Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Keeping Newt Neutered...

...the 'Neocon' (Secret Anti-Semite Whistle Code for 'AIPac') way

from the LA Times
Reporting from Washington— Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are sending another $5 million to support the presidential ambitions of Newt Gingrich, providing funds to the House speaker's close allies as the remaining GOP presidential candidates turn to Florida.

This month, the Adelsons sent their first $5 million wire transfer to Winning Our Future, a "super PAC" backing Gingrich's campaign. The organization is one of a new genre of campaign committees that can legally accept donations of unlimited amounts -- like the $10 million now donated from the Adelsons.

A Supreme Court decision spawned new rules allowing "independent" political committees to solicit funds from individuals, unions and corporations for campaign purposes, provided the donors' identities are disclosed. The additional $5 million contribution from the Adelsons was first reported Monday by Jon Ralston, a columnist for the Las Vegas Sun.

A source close to the Adelsons told the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington bureau Monday evening that the latest $5 million transfer was signed by Miriam Adelson, while the last one was signed by Sheldon. The funds come from a joint account.

Their donation would appear to be the largest from an individual to a super PAC.

Sheldon Adelson made his fortune in the gambling business. He married Miriam, an Israeli physician, in 1991.

Their personal donations are sent without condition to the Winning Our Future super PAC because the Adelsons have a special loyalty to Gingrich since they first met him in Washington in 1995, at the time Congress approved the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The law would require the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since it was passed, consecutive U.S. presidents have waived implementation of the law on national security and other grounds. Israel has long claimed Jerusalem as the historic capital of the Jewish state. Palestinians also claim the city as their spiritual capital.

The attention to the Adelson contributions is puzzling to Sheldon Adelson. He remarked to one associate Monday that each check he writes receives intense media scrutiny while labor unions contribute tens of millions without much public attention.

Adelson noted that his donations came from his personal bank account, while unions are spending much larger amounts of worker-given money to support candidates.

Adelson and Gingrich have found common ground discussing labor issues in the past. Though Israel is the topic on which they met and have the strongest bond, Gingrich and Adelson conferred at a time when Adelson was having trouble with unionized employees at his Las Vegas casino, the Sands.
Hmmmm. I wonder what it might mean to a Gingrich presidency to be so indebted to one man for his high office?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Progressives are Reaganites...

...and Paleocons are Rooseveltists, and Libertarians are Carterists and Communists are the new Fusionists, except on Tuesdays when the New Left is the Old Right and the Old Right are all Centrists.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

AIPAC Republicans Begin Burning Bridges w/Democrats by Calling Jewish Obama Supporters "Anti-Semites"

Flashback to 2008...

from MJ Rosenberg, Huffington Post
It has been over a week since the lobby that deems itself "pro-Israel" began its recent effort to suppress the views of those of us it considers Israel haters, self-hating Jews or -- in a most ridiculous twist given that most of us are Jews -- "anti-Semites."

The effort to silence us now stems from (1) the determination to defeat President Obama, and (2) the need to intimidate us as the lobby and its congressional acolytes cowboy up for a bombing campaign against Iran.

I am one of the least significant figures to come under attack.

The bill of particulars against me is that I use the term "Israel firster" to describe those who consistently -- and without exception -- thwart the efforts of U.S. Presidents to achieve Middle East peace. (Worse, according to Fox News, I "defiantly" refuse to back down).

I view their goals as those of the Israeli right: to maintain the occupation and prevent diplomacy with Iran.

These people (take a look at Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post) think nothing of attacking the President of the United States in the most vicious of terms but condemn anyone with the temerity to criticize anything done by the prime minister of Israel.

As I have explained, it is not Israel they put first but the Israeli right. (They had no objection to criticism of Yitzhak Rabin, whose pursuit of peace with the Palestinians led to him being portrayed, including by Israel's current prime minister, as an enemy of Israel.)

After a week attacking me, they have turned their guns to bigger prey. The new target is New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman who is under attack for writing a column denouncing Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman for praising the recent Russian election as "absolutely fair, free and democratic" and lamenting a host of anti-democratic actions in Israel (all of which have been roundly condemned inside the country).

The Friedman quote that absolutely drove the pro-Likud right crazy was directed at Benyamin Netanyahu:

I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.
For this, Commentary called Friedman a practitioner of the "new anti-Semitism" with virtually all the usual suspects following suit.

Tom Friedman is an anti-Semite! Imagine.

It feels ridiculous even rebutting this outlandish charge. Tom Friedman has, for virtually his entire career, been condemned by real anti-Israel types as an apologist for Israel. He's Jewish (although the crazies now call Jews anti-Semites!), he became a journalist through his involvement with Israel, he and his family are huge donors to pro-Israel causes, and he hardly publishes a column without reference to one of his Israeli pals at Hebrew or Haifa University.

If Tom Friedman is an anti-Semite, there is no such thing; the charge has simply lost its meaning. I don't think Tom would object if I said that not only does he not hate Israel, he loves Israel and makes no effort to hide it.

As for his quote about the lobby and Netanyahu's ovation at that joint session. Everyone knows that the only reason there even was a (rare) joint meeting of Congress honoring Netanyahu (for what?) was because John Boehner and Eric Cantor wanted to make it harder for the president to promote an Israeli-Palestinian agreement by demonstrating that Congress supported Bibi and not Obama.

And it was because they wanted to put on a show for the lobby. No one in the Republican congressional leadership even implied otherwise.

The pro-Bibi ovation was about as sincere and free of political considerations (i.e, campaign donations) as Newt Gingrich's sudden announcement that Palestinians are an "invented people."

But the silly attack on Tom Friedman wasn't enough.

On Thursday, the rightwing Republican Emergency Committee for Israel ran ads across the country (including a full page in the New York Times) denouncing the Obama administration (specifically the President, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta) for treating Israel like a "punching bag."

The administration's sin, as always, is that it has (intermittently, in my opinion) tried to get Israel back to negotiations and has (very intermittently) cited Israel for human rights violations. The attack on all three is particularly dumb but the one on Hillary Clinton takes the cake (has there ever been an American political figure more outspokenly pro-Israel?).

As for treating Israel like a punching bag, what a joke! The pro-Israel peace camp (of which I am a member in good standing) has consistently denounced the Obama administration for never criticizing Israeli policies.

Even the administration's demand for a measly 90-day settlement freeze was dropped when Netanyahu balked. I guess that is why even the ultra-right Elliot Abrams (a board member of the Emergency Committee for Israel) says that under Obama the strategic relationship between Israel and the United States has reached an all-time high, and why Netanyahu himself said in September that Obama has earned a "badge of honor" for his support for Israel.

So why all the hate from the right?

The reason is simple.

It is not that the targets of its wrath are anti-Israel; that is demonstrably false.

It is that some of us (Friedman, for instance) oppose the status quo that the warhawks treasure above all else. The hawks support the unsustainable occupation and the heightened tensions (and hence the likelihood of war) with Iran. To put it simply, the right is coming at us because we object to those policies that could lead to Israel's destruction.

I often recall a similar situation back in 1971. Israel at that time was riding high and feeling pretty invulnerable. Still in a technical state of war with Egypt, it was separated from its enemy by the Israeli-controlled Sinai Peninsula, which was four times the size of Israel itself.

President Anwar Sadat, already contemplating a peace deal with Israel, sent word to the Israeli government that if Israel would pull back two miles from the Suez Canal (allowing Egypt to reopen it), he would commence negotiations with Israel.

The United States immediately sent an envoy to Jerusalem to ask the Israelis to at least consider Sadat's offer. What's two miles? Israel would still have the rest and, maybe, peace with the most powerful Arab nation.

Israel said absolutely not. It was strong; Egypt was weak. The United States told the Israelis that if it refused to consider Sadat's offer, he might go to war to recover the land. The Israelis scoffed.

Two years later, on October 6, 1973, Sadat led an Egyptian attack to regain the Sinai and came very close to conquering Israel itself. After three weeks, Israel prevailed -- with the invaluable aid of the U.S. -- at the cost of 3,000 soldiers. Ultimately it also had to give up not just two miles of the Sinai but the whole peninsula altogether.

All this could have been avoided if Israel had simply told the United States that yes, it would consider Sadat's offer.

Needless to say, AIPAC and the other organizations that believe one must never, ever question an Israeli leader -- along with their devotees in Congress -- supported Israel's incredibly stupid and ultimately tragic decision to reject Sadat's overture. When the U.S. administration asked for the lobby's support in getting Israel to consider Sadat's offer, the lobby said no. It stood with the Israeli government, right or, in that case, tragically wrong.

And thousands of Israeli kids grew up with missing fathers.

Of course, the lobby and its cutouts in Congress never apologized for backing the worst decision Israel has ever made (so far).

It occurs to me that one of the reasons I feel so strongly about the necessity of Israel pursuing peace is that I remember (although not as clearly as an Israeli) what October 6, 1973 felt like.

It was Yom Kippur. We were in synagogue. In came the amazing and utterly shocking news that Israel was under attack and that all its positions along the Suez Canal had fallen. Casualties were high. With the exception of November 22, 1963 and 9/11, I cannot remember a worse day.

The problem with the right-wingers is that, when it comes to the Middle East, they remember nothing. Lucky them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Huntsman Takes 3rd in New Hampshire (17%)! Huntsman in 2016!

from Politico
This is not a joke, but it’s kind of funny: Stephen Colbert would edge out Jon Huntsman in the South Carolina Republican primary.

That’s according to a Public Policy Polling survey out Tuesday that found the late-night comic picking up 5 percent of the vote, compared with Huntsman’s 4 percent.

On the serious side, Mitt Romney had 27 percent, Newt Gingrich 23 percent, Rick Santorum 18 percent, while Ron Paul came in with 8 percent and Rick Perry 7 percent, according to the poll.

And as for Colbert’s proposed ballot referendum that would ask voters whether they think corporations are people — which harks back to a comment Romney made in August — 33 percent said they believe “corporations are people,” while 67 percent said “only people are people.”

Soon after the poll’s release, Huntsman laughed off PPP’s findings in an interview on Fox News Tuesday afternoon.

“Well, when I was on his show recently, he promised me the ‘Colbert bump’ — I think we’re getting that here in New Hampshire,” he said. “Now we’re going to be looking for the Colbert bump in South Carolina.”

The Public Policy Polling poll was conducted Jan. 5-7 among 1,112 likely Republican voters in the Jan. 21 primary.

Monday, January 9, 2012

AIPAC Invests in Mitt's Stalking Horse

from the FT
Sheldon Adelson likes a fight. The billionaire Republican donor transformed Las Vegas with the construction of a vast conference centre at his Venetian casino to the great chagrin of his rivals, such as Steve Wynn. He also defied convention when he helped develop Macao as a gaming destination, building casinos that have eclipsed anything ever constructed in Sin City.

Now he hopes to transform the Republican primary race with a $5m donation to a super-political action committee that is backing Newt Gingrich. The “Winning Our Future” super-Pac has acquired a controversial film that portrays Mitt Romney, the leading Republican candidate, as a predatory capitalist and destroyer of jobs.

The film forms the basis for a new series of commercials to run in South Carolina ahead of its primary on January 21 and is more evidence that the latest stage of an already bitter campaign has entered an increasingly acrimonious phase. With a large personal fortune and campaign war chest, Mr Romney has more money to spend than his rivals: super-Pacs backing Mr Romney were instrumental in eroding support for Mr Gingrich in Iowa.

But with Mr Adelson in his corner, Mr Gingrich, the former speaker of the house, has a deep-pocketed supporter intent on helping him reverse the poll declines that saw him lose his front-runner status.

The son of a Lithuanian immigrant – and Boston cab driver – Mr Adelson’s first job was selling newspapers on street corners: he and his friends often suffered at the hands of Irish youths. But he had a sharp entrepreneurial streak and started a vending machine business before training to become a court reporter.

He would make his fortune in travel and tourism and realised early on that there was money to be made in leisure when he started a charter tours business. He became a millionaire when he created the Comdex computer trade show. But it was his epiphany that Las Vegas could become the natural home for business conventions that set him on the path to becoming one of the world’s richest men.

As chairman of Las Vegas Sands, he runs one of the world’s biggest gaming companies: it invested in Macao when other US gaming groups faltered and was handsomely rewarded when the enclave became the world’s biggest casino market thanks to the fervour – and willingness to spend – of Chinese gamblers.

He weathered a severe storm in 2008 when the financial crisis and consumer downturn caused the near collapse of several large casino groups. He put $475m of his family’s money into Sands but the move paid off: Sands shares have since rebounded.

A vocal supporter of Israel and a generous philanthropist, he has poured millions into Jewish causes and also owns a stake in the Israel Hayom newspaper.

A close ally of Benjamin Netanyahu, he has opposed a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and has expressed deep concerns about moves by Iran to develop its uranium enrichment programme. He also recently backed Mr Gingrich’s controversial comments about Palestinians being “an invented people”.

“Read the history of those who call themselves ‘Palestinians’,” he told an audience in Israel recently, “and you will hear why [Newt] Gingrich called them an ‘invented people’. There are a number of Palestinians who will recognise the truth of this statement.”

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Horning the RINO, the Progressive Romney-Boat Strategy

You can't make an omlet without cracking a few eggs!

Rep. Michele Bachmann announced today that she is suspending her presidential campaign after placing last in Tuesday’s Iowa caucus.
...now comes the hard part, re-fuzing them to Team Romney. How can they possibly refuse? They're NOT going to vote for... OBAMA! So lets join them together at the hip!

Monday, January 2, 2012