven’t been sufficient for this because the gunlove is really strong.
    AIPAC works the same way. It’ll have power until there is a pushback. That’s how the system works. AIPAC is like other lobbies. It pushes and gets what it wants until people don’t want it anymore. The pushback is effective when there are enough people pushing. And the government will respond in a policy fashion eventually.
    In terms of burning Congress to the ground and starting over, you clearly don’t know much about how groups of people organize themselves in institutions in order to function. Starting over would replicate most of the forms that are already there. 535 people have to balance HUGE numbers of forces, learn vast quantities of policy information, juggle constituents, fellow members, selfish concerns, re-election concerns, policy concerns, the other branches, committees, families, moral beliefs…. You can’t get rid of these pressures and so you can’t get rid of the inefficiencies and institutional responses.
    Finally, please note that what Mearsheimer wants is… WHAT MEARSHEIMER WANTS. That is, he has policy preferences he’d like to impose on the country. He thinks his policy preferences are best. He cites evidence, makes arguments, and his views must be evaluated and treated as views, not at the gospel truth. Isn’t that what everyone does? Even you??? Even AIPAC?????

    Reply

  45. Carroll says:

    Last update – 10:39 25/03/2009
    The pro-Israel lobby – ‘alive, well, and bipartisan?’
    By Nathan Guttman, The Forward
    The fight is over. Chas Freeman, the outspoken Israel critic appointed to chair the National Intelligence Council, is out. And now, both sides in the explosive firefight that broke out over his appointment are battling to frame the narrative over what it all meant.
    For some of Freeman’s critics, the bottom line is what counts. “This shows the pro-Israel lobby is alive and well, and bipartisan,” declared Jonathan Tobin, executive editor of the neoconservative journal Commentary, at a public forum just five days after Freeman’s March 10 withdrawal.
    Indeed, with Freeman departing under pressure, pro-Israel activists succeeded in drawing a line in the sand and sending a strong signal to the Obama administration about what is acceptable in Middle East policy. President Obama himself made no effort to defend Freeman. He stressed, as the controversy escalated, that it was his director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, who made the appointment with no White House input.
    Advertisement
    But critics, interestingly, are celebrating the bright light the Freeman issue shone on their own questioning of American policy toward Israel and on their claims that the pro-Israel lobby routinely uses its clout to ensure that dissenters gain no foothold. They say their attempt to discuss the Israel lobby issue won a legitimacy it never had before.
    “Freeman became sort of a martyr,” argued Ian Lustick, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “The lobby might have won, but they paid a price.”
    The eruption of public debate over the role of pro-Israel activists in shaping American policy toward the Middle East comes nearly three years after two leading scholars, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, published their article about the Israel lobby, which later turned into a book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.”
    One of the authors’ key arguments was that there was a lack of open public debate in the United States over foreign policy issues relating to Israel, because the lobby and its supporters seek to stifle open discussion of the issue.
    Thanks in part to the Internet, the Freeman affair made clear that in one respect, this argument is no longer valid. Walt was among those leading the debate through his daily blog, hosted by the prestigious Web site foreignpolicy.com. He has been joined and supported by bloggers and columnists who are well within the mainstream.
    Still, the mainstream press was slow to pick up on the issue. And the outcome of the episode indicates that strong critics of Israel may be cut off from government positions of real influence. Several incidents in recent years also suggest that untenured faculty at some colleges may want to consider their career prospects before speaking out too boldly.
    Mearsheimer sees the situation as nuanced. “The Freeman issue had a significant influence on how people think; it had some influence on the discourse – and almost none on how policy is made,” he told the Forward.
    Mearsheimer praised the Internet as the main force promoting a new sense of openness on this issue. He condemned the mainstream media as “hopeless.”
    One of the questions that continues to be debated between pro-Freeman activists and those who oppose Freeman is to what extent the Israel lobby was actually involved in derailing his appointment.
    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel Washington lobby, issued a statement asserting that it had not lobbied against Freeman. And most large Jewish groups avoided the issue publicly. Still, it is now clear that pro-Israel activists were involved behind the scenes in conveying their displeasure with the choice of Freeman as National Intelligence Council chairman.
    “We made our representation to members of Congress and to people in the administration,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Sometimes we talk publicly and sometimes privately.”
    Foxman, who led the fight against Walt and Mearsheimer when their book first came out, and even published a book rebutting them, stressed that there is nothing wrong with Jewish Americans raising their concerns on the Freeman issue.
    “If the Jewish community would not express its views, it would be a victory for the bigots,” he said, “I don’t think we should let them intimidate us.”
    Though Foxman is skeptical of their sincerity, Mearsheimer and Walt themselves say repeatedly that they agree with him, calling pro-Israel advocacy “entirely legitimate.”
    They argue instead that some also seek to stifle or penalize those who speak out on the other side. And they insist that the success of the pro-Israel lobby in influencing American policy – though pursued legitimately – has harmed American interests.
    Some Jewish activists say the attention given to the issue by critics of the pro-Israel lobby helped only to amplify the lobby’s perceived power.
    Doug Bloomfield, who served in the past as AIPAC’s chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill, said that if the lobby would have been really active on this issue, “they could get dozens of signatures on a congressional letter overnight.” Instead, he said, AIPAC’s detractors created an image of enormous power “without AIPAC lifting a finger.”
    AIPAC’s former director of foreign policy, Steve Rosen, who used his blog to lead the fight against Freeman’s appointment, saw it differently. Rosen, who once famously described the lobby as a night flower that “thrives in the dark and dies in the sun,” made clear that the public exposure did not serve the pro-Israel lobby’s interests.
    “I’m sure AIPAC was happy when Freeman withdrew, but they might also be worried by the high profile of the Freeman issue,” he said.
    Tobin, speaking at a March 15 panel discussion at Queens College, said the lobby’s show of force made clear that Obama will not “fall on his sword” to defend appointees perceived as anti-Israel. He said it also suggested that Obama would not spend political capital on fighting with incoming Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Walt agreed. “The worst aspect of the Freeman affair is the likelihood of a chilling effect on discourse in Washington, at precisely the time when we badly need a more open and wide-ranging discussion of our Middle East policy,” he blogged at foreignpolicy.com.
    Rosen, who is now awaiting trial on charges of communicating national security information, and at the same time is suing his former bosses at AIPAC for more than $20 million, stressed that the lobby could not have succeeded in blocking Freeman if similar attitudes did not already exist in Congress.
    “I was taught that AIPAC cannot do anything against the will of its friends in Congress,” Rosen said, referring to his 23-year experience with the organization.
    Critics respond that through their donations to congressional campaigns, organized Jewish contributors and a network of pro-Israel political action committees do much to help shape that will.
    It was clear that Freeman had few friends in Congress. The anti-Freeman push came from some of Israel’s strongest supporters. Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer personally lobbied White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who is also a strong backer of Israel. After Freeman withdrew his nomination, Schumer stated publicly that he “repeatedly urged the White House to reject him” because Freeman’s views on Israel were “way over the top.”
    Several other strong supporters of Israel took action on this issue, including Independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and two congressmen – Democrat Steve Israel of New York, and Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois.
    At the same time, several lawmakers, among them House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is a California Democrat, and Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, came out against Freeman’s appointment because of his views on China.
    Washington Post columnist and staunch centrist David Broder deplored the influence of the Israel lobby in this case. He fingered Congress as the critical force that compelled Freeman’s departure. The foreign policy analyst, who speaks Mandarin Chinese and Arabic, was set to ride out the storm when Broder met him for breakfast the day he left. “But after another visit to members of Congress, Freeman was gone,” Broder reported.
    In his wake, advocates on both sides of the debate about the lobby agree that public discourse is now more receptive to ideas challenging the lobby’s positions. But despite the lively debate in the blogosphere and in the press, the political echelons are untouched by this trend.
    “I don’t see it happening in the near future,” Lustick said. “The last people to change are the politicians.” >>>>>>>
    Which is why we should BURN CONGRESS TO THE GROUND AND START OVER.

    Reply

  46. TonyForesta says:

    kotzabasis, – you realize that America is the worlds hypersuperior military with the most costly, most well trained and equipped, most sophisiticated and technologically advanced, and most lethal warfighing force ever assembled – and that your “scimitar wielding terrorists” are armed with AK-47’s, RPG’s, and IED’s?
    How, unless we allow it, is this enemy a threat to America?
    Upon what grounds do you proclaim that “Cole has been serially wrong in all his prognostications about the outcome of the war in Iraq.” Cole has sadly been right in his prognostications regarding Iraq, and a champion in exposing and analyzing grotesque abuses and perversions, wanton profiteering, and the ruthless dismantling and dismembering of the Constitution and the rule of law. I relish this debate!!!
    9/11 was an inside job. I know it’s terribly hard to accept and makes people wail and gnash their teeth, but “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”. Let’s look into it. I know, there are these other distractions, and crisis, and we want to look forward, not backward, and there are powerful forces resisting a real investigation (NOT A PARTISAN WHITEWASH) into 9/11, – but until that little issue is resolved America will always be “looking through the glass darkly” and wondering obssessively what “evil lurks in the hearts of men”?!!

    Reply

  47. ... says:

    i am saying too much influence of people with jewish background… what part of that didn’t you get??

    Reply

  48. questions says:

    …,
    Let me get this straight. Are you saying that the very fact of Coleman’s being challenged by Franken in the senatorial general election in Minnesota is proof of undue Israeli influence? Seriously?

    Reply

  49. DonS says:

    More OT
    Along the lines of why should we even have a smidgen of hpoe that the Obama administration
    will prosecute Bush administration officials for patent violatons of the law, much less war crines:
    per Emptywheel, “Declining Justice: DOJ Lets Statute Run On Bush Criminality”
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/03/25/declining-justice-doj-lets-statute-run-on-bush-criminality/#more-3837

    Reply

  50. ... says:

    question – point being israel has undue influence in american politics and this is just one more small example… but you can keep trying to tear the example apart, rather then getting the bigger picture as that would serve your interest or pov i guess..

    Reply

  51. Kathleen G says:

    POA “Don there will be no prosecutions”
    I so hope, pray that you have to eat these words.
    Most of all keep pushing for accountability

    Reply

  52. questions says:

    I tell you, …, the whole “undue influence” thing, the whole “nationality of most Minnesotans” thing — very bizarre. What Minnesotans all have in common is that they live in Minnesota. What if two African-Americans had been running? Would that also violate your notion of the “nationality of most Minnesotans?” Do you have to be, what is it, of German ancestry and be Christian in terms of religion, and be a certain weight and height in order to represent Minnesota? How far do you want to go with this notion of “the nationality of most Minnesotans?”
    In terms of a lobby like any other, AIPAC is a lobby like any other. They bribe, threaten, talk, treat, primary, advertise, mail, phone, op-ed, donate…just like any other lobby. Think guns, think PhRMA, think dairy, think defense, think AHIP, think Cuba, think telecom…. All of these groups have possibly huge influence on policy because they have significant numbers of supporters or a few really key supporters, because large numbers of people agree with them, because these people make up a market to which newspapers, magazines and tv time must be sold. This IS the American political system. It works based on the influence you seem to decry only when it comes to Israel. And you key on one Senate race in particular for no really good reason.

    Reply

  53. DonS says:

    ” . . . there will be no prosecutions”
    That’s my feeling as well, at least not in the US. Congrersspersons are not even pushing the President on this, which would give him some cover if he were so inclined. Truth commission/schmuth commission I say. Too damn bad that a US government wont stand up and demonstrate it’s does not stand for torture. Legitimate prosecutions, even if it came to acquittal would restore some credibility.
    Why is it that US politicians are so gentile/coopted/homogenized/plastic/non-representative?. Have become so gentile that even the word “torture” cannot be broached without a fainting couch nearby?

    Reply

  54. ... says:

    questions – it is a free world… people of jewish background can run in politics… the fact 2 people of jewish background ran in minnesota where the number of jewish people is around 2% maybe would imply these politicians don’t represent the nationality of most minnesotans… does it matter? only if you think jews have undue influence and control over the american political system….
    but hey… keep on rattling on about the money, as it is relevant as well….. i think the thing about mondoweiss is that it gets under those folks like yourself who are always so determined to say that the israel lobby is just like any other lobby and that it doesn’t have undue influence… that is the part i find you regularly like to obfuscate… now maybe minnesota politics is just a freak isolated example.. i guess that will be your next argument..

    Reply

  55. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Amazing, Don. Why this misplaced and optimistic attitude about Obama still exists is beyond me. Obama has already told us that he doesn’t thibnk Bush committed “grave and intentional breaches of the President’s authority”. Thats pretty clear, isn’t it? If Obama won’t tell us the truth, as his statement demonstrates, then what hope for prosecutions are there? Any upper tier politician that claims Bush did not commit “grave and intentional breaches of the President’s authority” is a fuckin’ liar, period. Even discounting Obama’s statement, one cannot avoid the FACT that Rice and Gonzalez are KNOWN perjurers, yet have not been held accountable for their lies. Factor in the moves that Holder’s justice Department is making to PROTECT Rumsfeld, and a number of Bush policies, and what more proof do you need that this posturing piece of shit has as little respect for the law as George Bush does. Since when do our leaders get to pick and choose which crimes get prosecuted, and which criminals? Its uncontestable that laws were broken, yet Obama and Holder DO NOTHING, except PROTECT a number of the criminals.
    Don, there will be no prosecutions.

    Reply

  56. DonS says:

    Quick note here, maybe OT, maybe not:
    Jonathan Turley (who I like, and not just because he teaches at one of my alma maters), on Rachael Maddow, critical of Obama for standing in the way of war crimes prosecutions of Bushies. Quite a few here are strongly interested in accountability as one if not THE issue under pinning the actual restorationof some moral compass for the US, and not just taking Obama’s word for it. Man many of us are critical of the MSM as well as the alternative media for not pushing the issue (Kathleen has been particularly down on Maddow who, by inference, is at least giving tacit assent to the POV, although she hedges a bit).
    http://firedoglake.com/2009/03/24/turley-to-obama-indict-cheney-already/
    My concern is that by engaging in dialogue with the probable criminal, as Turley notes, Obama is legitimizing Cheney more, and not walking back from the “non-prosecution” stance, appointing a special prosecutor etc. Cheney is trying to normalize and legitimize his presence and his views, constantly watering down the public perception of being being beyond the pale. Obama needs to get out of the way, and stop dialoging with Cheney. When Obama and his surrogates did it with Limbaugh, everyone seemed to think it was a brilliat political move to paint the repubs as Rush clones. I think it’s dangerous for Obama to overestimate what he can convey by the his pearly words.

    Reply

  57. questions says:

    arthurdecco,
    I assume that there’s an insult in there. A reference to a children’s story, even. But I’m not actually seeing an argument, a fact, an idea… in what you posted.
    So tell me, what is the point in pointing out that 60% of Coleman’s donations came from non-Jewish people? And does every “Jewish dollar” come with Israeli strings attached? Just be really explicit, as if you were talking to a really dumb person, which I suppose I am in your eyes. Take me through an argument a step at a time with a real eye for detail: THIS is the I-LOBBY. The I-LOBBY does the following. This is how Congress works. Congress responds to these incentives. This is how control works. Here are the voting patterns and donation patterns of all people whose names have been cross-listed with some “Jewish” name list. Spell the whole thing out and convince me. I’m guessing that there’s a dissertation in 3 volumes lurking here, but maybe you could at least start the legwork.
    My guess is that it won’t work out so well because money, Judaism, conservatism, support for Israel, irritation at Israel, voting patterns in Congress, rhetoric, credit claiming and the like are a huge and chaotic system. Sometimes something like a pattern will appear, but then not be sustained. Be open to the evidence and you’ll see less.
    So what did I eat for breakfast??!!

    Reply

  58. kotzabasis says:

    Juan Cole another bright recruit joining Clemom’s brigade of nipple-fed-intellectuals that will fight the scimitar wielding terrorists (dubbed by Clemons ‘so-called “War on terror,”’ as if 9/11 was a “wet dream.”) with olive branches in its hands. Cole has been serially wrong in all his prognostications about the outcome of the war in Iraq and yet for Clemons is one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful American observers of the Middle East.”
    It’s certain that the way to hell will be blazed by this intellectually flabby set of political and strategic epigones.

    Reply

  59. arthurdecco says:

    Questions, I see you’ve started to gobble up your own tail. How long before you’re all eaten up and disappear?

    Reply

  60. questions says:

    “the fact the race was between 2 people of jewish background, both likely receiving support from jewish supporters towards 40% says something.. minnesota is made up of what % jewish heritage???? some things are fairly obvious in spite of others desire to portray exactly the opposite or even worse – work to obfuscate.. this is where i view much of your and wigwags expertise resides..”
    This race attracted national attention because control of the 60-vote filibuster proof Senate was at stake (assuming that all 60 Dems might ever vote together…).
    So lots of money poured in from all over the country. Heck, I was thinking about sending Franken some “Jewish money.”
    Now, here’s a question. If a Jewish person donates money, is it Jewish money? Republican or Democratic money? Male or female money? Conservative or liberal money? I’d guess nearly 100% of Coleman’s money was Republican. There’s a conspiracy. The Republicans support Republican holders of Republican views. There’s a Republican lobby. They control newspapers and tv outlets, radio stations and websites. There are things no Republican can say or they lose their jobs.
    So, …, what’s so obvious, and what am I “obfuscating?” Expert obfuscator that I am, I don’t entirely understand how I’m obfuscating. Please clarify.
    Explain, please, what the conspiracy is in the Minnesota race’s having attracted huge amounts of out-of-state money. Explain the conspiracy about the 40% thing. Post-college educated people make up a fairly small percentage of the population, but they hold a disproportionate share of…. African-Americans are about 12 or 13% of the population, but hold 100% of the presidency. Hmmm, there must be a conspiracy….
    Your data fail to prove what you want, and you give no context for meaning. You also don’t really explain what “Jewish money” is given that two Jewish people were running against each other in a nationally significant race. How much of that money was given and tagged with “VOTE ACCORDING TO THE LOBBY’S WILL OR YOU SHALL BE BANISHED FROM THE SENATE?” Did Franken and Coleman BOTH receive conservative Republican LOBBY money? Are both part of THE LOBBY? Could there just be some party identification stuff happening here?
    Try it again. This one didn’t work.

    Reply

  61. Cookies_and_Milk says:

    PissedOffAmerica,
    “Geez, whats this, the jackass’s fifth personality here?
    Now he’s Persian?
    Right. Uh huh. Sure.”
    Why would I be lying? Not only do you not know anything about the middle east, but you’re incapable of comprehending anything that doesn’t completely mesh with your OMG MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX BUSH = HITLER mentality.
    It’s possible to hate Israel for what it does without portraying their victims as anything but pure angels and supporting tyrants and poisonous cultures that need to be reformed and not defended, but it seems that’s impossible for most people. You’re just another fanatic shouting at others who don’t fall in your group, the values you claim to hold and pretend to be the reason your views are the way they are, don’t mean anything as they’re only applied according to certain circumstances.
    And yes, I AM persian. I’m from kuwait and a minority here are called ajams or ayams meaning persian, we’re kuwaities (were there from the beginning of the country) but not arab and usually shi’a (though I’m an atheist). There are similar minorities in other arab states on the Persian gulf (not saudi arabia though, heh).

    Reply

  62. TonyForesta says:

    We must all examine our respective religions and decide what kind of human beings we are, and what set of parameters or codes or standards or prinicples we champion and abide, and if whatever book or prophet or goddess or god we worship is a benevolent goddess or god, – or the vengeful wrathful kind.
    If the vengeful wrathful kinds dominate – humans will divide and declare wars, and slaughter each others children, and a few select predator class cronies and oligarchs will profiteer wantonly and riegn Olympian, sumpremist, and imponderably wealthy mastersoftheunivers. Other vengeful wrathful broods hate women and music, hold a strange attraction to goats, and enjoy beheading infidels. Others intentionally shoot children. The world is controlled by brutes, – merciless heartless savages.
    I pray for the benevolent goddesses and gods, – but all I see – are the vengeful wrathful kind.
    What are we?

    Reply

  63. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Geez, whats this, the jackass’s fifth personality here?
    Now he’s Persian?
    Right. Uh huh. Sure.

    Reply

  64. Kathleen G says:

    Micheal Scheuer is mopping up the floor with truth telling over at antiwar.com
    http://www.antiwar.com/scheuer/?articleid=14448
    March 24, 2009
    Noninterventionists Need Not Apply
    by Michael Scheuer
    In a recent issue of Newsweek, the journal’s inexplicably renowned Muslim-world and foreign-policy expert Fareed Zakaria had a cover story called “Learning to Live With Radical Islam.” To my surprise, I received a call from Newsweek editor Will Tacy, who said that the journal was canvassing other “experts” for a 700-word comment on Zakaria’s article and asked if I would write a contribution. I agreed, wrote an article of the requisite length, and submitted the piece before the deadline. Mr. Tacy acknowledged receiving the commentary, but I have never heard from him again – despite sending several notes and leaving voice-mail – and the piece was not printed.
    The Lobby Like No Other
    Wants a War Like No Other
    http://www.antiwar.com/scheuer/?articleid=13295
    Let me say that I harbor no resentment over the actions of Israel’s leaders. For more than 60 years, they have knowingly made their country a pariah in the Arab and Islamic worlds, just as the Palestinians have made themselves pariahs in much of the West. This is, of course, the right of both parties, but neither seems to want to face the consequences of their decisions. With demographic realities and increasingly radical, well-armed Arabs making them panicky about Israel’s security, Israel’s leaders naturally to try to lock down as much U.S. support as possible. Having consciously – if unwisely – put all their eggs in the U.S. basket since the 1973 War, Israel’s leaders must do everything possible to protect their relationship with Washington.
    The U.S. invasion of Iraq, it seems, was not enough for the Israel-firsters. Now, according to Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a U.S.-launched war on Iran is needed because “the threat that the U.S. and Israel face from the Islamic Republic of Iran is today greater than ever.” Though based on the fantasy that Ahmedinejad’s tin-pot regime is a threat to the world’s only superpower, this is a perfectly commonsense position for Israel and its U.S.-citizen backers in AIPAC to champion. In their view, U.S. wars with Muslims are the ultimate good for Israel. Recall, if you will, the perfectly accurate April 2008, words of Benjamin Netanyahu, likely Israel’s next prime minister: “We [Israel] are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the twin towers and the Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.” These wars, Netanyahu said, have “swung American public opinion in our favor.” How much more must Netanyahu and AIPAC believe that a U.S. war with Iran would add to this “swing” in Israel’s favor?

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  65. Kathleen G says:

    sorry. the article is great

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  66. Kathleen G says:

    POA/aLL
    Did you read Justin Raimando’s piece on the Freeman withdrawal?
    http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=14394
    The complete disingenuousness with which Chait made his argument is so transparent that it makes me wonder if, perhaps, the Israel lobby has abandoned all attempts at subtlety, and is now working on the assumption that it doesn’t matter any more if they come out in the open. The nightflower has been exposed to the light of day, and, rather than wilt, perhaps its nurturers have decided that it’s better to brave the sun. That’s why the Mearsheimer-Walt book has become such a target, to the point that anyone who praises it, as Freeman has done, is deemed unfit for office in Washington. This explains why former AIPAC top lobbyist Steve Rosen, the indicted spy who stole classified information on behalf of Israel, openly led the anti-Freeman movement (see this timeline) and didn’t even try to hide his key role in the affair.
    The Lobby was desperate to keep Freeman out of the NIC because it’s an agency that provides key intelligence for the President and Congress. If you’ll recall, that’s how the War Party lured us into fighting an unnecessary war against Iraq – by manipulating the intelligence, and even resorting to forgery to achieve their ends. With Freeman at the helm of the intelligence-gathering machinery, they’d never be able to pull if off again. In his absence – well, they just might. That’s just what they’re getting ready to do in the case of Iran, which, we are told, is gathering “weapons of mass destruction.” Part of the NIC’s job is to prepare the daily presidential briefings, and with such access to the President, Freeman would have been in a good position to block the War Party’s machinations. Which is why Chait’s parting salvo is such an outrage:
    ZING…ALTHOUGH RACHEL MADDOW. OLBERMAN,(who claim they control the contents of their shows). MATTHEWS NEVER TOUCHED THIS STORY THAT I AM AWARE OF. LOOKS LIKE DIANE REHMS IS TOO CHICKEN SHIT TO TOUCH THIS STORY TOO.

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  67. Kathleen G says:

    POA/ All
    Just read Justin Raimando’s stinging piece on the Freeman withdrawal. Worth the read
    http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=14394
    “The complete disingenuousness with which Chait made his argument is so transparent that it makes me wonder if, perhaps, the Israel lobby has abandoned all attempts at subtlety, and is now working on the assumption that it doesn’t matter any more if they come out in the open. The nightflower has been exposed to the light of day, and, rather than wilt, perhaps its nurturers have decided that it’s better to brave the sun. That’s why the Mearsheimer-Walt book has become such a target, to the point that anyone who praises it, as Freeman has done, is deemed unfit for office in Washington. This explains why former AIPAC top lobbyist Steve Rosen, the indicted spy who stole classified information on behalf of Israel, openly led the anti-Freeman movement (see this timeline) and didn’t even try to hide his key role in the affair.
    The Lobby was desperate to keep Freeman out of the NIC because it’s an agency that provides key intelligence for the President and Congress. If you’ll recall, that’s how the War Party lured us into fighting an unnecessary war against Iraq – by manipulating the intelligence, and even resorting to forgery to achieve their ends. With Freeman at the helm of the intelligence-gathering machinery, they’d never be able to pull if off again. In his absence – well, they just might. That’s just what they’re getting ready to do in the case of Iran, which, we are told, is gathering “weapons of mass destruction.” Part of the NIC’s job is to prepare the daily presidential briefings, and with such access to the President, Freeman would have been in a good position to block the War Party’s machinations. Which is why Chait’s parting salvo is such an outrage:’
    Sting!

    Reply

  68. ... says:

    c and m – you have been here before saying the same thing as before… i support bin laden more then i support cheney fwiw… i think polls are for retards to convince retards of something irrelevant… lets talk about who is spreading terror more – cheney or bin laden? i say cheney, you say bin laden..

    Reply

  69. Cookies_and_Milk says:

    Sorry for the repeated posts but I’ll just mention one last thing and I’m gone. Just in case BS and Milk comes in here and accuses me of also hating iranians – I’m persian. I grew up in an Arabic country and speak arabic as my first language, but my ancestry is from Iran. My parents generation speak some persian (farsi just means persian in… persian) and I grew up loving Iran and still do even though I’ve never been there or speak the language.
    Unlike the enlightened ‘progressives’ seeing the savage tyranny there breaks my hearts as opposed to giving me anti-american talking points and heroes to cheer for.

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  70. Cookies_and_Milk says:

    That khamenie speech is typical of the middle east. We = pure innocent victims UMERIKA = TEH DEVIL.
    There was a lot of american influence in Iran but they sure as hell didn’t do as they please and ‘control’ its natural resources. The shah went as far as to artificially spike oil prices and rake in the millions – spent on modernizing iran.
    That said it’s hilarious that iran is now a bankrupt country that’s one of the worse to live in and its people dreaming of nothing but leaving. So much for self-rule. And this is with billions of oil money pouring in, imagine when the green revolution hits full swing and prices crash, what will the middle east do when it actually has to compete with the world? The answer is nothing, it will continue to slide into backwardness. Maybe iran is moving forward, eventually khamneie and friends will be gone, but then they would have wasted all the oil and their biggest opportunity in history. Oh well, more things to blame the west for.

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  71. Cookies_and_Milk says:

    Outraged American,
    Ah, if only the world was so nice and rational. History has shown has that any hate directed at any group, especially jews, has behind it completely legitimate and rational reason, right? LOL
    Read some history. Jews were treated like dirt in the arab world. Better so in non-arab countries like Turkey and Iran, but there’s a reason iran’s jewish population has dwindled to its size today.
    And there are plenty, PLENTY, of hurtful actions towards muslims by muslims themselves, whether they’re uber-nationalists or muslim fundamentalists, that screwed up the islamic world more than america ever could. And if you want to expand that to non-muslims, because we all know we humans only ever thunder with righteous rage is when someone who doesn’t look like us is the ‘criminal,’ the soviet union alone negates that argument. They invaded afghanistan and unlike the US there was no talk of aid and cooperating to only root out a few terrorist, nothing but murder and oppression. Now I know some liberals would say that’s what the american ’empire’ is doing, but one can’t argue with stupid.
    Those iranians chanting death to america are a pretty good example. They are one of a few people that actually have some legitimate complaints against american. But then again russia interfered in their affairs too, CUT OFF A PART OF THEIR COUNTRY – AZERBAIJAN – is bombing the crap out o the chechnyans, fellow muslims of the iranians, and overall doesn’t really have the best history.
    Look at it now – iran’s only friend. Well second friend, add china.
    and the french who sold weapons to saddam? they have an embassy in tehran. The british, oh those who were an integral part of the coup, and also along with the world sold weapons to saddam. some (all?) of these western countries sold arms to both countries. Ah, western capitalism and morality at its best.
    Where are the death to russia/france/britain chants? Ok britain sometimes gets in there, but they have full relations with iran.
    why can’t iran demand the arab countries apologize for their crimes in supporting saddam, like its demanding from the US?
    How about the pakistani government for creating and supporting the taliban that savagely killed those iranian diplomats and went on a shia killing spree?
    yeah, the answer is quite simple. This same ‘phenomena’ can be applied to most conflicts really. Humans are disgusting irrational and emotional scum, nothing more.
    One last thing – spare me the ‘genocide’ talk. if israel wanted to kill off the palestenians they’d be done and over with it already. That’s what arabs would do, as I’ve been hearing since I was a child. I’m sure some liberal here would tell me I must have misunderstood, oh what a bigoted child you must have been, heh.

    Reply

  72. Cookies_and_Milk says:

    BS and Milk,
    “I have nothing to say about your “polls” because I don’t understand what the point of your post is? That all Arabs and Muslims are bad people? That they are all evil? That they all hate jews? That Liberals are all bad? Your posts are unintelligible rants.”
    The point was that support for bin laden and his ilk is frighteningly high, that’s it. No, I was not saying all muslims or arabs were barbarians – the world is more complicated than your black and white perspective. The fact that support for terrorism is so high (especially against israel, I don’t think there are any polls trying to hide that one – also note I’m talking about targeting israeli civilians here – TERRORISM) requires deeper analysis than ‘lol racist republicans terrorists are a tiny minority’.
    There are many, many brave ARAB liberals talking of this poisonous culture, but they’re alone really unless they accept to be used as fodder for right-wing westerners.
    “If you knew a damn thing about Juan Cole you would know that he has on many occassions spoken critically of the Saudi government and society. I suspect that you live in Saudi. Saudi is by no means a reflection of any othe Arab state let alone Muslim country. ”
    I don’t live in saudi arabia, thank %$#@ for that.
    “I have lived in Qatar for 4 years and have daily dealings with Arabs who hail from all over the Middle East. Your BS anecdotal “proof” of the barbarism of Arabs and Muslims is just that, broad brush BS. And despite what you seem to believe, Arabs and Muslims have not cornered the market on hate and racism. Look in the mirror. ”
    I’m sure if I went to the deep american south I’ll meet some nice smiling people and won’t see any black people hanging on street lights. But the millions that listen to rush limbaugh tell the more accurate story imo.
    By the way, your Qatar experience is also anecdotal. Problem is, a polls that says majority of muslims think bin laden is a hero completely annuls your experience – I don’ care if somebody is nice to foreigners in his country, if he or she thinks slamming an airplane into a building is HEROIC then I have a problem with that person.
    Some logic here: at no point did I say arabs have cornered the market on hate. Try reading next time.
    “You refer to the few people who were “dancing in the streets” after 9/11 — but you seem to have conveniently forgotten the tens of thousands of other Arabs and Muslims who held candle light vigils in support of the victims of 9/11.”
    I don’t remember any, actually. I think Iran was the only (or first?) muslim country to hold such a vigil. I do remember palestenians protesting with pictures of bin laden, then when the media made too much of it Arafat made sure pics of sad palestenian school girls were seen all over the world. Again, opinion polls > a few hundred people doing a vigil somewhere.
    “I have met many (little traveled) Americans who arrived here with pre-conceived notions of Arabs and Muslims and they have only sought that which confirms such pre-conceived notions. You, I surmise, are the same.
    I could spend more time dissecting your own hate-filled comments but it and you are not worth the effort.”
    I’m not American, chief. Though I’m curious about those americans you mention that have a different perspective from their experience than you.
    and my comments are not hate-filled. Well, sort of. It’s unfortunate that a huge population on this earth are so backwards and out of step with the modern world, but what can you do about it. I guess if somebody came from nazi germany and had a negative perspective on the germans and their culture, you’d also call him a hate-filled bigot?
    In my defense however there was a time when I cared about this place of the world and eagerly read articles by the liberals trying to tear down the ignorance that dominates everything here, but I gave up. I also became an atheist and grown less tolerant of bankrupt ideologies that hinder development and bring out the worst in people.
    “Oh yeah, and I speak Arabic too.”
    Alf mabrook. Tabi ja’iza?

    Reply

  73. samuelburke says:

    this is pasted from juancoles website, it is the translation of Speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i to a gathering at the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, on the occasion of Nowruz, the Iranian new year.
    “Listen to these words. This is my advice to US officials, the President, and others. Listen well to these words, and have them translated for you. Of course, do not give it to the Zionists to translate for you. Consult healthy people, and seek their opinions.
    Before the Revolution, Iran was in the hands of the United States, its vital resources were in the hands of the United States, its political decision-making centers were in the hands of the United States, decisions to appoint and depose its vital centers were in the hands of the United States, and it (Iran) was like a field for the United States, the US military, and others on which to graze. Well, this was taken away from them. They could have expressed their opposition in not such an aggressive manner. But from the beginning of the Revolution, both their Republican presidents, and the Democrats, did not behave well toward the Islamic Republic. This is not secret from anyone.
    Pay attention, the first measure taken by the United States was to provoke the scattered opposition groups of the Islamic Republic, and to support terrorism and disintegration in the country. They started this right from the beginning. In any parts of the country, where there were grounds for disintegration, the United States had a hand, we noticed their money, and at times their agents. This cost our people much. Unfortunately, this continues. The bandits in the Iran-Pakistan border areas, we know that some of them — as we have their voices (as received) — are in touch with Americans.”

    Reply

  74. Outraged American says:

    Muslims would not hate Jews were it not for the Zionist state of
    Israel and her U.S. funded aggression toward the Palestinians, the
    Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iranians, the Iraqis.
    Israel and her horrific, genocidal actions are at the root of hatred
    directed to Jews, many of whom are completely innocent of any
    aggression.
    Israel hurts righteous Jews as much as she hurts her neighbors,
    and our economy, and our kids who went off to fight her war in
    Iraq.

    Reply

  75. ... says:

    the fact the race was between 2 people of jewish background, both likely receiving support from jewish supporters towards 40% says something.. minnesota is made up of what % jewish heritage???? some things are fairly obvious in spite of others desire to portray exactly the opposite or even worse – work to obfuscate.. this is where i view much of your and wigwags expertise resides..

    Reply

  76. BS and Milk says:

    I have nothing to say about your “polls” because I don’t understand what the point of your post is? That all Arabs and Muslims are bad people? That they are all evil? That they all hate jews? That Liberals are all bad? Your posts are unintelligible rants.
    If you knew a damn thing about Juan Cole you would know that he has on many occassions spoken critically of the Saudi government and society. I suspect that you live in Saudi. Saudi is by no means a reflection of any othe Arab state let alone Muslim country.
    I have lived in Qatar for 4 years and have daily dealings with Arabs who hail from all over the Middle East. Your BS anecdotal “proof” of the barbarism of Arabs and Muslims is just that, broad brush BS. And despite what you seem to believe, Arabs and Muslims have not cornered the market on hate and racism. Look in the mirror.
    You refer to the few people who were “dancing in the streets” after 9/11 — but you seem to have conveniently forgotten the tens of thousands of other Arabs and Muslims who held candle light vigils in support of the victims of 9/11.
    I have met many (little traveled) Americans who arrived here with pre-conceived notions of Arabs and Muslims and they have only sought that which confirms such pre-conceived notions. You, I surmise, are the same.
    I could spend more time dissecting your own hate-filled comments but it and you are not worth the effort.
    Oh yeah, and I speak Arabic too.

    Reply

  77. questions says:

    …,
    You elliptically left out a nifty factoid — looks like Coleman lost — to a tv comedian! Though I suppose time will eventually tell.
    Money is a lot in politics, it isn’t everything. Incumbents have a lot more than money going for them — name recognition, the franking privilege, generally there’s party support with door knocking and consulting and visits from popular pols, something of a legislative record and media coverage, ribbon cutting ceremonies and pork…. Money is a lot, I don’t deny. It’s really not everything. And there really are academic questions about correlation and causation in voting records. Does money CAUSE the votes or do the votes cause the money? Are the votes already there or not? You may think it’s obvious, but many many things are less obvious when you actually study them. Thunder, for example, doesn’t come because the gods are pissed, but likely, that was a commonsense belief at one time.
    Before you canonize (ha ha) MondoWeiss, read him more carefully. He’s one voice, but he’s saying what you like, so you don’t evaluate, you quote. It’s not much of an argument to cite a blogger who agrees just cuz he agrees. You actually need arguments and evidence….
    (What percentage of Coleman’s money is Christian? Muslim? Republican? Democratic? Union? Teacher? Blogger? what are all the influences? Is a 100 dollar Jewish donation going to sway him? Is a donation from the east coast going to sway him? Again, there’s more to be figured out than what Mr. Mondo notes.)

    Reply

  78. Kathleen G says:

    Two hours ago. Damn forgot I was in Colorado visiting…go too excited. It was astounding listening to the Diane Rehm show while Juan was on. Folks should dissect this show themselves. I was surprised by the lack of diversity in the questions during the show
    http://wamu.org/programs/dr/09/03/23.php#24973

    Reply

  79. Oreo_and_Milk says:

    BS and Milk,
    Kind of interesting you didn’t have anything to say about the polls. I suppose liberals can somehow justify how someone thinking 9/11 was ‘partially’ justified and thinks bin laden is a hero isn’t rotten to the core, no, the blame lies on white western imperialists.
    You can call me ignorant and mock my spelling, but those polls are as clear as day. The anti-semitism in media, schools, etc. is also as clear as day. I’m seeing it first hand, and after 9/11 I’ve read the news that my government issued a warning to arrest people celebrating and I’ve read the polls conducted where the majority called bin laden a ‘mujahed’ but you don’t need to know Arabic or see what I’ve seen, again those polls are very clear to any audience that doesn’t reflexively sugarcoat anything it doesn’t like about the world.

    Reply

  80. ... says:

    excellent questions kathleen, but it looks like steve might not have received them in time…. your questions are definitely the type of questions that need to be asked…

    Reply

  81. Kathleen G says:

    Went to cspan can not find the direct link

    Reply

  82. Kathleen G says:

    Professor Cole I have spent a great deal of time at the International Atomic Energies Website. I have read numerous letters from leaders of middle east countries that describe Israel’s massive stockpile of uninspected nukes as a direct threat to peace in the middle east.
    Should Israel be encouraged, pushed, pressured to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty? You know the treaty that Israel wants their neighbors to abide by while they operate in the shadows?
    The last President to demand that Israel open their doors to inspections was President Kennedy

    Reply

  83. Kathleen G says:

    Professor Cole this past Saturday you came to the political blog Firedoglake for a discussion on the middle east. Thanks so much
    This is what you stated that the Obama administration should do in regard to the middle east
    “””Three concrete steps Obama can take:
    1. Withdraw from Iraq but make good political arrangements so it does not fall apart afterwards (e.g. there needs to be a compact between the Kurds and Arabs over who gets what.)
    2. Move quickly to the declaration of Palestinian state and new elections in the West Bank and Gaza. This move would include granting Palestinian citizenship to the Israeli settlers and placing them under Palestinian law, with the ability to vote. That is, Palestine will be multicultural just as Israel is. Further Israeli immigration would depend on the permission of the Palestinian legislature. If Netanyahu won’t cooperate, just do it anyway.
    3. Offer Iran a grand bargain– 1) airtight international guarantees that no military or covert attempt will be made to overthrow the government. 2) UN and US sanctions lifted in return for cessation of nuclear enrichment and 3) international help in developing Iran’s enormous natural gas fields.”
    HAS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TAPPED INTO YOUR IN DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE MIDDLE EAST?

    Reply

  84. Kathleen G says:

    Steve
    Yesterday I listened to Juan on the Diane Rehm show. It was surprising to me that during an hour show the screener did not allow one question through about Israel’s and the I lobbies pushing of the Bush administration and now the OBama administration into a pre-emptive military action in Iran. During the one hour show there was not one caller allowed through nor did Diane bring the part that Israel plays in this.
    There were seven negative calls allowed through that were critical of Juans advice and insights. ONe question in support. (I believe all of the callers let through were all men)
    Here was my question that I e-mailed that did not make it through
    Question 1
    Professor Cole I go to your site Informed Comment almost everyday. Quite a while ago you debunked the often repeated claim that Iranian President Ahmadenejad said “Israel should be wiped off the face of the map”. You directly translated his comment as saying “Zionism will vanish from the pages of history” A far cry from “Israel should be wiped off the map” This false comment as well as other inflammatory statements allegedly made by the Iranian President are often repeated by the same individuals who lied our nation into Iraq. Yesterday on Washington Journal I heard National Reviews Nile Gardiner repeat this false statement three times the host did not object to the false comment. I do not like saying this but I have heard this false statement repeated on the Diane Rehm show
    Can you please discuss how these often repeated false and inflammatory statements effect Americans views of Iran or other countries in this part of the world?
    Question 2
    Professor Cole what do you think about Charles Freeman’s withdrawal and its effect on the Obama administrations policies in the middle east? Although the blogosphere was wrapped up in this discussion for weeks and there were tons of articles about his withdrawal in Mainstream newspapers but Mr. Freeman has yet to be interviewed on any Mainstream radio or T.V. news programs

    Reply

  85. BS and Milk says:

    I suppose that if you post from an “Arabic” country (as opposed to an “Arab” country) and “speaks” Arabic then you are without doubt an expert on not only all Arabs but also all Muslims.
    I am certain that you would be even more of an expert on Muslims if, while living in an Arabic country and speaking Arabic, you also ate Arabic foods, such as chicken shwarmas or felafels.
    Thanks for the amusing comments. Those reality-challenged liberals won’t be accusing you of bigotry and racism, only ignorance.

    Reply

  86. Zathras says:

    I hesitate to make this point again, since I’ve made it many times before on discussion threads like these and it is always ignored. The point is that the common use of “Muslim” and “Arab” as synonyms is a big part of our problem.
    I’m not talking so much about cultural ignorance among the American public as I am about pervasive squeaky-wheelism among the American foreign policy community. Arab voices, plus the occasional Afghan or Pakistani voice and that of spokesmen for the Iranian government, are the ones that community hears, so Arab concerns are the ones it takes seriously. That these concerns define what “the Muslim world” cares about is taken for granted.
    This is a mistake. It is a mistake even though conflicts in and around Arab countries (and eastward to Afghanistan and Pakistan) do arouse the interest and occasionally the passion of the majority of Muslims who live elsewhere and do not often face continual conflict themselves. It represents acceptance of the badly flawed assumption that the least tractable issues involving predominantly Muslim countries, often featuring the least reasonable Muslims, are the ones that matter most to all Muslims all the time. Acceptance of this assumption fortifies the absurd belief, expressed in posts upthread and still common in this country, that what we face is a culture war between the West and “the Muslim world.” It would also hamper any American administration that thought undermining support in non-Arab countries for terrorism on behalf of Arab causes a useful thing to do.
    Incidentally, for the benefit of those still paying attention to Darfur, the deliberate killing of many tens of thousands of Muslims there never became the cause celebre’ in Muslim countries anywhere that, say, Nasrallah’s War in
    a pissant little country like Lebanon did a couple of years ago. One reason, obviously, was that the killings in Darfur were sponsored by one Arab government with the full support of all the others, but another reason was that Western governments and non-governmental organizations rarely pointed this out. Many of them, instead, actually went so far as to hector the Chinese government — a government led by men who came of age during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution! — to enforce respect for the human rights of black Africans. When treating Arab and Muslim as the two faces of a coin takes us to that point, it might be time to reconsider the idea that altering America’s approach to Arab Middle Eastern countries is the way to mend our relations with the Muslim world.

    Reply

  87. Cookies_and_milk says:

    I forgot to add this to my previous post – that PEW poll asked if muslims thought bin laden was a hero. A HERO. Not if they didn’t strongly oppose him or even had some mild support, but a hero. Think about that. Remember the people dancing on 9/11 on CNN (and no, that wasn’t an unrelated video put on CNN by those media-owning jews) and think about that. Something is very, very wrong here. But nobody cares, like everything else reality is better morphed to suit each individual’s ideology/bias/prejudice and the rest can go to hell. Now that this is a proxy war between left and right, reality can go to hell, this is a culture war.

    Reply

  88. Oreo_and_Milk says:

    I saw Cole on Colbert promoting this book, and all I could imagine was how happy the Saudi kings probably were for not having to pay for such propaganda. Liberals would get the job done for free!
    Never mind his BS about people chanting Death to American not REALLY hating the US (you can make an argument for non-religious iranian who hate their regime, but not the fanatics that constitute that regime), he talks of a poll saying the majority of muslims – and saudis! like an opinion poll coming out of that country would survive the state – don’t support al-qaida.
    And here I thought 62 percent thought bin laden is a hero. I guess PEW was wrong about it, huh? Here’s another, the gallup poll on the muslim world. It was all over the news with titles like ’90 percent of muslims don’t condemn 9/11.’ but when you look up the actual poll, 90 percent don’t COMPLETELY support 9/11; gallup asked muslim to rate their answer on a scale from 1 to 5 where 5 ‘completely justified’ and lesser numbers were about being ‘partially’ justified. What a joke.
    Even more pathetic is their ‘conclusion’ that religion has nothing to do with terror, its’ just geopolitics. Oh wow, I never knew ideology has no sway on how people view geopolitics!
    People like Cole should be ashamed of themselves. he says he lived in Beirut for 10 years. he speaks arabic, right? Does he read the papers? Does he watch arabic TV? They make fox and limbaugh look tame. Of course only the latter make liberals angry, but casual talk of jews as pigs and apes and fantasy of their mass murder doesn’t really get any progressives riled up. Intolerant culture that at its heart, the birth place of islam, christians SMUGGLE IN christimas trees, has nothing to do with ideology. No sir, it’s just politics! ROFL.
    I can’t wait for reality-challenged liberals accusing me of bigotry and racism. By the way, I’m posting this from an Arabic country and speak Arabic. FYI.

    Reply

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