Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:05 pm

Even the Australians are less ridiculous. Now, that's something. You never contributed to anything on earth, save producing the stupidest and sissiest range of Anglo-Saxons http://www.politifake.org/save-the-cana ... 58318.html
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:10 pm

Australia opposed Palestinian UN bid because foreign policy was ‘subcontracted to Jewish donors’ — report

I used to feel scared and guilty when I wrote about Jewish donors. But other journalists recognize the importance of the issue. “Jewish donors” is in the headline of a report in the Guardian on a memoir by a former foreign minister. Writes Lenore Taylor:

Former [Australian] foreign minister Bob Carr has suggested [Australia Prime Minister] Julia Gillard’s dogged insistence on supporting Israel in a controversial United Nations vote was because Australian foreign policy had been “subcontracted” to Jewish donors….

Bob Carr: Diary of a Foreign Minister includes a detailed account of a period in October and November 2012 when Carr campaigned against Gillard’s insistence that Australia should support Israel and vote against Palestinian observer status in the United Nations.

[Former Australian PM Kevin] Rudd’s had a “morbid interest” in the issue which had the potential to impact both on Australia’s fate in the upcoming vote for a seat on the UN security council and on his own chances to return to the prime ministership.

“How much of this is about money, I asked him,” Carr writes. “He said about one-fifth of the money he had raised in the 2007 election campaign had come from the Jewish community.”

Carr concludes that “subcontracting our foreign policy to party donors is what this involves. Or appears to involve.”

He describes how nine ministers spoke against Gillard when the issue was discussed by cabinet, and only two in favour of her position.


“Jewish donors” of course doesn’t discriminate between Zionist ones and non-Zionist ones; but the fact is that the Jewish community has been so homogeneous on this issue till lately that the politicians didn’t have time to discriminate on that basis. That’s why former Congressman Barney Frank said to Jeff Halper, You’ve convinced me; I’m against settlements, but I won’t come out against them till you find 5,000 Jews in my district who will come out against them too. Otherwise it’s political suicide.

This is also the importance of John Judis’s book on Truman. He reports similar division inside Truman’s braintrust as there was in Gillard’s cabinet –overwhelming majorities against Partition. And he says domestic political concerns drove policymaking in ’46 and ’48, and in 2011, too: Truman deferred to Abe Feinberg on foreign policy, as Obama later deferred to Haim Saban. So long as journalists won’t talk about a real effect in our politics, then these rich rightwingers and politicians won’t be embarrassed, the public remains uninformed, and nothing changes.

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/australia ... acted.html

Bob Carr diaries: foreign policy was subcontracted to Jewish donors

Ex-foreign minister casts light on support for Israel – and his obsession with diet and the indignities of businesss class travel

Former foreign minister Bob Carr has suggested Julia Gillard’s dogged insistence on supporting Israel in a controversial United Nations vote was because Australian foreign policy had been “subcontracted” to Jewish donors.

In a new biography about his 18 months as foreign minister, Carr reveals deep tensions within Labor over foreign policy and intimate details of his conversations with foreign leaders - including an April 2012 meeting with David Miliband who was “pessimistic about British Labour being led by ‘brother’ Ed”.

In more unusual territory for a political memoir, he reveals a near-obsessive preoccupation with his diet and exercise regime, and complains about being “reduced” to business class travel.

Bob Carr: Diary of a Foreign Minister includes a detailed account of a period in October and November 2012 when Carr campaigned against Gillard’s insistence that Australia should support Israel and vote against Palestinian observer status in the United Nations.

The bitter fight became entwined in the leadership tensions that were reaching a crescendo at the time.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/a ... ish-donors
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:15 pm

ritzl says:
April 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I defy US Chief Justice Roberts to distinguish between this “ingratiation” reciprocity and “quid pro quo corruption” (aka bribery).

McCutcheon Decision (pdf): link to supremecourt.gov [ http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13 ... 6_e1pf.pdf ]

[Roberts/Majority Opinion, p3]: …In a series of cases over the past 40 years, we have spelled out how to draw the constitutional line between the permissible goal of avoiding corruption in the political process and the impermissible desire simply to limit political speech. We have said that government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford. “Ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption.” Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 360 (2010). They embody a central feature of democracy—that constituents support candidates who share their beliefs and interests, and candidates who are elected can be expected to be responsive to those concerns.

Any regulation must instead target what we have called “quid pro quo” corruption or its appearance. …


Analysis (Emily Bazelon/Slate): link to slate.com [ http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... mains.html ]

This MW article is about Australia, but a US Constitutional Amendment which specifically un-equates and/or decouples money with political speech would go a long way to solving this issue (and, needless to say, so many others). I think it’s coming.

I’d wager that US pols are especially tired of how overt their manipulation is wrt Israel. This issue has great potential to be both the spark and the grease that propels any such movement.


http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/australia ... ent-657246
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:26 pm

His McCutcheon decision pretends to be mild but then wrecks what remains of campaign-finance law.

I am ever in awe of Chief Justice John Roberts. He has an unparalleled talent for making the sweeping seem small and the sharp seem mild. His rhetoric is all about sounding reasonable and earnest, even if (especially if) the outcomes of his rulings are anything but. He’s a champion of the long game. He’s Scalia’s stylistic opposite, the no-bombast justice. Isn’t it lucky for conservatives to have them both?

Roberts is at his minimizing best in his opinion today striking down a key portion of the post-Watergate campaign-finance laws. Congress may still “regulate campaign contributions to protect against corruption or the appearance of corruption,” he declares, and then whittles the definition of corruption down to a little nub that has nothing to do with how donors actually buy influence. And then Roberts tells Congress it can still achieve the ends of fairer and cleaner elections, it just has to alter the means it chose for getting there. Never mind that this Congress will do no such thing, just as it has failed to take up Roberts’ invitation last June to pass a new version of the Voting Rights Act. And also never mind that Congress had lots of evidence to support the means it already chose. Within the four corners of his opinion, it’s Roberts who gets to sound patient and wise.

In 1971, and then as amended in 2002, Congress set aggregate limits on campaign donations. For the current election cycle, individuals could give a total of $5,200 per candidate for each two-year congressional election cycle (plus more for PACs and parties), up to $48,600 total. Congress put this aggregate limit in place to close a loophole. Without it, lawmakers thought, wealthy donors would figure out how to circumvent the $5,200 per-candidate limits and write big checks. Their million-dollar donations, say, would supposedly be divvied up among many candidates, but actually funneled back to just one, or to the political parties. The idea was to prevent donors from buying great gobs of influence with either direct contributions or soft money.

Rick Hasen lays it out. Roberts justifies his decision to kill the aggregate limit by refusing to see ingratiation and access as corruption, which he defines down to mean only bribery. Congress can still regulate campaign donations to protect against quid pro quo corruption or the appearance of corruption—actual tit for tat. But what’s really going on here, as Justice Stephen Breyer points out in his dissent (more on it here from Dahlia Lithwick), is Roberts taking a few seemingly unimportant lines from Citizens United, the 2010 decision that opened the door to unlimited campaign donations by corporations and unions, and turning them into unquestionable support for his new slimmed-down definition of corruption. A “generic favoritism or influence theory … is at odds with standard First Amendment analyses,” the court said in Citizens United.

But that was a description, not the holding in the case. Nowhere did the court make clear in Citizens United that it was overruling the broader concept of corruption in the 2003 case McConnell v. Federal Election Commission. In that key decision, the court (with a different majority than today’s, naturally) upheld the soft-money restrictions in the McCain-Feingold campaign law of 2002 precisely because it understood corruption to encompass “privileged access to and pernicious influence upon elected representatives.” It’s basically impossible to recognize the realistic understanding of influence-peddling in McConnell with the narrow definition the court has now adopted. And that’s why Breyer writes his sad line: “Taken together with Citizens United … today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

Back in 2003, the court worried about soft money. Not any more. Breyer and Roberts fight over how many big checks will pour through now that the aggregate limits are gone. Roberts says it’s either illegal or “divorced from reality” for major donors to figure out how to get around the $5,200 per-candidate, per-cycle limits. Breyer walks through three plausible scenarios for doing exactly that. He shows how one donor could give $1.2 million in two years to one political party, or $2 or $3 million to one candidate. Sure, there’s some fancy footwork involved. But not that fancy. Breyer looked for cases brought by the Federal Election Commission to prevent donors from getting around one regulation that is key to Roberts’ argument—the one that blocks contributions to a political action committee to support a candidate to which a donor has already contributed, if he has “knowledge that a substantial portion” of his contribution will be used for that candidate. Going back to 2000, Breyer found exactly one case in which the FEC was able to prove the donor had this knowledge. And those were donations to PACs supporting Kansas Senate candidate Sam Brownback by members of his own family.

Every time the rules of campaign finance loosen, money finds new ways to get to the giver’s intended recipient. Surely that will be the case this time, too. As Breyer says, “in the real world, the methods of achieving circumvention are more subtle and more complex.” Roberts waves away these concerns by telling Congress to just tighten up if it sees new problems emerging. Restrict transfers among candidates and political committees. Make it harder to earmark donations. Rely on the benefits of disclosure. It will be Congress’s fault, not the court’s, if politics tilt further toward the rich.

Of course Congress will never do any such fixes. And even if Congress did get its act together, Roberts reserves for himself the last word. “We do not mean to opine on the validity of any particular proposal,” he says after reeling off his supposed congressional antidotes. It’s another mild and reasonable sounding bit of rhetoric with plenty of bite.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... mains.html
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:29 pm

vbattaile wrote:ritzl says:
April 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I defy US Chief Justice Roberts to distinguish between this “ingratiation” reciprocity and “quid pro quo corruption” (aka bribery).

McCutcheon Decision (pdf): link to supremecourt.gov [ http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13 ... 6_e1pf.pdf ]

[Roberts/Majority Opinion, p3]: …In a series of cases over the past 40 years, we have spelled out how to draw the constitutional line between the permissible goal of avoiding corruption in the political process and the impermissible desire simply to limit political speech. We have said that government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford. “Ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption.” Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 360 (2010). They embody a central feature of democracy—that constituents support candidates who share their beliefs and interests, and candidates who are elected can be expected to be responsive to those concerns.

Any regulation must instead target what we have called “quid pro quo” corruption or its appearance. …


Analysis (Emily Bazelon/Slate): link to slate.com [ http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... mains.html ]

This MW article is about Australia, but a US Constitutional Amendment which specifically un-equates and/or decouples money with political speech would go a long way to solving this issue (and, needless to say, so many others). I think it’s coming.

I’d wager that US pols are especially tired of how overt their manipulation is wrt Israel. This issue has great potential to be both the spark and the grease that propels any such movement.

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/australia ... ent-657246


McCutcheon vs. FEC: Enhancing the best democracy money can buy
Tehran Times

“Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades—despite the profound offense such spectacles cause—it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.”

— Chief Justice John G. Roberts in the McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission ruling

In a 5-to-4 decision on Wednesday April 2, 2014, the justices of the United States Supreme Court ruled against certain cumulative caps on individual contributions to political campaigns. The decree comes in the wake of the so-called Citizens United decision that struck down limits on independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions.

Paving the way for affluent Americans to utterly dominate an already corrupted election process, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, joined by Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy and Justice Alito ruled that the modest biennial cumulative limits placed on individual campaign contributions by the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and amendments were unconstitutional. Insisting that these aggregate limits on campaign contributions are a violation of the First Amendment guarantees of free speech, the justices argued, “The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.”

The judgment rests on the legal equivalency of money with free speech, which is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” While conceding that the U.S. Congress has the power to regulate campaign contributions “to protect against corruption or the appearance of corruption,” the justices held that lawmakers could not set limits “to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others.” The conservative plurality of the U.S. Supreme Court would appear to hold that restricting the political contributions of well-heeled and powerful individuals is an unwarranted restraint of their political participation and hence, infringes upon their First Amendment rights.

The majority opinion states, “The whole point of the First Amendment is to protect individual speech that the majority might prefer to restrict, or that legislators or judges might not view as useful to the democratic process.” It is obvious to most that allowing unlimited campaign contributions by wealthy individuals and thereby unleashing their influence undermines the democratic process, so the learned jurisprudents have concocted clever arguments that contribution caps are a violation of the First Amendment right of free speech. The argument is not new, for in 1976 in Buckley vs. Valeo, the Supreme Court invalidated campaign spending ceilings, ruling that these limits “place substantial and direct restrictions on the ability of candidates, citizens, and associations to engage in protected political expression, restrictions that the First Amendment cannot tolerate.”

The issue in the current case was that the appellant, Shaun McCutcheon, CEO of Coalmont Electrical Development in McCalla, Ala., had donated to 16 federal political candidates and wished to contribute to 12 others, but was prevented from doing so by the so-called aggregate campaign limits imposed by the 1971 FECA as amended last in 2002. Adjusted for inflation in odd-numbered years, these biennial limits for the 2013-14 cycle capped contributions to candidate committees at $48,600, and contributions to any other committees at $74,600, of which no more than $48,600 may be given to committees that are not national party committees, for a total of $123,200. These liberal donation restrictions represented an obstacle to less than one-eighth of one percent of all U.S. citizens; the other 99 7/8 percent donate $200 or less. Now, the Supreme Court has removed this inconvenience for these top one-eighth of one percenters.

Throughout the history of the United States, feeble legislative attempts have been made by legislators to reduce the disproportionate and corrupting influence wielded by the wealthy and special interest groups on the election process by restricting the dollar amounts individuals and organizations can contribute to political candidates and parties. The objective has been to eliminate or at least to minimize quid pro quo – the buying of political favors – by means of laws that limit contributions and campaign spending, and to require public disclosure of campaign finances. Unfortunately, these election campaign laws, the first of which was introduced in 1867, have been sadly ineffective and largely ignored. Additionally, the courts have eviscerated many of these attempts under the guise of infringement upon the First Amendment right of free speech.

While the FECA mandated sweeping changes in the way federal election campaigns were financed in the U.S. by requiring full disclosure of campaign contributions and expenses, and placing limitations on amounts spent for media advertisements, no oversight agency existed to enforce the provisions of the law. It was not until 1974, following the rampant abuses which occurred during Nixon’s presidential campaign in 1972, that the Federal Election Commission was established to monitor compliance. To its credit, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation establishing campaign contribution limits, but then relaxed provisions of a 1939 law that had prohibited campaign contributions by government contractors, permitting them to establish political action committees (PACs).

Prior to this current ruling in McCutcheon vs. FEC, the courts have held that the FECA prevented quid pro quo corruption and its appearance, and therefore base limits were necessary and that aggregate limits were “no more than a corollary.” Obviously, restricting the influence of wealthy individuals like Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers should enhance the democratic process, however, based on their current decision, the conservative plurality of the Supreme Court would seem to hold that aggregate limits only guard against hypothetical corruption, and that protection against possible corruption is not an adequate reason for the government to burden First Amendment rights.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Breyer cited Buckley vs. Valeo, which upheld the contribution limits of the 1971 FECA as “appropriate legislative weapons against the reality or appearance of improper influence stemming from the dependence of candidates on large campaign contributions.” Sharply criticizing the plurality of the court in the current decision, he wrote that the biennial aggregate limits in combination with the individual limits were needed to restrain people “who might otherwise contribute massive amounts of money to a particular candidate through the use of unearmarked contributions to political committees likely to contribute to that candidate, or huge contributions to the candidate’s political party.”

Others, however, insist to the contrary that the current decision still falls short of the mark for the moneyed elite. One conservative author writing in the right-wing financial magazine Forbes lamented that the court had not gone far enough; that it failed to examine the constitutionality of individual campaign contribution limits. Senior attorney Paul Sherman with the Institute for Justice stated, “McCutcheon was a golden opportunity for the Court to adopt a rule of law that would have called the individual limits into question, but the Court decided to pass.”

Justice Breyer rightly accused the plurality of too narrowly defining corruption as overt bribery and of misunderstanding “the constitutional importance of the interests at stake.” Previously, a lower 3-judge U.S. court had ruled against McCutcheon in September 2012, agreeing with the Supreme Court minority opinion that aggregate limits are justified by the government’s interest in preventing the circumvention of base contribution limits. Additionally, the judges opined that the U.S. Congress had more expertise in the matter than the judiciary. For his part, McCutcheon claimed, “I really believed strongly in the concept of free speech, your right to score as much political activity as you want to as long as you’re a citizen of the U.S.” Instead of “score” McCutcheon should have said “buy” to be clear about his intentions.

By removing aggregate restrictions on individual campaign contributions, the justices have adjudicated into a First Amendment right for the rich the potential for fraud and abuse through improper influence, effectively obliterating any remaining residue of a democratic electoral process in the United States. In short, the honorable justices of the Supreme Court have interpreted the United States Constitution to destroy democracy rather than to enhance it.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/component/co ... ey-can-buy
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:38 pm

After McCutcheon, a constitutional amendment is the only way to get money out of politics

Your recent editorial rightly criticized the Supreme Court's disastrous decisions in McCutcheon and Citizens United, which transfer even more power to the ruling class by valiantly freeing us from the tyranny of not-enough-money-in-politics ("A win for the billionaires," April 4).

What problem does the McCutcheon decision solve? In the last election cycle, only 646 Americans bumped up against the aggregate limits on federal donations. The ruling gives them even more power and does absolutely nothing for anyone else. It's a naked power grab by the already-powerful.

Does anyone actually believe that corporations and wealthy donors don't expect — and receive — favors in return for their political "investments?" What do you call a system where lawmakers accept money from those with an interest in the outcome of legislation? (The answer: "Corrupt").¿¿

The court's ridiculous pretense was that the wealthiest and most powerful 1 percent of the 1 percent were inconvenienced by any limit whatever on their ability to buy legislators.

If democracy means rule by the people then we've lost our way at the federal level. Corporations and the wealthy can spend whatever they want to buy policies that benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else. This explains the growing income disparity we've been hearing about, which didn't happen by accident.

Your editorial suggests that we shouldn't give up hope. Unfortunately, the "remedies" of public financing and transparency would need to be passed by Congress. This is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes. Congress is now dependent on money raised from corporations and wealthy donors. It couldn't even pass a disclosure bill that basically said "at least tell us who's bribing you."

Obviously, a constitutional amendment is needed to overrule the Supreme Court, and it's not going to come from Congress. Luckily, our Constitution includes a provision by which the people, through their state legislatures, can propose amendments, bypassing Congress.

A "convention of the states" for the purpose of proposing amendments must be convened when 34 state legislatures call for such a convention on any issue. The convention is limited to proposing amendments to issues specified by the states; it is not a "constitutional convention."

The Maryland General Assembly saw for the first time this year a resolution for the "Democracy Amendment" designed for just this purpose. It was promoted by GetMoneyOutMD.org and Wolf-Pac.com, with widespread support among state legislators.

If and when it passes next year, Maryland would join a national movement in which two-thirds of state legislatures pass similar resolutions. This may be the only practical way to limit the influence of money in politics. There really is a reason to hope — and fight for change.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinio ... z2yQZXaqlU
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:55 pm

Paul and Cheney are trading barbs, but today's GOP is clearly on Team Paul

On Monday, Mother Jones published a video from April 2009 of now-Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) talking like the most liberal of Democrats. Speaking to a group of college Republicans a few weeks before announcing his run for Senate, Paul strongly suggests that former Vice President d*** Cheney used the 9/11 attacks as a pretext for invading Iraq so that he and Halliburton, the oil-services company he led before joining the Bush administration, would profit. The relevant part starts at the 6:30 mark:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ez3iKqAmbA

It's a remarkable accusation from a current Republican officeholder, but what's more interesting is the lack of outrage on the right, at least from anybody not named Cheney. In fact, the Paul video — and a recording (also via Mother Jones) made last week of d*** Cheney criticizing "isolationists" in the GOP — is getting a lot more attention on the left. (See the MSNBC interview below)

Sure, there is some pushback from the hawkish wing of the Republican Party — arguing "that Cheney’s role amounted to treachery for personal gain.... might fly at a MoveOn.org confab, but it will not be appreciated in conservative circles, no matter what GOP voters’ views on Iraq may be," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. But Paul hasn't felt compelled to apologize to Cheney (yet, at least), and in fact most of the concern about Paul's 2016 presidential prospects seems to be coming from liberals like Salon's Alex Pareene and MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

Paul will likely lose some support in the Republican Party over the newly unearthed Cheney (and Bush) slam, and for other videos very likely out there of him proclaiming other GOP heterodoxy. But there are plenty of reasons to believe the party is drifting away from Cheney and his hawkishness and toward Paul and his more dovish stances on foreign policy and terrorism policy.

http://theweek.com/article/index/259543 ... -searching
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:25 pm

Chris Matthews gives Adelson and the lobby a pass
Mondoweiss

Last week Sheldon Adelson and the Republican Jewish Coalition held a presidentials’ beauty contest in Las Vegas, at which KY senator Rand Paul was a no-show. Time says Paul’s opposition to foreign adventures worries “the pro-Israel crowd” and the magazine quotes three Israel lobbyists and five pro-Israel donors, most of whom want “to take Paul down.” Adelson, said a donor, is willing to spend “vast sums” to kibosh Paul.

Adelson’s spending is largely motivated by his strong concern for Israel, and Paul’s positions may well put a target on his back.


Pretty direct.

But compare that to Chris Matthews’s segment last night about Rand Paul dividing the Republican Party. The thrust of the segment was that Paul was taking on d*** Cheney, who had pushed the invasion of Iraq because of his oil interests — similar to Rachel Maddow’s claim of a few weeks back.

Matthews and guests David Corn and Ron Suskind mentioned Adelson a few times, and Corn even brought up the neocons, but no one said a word about the overriding difference between Rand Paul and the other candidates: Israel.

I.e., it’s fine for Matthews to call out the military-industrial complex, but he won’t touch the Israel lobby.

Matthews isn’t telling viewers that Adelson, who is generally thought to be the largest contributor to the Republican Party, has called on the president to nuke Iran, and that he believes Muslims want to kill 100 percent of the Jews. Or that Adelson is more concerned about a foreign country than the U.S.: he’s said that he wished he served in the Israeli army not the American one and he wants his son to be a sniper for Israel.

In a subsequent segment last night, Matthews called out the Koch Brothers, who are also big Republican givers, for destroying jobs and environmental legislation. Matthews said that Chuck Schumer (whose intelligence Matthews praised) wants to do for the Koch Brothers what was done to Bain Capital during Mitt Romney’s presidential run — ruin its reputation among working Americans.

OK– but then why can’t ordinary Americans hear that Sheldon Adelson calls on Obama to nuke Iran, not negotiate, and wants his son to fight for a foreign country? Chris Matthews often cites his opposition to the Iraq war. Well, he should call out Sheldon Adelson for war-mongering against Iran.

The problem here is, sadly, obvious: Adelson’s neoconservative agenda is widely shared inside the Democratic Party. Chuck Schumer is a hawk when it comes to Iran. Samantha Power had to kiss up to Adelson’s beneficiary Shmuley Boteach in order to get her job as U.N. ambassador. That’s why Matthews, Corn and Suskind are dancing around the issue. Even as Chris Hayes and Time Magazine show some spine.

So long as mainstream journalists avoid talking about the Israel lobby, the problem won’t go away. John Judis shows in his book on Truman that the very same financial/political influence that nullified American policy under Truman in 1948 (he pushed for the right of return, for instance) nullified it under Obama in 2011 (who said settlements must end). Isn’t it time that journalists sought to expose this pattern?

P.S. The Nation shows how this should be done. Eli Clifton has a piece up on Paul Singer, the neoconservative funder. The headlines: “GOP Pro-Gay Marriage Funder’s Other Agenda: Bombing Iran: Paul Singer is one of the Republican Party’s most effective fundraisers—and a leading proponent of using military force against Tehran.”

Eli Clifton reports:

First and foremost in Singer’s hawkish foreign policy portfolio is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank whose scholars have promoted “crippling sanctions,” bombing Iran, and sought to downplay how ordinary Iranians might react to a preemptive bombing campaign. The hedge fund mogul contributed $3.6 million to FDD between 2008 and 2011, making him the organization second largest donor after Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus.


http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/chris-mat ... elson.html

Krauss says:
April 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Phil, you are not blunt enough. The Israel lobby contains Christian elements. Most Zionists in America, by numbers, are non-Jews.

What we have here is something entirely different. Basically; Jewish money.
Old Jewish men like Singer, Marcus, Adelson and many others. Men in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s who can afford to spend tons of cash.

It is remarkable how little money you need to spend on think tanks to have a measureable impact, just look at Haim Saban(who, with Pritzker, Lester Crown and other democratic mega-donors performs the same duty for the democratic party).

The reason why Matthews will not touch this issue is because it brings up a topic which is unpopular: Jewish political and monetary influence.

That’s why it is okay to attack WASPs like the Koch brothers. You can talk about Adelson, but try to ignore his Israel politics as much as possible. What you cannot do, however, is to see a pattern.

Why is it that the democratic and republican parties are both so craven on Israel?
Inevitably you have to talk about Jewish money in particular, and you have to go into Jewish sociology, something even most Jews are unwilling to do. (You’re an expception that confirms the rule).

Even “blunt-talking” Rahm Emanuel whimps out.
Interestingly enough, Chris Hayes have less of these inhibitions. My guess is that because most of the Jews he knows are much more relaxed about these issues because they feel a lot safer in America. Adelson, Marcus and the others grew up in a vastly different America, where you’d get beaten up for being Jewish and where Israel was truly under serious threat.

That world is long gone, but people’s minds have not yet caught up, and Matthews is part of that generation. His concept of Jewishness is not much different from the older neocon Jews he is supposed to cover; centered around vulnerability.

Hayes’ courage can at least partly be explained by this generational gap, in fact, in some sense it becomes less courageous for him to talk about these issues than it would be for someone of Matthews’ generation, because how Jewishness and Jews are perceived is so much different.
It requires a much smaller leap. 50% of all Jews in Hayes’ generation are out of intermarried families. And Jews are if anything closely aligned with the establishment of America at this point, the Anglo-Jewish axis that runs the country.

For people of Hayes’ generation, the differences between a Koch and an Adelson is basically none. For Matthews’s generation, Adelson’s Jewishness still requires a special kind of consideration which Hayes’ generation see of little benefit.

P.S. While money has a corrupting influence, I also think it is sometimes overstated. It can delay but not prevent the emergence of a new conconcus, something we have seen demonstrated these past 10 years.
You can buy off academic deans by threats of fewer donations, but you can’t buy off students.

And lest we forget the 2012 election, where Obama lost the fundraising race but won the popular vote by a considerable margin. Money corrupts, but in the end it does not prevail if the grassroots are determined enough to change the culture and the political understanding of the nation.


Kay24 says:
April 8, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Chris Mathews, like all other who work for the zionist media in the US, dare not, and will not, say anything negative about Israel, even in passing….if they do, they will be attacked for being antisemitic, and will not find work with other zionist media.
No Jews or Christians working for the zionist media, ever criticize Israel, even when it sends precision bombs into Gazan homes, and murdered children are pulled out of the rubble, in fact they keep repeating the Israeli mantra, that they are only “precision bombing” the terrorists. Last time around 23 children were killed during Israel’s incursion into Gaza. Terrorists eh?


**********************************

Abby Martin, Breaking the set [19] Israel Lobby: Attack Iran, Obama War on Whistleblowers
source: Russia Today (RT)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6QPiSBi_3o
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:57 pm

Boycott SECURITY company G4S

http://israelwc.tumblr.com/
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Re: Foreign Policy

Postby vbattaile » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:01 pm

vbattaile wrote:Chris Matthews gives Adelson and the lobby a pass
Mondoweiss

Last week Sheldon Adelson and the Republican Jewish Coalition held a presidentials’ beauty contest in Las Vegas, at which KY senator Rand Paul was a no-show. Time says Paul’s opposition to foreign adventures worries “the pro-Israel crowd” and the magazine quotes three Israel lobbyists and five pro-Israel donors, most of whom want “to take Paul down.” Adelson, said a donor, is willing to spend “vast sums” to kibosh Paul.

Adelson’s spending is largely motivated by his strong concern for Israel, and Paul’s positions may well put a target on his back.


Pretty direct.

But compare that to Chris Matthews’s segment last night about Rand Paul dividing the Republican Party. The thrust of the segment was that Paul was taking on d*** Cheney, who had pushed the invasion of Iraq because of his oil interests — similar to Rachel Maddow’s claim of a few weeks back.

Matthews and guests David Corn and Ron Suskind mentioned Adelson a few times, and Corn even brought up the neocons, but no one said a word about the overriding difference between Rand Paul and the other candidates: Israel.

I.e., it’s fine for Matthews to call out the military-industrial complex, but he won’t touch the Israel lobby.

Matthews isn’t telling viewers that Adelson, who is generally thought to be the largest contributor to the Republican Party, has called on the president to nuke Iran, and that he believes Muslims want to kill 100 percent of the Jews. Or that Adelson is more concerned about a foreign country than the U.S.: he’s said that he wished he served in the Israeli army not the American one and he wants his son to be a sniper for Israel.

In a subsequent segment last night, Matthews called out the Koch Brothers, who are also big Republican givers, for destroying jobs and environmental legislation. Matthews said that Chuck Schumer (whose intelligence Matthews praised) wants to do for the Koch Brothers what was done to Bain Capital during Mitt Romney’s presidential run — ruin its reputation among working Americans.

OK– but then why can’t ordinary Americans hear that Sheldon Adelson calls on Obama to nuke Iran, not negotiate, and wants his son to fight for a foreign country? Chris Matthews often cites his opposition to the Iraq war. Well, he should call out Sheldon Adelson for war-mongering against Iran.

The problem here is, sadly, obvious: Adelson’s neoconservative agenda is widely shared inside the Democratic Party. Chuck Schumer is a hawk when it comes to Iran. Samantha Power had to kiss up to Adelson’s beneficiary Shmuley Boteach in order to get her job as U.N. ambassador. That’s why Matthews, Corn and Suskind are dancing around the issue. Even as Chris Hayes and Time Magazine show some spine.

So long as mainstream journalists avoid talking about the Israel lobby, the problem won’t go away. John Judis shows in his book on Truman that the very same financial/political influence that nullified American policy under Truman in 1948 (he pushed for the right of return, for instance) nullified it under Obama in 2011 (who said settlements must end). Isn’t it time that journalists sought to expose this pattern?


GOP Hawks Prepare for War—Against Rand Paul

http://reason.com/24-7/2014/03/31/gop-h ... -rand-paul

According to several donors at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference held in Las Vegas last weekend, the billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is prepared to fund a campaign against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) if he picks up increased support during his widely anticipated presidential run in 2016.

Several prominent GOP donors at the conference suggested that Adelson, who spent more than $100 million backing Newt Gingrich and Romney in 2012, is likely to spend vast sums against Paul if he appears to be well positioned in the Republican primaries. Adelson’s spending is largely motivated by his strong concern for Israel, and Paul’s positions may well put a target on his back.


According to TIME, one unnamed former Mitt Romney bundler said it was "scary" that Paul could win the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.

More from TIME:

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is hard at work laying the groundwork for an almost certain presidential campaign in 2016, but as he broadens his support among libertarian and younger voters, there’s a budding counter-campaign to take him down if he becomes a threat to actually win the nomination.

At the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) meeting in Las Vegas this weekend, Paul was nowhere to be found, but his presence was felt in the form of a straw man — and frequent worry. Speaker after speaker, from former Florida governor Jeb Bush to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, laid into Paul’s more isolationist views on foreign policy. They never mentioned the lawmaker by name, but the message came across loud and clear.

The conference brings together some of the biggest names — and wallets — in Republican politics, most notably billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. At a private dinner for VIP donors in an Adelson-owned aircraft hangar holding one of his pair of Boeing 747s, Bush was asked about the growing isolationist wing of the Republican Party and replied there was no such thing — effectively casting Paul out of the fold, according to attendees.


Background on Paul’s Foreign Policy

Like his father, former Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rand Paul, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, advocates for a less involved American foreign policy. However, Rand Paul’s brand of non-intervention is not a rigid as his father’s.

In February last year, Paul went to the conservative Heritage Foundation and gave a speech in which he argued for a foreign policy that is neither isolationist nor neoconservative and is open to using containment as a way to address the threat of Islamic terrorism. Watch the speech below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NptVgiY2Oxc

During his time in the Senate Paul has come out against American intervention abroad, perhaps most notably relating to the conflict in Syria and urging the U.S. not to rub Russian President Vladimir Putin the wrong way amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Analysis and Commentary

Unsurprisingly, some conservatives aren’t happy about Paul’s foreign policy proposals.

The neoconservative columnist Jennifer Rubin has mentioned Paul 143 times between March 1 and March 21 in her blog at The Washington Post. Some of the recent headlines of Rubin’s posts include "Rand Paul’s fake foreign policy" and "Rand Paul is the odd man out of the GOP on foreign policy." Yesterday one of Rubin’s posts was headlined "Rand Paul trashed military option for Iran and blamed the U.S. for WWII."

Writing about Paul’s speech at the most recent Conservative Political Action Conference, Rubin outlined in characteristically blunt language her feelings about Paul’s opinions on foreign policy:

...Paul’s spiel is certainly indifferent to if not at odds with what is going on in the world. Should we be alarmed that Iran is getting the bomb, Russia is invading a neighbor and there is a war of genocidal proportions in Syria? No, the greatest danger is the government’s (nonexistent) eavesdropping on your phone calls. Not only is his shtick divorced from world events, but it also is entirely alien to the experience and concerns of most Americans who are worried about health care, the economy, the middle-class squeeze, etc. Other than people exactly like those in the ballroom, who is going to find this the most compelling message out of all the Republican contenders’ agendas? He keeps saying he will reach out to African Americans and Hispanics, but the crowd that love him was overwhelmingly white and male. And if he is serious about immigration reform (he told Silicon Valley he was), he kept it to himself.


Rubin continued:

He is after all a libertarian, not a mainstream conservative, and his disinclination to speak about anything but his paranoid vision of the government leaves little room for reform or problem-solving. This one-note fear of government has limited selling power in the Republican Party, most especially during times of rising international threats.


Writing in Forbes, David Adesnik, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized Paul for flip-flopping on the Ukraine crisis:

My best guess is that Paul is desperately searching for some framework or ideology that can justify the dovish, perhaps even isolationist instincts he inherited from his father. Yet he doesn’t know enough about foreign policy to think even one or two steps ahead, so he jumps into the breach with a loudly unorthodox position, only to find himself embarrassed when events demonstrate his ignorance. Then he starts firing in every direction, not knowing what to make of a world that doesn’t conform to his preferences. I don’t get the sense Paul is learning from his mistakes, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the same pattern play out again before long.


In an oped for Breitbart News, Paul implicitly criticized fellow potential 2016 contender Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for trying to claim Reagan’s mantle after making a distinction between Paul’s foreign policy and Reagan’s. The Daily Caller senior editor Jamie Weinstein wrote that Paul and Reagan have little in common when it comes to foreign policy:

Paul may be right when he says that none of the Republicans considering a White House run in 2016 have a foreign policy outlook exactly like Reagan’s. But what’s undeniable is that Paul’s foreign policy is far and away the least Reaganeque of any of the possible 2016 Republican presidential contenders.

What Paul is trying to do is muddy the waters on Reagan’s foreign policy legacy in order to hide the reality that his foreign policy outlook bears no resemblance to that of the Gipper’s — and, more broadly, is wildly out of touch with the Republican mainstream. Sure, Reagan engaged in diplomacy, even occasionally when some in his own party believed it inadvisable. But that hardly makes Reagan a Rand Paul-style non-interventionist. Far from it.

Paul says he, like Reagan, supports “peace through strength.” Except Reagan’s notion of “peace through strength” focused on increasing military spending. Paul has not yet discovered a military cut he didn’t like.


Paul’s foreign policy has been criticized by liberals as well as conservatives. Writing in Politico earlier this month, Will Marshall, the president of the Progressive Policy Institute, argued that Paul’s thoughts on foreign policy put him in a politically awkward situation:

Politically speaking, Paul faces an intractable dilemma: If he embraces his inner libertarian, he’ll stir excitement among liberty-loving younger Republicans—GOP strategist Bill Kristol cuttingly calls them “Snowden Republicans”—as well as many on the left who take a dim view of U.S. power and motives. But he will alienate many social conservatives and Tea Party “patriots” who still believe in American exceptionalism, as well as mainstream Republicans who see military strength as a more reliable basis for U.S. security than withdrawing from a fractious world.

So maybe Paul has no choice but to keep trying to reconcile incompatible conceptions of America’s role in the world. So far, he’s produced only a muddle.


Like Adesnik, Marshall also argued that Paul’s comments on Ukraine are confused:

Consider Paul’s ideas for punishing Russia, which are so inconsistent they sometimes cancel each other out: Paul the geopolitical hardliner calls for restarting work on American missile defense systems in Eastern Europe that were suspended as part of Obama’s unsuccessful “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations. But Paul the skinflint insists that “the Europeans pay for it”—which means the missile shields probably won’t go up. In one breath, Paul calls for more vigorous U.S. action to punish Russia for its rogue behavior; in the next he bemoans the fact that America is “broke” and can’t be the world’s ATM or policeman. This puzzling logic sometimes sound like a Zen koan: “Like Dwight Eisenhower, I believe the U.S. can actually be stronger by doing less,” he wrote in Time.

While insisting that he stands with Ukraine against Moscow’s attempts to dismember the country, Paul also ruled out U.S. economic aid to Ukraine because it might go to Russia to pay Kyiv’s enormous gas bills. In Paul’s view, energy isn’t just a cudgel Putin uses to intimidate neighboring countries—it’s also the main weapon America has to wean Europeans from dependence on Russian gas and oil. In contrast to Obama’s supposed dithering on energy, Paul calls for aggressively exporting U.S. natural gas to Europe and demands, weirdly, “immediate construction of the Keystone Pipeline.”


Reason on Rand Paul

Reason has extensive coverage of Rand Paul and his foreign policy, which can be read here. Some highlights:

Matt Welch wrote on the fight between Paul and Cruz over the Gipper’s mantle.

I wrote about how despite what neoconservatives might say, Paul is not an isolationist. I also considered whether the American public will pay attention to Paul’s foreign policy.

Brian Doherty wrote about the "rhetorical judo" Paul has used on those who criticize his positions on foreign policy.
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