Build, Build Despite the Occupation

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This is a guest note by Fadi Elsalameen, Executive Director of The Palestine Note, the website where this post originally appeared.
Ramallah – For three years, Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister in the West Bank Palestinian Authority (PA), has been a focal point for Mideast debate.
As an unelected official, he is reviled by Hamas and democracy activists alike for taking over the PA after the disillusion of the 2007 Palestinian unity government. He is also said to have alienated many within Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas, who see him as a limit to their influence in the West Bank.
But he has also won praise from other segments of society and adoration among Western commentators for his program of reforming, broadening and rebuilding Palestinian institutions, a process he says is a step toward founding a Palestinian state.
Yet his state-building program, too, has come under scruitiny, prominently with the release of a study in July by Nathan Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which argued that Fayyad’s program is lagging in key areas such as the rule of law, and that his efforts are proceeding in an “authoritarian context.”
Confronted with these and other criticisms, Fayyad has an unflinching, some would say misguided, faith in himself and his program, which he sees as having “transformative” potential.
“This is a state-building track,” he told Palestine Note’s Fadi Elsalameen in an interview at his Ramallah office.
He added that his efforts are “supposed to ensure readiness for statehood. We think it’s going to take us two years to get there. It’s a bit ambitious, but doable despite the occupation. To end it, to end it means that–that’s the dynamism of this–build, build, build despite the occupation to end it.”
So great is Fayyad’s confidence in the power of his own plans that he believes popular support for them could eventually be the key to reuniting the PA.
“Political parties, Hamas included, will find themselves compelled to go along,” with his state-building vision, coupled with hoped-for progress in peace negotiations, Fayyad said. “Or they resist and they start to pay dearly in political terms, a very, very heavy political price associated with going against that trend.”
Fadi Elsalameen: How do you respond to Nathan Brown’s Carnegie Endowment study that criticizes your program?
Salam Fayyad: It’s a question of building up capacity. It cannot be taken literally or nominally as building institutions that did not exist before. Especially when he says that the issue was maintenance of existing institutions. That’s a badge of honor. Fixing, reforming, maintaining–that’s very much the nature of the task. Reform, upgrading capacity, getting those institutions better able to deliver services, maintaining them. All of these are elements of the state-building effort. To complete the task of getting ready for statehood. So to suggest we are building things from scratch, I never said that. The program doesn’t say that, but when you’re talking about building up capacity to govern ourselves effectively, that could mean introducing new institutions. But it certainly focuses on bringing up capacity of existing institutions.
In terms of infrastructure, there, of course, have been lots of new things. You can’t say, “They’re just maintaining existing infrastructure.” Over the span of two years, we implemented 1,000 community development programs, especially in rural areas, long-marginalized and most devastated by war, settlement activity, and whatnot. It’s going to take us about half the time to implement the next batch of 1,000 projects–we’re almost halfway through. You know, we celebrated project 1,000, I said afterward the next 1,000 projects will take us only one year. Before the year is out, I said, we’re going to have another 1,000 such projects. And we are more than halfway through that mark already today, and I am certain we are going to make it. This will involve water, electricity, new schools, road networks, rural roads, the recreation center that your colleague started in Nablus [Tomorrow's Youth Organization] for the refugee camp. People have a lot of opportunities now that did not exist before. That really enters under the heading of ‘new.’
And it’s very much related to the need to enhance the capacity of our people to withstand the adversity of occupation. On the way to statehood, on the way to freedom, you don’t do these things–people do not have adequate education and services. They want to leave if they could. Just exactly the opposite of what we need to be doing. With all due respect, it’s very superficial [Nathan Brown's argument]. I can better understand and better relate to those who assert that this is the other side of Netanyahu’s economic peace coin. At least there is some thinking that went into making that statement that I cannot really dismiss as being superficial. It’s wrong, I disagree with it, but at least there’s a little bit of thought process that I can see leading to that conclusion. But here, to say, “Oh, there are no new institutions,” that’s almost childish. I don’t know who funded this work, and it does not really… [have] any degree of scholarship. It’s just really weak. How can you do that? And on the basis of what? Anecdotal stuff? “I talked to people.” Who are they? I would like to know how many people he talked to. Forget about whom he talked to, but how many people he talked to. Assuming it’s an unbiased sample, how many people did he talk to? How long did he stay here, to form these impressions? And it’s not true that it’s only Ramallah. We started this campaign in Nablus. So, this is way too superficial, if you ask me. Way, way too superficial.


FE: You’ve led a campaign to boycott settlements and settlement products. People are asking, what is the Palestinian government offering to the people? Are they offering employment opportunities, are they helping businesses get alternatives?
SF: We are in many ways, and I can give you an example. If you look at the statistics on unemployment for May, which is the last month for which we have data, for the first time in many, many years, unemployment has inched downward to 14.6%, to below 15%. I’m talking about the West Bank now, [but] it’s down in Gaza as well, compared to before, and there are reasons for this, but I’m talking about the West Bank now. This is a 10% decline [in unemployment] over three years. 10% unemployment decline. And it’s still high! Don’t get me wrong, 14.6% unemployment is nothing to write home about, but it’s substantial improvement over what existed before. And it’s happening in a growing economy. You know, unemployment data, the measure of unemployment officially (by the methods used in the International Labor Organization), you know they ask you, “Fadi, are you employed?” And if you say “yes,” then you’re employed. “Are you unemployed?” You say “yes,” and the next they ask you is, “are you looking for a job?” And if you are not looking for a job, you do not count as unemployed. Now, in a recession, or in a weak economy, there is a phenomenon called “discouraged workers” – those who stop looking for work. So they are counted out of the pool, they’re counted out of those who are actually unemployed. Now what is really interesting is that in a growing economy, those sitting around not looking start to look [for work]. So therefore you have more people who are unemployed who say they are looking, so they begin to be counted as part of unemployment.
So I think, with a little bit of patience, if we really manage to keep this on track, you’re going to see further improvement. That’s one observation. The second, what I think is the most interesting observation and the most relevant, is that here we are. We are disengaging structurally in the sense of dependency on employment opportunities in Israel. We’re reducing our unemployment–unemployment is coming down–in the context of disengagement in terms of labor dependency. So it looks like the theory is working.
FE: What about tax collection? Is that increasing?
SF: Definitely. For the first time, you know, this year we’re projecting over 20% increase in overall tax take to take us over the $2 billion dollar mark for the first time in the history of the PA.
FE: How does this affect the budget?
SF: Well first of all, it reduces dependency on aid, for sure. This too is a very good story. In 2008, the external financing requirement–for budget support only, without development expenditure–amounted to $1.8 billion. This year, it’s $1.2 billion. In 2011, we’re reducing it to below a billion. So we’re working very hard on attaining financial viability, you know what I’m saying. Reducing dependency on aid–the vision we have for the state is not one of perpetual dependence on aid. One thing that I personally tend to be credited for is the fact that we get aid. I say I measure success not by how much aid we get but by how much less of it we need. And so therefore, reducing reliance on aid is something that is definitely on top of our agenda. And we’re doing it.
FE: What will happen at the end, by 2011, the date that you have set to be prepared for the creation of a Palestinian state?
SF: I view this as a dynamic process. People who look at with this with suspicion, doubt, I break into two categories. One that says, “How can this be done? It’s impossible.” Of course there’s a third category, worst of all who say, “this is a conspiracy”–we’ll skip them. And there are fewer of these people. There’s definitely growing support amongst the public. There are some who say, “How can we possibly do that?” The people who say I think that’s partly because they do not see the process of doing this as capable of influencing political outcomes, which is completely contrary to a guiding principal underlying this work. I mean basically we have an objective, we know what the endgame should be, so that’s what we will be seeking. On the way to getting there, the idea is to exploit the momentum generated by creating positive facts on the ground. To order what otherwise would be a complete static vision. This is not static, this is dynamic. The [state-building] process itself is intended to generate pressure on the political process to produce, you know what I’m saying? So therefore the idea, the idea here is amass enough facts on the ground, enough critical mass of positive change to where the reality of the state will impose itself on the world. This is different from saying “unilateral declaration of statehood.”
When I announced this program in August of last year, this is exactly what I said. And that’s why everyone said, “Ah, watch out, this is dangerous.” What I said, and I still say it today, the idea is what we hope and expect. This is a state-building track. It’s supposed to ensure readiness for statehood. We think it’s going to take us two years to get there. It’s a bit ambitious, but doable despite the occupation. To end it, to end it means that–that’s the dynamism of this–build, build, build despite the occupation to end it.
We estimate that it will take two years to finish this. It is our hope and expectation that by then the political process will have produced an end to the Israeli occupation. That’s our hope and expectation. If it hasn’t, then the reality of the state would be so obvious, so strong, so compelling as to exert so much pressure on that political process to produce.
On the way to getting there, with all the lift of the spirit of the people that it brings, Palestinians but internationals as well: With more and more people investing in this possibility–I don’t just mean economically, materially but also psychologically, morally, politically–that cannot but influence the political process. It’s a not a coincidence that the Europeans came out with a landmark statement out of the European Council last year. It was against the backdrop of, “Guess what, the Palestinians are getting ready.” That’s an example. I know that’s what happened. All of the sudden everyone is talking about a two year timeline. The Quartet on March 19 of this year said two years. Well, their two years is longer than ours – we started a bit earlier.
We are already seeing some benefits because we are in a hurry to do this. When was it actually an issue for the world, the so-called ‘Area C?’ Now everybody’s talking about ‘Area C!’ Finally, well last but not least, another key contribution this has made is the following: when, and I think this is really major in terms of the political process, the end of the interim period was crossed in May 1999, it seemed as if we had ushered into an endless open transitional period. Nothing, no timeline. [In 2009] we came and said, we’re going to be ready for statehood in two years. And all of a sudden, the notion of this [transitional period] having to come to end started to resurface again. Not only, although that is not small, in terms of the window closing fast on the two-state solution, which is often said because of the settlements, but also because of this notion that, “Well, it’s what we have said about Palestinians all along, they’ll never build a state, they’re terrorists, they’re corrupt,” all this since, they’re not going to be there. This is something I often express, the other thing that I positively believe, that some adjustment will have to occur before a settlement is possible. Because well, Israeli politics how they are today, if you really look at it, it’s most unlikely that it will be able to produce something that will measure up to being a settlement from our point of view.
So therefore, you really would want to, again, deploy that process in a way that, as a matter of fact–let me back up a little bit. You asked me, for the two-state solution: the majority says “yes.” But you ask the same majority a different question: How many of you really believe that the state of Palestine will emerge along side the state of Israel? The percentage will drop substantially. What this means is that people have become desensitized to slogans of two states, of the Palestinian state. We have [said], in every speech we have, “The state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital,” but how many people really believe it? People when I go and talk to them, I keep saying, “This state won’t happen if you believe it won’t happen.” And I believe it will happen.
You know what is really happening here, is that–the same situation on both sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis–getting that majority to really believe it can happen is the challenge that has for long been underestimated. I think we really need to do that, and I keep saying, you know this state of Palestine is not going to happen to Israel or to Israelis or for the Palestinians, it’s going to grow on them. First, we have an overarching vision for the state, based on the foundation, principles that are consistent with universally accepted values. Then you continue, you persevere in a manner fully consistent with those principles. The reality of it begins to force itself on you. So that’s the process what I call transformation and transition of Palestinian statehood from a concept to the realm of possibility and then to the realm of reality. That’s the power of it. It’s the power of ideas. Ideas are important! Ideas are very important.
FE: But the political track is a different story. A friend, Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation, asked me to ask you this question. The Obama administration believes they can pursue a peace track while excluding Hamas, and in order to build a Palestinian state, you either have to build in Hamas or you have to crush them completely, and he’s not sure how you reconcile the two.
SF: You know, I look at this issue in a way that’s conceptually not different from the whole political process and the state-building track, in a dynamic setting. If you really put it this way, you have a Hamas that does not accept the platform of the PLO. You have certain requirements for engagement internationally, and as a matter dictated by agreements entered into by the PLO and commitments they made. So you look at this as a given, and you say “impossible, there is no way.” So you come to the conclusion of these “golden solutions” I call them: exclude or include right now in order to produce a solution. This is the product of static thinking. It’s not dynamic. There are many scenarios that are possible on this, and maybe a combination of those scenarios is what could bring this impasse to an end.
One for example is, here we have a political process that is going on, maybe a feeble one, but it doesn’t really matter, but if all of a sudden there is a breakthrough of sorts that could suggest to people, “well, this actually may happen.” That would have a major impact on the situation. The day after is not going to be like the day before. It’s watershed. That in itself produces a political revolution. Where the differences on the Palestinian scene begin to be perceived as very sharp and too difficult to overcome is a circumstance where people lose hope, lose faith in the political process and its possibility. But if you deal with that scenario, that changes the dynamic enormously. It probably would make it a little bit more appealing to Hamas to join the consensus, or to find ways to make it possible for them to get into this, as opposed to any other way. That’s one scenario.
Another scenario is that through the work we do and the fact that we’re not engaging in “they say, we say” debate, split in television debate, but rather “they say, we do, and these are the results”, and it could be, as it has been I believe, because the positive reaction that I detect exists on the part of people, ordinary citizens, toward this program and toward this vision, not only in the West Bank and Gaza as well.
So, people begin to see, that also influences the way people look at issues. Political parties, no matter what ideology they have, they cannot be indifferent to the way people feel. What we have is a situation characterized in the main by this divide politically. I think one way of dealing with it is to set in motion initiatives, activities and all of that that are seen as serving the interests and the over all good of the Palestinian people. Political parties, Hamas included, will find themselves compelled to either go along, and that reduces the differences or the extent to which they separate, or resist and they start to pay dearly in political terms, a very very heavy political price associated with going against that trend.
The answer to this is that the political process should produce. The effort to get ready for statehood should proceed. The worst thing we can do is sit on our hands and wait for something to happen. That perfect alignment of starts is never going to happen. Instead, it’s better to work and hope that something happens. I say that we Palestinians are due for a lucky bounce [laughs]. Overdue, as a matter of fact.
What this does is ensures that when that happens we are on the playing field, and not outside the arena altogether. It’s not going to settle anything, and it’s not guaranteed to produce anything, but it certainly positions us much better to take advantage of opportunities as they emerge. So that’s really my attitude. I’m not sure one can or should look at this as an either or, this or that. If it is that, I have to wait until we bridge all of our differences. I have my own views on that. I think it’s important from a point of view of sustainability, in order to get where we’re going, and sustaining it. Security. What kind of security doctrine.
I am a firm believer in nonviolence as a path to freedom, combined with this positive agenda, creative positive facts on the ground. Yes, every day something bad happens that discourages. Yes the Israelis demolished barracks a couple of days ago, but for the first time in history, there is an Authority that is there the next day building again with people. That lifts the spirit. All of a sudden you defeat the defeatism. You cease being either completely submissive or completely belligerent. This has tremendous power. It’s transformative. I believe in it.
FE: President Obama promised 400 million dollars to the Palestinians in June. Some of that money was supposed to go to Gaza. My question is twofold? Where did it go if it was supposed to go to Gaza? Second, he called on Israelis and Palestinians to increase their security cooperation. You recently met with Israeli Defense Minister [Ehud] Barak. Can you give some idea about this?
SF: Yes they do have money for projects in Gaza and today I had discussions with an American official on that, and we’re working very closely on that, to integrate the various initiatives intended for Gaza under the overall national plan. And that also helps bring about a greater sense of oneness even though the separation has become more deeply entrenched. I recognize this as a reality. And it’s not coincidental that I keep saying, each day, getting ready includes, importantly, reuniting the country. There’s not going to be a state of Palestine unless our country is reunited. And I believe that. It’s important. In fact this week when [EU foreign affairs chief] Catherine Ashton was here a few days ago. She announced a program that’s being implemented by us with European money to help the private sector. We’re getting there, and we’re certainly working and planning to work similarly with the Americans in building things and helping to restore a bit of normalcy, on the road to restoring economic life in Gaza and ending the hardship of people there. It’s very, very important . We attach great importance to that. I spend a great deal of my time these days on this issue, trying to really push the agenda, trying to deal with the problems there.
The other issue related to security. That meeting [with Barak] really focused on, among other things, Gaza, and the need for there to be a change of paradigm completely and to get rid of this approach that was restrictive and based on ‘everything is disallowed unless otherwise indicated’ to the opposite of that and to actually implement it this way. So there was a lot of discussion on that.
There was also a lot of discussion on getting political deliverables associated with the improved security situation, in the main getting Israel to stop its incursions into our areas, and getting us to have a uniformed permanent security presence in Palestinian centers outside of Area A. This is very important – I said political deliverables. Why? Because the whole thing is pivoted on the notion that all Palestinians want a state of Palestine and that’s how we internalize the security doctrine because we made it so organically tied to the objective of statehood. You want statehood? Then security has to be done this way. If still people see the Israeli army come into Nablus, Ramallah, people start to wonder. Conversely, if tomorrow Israel says, as I believe it should, as I believe it should have, “We are no longer sending troops into Palestinian territories,” this is huge There’s nothing that defines a state, or a state in the making, more than where its security services are, not where the security services of the occupation are. So it’s very important for that to begin to happen. Also for us to begin to have security presence in our own areas, where Palestinians live, to really have a little bit of a security presence. I travel around the country. If I happen to be traveling in rural areas, which is oftentimes, I see security there, our security, they are allowed to go there with coordination by the Israelis. I leave, they leave. So I think to myself, if this is a place I am visiting for the first time, it will be the first time our citizens there will have seen Palestinian security. Imagine what it will do to people if they wake up every day to the reality of a police station in their neighborhood. You know, statehood begins to make sense. The whole project begins to make sense. What we do every day improving quality of life, building institutions, building our capacity to govern ourselves and all of that begins to make sense as part of an effort aimed at getting us to freedom. You see what I’m saying? Absent that this beings to apply an exercise in adapting to the reality of permanent occupation. Then this could really be seen, in a way that cannot be challenged, as a sort of implementation of the ‘economic peace’ vision. Which it isn’t. That’s not what is intended.That is why Israel is definitely required to it. That’s what we’re talking about.
FE: Did Barak promise anything? Was this mainly the beginning of a discussion?
SF: No, it was not the beginning of a discussion. We have have raised these issues many times. I have many times. Many many times. Unfortunately they did not receive the attention they deserved early on. Now they are, so good. Fine. But can we really produce something after this? I don’t want to stay in the realm of you know, “we ask, they think about it, we ask, they think about it, we ask, they agree in principle.” What we really would want to see is something concrete happening. It’s very very important. That is what is required.
– Fadi Elsalameen

Comments

81 comments on “Build, Build Despite the Occupation

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    OMG!!!
    Quick, someone burp questions, I think he just choked on his chalkboard.

    Reply

  2. Cee says:

    I’m glad that Pearlman brought up the loss suffered by the Netanyahu family. I’ve often wondered how it damaged him.
    I also want the truth about the Entebbe raid.
    Documents recently made public by the British government reveal that Israel played a direct role in the notorious hijacking of an Air France plane to Idi Amin’s Entebbe in 1976 and cooperated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in staging the event remembered today as the Entebbe Incident.
    In documents recently released and now sitting in the National Archives in London, D.H. Colvina British diplomat working in Paris wrote that, according to sources he knew, the hijacking was the work of the PFLP, with help from the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet.
    The operation was designed to torpedo the PLOs standing in France and to prevent a growing rapprochement between the Palestine Liberation
    Organization (PLO) and the Americans, he said. My contact said the PFLP had attracted all sorts of wild elements, some of whom had been planted by the Israelis. .. . Their [the Israelis] nightmare is that after the November elections, one will witness the imposition in the Middle East of a Pax Americana, which will be to the advantage of the PLO, who will gain international respectability and perhaps the right to establish a state on evacuated territories and to the disadvantage of Israel, who will be forced to evacuate occupied territory.
    The hijacking, or the Entebbe Incident as it is popularly known, gripped the attention of the world for nearly a week at that time. Hijackers seized an Air France plane bound for Paris via Athens shortly after it took off. The plane was diverted first to Benghazi, Libya, where it was refueled before going on to Entebbe, Uganda. In Entebbe, the hijackers released most of the hostages but kept 98 people, most of them Israeli citizens, and threatened to kill them unless Israel met their demands of releasing some 50
    Palestinian prisoners held in Israel and in other places around the world.
    In a dramatic rescue that has been the subject of several books and at least 4 films, Israeli commandos flew to the airport where shortly thereafter a 36-minute battle was fought with the hijackers and Ugandan soldiers.
    In the end, six of the hijackers, 45 Ugandan soldiers, three hostages, and Col. Jonathan Netanyahu (commanding officer of the Israeli commandos and elder brother of Benjamin Netanyahu) were killed.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    You probably can’t read indefinite detention into the constitution.
    You might not be able to read GPS tracking of unsuspecting poor people who have to park their cars outside rather than inside. (This is a current case I just saw somewhere.)
    You probably can’t read slavery in anymore.
    Probably mosques can be located wherever.
    Probably the line item veto isn’t in there.
    Probably the basic notion of privacy, without which much of the constitution is meaningless probably does cover a lot of private behavior.
    I think it’s very funny that the conservative side of you wouldn’t want the Const. read to support more individual liberty against social preferences.
    Bork thought it was a constitutional right to live in a society where people can know that no one practices birth control. Now, is that in the Constitution?
    Conservatives seem to think that a very strong executive and very strong private business sector is very good, but very married gays and lesbians are not? Say what?! Which is the more liberty loving, keeping faith with the Constitution side of these issues? Hmmm. I’ll answer for you.
    Weaker executive power, for sure. Businesses that dominate the economic landscape such that there’s no way around them should not discriminate. If businesses are allowed to discriminate, then the people who come out at the short end have lost tremendous freedom. This one is a trade off, and individuals are in a weaker position than are business concerns. So dump discrimination. Marriage is ok in a lot of forms, including infertile, older to younger, friendly, sexless, sexful, “open”, adoption-oriented, travel-oriented, same sex oriented.
    There are plenty of checks on judicial decisions. They only get to decide cases in front of them. There’s an appeals process. They can’t really ride roughshod over the people’s will.
    In the case of CA, there are 2 elected officials, one from each party, who can check the court. You’ve disparaged them, but they were duly elected to their positions and they aren’t unconstitutional!
    Now tell me honestly, was this post hard to understand?

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    Typo… DE-NOMINATE — should be DW…..

    Reply

  5. questions says:

    Dan, just for you I’ve put together the following list –it’s kind of like Spark Notes for questions:
    *Plato — cool!!!!!!!
    *Machiavelli — smart
    *Kant — we should be so lucky (or moral)
    *Hobbes — super super important and insightful
    *Rawls — cool
    *Aristotle — tedious but worth it
    *Derrida — cool
    *Fleshler — better than W and M by far
    *W and M — ugh
    *Game theory — cool
    *Network theory — cool
    *Chaos theory — probably cool, but I haven’t read any yet
    *Congress — re-election, procedure, informational organization, re-election, re-election, and, umm, re-election
    *PVI, DE-NOMINATE — important data points
    *Vote counting to understand congressional behavior — really important
    *Nate Silver — cool!
    *Shakespeare — cool!!!
    *I/P situation — complex both strategically and morally, so, very hard to specify actions given that the reactions are likely to be problematic
    *Intervention in systems — hard to do — see above
    *Generational change — often helps, but not always
    *Gay marriage — cool!!!!! See above
    *POA – ugh
    *Complexity — accurate depiction of many situations, especially those involving competing interests, competing goods, competing people — see “intervention in systems”
    *Economic collapse — oligarchic tendencies tied to the general good such that we have to reward the bastards just to save ourselves
    *Housing market — NOT the CRA or Fannie and Freddie
    *Behavioral economics — very cool!
    *Grammar — cool, despite typos, screw ups, and incomplete sentences
    *Engineering — complicated and cool
    *Math — complicated and cool
    *Stats — more telling than I would have thought
    *Wiki – tempting, sad but true
    *Salt — the movie — see the anchor baby controversy
    *Immigration — comprehensive reform with far more open movement of people
    *Full employment — good
    *Obama — good!
    *Tea Party — problematic on many levels
    *14 Amendment — very very good!!!
    *17th Amendment — it’s a keeper!
    *2nd Amendment — not an individual right in my opinion, but the new law of the land says it is.
    *Conspiracy theory — ugh
    ********
    I’m sure there’s more. But this way, at least you’ll have some vague idea what it is I post about since my posts are so completely opaque to you.
    If it’s still too hard to understand, let me know. I’ll try to simplify it even more!

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    “When the majority want to do something that is unconstitutional, then in fact a judge can stop it. That’s the whole point of the Constitution.”
    Yes, but….to rule that retaining the definition of marriage in use since the writing of the Constitution (and for two thousand years before that) is unconstitutional, you have to read some very innovative interpretations into the Constitution, way beyond anything its authors meant to say or actually said.
    If you can read the right to gay marriage into the Constitution, what can’t you read into it? becomes a very relevant question. What’s to prevent the Federal judiciary from taking on dictatorial powers to veto any law they happen to dislike, simply by calling it unconstitutional and making up the reasoning on the fly, as Judge Walker did?
    As the old lawyer’s joke goes: What’s the difference between a Federal Judicial Court Judge and God?
    Ans: God does not think he is a Federal Judicial Court Judge.

    Reply

  7. Dan Kervick says:

    “In short, deal.”
    It’s OK, questions. Even if you wrote in complete sentences I doubt I could understand you anyway.

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    Actually, nadine,
    I came across something somewhere about what happens to referenda in this situation, and I think they are actually following precedent.
    If it pops up again, I’ll toss in a link here….
    When the majority want to do something that is unconstitutional, then in fact a judge can stop it. That’s the whole point of the Constitution.
    Remember, you don’t want to undermine Scalitomas’s ability to toss out congressionally mandated laws just cuz they think the Constitution wouldn’t smile upon them.
    Gotta be careful with strategies!

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    “nadine,
    The guv and the AG have both refused to appeal. There’s the political process right there. One’s a repub, one’s a dem, so two guys elected by different constituencies within the state have asked for the marriages to be restarted.
    The appeals court will weigh in, too. Nothing Walker has done has short-circuited the political process.
    So the piece you linked to that is all worried about how quickly this is being done might not be much of an analysis.”
    Yes, questions, the appeals court will weigh in because Judge Walker can’t actually abort the appeals process completely, he can only try to rule that the defendant’s standing has expired and beg the 9th circuit not to hear the case. The whole thing is an example of making stuff up instead of citing case law, because there isn’t any to cite.
    You’re right about the Governator and AG Moonbeam refusing to do their jobs (the AG is supposed to defend all the laws of California, not just the ones he likes). But the law about referenda is written to try to prevent a few political figures from abrogating the will of the majority. It doesn’t get better if two pols and one judge can abrogate the will of the majority.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hee. Haw.
    Heehaw.
    Its still braying, no matter how you cut it.

    Reply

  11. Kathleen says:

    And here we have another example of another so called progressive blogger. Who referred to herself on the Washington Journal as often “left of the left” ignoring the I/P conflict, the illegal settlements, etc when she had the opportunity. Jane mentions many issues that the left is concerned about during this interview. But is silent once again about this critical issue. She mentions Rep Grayson as one of her favorite Reps. Grayson completely supports Israel no matter what they do and also supports more aggressive actions towards Iran. She also says she admires Rep Barney Frank. Jane Hamsher is a PEP (progressive except for Palestine)
    This interview with Jane Hamsher (Firedoglake) on Washington Journal is fascinating. Jane was on discussing the stance of the Obama administration on many issues and how the left feels about those stances.
    While I appreciate Jane

    Reply

  12. questions says:

    Sometimes.
    I write in.
    Complete sentences.
    Sometimes I.
    Don’t.
    Lists.
    Are.
    Useful stylistic interruptions in otherwise long and droning prose pieces that I compose not in a word processor but in a little box on the screen. The little box can make listing seem a more acceptable prose style, as can the general informal nature of blog posting.
    Since I get bashed regularly for using too many words around here, I sometimes mix up my writing style with lists or partial sentences. Sometimes there is rhetorical intent behind such lists as they add force to a particular word by isolating that word from other grammatical forms and from other words and concepts.
    The spatial isolation from other terms may also add some force to a particular word or phrase as reading is both verbal and spatial. Note that poetry is both a visual/spatial battle between line and sentence, and blog posting can indeed have its own poetic moment.
    In short, deal.
    Feynman — fab!

    Reply

  13. Dan Kervick says:

    Would that Feynman had composed an essay about writing in complete sentences.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    Amazingly beautiful Richard Feynman piece from 1964 about evidence, the “wisdom of crowds”, political corruption, text books, why our children don’t know shit about math and science, and why empirical work is so damned important.
    The link is from The Oil Drum comment section from yesterday/today.
    http://www.textbookleague.org/103feyn.htm
    I can’t recommend this piece enough!
    Empirical data, empirical data, empirical data.
    Clarity and understanding of what you’re talking about instead of mutual admiration societies and networked panic attacks.
    This piece helps explain so much of what is wrong with our political thinking and the stupidity of policy that emerges from it.
    One passage in particular, but please click and read the whole thing!
    “This question of trying to figure out whether a book is good or bad by looking at it carefully or by taking the reports of a lot of people who looked at it carelessly is like this famous old problem: Nobody was permitted to see the Emperor of China, and the question was, What is the length of the Emperor of China’s nose? To find out, you go all over the country asking people what they think the length of the Emperor of China’s nose is, and you average it. And that would be very “accurate” because you averaged so many people. But it’s no way to find anything out; when you have a very wide range of people who contribute without looking carefully at it, you don’t improve your knowledge of the situation by averaging. ”

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    nadine,
    The guv and the AG have both refused to appeal. There’s the political process right there. One’s a repub, one’s a dem, so two guys elected by different constituencies within the state have asked for the marriages to be restarted.
    The appeals court will weigh in, too. Nothing Walker has done has short-circuited the political process.
    So the piece you linked to that is all worried about how quickly this is being done might not be much of an analysis.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “While Anti-Semites see nothing wrong with telling the Jews to sit down and shut up..blablahblah……”
    Its not anti-semitic to tell Jews like you to shut the fuck up. Its just basic common sense. Particularly when its a Jew exhibiting that common sense. Its a real shame more Jews with that basic attribute don’t comment here.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    “uh, nadine, ya got that law thang a leetle beety beet wrongo…..
    The judge seems to have indicated the following:
    There was standing to bring the original case to trial BECAUSE THERE HAD NOT YET BEEN A LEGAL FINDING.
    That’s point A.
    Now, there has been a finding. The only question before the CA judge at this point is whether or not to lift the stay.”
    Uh, questions, I am not a lawyer BUT a whole lot of lawyers say this sleight of hand — declaring a defendant has just standing enough to defend a proposition in open court but not standing enough to appeal the decision — No Appeals Process For You! — is playing very and loose with the law.
    If the defendants have standing to come to trial, they say, then they have standing to appeal. If they didn’t have standing to see the case through, the case should have been dismissed.But if Judge Walker had dismissed the case, then he wouldn’t have had his show trial and been able to issue “findings of fact” on a bunch of opinions about homosexuality. Hugh Hewitt calls the judgment a “joke” — it is a ludicrous & unprecedented treatment of the rational basis test, he says.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    “I’d love to know whose engineering firms are managing all the construction projects–Israel’s or Fatah’s. ” (JohnH)
    Why, JohnH, didn’t you know that Arafat’s cronies made millions building the Jewish settlements? I would presume the same firms are doing the building for Fayyad.

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    I’d love to know whose engineering firms are managing all the construction projects–Israel’s or Fatah’s. My bet is that the Ramallah building boom is just another way to funnel profits into Likud’s pockets.
    And then when the IDF deems them suitable targets, the donor community can once again funnel money…

    Reply

  20. Mr.Murder says:

    Pair civil structural development with infrastructure projects.
    Grid Palenstine as a state with renewable energy entirely from day one.
    There you’ve created demand for infrastructure projects spanning the breadth of needs(roads, bridges, schools, utilities) and you’ve created the jobs to help sustain and maintain that kind of transformative effort.
    Transformative economics is challenge enough. Meet this challenge with transformative energy.

    Reply

  21. DonS says:

    What is incredible to me is that zionists who think there is no limit to what should be required of the US in support of Israel — but that the US should just butt out when it comes to expectation of Israel — object to being called Israel Firsters. They think it’s ok for American politicians, Jewish or not, to be at the beck and call of Israel and its “Lobby”. And they object to being called Israel Firsters. Why is that?

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    Soros is too late. He can’t “destroy America from the inside by making its economy implode.” Bush already did that.
    No one is telling Jews to sit down and shut up. What we are telling Zionists is to not involve us in their paranoid delusions and grandiose illusions of regional hegemony.

    Reply

  23. nadine says:

    “Funny, I somehow missed that George Soros is trying to drag the United States into a war on behalf of a foreign country…”
    No, he’s just trying to destroy America from the inside by making its economy implode.
    “But of course, Jewish Supremacists see nothing wrong having other people waste their blood and treasure for their kooky notions of an “existential threat.””
    While Anti-Semites see nothing wrong with telling the Jews to sit down and shut up, the people planning to kill them are just kidding, and if it turns out they aren’t, the Jews should just walk into the ovens again and stop making trouble.

    Reply

  24. JohnH says:

    Funny, I somehow missed that George Soros is trying to drag the United States into a war on behalf of a foreign country…
    However, that’s exactly what AIPAC, their underwriters and fellow travelers are trying to do.
    But of course, Jewish Supremacists see nothing wrong having other people waste their blood and treasure for their kooky notions of an “existential threat.”

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    uh, nadine, ya got that law thang a leetle beety beet wrongo…..
    The judge seems to have indicated the following:
    There was standing to bring the original case to trial BECAUSE THERE HAD NOT YET BEEN A LEGAL FINDING.
    That’s point A.
    Now, there has been a finding. The only question before the CA judge at this point is whether or not to lift the stay.
    On this issue, the judge said, well, there’s been a finding that these dudes who claimed to have been harmed haven’t actually been harmed. The proper people to appeal to the next court level are the ones who would be harmed and those people are the Governator and the Attorney General.
    The Governator and the AG have already DECLINED to appeal.
    So, the judge in the case did the following: he lifted the stay, but dated the lifting to NEXT WEEK so that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals can weigh in on the standing issue.
    Because the judge doesn’t think there’s standing for the appeal, and because the judge knows that it’s not his decision entirely, he has both indicated that he thinks there’s no standing for the appeal and he has passed the decision, quite appropriately, to the next court.
    He’s right to wait for this appeal to be (I hope) turned down. He’s right to wait a week on the marriage thing and then let thousands of couples tie the knot, file joint state tax returns, sign documents together, and call themselves “married”. It’s a beautiful thing that people really should have regardless of the gender issue and I am grateful that it’s being seen as a civil right rather than as a thing to vote on.
    7 million Californians ought not to be able to take away the basic civil rights to life, liberty, property, association, speech, religion, protection from unreasonable search and seizure. 7 Million Californians should not be able to vote to quarter soldiers in my home, to coin their own money, to sign their own treaties, to elect their own president of the US who then competes with the dude in DC.
    The Constitution is there to keep 7 million of us, or 17 million of us, or (I hope) 70 million of us from screwing up the lives of the rest of us. Civil rights aren’t always the most popular things. That’s why they are separate from, and prior to, the political process. Otherwise, we might be doing some really dumbfuck things to each other.
    As I’ve said many times, the Gerry Rosenberg book The Hollow Hope has had a huge impact on my thinking about the way the Supreme Court works, but I’d be thrilled if we were in a different place now!
    That is one book I’d love to exorcise from my psyche!
    *****
    Notice by the way, once it’s shown that maybe it’s not the money, the argument suddenly turns to coordinated candidate recruitment.
    Every argument is proof of the conspiracy. Every counter argument is proof of the conspiracy. Every win and every loss, on whichever side, is proof of the conspiracy. It’s such a funny trick of the mind to hold the theory no matter what.
    And I say this as I am getting ready to toss Gerry Rosenberg out of my thinking!

    Reply

  26. nadine says:

    See, questions, it’s all about the disloyal Jooooos controlling America. JohnH sounds exactly like the Arab media, where cartoons showing Jews running the world show up every day of the week.
    When discussing Jewish influence, they somehow fail to notice a billionaire Hungarian Jew named George Soros funding organizations like, say, the New America Foundation. That’s because it’s okay if they like the political stance of the Jews buying influence. It’s only a crime when they don’t.
    Leftists are strictly results-oriented: results they like are legitimate, no matter what means are used. Ever notice that? Like this judge in California, who is now trying to claim that the same party that had standing to defend Prop 8 in his court, has no standing to appeal his ruling. Rule by one judge, one ruling, that’s his aim — when he likes the results. Of course, it’s insupportable when he doesn’t like the results.

    Reply

  27. JohnH says:

    Let’s hope that AIPAC operatives in Democratic campaigns become a BIG issue. The folks who are trying maniacally to drag the US into a war against Iran on behalf of a foreign country’s “existential threat” deserve to be outed ASAP. They pose an imminent danger to the future well being of all Americans AND their loyalty to America deserves to be questioned publicly.

    Reply

  28. Sand says:

    Yep… that’s me… and this is me back in January smelling something strange.
    http://openleft.com/showComment.do?commentId=214169
    AIPAC is v. active in IL.
    ==========================
    HUFFINGTONPOST: “AIPAC Operative
    In 1984, Emanuel and David Axelrod (Obama’s senior campaign strategist in 2008) worked alongside AIPAC on a campaign to unseat Illinois Senator Charles Percy who was then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. That electoral success followed a victorious AIPAC-directed campaign in 1982 when Springfield attorney Richard Durbin was recruited to oppose Paul Findley, an 11-term Congressman. Findley learned too late the political costs visited on U.S. policy-makers who challenge the Israeli-fication of U.S. foreign policy…”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-gates/rahm-emanuel-barack-obama_b_142837.html
    For the current Democratic candidate to be recruited and ‘managed’ in this way — IMO doesn’t favor a win.
    ==========================
    We’ll see.

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    So, what the hell does this have to do with money, and its ethno-religious sources?
    It would seem to have more to do with poor candidate recruitment on the dem side.
    AND it’s still a decent bet that G. will pull it off despite the bank failure.
    The Kirk wife thing was priceless!
    Come to think of it, the Gingrich wife thing is pretty priceless too.
    Someone should pay every single political wife to speak up about what an emotional disaster the hubby is!
    Except in the West Bank where nation building needs to take precedence over the National Enquirization of the political process.

    Reply

  30. questions says:

    Hey, Sand, is this you, too?
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/08/career-move.html
    From the other day at mr mondo’s place?

    Reply

  31. Sand says:

    “…IF Giannoulias loses it’ll be because his family was involved in some failed bank that gave loans to the mob!!! (I kid you not!)…”
    That’s what I’m getting at. Batsh*t crazy Jews for Israel go for ‘moderate’ Kirk (spit) and secular Jews as well as other liberals and progressives disgusted with the sleeze stay home.
    I said from the beginning Giannoulias as an
    ‘dem. establishment’ choice was ‘real weird’!

    Reply

  32. questions says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Read more about the fucking race!
    IF Giannoulias loses it’ll be because his family was involved in some failed bank that gave loans to the mob!!! (I kid you not!)
    If Kirk loses, it’ll be because a)he’s a conservative and serial liar with fake moderate credentials and b)because he’s a serial liar/exaggerator. This stuff came out right after the Blumenthal mess, and kos and the Tribune have been having a field day. It’s a fun race to watch.
    Up there with the California thing, the Florida thing, Alvin Greene, and Basil Marceaux.com, who, sadly, lost big time.
    Boxer down in most recent poll. Yikes! Brown is down, too, I think.
    Hope the Prop H8 thing doesn’t reverberate in the loss of California to the Fiorina/Whitman crowd. Self-funding gazillionaires are not so good for participation, consensus building, deal making, ties to the local constituents, organization building and so on. All that nation building stuff that’s supposed to be Fayyad’s strong point — it comes from compromise and mutual need, not from having your own billions.
    (See, I tied the thread together!)

    Reply

  33. Sand says:

    JD: “…The Posting is about the Palestinians building the needed framework for a state…”
    What ‘State’??? It’s precisely because of Jewish [political] influence in America that they won’t have a State. You need borders for a state! And Israel has told the world — there ain’t gonna be no borders.
    – Netanyahu rejects peace talks based on 1967 borders. Prime ministers rebuffs Palestinian ‘precondition’ as talks with U.S. envoy George Mitchell end in failure. [8/12/10]
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-rejects-peace-talks-based-on-1967-borders-1.307430

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    It got hijacked because I brought a gun, a knife, a box cutter, a ski mask, and some electrons to the thread!
    At 9:42 pm last night I noted that I had been reading a book I just got in the mail. And BAM! The thread died. Only it didn’t die. It lived, in a different form for a while. Like Hermione in the Winter’s Tale (ok, maybe not quite.)
    But we can have a service for it, or you can change the topic right now back to the original.
    Threads are funny things. As are topics of conversation. Sometimes they meander in shocking ways. Sometimes people are disturbed. Sometimes people merely go back to the original topic and ignore the intervening stuff. Sometimes people have to call attention to what they are doing. Sometimes they play “police” over topic shifts.

    Reply

  35. Sand says:

    I really hope you’re right about Kirk. We’ll see. Currently Kirk & Giannoulias are apparently neck and neck — in a supposedly ‘Blue’ State. And Kirk is up on the $$$ bigtime.
    And this is ‘Not’ normal — not normal at all:
    ==============================
    – JTA: “The Illinois Democratic Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate withdrew from a forum on Israel. [8/10/10]
    Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer, withdrew Monday from the Aug. 22 forum, sponsored by the Protect Our Heritage public action committee and ** 16 other Jewish organizations.** His campaign said he had prior commitments…”
    http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/08/10/2740424/illinois-senate-candidate-withdraws-from-israel-forum
    ==============================
    Also this from an IL political insider comment:
    ==============================
    CHICAGO SUN: “…Political consultant Don Rose said Kirk might get a higher percentage of the Jewish vote because of the friends he has won over on the North Shore in the last 10 years, “But that may not necessarily transfer to Lincoln Park Jews and Hyde Park Jews. If Giannoulias loses Jewish voters, it won’t be for foreign policy reasons. It will be because they feel he’s not ‘kosher’ in other ways.”
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/2582324,CST-NWS-israel10.article
    ==============================
    Not ‘kosher’ in other ways? Maybe meaning a reduced turnout of more secular Jews — that don’t go apesh*t every time Israel is criticized? It still wouldn’t surprise me if Rahm has got his eye on that seat for when he leaves the WH.

    Reply

  36. jdledell says:

    How did this comment section get highjacked to cover mainly Jewish influence in America? The Posting is about the Palestinians building the needed framework for a state. Obviously, this is a necessary step every fledgling state has to take. Israel spent decades building it’s foundations before statehood. How could anyone object to what Fayyad is doing?
    Sure it would be nice if this was taking place under more democratic conditions but at least Fayyad took the bull by the horns and DID SOMETHING!!!! I don’t think Israel or the Palestinians have to worry that Fayyad will use this as a stepping stone to assume dictitorial powers. I can’t believe anyone seriously wants a failed state on Israel’s doorstep so everyone should step back and let Fayyad do his thing in building state institutions.
    I am confident that once statehood is ready to be implemented, the Palestinians will once again hold elections to administer this state. This time when they vote, let them live with the consequences – DON’T INTERVENE!

    Reply

  37. questions says:

    From the LA Times:
    A federal judge Thursday refused to permanently stay his ruling overturning Proposition 8′s ban of gay marriage but extended a temporary hold to give supporters time to appeal the historic ruling.
    U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who overturned the measure on Aug. 4, agreed to give its sponsors until Aug. 18 to appeal his ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Walker said that same-sex marriages may resume at that time unless a higher court blocks them.
    Walker said the sponsors of Proposition 8 do not have legal standing to appeal his order because they were not directly affected by it.
    [Updated at 12:50 p.m.: “As it appears at least doubtful that proponents will be able to proceed with their appeal without a state defendant, it remains unclear whether the Court of Appeals will be able to reach the merits of proponents’ appeal,” Walker wrote.
    “In light of those concerns, proponents may have little choice but to attempt to convince either the governor or the attorney general to file an appeal to ensure jurisdiction.”
    Walker said there was no evidence that the sponsors of Prop. 8 “face the kind of injury” required to have standing to file an appeal.
    “The uncertainty surrounding proponents’ standing weighs heavily against the likelihood of their success,” he wrote.
    The campaign for Proposition 8 said it would immediately appeal Walker’s ruling.”
    ************
    Looks like standing really is an issue! But there may well be more to play out.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    As I said, questions, the figures at CEPR DRAMATICALLY understate the amount of Jewish money and influence in politics. Donors are not identified by religion, so tracing it is impossible. However, it is safe to say that there is a lot of Jewish money buried in many of the economic sectors. If you cared, you could look at the names of individual donors.
    Secondly, no one is saying that Jewish money controls American politics. However, it does exert a huge and nefarious influence on ME foreign policy, possibly leading to a catastrophic attack on Iran. As such, it is a legitimate political issue to raise the issue of a messianic, wealthy, tiny group’s hijacking of foreign policy for the benefit of a single foreign country.
    The fact that other lobbies give more than “pro-Israeli” groups is meaningless, because many of these groups are taking care of their own special interests and not get involved much in ME foreign policy.

    Reply

  39. questions says:

    PROP H8 is dead as a doornail!!!!!!
    No stay. Aug 18 marriages re-begin!!!!!!
    kos front page.
    I’d love no appeal on grounds of no standing.
    It’s a good economic stimulus too!

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    Here’s Inouye
    Lawyers/Law Firms $342,110 $248,260 $93,850
    Lobbyists $214,850 $205,336 $9,514
    Defense Aerospace $203,000 $134,000 $69,000
    Pro-Israel $190,850 $131,850 $59,000
    Real Estate $173,666 $155,466 $18,200
    Casinos/Gambling $162,350 $139,850 $22,500
    Retired $153,173 $153,173 $0
    Sea Transport $117,900 $46,950 $70,950
    Computers/Internet $117,600 $64,200 $53,400
    TV/Movies/Music $103,500 $43,500 $60,000
    Misc Defense $101,850 $52,050 $49,800
    Construction Services $96,850 $78,350 $18,500
    Air Transport $95,600 $15,800 $79,800
    Leadership PACs $94,400 $0 $94,400
    Health Professionals $89,500 $39,000 $50,500
    General Contractors $85,550 $77,150 $8,400
    Business Services $83,750 $80,750 $3,000
    Commercial Banks $69,875 $47,775 $22,100
    Securities & Investment $68,550 $68,550 $0
    Transportation Unions $66,900 $0 $66,900
    AND… Ron Wyden….
    Lawyers/Law Firms $373,401 $298,342 $75,059
    Health Professionals $326,240 $162,925 $163,315
    Securities & Investment $318,339 $283,260 $35,079
    Real Estate $221,540 $206,040 $15,500
    Pro-Israel $181,871 $123,471 $58,400
    Hospitals/Nursing Homes $161,300 $78,800 $82,500
    Insurance $159,099 $55,600 $103,499
    Retired $156,935 $156,935 $0
    Misc Finance $141,615 $135,115 $6,500
    Lobbyists $119,699 $111,699 $8,000
    Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $116,755 $92,920 $23,835
    Forestry & Forest Products $110,950 $91,950 $19,000
    Computers/Internet $110,019 $61,450 $48,569
    Health Services/HMOs $98,300 $30,700 $67,600
    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $89,650 $10,300 $79,350
    Leadership PACs $86,500 $0 $86,500
    Business Services $74,650 $64,650 $10,000
    Beer, Wine & Liquor $68,656 $32,656 $36,000
    Electric Utilities $63,625 $23,375 $40,250
    Democratic/Liberal $55,950 $55,950 $0
    AND HARRY REID:
    Lawyers/Law Firms $2,826,974 $2,556,408 $270,566
    Securities & Investment $987,655 $823,355 $164,300
    Casinos/Gambling $639,350 $577,350 $62,000
    Lobbyists $637,674 $620,574 $17,100
    Real Estate $633,507 $548,931 $84,576
    Health Professionals $612,025 $342,625 $269,400
    Leadership PACs $440,949 $0 $440,949
    Retired $434,145 $434,145 $0
    Business Services $434,057 $401,557 $32,500
    TV/Movies/Music $388,000 $276,000 $112,000
    Misc Finance $337,106 $311,106 $26,000
    Insurance $334,400 $134,700 $199,700
    Hospitals/Nursing Homes $306,850 $151,050 $155,800
    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $290,500 $65,750 $224,750
    Computers/Internet $285,362 $160,600 $124,762
    Health Services/HMOs $209,950 $97,800 $112,150
    Lodging/Tourism $184,950 $126,850 $58,100
    Pro-Israel $183,390 $129,890 $53,500
    Education $175,475 $158,475 $17,000
    Misc Business $172,380 $165,880 $6,500
    AND ARLEN SPECTOR:
    Lawyers/Law Firms $2,013,538 $1,758,988 $254,550
    Securities & Investment $699,966 $671,466 $28,500
    Health Professionals $545,733 $376,733 $169,000
    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $517,699 $298,500 $219,199
    Lobbyists $503,730 $477,990 $25,740
    Real Estate $477,600 $471,200 $6,400
    TV/Movies/Music $415,680 $313,830 $101,850
    Retired $393,058 $393,058 $0
    Hospitals/Nursing Homes $362,099 $251,949 $110,150
    Misc Finance $238,601 $230,601 $8,000
    Education $231,040 $229,040 $2,000
    Computers/Internet $230,843 $120,050 $110,793
    Pro-Israel $230,400 $164,900 $65,500
    Electric Utilities $229,149 $117,450 $111,699
    Misc Business $216,733 $214,733 $2,000
    Insurance $212,023 $141,523 $70,500
    Business Services $210,650 $194,850 $15,800
    Leadership PACs $204,400 $0 $204,400
    Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $199,150 $146,500 $52,650
    Oil & Gas $182,450 $119,450 $63,000
    And so on…..
    Go look for yourself.
    Even at the very top, the honorable mr kirk, pro-Israel money is not all there is, is not going to be the sole pressure on votes.
    And of course there’s that pesky weird statistical not total relationship between money and votes.
    Funny how all of this works.
    How non-conspiratorial it all seems when the data are in.
    At most, there are a few people in Congress who have gotten big chunks of pro-Israel money. There seems to be only one for whom the money seems to be pretty significant.
    And that guy is a likely loser!
    Even his ex-wife is going after him now, as I recall seeing on kos!
    So tell me this wondrous power works out to, ummm, what?!
    And many and endless thanks to the good people at open secrets who have the patience to collate and upload massive quantities of data that aren’t always electronic to begin with. This is a wonderful use of transparency in government!

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    And this:
    Total for Pro-Israel: $1,854,013
    Total Number of Clients Reported: 10
    Total Number of Lobbyists Reported: 33
    Total Number of Revolvers: 8 (24.2%)
    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?lname=Q05&year=2010
    1 Kirk, Mark (R-IL) House $371,098
    2 Inouye, Daniel K (D-HI) Senate $182,850
    3 Wyden, Ron (D-OR) Senate $181,871
    4 Reid, Harry (D-NV) Senate $181,390
    5 Specter, Arlen (D-PA) Senate $163,200
    6 Grayson, Trey (R-KY) $148,500
    7 Cantor, Eric (R-VA) House $147,150
    8 Mikulski, Barbara A (D-MD) Senate $131,100
    9 Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) Senate $126,699
    10 Deutch, Ted (D-FL) House $118,831
    11 Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) House $117,007
    12 Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) Senate $116,564
    13 Berkley, Shelley (D-NV) House $106,701
    14 Bennett, Robert F (R-UT) Senate $106,100
    15 Feingold, Russ (D-WI) Senate $105,930
    16 Fisher, Lee Irwin (D-OH) $104,850
    17 Berman, Howard L (D-CA) House $99,100
    18 Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD) House $92,350
    19 Thune, John (R-SD) Senate $89,625
    20 Lowey, Nita M (D-NY) House $85,350
    http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/recips.php?cycle=2010&ind=Q05
    And below is Mark Kirk himself. He did get a lot of pro-Israel money, but more from financial, retired, and law, and he’s gonna fuckin’ lose because he’s a serial exaggerator and an idiot if the Chicago Tribune is to be believed. A lot of money down the tubes to get a republican into Obama’s seat.
    No link as I’m at the max out point. Find it by going to the one above and clicking on “Mark Kirk”.
    Securities & Investment $826,149 $799,649 $26,500
    Retired $573,825 $573,825 $0
    Lawyers/Law Firms $425,721 $396,709 $29,012
    Pro-Israel $371,098 $305,794 $65,304
    Health Professionals $288,900 $139,400 $149,500
    Misc Finance $275,700 $254,200 $21,500
    Real Estate $270,469 $265,469 $5,000
    Leadership PACs $177,800 $2,400 $175,400
    Republican/Conservative $114,750 $92,100 $22,650
    Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $111,950 $90,450 $21,500
    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $110,710 $64,710 $46,000
    Business Services $108,150 $100,150 $8,000
    Insurance $106,050 $42,050 $64,000
    Commercial Banks $84,175 $69,675 $14,500
    Retail Sales $65,900 $52,900 $13,000
    Food & Beverage $62,750 $49,250 $13,500
    Lobbyists $55,591 $54,091 $1,500
    General Contractors $50,949 $37,950 $12,999
    Special Trade Contractors $50,650 $25,650 $25,000
    TV/Movies/Music $42,725 $39,725 $3,000

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    Pro-Israel single issue lobbying for 2010:
    American Israel Public Affairs Cmte $1,371,413
    J Street $260,000
    American Jewish Cmte $90,000
    Zionist Organization of America $74,600
    Manufacturers Assn of Israel $20,000
    Nephcure Foundation $20,000
    US Israel Science & Technology Fdtn $10,000
    American Jewish Congress $8,000
    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?lname=Q05&year=2010
    So, like compare AIPAC to, say, Comcast!

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    Top lobby spenders 2010
    US Chamber of Commerce $44,277,500
    PG&E Corp $43,970,000
    General Electric $17,824,000
    American Medical Assn $15,180,000
    FedEx Corp $11,947,988
    ConocoPhillips $11,931,980
    Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America $11,660,000
    Blue Cross/Blue Shield $11,158,325
    American Beverage Assn $9,390,000
    Verizon Communications $9,190,000
    Northrop Grumman $9,060,000
    AT&T Inc $9,054,667
    Boeing Co $9,030,000
    American Hospital Assn $8,845,000
    National Assn of Realtors $8,280,000
    AARP $8,220,000
    National Cable & Telecommunications Assn $7,850,000
    Edison Electric Institute $7,090,000
    Chevron Corp $7,010,000
    Comcast Corp $6,897,000
    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2010&indexType=s
    ****
    Serious “Jewish money” here, too!

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    A funny thought, by the way.
    If a lawyer gives money to a candidate, and the lawyer is Jewish, is the money “Jewish money” or “lawyer money”?
    If a doctor gives money to a candidate and the doctor is Catholic, is it “Catholic money” or “doctor money”?
    If someone whose parents were survivors of a boat refugee episode give money to a candidate, is it “boat money” or just “money”?
    Here are the top PACs from open secrets:
    PAC Name Total Amount Dem Pct Repub Pct
    AT&T Inc $2,448,375 50% 50%
    Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $2,360,773 98% 2%
    Honeywell International $2,351,650 54% 46%
    National Beer Wholesalers Assn $2,104,000 57% 43%
    Operating Engineers Union $2,103,300 89% 11%
    American Assn for Justice $2,020,500
    97% 3%
    American Bankers Assn $1,858,430 40% 60%
    National Assn of Realtors $1,818,298 58% 41%
    American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees $1,758,000 99% 0%
    Laborers Union $1,655,500 96% 4%
    Boeing Co $1,637,000 59% 41%
    Teamsters Union $1,628,910 98% 2%
    International Assn of Fire Fighters $1,619,500 84% 16%
    Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union $1,558,000 98% 2%
    Lockheed Martin $1,544,450 58% 42%
    National Air Traffic Controllers Assn $1,501,500 84% 16%
    American Federation of Teachers $1,487,250 100% 0%
    Carpenters & Joiners Union $1,479,000 81% 19%
    American Crystal Sugar $1,453,500 67% 33%
    Plumbers/Pipefitters Union $1,445,975 96% 4%
    So this is all Jewish money???????
    OMG, AFSFCME gave all of its money to Dems. That’s a lot of Jewish govt workers.
    Sugar gave some to Repubs…. It’s time for all Jewish people to switch to corn syrup!

    Reply

  45. questions says:

    JohnH,
    I’ve been over the money thing again and again. And again and again.
    Think what you’re going to think as you aren’t going to change your mind.
    There’s reasonable scholarship on money in politics. There’s a reasonable challenge to the W and M view of the universe in the Fleshler book. Fleshler doesn’t agree with me on the denialism issue. He’s in the middle somewhere. He doesn’t deny the political impact of money, BUT he does deny the conspiracy side of things and he provides a lot of support for the view.
    As for whom I’d support — why, I support ME of course. I am not interested in what AIPAC or former AIPAC people say about what AIPAC does.
    I’m actually not superinterested in what MCs say about AIPAC. They have a vested interest in saying certain things.
    I AM interested in what dispassionate number crunchers say about when, where, and how lobbying may or may not have an impact on congressional behavior.
    And since the anonymous poster named ‘questions’ emphasizes dispassionate scholarship, suggests institutional readings of institutional behavior, can give a much more reasonable read of money in politics than THELOBBY conspiracy shit, I put my, ummm, money! on the anonymous poster named ‘questions’ over a former AIPACKER and Ambassador to Israel twice.
    It’s simple. It’s chutzpah! It’s scholarship.
    Find me a solid source with data, correlations and a good link from the correlative to the causal and I’ll whistle a different tune.

    Reply

  46. JohnH says:

    questions, funny that I see something there that that raving anti-Semite, Martin Indyk, also sees there: “[Jews] provide a good deal of funding for [Democratic] political campaigns. So the Jewish factor is always a critical factor for Democratic candidates.”
    If you were a reader, who would you believe? An anonymous denialist named ‘questions’? Or Martin Indyk, who started out as deputy research director for AIPAC and became Ambassador to Israel twice.
    Indyk is the ultimate insider. questions is just some bloke with a computer…

    Reply

  47. Sand says:

    OT: This is Creepy.
    –Jersey Shore: Dead Fish Wash Ashore In Thousands For Second Time This Week On East Coast (VIDEO)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/12/jersey-shore-dead-fish-wa_n_680150.html

    Reply

  48. Sand says:

    Questions: “…Remember, scholarship, not journalism. Two very different realms with two very different goals. Drama on the one side, truth on the other…”
    And never the twain shall meet eh! “Drama on the one side, truth on the other.”
    Interesting ‘Hasbarah’ approach — not v. persuasive tho’
    Questions: “…If a voter is a liberal, and is primarily interested in, say, health care, then Israel issues are basically going to be absent from the vote consideration…”
    Not so fast.
    – WASHINGTON NOTE:

    Reply

  49. questions says:

    Regarding “understates” Fleshler hits that one too.
    The problem isn’t my willful obliviousness. It’s that you SEE something that actually isn’t there.
    Especially when you start looking at the survey data about what makes voters move, how many voters are single issue pro-Israel.
    If a voter is a liberal, and is primarily interested in, say, health care, then Israel issues are basically going to be absent from the vote consideration.
    Now the MC might fear the possibility of the waking of an inattentive public, which does indeed happen. Much of what MCs do is all about avoiding creating attentive publics.
    But then you have to wonder about the puffery issues and the fakeness of this kind of power.
    The very existence of some Jewish people on the planet is enough to make an MC fear for his political life? Even when said Jewish people mostly care about regular liberal causes….
    Like I said, you SEE something that isn’t there and you call me willfully oblivious. I could say that you’re hallucinating.
    Fleshler thinks there’s something there, but it isn’t very big. So maybe he’d say you’re wearing magnifying glasses without realizing it.
    When you add in how little “there” there is to what scholars have been doing with the lobby/money issues, you have even less ground to stand on (to mix metaphors like an alcoholic mixes drinks on a lonely Friday night….)
    There’s not much to THELOBBY, and there’s a lot less to lobbying than you think.
    But if you can find scholarship, not journalism, I’ll look again.
    Remember, scholarship, not journalism. Two very different realms with two very different goals. Drama on the one side, truth on the other.

    Reply

  50. samuelburke says:

    you just gotta love this guy Taki. It is important to keep your eye
    on the ball.
    Shimon Peres Can Say What He Will, But Brits Love Jews
    by Taki Theodoracopulos on August 12, 2010
    On board S/Y Bushido. Sailing down the eastern coast of the
    Peloponnese I thought I spotted some anti-Semites adrift, but
    they turned out to be Norwegians, flying a British flag. Although
    becalmed they needed nothing but a breeze, so we wished them
    good day and motored off. Ever since Shimon Peres accused the
    UK of anti-Semitism, I

    Reply

  51. JohnH says:

    questions continues his willful obliviousness.
    Why would pro-Israel group waste money on the Colorado Senate race? They’ve already got both candidates.
    CEPR’s “pro-Israel” category dramatically understates the amount of pro-Israel money, since it only includes groups self-identified as pro-Israeli. Most contributors get categorized by employer.
    But I know questions won’t believe me. So maybe he will believe Martin Indyk: “American Jews traditionally are pretty supportive of the Democratic Party. They voted overwhelmingly for Barak Obama, they tend to vote for Democratic candidates and they provide a good deal of funding for political campaigns. So the Jewish factor is always a critical factor for Democratic candidates.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/martin-indyk-i-think-the-settlement-issue-will-be-resolved-1.304477
    Or this: “Information that was received by Israeli sources would seem to indicate that the principal reason for the change in approach to Israel is pressure from Democrat lawmakers who are running for election and are finding themselves hard put to enlist Jewish donors to their campaigns. There is a great deal of anger at Obama within the Jewish community and disappointment over his policy toward Israel. Officials in the Democratic Party are afraid that the Jews will take revenge in the midterm elections, which is the reason for the vigorous courting of Israel. In other words, the fear is that the Jewish vote will gravitate away from Democratic candidates to Republicans.”
    http://coteret.com/2010/05/27/yediot-shift-in-us-israel-policy-result-of-jewish-financial-pressure-on-democrats-ahead-of-mid-terms/

    Reply

  52. Sand says:

    Questions: — “…’Explain how Denver’s 100,000 Jewish people are aligned in a conspiracy to stop all the Christians from running.’…”
    You seem to have a real ‘tribal victim hangup’.
    Jewish movers and shakers in politics, with an overwhelming obsession with Israel especially in Democratic politics isn’t a Conspiracy. It’s a fact.

    Reply

  53. questions says:

    You’re right. I can’t see this Jewish conspiracy thing that is so clearly right in front of you. In fact it so dominates your vision that it’s all you see, super super clearly.
    Go through the data above. Find more data. It’s all on the internet.
    You want to talk about candidate recruitment, go for it. Explain why Colorado with under 2% of its population Jewish ends up with 2 Jewish candidates chosen by their elders to run. Nevermind that one candidate was indeed chosen (Bennet) and the other chose himself. Nevermind that really anyone can run with or without party approval. Note that generally incumbents of any sort will be chosen by the party, otherwise the party ceases to be a, umm, party.
    So explain the conspiracy.
    Explain how Denver’s 100,000 Jewish people are aligned in a conspiracy to stop all the Christians from running.
    And explain how those 100,000 Jewish people in Denver have forced the rest of the state to vote for the same candidates they choose….. On a budget of 57 thousand bucks, by the way!!!!!
    Oops, I’m conflating “Jewish” and pro-Israel. Rats, I hate it when I do that!
    And *I* have tunnel vision?

    Reply

  54. Sand says:

    All I can say is you seem to have a bad case of tunnel vision.

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/08/big-money-bennet-handily-wins-co-primary
    “Romanoff, the more liberal candidate, never closed the cash gap

    Reply

  56. Sand says:

    Interesting that these amazing in-depth profiles on the candidates — neglected to mention that Romanoff was awarded:
    DLC’s Poster Boy of the Week
    http://www.gazette.com/articles/romanoff-101557-strong-bennet.html
    DLC ‘progressive’ my eye.

    Reply

  57. Cammie Novara says:

    The minute I read the The Top 12 Reasons To Burn A Quran On 9/11 editorial I thought that The Washington Note’s commenters totally must have an opportunity to see this: http://hubpages.com/hub/The-12-Top-Reasons-To-Burn-A-Quran-On-911

    Reply

  58. Sand says:

    Er… It’s not ‘suspicious’ AT ALL Questions… coz there’s a bloody long trail/pattern of how candidates are picked, why they are picked and by whom — Jesus — do you ever read your tribes fawning ‘political’ press?
    The presidential selection between Obama and Clinton — was a real eye opener for those who actually bothered to have their eyes open.
    Jewish hit Squad = Jewish political mafia.
    Q: ‘I’m beginning to think that you…” did you miss my blow-by-blow account of THEBOOK complete with quotations and a lot of irritation?!
    Probably… go on post it again.

    Reply

  59. questions says:

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/08/09/michael-bennet-vs-andrew-romanoff-for-dem-senate-nod-in-colorad/
    A different look at the campaign…..
    http://coloradopols.com/diary/13053/bennet-hits-back-at-romanoff-as-gloves-come-off-in-dem-primary
    And another……
    Elections are decided by a host of issues, not merely by the presence or absence of “Jewish money” whatever the fuck that means.
    Do yourself a favor and read a little more about elections, ads, incumbency, challengers, gimmicks, and the like.

    Reply

  60. questions says:

    It’s really suspicious, Sand. It’s suspicious that Obama’s pick beats Clinton’s pick. It’s suspicious that one candidate beat the other. It’s suspicious that the Jewish candidate beat the, ummm, Jewish candidate.
    Very very suspicious.
    Look, if you want to find a conspiracy, you will. And you clearly want that.
    If you want to find out what happened for real, you have to figure out what the things are that make people vote one way or another.
    So then you have to look at local issues, local coverage, the things people worry about, who has name recognition and all of that.
    Singling out one data point — 2 Jewish guys goin’ at it and one swears off PAC money and the other doesn’t swear offa the PAC money, but the one who did swear offa the money used to take the money…… UGH.
    So what the fuck is this “Jewish hit squad” shit.
    As for “I’m beginning to think that you…” did you miss my blow-by-blow account of THEBOOK complete with quotations and a lot of irritation?!
    Do an archive search. It’s around here somewhere.

    Reply

  61. Sand says:

    Plus, being that the Senate is often our real problem — it’s interesting AIPAC’s and the general Jewish hit squad’s involvement in the Bennet vs. Romanoff race.
    – Bennet v. Romanoff
    Thursday, 15 July 2010 12:03 Ron Kampeas, JTA
    http://www.ijn.com/ijn-news/local/1806-bennet-v-romanoff

    Reply

  62. Sand says:

    “AIPAC is not a PAC”
    We all know AIPAC is ‘Not’ a PAC — I’m seriously beginning to wonder if you’ve actually read Walt & Mearsheimer work.
    http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281622499&sr=8-1
    However, one of AIPAC’s most important roles is in “preparing the next generation of pro-Israel leaders” — for example training and promoting AIPAC interns to work in government and climb the ladder [they're v. successful]. Also, to manage and push AIPAC pro-Israel personnel into positions such as Campaign Managers and FINANCE CHAIRS [again v. successful when it comes to Democratic campaigns].

    Reply

  63. questions says:

    Oops, the top list of numbers is from pro-Israel supporters.

    Reply

  64. questions says:

    Name Amount Received
    Sen. Daniel Inouye [D, HI] $182,850
    Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $179,090
    Sen. Ron Wyden [D, OR] $176,071
    Sen. Arlen Specter [D, PA] $162,700
    Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D, MD] $131,100
    Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $126,699
    Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $110,160
    Sen. Russell Feingold [D, WI] $104,930
    Sen. Robert Bennett [R, UT] $101,100
    Sen. John Thune [R, SD] $89,625
    Rep. Mark Kirk [R, IL-10] $368,698
    Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] $146,150
    Rep. Ted Deutch [D, FL-19] $118,831
    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-18] $117,007
    Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28] $99,100
    Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1] $96,851
    Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5] $92,350
    Rep. Nita Lowey [D, NY-18] $85,350
    Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] $80,900
    Rep. Paul Hodes [D, NH-2] $65,900
    http://www.opencongress.org/money_trail
    2009-2010, individual, more info coming….
    For each of these people, find out the total money received, and then calculate the percentages (the internet has lots of calculators to help you with the math), and note that this is individual money, not pac money so far. Oh, and go ahead and count the Jewish people, too……
    Berman’s 99,000 bucks probably did make the difference when you get down to it. Fucking conspiracists, all these guys are……
    FOR COMPARISON, here’s individual donations from individual lobbyists:
    Name Amount Received
    Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $451,228
    Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] $291,901
    Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $290,513
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $218,721
    Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA] $207,208
    Sen. Arlen Specter [D, PA] $184,221
    Sen. Richard Burr [R, NC] $174,880
    Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND] $174,877
    Sen. Daniel Inouye [D, HI] $158,307
    Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $141,835
    Rep. Roy Blunt [R, MO-7] $172,650
    Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5] $136,793
    Rep. Kendrick Meek [D, FL-17] $128,750
    Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15] $88,500
    Rep. Michael Capuano [D, MA-8] $85,500
    Rep. Charles Melancon [D, LA-3] $83,152
    Rep. David Obey [D, WI-7] $72,135
    Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] $70,500
    Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] $70,350
    Rep. James Oberstar [D, MN-8] $66,185
    ****
    Reidstein and Inouyestein seem to come out pretty well…..
    ******
    This is from individual mining workers. Not a lot of money here. But Congress seems to be pretty nice to mining interests anyway. Disproportion, anyone??????? Mining conspiracy????
    Name Amount Received
    Sen. Evan Bayh [D, IN] $8,300
    Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK] $7,000
    Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $5,050
    Sen. John McCain [R, AZ] $5,000
    Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] $5,000
    Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $4,900
    Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $4,800
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $4,800
    Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND] $4,500
    Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY] $4,000
    Rep. Jason Altmire [D, PA-4] $27,000
    Rep. John Salazar [D, CO-3] $15,000
    Rep. Adam Putnam [R, FL-12] $11,500
    Rep. Charles Wilson [D, OH-6] $6,400
    Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R, WA-5] $6,000
    Rep. Charles Melancon [D, LA-3] $5,500
    Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] $5,000
    Rep. Jerry Costello [D, IL-12] $5,000
    Rep. Mike Ross [D, AR-4] $5,000
    Rep. Michael Rogers [R, MI-8] $5,000
    *******
    I’m sure that in the open congress info, there are loads and loads of ethnic conspiracy proofs to be found, and when the PAC money comes in, I’m sure there will be more.
    After all, Fleshler includes some of their data and wow does he find…that there’s no fucking conspiracy at all!!!!!
    *****
    By the way, he has a lovely chart of ALL the very different Jewish-interest organizations and shows pretty clearly that W and M give only part of the story, have mistakes in how they characterized positions, and miss many groups whose stated preferences are at variance with the OFFICIAL line. There’s more there than meets the conspiratorial eye….
    It’s no wonder this country has so many science deniers. People don’t understand how to use, evaluate, or read evidence outside of their own domain. I’m guessing POA would know if he hit his finger with a hammer. That evidence he’d believe. But the donation patterns and vote patters — not a chance. JohnH, too.

    Reply

  65. questions says:

    POA, thanks for your deeply thoughtful response to my post about Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. You so clearly demonstrate your ability to think and analyze, you’ve clearly read the book and have arrived at a sound understanding of the author’s basic thesis. You’ve provided solid counter-evidence, including an imagined back-and-forth between W and M on the one hand and Fleshler on the other. And you’ve referred to MJ Rosenthal’s introduction to the text as well.
    Brilliant work!

    Reply

  66. questions says:

    JohnH,
    Here’s a project for ya!
    Figure out how much money each of those Jewish holders of offices gets from THELOBBY.
    Calculate the percentage of TOTAL donations that the “Jewish” money represents.
    Figure out whether or not that “Jewish money” is a significant amount for each of the candidates.
    Compare the amount of money that the Jewish office holders get to the amount that their challengers get.
    Compare the ethnicity percentages in their districts. Find those districts that have majority Jewish votes, and those districts that, say, require a Jewish candidate to receive some Christian votes or atheist votes or Scientology votes or whatever to win.
    Find out how many Jewish people have run for office and lost.
    Find out how many Jewish people grow up being taught that the main goal in life is to take part in this world’s work and fix the world, or repair the world, or do something for the world.
    Find out how many Jewish people study with devotion and a goal of becoming a lawyer and then politician. Or activist.
    Find out how many Jewish families will sacrifice any and everything to make sure their kids play music, get straight A grades in school, and will go into heavy heavy debt to pay the 50 grand it now costs for private university education at the top tier schools.
    Find out how many politicians have this basic background.
    Somewhere in there you’ll have some vague sense of a cultural pattern that might explain a small part of something that might be relevant.
    Find out how many paths have been closed to Jewish people, by the way, and how that might steer some people towards politics rather than boardrooms.
    There’s probably a lot of complex sociological factors that come in to play in any kind of “disproportion” and note that it might actually be the case that true proportion would be the odder result.
    If the matches between Congress and the population in terms of some random characteristic were 100%, I’d be a little more freaked out.
    At any rate, maybe you should try to get off the CT drug you take. It’s not good for your brain.

    Reply

  67. samuelburke says:

    nadine, with your tribal folks its open season on arabs/muslims.
    its open season on the muzzzzzzlalalalalalaiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmssssss.
    you condone that though.
    racist cretins that you seem to be in a tribal sort of way.

    Reply

  68. nadine says:

    “Yet his state-building program, too, has come under scruitiny, prominently with the release of a study in July by Nathan Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which argued that Fayyad’s program is lagging in key areas such as the rule of law, and that his efforts are proceeding in an “authoritarian context.”
    I wish Fayyad’s program was proceeding in an “authoritarian context,” as that would imply that Fayyad had some control of the situation. As far as I can make out, all Fayyad has is the temporary forbearance of the real power brokers in the West Bank. I hear a lot of tap-dancing about “dynamics” from Fayyad, which fails to disguise his lack of legal, political, or military legitimacy.

    Reply

  69. nadine says:

    Yes, JohnH is a good example of the open Jew-bashing Steve is content to have on the blog, though not as vicious (or literate) as Carroll.
    Hate speech against blacks or gays may be strictly patrolled, but it’s open season on the Joooooooos.

    Reply

  70. nadine says:

    “…if the Israeli lobby is so weak and ineffective, why are there 14 Jewish Senators (25% of the Democratic majority), 31 Congressmen, 3 Supreme Court Justices and a White House staff chock full? ”
    Because American society allows admission into the elite based on merit. Next question?

    Reply

  71. larry birnbaum says:

    TWN’s claque of commenters hasn’t changed much since the last
    time I checked. Here we have the above person arguing that Jewish
    politicians, judges, etc., are a result of some conspiracy by “monied
    interests” (gosh, why not just say “Jewish bankers” and be done
    with it?). The characters, abilities, and contributions of, I don’t
    know, Al Franken, Henry Waxman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (to pick 3
    at random) AS INDIVIDUALS — this apparently isn’t really why these
    3 people (or I guess any other Jewish American who serves in
    government) are where they are. Is it actually necessary to point
    out that this is anti-Semitism? At TWN, apparently so.
    Notwithstanding the fact that the individual who holds these views
    no doubt thinks of himself as liberal minded.

    Reply

  72. JohnH says:

    questions…if the Israeli lobby is so weak and ineffective, why are there 14 Jewish Senators (25% of the Democratic majority), 31 Congressmen, 3 Supreme Court Justices and a White House staff chock full? Do you really believe that these are the only electable people from places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Vermont, Nevada, etc.? Do you think that the monied interested that pre-select the stable of candidates can only find Jewish ones?
    Also, if you measure the effectiveness of a lobby by its ability to get what it wants, then the Israeli lobby is the hands down winner. It gets more aid than any other countries but Afghanistan and Iraq where the US is fighting hot wars. US aid to Israel tops aid to all of Latin America, Europe, the Far East, and South Asia (excluding Afghanistan). Tiny Israel gets 64% of the aid given to Africa. And it gets about the same amount as the rest of the Middle East combined, excluding Iraq.
    Do you really think that elected officials sit down and prioritize foreign aid according to who is most deserving? Do you think they even prioritize it according to America’s security interest by country? Surely you jest! Even you can’t be that naive!
    Foreign aid, like everything else in government responds directly to interest group pressure. And the Israel lobby gets $500 per Israeli, while the rest of the world gets about $7 per capita.
    It’s what the Lobby produces, along with its disproportionate representation in Congress.
    http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s1261.pdf
    questions, you may not like the facts, but the facts speak for themselves, and they are incontrovertible.

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  73. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Once you lose the CT shit…..and you learn blahblablah…..and vote counts….and….the like….yadayadayadablahblah….well..spew…..bslev….blahblah…..save the missing quant work yadayada snort blahblah. ”
    Tobacco Smoke Enema
    The Tobacco Smoke Enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient’s rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the rescuscitation of drowning victims. A rectal tube connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase; BLOW SMOKE UP ONE’S ASS.
    (Courtesy of Michael Rivero. Learn somethin’ new every day, doncha?))

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  74. questions says:

    Since every thread is an I/P thread even when it isn’t…
    I just got my Amazon box in the mail and in it is Transforming America’s Israel Lobby by Dan Fleshler — recommended by bslev from TPM comment fame, and introduced by MJ Rosenberg, also of TPM fame.
    Fleshler is sadly not a denialist (oh, well!), BUT he has a more realistic presentation of the whole lobbying issue than do W and M or many of the posters here. I really recommend the book for a balanced view of things, even if the scholarship on lobbying doesn’t really support everything he says.
    He’s literate, MFA in writing from Iowa, Harvard undergrad, JStreet, public affairs strategist (whatever that is).
    He hits on many of the things I’ve brought up regarding power, lobbying, percentages of donations, he uses the phrase “power puffery” (remember, I use “pufferfish”), he actually defines the word “lobby”, notes that AIPAC is not a PAC, gives some actual data on the dollar amounts, hits on all those poor MCs who were “targeted” by AIPAC and so on.
    It’s a readable balanced book that many posters here might benefit from. Especially those of you who have dismissed most of the arguments I’ve made time and again about THELOBBY and the many problems with W and M.
    As I said above, he’s not a denialist, but he’s not a magical thinker either.
    For example, to paraphrase and quote a bit round and about p 41 –
    There were 424 MCs who received LESS money than Denny Hastert from pro-Israeli groups — that puts Hastert up towards the top since there are only 435 of these people. Got it?
    On Hastert’s top 20 donor list, pro-Israeli groups don’t figure at all. So for being at the top of the pro-Israel giving list, Hastert can’t even list them as important donors. 48 thousand bucks out of a 4.8 million dollar campaign. Finance, AARP, lawyers, health, real estate, pharma, and many more are way way above in giving. Pro-Israel, not so much.
    Same with Bunning, the 20th ranked recipient.
    Pro-Israeli lobbies don’t have a lot of money to give, the money they do give is such a small percentage of the take that the money is meaningless. AND we know that money is not equivalent to votes anyway.
    It ain’t the money, people.
    Then we get Paul Findley, McCloskey, Percy, Jepsen and more….
    “People think they can defeat incumbents and blow up campaigns. It’s a weapon members think they will use. But it’s just not true that the Jewish comunity will sweep in and go after you if don’t [sic] vote the way AIPAC wants you to…. That’s a myth.” says Jeremy Rabinovits, Chief of Staff for Lois Capps. (p 44)
    McKinney and Hilliard come up as well — targeted cuz they were going to lose anyway…..
    I wonder if Fleshler has been reading my posts here?!!!!
    Once you lose the CT shit, and you learn some basic institutional functioning stuff and you learn something about congressional procedure and vote counts and the like, a lot of the spew on this web site turns out to be, well, spew. Nonsense. Conspiracy theory.
    I am not going to do a blow by blow on the book, I recommend you get your own copy and read something that disagrees with you — it’s not like he’s a denialist, so he doesn’t agree with me. (But then, he doesn’t do the quant work!)
    Again, MJ wrote an intro, and bslev thinks it’s a fine book. And so do I, save the missing quant work, but that’s the point of my next book to read.
    http://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Americas-Israel-Lobby-Potential/dp/1597972223/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281577242&sr=8-1

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  75. JohnH says:

    Build, build, build! But what are they building? It’s not clear from anything I can see on the internet. Some sources is that all this building is not proceeding according to any development plan. My guess is that infrastructure, government buildings, and apartment blocks are what is being built–exactly the kinds of things that the IDF calls targets.
    Clearly and productive economic base is not being built. Such a thing is impossible under any imaginable circumstances. Growth is simply not sustainable.
    “The donor community, which continues to generously prop up the Palestinian government in Ramallah, also can’t really be blamed for wanting to have an economic framework to justify their continued financial support to the Palestinian Authority. The states behind these funds have been politically handicapped for decades as they await the next U.S. political cue about what will happen next. The next best thing for them is to claim some laurels for institution-building and reform within the context of “economic peace.’”
    Meanwhile, “the Israeli military occupation is alive and well in every nook and cranny of Gaza and the West Bank, especially in Jerusalem. Forty percent of our population under occupation in Gaza is being purposely strangulated. Sixty percent of our total population

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  76. samuelburke says:

    so what you’re all saying basically is that the u.s is the sucker and that israel is using the americans via their political system to fight their wars?
    say it ain’t so shane!

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  77. Carroll says:

    Posted by William Pearlman, Aug 11 2010, 3:00PM – Link >>>>>>>>>>
    Well I’ll tell you what Pearlman…why don’t you round up all the die hard Israel Jews in the US and get them to put ‘their’ asses and ‘their’ money where their mouth is in Israel….instead of trying to get America and Americans to do your dirty work.

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  78. Carroll says:

    Well I disagree with Brown…yea I read his article..it’s the “authoritarianism”!..so what?
    Right now they have to have some authoritarianism to get the necessary things for a state going.

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  79. questions says:

    City services, education, construction, family life, vacations, hi tech networks, cafes, things to do, places to go, a sense that whatever you do there will be proper bureaucratic functioning, good tax collection, minimal corruption and pretty much no bribery.
    Trust, trust, trust.
    A negotiating partner for real.
    Someone you can go to Congress regarding and say, Hey, we got this this guy, this town, this project, let’s help out.
    Trust, trust, trust.
    Trust is a network effect, not an isolated act. When 100 people can be trusted, each of the people they are related to can trust, and the trust spreads like a virus.
    It’s actually what the US needs right about now regarding investment and spending.
    Municipal projects, backed by the feds, attracting investment with a decent rate of return and reasonably well managed risk. Money invested goes to infrastructure. The improvements the infrastructure brings helps pay the investors.
    Proper watchdogging, and mild-moderate rates of return and some patriotism might work.
    Maybe we could learn from Fayyad.

    Reply

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