Sam Arora Disappears a Tweet on Gay Marriage: Supporters in Uproar

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phARORA.jpgMaryland is wrestling with marriage equality legislation right now, and Maryland Delegate Sam Arora of Montgomery County — someone I thought was on track to be one of the new, great, young progressive leaders of the nation has just screwed over his constituents, including many in the gay community from whom he raised a lot of campaign cash, and in my view, has politically crashed and burned.
Arora has not only reversed himself, creating serious doubts about his support of same sex marriage equality, he actually “lied” saying he never supported marriage equality when it was a clear and evident part of his campaign.
Arora then went back into Tweets that he previously posted and ‘deleted’ this one:
Screen shot 2011-03-03 at 4.01.32 PM.jpg
(h/t to John Aravosis)
This is a serious bummer as I really liked this guy. He may have run on one line and changed his mind — but he should be square with his constituency on this.
Instead, he altered his roster of tweeted policy positions and lied. I disagree with him on his now evolving opposition to marriage equality — but he has violated something even greater now.
He has lost my support, and I recommend that progressives in Montgomery County work hard to politically destabilize this delegate now. He needs to be moved out of the State House.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

35 comments on “Sam Arora Disappears a Tweet on Gay Marriage: Supporters in Uproar

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Considering the prolific nature of Wiggie’s pro-Israel contributions here, some disclosure on her(?) part should definitely be part of her(?) commentary as well.
    As is well known, paid trips to Israel for our elected officials are not only common practice, but are a rite of passage. Have we ever seen Wiggie decry the obvious Washington bias in Israel’s favor as being the result of such bribery, blackmail, and intimidation?
    The irony here is seeing Wiggie lament possible bias in Kadaffi’s favor by so called “experts”, when in fact it is Israel that probably has the most to lose by the removal of these oppressive Arab puppets whose strings lead straight to the hands of the puppeteers serving the interests of their zionist masters.

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  2. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for your note Wig. All reasonable points. I believe in disclosure and am glad we agree on that. best, steve

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  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Janice Hahn Invites Debra Bowen To Take Pro-Israel Pledge
    By Gene Maddaus, Sat., Feb. 19 2011 @ 3:39PM
    Janice Hahn tries to box Bowen in
    In the first broadside of the South Bay’s hot new congressional race, L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn today invited her top opponent, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, to take a pledge of support for Israel.
    The pledge condemns statements made by anti-war activist Marcy Winograd and appears to be a tactic to draw Winograd into the race. That would help Hahn by cutting into Bowen’s Westside liberal base.
    Bowen quickly signed the pledge on Friday.
    “What [Hahn] is trying to do is to see if there’s any way to get Winograd in that race,” said Allan Hoffenblum, co-author of the California Target Book.
    Saturday update: Looks like it’s working. In a posting on a progressive listserv today, Winograd wrote “I am going to run.” (More below.)
    The pledge lists five items:
    1. Support for the peace process
    2. Opposition of the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state
    3. Support for President Obama’s $3 billion in security assistance to Israel
    4. Support for implementing and enforcing Iran sanctions
    5. Condemnation of anti-Israel political rhetoric
    In the last category, Hahn cites several quotes from Winograd, including this one: “As a citizen of the United States, I do not want my tax dollars to support institutionalized racism. As a Jew, I do not want my name or country associated with occupation or extermination.”
    Debra Bowen
    ?Hahn then invited Bowen to join her in declaring that Winograd’s remarks are “far outside the bipartisan mainstream of views that have long insisted that US policy be based on rock-solid support for our only democratic ally in the Middle East.”
    Less than two hours after receiving it, Bowen’s campaign consultant announced that Bowen had signed the pledge.
    Winograd initially said the pledge was “juvenile” and that she would be surprised if Bowen signed it. After hearing that she had signed it, Winograd said she was troubled.
    “What is troubling is that two elected officials are now on record opposing open debate in an effort to silence dissent in the 36th District and beyond,” Winograd said.
    Asked if it made her more likely to run, Winograd said, “It makes me more interested in the race, but I’m weighing everything.”
    Hahn announced her candidacy even before Jane Harman officially announced her resignation from Congress last week. Bowen jumped into the race on Tuesday.
    Though Hahn denounced Winograd’s remarks in the pledge, it’s worth noting that Hahn called Winograd last week to seek her endorsement. (Winograd declined.)
    The pledge, issued Friday afternoon, appeared to be an effort to box Bowen in. If Bowen had opted not to sign it, that would have given Hahn an advantage with Jewish voters and contributors.
    But signing it has its own downside for Bowen, in that it makes Winograd more likely to enter the race. Hahn’s calculation is that Bowen and Winograd draw support from the same group — Westside liberals — and that Hahn will fare better if that vote is split up.
    In a letter accompanying the pledge, Hahn wrote:
    “Debra, since declaring independence in 1948, Israel has been in a constant state of war — repeatedly forced to defend itself from its enemies. Israel has every right to defend its borders, protect its citizens, and be treated fairly in the United Nations. I hope you will sign this pledge and join me in carrying on the strong legacy of Congresswoman Harman’s passionate support for Israel and standing up for our National Security.”
    Bowen’s consultant, Steve Barkan, approvingly cited a characterization of the pledge on the Venice For Change blog as a “fairly standard boilerplate declaration.”
    Winograd, who ran against Harman in 2006 and 2010, has given mixed signals about whether she will run this time.
    Marcy Winograd
    ?On the one hand, she has made it clear that she would like to influence the debate. But on the other, she has just moved to a new home in Santa Monica — which is outside the district — and might not want to move back for another campaign. Friends who have spoken with her in recent days have said she is leaning against it. (Update: See below.)
    Dave Jacobson, a Hahn spokesman, said that her campaign has always assumed that Winograd will join the race.
    “We brought this forward because this is an important issue that Congresswoman Jane Harman championed,” Jacobson said. “We wanted to come out and put this letter out and let the residents of the 36th District know where she stands on this issue.”
    Hahn’s campaign has set up a page on her website that explains her views on Israel.
    “The key issue [in the campaign] is Harman’s vote on national security and in support of Israel,” Hoffenblum said. “It’s very important to the Jewish community nationwide.”
    After reading the pledge, Winograd gave the following statement:
    “I am surprised that Janice Hahn would want to pressure another candidate into signing a contrived pledge that subverts the peace process in the Middle East. The U.S. needs a far more balanced and humane approach, which would involve clear condemnation of Palestinian border rocket attacks, but also denunciation of illegal Israeli settlements and home demolitions. If we close our eyes to the ever-expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, we sabotage the two-state solution to end up with Palestinians living in bantustans. Imagine if we said San Pedro and San Francisco constituted a state, then outlawed roads to connect them. Who would take such a proposal seriously? No one. Ultimately, we need a Congressperson who is not beholden to special interests but whose eyes are wide open.”
    Saturday update: Winograd told supporters on a progressive listserv today that she will run for Congress. When asked about that via e-mail, however, she wasn’t ready to make a public announcement. “I am exploring the possibility but no decision has been made,” she said. Winograd said she would decide within the next several days “as I recognize a lot of people are waiting to hear what will unfold.”
    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2011/02/janice_hahn_debra_bowen_israel.php
    Pretty important stuff to know if you live in their district, eh?
    Ya just gotta ask yourself, do we elect these people to represent OUR best interests, or Israel’s?
    I don’t see these sacks of shit signing any pro-constituency pledges, do you?
    Sign some effin’ pro-Israel pledge, and one thing is for damned sure, you’ve lost my vote.

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Heres a comical little snippet from the AIPAC website…..
    “Iran Fires Teargas at Peaceful Protesters”
    “Just last week, Iran blasted Arab countries for using violence against protesters”
    “Iran’s security forces on Tuesday fired teargas and clashed with opposition supporters in Tehran, where demonstrators were rallying to demand the release of two opposition leaders, Reuters reported. “Security forces and people in civilian clothes clashed with demonstrators in Tehran to disperse them,” opposition website Kaleme reported. Former presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi have not been seen in public since they called for a rally on February 14, during which thousands of their supporters took to the streets to support uprisings in the Arab world. Mousavi and Karoubi and their wives have reportedly been jailed”
    http://www.aipac.org/130.asp#43111
    Do you think, if our Fourth Estate was actually doing its job, that AIPAC would dare to place such blatant examples of hypocricy on its website? Our media has so grossly ignored the truth, that very few Americans, reading this AIPAC piece, have an understanding about how ironic it is that AIPAC feels “safe” in running such a piece.
    Lets see now….lets apply the crux of this article to Israel….
    Uses tear gas against peaceful protesters? Check!!
    Arrests and “disappears” protest planners and leaders???? Check!!!!
    Now, uh, I fail to see where the Iranian police are arresting and detaining CHILDREN at these “peaceful protests”, like Israel routinely does. Nor do I see any mention of AMERICAN peaceful protesters being targeted or murdered at these Iranian protests, whereas Israel has no problem targeting Americans.
    Its takes a lot of gall to run some piece of shit bit of hypocritical flotsam like we see above, doesn’t it? If you don’t peruse the AIPAC website regularly, and get their mailers, you really should subscribe. Nothing drives home what scumbags they are until you see first hand the degree of dishonesty, spin, and outright fiction they use to advance their cause, (which has NOTHING to do with the interests of the United States, or the interests of Jews that reside in the United States).

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  5. WigWag says:

    “Wig — thanks for ‘worrying’ about me, but seriously, I can handle my own situation. I have spoken repeatedly and on news networks much larger than this blog that my trip was organized by Seif al-Islam Qaddafi’s foundation and that I went over with a number of academics…” (Steve Clemons)
    I am very glad, Steve, that you mentioned on various news outlets that the Gaddafi family paid for the trip to Libya that you and your colleagues took. That suggests that your failure to mention it to your loyal fans and readers at the Washington Note was an oversight not a cover-up. But it was still a mistake and instead of chastising me it would be better for you to admit it.
    What I find amazing is how many experts, academics and pundits of all political stripes were recruited by the Gaddafi family to whitewash their crimes. It wasn’t just you, Steve, who was invited to Libya on the dime of the Gaddafi family; it was other progressive realists like Steve Walt. Neoconservatives such as Richard Perle and Bernard Lewis also played the role of stooges for the Libyan regime. Joseph Nye of Harvard and Benjamin Barber (formerly of Rutgers) also accepted money from the Gaddafis and then said nice things about them.
    What every one of these well known and well respected “experts” have in common is that they were all paid consultants to the Libyan Government or had their expenses underwritten to travel there. Upon their return they all had nice things to say about the Libyan Government; some were effusive in their praise while some like you, Steve, were more restrained. Finally, for whatever reason, none of these experts fully disclosed who had paid for their trip.
    Forgive me for finding this suspicious.
    I can’t help but wonder what these experts were thinking as they sat in front of their computer screens pondering what type of positive remarks they could make to their American readers about Libya and the Gadaffis that would pass the smell-test.
    Did any of them reflect for even a moment on how terrifying it must have been for the victims of Pan Am flight 103 as they plunged from 31 thousand feet? Did any of the pundits singing the praises of the regime that murdered the Lockerbie victims stop to consider the intensity of the pain and fear the Pan Am crew and passengers must have felt in those final few seconds when they realized they would never see their loved ones again?
    You say, Steve that “it was a fascinating trip –and my writing was influenced neither way by who sponsored it.”
    I believe you and I am sure that each of the experts who received a free trip to Libya would say the same thing. But the assertion is lame and you know it.
    It’s not up to you to decide whether the credibility of your comments about Libya is impacted by the fact that Saif Gaddafi paid for your trip; it’s up to your readers to make that judgement. When you appeared on broadcast outlets you did the right thing, you made full disclosure so your viewers/listeners could assess your credibility themselves. Why were your most loyal fans, the people who regularly read the Washington Note, denied the same right?
    And while your honesty is beyond reproach, can we really say the same thing about the other pundits and professors who enjoyed first class accommodations as guests of the Gadaffis? Exactly why should we believe that Steve Walt or Joseph Nye or Richard Perle or Benjamin Barber didn’t compliment the Gadaffis in return for their thirty pieces of silver?
    In the current issue of Foreign Affairs, Walter Russell Mead has a fascinating article entitled, “The Tea Party and American Foreign Policy: What Populism Means for Globalism.”
    In the essay, Mead talks about how American populism is influenced by the Jacksonian tradition. According to Mead, Jacksonians makes up a substantial portion of the American population; perhaps as many as 110 million people. Mead says,

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  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel’s diplomats are spineless propagandists
    By Gideon Levy
    This happened long ago: I wanted to get accepted into the Foreign Ministry’s cadets course. Israel was a different country then, my views about the state were not the same as they are today and Israel’s envoys abroad were actually ambassadors. Lots of champagne has flowed since then; and, fortunately, I was not accepted. Of course, it would be impossible for me to ever explain the country’s policies today. Somewhat belatedly, Ilan Baruch, a veteran Israeli diplomat, acknowledged his inability to represent or explain these policies either. Last week he handed in his resignation letter, a resonating and impressive document that ought to be studied in the next cadets course.
    His vision may be impaired – Baruch was wounded in one eye during the War of Attrition – but he managed to see something that still remains opaque to his colleagues: Israel’s “malignant dynamic,” as he phrased it. As a result of this dynamic, he summoned the courage to resign – a decision that should be commended. Baruch’s resignation and the cowardly silence of his colleagues exposed the decrepit state of Israel’s choir of ambassadors.
    Our diplomatic corps today is comprised primarily of spineless propagandists void of values or a conscience. Certainly there are some diplomats among them who identify with the current government’s policies, and perhaps even the scandalous behavior of its foreign minister. But the truth is apparently more sordid: A large portion of them oppose the conduct of the state they represent. They are nothing more than puppets in an ugly show window, backup singers for Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
    Probably better than any other Israelis, the diplomats know what the world thinks of Israel, and why. They know that under Lieberman’s watch the Foreign Ministry has become a vessel of rage toward the entire world. They know that no ambassador is sufficiently adroit to explain the brutality of Operation Cast Lead, or the pointless killing on the Mavi Marmara ship. They know that no country on the planet actually accepts the occupation, the settlements or the indications of Israeli apartheid. They know that no diplomat out there can persuade anyone that Israel is truly aimed toward achieving peace. They know that there is a new world alignment out there – one with no patience for tyranny of the kind enforced by Israel’s occupation.
    continues….
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-s-diplomats-are-spineless-propagandists-1.347354
    Gee, Gideon, why don’t you tell us what you REALLY think!
    “Our diplomatic corps today is comprised primarily of spineless propagandists void of values or a conscience.”
    Completely in agreement with Gideon, one is forced to ask one’s self “Whats that make these posturing maggots in DC that are supporting, financing, and abetting Israel’s policies?”

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I wonder. Are strong religious beliefs a tell-tale sign of gross stupidity or basic ignorance?
    I see where the evangelicals, when polled, are unanimously behind Mike Huckabee. How the fuck is this possible, and what does it say about the intelligence level of a large bloc of the Christian community? The fact that this wackjob was given a soap box on Fox News is bad enough, and certainly says volumes about the credibility of that “news” source. But egads, what does it say about our society, our nation, Christianity, when some effin’ embarrassing bozo like Huckabee can actually stand a chance of wackowaddling his fat ass into the Oval Office?
    This country is in deep shit.

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  8. DonS says:

    More on human rights/civil rights abuses:
    Bradley Manning.
    Even the MSM is all over this; Manning’s treatment/torture at Quantico under guise of ‘protection’, even though there has been no medical evaluation establishing the need. Obama must be aware of this, but apparently is more concerned about being seen as soft, or is actually endorsing this treatment by the marines full bore in furtherance of the national security/surveillance state. And, of course, setting an example to discourage whistleblowers, by the inhumane treatment and the charges of a capital offense. Or to elicit a false confession, under duress?
    Americablog has taken notice; as has FDL, Greenwald, Digby, even the NYT and WAPO.
    Here are a few links: they’re not hard to find, even for the POTUS:
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/05/manning/index.html
    http://www.americablog.com/2011/03/military-will-keep-stripping-accused.html
    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-force-false-confession.html
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/03/05/a-narrative-chronology-of-bradley-mannings-alleged-leaks/
    http://firedoglake.com/2011/03/05/sexual-sadist-denise-barnes-strips-bradley-manning-naked-over-sarcastic-quip/
    Is Obama afraid to confront the Marine brass of whom, after all, he is commander-in-chief? Would the politicians (except Kucinich) be avoiding this if it were done under Cheney/Bush? The notoriety this disgrace is achieving is, again, revealing Obama as a passive, day late and dollar short, pol who is afraid to get out in front, or even catch up with events. Is he afraid that if he orders the Marines to knock it off he will be undercut by the military and their flack?
    What a great example to the world at this particular time when even the Arab world is beginning to reject brutality of their leaders. So bring Gitmo and Bagram to Quantico. What an idea.
    Where are all those bleeding hearts so concerned for the incarceration of Jonathan Pollard? Manning hasn’t even been tried or convicted of anything.
    This stinks so much it’s only a matter of time before it’s going to reach the front door of the WH. And then what? Will Obama give a speech, or even a line, defending this travesty? Throw civil liberties and Constitutional rights even further under the bus? Will he?
    This deserves to be front page.

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  9. questions says:

    Today’s NYT on the changes in psychiatry — 15 minute med-fidgeting-based appointments instead of 45 minute talk therapy appointments. We don’t pay for MDs to listen and give advice.
    And yesterday had a piece regarding lawyers whose jobs are being taken over by software that does the keyword research instead.
    One day, all we will need is the kochtopi and Bill Gates. The day after, one of them will purchase the other. And that will be that.
    Do we want to head this direction where the goal is really to stop the flow of money rather than to direct it broadly?
    Do we want to start suggesting that people can be overimproved the way kitchens can be? You don’t put a 100,000 dollar kitchen in a 60,000 dollar house, and you don’t put a 200,000 dollar med school education into a 100,000 dollar a year social worker.
    We should think about all of this efficiency stuff, rationalization of production stuff, and our decision not to waste a thing.
    Within waste, there is creativity, joy, innovation, attempt and failure, Post It Notes, antibiotics, and some seriously interesting food, music, clothing, and other things that make life bearable, enjoyable even.
    We should think about this. But we won’t. Incentives won’t let us.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/health/policy/06doctors.html?hp
    Of course, the good doctor could take the pay cut, but who wants to do that…..

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  10. jonst says:

    I don’t know Steve….maybe Wig has a point. The next time you go to a place new to you, located on a different continent than where you live, with a different cultural, and different (note: not ‘better’, or ‘good’) political system….a place you have never been before Steve….please try and find nothing of “interest”. That would be the worst thing you could do.

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  11. questions says:

    h/t nakedcapitalism for this — Dana Milbank’s refi saga turns a conservative-leaning columnist into someone who suddenly “gets it”, which means, of course, a liberal!
    http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/03/05/a-liberal-is-a-villager-whos-been-screwed-by-a-mortgage-servicer/
    From the saga,
    “Turns out Citibank, which had been collecting hundreds of dollars a month from us to pay the insurer, hadn

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  12. questions says:

    1-2-3-waltz-2-3 — ahh, the dance of teh crazees when it comes to state-level immigration “reform” — turns out it’s not so easy to govern as it is to campaign. Getting tough costs money, costs goodwill, and is often counterproductive. Maybe some people are realizing that crackdowns come with steep costs on the other side…..
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-illegal-immigration-20110306,0,1424599.story
    “A year after SB 1070 inspired a call for similar laws around the country, other states have failed to follow suit. Only Utah has passed a diluted version.”
    **
    I get the feeling we’ll see similar patterns in union-busting, which does indeed come with steep costs, and with corporate-supported political activism, which also comes at a steep cost (look at Target, for example, or the bros kochtopus who now have had to commission NYT puffery regarding just how important their MIT cancer research program is for the future of mankind…. Meanwhile, between oil and paper products, I’m guessing there’s some serious carcinogenic shit in kochtopusland. (And further, can anyone tell these kochotopi just how dumbfuck and contradictory and completely stupid, juvenile, and undeitific libertarianism is…..))
    So, activists will show the costs, legislators will want to keep their jobs, and the passions of the past will die away in the panic attacks of the present.
    Of course, some people will suffer during our current panic attacks, what ever they are. And the kochtopi will continue to think that no one suffers quite the way a billionaire suffers.
    Isn’t that a strange thought? Bumper-sticker-like, even.
    No one suffers the way a billionaire suffers.

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  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Why Is Israel Aid Exempt From Cuts?
    By M.J. Rosenberg – March 3, 2011, 2:20PM
    Once upon a time, Social Security was considered the “third rail” of American politics. The “third rail” is the train track that carries the high-voltage power; touching it means instant death.
    The “third rail” metaphor has for decades been applied to Social Security, a government program so popular with the American public that proposing any changes in it would mean political death to the politician.
    No more. Although Social Security is as popular as ever, politicians routinely propose changes in the program – including privatization and means testing. While the proposals usually go nowhere, and rightly so, the politicians who support them live to fight another day. Today, with those massive deficits and the astronomical national debt, not even Social Security is sacrosanct.
    Few, if any, government programs are.
    But U.S.aid to Israel is. In fact, the $3 billion Israel aid package is the new third rail of American politics: touch it and die. It is also the one program that liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans and tea partiers all agree should not sustain even a dollar in cuts.
    Actually, that is something of a misstatement. These various parties and factions do not agree that the $3 billion Israel aid package is sacred. They just say that they do because a powerful lobby, AIPAC, makes clear to them that touching the aid package will mean big trouble for them in the next election.
    It no longer comes as much of a surprise that the average Democrat or Republican will rule that Israel aid cuts are off the table — while supporting cuts in programs like Head Start, which educates poor children, or WIC, which provides nutrition assistance to disadvantaged women and their infants. (See this list of the proposed GOP aid cuts for the rest of FY2010).
    It is not a surprise because everyone knows that the Democratic and Republican campaign finance committees warn their members of the dire consequences that might ensue if they dare to stand up to the lobby.
    That is why even the most liberal members of Congress never point out the absurdity of supporting full 100 percent funding of military aid to Israel while slashing vital domestic programs. (In fact, the only members of Congress who have suggested that Israel share some of the sacrifice are Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who would pretty much cut every program in the budget, including Israel aid.)
    But the two Pauls, all by themselves, put enough of a scare into AIPAC that it immediately got to work to make sure that other like-minded Republicans (the “cut everything” caucus) did not go off and follow them in the name of, say, logic and consistency.
    AIPAC was most concerned about the Republican first-termers, most of whom were elected with the support of Tea Partiers, who are generally extreme fiscal conservatives and tend not to favor any exemptions from the budget axe.
    Almost immediately, AIPAC produced a letter for the Republican first-termers to sign in which they pledged that, no matter what else they cut, Israel would be exempt. And almost immediately, 65 of the 87 Republican freshmen signed on. (More signed on later). Among the signatories are some of the most vehement supporters of cutting virtually every domestic program. These are people who support programs that cut jobs in their own districts and proudly point to their devotion to the principle that shared sacrifice means everyone.
    But not Israel.
    The AIPAC letter seems to recognize that virtually every other program is sustaining cuts. It refers to “runaway spending and trillion dollar deficits.” It even concedes that “tough choices must be made to control federal spending” and that “we must do a better job of prioritizing appropriations.” (Those priorities can be seen here).
    But then this: “Therefore, as this Congress considers the upcoming Continuing Resolution, we strongly urge you [the House leadership] to include America’s full $3 billion commitment for Fiscal Year 2011 under the 10-year U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding.”
    And that is where fiscal hawks become the most docile of doves: when it comes to Israel.
    continues….
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/03/why_is_israel_aid_exempt_from_cuts/#
    Blackmail and intimidation. The two keys to AIPAC’s success.
    I don’t need to list the myriad of domestic pressing needs that are going unaddressed and unfunded as we continue to piss away vast amounts of our money on Israel.
    Nor do I need to list the myriad of Israeli policies and actions that make them utterly and completely undeserving of our charity.

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  14. questions says:

    A link to the Las Vegas Sun article that is the basis for the Washington Monthly piece…. Good local journalism should go national!
    http://www.lasvegassun.com/hospital-care/
    “As part of a two-year investigation, Sun reporters Marshall Allen and Alex Richards have obtained a record of every Nevada hospital inpatient visit going back a decade

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  15. questions says:

    Three great articles from the March/April Washington [bi]Monthly dead tree edition — one on medical errors in Las Vegas, and across the country, and the medical community’s tolerance for average error rates despite there being some fairly standard practices that reduce/eliminate hospital-based illnesses and deaths — washing hands!!! Swabbing for MRSA before admission, cleaning skin before administering IVs, removing unnecessary catheters, and, ummm WASHING HANDS.
    Medical errors cost a LOT of money, cause a lot of death, and are often preventable with some fairly basic procedures. Saddest of all, the person responsible for paying is typically the wounded, half dead, extra injured patient. And people push for tort reform??????
    And there’s a nice piece on what happens when we save money by cutting the bureaucracy without the concomitant cutting of federal responsibility — it’s not just doing more with less, it’s hiring contractors who cost more, ignoring crucial inspections and oversight and thus costing more when the disaster hits, and hiring h.s. diploma-ed people when higher degrees are called for.
    There is an expression, penny wise and pound foolish, that would seem to capture much of this piece.
    Sometimes bureaucracy is really necessary despite some of its quirkier characteristics. Likely, it’s worth paying for. Certainly, though, there’s great political mileage to be gotten from the demonization process, and it’s always fun to come up with a list of CUTS! The unnecessary suffering, disaster and death that comes from ill-functioning bureaucracies is so far removed from the original act of cutting that no member of Congress gets nailed for any specific proposal to cut something. It’s win-win for the member! And then there’s even another win when the member who advocated the cuts now chairs an oversight committee looking into the disaster or the misuse of contractors or the expense…. And a further round of demonization can bring all the more glory! What a country!
    And finally, there’s a piece on “terrorism instructors” whose job is to “educate” our local police forces regarding what “terrorists” “look like”, how “terrorists” “act”, and other insights into the dangers that lurk every where across America’s heartland.
    Gosh, there’s stuff about beards, contents of kitchen garbage, and lips — if lips be moving, terrorist be praying and they always praying are.
    Oh, my. If you thought classroom teachers had problems, try this whole terrorism education thing on for size. “I just kind of fell into it” seems to be the general career path.
    Scary stuff…..
    Not available on line yet, so run out to your local magazine stand and grab copies before they sell out!

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  16. DonS says:

    Good response POA.
    Saudi Arabia is indeed a difficult case to choose the high handed approach to leveraging human rights concerns since we seem to need them a lot more than they need us. Generally, as you imply, the US is indeed very selective about when to blow the human rights whistle; these days of course the economic tail wags the dog in most respects. Or, as in the case of Israel, criticizing their abuses goes against the storyline that is approved for government and media distribution.
    I wonder, further, who would be making the sort of demands, that Chelsum suggests (BTW I’m not even sure what kind of military quid pro quo he is referring to as the leverage). Repubs, dems, liberals, conservatives, progressives? Not really sure but I would guess that it would be embarrassing, if not hypocritical (shock) for the garden variety conservative, teabaggers, reactionaries of all stripes to make such demands since, you know, they’re not very concerned about human rights here in the good old USA.
    Now that I think about it, aren’t women’s reproductive rights pretty much widely under assault just now in various state legislatures as well as the Congress? And some might find the hypocrisy of Arora a particularly crystal clear example of the fragile struggle for rights in the gay community; or the epic battle to have the President even remotely show some enthusiasm for the rights of gays that he campaigned on. Who is it leading the charge against gay rights in America? I think we know the litany all too well; it starts to the “left” of progressives and accelerates through the christianist fundie right wing until it falls off the cliff somewhere in American Talibanland.
    And hey, while we are critiquing hypocrisy with regard to human rights (not too mention mere Constitutional rights), the burgeoning Islamaphobia sweeping that same right wing political band is incredibly potent. Just ask Pam Geller who is making a tidy living promoting it. But, you know, that old Bibilical admonition about the “log in thine own eye” never seems to get taken seriously by the Bible thumpers and hate mongers.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The US should make it a condition of their military protection that, not only do we see the continuing flow of oil, but also the Saudi autocrats accept that women and gays have equal rights”
    Should we support the rights of all human beings, regardless their gender or sexual orientation? Of course.
    Should we be demanding that non-secular nations mold their laws and beliefs to our own liking??? Absolutely not. Not only is it a fool’s errand, but it contributes greatly to the growing animous directed towards the United States.
    Fact is, no one is forcing any American citizen to migrate to a country that has a religion or a government that goes against that person’s beliefs. So how is it our business to tell others what they should or should not do, as a condition of our patronage or protection? Are we blameless, and without domestic problems that are sorely lacking the attention they warrant? Are you really so daft that you think we can simply erase religious customs and mores that have had centuries to percolate, merely by demanding such customs and mores be abandoned?
    What do you suggest, that until they meet our conditions, we simply cease protecting the oil assets that are the life blood of our culture, infrastructure, and economy??? Stop buying from them???
    Ridiculous.
    Is it unfortunate and despicable that some nations have systems of oppression and bigotry? Yes, but who are we to dictate another nation’s behaviour? Tell me, how many Christians has Saudi Arabia slaughtered these last two decades? Are we too ignore the fact that we have murdered hundreds of thousands of Muslims while we sit upon our high horse and make demands of the Saudis?
    I could be wrong, but I strongly doubt you are as upset at Israel’s system of oppression as you seem to be at the Saudi’s.
    I got uncomfortable news for you. What we get from the fascist/racist religous fanatics in Saudi Arabia is FAAAAAAR more important to our security than what we get from these fascist/racist religious fanatics in Israel.

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  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel provides henchmen for Gaddafi
    Israeli arms distribution company Global CST has reportedly, under the authorization of Tel Aviv, provided Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi with African mercenaries to clamp down on anti-government protesters.
    Egyptian sources have revealed that the Israeli company has so far provided Gaddafi’s regime with 50,000 African mercenaries to attack the civilian anti-government protesters in Libya.
    The arms company was previously convicted in an African country over illegal deals, News-Israel website reported.
    Sources say Global CST had obtained the permission for providing the mercenaries to Gaddafi from the Israeli officials in advance.
    Earlier, Global CST general manager had met with the head of the Israeli Intelligence Agencies (Aman) and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and obtained the permission for the measure.
    The company representatives also met with Abdullah Sanusi, the head of Libyan Internal Intelligence, in Chad to discuss the details for a final agreement, the report says.
    The mercenaries who attack the civilians in Tripoli have mostly come from Chad.
    Gaddafi regime pays $2000 per day for each mercenary. The mercenaries receive $100 per day and the remaining goes to Global CST, the report says.
    Meanwhile, the United States has demanded the UN Security Council (UNSC) to remove the provisions of charging mercenaries with war crimes in the killing of Libyan civilians.
    The request is for the UNSC to word the resolution in a way that no one from an outside country that is not a member of the International Criminal Court could be prosecuted by the Court for their actions in Libya.
    The Libyan revolution, inspired by the recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, sparked nearly two weeks ago.
    Brutal crackdown by the Libyan regime on anti-government protesters has left thousands of people dead so far.
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/167814.html
    Should this suprise us??? Gee, ya think this fuckin’ coward Obama, or the duplicitous witch Clinton, will have anything to say about it?

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  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, my commute just got ten times more dangerous. Going down the 58 grade into Bakersfield is like driving a gauntlet of semis, all fighting a steep downhill grade with numerous tight turns, and heavy traffic. A week nary passes without a serious accident involving a semi hauler.
    And now, this piece of shit Obama is lifting the ban on Mexican trucks. Ever traveled into Mexico and paid attention to the shape of their trucking fleet?
    Why the fuck didn’t we just let Bush continue to squat in the Oval Office??? Obama is no better than he was. These people couldn’t care less about you and I. We haven’t had a “representative” government in some time now, and its getting worse.

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  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Now I’ve read everything on this blog. Wiggie admonishes Steve to “come clean”.
    Well. Is Wiggie male???? Female???? Does he/she REALLY hail from Florida??? Whats he/she do? Age???
    We’ve seen, in the past, slips from Wiggie that imply that this person IS NOT what they have represented themselves to be here.
    And it wants STEVE to “come clean”?
    Laughable.
    I realize I have been obnoxious here, and am in no small way responsible for this new “moderation” process, that SUCKS in every way imaginable. I’ve apologised, regretfully realizing that an apology hardly mitigates the damage. But this mincing and insinuating manner of insult lately adopted by Wig-wag is far far more abrasive and irritating than the use of direct insult and ad hominem. Quite frankly, it is cowardly and despicably slippery in its delivery. It is far more offensive than direct confrontation or clearly focused ad hominem.

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  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Testing….
    Tick tock…

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  22. Steve Clemons says:

    Wig — thanks for ‘worrying’ about me, but seriously, I can handle my own situation. I have spoken repeatedly and on news networks much larger than this blog that my trip was organized by Seif al-Islam Qaddafi’s foundation and that I went over with a number of academics. It was a fascinating trip — and my writing was influenced neither way by who sponsored it. I think that what Seif was doing at the time – which was investing in counter-radicalization efforts and outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood elements in his country – who had been harassed and jailed and getting them on to a different track was politically smart, and clearly put him at odds with other parts of the Libyan government’s security bureaucracy that had a zero tolerance approach. I think Seif was someone who could have taken this story in a different direction. He blew it in his finger-wagging speech and the choices he has made since the revolt began.
    So, sorry that you were not aware of my earlier, frequent, regular disclosures on this – and my criticism and praise of what Seif Gaddafi was doing. But you may not be my moral policeman here — and I want to make sure that you know I won’t accept the assertions of innuendo here. You have zero right to tell me what I will cover or won’t in the public sphere — particularly when it comes to someone like Sam Arora…. I never assert that I am squeaky clean.
    Please get on a better track or go play on another blog for a while.
    best, steve

    Reply

  23. jonst says:

    Agree with POA…..this guy demostrated a key attribute to assume leadership of the Dem Party when he “….screwed over his constituents..”
    And I am not trying to be funny. I mean what I write.

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  24. Paul Norheim says:

    Off topic but important:
    Saudis mobilise thousands of troops to quell growing revolt
    By Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent
    Saturday, 5 March 2011
    Saudi Arabia was yesterday drafting up to 10,000 security personnel into its north-eastern Shia Muslim provinces, clogging the highways
    into Dammam and other cities with busloads of troops in fear of next week’s “day of rage” by what is now called the “Hunayn Revolution”.
    Saudi Arabia’s worst nightmare

    Reply

  25. rc says:

    I’m afraid the utility of this site for what I’d call blogging interaction is now almost zero.
    But in the interest of trying to get issues up into discussion I’ll add hat I can from time to time.
    Walls of division
    Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters adds his voice to the calls for Israel to remove its separation wall.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/rizkhan/2011/03/2011331354479176.html

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  26. questions says:

    With a somewhat different set of arguments from the ones I made, here is Schoolfinance101 taking on Gates’s edutainment op ed crapola. Schoolfinance101′s Bruce D. Baker has better control of his temper in writing this post than I had in my response on some other thread around here! He gets all his snark out in the URL. It took me days to get mine out. No wait, I’m still full of snark when it comes to Bill Gates’s edumacation crapola.
    He doesn’t teach, he doesn’t do finance, he ignores labor cost increases and seems to use merely the CPI and the fact that memory chips are cheaper. Plenty of people have taken this point on over and over. Labor-intensive tasks are just expensive. Good teaching is labor intensive. Good health care is pretty expensive too. Maybe Dr. Bill (oops, he dropped out), make that Mr. Bill, maybe Mr. Bill can take on the medical system too! Couldya imagine having Word and Windows be the platforms on which your open heart surgery depends????????? 10th patient this week died when the system crashed and had to be rebooted. And yes, we did send in the error report!
    Let’s face it, chips are cheaper in part because the labor issue and health issues have been externalized by getting Chinese prisoners or others just about as well-placed to make the chips, suffer the lung damage, and die young. Oh, and we’ve externalized the costs of mining all that shit too. And assembly and disposal are pretty thoroughly externalized. And so are the health costs to people who spend too much time on their computers.
    See, Mr. Gates, your own industry is less amazing than you think. It shifts the costs of its failures and damage done to others! And memory gets cheaper by the dozen.
    http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/smart-guy-gates-makes-my-list-of-dumbest-stuff-ive-ever-read/

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    Lots of interesting stuff here about rising health ins. costs and their relationship to rising health care costs (as opposed to PPACA).
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/health/policy/05cost.html?hp
    The ins. companies ascribe cost increases to care costs. The Republicans have a different view. It’s all pretty interesting.

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    David Corn and Siddhartha Mahanta have an expose up at “Mother Jones” in which they expose Steve Walt and others for having accepted a free trip to Libya early last year from the “Monitor Group,” an American public relations firm working under contract to the Gadaffi led Libyan Government. The purpose of the contract was to improve Libya’s public profile in the United States and Walt and others dutifully filed positive stories about Libya upon their return to the United States.
    Walt, for example, wrote a glowing blog post about Libya on his blog over at Foreign Policy. Here’s a link to the post that Walt undoubtedly now wishes he had never written,
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/category/region/africa
    On the particular trip that Walt was on, several other academics also attended including (if Corn and Mahanta are to be believed), Richard Pearle, Joseph Nye and various members of the Harvard faculty. When they returned home, like Walt, they all had positive things to say about Libya.
    Here’s a link to the “Mother Jones” article for those who may be interested,
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/libya-qaddafi-monitor-group
    In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with accepting a free trip to Libya or anywhere else, but if a commentator is going to publish positive things about a nation that they visited on that nation’s dime, he should at least disclose who paid for the trip. None of the visitors who went to Libya in January, 2010 did this, including Steve Walt. At the very least, this raises troubling ethical questions.
    I bring this up because Steve Clemons also visited Libya in late March, 2010. During his trip to Libya he wrote two posts at the Washington Note about the country; both were relatively complimentary.
    Steve’s first post was entitled, “Gaddafi’s Unique Role.” In it, Steve said,
    “I have only been in Libya a few hours but am intrigued with this place and the people here.
    Libyan Leader Muammar al Gaddafi’s pictures are everywhere — but at least they are creative and have some panache compared to what one finds in some other countries with dominant political bosses who have no style.
    Gaddafi is working overtime pulling major summits into Libya — particularly the Arab Summit which will take place here next week. Just last week, he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his takeover of the country’s government and giant celebratory posters and placards are all over the city.
    “Tomorrow, I will be meeting one of Colonel Gaddafi’s sons, Seif, who has supported programs that purport to de-radicalize violent Islamists. I’ll know more about the program after some meetings tomorrow, but at least Libya figured out a way to seriously confront the reality of political Islam. The U.S., as of now, has no real strategy regarding political Islam — other than sticking its head in the sand.”
    Apparently, twelve months ago, Steve thought that the United States could learn a lesson or two from the Gaddafi clan; I’m sure he now regrets that assertion.
    Steve’s entire post can be found here,
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/03/gaddafis_unique/
    Steve’s second post from Libya was entitled, “The View from My Window: Tripoli.”
    In this post, Steve said,
    “This is a place I never really thought I’d get to — but I’m here. And after just an hour, I’m finding all sorts of things of interest.
    When I was last in Istanbul and in Beijing, I couldn’t get on to YouTube — and frequently when I travel, I have a tough time accessing Facebook.
    Libya passes the Facebook test and YouTube test with flying colors. No blocks that I have run into yet. Twitter works too…”
    Here’s a link to the entire post,
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/03/the_view_from_m_12/
    I presume that Steve did not accept a free trip from the Libyan Government or from a consulting firm working for the Libyan Government, but if he did, now would be the time to disclose it.
    In light of the positive things he wrote about Libya then (remember, it was only about a year ago) and in light of what’s happening now, it seems to me that full disclosure is in everyone’s interests. It’s fine to have the trips paid for, but if they are, and if you’re going to say positive things about the nation that you visited, disclosure is just the wise policy.
    Corn and Mahanta have just exposed what members of the Harvard faculty, including Walt, did. Steve should fess up himself (assuming there is anything to fess up) before anyone looks into this any further.
    In light of Steve’s post about the dissembling of Sam Arora, it seems to me that it’s better to be squeaky clean.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And, uh, while we are on the subject of bad faith positioning and dishonest platforms, I see the racist/facist leadership in Israel has declared that “peace with the Palestinians is impossible” at this time.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2011/03/03/israeli-officials-peace-with-palestinians-impossible/
    Not unexpected.
    What will be interesting is being able to watch these maggots in DC, such as Clinton, blame this on the Palestinians, and not on the ever burgeoning settlement expansion that Netanyahu is rubbing in Obama’s face.
    Of course, this feckless embarrassment Obama will simply remain silent, refusing to acknowledge the FACT that Netanyahu has completely and utterly exposed Obama as a pathetic and cowardly empty suit.
    And Clinton will find a way to heap praise on Israel, one way or the other, while issuing tepid and insincere admonitions about the increase in settlement activity.
    I realize that domestic issues concerning equal marriage opportunities for ALL Americans are important to Steve, as they should be to all of us. But it is somewhat disconcerting to see the last few month’s developments on the Isr/Pal issue go ignored on a blog that purports itself to be primarily concerned with foreign policy issues. The UN veto was huge, as we actually vetoed a resolution that mirrored the publicly stated position of this Administration. We can ask for no further proof that these sniveling cowards in DC act on the beck and call of the Israeli leadership and the foreign agents here operating as so-called “lobby” groups, no matter what manner of insincere rhetoric and blather they issue forth with about “human rights” and “democracy”.
    As increasingly racist and discriminatory legislation is imposed in Israel, and the appropriations of Palestinian land increases exponentially, we now see these fascists openly declaring that “peace” is “impossible” under current conditions. Gee, ya think?
    I have been called every name in the book for declaring that Israel’s goal is the complete erasure of the Palestinians. “Anti-semite”, “anti-american”, “pro-terrorist”.
    (Wiggie even thinks that my stated opinions means that I’ve got a little dick. That was a terrible bit of ad homininem and back and forth banter, eh??? I was so crushed pyschologically that it shrunk a full fifteen inches, leaving me very little to spare.)
    But what say these detracters now??? Do we require further proof? Passing legislation of state mandated bigotry, while consigning the Palestinians to an ever-shrinking land bloc, what else are we to believe? Its obvious that Israel is simply buying time while it destroys the possibility of a two state solution, stealing more land, and simultaneously passing laws that consign Israeli Arabs into the ranks of second and third class citizenship, which no human being, being so consigned, would possibly accept as just or humane.
    Yes. Its genocide, of a particularly insidious nature. Slow, methodical, planned, in motion. Abetted by our government and the foreign agents, (Israeli lobby groups), that hold our nation’s leadership hostage through bribery and political intimidation.

    Reply

  30. Jay says:

    Can someone explain the procedure for recalling Delegates in Maryland? Is it a difficult procedure?

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    File this under you can run but you can’t hide:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/03/952165/-Anonymous-Will-Avenge-Manning
    I am definitely aware of governance, compromise, agonistics, social tension, the law, what’s possible and not, what’s desirable and not, overreach and other social phenomena.
    I’m not 100% sure I like the data-mining tactics and hard-to-function-in revelations, but I have to say, corporate capital and corporate government need a huge pushback, and if they aren’t going to give in to the basic demands of self-control, rationality, and other Socrates-approved ways of being, then I have to say, Wiki-Leaks, Anonymous, Wisconsin, street protests, data-mining, breaches of confidence, leaks of all sorts — these will become standard operating procedure. They, too, will eventually overreach, but for now, the balance is swinging a little.
    The real worry is that in all of this wild swinging we end up with a tyrant ourselves. I surely hope that some of the crazee can be settled. But you know, a lot of wicked deeds have been committed in the name of people who don’t approve, and the doers of those deeds, like Gov. Walker, are going to become public.
    Read the kos diary by, or about, Anonymous. I hadn’t really followed this story til now. I’m guessing that it could be bigger than the ME uprisings if the targets are high enough up and the NFLCIA doesn’t figure out a way to stop it. (That’s a movie reference, by the way. Whit Stillman. Barcelona. Fun movie.)
    I saw some reference to the CIA’s website’s being down….. Hackers?

    Reply

  32. rc says:

    It’s about time Washington DC (and the whole US) stopped drinking its own bathwater and tuned into what is going on in the real world — often in spite of it.
    — quote—
    A historic moment in the Arab world
    As a democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world, Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera’s director-general, shares a profoundly optimistic view of what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond.
    In the first talk posted online from the TED 2011 conference in California, Khanfar describes the powerful moment when people realised they could step out of their homes and ask for change.
    This talk was given on March 1, 2011 in Long Beach, California. TED 2011 is taking place between March 1 and March 4.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/03/20113341535651130.html
    p.s. don’t forget to check out the murdered Afghan children story in the No Fly post.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Quick, get this guy into high public office!
    He is exhibiting the exact kind of “character” we have come to expect from our elected officials. He’s PERFECT!
    If he keeps this up, I have full confidence that someday he can lie us into some Godforesaken war, murder a few hundred thousand non-combatants, and get rave reviews on any number of think tank websites.
    Definitely Presidential material. And you can rest assured this young man will accumulate impressive wealth.
    Has he made the requisite pilgrimage to Israel, on AIPAC’s dime, yet? We need to make sure he is well rounded before we give him the keys to the kingdom.

    Reply

  34. WigWag says:

    “Arora then went back into Tweets that he previously posted and ‘deleted’ this one…” (Steve Clemons)
    There is something unsettling about a public figure going back and purging his tweets in the hope of escaping the public’s scrutiny of things he had previously said. But I don’t think the practice is that uncommon.
    Only a few weeks back, Nir Rosen, after his disasterous tweets about Lara Logan, redacted numerous tweets on his twitter feed. He obviously knew that his remarks would inspire a close examination of everything he said so he made the effort to remove as many comments as he could that he feard the public would find offensive.
    Unfortunately for Rosen, a number of his critics did precisely what you did in this case, Steve; they took screen shots of the tweets before they were removed.
    Perhaps Sam Arora will learn what Nir Rosen learned the hard way; “twitter isn’t exactly private.”

    Reply

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